Recruiter Spotlight: The Syverson Group (TSG)

Located in Alpharetta, Georgia, The Syverson Group (TSG) is a world-recognized recruitment firm that stresses the importance of building long-term relationships with not only their clients, but with their top talent as well. Fortune 100 companies and global businesses rely on their personalized, match-making philosophy for retained searches to hire not only key personnel in the executive suite, but also top performing sales and technical positions.

Having built an exceptional reputation in the medical industry – specifically medical device, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, diagnostics, and other specialized disciplines – they have expanded their focus to include IT, manufacturing, higher education, and the environmental sciences. Past clients include Abbott Diagnostics, GE Healthcare, Roche, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Stryker, and many more.

In today’s Recruiter Spotlight, President and Founder Dain Syverson gives us more insight into their successful firm, their specific industries, and their ideal candidates…

 

  1. How long have you been in business?

The Syverson Group, LLC – TSG has been in business for 5 years and I’ve been in the Executive Search business for over 15 years total.  Most of the TSG staff have extensive, successful careers in relevant markets or in the executive search industry. We are recognized domain experts.

 

  1. What makes your agency unique?

We are a boutique, retained executive search firm with a great reputation based on competence, likability and exceptional delivery for our clients and prospective candidates.  TSG has the absolute best-in-class performance metrics for our clients: 100% success rate over the last 10+ years on thousands of engagements (industry average is 60-65%); over 90% of our placed candidates remain with our clients; and over 60% of our placed candidates have had multiple promotions during their tenure with our clients.

 

  1. What type of positions do you place? Do you specialize in a particular industry?

TSG is a full-service agency, placing Board, C-Suite, Vice President, and Director level positions to front line sales and technical talent for our clients.  Primarily, we specialize in the medical markets of diagnostics, life sciences, medical products, medical devices, distribution, pharmaceutical, biopharmaceutical, and biotechnology.  Over the years, our business has expanded into IT, Automotive, Industrial and Manufacturing, Higher Education, and Environmental Services

 

  1. What is your ideal candidate?

TSG typically represents prospective candidates that perform in the top 10% of their respective peer group.  Additionally, we value and assess attributes and talents beyond the work experience to ensure that our clients and candidates form long term, mutually beneficial relationships and sustainable performance excellence.

  1. Do you place across the country or locally? What other locations do you serve?

TSG works with clients on a global basis inclusive of North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, India, Asia-Pacific and Latin & South America.

 

  1. Where do you announce your open jobs?

Most often, they are on our website (www.thesyversongroup.com) but because we “hunt for talent” and directly initiate contact vs. “gathering” with job boards or posts, most of TSG’s placements are passive, successfully employed candidates. In other words, over 90% of our talent wasn’t looking for new opportunities until we approached them for a specific role.

 

  1. What is the #1 thing a candidate can do to stand out from the crowd?

Be responsive, honest, direct, candid, and possess high integrity. We want people who do and be what they say they are without the unnecessary “fluff.”

  1. How should a candidate apply for a job? Do you want an online application, resume, or both?

They can reach out to any TSG individual and request more information.

 

  1. Do you belong to any professional associations?

Various, with an emphasis on market-specific or community related instead of recruiter associations.

 

  1. How can people contact you?

Website: www.thesyversongroup.com

Email: dain@thesyversongroup.com

Telephone: 770-495-5997

 

Would your company like to be featured in our Recruiter Spotlight? There is no charge! Just contact donna@personaltouchcareerservices.com to find out more.

Pricing changes effective May 15, 2017

It has been quite some time since we have adjusted our prices for our resume and LinkedIn services. To continue to provide our signature, high quality writing services and still keep it cost-effective, we are making some adjustments to our pricing policies, effective May 15, 2017.

Resume Packages

Effective mid-May, a 5% fee for processing, handling, and shipping costs will be added.

We wanted to keep the core price of our resume packages the same, ranging from $299 for entry level, $399 for mid-career, and $499 for senior level careers. When it comes to our executive packages, we encourage you to contact us directly to get an accurate quote.

Our resume packages include in-depth exploratory interview to discuss your work history, your new resume, a highly adaptable cover letter, a references page, and my book, “How to Get a Job Without Going Crazy.”  CLICK HERE TO SEE OUR RESUME PACKAGES

 

LinkedIn Packages

As with our resumes, the core price of our LinkedIn packages will remain at $125. The 5% processing and handling fee will be added.

LinkedIn packages include a fully written profile and our online class, “Using LinkedIn to Get a Job Without Going Crazy” (a $65 value).

Interview Coaching

Interview coaching will be increased to $249 for two sessions. The first 60-minute session covers strategies, establishes baselines, discusses behavioral interviews, and assigns ongoing exercises to help you be the best in your interview. The second 90-minute session is an invaluable recorded mock interview and review of the tape to provide direct feedback on your overall performance.

Get Your Quote Today

All of our written quotes are good for 30 days.  Anyone who gets a quote BEFORE May 15, 2017, will not be charged the increased prices. Now is the time to sign your quote as soon as possible to lock in your price.

P.S….       In addition, we will give you the option to delay starting your project until it is convenient for you, so long as we receive payment before the quote expires! CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP FOR A FREE CONSULTATION!

LinkedIn Cardinal Sin: Gluttony

Is your LinkedIn profile feeling fat? Not sure exactly what is necessary and what is just extra sugary fluff? Are you just connecting with anyone and everyone to create a large number of first degree connections? Maybe your LinkedIn strategy is suffering from gluttony…

While I’m not a religious person, the traditional Seven Deadly Sins can be an interesting exercise in evaluating our networking efforts on platforms like LinkedIn. Simple deadly sins – like sending off an invitation without customizing the greeting – can inhibit our ability to connect with others. However, the major Deadly Sins – Sloth, Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Wrath, or Gluttony – can have a more dire impact than just one missed connection. In today’s article, we’ll explore how gluttony can take over your profile and turn off potential employers, recruiters, and prospects.

As defined by Vocabulary.com, gluttony is “characterized by a limitless appetite for food and drink and overindulgence to the point where one is no longer eating just to live, but rather living to eat.” [https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/gluttony] In terms of LinkedIn, this can be seen in two ways: creating a fat book of contacts and creating a fat profile.

CONSUMING CONNECTIONS

It is true that once you have over 500 connections, your profile will show up in more LinkedIn search results. However, this doesn’t mean that you should accept every request without looking at the person’s profile first. In truth, a strategic approach to building your contact database is more important than just the numbers.

Consideration #1: Your Comfort Level

I often encourage people to evaluate their own social media comfort level: if you aren’t comfortable with accepting invitations from people you don’t know, don’t do it. You can limit your 1st degree connections to people that you have actually met. There are ways to grow your network without making over 500 first degree connections with strangers.

For example, search parameters take into account not only 1st degree connections, but 2nd degree AND Group connections. So, joining a large and local group will increase your exposure without taking on a personal relationship with every group member. In Denver, the “Linked to Denver” Group has over 40,000 members in it. While I don’t monitor every discussion, I still enjoy the boost of my secondary network by creating that instant group connection with every single one of those 40k+ members.

On the other hand, if you are an open networker, you may prefer a wide network as opposed to a deep one. In that case, you may have many personal connections (for example, I have over 2,600 1st degree connections), but you probably won’t be able to develop a genuine, personal relationship with most of them.

Consideration #2: Quality of the Connection

When receiving an invitation, or sending one out to someone else, look at the motives. If all you are doing is hoping to get something from the other person, you are probably consuming them. On the other hand, if this is a legitimate basis for a relationship as possible employer/employee, recruiter connection, potential colleague, fellow association member, fellow group member, or someone who posts quality content, then building the relationship makes sense.

As an open networker, I tend to accept most connections. However, I always follow up with a message, asking if I can do anything for the other person. This opens the dialogue and has led to great connections and even clients. Similarly, it reveals a creepy or weird person – such as those trying to get a date – pretty quickly. I just delete that connection and move on.

Consideration #3: Know Your Standards

One symptom of gluttony is not just eating too much, but also eating what’s bad for us. The same is true with connections. If we invite or accept every single person on LinkedIn, we are probably getting a big dose of “junk food” along with the quality contacts.

In my case, I had to set some standards. I rarely accept connections from out of the US, unless the person is in one of my niche markets. If someone’s profile is a big sales pitch for their services, I probably won’t accept that one either. I also make sure that my invitations to another person offers them some quality as well – I don’t want to be junk food either!

THE FAT PROFILE

There is a significant difference between your resume and your LinkedIn profile. In some ways, the information should be scaled down to the most important essence of what you want to say, and in other areas, the profile expands on parts that may not even be in the resume. How do we find the balance?

Easy-To-Read and Key Word Rich Summaries:

Your Summary is the first impression on your profile and needs to be strong. I prefer to use first person, as if I were introducing myself at a networking event. That being said, I need to balance the use of key words and their variations with use of white space to direct the eye. To do that, I often use a bulleted list within the body of the Summary:

my-summary
Lean, Muscular Experience Sections:

Typically speaking, the Experience in a resume is more formal than the LinkedIn profile. Why? Because a trimmed-down Experience that only addresses the most important responsibilities and results is easier to read online or on a mobile device.

For example, here is my own resume section for my current position:

my-resume-section

By comparison, here is my LinkedIn profile experience for the same job:

my-linkedin-experienceOn-Point Education:

Unless you are a relatively new graduate, listing a lot of extracurricular in the profile can add unnecessary fluff. The main exception would be if the activities or clubs are in-line with your professional goals.

IT’S NOT FAT, IT’S BIG BONED

While we’ve got some of the profile streamlined, additional sections can be added to give value to the candidate that the resume alone may not have conveyed. Consider adding these “big bones” to give even more strength to your online presence:

  • Descriptive headline
  • Personalized background picture
  • Key word optimized Skills section
  • Written Recommendations
  • Volunteer work or causes you support
  • Personal hobbies and interests
  • Uploaded content, including presentations, videos, and documents
  • Published articles on LinkedIn
  • Projects, Publications, and Awards

GOING ON THE LINKEDIN DIET

Gluttony is the act of consuming more than we are due or require. In the social media sense, we can be more effective when we concentrate on what we can do for others, as opposed to filling our own agenda exclusively.

8 Websites to help you tap into the hidden job market

The elusive hidden job market: chances are, you have heard their statistic that 80% of new hires occur outside of the HR procedures. While that seems intimidating, do keep in mind that employee referrals rank pretty high as the actual source. But what about the other mass of new hires? How did they even get considered if the job wasn’t formally posted anywhere?

This is the essence of the hidden job market: finding jobs that are not immediately apparent to the public eye. Opportunities are usually identified by a combination of research and trigger events.  When you pay attention to what is happening at your target companies and within your target market, you can begin to anticipate their future needs.

What are trigger events?

A trigger event is any change or development within a business that opens the door to opportunity.  They are usually news-worthy, so it is possible to find trigger events just by reading the business pages or setting up Google Alerts on your target employers. Some examples include:

  • Landing a new, large contract
  • Expanding or moving to a new location
  • Merging with another company
  • Receiving an award
  • Releasing a new, innovative product
  • Hiring a new CEO, VP or other top manager
  • Being featured on a Top 100 Companies list
  • Being interviewed by the media
  • Making a large charity donation

 

Research – The Keys to Success

Just because a trigger event hits the news, that doesn’t mean you are ready to pitch your job yet.  First, you need to hit specific research to understand how you can help their organization.  While researching, continually ask yourself “how can I make their job easier?  How can I help reduce cost or increase revenue? Is there some particular mix of personality that I bring which can enhance their team?”

While researching a company, be sure to track down:

  • Company history, products and services
  • Key managers/ players and support staff
  • Competitors
  • Their growth plans and challenges
  • Their strengths and weaknesses

 

Websites and resources for trigger events and research:

  1. LinkedIn Company Pages

You should follow the company page for any of your main target employers. However, you want to do more than just look for current announcements or job postings. Pay attention to the Employees listed on LinkedIn, as this creates a pre-sorted Advanced Search for you that makes it easier to research key individuals in the organization.

  1. Local business magazines like the Denver Business Journal or the Colorado Business Magazine

While major newspapers still do have business sections, more and more of them are relying on national news feeds to generate their content. It is a sound investment to pay for a dedicated, local business publication that will focus on the actual community where you want to live and work.

  1. Labor Market Indicator Gateways

Like most states, Colorado publishes monthly reports concerning the state of the employment scene for the past month and year. I find the “top hiring companies” and “top industries” extremely helpful: https://www.colmigateway.com

One philosophy with hunting hidden jobs is to not just consider your passion, but also what the market is doing in your area. For example, the Oil & Gas industry in Colorado has suffered greatly in 2015 and 2016. If you are a geologist that specializes in this field, just realize that there are less positions available than there were two years ago. That means your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, and networking efforts must be spot-on to gain an interview.

  1. Chambers of Commerce

If you are targeting a medium to small sized business, your local Chamber can be a great resource. All of them list their business members, which you can use as a list of local companies without having to wade through a morass of statistical data from other sources.

  1. Manta.com

Manta.com is another site that provides a lot of contact information on companies.  In Colorado alone, over 450,000 companies are listed; however, not all of them have filled out the profile yet.  In addition to address and industry, Manta.com also lists annual revenues, top executives and staff size.  The original listings probably come from government listings, as the industry is identified by SIC and NAICS codes.  It has a lot of Google ads too, so be careful what you click on – some of the ads look like links to the company’s application, but it is not.

  1. Angellist

Originally started as a way for start-ups to find investors, Angellist (https://angel.co/) now features jobs for companies across the US, with new locations and employers being added every day.

  1. Idealist

If you believe in following your heart, a job at a non-profit just might fit the bill. Idealist ( http://www.idealist.org/) is used by over 100,000 organizations across the US. The site features volunteer positions as well, so if you are looking for something to help you gain more experience while you conduct your job search, volunteering can add valuable information on your resume.

  1. Google Alerts

Once you determine your target companies, you can set up some news alerts through Google to send you a notification when this person or company gains some news or press online. This free service allows you the flexibility of when and where you want to receive your notices: https://www.google.com/alerts

Ideal Companies and Industries

Whether a company is open to the idea of pitched jobs or not has a lot to do with the company culture.  Typically speaking, large, slow-moving corporations are less likely to adopt a proposed job from the outside – unless you have a very good networking connection within the organization.  Smaller businesses have more flexibility to jump on new ideas, however, you may need to get creative with the pay to fit into their budget.  Entrepreneurial ventures have some of the best opportunities, as they can move quickly and tend to be more open to trying new ideas.

 

Most people believe that sales positions are the natural fit for a pitched job.  After all, you will be generating the revenue to cover the cost of hiring you. However, when it is structured and researched correctly, practically any role – from administrative assistant to CFO – can be successful.

The LinkedIn Cardinal Sins: Pride

In the first article of this series, we explored how Sloth and its children of laziness and procrastination can damn your LinkedIn efforts. However, while the effects of half measures are obvious, Pride can be a confusing “sin” on LinkedIn. After all, aren’t we here to promote ourselves?

Unfortunately, that underlying attitude is the exact PROBLEM with LinkedIn. Regardless of your agenda on LinkedIn – to generate business or find a job – being overly self-absorbed will be a detriment to your efforts. And that is the essence of Pride as a LinkedIn cardinal sin.

Sin of Pride – Preoccupation with Self and Excessive Belief in One’s Abilities

The sin of pride is a preoccupation with self. But how can we tell if we are preoccupied with self? It comes down to motives. It doesn’t take very long to see when someone is trying to use you on LinkedIn. Chances are, you’ve seen it yourself: you accept an invitation to connect from someone you don’t really know, only to be hit up with a request to take his resume to your boss. Obviously, the person didn’t care about you at all, only his own motives of getting a job.

The other half of this sin is the excessive belief in one’s abilities. Obviously, some people like to pack their profile. But if the skills, achievements, or even jobs aren’t in line with reality (or your resume), this leads to a quick and nasty fall.

Let’s look at the ways that Pride can poison our genuine networking efforts:

1.       Is your Profile self-absorbed?

This is the hardest test on LinkedIn. After all, we DO want to promote our best qualities, skills, achievements, and experience. However, the problem lies in WHO are you writing FOR. In other words, all of your great qualities need to relate to your purpose on LinkedIn.

I tell my clients all the time that their resumes are not actually about them; they are all about the EMPLOYERS and their needs. LinkedIn Profiles are the same. Think of what kind of problems you solve for your intended audience (clients or employers) and then write your Profile from their perspective. Do these awards or achievements help them understand how you can assist them? Does your experience reflect facts that are relevant?

2.       Are your achievements, skills, and experience honest?

More and more companies are accepting LinkedIn as the avenue to apply for a job. As such, ALL of your Profile must be an accurate portrayal of your abilities. After all, more companies are also doing skills and personality testing prior to hire, and if you don’t meet the expectations of that boastful Profile, it will not go well for you.

3.       Are you willing to listen to other people’s point of view?

One of the reasons why I join Groups on LinkedIn is to not only share my knowledge but to gain input from others. In fact, some of the Groups I enjoy the most are ones related to my own profession, where I read articles and discussions to continue my own professional development. I may have interesting ideas, but they aren’t the only ones out there.

When I get involved in any conversation online, I like to read the points being made before passing judgment. Sometimes I don’t agree with the stance that other resume writers take, and I will point out my reasons in the discussion. However, I don’t just beat people into submission with all my grand “over 10 years of experience in leading job seekers to fabulous jobs!” That’s a very prideful statement and doesn’t lead to intelligent discourse.

4.       Are you only doing self-promotion?

In social media, most people are turned off by the intense sales pitch of yesteryear. One of my personal pet peeves are the “articles” that are thinly veiled heavy-handed advertisements. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with telling people what you sell. It’s the tone and messaging that needs to be adjusted for social selling over advertising.

Personally, I prefer a program of attraction over blatant promotion. My own strategy is to share quality content instead of pushing my agenda. I’d rather build a relationship with a new contact and then see how I can help her. Even when posting articles, I keep to the strategy of quality content that offers real insight. This ensures that my content won’t get shuffled off to spam because of archaic marketing techniques.

Overcoming Pride:

First and foremost, keeping your intended purpose and audience on LinkedIn will help break the self-absorption cycle. Two other key factors can help as well-

a.       What do others say about you?

While tooting your own horn is great, gathering Recommendations is a solid way to prove those achievements and traits. These aren’t the simple “clicks” on your skills, but actual written recommendations from your Connections. Let them state the glowing praise for a more genuine display of how great you are.

use LinkedIn recommendations to prove your worth

b.       Do you have something to offer others?

One possible way to overcome pride is through service. When I approach people with the attitude of “what can I do to help you?” I get better results. As a job seeker, this is solving problems for the potential employer. For a businessperson seeking sales, this is the solutions their service or product offers. Even if neither of these fit your situation, sharing quality content within your Groups that is within the Group’s area of interest will naturally build your reputation.

What do you have to give?

The LinkedIn Cardinal Sins: Sloth

Chances are, you probably have heard of the Seven Deadly Sins: indulging in too much Sloth, Pride, Greed, Lust, Envy, Wrath, or Gluttony is supposedly a sure-fire, one-way ticket to the Abyss. However, now we have a whole new horde of cardinal sins that can send your social media networking efforts straight to Hell: The LinkedIn Cardinal Sins. Worse, there are far more than just seven that people are perpetrating every day, from minor offenses of laziness to major mistakes that can actually get you banned.

Over the next few articles, I will dive into some of these pitfalls that are tripping up LinkedIn users every day. Let’s start with one of my favorites: Sloth.

Sloth does not refer to the slow-moving cute animal with a permanent grin. Instead, sloth is just basic laziness or dialing it in when we need to be stepping up our game. Look out for:

  1. Clicking on buttons without thinking about itsloth-likes-instead-of-message

From Endorsing people’s Skills to hitting the “Like” button on someone’s status update, LinkedIn tries to make it simple and easy to operate their website. It constantly suggests clicks for articles, Group discussions, Skills, or birthdays and work anniversaries. However, if you aren’t thinking about what you are doing, it’s not a strategic use of the site. Basically, mouse clicks are never as valuable as actual words. If you want people to remember you, you need to have written responses, whether in a message to a person or in a reply to a Group discussion.

2. Not writing custom invitations to potential connections

sloth-connect-lazyProbably the worst example of clicking on the mouse without thought is when you invite someone to connect with you, or the dreaded big blue “Connect” button. 95-99% of the invitations I receive on LinkedIn are the standard, boring generic greeting: “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” If you want people to connect with you, you need to tell them why.
It does take a little extra effort, but here’s the secret: don’t click the “Connect” button unless you are looking at the person’s profile. This takes you to a separate screen where you can change that greeting. If you aren’t sure about what to say, mention a Group or connection that you share in common. sloth-connect-goodCommenting on a recent article or post they did also helps break the ice.

 

3. Not completing your profile

This is easily the worst example of sloth for LinkedIn. Your profile is your window to the world, where you build your reputation, try to attract recruiters, and give employers insight that goes beyond the simple resume. If the profile is incomplete, you are missing out on the opportunity to sell yourself to future recruiters and hiring managers.

Up to 90% of recruiters and HR departments use LinkedIn, either to source candidates directly or to compare their profile with the resume before contacting the applicant for an interview (source: LinkedIn, 2016). Ever had a recruiter or target company look at you and then NOT contact you further? Something didn’t align between the resume and profile, so they moved on to someone else.

Go complete your profile. Today. Before more opportunity passes you by.

4. Not customizing your headline

If you didn’t create a custom headline for your profile, the default is the title and company for your current employer. However, that is leaving valuable key word real estate wasted.

When people find you in a search, they are limited to the name, headline, location, and quick overview of the work history. A plain or “facts only” approach to the headline is not going to entice more views. Instead, use descriptive, key word rich branding statements. For example, an original headline may read:

Director of Sales for ABC Medical

A branded headline would be:

Director of Sales | VP of Sales | Helping physicians improve patient outcomes with innovative medical devices

Keep in mind your target audience to guide what message you want to convey.

5. Not putting relevant key words in your Skills section

People ask me all the time if the Skills and Endorsements are valuable. This is a mixed bag.  They do provide a neat visual representation on the profile, but most people know that they are easily obtained – it takes no thought than one of your 1st Degree Connections clicking a box to endorse you.  On the other hand, the Skills are valuable key words that LinkedIn will use in searches and recruiters utilize when candidates apply to jobs posted on LinkedIn.

Sometimes when you look at your Profile, new skills are shown at the very top of the screen, above your picture.  These are Endorsements from your connections for Skills that are not on your Profile yet.  You can choose to add these or not; they don’t automatically get added.  One thing you will see is that sometimes these Skills don’t make sense or don’t reflect what you actually did in the past.  This is the problem with these quick-add Skills.  Your connections mean well, but LinkedIn showed them these options by random, which can in some cases include skills typical for your profession.  For example, I have never done Conflict Resolution.  But this is a common skill for HR professionals, which is a match for one of my past jobs. LinkedIn is trying to do me a “favor” by suggesting that skill to my connections, even though it doesn’t relate to my current work history.

Don’t blindly accept new Skills – only choose key words that are relevant for your target job, not just the jobs you did in the past.

6. Not joining Groups

To make an impact on LinkedIn, you must get involved in the Groups.  Groups are formed by individual LinkedIn members and can be based on almost any premise.  There are professional groups, associations, location-based, special interest, college alumni, and even fans of major sports teams. The whole point is for people to get together around a common theme and share their experience, thoughts, articles and blogs as online discussions. Plus, when you are connected through a Group, you usually can send a direct message to fellow group members, even if you just have a free account.

No matter what your networking goals or comfort level, you should always join at least two types of Groups:

  1. Large, local Groups
  2. Groups specific to your industry

You may choose others, based on your interests:

  1. Job hunting Groups
  2. Association Groups
  3. Technical user Groups for Drupal, WordPress, Oracle, etc.
  4. Special interest, such as a non-profit, cause, or political Group
  5. Just-for-fun: sports teams’ fans, Dr. Who (there are 40 Star Wars fan groups, by the way…)

In large, local Groups, you may not even be involved in the Discussions or daily activity.  However, you want to join these Groups to have an instant connection with the thousands of current Group members.  You specifically want local Groups to build a network that could translate into face-to-face meetings, which are more valuable than just a social networking presence.

For the Groups within your industry, these are valuable for a number of reasons.  This is where you want to connect with others to expand your own knowledge or expertise.  I like to read the incoming articles and posts to make sure that I am staying on top of the latest techniques, trends and technology for my niche.

Ending Sloth

Once the work of perfecting the profile and getting involved in Groups is completed, it is possible to streamline your activity on LinkedIn. It’s not necessary to spend 10-20 hours on LinkedIn to achieve great results. Many of the tasks are automated through email or app messages – just make it a habit to read those messages, pop into the site and take care of business.

 

 

businessman scared of networking

7 Networking tips for introverts

You have probably heard the statistics – many sources such as LinkedIn, Forbes, and the Harvard Business Review claim that 60 – 80% of jobs are found or secured through some form of networking (sources: Career Playbook, http://www.careerplaybook.com/guide/networking.asp). For people who are shy or naturally more introverted, this sounds like the kiss of death. However, it doesn’t need to be.

 

1.       Realize what networking is and is not

 

First of all, most job search experts and formal studies indicate that “some form of networking” is beneficial for the job search. This is encouraging because it includes one-on-one contacts, social media, tapping existing connections, and reaching out to past employers and co-workers. Networking is more than just reaching out to strangers and pressuring them to do favors for you, such as walking your resume down to the hiring manager. In fact, that rarely works.

 

Networking is far more expansive than most people realize. Even Aunt Martha telling you about a job opening she heard about from a friend at church is technically finding a job through networking. So don’t be intimidated by the 80% or more figure. It’s a lot easier to reach that many contacts then you think.

2.       Find the networking channels that work for you

 

Not all networking channels or strategies are going to be effective, especially if the entire idea of one technique strikes fear in your heart. A classic example of this are large networking groups.

 

While I’m not an introvert, I personally hate large networking groups. When I started my business, I dreaded going to large business after-hours events, but felt obligated to do it as I heard it was a “good idea.” What I found was a room filled with 300 people, all just shuffling business cards at each other. Of course, I never gained any valuable connections through this method, primarily because I never felt comfortable in the environment. I found myself constantly checking my watch to determine how soon I could leave.

 

For your own networking strategies, think about what you are most likely to do on a regular basis. Is it messaging your existing contacts? Is it attending classes? How about researching key managers at target companies and approaching them through email? Don’t forget about getting involved in Groups on LinkedIn. Write down at least 3-4 different tactics that you are most likely to actually do and then incorporate them into your weekly job search activities.

3.       Check out small groups for different interests

 

If the cattle call environment doesn’t work for you, focus on small networking groups. www.Meetup.com  is a great source for finding places where people are meeting face-to-face. Even better, these don’t have to be specifically related to job searching. Common interests, hobbies, and fun activities can be a great way to get used to meeting new people in a low-pressure environment.

 

By the way, there are small, supportive groups for job seekers, such as my own in the Denver metro area: http://www.meetup.com/Brown-Bag-Job-Search-Group/  By staying under 20 people, this creates a genuine atmosphere that isn’t overwhelming to the introverted job seeker.

4.       Reach out to individuals before attending a large event

 

At times, attending a large event is extremely helpful for your job search. To ease into it, reach out to individuals that you know will be there and make a plan to meet them.

 

For example, one of my professional associations, the Domestic Estate Management Association (DEMA), will be having their annual conference in Arizona in August 2016. (http://demaconvention.com/  ) Drawing over 200 private service professionals from all over the country, it can be intimidating for a newcomer. However, several have already reached out to me personally, planning to grab lunch or coffee at the event. This way, they know for a fact they will have some one-on-one time with someone, not just walking into an event filled with strangers.

 

5.       Practice your personal introduction

 

By now, you’ve probably heard of the “elevator speech” – a prepared and practiced personal introduction to break the ice with someone you just met. Most people consider this a commercial or pitch to convey who you are, what you can do for someone, and what you have to offer.

 

Be sure to write out and practice your introduction before you meet with anyone. Listen for the way it sounds: is it genuine, sincere, and honest? An elevator speech that is a true reflection of who you are and not just a gimmick will be easier to remember and will make a better first impression.

 

6.       Listen more than you speak

 

This is where the introvert’s strength really works in their favor. Introverts are masters of observation, quietly taking in the details and paying attention to what’s going on.  In networking situations, this comes across as someone who listens well. In general, people like to talk about themselves, especially to someone who is paying attention. With just a few prompting questions, you can get the other person to lead the conversation and leave a great impression at the same time.

 

7.       Follow up

 

The real value in any networking tactic is following up. Whether it’s writing a personal message to a new social media contact or emailing a person after an event, following up is the key to solidify the relationship and build positive results. After all, you don’t want to go through all of the uncomfortableness of unfamiliar networking just to let your efforts fall flat.

Spring has sprung (almost)

Spring may not “officially” be in season quite yet, but that all changes this upcoming weekend. Soon there will be fluffy bunnies, robins, flowers in bloom and leaves on the trees that spent their winter dormant waiting for this moment.

We humans have a tendency to “hibernate” in the winter seasons, preferring to stay indoors where it is nice and toasty, binge watching Netflix and feasting during the holiday seasons. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but our homes tend to get kind of gross in that period of time. Thusly did spring cleaning become a thing.

Every spring, you can find spring cleaning messages in advertisements online and on television, even the radio if you can tolerate the commercials.

“Woah, hold on there a minute, James,” you may be saying, “What does that have to do with careers?”

Well, random person whom I have never met, yet seem to be able to voice in a static writing…everything!

We are creatures of habits and patterns. Every spring, we clean up our living spaces. Plants and animals go through changes, so we strive for a change ourselves. Many job seekers start looking for a career shift around this time of year, riding the optimism carried by the bright flowers and birdsongs. However, many job seekers do not apply the aforementioned spring cleaning bug to their resumes and other career documents.

Your resume, cover letter and even your LinkedIn profile can grow just as stagnant in the winter seasons as your living space. You grow comfortable with it. You may no longer see where it may need to be cleaned up and changed. Well, time to dust those suckers off and get to work!

1.    Resume

Even if you have recently updated your resume, you want to make sure it is as current as possible. Did you take on additional responsibilities at your current position? Did you recently leave a position? Did you move? Change your phone number? These are just the basics in terms of editing your resume, but if you don’t address the basics first, you are basically shooting yourself in the foot.

Your current resume should focus on the last 10-15 years of career experience and development or in your current industry. Take a look at some of the job descriptions for the job title you are looking at getting in your next career move. How much experience do they require? What skills are all of the job descriptions looking for? Use this as a road map for updating your resume that you send out to employers.

2.    Master Resume / Application

This is a little different than your resume. A summary of your employment history is modeled after your resume, but includes a few extra details, such as the employer’s address, your supervisor, contact information, starting/ending salary and reason for leaving.

This kind of document is a fantastic tool for interviewing, but also useful for filling out online applications. When it comes time for interviews, have this document with you and ready, and a lot of that pre-interview stress will be mitigated.

Use this template:

Company         Dates Worked

Job Title

Address

Supervisor Name, Title, Contact information

Starting Salary:

Ending Salary:

Reason for Leaving:

 

Example:

 

Private Company, LLC 9/2011 to 4/2014

Private Chef to Mr. and Mrs. John Successful

Confidential Work Location, Any town, USA

Jane Smith, HR Coordinator, 123 Main Street, Any town, USA, (123) 456-7890, jsmith@email.com

Starting Salary: 87,500/year

Ending Salary: 98,000/year plus discretionary bonus

Reason for Leaving: Spouse relocated to San Francisco, CA

3.    Cover Letters

Like a great suit, everyone should have more than one cover letter.  Ideally, you would write a fresh cover letter for each job, or at least have three or four letters that you can easily adapt to job postings.  Have a few that are ready for a quick tweak, especially for an email message.  Do not forget to put in extra effort to customize the letter for your dream job. Including research specific to that employer or situation will help you stand out from the other applicants. This applies to follow-up letters and thank you letters as well.

4.    Reference List

Rather than stating “references available on request” on your resume, have a prepared reference list.  This is a single document that includes three or four professional references and up to three character references. Ideally, you want to select people who would be willing to speak with a potential employer, discussing you, your achievements and the attributes that make you the best candidate for the job at hand.  If a written recommendation letter exists from an individual and you plan to add it to your application package, make a note of it on this list.

 

In fact, when was the last time you communicated with the people on your list?  Now is a good time to reconnect.  Find out what they are up to and fill them in on all the happenings in your life.  If a colleague mentioned writing you a recommendation letter the last time you spoke, then follow-up on their offer.  Make it easy for them by directing them to your LinkedIn profile.

5.    LinkedIn

Speaking of LinkedIn, once you have finished up your polishing of your other documents, your profile is a great next step, especially if you plan to use it you reconnect with your references. With LinkedIn, you can update any of the information you changed on your resume, naturally, but you will also want to talk to people in your network and strengthening those professional relationships. Get recommended, ask your references and others to endorse your skills and do the same for them. Trust me, it goes a long way.

Need more help with LinkedIn? Check out our free and paid webinars on Eventbrite, HERE

 

Just clean up your career documents a little this spring. Follow this guide, and you will be sure to get more out of your resume, cover letter and profile than you have been.

 

 

 

Building and Protecting Your Reputation

As my friend and trusted business advisor Denny Basham of Subsilio Consulting says, “Reputation matters.”  Never has this been truer in business than it is today.  With Google at everyone’s fingertips and reviews available for everything under the sun, both the business owner and the job seeker need to be very conscious of what their reputation is.

 

Why does reputation matter?

In today’s marketplace, it’s very easy to find out a lot of information about individuals as well as businesses.  For job seekers, this equates the need to build positive, online reviews – just like a proactive reputation marketing campaign is important to a business.  One place we see this is on LinkedIn.

It is now standard practice for recruiters and managers to check out a candidate’s LinkedIn profile before offering them an interview.  Some of the main things they are looking for are the Recommendations, the size of the candidate’s network, the Endorsements, and his or her Groups.  All of this additional information gives insight into the candidate beyond just the resume.  Of these, the written Recommendations matter the most.  Endorsements for skills may be valuable key words, but when one of your connections actually writes a paragraph or two about your work, the recruiters will take notice.

Finally, one piece of the online reputation is consistency – if the work history is widely different than what was received in the resume, this reflects poorly on the candidate.  Of course, the work history and a LinkedIn profile shouldn’t be just a verbatim listing from the resume.  However, if dates, locations, company names, and other facts are inconsistent, it makes the job seeker look like they lack attention to detail.

Action builds reputations

Another factor that recruiters and managers check is how involved a candidate is online.  If he or she only has 20 connections and isn’t involved in the Groups, this doesn’t reflect well on how much they are willing to contribute to the industry as a whole.

Whenever you post a discussion or reply to a conversation, you are building your reputation within that Group.  Obviously, intelligent conversation is preferred, but sometimes just being involved is enough.  Of course, if you have something negative to say, don’t say it online!

Defending your reputation

Sometimes, things go sideways and your reputation may be attacked.  This happened to me recently.  One of my clients let me know that a former past connection of mine was tearing apart my work, stating that he would never get a job because he was following my advice.  This was especially hurtful because I have supported this business owner and his endeavors for years – both verbally and online.  Of course, my first reaction was to retaliate; thank goodness I’ve been self-trained to have greater restraint than that.

When faced with a reputation attack, first consider:

  1. The source – does this person have their own reputation problems or history of attacking people? If so, don’t take ownership of their character defects.
  2. Is it true? If yes, take the necessary actions to correct the behavior.  If not, think about what you can do to build on your positive reputation.

Now that the main questions have been addressed, come up with a plan to deal with the tarnishing event.  Your course of action may include:

  • Do nothing and let this person’s own karma catch up with them.
  • Reach out to your network and promote a positive achievement, idea, or action to counteract the reputation hit.
  • Journal writing about the incident. It’s normal to be mad or upset about the situation, but you don’t want to accidentally post a negative attack online or in an email that could come back to haunt you.

One of my mottos for my company is “Act with Honor.”  When faced with a reputation attack, I must keep this commitment first in my mind.  It’s very tempting to react to anger and bitterness with more of the same, but rarely does it lead to positive results – in business or in life.

Using the personal touch helps business people connect

Onboarding your new household staff or manager

Within the corporate environment, companies invest significant dollars into making sure that their new employees will feel welcome, acclimate to the culture, and become effective in their new jobs. Considering that it can cost up to 50% of the person’s salary to replace them, a solid onboarding process is a valuable strategy.

However, within the home staffing environment, how to get your new employees up-to-speed may not be so clear cut.  If you’ve never had private staff before, the challenge can be especially intimidating.  How do you create an orientation plan when you don’t know what to expect?

Here’s some simple guidelines and tips to make sure that you and your new employee will be off to a great start:

1.      Make time to meet with them on the first day

The first step to building a successful working relationship is to invest the time.  Even if it’s just the first hour of their first day, greeting them personally lets your new household manager, personal assistant or staff member know that they are a valued edition to the team.

Without a doubt, the #1 aspect that employees look for in a private service job is a good personality match with the family.  The best way to reinforce your family’s unique culture is to be there.

2.      Have an orientation plan

We all want someone to step into a position and immediately know where everything is and how to perform the work.  No matter how talented your new staff member or manager is, there will be a learning curve.  It takes time to become familiar with a new location, from identifying the cleaning products to accessing the passwords for the personal calendars.

Create a plan to orient your new staff to cover these important questions:

  • Tour of the home or office and location of key components to their work
  • Regular schedules and appointments
  • Introduction to other staff members, especially if they will be supervising this person
  • Child or elder care essentials, even if they are not providing direct care to other family members: allergies, activities, schools, and doctor’s information
  • Communication plans: who to call in emergencies as well as preferred communication methods for less urgent matters
  • Expectations for hours, reimbursable expenses, pay dates, benefits, and other payroll-related items
  • Processing employment paperwork

3.      A clearly defined job description

Hopefully, you will have created a job description before hiring your new staff member.  If not, be sure to do this critical step.  This is your guideline for all parties involved so that expectations are clearly communicated on all parts.  Remember, your new persona assistant or household / estate manager wants to make your life easier.  The job description lets them know in no uncertain terms what their responsibilities are.

4.      Setting boundaries

Personal boundaries can be a sticky area for new household employers.  While your employee is here to support your lifestyle, realize that they do have their own lives as well. Don’t ask them to stay beyond their normal hours every single day.  Don’t stifle their communication with their own family members.  While it’s not acceptable for them to be on Facebook every moment of the day, they may need to be contacted in an emergency.

A common term in private service is “friendly but not familiar.”  This means that while your staff is an important part of your household, they are not your family.  Some households reinforce the personal boundaries by having their staff refer to them as “Mr. Smith” or “Mrs. Jones.”  While a subtle difference, it can help maintain the professional nature of your new relationship.

5.      Your own adjustment

If this is the very first time you’ve had staff, realize that this is not like the movies.  It can be an adjustment to have someone new in your home or working closely by your side on a day-to-day basis.  Do you treat them like a guest or a servant?

The answer is neither. While you are clearly the employer, remember that you need to communicate clearly to your new person.  Sometimes they will have suggestions to improve the household operations.  Listen to their voice of experience, but ultimately, the choice is yours.  If you don’t like the way a task is being handled, speak to them about it.  Often times, writing it out before approaching your employee can help you clearly define the problem and devise a plan for how to change it in the future.

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