Monday, April 29, 2013

Networking is Talking

I know so many people that view networking (for business) as a hassle, as disingenuous, as a distasteful act, or even as something that’s difficult to master.

It’s not.

Networking, in the business sense, is just talking. It’s introducing yourself and genuinely trying to learn something about another person. It’s being friendly, asking about their work, or what they think about some topic.

Try to keep it mostly professional, but after avoiding the problematic topics, if you want to talk sports, or fashion, or cooking, make a connection.

It’s easy. Make an effort at your next event.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Body Language

This isn’t a post on your brand or resume (too much), but it is something to think about. I don’t know that you need to be overly concerned, but I’d think it over.

Years ago I read a few books on management and leadership. One of the items that stood out to me, and still does, is that crossing your arms is a defensive posture. It conveys the idea that you are opposed to some item being discussed or talked about. There is some subtle psychological thing that happens when we get upset or angry, and crossing arms is one of those unconscious things we do. Research has shown this is often the case, though not always.

A ran across a piece recently (from Brent Ozar, PFL’s newsletter), that notes how your posture and pose can affect what people think. This could be important in interviews, and I know that I’m very conscious of when I cross my arms. I always stop and think if I’d upset or disagreeing with someone before I do it. I know I do it less, and try to make sure I voice or project my actual thoughts if I’m doing it because I just feel like it.

In an interview, or even when networking (meaning talking) with colleagues, I’m careful to try and pay attention and don’t send signals that might put someone off. That includes making eye contact, engaging, avoiding my phone, and not crossing my arms.

I’d encourage you to think about how you present yourself. Not that you adhere to any particular method, but you should just be aware of the way you appear. Think about it  and ensure it’s what you want.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

You are on the record

This piece expresses it well: Your tweets are always on.

For now, we are always representing our company online. It’s not quite fair, but we are always judged by what we write when we communicate (or say) and if you use any online services (blogging, social media, etc), then you could end up getting in trouble because of what you push out there.

I don’t know if it’s quite as bad as the article states, since I think you can show some separation. However you have to follow my advice and make a second account for non-work stuff. Show separation, and if you want to make political, religious, etc. comments, do it from an account that doesn’t have your employer’s name on it.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Don’t Be a Ghost

This is a post on technology workers from Troy Hunt, but it could apply to many industries, and more of them all the time.

It’s perhaps more applicable in the technology industries, but I could see this applying to other places as well. The idea is that you shouldn’t be someone that comes to work, sits in an office and gets things done without ever making some mark in the world of what you do.

I think this makes some sense, but you don’t need to be out in the world making an impact publicly. However you need to document the places you do make an impact. You should have a whole history of projects, skills, whatever you’ve done.

If you do those privately, unpublished on the Internet, then make sure you have a private URL you can give to recruiters and prospective employers. Or a file you can send them.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Showcase Your Knowledge

While working on another piece, I ran across this post: Seven Things I Learned About Data Visualizations. It's a short list, with details, of how this particular subject taught the writer a few things. It looks at a variety of other pieces, in different subjects, and interprets these items with relation to data visualizations. In addition to being an interesting read, it's a great career piece for the author.

If I were looking for someone that could help me produce data visualizations, this piece would mean much more to me than a dozen questions in an interview. I would have a much better understanding of how this author looks at the subject, and I'd have a frame of reference and some topics to discuss in person.

This article allows me to complete quite a bit of due diligence for someone before I would even meet them.

This is a great example of how you could produce some work on a blog that showcases your knowledge, but more importantly, showcases your thoughts.  This is the type of work that gives an employer confidence that you understand a particular subject.

This gives you a brand in this subject area.