Monday, March 20, 2006

Following up on networking leads
Clients often struggle with the notion of following up with networking contacts. Many are concerned that they will be perceived as a nuisance if they follow up with a contact too aggressively. The key to a successful follow up campaign is to be persistent without the other party knowing it. If you call a networking contact and leave a message, your follow up strategy should be to call every day at different times without leaving additional messages. You might call and leave a message on Monday, then follow up at 10am on Tuesday morning, noon on Wednesday, 3pm on Thursday, and 4:30 on Friday. If you get the contact's voicemail, don't leave additional messages. If you vary the timing of the calls you increase the liklihood of getting the contact in person. If you get a secretary or other type of gatekeeper, be polite and try to develop a rapport with that person. If they ask if you would like to leave a message a good response is "No, that's alright...when would be the best time to reach this person? This strategy allows you to maintain control over the interaction. If after several attempts you are still unable to connect with your networking contact, consider discussing the situation with the original person who gave you the contact. Perhaps the contact is swamped with a time-sensitive project or out of town on vacation and you need to delay your follow up strategy until they return. While you won't be able to build a relationship with every potential contact, you can improve your chances of connecting with people in a timely fashion by following these suggestions.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Self-marketing capsules
The self-marketing capsule is an important piece of marketing collateral that every job seeker needs to position themselves effectively during a job search. Whether in a networking context or a job interview, job seekers must always be ready to deliver their personal pitch in an exciting and memorable way. Ultimately you want to be able to recite a message that is clear, targeted, and easy for anyone to understand. The goal is to leverage your message to create an advocate for your candidacy who can refer your qualifications on to the next appropriate person in the networking or hiring chain. The most effective marketing messages do the following: 1. Describe professional identity rather than job function. 2. Showcase three key competencies or strengths. 3. Link strengths to accomplishment-focused, metrics-driven examples. 4. Touch on related background including past positions and education. 5. Match value of skill set to employer's needs. By staying on message and crafting a pitch that addresses the needs of the employer you can quickly show your value add and differentiate yourself from your competition.