This is the eleventh in a series of blogs supporting the College to Career Calendar available for downloading at www.interview2work.com.
If you have been completing each week’s assignment you have a generic resume that can be quickly modified for specific jobs and an interview outfit hanging in your closet ready to impress an interviewer. This week we are starting the next step in securing a job offer: networking.
For our purposes, networking is the gathering and exchange of information that allows job seekers and hiring managers to make wise career advancing decisions. Job seekers who secure rewarding and interesting positions are able to continue advancing in their chosen field. Hiring managers who fill positions with hardworking, talented employees are credited with advancing business goals.
Networking is letting people know what you have to offer. I often have new graduates and those seeking their first professional position say they feel that networking is asking people for jobs and they feel uncomfortable doing that. When you start to think that way, think of the manager who needs someone with your talents and abilities to advance their career. If you are networking correctly you are not asking people for jobs, you are sharing information the same way a company recruiting a new employee shares information. Most job descriptions start with facts about the company followed by an overview of what the job involves and a list of requirements. As you network you will provide an overview of your qualifications and in some cases specifics about your skills.
Why network? Most research shows 80% of jobs are secured through networking. What does that mean? Eighty percent of the time the candidate selected was recommended by someone the hiring manager trusted or the hiring manager had met the candidate prior to the interview.
This week’s assignment is to develop the self-introduction that is often referred to as the “30-second me” or the “elevator speech” because you should be able to complete it in 30 seconds or the time it takes an elevator to go between two floors. The self-introduction will be the most used networking tool you developed. It is used when you:
- Introduce yourself to recruiters at job fairs
- Meet people at networking events
- Want to start a conversation with a prospective employer
- Connect with someone who can ask an hiring manager to review your application
- Need an answer to the question “What do you plan to do after college?”
Though the self-introduction takes 30-seconds you should spend a little longer developing it.
The first step in developing your self-introduction is to determine the information you want to include. The follow is offered as a starting point:
- Career Objective
- Transitional question used to engage the listener
For an example, let’s use a Journalism major who wants to write for a regional newspaper after graduation. The first draft of her self-introduction might look like this:
Hello, I am Joan Brown. I plan to write articles for a regional newspaper after I graduate. I majored in Journalism at XYZ University. During my senior year, I wrote a column on legislation effecting college and university students. What type of work do you do?
Once you have the basic facts it is time to make the self-introduction more interesting. In Joan’s case she might make the following modifications to her statement:
I am Joan Brown and I am completing a degree in Journalism. Today I am a college student, in six months I plan to be writing reader-engaging articles for a reginal newspaper. My weekly column on the impact of legislation in the XYZ University newspaper has received positive feedback from students, faculty, and administrators. I can take cold facts and turn them into a must-read article. What type of work do you do?
Once you have developed a self-introduction ask someone to listen to you deliver it and give you feedback. Do you sound confident? Does your introduction convey to the listening what you want to do and your preparation to do it? Is it interesting? If the answer to each of these questions is yes, congratulations, you have completed the first step in building a strong, career-advancing self-introduction.