Eric Shannon on Job Search Strategies and Tactics

January 5th, 2018

You probably haven’t heard of Eric Shannon. He’s a super cool guy, and really smart. He’s also been in the job board space for 20 years. Isn’t that crazy? I’ve had a few calls and emails with him over the years, and I respect everything he’s shared with me.  So now it’s my turn to share something awesome, from him, with you.

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Eric wrote a post titled Use big-ticket sales techniques to get in the game – how to land the interview you want. This is one of the best posts I’ve ever seen. It’s deep, and kind of long, but it’s definitely a post I can stand behind.

As a bonus, his followup is a post on how to land the job offer. Great stuff!

 

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I Believe in Cover Letters

January 2nd, 2018

Over the years I’ve heard, and written, about cover letters. The big question is should you really spend time on them?

YES, absolutely, is my answer.

When I’ve been a hiring manager I’ve read every cover letter I got. First, I skimmed it. If the resume showed the person was competent and could do the job, then I’d go back to the cover letter to see if I could pull out more information.

Should you really take the time to write a cover letter? You have nothing to lose (it’s never bad to write one), and only good to gain (if you do it well).

With that in mind, let me point you to my friend Barb Poole’s LinkedIn article titled 7 Cover Letter Myths You Should Consider. Read each of them… not just to get sold on cover letters, but to learn how to write better cover letters!

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The Shift In Your Marketing Message #JobSearch

December 27th, 2017

As a hiring manager I look for two very important things. It is your job to communicate the right message for both of these, but not necessarily at the same time.

The first thing I need to know is that you are technically competent for the job. Whether you are a mechanic or a programmer or a teacher or a whatever, I need to know that you can do the job. I need to know you have a minimum breadth and depth of experience and skills.

You can communicate that with stats and stories. This is done on a resume and LinkedIn Profile and anywhere else. A super powerful tool is a blog (or Medium articles, or even LinkedIn articles), or perhaps a portfolio. You use the right language (jargon) and can talk about things at a technical level.

There comes a point in my evaluation of candidates (aka, job seekers) that I assume that everyone I’ve whittled it down to has the right abilities to do the job.

This next thing is the deal breaker. By this point I’m not wondering about whether you can the job or not… I have something more important to decide: will you fit into my team?

Understanding that I have three or four or ten or more candidates in front of me, all of which can actually do the job I need to fill, the most important thing becomes which one will be the best hire? Which will fit into my team and culture without disrupting it (I don’t want jerks, and I don’t want a “bull in the china closet”)? Which hire will make me look good with my colleagues and bosses?

I’m not saying that I disregard technical abilities at this point… but I’m keenly sensitive to picking someone that I’m going to want to be around for 8+ hours a day for the next few years.

How in the world do you communicate that?

It’s not all about enthusiasm. And extroverts don’t necessarily have the upper hand.

Communicating that you will fit in well can be done through stories, of course. Share, for example, a time when you had a very challenging task or project that could have exploded/imploded… and how the team pulled together (and your role in that). Show you will fit in by your choice of language, and the way you treat people (interview at a restaurant? Be cool and kind to the servers!). Recognize that every single thing you do, that I or my team can observe, is part of the interview: how you walk in, how you treat people at the front desk, what you do in the waiting area, etc.

So there you go… you have two important things to communicate: one is that you can do the job, the other is that I will want you to be on my team!  Work on your communication so I can know that you are the right person to hire!

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You Are The Product: Learn Product Management and Product Marketing

December 22nd, 2017

I once hired a guy who had sizzle. Everything about him was right.

Until he came to work for me.

Then I learned that he was all sizzle, no steak.

Don’t get me wrong, he was a nice guy. People liked to be around him (generally). But when it came to doing his job, well… ahem.

Worse, for me as a manager, my colleagues (other managers) would ask me to harness him because he was causing problems in their divisions (spending too much time chatting with people, not work-related at all).

In the last 12 years of doing JibberJobber and my own job search, I’ve met plenty of people who were all steak, no sizzle. That is, they were very competent in what they did (from electrical engineers to dentists to marketers to you-name-it), but no one knew it. They didn’t have peers or colleagues who thought about them, talked about them, etc. They enjoyed a quiet life with a good job until the good job went away… their puny brand went away in the first gust of wind.

I’ve developed an amazing tool in JibberJobber.  Yes, there is a lot to do before I’m satisfied, but really, it’s an amazing tool.  We have an amount of breadth and depth that no one else has (for job seekers).  I’ve done a decent job at being the senior product manager here… but, who really knows about JibberJobber?

Well, plenty of people. I used to go to resume writer and career coach conferences… and have spoken at many of them. I used to network a lot with recruiters and outplacement companies. I have spoken at job clubs from Seattle to Miami, from Boston to San Diego, and plenty of places inbetween.  If you search “job search organize” (or any version of that), you’ll likely find JibberJobber.

Why, then, do I get people who sign up today and say “I have been looking for you for months and couldn’t find you! Why are you hiding?”

So, JibberJobber is great, but we are hard to find? Yep (sometimes).

I think many of you suffer from the same problem. YOU ARE GREAT, but the right company/employer is not finding you. Even though your resume is on Monster, your profile is pretty okay on LinkedIn, and recruiters are supposedly looking for you.

WHAT IS THE PROBLEM?

I submit that while you are pretty good at being the Product Manager of You, you are not very good at being the Product Marketing Manager of You.

When I started JibberJobber it was partially because it was my comfort zone. I was comfortable thinking about and designing web apps. I was comfortable working with developers and QA and figuring out how to get the idea from my head to the web.

I was not comfortable talking to people, networking, giving my 30 second pitch, and otherwise sharing my branding messages.

I was comfortable as Product Manager of Me, but not as Product Marketing Manager of Me.

Here’s the real issue: many times, the actual product doesn’t matter. It’s all in the marketing.

Haven’t you ever gotten something that was marketed well, but the actual product was a let-down?

I’m not suggesting that you, as a product are or will be a let-down. I’m just saying that you might have been focusing too much on the product and not enough on the marketing.

So let me give you this challenge: over the next week or two, figure out what MARKETING YOU means. Make a plan, build a list of tactical, actionable things you can do, and then work your plan. Become the best product marketing manager (of you) that you can!

You really can’t have one (a great product) without the other (marketing your product).

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When You Lost Your Job But Aren’t In A Hurry To Start A Job Search

October 26th, 2017

Over the years I’ve chatted with a bunch of job seekers. I’ve talked to executives who have gotten laid off with a nice severance package that gives them income for three, six, sometimes twelve months.

How nice would that be?

Here’s the message I hear from them (and some others, who have a healthy savings account): I will start my job search right before my severance runs out.

They choose to delay their job search while they have income because, why not?

I know that you are burned out from working what seems like around-the-clock, seven days a week.

I know that you welcome a break from working in a fast-paced environment with lots of pressure.

I realize you are ready to reconnect with your family, who you haven’t had time to connect with for many years.

I know what it’s like to feel like you can finally relax, even go on a real vacation where you aren’t bothered with emails and calls.

I get it.

And sure, if you want to take months off, especially because you’ve earned it, or you deserve it, then do it.

But what does this really look like?  Will you do anything for your career while you are taking time off and postponing your job search?

Fine, don’t apply to jobs online.  But please, please do the things I list below. Not because Jason Alba told you so, but because I’ve seen too many people regret their choice to postpone their job search, and then go through difficult months of no income.

Sign up for job alerts.  In my experience LinkedIn alerts are the best, and most applicable, to higher-level professionals. Even if you don’t apply to any of them, just watching what positions come through, and what companies are hiring, will be helpful as you get your mind ready for a job search.

Have lunches or breakfasts with people. This is networking… connecting with individuals one-on-one. Not as a job seeker, but as two professionals, two colleagues. This is your chance to learn more about their company, their industry, their career, etc. It’s a chance for them to learn more about you. These breakfasts should be low-stress but high return. What’s the return? Strengthening professional relationships. In a few months, when you are ready to really start your job search, you’ll likely get value out of having stronger professional relationships.  I would try to do this at least once a week.

Sharpen your saw. Remember when you finished school and you could finally read the books you wanted to? This is a repeat of that. Pull out those books that you’ve heard about and have always wanted to catch up on, but never had the time. There are plenty to choose from, classics like 7 Habits and Good to Great and Win Friends and Influence People, newish books like 4-Hour Workweek and eMyth (I know, they aren’t so new), or any books you’ve heard people you’ve worked with talk about. Do light reading, heavy reading, industry reading… use this as a time to improve yourself.

Sharpen your saw, Part II. Why not spend a month watching my soft skill and professional development courses on Pluralsight? Becoming a Better Listener, how to mentor (both as a mentor and a mentee), management skills, leadership skills, communication skills, etc. Whether you learn from my courses or other courses, take time to improve YOU.

Work on your personal marketing. Learn about and work on your brand, your branding statement(s), your resume(s), your LinkedIn Profile, your website, your business cards, etc. You’ll probably want to work with a professional on these things… it’s really hard to do this about and by yourself, and at your level you have too much to lose if you delay landing a job past the point you had planned.  Why don’t you take time now, when you aren’t in a rush, to have all of this prepared?

Perhaps there are other things you should do… my message is to do what you have planned: relax, reconnect, etc.  But also don’t neglect YOU and your career during this period.

When you finally do jump into the job search you might just be shocked at how hard it is, and how long it takes.

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JibberJobber Video Library: How Business Owners Hire (Cheryl Snapp Conner, PR Firm)

October 9th, 2017

I interviewed Cheryl Snapp Conner for almost forty minutes, asking her how she hires, What do you look at, how do you find your people, what do you think about resumes and LinkedIn Profiles… what really matters?

This is one of many videos in the JibberJobber Video Library, which is included in the $60/year upgrade. Not only do you get great videos on how to use and optimize LinkedIn as a job seeker, but you get great interviews from hiring managers.  Confused on weird or conflicting advice about how to get a job? The buck stops here, with these interviews.

Cheryl has a rich career history, including running PR at one of the biggest firms in Utah (Novell), then starting her own very successful PR shop which has employed and trained many PR professionals. She is also a Forbes superstar, because of her own writings as well as mentoring other Forbes superstars (like Devin Thorpe and Josh Steimle). She is a regular at networking events, either as an attendee or a speaker. She’s a GIVER, and is always up for helping and offering advice or introductions.

So how does someone who is this busy, successful, and sharp hire people? What do they look for?  She has created an awesome company and culture, and this is someone you want to know and learn from. How do you get there?

She shares this, and more, in our interview. Just upgrade on JibberJobber for $60 for the year and you can watch it now (and get access to other interviews, and the JibberJobber Premium features):

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What else is in the JibberJobber Video Library?

Here’s the write-up I did about the tech recruiter Robert Merrill.

Here’s the write-up on hiring manager Kristi Broom.

The insights in the videos are amazing!

 

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Job Search Tip: Have Something New To Talk About

September 26th, 2017

When I started JibberJobber I reached out to anyone I thought was relevant to talk to about it: coaches, resume writers, recruiters, outplacement companies, the press, etc.

And then I reached out to them again, and again, and again…

And then finally I didn’t have anything new to talk to them about.  I was out of “message” ideas.

As an entrepreneur I learned that you have to have something new and interesting to talk about when you go back, especially as you go back repeatedly.

This is an important concept for job seekers, especially as the months go by.  “What’s new?” “Nothing,” isn’t going to cut it.

What can you find that’s new to talk about?

Your “new” target companies and titles you apply to are always good to talk about. “Oh, I didn’t realize you were looking at jobs at that company,” or “Oh, I didn’t realize you were looking for those types of jobs.”

Have you learned anything interesting about your industry, companies, etc.? Have you written any articles on LinkedIn?

Those are just a few ideas… you need to come up with your own ideas.  Marketing professionals even have a “marketing calendar” where they’ll map out, or schedule, what they will talk about, when, and with who.

It makes sense, since you are marketing yourself, that you do something similar, doesn’t it?

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10 Reasons to Frequent Job Clubs

September 25th, 2017

When I lost my job I had no idea what a job club (or job ministry) was. I was so busy working and doing my life that I didn’t know there were thousands of people meeting around the world, every week, to help one another. It took me a few weeks before I learned about a local job club, and a few more weeks before I got the courage up to go to my first meeting.

Get up the courage? What kind of wimp was I?

I made up all kinds of excuses to go. The most compelling was that I was too busy looking for a job to spend hours away from my workspace at a networking club full of unemployed people. Really, I was afraid, lost, and ashamed. Because of that, any excuse would work to keep me away.

Then, I finally went, and it changed everything.

Since I went to my first job club meeting I’ve spoken probably over a hundred times at job clubs around the United States. Going into these meetings has been an honor, and meeting the attendees and hosts has been a great strength in my newfound career.  As I think about the power of the job clubs, I have come up with a list of ten reasons why I always recommend people find a local job club they should regularly attend.  This list isn’t exhaustive, for sure, but any of these are great reasons to find and go to at least one job club a week.

Get dressed and be presentable, at least for a few hours

As a job seeker it’s easy to wear the new uniform all the time: pajamas. You have nowhere you have to go, no one you have to see… so why take time to be presentable, ever?  Maybe at first you shower and get ready for the day, but after a while you find yourself in bed with a laptop, maybe a bit depressed (definitely a lot unmotivated)… and after a while there’s no reason to ever change out of your PJs.

That might sound like an exaggeration, and maybe it is. But only a little bit.

Going to a job club means you must (should) shower, do your hair, shave, get dressed in something better than pajamas… sounds pretty minor but for many job seekers, this is a major victory. And it’s a benefit of going to a job club.

Talk to people instead of staring at screen all day

I know, I know. We want to be effective and work hard in our job search. This usually means fixing our resume, rewriting cover letters, responding to email, and applying to jobs.

Try this for a while and you’ll find that this is not the most important use of your time. It is, rather, an exercise in frustration. At some point in a job search, people become converted to the idea that they, even they, need to “network.”

Let’s not be so afraid of networking. While it’s not the silver bullet in your job search, it is definitely powerful. At a job club you have the opportunity to talk to other people (you might even call that networking). After staring at your screen for many weeks, this could be a great primer in relearning basic human communication skills! Remember, at some point in your job search you will have a face-to-face interview… think of talking to people at job clubs as preparation and practice for the interview that you want to nail.

Joking aside, there seems to be something bad that happens when all of your communication is electronic. Going to a job club and talking to various people helps minimize that.

See that others are in your same situation

As my job search went on I thought I was a world-class loser.  My resume was great, they told me. I would get a new job so fast, they said. But the reality was that I was getting nowhere except further and further from a career. Who cared about my technical four year degree, or my MBA, or my past titles? I could hardly beg my way into an interview… and it didn’t take an expert to see that my self-worth was in a quick decline.

The first job club I went to was eye-opening. I was particularly interested in hearing Randy’s 30 second pitch… it sounded exactly like my own. A technical manager, with an MBA… we could have been peers (except he had 20 years experience on me).

Listening to him for just a few seconds was the reality check I needed. No, I wasn’t a loser. I had proof, in front of me, that other people with my credentials where (a) out of work, and (b) struggling in a job search. This person, who was awesome, just had to work through the system to find his dream job. And he did… maybe a month later he came in to report that he had landed. That gave me an enormous amount of hope.

Dick Bolles helped me understand that HOPE is so important in the job search, and the hope I got from Randy helped me more than I can describe.

Learn about opportunities, companies, and industries

As much as the internet is awesome, it is lacking.  I promise, you won’t find out about all of the openings and opportunities, companies, industry news, and even other networking events online. Talking to people at these job clubs can open a whole new world to you. Ask people, especially people who are in your profession or industry, or who have the same target companies, what other events they go to? Build relationships with them to the point where they would feel comfortable recommending you to others.

At job clubs I’ve seen people share about this hiring manager or that opening (that isn’t posted yet). I’ve seen people share what other networking events they are going to, and ones to avoid. You are able to get valuable information from people who are “in the trenches,” spending hours finding and vetting the information. The sharing that usually happens at job clubs is astounding. I invite you to get to a point where you are bringing as much valuable information to the meetings as others are.

Get ideas from others

When I was deep into my job search I was pretty sure I knew what I was doing. The problem was that I had no guidance, and my strategies and tactics where outdated and ineffective. At the job club meetings I listened to others share what was working for them, and what didn’t work for them, and I was able to adjust my strategy based on that.

The job search feels very lonely. But it doesn’t have to be. When you finally walk in that room and see everyone as peers, colleagues, and helpers, all in the same boat and all willing to help one another, everything changes. Instead of going to the meetings to consume, you go to be a part of a team, and even contribute… and that’s when the magic happens.

Keep your ears open and you should learn a lot from others at these meetings.

You get the chance to encourage others

The first time I went I was Mr. Deer In The Headlights. By the fifth time, I could tell I was a veteran job seeker, and I could help onboard the newbies. Five weeks didn’t make me an expert, and indeed, if I were an expert I’d have a job (right?!?!). But there were definitely times where I was able to help motivate, encourage, and even train (or teach) others.  If nothing else, I just encouraged them to keep doing the right things (and maybe cut down on the ineffective things).

I love to help others. Giving gives me satisfaction and fulfillment. As an unemployed chump in my normal circles I felt I didn’t have much, if anything, to give. But at the job clubs I could get that high from giving and serving again, and it felt invigorating.  This was part of the solution to me getting out of the dark hole I found myself in.

You get to learn from the speakers

Not all speakers are going to be great. I once went and took two pages of notes of how bad the speaker’s advice was. It was offensive, and the entire audience was reeling with pain from this guy. It really was the worst presentation, as far as content and audience mismatch, that I’ve ever witnessed.

What did I (and everyone else) learn from that? That none of us wanted to work for that creep.

But generally the speakers are pretty good. Sometimes they are exceptional. If you have the right attitude, you can always learn something. Whether it’s a mental/attitude shift or a tactical tip, you should always walk away ready to do something better, more, or differently.

Having been a speaker at many job clubs, I encourage you to go into the presentation with a good attitude… but I still think that it’s critical to not go just for the speaker. Go for the networking, and the giving, and the helping, and you should have a rich, rich experience.

You should meet people who can help you

Yes, you are unique. Your challenges are unique. Believe it or not, there are people at the job clubs who really can help you. Even people who have a lower title than you can help you.

Listen, I know how hard it is to “lower” yourself to go to these meetings. Before I went I spent weeks thinking “I don’t want to go network with a bunch of unemployed people!”  See the irony there? I was the exact type of person I didn’t want to network with.

What I learned was that these people were the most helpful people I would meet in my job search. It was amazing to go to a meeting and have so many people anxious to give me real tips, great feedback, and even introductions to people who I was trying to network into.

Once I lost my unfair snobbery and saw everyone as people who, first, I could help, and second, could actually help me, I walked away from those meetings happier, and armed with ideas, information, and a to do list (including responding to introductions) that were just what I needed.

You must meet people who you will help

By now you should have the idea that, at the beginning, I was too good for many of the people at these meetings. After a few weeks of wasting my time (and feeling uncomfortable) something clicked. I went to the meetings with one purpose: to help others. I wanted to be the connector, the one who would make introductions, the one who would encourage. I got a rush out of this, and I found that it helped me to help others.

I went from a consumer mode to a creator and contributor mode. And this was the most important thing I ever did at any job club.

It got to the point where I couldn’t wait for the speaker to finish, so I could talk to people. My one goal was to find (at least) one person who I could help. I became hyper-focused on it. I didn’t do it because of karma, I did it only because it was what I wanted to do. I lost myself in giving, and that gave back in spades.

I challenge you to focus on others, and think about how you can give and contribute, and see what happens. It can be amazing.

You get something that motivates you to get out of bed each week, and do more than you thought you could

This group becomes one of the most special groups you ever get to be a member of. It’s been eleven years since I went as a job seeker, and I still stay in touch with some of the people who I met there. You look forward to being with people who understand your situation, and spending time in a place where you feel like you are contributing.

More than that, there is an element of accountability. As a job seeker it’s easy to get lost in other crowds, but in this group people get to know you and want to know that you are making progress. You get to stand up and introduce yourself, week after week. You get a chance to share your weekly wins, and ask for help in your losses. You get support from people who are as focused as you are in your goal to get gainful employment.

Nowhere else have I found this camaraderie, especially for job seekers. It shouldn’t be a pity party (although sometimes that happens, and that’s okay). It is one of the most strengthening experiences I’ve had in my life, at a time when I really needed it.

Can you tell I’m sold on the whole job club thing?

Whether you are in Houston or Austin, Seattle or Portland (either one), Orlando or L.A., or Podunk, U.S.A., or even overseas, find a job club you can attend, and make the best of it. It was, without a doubt, the single most important thing I started doing in my job search. That’s why I’m a huge advocate of job clubs, and why one of my first bits of advice to people anywhere is to find and start going regularly to a club near them.

If you find the job club you attend isn’t “doing it for you,” I encourage you to step up and help make the job club better. This is really your opportunity to make great things happen for you and for others.

 

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Ask the Coach #6: What If No Job Search Advice Works?

September 22nd, 2017

See previous Ask The Coach questions and answers here.  This question is a little different in that it is a question from me! Here’s what I sent to my coaches:

The question comes from me this time. I was presenting at an outplacement office in San Francisco and had what I thought was a pretty awesome presentation. At the end of my presentation a guy in the back said, “Jason, I’ve done everything you have said. Networking, branding, etc.  But none of it works!  What do I do now?” He was clearly pretty jaded… but what do you do when the “normal advice” just doesn’t work?

How did the coaches respond?  Read on!


atc_headshot_heather_maietta_125Dr. Heather N. Maietta, Master Career Coach

This has happened to me before. Similar situation, similar reaction. To address the question to the crowd, I responded to the inquiry that as a career coach, I would need to work with the client directly to dissect his process in order to answer why the normal advice isn’t working. I did, in fact, leave my card with the workshop participant who was jaded by what he believed was an ineffective process. We began working together 1-1, and I offered my services pro bono because I do believe the process works if done well. We spent a month together walking through his process and there were in fact holes.

For instance, my client believed he was effectively following up with applications, but in fact, he wasn’t. He wasn’t taking extra steps to call or write an inquiry on the status of his applications, giving him an extra opportunity to brand and market himself. One other thing we identified, he wasn’t good at selling himself because he hadn’t learned HOW to see himself – how to brand himself effectively. We worked on that extensively.

In short, the process works. If there is a breakdown in the process, it is important to revisit the process, identify where the breakdown is occurring, and revise. Because we aren’t taught career dev strategy in formal education, it is assumed we just know how to do this effectively, when in fact it is quite difficult. When we can’t do it on our own, sometimes working with a professional is necessary.


atc_headshot_wendy_terwelpWendy Terwelp, Executive Career Coach, Author: Rock Your Job Search

I understand job searching can get discouraging, especially when you feel you’ve tried it all.

When coaching executive clients on job search, we take a deep dive into their job search activity. Here’s one scenario: One CFO said she’d tried everything: networking, online postings, LinkedIn, the works.

I said, “Everything? Have you documented all of your search activities?” Turned out, she’d not documented all her activities. This was a revelation in multiple ways. She realized she’d not been doing job search activities daily. It felt like a daily activity and it felt like she’d tapped all her contacts, but that wasn’t reality. She’d not formerly tracked where, when or to whom she sent resumes. Searching her emails, she also realized she’d not followed up on those jobs she truly wanted. And she discovered some untapped connections in her network. Together, we created a new career search action plan, which she put into an Excel spreadsheet (remember, she’s a CFO) AND we worked together on a new networking sound bite and strategy. She landed a dream gig just weeks afterward.

Take a deep dive into your career search activity. Are you tracking where, when, and to whom you’ve sent your resumes? Have you followed up on those jobs that truly interest you? What methods are you using for job search? Is it truly “everything?” If so, take another look at your approach. Are you tailoring your letters / resumes? Are you responding only to those online postings where you’re a near perfect match? Does your network understand what you do and the companies where you wish to work? If you need objective perspective on your job search activity, hire a career coach to assist you.

You got this!


atc_3_headshot_gavan_ambrosini_125Gavan Ambrosini, Executive Coach, Career Consultant

I have gotten this response a lot over the years from professionals frustrated with their search. My response is always the same: You are learning resiliency. Pace yourself, it is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s no fun being in your space and frustration and disappointment are unfortunately part of the ride. The bottom line is this-your strategy is not working. It’s not you—it’s not the marketplace, it is how you are presenting yourself to what is available.

Remember Henry Ford’s wise words, “If you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right.”

Here are a few tips to help turn the ship around:

  1. Not getting any calls on your resume?—it is not working. End. Of. Story. Time to change it up. Tailor it, or hire a professional. It will be money well spent.
  2. 2. Getting interviews, but not getting calls back or offers? There is something going on in the interview that is turning employers off. Reflect on your answers. Practice interviewing with someone. Get feedback on how you are presenting yourself. A few simple tweaks might be all you need.
  3. 3. Practice an attitude of gratitude: Sure the job search sucks, and you are getting jaded by the rejection, but there are many gifts in this time of your life. Ponder what those may be. People sense when you are in a bad space—and will be turned off by your negativity. Do what you can to turn it around and give off a positive attitude.
  4. 4. Acknowledge your frustration, and then take a break. Self-care is vital in this process. You need to rejuvenate yourself to keep your energy high: Take a hike. Visit the ocean or a river or a lake. Go for a walk. Read a book. Cook something or watch a movie. Bottom line is you need to take a break from the negative self-talk and seek out a new perspective by taking action by being intentionally mindful and present.

Keep going!


atc_3_headshot_craig_toadtman_125Craig B Toadtman, Job Search Consultant, Career Adviser, Coach, Executive Search Consultant

A professional baseball player, normally hitting over .300, was in a slump. He’d gone 1 for 22 over the past week or so, and was feeling the pressure. Did he give up? Absolutely not – he went to the batting cage twice daily and hit through it. He’s now back in the groove.

A ferry boat captain was carting cars across Lake Champlain between Vermont and New York was in midst of a transport on a cold, nasty day in December. A passenger asked him “Why do you do this on such a nasty day?” The Captain responded, “If you don’t go, you don’t get.”

So, what does this have to do with Job Seekers? You could very well feel like you’re in a slump. No responses, not interviews, no offers. This can go on for weeks at a time. Nothing is working. The process doesn’t work. So, what do you do? Don’t quit!

Hit the reset button. Rethink your strategy and examine all the steps you are taking. Are you hitting the right market? Does your résumé make you stand out from the competition? Are you really cultivating relationships throughout your network by calling, emailing, and calling again? Make the adjustments, and then go at it again. Refine your research, make the calls, write the emails. Go for it – big time. The process will ultimately work – you will find the right opportunity – hit the ball again, and again, and again. If you don’t go, you don’t get!


atc_headshot_denise_taylor_125Denise Taylor, Career Coach, Chief Inspiration Officer, the 50 Plus Coach

What I’d like you to do is stop and take a break from all your job search activity. Do anything except think about this topic for at least a week. Then take a different approach. Look at everything you have done and take an objective view.

Are you REALLY clear on what job you want? Do you have the right experience and skills to succeed in this role?

Are you clear on why you should get the job, rather than anyone else? How are you presenting this to the world?

Can you explain, succinctly on what you want and why?

Get feedback on your resume and cover letter from a professional and implement their suggestions. This could be via books of you are on limited funds.

And then I’d like you to monitor everything that you do. Keep track of the emails you send, the people you speak to and what happens next. Always follow up and think like a marketer with A&B testing. If one approach doesn’t work, try something else.

You may be desperate to get another job as you need money fast. This desperation can show in your voice and body language so take away some pressure by getting some money in via taking on a temp job or earning some money via Uber, people for hire etc.

Wishing you all the very best for your future success.


atc_3_headshot_perry_newman_125Perry Newman, Award Winning Resume Writer & LinkedIn Transformation Specialist, Certified Social Media Strategist, Certified Personnel Consultant

The first thing to do is honestly evaluate if is it YOU or the process that is not working. As I tell my clients, it is not what you do that creates success in a job search. It is all about how well you do it, how solid and modern are your tools, and how much passion and drive do you bring to the process every day.

So, in no particular order, explore the following and see what may require change or adjustment.

  1. Do you need an attitude adjustment? Those who generally ask this question network with a negative one-way attitude whereas successful networking requires always-remaining positive, letting people know you have something valuable to offer as much as you want something in return, and constant follow up and relationship building. Remember, 25-50 solid and in-close-contact LinkedIn and personal connections is of greater value than having a network of 500-1000 people many who you barley know.
  2. Are you looking for the right job/s? Many struggle in a job search because they are chasing the wrong opportunity when they are not a competitive candidate for hire. In other words, how well do you fit the position/s Hire Profile? Looking for the right position is half the battle.
  3. You think you established a brand, but is it generic & inclusive or is it truly a differentiator? Moreover, is it giving off mixed signals or the wrong message? Remember in a job search your resume and LinkedIn profile is not about the person you are, it is ALL about the person you want to be. Especially in a resume, many people come across as better qualified for a job other than the one they applied for.
  4. Do you approach your job search with a job seeker’s or an employer’s mentality. A successful search requires you analyze everything from an employer’s perspective rather than your own.
  5. The reason people may want to hire you are obvious and rise, like cream, to the top. However most hiring decisions will consider and give equal or more weight to why you are the wrong person for the job. Did you think like an employer and spend time trying to know why people may not want to hire you and what are you doing about it to change or negate their perception of you?
  6. Are your working to conduct your job search alone in a vacuum or do you have people helping and supporting you? A support system of some sort is a prerequisite for success
  7. Being a resume writer this is my favorite. Is your resume a poorly written, generic and out of style DIY document? If it is you have less than a 20% chance people will take you seriously and grant you an interview. The solution is getting it done over professionally.

atc_headshot_thea_kelley_125Thea Kelley, Job Search and Interview Coach, Author of Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Interview

Your situation is unique – as everyone’s is – but first let’s make sure you’ve really been nailing those best practices. Ask yourself:

  1. Am I doing targeted networking? The best practice is to develop a list of 40-50 target companies that you’re following and networking your way
    into.
  2. Am I doing several networking one-on- ones every week? Read a good book on how to do this, like The 2-Hour Job Search by Steve Dalton.
  3. How do you follow up after these meetings? Your contacts’ promise to “keep you in mind” is a pipe dream if you don’t report back on how you
    acted on their suggestions and your ongoing progress. Keep in touch.
  4. What about applying to jobs online? Is that the right strategy for you? If so, are you figuring out how to get your resume in front of the hiring
    manager, not just HR? Do you sometimes follow up with a phone call to the hiring manager? If so, what do you say, and what response do you
    get?
  5. Are your resume, LinkedIn profile and other materials really top-notch? If you wrote them on your own, or if you hired a low-priced writer, they probably aren’t.
  6. Are your phone screenings leading to in-depth interviews and moving on to offers? If not, you need to work on your interview skills, probably with expert feedback and coaching.
  7. Am I pursuing the right job? If you lack important skills or experience for the job you want to do, you may need to consider a “bridge job” that can serve as a stepping stone – or a different career path that’s a better fit.

If you have positive answers to all of these questions and you still don’t have a job after a few months, you definitely need a coach, ASAP. Your situation is unusual and requires skilled, individual attention.


atc_3_headshot_jeri_hird_dutcher_125Jeri Hird DutcherCertified professional and international resume writer

This isn’t easy to say or hear: Do it again. Keep doing it. Job search isn’t a one and done.

It takes persistence, determination, a good support system, and increasing skills. It can be difficult, frustrating, and at times hopeless, but we keep trying and keep learning new and better ways. You can also hire a coach to make sure your processes are effective and efficient.


atc_3_headshot_melvin_scales_125Melvin Scales, Senior Vice President, Meridian Resources

When I have had outplacement candidates say to me that nothing works I have learned to ask the question “let me see and hear what you are doing”. Many times, and in particular with networking messages, those messages are delivered in a way that truly does not work. For example, candidates will approach a networking contact and ask the fatal question” Are you hiring”? rather than saying “Based on what I have shared with you about my ideal role, do you know of anyone that may have an interest in my background?”

Think about the differences in the approach. The likely answer to the first option is “No I don’t” and the conversation ends. While the likely answer or answers to the second option is “Yes, I do ” or “I don’t right now”. When coached properly the candidate will be able to say “Would you be open to introducing them to me”? This has worked well for my candidates now over 20+years when they hit the “nothing works” wall.


atc_3_cheryl_lynch_simpson_125Cheryl Lynch Simpson, Career, Job Search & LinkedIn Coach & Master Resume Writer

If a job seeker has truly done everything right and still hasn’t received an offer, then chances are:

  • Their resume and/or branding are insufficient or off-target from what employers are seeking.
  • There are too few opportunities available in their field in the geographic areas in which they’re looking.
  • Their interview performance is missing the mark.
  • They’re being judged as too ____ (fill in the blank: old, inexperienced, experienced, educated, undereducated, etc.).
  • Their salary expectations are out of alignment with the market.

A job search is a bit of a numbers game in that, on average, it takes seven interviews to receive one job offer, but 200-300 job prospects in a given geographic area to yield those seven interviews. Therefore, if a job seeker is doing everything right, but there aren’t enough targeted opportunities in their preferred industries, their search may never get traction.

It’s important to point out, though, that the majority of job seekers likely aren’t doing everything right in their search. I hate to sound negative, but I come across perhaps one client every couple of years of whom this is true. The rest of the time, I find that the job hunter isn’t doing everything they should or isn’t doing it to the degree they should.

If you’re not networking enough or with the right people, or you’re not taking advantage of thought leadership opportunities, or you’re not targeting companies, or you’re not building effective relationships with contacts, then your job hunt will falter, unless you’re in an area where your targeted jobs are available in such numbers that, well, almost anyone in your field could get a job.

The good news is that it’s possible to diagnose what is and isn’t working in your job hunt and fix it.


atc_headshot_patti_romanowicz_125Patti Romanowicz, career consultant and job search specialist

First, I would want to quantify that statement and get more detail on his specific job search techniques, as well as see his resume. Is he attending networking events and racking up new connections? Or is he building and cultivating relationships with new as well as existing connections? It’s not just about how many people you know, it’s about quality of relationships. And in my experience, ongoing networking to grow these types of relationships is hard for most people. Does his resume serve him well and help him stand out? Is his mindset discouraging potential employers?

Perhaps his process just needs some tweaking and he could benefit from some one-on- one coaching.

Let’s say he has done all the traditional stuff, personal branding, hard networking, etc., and it’s just not working. Time to start thinking outside the box. Here are some thoughts:

  • Deliver your resume in a memorable way – with home-baked cookies, a plant, or something related to the company’s industry
  • Turn your static resume into a video resume, where you can personally sell yourself
  • Set up your own web site showcasing your skills, resume, and examples of your work
  • Update your skills or learn new applications that will make you more marketable to employers
  • Thoroughly research the specific companies you want to get into – identify a problem or challenge they might have and create a business proposal on how you can help solve it

Bottom line, any job search is a full time job. It takes time, commitment, and effort. It can be discouraging. But the right mindset, patience, and a little creativity may very well land you the job of your dreams!


atc_headshot_lucie_yeomans_125Lucie Yeomans, Certified Career Services Professional and Job Search Strategist

When clients tell me this, I start with a couple of important questions.

1) Are you truly doing everything you are told to do and doing it correctly?

  • Networking (not asking for a job, but targeted, strategic networking every week)
  • Understanding and promoting your personal brand/value proposition statement, (not what YOU think it is, but having a professional branding expert help you identify what that truly is)
  • CAR story development (not generic CAR stories, but targeted, strategic stories geared for a particular audience)
  • How well do you interview? How do people perceive you?

2) How long have you been networking and searching for a new job?

  • Timing is everything when you are looking for a new job. Just because you are ready to move on, doesn’t mean the perfect job is ready and waiting for you.
  • Patience is key here. It can take 6-12 months and sometimes longer depending on your level and industry.

If I learn that my client has done everything correctly and has given it sufficient time, then it’s time to ask a difficult third question.

3) Are your expectations realistic?

  • How long you have been out of work? For many decision makers, an employed candidate is more attractive than an unemployed candidate. What have you/are you doing with your time?
  • Are you pursuing the wrong dream/job? Do you meet 90+% of the requirements in the job postings you apply to? The ones who are getting interviews do.
  • Does your field favor younger, more up-to-date talent over experience? Unfortunately, ageism does exist. Can you keep up with your competition?

So, what do you do?

  • Seek out temporary or voluntary positions where your skills can be utilized.
  • Sign up for courses to learn what you lack.
  • Consider getting your MBA or other advanced degree if you see that it is preferred more often than not.

atc_3_headshot_ron_auerbach_125Ron Auerbach, Job search author, expert, and educator

The first thing to do is look at your execution. For example, let’s say you haven’t been networking. That’s not good! So it’s no wonder you’re not getting job leads and/or interviews. But suppose you have been networking and still don’t have any success with it. The issue now is whether you’re networking in the right way. So are you connecting with the right kinds of people? Or are you just doing it with “anyone and everyone?” The problem may not be networking, but the way in which you’re handling it. So if you’re not targeting those who can or might be able to help, it’s no wonder why you’re not getting success.

The same problem can happen with branding. You know how important it is to develop a brand. But are you branding yourself in the right way that will impress and attract recruiters and employers? For example, are you using the correct wording? Are you promoting your brand through the right channel(s)? Are you branding yourself in one way but conducting yourself in another manner?

So even if you have the best strategies in the world, they won’t be effective if you carry them out in the wrong way. And that’s what dooms lots of job seekers. They know what to do. Yet they fail to execute the mission in the proper way.


The job search is hard. Doing the right things, over and over, can feel fruitless. But if you are doing the right things, keep doing them. Thanks to the coaches for another great round! See previous questions here: Ask The Coaches.

Comments Off on Ask the Coach #6: What If No Job Search Advice Works?

Ask the Coach #5: How to Network in a New Area?

September 15th, 2017

This is part of a continuing series called Ask the Coaches, where YOU pose a question that I send to dozens of career experts, and they give their awesome responses. IF YOU ARE A CAREER EXPERT and want to be on the list, email me (contact link at bottom of any page).

This week’s question comes from Kathy:

I am struggling with networking. If you are in a new area, what is the best approach to making new contacts?

Great question… for many, they aren’t new in an area, but once they are in job search it sure can feel new.  The responses are below…


atc_3_headshot_gavan_ambrosini_125Gavan Ambrosini, Executive Coach, Career Consultant

It’s not easy breaking into a new area with few contacts and resources to lean on. Three things I recommend to get you started:

  1. Join a job seeking group–they pop up in different forms but the best and easiest way to find one is to check in with your local One-Stop Career Center (www.servicelocator.org) and they should be able to point you in the right direction to one.  Other entities to check out are local churches, veterans associations and experience Experience Unlimited and MeetUp.com to name a few. You will meet other professionals, and get on their radar for opportunities that might not be a fit for them but perfect for you. It also helps to know you are not alone–and to be a support to others on this journey.
  2. Join and/or attend association or industry events to increase your visibility and to get to know what is happening in your new town.  You don’t need to say you are “unemployed”, but that you are “working on some projects” (sure it may be yourself) and that you are looking at (not for) new opportunities in the area.  The idea is that you are always in charge of your job search and that everything is a possibility (not a need, want, desire).
  3. Volunteer somewhere.  It doesn’t have to be in your industry, but it will help to get you involved in the community and away from the computer and outside of your head.  Serving others less fortunate than you is the best way to get you into a positive mindset and with an attitude of gratitude. If you can find somewhere that can utilize your unique skills sets, even better!
Just don’t get yourself so busy, that you don’t have time to look for a job!  If it starts to feel like too much–ease up and pick and choose what events will give you the best return on your time.  It’s ok to take a break and go back to what you started or try something completely different–just as long as you are getting yourself out there meeting people. Remember, the goal is to expand your network and to make important connections along the way.
Good Luck!

atc_headshot_sonia_cerezo_125Sonia Cerezo, Certified Professional Career Coach

Dear Kathy,

I am not sure if you are looking for a new job in your new city or you simply want to meet others but either way, the process is the same.

First, start by reaching out to newcomer’s groups in your area.

Second, via meetup.com, join groups you are interested in.

Third, become a member of the professional associations in your industry.

Fourth, going to church on Sunday, not only helps the spririt but it is a great way to meet others.

Fifth, volunteer either at your church or pick a nonprofit you feel strongly about.

But remember true networking is about meeting one person at a time, so be intentional about getting to know others.

I hope these suggestions help.

Wishing you the very best in your new career!


atc_headshot_jenna_hartwell_125Jenna Hartwell, Director of Veterinary Career Services & Professional Development

Excellent timing for this question – networking has been on my mind a lot this week!

Before sharing some ideas, I think it’s extremely important to first mention what networking is NOT.

Networking is not about the number of people in your contact list.

Networking is not being fake.

Networking is not about being an extrovert.

Networking is about trust.

It is about creating a community of people around you who want to invest in your success (and believe that, if given the opportunity, you would do the same for them). From those trusting relationships we build our network and from building that network we develop a positive reputation which, in turn, fosters more trust. It’s a cycle. See:

atc_5_jenna_hartwell_graphic

Keeping all of this in mind, here are some practical ideas:

  1. Start with the people in your life who already know and trust you. You never know whose uncle’s cousin’s sister in law lives in your city or is knowledgeable about your field.
  2. Join affinity groups through meetup.org or your local chamber of commerce. These don’t have to be in your career area – they could also be for a hobby or interest! Several of my friends have built new networks through the World Adult Kickball Association.
  3. Find alumni from your college/university through LinkedIn or your school’s alumni association (call the office – they would love to help you!)
  4. If you’re someone who isn’t at your best in in-person situations; use the phone! In an age where so many of us are bound to email, a call can be refreshing and a nice middle ground for people who prefer to network from home.
  5. Engage your “nag” – find that overly honest person in your life who pushes you to do the things you don’t want to. There is nothing a nag wants to hear more than “I need your help.” Schedule a weekly call with them about who you met since your last conversation.
  6. Find the local chapter of your professional association. When I first moved back to North Carolina, the people at the NC Association of Colleges and Employers quickly became my second family!
  7. Focus on your successes no matter how small. A case of the ‘shoulds’ coupled with negative self talk lead to spending the evening on the couch (not networking).
  8. Take a class at your local university.
  9. I love the forums on city-data.com. Every city has their own unique culture and learning from the locals is a great way to find places to network.
  10. Volunteer. Idealist.org, volunteermatch.org, or even your local non-profit association can help you find places to help yourself while you’re helping someone else.

atc_headshot_adele_leah_125Adele Leah, Career Wingwoman whose mission is to help careers fly and put people on the path to career happiness and success

Leverage the power of LinkedIn, whether it is a new area in terms of location or in terms of industry sector you are looking to move into.

LinkedIn is like attending a big networking event with more than 400 million users, it’s the largest professional social network. With the various functions, it’s a great tool to find companies, people, and jobs in any location and industry. You can reach out and connect, start conversations, network and build up new contacts. There are also various groups you can join which is another great way to join new communities and expand your network.

The important thing is that you have your profile up to date and really showcasing who you are, what you do and the value you bring. People want to see clearly and quickly what you are about and why they should connect and network with you. Not having an updated and complete profile is like turning up at a networking event in your pajamas and mumbling. Not many people would want to engage and talk with you! Your summary is key this is your introduction, think about what you would say to someone if you met them in person about who you are and what you do. This is what you want to put there

Around 99% of people fail to optimize their profile and aren’t using LinkedIn to their advantage so be in the 1% and have a profile that really stands out and then your ability to connect and network gets a whole lot easier.

Also, it’s important when you reach out you send an introduction with the connect message giving a bit of detail about why you want to connect.

Part of the work I do as a career strategist, coach and mentor is to help people to stand out and shine with their LinkedIn profile as well as understanding how to use it to its full potential to develop their personal brand, grow their network and increase their career opportunities. LinkedIn is for your career life, not just a new job.


atc_headshot_wendy_terwelpWendy Terwelp, Executive Career Coach, Speaker, Author: Rock Your Network® for Job Seekers

As the author of Rock Your Network® for Job Seekers, I recommend the following steps for Kathy and others who are newly relocated:

  1. Determine your goal for networking. This impacts the type of groups you will explore and join. If your networking goal is for job search, you’ll want to explore area job search groups. Additionally, I recommend joining a local chapter of your professional association. For example, PRSA if you’re in PR; ATD, if you’re in training and development; ASQ if you’re in quality management, and so on. Check out LinkedIn’s “groups” tab to see if there are relevant groups for your networking goals in your area.
  2. Update your LinkedIn profile with a current professional photo, summary, and experience. This way, when you’re exploring connections and groups, people can easily associate your name with a face.
  3. Create a sound bite you can modify and use when meeting new people. Instead of, “I’m between jobs right now.” When asked, “So, Kathy, what do you do?” you’ll have a polished sound bite you can share that’s positive and focused. (Chapter 5 in my book has a formula you can repurpose.)
  4. Check out the local Chamber of Commerce. Typically, they’ll have Business After 5 or other networking events you can attend. One of my clients who’d recently relocated had no local network. She volunteered for her Chamber of Commerce and updated their website. She had a master’s degree in information technology. The chamber wrote a press release about it, highlighting her expertise. She was introduced to several business leaders in the area and was hired by one of them to run their IT department.
  5. Volunteer for a cause you believe in. If you have a tight budget and are unemployed, one thing you do have is time. Volunteering demonstrates your leadership skills, you’ll meet people interested in the same cause as you, and often business leaders are involved in those efforts. This gives you a chance to talk about something you enjoy and are passionate about, which makes networking easy and natural.

Finally, don’t forget your new neighbors, friends and family who may have connections in your area, local sports events, farmers markets, and more. When you have your polished sound bite, it’s much easier to start a conversation with those you meet.

These tips will help you get started. I recommend making a networking plan to make regular progress toward your goals and positive connections with your local market. You got this!


atc_3_headshot_perry_newman_125Perry Newman, Certified Social Media Strategist, Certified Personnel Consultant, Resume Writer, and LinkedIn Transformation Specialist

Kathy, this is a great question and one I’m often asked to respond to. Ask anyone in career services (and in sales as well) and we will all agree the single most important component of success is making and staying in contact with people you know and those you want to know, both in and outside your current or desired field or profession. This is why I am a proponent of reaching out to make a minimum of three contacts a day. Imagine this – 3×30 = 90 people you reach out to every month and 3×365 = 1095 people you now have in your network in the course of one year. This is what serious and successful networkers do!

This said, networking in a new city is more challenging and requires additional effort to yield tangible results. In addition to standard Networking 101 techniques, you will need to consider more unconventional and perhaps less comfortable than you prefer measures. At the outset, you’ll also need to make a modest financial investment in yourself, if you have not already done so. The first investment is to create a catchy business card to hand out to the people you’ll meet to remember you and know how to contact you. I use and recommend Vistasprint, a low cost high quality option. The second investment is, I recommend a low cost or free website and/or blog (check out Wix.com and WordPress). Here you can showcase your resume and bona fides, and have a URL on your business card along with your fully optimized LinkedIn profile page URL so people can check you out, follow you, connect with you, and refer you to others.

Now, here are networking suggestions in a new city and they work in your hometown as well.

  1. Step out of your comfort zone. For many this means being less timid and much more sociable. Go to a sports bar for Saturday College football and Sunday and Monday night pro football (or whatever sport you enjoy or is in season) and start a conversation with the people around you rather than sitting like a wallflower and waiting to be approached by others. You can also go to a movie, a concert or the theater, a museum or a lecture by your lonesome and strike up a conversation with the people you meet on line and at the event. You never know what will happen—or whom you will meet—when you step outside of your comfort zone.
  2. Take up or continue a hobby. Find those things you want to do but your pocketbook or inner voice often says Nah. For example, join a business district or local gym or health club. Take a Yoga, Spin or kickboxing class. Join a flag football or softball league. Try a new restaurant or bar in the business district. Whatever you do, steel your nerves and walk into a room or place full of new people.
  3. Go on Dates. For those who are single, going on dates is a great way to meet new people—even if you don’t hit it off romantically, you could strike up a friendship. If you’re male, ask a woman out and don’t stop asking if you’re rejected. Women, you too can ask a man out. So get out of your comfort zone, take a flyer, and accept an offer or ask out a nice guy or gal, even if he or she is not someone you’d ideally choose. Be up front and say “I’m new to this city and I’d like to get to know you and your friends.” If you’re seeing, someone expand your horizons and get creative: Branch out from your neighborhood and go places where there are crowds. When on line at a movie, ballgame, or anywhere you go strike up a conversation with the people around you and let you partner know why are so friendly to strangers.
  4. Volunteer: So many causes you can support need your help where you can spend time doing something you’re passionate about. Try to keep it close to your field of work if possible. Political clubs are also a good place to volunteer and network and meet influential people in a new city.
  5. Seek out fellow alumni and former co-workers. Search fellow college and even HS alumni on LinkedIn. Then reach out and connect with them, tell them what your connection is and you want to speak with them. If they listed a phone number, take the initiative and give them a call. The same for fellow coworkers who may be in your new city or have contacts on LinkedIn who live where you are now living.
  6. Take chances and say YES: If you get invited to places or events, where there are a lot of people that are not in your wheelhouse or comfort zone say YES. This may be an invite to go bowling, dancing or skiing, to go to a lecture or attend a C&W, Rock or Classical music concert to name a few. In other words, make it your policy to socially say YES rather than to always say No or giving an excuse.
  7. Sign up and attend classes: Continuing education in your field or something related (or even in something that interests you) is a great place and way to meet likeminded people who you can easily start a conversation with. They are also likely to have a network of people you can tap into.
  8. Join Toastmasters: This has a double benefit. Aside from meeting career minded people who are out to advance their career, you will have an opportunity to improve your public speaking ability and hone your business persona.
  9. Check out Meetup in your new locale. This allows you to meet people in different walks of life who share common interests with you. Take a chance and get involved, after a while, you will meet some great and helpful people.
  10. Join your local area LinkedIn group and professional associations. The members of these groups are people you could and should be reaching out to, and most sponsor networking events you can and should attend.
  11. Faith Based Networking. For some this is a first and natural step in networking in a new city. For those who are unaffiliated, lapsed religiously, agnostic or atheists this can be uncomfortable. However most houses of worship and faith based organizations have tremendous resources they are willing to share with newcomers in a city and they can be exceedingly helpful in picking you up when you feel alone, down, lost, home sick or hopeless.

atc_3_headshot_elvabankinsbaxter_125Elva Bankins Baxter, Certified Master Coach

Kathy, one of the best approaches to making new connections is to join a group or volunteer to work where you have common interests and are passionate about a cause.  If you have interests in some type of sport, exercise, are a music lover or an avid reader of books or bird watcher, there are likely to be groups of people in your area with the same interest (s) that you have.  Many of these groups meet on a regular basis in your area.

You are in luck if you are on Facebook.  There is an “Events” tab that appears under the “more” tab on your home page.  Check this out because by clicking on this tab, you will find a list of events that are happening in your area that may be of interest to you.  I found Fall Festival train rides to watch the Fall Foliage in October, a few jazz events, a tour of vintage homes, a few plays at local theatres and book clubs…all in my local area.   And, the best part is that it lists my Facebook friends who are planning to attend.

Once you attend one of these events or contact the leader of the group, the networking becomes easier.

Not on Facebook, try your local newspaper.  There are always listings of what’s happening in your new area.  If possible, bring a neighbor or co-worker with you.

If you are in a career transition, perhaps there is a local Five O’clock Club meeting that you can attend. Simply “Google” the name and view their website and attend a meeting. The key is to attend these events and making those connections.  Don’t forget to connect with everyone you meet on LinkedIn and your number of connections will increase greatly!

All the best and happy networking!


atc_3_headshot_rich_grant_125Rich Grant, Online career course instructor for Peak-Careers

Unless you have family or friends in a new area when relocating, networking can be a challenge. If you don’t know anybody in your new community, the best approach to making new contacts is by searching on LinkedIn for that location. You might be surprised to find that you have a connection who knows someone in the new area. I was surprised when I searched on LinkedIn for “Cheyenne.” I’ve lived in New England all my life, and I chose the most obscure location for illustration purposes. I don’t know anybody who lives in, or has ever lived in, Wyoming. However, on LinkedIn, I found that a former co-worker of mine knows an executive director of a prominent non-profit organization. If I were moving to Cheyenne, I’d call John and ask him to introduce me to this individual. I would then call the person in Cheyenne to introduce myself, and that John suggested I contact him since I’m planning to move to Cheyenne. Being a friend of a friend, I have no doubt he would be helpful and make my transition much smoother. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, “Don’t search for jobs; search for people.”


atc_3_headshot_ron_auerbach_125Ron Auerbach, Job search author, expert, and educator

I was in this exact situation when I moved from the East Coast to the West Coast. So I know what it’s like to have to make contacts in the new location. Now one thing I had done is this. Once I knew where I planned on moving, I took an extended vacation to visit and stay in the new location for a while. And while there, I had worked with some local temp agencies to gain some employment. This helped put me in contact with companies in the new area. And gave me an opportunity to meet some people there. So I was able to gain some local work experience ahead of my move.

Another thing one can do when they have relocated is join local groups. For example, there may be a local networking group for job seekers in your particular field or just in general. This is a nice way to interact with people in the local community who may be able to throw you some leads. And/or introduce you to others who may be able to help out.

You can also use a local religious house of worship. So becoming part of a local congregation will also help put you in contact with locals in that area. And allow you to let them know you’re seeking employment. They might know somebody who can help. Or take your resume and pass it along where they happen to work.

One more way to network is visiting the local unemployment office. Depending upon the area, there may be more than one. That’s the case where I live. Other places just have a single office. Either way, it gives you a chance to interact with some local job seekers. And you can meet with a local counselor there to look over your resume, do a mock interview, and help you with companies in the area.

It’s also pretty common for unemployment offices to host local events. So they may have one or more employers coming into the office to meet with potential new hires. Picking up a calendar of events will let you know what’s upcoming. And there may be postings of upcoming job events posted in the office.

Visiting a local park or other public place is another networking opportunity.. For example, you may be sitting on a park bench next to somebody and strike up a conversation. That gives you the chance to let them know you’re new to the area and are looking for employment.

The same goes for visiting local coffeehouse or juice bar. It’s very common to meet new people in warm and comfortable settings like this. So it’s easy enough to converse with others who might be able to help. Or may take your resume and pass it along to where they work or somebody they know. FYI, it’s pretty common for recruiters and hiring managers to meet with people in this kind of place. And work on going through applications and resumes. I’ve seen this many times at various coffeehouses in my area. And have struck up conversations with those people.

The bottom line here is this. Look to places where there are lots of people around with whom you can strike up conversations. And where it’s more relaxed so people are more willing to open up and meet new people. Also take advantage of the local unemployment office and library for upcoming job-related events. And hit the local employment agencies for some work, even if it’s temporary. Lastly, make sure you are always armed with your resume! So keep a stack with you to hand out at a moments notice.


atc_headshot_victoria_crispo_125Victoria Crispo, College and Professional Outreach Manager at Idealist Careers

I find that the very word “networking” tends to bring out nerves and apprehension among most job seekers. My first suggestion is to throw the word “networking” out and look at it as relationship-building, and then approach it as you would any new relationship. Also, since you’re in a new area, it’s a great opportunity to do double-duty: you’ll likely want to check out the “hot spots” in your new locale, get a feel for the local culture and vibe, and discover activities that fuel your interests…and you can meet people who can become new companions and also serve as professional connections.

You may want to join a local club, take a fitness class, or sign up for a “sip and paint” event! The main thing is that you select activities that you are interested in and that allow for conversation– and make it a point to say hello and introduce yourself to people! When the pressure to network for a job (or to advance your career) is off, you’ll be able to relax, enjoy yourself, and present the “real you”! These conversations will naturally turn towards what your new friends do for a living, and since you’ve already built a rapport, it will feel less like “networking”.


atc_3_headshot_craig_toadtman_125Craig Toadtman, Job Search Consultant, Career Adviser, Coach, Executive Search Consultant

Establishing relationships in a new area can often be very challenging. Your “pirate” behavior must be in full force to find the treasured contacts. Put bluntly, find all the doors, wherever they may be. Your sources for networking are many, so, here are a few options:

  • LinkedIn – Be sure to check your profile to make certain your profile and settings (particularly security and privacy) are up-to-date and crisp. Then begin the process of expanding your network.

I suggest entering the city of your new location in the “search” field of LinkedIn. Scroll through the resulting names of potential contacts and identify people with similar interests, people from potential employers, and people with shared connections. Pay attention to shared connections. If you are looking for a new position, click “Jobs” to search for openings in your new city. Click “Work” then “Groups” and review appropriate groups to review for possible connections.

  • Local Professional Associations and Groups – Google searches can reveal a lot of information about professionals in your area. The local library is also a great resource.
  • Churches, Temples, Mosques, etc. – Many places of worship provide opportunities for like professionals to meet informally.
  • Volunteer – You would be amazed how quickly you could grow your network by volunteering at the local library, hospital, or other public organizations needing help.

As you expand your network, perhaps the biggest challenge will be to remember names, so be sure to have note-taking tools with you!


atc_3_cheryl_lynch_simpson_125Cheryl Lynch Simpson, Career, Job Search & LinkedIn Coach & Master Resume Writer

Hi Kathy, thank you for sharing your question. Assuming you want to land a job in the area you are new to, here are some suggestions that will help boost your networking.

Offline Networking

  • Search Google and local newspaper events calendars for job clubs in your new area. These face-to-face groups specialize in local networking and will help you to quickly build regional connections. Such groups are generally sponsored by area churches or funded by not-for-profits and/or United Way.
  • If you cannot find these groups through an online search, check for an Information & Referral Service in your area. This service is generally funded by United Way and exists to help you find not-for-profit resources. A quick call should prove beneficial.
  • Attend local events sponsored by professional associations relevant to your career field. You can usually attend several before you are required to join a local chapter.
  • Consider joining local chapters of professional, civic, and social organizations to help you meet a variety of folks in multiple industries.
  • Sign up for a library card, go to the local library’s web page, and find a listing of their database/electronic resources. One invaluable resource for job seekers that is free to use is ReferenceUSA, a database of companies in the US and Canada. By conducting one or more searches via ReferenceUSA, you can identify local companies you may wish to target. Note that ReferenceUSA is only available via your library’s subscription and that you may be required to pay a modest fee for printing or downloading data.

Online Networking Suggestions:

  • On LinkedIn, make sure you search for and join as many local, regional, or state groups as you can. Since LinkedIn now allows you to join up to 100 groups, this should be easy to do. This will help you cultivate local connections. Look for geographically relevant groups via the search bar in the upper left.
  • You can also search for people on LinkedIn to connect with in your local area using the same process. Additionally, you can search for potential connections in the local companies you identified via ReferenceUSA.
  • Don’t assume that the offline or online networks you already possess are useless just because you’ve moved to a new area. Take the time to alert everyone you know of your move and request suggestions of people to contact in your new area or people who may know someone in your new area.

Once upon a time, job seekers used to complain that they couldn’t network because they didn’t know anyone in their new area. LinkedIn has completely eliminated this concern — you can leverage it to build a local or regional network from scratch within weeks if you stay focused.

  • Conducting the LinkedIn searches mentioned above, make it a goal to identify and invite 25+ people each week to connect with you.
  • Join as many industry-specific LinkedIn groups as you can — the more the better. LinkedIn only allows you to request to join 10 at a time, so you will need to keep checking your status in order to progress toward your goal of joining 100 groups.

Make it a point to get to know your new connections face-to-face and/or via LinkedIn. DO NOT make networking requests unless and until you do so. Networking is not a drive-by activity — it requires an investment of time, interest, and energy to get to know people first so they want to help you.


Another great roundup!  Email me (Jason@JibberJobber.com) if you have questions you’d like me to put in front of my list of career experts! See previous questions/answers here.

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