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Via Forbes : Antisocial Social Tips On Career Networking In The Digital Age

In 2003, I was about to graduate from college and wanted to know everything there was to know about finding a great job. LinkedIn had launched that same year, but the thought of starting a job search on the online platform didn’t even occur to me. After all, LinkedIn only boasted 81,000 users that year — globally.

So, instead, I picked up a book at our school’s career center: Vault’s Guide to Schmoozing. To me, schmoozing meant that I needed to go to a bunch of career fairs scheduled at inconvenient times (which they were) and push myself to have a ton of awkward conversations (which I did) so I could end up with a ton of job interviews (which I didn’t).

In fact, four job fairs and countless handshakes later, I ended up with exactly zero job interviews. Fast forward nearly 20 years and more than 600 million LinkedIn users later, and I can only wonder who still sees the value of career fairs. At the same time, you can’t just upload your resume to LinkedIn and call it a day; you won’t get any more interviews than I did. As remarkable as social media has become, you won’t get the full benefit of using this tool to boost your job search unless you utilize it correctly. Here are some tips for the antisocial on how to use social media to land a job in the digital age.

Use Your Time Wisely

My first suggestion is to be strategic with your time. Many career advice books give you a laundry list of things you need to do more of in order to land a job. But the problem with these laundry lists is that they make everything seem important. Successful candidates don’t aimlessly spend their time on a dozen different activities. Instead, they are strategic and spend their time on the activities that are most likely to lead to attractive job offers.

Most candidates spend days, sometimes weeks, fine-tuning their resume, but only spend a fraction of that time improving their LinkedIn profile. This is backward: Most recruiters start looking for candidates either in their internal database or on LinkedIn. The resume becomes more relevant if you apply for a job. However, recruiters are flooded with unqualified job applicants from job boards, so, in my experience, recruiters tend to prioritize candidates they find on their own. If you want recruiters to find and engage with you, you should update your LinkedIn profile before you update your resume.

How you do it matters almost as much. Don’t catalog all your past roles and responsibilities. Instead, focus on the skills and achievements that are important for the job you are targeting. This will increase the likelihood that you will come up in LinkedIn searches from recruiters.

Once you’ve done that, start being more active on LinkedIn. Engage with content. Respond to messages you receive. Even if it’s advertising for a service you don’t need, respond with, “No, thank you.” LinkedIn’s algorithm for recruiters prioritizes candidates who are more likely to respond to messages.

Start Targeted

My agency talks to eager candidates all day. Most candidates tell us they are flexible for the right role. However, in our experience, it’s better to be somewhat targeted in your search. Start by defining your search criteria in terms of geography, industry, role and responsibility, compensation, travel, and other soft factors you care about, such as the company’s culture. Set some hard parameters around your search. Exhaust that pool of opportunities, and then expand your criteria if you need to. Most of those who are successful in their job search adopt a systematic and targeted approach.

If you are looking for an executive role, chances are that your compensation expectations are quite high. Think about what types of companies might be able to afford your compensation. Coupled with your geographical constraints and industry preferences, you probably have a set of high-priority companies you should be targeting. Look for a source that lists the largest companies in the industry to geographic area you are targeting. In LA, for example, the Los Angeles Business Journal lists the largest companies by segment. Go through the list of companies in the segments of interest to you, and select the ones you can imagine joining.

Do What LinkedIn Was Designed To Help You Do

Once you’ve built an initial list of companies, go on LinkedIn, and find the person you’d be most likely to report to at each of those companies. This might be the CEO, COO, CFO, etc. Invest in a paid LinkedIn account so you can send direct messages to these individuals. A brief message such as this one will do: “I’m starting to look for a new opportunity. Are you available for a brief conversation to see if there might be a role at your firm that could be a good fit?”

The key here is to be disciplined. Set a daily target for yourself, and keep reaching out to folks until you have a few viable conversations. Even if you start with as few as five messages a day, but do it consistently, you’ll contact 50 people within 10 days.

Some candidates I’ve talked to ask me, ”Is it OK for me to reach out to prospective employers unsolicited?” My answer is to them is a clear yes! LinkedIn was specifically designed to be a sort of antisocial social club for job seekers. That is, it’s meant to provide networking opportunities for job seekers and employers who don’t want to schmooze at cocktail parties, but still want to network about career options. So, go make good use of it.

Via Forbes : How To Use LinkedIn To Your Advantage: Tips To Build Career Success

Social networking can feel awkward and uncomfortable, even when done online.

Many people tell me they find LinkedIn overwhelming and instead of using it to their advantage, they avoid it at all costs.

But the reality is that when it comes to networking and career development, LinkedIn is one of the fastest-growing and most valuable assets to access. In 2019 alone, LinkedIn had 645 million accounts, and 40% of those users actually logged on every single day. With over 30 million companies now active on the platform, there were over 20 million open job postings in 2019 alone.

It isn’t just for networking and job hunting. If you are looking for marketing your business, Hubspot found that traffic from LinkedIn generates the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate at 2.74%, almost three times higher than Twitter and Facebook.

I get it… LinkedIn could feel like another app to master, and another thing to spend your time learning and building. The trick is to optimize what you are doing on the platform and how you are showing up to other users.

Here are four ways to make the most out of your time on LinkedIn.

1. Make your account appealing to the eye.

First impressions matter, and not just in person. Before ever meeting you, 41% of recruiters have admitted judging candidates by their photos. When people want to learn more about you, they will head straight to Google, and your LinkedIn profile will likely be one of the first things to pop up.

Although there are a handful of things to remove immediately from your profile, one of the most important aspects to keep updated is your profile photo. Get this: LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profiles views than accounts without a picture. Your ability to provide a visual on who you are actually contributing to someone’s decision-making. Studies revealed that the visual cortex of your brain controls more than interpreting images, it actually makes decisions. You want to share images that motivate your audience to connect you.

This isn’t limited to your profile. When you publish content, be sure to also include pictures. Updates with images are five times more likely to get comments and interactions than ones without. This doesn’t mean post a picture of you and your coworkers at happy hour; be thoughtful about what images you use. If you struggle to find photos, you can always turn to stock photography sites like Unsplash for access to a library of professional photos— for free.

2. Use the app to your advantage.

Look at the LinkedIn app like any other social media app. This means following and engaging with accounts you are interested in. When you are on the job hunt, find companies you want to work for, and make it a point to follow their accounts so you can stay aware of the company’s current happenings. The “companies” tab will display updates, employees and job postings, all in one central location that will then make its way over to your newsfeed.

Once you land an interview, you will already be well up to date on their latest product releases or corporate announcements, and this makes you stand out more than you realize. Job hunting is like dating, and by knowing the ins and outs of the company, you’ll come across as more interested in that actual company, versus giving off that usual job hunter vibe that tends to say: it doesn’t matter if you hire me, or your competitor does.

Companies want to feel wanted, just like romantic partners do in dating!

The app also contains a pulse tab, which allows you to see personalized articles and topics related to your industry and target audience. If you find something valuable, you can share articles onto your own profile. The more valuable content you share, the more of a following and personal brand you can create for yourself. And of course, make your own personal brand if you really want to excel in your career!

Dedicate a little time each morning to sift through the app. With your morning cup of coffee, spend 10 minutes finding articles worth sharing, or work towards building content around your industry (articles, blog posts, etc) so you can establish yourself as a thought-leader in your niche. If you commute to work or travel often without wifi, save article titles that you find intriguing and download them into your library to read later.

3. Contribute content to the LinkedIn platform.

Out of the 645 million LinkedIn accounts, less than .5% are actually contributing new content. When you consider that nearly half of LinkedIn’s community is logging on every day, this place is a goldmine for sharing content and being seen. Low competition means high view opportunities, a recipe for success.

Set time aside and make a list of content articles you would like to author. If topics don’t immediately come to mind, you can use the articles as inspiration for your own content. If you find an article you liked within your realm of subject matter,, read the comments section to find questions that other viewers may have posed as a way to search for and address gaps that weren’t covered on the topic.

This allows you to then build an article around content that the market is showing you there is a need for. If you are answering a question you see commonly asked, you can always go back and share your article with the users who asked. Remember: sales go down in your DMs, or in the comments section! When you show yourself as a content provider and an educated voice to answer user questions, business opportunities tend to follow.

4. Connect with the right people.

Remember the days in school when you were willing and excited to be friends with just about anybody? LinkedIn is not the place to have that same mentality. Just because you got drinks a few years back in college doesn’t necessarily mean you want to connect with them on this professional platform. Your level of reach depends largely on how social and engaged you are on the platform, not necessarily how many people are connected with you.

Start by connecting with existing professional and personal contacts in the industry you are working in, or want to move into. If you meet a new coworker or connect with a professional during a networking event, seek out their account and send them a LinkedIn request that contains a short personalized message.

Building yourself on the LinkedIn platform will make you a more attractive candidate and garner you more opportunities in the future.

Via The Ladders : How holiday networking can boost your career

Your job plays a big role in your life. It’s the way you earn money to afford to live the life you want. It has the potential to create great experiences with colleagues and in the work you do.

But it also has the potential to weigh on you, whether it’s working with a challenging boss or client, or realizing the job you do is not aligned to things you really care about.

As we approach the end of the year, you will likely have the opportunity to attend many holiday events that can be great places to network.

So, whether you are attending your organization’s event or events supported by your industry, friends or family, it can provide you the opportunity for you to share your abilities, interests, and goals with others.

Remember that the people you meet professionally and socially at these events have the potential to connect you to new opportunities, expand your thinking about new options or directions, or provide you with contacts who may be searching for someone just like you.

With the expanded contact you will have at this time of the year, both in and out of your organization, consider these tips to get the most out of your networking efforts.

1. Ask more than tell

Asking questions engages and involves people in a conversation, especially when those questions are genuine questions about getting to know others.

Though networking events are designed to be focused on jobs and roles within an industry, attendees still have lives outside of work. Ask about their family or pets. Ask about what they like to do outside of work. Ask about any recent trips they’ve taken (for work or personal).

Sometimes, these questions can inspire greater conversations that otherwise may not have happened.

2. Be an active listener

Networking events are often touted as intimate events giving attendees the chance to meet others in the industry and connect with their peers. But networking events are considered parties for a reason.

There are frequently lots of people and the combination of loud voices and loud music make it challenging to hear – let alone have – a conversation. So train yourself to be an active listener. Listen for key pieces of information when you connect with someone, including their name, where they work and what they like to do for fun.

This not only helps you connect with people at a more human level, but it also opens the door for greater conversation opportunities when there is a potential to connect through mutual interests outside of work. And always remember to get their business card before you leave.

Not only will this help you find them on any relevant social channels later, but it also gives you a cheat-sheet of sorts where you can write down any interesting conversational tidbits you gathered during your time with them.

3. Know who you are

If you were to tell someone your top three strengths – without any advanced preparation – would you know what to say?

Could you deliver those three strengths with great confidence and without stumbling? What are you passionate about? What goals have you created for yourself for the new year? Many people move through life on autopilot, doing the work assigned without much thought as to the impact it has in the long run, both for the organization and for each unique person.

Take some time before any networking event to revisit your list of abilities, interests and goals. You may only have a brief moment to share this information with someone else. Be sure you know how to deliver it in a concise and memorable way.

If your company, industry, friends or family host a holiday networking event, take advantage of it! You’ll never know who you’ll connect – or reconnect – with and what opportunities may present themselves as a result.

To make the most out of your time there, be prepared to share who you are and what is important to you, but more importantly, be prepared to actively listen to whatever information is being shared with you. Listen for new ideas and opportunities. Listen for what great people are doing and contributing.

Listen for what is new and exciting. Expand what you think about, consider and who you spend time with. Your world will increase and with it your opportunities and the ability to show up as your best self.

Via CNBC : Networking is pointless — unless you follow this important rule, relationship expert says

Networking. For some it’s a pleasure, for others it’s a chore, but for the vast majority it’s a total waste of time.

That’s because far too many of us ignore the most important part — the follow-up.

In fact, according to relationship strategist Zvi Band, those initial networking events are a pointless exercise if you don’t see them as part of a longer, more strategic relationship building process.

“People going to networking events are seeking the same outcome as you — to meet people,” Band told CNBC Make It.

“But remember, the hard work is not in the initial meeting or LinkedIn connection. It’s recording your notes, following through on any action items, and keeping that relationship warm.”

Relationships are our most important asset, including in achieving our career goals, Band argues in his new book “Success Is in Your Sphere: Leverage the Power of Relationships to Achieve Your Business Goals.” But too few of us pay the necessary attention to building and maintaining those relationships in our professional lives, he said.

Band is far from the first person to highlight the value of strong relationships in business success. Ever since Dale Carnegie published his seminal self-help book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” in 1936, business legends like Warren Buffett have espoused the role of relationships and reputation in their careers.

However, as technology disrupts the workplace, those human relationship will become more important than ever, said Band. That’s especially true for young professionals, who may not know where their careers are going and would benefit from a network of contacts, he said.

“The overwhelming majority of professionals … attribute their relationships to be their best asset.” – Zvi Band, CEO, CONTACTUALLY

It’s therefore important to follow a strategy for building and maintaining professional relationships long after the first meeting. Band said that can be broken down into a seven-step process that views relationships as “capital.”

“The overwhelming majority of professionals who have reached the zenith of their potential often attribute their relationships to be their best asset,” said Band, who is CEO and founder of relationship building software platform Contactually.

“Just like the dollars in your bank account, the more you pay attention to retain and grow that asset early on, the more you will be able to reap the rewards later on in your career.”

Here are the seven steps to building relationship capital:

Consistent execution

The first step in building meaningful professional relationships is to make it a consistent part of your work routine, said Band. That could be as a simple as blocking out an hour each day or week to touch base with contacts, send them an email or comment on their post.

As with any other process, it may take time to stick, Band noted. But there are plenty of hacks to cement the habit, such as setting an alarm, associating the task with something else you do — like checking your emails in the morning — and rewarding yourself once the task is done.

Aggregate

Compiling all your contacts into one, clean database will help speed up that process, said Band. Networking sites like LinkedIn are useful for connecting with people initially, but something as basic as an Excel spreadsheet may be the right tool for keeping everything in one place.

Ensure that the database is relevant by updating it every month or so, said Band. However, don’t be tempted to write contacts off, he warned — you never know when they may become relevant again. Instead, archive those you have a high confidence you won’t work with again.

Prioritize

Some of the contacts in your database will be more important than others. Based on your overall career goals, group them into buckets that reflect those aims and prioritize them according to their urgency.

Don’t overshoot though, said Band. The average person can manage a network of 15 close friends and family, followed by 50 casual friends and a further 150 acquaintances. Your list should mirror that — highlighting, for instance, 10 high priority contacts and 20 secondary level ones — and set out reasonable time frames to follow up with each.

Investigate

Building relationships is all about knowing — and caring — about the other person, noted Band. Take the time to take notes about your contacts, such as where you met, their skills and their interests, and add these to your database to help jog your memory next time you interact.

Sites like LinkedIn and Twitter can be useful tools for building that knowledge bank and keeping up with your contacts’ important milestones, he said.

Timely engagement

There are no set rules for how frequently you should engage with your network. Rather, you should think about the time you have available and the relative return on investment of each interaction, said Band.

However, being thoughtful about how and when you engage with others — and showing consideration for both their time and your own — will pay dividends, he added.

Adding value

When you do follow-up with your contacts, make sure you add value by sharing information, contacts and ideas that may be useful to them, said Band. Few things will irritate your network more quickly than a stream of empty “hello” messages — or, worse still, continuous requests.

Leverage

Finally, use technology, templates and other easily replicable methods wherever you can to ease your workload and make interacting with your network as pain free, and even enjoyable, as possible, said Band.

Via Forbes : The Networking Advice No One Tells You

We’ve all heard the advice that networking is important for our careers. And regardless of your profession, your industry or demographic, the message is loud and clear. If you want to be successful, you need to spend time networking. It’s great advice. But the critical missing piece to this advice is exactly how to network.

There’s an old adage that if you throw spaghetti against the wall and it sticks, the pasta is done. Over the years, this phrase has evolved to mean that when you throw enough activity or ideas at a situation or problem, eventually something will stick; eventually you will find the answer. So when we’re told we need to network to help us be successful, those of us who are ambitious, tackle the problem with this approach. We throw a lot of activity at the issue and hope for the best. We go to lots of networking events and conferences, collect and hand out hundreds of business cards. We establish an online presence and build a large group of followers. Unfortunately, this doesn’t result in the type of network that supports our career advancement. It has no purpose or intention.

It takes a village to have a successful career; people who provide you with information, connect you to others, help you get your job done, advocate for you, mentor, guide, and sponsor you. And to build this type of network, your networking activity needs to be strategic. To create the type of network that supports your ambition, your efforts must be intentional and purposeful.

What holds you back?

Your mindset. The first thing that prevents us from building a strategic network is our mindset that networking is self-serving. And when we believe that any attempt to establish relationships is only for our benefit, we are less inclined to pursue these conversations. “It’s all about me and I’m uncomfortable asking for help.” A strong network, however, is built with mutually beneficial relationships; where both parties benefit. In the process of getting to know someone, you understand how you can add value and help them, and they are then willing to help you.

You limit your network. Our comfort level is to network with people we know and like; people with similar backgrounds and points of view. Research shows us that this type of closed network, limits our exposure to people who can offer new connections and ideas.

You aren’t strategic. We use the ‘spaghetti against the wall’ approach and don’t build a network focused on our career goal and ambition. We spend our time meeting random people and hope that this effort will deliver an important contact over time.

You aren’t proactive. We wait until we need help for a new job or assistance selling a new concept or idea. We wait until we have a need and then discover that we no longer have much of a support network. We haven’t reached out to our contacts or nurtured the relationships and now we feel uncomfortable asking for help.

You don’t schedule time to network. I hear the excuse that there’s no time to network from many women. They can’t go out for drinks or attend networking events after work most nights. My answer is to schedule time on your weekly calendar for a coffee or lunch and then reach out to people to meet you during the work day. Be strategic about which evening events are worthwhile for you and try going to one or two meetings to assess if that organization is one that will expose you to new people.

You don’t leverage relationships. We meet a lot of people and take their business cards and have an initial conversation but never follow up. The result is that we don’t have real relationships. We don’t know these people and they don’t know us. Be strategic about your connections and take the time to get to know people with the potential for mutually beneficial relationships.

How do you create a strategic network?

Start with your career goal. What are you hoping to achieve in the next 3-5 years? Then ask yourself, who do you know and who do you need to know to help you reach that goal.

Understand your value proposition. How does your work contribute to positive business outcomes? This value proposition positions you as credible and helps you build influence. Your value proposition helps you create mutually beneficial relationships because you understand how you can help others. Once you get how you can help others, you eliminate the limiting belief that your networking activity is self-serving.

Build mutually beneficial relationships. As you meet people, ask them open-ended questions about their work. What are they working on? What are some of their current challenges? If there an opportunity for you to help by connecting them to a resource or guide them based on your value proposition and/or experience? This is how you create strong relationships.

Find allies and champions. A strong network supports and advocates for you. It helps you sell your ideas across the organization, promotes you for new opportunities. Once you make connections and offer to help others achieve their goals, your contacts will respond in kind when you have a need.

Be strategic. Be thoughtful about who is in your network and the best way to connect with these people. Spend your time wisely by focusing on these relationships and nurturing them over time. Be deliberate about what organizations and events you attend to help you connect with potential contacts. And take action!

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