Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Bad blogging can pay off.

I have to confess that even though I know it goes against all the blogging rules, posting just hasn't been top of mind for me the past couple of months. But I have a really good reason: I have just landed a new job! Any spare time I've had was spent prepping for interviews (or chasing my daughter around the house—but that's a post for another day.) Now that I am getting ready to transition to my new role, I am looking forward to getting back to a more consistent blogging schedule. So please pardon my absence, and know that I don't intend to vanish for long periods of time on a regular basis.

Though it's always hard to make a change, I can honestly say that I am ready. It's been a great four and a half years with my current company, and though I am sad to leave, I am also really excited about my new role. As I think back over the course of the past few weeks, I wanted to share a few things I've learned about interviewing. If, like me, it's been a while since you had to think about any of this stuff, some of it may surprise you.

1. Nothing beats networking. Who you know—especially in today's economy—can help make the difference between getting an interview, and your resume ending up in the blue bin. I have two former coworkers (one a colleague, one a manager) to thank for their help in getting my foot in the door. That being said, tools like LinkedIn have played a major role in making networking easier for all of us. Thanks to LinkedIn, I have been able to introduce a number of friends and colleagues to connections, or connections once removed. While I don't have an enormous network, my recent interviewing experience has once again proven that it's a really small world (see below), and I love being able to help when I can.

2. It's a really, REALLY small world. My former manager knows my new manager. And the Director of HR at my current company knows the Director of HR at my new company...and so on. Granted, I have been in marketing and real estate, in Boston, for 10+ years, which are pretty tightly knit circles, but it just goes to show that relationships really matter, and also serves as a great reminder to never burn a bridge. Your coworker could hold the key to your next great career move, or you to hers.

3. Who you know matters, but so does WHAT you know. Even though it's a little tougher to do now that I am juggling motherhood and a career, I still make a concerted effort to get out there. I take classes, sign up for webinars, attend networking events with keynote speakers or panels, grab lunch or coffee with my peers, and try to stay up to date on the latest trends. My ongoing quest to stay current means that I've also tried to learn as much as I can about social media, and the ways that Web 2.0 can be used for business—in real estate marketing, that translates to building awareness, renting apartments and positively impacting resident retention. My new company is very interested in using social media in these ways, and because I have made it a priority to know and understand these tools and technologies, I think it gave me a real edge over some of the other candidates.

4. Go with your gut. If you are really enjoying the conversation with your interviewer, chances are it's going well. And if it isn't, chances are that it's not. I also think that going with your gut extends to the whole vibe of a place. I interviewed with a couple of companies that I was initially really excited about—but even though the conversations all went well, something just didn't feel right. Call it intuition, or whatever else comes to mind, but I firmly believe that when you find the the right opportunity, in the right company, with the right people, everything else falls into place. I felt that way almost five years ago when I joined my current company—and I felt it when I interviewed at my new company, too.

I learned a lot of other things this time around, too—like how to answer some tricky interview questions, and to always have an extra pair of heels in the car—but those are my top takeaways. What do you think? Would love to hear your thoughts on interviewing/networking these days. And if you have any tips for making time to blog with a nutty schedule, I'm all ears.