5 Ways to Follow Up Without Being Annoying April 15, 2014Posted by Sue Connelly in Job Search Tips, jobs, KIT List.
Tags: Job search tips, Jobs, KIT List
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This recent article in “The Daily Muse” has some smart points on how to strike that right balance between dropping the ball on following up — and being a stalker!
Don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back the first time since recruiters and employers are also overwhelmed with email and other communications on top of their regular workload. DO follow up, DO be clever about it. It’s worth it!
Link to the article:
5 Ways to Follow Up Without Being Annoying
By ELLIOTT BELL for The Daily Muse
Apr 05, 2014
I had a conversation with a friend the other day about his job search that went something like this:
Friend: I wrote to him last week and still haven’t heard back. It’s so frustrating.
Me: Why not follow up and check in?
Friend: I don’t want to be annoying.
The fear is understandable. No one wants to be annoying or bothersome to a professional contact, especially when you want a job, meeting, sales dollars, or something else very important from that person.
But here’s the rub. The average person can get a few hundred emails a day. That makes it pretty tough to respond to all of them, and things naturally fall to the bottom of the list. If you don’t get a response, it doesn’t mean that someone’s ignoring you — it just may mean that he or she is too busy.
So, to the question: Should you follow up? Absolutely. In fact, it’s your job. And how often should you do so? One philosophy is: As many times as it takes. The important thing is to do it the right way. Or, as some may call it, to be “pleasantly persistent.”
Here are a few tips on how to (nicely) follow up with that hiring manager, sales lead, or VIP—and get the answer you’re looking for.
Rule 1: Be Overly Polite and Humble
That seems obvious enough, but a lot of people take it personally when they don’t hear back from someone right away. Resist the urge to get upset or mad, and never take your feelings out in an email, saying something like, “You haven’t responded yet,” or “You ignored my first email.” Just maintain an extremely polite tone throughout the entire email thread. Showing that you’re friendly and that you understand how busy your contact is is a good way to keep him or her interested (and not mad).
Rule 2: Persistent Doesn’t Mean Every Day
Sending a follow-up email every day doesn’t show you have gumption or passion, it shows you don’t respect a person’s time. The general rule of thumbis to give at least a week before following up. Any sooner, and it might come off as pushy; let too much time pass, and you risk the other person not having any clue who you are. I typically start off with an email every week, and then switch to every couple of weeks.
Rule 3: Directly Ask if You Should Stop Reaching Out
If you’ve followed up a few times and still haven’t heard back, it’s worth directly asking if you should stop following up. After all, you don’t want to waste your time, either. I’ll sometimes say, “I know how busy you are and completely understand if you just haven’t had the time to reach back out. But I don’t want to bombard you with emails if you’re not interested. Just let me know if you’d prefer I stop following up.” Most people respect honesty and don’t want to waste someone’s time, and they’ll at least let you know one way or another.
Rule 4: Stand Out in a Good Way
I once had someone trying to sell me something that I was remotely interested in but that was nowhere near the top of my priority list. Every week, he’d send me a new email quickly re-explaining what he sold—as well as a suggestion for good pizza to try around the city. Why? He had seen a blog post where I mentioned I’d eat pizza 24/7 if I could, and cleverly worked that into his follow-up. It made him stand out in a good way, and as a result, we eventually had a call.
The lesson: If done well, a little creativity in your follow up can go a long way. If you’re following up about a job, tryAlexandra Franzen’s tips for giving the hiring manager something he or she can’t resist.
Rule 5: Change it Up
If you’re not connecting with someone, try changing it up. In other words, don’t send the exact same email at the same time of day on the same day of week. Getting people to respond can sometimes just come down to catching them at the right time. If you always follow up in the morning, maybe try later in the day a few times.
Remember: If someone does ask you to stop following up, stop following up. But until you hear that, it’s your responsibility to keep trying.
Kick Off the Year Right! Create Your Life Planning List January 8, 2014Posted by Sue Connelly in Job Search Tips, jobs, KIT List.
Tags: 2014 Plans, Breakthroughs, Goals, Retreats
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I’m sharing this post with a smart tool for getting your goals set — which is a great way to start this new year! Jennifer LeBlanc is a friend and talented coach, and she’s given me permission to share this post and her “Life Zones” tool with our KIT List community.
Here’s Jenn’s blog post:
I am a list addict. I write lists for everything:
• Yearly planning lists
• Weekly priorities
• My team’s priorities/client needs this week
• Groceries and meal plans
• How to launch a company successfully
• Weekend tasks
• People I want to connect with professionally
• And so on … .
So it is no surprise that part of my retreat process includes a list. Every retreat I go on, I review my “Life Zones” list to make sure that I am not missing anything.
• The new year is a natural time for this work.
• The beginning of spring always seems like a good time to do some internal housecleaning as well.
• On your birthday, another natural time of reflection.
• In September, the beginning of the new school year (whether you are in school or not, it’s a time of new beginnings).
• The beginning of each new quarter is fitting.
• Any time there is a major change or shift in your life.
For each of the life zones, write down your answers to three simple questions:
1. Where am I now?
2. Where do I want to be?
3. By when?
• Family/Home Life
• Personal Character
• Leisure Time
• Self Care
Take 30 minutes to write out your answers to each of these simple questions for each life zone and you will quickly have your 2014 plan created…if not a full life plan!
About the Author:
Jenn LeBlanc is the CEO and Founder of ThinkResults Marketing and also runs ThinkResults Coaching for high-performance executives and entrepreneurs. Jenn offers a complementary 30-minute Coaching Call, or you can participate in her 2014 Breakthroughs Retreat at Costanoa Lodge on the California coast later this month. http://thinkresultscoaching.com/
A Christmas Wish for You December 25, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Uncategorized.
Tags: Christmas, Jobs, KIT List
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Kelly, Amy and I want to send you our warmest Christmas greetings — and that you each are surrounded by loving friends and family during this holiday season.
For our Jewish friends, it must have been a treat to celebrate both Thanksgiving and the start of Hanukkah on the same night!
In our KIT List community of over 71,000, the past year has been filled with welcoming new babies, saying farewell to loved ones (Kelly’s and my Mom passed just a little over a year ago, following our Dad’s death a year and a half before), many of you have left old jobs to find great new ones, and life has presented the crazy, challenging and wonderful mix of the ups and downs of being on this Earth.
I hope that you’ve had the encouragement of friends and family during the tough times — and that they’ve been able to celebrate the good times with you as well.
I hope that for any of you who may be having a hard time, especially during the holidays, that you are not alone. If you can reach out to others and let them help you, you might be really surprised to know the support that’s just waiting for you. I have to admit that my prayer life gets better when things are challenging!
Most importantly, when things look particularly grim, to just hang in there because things invariably get surprisingly…and often dramatically…better. You just never know when something wonderful is just around the corner. This has been reinforced by the many stories I’ve heard from KIT List folks, what I’ve seen friends encounter, plus my own life experiences.
Our wish for you is that the year ahead surpasses all of your expectations. That it is filled with giving of yourself in new and unexpected ways, and that you are blessed with joy, excellent health, many people you love — and work that you truly enjoy!
May the hope and promise of Christmas be fulfilled in many remarkable ways in your life in this new year.
God bless you!
Sue and Kelly Connelly
Amy Sloniker Plunkett
DON’T DO IT, Yahoo (Marissa!), DON’T Start Ranking Workers on a Curve! November 15, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Job Search Tips, jobs, KIT List.
Tags: Marissa Mayer, Yahoo
As one of fans of Yahoo who is rooting for its return to success, and heartened by their choosing Marissa Mayer, I was very alarmed to read of their plans to use the ill-conceived practice of ranking employees on a curve — and firing the supposed bottom 10%.
DON’T DO IT!!!!!!
In an industry where companies already hire top performers and the cream of the crop already, the concept of using something that suppresses innovation, stifles team spirit, uses flawed and subjective ways of determining a human being’s “worth” to a company, I am adamantly opposed to this dangerous practice that spreads like a cancer throughout the very lifeblood of a company — it’s people!
I went to college at the University of California at Davis (Go Aggies!) and it was, and is, a difficult school to get into. I worked hard in high school and got good grades. So did everyone else who got in. Imagine my surprise when I was in huge classes of hundreds of students, and learned about grading on the curve. I can see some of the rationale to be fair in case the
Professor made the tests too hard or too easy — but it’s wrong as a standard practice or as sole means of measurement. In a class of sharp, hard-working students, I refuse to believe that some should automatically get D’s or F’s based on a formula!
In the workplace, this has even worse results. The wrong people may be labeled incorrectly, or be victims of a bad manager.
The article below makes an excellent case why we need to ask Yahoo, for the SAKE of Yahoo’s future and brand, to abandon these plans swiftly.
Please feel free to share your thoughts or experiences in the Comments section.
Yahoo’s Latest HR Disaster: Ranking Workers on the Curve
By Joshua Brustein
Bloomberg Business Week
If Marissa Mayer is as good at identifying winning startups as she is at embracing contentious human resources practices, Yahoo! is going to be just fine.
Several months after the great work-at-home kerfuffle of 2013, Yahoo employees were up in arms about a new policy that forces managers to rank employees on a bell curve, then fire those at the low end.
According to AllThingsD, Marissa Mayer reportedly told Yahoo workers that the rankings weren’t mandatory, but many people disagree. The company hasn’t responded to a request for comment.
With its embrace of rankings, Yahoo has waded into the “third rail of human resource management.” Forcing managers to rank their employees along a bell curve was popularized in the 1980s (thanks, Jack Welch), but lately it has fallen out of favor.
The Institute of Corporate Productivity says the number of companies using either a forced ranking system or some softer facsimile is down significantly from previous years. Companies performing well were less likely to be using forced ranking systems than those that weren’t. Just over 5 percent of high-performing companies used a forced ranking system in 2011, down from almost 20 percent two years earlier.
Basically, many people have lost faith that ranking employees works, and some research suggests that employee performance doesn’t follow a bell curve at all. Instead, most people are slightly worse than average (PDF), with a few superstars. And while a bit of pressure can motivate people, constantly pitting employees against one another is terrible for morale. In a company that is going through layoffs, this gets worse over time (PDF), wrote several MIT professors in a study of forced rankings in 2006. “As the company shrinks, the rigid distribution of the bell-curve forces managers to label a high performer as a mediocre. A high performer, unmotivated by such artificial demotion, behaves like a mediocre.”
This can have a particularly bad impact on innovation, arguably the thing Yahoo most needs now. When employees worry about being ranked at the bottom of the pile, they take fewer risks, said Cliff Stevenson, who studies workforce issues for i4cp.
However, rankings also suggest increased data about employees, which plays into Silicon Valley’s weakness for hard numbers. In Stevenson’s study, tech companies were over three times as likely to implement a forced ranking system than the respondents overall—although he cautioned that the sample size was too small to make any authoritative declarations.
The continued appeal is largely that rankings appear to take the “human” out of human resources. Rigidly formatted evaluations generate a stockpile of crunchable information that can be used to run various types of systematic analyses. Even this will work only if the seemingly objective information is valid. Stevenson has his doubts.
“Inherently the problem in ranking is that, unless it’s based purely on objective data—which you rarely see outside of a call center, it brings in a human element. There’s no way to data-fy that,” says Stevenson. In other words, managers’ prejudices and stray opinions get transformed and codified in what appears to be raw data.
This seems to be one of the specific complaints being made by Yahoo employees: The rankings are both high-stakes and completely arbitrary.
As the techies say, garbage in, garbage out.
Here’s the link to the article:
5 Ways to Ask for a Referral October 31, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Job Search Tips, jobs, KIT List.
Tags: How to, Job Search, Job Tips, Jobs, Referrals
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Asking for referrals and introductions makes most of us uncomfortable. But think about it. If you’ve had a great experience working with someone, it’s really satisfying to refer that person to a friend or colleague. It’s even more rewarding when your colleague, too, finds value and thanks you for having made the connection.
So how do you ask for a referral without being pushy or sounding desperate?
First, it’s helpful acknowledge your appreciation for the referrer. Something like: “You know, Joe, I really enjoy our work together. In particular, I appreciate the way you rally the troops to tackle big challenges…”
Then follow with “the ask.” The key is to ask in a way that encourages them to think of a specific person and give you specific name. Here are five ways to ask.
1. The Basic:
Who do you know that should know about me?
2. The Acknowledgement:
Who do you know who, like you, [compliment, aspiration]? Example: “Who do you know who, like you, has built a successful, fast-growing company and might need someone like me to…?”
3. The Challenge:
“When we first started working together you were experiencing [problem]. Who do you know that has a similar challenge who may want to meet me and learn more about how to achieve similar results?”
“Who do you know who may be curious about the type of customized training program we’ve designed for you?”
5. The Breakthrough:
“You really achieved a significant breakthrough recently when we worked together on [project]. Who do you know who may seek a similar breakthrough?”
The next step is to ask them if they would be willing to make an introduction via email or phone. When they say yes, make it really easy for them. Send a brief one-paragraph introduction that highlights the types of problems you solve and results you deliver.
Before the introduction, be sure to ask the referrer what you should know about that person. Any information you can glean to help “break the ice” in your first call will result in more rapid rapport, and a higher probability of success.
What have you found works best to seek referrals from your colleagues and satisfied clients?
Share your ideas or experiences in the Comments section of this blog.
About the Author:
Kate Purmal is COO of an early stage stealth cell therapy company. She also serves as a consultant, advisor and business coach to CEOs, executives, and entrepreneurs. Previously Kate served as a Senior Vice President at SanDisk, the CEO of the software joint venture U3, and led the product team that designed and launched the PalmPilot.
Tags: career, Job Search, Jobs, KIT List, Networking
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I was on a speaker panel recently with Al Hulvey, one of the heads of the Career Actions Network, which is a very effective and free service that is being offered by Menlo Park Presbyterian Church (MPPC).
The church has an excellent program of meetings with expert speakers on job search strategies, plus small accountability groups, and a résumé and referral network.
See the end of this email for the topic and speaker info.
Here’s their link:
These are the key actions you can take to access their great (and free!) resources:
1. Attend a Large Group Meeting.
When: On the 1st and 3rd Saturdays
9:30 to 11 a.m. at MPPC’s Fellowship Hall
1667 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View, CA
The aim of the large group meeting is to provide practical training on job search skills and networking. This large group setting offers:
- Presentations by experts to help you improve your job search
- Networking with a broad cross-section of professional disciplines
- Resume review with instant feedback
- Opportunities to join a Success Team and participate in our Job Referral Network
2. Join a Success Team.
CAM (Career Action Ministry) offers on-going small group support and encouragement through weekly Success Team meetings. These groups of 5-10 job seekers provide:
- A regular meeting structure that avoids isolation
- A forum for sharing ideas, contacts, and job leads
- A sympathetic group to practice interviewing techniques or other job search skills
- A trusted team to share individual problems for referral to other MPPC ministries or community resources.
3. Become part of the web-based Career Actions Network.
A unique feature of the CAM program is our job referral network. Members of the congregation have opted in to provide job leads and referrals. Register to create a profile and post your resume.
The next Large Group meeting:
Saturday, November 2
Guest Speaker: Dennis Romley
Presentation Topic: Hire Yourself an Employer
About the Presentation:
Go Hire Yourself An Employer (originally a book title by Richard Irish) is a powerful concept and the theme for Dennis Romley’s talk. Dennis will dissect the job search process and zero in on getting the interview. He offers concrete advice on how to nail each interview. Key is what Dennis calls the “ladder to success” which will translate personally to each one of us regarding our process of searching for a job. Participants will leave this discussion with an awareness of our choices in getting more of what we want in each situation as well as great materials for preparing and interviewing powerfully.
About the Speaker:
Dennis Romley is the founder and principal of Threshold Consulting, a firm dedicated to organizational change & development and strategic management of human capital. Recent assignments include: transition consulting and career coaching for Career Curve clients, design and delivery of Collaboration and Ideation workshops for product conception and improvement, and talent retention strategies for an organization under fire.
Dennis applies his skills as a strong negotiator, compassionate leader and team collaborator to produce the results needed when he is called in to support organizational change. He has over 30 years experience in strategic and global roles that include Senior Vice President at Roche Pharmaceuticals, Vice President SRI International/SRI Consulting and Director at Raychem Corporation (now Tyco). Dennis is a mentor and coach with senior leaders to encourage positive team and organizational dynamics. With global leadership and training experience in the USA, UK, Switzerland and Japan, Dennis is able to apply best practices across cultures and teams.
Try Out a Great Job Networking Group, C-SIX Connect August 13, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Events, Job Search Tips.
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Job search can be a challenging and often isolating experience.
Getting out, meeting with like-minded professionals and helping each other is a powerful way to get you, and others, into work you’ll really enjoy!
I’ve had the honor of knowing Hamid Saadat, who founded C-SIX Connect out of his spirit of generosity and desire to help others.
C-SIX has weekly networking meetings on Thursdays over a light lunch. They have guest speakers and great networking opportunities in a warm and informal setting.
Also, C-SIX has some special events where you can meet directly with hiring professionals, and they will review and give input on your résumé. Hamid said they will have another event in the Fall, so stay tuned.
I highly recommend that you go to a C-SIX networking lunch soon!
You may often as you like, and I’ve found that the more times you attend a networking group and build friendships, the more effective it is for everyone. It’s far better to conduct your job search with friends and people who will inspire and encourage you!
Here are the details:
Networking for local job seekers, sharing job leads, make contact requests, and workshops.
Day / Time:
10:00 AM – 1:00 PM
20390 Park Place
Saratoga, CA 95070
$10 (includes program, light breakfast/lunch)
I hope you try it out this week! Tell Hamid hello and let him know you’re from the KIT List.
Sign ups for two excellent and FREE Silicon Valley and East Bay programs for job seekers on 8/7, 8/14 and 8/21 August 3, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Events, Job Search Tips, jobs, KIT List.
Tags: East Bay Works, Job Search, KIT List, NOVA, ProMatch
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There are two highly effective organizations that provide job search and career management resources — free of charge!
These two programs are funded by your tax dollars and they are both focused on getting professionals back to work.
If you are making a career move, there has never been a better time to join the ranks of a truly amazing career center in Sunnyvale called ProMatch.
ProMatch is a free service sponsored by the California Employment Development Department (EDD) and the NOVA Workforce Investment Board.
Many KIT List community members have alerted us to the value and strength of this remarkable program which helps professionals to:
- Learn how to use LinkedIn and other social media tools better
- Discover how to access the “hidden job market”
- Hone your interview and negotiation skills
- Strengthen and grow your professional network
The first step is to attend an orientation which offered every Wednesday from 8:15 AM until noon at the CONNECT Job Seeker Center. Some spaces are available on 8/7 and on 8/14.
Note: Be sure to arrive on time since late arrivals will need to reschedule. There are no advanced sign-ups for this workshop – just come at 8:15 AM.
CONNECT Job Seeker Center
420 S. Pastoria Avenue
Sunnyvale, CA 94086
East Bay Works
Located in Concord, they offer free services including job coaching and workshops for professionals in the East Bay and Tri-Valley area.
Experience Unlimited volunteers lead their own workshops on site. Plus, they have the largest local contingent of EDD staff in the Tri-Valley area located in their office.
Sign up for their one-hour Career Services Overview on the first and third Wed of every month. There you will find out everything that East Bay Works offers professionals — all free of charge.
The next events are 8/7 and 8/21 at 1:30 PM (arrive at 1:00 PM if you are not registered).
Also, they offer online workshops on job search preparation, LinkedIn vocational assessments, other distance learning for soft skills at:
One Stop Career Center
4071 Port Chicago Hwy. #250
Concord, CA 94520
I get many requests for KIT List job seekers outside of the Silicon Valley who want to know if there are similar services in their area.
Please share in the Comments section of this blog any other organizations that provide free career services, especially anything in Marin, Monterrey, Los Angeles, etc.
SGI Reunion on Monday 7/22! July 19, 2013Posted by Sue Connelly in Uncategorized.
Tags: reunion, SGI, Silicon Graphics
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To all SGI alums,
It’s been almost two years since our last reunion, so it’s time to get the old gang together and rekindle the SGI magic again!
We’ve got over 100 coming as of now, so it should be a fun night!
Please RSVP via the Evite:
Monday, July 22
6:00 – 9:00 p.m.
412 Emerson, Palo Alto
Thanks for spreading the word so we don’t miss anyone.
This is the same place we usually have it in Palo Alto (formerly Fanny & Alexander’s). It’s no-host food and drinks, and just tip the staff generously. They’re not charging us a room fee since we usually have such a big crowd.
It will be so great to see you all again and the weather should be terrific.
IMPORTANT: If you or any SGI friends aren’t on the SGI Gang Yahoo Groups list, please make sure you subscribe so that you can reach friends and get future reunion info. Just send an email to SGIgangemail@example.com
See you there!