How to Find Community in Your Job Search

December 18th, 2012 No comments

This week, we drive the dark away.1156018_burning_candles

On the calendar, we mark the longest day of the year — the Winter Solstice. Here in New England, we have only nine hours of daylight a day; in Alaska there’s an average of 5.5 hours. As a majority of us wake in the dark and eat supper in the dark, it’s instinctive to seek out opportunities to gather together.

As Susan Cooper says in this poem:


And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.

This year, many of the gatherings held during this darkest week of the year are also to grieve and honor those who lost their lives in Newtown, CT. Many friends, neighbors, and previous strangers will stand side-by-side to support one another and foster community.

Are there lessons in these holiday gatherings and candlelight vigils for your job search? I say yes; they demonstrate the power of community – a force you can make work for you throughout the year. Here’s how to create it – even if you don’t have it now.

Join a Job Club!

Dick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute? says job clubs have an up to 84% success rate for members seeking work.  Here are three reasons why a good job club can be helpful.

    1. They raise the spirits.If you find the psychological process of looking for a job to be as challenging as applying for jobs – and many people do – job clubs can help you feel that you are not alone.  Many who join job clubs say they provide a greater sense of connection, community, and support.
    2. Networking.Think networking with others who are out-of-work or actively looking won’t be helpful? Think again. Most often, your fellow job club members will be looking for different kinds of jobs than you are. These individuals aren’t the competition; they are teammates – who can help you with the application process and refer you to opportunities they hear about that are a fit for you.
    3. They can help you keep your game up.Want to make sure you optimize your job applications and your LinkedIn profile? Job search club organizers provide programming that can help you stay on top of the latest trends and get you noticed.

Want to get started? You can find a directory of job clubs here. You can also search for “Careers & Business” groups on or use these additional suggestions.

Try it out, and let us know how it works for you!

Holiday Networking Secret Revealed: How to Never Forget a Name

December 11th, 2012 No comments

‘Tis the season to make new connections — from parties and social gatherings to outdoor events and community events. It’s a wonderful time of the year to have good conversations and make some new friends.

That said, it’s also the season of graceful introductions — and conversations without business cards. It’s an easier time to make a new friend and then forget them all together, particularly if the eggnog or wassail contains alcohol.  Fortunately, there’s a way to fix this. Here’s an easy way to help people remember you:

Borrow a strategy from James Bond and Forrest Gump, and repeat your introduction.

This is how James Bond does it:

He starts with his last name — then uses the first and repeats the last.

Forrest Gump does the opposite.

as he says, “My name is Forrest. Forrest Gump.”

Either way, both of them are memorable. Here’s how to make the repetition approach work for you…When you meet someone new, try the Forrest, Forrest Gump approach. Say your first name first, then pause and say your first and last name.

When another person introduces them self, repeat their name as you shake their hand or look them in the eye, “It’s nice to meet you Jenny.” Then if someone else joins the conversation, introduce the person you just met — this will help you remember them!

Once in conversation, listen closely to the conversation. Share a smile, a laugh, or discover you have the same perspective or observations — and you have an experience worthy of potential follow-up later. Listen for interests and what’s important to people. Then when you follow-up, mention the common interest or experience, and remind new friends of where you met them–before you inquire about getting together, ask for a networking referral or inquire about a potential job lead. Example:

“It was great meeting you over a bowl of Ed’s famous chili last week.”

If you choose to follow-up via LinkedIn or Facebook, never send the generic invite to connect — instead customize! Do you have other tricks you use to remember people and engage them? If yes, share!

The Holidays & Your Career: 4 Awkward Scenarios & How to Handle Them

December 4th, 2012 No comments

Ah, the holidays. They bring smiles, laughter, and many cringe-worthy moments among family and friends. Do you have an uncle that appears to listen and repeat every other word, a cousin that brags too much, or a well-meaning but overbearing friend who can’t help but to ask questions about your job search within earshot of anyone in the room? If yes, you are not alone — in fact, you are in good company! (Ever wonder why movies with cringe humor tend to sell out over the holidays? It’s not the acting that’s magical; it’s that so many people can relate!)

If you’re in an active job search, you may feel especially vulnerable to such awkward moments. Here are four predicaments or conversations — and how you can gracefully handle any of these challenges if they apply to you.

1. You left one job without another one, and you are getting asked “why?”

Suggested approach: Avoid discussing how you feel about it. State the facts and lead out the adjectives. “When I was hired, the company had 40 employees. The company let 18 people go. My schedule changed from 40 hours a week to 14 hours a day. This was my new schedule for five months. Since I left in September, three different people have been hired to do my job. One is still there.

Why This Works: You’re not complaining. You are just saying what happened.

2. You’re between jobs and have a relative who can’t get past that. Uncle Charlie has asked you three times what you are doing. When he comes back after getting seconds from dinner, he asks “what are you doing for work?” You say, “I’m looking for a new opportunity.” He opens his eyes wide, smacks his forehead with the palm of his hand and says, “Still?”

Suggested Approach: Play offense, not defense.

What to do? Volunteer to help out in the kitchen and switch conversations–fast! Find someone who makes you laugh, wait ten minutes, and say “Charlie…look at what I’m doing with ________?”

Why This Works: You show that you can keep your head up, that you can keep smiling — but also that you’re not willing to be the family scapegoat.

3. Your cousin is a rock star, or a rocket scientist. Either way, Aunt Mary is so proud that she won’t stop talking about it. “I just don’t know that I’ve ever met someone so talented, have you?”

Suggested Approach: Congratulate your cousin, but give props to other people. “She’s one of the most talented persons to hit the family tree in three generations. I’d also like to introduce you to [other family member]. Have you seen his [unique skill]?”

Why This Works: You show your appreciation for others and your ability to work effectively in a team — all important criteria for teams and work environments.

4. Your best friend keeps saying she’ll introduce you to a friend who can get you hired at your dream company. But she’s been saying that for six months and nothing has happened.

Suggested Approach: Go ahead and apply for a job with the company now. If you see the job on StartWire, connect your LinkedIn account and see if you have any mutual connections. If yes, reach out to your network and see if you can request an introduction. If no, let your friend know you’ve applied for [insert title] position and you’d appreciate a follow-up by [insert date].

Why This Works: You are taking initiative and moving forward–not waiting for something to happen!

 Over the next month, we’ll be tackling the holiday job search. Got anything in particular you’d like us to tackle? Send it along!


Who says there is no such thing as a Free Breakfast? Chi-town Networking Opp

March 8th, 2011 Comments off

On Wednesday, the Chicago Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free networking breakfast. Great opportunity to meet business leaders and emerging professionals. Learn more here.

Whether you’re looking for jobs in the Windy City or not, events hosted by local business organizations can be a great way to showcase business opportunities. Here’s a job search tip: Check out local Chamber of Commerce offices in your area—it’s always easier to make new friends in person or if you’re introduced.

Categories: Employment Buzz Tags: , ,

Cool site for start-ups in Boston.

March 3rd, 2011 Comments off

Got some basic networking, events, jobs, etc. Cool stuff. 

Ok…networking with a commercial real estate reporter IS a good idea!

March 3rd, 2011 Comments off

You might overlook this event…a networking soiree with the Publisher of San Francisco Business Times and their real estate reporter… but you shouldn’t.  

Real estate folks and publishing types are ALWAYS plugged into who is doing well (meaning hiring) and who is not (meaning firing). Why? Growing companies buy advertising and lease/buy office space. 

Networking advice video from AARP. It’s really good….seriously.

February 18th, 2011 Comments off

Here’s a job networking video made by AARP I think everyone should checkout…regardless of your age.

It does have a narrator that reminds of the guy who did the voice overs on the film strips from my grade school years…and candidly it’s a bit dry… but this 5 minute video is really good and hits on many of the core ideas that we built StartWire around. Specifically:

  • Networking is not just business connections…but everyone.
  • Even the most unlikely connection can help in your job search.
  • Ensuring that your network knows what you want and what you are doing is critical.
  • Sharing the right information, with the right person, at the right time is critical.

Check it out!

Upcoming conferences in Boston…great networking without the need for WiFi.

February 15th, 2011 Comments off

I know this comes as a bit of a surprise coming form a web start-up that focuses on job networking, but you can’t beat good old fashioned, person-to-person networking at conferences. That really bad cup of coffee shared with another attendee creates a strong bond, and very easily could lead to your next job.

Here’s a list of upcoming conferences in Beantown. Most are pharma…but check it out.