Develop in a Group to land Higher Roles

Carrot Club. It got my youngest son to eat his vegetables. What partnership might you need for personal and professional growth?

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My three-year-old was not into veggies. My husband started face timing him at lunch to eat together. In an effort to prove carrots are in fact digestible and tasty, my husband would munch on his with great delight. My son totally bought it. Now, each weekday they bond over their carrots and eat lunch together. Hence, the start of carrot club.

Do you need a 'carrot club'? For women, in particular, your inner circle matters. According to a January 2019 research conducted by the University of Notre Dame and Northwestern University, over 75% of women executives had an inner circle of 2-3 women. The research found that women in particular who communicated and relied on a small group of women placed at a higher job level.

So, who are your people? Who can you rely on to get you over the hurdles of personal and professional life?

If you haven't found your tribe - start one! Rally grad school friends or like-minded colleagues. Attend networking events to find your people. If you are local to Indianapolis, try Linking Indy Women

How have you seen the power of community work in your professional life?

Design your Network with Three Types of People

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You are the boss of your own network. Design it thoughtfully.

Whether you realize it or not, you are already part of a variety of systems. You may just be so embedded in them that you can’t see them. Think about people in your circles at work, socially, geographically, family, community, schools, church, etc.

These are your natural networks! While some circles are chosen for you based on your workplace or where you send your kid to school, others you can take ownership. 

Intentionally ADD people that ADD value.

Typically, a valuable network has these three types of people in it:

Connectors. People who have large networks themselves and know a lot of different people. Their natural matchmaking capabilities see opportunities for people around them.

Champions. People who want to see you succeed; cheerleaders that will speak your message without external motivation.

Experts. Natural teachers who have particular expertise. Experts are imperative to your network because they can supply you with the information you need.

Build and nurture your network now by offering value to those around you. Not just when you need something.

Consider: Which type are you? Who is most valuable to you?

Join a collaborative community of professionals who are intentional about nurturing their personal and professional growth. Oh, and access to free/discount services sweetens the deal too! 😉 Join here.

Informational Interview: Make the Ask

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Necco's candy conversation hearts are unavailable this February. Don’t worry! I'll help you bridge the conversation from awkward to intentional with a free conversation card for informational interviews. 

The informational interview is the secret to a successful job search. Job search experts and resume writers alike (myself included) encourage job seekers to connect over coffee or over the phone with people who are in the job they want or working at a company of interest. How do you make it happen?

▶︎ LinkedIn request + a note

▶︎ Personal email

▶︎ In-person ask

▶︎ Phone call 

 Do you have to actually know the person? No, but do provide context to why you want to meet up and be specific in your ask. Provide a couple days/times for the conversation. Be specific on when you will follow-up to your initial request, too.

 Once you've booked a meeting, then what? What do ask? How do you make the most of both of your time? I'll hook you up this Valentine's day with a conversation card.  Sign up to receive it in your inbox free next week.

Hide-and-Seek: Pursue Networking Daily

We hide until it is time to seek.

Isn’t that true? Most of us want to network professionally when we seek something to gain - new job, new client, new business. If we aren’t after something, we usually choose to hole up in our comfort zone just like I want to do during Midwest winters.

I was reminded of the hiding and seeking paradox when my husband came home for lunch this week. Lunch led to chatting with our two-year-old son, which then, of course, led to a good-old-fashioned game of hide-and-seek.

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And it got me thinking of how our natural state is to hide - hide behind the scroll of <insert your favorite social media> and stay in our comfortable social and professional circles UNTIL it is time to pursue something new.

What small, regular habits can we form to ‘seek’ regularly? And by that I mean build meaningful relationships within our professional network not just in seasons of a job search or a push for new clients.

Here a few of my ideas:

💡 Regularly interact with your network. Know the professionals that make up your network online and in-person. It’s as easy as commenting on another’s LinkedIn post to writing a long-form post or article of your own to create discussion. Day-to-day, go to lunch with colleagues instead of eating at your desk.

💡 Ask questions and listen. This could be as brief as actually listening to the answer after the ‘How are you?’ in the hallway at work or saying yes to coffee with those you know and even those you don’t know.

💡 Be a connector. Know people’s needs so well that you can play matchmaker within your own network. Connect those that need each other!

Who to Reference?

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Including references on your resume will date you as an older job seeker (even if you aren’t one). This common practice from thirty years ago has dissipated today.

However, according to Jobvite’s 2018 Recruiter Nation Survey, 59% of recruiters speak to professional references during the hiring process.

So how do you cultivate professional references and submit them in today’s job market?

Ask for them! Request references from previous colleagues or bosses. New graduates with little work experience, ask college professors who know you well and can vouch for your skills and work ethic.

Submit references when asked. Follow a job posting’s directions on this. Typically, you will submit 3-5 names with contact information on a separate document from your resume. I recommend using the same contact information header as your resume so it is obvious the document belongs with your application materials.

Notify references. Ensure your references are prepared to speak knowledgeably about you. Arm them with information about the opportunity, your resume and specific stories that will speak to your accomplishments. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been contacted by a company to give a reference when I had NO IDEA I was listed as a reference. Avoid this faux pas. Make yourself and your reference look good!

Now is a good time to start building your reference list for your job search in 2019. Ask colleagues you trust!

How To Write A LinkedIn Recommendation

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Help a colleague grow. Add to their credibility and visibility by giving them a recommendation on LinkedIn.

Profiles with recommendations rank higher in search results and are three times more likely to be contacted.

Unsure what to write? Tell a compelling story about a particular project, accomplishment or skill of your colleague.

Are you looking to add recommendations to your profile? Don’t be shy. Request them!

Ask a potential recommender in person or over phone/email before sending the request on LinkedIn. Within the request, I encourage my clients to write their own recommendation.

Yep, you heard me.

This way you get to highlight the specific skill or achievement of your choosing [and it cuts the work out for the recommender!] From there, encourage the recommender to tweak, add or delete content from your original draft. It’s a win, win for everyone!

What tips and tricks have served you well regarding recommendations?

Hope is Not a Job Search Strategy

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In the job search feeling hopeful is important, but it isn’t a strategy.

Choose five things to do each day that will get you to your new gig. Write this short to-do list on a notecard.

Small habits create big results over time.

What activities could be on your notecard?

➜ Create/share industry-related content on your LinkedIn profile.

➜ Tailor your resume and cover letter for a job posting of interest.

➜ Grow your LinkedIn network with intentional connections.

➜ Set up an informational interview with a new connection to be a student of their career path and what they do!

➜ Add one company to your target company list and follow the company on socialmedia.

Get to it! You got this!

Hungry for your dream job? Grab lunch!

Hungry for the job you want but just don't know how to get there?

I've been there.

My career path isn't straight. In fact, the twists of new interests and the turns of new seasons of life directed, and still do direct, my course.

Back in the day, I was miserable in event planning and I had my sights set on higher education, specifically academic and career advising. I knew NOTHING about the field besides the results that populated from my Google search terms. How did I proceed?

I crossed my fingers and emailed a COMPLETE STRANGER who was an academic advisor at a local university and asked her how she got there. I inquired about what I needed to do to get the job she had. I asked her to lunch.

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And you know what? She HELPED me…over said lunch! She even gave me feedback on my written statement for my graduate school application (per her advice to apply to grad school)…A STRANGER!!

Who do you need you to talk to? Let lunch lead the way.

Be a student of those that are in positions that pique your interest. Request new connections on LinkedIn. Meet new people over coffee. Learn from their story…and then start writing your own!

Need more tips to refine your job target? Download my free tip sheet here.

A Networking Secret From Your Alma Mater

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Looking to make more connections and grow your network?

Start with your alma mater. Access LinkedIn's hidden gem of a feature: See Alumni through finding your university's LinkedIn page.

Search and sort by location, company, job type and other criteria to connect with fellow alumni.

This function can be especially helpful when looking for a warm lead in a specific company or a contact for an informational interview for a dream job.

What other secrets does your alma mater hold that is helpful in your job search?