Thursday, June 29, 2006

Got your prospect list?

Dear Dave,

There is nothing I would like better than to find an entry level IT position which will allow me to develop my software development/systems analysis skills in the banking/consulting/software industries. Any chance you can help me in my search?

Signed, Searching

Dear Searching,

During your job search, do you have a list of companies you are looking for entry to? A prospect list? Banking/consulting/software is too general for someone like me (and most other people) and unless you know of a specific position available, I can't help you too much. A lot of my conversations with job seekers go like this:

Could you please help me with some assistance?"

"Sure! How can I help?"

"I'm looking for employment?"

"I'm afraid that's too general for me, please be more specific."

"I'm looking for a position in marketing."

"I'm afraid that's still too general, please be more specific."

"I'm looking for a job in the pharma sector in marketing."

"Still too general, what company?"

"I don't know."

"Toronto based? Ontario based? Large company? Small company? Private? Public? Generic? Brand?"

"I don't know."

"That's OK, but you are making me (and other people) work too much on your behalf. Pick 5 companies to start with, write them down and start showing them to friends and family. Ask if they know anyone who works there and could you have a conversation with them? Most people response very well to this.

"But who do I know they are the right companies to work for?"

"This isn't a job interview, it's an informational interview. They may reveal this is NOT a company you want to work for. Often these talks result in the person telling you about another company in their industry with another opening. You just have to start getting in front of people and quit just being a resume."


Could you please help me with some assistance?"

"Sure! How can I help?"

"Do you know anyone who works at GSK, Pfizer, Altana, Roche or Medical Futures?"

"Sure, I know folks who work in all those companies."

"I'm looking for a job in the pharma sector in marketing; any chance I could chat with one of them and get an informational interview for 5 minutes, or maybe a chnce for a face to face?

"Sure, don't send me your resume, just a one-paragraph outline listing your degree and experience and what you are looking for . I'll send it over to them and I'm certain they would be happy to take your call."


1. Use this script:

"Hello, Dr. Brown? My name is Dave Howlett. I am looking to acquire some information into [their industry]; Susan Smith recommended you as someone having insights in this industry and into some opportunities where someone of my background and education could have a fit. I would really love the opportunity to meet with you."

(This gives you an introduction though an associate, it compliments them as an industry expert and accomplishes the purpose of having a meeting with them. Many positions in companies are unadvertised and something may be available. )

Don't forget:

- respect their time - they are busy people.
- make sure you have done research on their company and can speak about their successes and challenges (use
- ask the person you are talking to how you can help them in turn? (just offer it, people are charmed and complimented when you do)
- send them a thank you card (not just an email)
- let the original person who gave you the contact know how the conversation went.
- remember they will open door for you as a person (not as a resume) if they think you will make them look good and not embarrass them in front of others. Be nice, brush your teeth, polish your shoes, be courteous.

I hope this helps!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Keep track of all your Contacts and Leads

Dear Dave. Hope you are well. I'm starting to realize that my methodology for tracking, archiving, and storing contacts is somewhat limited. I'm just using excel spreadsheets (and my brain); but am reaching capacity :-). I thought I'd ask the expert... Do you a certain piece of software to keep track of contacts etc..?

Signed, K.

Dear K,

Yes, there is a Free edition of Salesforce at This is a business development tool offered by Salesforce in the hope that this "viral marketing" will get their product into companies. I've used SF for years. It's a follow-you CRM that you can access anywhere (no software) and customize to your needs. Take some time and go through the tutorials as the important thing is to make sure you have the correct fields set up (garbage in- garbage out). They also have a great Stay in Touch feature you can send to people to allow them to update their information. You can also generate pipelines and appointments when and how to keep in touch!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Word of Mouth - Your reputation matters

Some of you who have attended my "Knocking Down Silos" seminars know that I ask you to write down what you want people to say about you when you are not in the room. In reality, you are writing your own epitaph.

Last week, I was in Vancouver presenting to the Canadian Society of Association Executives and talked about this concept. Tamera Olsen of MBABC related the poignant story of her mother-in-law who is adamant that her tombstone will NOT read: "I kept a clean house."

I thought that was terrific, then Angela Hold of CUFABC chipped in. The inscription Angela wants on her tombstone?

"If you can read're not crying hard enough."

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

How do you keep in touch so they don't forget about you?

1. Set up a Google Alert to send you information that they would find interesting
2. Send them an email that a) tells them you were thinking about them b) gives them something of value c) refers to something about them as a person. Keep it short.

Lyndsey knows how to do it well!


Hi Dave,

I'm in Edmonton right now for a Pharmacy conference, and do not have your regular email address. I was checking my email, and came across an article on networking - and obviously thought of you!

It's mostly what you explained to us during our cycle meeting, but I thought it might still be of interest to you. It can be found at

How's the training going? I'm loving this hot weather lately - I find it great for motivating me to get out there and run more often!


Monday, June 05, 2006

There's Millions of Dollars in being "a good guy"

(overheard by a US Venture Capitalist at BioFinance 2006, in Toronto , Canada)

"Your personality determines whether I invest in your company. Your science determines how much I invest."