Great Career Thought Leaders Tweet Chat Friday. With all of the hype about Linkedin for job search, thought leaders shared their buy-in as career professionals. Many tweeted about the continued need for resumes, using social media, and changes in the way we work.
With all of the chatter about using Linkedin, Facebook, and Youtube for job search, do you know which one you should use? The answer depends on your career field, your time, and the company you want to work for.
Building a community and tapping into your current network in person, and knowing how to share your passion and experience in conversation, is still the best way to find job opportunities. Using social media as a networking tool to build community:
Social media has tools, that when used well, can expand your opportunities. If you find yourself spending your time in front of a computer instead of out at meetings, social events, volunteering, training, and meeting people, it will hinder your job search progress. But social media tools are excellent vehicles for placing your resume, experiences, skills, and accomplishments in the forefront and showing you have current usable technology skills.
The best uses for social media are to increase your visibility and show how your are interesting and unique.
The word interview seems to take on a formal intimidating air, but you can think of it as a meeting with a purpose. The purpose is to learn about the person and their type of job and work environment. There are many places you can have an informational interview including a place of business, coffee shop, phone, Skype, or email. During the interview, learn what you can about the career field, the work culture, the person you are interviewing, and their expertise.
When you meet
When you meet with someone, be prepared, and on time. If you are meeting with someone with expertise in their career field, be sure to do your research and know something about their experience and their work. If it is a company you are interested in learn about their vision and work culture. If you don’t see the information on the website ask your contact during the interview about the company they work for. Be sure to thank them for their time when you meet them and ask how long they have for the meeting, typically 20-30 minutes unless you are meeting for lunch or coffee, which could be a little longer.
Meeting at the workplace
The advantage of meeting at the workplace is to see the working environment. This is especially important for careers in medical, criminal justice, education, and similar fields that have a unique work environment. You won’t know how you feel about a classroom full of kids, an ambulance arrival, or working around victims and crimes until you have been in that environment. You might meet at a workplace and observe or take a tour and then go someplace outdoors, to lunch, or a coffee shop afterwards.
If you meet at a coffee shop or for lunch you often have a little more time in a more casual atmosphere. This would be especially helpful for a second meeting. If at all possible, treat your contact to a coffee or lunch if you go out. Enjoy a more casual conversation, but stay professional.
If you want to talk with someone who is busy or not in your local area, a meeting by Skype or phone can be helpful. A phone conversation can also be good practice since many first interviews are by phone.
You can research, prepare, and email questions to your contact if needed. Email will give you the opportunity to broaden your contacts to different locations and types of work. Be sure to remember to use email etiquette: take time to think about your email and interview questions, respect your contact, and self-edit your email to make sure it is professional with no spelling or grammar errors.
Choose a few questions that are appropriate to the person and career field. Have plenty of questions ready, with the most important first, ask a question and then be ready to listen. Often people who really like their work and have an appreciation for their career field like to talk about it. If you’ve done your research and have their interest you might get answers to questions you hadn’t thought of asking.
Connect on shared experiences and interests. If possible, get the names of others in the career field you might connect with. Professionals often like to discuss others they respect who share similar theories, interests, or values.
Questions to get you started
Keep in mind the interview is not to ask about a job, but to learn about a career you are interest in, connect with professionals, and find resources. Why bother if you are not there to ask for a job? The best way to find a job, know what you want, and learn how to connect with others in your field of interest is to learn from someone with experience. Another benefit is to practice your interview skills and be observant of the other person’s reactions and responses before you get to a formal interview. Get out there and enjoy learning about careers you might be interested in.
More on Informational Interviewing
Fire Up Your Profile For LifeWork Success by Nancy Miller, Teal Publishing
The Informational Interview: It’s Just About Having Coffee by Jennifer Vancil, Career Convergence
How To Master the "Informational Interview" by Amanda Augustine, Career Thought Leaders
Questions to Ask at the Informational Interview, Quintessential Careers
There are many things that disrupt a person’s career either temporarily or permanently. With today’s amazing medical technology there are many people surviving brain emergencies, trauma, and illness. At sometime in your career you will probably know or work with someone who is a survivor of brain trauma.
I recently visited an aneurysm support group and heard heart felt stories of career frustration as well as successes. Stories included:
After viewing the PBS Documentary, “Brain Emergency” hosted by Kaity Tong and California neurologist Dr. Rick Atkinson, the group felt support as they shared their experiences.
I heard the story of a young woman who experienced a ruptured aneurysm, overcame challenges in her recovery, and successfully returned full time to a job with complex responsibilities. During her recovery she felt the frustration of overstimulation in the workplace and impatience with herself, but through her heroic persistence she was able to work at a high level of competence and advocate for others who had experienced a brain emergency.
Difficulties people often experience while recovering from a brain emergency are short-term memory loss, slower assimilation of information and response time, headache, and too much information coming at them at once.
What you can do
As an employer or colleague, you can be patient if someone asks you to repeat what you said, speak more slowly, or use different words in your explanation. After a brain emergency, a person may be fully able to work and function but they might process information differently. Whether it is a brain emergency or other brain trauma, a person may look and sound the same, yet process information differently.
Educate yourself about brain emergencies and brain trauma to assist clients, friends and family members recover and regain full employment whenever possible. The Aneurysm and AVM Foundation has information and resources on their website.
There are some who receive support and rehabilitation counseling, yet find they are not candidates for full time employment, but with the support of the medical community, support groups, family, and counselors, many successfully contribute to the workplace and community.
Understanding the process of recovery from a brain emergency will help you effectively support and work with a person transitioning back to work. Whether you are a career professional, a fellow employee, or an employer, you can make a difference.
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