Friday, December 19, 2008

Refreshing a Stale Network

My latest CareerJournal e-mail had a nice piece from Dana Mattioli of the Wall Street Journal on Ways Job Seekers Can Find Old Contacts. Actually, the article is much broader than just finding old contacts, focusing instead on adding in new connections along with maintaining the old ones. Kind of like friendship bread, where you have to add more flour and sugar to keep the culture healthy and fresh.

So, finding old contacts:

Start with what you do know and build from there. If you kept up with just one or two people, ask them if they kept up with anyone else. Then connect with those people, and ask them if they kept up with anyone else.

Use LinkedIn. The search feature is very good for finding people, and once you've found one old contact, it is likely they are in contact with other people from your past. Plus, LinkedIn will even suggest people you might already know, and it is generally pretty accurate in its suggestions. LinkedIn Groups is also a good way to reconnect, as many former employees (and employers) have set up "alumni groups" to help people reconnect with former co-workers.

Search the web. I've found a lot of old connections by just using Google. You don't often get an e-mail or phone number that way, but it is at least a start.

Finding new contacts:

First off, you know more people than you think you do. When you are assembling your list of "everyone you know," don't ignore the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker. They meet a wide cross-section of people in the community, so they might well be able to help you in some surprising ways. I've heard story after story of people who got a meeting with a CEO by discovering a seemingly random connection: your barber knows the CEO because the CEO gets a haircut every Wednesday. If you don't mention your need to meet the CEO to your barber, then your barber will not be able to help you.

Get involved. The WSJ article mentions professional associations. Those are excellent groups to join. More importantly, those are excellent groups to volunteer to help. Volunteering your time gets you right in the midst of everything, people get to know you as a doer, and they are more than willing to help you because you have helped them.
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Sunday, December 14, 2008

This Week in Philadelphia (TWIP) for 12-14

Say Hello

There are a couple on interesting joint holiday socials happening this week. GPSEG's Sales and Marketing subgroup, the Philadelphia chapter of the American Marketing Association, and the Marketing Executives Networking Group (MENG) are holding a joint social on Monday. Then PAMPI, PPRA, HSMAI, ISES, NACE, and PCMA are jointly holding a Jingle Jam on Tuesday (let me tell you, these event planners know how to party).

I mention these because joint meetings are a great time to network. You have an opportunity to meet a wide cross-section of people that you might not ordinarily meet. Plus, I find there is a lot of cross-over in many of these groups, so odds are that someone you know from one organization will be able to introduce you to someone they know from another. Referrals are always the best way to meet people. A great, "Hello," as it were.

What I list here are just a fraction of the 79 other events you can find for this week on the Basecamp Business regional calendar of business events, so check it out for more.

There are a lot of events this week, but almost none next week, so This Week in Philadelphia will take a holiday break. Enjoy yourselves, and keep safe.

Monday, Dec 15, 2008
GPSEG, PAMA, and MENG -- Joint Holiday Social Event
5:30pm – 8:30pm - Loew's Hotel 1200 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

Tuesday, Dec 16, 2008
eWomen Network -- "Strategic Business Introduction" Session
11am – 1:30pm - First Financial Group 2 Bala Cynwyd Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

NAWBO Philly -- Shop and Sip Holiday Event
3pm – 5pm - Wyndham House at Bryn Mawr College 235 North Merion Ave. Bryn Mawr, PA 19010
Holiday Business Card Exchange / Networking Event
5:30pm – 7pm - Facenda Whitaker 2912 Swede Road East Norriton, PA 19401
GVFHRA -- Holiday Party & Silent Auction
5:30pm – 7:30pm - Sheraton Park Ridge 480 North Gulph Road King Of Prussia, PA 19406

PAMPI, PPRA, etc. -- 2009 Jingle Jam
6pm – 9pm - Simeone Foundation Automotive Museum 6825-31 Norwich Drive Philadelphia, PA 19153

Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008

GPCC -- Women in the Workforce
7:30am – 10:30am - The Rittenhouse Hotel 210 West Rittenhouse Square Grand Ballroom Philadelphia, PA 19103

EFSNJ -- How to Get Media Coverage
8am – 10am - Waterfront Technology Center 200 Federal Street Camden, NJ 08103

Thursday, Dec 18, 2008
ACG -- Executive Briefing - Breakfast: Raj Gupta, Rohm & Haas
7:30am – 9am - Top of the Tower 1717 Arch Street 50th Floor Philadelphia, PA 19103

Career Potential, LLC -- Salary Negotiation: The Rules of the Game
9am – 11am - Radnor Financial Center 150 N. Radnor-Chester Road Suite F-200 Radnor, PA 19087

BOMA -- Annual Holiday Party
5:30pm – 8pm - The Wanamaker Building 100 Penn Square East The Crystal Tea Room Philadelphia, PA 19107

Friday, Dec 19, 2008

ASTD Professional Publishing SIG -- Holiday Meeting
9:30am – 11:30am - Strayer University, King of Prussia

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Holiday Networking Advice from Ford R. Myers

My post last week about Holiday networking was very popular, so I thought I would pass on some advice I found in a newsletter from career coach extraordinaire Ford R. Myers of Career Potential. Ford's the one who kicked me in the rear and got me networking in the first place, so I always heed his advice.

Here are the first four of Ford's 10 Tips for Holiday Networking. If you want to see the other six, sign up for Ford's newsletter or give him a call.

I'll let Ford take it from here:

When it comes to the holidays, I suggest you be a "contrarian" – and do what all the other job seekers are not doing. Since most of them are taking an extended break, this opens-up real opportunities for you!

The reality is that the holidays are an excellent time to develop and leverage new contacts for your job search or career transition. Many companies are completing their budget planning for the next fiscal year. This is often the best time to get in front of hiring managers, who can create a position for you in the coming year. Many managers have to fill openings early in the year or they may lose the budget for that position. Also, once year-end bonuses are paid, a predictable percentage of employees will leave their jobs, creating new vacancies!

Here are 10 career-savvy tips you can follow during the holidays:

Business is all about establishing relationships – and relationships are best developed in social settings. During the holidays, most people are naturally more convivial and generous in spirit. There is simply no better time to solidify existing relationships and forge new ones!

There are many networking events in December and January – in your social life, in your community, and in your professional circles. Think of all the companies having holiday parties. Many charities have their last fundraisers of the tax year in December. The book sales, holiday fairs and other celebrations make this the best time of year for productive networking!

Most professional associations make a holiday party out of their December meeting. These special occasions offer a more casual atmosphere than the formal presentations held at other monthly meetings. Do not bring a resume to these events. Create a simple, tasteful business card with your name, phone number and e-mail address. Be prepared to make interesting small talk to establish new contacts. Ask the people you meet about themselves, their work, and their interests. Remember, everyone’s favorite subject is “themselves!”

Prior to a social or networking event, prepare at least three neutral questions you can ask, such as:

  • How do you know the host, the company, etc.?
  • What made you decide to come to this event?
  • What other organizations in this industry do you belong to?

If you find it’s time to move on and talk with someone new, you’ll need some phrases to help you transition during the event. Here are some good “exit lines:”

  • I’ll let you go now, so you can continue circulating around the room.
  • I’ll stop monopolizing your time so you can meet some other folks.
  • It was great speaking with you. I’ll follow up as we discussed.

Well, that's the first four. Go to Ford's web site and request the other six, if you like.

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

This Week in Philadelphia (TWIP) for 12-7

Boulder street stickers

I'm enjoying the wild weather up in Boulder, Colorado, at the moment. It was in the teens when I arrived here, and it was in the fifties today as I was walking around in my Phillies World Champions T-shirt (like anyone here cared).

But I digress (must be the altitude). There is much to do in Philadelphia. The usual holiday parties, yes, but there is also a lot about dealing with a tough economy, brainstorming ways to handle the idea economy, and working to improve the regional economy.

Monday, 8-Dec

Mid-Atlantic Consultants Network -- Business Planning for Consultants 2009
7:30am - Merrill Lynch 724 West Lancaster Avenue Wayne, PA 19087

BioSP -- BioStrategy Partners Holiday Celebration
5:30pm - Lankenau Institute for Medical Research 100 Lancaster Avenue The Walter and Leonore Annenberg Conference Center, Classroom 10 Wynnewood, PA 19096

Tuesday, 9-Dec

SMEI -- Make 2009 Your Most Successful Year Ever
7:30am - Plymouth Country Club 888 Plymouth Rd. Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

CCPA -- The Breakfast Club
7:45am - Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse 111 South 17th Street 2nd Floor Philadelphia, PA 19103

Women of Wit and Wisdom -- Early Bird Breakfast and Business Card Exchange
8am - Pyramid Club 1735 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

eWomen Network -- Business Women's HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA
11am - Crowne Plaza 4100 Presidential Blvd Philadelphia, PA 19131

5:30pm - Federal Reserve Bank 7th and Arch Streets Philadelphia, PA 19106

PHRPS -- Holiday Party
6pm - The HUB Cira Centre 2929 Arch Street, Mezzanine Level Philadelphia, PA 19104

CFAP -- CFA Society of Philadelphia 2008 Holiday Celebration
6pm - The Public House 1801 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

Geeks Who Give -- Philabundance Food Drive
6pm - National Mechanics 22 South 3rd Street Philadelphia, PA 19106

Wharton SBDC -- 9 Steps to Maximize the Value of Your Business
6:30pm - Jon M. Huntsman Hall 3730 Walnut Street Room 340 Philadelphia, PA 19104

Wednesday, 10-Dec

Philly Ad Club -- Better Brainstorming in the Idea Economy
8am - Clear Channel Radio Corporate Offices Red Conference Room 111 Presidential Blvd Bala Cynwyd, PA 19004

11:45am - Susanna Foo 1512 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

GPSEG -- GPSEG Event, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m. Cash Bar/Networking/Dinner
5:30pm - Union League of Philadelphia 140 South Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19102

P'unk Avenue -- Junto
6pm - P'unk Ave 1168 E Passyunk Ave Philadelphia, PA 19147

ASTD -- Holiday Funfest
6pm - Hilton Garden Inn 1100 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19107

PSL -- Philly Startup Leaders — Happy Hour
7:30pm - Noche 1901 Chestnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

Thursday, 11-Dec

DVIRC -- Principles of Lean Manufacturing
8am - DVIRC 2905 Southampton Road Philadelphia, PA 19154

NJTC -- Regional Commercialization Conference
8am - Woodcock Washburn The Cira Centre, 12th Floor 2929 Arch Street Philadelphia, PA 19104

IBA -- IBA Business Brown Bag: Legal Protections for You and Your Business
2:40pm - William Way Community Center 1315 Spruce Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

200 Pros -- Holiday Networking Happy Hour
5pm - The Rum Bar 2005 Walnut Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

ASTD -- Delaware ASTD SIG: "Talent Management"
5:30pm - Wilmington Trust Company 301 W. 11th Street Wilmington, DE 19801

Women of Wit and Wisdom -- "Forget-Year-Party" Dinner and Networking
5:30pm - Pyramid Club 1735 Market Street Philadelphia, PA 19103

Friday, 12-Dec

Philadelphia 100 Alumni Association -- Change Matters: Finding that New Market Space
7:30am - University of Pennsylvania Claudia Cohen Hall 249 South 36th Street, Terrace Room Philadelphia, PA 19104

ChemPharma -- Positioning Yourself for 2009-ChemPharma® Philadelphia Chapter Meeting
9am - Career Concepts 140 West Germantown Pike, Suite 150 Plymouth Meeting, PA 19462

Saturday, 13-Dec

Professional Women's Roundtable -- Holiday High Tea
12pm - The Union League 140 South Broad St. Philadelphia, PA 19102

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Monday, December 1, 2008

How to Network at a Holiday Party

All kidding aside, your answer to the question, "How are you?" is an important one. And it IS a tough question, especially in large get-togethers.

Often we automatically respond, "Fine," or perhaps, "I'm doing well, how are you?" This is all very fine, if politeness were all that mattered. But those polite responses are so generic, so tepid. Anyone could say them, and they generate absolutely no sense of excitement or enthusiasm. Even if you weren't "fine" you would probably still say it, because it is an automatic response in many social settings. It's not much of a conversation starter, either.

If you plan on attending any Holiday parties this season, you are no doubt going to bump into someone you haven't seen for a while. They are going to ask you how you are doing. And how should you respond?

Before you even get to the party, think of a story or an accomplishment from the past few weeks, some good news that you would just love to share with your friends and colleagues. When you get asked how you are doing, you can tell them your story. "I'm doing fantastic. I just got back from giving a speech to 300 people in Katmandu." or "I've been working on finding a new job. I've been talking to a lot of people about this new approach that's being in tried in a few companies, trying to learn all I can about it."

Say it loud. Say it proud. Don't shrink from it. "I'm doing more than 'fine,' thank you."

Speaking of Holiday Parties, here's a whole list of Holiday Networking Gatherings taking place in the area, pulled from the MAC Alliance calendar. Note, the search is for "Holiday", so there are a few events being held at some Holiday Inns.