Your Career and You: Have a Reason to Connect


var gaJsHost = ((“https:” == document.location.protocol) ? “https://ssl.” : “http://www.”); document.write(unescape(“%3Cscript src='” + gaJsHost + “google-analytics.com/ga.js’ type=’text/javascript’%3E%3C/script%3E”));
try { var pageTracker = _gat._getTracker(“UA-13189095-1”); pageTracker._trackPageview(); } catch(err) {} I just “inherited” another follower on Twitter…checked her feeds and didn’t find anything obscene (I won’t get into the gazillion typos I found in her tweets), so didn’t block her.

The occurrence sparked the idea for this week’s post, though…along with a chat that I’ve been following on LinkedIn about “introductions.”

When I get notice of a new follower on Twitter, or a friend request on Facebook, or an invitation to connect on LinkedIn, I always ask a simple question: “Why me?”

I’d like to pamper myself with the notion that perhaps my thoughts are regarded as interesting or worthwhile by these folks. But I’m not convinced…in fact, kinda doubt it most of the time.

I’m nowhere near as erudite as my colleague Todd Defren at SHIFT, who writes a great blog on topics near and dear to my PR-prone heart. Nor do my topics have as great a significance for senior management as those addressed by Dr. Leslie Gaines-Ross at Weber Shandwick.

So why do you want to follow/friend/connect with me? The answer to that little question seems to be where the real connection isn’t being made.

At first I was grateful that someone wanted to share a common social media link with me…until I checked up on a few and found some “interesting” photos or comments…blocked and reported those puppies immediately!

Now I’m more cautious. If I don’t recognize your name, I’m going to do some quick sleuthing. Who are you? And what common connection do we have in our backgrounds?

So, to speed up the process and increase your chances of my complying with your request, tell me why you’re reaching out!

What mutual friend recommended that you connect with me?

What  organization do we both belong to?

What job are you applying for that I have some connection with?

Tell me!!

This applies in all aspects of your job search. Don’t assume that I’m going to do your homework and find out who you are.

And this applies equally to your resume and cover letter. When I’ve been part of search committees over the years tasked with slogging through piles of resumes from everyone from highly-qualified communication professionals to laid-off cab drivers, the most annoying part of the process has been reading the cover letter and resume of someone who assumed that I was going to know what he or she wanted to do.

We always had three piles: (1) definitely talk to this person ASAP; (2) hmmm, let’s think about this one, and (3) naah.

Want to guess where the ones that I was just talking about wound up? Without being read fully and discussed??

Especially in my world of public relations, the ability to communicate is paramount. And if you can’t make your case right up front in your initial introduction, your chances have gotten way smaller.

So back to reasons. Here are a few that I used in my job search in Hawaii:

1. Before moving from Massachusetts to Hawaii…”I’m writing as a fellow member of the Public Relations Society of America…”

2. After relocating…”We met at a recent meeting of the PRSA/Hawaii Chapter…”
or

3. “I’m writing at the suggestion of XXXX at the Bank of Hawaii who, after chatting with me about job opportunities, thought that my background and experience might be just what you’re looking for to fill your open XXXX position…”

Three short but clear reasons/connections, all of which resulted in informational or job-specific interviews. No guesswork involved.

I’m constantly reminding my Communication students at Curry College, especially my Public Relations concentration disciples, as well as my graduate Communications students at Regis College, of the importance of results-oriented communication with target audiences.

Your target audience in this case is someone who either can point you in the direction of a job opportunity or might consider you for a specific job. Give him or her a reason to connect!

“A man always has two reasons for what he does – a good one, and the real one.”
John Pierpont Morgan, “From OWEN WISTER, Roosevelt: The Story of Friendship” [1930]

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About kirkhazlett

35+ years' federal government and nonprofit organization PR experience followed by more than 10 years' undergraduate and graduate college teaching experience. Community and media relations expertise, as well as a fanaticism for quality service and customer satisfaction. PR for healthcare and member services organizations ranging from Blood Bank of Hawaii to Medical Area Service Corporation to Boston Harborfest. Consulting services for Manila and Singapore Red Cross.
This entry was posted in careers, Communication, Curry College, job hunting, job search, networking, professional organizations, public relations, Public Relations Society of America, Regis College, social media. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Your Career and You: Have a Reason to Connect

  1. Judith says:

    Great guidelines!

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  2. Thanks very much…lot of "experience" in this one! I appreciate your feedback!

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  3. A very interesting post. I followed you on Twitter because I came across your writing some where. To be honest I don't remember the article. That being said, it must have been compelling enough for to want to read more .<–please note multiple spaces after period!However, I do agree with your article and the question "Why me?"

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  4. Thanks, Michael. There's no telling where something I wrote might have surfaced…I found something I did back in the mid-80s a while back! I appreciate your feedback…and your follow on Twitter!

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  5. Cathy Qiu says:

    Hi, Krik,I am a Mass Comm graduate student, and today I happen to find your posts from Linkenln PRSA group. I have to say, I love reading your thoughts on young professionals and their career choices. I agree that we should wisely relate a reason to connections, however, I also find that it is not easy to keep the connection once it is established. Do you have any suggestions on that too?Cathy

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  6. Hi Cathy ~Thanks for reading my posts and your kind comments! Keeping up with connections is (or at least I think it is) fairly simple.A short "Hey, how are you? etc., etc." email every couple or three months; updates on Facebook or LinkedIn…if you're not on LinkedIn, you should be (www.linkedin.com); a snailmail card at special holidays (my wife is Chinese, so I take advantage of both Christmas and Chinese New Year to reach out to special/important contacts).The bottom line is that it doesn't take a whole lot of extra effort; just an occasional communication that helps to remind them of who you are. Hope this helps a little.Kirk

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  7. Cathy Qiu says:

    Hi Kirk,First of all, Happy Chinese New Year to you! I've just been back from China to celebrate New Year. This year is Rabbit:)Back to the networking issue. I think it's not difficulty to keep in touch with people that I am familiar with. However, I sometimes don't know what to do to keep connections with people that I've just met. For instance, I went to the PRSSA conference last year (which was terrific), and met some professionals in the field. After the conference, I sent emails to reach out those new faces. But after they kindly replied "yeah, keep in touch", I didn't know what should be said in the following email…so I lost those contacts gradually….Is there any ways that I can keep contacts with them while not sounds like networking for networking? Thank you very much,Cathy

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  8. Hi Cathy ~Gung Hay Fat Choy (my rough version of the Cantonese) to you as well! I hope the Year of the Rabbit is a very good one for you!Networking…always a challenge! You took the right first step in contacting the professionals who you met at the PRSSA conference. But, as you're experiencing, the follow-up is difficult.There's nothing wrong with once in a while sending these folks a "Hi, Remember Me?" email. Remind them that you met at the PRSSA conference so that they will have a reference point.Then, in a few short sentences, update them on your activities…almost finished your graduate studies…excited about entering the PR field in some capacity…wondering if they might have any advice as you venture out into "professionaldom."Speaking as one of those folks, I do not mind or feel annoyed when I hear from young future professionals like you. So keep on reaching out to them.I would suggest reconnecting with everyone who you met before…it hasn't been that long…and giving your update. Then, every two or three months, another update.Hope this helps a little. The main thing to remember is that we KNOW you're networking for networking! So go ahead and take advantage of the opportunity! 🙂

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