written by Gary Matsuda
You might have it pretty good at home – a roof over your head, access to a refrigerator and eternally running episodes on Netflix. It may have taken some time to get used to the lockdown, but if you’re looking for a job (which is now even more challenging), staying in place might be the last thing you want to do.
To help make networking from home work for you, Career Connectors brought in the esteemed ‘Networking Guy’ Dave Sherman to show us how do this successfully from having the right attitude to follow up.
There’s plenty of negative news around to convince us that our situation is hopeless, but Dave refuses to let that influence his attitude. He’s reminded that blessed with family, friends and living in Arizona, he’s living in one of the sunniest places in the world and it’s only going to get better from here!
But time are a Changin’
‘Back-to-normal’ gatherings aren’t coming back anytime soon, so now is the time to get familiar with video conferencing as it’s use becomes more common and accepted. With over 300 million daily users on Zoom alone (one of the more popular products available) virtual meetings are here to stay.
If you’re not accustomed to video conferencing, it will feel strange to feel as if you are talking to yourself, especially if participants don’t enable their video. Therefore, treat virtual meet apps as if they were live in-person meetings, prepare to be presentable and keep your camera and pants on!
For an effective virtual meeting:
- Have good lighting on yourself so that the viewers can see facial expressions clearly.
- Don’t get too close to the camera (you don’t want viewers looking up your nose).
- Keep the camera eye level and sit back in a more natural position.
- The clearer your image the better your chances of exhibiting trust and competency.
- Smile on camera, relax. People are attracted to happy people.
- On Zoom, you can set yourself apart (or just to hide a messy room) by changing the background. Keep it appropriate, non-distracting and be aware of colors that may cause distortions that can create ghostly images.
Now – Curb Your Enthusiasm
We get it, you’re desperately in need of a job, but too many people put pressure on themselves and others to get hired as fast as possible. When you meet someone for the first time, don’t expect a job on the first meeting. They might be asking themselves subconsciously, ‘Why might you matter to me?’ and ‘How much effort will this take on my part?’ With their guard up they’re not quite ready to listen to your needs, so it wouldn’t be wise to start talking about yourself. We all desire meaningful connections, so try to find common ground and get to know them and comment on their interests.
Make it an easy two-way conversation, not just ‘I need a job’, but instead ask ‘Who do you know?’. Chances are the first person you meet is not likely going to be the one who hires you. While they might not be able to help, they may be able to provide the name of someone who can help.
Answer the Question, ‘What are you looking for?’
If you are open to anything, that will increase your chances of getting a job, right? Wrong. That will decrease your chances because you will sound desperate, lost, and unsure of what you really want. When asking for help, be as specific and as simple as possible to make it easy for the listener to engage and remember.
During Dave’s presentations, he sometimes tests his audience by asking them to list 3 companies they would like to work for. Using that list will help define a clear goal of where exactly you want to work. Saying something like ‘looking for something in I.T.’ would be too general. What is ‘something’? What does I.T. even mean? Tell them what you want to do and where? Make it easy for others to understand your needs, fill in the blanks for them, don’t leave the possibility of unanswered questions.
How long will it take to find a job?
It depends your effort. It’s hard work, it’s drudgery, and sometimes boring. If you’re only managing to put in an hour or two a day into your job search it will take a lot longer than putting in 5 or 6 hours a day. Bump it up to a crazy 8 hours a day and Dave says you’ll find something in 2 weeks!
Lots of job are out there, you will just have to put in the work. New technology has made it easier than ever to find available work but unfortunately the old adage is still true, that looking for a job is itself a full-time job.
Not sure what you’re looking for?
While searching for a trainer position, Dave searched job boards for ‘training manager’ and the results were revealing. Training departments might now be called ‘Sales Enablement’ and there are new terms like SDR (Sales Development Representative). On job boards, try searching for anything that comes to mind even if it sounds ridiculous (only you and Google will know). Go ahead, type away to generate some ideas and get up to date on current terminology in your target industry. Look through possible similar job descriptions and see what resonates or triggers your thought process.
Hiring needs are shifting rapidly, so be realistic about your industry’s future. Some jobs are gone, some are going away and especially because of technology there are new types of jobs that didn’t exist until recently.
Close the loop with your new contacts and be generous with your appreciation. Also be specific in your response to show you have been actively listening to your past conversation. Make your follow up easy to read, short, direct (but be nice). Showing courtesy and respect is important because you never know what an individual is going through. Treat everyone as if they are going through their own struggles and you’ll come across as empathetic and it’s more likely that you’ll be remembered. Make the most of every opportunity and leave a good impression.
There are plenty of free job hunt tools available, so don’t keep your next opportunity waiting. Just because the world is on pause for now, working on your personal and professional network doesn’t have to be.
NB/AZ has been proud to be a responsive supporter of small business during the coronavirus crisis. With 60 branches all over Arizona NB/AZ builds local relationships and provides exceptional award-winning customer service to clients, neighbors, and business owners. From helping small business in your neighborhood to employees volunteering at the local community center, NB/AZ is committed to creating opportunities.
Positions open throughout Arizona include: Personal Bankers, Tellers, Operations Supervisor. Check here for a complete listing. Benefits include competitive health insurance for FT and PT employees, 401k and profit sharing.
Cenlar is an employee owned company where there are great opportunities to grow through training and mentoring. They are serious about growing from within, after the first 6 months employment you can apply for internal positions. And check this out, since 1912 there have been no layoffs ever!
Open positions are in customer service, collections, claims, loss mitigation, HR, leadership and research. Go the their website for a complete listing.
Career Connectors Academy
Through a partnership with Brighton College, Career Connectors has allowed the opportunity to grow your skills online while you are at home waiting out this lockdown! Get a unique learning experience customized through surveys and assessments that identify your natural talents.
If covering tuition is an issue, for those who qualify, there are free IT certifications, federal grants and payment programs set up to make the financial burden lighter. Go here to for further information.
Arizona Covid-19 Resources
Career Connectors has partnered with BestComapaniesAZ, Arizona@Work, Arizona Commerce Authority and PipelineAZ to provide resources for both job seekers and employers. Please visit this page for detailed resources including companies now hiring.
We all like free, so at no cost to you, complete the assessment to find your gifts and what kind of job will likely fit you through our no cost DISC assessment.
Thanks our Career Connectors volunteers, we can provide professional coaching in the following areas:
- LinkedIn review
- Resume review
- Career Coaching/Development
- Financial Coaching
- Mock Interviews
Complete a brief form on our website to request coaching.
You can find details on upcoming and past events, as well as additional resources at CareerConnectors.org.