During Marketing Week, Meade Johnson, our executive in residence, came in to speak to us about her top ten tips for networking in the modern age. She challenged us to “network” at least once a week and make any situation a possible networking opportunity. I didn’t think it was possible for any of this to work, but I put her tips to action right away!
When a professional from a company I admired came to speak to us during Marketing Week, I immediately knew I had to impress him. Meade told us to always “be yourself” during every interaction with other professionals. When I began to strike up a conversation, I tried to let my passion for the industry and company come through without being rigid or too professional. After his presentation, I made sure to ask questions and follow up with a thank-you email.
How do I know my interaction worked? Within that week, the professional had sent my resources to help me study more about the industry. Within the month, he had sent me a link to a new internship posting for their company that he thought I may be interested in. I now have a call with the company account manager (wish me luck).
My takeaway from this success is that your authentic self is the only self you need to bring to networking events. Just show genuine interest and have meaningful conversation, and someone may be willing to help you get job, reference, or more industry knowledge.
“Beep, beep, beep, beep,” my alarm rings out at the ripe time of 7:00 AM. Painfully, my eyes open. I slide out of my warm bed, open my blinds to the crisp morning light, and pull out my business suit that I ordered from Amazon two days before. It’s Career Fair day.
This past Friday, hundreds and hundreds of Pitt Business students boarded city buses—coffee in hand-- and headed towards the David Lawrence Convention Center for the annual Career Development Conference. Clad in black, gray, or navy suits, we walked in the hot sun toward a day filled with recruiters, resumes, long lines, and sweaty palms.
By the end of the day packed with panel discussions, shot-glass water cups, networking lunch, and traditional career fair, I couldn’t help but hear some of the same major themes throughout each facet of the day. We are often told that our resume and list of internships are the most important aspect of a job search, but today we got a little different perspective.
Below is the list of advice and suggestions that popped up numerous times leading me to the conclusion that they are exceedingly important and that I should share them with you.
Say goodbye to fear
The more confident about who you are as an individual and everything you can bring to the table is electric. Being secure in your unique qualities will get you noticed. People can’t ignore passionate and confident candidates.
Success is 60% image and 40% everything else
Whether you’re selling a toothbrush or selling yourself, there is one common fact that cannot be ignored: brand matters. Your personal brand is of upmost importance when interviewing. Who are you beyond your work experience and 3.7 GPA? What are your passions? What drives you? When you define your personal brand, people will want to buy into it.
Be a human
One of the most important aspects of an interview is jiving with the hiring manager and employees. Hiring managers want to know that you will fit within the company, but more than that, they want to know that they could spend day in and day out with you. So be yourself. Tell them the truth. If the fit isn’t right, then move on. It’s for the best in the end.
Age doesn’t define ideas or ability. Whether you’re 23 or 53, your ideas are just as valid and creative. Not to mention that your boss and coworkers want to hear them. Who knows, your idea could be the big break.
Find the right culture
One particular quote that really stuck with me was “The interview is for you as well. Interview us right back.” And she was totally right! Sure, we all want jobs when we graduate, but if the culture is not right for you, then your heart will never be in it. So ask the hard questions in your interview. Make sure it fits for you as well.