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Important Networking Follow-Ups: How to Get Those Job Leads Calling When you leave a networking event, you may be buzzing at the prospects offered by all of those new contacts you made, but soon, the cold reality sets in. How will you be able to convert those contacts you made over a glass of wine into valuable business opportunities for you? Successful networking is all in the follow-up. If you?re looking for a job, following up is all the more crucial. Without touching base after a networking event, you become just another face in the crowd of job hunting hopefuls. The first important rule for following-up with networking contacts is to lay the foundations for the follow-up during the initial meeting. At networking events, there can be a lot of empty promises thrown around. Use that first meeting to convey the message that you haven?t gotten caught up in ?networking fever? but instead that you are very serious about exploring the job opportunity that you?re discussing with your new contact. Ask the contact when would be a good time to follow-up with them, and then reiterate the information back to them at the end of your conversation: ?I look forward to speaking with you Friday at 2 p.m.? If they don?t give you a specific time, then suggest one to them. This rule holds true even if your contact is giving you a lead on a job not with them but with another contact of their own. Let them know you appreciate the information by saying, ?Thanks. I will plan on calling Mary on Monday afternoon at 1 p.m.? Not only will this convey your seriousness about the opportunity presented to you, but it may also get you some handy inside information, as the contact may reply, ?Oh, no, Mary will be out of town until Thursday ? call her then.? The next important rule to networking follow-ups is to follow up with EVERY lead a contact gives you. If a contact suggests that you call someone whom you know won?t really be able to help you in your job search, call him or her anyway. Otherwise, when your contact finds out you aren?t taking their advice, they may just decide not to give you any more the future and any business person can tell you that you never know from whom the most valuable lead will come some day. Keep the lines of communication open by giving any and all suggestions a whirl. Last but not least, do the actual following-up. Follow up with your contact exactly when you said you would, and in the exact manner you said you would (phone, email, letter, etc). If for some reason you can?t make contact at the arranged time, keep trying. If you haven?t made arrangements for a follow-up with a contact, then the rule of thumb is to follow-up with them as soon as possible after meeting them. Try to at least send an email or letter the next day saying what a pleasure it was to meet and that you look forward to talking more in the future, and then say in that note when you plan to follow-up with your contact by phone. Then, of course, stick to that new follow-up obligation. Even if the promises made by a contact while networking don?t pan out for you on the job front, don?t cross them off of your contact list. Keep them in the loop about your job search and your career goals. While they may not have been able to make if happen for you this time, you never know what they might be able to do for you in the future. Your most promising business contact may be someone you already know.

Is That Free Offer Legit? Tips that Can Help Everyone loves the chance to cash in some great free stuff, but navigating the world of freebie offers, especially online, can be like navigating a minefield. Unfortunately, a lot of people out there use the love others have of taking advantage of free deals to scam them out of money or personal details that can be used in identity theft scams. All of this gloom and doom doesn?t mean that you have to give up on free things altogether, however. The good news is that there are some simple, common sense steps you can take protect yourself from online freebie scammers. These tips will help give you the confidence that you can enjoy taking advantage of free offers without the fear of ending up facing some negative consequences. First and foremost, when you are checking out a free offer on the Internet, take a closer look at the website, beyond just reading the words and figuring out what you have to do get the free goods. Does the website look like it was made by a professional, with some consideration, or does it look like a five minute amateur job? Are typos and clip art the order of the day, or does it look like a website any business would be proud to call its own? What about the web address ? is a domain name that matches the business the website claims to represent, or is a ?free? domain address that includes the name of the domain company in the address? All of these factors can be red flags that determine the difference between a scam and a legitimate free offer. If the website looks half hearted or doesn?t seem to exactly ?match? the company it purports to represent, then don?t even think about trying to get anything from it. When you?re reasonably sure that the website is actually the front of a legitimate business, it?s time to turn your attention to the privacy policy of the website. The best privacy policies guarantee you that the email address you use to sign up for this offer will not be shared with any other companies ? but when it comes to free stuff, those kinds of privacy policies are few and far between. Many companies cover the costs of the free things you get by selling your email address to other companies that may have offers you they think you might be interested in. If you can?t find a privacy policy that lets you opt out of getting unwanted solicitations, at least make sure the site is secure and that any personal information can?t be obtained by hackers. Other things to look out for when you?re looking for freebies is products that are free but that require you to pay a shipping charge that seems beyond the pale for what it should cost to ship and freebie offers that seem to ask for way more information than needed for what the product actually is. Twenty pages of personal information for a travel size bottle of shampoo? That doesn?t make sense, and it should set off warning bells in your head. All of these red flags aside, giving out some amount of personal information comes part and parcel with freebie offers. There are a few things you can do to make life easier on yourself. Set up an email account that you will use specifically for freebie offers so all of the inevitable spam doesn?t clog up your main account. Use a phony phone number (preferably one that can?t be anyone else?s, like one that starts with 555). Last but not least, if you?re unsure about an offer, keep on moving. Better safe than sorry.

Important Steps to Follow in Creating a Professional Digital Identity for your Job Search Having a professional digital identify is essential in finding new business or employment. Everyone can benefit from having a polished professional digital identity. It is key to advancing in any career. Of course, how you present yourself digitally depending on what type of career advancement you are going for. If you are starting a new business you will need to have a stellar website. A professional should consulted so that you have the best website possible. If you are interested in securing a new job, you can probably build your own website or just post your resume and portfolio. Trying to land an interview is much easier than striking out on your own so it takes a little less effort. However, no matter what your career aspirations are a professional digital identity is important. If your professional digital identity is lacking in credibility spend some time and effort improving it. A healthy professional digital identity will help you get the job you desire. Instead of spending money on business cards, invest in presenting yourself well on the web. People can always get in touch with you on the web. Business cards get lost in the shuffle of day-to-day paper accumulation that most people acquire. Locate all of the social networking sites you can. You can never be too well represented on the web. Of course, people like to shake hands and meet you in person. When circumstances permit, set up lunches or coffee dates to discuss projects or networking opportunities. For entrepreneurs, it is wise to stay well acquainted. The type of business you are in will influence what you have in your portfolio. If you are striving to build an online presence for your own personal business, have plenty of samples on your site. If you business is not one where you have samples to show, have coupons or special offers posted. Create a strong professional digital identity and you will attract more sales. Whether you are networking or building up business for yourself, you need to have a professional digital identity that people can respect. Provide a number of ways for people to get in touch with you and keep your information updated. Do pro bono if necessary. Do some things for free to gain exposure. First impressions have a big influence on what people think about you. In the past people were limited to physical or phone impressions. These days the way that employees first get to know most candidates is through their digital identity. A bad web site or a sloppy portfolio online can ruin your chances of getting a job. Make sure that your professional digital identity is well developed. One of the major mistakes people make when it comes to digital identity is registering for networking and social sites and posting less than favorable pictures and comments. Some employers check MySpace and Facebook to try to get a clear picture of the candidate they are interviewing or deciding whether or not to work with. If your Myspace page is full of pictures of you in your scantly clad bathing suit their decision to hire you or not becomes very easy. Do not use your real name to register for these types of sites. Or if you do, use the site in a professional manner. Set up your Myspace page in an attractive and professional way. Friends will be able to reach you but employers will also view you in a professional manner. A great way to present yourself well digitally is to have your own website. Upload your resume and include information about your work history. Employers will be able to review your work history more extensively making them more inclined to contact you.

Want a Favorite Product Free? Write the Manufacturer Are you ready to revel in all the freebies you can find? If you are a sucker for freebies, here are some easy tips for getting your hands on the best free samples out there. You will find that finding the right freebies is often as easy as picking up a pen or licking a stamp and putting it on an envelope. Should You Write Your Favorite Manufacturers to Receive Free Product Samples? Is there a special item or product that you love? Is there a shampoo you can't live without? Would you die if your favorite brand of toothpaste were discontinued? Fortunately, there are many ways to declare your allegiance to a specific brand or product, and get rewarded for it. If there is a product you simply cannot live without, go ahead and write the company. Write them a letter to let them know what a big fan you are. Companies appreciate positive customer feedback. Simply writing to your favorite company can get you on their free sample mailing list. In fact, go ahead and ask them for free samples. Most manufacturers and corporations are more than willing to oblige your request. Getting the Information You Need to Contact Your Favorite Manufacturer Where can you find the information you need in order to get free product samples? Luckily, finding this information is often quite simple. Most of the time, all you have to do is look at the back of the product label to find information. Always contact the customer service address. If no address is available or listed, call their toll-free customer service hotline. Ask the customer service rep about possible free samples. At the very least, you will probably be able to finagle a handful of valuable coupons to save money on your next buy. Getting Free Stuff From Your Favorite Manufacturers Online Did you know that there are plenty of places to get free samples and other freebies by checking online? The World Wide Web is a treasure trove of freebies. There are many websites that specialize in freebie offers. Think of these websites as the middleman to freebie paradise, as well as an easy way to save on stationary and stamps. What are some of these freebie sites? The freesite.com is a great site to find a variety of freebies, both virtual and beyond. To find the latest free stuff, turn to websites such as freeflys.com. This website's slogan is that "Cheap is good, but free is always better." Who can argue with that kind of logic. There are many other websites that can offer you a library of freebies. Here are some tips for sorting out the legitimate offers from the fake stuff. Don't Get Caught in a Freebie Scam Although there are plenty of great websites out there that offer real legitimate freebie offers, there are also many websites that prey on people seeking freebies. Here are some tips for filtering out the bad websites, and finding the best in legitimate freebie offers. First, do not accept freebies from websites that require too much personal information. Only give just enough information to get what you need. Avoid accepting freebies from websites that require you to sign up for a newsletter or email offers. These websites have been known to sell your email address to partners, thus causing your email inbox to become overwhelmed with offers and related spam. A good rule of thumb is that if you don't feel comfortable providing your personal data, you should not. Also, avoid websites that are too burdened with obtrusive pop-up or banner ads. Websites that rely too heavily on advertisements are more likely to sell your personal data.