Posts tagged ‘networking’
Jobseeking can be a lonely, self-centered process. People often sit alone day after day, slogging through job boards, online applications and career fairs where the continual refrain is “apply through our site.” It’s easy to start to feel like they are constantly asking favors of friends and friends-of-friends to connect them to organizations who may or may not be hiring. Highly-qualified candidates begin to question whether they do indeed have much to offer since rejection, or even worse silence, seems to indicate otherwise. If you fall into this category, please remember that it is an extremely challenging time to be looking for a job – be it green or otherwise!
Amidst all the statistics about skyrocketing unemployment and mass layoffs, the story that is often missing is the psychological toll brought on by a prolonged job search in a bad economy. Jobseekers feel powerless, that their skills aren’t valued, and that their voices aren’t being heard. As a career coach at Bright Green Talent, I have seen this time and again with the most impressive people you can imagine.
One of the most important messages I try to convey is this: Just as critical to a successful job search as resume polishing, cover letter writing and networking is finding ways to empower yourself.
The best way to do this can sometimes seem counter intuitive but is tried and true — helping others. Rather than asking all of your contacts for connections, help another jobseeker find career opportunities. Join a mentoring network through your alumni association or nonprofits groups such as Upwardly Global. Find a volunteer project where you can contribute your unique skills to help an organization grow. Join Net Impact and take on a leadership role in your local chapter.
I should emphasize that this is not an argument for creating good karma. It is because the simple act of helping in and of itself is a way to move yourself in the right direction – from helpless to helper. This action has a variety of benefits that have been studied at length within positive psychology but when it comes down to it, we feel better about ourselves when we help other people. If you are a jobseeker, it is critical to understand that this will not only help you cope after long days of seemingly wasted time, but will also keep you articulate and sharp for when you get a chance to ‘pitch yourself’ in an interview or networking event.
For our own part at Bright Green Talent, we’re always trying to find ways to help our social and environmental impact reach around the world to the places where it’s needed most. We recently launched a campaign in which, for every 50 resumes that are registered with us, we’ll sponsor the education of a child in Madagascar for one year. Yes, having more resumes on hand helps us place people into meaningful careers with environmentally-minded organizations more quickly — recruiting is, to some extent, simply a matter of being able to find the right people at the right time.
Beyond that, we believe this campaign plays into the concept of empowering jobseekers to feel that they’re part of a larger movement of good work. Education – both about environmental issues and to promote economic security and development – is key to promoting stewardship of the world’s natural resources. Spreading education and opportunity to others, is one of the most important tasks we can take on whether employed or not.
So if you are a jobseeker, find ways to pay it forward. Your actions are more powerful than you can ever know both for the receiver and for yourself!
Christina Gilyutin, Bright Green Talent’s Director of Development and Chief Career Counselor, attended Stanford University before heading over to the University of Michigan’s Erb Institute of Global Sustainable Enterprise, where she earned a joint MBA/MS in Natural Resources and Environment.
Penned by Carolyn
Last night, Christina (our career coach extraordinaire) spoke at the San Francisco Net Impact monthly chapter meeting, which was focused around green jobs. Leonard Adler, head of www.greenjobs.net, organized the event and provided some really valuable insight as well — videos to come soon.
Probably the most interesting element of the event for us was the 20 minutes that the audience spent sharing their own tips, success stories, and warnings about searching for a job. Some really amazing insight was put out there, and we wanted to share some of their thoughts on staying positive and effective while you’re unemployed or jobseeking:
- If you’re unemployed, keep a schedule. Whether it’s walking your dog each day, going to the grocery store, keeping an active calendar of networking events, you can keep structure and motivation by sticking to a daily schedule.
- Seeking out volunteer leadership roles will give others a chance to see how you work and be able to recommend you based on work ethic, organization and other elements that might not come through when you apply or interview for a position.
- Networking is a two-way street: keep helping others by connecting acquaintances with similar interests or recommending other jobseekers for roles you know are open. Keeping this up whether you’re jobseeking or not is empowering and will keep your network connected and active.
- Get out in front of people. Jobseeking can make you spend a lot of time alone, and you can fall out of practice in terms of presenting yourself and your spiel. The more you interact with others, the better you’ll do when you eventually have to present yourself in an interview.
- It’s never too late to take an internship, especially if you need to gather skills to move into a new sector.
- Whenever you reach out to people you don’t know or peripherally know, do it thoughtfully. Find your common interests, point out your shared connections, or remark on something that’s happening in their company or industry. Not doing so is wasting a big opportunity to connect on an emotional, social level.
- Find free jobseeker support services — such as the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce’s weekly Job Forum.
- Don’t forget the basics. Applying for a green job is still applying for a job: make sure there are no spelling, grammar, or other basic mistakes in your resume. Tailor each resume and cover letter to the particular role.
Thanks to Julie and Adam Menter and the rest of the SF Net Impact Professional Chapter for organizing the event. Like many chapters across the country, the group hosts monthly meetings for its members with interesting speakers and opportunities to meet people working for social responsibility in business. Learn more about Net Impact and join at www.netimpact.org.
More photos on our Flickr feed.
Penned by Carolyn
There’s been a fair amount of news and public service announcements recently about kids and cyber-bullying – the basic concept being that kids will say things online that they would never say to a friend or peer in person.
This phenomenon unfortunately sometimes applies to adults as well. In your jobsearch especially, e-mail etiquette is just as important as phone etiquette, the way you’d speak to someone in person, or how you’d present yourself in a cover letter.
We’ve had several cases recently of finding people we were excited about putting forward for a job… and then we received an email from them that was rude, out of line, or just so strange that we had to reconsider whether we really wanted to support that candidate.
A golden rule of online jobsearching and interaction: you’re still dealing with PEOPLE. There is a real person – with feelings, and an ego, and their own personality – on the other end of the communications you send out.
Think to yourself – If you met the recruiter or hiring manager in person, would you still communicate in the same way as you do on email? Make the same claims? Use the same tone? Be as pushy?
There is a thin line between assertiveness and aggressiveness that is even harder to walk in the online space. While we’re not telling you to be too meek or passive, it’s better to err on the side of politeness than rub someone the wrong way and get blackballed altogether by the company.
During my career coaching meetings, the topic of networking comes up pretty much every time because people:
1. Know they need to be doing it.
2. Are not doing it enough.
3. Have an averse reaction to it.
Let’s address #3 since that’s the most critical to deal with #1 and #2. I tell people that it would be helpful to re-frame what networking means to them. Rather than walking into an event assuming you are ‘on the prowl’ for a job and/or for someone who can give it to them, Why not just think of it as an opportunity to meet some interesting people, hear what they’re up to and perhaps talk a little about what gets you excited in the world? Huh. That sounds a little more like a party than a networking event doesn’t it? That’s the point.
I don’t want to make it sound quite so easy. A true “re-framing” is difficult to achieve but the benefits to both your job search and sanity are endless.
Also look for fun, interesting events that seem to be less stressful. For one such example, join us when we host a rock-climbing event with Net Impact on April 21st – maybe I’ll see you there?! We can network if you are.
We’re also out and about at GreenDrinks in San Francisco (which is moving to the first Tuesday of the month at 111 Minna), and will keep you posted with more details about a career fair/cocktail hour we’re sponsoring with them in late May.