Monday, October 22, 2018

Career Networking

In the US, the multigenerational workforce is divided into five age groups, which have quite different approaches to employment.

The traditionalists (or silent generation, born 1925–1945), have these stereotypical characteristics: striving for financial security; "waste not, want not"; nobility of sacrifice for the common good; focus on quality and simplicity; loyal to employers and expect loyalty in return; believe promotions, raises and recognition should come from job tenure; work ethic focused on timeliness and productivity; conformity and following authority.

The baby boomers (born 1946–1964), have these stereotypical characteristics: the importance of hard-work (instilled by parents); loyalty to an employer would lead to reward and seniority; willingness to take on additional responsibilities; conscientious and dependable; service-oriented; ambitious; dutiful.

The generation X (born 1965–1981) have these stereotypical characteristics: the importance of education; shaping one's own career path; work-life balance and autonomy; innovation and entrepreneurialism; comfortable with challenging conventional wisdom; outcome-oriented; collaborative decision making.

The millennials (or gen Y, born 1982–1997) have these stereotypical characteristics: need intellectual challenge; entrepreneurial; value continuous learning opportunities; achievement / results-oriented; innovative and open to new ideas; collaborative decision makers; like praise and recognition; value teamwork and equality; value independence / autonomy; seek meaningful work; value work-life balance and flexibility; value fun at work; technology-driven

The centennials (or iGen or gen Z, born 1998 and later) are just entering the workforce and the stereotypes have not yet been formed.

The traditionalists rely on local organizations like the Rotary or the golf club for networking, but also professional societies and conference attendance. The baby boomers participate actively in international societies and conferences, building a global network. The generation X still participates in conferences but is less active in professional societies and the organization of conferences. The millennials are on social media and use search engines to find information and attend local meet-ups for networking.

While in the past peoples managed contacts using a Rolodex, membership directories, etc., today colleagues are constantly on the move and everybody has to maintain their personal contact information on a professional network like Xing or LinkedIn, through which they connect to their professional contacts.

Professional network sites make money by selling your information to business intelligence and salespeople as well as recruiters looking for employees. The service is free for you, but you have to maintain your own information.

The sites are continuously improved, so you have to keep monitoring your profile for changes in the way your information is organized to be more valuable to paying customers. For example, the skills section is sorted by the number of endorsements you receive for each skill, which is not what you want. Edit this section by clicking on the pencil on the top right, then unpin the top three skills, reorder the skills by dragging the horizontal lines on the right, and pin your top three skills.

When LinkedIn bought SlideShare, your presentations appeared in the media section. However, the original site was abandoned and your media is in cold storage. To get acceptable access times, you have to upload your PDFs again directly into LinkedIn. Furthermore, videos are no longer supported, so you have to upload them to YouTube and then make them available in your LinkedIn profile as linked media.

If you apply to a job on a professional social network by clicking on the "apply" button, the probability that you will have that job in your profile is very low. Instead, you have to click on your best connection working there because jobs go mostly through internal referral.

Of course, you have to have a contact working there. The quality of the contact is important because this person has to be your advocate. You can easily increase your network by turning on Bluetooth in your mobile LinkedIn app and invite all people in your vicinity, but they will not be your advocates. Your network has to be dense.

LinkedIn connection map

The best way to create a dense network is to organize conferences because people will remember well your skills and leadership qualities. The second best is presenting at conferences and the easiest is to present at meet-ups. Even easier is to write a blog, but you should post at least once a week and advertise each post on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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