Whatever Happened to my Resume?
Astronomers define a black hole as a region of space from which nothing, including light, can escape. I have often heard job seekers refer to the application process as a “black hole where resumes go, never to be heard from again”. Did you ever wonder why this is? Considering the frustration that can result from the online application process, I would like to shed some light on what really happens when you apply online. Not only will this provide you with an effective strategy to increase the odds of getting your resume into the right hands, but it might actually increase your level of sympathy for the HR professionals around town – ok, maybe just a little!
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BOL), there are 6 job seekers for every opening. This is the worst ratio on record since the government starting tracking these numbers in 2000 and compares to a ratio of 1.6 to 1 in mid-2006. To gain an understanding of how this imbalance affects the hiring process, let’s take a look at what happens when a new job is posted.
Today, each new job posting elicits an average of 300-400 resumes. Some companies use software that automatically screens resumes for relevant key words. However, most ( ex.San Diego companies) use an actual person to screen resumes. Therefore, assuming the average HR professional spends 20 seconds reviewing each resume, they are committing over 2 hours to the identification of the top 5-10 resumes. Multiply this by 10 or 20 positions – the average number of openings managed by each HR professional – and they wind up spending 20 – 40 hours just screening resumes!
And for those of you who know people in the HR profession, screening resumes is far from their favorite pastime! Keep in mind that this same individual is most likely responsible for tracking and organizing these applications through their applicant tracking system (ATS) which, in some cases, is nothing more than a file folder, an excel spreadsheet, ACT! or a simple Outlook file.
It is now time to divide the resumes into the proverbial “A pile” and “B pile”. In some instances, there are literally two piles and in other cases, applicants are tagged as “hot prospect” (A) or “reject” (B) in the ATS. The all-powerful “A pile” represents candidates that were referred by an employee or “friend of the firm” and in some cases, it also includes the top 3-5% of online applicants. These “A pile” candidates will receive further consideration and perhaps even a phone call. The dreaded “B pile”, however, consists of the remaining resumes that will never again see the light of day! Unfortunately, if you were not able to secure an introduction into the firm, if you did not customize your resume to include the relevant key words, or if your resume does not offer that initial “wow factor”, chances are you will be sent to the “B pile”.
Once these piles are created, depending on the company, the HR professional will take one of two steps: she will either present these “A candidates” to the hiring manager for review or she will conduct an initial phone screen (in today’s market, the majority of first interviews are conducted by phone). Now the fun really begins! The next challenge facing the HR professional is whether or not the hiring manager provided enough detail and metrics to evaluate the applicants.
Assuming the answer is yes – and this is a big assumption – the HR professional then presents his recommendations to the hiring manager to determine which candidates will make it to the holy grail of job search – the in-person interview! Now the waiting begins. This waiting period may span from a few hours (not likely) to several weeks (a bit extreme). Once the decisions are made, the process continues with interviews, feedback, questions, more interviews, references, salary negotiations, background checks and finally – hopefully – an offer.
Meanwhile, back on the resume front, for those individuals whose resumes did not make it to the “A pile”, your poor resume is still sitting all alone in the company’s ATS, on their desk, in a file folder or in someone’s inbox. The odds of you getting an email – or heaven forbid an actual phone call – thanking you for taking the time to apply are minimal at best. In fact, while a few “best in class” companies will respond to each and every applicant, the average response rate to an online job application is less than 5%!
The first question, then, becomes: what can you do to ensure your resume doesn’t wind up alone in the “B pile”?
1. Apply only to those jobs where you possess 85% or more of the requirements.
2. Customize each resume to include every key word that is mentioned in the job description.
3. Develop a headline that provides a “wow factor”, uniquely defining your area of expertise.
4. Create 3 or 4 key sentences at the top of your resume to highlight your Unique Value Proposition (UVP).
5. Focus on promotions, results and direct contributions, not responsibilities and tasks.
The second question, and the one rarely considered, is: what can you do to ease the pain of the HR professional?
1. Focus on securing an introduction to the company through a mutual colleague; contact the hiring manager and/or HR professional to leverage the contact and get yourself on the radar screen.
2. Clearly indicate how your skills match up with the job requirements – don’t make them search for your relevant skills.
3. If you are unable to secure an introduction, call the HR professional and/or hiring manager 2 days after sending your resume, to ensure it was received; during this call, acknowledge that you are aware of the volume of resumes they have received, and request “5 minutes to provide 3 factors” that will demonstrate your fit for the position.
4. Send a thank you/follow up card by mail to the HR and/or hiring manager reminding them of the “3 factors”.
5. Develop a campaign to follow up with the HR and/or hiring manager on a weekly basis.
While the job market continues to have its challenges, developing and maintaining a consistent strategy will greatly increase your odds of getting your resume into the “A pile”. Today’s job market is about visibility and differentiation
Jackson Career & Life Coaching has been helping people get back to work for over 5 years. Our history tells us that once you have developed a market driven resume ( we create hundreds of them a year) and understand HOW to work the job market people get back to work… in the job they want not just the job they get! For a free coaching session and a REAL evaluation of your resume simply go to our web site at http://www.Jacksonlifecoaching.com and click on appointments to set up a free no obligation session with Mikal Jackson CPC, founder and Managing Director.
Finding a job in today’s job market is tougher than ever – it takes a lot of dedication, determination and good luck. It’s not easy to market your skills, to send in resume after resume, knowing that you will probably only hear back from about 1% of the companies and through it all, you have to network, keep your skills sharp and struggle to pay the bills. It’s probably one of the more difficult things you will ever have to face.
Despite everything, there is still another challenge that today’s job seeker faces – knowing yourself. You have to be able to recognize the lies that you tell yourself and really examine the myths that you believe to be true to overcome them and reach the next level in your career. Some of the things you will have to do will feel uncomfortable at first, but with practice, it gets easier.
Here are 5 myths aren’t true and that can really hurt a job search:
- Job seekers do not need to market themselves – I am always surprised by the number of people who are looking for work, yet are stubbornly resistant to the idea of marketing themselves. There seems to be this idea that personal branding and marketing are things that people do to reach the next level of their very professional career, not just to find a mid-level job. While its true that marketing is done by very professional, white collar executives, it’s just as helpful to job seekers who are looking for an entry-level, low-skill job. No matter what type of position you are looking for, personal branding and effective marketing tools show that you are looking for a career, not just another job. It impresses hiring managers and will help you land the job you want (even if you do not want a career).
- Networking is for executives and high level employees – Networking is another thing that many job seekers believe is only for other people, like executives. Spending time with other professional people, printing up some contact cards and meeting new people can be intimidating, but it’s the best way to find out about other job openings and it’s a well respected way of getting your foot in the door. Even if you are looking for a part-time job, networking can put you in the path of business owners and other people who could be in a position to help.
- Asking questions during an interview makes you appear too picky – During an interview, you should always, always ask questions. Before going to the interview, you should spend some time researching the company and getting an understanding of who they are, what they do and where they are heading. Even if you are applying for a job as the night janitor, knowing this information is a great way to really impress the interviewer. Ask questions about the corporate culture, about what the interviewer likes about the company and what happened to the person who had the job last. These types of questions show that you are interested in that particular job and that you are interviewing the company as well.
- My skills do not need to be updated – This is one that I’ve heard many, many times. People who have been out of work for more than 3 months, but less than a year, are the ones who are the most likely to believe that their skills do not need to be updated. Depending on the industry, this probably isn’t true. Even if it is, there are so many applicants for every open position, any job seeker is going to be competing against people that are hungrier, younger, more desperate for the job and who either still have a job or who have been out of work for less time. A hiring manger is going to prefer someone who is more current, so look for ways to update your skills while you are out of work.
- This is the way I was taught and the way I’ve always done it. I do not need to change – Out of all these myths, this one is probably the most harmful. I’ve heard people who have been in the workforce for 20 years or more say this and it never fails to surprise me. The fact is that the way that jobs are found today is completely different from how it was even just a decade ago. Now, it’s all about social media presence, marketing, functional resumes and networking. A neatly typed, two page resume that chronologically lists every job you’ve ever had, complete with an objective statement and a list of references screams, “Hopelessly out-of-date”. I’ve even talked with people who argued with the career counselor they hired about these issues and actively resisted change, claiming that the career adviser was in the wrong.
Change is scary and it can be very difficult to spot the areas where you could use some work. I think we all have blinders on when it comes to objectively spotting our own weaknesses. If any of these myths sound familiar to you, they might be areas where you could stand some improvement.
From Forbes 8/2013
On Tuesday, the Obama administration released the final regulations for Obamacare’s notorious individual mandate—the provision in the health care law that requires most Americans to purchase health insurance, or pay a fine. Tuesday’s entry in the Federal Register, spanning 75 pages, contains all of the fine print related to the individual mandate: who it applies to, who is exempted, and what kinds of insurance satisfy the government’s rules. Here are seven things you need to know about the mandate, what the law calls your “Shared Responsibility Payment for Not Maintaining Minimum Essential Coverage.”
1. You pay a fine if your spouse and kids are uninsured
If you claim dependents on your tax return, you’re responsible for paying the mandate fines if your dependents don’t have health insurance. “A taxpayer is liable for the shared responsibility payment for an individual without minimum essential coverage if the individual is the taxpayer’s dependent,” write the authors of the new regulation, Heather Maloy, Acting Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enrollment at the Treasury Department; and Mark Mazur, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Tax Policy.
This provision takes on special importance because of its interaction with Obamacare’s employer mandate. Under the health law, employers with more than 50 full-time-equivalent workers are required to offer health coverage to their employees and employees’ dependents under the age of 26. Employers are not required to offer coverage to employees’ spouses. Hence, a worker who gets coverage through his job will be forced, under the individual mandate, to purchase coverage on his own for his spouse, if he or she doesn’t have other sources of coverage. A worker who doesn’t get coverage through his job will need to purchase coverage not only for himself, but also his dependents.
2. Pretty much any employer-sponsored plan meets the mandate’s requirements
In order to meet the mandate’s requirement, you have to have “minimum essential coverage.” That is a key term in the context of Obamacare. Medicare and Medicaid count as minimum essential coverage, as do plans purchased in the Obamacare exchanges. As for employer-sponsored coverage, pretty much any plan offered by an employer counts as meeting Obamacare’s requirements.
Paragraph 2 of Section 5000(A)(f) of the Internal Revenue Code defines employer-sponsored minimum essential coverage as “a group health plan or group health insurance coverage offered by an employer to the employee which is [either a government-sponsored plan] or “any other plan or coverage offered in the small or large group market within a State.”
In other words, any health insurance plan that is legally sold within a state’s boundaries counts as an “eligible employer-sponsored plan.” In many states, insurers market inexpensive plans that cover a limited range of services. According to Obamacare, employers can offer these inexpensive plans to their workers and thereby avoid the employer mandate’s strong penalty. Indeed, as I detailed in May, many employers will have a strong incentive to offer these “skinny” plans, and some are already starting to do so.
3. The mandate fine is small, and will have even less impact over time
In 2014, the fine for not carrying insurance is the higher of $95 per person or 1.0 percent of taxable income. In 2015, the fine is the higher of $325 per person, or 2.0 percent of taxable income. In 2016, it’s $695 per person or 2.5 percent of taxable income. You’re liable for up to 2 additional dependents, fine-wise.
A number of people have remarked upon the obvious fact that a several-hundred-dollar fine is nothing, compared to spending several thousand dollars on overly costly health insurance. But what a lot of people don’t realize is that, after 2016, the size of the fine is adjusted annually for cost-of-living increases. But historically, the cost of insurance has gone up every year at rates far exceeding normal inflation.
If that trend continues, the gap between the mandate fine and the cost of health insurance will continue to widen, incentivizing more people to go without coverage.
4. The IRS can’t go after you if you don’t pay the fine
Section 1501(g)(2) of the Affordable Care Act specifies that the IRS cannot subject taxpayers to “any criminal prosecution or penalty” for refusing to pay the mandate fine. Also, in contrast to normal tax levies, the IRS cannot “file notice of lien with respect to any property of a taxpayer by reason of any failure to pay the penalty imposed by this section.”
Basically, the only thing the IRS can do to make you pay the mandate fine is to take it out of your withholding, or withhold it from your tax refund, if you’re due one. So if you don’t participate in the withholding process, the IRS has no way to collect the mandate fine.
5. Many older individuals will be exempt from the mandate
If you need to buy insurance on your own, you’re exempt from the individual mandate if the cost of your coverage is more than 8 percent of your household income. (The percentage is adjusted, over time, using a somewhat complex formula.) This means many older people—who pay higher premiums than younger people—will be exempt from the mandate altogether.
Paul Houchens, an analyst at Milliman, puts it this way: if you’re 55 years old, and you’re paying $7,800 a year for health insurance, you’ll be exempt from the individual mandate if your income is between 400 percent of the federal poverty level—about $46,000—and $97,500. (If your income is below $46,000, you qualify for at least a partial subsidy of your insurance costs, which, based on the way the law is written, makes the individual mandate apply to you.)
On the other hand, if you’re a 35-year-old, and you’re paying $3,600 a year for your health coverage, the mandate applies to you in nearly all cases, because $3,600 divided by 8 percent is $45,000, which is lower than 400 percent of the federal poverty level.
6. If you don’t file a tax return, you’re exempt
You’re also exempt if your income is below the poverty line, or if you don’t file an IRS tax return. Indeed, if you add up all of these exemptions, MIT economist and Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber estimates that 40 percent of people who are uninsured are exempt from the individual mandate.
7. ‘Members of recognized religious sects’ and American Indians are also exempt
If you’re a member of a “federally-recognized Indian tribe,” congratulations! You’re also exempt from the individual mandate. This is in part because the Indian Health Service offers government-run health care to members of such tribes. Members of a “recognized religious sect or division,” as specified in Section 1402(g)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code, are also exempt. So, you might be asking yourself: which “religious sects” are exempt?
The Internal Revenue Code exempts an individual from certain taxes if he is “a member of a recognized religious sect or division thereof and is an adherent of established tenets or teachings of such sect or division by reason of which he is conscientiously opposed to acceptance of the benefits of any private or public insurance which makes payments in the event of death, disability, old-age, or retirement or makes payments toward the cost of, or provides services for, medical care,” including Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.
Your “sect” has to have been in continuous existence since December 31, 1950, and the Commissioner of Social Security must agree that your sect “has the established tenets or teachings” consistent with opposition to medical benefits. While there are some on the Internet who believe that this religious exemption applies to Islam, it doesn’t appear that way to me, as Muslims are not exempt from Social Security. Instead, the exemption is meant for groups like the Amish.
So if you really hate the individual mandate, you don’t have to burn your Obamacare card—just join the Amish or an Indian tribe!
Most HR representatives and headhunters agree on one thing: that few candidates arrive at the interview prepared to answer the one question that is almost always asked, “What is your greatest weakness?”
Although the question is seldom phrased like that anymore, it doesn’t matter how they word it because the response has to be the same. The interviewer wants you to tell them your weakness, where you need to improve, where you’re not as strong in technical skills or management experience, or something.
Candidates get flustered with this question more than any other, and for no good reason.
I’ll Let You In On A Secret…
Most of the time, the person asking that question doesn’t even want to know the answer. They ask the question because they want to see how you answer it.
After listening to responses from thousands of candidates, and discussing the issue with dozens of clients, I’m convinced there is only one way to answer the question, and that is by being…
Honesty is a much abused virtue. Really, the only time you see or hear of someone being honest is when they’re apologizing for already being caught. A politician with his pants down or his hands in the till. A comment that “slipped” out and offended any number of ethnic groups or religions. Or, a more general act of civil disobedience. The one thing in common is that the “honesty” part only surfaces after the guilty party is exposed. People are forgiving souls though, and if the apology is well-written and presented sincerely, all ends well.
This Is Not So In An Interview
You don’t get that second chance in an interview. You don’t get to rally the troops, have someone write a speech, and then proffer an apology. In an interview, you’re stuck with what slipped out of your mouth, so you better be prepared.
This is not difficult. You should know what your weakness is. People have probably been telling you all of your life—parents, spouse, co-workers—and by now it should have sunk in. If you don’t know it, think hard about the term “self-awareness.”
In any case, it doesn’t matter because that weakness you’re about to blurt out is nothing the interviewers haven’t heard before. In fact, if you didn’t know this, here’s another secret for you—everyone has a weakness. Even Superman can be hurt by kryptonite.
The reason you’re being interviewed is because the company thinks you might be able to help them solve their problems. They brought you in because of your strengths and accomplishments—accomplishments that you achieved even with your weaknesses. If you show them you can solve their problems, you’ll stand a good chance of getting the offer. Being honest with this response will go a long way toward getting the offer because they’ll know that, if you can be honest about your weaknesses, they can probably trust your other responses.
Don’t Try To Be Clever
The worst possible response would be to try and pass off a weakness as a strength. I’ve seen people recommend doing this, and it’s garbage advice. If the best answer you can come up with is that you are a perfectionist or that you work too hard, you have far bigger problems than you realize.
So, how do I answer the question? I’m not going to tell you how to answer the question. No one but you can do that. But I’ll show you an example of a normal response that’s a good one:
Let’s assume you’re a design engineer.
“I have a tendency to rush things. In the past that resulted in a few quality problems with the finished product. The second boss I had worked with me on that, and I’ve had to resort to desperate measures to slow myself down. If you walk into my office, you’ll see sticky notes all over my computer and desk, with notes that read, ‘SLOW DOWN’ or ‘Double check everything!’
“I also set alarms on my phone that pop up twice a day reminding me of the same things. When I see these reminders, it hits home. The good thing is, the process works. The last two products we put out have been finished on time, on budget, and, so far, with no field problems or quality issues. It’s actually made me a much better engineer, but, I still need those reminders.”
This kind of weakness people can relate to because it really is a weakness. The difference is you’ve shown that you learned how to deal with it.
You should practice your response so you’re comfortable discussing it, but don’t make it sound like a rehearsed speech. Also, be prepared for the interviewer to probe deeper. Some interviewers like to dig a little to see if there’s any fluctuation in your answer or if you try to back off when pressed.
Always be honest, even if you think it might hurt your chance for an offer, although it probably won’t. To summarize, here’s what to do when you’re asked the question.
- State your weakness.
- Let the interviewer know you’re aware of it.
- Show them you’ve figured out how to deal with it.
- Show them that solution worked.
Here is a list of 15 things which, if you give up on them, will make your life a lot easier and much, much happier. We hold on to so many things that cause us a great deal of pain, stress and suffering – and instead of letting them all go, instead of allowing ourselves to be stress free and happy – we cling on to them. Not anymore. Starting today we will give up on all those things that no longer serve us, and we will embrace change. Ready? Here we go:
1. Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain, for us and for others. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the ‘urgent’ need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: “Would I rather be right, or would I rather be kind?” Wayne Dyer. What difference will that make? Is your ego really that big?
2. Give up your need for control. Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you – situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, coworkers, or just strangers you meet on the street – just allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better will that make you feel.
“By letting it go it all gets done. The world is won by those who let it go. But when you try and try. The world is beyond winning.” Lao Tzu
3. Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.
4. Give up your self-defeating self-talk. Oh my. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that.
“The mind is a superb instrument if used rightly. Used wrongly, however, it becomes very destructive.” Eckhart Tolle
5. Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do, about what is possible or impossible. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and fly!
“A belief is not an idea held by the mind, it is an idea that holds the mind” Elly Roselle
6. Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complain about those many, many, many things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy; no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. It’s not the situation that triggers those feelings in you, but how you choose to look at it. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.
7. Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something, and something is wished by us all.
8. Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not just to make others like you. It doesn’t work this way. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, the moment you take of all your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you, effortlessly.
9. Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change – don’t resist it. “Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors for you where there were only walls” Joseph Campbell
10. Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about.” Wayne Dyer
11. Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion, it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall into place. “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Franklin D. Roosevelt
12. Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses – excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.
13. Give up the past. I know, I know. It’s hard. Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening, but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for – the past that you are now dreaming about – was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. Be present in everything you do and enjoy life. After all life is a journey not a destination. Have a clear vision for the future, prepare yourself, but always be present in the now.
14. Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is so hard to grasp and I have to tell you that it was for me too, (it still is) but it’s not something impossible. You get better and better at with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, (and that doesn’t mean you give up your love for them – because love and attachment have nothing to do with one another, attachment comes from a place of fear, while love… well, real love is pure, kind, and self-less, where there is love there can’t be fear, and because of that, attachment and love cannot coexist) you become so peaceful, so tolerant, so kind, and so serene. You will get to a place where you will be able to understand all things without even trying. A state beyond words.
15. Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way too many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them, they live their lives according to what their parents think is best for them, to what their friends, their enemies and their teachers, their government and the media think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice, that inner calling. They are so busy with pleasing everybody, with living up to other people’s expectations, that they lose control over their lives. They forget what makes them happy, what they want, what they need….and eventually they forget about themselves. You have one life – this one right now – you must live it, own it, and especially don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.
4 Essentials For Reaching Out To Strangers On LinkedIn
Last week, I received an info interview request from a total stranger as a direct message on LinkedIn. And despite my very busy schedule, I decided to take his call. Over the weekend, I asked myself, “Why did I agree?”
Let’s take his e-mail apart and put it into four essential elements so you can use them in your own LinkedIn networking communications.
First, here’s the e-mail I got over LinkedIn from J.:
I noticed we are both connected to M. F. – how do you know M.? I first met her at J.P., and she actually photographed my wedding. Small world
I wanted to touch base with you because I saw an open position at J.R. I thought would be a great fit for me. I’m located in Portland now, and do social media strategy for a digital marketing agency here in town.
It’s a fun role, but you know how agencies are – fingers in a lot of different businesses, but no ability to truly own a marketing program. It looks like I would be able to do that with the Marketing Communications Manager role that is posted.
Would you mind if I called you sometime this week to hear about your experience at J.R. and your perspective on the marketing organization there? I’d really appreciate it.
1. Lead with Something In Common
My interviewee, J., began his e-mail by pointing out our mutual friend M.F., and although I know M.F. from my sister’s college days, what really got my attention was M.F. was the photographer at her wedding.
Now, with LinkedIn, there is a danger the first degree connection isn’t really a close friend. I went through an Open Networking phase and about 100 people in my LinkedIn network are complete strangers to me.
So don’t assume just because they’re connected, they know each other.
J. took a calculated risk. However, he mitigates that risk by further sharing a personal tid-bit…he’s married. And as another recently married guy, I can very much relate to his situation. (i.e. He has my sympathy.)
2. Get to the Point – Fast
J. wastes no time for BS or apologies. He’s writing to me because he saw an open position at a company I have a relationship with and thinks he’d be a fit.
Notice he says, “I saw an open position.” He doesn’t assume I know anything about this position. In fact, it was news to me. And so I can infer he’s not assuming I’m any kind of decision maker. I know this is going to be a purely informational interview.
Furthermore, he concludes the e-mail by re-affirming that he’s just looking to hear about my experience with J.R., the company and my perspective on their marketing organization.
My guard goes down because I know he’s not going to put me on the spot or ask me for more than just my opinion.
3. What Makes Him Qualified?
Without bragging, J. makes it clear that he’s a serious candidate, not one of those job fisherman.
He tells me he already works at an agency. And that even though he enjoys the agency, he’s looking for more. He wants to “truly own a marketing program.”
It might occur to me, after all, that if he already has a job, why is he looking to make a change? That concern is assuaged.
4. What Do You Want From Me?
He concludes his e-mail with, “Would you mind if I called you sometime this week…” meaning, I won’t have to do anything except wait for a phone call and talk to him. Sounds easy.
I would have even mentioned the exact amount of time such a conversation would have taken, “Would you mind if I called you this week for just 10 or 15 minutes?”
You may have also noticed…
- The e-mail was VERY short. It took me less than 30 seconds to read it.
- He named the position he was after by name, he did his research and I know he won’t waste my time
- He is sensitive to and grateful for my time, “I would really appreciate it…”
The next time you are reaching out to someone new over LinkedIn; consider bringing in one or more of these elements to your message. I’m sure it will make a big difference in your response rate.
Networking with strangers can be a terrifying experience for many people, especially when it’s in-person. What do you say? What if you’re awkward? What if you don’t make a good first impression?
Don’t worry – prepare! Check out these quick tips for being a more confident networker from Adam LoDolce, founder of SexyConfidence.com and GoTalkToHer.com:
1. Know How To Break The Ice
Struggling for ice breakers? Instead of trying to memorize one-liners, keep things simple.
“A simple ‘Hello, my name is ___’ is more than sufficient if said with a smile,” said LoDolce. “Or, my favorite, ‘So, what brings you here?’”
2. Get Warmed up
Don’t start batting without a few practice swings! Make sure you talk to a few people before you hit up your main target – it will ease your nerves and make you feel more comfortable.
“The moment you walk into the room, just start chatting it up with someone to warm up a bit,” LoDolce suggested. “Before you know it, you’ll feel comfortable chatting up the big time CEO across the room.”
3. Be Aware Of Your Body Language
Did you know that 93% of communication is non-verbal? In order to give off a positive impression, LoDolce suggests doing the following:
- Don’t cross your arms
- Keep a strong smile all night long
- Hold strong eye contact
Feel weird keeping eye contact? Try just staring at the bridge of the other person’s nose instead.
4. Ask Great Questions
“If you are uncomfortable doing the talking, then ask interesting and thought provoking questions,” LoDolce suggested.
Here’s an example: “Oh, you’re an architect? What’s it like building something that you know will be around for hundreds of years?”
5. Have Fun
Whenever you attend a networking event, above all else, focus on having a good time. People will be attracted to your good attitude.
“If you’re enjoying yourself, people will enjoy your company,” said LoDolce.
And, even if all fails, at least you can say you had a great night!