Sunday, September 14, 2014
Make the most of your time
You arrive alone. Your heart is beating a little faster than normal and suddenly all of your charisma and charm go out the window. You try to lock eyes with someone so that you can find a temporary home in what can feel like a sea of strangers. But everyone looks happily engaged in conversation.
While this might sound like your experience at a middle school dance, it’s also what many people feel when they enter a networking event. These are completely natural reactions, even for the biggest extroverts. The great news is that people go to these events to meet strangers, so you’re in the same position as everyone else. Here are 17 helpful tips for navigating a networking event and making the most of your time there:
Find the bar! Whether or not you’re drinking, it’s always a great idea to position yourself at the edge of the bar. Many people run for the bar when they get to a networking event in order to get a short respite from an overwhelming entrance. If you position yourself a few steps from the bar, you can easily strike up a conversation as people turn with drink in hand.
Be yourself. Networking events are meant as jumping-off points for relationship building. If you can’t be yourself, you’ll be starting off these new relationships with a lie. Don’t try to be the person you think others want to meet. Be genuine. The people you connect with when you are authentic are the ones you’ll want to stay in touch with.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
When I was 20 years old, I went to work at Citi for a summer internship. I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing, but I went to the office every day and worked on a basic scenario analysis project. I knew I could spend my summer half-assing my work or really, actually try to learn something.
I chose the latter. I went to all the speaker events, every lunch meeting, and all of those happy hours. I had lunch with different co-workers and senior leaders every day. I emailed and followed up with everyone I met.
All that persistence paid off — by summer’s end, I had one-on-one meetings with the CFO of Citi, the Chief Diversity Officer of Citi and more than 10 Managing Directors. Me! A 20-year-old intern! Some decade-long employees at Citi said they’d NEVER talked to that many senior leaders.
At the end of the summer, my Managing Director, Jaidev Iyer, announced “Erica, somehow you’ve been able to get noticed everywhere you go.”
I didn’t realize this was a gift until much later in life. When I was 27 and on stage at the World Economic Forum at Davos 2012, activist Desmond Tutu told our group of 70 Millennial leaders that we can lead a revolution in the world. That’s when it clicked for me.
But this blog post isn’t about me. Its about YOU. It’s about the fact that I’m not the only suburban-born, Indian-American girl who can get noticed. The truth is getting noticed isn’t much about me either. It’s about how I translate my gifts to others.
When we share ourselves in a genuine way, we build real relationships and create ways for others to help us grow.
Here are my top six tips on how to get noticed, get hired, or get just about anything you want:
Every time you meet someone, focus on how you can support them first. Give, give, get is a mantra that has helped me build deeper connections with others.
Be self-aware. Don’t ask for too much of someone at the beginning. Build the relationship and understand where they’re coming from.
Sunday, September 14, 2014
I’ve heard from job seekers who simply didn’t know some of the things that will help them effectively job search. One person I spoke to recently didn’t know you should send a thank you note after an interview. Another wasn’t aware that he didn’t need to include all of his many years of experience on his resume.
Some of the things on the list are little things that make a difference. Others are significant enough that they can make or break your job search. Here are 15 things you should know about job hunting that will help you find a new job quickly.
You can save time job searching by using advanced search options on job boards. All the major job boards (like Indeed.com, SimplyHired.com, CareerBuilder, Monster, and Dice) have an “Advanced Search” option where you can search by keyword, location, a radius of a location, job title, company, type of job, date posted and other options. Here’s my list of the top 10 best job sites.
Applying for every job you find isn’t always a good idea. Focus your search on jobs that you’re qualified for. You’ll have a better chance of getting selected for an interview. Sending out random resumes and cover letters is just going to be a waste of time. Before you start job hunting, take the time to decide what type of job you’re seeking. Even better, come up with a target list of companies you’d like to work for and do your best to get noticed by them. Here’s how to get noticed by your dream company.
Don’t stop applying for jobs while you are waiting to hear back from an employer. Most job seekers are rejected by over 15 employers before landing a job. Learn from your mistakes, and keep applying until you get the right offer. Worst case scenario, you will be juggling multiple job offers. That’s a good thing.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Job searching has changed dramatically over the past few years. If you want to succeed, you’ll have to take a much different approach than you did previously. Here are 10 things today’s job hunters need to know:
1. Google has replaced the resumé. Recruiters are now using Google and LinkedIn searches to find talent, instead of paying for job-board or talent databases. Many companies are even mandating that every new application go through a Google screening process.
So that means the first page of your Google results matter much more during a job search than they ever did before. I’ve written an article showing how to increase your rank in Google and attract the attention of hiring managers.
2. A summary of your work history is enough. Because there are so many candidates competing for each job, HR people (or hiring managers, if they are tasked with recruitment) often scan resumes very briefly. The average time spent on a resume is 30 seconds.
LinkedIn gives you a way to create a summary; use it.
3. Social proof is a must. Social proof—the testimonials, endorsements and recommendations of your abilities that appear on social networks—seriously reduce the perceived risk of you as a candidate.
The most costly mistake a hiring manager can make is to give a job to the wrong person. Some say that if a new hire leaves within three months, it costs the organization one and a half times that person’s annual salary. And with the economy as tight as it is, you can understand why hiring managers are so risk averse.
If you don’t have many endorsements and recommendations in your LinkedIn profile, get some before looking for a job.
Monday, August 25, 2014
1. Expose Yourself
People entering the business world today are a commodity. They’ve gone to the same schools, taken the same courses, read the same books, and watched the same movies. Meanwhile, companies like mine are desperately seeking fresh minds to help them navigate massive cultural and technological changes. Where are they going to find them?
Growing up in a small town in Indiana, I led the middle-class life of Beaver Cleaver, until I was kicked off the high school tennis team. Then my real education began with a new curriculum of hustling, drinking, smoking, cruising, fighting, and sex. (I mostly examined the latter.)
Think of your life as a big magazine rack. When you’re standing in front of it deciding what to choose, resist the normal impulse to reach for People or Cosmopolitan. Instead, grab a copy of Game Informer, Inked, Guns and Ammo, or Bass Fisherman. Apply the same approach to movies, books, and people. You need to expose yourself. Whether you’re looking for your first job or your fifth, you’ll benefit from exploring unusual ideas and engaging unconventional individuals. If you experiment with your life, you’ll learn a lot about yourself and the rest of the human race.
2. Hit the Road
Americans are a sedentary lot. Only one out of three have a passport. When they travel, their favorite destination is Las Vegas, where they can photograph the Eiffel Tower, float in a gondola, and visit the pyramids. Less than 5 percent of US citizens travel overseas each year. As a result, they know less about the rest of the world than the rest of the world. This is a problem when every cell phone is made in China and every service call is answered in India.
Selling expensive leather wallets to unsuspecting tourists in Florence, Italy, I learned why Americans are afraid to travel. Foreign businessmen like my boss Enzo were just waiting to rip them off. In two-thirds of the world, bribery is an accepted business practice and bargaining is an art. You need to learn the regional ropes by studying or working abroad, because every employer is banking on international sales to fuel their future. If you want to compete in the global economy, especially in a melting pot like Miami, you’ve got to hit the road.
3. Ask the Captain
Knocking on a captain’s door opened a new world for me. While my contemporaries were graduating from college, I talked my way into a job as a cabin boy on a Norwegian tanker bound for Asian destinations I’d never imagined. In your career you will encounter “ships” that can transport you to unexpected places. You just have to figure out how to ask the captain.
Senior executives are intimidating to those just starting out. But they’re the ones who can have a real impact on your career. Stalk them in the hallways. Corner them at events. Drill them with smart questions. Ask for their help. If you want to be a captain tomorrow, you should start by asking one a question today.
Monday, August 25, 2014
Believe us: We understand the allure of your comfy sofa at the end of a long workday.
But when you’re collapsing into the cushions full of frustration over a job that isn’t suiting your needs — or is just plain making you miserable — you’re going to need to make a bigger change than the channel you’re watching.
No one knows more about creating the momentum needed to launch yourself off that sofa and into the right career than Christie Mims, founder of The Revolutionary Club, a career-coaching destination, featuring advice, international retreats, and one-on-sessions with Mims.
Before founding her site, Mims was stuck in a job she didn’t love (which just so happened to be managing million-dollar portfolios as a consultant). In her search for something that truly made her happy, she earned a B.A., an M.A., certifications as a mediator and counselor … as well as applied to shoe design school and planned a potential leadership institute with the Marines. But her path, however twisted, led her to her dream job.
So we asked Mims to share her five best tips to get off the couch and onto the right career path for you.
1. Get ready to listen
Where do you even start zeroing in on a new career? When Mims felt trapped, she says, “I told everyone close to me. Constantly. That habit made me really fun at parties — if you define ‘really fun’ as boring, annoying and sarcastic.” It wasn’t until she started listening instead of talking that she started feeling energized.
“I told myself that I didn’t need to have all of the answers now — all I had to do was take people out for coffee and listen, and the answers would slowly come,” Mims remembers. “It seems obvious, but it was a real ‘eureka’ moment for me.” She found that she left her meetings feeling like she was moving forward; learning about new industries and jobs made her worry less about finding the “right” job and more like exploring a wider range of opportunities.
To do right now: Invite one or two people you don’t see often for coffee to chat about their work. Instead of expressing your dissatisfaction, take advantage of the opportunity to hear more about their jobs, career paths and advice. Ask them: “What is it that you love about your job? How did you end up in your position or at your company? What advice do you have for someone looking to work in the same field? What do you wish someone had told you about your job before you started?”
Monday, August 25, 2014
The old “might-as-well-apply-because-you-never-know” approach doesn’t work. A successful job search follows a strategy – not blind optimism.
On more than a few occasions over the years, I’ve heard people who masquerade as career coaches and employment experts telling people that job hunting is a numbers game.
In a way, it’s a lot like the Lotto myth: People believe their odds of winning decrease as more people play.
The odds of picking the winning number are absolutely independent of the number of people who play. What decreases are your odds of being the only winner. That’s basic statistics.
The job search, on the other hand, is about strategy, not statistics.
There is no question that a recession and weak employment market have an impact on hiring. That’s absolutely true. But a dramatic increase in the number of competitors in the marketplace does not suddenly make it a numbers game. If that were true, the misguided people who send thousands of resumes would be the ones getting the jobs. Or even the interviews.
But they aren’t.
Your success in the job market is not a function of how many resumes you send but rather how much time and effort you spend understanding the needs of a potential employer and tailoring your experience to demonstrate your potential.
This takes time. More time than most job hunters are willing to spend.
Why your job search should be graded
I’ve always believed that if resumes were somehow graded and ranked for their relevance, people would put a lot more thought into them. They would also probably invest time, money and energy on Kaplan-like courses in hopes that a higher score would land them a better job.
Monday, August 25, 2014
This spring, millions of 20-somethings have suddenly found themselves in a staring competition with the real world. For the college seniors of the Tiger Mom generation, this usually means a search for “prestigious jobs,” or jobs that can provide instant validation of their hard work. But there’s more to the real world than rankings and superficial expectations. It is useful for us to understand some of the factors that we use to gauge the “prestige” of professions, in order to truly identify jobs that will make us happy after college.
Some industries are stereotyped more favorably than others. At a school like mine, where successful parents send their children to befriend other smart young adults in order to cultivate a life of achievement, this is even more prevalent. Certain jobs, such as banking or consulting, or a gig with Teach for America or the Peace Corps, have been placed on a pedestal over the decades. But your success in life (in the pursuit of happiness or professional prowess alike) is no more guaranteed by a job with a Fortune 10 company, as it was by your admission into an Ivy League school. There’s more to a meaningful career than the name of your first employer.
It is certainly nice to be paid for our hard work for once, instead of paying tuition (or taking on insurmountable student loans) in order to work hard at school. Pay dictates prestige like none other. This is why our society revolves around worshipping the elite: the elite have money! But it is prudent to ask yourself how much money you really need to feel fulfilled. According to numerous claims (including this one from Gallup), the magic number tends to hover around $75,000. Maybe this isn’t right for you, but everyone has a range, and you should honestly assess yours.
I should add, though, that there is no shame in admitting that you want to get wealthy. In that case, your pursuit of that Big 4 accounting firm should include a conscious understanding of whether it will truly help you attain a level of wealth that will satisfy you.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
In the book, The Seasons of Life by Jim Rohn, he uses the seasons as a metaphor for how we live our lives. In life, if the farmer doesn’t plant seeds in the spring, come fall, there won’t be a harvest. And so it is with careers, if employees do not take the time to plant new seeds, their careers may flounder and not flourish. Are you feeling like your career is stuck-in-a-rut? Perhaps it is the right time to plant new seeds.
Seeds take time to grow: When you plant a seed, the plant doesn’t appear the next day. And there are instances when the time between planting the seed and it breaking ground is so long that you think nothing is happening because it is not visible to the naked eye. For you, planting new seeds could be taking courses to give you more employment options, it could be letting your boss know that you are interested in a new role, it could be letting people in your network know that you are interested in new employment opportunities, or it could be tweaking your online social media profiles and becoming more active. In all of these instances, you are taking action, you are planting new seeds, but you have to realize that some of these seeds you have planted will take time to bear fruit, and some may not bear fruit at all.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
During an employment interview, an employer is checking out job candidates to find the best one for the organization, but it should also be a time when job seekers are checking out prospective employers to decide if they are the best fit for them. As a job seeker, you already know the situations and environments in which you thrive, therefore, you want to make the best choice in employment. The last thing you want to do is accept a job and later discover that you cannot work with your boss. One of the best ways to discover if a job is really the best fit for you, is to reference-check your future boss.
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