Friday, January 11, 2008

Networking 101

At first it will be uncomfortable and unfamiliar breaking out of the close-knit structure of school & our teams is extremely difficult. You’re used to having a game plan an agenda for you to execute with a specific set of rules. Well the job hunt is no different. In the following paragraphs you’ll find a plan of attack to make yourself a great networker follow these rules & you’re sure to land a great job (or at least make solid business contacts).

The first step in this plan of attack is to make an announcement let everyone know what you’re about to embark on. Most of us have a connection somewhere within a geographical area or an industry, leverage those connections. Let everyone know what you are doing; professors, friends, parents friends, family ask them for help. It’s absolutely amazing how willing people are to help & the six degrees of separation that exist.

The next step is to be more proactive reach out to those you don’t know. This means getting involved in Alumni groups, industry organizations, anywhere you can meet new people. The contacts you make will become vital friends.

Have realistic expectations. To think that the first time you meet someone he or she will offer you a position or become an instant friend is absurd (keep this in mind all things being equal people would rather work with friends & all things being not so equal people would still rather work with friends). Take the time to build the relationship & everything else will fall into place.

Remember networking can be done anytime anywhere. Be aware of whom you’re talking to be outgoing & approachable you never know who you could meet.

The internet's effect on your job hunt. Keep your social networking sites professional & you can actually turn them into professional networking opportunities. Use them to market yourself. Join industry discussions & blogs. Sites like & are geared towards professional networking.

Utilize employee referrals. You may ask yourself during this process why would they be willing to help me. Well believe it or not, it might not be purely intrinsic motivation. Many companies have really anted up on their employee referral bonuses offering major payouts.

Tips to Networking with a cause

* Know what you are looking for: speak succinctly about your talents, skills & goals. Make a strong impression & let those you meet know you’re serious about your future.
* Be assertive: Networking means that you are working towards a goal don’t be afraid to promote yourself & use time with new people wisely.
* Curb the desperation and start listening. Ask questions about how they got to where they are, take mental notes & use this information to your advantage. Don’t come across self-serving, pushy or desperate.
* Keep your tools sharp: Always have an updated resume & always get business cards/ contact information from the people you meet. Follow up with a call or email to let them know you appreciate their time & enjoyed meeting them.
* Stick it out: One key component of networking is working. As with anything worth having it takes time & energy to build a strong contact list.

Good luck with the job hunt & remember the harder you work the luckier you get.

Best wishes,

Chad Pinkston
Chief Sales Officer
The Corporate Playbook LLC

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

No one's reading that resume you sent:
. -- Baffled because you nailed the qualifications for a job and never heard a word? Ticked because you blew an entire weekend polishing up your resume? Let me let you in on a secret: No one ever saw it.

In the not to distant past applicants obsessed over whether to craft their curriculum vitae on white,ivory or bone paper and which font would project authority without pretense. Then there was the question of whether to play it straight or let that baby stretch out on to two pages.

Your mission was to impress a person in a suit.........

Now, you must "impress" a computer programmed to eliminate you.

Candidates who apply to positions on monster & careerbuilder are lost in the shuffle literally & corporate recruiters are inundated with countless resumes for the positions. Unfortunately most of these candidates are not qualified. In order to help these recruiters sift through the garbage they have developed keyword algorithms that do the sifting for them. Hiring managers set up a search request to hunt down keywords, such as those used in the job description, along with other identifying factors. For example, the desired accounting candidate must be a Bellarmine grad with a grade-point average above 3.5 who now lives in ZIP code 40242. So although you may be the brightest CPA in your firm and mommy's little angel, your resume will plummet to the bottom of the virtual pile if you're not a dead-on match -- or close to it. And, in most instances, you'll never know why nobody called you.

So now that your super psyched about applying to that dream job- let me help you understand how to be noticed.

First- avoid the macro job boards- the big boards are an absolute waste of time (I'll try to be more succinct in the future)

Second- Find a niche jobsite created with your interest in mind. The big job sites are feeling the pinch from smaller more community oriented sites (it's the whole Long Tail effect in play) this benefits you because you already know the employer is looking for candidates with skills & background. The site itself has dwindled down the candidate pool, thus elminating the harsh unforgiving algorithms (well at least to a certain extent).

Third- There's no substitute for networking. Find a site that has the ability to let you network with other candidates. Build connections & leverage those connections to get your foot in the door. Name dropping is irreplaceable.

Finally if you're a current or former athlete sign up today
The site created for athletes by athletes with a mission to connect former collegiate & professional athletes with growing organizations. The Corporate Playbook has numerous fortune 500 companies who want the skills & attributes that athletes posses (think back to the second commandment in this post, you will be beating the algorithms, finding a niche site focused on you & most important you'll get connected with other athletes/employers.

Happy Hunting......