As we enter 2013, many employed Americans are beginning to look for their next job, another sign that our economy is strengthening. While this is great news for job seekers, there are some things you’ll need to know if you’ve been off the market for a while. For instance, the internet has fundamentally changed the job search process, but it’s also given rise to those who prefer the ‘one-on-one’ approach of personal networking. I know this can seem confusing, but, in this week’s episode of Your Money 2.0, we’re going to show you how to make your way up the ladder.
Let’s start with the basics of job searching. As the old adage goes, it all about who you know. Ideally, the contacts within your network of friends and associates can speak to your skills, ability, and passion. These are the best people to discuss your career aspirations with. They’ll be able to alert you to job opportunities and make great references. Reach out to a few people in your network and invite them for a cup of coffee or lunch. Talk about your goals, your ideal job, and what’s important to you in an employer. Provide them with the most recent copy of your resume, and ask that they keep you in mind if they become aware of opportunities that suit you. Once you’ve discussed your situation with those you know best, talk to everyone else you know. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many of us don’t explain our career goals to our friends and loved ones. Have a ‘no pressure’ conversation with open and candid dialogue about your current employment situation, and what you’re looking to achieve in the future. You never know you they know, and a well-placed word from a friend or loved one can open doors to opportunities.
Now that you have your immediate network covered, it’s time to make some new contacts. Some of the best ways to meet people are through networking events and volunteering. Each week, dozens of networking events occur in communities around the country. To find events near you, visit your local chamber of commerce website, or go to Eventbrite.com and search ‘networking.’ You’ll find many new opportunities to connect with local professionals. You can also choose to volunteer for a cause close to your heart. Not only will you help your community, but you’ll meet likeminded individuals, and possibly some movers and shakers. The connections you make through either of these activities can lead to solid relationships.
As you make acquaintances, let them know about yourself, the value you represent, and if appropriate, your desire to make a move to another company. The best way to achieve this is by developing your Elevator Pitch, which is a 30-second ‘commercial’ that you’ll use to represent your value. Creating your personal commercial is relatively easy, and it can go a long way to make an impression. Start off by listing some questions, such as “What do I want people to remember most about me?” “What accomplishments best demonstrate my value?” and “What can I ‘prove’ that I’ve done?”
For instance, you may be a real estate agent who specializes in relocation. One of your accomplishments could have been coordinating a move for a large company, let’s call it YCN Computers. In that move, you helped 15 employees find temporary housing. So, your elevator pitch would be something along the lines of, “I’m a real estate agent specializing in employee relocation. Basically, I manage the hundreds of details involved in helping employers find comfortable homes for their transitioning employees. I’ve worked with many large companies, including YCN Computer, which I’m sure you’ve heard of. I helped them relocate their entire sales team to Springfield. It’s extremely rewarding work, and I’d like to tell you more if you have time for a cup of coffee with me this week.” In just a few moments, not only have you related some of your abilities, you’ve also created an actionable step in creating an additional opportunity to chat.
Last, be sure to keep in contact with the connections you have, and the ones you’ll make along the way. If you have a LinkedIn account (and you most certainly should) be sure to add them to your contacts. Also, if you use Twitter, connect with them there, as well. We’ll talk more about branding strategies on these platforms in upcoming webisodes. Until next time, I’m Thom Fox for Cambridge Credit Counseling.