On December 8, 2011, Pink Slip Mid-Michigan is going to feature Chris Holman as the keynote speaker. Chris has an expansive professional career within the business world and owns the Greater Lansing Business Monthly magazine. Other workshops are going to be geared specifically for job seekers and include topics such as: Image – Dressing for Success, Power Resumes, Interview Skills, the Inside Track and a special session entitled, “Staying Positive In a Challenging Economy.” Lisa Wiley-Parker, aka Recruiter Uncensored, will also be giving a brief overview on how to get the most out of networking.
Being able to get in front of employers is a great opportunity. Perhaps you want to learn more about a company, but don’t know anyone who works there. Networking can open the doors and give you a glimpse into the culture and climate within prospective employers. You can build relationships and keep in touch with the contacts you meet. They typically can keep their eyes open for job openings and let you know if something comes along that you might be a good fit for.
Having said that, don’t be too eager to throw your resume out to everyone you meet. If somebody asks you for your resume, definitely pass it along. However, if you meet somebody and just start talking about your credentials and how qualified you are and start pushing yourself on them, you are going to appear desperate and the person may form a negative image of you.
Rather than investing money into fancy resume paper, I would strongly encourage you to purchase business cards. Business cards or skills cards as some people call them, are great for networking events. They aren’t as intimidating as resumes and not as bulky. Most professionals have business cards and as a job seeker, you need to portray yourself as professional as well. On my business card, I have a couple of different things that catch people’s attention. Instead of a picture, I have a QR code that goes to my blog. I have my Twitter handle, email address, website, blog and Facebook page title, and cell phone number. Below is a simplified example of what you can add to your own personalized business cards:
QR Code – Linked In profile appears when scanned or possibly your online portfolio
Linked In website
Social media – Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, etc.
You may want to create a QR code and you can do so for free here. Once you have created it, save the picture and you can use that in place of a regular photo for your business card. Vista Print is one option for obtaining low cost, high quality business cards. If you order them within this week, hypothetically, you could have them in time for December 8th to pass out to new contacts.
Once you have planted the seed of a new professional relationship with new contacts, remember to follow up with them. Perhaps you know of a person that could use services that their company offers. Or, perhaps your contact mentioned that they are looking for volunteer opportunities in the community and you know of one. When you contact your professional colleagues, keep it professional and centered around them and their business. This will show that you care about them and the well-being of their company.
I typically will invite new contacts out to coffee or lunch. This way, I can find out more about them and they can ask about me. I’ve discovered that the more interest you sincerely have regarding the person you invite out to a coffee/lunch date, the more genuine response you are going to be given. Remember to be interested in them and convey to them why their company is interesting to you. This may mean that you have to do a little research into their company before you meet, but it shows you are truly interested.
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