Tag Archives: Networking

How to find a job at a convention – you pay

I know of one consultant who flies to meet his clients for lunch anywhere in North America.  He lives in the small Colorado town of Telluride. He has chosen to live in paradise and pay the price of frequent travel.

waiting in an airport with luggage

Waiting for a job in an airport – convention job hunting

In your job search, instead of flying across the country to meet one person, you can meet with 100 potential employers. You will only pay for one plane ticket and 2 nights in a hotel.  So bite the bullet.  Pay up. Go to a convention related to your field of work.

But how do you effectively work, or network, at a convention?  Five steps:

  1. Get a list of all the exhibitors and speakers. Don’t be picky at this stage. Research and call every company that is close to the field you want to work in. Don’t ask for the HR department, ask for a manager, marketing or sales.  Talk to them about who will be coming to the convention.  Call the best contacts who will be coming. Tell them you’ll see them at the convention.
  2. Go to the convention and make your first pass in the morning of the first day. Quickly go to every booth on your list and collect materials and business cards.  Just explain that you will be back, but need to work quickly this morning.
  3. Go back to every booth on your list and talk in depth with the people you want to contact. Work a priority system.  Who is most likely to hire you? Ask them questions you have about their company and their field.  Make sure you have the business card of everyone you talk to.   Give them your card.  You are building a network.  You might discuss employment, but this is not the time to apply for a job.
  4. Enlist everyone in your job search. Everyone who made it to the convention has influence where they work. They have been talking to new people, finding things out about the industry.  Enlist them in your job search. When you get home, contact everyone you met OR WANTED TO MEET.  Call them.  Chat briefly.  Then ask if they heard of any openings for someone like you.  Ask who else you should contact.  What if they are a techie and you are a salesman?  Call them anyway.  They’re a CEO and you are an engineer?  Call them.  A conversation about the convention leads naturally to what is happening in your field and job openings.
  5. Send an email to everyone you talk to. Thank them for their time and ask them to forward the email to anyone who might get you closer to the job you are looking for.

If you work a convention aggressively you will find dozens of openings that aren’t advertised.  You’ll even find out about jobs at companies not at the show.  Why?  Because the people manning the booths are the best and the brightest.  They are heavily recruited by other companies.  They know which companies are looking for talent. Aren’t those the people you want in your job search network?

Something To Do Today

You need a list of conventions.  Most people forget to include the association conventions they can attend that are less than 200 miles away.  Go back over your list of conventions and add a list of local and regional association conventions you can attend.

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Later:                  How to find a job at a convention – as an exhibitor

What to leave out

Persistence

Job security – what permanent means

Guerilla job search, job performance, and gardening

Here is how I guerilla gardened and how you can guerilla job search.  Forget the box, just think.

I was down to 5 blueberry plants.  I had more in the past.  I love blueberries.  Because of the varieties I have, I get to pick them for 2 months each year.

I decided to plant.  I didn’t have the $200 in my budget for the plants I wanted.  So I looked up how to grow my own blueberry plants.  The instructions included mist boxes, planting medium, hormones, infections, mold and other horrible things. I wasn’t about to grow them that way.

Guerilla gardening was the only real possibility.  I spent a couple of months thinking about the problem.  I looked up some things about houseplants and roses.  That spring I gave some fresh ideas a try.

Guerilla in the mountains

Guerrilla job search, work project, or gardening.

I cut 22 budding branches from blueberry plants of 6 different varieties. I dug holes in the deep leaf compost of the blueberry garden and planted them.  Then I covered the cuttings with jars. The jars keep the moisture level high around the cutting.  It gives the twig a chance to develop roots.

I took off the bottles a month after planting the twigs.  18 of the 22 blueberry cuttings looked like they would survive.  Alas, they didn’t.  I took the jars off too early.  But guess what?  I’m going to try again.  This time I will leave the jars on another month or two.

Guerilla gardening triumphs again. Not only will we save $200, the new plants will grow just as well as mail order plants.  Mine won’t be yanked out of the ground and sent by mail to us.  They will just keep on growing where they are.

Guerilla job search ideas

Can’t get a reply on your resume? Why not come up with a guerilla campaign.  A series of things you can do to get a job.  Something more than just sending a resume.  Pick a company or 3 that you really want to get into.  Now figure out how to get to know the people who would be your coworkers and hiring managers.  Emails, phone calls, mailing them a bag of M&M’s or inviting them to lunch can all be a part of the campaign.

Projects at your current job to boost your job search

Unable to get the resources you need at work? It could be an opportunity to shine.  Think of ways to get the job done at low cost.  What resources can be diverted for your project? Study alternate ways of getting the job done. In Spanish “guerilla” means little war.  Figure out how to win each project as a little war of its own.

If your project succeeds, tell your boss in your weekly report.  If it fails, tell him all the alternate approaches you considered.  Let him know you are trying to get essential tasks done with less resources.  He will appreciate it.

If you are job hunting, the guerilla projects that succeed go on your resume.  The companies you apply to will want to know how you can make projects succeed without a budget.  Those projects are eye catching advertisements for your intiative.

Something To Do Today

Take a project you want to do, but don’t have resources for.  List 10 possible ways to make it a guerilla project. Do some research and list 5 more ways.  Is the result worth the effort if it works?  Then make the effort.  Succeed or fail, you will learn something.

Your “eureka” moment

The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not “Eureka” (I found it!) but “That’s funny.” (Asimov)

2 ways to use certifications to FIND jobs-especially if you don’t have any

Certifications can definitely get you a job interview.  They can also get you laughed at.  BS, MBA and PhD are all certifications.  So are CPA, CISSP, MCSE, MCAD, MCST, CNE and CPC.

The most amazing certification chameleon has been MCSE-Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer.  At first it was a sure key to a quick job and pay raises.  Then schools popped up all over and it became a joke. People with no aptitude nor experience in computers applied for a job as an MCSE.  Now, MCSE is regaining its luster if you have a good solid background.

You should find out which certifications will help you get a raise, a new job, or a promotion.  The best way is to ask.

WAIT! Don’t just ask, network.  This is a great excuse to network. Ask to talk with your boss and his boss about it.  If there is a company you would like to work for, find managers there and ask them to lunch.  Make appointments to talk with experts for 10 minutes of career help.  Find out what certifications and education they prize.  Call up recruiters and ask them.

So, those 2 ways are….

  1. Put the certification on your resume so the recruiters find you.
  2. Network by asking which certifications would help you the most.

Even if you think you know the answer, call one person a day to ask which certifications would be most useful for you.  It is a GREAT question that hiring managers will want to answer for you.

Once you find the certifications that will do you the most good, get one.  Then call everyone back you asked about certifications and let them know what you have done.

The right certification will turn those networking leads into gold.

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.  (Bohr)

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Something To Do Today

Networking time.  Call some managers, recruiters and people you respect.  Ask them what certifications would be best in your field.  Ask them which certifications will get you the NEXT job you want. Track every single person you talk to so you can get back to them later. Now go find out how you can get those certifications.

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Next:   Recruiter motivation

Networking, referrals, recruiters, and job boards

Even a fox can get a job guarding a henhouse if he has good enough references.

Internet job boards fill 25% of jobs, recruiters fill 16%, and referrals fill 27% of jobs according to one survey.     So where do you want to concentrate your job hunting time?

But there are so many jobs on Indeed, Monster, Dice, and Career Builder, shouldn’t I try to get those jobs?

Absolutely!  But that doesn’t mean you should automatically send a resume through those services.

22% of jobs are found on a company’s own website.  Gotta like that.  Still, don’t even apply at the company’s own website until after you have tried to take advantage of this country’s main job finding system: Networking into referrals.

Print out the jobs you want that you find on the internet.  Make a list of the companies.  Next to each company, make a list of people you know who work there.  Include people who know someone who works there.  Add a list of recruiters who can get your resume past HR (Human Resources) and directly to the hiring manager.  Get into www.linkedin.com and see if you can find someone working at that company.  (Link to bryan@dilts.us to expand your network.) Add the people at companies you are targeting to a list.

Your objective is to find someone who can drop your information on the hiring manager’s desk.  Look at your whole list before you make a move.  Who has the best chance of helping you?  Who is the best connected?  Is it a professional networker or a recruiter?  Is it your friend’s wife?  Get your resume in there and follow up.  If you don’t get a call within a week, try again through another person.

27% of jobs are being filled by networking, 25% by job boards, 16% are being filled by recruiters.  Shouldn’t networking AND job boards AND recruiters be your main job search tools?

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Something To Do Today

Get into www.linkedin.com

List where everyone you know works, their spouses too.  Keep adding to the list whenever you find out where someone works.  Keep track of coworkers who leave.  Start making a list of where everyone who knows you works. It may be worth more than gold to you now or in the future.

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Later              Personality tests

Resume blasting

Certifications –  gold and lead

Networking with scissors and screen prints – for jobs

Networking with scissors and screen prints – for jobs

Your best introduction can be made with scissors or a screen print.

Decide which people you want to network with.  Let’s say program managers.  Look in websites, newspapers, trade publications, and business magazines for any mention of any program manager who might hire you, or know people who could hire you.

When an article mentions your target by name, cut out the article.  Put the article in an envelope and send it to the person.  If you want to really impress them, have it laminated too.  Include a very short handwritten note congratulating them. Add your business card to the envelope.

A week later give them a call.  Don’t mention the article you sent.  They’ll remember it.

If you are looking for a job, ask them who they know who is hiring for the position you are looking for.  If you need their help for something else, ask them who they know who can help you.  And you can always just say, “Hello, congratulations on the promotion.”

You will be surprised at how heartily you are helped.  You paid attention to them when you didn’t have to.  Now they will want to pay attention to you.

Networking with scissors will get you places you never thought possible.

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Something To Do Today

Figure out where you can find articles that mention the kind of people you want to network with.  Start reading for names.   Clip the articles and send them out.  Then follow up.

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Later: 100% exposed job networking.

Linked in

The international manager roundtable method of getting a job.

Double your chances after an interview

How to close an interview

Two ways to Robo-Network (no need to talk to people)

Do you want to be known as the person who can solve any problem?

Then go to where people with problems are: online.  I assume you are an expert at your profession.  Go online and find an online forum where you can contribute.  You can ask your co-workers and teachers what online forums they suggest.  I just did a Google search on “Sarbanes Oxley audit forums” and got a very specialized list of forums.  Spend a few hours getting to know your forum and its tone, then hop right in and offer some help. 

Did you know there are recruiters and researchers that specialize in finding smart people in online forums?  They do it for accountants, programmers, truckers, pilots and a lot more occupations.  More important, the people who rely on the forum often let others know where jobs are.  Generally they take the conversation offline, where others are not involved.  That’s why you don’t see it. 

So let’s say you let slip that you are from Harrisburg, PA.  Someone else says they are from York, PA.  You send an email outside the system to that person and place each other in your network.

Want to extend this?  Add people who give you their business card at a class.  For all the people you have in your network, keep two email address lists.  One for the occasional, “How are you doing,” contact.  Send an email every few months with a little personal update.  Have another email list for the folks you want in your close network.  Find a reason to email them more often.  It could be with a note about something you saw in an online forum you want to make sure they noticed.  Make sure both lists know when you are looking for a job.

Two ways to Robo-network:  Contribute to online forums and make email lists to keep people in your network.   

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Something To Do Today

Find an online forum about your expertise.  Help someone there with an answer they need.

Tomorrow:     Giving your way into a job

Forget lunch. Other ways to network

I know you will not invite to lunch most of the people you see every day. I know that.  So now, how do you network with them?

At the office lunchroom, at church, at association meetings, before and after business meetings, at classes, waiting for the bus, at technology events, business fairs and anywhere else people are doing what you are doing, network.  Talk to teachers especially.  They have contacts with people in every business and class they teach.  Search out salespeople.  They spend their whole day getting to know decision makers.  Give a salesperson a lead and they will do their best to help you with your needs.   

Everyone you meet knows someone else.  Get in the habit of talking to people.  It is always a little frightening.  One of the most outgoing people I know told me, “People say they wish they could be like me and just say hello to strangers.  What they don’t realize is that it is also hard for me to do it.  I just force myself to say hello and a conversation usually follows.”

Back to the old formula, talk with a person about their successes, then ask them for advice.  The absolute greatest book ever written on the subject of engaging people in conversation is How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  It is written in small segments so you can read and apply one lesson a day.  I have re-read the book several times. 

If you are going to be meeting with people you may never see again, bring business cards.  You can make them on your computer and there are a lot of places on the internet that will make them inexpensively.  Don’t forget your email address as well as phone numbers.

Why business cards? If you are networking with people who have no way to contact you later, you haven’t built much of a network.  Understand that most of your cards will be thrown away within a week, but some will be kept.  My best success has been with magnetic business cards, but they are expensive. 

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Something To Do Today

Get a copy of How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie.  Libraries and bookstores all have copies.  Start reading one chapter a day and applying it.

If you don’t have business cards, get them or make them.

Tomorrow:     Even more ways to network.

Later:              Other things to say to draw them in.

Ask the CEO to lunch? Easy for you to say!

Is this what networking feels like to you?

Okay girl, you see that guy over there?  Go introduce yourself and ask him to marry you.  Okay? 

That is NOT networking.

Let’s talk about networking, not speed dating.  Don’t ask anyone to be your mentor before you have met.  Don’t ask for a job.  Don’t offer to wash their car.  Just ask them to lunch to discuss some things you think they can help you with.

How can you get a leader of industry to have lunch with you? Ask for their help. Leaders are usually compulsive helpers, organizers and/or control freaks.  When you first call them up have a list of at least 5 things you can ask them or talk to them about.  Have it beforehand because they may start talking to you on the phone or invite you right to their office. 

First, what not to ask:                                 

  • Please be my mentor.  That’s like asking to be married.  A real mentor has to feel comfortable with you.  They’ll take over the role as you go to them for advice.
  • Make me a vice president, please.  This is networking, not a final job interview. 
  • I will do anything to be your personal assistant.  This question isn’t networking.  It is only appropriate if you are willing to make a 100% commitment, push and push for a yes, and are willing to work for free.  It is not a way to start a network.  You will probably be turned down even after pushing hard for 20 minutes, but it may be worth a try.  Be willing to accept a total win or becoming a leper.

Good questions to ask:

  • I want to earn a job like yours, what did you do to break out from my level?
  • You’ve seen a hundred guys like me, what do they really do to stand out and succeed?
  • You have a panoramic perspective compared to me, what would you focus on in your career if you were me?
  • You’ve seen people get education and succeed and others get education and fail.  What kind of education will best serve me?
  • You are the best technician I’ve heard of, what can I do differently from the average guy to get the reputation you have?
  • I don’t want to manage, I just want to have my work respected like yours.  How did you break out from the pack and what can I do out of the ordinary to start moving to your level?
  • You know this business.  I want to succeed at it, but I sometimes worry that I’m attacking it wrong.  What would you do if you were me?

Do you get the idea?  Compliment them by telling them what they have done better than you, then, ask them to tell you how to do the same starting at your level.

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Something To Do Today

Call 3 people you want to network with and say, “I’d like to take you to lunch.  Are you free one day next week?”  If they ask, “Why?” then tell them, “I need some advice from someone I respect.”  And be prepared to go talk with them immediately.

Tomorrow:  Forget lunch. Other ways to network.

Later:          Other things to say to draw them in.

The first step towards networking – leadership

Networking?  It is leadership.  Some of the best connected network creators I know have never been managers, but they all have been leaders. Here is how I learned the most critical lesson in leadership.

I was 19 years old and clueless.  I was sitting in a chair and told my roommate, “We’ve got to get going.” 

He just sat in his chair and looked at me.

“Come on, get up.  We’ve got to get that done now,” I said from my chair.

He stared at me a little more wide eyed and offended.

“Look.  You have to get up.  We agreed I’d lead this project.”

“Bryan,” he finally said, “there is no way I am getting up out of my seat before you do.  If you are going to be the leader, you’ve got to get up first and start acting like you really mean what you say.”

That was one of the best lessons in leadership I ever had.

Leaders show by what they do that they mean what they say.  They invest themselves in a decision before they expect others to follow. 

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Something To Do Today

Take the lead or watch a leader take charge of a group.

Starting tomorrow I will be giving at least one suggestion each day for networking.

For a few days:         How to network at the top.

Creating networks

Are You Networking With Minnows?

You can learn a lot about networking by watching fish

Did you ever watch minnows?  They can be in a five gallon bucket or a 500 acre lake and they still have a 3 gallon comfort zone.  Sometimes they will be in a group with other minnows and explore a few more cubic feet of water.  The only thing that really gets them out of their comfort zone is a big hungry fish.  As soon as that big fish is gone, they go right back to their comfort zone.

Medium sized fish are no better.   Only one out of a hundred minnows grows up to be a middling sized fish.  They live in an area about 20 feet by 20 feet in size.  He defends that territory and refuses to leave unless a bigger fish chases him out.  It doesn’t matter if he is in a backyard pond or Lake Superior.  He lives in a 20’x 20’ area.

Forget the size of your personal pond.  How big of an area do you live in?  Is your influence limited by the size of the pond you are in….or by your comfort zone?

Now look at your job search.  Do the big fish scare you?  Do you stay away from them because you don’t think YOU are worth their time?

Big fish won’t eat you.  If you talk to someone too important, they won’t take your car from you.  If you ask a really important person for help they never send for an armed guard to drag you to the dungeon and beat you.

So why do you stay in your 3 gallons of water?  …or your 20’ x 20’ kingdom?

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Something To Do Today

In your job journal write down the limits of your pond.  How big is the company where you work or last worked?  How many companies use people with your skills?  How many countries use people with your skills?  The size of your pond is limited by the number of places you would work and your skills, not the size of the department you are in.

Later:  The rudest people I met as a missionary.

and:   I really saw a crab do this!