Here are Hank’s thoughts for these tough economic times on how to get a job and also how to make yourself Fireproof.
Here are the simple truths. Networking is the best way to find a job if you are in transition.
Networking is the best way to keep your job if you learn to effectively network internally.
Networking is the best way to make yourself Fireproof by starting a consulting career. If you work for yourself you will generally like your boss and they won’t fire you.
Networking is not like learning to ride a bike. You will quickly lose your connections if you aren’t out there. You will be out of touch. You can’t network in your home office looking at your computer. Focusing your job hunt on job openings on company websites and Monster isn’t a high return strategy for finding a job today. There are jobs out there but they are like needles in a haystack so you have to be in the fields to find them. Finding a job is a full time sales job and most successful sales people are out there and not at their desks.
Social networking sites are important tools and resources but not networking. You need personal connection to develop relationships so people will spend their time helping you in your job search. Strangers aren’t going to do that for you. These are times for personal association, contact and fellowship and not isolation.
Although most people in transition have had very successful careers and were well skilled, somehow transition makes them terrible at marketing themselves. I have seen many people who were great at Marketing a company’s products but ineffective at marketing themselves.
Many people in transition don’t know what they are doing when they network. They come to events and try to hand out copies of resumes that they think people will keep and read. Some don’t even come with a pen to take notes. They have no business cards or keep their cards in their wallets like some treasure. They save money by ordering their business cards on the Internet. Yes they have saved money but they have commoditized themselves. You are trying to convince employers that you are the right unique individual for that position but your card says you are like everybody else.
People often ask for the order too quickly. They appear too aggressive or desperate in their job search when people want to hire people that are self assured and confident about their capabilities. Don’t press. Less is best.
Many people have a networking approach that is self focused and rarely focused on how they can help others. The later will help them grow more and is more of a high return strategy. You get more by asking for less and trying to do more for others.
Many people in transition, especially men, often wear old or casual clothing to networking events. They look like they are in transition. You don’t have to wear a suit but you need to look the part. Many people have an elevator speech is babble or generic and won’t be memorable. People need to file away a short mental description about you. Long descriptions aren’t memorable.
This is war and you need to get fit and get your tools ready. You are going to need more energy. Reenergize yourself by hitting the gym and becoming more trim. Take Yoga. Center Yourself. Go clothes shopping and ask a young person for suggestions or take your kids shopping with you. You need to reinvent yourself. Dump your Dockers. Shed your past. Reinvent yourself. Eat healthy. Get a new hair cut. Stop watching TV. Become information current. Flush your worry.
You need to develop tools whether you want to find a job or if you want to become a consultant. It is quite clear that the landscape of work has changed forever. Even if you work for a company it is essential that you have a strong personal brand for now and into the future. For consulting it is imperative.
In this day and age, everybody must have their own personal website. Register your domain name and develop your own website. Don’t do it yourself. Develop unique business cards. Write a press release positioning you as an expert source in your category. Develop a robust Linkedin Profile with recommendations. Write a memorable elevator speech. Consider Face book and Twitter. If you are looking for a job write a one page Bio with work and life sections.
To make yourself Fireproof, start a consulting career. You didn’t rent your experience, skills or your capabilities from your previous employer. They came with your brain. Consulting can invigorate you, improve your sense of self worth and produce valuable income for you. As Led Zeppelin wrote in Stairway to Heaven, “Yes there are two paths you can take can as life goes by.” Maybe consulting will make you a Rock star.
You can also consult and look for work simultaneously. For many companies, adding head count is problematic. It is lower risk to contract with a consultant and that consulting gig gets you in the door so you can demonstrate your capabilities.
Remember is takes patience to develop a successful consulting career. It can take on average 60 to 90 days to get an engagement. Use that time to develop the products that you will be selling. Develop a PowerPoint, write articles, press releases and develop content.
And remember that in this environment you have to double the amount of irons you have in the fire.
To learn more about networking check out Hank Blank’s CD on www.hankblank.com
If you want Hank to speak on networking to your organization or company, e mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org