Tag: Networking (page 1 of 2)

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Tip For Networking at the Executive Level

quick-tips

Quick Tips: 3 minute Tip For Networking at the Executive Level

It’s live: http://www.maryelizabethbradford.com/quick-tips-networking.php

The Most Popular Social Platform for CEO’s Is LinkedIn

Interesting article in Forbes about CEO’s growing comfort with using LinkedIn. I think this is a natural growing trend that will not be reversed. One thing they didn’t mention in this article that I clearly see is that it is lonely at the top! Executives often feel secretly marginalized in their career transitions because there are simply fewer networks, avenues and opportunities for Executive Vice Presidents, C-Level Executives and Board Openings.

Linked in finally gives executives a way to explore, network and connect. Used correctly, LinkedIn is a very underrated way of capturing a niche audience. I talk about that here:  LinkedIn for Executives.

You can read the article here:LinkedIn Is Top Social Network for CEOs

And if you want more great information on how to optimize your LI profile to pull executive jobs to you – you can read this recent article published by the Harvard Business Review.

https://hbr.org/2015/05/how-to-use-your-linkedin-profile-to-power-a-career-transition

Top 100 Blogs for Developers in 2015

I am honored to be included in the list of Top 100 Software Developer Blogs for 2015 on Ben Brumm’s site at Complete IT Professional, thank you!

imagesX1X2DM7PGreat list for Tech execs and software developers…check it out! http://www.completeitprofessional.com/top-100-blogs-for-software-developers

Is Your Networking Approach Missing These 3 “Must Haves”?

Networking is a hot topic. It’s common to hear that the majority of jobs are won through some form of networking, so if you plan on getting another job in your lifetime, then learning about networking is a wise choice!

If you are wondering where in the world to start learning how to network, if you are apprehensive to network because it’s new to you, or if you have had a negative networking experience in the past, here are three simple but powerful must-haves to quickly get started.

Must Have #1: Focus on Them

When you are talking with someone, you are meeting for the FIRST time. You must keep your focus on them. In other words, this is not the time to introduce what you need, but rather, ask a few questions about them.

If you are one of those professionals who really get stage fright before a networking opportunity such as a mixer, then a great tip for you is to write down 5 questions you feel comfortable asking. This will boost your confidence and help you avoid that feeling of being tongue tied.

Must Have #2: Reciprocate

Networking is more about what you can do for someone else then what they can do for you. In other words, if you put the focus on helping others, not only does it take the pressure off of you, but it creates a positive exchange between you and your networking contact. Examples include sending a key decision maker of a company you want to work for a positive article about their company, passing on a valuable bit of mentoring to a junior executive, or referring one of your top vendors to another company. The more you get in the habit of helping others in these small ways, the more you will see your network extending their help to you exponentially.

Must Have #3: Don’t Play the End Result

Maybe you are wondering with all this gifting you are doing just when you are going to get to network?! That’s understandable. The answer is, you definitely will have multiple opportunities to network in order to take action towards your goals.

When you approach your network for information, it’s important to be polite, gracious and clear about what you want. But don’t play the end result. That means when you follow up with a key decision maker after sending in your resume, connect with an executive to ask for a short mentoring meeting, or query your friends about who they might know in your industry of interest, it’s critical that your only expectation at that moment is the opportunity to pose the question.

Your success rides more on how many people you network with and how you ask someone for something than the actual response you get. Some contacts will be able to help you and some won’t. Knowing this, you can relax and keep your expectations in check. The person on the receiving end will certainly pick up on this intuitively and respond in kind.

Effective Networking Scripts for Your Executive Job Search

It’s my personal opinion that the best way to approach anyone when networking during your executive job search – no matter what your relationship with them – is to ask them for their opinion or expertise. This is because most of us find it enjoyable to be asked what our opinion is and most of us enjoy helping people. It’s these two things you must focus on when leveraging your network during your job search.

It’s not very effective to ask people for a job, if their company is hiring, or if they know of any other companies who are hiring. First, not many people are aware of various companies that are hiring and most people will find this kind of question loaded with “pressure,” which causes them to back off rather than open up the conversation to brainstorming ways they might help you. Second, it places them as the leader in the conversation and you as the passive receiver, which also creates pressure. There are other reasons that asking for a job does not work, but these are two of the main factors.

Mentally, you need to approach networking in the following ways:

  • You must accept and understand how asking for information is going to benefit you. Have a basic understanding of networking and how it can work to propel your conversations. Give those you are speaking to a gracious opening to share confidential information with you about company growth or available jobs, without having to point blank ask them for it. Understand how you can easily ask your network to introduce you to others who might help you.
  • You must accept and understand that you are NOT being sneaky and really just asking for a job under the guise of “networking.” If you don’t come to grips with this, you will find yourself saying and doing things that put this seed in the other person’s mind. You ARE networking, NOT job searching, and you must separate the two. You can then approach your networking contact with a lot of authentic positive enthusiasm in the true spirit of asking for their expertise. Most always they will respond by giving you more than what you asked for in help and support.

I should point out that the one area you want to avoid asking for help and advice about is your resume. The various answers you will elicit based on the vantage point of each person is going to be so varied that it will confuse you and shake your confidence. If you want feedback on your resume, please ask a qualified, certified resume writer for an objective, professional review.

The following is a great script for networking with friends and associates. Note how the approach supports your position as leader and as someone who is both confident and knows how to take initiative. This particular script is ideal if you are exploring alternative industries, but it can be easily modified to work as well when staying within your industry – simply say you are conducting a little due diligence on market and economic indicators of the ____ industry in preparation for an upcoming job search.

Networking Script

I have stepped back and looked at my career for the past 6 months and have determined there are a few industries that would be a good fit for me. They are ______ and ______. Model organizations that probably fit are ______, ______ and ______. Do you know anyone I could talk with for a few minutes to get some mentoring as I continue to gather info on these industries?

Here are a few additional tips to help you network successfully:

Keywords and Phrases that Make a BIG Impact

  • I would be very grateful for any mentoring you may be open to giving me.
  • Is there any way I can return the favor of your time and expertise?
  • I would love to garner your expertise on …

Keywords and Phrases to Avoid

  • I am looking for a job.
  • Do you know anyone who may be looking to hire?
  • I am looking at hiring trends and want to talk to you about …

The Wrong Approach

  • Abrasive, possibly frustrated.
  • Not networking, feeling entitled, or feeling like you are asking too much of or inconveniencing the person you are talking to.
  • Venting on the person you are speaking with because you have not been eliciting the attention you believe you should have.

Tips for networking and informational interview calls:

The Right Approach

  • Friendly, informal, don’t talk too much.
  • Peer-to-peer or executive-to-executive networking.
  • Can you help me? Could I “interview you” as the expert in your industry?

If you would like more help with job search networking please see my e-books here.

Networking Secrets To Success

Here are a few tips that are really important for you to integrate into your networking to heighten your success:

1.    When you are networking you are networking, not job searching. This is the most important piece of information I have for you. Networking and job searching are two different activities! You must embrace that and accept that. You are networking for information, mentoring, and to ask for additional networking contacts. If you do it right, not only will you get all these things – which can and will help you tremendously in your career search – but you will probably get “solicited” by potential employers who are interested in you and will ask for your resume. It is always the stronger position to be pursued.

2. In order to network correctly you must already have a clear focus of direction. The spirit in which so many people approach networking is “help!!!” – which neither party enjoys. When you network, do you ask your contact things like, “Is your company hiring?” or “Do you know of any companies that are hiring?” If you do, you are severely limiting that contact’s ability to help you and also putting pressure on that person, which is one of the main reasons why people hate to network. However, if you have an industry and position in mind, you can share THAT with your contact. First of all, it makes you look like you have your act together, and second, it opens up a much broader conversation that does not involve putting pressure on the person, and instead focuses on asking them for their advice, mentoring and opinions. People are generally more comfortable with these conversations and find it flattering that you would ask for their mentoring and advice.

3. When networking, say something like: “I have stepped back and looked at my career for the past 6 months and I have determined a few industries I believe would be a good fit for me. They are ______, and ______. Do you know anyone in those industries I could talk with for a few minutes to get some mentoring as I continue to research these industries?”

4.    Remember that when you seek mentoring, that is all you are seeking – mentoring, information and helpful advice. If they know of any jobs, growing companies or they are hiring themselves, let THEM offer this information to YOU – not the other way around! This allows them the satisfaction of helping you on their terms and retains your dignity and increases your desirability.

5.    When you are networking never, ever, ever bring your resume with you. If they ask for your resume and you have one during your networking meeting, you will look as disingenuous as you will feel. Tell them you would be happy to send it to them by hard mail or email.

If you want more information on how to network, click here to see my e-book series.

Career Management: How to Become a Thought Leader in Your Industry

Why is it important for you to care about creating mini-celebrity status and becoming a thought leader when it comes to your career? Simply because self-marketing in your area of expertise can have multiple career benefits for you including:

  1. Potential exposure to future “dream” positions – they contact YOU!
  2. More quality opportunities, better pay and quicker promotions.
  3. Establishment as an expert in your industry.
  4. Wider networks.
  5. Greater ability to garner positive references and testimonials.
  6. More control over who you work with and how you work.

Different benefits will stand out as meaningful to different people. The real point is, managing your career gives you options… options you may not have had otherwise.

So where do you start? Here are three quick and easy tips:

Tip #1: Get a Platform

The best platforms to establish thought leadership include associations, trade journals, and conferences. One of the most powerful online platforms is LinkedIn. When using LinkedIn, you can start by posting activity broadcasts, either directing readers to an article you wrote, a blog post you wrote for LinkedIn, or citing an article you like via major media. To detail, have you read an insightful industry article in Forbes that you agree with? Did you recently attend—or even better—speak at an industry conference? Attend or help lead a community event? Why not share that as an update? Remember to keep it all business! This is an excellent way to solidify your brand and thought leadership within your network.

Here is another way to get started: Why not get involved in your industries association and ask them if you can volunteer to write short articles for their blogs and/or newsletters on topics you are knowledgeable and passionate about (i.e. that you want to be KNOWN for)? Associations are ALWAYS looking for content for their newsletters/ezines and blogs. You can position yourself as a thought leader in your industry quickly this way! Years ago, I began writing short articles for Career Directors International on job search cold calling, and those articles led to my being published in The Business Journal, The Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and MSN.

Tip #2: Rub Shoulders with High Performers in Your Industry

Get involved in a corporate volunteer group or industry association. These are two wonderful portals filled with people that care deeply about industries and issues – just like you! Not only will this broaden your networking circle, but it will keep you growing in your career!

And remember, if you attend an industry luncheon to listen to a great speaker, introduce yourself to him or her after their presentation. Give them your business card as well – and gulp – ask for theirs! It’s the little things you do as you “put yourself out there” to be open to new opportunities, friendships and possibilities that will pay off in the long run.

Tip #3: Grow Your Knowledge Base

What was the last certification you received? How about ongoing training? I recommend making sure that each year you commit to 2-3 actions that result in your learning a new tool for your trade. To make sure you will be motivated to do this, make it that one training, certification or learning experience that has been in the back of your mind to master – you know the one I’m talking about! Check with your employer’s ongoing education benefits to find out if your training might be a covered expense.

Establishing mini celebrity status doesn’t mean you have a gigantic ego. It’s simply a wise business move that opens doors of possibility for you. You will be amazed how putting these simple tips into action will quickly change up your career status!

A Saratoga Institute survey of more than 1,000 U.S. workers asked employees to identify factors that would make them more likely to remain with their current employers. The top three responses were:

  • Training and mentoring
  • Earnings potential
  • Positive work relations

If you love your job and your company but there are management issues that bring you down, consider sending your human resources or operations director a complimentary copy of the “manageBetter Insider.” This little newsletter is packed with positive tips and tactics that the best companies in the U.S use to keep their employees happy. I personally love it and would recommend it to any company. Check out manageBetter.biz and sign up.

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Want the inside scoop on strategies for a 21st Century job search?

CLICK HERE >> LISTEN TO a 3-minute excerpt of Mary Elizabeth on TotalPicture Radio (mp3 download).

View the full interview at: http://bit.ly/YPccPO

Best Job Search Strategies for Executive Level & C-Level Jobs

strategy-791197_1280Executive level jobs and C-level jobs require very specific job search strategies, and some work better than others! In this article, I am going to go over the main executive level job search strategies, including the pros and cons of each. Hopefully, this information will help you decide what job search methods are best for your particular situation.

RECRUITERS

Most C-level executives believe they are bound to recruiting firms to bring them opportunities, but this is not necessarily true. Getting your resume to the top recruiting firms can open up potential opportunities for you!

Pros:

The job comes to you and there is a lot of cachet. Executives enjoy believing that they have been handpicked by a recruiter to represent them to a company. The truth is that the recruiter represents the company, not you, the candidate, no matter what they are telling you or how they are making you feel. Still, it is a “pro” that the recruiter brings the opportunity to you.

Cons:

A recruiter has the company’s best interest at heart since it is the company who pays them in the end. And sometimes the recruiter is paid so much (20% to 30% of your annual compensation) that I believe it can cut into your ability to fully leverage your salary package negotiations.

Recruiters limit your opportunities because:

  1. C-level searches are rare and a recruiter can generally only bring you an existing search – one at a time.
  2. Usually the recruiter will be asked to bring in at least 3 qualified candidates – so you have built-in competition.
  3. You may be constrained from speaking to the company directly as the recruiter will want to mediate and many times negotiate your offer on your behalf (even though his or her loyalty is to the company).

Your Best Move?

Make sure if you do a recruiter distribution, you find someone with a good list of top recruiters (hint: I have one!). Treat the recruiter and the company with the same discernment. Don’t open up to the recruiter as if he or she is being retained by you. They are not. You need to “sell” the recruiters on the value you bring to the company just as if you were “selling” directly to the company.

NETWORKING

Networking can open up opportunities for jobs that are not advertised. If you are well-connected – or you know how to take initiative and “make rain” – this is a viable option for you.

Pros:

You can tap into hidden opportunities. Get third party endorsements from people that you know and that trust and respect you – that can be invaluable!

Cons:

Networking can be tough for executives who don’t know how to do it. After all, how does an executive ask their associates if they don’t know anyone who is hiring or who might be interested in them? This is largely demeaning for a powerful executive who is used to being a leader and in control. It can also take an average of 18 months to complete your job search if all you do is “network” in the traditional sense of the word and your income is over 6 or 7 figures.

Your Best Move?

Learn how to network without asking for a job. There are executive level strategies and communication techniques that approach these conversations in more of a fact-finding and consulting spirit. You need to learn how to do it so you can network confidently. I show executives how to do this both through private coaching and through my DIY home study program, the Job Search Success System.

VENTURE CAPITAL AND PRIVATE EQUITY FIRMS

Executives who are looking at management consulting or an interim position, helping turn around a poorly performing company, or are interested in a startup, may be interested in connecting with VC and PE firms.

Pros:

If you are a C-level executive, it may be a pretty good move for you to send a distribution to these firms. There are companies that do this (including mine).

Cons:

I have found that if you are below the C-level, distribution to these firms is less effective.

Your Best Move?

If you are a C-level executive, you can send out a VC/PE email distribution for around $300 and it might land you a handful of good leads if you sell your skills correctly. Smart move!

DIRECT MAIL

I personally believe that understanding how to reach out to companies directly is the most powerful strategy for success. Direct mail means sending an actual letter to the key decision maker in a company. Not an email, an actual letter – preferably on engraved stationery and high quality Cranes paper. You will invest a little money up front marketing yourself like this, but the ROI blows away any other job search strategy I know of in this job market climate.

Pros:

You can identify and isolate your industry and cherry pick who you want to reach out to. You can even do this for free using Google maps. Lists are free or cheap if you know where to look.

With the power of the internet you can use Google news alerts to have information on companies or industries that are growing sent right to your inbox. Companies that are growing are often hiring.

At a salary of $250k+, over 90% of jobs are filled in the hidden job market and never advertised. That means reverse engineering your job search and going after what you want vs. waiting and waiting for the right job to come to you – and competing with dozens or hundreds of other executive job seekers for the same position – makes logical sense for executives.

Learn how to tap the hidden job market once and use this method for the rest of your career. People tap the HJM when they want to leverage themselves in the job market, command more money, minimize their competition and shorten their job search.

Cons:

Your success in terms of how many interviews/offers you land is predicated on your industry, supply and demand and is hard to predict. Between 2% and 5% is average. But I have also seen executives send out 20 letters and land 5 interviews. It depends on many factors. This still beats job boards, but if you don’t understand marketing numbers this can be discouraging to you.

You must be the type of person who can take initiative and “make things happen” to successfully manage this entrepreneurial driven strategy.

These methods at the executive level generally require some help from an experienced career professional who can be your sounding board and show you the shortcuts to using HJM strategies successfully. You will have to hire some help or at least do some self-study, otherwise be prepared for some frustration and roadblocks.

Your Best Move?

I think everybody, not just executives, should learn how to find and capitalize on companies that are growing and know how to approach companies in an industry they potentially want to work for. I have seen executives grind away for a year in a fruitless job search – wasting precious time, losing confidence and often tens of thousands of dollars in income for those who were in between jobs – only to land multiple interviews in the first 30 days of refocusing their job search on the HJM (and often hiring a professional resume writer to beef up their marketing message). They all say the same thing in retrospect: my only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner for myself!

MANAGEMENT CONSULTING

If you are a boomer executive that wants more flexibility you might want to consider your own consulting business. Management and technical consulting is one of the fastest growing industries. At 44% in 10 years, it’s grown four times faster than the workforce growth rate.

Pros:

Consulting can be a nice “bridge” job and you might find the flexibility suits you. Many companies prefer hiring consultants – it’s safer for them and they can check you out first before they consider hiring you full time.

You can consult from anywhere. You don’t necessarily have to be a road warrior either. You can do much of your consulting via phone and internet (I myself have done this for years and rarely even meet my clients face to face).

You can consult in almost any field. One of our $500k+ CEO clients found businesses who could not afford to engage him full time as a CEO, but wanted his expertise. He negotiated a handful of engagements with several businesses – some one day a week, some for a few hours a week, and some for a couple days a month. He is now working fewer hours and making more than $500k per year. In one of our conversations, he remarked that he would never go back to a full-time job.

You can generally charge about two and a half to three times your hourly rate (you will have to break down your salary to get this figure).

Cons:

You will have to market your business and this may or may not be something you like to do. Be prepared to invest 15% to 25% of your revenue on marketing. But of course, if it brings you business and you don’t have a lot of other overhead, this is probably a pro not a con.

Interim full-time consulting gigs can leave you scrambling for new assignments and are problematic. Avoid them and try to find a few clients who need your help part time. This is safer relative to your income streams and it’s easier to land these gigs in general. If you find 2 clients who need you just one day a week, you might find yourself making as much as you made in your past full-time job. Many companies desperately need heavy-weight talent, but can’t afford a full-time person.

Your Best Move?

If you are an executive with any kind of entrepreneurial desires, this could be an excellent move for you!

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