Job Search Tips
Do you squander rare and fabulous opportunities to get an audience with decision makers (either in a networking situation or interview) only to have your chief topics of conversation focus on you, your job search and the weather? To gain credibility, to exude experience, knowledge and intelligence you need to know what’s going on in the world, your industry, or your would-be clients’ industries.
In other words, you need to have your finger on the pulse, so here are some job search tips sure to help.
Have you ever chatted with someone who can carry a conversation seamlessly? Someone who can commiserate with you about the football game, who knows about BHP’s recent stock rise, or can laugh about the latest YouTube car parking video? People like this are gold in the relationship-nurturing stakes, and many have a natural curiosity about the world around them.
Others need to work on it—hard. They know these things because they make it their business to know—connecting with people is inherent in building rapport and that increases your like-ability factor and the desire felt by others to be in your orbit.
Here are a few ideas to help you gather information daily so that when you meet a colleague from the past, have a coffee to chat about your future, or even if you’re sitting before a group of panellists at a formal interview, you can optimise your likeability factor and be seen as intelligent and knowledgeable.
Newspapers: Online newspapers provide a wealth of information about what is going on in the world. Instead of just turning to the sports or celebrity sections, click on one or two articles in each key area. International, money/business, local, politics and yes, celebrities and sports too. Don’t be that guy/gal who can’t remember the name of the State Premier, Governor General or Prime Minister, has never heard of Angelina Jolie or One Direction, and is clueless about who won last year’s Grand Final. 15-minutes a day—learn as much as you can even if it doesn’t interest you. It will interest someone you speak with and that person is going to be drawn to you because of it.
Stocks on your iPhone. Have an iPhone? An app that comes as part of the installation is called Stocks. (Search for it now). Add and follow some stocks that are important to either your desired career industry or your would-be or current clients’ industries. Tap on that app once a day and look at the share price and note whether it has gone up or down. Slide along at the bottom and you’ll see the final screen has a couple of news items about that company or industry that you can read quickly. For example, say your clients are farmers or in the rural sector. Keeping an eye on Graincorp news will allow you to talk with your clients knowledgeably about things that make a difference to them. Relationships are forged by being empathetic to another person’s situation or relating to them through shared knowledge.
Linkedin: Once every day or so, glance at your LinkedIn news feed. People you know and are connected with are sharing information in the hope that you’ll find it as interesting as they do. Make their generosity of sharing into a networking opportunity. Nobody’s interested in getting a message on LinkedIn from you saying “Hi Fred. I’ve been made redundant. Know anyone who has a job for me?” (especially if they haven’t heard from you in five years!). But you can rebuild a relationship by reading the news feed, clicking the ‘like’ button, or commenting (in a courteous and genuine way) on the content that has been posted. Even if you say something as benign as “Thanks for posting that Fred, that was really interesting. By the way, haven’t chatted for a while… let’s catch up soon!” Doors can be opened by a single message on a single new feed item. (And nothing is lost if they don’t reply, you’ve just acquired knowledge about your industry or your client’s industry by glancing at the news snippet).
In today’s world, you can’t be closed off. Information is thrown at us from a thousand different places every day and it can be overwhelming. You don’t have to be an authority on everything (in fact nobody likes being verbally assaulted by a facts machine), but do keep the objectives of approachability and relate-ability uppermost. The people you interact with will thank you for it.
(And that “thank you” may be the very gift you need).