How to network at a networking event?

Networking events are instrumental towards building quality professional connections and by “quality professional connections” I don’t mean coming back home with a bunch of business cards. Exchanging cards is one of the first few things that you would do when you meet someone at a professional event – but this definitely should not be the only thing.

Each networking event that you attend should have an objective. It can be to learn about a new industry trend, to improve your skill set in your field, or to make some great business connections. Regardless of how you feel, attending networking events is a great way to meet people who can provide new opportunities and help you grow professionally.

In order to make the most of your time at your next event, here are 5 Do’s and Don’ts that you should keep in mind:

  1. Have a goal: Ask yourself, “Why am I going?”. Come up with 2-3 outcomes you hope to get out of the event. This exercise will help you stay focused and not roam around aimlessly.
  1. Prepare, prepare, prepare: Have a look at the agenda of your next event. Identify the topic of interest and prepare some questions; research about the speakers and identify their expertise. Take it as an opportunity to gain expert insights to take back to your daily work.
  1. Do not be on a mission – Make socializing feel natural: A networking event, as the name suggests is definitely meant for networking/socializing but this should not be mistaken with socializing without a purpose. The mantra is to relax, be yourself, be patient, have good talking points and let the conversation evolve on its own.
  1. Be a true brand ambassador: If you are representing your organization, be a true brand ambassador. Know the right facts related to your company and represent it in the truest sense. Also, know your personal brand and try to promote it the right way. Give just enough information to make people want to ask you to tell them more.
  1. Break the ice and meet new peopleIt is a human nature to hang out with familiar people and be indifferent towards new faces. But, this approach might not work when you are attending a professional conference. Be the conversation starter – There is no harm in saying “Hi” to the person sitting next to you, who might be completely unfamiliar to you, and then slowly drive the conversation towards your interest area and explore if he/she is someone you would like to connect with.

The next time you are attending a networking event, make sure to check out these tips to make a successful impact on people you meet.

Resume Tips and Linkedin Profile Optimization

Candidate Toolkit Resume Tips

Resume tips and LinkedIn tricks from Craig Fisher, personal brand pro

Do you ever find that submitting your resume to an online application is like dropping it into a black hole?  Maybe your resume isn’t getting the attention it should.

Your odds of getting an interview go way up when a recruiter or hiring manager can find your resume easily online.  Especially if they can find what they are looking for in it quickly and easily.

Skill keywords are crucial for getting your resume noticed.  Where they are placed is equally important.  You must explain properly what you have done and for whom.

At the top of your resume in the summary area, you should list the required skills for the job for which you are applying.  Next to each of these, you should list the number of years experience you have with that skill.  If you have no experience with that skill, just say so, or say “knowledge of” or “training in.”  Also list any core skill that you possess that may be relevant to that job with the years experience next to it. Ditch the generic summary at the top of your resume.

Make sure each skill that you have listed at the top is also shown in the body of the resume in each job where you used that skill so that the reader can see where and how you used each of these skills.  Under each job description, have a summary of skills used.  List the skills again, along with any other skills that were used during that job.

After the title and company name for each job description in the body of your resume, write a short paragraph with details about what the company is and does, and what your main job duty was there.  Although you may think it’s obvious, not every reader of your resume will understand what that company is and what your role was unless you spell it out specifically.

Don’t make the reader do any extra work (like having to click a link to find out more about a company you worked for) to understand exactly what you did and for whom.
In your bullet points under that short paragraph do not just list what you were responsible for.  List accomplishments.  Use numbers and descriptive words to show what your impact was.  “Increased sales” is not enough.  “Increased sales by 15% over 6 months” is better.

Repeat everything you have now done on your resume in your LinkedIn profile.  Use the information that you might include in a cover letter in the top summary portion of your LinkedIn profile.  Include your keywords there, too.  Start the “skills used” section under each job description with your name, like this:

Craig Fisher: Talent Acquisition Manager, Talent Attraction Strategist, Recruiting/Sales Manager, Sales, Business Development, Recruiter, Headhunter, Executive Search, Staff Augmentation, Information Technology Consulting Services; Contract, Temp-to-Perm / Contract-to-Hire, & Full-Time Staffing Recruiting; Executive Search. CIO, CFO, CEO, ERP, Oracle, SAP, Peoplesoft, .Net Application Developers, Project Managers, Business Analysts, DBAs, Software Package Installation/Configuration, Social Media Recruiting/Branding/Twitter Strategy Training

You need keywords that will be specific to what you do in order to help separate your resume from the thousands of resumes that are less specific.  A good recruiter will narrow their search with less generic keywords.  Having these listed multiple times in your resume will help it come up at the top of the search results in Google, Linkedin, Job Boards, and company databases.

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Craig FisherAuthor: Craig Fisher
Connect with me on LinkedIn here

4 Things That Will Stop You From Being A Personal Branding Novice

What is Personal Branding?

We often come across the term “Branding” in our day-to-day life but not all of us understand what it means nor its impact on our lives. Many of you may think that “Branding” is a marketing jargon for commercial products or services but the truth is, we all are “Brands” and guess what – your own brand already exists and is known to your own networks and probably to the wider audiences. Have you ever considered your own personal brand? Have you ever googled yourself? It’s vitally important in this digital age to find out what your own personal brand looks like online, analyze what you should do to sustain, improve or reposition it.

Social media is a key player in the job search process today. Personal branding may provide potential employers the opportunity to more accurately judge a candidate’s abilities and cultural suitability. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ allow employers to get a glimpse of who you are outside the confines of a résumé, cover letter, or interview – while they offer job seekers the opportunity to learn about companies they’re interested in; connect with current and former employees; and hear about job openings instantaneously, among other things.

It’s extremely important to maintain a decent image on social media – decent enough to get hired. Here are 4 things to think about when you are looking at improving your own personal brand online:

1. Who and what can people see on your social media profiles?
We all know that we are on Facebook/Instagram etc. to connect with our friends/loved ones but what we ignore is the fact that the same profile is being looked at by many unknown people who are probably creating their very first impression about us; and who knows one of our top favorite employers might be looking at our “not – so – sober” pictures from last night’s party. Moreover, there is a reason why there is something called “privacy settings” on our social media profiles.

2. Read again before you click “post”
The next time you update your Facebook status or post a tweet, make sure you give it a good read. Ensure there are no grammatical errors; undo poor language; and most importantly make sure that you use the rule of the 3P’s (be Positive, Professional and Personal) because believe it or not, one careless social media status update might cost you your dream job offer.

3. How and what are you engaging with on Social Media?
Not everyone will know what content you like and who you follow but someone who is trying to dig deep into our profiles will notice it within the first few seconds. By analyzing the content that you like and share as well as the types of accounts you follow and like, people will make a judgement of your interests. Engaging with content and accounts related to your current employee, co-workers and particular industry you’re in shows how passionate you are about your job. On the other hand, being a software engineer while having a Facebook wall full of over-the-top fun pictures, with no engagement or following of any tech related group/articles may give off a bad first impression when a recruiter is looking at your profile.

4. Be yourself when creating your brand identity
Last but not the least; never forget that social media is there to leverage your “personal brand”. Establishing a brand identity requires something distinctive. The key to personal branding success is defining yourself instead of letting others define you. Therefore, create an image, an image that is likeable, relatable, informative and human. It’s okay to be candid about your flaws and vulnerabilities, but it’s vitally important to remember there is only one of you, so highlight and flaunt all of your USP’s.

Happy Branding! 




Author: Sharmista Deb
Connect with me on LinkedIn here