July 9, 2018
Networking: A Summertime Activity – PART 2
What are steps for keeping your networking going this summer?
Set goals. Stick with realistic goals that you can control, for example, the number of events or personal lunches you’ll attend. Utilize online resources, such as Meetup.com, to find people that have interests in the same industry as you or discover a group that focuses on something you want to learn more about. Check on charity events. These are often good places to meet mentors or network. If you’re not sure how to start a conversation, introduce yourself, acknowledge what a great event it is and why you love the cause. Join a committee. This can be beneficial in multiple ways, as an easy networking opportunity as well as a new work experience for your resume. Treat a new contact to lunch or coffee or perhaps attend a baseball game or other sports event. It’s easier to strike up a relationship in a more relaxed atmosphere
Be prepared. Have your business cards and a pen to write down another’s contact detail (many don’t bring business cards to summer events). Read the room. Make wise decisions about whether talking business or about your job interest is appropriate in the setting. Networking is most effective when nuanced. Practice describing what you do or aspire to do in a sound bite. If you have a chance to drop it in a conversation, great!
Arrange informational interviews with someone in your network or at a company you’re interested in. LinkedIn is a great place to start. It’s always a bonus if you share a college or profession or group affiliation. Make the most of your family barbecue. Social BBQs, outdoor festivals, and other summertime events are great places to stretch your comfort zone. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know, focus on starting a conversation worth continuing. Work is a big part of your life, so talk about what you do, and don’t be shy about asking what they do. But don’t break out in a sales pitch at a barbecue. Ever. People are there to have fun, relax and enjoy.
Summer is a perfect time for follow-up. Schedules are more relaxed, and there are more casual events to invite people to. Reach out to those important contacts you’ve been meaning to call, and invite them somewhere fun. It’s the perfect time to take a break from talking business and to just spend some time reconnecting on a more personal level. Challenge yourself to recharge your network this summer! For further ideas or to join our Job Search Work Team, contact Business Librarian Ellen Janpol at firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 27, 2018
Networking: A Summertime Activity – PART 1
Is networking an art or a science? This past Spring, Rob Thomas, a networking expert, gave an inspiring talk on networking at The Westport Library. His method provides guidance on how to jumpstart a networking conversation, build rapport and follow through with a message. To be successful in networking, Rob believes, you should be competent and confident. Networking is about reciprocity. Be authentic, ask questions and start every conversation hoping to learn and to develop relationships. Ask questions. The best way to get people to feel as though they trust and know you is when you know them.
Networking takes place everywhere and at any time, and summer is an especially fertile time. People are more relaxed and often not as busy. Companies are making plans for when the pace picks up in the fall. So, it’s a perfect opportunity to make new connections, rekindle established relationships and share what you’ve been working on.
Summertime networking doesn’t have to stop just because you’re enjoying the sunshine. Take time to reach out and connect with new people online, or use the time to reach out and see how established contacts are doing. Make a few virtual introductions with people in your network you think would benefit from knowing each other. You can also make a list of people you have a goal of meeting as inspiration to grow your network. And, don’t forget to network with your neighbor next to you on the beach. Build new relationships gradually. Stay relaxed and authentic, and you’re likely to make some of your best connections during the summer. The goal is to be a person worth knowing, talking about, and introducing to others. Use the summer to develop relationships that will pay off in the long run. Just bring a few business cards and an attitude of curiosity about others and have fun!
In my next blog, I’ll provide summertime networking tips. For further ideas or to join our Job Search Work Team, contact Business Librarian Ellen Janpol at email@example.com.
March 26, 2018
Job Search Work Teams—How They "Work"
Let’s face it – no one wants to face a job search alone. It can be a daunting task no matter where you are in your career. However, just like in sports, there is strength in numbers. That’s where the Job Search Work Team (JSWT) at the Westport Library comes in. This group, which meets Tuesday mornings from 9 -11am, helps jobseekers obtain positions by having them go through a systematic process of job hunting.
The system of a “work team” was originally developed by Orville Pierson, former Executive Vice President of Career Development at the outplacement firm, Lee Hecht Harrison. By using a team approach, the process of finding a job is less burdensome. There is scientific proof that belonging to a JSWT speeds your search time by up to 20%!
The Westport Library’s JSWT began late in 2017 with 12 members, and today, 50% of the participants have found positions! Why is this method so successful? First, it is not a therapy or support group in the typical sense. It is a group of people committed to helping each other. The team keeps everyone motivated, similar to having workout buddies keep you on track to meet your fitness goals. Second, it is a highly organized and expertly guided project management approach to job searching. There are over 10 quantitative measures of job search success that team members follow. They set their goals and share progress with the team. Third, members are focused on key tasks, such as brainstorming, information sharing, networking, discussing common challenges and developing action items. Fourth, participants offer constructive feedback and strategies.
The benefits of belonging to a JSWT are many: gain confidence, improve search strategies, increase your networking, develop resilience, and momentum. As one successful member said: “The JSWT has been the most helpful component of my search efforts and it allowed me to weave together and apply all the knowledge gleaned from the many other groups in the area.” Another graduate said, “It made the search more quantifiable in nature - which made progress easier to track.”
If you are in the job search mode, join us on Tuesday mornings and speed up your job search! For further information, contact Business Librarian Ellen Janpol at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 203.291.4823.