Job Action Day: Start Up – How to Network

For this year’s Job Action Day, I’m contributing to “Start Up.” According to Quintessential Careers, “Start Up” refers to the whole mindset of being the CEO of your career; having a portfolio of portable skills, a great network, flexibility, a project-mentality; not sitting at the computer visiting job boards, but getting out there, meeting people, and knocking on doors.

Get ready to take action.

In any economy, good times and bad, it’s important to take control of your career search and not rely on the “spray and pray” method—spraying your resume all over internet job boards, and praying someone calls you. By taking an active role in your career, you land a job by choice, not by chance. Won’t it be nice to control your career destiny?

While there are many methods to search for a job, the No. 1 method is to network. You will see networking tips for “getting out there, meeting people, and knocking on doors” below.

Additionally, you can contact companies directly via their company websites or via direct mail. Send your resume and cover letter to key decision-makers for your job target. Better, of course, is to network your way into the company through your personal contacts.

And finally, job boards. Job boards are the most passive way to search for a job. Per CareerXroads Source of Hire Report, March 2011, 24.9% of candidates are sourced through job boards.

My recommendation when using a job board: Use your professional organization’s job board first, like the American Society for Training & Development (ASTD’s) Job Bank ( or the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA’s) Job Center ( Oftentimes jobs posted in a professional organization’s job bank are not posted elsewhere. If you wish to use the major job boards, I recommend doing a little investigative work. Read the job posting, and then see if you have a connection at the company or a contact whom you’ve identified has a connection (two degrees away). In this way, you will learn more about the organization through your connection and be able to create a warm referral to the appropriate decision maker. Do follow the job postings’ requirements and procedures; just use your connections to take your application to the next step.

Get Personal

Networking is simply the No. 1 way people land new jobs. In fact, according to CareerXroads Source of Hire Report, March 2011, “27.5% of hires are attributed to referrals. Referrals are the No. 1 Source of External Hires.” The study also states that “50.3% of all openings are filled through internal movement.” Internal movement counts as a referral. That means 77.8% of people are hired through people they know—their network.

How to Choose a Networking Group

When deciding upon joining a networking group, ask yourself the following questions: Who needs to know about you to help you reach your goals? Does this networking organization serve your target audience for your career goal? Does it have members who are your audience? If not, it’s probably not the group for you.

What groups should you join? Join at least three types of groups:
1. Peer group for brainstorming, education, commiserating, and more importantly for creating referral or alliance partners;
2. Prospects: a group that is your ideal target market or knows your ideal target market;
3. Professional business group or leads group, including professional associations, such as ASTD, PRSA, ISM, and others. Hiring decision-makers often Google your name before meeting with you. Being associated with a professional organization can boost your online presence.

Now that you’ve chosen your top three groups for in-person networking, make a plan. Take five minutes before each networking event to:
• Rehearse your sound bite
• Identify key players whom you would like to meet
• Make a goal to meet at least three new people

What to Say at Networking Events

Have at least three open-ended questions you can ask any person at the networking event.

Here are open-ended questions that encourage conversation:
1. What brings you to today’s meeting?
2. What one or two things would you like to take away from this event?
3. What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you all week?

Never ask: “Do you know anyone who’s hiring?”

Your goal is to create real and helpful connections, NOT close the deal on a job offer or try to collect the most business cards in the room.

Let us know how this works for you and share your story! Good luck!

Want more help taking your job search to the next level? Check out “Rock Your Job Search™.” This program includes proven strategies including: How to Network Effectively Online; How to Ace the Interview; How to Negotiate the Offer and Get the Salary You Deserve, and much, much more. Includes: workbooks, audio, and extra bonuses. Enjoy!

® 2011 | Wendy Terwelp | Opportunity Knocks™ | All rights reserved.

Job Action Day: Let’s do the Time Warp again!

It’s just a jump to the left…

As Halloween was just yesterday and Job Action Day is today, I thought my topic should be a little “Rocky Horror” with a focus on the Time Warp. Why?

Halloween lets us be whoever we want to be, even if it’s just for a moment.

Job Action Day’s theme this year is all about creating your own opportunity, because times have changed. Full-time gigs are rare and, according to Dr. Randall S. Hansen, founder and publisher of QuintCareers, “The workforce as we’ve come to know it will probably never be the same. Job-seekers must develop a whole new mind-set to thrive in this new world of work. That’s why our Job Action Day theme is ‘Create Opportunity,'” Hansen said. “The theme has a double meaning; not only must job-seekers create opportunity, but we encourage employers and the government to find ways to create opportunity, as well.”

So, while we can’t change the clock, we can change our way of thinking and our attitudes. Here are some tips to help you do just that:

1. Remember when you were a kid and you’d get asked the question, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” What did you say then? Try and remember. If you can’t remember exactly, write at least five ideas down right now, from the top of your head. Don’t think too long on this, just go with what pops into your head right NOW.

2. What did you come up with? Any dream gigs? One of my favorite quotes came from a kid in a news article. His answer to the above question, “What do I want to be when I grow up? Why, they haven’t invented it yet.” Heck, Twitter showed up in 2007. Be creative.

3. Can YOU invent it? Right now, original ideas are a valuable commodity.

What is one thing you can think of right now that’s original, out-of-the-ordinary or something you may have been afraid to try in the past? Go ahead, put your toe in the water. It can be done.

4. If you don’t know what you want, get some help figuring it out. This can be done through career assessments and it can also be done by asking questions of people you know. Combine the two activities, and you’ve got a powerful combination of tools to help you get that next big gig.

My client Eric did this. He came from a family of medical doctors. Every person in his family was a physician. Eric, however, sold medical devices. While it paid well, Eric wasn’t satisfied; he simply did not enjoy the job. We went back in time (Time Warp!) to identify what did excite Eric, what he did love, and using some powerful assessment tools and networking, Eric discovered he loved to build things. He was creative. His favorite (albeit unpaid) gig was remodeling his home. Eric decided to create his own home-building business and now builds home for VIPs, despite a “bad economy.”

5. If you’re passionate about it, you can make it happen. My client, Peter, 62 (at the time) was passionate about fitness. He had run and sold several businesses, had a JD (law degree) and an MBA. Now what? At 62, he had done it all or so he thought. What he decided to do for his next career move, was buy and run a fitness club. He made it happen. He tapped his network and brought in an experienced marketing guy to help generate business. Things are going well. What are you passionate about? Can it be turned into your next big gig? And who in your network can help you make it happen?

Let’s do the Time Warp again! Take a few minutes and act on what  you just learned (or remembered). Jot some notes. Make a few calls. Google your ideas and job titles. Make a plan. Make it happen.

You can be who you want to be for more than a moment, you can be it for your next career.

Share your ideas, dreams, and questions right here. I’m listening.

Note: See more Job Action Day posts here: Quintessential Careers, thanks again for having me as a guest blogger for this awesome event (year 3).

PS: Happy 35th to The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

Job Action Day: Create Your Own Opportunity

While Job Action Day is officially Nov. 1, I thought the topic was terrific and needed a few more posts.

I recently spoke with a job seeker who told me, “Why can’t I just go to work? Why do I have to go through all this job search process. It’s really annoying.” She had been downsized and looking for the past year. Zero interviews thus far.

She was going to send me her resume for a free review, but I’ve yet to see one. Typically, if there are no interviews, it’s likely a resume issue. It can also be a search strategy issue.

The job search process itself can be pretty discouraging. So, how about making a change? Instead of spraying your resume all over the internet and praying someone calls you, create your own opportunity! Yes, you can still do so, even in today’s economy. That’s what Job Action Day is all about.

The Story of George

George is a professional with a solid background in information technology and talent management. He came to one of my Rock Your Network events, where I had some presenters from a local company sharing their expertise in how to use job boards effectively, including networking your way to the right decision maker.

This gave George some solid ideas about how he could make a positive contribution to this organization. He took the initiative to talk with the presenters after the event. He got names, specifically, the name of the owner of this organization.

George then set up a meeting. He prepared in advance, outlining what he could bring to the table. The meeting went well. Then came the wait. It was a long one.

He asked me about this, “What should I do?” Of course, I asked if he’d had a chance to follow up.

So, he followed up a few times, professionally, adding value each time.

A few months later, George was hired – in a brand new – created-just-for-George – position at this company. It was a management role AND paid well.

A few years later, George created another opportunity for himself with a new company. He networked his way in, and as before, conveyed his value, and was hired.

Was it instant gratification? NO. Was it proactive? YES. Did it take some courage? YES.

Can you do this? YES.

Go on, take a chance! And please do share your experience!

Graphics: Created by SnapHappy Creative LLC




Job Action Day: Amelia Earhart & Your Career: Let Your Own Business Take Flight!

I’m excited to be participating in Quintessential Career’s annual Job Action Day – for its second year. To quote Katherine Hansen, PhD, Quintessential Careers, “While the economy is showing signs of recovery, indications that the recovery will continue to be ‘jobless’ casts a pall over hopes for a full bounce-back. Job Action Day … addresses the jobless recovery by spotlighting promising areas in which the unemployed and other job-seekers may find opportunities.”

As entrepreneur and daredevil pilot Amelia Earhart once said, “The woman who can create her own job is the woman who will win fame and fortune.” Think about the time period when this was said: the 1920’s. In fact, Earhart took her first flying lesson on January 3, 1921, and in six months managed to save enough money to buy her first plane. In 1929, the stock market crashed, which led the Great Depression. In 1932, three years into the depression, Earhart became the first woman to fly across the Atlantic and in 1935 she became the first person to fly solo across the Pacific from Honolulu to Oakland, California.

Despite an economic depression, Earhart took risks. You can too. Many of my clients are also taking risks and deciding to pursue entrepreneurship, rather than getting another “job.”

Thomasina Tafur, a former FedEx executive, is one such risk-taker. She told me, “When I got laid off, I heard that small voice telling me, if I really believed in my dreams, now would be the time to take that quantum leap. So I did, [and] I haven’t looked back once!” Tafur has always had a passion to help other women along their journey in life, professionally and personally, and had wanted to do so full time. While still at FedEx, Tafur coached many women along their career paths, including helping them break the glass ceiling. She also helped friends write their business plans for startups and mentored young women from her alumni, the University of Miami.

Like Tafur, Pat Shuler, Sales Trainer, is passionate about her business. She said “Your business needs to be important to you. It’s a lot of work.”

Tafur agreed, “One surprise was how I’d feel about working so many hours alone. By nature I’m an introvert, but I never realized how much I would miss the constant human interaction. I now make a point of leaving the house at least once a day and participating in networking activities at least three times a week.”

Schuler added, “It’s a double-edged sword, the cool thing is, you get to do everything and be everything. The bad thing is, you get to do everything and be everything.”

But is it worth it in today’s economy? Tafur said, “Absolutely! I’m doing something I love and believe. …. [I] make a greater difference than before. Now that’s a purpose driven life!”

Schuler advises her clients starting out, “Be prepared to work hard, be flexible, and be resilient.” She said that many executives are used to having “minions” to do their administrative work. “You don’t get too many minions when you start your own business. You’ll need to put your capital where you can get the biggest bang, like sales and marketing.”

She said, “You have got to be somebody who can sell and market their business. Not having this skill kills your business.” Or, she recommends, hire a consultant who can advise you in these areas.

Tafur’s advice for start-ups, “Be sure to develop a good business plan, and if possible, keep your day job for as long as you can until you’re fully ready to launch. Hiring an outside person, like me or Wendy [Terwelp], can ensure your plans are objective and that every possible scenario has been considered and thought out thoroughly.”

Are you ready to create your own job and let your dream take wings? Share your lift-off story!


Vote for YOU and Your Ideal Career

Tomorrow is Election Day and time to vote. As you’re choosing a candidate, think about your own career choices. Did you choose your current career or did it choose you?


Perhaps you started in banking during college and moved up. Now you are out. Maybe you were recruited by an investment firm during college. Now you are out.


While times are tough, you still have a choice.


You can choose to whine and complain about the economy and your crappy career situation OR you can choose to take this time to find a career that is ideal for you.


Maybe you fell into the role you’ve just been downsized from – and you hated every minute of it. I worked with one client who had been with his company 25 years before being downsized. “I hated every day I was there,” he told me. “What?! But you worked there for 25 years!” I said. “How did you make it through?” He said, “Why, I took it one day at a time.”


How horrible to hate going to work, especially when the typical employee works 2080 to 2600 hours a year. And works an average of FORTY YEARS (or more).


Here are some action steps you can take right now and vote – vote for YOU and your ideal career – one that you are passionate about! One where you can say, “WOW, I love going to work!”


1.    Choose a new career. If you’re burnt out on your current career or, like my client, hated the 20+ years you’ve worked in the industry, take some career assessments to find a new direction. Here’s a link to some freebies.


I also recommend taking more in-depth assessments for greater and more detailed results – to help you identify what makes you tick, how others perceive you, and what might be the ideal work environment for you.


2.    Choose your attitude – and make it a positive one. I recently worked with a client who’d been downsized. I’ve rarely met a more positive person. Here he was in a difficult situation, family, main provider, and unfortunately in a declining industry. How did he view his situation? Why he had more time to spend with his family. He had time to help his children with their homework and watch them learn new things. He had time to take some classes and improve his skills. And he had time to research and pursue a new, more lucrative, and stable industry. That’s how he viewed things. How are you viewing your situation? You’ve got a choice.


3.    Choose to rebuild your network – the right way. “Know anyone who’s hiring” is not an effective way to rebuild your network. Here’s the right way: Personal Branding Sound Bite.


4.    Choose to learn new ways to network. Yes, networking events, social gatherings, and professional organizations are still an excellent way to network. How about the latest tools like online networking? Do you know how to use LinkedIn the right way? Have you updated your bio? Wondering what Twitter is? Check out this self-study class: Rock Your Network® Online for the latest.


5.  Choose to take control of your personal brand. The challenge for most professionals is that they lack the discipline necessary to define their personal brands. As a result, their peers select it for them. Unfortunately, the personal brand others select for you will not always be the personal brand you would have selected for yourself. Take action now.

6.  Choose to recession-proof your career – where you are. See my blog post below: Top 10 Tips to Recession-Proof Your Career.

7.  Choose to volunteer. In the words of Zig Ziglar, “If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll get what you want.”

Now is the time to cast a vote for YOU and your ideal career. What choices will you make this time around? It’s up to you. And you’ve got a choice.


Want more tips for Job Action Day? Check out QuintCareers and its chosen bloggers. Enjoy!



© 2008 Wendy Terwelp All rights reserved.

Wendy Terwelp has helped thousands of clients be rock stars at work since 1989. A recognized expert on networking, both online and off, Wendy has been featured in The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Fast Company, The Business Journal,,, and more as well as numerous radio shows. She has published hundreds of articles on the web and in print. Are you ready for your next big gig?®

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