Quick and Quintessential Career & Job Tips
Job-hunting tips from the November 26, 2007 issue of QuintZine.
A nice way to thank and maintain your network during the holidays is to send a holiday card to acknowledge those who have helped you in your job search during the year, notes Minneapolis-based StarTribune.com. It can also be a way to network with others and keep in touch with those you have built relationships with.
What the card does is put your name in front of the contact, and it’s likely they will reflect, even if briefly, on how they know you, have worked with you, or conducted business with you in the past. It’s important to send more generic cards rather than religious holiday greetings or even Santa-related greetings. Happy New Year is even safer. There are also cards that creatively address all the holidays in one card.
“The holiday season offers so many occasions to make small talk about subjects most of us are comfortable discussing like family, holidays, shopping, parties, the weather, special plans, etc. People find lots to share when it comes to the holidays; these topics will help to break awkward silences or can be used to warm up a conversation. It’s about connecting with individuals, which further strengthens and builds relationships. Good interpersonal interactions promote positive networking experiences that can be leveraged to identify unadvertised positions or openings in the hidden job market. These may include leads about possible or planned restructurings, new initiatives, acquisitions and divestitures, mergers, retirements and other situations that produce new challenges for an organization.”
In each of the 15 years ExecuNet, the executive career and business networking organization, has published its Executive Job Market Intelligence Report, networking has consistently ranked as the single most effective method for developing job opportunities – often generating nearly twice as many interviews at the executive level than any other activity.
“While technology has proven to be an invaluable resource for maintaining a network, the operative word is maintaining,” says Dave Opton, CEO and founder of ExecuNet. “The most effective personal and professional networks are built on trust, which remains largely a product of consistent, in-person interaction.”
To help executives improve the quality of their networks, ExecuNet offers the following advice:
- Offer Help Before Asking For It. The underlying philosophy of effective networking is to give before you take. By approaching networking from the perspective of meeting the needs of others, you will not only earn greater appreciation and respect, but your actions will often be quickly reciprocated.
- Avoid “Needworking.” A contact list of hundreds or even thousands of people is useless if you only reach out to them when you are in need. To avoid this “needworking,” start by contacting one person from your existing contact list each day. Find out what they have been doing (or do a little research of your own for a great conversation starter), what is going on in their life, and if there is anything you can do for them. You will be surprised how helpful this approach can be when you actually do need something.
- Don’t Be Shy. The best networking technique is to simply make it a way of life. Whether you are standing in line at the bank, sitting in a waiting room, or playing golf, don’t be afraid to start up a conversation with a stranger. Start off with a general conversation and see where it leads.
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