Stop networking…is one person’s opinion.

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I have met many millennial junior, senior and post-graduate students who are so enthusiastic, capable and eager to throw themselves into the workforce. Juniors are anxious to land that summer internship and seniors and post-grads (as well as new alums) are singularly focused on finding a living-wages job. One expects that with such determination and drive our gatherings would be a lively discussion and sharing of networking experiences and ideas for developing industry mentors or employee referrals. (A recent study conducted by the Federal Reserve Bank of NY reported that candidates who are referred to the hiring manager are twice as likely to get an interview — the holy grail of the job hunt — with 40% more likely to be hired over other applicants — winning!)

Instead, dead air filled the room and the enthusiasm was replaced by tentative silence. What I discovered is that most millenials think that the invitation/acceptance of connecting or friending someone on LinkedIn or Facebook is all there is to ‘networking’. There seemed to be no recognition that the very term ‘networking’ defines exchange of information, in short, communication. What I saw in the room was anxiety and puzzlement.

orgchartNetworking is fundamental to the art of getting a job. The silence was ultimately replaced with a question that was, apparently, common to the group: ‘But how do you network with someone in your network?’  So, I thought I would share a post I recently stumbled upon that attempts to answer that very question. Keeping in mind that it is one person’s opinion but I think that it is worthwhile to take it in and use it to introduce some self-awareness toward your next networking opportunity. In fact, it may take the anxiety out of networking.

Don’t list your Responsibilities | State your Accomplishments

Here are my 4 top takeaways from a segment of the Leonard Lopate Show, Pro Tips to Grab a New Gig for the New Year, that I was listening to on my car radio a few days ago:

1. Getting a personal referral from someone in the company to which you are applying is worth their weight in gold.

2. Develop mentors and advisers from your network and get feedback from them about your cover letters, resumes and other supporting documents – hiring managers will not help you with improving your resume.

3. Low quality, sloppy grammar and spelling mistakes on a resume is the fastest track to rejection by a hiring manager.

4. Always, always be truthful on your resume and in your interview.

His guest is an HR executive, Victoria Humphrey, author of Clueless Emperors: How to Overcome Problem People and Not Be One Yourself, and the just over 28 minute piece provides job-seekers, from soon to be graduates to nearly retired, a forum to disclose their experiences and listen to real life hiring managers share their advice and cautionary tales.

You might not agree with everything that you hear, or you just might learn some new things, too. Nevertheless, please take a moment to listen, then I invite you to share what your top 4 takeaways are with me.

#1 Job Search Tool : Person-to-Person Networking

As most of my focus and time is on the 2014 MPACE Conference this week I wanted to share briefly a recent post about by an English Teacher/Resume Writer, Steve Brady, who used a segment from The Quick & Easy Guide to Networking: Tips, Tricks & Tools for Jobseekers, one of his (all career and job search related) guidebooks that is intended to be a networking primer for job/internship seekers of all ages.

An advantage for 225AM users is that the searching, identifying and then the tracking and organization of schedules and contacts is managed by us in your 225AM account. You may find it useful. Let me know if you don’t!

Getting a Job: Now & Later


Hey, here’s a neat article about what’s next for the Stanford class of 2014! Oh, what’s that? You’re part of the tiny demographic known as “People Who Didn’t Go To Stanford.” Weird! Well then, take a look at this New York Times article about Brooklyn College graduates. Didn’t go there either? Too bad! This is all you get!

Now, a lot of these numbers and stories can be depressing, but bear with me. The reason I’m posting this stuff is two-fold.

First, if you’re a recent college graduate who’s struggling to find a new job, YOU’RE NOT ALONE. Even graduates of a place like Stanford are having a hard time in this market. Does knowing that make the process easier for you? No. But hopefully it will bolster you to keep your spirits up, because if there’s one thing that really slows down a process like the job search, it’s self-doubt. So, take a look at these articles and rest assured, the problem isn’t you.

Second, if you’re not graduating college yet, start your job search now. Start seeing what you need to get the kind of first job you want. Look into internships. Volunteer. Don’t just put the whole process off until later. Do SOMETHING even if it’s just research… or daydreaming. Any amount of thought is better than no thought at all.

So, go ahead: read up, chin up, start up (early).

photo by Flickr user www.guigo.eu, used under a Creative Commons License.

Search for Work | Expand Your Network

This are a couple of progress videos from Caitlin and Piers. They are fully engaged in the work involved in getting a job. Listen to their unvarnished experiences and hear their first impressions of using 225AM.COM to get and stay organized in the effort.

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We will be posting progress updates here in the coming weeks.
Let us know what you think.

Applying to College vs. Applying for Your First Job

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A few years ago, you were applying to college. Now, you’re applying for your first real job. I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news. Here’s the good news: the processes are very similar. Here’s the bad news: the processes are very similar.

Luckily, there are people around to give you a little pep talk. Like Frank Bruni of the New York Times, for example. Okay fine: he’s talking to applicants who didn’t get into their ideal college. Still, even for me, someone years past his first job and even more years out of school, his words scratch a very particular itch.

Here’s the gist: you don’t always get what you want. You also don’t always get what you deserve, but this doesn’t necessarily say anything about you. A lot of the times it says more about someone else. For example, in the job search, someone might come from a family with connections to the industry you want to work in. Or someone might have gotten special training you don’t have access to.

Luckily, though, you’re not looking a job in the same way you look for a college. Sure, people transfer around, but for a lot of us, the word “college” evokes memories of a single place. On the other hand, the first job you take is just that: a first job, one of many. And getting the exact right first job matters a lot less than you think.

In fact, I will even be as bold to say that you shouldn’t get your dream job on your first try. The various aches and pains that come along with fitting your circular college self into the square shaped hole of the working world might taint what could otherwise be an amazing experience when you’re a little bit more settled in.

I’ve talked about my career trajectory before. I took some weird jobs that didn’t necessarily relate fully to what I wanted to do in life, but just getting out and working helped me get in the right mindset. Had I not taken those jobs, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today: doing what I love in a cool city.

So, just like Frank Bruni says to the college applicants who didn’t get into the school of their choice: it’s okay, don’t let this one thing define you. Keep your head up and keep working hard. Stuff will fall into place as long as you keep pushing forward.

(photo by Flickr user Andrew Schwegler, used under a Creative Commons License).

College Career Services is a Buzz Kill, Really.

And my title’s assertion seems to be supported by Ben Carpenter’s Op-Ed wherein he notes that Millennial Branding‘s survey found that 61% of over 4,000 college students thought their school’s career services was unhelpful in helping them into a first job.

But Carpenter doesn’t call out career services as a failed endeavor in his piece. Instead, he is using this bit of data as a call-to-action for colleges and universities – to start rethinking and refreshing their curriculum and courses – to prepare their graduates beyond the 3-Rs of education (remember them?).

He admits that his college experience didn’t include much career training but, then again, no one else’s did either. Career paths, when I was in school, were well marked and nearly always started with graduating from high school, entering college, graduating from college, sending out a few resumes and then getting a job because there were more jobs than there were college grads. But that path has long been paved over by a globally competitive superhighway and college students need to get educated on how to get on it and stay on it, for life.