Networking And Career Tips For The New Normal

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The New Normal was created in the fall of 2008 when the global financial crisis took place. I was in Argentina which had its melt down a few years earlier. All of a sudden my American Express card didn’t work. When the clerk gave me the card in confusion I saw that it said I had been a valued customer for a long time.

All of us have felt its repercussions especially if you were put into transition, had a line of credit, had to work more with fewer resources and do more work. Received 2% annual raises or none at all. I could go on.

Those who felt the impact of the New Normal the least were the financial institutions that created it and the elected officials who were in charge of preventing it. Everybody knows the song says but the song also says it’s all forgotten.

Networking accelerated dramatically in the New Normal because people needed some place to go when they got up on Monday and their routines were out of whack. I know because in August 2008 Laguna Niguel Connectors was created and over 100 people showed up within a few months. But then again 700,000 a month were losing their jobs as the world melted and we watched and worried.

I have been networking actively since at least the .com bust if not before.  I know a lot of people, I see a lot of people, I get e mails from a lot of people and I have spoken on networking to a lot of people.

So here are some networking and career tips for the New Normal.

Build your own network instead of using other people’s networks. It will pay off.  There will be many New Normals. Build up the networking resources to emerge and grow from them. Remember today is the first day of your networking life. Where do you want to be in five years?

Be patient when looking for a deal to close or to be hired. Time in the New Normal doesn’t follow your clock. I know. I got here before you. Sorry but those decisions don’t move as fast as you text. The clock of the New Normal runs in slow motion for these decisions and hyper motion for technology and change.

Companies will become commodities if you are a coveted and needed resource.  What’s the best bet for advancement?  Having a communications degree or being a Java Developer?  If you aren’t specialized, digital, or reinvented you will be entering the work world through the eye of the needle.

Be realistic. Targeting is the basis of marketing success. No company is going to hire somebody with 10 years’ experience for an entry-level job.  Trust me. Applying for any job is not getting your name out there.  It is just a waste of your time and time is too valuable to waste.

Networkers aren’t Rasputin or Svengalis. They can’t solve your problems or your wishful thinking.

If you want to make a career change start your own company. Companies don’t take too many hiring risks in the New Normal.

Don’t give away other people. If people come to you to help them don’t just give them the names of other people to help them. Invest your own time with the people who reach out to you. Walking in their shoes will be good for your soul.

Expand your personal brand constantly. The more Google loves you the more marketable you will be.

Lose the paper. Don’t come to meetings with your CV, your resume, your list of target companies. What do you think happens to that paper? If you are looking for a job you need to have your own website.

I still can’t believe how many people in transition still have lousy business cards. Weak business cards are akin to food stains on your tie. Want to save money? Cut your cable bill not your financial investment in yourself.  Personal marketing 101.

Network with Strays. They will help you in unique ways.

The world is not fixed.  A lot of people still need help. Help one person once a week.

You harvest what your so in networking. That has never changed and won’t.  Sowing requires personal sacrifice and patience. No farmer has ever harvested in the same month what he has planted.

If you stop networking in the New Normal you will be a ghost.

Don’t give your children career advice but teach your children to Network well.

Connect with Hank on LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook:

    

Read: How I Went From UWO to California

Watch: Power of Networking.

Why Young People Shouldn’t Try to Find A Job

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Networking Tips for People in Transition.

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I have spoken on networking and personal branding to numerous networking groups frequented by people in transition including ExecuNet, CafeNet, Women Sage, Ken Tudhope ‘s Networking Group for CFO’s, and the Challenger Networking Group.  I am also one of the Founders of Laguna Niguel Connectors which has over 2800 members.  I relate to people in transition because as a consultant I am always perpetually employed in many ways.

Because of my network, companies sometimes use me for recruiting so I have talked and met with numerous job seekers.  I see a lot of good things and some things that scare me and make me ask why would a person do that or not do that?

So here are some tips for job hunters for 2012.  Finally the hiring momentum is moving in the right direction.  Make sure that you are ready to capitalize.

  • First, sharpen your tools.  Many times I see resumes with no e mails, I see no salutations on people’s emails, I get calls on my cell phone from blocked numbers so I cannot call the people back when I am driving.  All of these things make it harder to get in touch with people.  In this day and age of numerous candidates for every position you have to make yourself as sticky as possible and extremely easy to connect with.
  • Invest in yourself. When I hear the news comments about the hundreds of thousands of people who have stopped working I can’t help to wonder if some of those people just aren’t keeping themselves marketable. Is your business card stock the weight of toilet paper?  If your Linkedin photo looks like it was shot by an amateur you aren’t investing in yourself.  Who’s to blame if you aren’t staying current on trends, technology, social media and other hiring practices?
  • Drop any negative baggage.  It’s a weight. Don’t listen to your mind. Feed your mind. The smarter you become, the easier you will be to hire and the better your attitude will be.
  • Quit wasting your time.  Asking second degree connections on Linkedin to introduce you to somebody that they are connected with on the second or third degree is not a warm introduction.  It is futility in job hunting.  Networking isn’t connecting strangers to strangers.
  • Remember that in hiring there are two clocks.  There is the company hiring clock that moves very very slowly.  And then there is the hiring clock for people in transition.  They do not run at the same speed.  Not even close.  Quit driving yourself crazy by trying to align them.  Things will happen when they are meant to. You have no control over the schedule.
  • Who were the two or three most influential people you met last year?  Spend more time with them in the coming year.  Obviously they had an impact on you.  Try to stoke those fires by spending more time with them. They are as valuable as Connectors.
  • Think of Linkedin as Twitter and update your profile with substance four times a day.  Remember that your target audience is not your friends but your potential hiring manager.  Post accordingly.
  • If you have stopped networking you have stopped looking for a job.  Over 70% of jobs are found through referrals or associates.  You only need to meet one person to change your life. There is a good chance they won’t come to your house. What if they were at that networking event or Starbucks you blew off derailing your potential journey?  People create opportunities not Tweets.

You can connect with Hank on Linkedin

http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom

Follow his updates on twitter @hankblank

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/hankblank

Watch some this video on How To Rise Above the Crowd.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bkO7efleWX4

Read this article on How To Create a Job.

https://hankblank.wordpress.com/2011/10/02/how-to-create-a-job-by-creating-a-consulting-career/

Networking Tips for Lawyers

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A friend of mine who is a lawyer asked me to write some networking tips that she could share with fellow attorneys at her firm.  Believe me writing networking tips for lawyers wouldn’t be the first audience I would think about but my friend is very special so this is what I wrote. I thought I would share them with a wider audience.  The legal disclaimers are at the end.

So here they are:

Networking is about developing relationships.  It is not about selling.  Business happens when mutually beneficial relationships are established over time.  You don’t ask people to marry you on the first date.  There is a whole category in humor called lawyer jokes.  Don’t let your poor networking skills contribute to it.  The types of folks that most people don’t want to meet are lawyers and undertakers.

Get off your crackberry.  Don’t become a lemming like everyone else standing in line at Starbucks reading their e mails oblivious to the people around them.  Trust me; your next big client engagement is not going to come in the form of an e mail while you are waiting for your coffee.  The Barista’s mother could be the President of a bank.  Talk to her and others around you.  Networking is about an attitude of engagement not going to a networking event. You network everyday not once a week.

You must Rock and Roll on Linkedin.  The average income of a Linkedin user is close to $100,000.  It is the preferred social media platform for your prospects.  Linkedin is a great prospecting tool and a great vehicle to improve your SEO.  Make sure your profile is complete and detailed. Make sure that your photo doesn’t look like a mug shot.  Have lots of recommendations from previous clients. It let’s others speak your praises versus you.  Post updates on a daily basis.  Google will reward you or ignore you. It is your choice.

Networking takes work and preparation.  To be really good at something you have to work at it.  Do not go to network events at 5 minutes to noon if the event starts at noon.  Go at 11:20 and read the name tags of people who will be attending.  Introduce yourself to them when they pick up their name badges.  Make sure you have lots of business cards in your hand and not your wallet.  Do not sit with your friends.  Standing around a bar with friends talking to people you know is not networking, it is socializing.

Social media is not a fad. It is not just something that young people do. Companies who do not embrace change are left behind.  Kodachrome film was a 15 billion dollar business for Kodak a decade ago.  Now the only place that you can get Kodachrome film is in a Paul Simon song.  People who do not embrace change become fads.  Do not tweet about tacos.  You use social media to distribute your thought leadership.  Participation in social media will help your SEO and make you look like a voice of knowledge if you use its power. Use it in the wrong way and you will look like a poser.

Your elevator speech doesn’t matter because your chances of getting on an elevator with a decision maker are slim to nil but the chances of that person doing a Google search on you prior to engaging with you are certain.  You need to own the first page of Google.  Every posting.  Social networking can help you achieve that.  Don’t believe me?  Google Hank Blank to see.

Disclaimer. To connect with Hank check out his site at www.hankblank.com  Follow him on Twitter at @hankblank, get more networking tips by reading his blog at https://hankblank.wordpress.com send him an e mail at hank@hankblank.com or connect with him on Linkedin http://www.linkedin.com/in/hankblankcom  

How to Improve your Consulting Career

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I have written a series of recent blogs on how to build a consulting career. I started out with How to Create Job by Creating  a Consulting Career followed by How to Build a Consulting Career and recently More on Building a Consulting Career.

Here are some tips on building a consultant career.

One of the challenges with consulting is that many people say the practice is not scalable for single individuals or a limitation on capacity and growth. A consultant is always time challenged between chasing new projects which upon completion stop generally income and the perpetual chase for the Yankee dollar.

To augment my resources I have always used paid interns. I have done it for years. First it was my kids and then a variety of college students. There have been many graduates of Blank and Associates. What works best for me is students who live in close proximity to me and students who are studying marketing, public relations or advertising because that is in business I am in.

It’s a win win situation. Students who recently graduated from college face the chicken or egg shuffle of “you have no experience.” Working for me provides them with relevant experience and after a time they move on and get hired which is great for everyone. I can also help them get a job by providing a working reference.

I basically try to assign as many task projects to them to save me time. For example I write all of my own content but my interns help me by posting my blog in the discussions section of the fifty LinkedIn groups I belong to. I would be less inclined to spend the time to do that. The more I distribute my content the more feedback I receive.

Why do something yourself that you can have a student do for you at $12 an hour? I am trying to make much more than that.

I find that students are also very social media and technology savvy which helps a lot.  They have helped me in many ways. Everything from syncing my phone and iPad to loading apps on my devices to educating me on new technology to PowerPoint presentations.

I love it when they come to me and ask, “Have you ever thought of doing it this way?”  I generally change the way I do things because they may have a better idea. The learning is both up and down.

The other way is that I increase my scalability is because of my network. One of the benefits of networking is that it saves you time and makes you more productive. People think that is counter intuitive. It takes time to get there and back, listen to the speaker etc.  They think that time would be better spent doing other things.

My network is so broad that I rarely have to research something and when I do I go to Jane Bayer at Factfinders who can find anything.  I don’t go to Google, I go to people.  I know people who have told me who to use celebrity talent, social media experts in all areas of expertise, proof readers, printers galore, and trade show suppliers.  Whatever it takes I can generally find quickly and efficiently.  There is a big difference in consulting betwen telling your client you are working on something versus having the answer.  So how broad are your resources?

Connect with Hank on LinkedIn, Twitter, & Facebook:

    

Watch my videos on YouTube http://www.youtube.com/user/MrHankblank