Friday, October 5, 2012

Don’t Be Lazy – Customize Each LinkedIn Connection Request

If you want to connect with someone on LinkedIn, take one moment to say how you met them or heard about them.

A LinkedIn expert in the Atlanta area tells his audience that although he is a LION (LinkedIn Open Networker) he only accepts invitations that have been customized. As a LION too I had been accepting invitations that were not customized; no longer.

When you send a LinkedIn request, you have the option to use the standard message: “I use LinkedIn to keep track of my professional network, and would like to add you. “

Instead, add a very brief personalized statement on every request, even to people you know well. For example: If you have read one of their articles and want to connect, simply add the words “I read your article on…” and the topic in front of the standard message.

The differences between a successful person and one who is not successful are the little things.

Would I Benefit by the Help of a Job Search Coach?

“When opportunity knocks, it's too late to prepare” – Coach Wooden.

While working with job seekers in her practice, Judi Adams of RightChanges hears all too often from clients “I wish I had known about you when I began my job search” or “I didn’t know there were people like you [meaning job search coach] when I started my job search”.
Even people whose companies offer Outplacement or Career Transition services are not familiar with those services and how they may help increase the success of landing the job they want.

What is a Job Search Coach?
Upfront let’s clarify that a Job Search Coach is not a recruiter. A Job Search Coach helps you know what you need to do to be successful in your job search. They partner with you to answer your questions and guide you past obstacles you may encounter.

There are Career Direction coaches who help you determine the right type of job for you and there are Job Search Coaches who help you know how to go get that job. Some coaches are trained in both.

Some coaches will write your resume for you while others will teach you how to maintain your own resume so you are now empowered to do so when you need to tailor your resume and maintain it for the future.

A coach is part educator (sharing with you how the job market is different and how to use the new tools such as LinkedIn) and part sounding board. They are there to help you maintain perspective and stay encouraged and to point out possible problems that stand in way of your success.

How Would I Benefit By Having a Coach?
Too many job seekers say “I have found a job before I can do it again”. That is denying the job market has changed. A coach can help you know the right way to approach the search in this new and changing job market.

A coach is a trained set of eyes and ears to provide valuable feedback and help you overcome any obstacles in your way. None of us would compete in a sports game, even a friendly neighborhood championship, without practicing. Yet too many job seekers go into an interview when a job is on the line without practicing the interview. The way you word something in an interview may be communicating something you did not intend and may be what is eliminating you as the perfect candidate.

What Does Coaching Services Cost?
The costs of coaching services vary wildly. Costs can run hourly at $75 an hour and up and packages can run from $1800 up to almost $10,000.

Some coaches have a lower price for group coaching versus one-on-one tailored programs. Group sessions are targeted to the lowest skilled job seekers in the group. Not all job seekers need the same level of service and group sessions may be a waste of time for more advanced job seekers.

Unlike car dealers who at least post their sticker price on their car, too many job search coaching services do not post their prices on their web site.

Take your usual monthly salary and multiply it by the number of months you have been in a job search. What would you pay to shorten the number of months ahead of you?

Will a Coach Guarantee Me a Job?
Unless the coach hires you themselves, no coach can guarantee you a job; they don’t control that factor. The most a coaching service could do is refund a portion of your money if you are not successful.

How Should I Select a Coach?

Of course if you are unemployed, money will be one factor.

Referrals are a great way to find a good coach.

Meet with the coach and see if you like their style of communication. Let them assess your job search skills and then propose the level of services that fit your need. Pay attention to how they spend that initial time with you. Are they spending the majority of your time together pushing their services or are they truly listening to what you need?

Be sure the coach is active in professional associations and with job networking groups so you know they are staying current as the job market continues to change.

Ask to see a sample of their resume template. If it does not have a summary of your skills in the top half of the first page and has “References available upon request” at the bottom, thank them and then run out of their office. They have not kept up on their skills.

Ask about their success rate.

Some job seekers ask how long it takes for a candidate to land a job they want. That will vary depending on if the job seeker is employed currently, if the candidate starts and stops the process for vacations or family obligations, and if they are taking a long time to do the work they need to in order to find the job, all of which will elongate the search process.

So if you are in a job search, consider partnering with a job search coach who can help you succeed in this competitive job market.

Judi Adams