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Posted: August 17, 2011

Top 10 tips for acing the fall hiring season

It's going to be a short one

John Heckers

The hiring season this fall is likely to be very short and very light. Whether we technically slide into a double dip recession or not is immaterial. Our economy is going to be hurting for a while. While I don't want you to panic, I do want you to be well-prepared. Here are a few tips so you can make the most of what promises to be one of the shortest and lightest hiring seasons in many years.

1). Get to as many networking events as you can. Meet as many people as possible. But use your networking time judiciously. Don't get trapped by vendors or the dreaded networking nerds. Don't get into long conversations. Meet, greet, set to meet for coffee, and move on. You don't have time for anything else. Be nice if you can, rude if you must, but move on to meet as many folks as possible at each networking event.

2). Do tons of networking coffees. The heavy lifting of networking doesn't take place at the networking events. It takes place at networking coffees. Try to do 7 - 12 of these a week, or more. Switching to decaf might be smart.

3). Follow up. If someone gives you names, call those people at once. Don't wait and don't let the 1,000 lb. phone keep you from calling.

4). Don't let anyone get out of a coffee meeting without helping you. Don't leave any networking coffee empty handed. Get a name or three. Get advice and counsel. Get a job lead. Get something. But your time is too valuable now to leave without anything. Don't be afraid to ask for help.

5). Be helpful but don't give away the farm. Being helpful and opening your Rolodex are two different things. Some mutual back scratching had better go on here. If you give a couple of names, something better come back pretty rapidly or broom the individual and move on. Never just open your Rolodex. It is dangerous, rude to your contacts, and really upsets those who trust you with their information. Give names judiciously.

6). Develop a networker's attitude. The most successful networkers are always thinking about their network and how to help others, not about themselves. They are constantly doing favors for people in their network, and passing on information. At the same time, they have a positive expectation that others will be there for them, too. The best networkers respect themselves enough to "fire" a contact that refuses to help if he or she is able, as well.

7). No Networking Nerds. Networking Nerds think of what they want and what they need, without thinking of others. If you're desperately asking everyone for help, but doing nothing in return, you are, indeed, the dreaded Networking Nerd and need help, psychiatric or otherwise.

8). Prepare to interview well. All the networking to get the interview isn't going to help if you blow the few interviews you get. Do everything possible to prepare to interview well. Start by realizing that very few people actually interview well, and you're probably not one of them. You can feed your ego or get a job, but you can't do both. Get interview help.

9). Don't hesitate. Get out there now. You don't have time to take the rest of the summer to sun yourself and relax. This hiring season is going to hit hard and fast, and it is going to be very light. If you hesitate, you will not be part of it. Who knows what January will bring?

10). Get rid of anger, fear, desperation, etc. Like animals smell fear, employers smell negative emotions. Do whatever spiritual things you need to do to be at peace and go into this hiring season confident, rested and prepared. When you go into an interview, have the expectation of getting the job. At the same time, keep looking until you actually start your new job so you don't get behind if the job you're "sure" you had doesn't come through.

Good luck with the Fall hiring season that starts the day after Labor Day. Just like "back to school," now is the time to get prepared for getting back to the job hunt.

If you're serious about finding work or just building a great network, join John Heckers and his partners on Monday, August 22nd at the Denver Athletic Club for "Surefire Networking: 10 Ways to Rapidly Build Your Professional Network." More info and required registration here. If you truly cannot afford the (minor) registration fee and truly need to attend this class, call me at 720.581.4301 and we'll arrange for a very discounted fee for you. We're trusting your honesty in this, and only a very limited number are available. We are NOT selling our services at this class!

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John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC was an Executive, Relationships, Life and Spiritual Coach in Denver with 30 years of experience  helping people with their lives, relationships and careers.

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Readers Respond

Thanks, Tony. Networking isn't the best way to find a top-level job in Denver. It is pretty much the ONLY way these days! By John Heckers, MA, CPC, BCPC on 2011 08 22
Good tips, John. For professionals and executives in a job transition (especially in this economy), networking has to be a priority! By Tony Peccolo on 2011 08 22
Good article. I guess I never heard of a "network nerd." In fact out of the metro areas a lot of this is different and a lot is the same. I guess we call it the "good old boy network" out here even though women are part of it, of course. We have Chamber business after hours, and other community events where networking applies, but probably not in the same quantity as metro events. I'd suggest that events out here would be more productive though. By John Wray on 2011 08 17

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