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Posts Tagged ‘careers

My latest project: The Influence Playbook

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Free email personal branding course

I just released a free email course: The Influence Playbook.

The course breaks down – step by step – how to build a professional brand that can lead to a better jobs, stronger network, and a more fulfilled life.

It’s loaded with lots of examples – including many from my personal experience.

If you often find yourself wondering: “Who are all these people have time to blog, run email lists, and build big followings on Twitter?” then you need to sign up for the course.

Get it here.

Written by John Gannon

September 17, 2015 at 7:44 pm

Job hunters! Are you asking for referrals?

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When you have a good career networking meeting/call with someone, don’t be afraid to ask them for a referral to others in their network who may be helpful.

Some people you meet may volunteer to make referrals if you make a good impression during your meeting/call, but others may not think to offer it. You should always ask, assuming your meeting/call went fairly well and you developed a rapport with the person you met.  This is an easy way for you to expand your network AND you will likely get to connect with folks who otherwise would not take a call/meeting with you if you reached out blindly.

An example ‘ask’: “Thanks so much for meeting with me today. Based on what you learned about me and my career aspirations, I was wondering if there are any other folks in your network who you think I should speak with?”

One last thing…make sure you make this ‘ask’ at the end of your call or meeting. Don’t do it in a follow up email. You’re definitely harder to ignore in person!  :)

Looking for career advice and job hunting tips?  Sign up for my list and you’ll receive periodic career advice in your Inbox (and NO spam!).

Written by John Gannon

August 20, 2012 at 10:14 am

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First half vs Second half careers

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“The first half of the career is about achieving success; the second is about achieving significance. People who do not make the shift struggle.”

via Texas Teachers Taking Alternative Investing to New Risks- Bloomberg.

Written by John Gannon

June 6, 2012 at 2:08 pm

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Know any copy editors (for my VC careers ebook) ?

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Looking for a copy editor for my upcoming VC careers eBook.  It’s drafted, just need the editing.  11k words and 27 pages.  Let me know if you have any recommendations for good folks to work with on this.

If you would like to be notified when I release the eBook and receive a significant discount on your purchase, please join my mailing list by putting your email address in the field below (and click ‘Submit’). I will not spam you and will only send items of relevance to venture capital and venture capital careers. Promise!


Written by John Gannon

April 22, 2012 at 10:53 pm

Reward Value, Not Face Time

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The shift from managing butts in seats to managing inspiration can be intimidating. If you take away the busy work of “watching people,” the manager may be left with an empty to do list. Remote work and ROWE rewrite the manager’s job description.

via Reward Value, Not Face Time – Tony Schwartz – Harvard Business Review.

Written by John Gannon

February 22, 2012 at 12:46 pm

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4 tactics that worked for me in my recent job search

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Having just come off of a job search (I’m starting at AWS later this week!) I wanted to share some of the tactics that worked for me in scoring a job that I’m pretty darn excited about.

Let me know if you find these helpful and also if there are some tips that have worked well for you in past job searches.

1)  Focus your resume on accomplishments, not roles.

Your resume is going to set the tone for the discussions you have with recruiters and hiring managers.  Make sure it’s more than a list of job duties and functions.  This is your chance to tout measurable accomplishments that show how you stand out from the crowd.  Write about how you saved your last company $300,000 in CAPEX because you optimized an existing process, or how you ranked in the top 5% of your hiring class at your 1st job out of college.  Skip the stuff that’s generic (e.g. “Developed Java applications for large financial services company”) because it’s not going to help you get interviews or stand out from the rest of the pack.  Here are some more details about how to take your resume from good to great.

2) If you’re looking for a more entrepreneurial work environment, check in with your friendly neighborhood venture capitalist.

VCs are often a great source of information about which companies in the tech startup ecosystem are hiring.  There are some nuances to identifying which startups and which VCs to approach in your job search, and David Biesel of NextView Ventures put together a great series of posts about this very topic.

VCs are also just super well connected inside and outside the startup world.  It’s quite possible they know some folks within larger companies (after all, the larger companies end up buying their smaller companies) who might have a bead on some interesting roles.

Personally, I think outreach to VCs is perhaps the best way to get yourself in front of hiring managers in the tech world.  My last 2 job searches were heavily influenced by awesome introductions provided by folks in the VC community, so I can’t say enough about this tip specifically.

3) Track your activities and follow up tasks in a systematic way.

I’m a firm believer that the job hunt is very much like a sales process, where you’re prospecting (finding potential opportunities), conducting a needs assessment (interviewing), following up, and closing (negotiating your compensation package and signing on the dotted line).  Any professional salesperson is using a CRM of some sort (even if it’s just a spreadsheet!) to track and plan their activities, and a professional job seeker should be doing the same.

For my most recent job search, I used Highrise from 37signals to track relevant contacts as well as specific tasks related to job opportunities.   Their system helped me stay disciplined about following up and staying on top of specific job opportunities.  (BTW, has anyone used the Highrise APIs to develop a job seeker focused app?  I think this would be really cool and useful.)

4) Avoid the front door, and use the back door when possible.

Job boards and company resume submission sites tend to be a road to nowhere when it comes to scoring an invitation to interview for a role.  You’re much better off using these systems to identify which companies may be hiring, and which jobs are available.  Then, you can use Google or various social networking sites (LinkedIn is great for this) to identify people you might know at the company who could potentially refer you to the hiring manager or the HR department.

If you don’t know anyone at the company, you can still use these tools to identify people who are in the group that’s doing the hiring, and maybe develop some sort of a pitch (which you could deliver via a well written email, or a phone call) with which you can use to get your foot in the door.  I know this might seem a little pushy, but if you’re relying on job board or company website submissions otherwise, I don’t think you have much to lose by a more aggressive approach.

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Written by John Gannon

March 28, 2011 at 7:54 pm

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Career advice from an entrepreneur

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But entrepreneurs instinctually realize that the best advocate for their careers is themselves and that there is no such thing as a linear career path. They recognize they are going to have to follow their own internal compass and embrace the uncertainty as part of the journey.In fact using uncertainty as your path is an advantage entrepreneurs share. Their journey will have them try more disconnected paths than someone on a traditional career track. And one day all the seemingly random data and experience they’ve acquired will end up as an insight in building something greater than the sum of the parts.

via Agile Opportunism – Entrepreneurial DNA « Steve Blank.

Written by John Gannon

March 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm

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Mike Lazerow runs a CLINIC for junior VCs

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Image representing Buddy Media as depicted in ...

Image via CrunchBase

Mike Lazerow of Buddy Media recently wrote a piece for titled: “How to raise venture capital (without losing your soul).” In the piece, he tells the story of Buddy Media’s recent VC fundraising process, which culminated with Silicon Valley stalwart IVP leading a big round.

Although the focus of the piece is the actual fundraising process itself, Mike ends up putting on a CLINIC (yeah, caps are annoying, but Mike’s post is just that good) for junior VCs.

There are a bunch of lessons to take away from this post if you’re a junior VC:

1) Build meaningful relationships with entrepreneurs. Don’t just chase deals.

Here’s what Mike said about the associate, Jules Maltz, who ran the process on IVP’s behalf:

Jules Maltz started a company at Stanford in the social advertising space. We met at the time and I was impressed with him. Jules then joined IVP as an associate and attended a party we gave in New York in the summer of 2009. From then on, he continued to reach out to touch base and make introductions.

Jules wasn’t trying to sell IVP. He was trying to build a relationship more than a year before we were in the market for money. This is the single most important thing you should look for in a VC as an entrepreneur.

2) The entrepreneur’s time is more valuable than your own.

Mike gives some insight into how many entrepreneurs think about inbound sourcing calls from VCs:

They (VCs) can take 50 meetings to learn the landscape for just one deal. You can’t. You have a business to run and there’s a fine line between building relationships with VCs and giving them too much information.

If you’re the person doing the sourcing, and the company is not raising capital, see if you can add some value through advice or introductions to relevant folks(*) in your network. If the company does happen to be raising capital, but you don’t have an interest in investing after the first call or meeting, give them the quick ‘No’ and don’t waste their time.

(*) There is nothing worse than introductions for the sake of introductions. Make sure they are super-relevant to the company before offering them, otherwise you’re wasting everyone’s time.

3) You only have a handful of chances to prove yourself. Make them count.

Junior VCs source hundreds of deals per year, issue a small number of term sheets, and close an even smaller number of deals (one or two per year, tops). If you assume most VC firms are going to evaluate junior (analyst, associate) staff for promotion or termination after 2-3 years with the firm, there isn’t much time for the junior VC to make their mark. It also means most of your work will never see the light of day.

Mike puts a fine point on this when he talks about the junior VC – entrepreneur dynamic:

Associates bet their credibility and their future on the companies that they go to bat for. I clearly want my companies to succeed for what that means for my employees and me. But it helps to have your interests aligned with an associate who wants you to succeed so he can look like a stud.

As a junior VC, you have no track record as an investor, and you’re only going to get a few shots on goal before the “up or out” decision is made by your firm. No pressure :)

The Bottom Line

  • Don’t get into the VC business to “do deals,” get into the business to help entrepreneurs grow their business.
  • Take an entrepreneurial approach to your job, because as a junior VC, you’re more entrepreneur than full-fledged VC.
  • Build relationships with the most interesting people who are willing to spend time with you. And remember that you’ll get what you give.

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Written by John Gannon

December 9, 2010 at 12:22 am

Good advice for people seeking VC or startup jobs

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Show interest, become part of the community. The more hardcore you are, the more seriously you’ll be taken.

via Immerse Yourself | Get Venture.

Written by John Gannon

October 7, 2010 at 8:49 pm

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Career services departments that rock – Pace University

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I wanted to share an email I recently received from a Pace University career services representative who I had met at the NYC Startup Job Fair.

This email is a great example of how college career services departments can and should go the extra mile when engaging with potential employers who are very eager to hire new grads. (yes, its a canned email but it is the thought that counts)

Unfortunately, this kind of interaction has been the exception rather than the rule, at least with the local schools where I have attempted to recruit new grads for our inside sales positions.

Here is the contents of the email:

Sorry for this impersonal way of getting back to you, but I wanted to respond quickly. Some of you have already gotten back to me over the weekend. I really enjoyed meeting with you however briefly.

At the event I really saw the renaissance of business in the New York City area as represented by your companies. Your energy, positive vision of the future and drive was inspirational for me and I’m sure for Pace alumni and students. I have been writing and speaking about real career opportunities with companies few people are aware of and many of you are among them, with several exceptions. Our alumni and students have a strong work ethic and understand that you don’t get ahead without hard work and dedication.

I want to let you know that we at Pace will give you the personal attention that you need to fill positions ranging from internship through experienced professionals. All you need to do is send me the job specs as Word attachments and we will take care of the rest. We want your business and will do what it takes to earn it. I look forward to hearing from you.

Kudos to Pace Career Services, and please send us your best grads! If they are willing to hustle like you, I am sure they would be great additions to our team!

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Written by John Gannon

April 28, 2010 at 6:21 pm

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