5 Ways to Stay in Touch with Your Extended Network

When it comes to thinking about staying connected with your extended network,  especially if you

have a large one, it can almost be as daunting as, say, public speaking for a lot of people. But, it can be broken down into manageable steps. The most important thing with networking is that you stay in touch with those you connect with and you make every effort to keep a relationship going – even if you don’t “need” something at the moment.

Here are our five best tips for continued networking success.

1) Pass Along Articles of Interest to Your Contacts

One great way to stay in touch is to pass along anything of interest to your contacts. You want to continually demonstrate that you’re not only passionate about your industry (and follow it regularly), but also that you are genuinely interested in your contact’s best interest. It never hurts to reach out to someone you know and say, “Hi, John, I came across this article and thought of you. Perhaps you’d find the statistic on the growing demographics of 18- to 24-year-olds interesting for your research. I hope you’re well. All my best, Paul.”

2) Keep Your Network Posted of Your Updates

We recommend that you touch base with your contacts at least twice a year. A year can be quite a bit of time, and a lot can happen. If you are hired for a position, pick up a new internship, move to a new city or start a new blog, these are all reasons to update your network on what’s happening in your life. It’s also important that you use these opportunities to thank those that have helped you become who you are or get you to where you are today.

3) Remember Special Occasions

This can be a hard one. In a perfect world, we would all remember everyone’s birthdays and important events, but unfortunately, real life can get in the way of that. If there are certain members of your network who are your friends on Facebook, make it a daily habit to look at the “Birthdays” reminder to see if there’s anyone you should reach out to. And this doesn’t mean you should leave a generic “Happy Birthday” on someone’s wall; rather take the time to type out an e-mail and let the person know you’re thinking of them. It doesn’t take a lot of additional effort, and it’s an easy way to stand out from the “Facebook wall clutter.” In addition, keep an eye on big events announced by your contacts. If you want to get into public relations and you see that your friend launched a new campaign, send them a congratulatory note.

4) Create Google Alerts for Your Contacts and/or Their Businesses

One great way to keep tabs on a contact or his or her company is by creating a Google Alert. It’s free and takes less than a minute, and the service can send you valuable information on a colleague that you might have been too busy to notice. Then, when you see big news about someone or his or her company, take a minute to send an e-mail and follow up. If you’re not sure how to set up a Google Alert, check out our recent post on the CareerSparx blog, “Your Dream Employer? Do More Than Google Them.”

5) Follow Them on Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn

Again, the idea is to stay connected with your contacts and what’s going on in their lives. If you see that a birthday is coming up or something important just happened, make note of what you see on your social media accounts and follow up via a personalized e-mail. Another tactic is to hit “like” if they post something produced by their company on a Facebook profile, or retweet a Twitter update for a big project of theirs. They will appreciate the support, and you will achieve your goal of staying connected and on their radar.

By following these five easy tips, you will be able to stay better connected to your network. And as you’ll see, it really isn’t as hard or as overwhelming as it seems. Best of luck.

Informational Interviews Using LinkedIn

Article Contributed by Peggy McKee, http://www.career-confidential.com
One of the many, many fantastic applications of LinkedIn is that you can use it to land informational interviews. Informational interviews are just what they sound like: they are interviews that you conduct to gather information, usually about a job or a career field you’re interested in. They last 20-30 minutes, and give you an opportunity to get answers about what a typical day is like, what the person likes or dislikes about the field, and what it takes to be successful. You can also use it as a mentoring session and ask for their advice on your situation and your best career/job search moves. Research tips for informational interviews to help you compile your list of questions. Informational interviews are strictly for you to get the “inside scoop” from someone who knows, and they help you to expand your network. (FYI: If you’re lucky, you might get a job lead, but it’s bad form to go into the interview expecting this person to help you get a job.)
But how do you go about setting up an informational interview if you can’t do it through your current contacts?
Use LinkedIn. Once you create a profile, you can make connections and introduce yourself to people on LinkedIn, and then ask them directly for an informational interview. Most people are flattered to be asked, and won’t mind talking to you for 20 minutes. If they’re really pressed for time, they might offer to answer questions by email–which you should definitely follow through on. Also, you can join groups and participate in discussions, and post your questions there. This can be an especially effective tactic for entry-level job seekers. I’ve seen some really great LinkedIn discussions packed with valuable information for job seekers.
LinkedIn pages are tremendous sources of information on people you’d like to interview and companies you’re interested in. Once you’ve set up your interview, use LinkedIn to prepare for it just as thoroughly as you would for a job interview. Get all your ducks in a row so that you don’t waste that person’s time by asking questions you can look up the answers to. Coming to the interview prepared with background knowledge and intelligent questions leaves them with a great impression of you as a confident, competent go-getter they will remember (in case they run across a job opportunity for you later).
After the interview, remember to send a thank you letter. If you can, include a relevant article or a solution to a company problem–something helpful to them. Then, include them in your network by routinely contacting them every few months. A successful informational interview gains you valuable information and an expanded professional network–and who knows where that might lead?
Article courtesy of the Recruiting Blogswap, a content exchange service sponsored by CollegeRecruiter.com, a leading site for college students looking for internships and recent graduates searching for entry level jobs and other career opportunities.

Five Mistakes Online Job Hunters Make

By ELIZABETH GARONE

In a tight job market, building and maintaining an online presence is critical to networking and job hunting. Done right, it can be an important tool for present and future networking and useful for potential employers trying to get a sense of who you are, your talents and your experience. Done wrong, it can easily take you out of the running for most positions.
Here are five mistakes online job hunters make:
1. Forgetting manners.
If you use Twitter or you write a blog, you should assume that hiring managers and recruiters will read your updates and your posts. A December 2009 study by Microsoft Corp. found that 79% of hiring managers and job recruiters review online information about job applicants before making a hiring decision. Of those, 70% said that they have rejected candidates based on information that they found online. Top reasons listed? Concerns about lifestyle, inappropriate comments, and unsuitable photos and videos.
“Everything is indexed and able to be searched,” says Miriam Salpeter, an Atlanta-based job search and social media coach. “Even Facebook, which many people consider a more private network, can easily become a trap for job seekers who post things they would not want a prospective boss to see.”

Don’t be lulled into thinking your privacy settings are foolproof. “All it takes is one person sharing information you might not want shared, forwarding a post, or otherwise breaching a trust for the illusion of privacy in a closed network to be eliminated,” says Ms. Salpeter, who recommends not posting anything illegal (even if it’s a joke), criticism of a boss, coworker or client, information about an interviewer, or anything sexual or discriminatory. “Assume your future boss is reading everything you share online,” she says.

2. Overkill.
Blanketing social media networks with half-done profiles accomplishes nothing except to annoy the exact people you want to impress: prospective employees trying to find out more about on you.
One online profile done well is far more effective than several unpolished and incomplete ones, says Sree Sreenivasan, dean of students at Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism. He made the decision early on to limit himself to three social-networking sites: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. “There is just not enough time,” he says. “Pick two or three, then cultivate a presence there.”

Many people make the mistake of joining LinkedIn and other social media sites and then just letting their profiles sit publicly unfinished, says Krista Canfield, a LinkedIn spokesperson. “Just signing up for an account simply isn’t enough,” she says. “At a bare minimum, make sure you’re connected to at least 35 people and make sure your profile is 100 percent complete. Members with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.”
LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are the three most popular social networking sites for human resources managers to use for recruiting, according to a survey released last month by JobVite, a maker of recruiting software.
3. Not getting the word out.
When accounting firm Dixon Hughes recently had an opening for a business development executive, Emily Bennington, the company’s director of marketing and development, posted a link to the opportunity on her Facebook page. “I immediately got private emails from a host of people in my network, none of whom I knew were in the market for a new job,” she says. ” I understand that there are privacy concerns when it comes to job hunting, but if no one knows you’re looking, that’s a problem, too.”
Changing this can be as simple as updating your status on LinkedIn and other social networking sites to let people know that you are open to new positions. If you’re currently employed and don’t want your boss to find out that you’re looking, you’ll need to be more subtle. One way to do this is to give prospective employers a sense of how you might fit in, says Dan Schawbel, author of “Me 2.0” and founder of Millennial Branding. “I recommend a positioning, or personal brand statement, that depicts who you are, what you do, and what audience you serve, so that people get a feeling for how you can benefit their company.”
4. Quantity over quality.
Choose connections wisely; only add people you actually know or with whom you’ve done business. Whether it’s on LinkedIn, Facebook or any other networking site, “it’s much more of a quality game than a quantity game,” says Ms. Canfield. A recruiter may choose to contact one of your connections to ask about you; make sure that person is someone you know and trust.
And there’s really no excuse for sending an automated, generic introduction, says Ms. Canfield. “Taking the extra five to 10 seconds to write a line or two about how you know the other person and why’d you’d like to connect to them can make the difference between them accepting or declining your connection request,” she says. “It also doesn’t hurt to mention that you’re more than willing to help them or introduce them to other people in your network.”
5. Online exclusivity.
Early last year, Washington’s Tacoma Public Utilities posted a water meter reader position on its website. The response? More than 1,600 people applied for the $17.76 an hour position.
With the larger number of people currently unemployed (and under-employed), many employers are being inundated with huge numbers of applications for any positions they post. In order to limit the applicant pool, some have stopped posting positions on their websites and job boards, says Tim Schoonover, chairman of career consulting firm OI Partners.
Scouring the Web for a position and doing nothing else is rarely the best way to go. “When job-seekers choose to search for jobs exclusively online– rather than also include in-person networking–they may be missing out on ‘hidden’ opportunities,” says Mr. Schoonover. “Higher-level jobs are not posted as often as lower-level jobs online. In-person networking may be needed to uncover these higher-level positions, which may be filled by executive recruiters.”
Write to ELIZABETH GARONE at cjeditor@dowjones.com

Original WSJ Article

How to Get the Job You Find

Brian Ray

Hooray! You find a great-for-you job online. Now, how do you hook and reel it in?
Here’s what you don’t do. Immediately click ‘Apply.’ Fill out form. Attach or paste your resume. Then you wait, and wait, and wait, and… well, you get the idea. Instead, try these 3 job-landing tips:

Job-Landing Tip #1: Do your homework.

Be an A+ candidate! Just 15+ minutes could pay you big bucks in a new job. Start by going to employer’s website and clicking key tabs:

  • About Us – Check out their services, products and markets. Learn how big they are: annual sales or budget and number of employees. Find out whether they are local, regional, national, or global. Review their vision, mission and values. If you are still interested, make a list of what you like, as well as questions you have.
  • Press or Newsroom – Look for recent news about financial reports and special announcements. Is their growth up, down or sideways? What are their plans for the future? Are there new executives that recently joined (who want want to make changes in their departments)? Are there special opportunities you see for you?
  • Career or Jobs – look for the job you found online. Look for other jobs that interest you. Checkout their benefits and training.
  • Go to Google. Type in the employer’s name to search ‘Web and News’ for more information.
  • Print most relevant information and put in file folder marked with employer name. Very handy for resume writing and interviews. Make notes on key people related to job you want.
  • Beware: If the job posting you find does not identify the employer, type key words from posting in Google, and see if employer name pops up. If not, then drop it. May be a scam!

Job-Landing Tip #2: Rewrite Your Resumes

Based on your homework, you can hook employers by customizing each resume for each job and employer. It might be another 15+ minutes extra work per resume… but worth it when you get the call for interviews.

  • Copy keywords from the job posting that are true of you. Paste them in your resume.
  • Connect what you do and like best with what the employer seems to need most for the Objective or Summary section of your resume.
  • Resumes that get results show results. Highlight accomplishments on page 1 of your resume that are most relevant to the employer and job.
  • If you saw news or special announcements related to your experience, abilities or interests, mention them in your cover letter.

Job-Landing Tip #3: Network for Personal Referrals

Ask everyone you know and new people you meet. Keep an active list of employers with jobs and names of key employees. A private corporate study revealed that if jobseekers had a personal referral into the company, the odds of them getting hired was 42 times greater than those with no referral. Try networking everyday for at least 15+ minutes at least a couple of weeks. It’s like mining for gold. You shovel a lot of dirt to find the golden nugget. But it is worth it.

  • Ask appropriately and politely “do you know who is or was at (name of employer)?”
  • Search Linkedin, Facebook and Twitter for employers and names of key employees.
  • Follow up with referrals with phone calls using names of referring people. Remember, it is the personal referral that reels them in.
  • Your ultimate goal is to find the hiring manager for the job in which you are interested. When you all-of-a-sudden find them, you will be ready with your customized resume.

By the time you make the right connections in the employer’s organization, you might be asked to submit your resume through their website job posting. That’s the perfect time to click ‘Apply’, because now someone is looking for you.

Original Article

Top 100 career advice blogs

1. Career Realism – “We are the only career advice blog that ‘approves’ their experts, writes Career Realism’s founder, J.T. O’Donnell, who has been cited in The New York Times, CNN.com, MSNBC.com, and various other popular publications. “We make each expert apply to our program and we personally review their credentials and writing style to ensure they match with our goal of providing cutting-edge career advice. We have over 30 experts who provide advice on a daily basis and are currently ranked as one of the top 5 career advice blogs on the Internet.” Her tips for the unemployed? “Unemployed job seekers need to focus on connecting with people they don’t know,” she explains. “It’s easy to network with friends and family, but to find a job you have to expand your network. Start by asking people you do know to introduce you to the one person they think you should meet.” Recommended posts: “Resume Tips for a Career Change,” and “20 Powerful Action Verbs to Kick Your Resume Up a Notch!
2. WebWorkerDaily – Although most of the articles touch on unemployment and career advice, blogger Imran Ali also writes about the latest technology tools for UK-based business owners and professionals. This easy-to-use and interactive blog allows readers to click on articles related to a specific topic such as Apps, how-to guides, social media, and browsers, as well as Apple, Google, and Windows products. Recommended posts: “Sincerely, Me: What Our Email Sign-offs Say About Us,” and “DevCheatSheet: More Useful Free Reference Cards.”
3.  Position Ignition –  ”Position Ignition’s career blog offers a host of free information, advice, and guidance for people of all ages and who are serious about their careers,” writes Nisa Chitakasem, one of the co-founders of the site. “We have a number of Guides who all contribute to the blog and who have had real life and career experiences of their own to draw from. Not only are they great career guides and are highly qualified coaches –they have all had very successful careers –being HR Directors, Headhunters, CEOs, COOs, senior managers in top firms and more. The co-founder Simon North has been working in transition and change for over 25 years and has helped many individuals with their careers.” She advises the unemployed to “stay positive and also get focused…Being unfocused and untargeted in the market is the worst thing you could do. Too many people we come across have a scattergun approach – firing out CVs everywhere and applying for anything they can get hold of. What’s more effective is getting clear about what you want, why you want it, why you’re the one to do it and how to get that across effectively in the market. This is what we help people do and they all end up in the right places for them!”  Recommended posts: “5 Popular Career Personality Tests” and “Job searching: Find the Needle.”
4. Career Copilot – Career Strategist and Pro Resume Writer Dan Keller helps job seekers “navigate through the changes and challenges of the job hunt.” Keller’s background includes experience in executive search and corporate recruiting, and offers readers his advice from his own experiences and insight “from the trenches.” He is also the owner of ProResumeWriter.com Recommended posts: “How to find a job on Linkedin,” 5 tips to help you through a career change,” and “Why Job Boards are evil.
5. Punk Rock HR – Forget Sheena, Laurie Ruettimann is the true punk rocker…of the career-advice blogging world. After reading its tagline (“Team building is for suckers”), it becomes apparent that Laurie has a lot to say about the HR world, and isn’t afraid to say it. For the past ten years, she has worked as a “seasoned and cynical HR professional,” and currently serves as a member of The Society for Human Resources Management. Her blog has been listed as one of the “Top 50 Blogs” by Evan Carmichael in 2010, as well as”Top 25 HR Digital” blog awards by HR Examiner, and her writing has been featured in The New York Times, US News & World Report, CFO Magazine, and Men’s Health. Recommended posts: “Mentors: Who Needs ‘Em?” and “You Are Not Allowed to Criticize HR.”

Blogs 6 – 100

Landing a New Job – Don’t Leave Your Old Job

By DENNIS NISHI

If you’ve been marking time at work and hoping to get a new job, you’re not alone. But employment experts caution restless job seekers from jumping ship too soon. If you move too quickly you might end up in a new job that you dislike even more. Still, you can improve your odds of finding something worthwhile by planning ahead and doing some research.
The first thing to do is re-evaluate why you’re dissatisfied at your current job. If you aren’t challenged enough, there might be a way to make a change without leaving. “There may be ways that your job can be changed for the better or your role in the company expanded to offer more challenges,” says Tony Mulkern, a management consultant based in Los Angeles.

Look Inside and Out

Scout job openings in other departments or at higher levels that you may qualify for with some additional extended education or skills and ask your manager to support your effort to get the training you need.
If the opportunities just aren’t there or you’re simply dissatisfied and aching to move, tap your personal and professional network for information on who’s hiring; many job postings go up with a candidate in mind already, so it’s best to do your homework before a position is listed publicly.
If you know someone at the companies you are targeting—or someone in your network does—work to get personal referrals. But be discreet with your inquiries. Keep requests off social-networking websites like Facebook and LinkedIn.
When you land an interview, use the opportunity to learn about the company. You should get as much from them as they will try to get from you, says Sharon Armstrong, a human-resources consultant in Washington. Salary and benefits are important, but you also want to make sure you’re compatible. It’s difficult to tell what the workplace culture is like from casual visits. Don’t be shy about calling for more information and contact current and former employees, if possible, to get a feel for the company and opportunities.
If you get an offer, before you accept, consider doing more in-depth financial research on the company; try the Securities and Exchange Commission’s EDGAR Public Dissemination Service (www.edgarcompany.sec.gov).
For private firms and startups, Gail Rosen, an accountant based in Martinsville, N.J., says to look for a profit and loss statement, a balance sheet, references, a business plan and a list of where the company is getting funding. “You may not get that all, but it doesn’t hurt to ask, and they might at least give you something else you can use,” she says. Some information also can be found on fee services like Hoovers or on business blogs.

Don’t Leave Your Old Job

Whatever you do, don’t quit your job until you’re certain that you’re hired, says Ms. Armstrong. “Even if a job offer seems imminent, there are a lot of things that can happen at the last minute.”
If your current company wants to keep you and replies with a counteroffer, keep in mind why you’re leaving. “People seldom move just for money, so don’t be swayed by a bigger paycheck if everything else stays the same,” says Ms. Armstrong. “Job satisfaction comes from a lot of different places. If the boss offers to help change the other things that are making you unhappy, that might be worth at least discussing.”
Write to Dennis Nishi at cjeditor@dowjones.com

Original WSJ Article