3 Tips for Building a Healthy Network

11 04 2019

By René Siegel, CEO, Connext

Hello Everyone! I asked René Siegel, a long-time supporter of the KIT List who hires consultants for high tech clients, to share her best tips on job networking. René has also generously shared her time, wisdom and wit at a KIT List event on a panel of hiring experts. Read on and try these out!
– Sue

Building your personal network sounds as simple as finding people you like or with whom you have something in common. We think of them as our posse, our community, our peeps. Perhaps people who inspire us.

But here’s what people don’t tell you about networking. Your circle can also be a cage. You can surround yourself with the same people, for years and years, without making sure they’re the right people for you, right now.

Smiling group.jpgHere are three tips for building a healthy network:

1. More is not better.
You may assume the more connections and opportunities you have the better. I have thousands of connections but only a few dozen are truly my dearest colleagues, the ones I rely on to inspire me and always have my back. It’s like weeding your garden. You need to keep pulling the weeds or they will overtake and ruin your garden. Working with people you already trust increases your chances of success and reduces headaches. You don’t have to delete them, but, you can say no (no, thank you) to bad business and bad people as you carefully build your brand.

2. Take me or leave me.
Many people only come around when they want something from you—like the ever popular “Can I pick your brain?” request. Be selective with whom you share your expertise. Sometimes it can lead to a lucrative opportunity, but mostly you’re just adding coins to the karma bucket and that’s okay, too. Delete those who drain your mojo. And if you’re going to be generous with your time and expertise, don’t be afraid to ask for something in return like a referral or recommendation.

3. The more diverse, the better.
No matter the stage of your career, you need to proactively meet people who are different than you. Different ages, different industries, different expertise, different backgrounds. After a 20-year career working with lots of 20-year veteran colleagues, I started speaking to university classes. That led to a part-time teaching role that re-energized my business model! You’ll be far more marketable if you’re surrounded by diverse people who challenge what you know with their ideas and experience.

Everyone in your circle might not be in your corner. It’s your responsibility to attract the right people and repel the wrong ones. Be picky about the people you invest your time with and go the extra mile for.

There are bad clients and crazy bosses who may want to take advantage of you. People can suck the life out of you—if you let them.

You should be picky about the people you invest your time with and go the extra mile for. Not everyone deserves that from you.

 

 About the Author

Rene Shimada Siegel at SRK Headshot Day
René Shimada Siegel is extremely passionate about empowering colleagues and advocating for the next generation of communicators. She is the CEO of Connext, Silicon Valley’s marketing and communications consultancy. For two decades, her company has made life easier for hundreds of technology clients with specialized contractors ranging from recent grads to senior strategists. Current clients include Adobe, LinkedIn, Google, and Salesforce. René also passes on her real-world experience to students as an adjunct public relations professor at San Jose State University.

As an entrepreneur, René’s been featured in Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, Working Mother, Newsweek Japan, CNBC, and Dan Pink’s Free Agent Nation, among others. She’s also been a regular columnist for Inc.com and a frequent speaker on entrepreneurship, career strategies, and personal branding.

Anyone interested in learning more about Connext can reach René at rene@connextme.com.

 





Attention Consultants: Participate in the WIC Best Practices Survey — and Get a Free Copy of the Report

27 03 2017

Hello Everyone,

I’ve been a longtime member of Women In Consulting (WIC), which is a terrific organization for consultants and business owners — for women and men.

One of WIC’s many powerful resources is their annual Best Practices Survey.
Over the years, it’s offered excellent insights into the evolution of Bay Area consulting businesses, such as billing trends and rates, consulting expertise and specialties, structure and operations.

Take the Survey and Get a Free Copy of the Report. 

The survey is open March 14 to April 7, 2017 and takes only 10 – 15 minutes to complete at: www.tinyurl.com/wic2017

You do not need to be a member to participate — and participants will receive a free copy of the survey results when it is released in June.

Also, everyone who participates is entered into a drawing for a free WIC workshop or general meeting.

Whether your business continues to expand, has experienced a slowdown or turnaround, or is consistent with last year, please share your experiences.

Feel free to pass the survey link along to other consultants outside of the WIC Community. The more people who complete the survey, the more meaningful the results will be. Male consultants are welcome to participate, too!

Important Details

The survey closes April 7, 2017 and takes 10 – 15 minutes to complete.

All participants who complete the survey receive the results (normally a member only benefit!) and are entered into a drawing to win one of five prizes (whether or not they’re WIC members): a seat in any future WIC workshop (1 winner) or a voucher for one recorded webinar (4 winners).

All information collected in the survey is confidential.

The survey asks some detailed questions about your business for 2016:

  • Total revenue for 2016
  • Average hourly rate (if applicable)
  • Average retainer fee (if applicable)
  • Average project fee (if applicable)
  • Target hourly rate in project fees (if applicable)
  • Number of subcontractors used
  • Total amount paid to subcontractors and/or employees

In addition to the report that WIC sends to all participants, they will also present the results at a members-only meeting held at Michaels at Shoreline on Thursday, June 15.

If you’d like to take this opportunity to join WIC as a Premium or Leaders Network member prior to the meeting, you will be able to attend the meeting and benefit from the many other resources and informative meetings WIC provides to consultants.

Thank you in advance for participating, and please forward this to other consultants you know..…the more the merrier!

Thanks, everyone,

Sue





1/17 Networking Event: Using Social to Land Your Job from a LinkedIn Expert

14 01 2017

Hi Everyone,

I heard Oscar Garcia, former Community manager at LinkedIn, speak at the Santa Clara Library a few months ago and was very impressed with his tips and strategies which he shared. I learned things I didn’t know about! I’m going to this event, too!

The Santa Clara Library is hosting another event with Oscar — combined with a networking opportunity to put your social skills to work in a comfortable and in-person environment.

Kick off the new year with some effective and positive networking — and land your dream job.

Here’s to a very special 2017 for all you!

– Sue

 
Networking 101: Socializing to Get Your Next Job (Free Event)

Tue, January 17, 2017
7:00 PM – 8:30 PM PST (networking after)

Santa Clara Library – Northside Branch
695 Moreland Way
Santa Clara, CA 95054

Register (space is limited):
https://www.eventbrite.com/e/networking-101-socializing-to-get-your-next-job-tickets-30599289298?utm-medium=discovery&utm-campaign=social&utm-content=attendeeshare&utm-source=strongmail&utm-term=listing

Most people are finding their next job opportunities or promotions through their network. Gone are the days of sending in your resume through the computer. It is not about “what you know” as much as “who you know” that could get your next job.

Learn from Oscar Garcia, CEO of Aspira (and former Community Manager at LinkedIn) on how to cultivate and maintain a thriving network to find our next opportunity.

Then following Oscar’s presentation, there will be a networking after-party at Yan Can Asian Bistro in Rivermark where you can work on your socializing and networking skills (it’s just across the street!).

This program is sponsored by the Santa Clara City Library Foundation and Friends.





SGI reunion on 9/26!

7 09 2016

Hi Everyone,

You may already know that the genesis of the KIT List was my personal “keep in touch” email list of my friends at Silicon Graphics.

Many SGIers are still on this list as they’ve moved to other companies. In fact, they’re the whole reason the KIT List turned from my personal email list to a job opportunities email list. It grew just by word-of-mouth to what I jokingly call “72,000 of my closest friends!”
I’d like to make sure we reach all SGI folks (employees and consultants like me!) so they know about this year’s reunion.

I’m sorry! This is not a KIT List event, it’s just for SGI present and past employees, consultants and contractors. However, I am hosting a KIT List networking event on another date, though, on 10/3 (also at The Patio)! Stay tuned for a blog post shortly with the details. 

Monday, 9/26
The Patio
412 Emerson
Palo Alto
5:30 – 9:30 PM

Please RSVP so The Patio can staff up for the night:

http://www.evite.com/event/020CHUTBXNQTQE4DCEPGNMNQVNY7JI

Also, please help me by passing the word to other SGI folks so we don’t miss anyone!

See you on the 26th!

Sue





Job Seekers’ Seminar on “Creating Your Great Elevator Pitch” on 12/3

13 11 2015

Hello Everyone,

There is a great Job Seekers’ seminar coming up on Thursday, December 3, 2015.

This seminar is sponsored by CSIX Connect, which is a terrrific job search and networking group for which I have a lot of admiration. CSIX’s founder, Hamid Saadat, was kind enough to share his job search expertise with the KIT List community on one of the TV programs I hosted, called “Get That Job!” If you’d like to see the YouTube video of the show, and hear Hamid’s sage advice along with another HR hiring expert, Tom Brouchoud, Head of Talent Acquisition at EMC and former Director of Global Talent at Sandisk. You can watch it at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FHSlVMUbNuE

Please pass this information on to other friends who want to create an effective Elevator Pitch that will attract the right job to them!

Warmly,

Sue

CSIX logo
Job Seekers’ Seminar

Your Elevator Pitch: Making Your ’30-second Commercial’ Really Work for You!
Thursday, December 3, 2015
10:00 AM to 1:00 PM

Saratoga Federated Church
Richards Hall, located at 20390 Park Place
Saratoga, CA 95070

The cost to attend this meeting is $10 — cash only, no checks or credit cards. The fee covers program, lunch, tax, and tip.

RSVP at the CSIX Meetup site:
http://www.meetup.com/CSIX-Connect/events/226029593/

Dee Marik

Delores Marik Ph.D.

The Job Seekers’ seminar will be part of CSIX Connect’s regular weekly meeting. It will be presented by another great friend of mine, Delores (Dee) Marik Ph.D., with whom I had the pleasure of working when I was consulting at Hewlett-Packard. Dee now has her own coaching practice — and I can tell you from personal experience how great she is in career coaching and resume advice since she gave me excellent feedback on my own resume! You can find out more about Dee and her coaching work at https://www.linkedin.com/in/marik

This seminar will focus on your Elevator Pitch, also known as “Your 30-second commercial.” Dee will discuss what an elevator pitch is, why you need one, and when you should use it, and how to make it work best. Plus, there will be an opportunity for you to create and practice your elevator pitch during the meeting.

The CSIX weekly meeting agenda is as follows:

10:00 – 10:30   Arrival of attendees, check-in, open networking
10:30 – 10:40
   Meeting starts, new member introductions
10:40 – 10:55
   Job leads, contact requests, announcements, etc.
10:55 – 11:10
   Open networking
11:10 – 12:00
   Speaker presentation
12:00 – 1:00
     Lunch and table networking

CSIX Connect is a Silicon Valley job searchers’ networking and support group that meets every Thursday at 10:00 AM – 1:00 PM.  If you are actively looking for a job, it’s a smart idea to join them on a regular basis!

For further information about CSIX Connect, including information about parking restrictions and future programs, please visit http://www.csix.org.





It’s Worth it to Reply to Job Postings!

15 10 2015

The phrase Go For It in red text on a yellow sticky note posted on a green notice boardHi Everyone,

You don’t see the emails we get from people who’ve landed jobs from the KIT List, so I want to encourage you to keep up your efforts. It really is WORTH it!

In fact, with the new KIT List web site that’s in final development, I’ll have a Testimonials section where you can read quotes from our KIT List recruiters and employers who’ve hired great people — and from job seekers who’ve landed jobs that will help keep you inspired!

I know it can be discouraging when you’re in the job-search mode. I also hear many job seekers worry that their resumes go into a black hole when they reply to jobs on the web. On the big sites, that can be true.

With the KIT List, there’s a big difference:

  • Your email goes directly to the recruiter or hiring person who posted the job.
  • Since we purposely don’t market the KIT List, the people on the KIT List have been referred by another friend or colleague. This has kept the quality of the people on the list high as top people refer other talented people.
  • Since we’re smaller than the huge job boards, you’re not one of hundreds replying to a job and getting sorted via a software screening program, so your response will be seen by a real person.

For that reason, it’s also important to take the time to write even a brief cover note when you reply to a KIT List job.

Don’t Overlook the Power of a Good Cover Letter

Over the years, I’ve seen people blow their chance to make a good impression either by not including a cover note at all, or by writing the following:

  • “Is this job still open?” Of course it is, they just posted it!
  • “What’s the rate (or salary)?” Please don’t do that! Instead, show your interest and value to them first. Save the salary query until the interview, and better yet, let them bring it up!
  • “Here’s my resume”

Tips for Your Cover Letter

I’ve talked to many recruiters over the years, and even had them as panelists at KIT List events and on the KIT List TV Show. Some recruiters don’t really look at cover letters, but you’d be surprised that so many actually do! Don’t run the risk of getting weeded out by not having a cover letter when it’s a recruiter or hiring manager who DOES care about a cover letter.

Your cover letter can be brief, but these are a few things that you should include:

  • Something stating your interest in the role
  •  The actual job title since they are likely hiring for multiple roles
  • A few bullets from your experience that pertain to the key requirements listed in the job description
  • Make sure you do not have any typos or grammatical errors
  • Include a nice closing statement
  • Your name and a good number to reach you

Avoid These Other Common Mistakes

It’s also a mistake is to reply to a job for which you are not remotely a fit. You don’t have to be a perfect match with all the requirements, but some people get a bad reputation for replying to just any job. Stay on focus and you’ll be a stronger candidate.

Another mistake is that you get put off by a long list of requirements and you don’t feel like you’re an exact fit. Job descriptions can be unintentionally misleading if it’s been cut and pasted from many other job posts, or if the person writing it didn’t research it well with the hiring manager. I’ve asked recruiters and they said that if you’re a 75% to 80% match with the job requirements to GO FOR IT! Don’t disqualify yourself prematurely.

Don’t get disheartened during the job search process. You never know what effort will be the one that will connect you with the right job. Keep at it, make a great impression with a good cover letter, and we hope you find a job you love soon!





Meeting this Saturday: “Getting a Job in the Digital Age: The Anti-Advice Talk” by Noted Anthropologist

12 05 2015

Hi Everyone,

There’s a great event coming up this Saturday by our friends with the Career Actions Network, which is a remarkable organization through MPPC (Menlo Park Presbyterian Church), that provides free services to help get people connected into jobs.

Presented by an anthropologist, Ilana Gershon, who was a visiting professor at Stanford, this is relevant information to those who want to change jobs (not only people who lost their jobs, but also the employed 50% who want to change jobs).

As a visiting professor at Stanford, Ilana spent last year researching job transition in Silicon Valley. She collaborated with the Career Actions Network while she was doing her research, and she is currently on their Advisory Board.

This is worth attending. Pass
the word and bring a friend!

Warmly,

Sue

20150512-162059.jpg
MPPC Career Actions Meeting 5/16:
“Getting a Job in the Digital Age: The Anti-Advice Talk” by Noted Anthropologist

New Attendees pre-register here (its free): www.careeractions.org

Saturday, May 16

ODCMV Fellowship Hall at 1667 Miramonte Ave., Mountain View, CA

Agenda:

9:30am: Coffee/networking

9:55am Topic: Getting a Job in the Digital Age: The Anti-Advice Talk

Guest Speaker: Ilana Gershon

About the presentation:

What do you need to do to get a job in this digital age? Do you need a LinkedIn profile? Are hiring managers looking for your personal brand? Ilana Gershon is an anthropology professor at Indiana University who thought asking job seekers, hiring managers, recruiters and HR how hiring works might shed some insights into what is actually going on in contemporary US as hiring and the nature of work changes. She did a year of fieldwork in the Bay Area, trying to figure out what has changed about hiring since the 1980s. Find out what an anthropologist has to say about hiring these days.

About the speaker:

Ilana Gershon is a cultural anthropologist at Indiana University interested in how new media transforms highly-charged social tasks, such as breaking up or hiring in the United States. She has written about how people use new media to end romantic relationships in The Breakup 2.0: Disconnecting over New Media. Her current research addresses how new media shapes hiring in post-recession U.S. companies.

In May or June, she will have a new edited collection of imagined career advice for real jobs around the world. If you want to know how to be a professional wrestler in Mexico or a magician in Paris, pick up a copy of A World of Work: Imagined Manuals for Real Jobs (Cornell University Press, 2015).