I Need A Job Fast

So you find yourself needing a job fast. So, read on and get yourself some great tips.

Being Professional

Your role as a professional is intimately tied to your brand, attitude, and reputation and thus plays a huge part in expanding your networks. But what exactly is a “professional”?

TIP: A professional is simply someone who is serious about their craft, and every action they take solidifies and amplifies that dedication.

The definition of a professional is simple: It is someone who is serious about their craft and exhibits that seriousness in every possible way, including:

  • How they interact with others.
  • What they say.
  • How they say it—their use of vocabulary, tone, and poise.
  • Their attitude.
  • How they approach their work.
  • Their attention to appropriate and culturally-mandated etiquette (in interactions, meals, and correspondence).
  • What they wear and when they wear it.

The importance of being professional cannot be overstated. If you are perceived as a professional you will be treated as a professional. This serves to elevate your brand and amplify your reputation. It is a critical lynchpin in networking, because if people see you as a professional they are more likely to engage you for a career opportunity. Think about it this way—the opposite of a professional is someone who is an amateur, hobbyist or enthusiast. They consider their work something enjoyable but not something that demands their full attention or that takes priority in their lives. But you, my friend, are a professional, which means that I know you are so serious about your craft that you will stop at nothing to solve the problems associated with your craft. Professionals want to engage other professionals for employment and other significant collaborations.

TIP: Being known and seen as a professional is especially vital in networking, because if people view you as a professional they are more likely to engage you for a career opportunity, whether it is hidden or advertised.

One of my favorite stories about how critical it is to establish yourself as a professional from the first moment of contact stems from a time when I was on a search committee for a new employee in my department. The person was interviewing for the position of development director—in other words, she would be the public face of the unit as she endeavored to raise money on its behalf. If ever there was a job that demanded a level of professional decorum, it is the chief fundraiser.

Considering that it was an influential position, the candidate participated in multiple interviews with key campus leaders throughout the day. My committee was scheduled to interview her around 4pm. Now of course, even though it was at the end of a long, tiring day, it would have been strategic for her to maintain her energy level throughout the experience and demonstrate a continuously positive and professional attitude no matter how many people she had to meet during the hiring process. She needed to make an all-round good impression with every interviewer if she were to land the job.

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Need A Job Now

Need a job now? Well, you’re in the right place to get some great tips to help out.

More Networking Tips

Speak up: If the other party can’t hear you, whether it is because it is a noisy room or because you speak softly, you are losing a potentially precious opportunity. This doesn’t mean you should shout it out, but make sure your voice is heard. And there’s another advantage to literally being heard: It denotes confidence, poise, and professionalism. The more you practice this, the more natural it will feel and the better you will become at delivering your brand statement in such a way that the words and the way you speak show the other party you are ready to assist them in solving their problems.

Be prepared for follow up: Any comment that you make as part of your brand statement is fair game for someone to ask follow up questions. In fact, if you craft it correctly, you’ll find that it logically elicits questions, which is a great thing to have in networking – it means that you have enticed the other party to learn more. So be nimble and flexible in your delivery to allow for people to interrupt you. Go with the flow.

Stand by your brand: Don’t say anything in your brand statement that you can’t completely back up – in other words, don’t embellish the truth, lie, or mention something that you knew how to do years ago but have since forgotten. I found this out when I wrote my very first CV as I was graduating college. I didn’t know what was supposed to be on a CV, so I listed every club that I had attended at least one meeting of. When I won a math award, my CV found its way into the hands of the chair of the math department who invited me to his office for a chat. When we met for the first time, his initial words were “how many hours do you have?” I was clueless as to what he was referring, so I responded “Do you mean credits? I have probably about 130 or so credits.” And he shot back “No! How many hours do you have?” He was alluding to what I considered to be a very minor entry on my CV, a listing about how I had been a member of the scuba diving club at the American University in Cairo. And in fact not only was I not a member (I had only gone to a handful of meetings), but I wasn’t even a scuba diver. I tried it at the deep end of the pool and quickly realized it was not for me. But by listing it there I had opened the door for him to discuss it with me. Needless to say I was embarrassed, but fortunately I learned the lesson. I want to ensure that you always feel confident in communicating your value, so you can periodically do a “brand assessment” to determine if you still have mastery of the skills you mention in your statement. For example, after my semester abroad in Egypt, I took many classes in Arabic and became fairly fluent. But that was more than 10 years ago. So although at one point I did mention I was fluent in Arabic in my brand statement and on my résumé, I don’t any more. You always want to make sure when you communicate your brand that it is completely factual and that you have evidence to support it.

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Looking For Work

Are you looking for work? If so I have some tips for you with networking to help you get a job fast!

Reputation

The final piece of The Networking Trifecta of Triumph is your reputation. In a nutshell:

Your reputation is your most important asset.

This is almost contrary to what we are taught in academia, where for the most part people attest that it’s what you know that will get you the job. But truth be told, it is not what you know, it is what people know about you and your knowledge, abilities, brand, and attitude that will get you the job and other game-changing career opportunities.

Your reputation is what people know about your brand and your attitude. It is an extremely important piece of networking because it is the carrier across time, space, and extra dimensions of what value you can provide other parties, teams, and institutions.

TIP: Decision-makers want to hire “known quantities,” because it reduces the risk associated with bringing in talent.

The reason surrounding this makes sense; people want to engage or hire “known quantities” – people whose brands and attitudes are already known in the community. Your reputation is how others confirm that you are a known quantity. The more you are seen and the more positive bits of information people know about your brand and attitude, the lower the risk they have in engaging or hiring you. Given a choice, I would rather hire someone whom I either know personally or by reputation, or who others in my networks know and can vouch for by either personal knowledge or reputation. I would prefer not to engage someone who is a stranger to me and whose reputation is either unknown to others I trust or is negative in some form.

About 10 years ago, I was attending the monthly meeting of the Southern Arizona article of the Public Relations Society of America. This was a regular event for me – to meet new people, to exchange information, to learn new ways of solving PR problems I might find in my job. Each meeting incorporated an invited speaker as well as time before and after the meeting to freely chat and network with those in attendance. At this particular session, the presentation consisted of a panel of editors from local publications offering tips on how to pitch them stories. One of the speakers was in a new job – he had just taken over as the editor of the regional business newspaper, to which I subscribed and read regularly.

TIP: When there’s new blood in an organization, this is often the best time to pitch new, or even create, opportunities.

When the formal part of the meeting concluded, I practically jumped from my chair and pushed my way across the room to introduce myself to him. I thanked him for his speech, congratulated him on his new position, and offered him my business card. I then blurted out that I had an idea for a column that I would like to write for him and inquired whether he would be interested in meeting with me to discuss it. Perhaps because he was so new on the job, and perhaps because he himself wanted to get to know other professionals in his sector, he granted me the appointment.

I approached the meeting as if I was going for a job interview – which of course, it really was. I took with me a portfolio that included an example of a potential column, previous writing samples, my résumé, and other projects that demonstrated my proficiency in public relations and my ability to solve his problems (relating to upping his readership and ad revenue) with finesse. What I specifically did not include was a list of references.

We had a very pleasant conversation and, of course, after I left I sent him a follow up email to thank him for meeting with me and to tell him I was looking forward to working with him. And then I waited. I waited in fact, several months. And then one day, I received an email from the gentleman stating that he wanted to move forward on the column idea, and that I have “an excellent reputation.”

Of course I was thrilled. Of course I was excited. But I was also completely perplexed. How did this guy, who although not new to the city was new to his job, know that I had an “excellent reputation”? How did he find out and then conclude that I would be an asset to his publication? The answer was obvious once I thought about it: He clearly spoke with people in his own networks, professionals he trusted, and they must have assured him that my brand and attitude were something that would bring him benefits. Our networks clearly intersected and my reputation was carried from one to the other to him. And since it represented me as someone who could be an advantage to his company, he made the decision to hire me.

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