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The Dolphin – In the Job Market: The Importance of Social Quotient

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 22, 2016 in Building Confidence, Job Search, Thinking Positive

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The job search jungle has often been characterized by the diversity of its inhabitants. Be it the kind of environments one has to cope with, or the competition you’re up against while making a run for the best of career options suiting your needs, it has never been an easy fight while surviving here. However, there’s one thing that you can learn from the animals around and especially the ones living underwater.

Be it the whistling, grunts, squeaks or the loving nature they display with those near, the dolphin has been adored by all owing to its social prowess. Known as the most ‘socially active’ animal after humans, Dolphins live together in pods (groups), with each group including species of variable sizes. This sure does press over the fact that your stature in the job market doesn’t matter. All that counts is the group, or simply put, the network you represent. Communicating actively to tackle problems together, Dolphins have immense social skills that you can learn from and implement in your job search strategy.

Consulting Your Network Every Now and Then

Obviously, the most significant step in this instance would be building a network full of professionals and connections you can learn from, one that keeps you together even during the most negative of situations.

Building on similar lines, being an active communicator to your network and expressing your concerns, such as resume formatting or difficulties, while following up with employers is also necessary. Observe Dolphins and you will surely find their entire pod coming up against the Shark every time they get attacked. All it takes is a message from a single Dolphin and the network stands as one from there on. This can happen with you as well, just stay active in expressing your concerns.

Beating the Stress through Efficient Means

Dolphins have quite a large brain and a great capacity to memorize complex tasks. Such is the case with you, except for the fact that you face the downs that come with stress and anxiety while chasing employers or waiting to hear from one. The moment Dolphins find themselves stuck in any such situation, you’ll observe them frolicking around with those around them (out of the water even). This calls for you to behave similarly and use your ‘social quotient’ to stay in touch with your network, friends, seniors, and mentors. Find ways to keep your mind off the stress and keep performing at your own pace. That is what the modern job search is all about.

Keep Finding More and Don’t Just Settle

Watch a Dolphin doing tricks and jumping out of the water, scoring a fish or squid snack every time and it still isn’t satisfied until a larger meal. Well, that certainly is a quality you can adopt for your job search campaign as well. Think about it every time you’re about to compromise on your choices and settle for an alternative just because the competition is fierce. Being socially active, there will be numerous chances for you to stay on an active lookout for opportunities while being updated regarding the competition around also.

Dolphins always keep an eye on their mates while staying on a fish hunt, but keep searching for better options, nevertheless. It is this knack that will get you in to the corporation of your dreams, soon enough!

This Guest Post was contributed by Anshuman. Anshunan Kukreti is a professional writer and a keen follower of the emirates job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics related to employment across the globe. Reach him @ LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Polar Bear Cub – Life Skills For Graduates

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 15, 2016 in Career Path, Interviewing Skills, Job Search

Polar BearThe hope of many college seniors is to quickly land a post-grad entry level position with their first choice company, doing what they majored in, with a competitive salary, and opportunities for professional development. The reality is quite different for many hopefuls.

A polar bear mother spends a few months of the year in a den with her newborn cubs. When the cubs are larger and stronger, they are able to leave the den and walk around. The cubs are glued to their mother’s side for the next few months playfully imitating her hunting habits in preparation for later life. For life after college, many graduation seniors are woefully unprepared as they leave the protective den of their alma mater.

Carolyn Thompson of Merito Group, and author of Resumazing – Ten Easy Steps to a Perfect Resume, touched on some of the more significant challenges that the 2016 class of graduating college students face when they begin to look for job opportunities in her interview with David Rawles, host of Career Solutions Radio.

You can listen to the interview here.

One of the most underused resources on a college campus, Carolyn points out, is the career center. Many students don’t even know where it is and once you graduate, its resources will no longer be available to you. The career center can help you figure out your value proposition and connect you with employers hiring for the skills you have. They also have information on employers that recruit on campus most frequently. While you are still near the den, utilize the resources available for you.

The worst thing that many students realize at graduation is that they did not get any work experience at all and have nothing on their resume. “Any job is better than no job.” Carolyn says. You are developing a history of reliability and dependability by having a regular responsibility outside of school. You can also volunteer or take an unpaid internship to get experience and references. For instance, if you are working in a bar as an accounting major, the bar is still a business that has to do bookkeeping and taxes. Volunteer doing small tasks for them if you are having trouble finding a job in your major or field. Take a lesson from the polar bear cubs and get the experience you need before graduation without the stress of needing the skills to survive.

For all of you graduating seniors in the Metro DC area, APPLY HERE.

To help prepare in the next couple of months before graduation while you are still warm in the den (besides a visit to your career center), spruce up your resume with these tips from Carolyn:

  • Make sure your contact information on your resume is accurate. Typos in your email and cell phone number are very common mistakes.
  • Include at least your zip code in your contact information. Locality can play an important role in certain positions and your resume might not come up in searches.
  • Add a description of the companies you worked for (i.e. public or private, number of employees, revenue – whatever is relevant to the industry).
  • Bullet point your accomplishments outside of your job description so they stand out and set you apart – what you made, saved, or achieved in the role. All polar bears are white to blend in with the snow, but here you need to standout!
  • Write your skills together on your resume so they are easily found and can be reviewed quickly. (Technical skills, licenses, etc.)
  • Make sure the skills you include are relevant to the job you are applying for. Saying you have your real estate license takes up space if you don’t need it for the job.

(Editor’s tip – if you worked through a temp agency, remember to note that on your resume so your employer can check your background more efficiently)

For those young entrepreneurs out there: Carolyn tells a story of a young person who ran his own lawn care business in college. LISTEN HERE to find out how she rewrote his resume to help him land a position as a financial analyst after graduation.

One thing to note for your job search, Carolyn mentions, is that small to mid-size companies have more flexibility in a single position to allow you to learn and do more.  A lot of grads are attracted by marque name companies, but they might not get to do much in the role in such a large organization.

In the interview, David Rawles asks Carolyn about what she thinks is the biggest myth that many students may be thinking as they enter the workforce. Carolyn replies that some people think their first job dictates their future, but this is not the case. If you don’t land your dream job right away, it doesn’t mean it won’t happen later. Many people don’t get the job they thought they wanted and even those who do get their first choice may realize that it’s not for them and change. There is more than one ice floe in the arctic!

For more information about Career Solutions Radio with David Rawles click here.

-Lindsay Sellner, editor

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The Cassowary – Cutting A Path Through The Networking Jungle

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 19, 2016 in Self Improvement

Cassowaries are flightless birds native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and Australia. It is the second heaviest living bird and the species subsists mainly on fruit. Cassowaries are identified by a prominent boney casque protruding from their wedge-shaped heads. Several purposes for the casque have been suggested including use as a weapon for dominance, protection against fruit falling from trees, or even as a sort of knife; aiding their ability to cut a speedy path through the forest vegetation.

As professionals, we continuously work to hone our networking skills. Those in business development are always working to uncover a new business prospect. Job seekers are continuously building their networks to obtain job opportunity referrals that might not be advertised using the “friend of a friend” network.

But how did those people originally become friends?  I can promise you, it wasn’t from reaching out only when they needed something. They checked in from time to time and had recurring mutually beneficial exchanges that exemplified that they could trust and rely on one another. They created a relationship.

Relationships are built over time and go far beyond networking. If you are working to expand your network for personal or professional reasons, try changing your paradigm to cut through the jungle of networking and focus on expanding your relationships. How can you help someone else in their pursuits and, at the same time, reach your own goals?

Networking can be a painful part of job searching if you haven’t been building relationships along the way that are mutually beneficial. Job seekers who work tirelessly to get referrals while they are looking for work often neglect to continue the efforts that got them there after they get the job. I have heard countless stories about people who never received even a thank you note when they referred someone for a job. The job seeker was so focused on getting the job that they didn’t consider (or possibly remember) the person that made the intro for them.

Referrals are often made out of kindness without expecting anything in return, but when they are overlooked, it really sticks out in the referring person’s mind. I can almost promise you if you lose sight of building the relationship with the person that referred you, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get a second referral down the road. And the cycle will have to start from scratch again.

When you receive a referral, thank the person. Send a gift card, or a note in the mail, invite them to lunch or happy hour, but don’t just send another email. Referrals are a gift, not a right, and your own personal reputation is on the line when you refer someone to another person. Ask others how you can help them meet their goals this year as they were kind enough to assist you in meeting yours. That’s how you build a relationship.

People do business with people they know, trust and like. Rarely does a vendor get selected when they rub someone the wrong way.

Like the cassowary, use the tools you have to cut through the forest to reach your goal. Take time to keep good notes, thank people who help you along the way, and help them as well. Building relationships is far more important in building your network than just showing up and attending an event. Get involved at a higher level with your networking groups.  Remember, It’s a two way street.

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The Transformation – Caterpillar To Butterfly – Will An MBA Transform Your Career?

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 29, 2015 in Career Path, Self Improvement

CocoonAfter eating a lot of food for a few days, caterpillar suddenly stops eating. It creates a cocoon around itself and, within a few days, magically transforms into a butterfly! Have you been working hard for a long time and are still not happy with your job? Are you yearning for freedom to fly high in your career? Will it help to take a break from your job and get an MBA degree and come out of a business school (b-school) with a more powerful profile?

Do you need an MBA for a career shift

The relevance of an MBA degree has been widely contested by many. While some firmly believe that the MBA degree can boost the career of any professional and help him reach the top of the corporate ladder, others tend to say an MBA is not a necessity. While it’s true that you don’t necessarily have to be an MBA to be a great manager, it’s a great asset to have in helping you acquire managerial skills if you don’t consider yourself to be a stellar manager. Let’s compare both the sides of the argument and see if an MBA is really worth it if you are looking for a career shift.

Benefits of an MBA for a career shift

Helps in the long climb: An MBA can easily help in climbing the corporate ladder. Employees complain about how difficult it is for candidates who do not have a management background to succeed in the climb. While managerial skills can be learned on the job, and there are many non-MBA managers running the biggest of brands, sometimes organizations have rigid requirements that a manager needs to have a MBA to move into certain roles.

Networking: A B-school is not just a platform to acquire managerial skills and get the opportunity to make a career shit. It’s also about networking. All good business schools have great alumni networks that students can be a part of. The two years that you spend in a B-School can be one of the best ways to expand your network and increase your contacts. Your alumni network can become one of the best sources of opportunities to make the career change you need.

Leadership skills: A b-school can help you to acquire leadership skills that allow you to manage teams and take on senior roles which are currently evading you in your professional life. An MBA can serve as proof that you are capable of managing people and getting results in the most efficient way possible.

Opportunities: Most working professionals who join MBA courses often do it for the potential placement opportunities top of the line business schools can provide. Top performers with work experience often get a huge boost to their careers upon completing their MBA and it makes complete sense for professionals to invest time in developing their managerial skills for a career shift.

It is important to keep in mind that MBA degrees are becoming more accessible and it is not necessary to go for a full time MBA. An MBA degree can acquired through distance mode also. Other options are include part time and executive one year MBA programs.

But the MBA degree does come with some downsides

An MBA can be a huge investment: Most MBA courses are significantly expensive and even though the returns are massive at top B-Schools due to stellar placements, repaying educ
ation loans can be difficult and managing finances often becomes a problem for professionals in the initial years after graduation.

Experience disparity: Even as a working professionals there may be some disparities when opting in for placements. It’s quite likely that top managerial positions available at placement drives will be filled up by more experienced professionals. It’s often a cause for concern for candidates who do have less than 2 years of work experience or no work experience at all. While an MBA is platform to help your career grow, you have to give it time until you get the managerial positions you seek.

An MBA does not prepare you for real life managerial problems: While you acquire the skills needed to solve managerial problems, it’s only in theory. There is a vast difference between learning hands-on and learning in a classroom by working on real life examples.

An MBA is not a must-have for getting help in your career shift. But it does come with solid benefits especially in long term. It allows you to access more opportunities and have great learning experiences that allow you to know more about the intricacies of management. Some get into an MBA merely for networking and come out of the program satisfied with what they go out of it. Finally, each student needs to assess her dreams and financial situation to decide what makes the most sense for her. All that we can say is that it is not a must to get an MBA to have a rocking career!

This Guest Post was contributed by Paresh  of www.TargetAdmission.com.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

Image Source – https://justinahurley.files.wordpress.com/2012/05/522988_10150768096746740_1918938162_n.jpg

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The Woodpecker Approach: Importance of Persistence during Job-Search

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Mar 10, 2015 in Job Search

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The job-search jungle has long been ruled by members of the cat family. Power and ability to dominate being the foremost reasons, of course. However, there have been sufficient anomalies to prove that securing the most desirable job is not only the prerogative of those having power or resources. It is quite as much within the reach of other members too.

Your job-hunt might have been moving forward on the ‘ideal’ lines, but you aren’t finding returns favorable enough, right?

Well, that does force you into a deep introspection about things that might have gone wrong. Yes, speculating is a human tendency and so is getting hopeless.

An Ivory-billed Woodpecker stands as a great example in such a case. Boring nests in the tree trunk with a short and narrow beak, clearly indicating that with due persistence in one’s kitty, everything is achievable. The Woodpecker might find the tree trunk hard enough to penetrate with a timid beak, but driven by sheer will-power, the incessant taps never go in vain. That’s pretty much what you need to imbibe at the moment. Giving up on a job application and resting your case won’t land you in the workstation you desire. However, the spirit of not giving up definitely would!

Yes, you need to give calls repeatedly, drop messages on LinkedIn, follow the same process with a multitude of recruiters, find referrals and meet people, in short- you’ll have to be an opportunist from the get-go!

Here are some subtleties you can work on and be pleasantly persistent to land in your dream country job.

 

  • Have a Concrete Reason for Contacting

The Woodpecker doesn’t tap the wood without a reason. It cares to bore a nest and is putting all its energy towards it. Likewise, you need to have a specific reason to contact a person during this process. ‘I’m just calling to follow up’ often sounds like a phrase stemming out of formality.

During your first contact, an introduction from a mutual acquaintance or because you read an article the person wrote, come across as legitimate reasons. Once you form a connection, an update on some prior discussion could be the reason to drop a call or schedule a meeting.

 

  • Try and Schedule the Next Few Steps

A key-mistake most of the job-seekers commit after getting a recruiter’s attention is leaving the follow-up, up in the air. Always try to schedule the next chat or meet-up. The least you can try is to get permission to reach out again, within a certain timeframe.

In case you’re given a specific advice to follow at the first instance, reconnecting to give an update on what you did is also a worthwhile idea.

 

  • Be in Touch with Multiple Professionals Rather than One

A Red-cockaded Woodpecker often prefers staying in a group of up to nine during the breeding season. Obviously, the power of a network holds due significance in nature’s every element.

Similarly, you can be in simultaneous touch with more than one personnel in an organization. If you targeted professional isn’t responding, try connecting with someone else.

Always avert being cynical about a person who isn’t being responsive and make sure you don’t spam an entire company.

 

  • Being Explicit Would Work

Chipping off wood, flake by flake is how it goes about building a nest. Yes, perfection does lie in the details and that’s exactly what you need to keep in mind during your job-hunt.

Sometimes, it might just happen that the above strategies don’t work despite your best efforts. Such a situation demands for you to give the person a good enough reason to talk to you and give you a share of his valuable time.

This has worked on multiple occasions and has led the person to apologize for being unreachable. Going into the details and being explicit in your approach makes it hard for someone to believe that you’re annoying. Usually a last-ditch effort, but using this tactic more than once might not be a lucrative avenue.

It’s simply not enough to appear in an interview and waiting to hear back. Employers look forward to people with drive, passion and will-power to secure a job. So, arm yourself efficiently to go the extra mile. Results will surely be in your favor.

This Guest Post was contributed by Anshuman Kukreti.  Anshuman is a professional writer and a keen follower of the emirates job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics related to employment across the globe. Reach him @ LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Whale Shark – Five of My Personal Tips to Help You Succeed in Your Finance Career

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Sep 9, 2014 in Career Path, Job Search

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Whale sharks are the largest known extant fish species in the world. They are found in warm ocean waters and live about 70 to 100 years. The whale shark feeds by gulping in massive Whale Sharkamounts of plankton or fish with its giant mouth. Finance, like the whale shark, is one of the largest and most utilized careers in the world absorbing a massive amount of responsibility and careers into its domain. Everyone and everything has to deal with money. Even if you aren’t a professional financial analyst or planner, you may be paying for education, financing real estate and cars, paying loans, buying insurance, taxes, investing and saving for retirement, etc.

I started working professionally in the finance sector 12 years ago and I wish there had been someone to guide me in the right direction, and impart words of wisdom that could have influenced my decisions and choices. I relied heavily on outdated textbooks, and it did help in some ways, but things are much better now for those who are just starting out in the field of finance. I really believe that the internet is a powerful force for candidates and trainees – after all, there is a lot of easily accessible advice all stored in one location.

Therefore I thought I would do my own part for the people who find themselves in a similar situation the one I was in all those years ago; looking for help in terms of their career. If you are one of these numbers, here are five of my personal tips to help you succeed in your finance career…

Learn continuously

In business, many people make the mistake of finding a job and then taking a back seat. They let their daily tasks become a routine that is hard to shake. Whilst carrying out the responsibilities of your job is vital, it is just as important to continue your education in many areas. There are always advancements in industries, regardless of what they are, so it would be unlikely that there wasn’t a course or workshop that would benefit you in some way. The whale shark is an active feeder. It goes to where the food is!

Seek the best opportunities

Of course it helps to find the right position in the first place, and I have plenty of advice on finding finance careers (www.nationwide-jobs.co.uk/), but I’ll try and keep it short. Don’t expect jobs to land in your email inbox, you will need to be proactive in order to find something special. Make a list of all of the companies you are currently aware of, and then search for their competitors online. You will then have a good place in which to start your job hunt, and you can start to learn the key decision makers that work in each company. Careers in finance are out there, but the exact parts of finance that you most want to work in and the companies you want to work for require some search and filtering. Food separation in whale sharks is by cross-flow filtration, in which the water travels nearly parallel to the filter pad surface, before passing to the outside, while denser food particles continue to the back of the throat.

Ask for feedback

In your job search and when you start working for a company, you should learn to ask for feedback. This can help you to identify areas for improvement when it comes to your interview style, as well as in your day-to-day work. Some businesses will have staff development at the forefront of their business and will automatically schedule appraisals for you, but you may need to ask for these directly in other companies. Whale sharks are actually very difficult to study in their natural habitat so keep an ear to the ground to get the most out of your experiences wherever you are!

Be friendly

It may also help you in the long run to be friendly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should roll over and accept what people say or do, just that you should ensure that your attitude doesn’t negatively affect your career. Try and be open-minded and you may find that people are more receptive to your ideas and actions. Despite its size, the whale shark does not pose significant danger to humans. Whale sharks are docile fish and sometimes allow swimmers to catch a ride.

Don’t be afraid

Finally, don’t be afraid of taking some risks in your career – it’s something that is a strong theme throughout the finance sector! Take pride in networking and listing your skills on your LinkedIn profile; if another company is interested in them, it means you have been working hard to achieve what you set out to do. The whale shark grows to be so large in size, it does not have many natural enemies besides humans. So don’t hold back when you dive into finance!

This guest post was contributed by Victoria. If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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The Bird’s Nest – Building Your Professional Bio

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on May 22, 2014 in Self Improvement

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Tips to write an effective, professional bio.Nest2

As a talent acquisition and search services firm, we have the frequent opportunity and pleasure to neaten and expand resumes and professional profiles. This helps our clients to better see the experience of a candidate and also helps our candidates land the perfect job. You can find many articles in this blog about tips to write the perfect resume.

This week I had the occasion to help one of my longtime friends write their professional bio. Unlike a resume, cover letter, or profile, a bio should highlight your current company, your immediate related professional background, and also include a bit of your personality in a few short paragraphs. Your alma mater, interests, major projects, and accomplishments should be a couple of sentences and, if applicable, media mentions or notable clients can be included. Incorporate as many numbers as you can and mention if you are involved in any outside activities and member organizations.

All of these points are the “eggs” that need a home outside of your resume. The nest of your professional bio can be used on company websites, requests for proposals, and many other areas. Your nest can only hold a few eggs at a time, so as your career changes and grows, be sure to swap out your accomplishments. It is good to update your bio once a year along with your resume so you aren’t scrambling for it at the last minute.

Below is an example:

 

BEFORE

Harry Miles is the Field Operations Director for Interior Design Company Inc. He has over 25 years of healthcare planning, activation, and patient move planning experience.  He has developed proprietary tools to accurately budget and plan complete facility activations.  Most recently he planned a 300,000 sf in patient facility located in Guam: equipment delivery and installation, activation, training, transition planning, patient move planning and relocation of reuse all completed forty five days. The project was a huge success and finished on time and within budget.  In his career he has planned and executed over 200 projects with an emphasis on patient care and staff safety, budget and schedule.  He has a great deal of experience organizing, training and motivating people toward a common goal.

 

AFTER

Harry Miles, PMP, is the Director Field Operations for Interior Design Company Inc.

Harry attended the University of Notre Dame on a full football scholarship where he played as a linebacker for 4 years while he obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

Harry brings 20+ years of healthcare operations, logistics and planning experience to his role at Interior Design Company Inc. This boutique Alaskan and Native American Minority Business Enterprise is equally adept at meeting the needs of clients in the contiguous 48 states and all US Territories.

He recently delivered a 300,000 sf inpatient facility project located in Guam on schedule – 45 days from receipt of equipment.  This comprehensive, complex start to finish project included design, equipment procurement, delivery, installation, activation, training, transition planning, patient move planning and relocation.

He has a great deal of experience organizing, training and motivating people toward a common goal.  He has developed proprietary budgeting and scheduling tools that have uniquely allowed him to successfully execute over 200 projects with an emphasis on patient care and staff safety both domestically and internationally.

Harry and his family live in the Washington, DC area. He grew up in South Bend, IN and is an expert in University of Notre Dame sports trivia.  He was a high school State Champion in Tennis, speaks Zulu, the bush language of South Africa, and has a unique passion for large scale implementation and delivery projects.

For more information on Harry and Interior Design Company Inc. services visit his website or email him at Harry’s_email@email.com

———–

If you need help reworking or creating your professional bio, email Lindsay at lindsay@meritogroup.com with your resume and to inquire about pricing.

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The Peacock – Making A Lasting Impression In The Wild

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 17, 2014 in Lessons Learned

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The ostentatious Indian Peacock’s tail plumage has many admirers, but little understanding of why the colorful feathers evolved. Theories of sexual selection, camouflage, signaling, and defense have circulated since before Darwin’s time without any satisfactory conclusions. Sexual attraction is currently the reigning theory, but studies continue to research the complexities of the peahen’s choice since the incredibly elaborate feathered train of the peacock does not seem to have sole control over mate selection.

Networking events are common in the business world. They occur nearly every day in every major city across many industries. It’s important to stand out at these events in order to make contact with people, but you don’t want to be the one that during the event debrief everyone asks, “Who was the person with the crazy [tie/hat/coat/outfit, etc.], and what were they thinking?” Your choice of peacock flair for the occasion may be a great conversation starter, but is it a great first impression?

First impressions are lasting ones, particularly when you are interviewing. Networking events are crucial for people seeking new jobs, but you want to be the one that stands out by your intellectual conversation, not your outfit or something eccentric about yourself that you (over)shared. Having a unique hobby, skill or passion is a good discussion at a social event, but avoid tales that delve just a little too deep below the surface for new acquaintances to digest.

Keep conversation light and thoughtful and stay away from your recent divorce, loan applications, and too much personal talk about your family, children and pets. Rather than talking about yourself and simply offering information that may or may not be relatable to the person you are speaking to, ask the other person questions about themselves. Explore topics around what they’ve been writing or reading lately and solicit their thoughts so that you can expand on things that are already of interest to them. This will make you stand out in the forefront of their minds as a qualified professional as opposed to the person who told the slightly uncomfortable story about such and such.

Trends in attire come and go, but looking polished never goes out of style. As far as clothing for a networking event, pairing a nice conservative suit with a colorful tie or scarf without over-doing it is key. Even a single piece of interesting jewelry such as a necklace or a ring can be a simple artistic addition that will nicely go with a conventional suit without being overwhelming. Again, you want to be the one they remember, but not because you didn’t look the part or because you wore something that was out of place at the event.

Ask a friend or colleague if you are unsure about what you are wearing and whether it’s appropriate for the event. You will certainly be remembered if you imitate the peacock, but you probably do not want your new acquaintances to theorize through the next day about your outfit.

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Travelers In The Jungle – Set Your Goal To Become A Great Networker in 2014

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Dec 30, 2013 in Building Confidence, Self Improvement

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Boots
Taking a hike in the Job Search Jungle can be a daunting experience, but there are so many people to meet! Put your best foot forward and make your 2014 goal be one of confidence in networking.

Many people find networking a very painful exercise. Why? It exposes us at our deepest level of vulnerability. Executives who are accustomed to controlling a meeting with an agenda can find networking a paralyzing experience because they are planners who have yet to master living in the moment.

One sure fire way to master these skills is to make a plan that you can execute in any situation. In preparing for my upcoming Networking Know How presentation at the National Education Association Leadership Summits in January and February, I found this great article by Shane Parrish, (Farnam Street) on TheWeek.com highlighting Robin Dreeke’s book: It’s Not All About “Me”.

Here are the top 10 points from the book:

1. Establishing artificial time constraints – The first step in the process of developing great rapport and having great conversations is letting the other person know that there is an end in sight.
2. Accommodating nonverbals – You want to look nonthreatening. Smile and make eye contact. How you shake hands matters too – match the strength of the other person.
3. Slower rate of speech – Speaking fast may mean you’re excited, but speaking slowly gives you more credibility.
4. Sympathy or assistance theme – If you’re like most people, you’ve felt a bit of regret when turning down someone seeking help. As human beings, we are biologically conditioned to accommodate requests for assistance.
5. Ego suspension – Put the other individuals’ wants, needs, and perceptions of reality ahead of your own.
6. Validate others – through mindful listening, demonstrating thoughtfulness and honestly understand the other person’s point of view and then build upon that base with your ideas that are not contrary but rather complimentary.
7. Ask … How? When? Why? – Open ended questions require detailed answers; generating two way conversation as opposed to a simple yes or no answer.
8. Connect with quid pro quo – Giving a little information about you will help you engage someone who is either very introverted, guarded, or both
9. Gift giving – This is conversational reciprocation in action. The key is to do this without an agenda. If you have an agenda you’ll come across as insincere.
10. Manage expectations – Underpromise and overdeliver- The surest way to avoid disappointment is to meet expectations.

Purposefully networking to advance your own professional needs is paramount to your success. Mastering the art of networking know how where there is a two way reciprocation and development of a meaningful relationship takes time. Establish trust, be available to others and don’t put your own needs first and your network will ultimately pay off in spades.

So get out there and network!

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The Social Wolf – Planning Your Career Pack With Social Media

Posted by Carolyn Thompson on May 22, 2013 in Career Path, Job Search, Self Improvement

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How to Utilize Social Media Effectively in Your CareerWolf

Wolves live predominantly in packs to search for food, raise pups, and defend hunting territory. When a wolf leaves their birth pack, it could be in order to join a new pack that may not have as many members or packs that have better opportunities in the hierarchy. Sometimes the searching wolf may even establish their own pack. If a wandering wolf doesn’t find the right pack, it is usually possible to return to their birth pack. Wolves may cover a large area and travel long distances in search of the perfect fit and it often seems to be a hit or miss process. Social media networking can take much of the guess work out of finding your career pack.

People have always looked for ways to interact with their colleagues in order to develop a way of getting a step above the other competitors in their career. Many social networking websites that represent digital social media like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and others present an excellent way of not only staying close to your friends but at the same time offer various growth opportunities for one’s career. Let’s see how social media can help you in your career by allowing you to stay connected with professionals in the community.

How social media works to boost your career

Websites that focus on maintaining and managing one’s professional networks, like LinkedIn, utilize social networking software and principally work on the concept of managing and gathering multi-tiered contacts. “First connections” are those individuals with whom you have a direct connection, as in a co-worker or friend, and the further tiers, such as second or third connections, are professionals that are in your network sphere as a result of having relationships with your direct connections. An individual needs to become a registered user of the website in order to benefit from it. However, once registration is completed, that person can interact with thousands of professionals of the same or different fields as well as maintaining and managing a chain of direct professional connections.

With such career oriented social media websites one can look at companies in their respective fields and even apply for relevant jobs in order to plan a career move. This can be a great benefit to the individuals who are either looking to move companies or researching the first job in their career. Job seekers and employees are not limited by geographical boundaries, but only their own network. These websites realize the importance of personal branding in a job search and hence, suggest their users develop appropriate profiles which can help them represent their accomplishments, strengths, skills and academics to their potential employers or clients. Developing a personal brand with these social sites can make the professional a more valuable asset for the company they work for, their own enterprise, and for the potential employers as well.

Social media has evolved as a great advancement in social networking that boosts professional networking activities and career management for people in a resourceful manner. This electronic way of person-to-person networking is quite an effective marketing tool, which an individual can utilize to market his/ her professional skills. These social media platforms allow any individual to manage his/her own future and career just with a click of a mouse. These have made the professional connections and interconnections possible which grow into a wonderful professional web community. Not only does it offer career prospects, but professional discussions through forums and groups enable individuals to continue to learn many new things pertaining to their field or career.

The social media platforms have revolutionized career development for self management, personal and professional empowerment, as well as networking. It would not be wrong to say that one can indeed utilize the social media effectively for his/her career as it is a valuable way for building professional brand statement in the long run and for finding appropriate opportunities in their career.

Don’t be the lone wolf wandering aimlessly, research a pack with social media and develop the connections to move forward in your career.

This guest post was contributed by Patrick S. Patrick has been recently employed by a professional research paper writing service at SolidEssay.com, where he helps students fine tune their research papers and other academic work.

If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!

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