“Why Volunteer? I Need A Job!”


Some people are out pursuing careers while others are out looking for jobs. Why would volunteering; essentially doing the work without getting paid for it, be in anyone’s best interests who is currently out of work? After all, it won’t help pay the bills.

Giving others the benefit of your time through volunteering, (working without financial payment for your services) is – as those who volunteer will tell you – tremendously rewarding. You do benefit from giving of yourself, just not in the traditional sense of receiving financial compensation. However, if you scoff at the idea of working for nothing, you’ll be foolish to turn a blind eye to volunteering as it will strengthen your future employment applications. There are good solid reasons why employers like seeing volunteer positions on a resume and make no mistake; the best of employers see value in people who give of themselves in helping others.

So let’s look at volunteering in a rather odd way; a selfish way. What’s in it for you? This is a legitimate question; a good question! After all, when you’re out of work and need a job to pay the bills it does sound counter productive to just give away your time for nothing and as a result have even less time to hunt down work that pays.

Well for starters, volunteering keeps you connected to people. Whether you’re volunteering your time in a warehouse packaging food hampers or helping to build a home in your community for a family in need, you’re going to interact with people. If you have good people skills already, you’ll continue to develop and nurture those skills. If you aren’t really comfortable dealing with others in the first place, you’ll be in a position to start working on your interpersonal skills and ward off feelings of anxiety that come from a lack of interaction with others. It doesn’t mean you’ll suddenly go on to a career as a charismatic public speaker, but as most jobs do require some degree of social interaction; ie. the interview process for example, volunteering brings you into contact with others in a non-threatening way.

Guess what? You’re going to feel better about yourself too. Yep, you can get pretty down on yourself and Life in general when you’re out of work and keep getting rejected by employers. All those questions like, “What’s wrong with me?”, “Why can’t I get a job?” can lead to feelings of low self-worth leading to anxiety and ultimately depression.

When you volunteer, you’re wanted! People look forward to seeing you, they appreciate your skills and efforts. You start feeling connected to a cause, connected to others, welcomed and with this your self-esteem gets a boost. You’ll also find you’re picking up some skills from others, staying up-to-date with best practices and no matter what you are actually doing, you’re developing some good work habits that employers value. It’s true! You’ve got a schedule you’re expected to meet, responsibilities that you’re counted on to fulfill, and of course it’s hoped you’ll be punctual and accountable for your time. Make no mistake, it is volunteering but its’ volunteer work.

Another benefit is the good references you may be building up; references you could leverage and use to your own advantage when applying to paying jobs. References from the place you volunteer can speak to your cooperative attitude, your dependability, your work ethic and your willingness to learn. If one of your problems is out-of-date references or none whatsoever, this is a very good way to establish some current ones. Pass by on volunteering your time and how else are you going to get some references? Please don’t get friends to lie for you and pretend to be past employers – using friends for your own gain says much about your character if you do.

It’s not so unusual to find that paid employment arises out of volunteer experiences. Some organizations make a habit of hiring their volunteers when the opportunities arise. In this sense your volunteer placement is really one very long on-the-job interview. It could be that while the organization you volunteer with doesn’t have openings to hire itself, but those you volunteer alongside recognize your positives and pass your name on to their own employers where they work and tell you about openings you should apply to. Hey it does happen; more than you think!

Now lest you think that you’ll have no time to look for a paying job, I’m not advocating that you drop your job search and spend 35 hours a week donating your time. No, you can balance your time between job searching and volunteering – say one morning a week or twice at most. Volunteer organizations understand the need for money and most would pay you if they could. So letting them know you are really looking for paid employment but would like to donate something of yourself while you have some time is something they’ll understand.

Finally, if you haven’t worked in a long time – maybe never – the whole job search thing can be intimidating and downright scary. Volunteer your time and you’ll build some self-confidence and just feel good about yourself. This could be a key part in your long-term plan to gain employment for which you’re just not ready at the moment.

Volunteering makes a lot of sense. Giving of yourself can also be self-serving in a very good way!

Forgive Yourself And Keep Going


As I’ve said time and time again, being out of work and looking for employment is a roller coaster ride of emotions. You’re energetic and productive one day, lethargic  and unproductive the next. On the days you make progress you feel good and on the days little is accomplished it’s so easy to get down on yourself.

My advice to you however is to watch those big emotional swings so you can anticipate and deal better with the self-blame which may rear its head from time-to-time. Depending on your individual situation, you may have noticed yourself becoming short with others or repeatedly asking yourself, “What’s wrong with me?”

What’s wrong of course is that you’re not comfortable with your unemployment and your lack of success so far in getting that next job. Sometimes it’s a lack of jobs to apply to in your field or only entry-level positions when you’ve been gainfully employed for 15 or more years and you’re overqualified for entry jobs but not getting anywhere when looking for mid-level or senior positions. Your reality and your assumption of where you’d be at this point in life don’t match up; that lack of balance is playing havoc with your self-image and that’s bringing on these feelings of inadequacy. Where you want to be vs where you are; someone should be held responsible and in your solitude you turn the finger and blame yourself.

Taking responsibility for your situation is commendable; so good for you. However coming around to the point where you can forgive yourself for those unproductive days is healthy and will eventually lead to more of the productive ones which is far healthier.

At the end of a day in which you didn’t accomplish anything of significance, you can opt to be down on yourself or not. Now you might ask, “How on earth can I find a positive in a day when I’ve been so unmotivated I go to bed having accomplished nothing?”

Well think back on life when you were working. I’m willing to bet you enjoyed your downtime; time when you turned to a book, a hobby, enjoyed a television show, puttered around the garden or organized the garage for the umpteenth time. No matter how you spent that persona time, it was time spent of your own choosing; doing whatever you wanted. Sometimes you’d feel very productive and stand back at the end of the day and see what you’d accomplished. The garage was all tidy, the grass was cut and the garden beds weeded, 7 chapters of a book you’ve been meaning to read covered..

There were times too when you lazed around the house and read the paper, had a prolonged Sunday morning breakfast 2 hours later than normal, maybe just kicked back lounging on your patio and soaked up some sun. At the end of those days you didn’t beat yourself up over being non-productive; you told yourself you’d earned those days, you’d needed them to recharge and then you went back to work focused, not having really done much on the weekend but still feeling good about those two days off just the same.

Looking for work is much the same as working in that both require effort and stamina. There’s no boss to hold you to account and certainly no cheque at the end of the week when you’re unemployed, but you’re use to one thing and that’s being accountable for how you spend your time. It’s this accountability that’s got you feeling the way you do; accountability not to a boss but to yourself. You my friend, unlike the boss at work, know exactly how much you’ve given the job at hand at each and every moment throughout your day. So it’s only natural then that you know all the times you got distracted, weren’t motivated, sat and stared at a blank monitor, feared picking up the phone for fear of calling someone and being rejected yet again.

Forgive yourself. This is the key. You’re under stress my friend and giving yourself the grace of having off days is healthy at this time. In fact, while maintaining a regular routine of getting up and getting showered, shaved, dressed and bearing down on getting your next job is commendable and excellent advice, it’s not always going to happen. If at the end of a day you’ve done things you’ve found pleasure in; reading, repairing something you’ve meant to do for some time, watching a movie etc. that could be just the stimulation your brain needed. Your psyche might improve having fed your self-indulgence.

Of importance is to acknowledge your feelings and then return to engage back in your job search. Be it the next day, later this afternoon, or even after a 2 hour break to watch a movie you could have watched in the evening but watched mid-morning instead, get back at it free of the guilt.

Prolonged unemployment will have these ups and downs and it’s best to understand you can’t maintain 100% focus on employment 7 hours a day, 5 days a week, for months on end without some periods of low productivity. That little voice in your head that makes you feel guilty whenever you find your mind wandering? Knock it off your shoulder and stop playing the blame game.

You’ve got a lot to offer the right employer. Your self-confidence hasn’t gone for good. Forgive yourself and keep going.

 

 

Being Ready For Employer Phone Calls


When you’re submitting job applications in an effort to secure work, the likelihood that you’re going to receive phone calls from employers rises with the quantity of applications you’ve got out there. So I find it surprising to find so many job applicants get caught off guard and unprepared for those calls.

One of the things that impresses me every time is when I call a job seeker and find they have a pen and paper handy to write down any important information I want them to note. While I’m not calling them with the date and time of an interview for a job, this is exactly what an employer may do. The act of being prepared ahead of time in just such an event demonstrates to the caller that you are organized and have the ability to anticipate and prepare for just such an occasion.

I suppose the only thing that is worse than not having a pen and paper ready to take down some vital information when an employer calls is when you initiate the call yourself and then have to scramble for a pen and paper. Remember too that if you are carrying the phone with you in a frantic search for these items, every word you say and all the background noises can be heard too. All of these background noises and the length of time it takes you to find these things are individual bits of information that the caller is receiving and processing as they form an impression of you.

Now while some people would rather talk over a telephone than in person with someone from a company they’ve applied to, there are others who just don’t like it at all. Not surprising of course, as we all have our individual preferences. Whether you do or don’t enjoy phone conversations however, if they call you up, you’re going to have to get involved in them.

One of the best things you can do to ensure that the phone call goes well is to take control of the environment and what you have at hand long before the possibility of having an employer calls you. Like so many different aspects of job searching however, there are those who plan in advance and those who wing it on the fly – sometimes failing miserably to come off the way they want, losing their chance at landing the job in the end.

One suggestion I have is to look around your place and pick out the space you are going to feel most comfortable should they call. Let’s suppose it’s not going to be a quick 20 second phone call but a preliminary interview screening call, lasting up to 10 minutes where they’ll ask you a number of questions before determining whether or not to invite you in for a personal conversation. Look around; where would you like to be when that call comes?

For many people, sitting down at a table where you have everything you might need in front of you to bolster your confidence and reference your resume if you need to is a great idea. So knowing this, putting your resume in a folder you can quickly grab is excellent advanced thinking. While you’re at it, a copy of your cover letters is a good idea and to each one of these you can attach the relevant job posting. If you do this ahead of time and keep this folder in the same location at all times, when the phone rings you can rest assured that you’ll know exactly where this vital item is.

Of course if all your information is stored electronically on a laptop or other device, you’ll want it accessible, fully charged and hopefully you’ve organized your documents in such a way that they are easily retrievable. After all, you want to give the caller your full attention and respond accordingly.

Back to your surroundings for a minute. If you live alone you have 100% control over background noise. Pause the music, mute the television etc. before picking up the phone. If you live with others, have a conservation about the importance of incoming calls and get some cooperation from them in respecting your need for quiet during the call. If you have a private room you can retreat to quickly to take such calls the better. Just like practicing a fire drill makes things easier when it goes off for real, practicing when the phone rings is a good idea too, especially with young children.

By the way, as obvious as it is, callers can’t see you unless you’re in a video call. Take advantage of this and make some cheat sheets. Write down 4 or 5 strengths you have that relate to the job. Highlight the job posting requirements. Maybe even go so far as to have prepared 3 or 4 questions you’d like to ask. Having these items at the ready and available to you within seconds of realizing who is calling goes a long way to bolstering your confidence and improving the odds that this confidence will come across on the other end of the phone.

Oh and if you are walking around with your cell phone, know in advance if you typically have dead zones in the house and avoid them.

Being ready in advance for employer’s phone calls reduces or eliminates the anxiety of being caught off guard and unprepared. So relax my friend, you can do this.

 

It’s About What Happens When They Call You


In my role as an Employment Counsellor, I phone a lot of people. If I’m fortunate, I usually get through and am able to communicate with whomever I’m calling. However, I also hope that I get the opportunity to hear what happens when they don’t pick up the phone and I want to leave a message.

As soon as I realize the person I’m attempting to reach isn’t going to pick up the phone, I imagine myself as a prospective employer attempting to reach a job applicant for the purpose of having them in for a job interview for some position they’ve applied to. And so, with every ring I hear at my end, I wait with anticipation to hear what happens. Having to leave a message is a key way to gather information which can help me assist those I serve.

A basic truth we all know is you’re going to miss calls. Let me share some poor experiences I’ve had:

  1. The phone just rings without end. These days, having some way to leave a message is no longer just a good idea, it’s a critical necessity. If an employer can’t leave messages you can’t know the calls you’ve missed. They have too many other qualified applicants to choose from these days and will move on so no don’t expect they’ll just keep calling until you actually pick up the phone.

2. The automated voice recording says, “You have reached (dead air). Please leave your message.” Like an employer, I may be calling with confidential information that is meant solely for you. If you find people aren’t leaving you messages, it could well be that callers don’t want to leave messages that could be heard by people they aren’t intended for which would compromise your confidentiality. To protect you, some callers will just hang up and try again later; maybe. Identify yourself so callers are certain they’ve dialed the right number.

3. A child’s voice; or multiple children are heard on the recording, each identifying themselves while being coached in the background by you. If you’re going for the cute factor here, please stop. You’re actually raising a concern about your professionalism and possible childcare or absentee issues with every voice that comes on the phone.

4. 25 seconds of your favourite music. When people call you, it’s to leave you a message; and in the case of an employer, time is important. Your decision to force callers to listen to music first does more than reveal your musical preferences, it just annoys people.  Please stop.

5. “Hey y’all, you know what to do.”  Leave a message like this and you could be wondering why the messages you go to listen to are just clicks. There’s nothing wrong with the answering device, that’s the sound of callers hanging up who are sending you the message, “Yes I do know what to do. I’m hanging up.” Again, no identification and no professionalism.

So what’s the worst example I ever heard? A woman I worked with once was bright, intelligent, took the advice I gave her to heart and improved her resume, cover letter and interview skills. She wasn’t getting anywhere though. It was a head-scratcher. One day I called her and she didn’t pick up as she had always done previously. This is what I heard as her greeting in a sultry voice: “Hi, I’m not home as you can tell, so leave a message or go to ____” (and then the beep was heard to signal a message could be left). What was she thinking? She changed it the same day. In less than one week she got messages which led to interviews and she was hired and no longer unemployed in less than a month.

“Hello you’ve reached (your name). I’m sorry I missed you. Please leave your name, number and a brief message and I’ll return your call as soon as possible. Thanks for calling.”

The above is a professional, tight message that says everything a caller needs to hear. It identifies yourself, indicates your regret at not being there live, invites them to leave their contact info and the purpose of their call, indicates your response will be quick and finally extends appreciation for the contact.

In addition to the words above, smile as you leave your message. When you smile, it will add a little life to your voice; a little enthusiasm. The tone of your voice is going to reveal a little bit of your mood and attitude so go for a positive impression.

If you have privacy concerns, you may not want your name revealed to unwanted callers but still want to come across professionally to legitimate callers. Okay so leave your number instead of your name in the above example as an option.

Finally, please make sure callers can leave messages for you. Having a full inbox or not setting it up in the first place makes it impossible to reach you and then what’s the point of having a phone number on your resumes?

It really is about what happens when they, the potential employers call you and it’s not only employers. It could be someone who you’d like to stand as your reference, it might be someone who has been referred to you by someone in your network and it could be any number of other people who are important to getting a job.

May your phone start to ring!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Computer Time Is Only 1 Part


Looking for a job again today? How are you going about it? With basic computer skills being in such demand in order to even apply for positions, too many are spending way too much time on their computers; neglecting to give time and energy to other activities. So in order to inform or remind you what a well-rounded and multi-pronged approach is to an effective job search, let’s look at some of the things you should be paying attention to.

Self-assessment. Know you’re strength and weaknesses, your preferred style of leadership and supervision. Understand how you learn best be it receiving instructions, observation or doing. Be able to articulate your problem-solving approach, your preference for working independently or with others and know what your work values entail. Do not overlook this critical step or you will find yourself in jobs that lack fulfillment; you’ll be far happier in an environment that fits your personal preferences.

References. Getting the names of a few people who can attest to your good work is only a small part of the attention you should be giving to your references. You’d do well to make sure each of these people receives a copy of your updated resume; that they understand clearly the kind of positions you are pursuing and the skills and experience which qualify you. You should make a point of thanking them regularly, bringing to their attention employers who are likely to call them and when doing so providing a brief description of those organizations and the specifics of what the job would entail. They’ll represent you far better this way.

Marketing. Consider yourself as a product which you as a Salesperson would pitch to a potential buyer. You have to be able to get past this notion that you are bragging when you are in fact really just accentuating your real value. Know your features and the benefits of your features. Don’t just say you have 6 year’s experience; extol the benefits of that experience! How will adding yourself to the company benefit them?

Attitude. The most qualified candidate is often passed over because of this one intangible. “Your qualifications were impressive by far, but we just went with someone we feel will be a better fit.” If you hear something like this, it could be that while your experience and skills were exactly what they want, your overall attitude left them questioning your attitude and your ability to mesh with others. So be honest with yourself or get others honest opinions; how are you coming across?

Interview Skills. Ah the big one. Spend all the time on the computer you want but eventually you’re going to have to ditch it and sit down face-to-face with someone or some people and converse. Way too many people admit they have weak interview skills and do absolutely nothing to improve on them, citing their dislike of interviewing as the reason! The only way to improve is with practice, listening to objective feedback and then acting on that feedback.

Health. Job searching requires mental and physical stamina. Do not ignore the importance of eating properly, getting some moderate exercise, finding some laughter in your day, setting aside some time to do other things you find pleasure in. Stressed? That’s not surprising or abnormal. But left without some intervention, stress can grow and dominate your days and nights. Pay attention to your health. Alcohol and drugs don’t remove problems; they only mask them and compound them.

Phoning. The phone is just one more tool in your job search strategy. For some reason many young people in particular are excellent when texting or messaging but dread making personal calls at all costs. Too bad buttercup. Ignore the phone and you give an advantage away to your competition who don’t like it anymore than you do but who nonetheless pick it up and make some phone calls. Ironically, when all your documents are spread before you during a call, you have an incredible advantage in being able to have everything nearby that will bolster your ability to speak intelligently about yourself.

Walk The Beat. While many applications have to be submitted online, there is a huge advantage in walking into an employer’s space, observing staff interactions, introducing yourself to anyone assigned to greet visitors or customers, and taking in the atmosphere of the place. You might even do such a good job making that first impression that your forthcoming application gets anticipated and pulled for an interview based on that connection and initiative you showed by walking in.

Upgrade Yourself. Very important point here. While you are unemployed, what are you doing to keep yourself competitively educated in your field? Take a night school class or some online learning. Volunteer your services one day a week, proactively initiate contact with those in the field (networking) and find out what’s trending. Don’t let things slip by ignoring your own personal development. It may not seem overly important at the time, but you’ll pay dearly for failing to invest in yourself.

Those with limited computer expertise will no doubt rejoice that here is an Employment Counsellor who thinks like them. Well, that’s not entirely true either. If you lack moderate keyboarding speed and accuracy you should practice. Know how to navigate the internet, complete online applications and target your own resume.

Whatever you find hard to do job search-wise, yeah that’s probably exactly what you need to do more of.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Out Of The House


If you are out of work, you might be one of those folks who by nature retreats to where you live as your sanctuary; the place you feel safe and secure in. Be wary my friend, your decision could come to backfire on you and one day you wake up to realize you’ve imprisoned yourself through voluntary exile.

That sanctuary of yours; the one place you could relax in and just be comfortable with yourself after a lacklustre day at work has changed. Now that you spend all your day inside, your relaxation there is replaced with too much time to think, the chairs that once brought you peace now seem unusually uncomfortable. Pacing the floorboards is little better for you move around the house yet feel nonetheless like you’re stuck.

My advice to you? Get out of the house; you’re in serious danger! Sounds dramatic I understand but it’s true and for a few reasons. First and foremost you want the one place you live and return to each day to be a place where you can unwind, feel comfortable and at rest. If you seldom leave your residence, you can hardly return to it and feel that aura of safety and familiarity surround you.

While it’s understandable you might wish to limit your exposure to friends where you’ll have to address the issue of your unemployment and provide job search updates, shutting out these people can have unintended consequences. When you fail to communicate with others, you’re going to start imagining what these conversations and interactions are going to go down like. How you picture them is going to be affected by the mood you are in; and the mood you are in is…well…not so great. So how you think things will go is often worse than the reality.

Now when we are stressed – and unemployment ranks right up there as a big stressor – our minds don’t often shut down or move from one topic to another unless you’re suffering from multiple worries. Then it’s great at shifting from one bad thing to another! But alone in our house without the distractions that come from what we see, smell, hear, touch and feel, we can become consumed with those thoughts. Then what follows is often prolonged sadness, low self-esteem, self-criticism and questioning followed by anxiety and full-blown depression.

When you walk out the door and interact with your world, you take in fresh air for a start and just by moving, you get some much-needed exercise. Your brain will start receiving new information; everything from the colour of the sky and the sound of moving traffic to that small rabbit that just darted across the path ahead you’re walking on.

As you move around and your brain starts receiving all this sensory data around you, you may find that it is these little things that for a moment here and there replace your constant thoughts regarding your job loss. Building on one or two of these, you may find your attitude improves slightly; your perspective improves as well. When your thoughts return to your present situation it may occur to you that just for a few minutes you had other thoughts and how nice that was.

Getting out to see a movie for example often has the same impact. You escape for an hour or two into another world, forget your problems and find you are enjoying doing something akin to your normal routine. And from those around you, you realize you are doing something normal that others are doing too. In short, you are fitting in; and fitting in is what you haven’t been feeling with the lack of employment.

Here’s another benefit of leaving your house: you may find that when you again turn your thoughts to looking for work, you might actually have some possible solution to a problem seemingly pop up out of nowhere. Either this or the problem has actually diminished in size (perspective). “Why didn’t I think of that before?” you might ask yourself. “Of course! I could try this or that.” Try as you might you’ll never be able to figure out what it was that prompted that solution to come to you, but had you remained inside brooding about things, it wouldn’t have come.

When you get out of the house you might also notice a rise in your energy level and a lighter mood to go with it. This is not a panacea for all your troubles make no mistake, but getting out is healthy both for body and for mind. If all a person’s problems in life were solved by getting out the door and going for a walk the world would be filled with people who walked and some would never stop. It’s not a cure-all and not meant to be an over-simplification of the real issues you’re dealing with or attempting to resolve.

By the way if you do get out, here’s an interesting thing to check on. Are you walking with your head up or not? Seriously. When you are walking in what you believe to be an upright position, lean your head back slightly, and spread your shoulders. If I’m correct, you may have changed what you perceive as your normal stance to a slightly hunched forward and downward gazing one. Stand up straighter, look ahead and breathe deeply filling your entire chest cavity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addressing A Depleted Network


The wonderful thing about communicating with others through writing is the feedback one receives. Without that feedback, true communication isn’t really occurring; you’re just broadcasting. So with that in mind, I am of a mind today to share with you an issue raised by one of my networking connections who had a topic suggestion for me.

James Moodie – and feel free to look him up on LinkedIn and extend a connection request – got in touch with me and raised an issue around the subject of professional networking. Understanding and believing in the value of networking, he wondered about how to combat the reality that over time, many of a persons networking connections may for a variety of reasons may diminish. Some people move without forwarding contact information, some retire, company’s shut down and start-up under other names, etc. And of course, many people don’t bother to nurture networking connections when they are employed simply because they don’t utilize those connections and it’s only when unemployed they find them lacking.

First and foremost, don’t let your networking contacts drop in importance. Send the odd message to people, tell them how much you appreciate them, ask them a question periodically, check up on their professional development, offer them a hand in any way you might deem appropriate. Most people are turned off if you only approach your network when you need their help and look desperate. I can speak from experience where I’ve had people connect with me, ask for my advice and help getting through some issue, and then once the help is extended, they disappear never to be heard from until the next crisis. Well, it is what it is.

Okay so to re-establishing connections and expanding your network. Let’s have a look at LinkedIn for starters. Rather than just arbitrarily clicking on the first 500 names that pop up as connection suggestions, go about extending requests strategically.

Take James for example. Visit his profile and you’ll read in his summary the following: “As a problem solver for your business, I use my years of experience to find both conventional and unconventional solutions to business, processes, systems and data issues by applying critical thinking, common sense and most importantly, by listening to the input from team members.” The man himself works with integrity and has professional experience the Health Care, Financial, Education and Insurance sectors.

Using the above information, you can see what James might have to offer you and/or your organization; what value he’d add, and one of the key personal attributes he’d bring to the process; integrity. Networking works both ways; what you can do for others and what they can do for you. It’s about all the conversations that go on beyond the initial reason for the communication you get into.

Start with why you want to connect with people in the first place. This is exactly why people never get started ironically; they don’t know why connecting is important. So perhaps James in our example wants to expand his client base, attract new business, contract his services out to an employer etc. Fair enough. Now who to reach out to. Well, he resides specifically in Pickering Ontario, so if he’s going to reach on in person to businesses, connections within 150 km’s might be his geographical limit. Folks beyond that radius can still be extremely valuable; the world has shrunk considerably and if he works remotely, there are no limitations.

Once you’ve added the people you know personally, get involved in following the companies that you typically would like to work with. Track down the top brass or the people at the level that you’re interested in getting to know. Send them a request to connect and take a moment to add a little something to that plain connection request that comes up; make it personal.

Once people accept your request, send them another message thanking them for that, extend your services to them, let them know why you targeted them in the first place.

Recall James expertise in 4 employment sectors. Stands to reason that he’d want to assess if moving forward he wants to work with all of 4 or specialize in 1 or 2. Knowing what he can do for an organization, picking a few to look into each week, asking each person for ideas and suggestions of others to connect with that might have mutually beneficial outcomes is excellent advice.

Growing out your connections can also be accomplished when you embark on new experiences too. Take an evening photography course at a community college and you come into contact with people who may just have work needing to be done and will appreciate the good fortune of having you in their circle. Networking is more than just the here and now, it’s about future opportunities too. Frequent contact with your connections keeps you first and foremost in their mind when they need your expertise and assistance.

Carry your business cards with you everywhere you go and have them ready. Install an app like comcard and you’ll be able to snap a photo of others cards and it will organize that information on their cards in an easy to read electronic format.  Be friendly, gracious and attract people to you with your good work.

I’ve met James in person by the way. He initiated a face-to-face meeting with me after connecting online. He’s everything he says he is on his profile. Tell him Kelly sent you!