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SXSW 2018 Recap: My First Year Experience

I recently had the opportunity to attend South by Southwest in Austin, Texas for the first time. If you’ve never been, SXSW is a giant festival in downtown Austin that draws in thousands of people. Founded in 1987, SXSW has boasted an economic impact to Austin of over $300 M in past years.

Since it started, SXSW has grown in both size and scope. It is now a combination of a number of festivals in one, including music, film, comedy, interactive, health and more. My main focus was on the “more” part. I attended a number of sessions on topics related to today’s workplace trends.

The workplace sessions were structured in one of two ways. Either a single speaker would give a lecture on one topic, or a panel of three to five experts would weigh in on a particular issue. Topics ranged from negotiation to sexism to diversity to new employer perks to faith in the workplace to the gender pay gap to neurodiversity. This was a lot of ground to cover in a short amount of time!

As you can imagine, the speakers were both incredibly talented and informative. In fact, I’ve had the opportunity to interview a number of them for my podcast.

So many important ideas were shared in these workplace sessions. Some companies are now offering creative benefits, including paying back your student loans after you finish college. It’s no longer unusual to start your career over from scratch midway through, and more programs than ever are available to help make the process possible. Organizations are increasing their focus on diversity and inclusion, using both their existing teams and new technology to make it happen.

But, the point that I really took away from my SXSW experience has to do with networking. You can listen to all of the lectures presented, but nothing compares to what you can learn from other people. And, SXSW is the perfect place to meet or reconnect with those people.

I met up with a number of old colleagues during my visit. I met a number of new people, from various industries and from around the world. And, I met a number of great people from career websites LinkedIn and Indeed.

These conversations provided an incredible amount of value – more than I could have gained in any classroom. They led to new connections, new ideas, new podcast episodes, and new opportunities.

The experience reminded me just how important networking is to your overall career. It’s not only important to meet new people, but it’s important to stay in touch. It’s important to reconnect. It’s important to help one another. Networking is very often what your next job is made from.

I look forward to attending SXSW again next year. But, my focus on networking will increase. After all, where else in the world can you connect with so many creative and talented people in one place?

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

165 | Friend of a Friend – Dr. David Burkus, Author, Speaker, Professor, Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Episode 165 is live! This week, we talk with Dr. David Burkus in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

David is an author, speaker, and associate professor of leadership and innovation at Oral Roberts University. His new book, Friend of a Friend, offers readers a new perspective on how to grow their networks and build key connections. He also gave a TEDx Talk titled, “Why you should know how much your coworkers get paid.”

On today’s episode, David shares:

  • What pay transparency is, and the pros and cons of using it
  • Why we may feel underpaid, and what we can do about it
  • Why networking and professional networks are important to our careers
  • What a super connector is, and why they matter
  • What you can do if you’re looking for a networking option that’s not a mixer

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

To learn more about David and his new book Friend of a Friend, visit his website at https://davidburkus.com.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send me your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

People Hire People

If you’re looking for a job, there’s a good chance you’re applying online. And, chances are good that applying online is your go to option. It makes sense. The last time you reached out to a HR person at a job fair or on LinkedIn (or anywhere else), they said, “Apply online. If you’re a good fit, we’ll call you!” They may even have said, “Don’t reach out to us. We review every application carefully.”

Don’t be fooled. In most cases, they’re giving you the company line. They’re telling you the official rules of the game. But, this is the thing: people hire people. Yes, you heard me right. People hire people.

Most hiring managers do not post a new job and then think, “I sure hope our company website lands me a great hire this time!”

Most hiring managers post their jobs to the company website because they have to. It may even be automated. When they got the approval to hire someone, the powers that be took a copy of the job description and uploaded it into a system somewhere – and bam, it showed up on the company website.

When a hiring manager gets approval to hire someone, this is what they typically think. “Hmm… do I know anyone who might be able to do this job? Or… I wonder if I know anyone who knows anyone.”

This process makes sense if you think about it. When’s the last time you found a new doctor solely from the internet? You probably asked friends for a recommendation. Iif you couldn’t find a recommendation, you may have looked at reviews online. But, chances are good you asked around first. It works the same way with hiring.

Does this mean you shouldn’t apply online? No. Apply online. But, then think of how you can meet the real life people who will be making this important hiring decision.

If you go the route of applying online only, it may take you hundreds of applications to land an interview. I hear from people every day who have applied to 100 or more jobs online, only to receive very few callbacks.

If you’re the exception to this rule, awesome. There are exceptions. For example, you may have a skillset that’s rare where you live. Or, maybe you do something that’s incredibly specialized. I have a friend who is an Abinitio developer. Ever heard of it? Me either. And because this friend has such a specific (and rare) skillset, he could probably apply online and get a call back. But, most jobs aren’t like that.

Go old school with your job search to find success. Find the hiring manager and get your resume to them – via a friend, email, or US Mail. The internet is amazing for research. Never have we had so much data about companies at our fingers. But at the end of the day, people hire people.

Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.

The Secret to Using LinkedIn Effectively

There’s a question that many new job seekers are thinking about. “Do I really need to use Linkedin, and how can I use it effectively?”

The first answer is straightforward. Yes, you need to use LinkedIn. You need to use it for your job search. And, honestly, you need to use it before your job search. It should be part of your professional brand – similar to carrying a business card. Integrating LinkedIn into your daily business practice will make it both easier and more effective in the long run.

So, the next question is around how to use LinkedIn effectively. Sometimes, people ask me if there’s a course they can take. And actually, I do teach a workshop about LinkedIn. But in reality, you don’t need a special class to use LinkedIn.

The main thing you need to do to become good at LinkedIn is use LinkedIn. You heard me right. Use it. It’s like Facebook. If you only looked at Facebook every six months, you might wonder how it works. It would be a bit unclear how to find your friends or how to accept party invitations. But, if you’re like most people, you use Facebook every day. And, after a while, it becomes second nature.

So, where to begin? First, you need a profile picture. I get it. You may not really like putting up photos of yourself. You may not have a recent photo you like. I totally hear you. But, in order to use LinkedIn effectively, you’ve gotta do it. Don’t feel like you need to hire a professional photographer. A friend could even take a decent photo on your smartphone. Just be sure that you look professional and the photo is only you. Ideally, you want to smile.

Next, fill out your profile. Put in as much information as you can. Include a mini-bio of yourself in the Summary section. Include your jobs in the Experience section, along with detail about what you did. Include your degrees (but omit the year you graduated). Fill it out – all of it.

Then, ask your trusted contacts to leave reviews of your work under the Recommendations section.

If you’re really feeling ambitious, turn on the “open candidate” feature. This is where you let recruiters now that you’re open for new jobs. It’s also a place where you can leave notes for recruiters about your dream job, including desired job titles, locations, and industries.

Now, get out there and use LinkedIn. Follow companies, participate in discussions, share articles, connect to colleagues and yes – do consider connecting to someone you don’t already know in real life. After all, how are you going to meet new people if you don’t meet new people?

That’s it. Just like Facebook, the more you use LinkedIn, the easier it gets. The more intuitive it becomes. The more aware of little features you become. It’s just that simple.

Remember, don’t put information on LinkedIn that you wouldn’t want your boss to see. Don’t share confidential company stats. And, definitely don’t SAY that you are looking for a job.

There’s no secret to it. Well, except maybe this one. The secret to using LinkedIn is to use LinkedIn. :c)

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

Making the Most of Holiday Parties

We’ve all been there. There’s a company holiday party you’d rather not attend – or maybe your next door neighbors are throwing an event that you just can’t avoid. Whatever the occasion, these parties can be draining during the holidays. This is especially true for those of us who are introverts, or who have other commitments such as children or a demanding job. It can feel like there’s just no room for another to do on the list.

But, if you’re planning to be on the job market next year, holiday parties can truly be the perfect place to kick off your search. Where else will you find such a large group of warm, friendly people in one room together? They’re typically friends you haven’t seen in a while, who genuinely want to know how you’re doing and what you’re up to. And, they’re often looking to reconnect again outside of the event.

Holiday parties are also often very cost effective as they are typically free and at the most, may only require a small host gift or a bottle of wine.

The best part is, you don’t have to wear a suit. And you don’t usually need to deliver your elevator pitch from scratch. You’ll know most people, or a friend will likely introduce you. Conversations will be easier, more interesting, and less forced than a typical networking event.

To truly make the most of your holiday parties this year, plan ahead. Try to get enough rest in advance and be ready to share the latest news in your life. Share personal updates, including changes in your family, your home, or your work. But, do your best to keep your news positive. Holiday parties are meant to be a festive occasion and should focus on the good things going on in your life.

If forced conversations feel difficult, think of a list of questions in advance. Ask how their family is doing. Ask if the friend has any plans to travel or take a vacation soon. Ask about common hobbies and interests.

Remember to bring business cards – and to exchange them with other guests when (and if) it seems appropriate. This will help you to stay in touch with new friends and update your contact information for old ones. If you’re not currently working, a simple card will do. Include your name, phone number, and email address.

After the event, make a point to follow up with the folks you want to stay in touch with. Invite them to your next party. Ask them to have lunch or coffee. And, be sure to connect on LinkedIn.

These small interactions build your friendships and grow your network. When the New Year comes, you’ll be more prepared to put your best foot forward. And, if you do ask a friend for help with a job application, it won’t be the first time they’ve seen you in a while. Build your network of friends when you’re not asking for help with a job.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

Network when you don’t need it

Have you ever had a friend who disappeared a few years ago? The one you never hear from, until they pop up and they need something. I’ll admit it. I’ve been this person before, and it’s a reminder of something not to do.

If you’re like me, the type of person you want to devote your time to helping is the same person you feel appreciates you. They’re someone who takes the time to check on you. They ask about your family and your life. It’s someone you feel like you know well. They know you well. They care about you, and you care about them.

When a friend pops in out of the blue and asks for a favor – they begin to feel like a sales person. You wonder where they’ve been and what their real motive is. You wonder if they’re your real friend, or if your friendship is contingent upon something else.

It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, right? And, chances are good that you aren’t as helpful to that friend as someone who genuinely takes the time to stay in touch with you.

It’s a great reminder to network when you don’t need it. Stay in touch even when you’re not looking for a job. Offer help when you don’t need anything in return.

Someone recently shared the way they’re doing this with me. Each day, they go through their cell phone and pick someone to call at random. On the first day, they pick an A name such as Amanda. On the second day, they pick a B name such as Bob. They call at least one person each day, and they say hello with no motive. If the person isn’t there, they leave a friendly voice message for the person. They rotate through the entire alphabet and start over the next month.

I haven’t tried this method yet, but it sounds like a great way to get started. I know what you’re thinking though. It can be weird to call someone with no appointment – no text message – no email. You’re right – it can be weird. It can also be really normal. The more you reach out to friends for connection, the less surprising it will be when you do.

And, when you do need something, your friends will be more likely to step up. They’ll know that you really need help, and that you’re truly invested in your friendship with them.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on Apple Podcasts or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in Apple Podcasts or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach