Jan's Blog
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May 2024
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Optimize Your LinkedIn Networking
Filed under: Job Search, Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 11:00 am

I recently shared my favorite LinkedIn Tip on LinkedIn (how appropriate), but want to include here for my clients in active job search: Your second-degree connections on LI can make all the difference in your job search. Even those of you with hundreds (and by that, I mean thousands) of first-degree connections often don’t take the time to mine the first-degree connections of your first-degree connections.

The benefit is that if there is anyone among those second-degree connections with whom you’d like to have an introduction, you have a ready referral source who can facilitate the contact. This significantly boosts the likelihood of a favorable response. And it enhances your ability to arrange a “talk shop” conversation. Plus, you grow your base of networking contacts exponentially.

Let’s say you are relatively new to LinkedIn—and you have reached out or accepted 100 invitations to connect. If each of those contacts has 100 first-degree connections, that’s 1,000 possibilities. If each of your 100 connections has just two first-degree contacts with whom you’d love to speak, that’s 200 higher-prospect contacts than you’d have simply doing cold-call outreach.

And if you are a super-user with more than 500 first-degree connections and each of those 500 (for simplicity’s sake) has 100 contacts, that’s 50,000. Whoa—that’s a huge number. And I’ll bet many of these folks top the 100-contacts mark easily.

What’s the best way to optimize this outreach? Start by prioritizing your first-degree connections into three groups. Your A group should include your very best professional contacts (“Great seeing you at the conference. As I mentioned, I’m reinvigorating my job-search campaign and would greatly appreciate an introduction to Sam Adams and anyone else you might recommend.”).

The B tier would still likely provide some good contacts, but perhaps those where your reach-out might require a little reminder (“It doesn’t seem possible that a year has passed since we were both working at ABC before they moved operations to the West Coast. Would love to connect and share search strategies. I’d also appreciate an intro to Sam Adams in your network…”).

Your C contacts would be “lowest likelihood of success” where you’d have to fully reintroduce yourself (“We were both at Cher’s retirement dinner, but didn’t have a chance to chat. I’m reinvigorating my job-search campaign and would greatly appreciate an introduction to Sam Adams in your network…”).

Finally, there are undoubtedly first-degree contacts in your LI network that you don’t know at all—or don’t remember accepting. If they have a great first-degree connection with someone you want to meet, though, go ahead and reach out. Just save this third group of folks for your lowest priority contacts.

In active search, be sure to methodically spend an hour or two a day in this networking effort. I believe you’ll be surprised at what the results may be!


About Jan Melnik — The author of Telling Tales: On Merlin’s Island, Executive’s Pocket Guide to ROI Resumes and Job Search, and Adventures in The Wooded Glen (as well as 6 other career/business start-up books), I have been crafting branded resumes and LinkedIn profiles for executives, rising professionals, and new graduates for many years. In addition to my role as the CMO coach through C-Suite Career Catalysts, I am passionate about teaching as a business and English professor at the University of South Florida and Bay Path University. I’d love to connect! Visit me on LinkedIn (linkedin.com/in/janmelnik). You can also read about my books at https://www.amazon.com/author/janmelnik.

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Crystal Ball on Social Media Trends for 2014
Filed under: Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 8:11 pm

No matter where you fall on the career spectrum, there is no ignoring social media and its impact on everything from building your brand and leveraging your visibility to garnering interest from recruiters and hiring authorities. Forbes magazine featured in its September “Entrepreneurs” column an article by Jayson DeMers that calls out what we should be anticipating in 2014 (his full article/contact info below). Buckle your seat belts, things are changing rapidly!

Recapped in the Nov. 4 issue of the Career Thought Leaders E-Bridge newsletter, www.careerthoughtleaders.com, here are DeMers picks for what to expect on the social media horizon next year:

1) Social Media: A Necessity (not a luxury)

The needle will move from “should have” to “must have” in 2014. Just as businesses have come to terms with the need to integrate social media efforts with content strategy and branding, so, too, have career strategists and savvy job seekers.

2) Google: A Major Factor

Facebook is #1 with respect to number of active monthly users (1.15B and growing), but Google+ has gained momentum, moving into 2nd place for highest number of monthly users (343M). It is expected that businesses will increasingly turn to Google+ as the closest contender for being a ‘one size fits all’ social network. With skyrocketing growth projected for Google+ (both business and personal use), DeMers recommends checking out Google+’s “How to Breathe Life Into Your Google+ Profile” (you can Google it :).

3) Pictures, Anyone?

Image-centric networks will see huge growth — with ever-growing importance of such sites as Pinterest, Slideshare, Tumblr, Path, and Mobli. These are opportunities to share image and video rather than text-based content. Businesses are paying attention to these portals; job seekers shouldn’t ignore them.

4) Micro-Video

Shorter attention spans and even 140-character tweets/3-minute videos becoming too tedious have led to micro-videos. To the forefront have come Twitter’s Vine and Instagram’s video-sharing feature — new ways to share instantly via Smartphones.

5) Decline of Foursquare

As other more popular social media networks include location-based features, it’s anticipated Foursquare will diminish in usage.

6) MySpace: Reinvigorated!

Many thought this site was dead — but DeMers describes a radical makeover and re-branding leading to a second wind that includes an iPhone app and reemerging popularity, especially among bands and music-lovers. Stay tuned…

7) LinkedIn: Incredibly Important

Of no surprise, LinkedIn will be “a major player for B2B business growth,” according to DeMers. The #1 social networking site for 238M professionals (including job seekers), LI continues to innovate with its influencers program and one of the largest sources of content creation/curation for professionals. The advantages of being connected via LI will continue to grow among B2B marketers, DeMers predicts. Read his full article at: http://onforb.es/1iFEeYR.

From my vantage point as a career coach and resume writer, more and more hiring managers and recruiters are sourcing candidates via LI, *then* reaching out with a contact that includes a request for the resume. Smart job seekers *must* have a strong, optimized, branded LI presence coupled with the ability to provide a cohesive, complementary, differentiating resume.

My take is that no job seeker can be without an integrated, branded strategy reflected in all career collaterals — and the critical three continue to be an accomplishment-rich resume, a targeted marketing cover letter precision-tailored to the opportunity of focus, and a well-branded, keyword-rich, SEO optimized LinkedIn profile. Where do you think 2014 will take us — and how can social media help propel interest in your candidacy?

– Jan Melnik, M.A., MRW, CCM, CPRW - President, Absolute Advantage

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LinkedIn Matters!
Filed under: General, Networking, Musings
Posted by: site admin @ 12:10 pm

At nearly every forum I’ve been in during the past few months (both professional and personal), someone inevitably talks about social media and asks about LinkedIn.com. Eight or so years ago, people were very concerned that if they had a profile on LI, it would scream, “I’m looking for a job” and there was worry that a present employer would see the posting. Today, fortunately, those concerns should no longer exist. Regardless of field of employment or level, everyone should be on LinkedIn - and with a well-branded, carefully developed profile. Think of it as your own professional website. Some key strategies to consider:

#1) Ignore LI’s “recommendation” that you bring your profile up to 100% completeness “by uploading your resume.” Resist the urge and, instead, capture the scope of each of your positions in one or two concise lines and share a top accomplishment/value-add per position… but don’t put all the content of your resume on LI. You want to cultivate interest and have a reason to bring the discussion off line as quickly as possible with an interested party (”I like what I see here on LI, can you share your resume with me?”).

#2) Spend the lion’s share of your effort in creating a personable, compelling, carefully branded summary section. Let your professional personality shine! Use first-person narrative (UNLIKE a resume).

#3) Ensure you have a great, professional-looking headshot. You should definitely “dress to impress” in your best interview look, paying close attention to your selection of shirt/blouse and suit jacket color to be most flattering. Then be certain the background does not compete (no trees or lamps growing out of the back of your head). And photograph ONLY you in this headshot (not from a party you attended, not holding a child or pet).

#4) Collect recommendations, ideally from previous managers. Depending on field, vendors and clients/customers can also be contacted. Try to avoid peer recommendations.

#5) Do not “worry about” endorsements… they carry nowhere near the weight of the recommendations.

#6) Connect broadly and widely! For your network to be valuable, it needs to be robust (for someone brand-new to LI, I advise a minimum of 125 quality connections: people you know and/or with whom you’ve been solidly connected and introduced).

– Jan Melnik, M.A., MRW, CCM, CPRW - President, Absolute Advantage

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IM & Txting v. Email & Vmail
Filed under: Employment, Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 4:52 pm

It was bound to happen. Those of us with kids of a certain age (teens, young adults, Gen-Yers/Millennials, and even tweens) already know that if we want them to hear us and receive our message, we need to IM or text it. Send them an email? It might join hundreds or thousands of unread emails in their overflowing digital in-boxes… Leave them a voicemail? Forget it. It will sit unheard for days on end… For effective communications other than face-to-face, it’s down to the immediacy of an IM or text message via our smartphones.

Of no surprise, then, is the carryover to the corporate world. According to the December 2011 issue of Human Resource Executive, in a survey conducted of 1,400 Chief Information Officers of nationwide companies, “extinction may soon be the calling for the once-revolutionary mode of communication” (email). Wow! I remember some 25 years ago (no laughing allowed) sitting in my office at Digital Equipment Corporation and using DEC’s internal email system to communicate with my colleagues. That was the same era in which there were real secretaries that answered the telephone–and recorded my messages on pink slips of carbonless paper.

Real-time technologies in the form of IMing tools and text messaging certainly allow for immediacy. But they’re less than ideal — by far — for communicating detail. Time will tell how technology adapts to the needs of the workplace, being influenced by the newest generation of workers, while still enabling productivity and clarity.

– Jan Melnik, M.A., MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage

Be inspired. It’s your career. It’s your life.

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Updated Networking Stats
Filed under: Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 7:40 am

Job seekers still rank networking as the #1 way by which to find their next gig — but Internet job boards took a jump up in prominence. According to the Sept. 2, 2011, issue of Human Resource Executive, in 2010, 41% of new career opportunities were secured through traditional networking. An amazing 25% of new positions were secured through the Internet job boards. Right Management in Philadelphia conducted the survey with 59,133 respondents (a statistically large pool to validate these findings).

My bottom-line suggestion? Leave no stone unturned in your job-seeking efforts. This means using all forms of networking (including LinkedIn, including Facebook, and - yes - even including Twitter, plus old-fashioned, pick-up-the-phone, get-out-there-and-meet networking)… use alumni and trade journal contacts… do check out opportunities on the job-search boards (but always go direct to the company after you find an opportunity on line)… and keep up efforts on all fronts. Persevere. Be tenacious. It’s how you’ll get it done.

Jan Melnik, M.A., MRW, CCM, CPRW - President, Absolute Advantage
Be inspired. It’s your career. It’s your life. 

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Find-A-Career & Networking Strategies
Filed under: Job Search, Networking, Resume
Posted by: site admin @ 2:30 pm

On Wednesday, Nov. 3, I’ll be presenting a highly
interactive workshop at the Schmoozers’ Job Network for today’s job seekers right here in Connecticut.
This free event will be held in Kessler Hall at Beth El Temple, 2626 Albany Avenue, West Hartford, and begins with registration, networking, and schmoozing — plus complimentary coffee — at 8 a.m. The program will start promptly at 9 a.m. Please enter through the double-glass door entrance.

In addition to strategies for working with recruiters, I’ll also share the most effective techniques for leveraging the power of the Internet, social media, and networking in a job search. These best-in-class strategies are designed to help job seekers open doors and focus on two key elements: presenting your distinctive brand and differentiating attributes in the “CAR” stories that appear on your resume and using expert strategies for networking, interviewing, and securing critical job connections.

Through its Jewish Employment Transition Services, the Jewish Family Services presents this free workshop to all members of the community searching for work. For reservations or additional information, contact Lynn Preminger, program manager, at jets@jfshartford.org or call 860-236-127, ext. 37; the program facilitator is Judy Rosenthal. For further details, visit http://tinyurl.com/3xzdcpu

–Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW… President, Absolute Advantage

“Be Inspired. It’s your career. It’s your life.”

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Have You Blogged Today?
Filed under: Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 2:22 pm
You almost can’t pick up a newsmagazine or link to a website without seeing the ubiquitous word "blog." I’m the first to admit that while I love blogs, I’m not a daily blogger–not even close! If I were on someone else’s payroll (and not self-employed working one-on-one for my clients), then maybe I could take the time every day to blog. But here’s why you should think about blogging, at least periodically: Those in the know say it’s an essential part of being perceived as an expert in your field. Whatever it is you are known for (or want to be known for) professionally, your blog should support that effort.
If you check over at CareerHub.com (link below in my sign-off), you’ll find an excellent article on the topic by Louise Fletcher (author of the site). It’s called, "Why Blogging Really, Really Matters." For those in true job-search mode, it’s one more tool–one more means by which you can get the word out and be there when a headhunter or decision maker looks for you on the web. Contribute freely of your knowledge to others’ websites … consider creating your own website with a home page and an active (or reasonably active) blog. It may be the best move you’ve made. And as some notable authors have posited lately (including Seth Godin), it could even create the foundation of a book. So, by all means, blog away!                               
- Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage … Don’t forget to check out http://careerhub.typepad.com for the best in career search advice from the career industry’s top experts and http://careers.beyond.com for valuable career management expertise

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Effective Networking Is Critical to Results-oriented Job Search
Filed under: Networking
Posted by: site admin @ 6:50 pm

Why is effective, well-executed networking necessary to your job-search success? Done well and with class, networking is the process that allows you to gain access and information, while cultivating, solidifying, and building relationships with others, all of which is more likely than any other means to lead to a real job opportunity. When you network, you are really exchanging information in a non-threatening environment, one that should not have the anxiety producing atmosphere typical of a traditional job interview. Networking provides an opportunity to develop rapport, share data, and offer insight. It’s an excellent venue for testing ideas and verifying perceptions.

In a successful networking discussion, both parties openly share information without fear of reprisal or being “evaluated” for an opportunity. Presumably, there is no opportunity at stake (and, therefore, the angst that accompanies the interview process—Am I the best candidate? Will I be invited back for a second interview? Will an offer be made?—should not be entering the equation). Hence, you can be at ease in relating facts about your background and ask questions openly.

Here are some key numbers to remember when it comes to methods of successful job search and how you allocate your time:

• For executives, up to 10% find new positions through working with recruiters/executive search firms • Traditional classifieds can account for how 10% find new jobs • Fewer than 5% find their jobs via the internet • Combined, mass distribution of resumes and outplacement accounts for less than 2% of all new positions found • Depending upon level, 65-75% of all jobs are found through networking … and this number is even higher for C-suite and senior executives.

Effective networking taps the traditionally hidden (unadvertised) job market … it creates opportunities for employment that may only be on the preliminary drawing board. In subsequent columns, I’ll present some of the best specific strategies for effective networking.
– Jan Melnik, MRW, CCM, CPRW, President, Absolute Advantage

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