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Online tools are great, but personal connections are key

Chris Milone his family -- wife Monic8-month-old daughter Audrey --- are moving Delaware so thChris can get better job. Chris

Chris Milone and his family -- wife Monica and 8-month-old daughter Audrey --- are moving to Delaware so that Chris can get a better job. Chris talked about what he did to get a better job in this economy, and what he looks for when he hires people. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Chris Milone is starting a new job as marketing group lead at a rival bank to his previous employer on Jan. 9 in Wilmington, Del., after failing to find a next-step-up position in Chicago.

He found out about the position through a colleague with whom he has a strong relationship. The colleague had kept her LinkedIn profile up-to-date and populated with key words that recruiters seek, such as social media expertise and email- and search-engine marketing know-how. When a recruiter contacted the colleague, she told Milone about the job.

“We have lots of great online tools to find job openings, but it goes back to lots of personal connections,” said Milone, a 34-year-old Bourbonnaise native who is packing up his Ukrainian Village home with wife Monica and 8-month-old daughter Audrey.

Milone, who previously worked as vice president of digital marketing at a major bank, considered taking a 10 percent pay cut to stay in Chicago, but he couldn’t find a position where he would have greater leadership responsibilities. He scouted out those possibilities at TheLadders.com, a job site for positions with salaries of $100,000 and higher.

He saw no opportunities for promotion where he worked, and his employer is being sold.

Milone graduated from the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign with a chemical-engineering degree, but quickly learned researching consumer products wasn’t for him.

He found his previous job when he talked up a person he met at a wedding in Joliet.

“You never know who you might meet who can help you find a job,” Milone said. “It’s not all about aptitude. It’s about finding yourself a break.”

Part of finding a break is making one. Milone spent three days preparing for the interview for his new job, researching the industry, the company’s products and the differences in the way the company does business from where he previously worked.

“The more you can do to present a plan for what you bring to the table, the better,” he said. “What does the job description say? I realized that 10 percent of the description I was a little unsure about, so I called my colleague and shored up what I knew about that 10 percent.”

Milone has done his share of hiring, and he recommends giving the interviewer a card with one’s phone number and email address for followup, showing enthusiasm for being dedicated and working hard, and writing a thank-you note that relates to the interview.

“As the person hiring, I am interested in the person who says, ‘I really liked hearing about the position. Here are four or five more questions I had. And here are a couple of things I think are my strengths that I thought of while driving home.

“It’s more about showing interest,” he said. “And keep it short.”



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