Networking 101: 5 Quick Tips to Get the Most Out of a Networking Event
Networking events that are put on by businesses, colleges, and other organizations are a great way to grow your list of professional contacts. Maximize your networking event experience by following these 5 quick tips.
1.) Rehearse your introduction speech. Here’s a good starting format: who you are, what you do for a living (or, what you want to do), why you came to the event, and something you’re interested in or passionate about. Tailor your introduction for your audience: focus on professional aspirations when talking to recruiters or managers and focus on shared interests to build camaraderie when talking to peers.
2.) Go in with a goal. Setting a goal such as “I will introduce myself to a dozen total strangers” or “I will leave with 3 new job leads” keeps you active throughout the event, instead of just hunkering down in a corner with a tiny plate of appetizers. Plan ahead on how you will overcome obstacles to meet your goal. For example, decide what your exit strategy will be if you’re cornered by a chatterbox.
3.) Remember that it takes (at least) 2 to “network.” Sure, you might be attending a networking event primarily in the interest of self-advancement. But don’t forget that successful networking is truly a 2-way street. If you want other people to care about you, you have to care about them. Listen closely when another person is describing his or her ambitions, and be thinking if there’s something you could do or if there’s someone you could contact to help that person in his or her pursuits.
4.) Bring along useful items. While many people trade contact details on their smart phones, take some business cards (if you have them) or a pen and a notepad in the event of technical difficulties. Stash a few copies of your resume in a thin, unobtrusive binder or portfolio. To help maintain your image, carry a pack of breath mints and a strand of dental floss in your pocket (just in case a pesky piece of spinach dip lodges itself between your teeth!).
5.) Mind the open bar. There is a big difference between complimentary drinks and all-you-can drink. If you’re at an event with an over-21 crowd and you choose to partake, do so in moderation and stop if you start to feel tipsy. Demonstrate poor decision-making or a lack of self-control, and it may cost you a conversation with someone who would have been your future employer. Inevitably, some events will be more enjoyable or more productive than others, but by reviewing these 5 pointers before you go, you can help ensure that you will get the most out of any networking event.
Photo Credit: alisdair
4 Good Things for which Job Hunters Can Be Thankful
Thanksgiving, as the name implies, is a perfect time for giving thanks. Before carving into the turkey (or the “Tofurky,” if preferred), job hunters ought to take a moment to be thankful for the following reasons:
- More jobs are becoming available.
In its most recent job openings summary (issued in early November), the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 3.4 million job openings on the last business day of September. This is an increase of 300 thousand job openings since August. Additionally, the National Bureau of Economic Research found that the number of open jobs has been trending upward since mid-2009. The more openings, the better for grateful job hunters.
- November and December are great months to score a seasonal job.
No, it may not be your dream job, but a seasonal or temporary position will help you get your foot in the door in industries such as retail, shipping and logistics, and hospitality. When companies need to fill permanent positions, they often first search internally. Performing well at a seasonal job can get you the visibility and experience you need to be offered permanent employment in the near future.
- Family members are in town.
When was the last time you had a chat with your aunt about her small business? Do you even know what your uncle did for a living before he retired at age 55? Extended family members can be excellent and willing mentors, yet job seekers often don’t think to turn to them for advice. It might not make for polite discussion around the main dinner table, but see if you can strike up a one-on-one conversation with a successful relative. What skills or personality traits does you aunt look for in a new employee? What were the most valuable lessons your uncle learned early in his career? What would they do differently, if they had the chance to start over? There’s a great chance you’ll get very honest, candid, and insightful responses to any questions you ask.
4. The biggest bar networking night of the year is here.
The night before Thanksgiving is considered by many to be the biggest bar night of the year, due to heavy crowds and hefty bar tabs. Use the opportunity to reconnect with out-of-town friends who have come home for the holiday. Casually and genuinely ask them about their work. Or, if they’re not presently working, ask them how their job search is going. Your friends will likely appreciate your interest, and you very well may learn something new about them, their companies, job hunting strategies, or potential career paths. It’s certainly easy to understand why so many people are pessimistic about the current sluggish economy. But this holiday season, challenge yourself to be thankful for the good things in your life and to look through the storm clouds to the brighter days ahead. A positive attitude just may reinvigorate your job hunt. Photo Credit: amboo who?
Five Things You Should NEVER Bring to an Interview
You’ve made it this far - they are impressed with your work experience, your cover letter was clear and further explained your qualifications. Preparation is the key to a good interview, but one mishap, mistake or missed button on a blouse could ruin your chances. Here are a few things to avoid bringing along with you on a job interview. Criticism of your former employer or coworkers. Even if you absolutely hated your last job and everyone you worked with, trying to find something about it that was positive. This shows that although you are longer with that company, you hold your time there in high regard and will do the same for this one.
A wand I know, I know, Dementors can show up anytime, but the likelihood that they will appear during your interview is slim. While we are on this subject, Hogwarts school robes are not appropriate attire for a job interview. Leave your embarrassing, um, personal items at home. Food or Coffee I can’t operate before a big cup of java either, but try to finish it in the car. Also, a quick teeth check in the mirror is a good idea to make sure no remnants of your breakfast come with you into the interview. Your life story Your trip to Italy or that funny thing your child did last week may be interesting, but is unnecessary unless it applies to the interview. If they ask you if you are willing to travel for the job, an appropriate answer would be yes that you enjoy to travel and just went to Italy. But I wouldn’t suggest whipping out your iPhone and start a slide show of your child’s life for the interviewer. Illegal Paraphernalia no drugs, alcohol, or weapons…just a friendly reminder! There are plenty more items I can think of not to bring on an interview…stories about your ex boyfriend, an imaginary friend, an air sickness bag in case the nerves get to you. I hate to say it, but its possible that these things have happened in interviews before. Do you have any horror stories of interviews gone bad?
Photo Credit: pineapple9995
The 411 on Phone Interviewing: 5 Tips to Make a Strong Connection
After days, weeks, and months of submitting applications, you’ve finally received a call regarding a promising job opportunity. However, instead of bringing you onsite, the hiring manager wants to arrange a phone interview. While phone interviews present a unique set of challenges, you can still make a great first impression before ever meeting face-to-face. Here are some tips to ensure your message doesn’t get lost in transmission.
1.) Location, Location, Location First, determine where you will take the call. Choose a place with few distractions and as little ambient noise as possible. Test several calls from the location to make certain your phone reception is reliable. Free the space from clutter, and neatly arrange two or three documents within arm’s reach that you can leverage during the interview, such as a copy of your resume, the job description, and a list of questions you want to ask the interviewee about his or her company and the position. A successful phone interview without any technical difficulties will demonstrate to the interviewer that you have the ability to plan ahead and conduct business effectively.
2.) Play to Your Strengths and to the Strengths of the Medium If you’re given some choices of when to schedule the interview at different times of the day, take a moment to self-reflect: when are you most vibrant and clear-headed? Are you bright-eyed and bushy-tailed first thing in the morning or are you not firing on all cylinders until early afternoon? If possible, schedule the interview for when you know you’ll be at the top of your game. If you’re nervous you might forget important topics you want to discuss or characteristics about yourself that you want to emphasize, jot down a short list of talking points on a notepad in big, bold writing. Also, consider having the company’s website (particularly the “About Us” or “Company Overview” page) pulled up on a web browser; while you should have reviewed the information in advance, you may be able to refer to some of the highlights to refresh your memory if you’re asked, “So, what do you know about our company?” Prominent reminder notes and access to a computer are a couple of tools you’ll have at your disposal during a phone interview that you wouldn’t be able to utilize during an in-person interview, so use them to your advantage.
3.) Don’t Let Silence Scare You Silence on the other end of the phone line can be even more intimidating than silence during a face-to-face interview, since you can’t use non-verbal cues such as body language to help decipher what the other person is thinking or feeling. Because silence has a tendency to make us feel uncomfortable, even highly experienced communicators will sometimes unintentionally use fillers like “um” and “ah” or other noises that can make them sound less prepared and knowledgeable than they truly are. Overuse of these types of fillers will detract more from you message than a little extra silence. So, embrace the space by taking a couple of extra moments to thoughtfully consider your responses to questions rather than rushing to answer them immediately. Then, be sure to give the interviewer ample time to makes notes and reflect.
4.) Dress for Success (no, really). One might be tempted to dress extremely casual during a phone interview. After all, who’s going to know the difference? Answer: You. Some psychological studies have found a link between how a person dresses and how he or she thinks and acts. So, ditch the Snuggie and put on a suit prior to taking the call. You might be surprised at the confidence boost you receive simply by looking your best, and this confidence will be reflected in the tone of your voice and the way you answer questions.
5.) Practice Makes Perfect Practicing is likely the most important action you can take to help guarantee a successful phone interview, particularly if this is your first or if it’s been a long time since your last. Prepare a brief list of common interview questions, and ask a friend, relative, or mentor to call you and play the part of the interviewer. If you stumble over an answer, don’t get discouraged. Have your friend provide honest feedback regarding your voice volume, clarity of speech, and use of fillers, and then keep these suggestions in mind as you continue to prepare for the real interview. Undeniably, the thought of a phone interview can initially be quite daunting. But, by following these tips to make a strong connection, you can help distinguish yourself from other, less conscientious candidates.
Photo Credit: Seth Werkheiser
10 Things You MUST Have on an Interview
Interviewing can be a stressful process. You’ve waited this long to hear back and now its your time to shine. The key to a good interview is being prepared. Here are a few items to remember to bring on your big day.
- A good attitude Even if your nerves are eating you alive, try not to let it show. Be confident, charming and optimistic. This is your chance to show them who you are beyond your resume and cover letter. On paper they were already impressed with you, show them you ARE the person for the job, not just someone who can use Thesaurus.com to find other words for “hard worker” and “efficient”
- A smile and a good handshake Sweaty palms can’t always be helped but a good firm handshake and an enthusiastic smile will go a long way. Make strong eye contact and remember what your mother said, repeat the interviewer’s name to remember it better.
- Copies of your resume and references You may not be the only one being interviewed that day, and you’d be surprised how often the interviewer has misplaced yours. So be prepared with a few copies of both your resume and references.
- Knowledge of the position and the company A strong knowledge of the position means that you can tell them how you are right for it based on your skills and experience. Having a background knowledge of the company shows interest and a desire to work for that company. Another tip, research the field the job is in to see if there were any recent events or articles that pertain to it to bring up in the interview.
- Breath mints! Need I say more?
- Questions for the interviewer Inevitably, near the end of every interview they will ask you, “so do you have any questions?’ Always have a few prepared. If the ones you had already thought of come up during the interview, when they ask if you have any questions, reiterate the ones you had and they had been already answered.
- A notebook and a working pen The excitement and/or nervousness of the interview might interfere with your memory. Write down the answers your questions, questions that develop through the interview or important tips the interview may offer you.
- Directions to the location Check directions the night before to make sure you are familiar with the area. If not, make sure to give yourself plenty of time in case you get lost or turned around.
- A full stomach Short of Salt N’ Pepa’s “Shoop” playing unexpectedly as your ringtone during an interview, a loud growling stomach can be just as big as an interruption. If you are too nervous to eat a big breakfast, a protein bar will get you through.
- A mirror Hey, its your first impression right?
Five Questions you WILL Get Asked on an Interview
Don’t get stumped by common questions at your interview! You can’t be totally prepared for all of the questions an interviewer may ask, as you’re bound to be asked lots of them, but here are five of the most commonly asked interview questions and tips.
Tell me about yourself. Ok, that’s more of a statement but they will say it! You don’t need to go through your entire work history, but have a few bullet points in mind. Stick to work related experiences and your education unless they ask otherwise. Try not to get too personal. Your vast knowledge of breakfast cereals or your My Little Pony collection, although impressive, don’t apply to the job requirements. Unless of course you are applying to Kellogg’s or Matel, but even still, I’d focus on your skills and abilities.
What are your strengths? This list can go on and on. Pick two or three of your best attributes and back them up with a short example of how those have helped you excel.
What are your weaknesses? NEVER say, “oh, I don’t have any weaknesses. I’m pretty much perfect.” You might be, but wrong answer. The best way to tackle this question is to find something that can be spun as a positive. For example, “My greatest weakness is I am perfectionist. I will not be happy until the job is done, correctly and efficiently.”
Why should we hire you? This is your chance to sum up who you are and why you are good for this job in a few sentences. State the skills you have that fit the job description and give strong examples and accomplishments to back them up. The fact that you are an honorary graduate of the StarFleet Academy may not be the accomplishment they are looking for. Also, remember to reiterate your interest in the company and your enthusiasm for the position.
Do you have any questions? Don’t get stumped, always have something prepared. Think outside the box and ask open-ended questions. “What will day to day responsibilities be?” “Does the company offer training or seminars?” “What would you consider to be the most important aspects of this job?” These questions not only display attentiveness, but also may give you the inside track to succeed.
Photo Credit: wolfpix
Personal Branding 101
3 Foundations for Building Your Brand
- Your identity is reality. Identity is who you actually are. It’s the way you present yourself to someone else, and it’s the way you intend for him or her to interpret your presentation. This is the part of your personal brand over which you have the most control. For example, say you are a man with a scraggily beard. The scraggily beard is part of your identity, and you believe the beard symbolizes “maturity” and “wisdom.” So, you hope that when your colleague sees your scraggily beard, she will view you as a mature and wise person. If you wish to revise your identity, you can always neatly trim your beard or shave it off entirely.
- However, your image is the way a person actually perceives you. Notice the distinction. The concept of image is where “perception is reality” truly comes into play, as the message you intended to send may not always be the message that is received. Your colleague might see your scraggily beard and view you as an unkempt and rugged person instead of as a mature and wise person, negatively impacting your image.
- Your brand is established when several people perceive you in largely the same way. In other words, you can tell your brand is taking hold when a group of people share the same image of you. Many different co-workers might begin to approach your desk to seek advice, saying things like, “I can tell from your scraggily beard that you’ve had a lot of life experience.” This is an indication that your scraggily beard is indeed helping to build the personal brand you desire.
Photo Credit: JonoMueller
Resume writing 101
6 Do’s and Don’ts to Craft a Solid Resume
If you’re worried your resume is rather bland and doesn’t really do you justice, follow this list of Do’s and Don’ts to transform your résumé into one that stands out from the pack.
Welcome to the Huntsy Blog!
Welcome to the Huntsy Blog! We’re counting down to the release of Huntsy in December, and along the way we’re going to be sharing job hunting tips, interview do’s and don’ts, and lots more!