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Cold Contacting People You Find Through LinkedIn (or anywhere else)

January 15th, 2013

I got a great question from a JibberJobber user/reader:

I have identified (on LinkedIn) more than 100 names of people that I would like to connect within my industry in order to network with and expand my personal connections.

I am struggling with how best to connect with them. I have not met any of them. What do I say to make it sound a little more personal and hopefully get a positive response?

The textbook thought is “get an introduction.”  But I know that is not always possible (timeframe, weakness of relationships, non-priority by others, etc.). And, getting introductions to 100 people could become a management/organizational nightmare (of course, you would use JibberJobber to help with that, right??).  Let me throw out some ideas on how to cold contact people you find on LinkedIn (or any other database system). Note these are not necessarily to ALL be one in one communication, but some of them might help construct an outbound message to one of those contacts:

1. Be Honest

“John, I found you on LinkedIn while looking for experts in the automotive industry.  In your Profile I see______________________…”

This approach puts your cards out on the table without any question. I hate getting messages from people who act as if we are BFFs, but I have no idea who they are… have we met before?  Just letting me know that you found my Profile while doing research I think is a good approach.  Honesty is always good.

2. Give Relationship Context.

“We are both connected to a few other people in our industry, including Sally Doe and James Finley.  Do you know them well?”

OR,

“We are both members of a few Groups on LinkedIn, including Automotive Daily and Automative Nerds…”

This helps people know that you have a legitimate reason to reach out to them.

3. Give Message Context.

“I want to talk to you because of what’s happening in our industry, and to get your perspective.  I’ve been in this industry for 20 years but haven’t seen these types of changes for a long time. I have some ideas and would really like to hear what you think.”

This helps them know that it isn’t just a “pick up the phone and jaw” thing… you really have a purpose, AND you respect what they are bringing.  If you don’t give message context I think many people would be inclined to ignore your message.

4. Give Next Steps.

“Can we get on a phone call in the next week or two?  I would like to talk for 15 to 20 minutes about this.”

I also give the option of doing it over email, and I give my office line and my email address in this message. Notice I put in two time elements here: one is to show my sense of urgency (sometime in the next couple of weeks), and one to show how much time they would commit to (just 15 minutes).

5. Critical: Keep it CONCISE.

All of this should be done in one or two short paragraphs.  The purpose of the initial message is not to tell them all about you, or your ideas or philosophies, or to go too deep.  The purpose is to get to that next step… a phone call.  Keep this message short and on-task or I am not going to read it, or it might be too complex to respond to.

What do YOU think? Does this feel right to you?  What would you do different?

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Best Job Site Nominations for About.com (My nominations)

January 14th, 2013

Alison Doyle, Job Search Expert at About.com, is asking for the 2013 Readers Choice nominations for job search sites.  Here’s the link, and below are MY nominations/thoughts.

I should say that nominating ONE is pretty hard since there are many great resources (hidden amongst a lot of crap).  Also, what might be an a

wesome resource for a $7.50/hour person might not be useful to a $40k/year person, and what they like might not be useful to a $90k/year person, and a $400k/year person might get value somewhere else…

I’m keeping JibberJobber out of this, even though it might qualify for some below, and is freaking awesome and useful…

Best Job Site: LinkedIn.  Most people aren’t using it right.  That’s why I wrote the book on LinkedIn, and have my LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVD. Although LinkedIn continues to do ridiculous stuff, they are still the powerhouse in this space.

Best Job Site for Students: LinkedIn.  I was thinking of where students actually go, or where they could get student-friendly stuff, but really what they need to do is get on LinkedIn and DO STUFF (like network, etc.).  Second: sometimes their career services website.  Many are weak, some are very, very good.

Best Site for Career Networking: Tie.  this is between LinkedIn and any niche site that is in your industry or profession (like GitHub).  I would say LinkedIn but really, if you can find a site where all your peers (or people one or two levels above you) are networking, GO THERE.  More about this fascinating concept here.

Best Site for Company Information: Glassdoor.com. Definitely NOT LinkedIn.  Yahoo Finance was my first thought but I think the info is to sanitized.  I think Glassdoor will have some very rich information on your target companies.  If not, there’s always Google.

Best Resume Site: ?? I’m not sure what this is. I network with hundreds of resume writers who have excellent information and samples on their sites.  Outside of those sites I can’t imagine what a best resume site could be.

Best Salary Site: Salary.com or Payscale.com.  They are the same to me…. I never go to either site.  From my experience,  HR and hiring managers hate the numbers on those sites because it gives unrealistic expectations to the interviewee.

Best Facebook App for Job Searching: None.  Just using Facebook well to share your brand, find relevant contacts and nurture relationships is my advice.

Best Mobile App for Job Searching: Probably the LinkedIn app. If you are on the road, what are you doing in your job search?  Probably looking up people you just met or are about to meet.  I can’t think of any other useful mobile app for job seekers.

These are just mine… I hope this helps you in your own job search / career management.

Check out Alison’s page to make your own nominations (and you can include JibberJobber if you want :p).

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2013 THEME: Consistency Wins

January 11th, 2013

I have a card from my business coach Mark Leblanc sitting right in front of me. I see it every day.  On the card is a picture of Mark speaking (he is a professional speaker), and at the bottom it says “Consistency Trumps Commitment.”

I get it.

I’m committed to things, including my business and business growth (Mark is a business growth coach, and was actually part of the inspiration for the 2012 theme).

But magic (or success) happens when I consistently do the right things.

I can be committed to doing the right things, but until I actually do them I don’t see success.

And doing them is one thing… but I can’t do them one day a week, or one day a month, I need to consistently do the right things.

Consistency trumps commitment.

Commitment + consistency is amazing.

This year we’ll talk about consistency.  That’s the theme.  I’ve been working on that for a few years, since I met Mark, and I can testify that it is one of the most powerful parts of my business growth.

It will be a powerful part of your career management.  Let’s make 2013 AWESOME!

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Ask The Expert: Jason Alba – Kicking of 2013 with Career Management (embedded video)

January 10th, 2013

Here’s my recording of Tuesday’s Ask The Expert call. I thought it went very well… it was fun, and there are 13 things for you to think about with your career management for 2013.

Some of them should surprise you.  On the video I invited you to email me what you will do after listening… and I extend that to YOU.  Leave a comment on this post OR email me (as instructed in the video).

You can sign up for future Ask The Expert calls here.

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Guest Post: Exercising and Job Search and Career Management

January 8th, 2013

This is a guest post by Amy Chambers… more about her below… she writes about exercise and work, but it DEFINITELY applies to job seekers.

Bike week: how to incorporate exercise in your working week

There’s no doubt about it, there’s something inherently romantic about a bicycle. Maybe it’s all the movie moments we’ve been fed in which the simple country girl rides around on her lover’s handlebars in soft focus, maybe it’s all the sentimental importance attached to the moment when your dad or mum takes off the stabilizers and lets you go.

Of course, there’s nothing romantic about rolling into work damp from rain, sweating from exertion and liberally splattered with mud – and that’s the image which puts many people off commuting to the office by bicycle. But as more and more workplaces install on-site showers, there’s more and more workers who’re choosing to travel two-wheeled.

Taking the cycle path is just one of the ways you can fit in some exercise around your working hours. Below we’ve got three ideas to help you incorporate training into your working week – it’s easier than you think!

1. Get your workplace involved

Most companies want their employees to be happy, and all of them (if they’re sensible) want their staff to turn up to work healthy enough to get on with the job in hand. So they might be more open than you think to helping when it comes to keeping fit – whether it’s subsidizing local gym memberships, helping you work out flexible hours so you can make it to fitness classes or finding space in the office for a shower.

Find out if your colleagues are interested in getting healthy and see if you can get discounted membership for local gyms or a group rate for a class – some trainers who work in more gentle areas of exercise (think yoga) might be happy to come into the office to do a class in a spare room.

2. Get into a routine

The more organized you are, the more time you will have to exercise. It might hurt to get up an hour earlier than you normally would, it might be irritating to have to make your lunch and pack your bags the night before, but it’s all worth it when you’re gliding to work on a post-exercise glow.

If you find that getting healthy meals is becoming a problem, why not think about investing in a slow cooker, or an oven which you can program to start at a certain time? Then after a heavy session at the gym you’ll be able to come home to a delicious roast or a nourishing stew.

3. Use your lunch break

Going to a nearby pool for a swim, taking a walk to the nearest café rather than eating ‘al desko’ or finding a quiet place to do a quick bit of yoga are all low-sweat ways to get a bit of blood pumping. It might not feel like you’ve done much in that half-hour break between spreadsheets, but you’re laying down a valuable health foundation for yourself: it’s all going to contribute to your overall wellbeing, reducing your stress level and giving your aching eyes a chance to un-focus and rest. You’ll feel refreshed and raring to go for the afternoon’s work!

About the author

Amy Chambers was unemployed for six months after graduating, but found her perfect job after maximising her CV using the tips and tricks she discovered online. She’s an HR geek and lives in the sunny South West of the UK.

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Time Management in the Job Search (Ken Krogue Forbes article)

January 7th, 2013

There is an article on Forbes that every job seeker must read.  I don’t care if you are just starting a job search or have been a job seeker for many months… this article is awesome:

Level 5 Time Management: Beyond Stephen R. Covey and Ben Franklin

I’ve read Covey’s book and love the Four Quadrants… I wasn’t familiar with the Time Management Levels, though…

How are YOU doing with time management?  (I thought so… that’s why I linked to that article above :p)

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Which Job Search Strategy Do You Like The Most?

January 4th, 2013

I’m on a virtual training session with Mark Leblanc, who helps small businesses grow, and he said something cool:

“There isn’t any one strategy that will make you, there isn’t any one strategy that will break you.”

It made me think about YOU and your strategies.  Or the strategies you’ve been bombarded with.

Here are two thoughts this phrase triggered:

First, you can bet the farm on ONE strategy, but perhaps your strategy needs to be multi-faceted, or more diverse?  You can get too diverse, and not have any focus, but if one strategy isn’t working, maybe you need a mixture of multiple strategies?

Second, something I’ve heard in the homeschooling community is that people are always trying to find “the right” math program/system.  So you have parents who get a new program, try it for a few months, then switch to another program, try it for a few months, and continue this pattern.  Someone said “It’s not the system that doesn’t work, it’s that you aren’t working the system!” In other words, don’t dabble and give your system/strategy a half-effort… give it a real effort and invest time in it… stay with it until you have given it a fair try!

What do you think?

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Update: LinkedIn New Profile Webinar

January 3rd, 2013

I’ve been working on the content of my 90 minute webinar for the new LinkedIn Profile.  It was supposedly going to be rolled out to everyone by end of year last year, but my Profile is still missing some of the new stuff (namely, the ability to add rich media).

The webinar will be on Jan 17th at 9am Mountain Time – you can sign up here (the price goes up on Jan 11th).  There are bonuses listed on this page:

I’ve spent time going through the new Profile line by line. It’s cool, but it’s different.

Some things are the same, like the need to write to a human being (the reader), and tell your stories.

Other things are different, like how your Groups are showing, and of course the quasi-new skills and endorsements.

Some people have pictures that were good for the old Profile, but are too small for the new one, so they have a goofy looking THICK border around their picture.

LinkedIn is a place to FIND and BE FOUND.  In the webinar we’ll focus on being found, and what impression you are leaving when people find you.

Again, in this webinar I will NOT use it as a 90 minute session to try and sell you on something else.  This will be a lot of meaty content, with time to answer your questions… and that’s it.  Solid content, no pressure.

Join us?

Choose one of these as a bonus:

  • The LinkedIn for Job Seekers DVD (normally a $54 value), OR
  • personalized LinkedIn Profile critique (normally $99).  I will do these AFTER the webinar, so you can make some changes based on what we talk about on the webinar, and send you a video recording.  Usually between 12 and 15 minutes, from top to bottom of your Profile, OR
  • One year premium of JibberJobber (normally $99).  JibberJobber is the CRM for professionals to help organize a job search, or if you are not in a job search, to help manage relationships with your personal and professional contacts.  Entrepreneurs and solopreneurs use JibberJobber to help keep their contacts organized and nurtured with JibberJobber.

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Job Search Like It’s 2013!!

January 1st, 2013

Shouldn’t Prince write a song about that!??

No, not really, but I’ll write a blog post about it.

It’s here folks.  No more “it’s holiday season, I can’t job search right now” stuff.

It’s time.  January 2013.  It’s a new year.  You think you’ll have a new career.

If you are already happy in your job, take note of this blog post and reference it later if/when you lose your job (or choose to leave and look for greener pastures).  Here are my tips for job the current job seeker:

  1. Get your marketing docs done right, and out of the way. Back in the olden days (7 yrs ago when I was in transition) I probably wasted a solid month looking for and then recreating my (poor) resume.  The resume I created kept me out of interviews, even though my family and friends said it was awesome.  Stop joking around and get a resume professionally written.  (I know, I know, some of you want to DIY, and you’ll learn so much from doing it yourself.  Fine… go through the exercise of doing it yourself.  That will be beneficial. But then have a resume writer critique it)
  2. Network. No, not (a) the networking you think you are good at, or (b) the networking you think you hate.  I learned what networking really was when I read Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi. I’m talking about developing real, potentially long-term relationships with the right people.  Not everybody, and not anybody, but the right people.  Not exchange business cards or do lunch once, but long-term professional relationships.  This will be for immediate job search benefit as well as long-term career management.  And maybe even for your personal fulfillment.
  3. Use technology in ways you haven’t before. Job boards are lame, right? Actually, you can get a lot of value out of job boards (just don’t play the game that gets you to curse the phrase “resume black hole”). As a job seeker (or career manager) you should become proficient with tools like job boards (competitive intelligence research), LinkedIn (finding and being found), JibberJobber (managing professional relationships and organizing a job search), and other tools (many of which I’ve blogged about).  These aren’t just passive “only when I need them” tools – they should become a part of your system/process/life.  Whether it is proactively look for someone and reach out to them, or passively (or methodically and more slowly) build your personal brand, technology is a key part of what you do from now on.
  4. Get on the phone and face-to-face. Tech is cool, but it’s also so easy that it replaces voice and face-to-face.  Don’t hide from hard stuff (picking up the phone, going to network meetings) by doing posts and updates online.  There’s more to your career management than what tech will give you.

You have probably heard this stuff before.  So what’s new in 2013?  Everything, and nothing.

It still comes down to how you communicate, where you communicate, what others know/think/say about you, how proactive you are, etc.

Your body language, choice of dress, choice of words, passion, etc.

Using tools, resources, coaches, thought leaders, mentors, etc.

It’s all the same as before.

But for you, you need to do it better than ever before.

Are you up for it?

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