Believe me. I understand the frustration. You have been unemployed for a considerable period of time. You are having trouble making ends meet. You are trying your best. You know that the vast majority – over 70%! – of job openings are not publicized but are filled through networking. And you network. Boy do you network! And you have scores, hundreds, thousands of business cards to prove it. Sorry. Collecting business cards is not networking. Let me give you a recent personal example. I joined the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce. It’s a great organization. They are focused on their members, not on dues. In counter distinction to a different organization of which I had been a member, instead of receiving a plaque when I joined, the MCC sent me an invitation to a new members’ breakfast. At the breakfast, I met one of the directors. We had a nice chat and she put me in touch with a board member who is responsible for the Chamber’s “Ambassador” program. Ambassadors meet and greet participants at Chamber events and recruit new members. I met with the board member and he appointed me an ambassador, after a good hour long interview during which he got to know me. From that conversation, we developed a rapport which led to an ongoing discussion about a joint project. Also, at the breakfast, I met two ambassadors who are members of the Chamber’s Business Referral Groups. They invited me to attend the next meeting of their respective groups, of which there are presently two, and I chose to join one of them. Following my first group meeting, I met with one of the Ambassadors who indicated to me that she was looking to hire staff. She is a veteran and since my company’s mission is to promote the hiring of veterans, she said she would utilize my services and asked for a contract. At a subsequent group meeting one of the members noted he too is looking to hire someone for his company. We’ll be talking after the New Year. Now things don’t usually work this way. This was too fast. It was too quick. Usually it takes weeks to get to the position when the business card turns into a networking event and the networking event turns into a lead and the lead turns into an offer. (Just to clarify, an event advertised as a “networking event” is not really a “networking event.” The networking takes place when an actual relationship is formed. Then you are “networking.” When you first meet, you are schmoozing.) Here’s how it usually works: You go to an event. You meet Joe. You exchange business cards. You send Joe an e-mail saying how much you enjoyed meeting him and look forward to being in touch. Joe is busy and does not respond. A couple of days later you pick up the phone, call Joe, and invite him for a cup of coffee. You tell him that you would like to learn more about his business. You don’t tell him that you really want to meet with him so that he can help you get a job – or, better yet, hire you. If you tell him that, he might say, “Listen. I wish I could help. But I really don’t know of anything or have anything for you. Send me your resume and I’ll let you know if I hear of anything.” In other words, “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.” People like to talk about themselves so he agrees to the meeting. You arrive a bit early, greet him when he arrives at the corner café and after ordering your drinks and some small talk about the weather you thank him for meeting with you and tell him you were intrigued by what he had told you about his business. You listen respectfully, ask a few insightful questions, and make a link between what he is telling you and your own life experiences. (The questions are also based on the research you did on him. This impresses our friend Joe who now knows that you prepare for meetings and understand due diligence – things that employers like and that turn strangers into business referrals!) What you are doing is creating a real relationship.If Joe’s a good guy, he will ask you about yourself. (If he doesn’t ask, then he probably is not someone who will be of any help to you so you would be wasting your time pursuing a relationship with him.) You give your elevator pitch and answer any questions he has. You must be upbeat and positive. No matter how you lost your job you cannot reveal any bitterness. No one is going to recommend a bitter person who they just met to a business associate or a friend. Now it’s been a good 15 minutes and you tell him that you don’t want to take up any more of his time. And this is when you ask the key question. It’s not, “Can you help me find a job?” You ask, “How can I be of help to you? What type of clients are you looking for or services do you need? I have met a lot of freelancers and may be able to refer someone to you.” What you have just done is to show that you believe in helping people. Some call it “giving forward.” You are telling him that you want to be an asset to him. And you are showing him that you know how to network. You are willing to help him, and through him, others. Joe says what he says and then you ask for a favor. “Joe. I know you are busy, but I wanted to ask a favor. As I said, I’m looking for my next opportunity. Could I send you a list I have made of companies that I am interested in working for? I’d appreciate it if you could review it and let me know if you have any contacts that might be useful or any suggestions for additions or deletions.” (Notice I did not suggest that you offer to send him your resume. Let him ask for the resume. The issue is, you don’t want him to feel that you are asking him for a job. If you give him the resume, that’s the inevitable impression. If he asks for a copy, and hopefully he will, that’s another matter.) He’ll probably answer in the affirmative and tell you to send the list because, by showing that you have a positive attitude and no bitterness, and by offering to help him, you’ve shone yourself to be a professional. Joe does not have to worry that you will embarrass him so he should be willing to help. You have now formed a relationship and successfully networked with him. Congratulations! E-mail him the list. Wait a week-10 days and give him a call. Don’t be a pest, just give a friendly reminder. And when you send the list, thank him for the meeting and for agreeing to review the list. I am amazed at how many people don’t understand the importance of “Thank you!” If he gives you some leads, or even makes a call on your behalf, whatever you do, follow-up. If he tells you to call Mary, call Mary. If you meet with Mary and she asks you to send her some information, send it immediately. (If you don’t follow-up, I guarantee it will get back to Joe and he won’t have anything more to do with you because you embarrassed him. It’s as simple as that.) If you get a call from Joe telling you to call his friend Sam immediately, and when you hang up on Joe your wife goes into labor, call Sam and then take the wife to the hospital. And when your child is born, name him Joseph or her Josephine. Now THAT’S networking. This post was originally published at an earlier datePhoto Credit: Shutterstock
We get it. Looking for work can be scary, especially if you’ve been at it for a long time and haven’t gotten any results.
Understanding which fears are getting in the way and how to overcome them will make all the difference. Sometimes you might not be aware of which obstacle is getting in the way of your goals. If you want to overcome these fears once and for all, we invite you to join us!
In this training, you’ll learn how to:
- Utilize strategies for coping with your job search fears
- Be confident in your job search—from writing your resume to networking
- Face your fears and move forward
Join our CEO, J.T. O'Donnell, and Director of Training Development & Coaching, Christina Burgio, for this live event on Wednesday, October 5th at 12 pm ET.
CAN'T ATTEND LIVE? That's okay. You'll have access to the recording and the workbook after the session!
Let’s face facts… Most engineers are introverts. We tend to be quiet, reserved, thoughtful, and recluse.
The old joke — how do you identify an extroverted engineer? She looks at your shoes instead of her own.
Now, not all engineers are introverts, and I understand this distribution. In my career, the extroverted engineer is a rarity on a team. I have known a few extroverted engineers, and they are fantastic! Many of my best engineers have been these introverts. How do I connect with them?
Energy Is The Key…
A common misconception is introversion means shyness or a wallflower. Extroversion is the class clown or outspoken person on the team.
Terry Tipple, Tipple Consulting, taught me an invaluable lesson. Introversion and extroversion are based on energy. Introverts recharge batteries inside, and extroverts are fueled by the people around them every day. I have known very outspoken introverts, and I am one myself. I have also known quiet and reserved extroverts as well who simply like being with people.
How do you make connections with these introverts?
Play On Their Turf.
Because an introvert must exert energy in a social setting, they often need time to recharge before their next encounter. As a result, big meetings with many people may cause an introvert to be quiet and reserved. Sitting in an open office where chatter and conversations continue all day long is draining. Typical extroverted business roles in marketing, sales, and management can drain an engineer’s energy throughout the day.
When you know you are working with an introvert, come to their terms. Meet them individually to allow them to interact on a smaller scale. One-on-one conversations are simpler than these complex, multi-faceted meetings.
Give your introverts time between important discussions. Allow them to reflect, percolate ideas, and develop their thoughts. Attacking an introvert with a barrage of questions without that downtime is ineffective. Provide them the space to recharge a bit.
Defeating The Stigma Of Introversion…
Because someone is quiet and reserved in a social setting does not define that person’s contribution. Often, the silent thinking person can offer great insight. They observe and refine. Their mind processes various pieces of information drawing conclusions from the various thoughts.
Being quiet and reflective can take similar energy as the boisterous person speaking for 30 minutes without a breath. Refraining from reacting to an action can allow for great insight while developing a response. Being the center of attention does not define success.
Step One: I Am Jim, And I Am An Introvert
I was once described as a wallflower, and in many ways, I still am. I keep quiet in some situations, and I often reflect on the big picture before speaking my mind.
Would you be surprised I am a bass player in a successful cover band playing nearly 100 shows a year? Most weekend nights, I rock out to my band’s favorite tunes for dozens and hundreds of people. I put excessive amounts of energy into my performance. I confess: I have to work at this because it is not my default behavior.
I am deeply introverted. When tested, I bury the needle on these attributes. Yet, I can lead a team or perform for hundreds of people. I spend a lot of energy meeting the extroverts at their table. However, the next day I am exhausted. I need time alone to recharge and repair myself. After two weekend concerts with the band, I am a slug.
Extroverts — How Can You Relate?
Since your energy derives through interacting with others, meet us introverts face to face in a smaller setting. One-on-one helps. If you want our input in a social setting, do not call us out in front of a group. Ask us individually.
The big thing... do not judge our silence or reservations as noncompliance or competency. Give us the room to breathe, process, and assimilate. When you recognize our retreat, do not go in for the kill—allow us to back up and regroup. Attack will simply drive us deeper into our safe zone.
In all seriousness, simply give introverts a chance to process information. You may be pleasantly surprised by what we can offer. Our insight can lead to new ways of thinking. Giving us space allows our process to flow.
Can An Introvert Survive?
The answer is yes. We are capable of thriving in an extrovert’s world. Sometimes, we need to act like our counterparts in situations that require us to be more open. Other times, we can use our introspection to see clearer views of the situation. Our alone time to recharge batteries is our superpower.
Introverted engineers unite! We collectively solve many of the world’s problems! We can be powerful forces in business to drive amazing results. We can overcome our “shyness” by providing unique insights. We can make a difference.
I recommend we introverts use our gifts and continue to change the world… even if only from the shadows!
"Why am I still unemployed?"
At Work It Daily, we're asked this question a lot. The reality is, the reason is different for everyone. The good news? You can overcome whatever is holding you back from getting hired.
Here are five reasons you're still unemployed:
1. Your Resume Isn’t Job Specific
While it's good to have a strong resume with all of your professional skill sets, your resume can become generic when all you do is send the same resume to every open position you find.
The Solution:Customize your resume for each job you apply for. By taking the time to customize your resume with relevant skill sets and specific keywords that are in the job description, you'll be more likely to land an interview and, therefore, will have more viable job opportunities.
2. You’re Overqualified
This problem is common among older workers looking for a career change. But this can happen to anyone who has a lot of experience and is trying to get their foot in the door at another company.
The Solution: During an interview, make it your mission to connect with the employer. Tell a story. Let them know you aren't just running out the clock. If they ask about your 5-year plan, don't mention retirement. Your career isn't over yet.
3. You’re Underqualified (Or Lack Exposure To The Professional World)
On the flip side, you could be unemployed because you don't have enough experience orthe right skill sets to do the jobs you've been applying for. Maybe you're a recent college grad, and at this point, you're just begging someone to give you a chance. Whatever your situation, employers are making it very clear you aren't qualified.
The Solution: Take classes or earn certificates to try to develop new skills. Volunteer or intern to get the type of professional experience employers are looking for. Focus on the skill sets you do have and learn how to quantify those skills on your resume to stand out to hiring managers.
4. You've Stopped Being Proactive In Your Job Search
If you really want a job, your actions have to reflect your attitude. As the weeks (or maybe months) drag on and you still haven't found a job, you may find yourself getting into a dangerous job search routine. You apply for half a dozen jobs every day and hope for the best. This strategy rarely works. If you want quality job opportunities, you need to be proactive.
The Solution: Make networking a priority. Go to job fairs. Reach out to employees at companies you'd love to work for on LinkedIn. Start compelling, professional conversations with them. Remember: you're a business-of-one. The better you actively market yourself to employers, the more job opportunities you'll likely receive.
5. You've Lost All Urgency
It can be easy to get into a job search rut. Time goes by differently when you don't have a set routine. The longer it takes for you to find a job, the harder it is find the motivation to get a job. You may begin to lose confidence in yourself and your skills as a professional. When your career is suddenly on hold, your life can feel like it is without purpose or direction.
The Solution:Set goals and work towards them—even if they're just small goals. They could be career-related goals, or not. Maybe you want to get in better shape. Maybe you want to learn a new skill. If you set goals for yourself, you'll regain that sense of purpose—and better yourself in the process.
Being unemployed is tough. If you follow these tips, you'll have the tools to overcome the challenges you face in the job search process.
Need more help with your job search?
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.