How to Get the Job
Cathryn McClellan, Dallas Chamber of Commerce’s Young Professional’s Manager, sat down to offer her advice on the top ten networking skills. Whether you’re a college student looking for an internship or a recent graduate looking for a job, any job at all, these skills will probably get you more than halfway there.
Tip 1: Reach Out to Career Services Offices
After you graduate from college, you may be totally lost on where to start your job hunt. If you need a job right now or are just looking to get your name out there, reach out to your career services offices so that you can be introduced to other people and learn about the alumnae base. McClellan did just this after graduating from SMU with a Master’s in Liberal Studies, Communication and Technology and from Hendrix College with a B.A. in Psychology and Philosophy. Alumnae are amazing for networking and meeting new people in your industry of choice.
Tip 2: Don’t Bring Friends to Networking Events
It’s time to venture out in the professional world all on your own. Think of it this way – your mother bird just pushed you out of the nest and you land inside a networking event. If you go to these events with friends, you’ll spend all your time talking to them in the corner and fail to meet anyone that may really help your career. Step out of your comfort zone and stop worrying about saying the wrong things to the right people. Force yourself to get over your fear of saying stupid things.
Tip 3: Send Follow Up Emails
Anytime McClellan gets a business card, she sets a reminder on her iPhone to send a follow up email. Make sure you thank them for their conversation with you and mention something you learned about them that’s interesting. You have to start making emails more personal and spark a genuine conversation. Don’t be afraid to send the email because at least you stick out in their mind. Get over your fear of reaching out and just get your name out there.
Tip 4: Tips for an Introvert
If you’re the type that gets a little nervous when meeting new people, especially really powerful people in your industry, find something to compliment the person on. You take your guard and their guard down. You get to make them smile and start the conversation on a high-note. Make sure you’re genuine, though; you don’t want to come across as insincere.
Tip 5: Your Network Can Never Be Too Big
Your contact list or binder full of business cards can never be too big or too diverse. You want to network with people in other industries, as well, because you never know who they know. It’s all about who you know and not what you know, right?
Tip 6: Never Stop Learning
After college, don’t say you’re done learning and expanding your horizons. Go to the bookstore and pick up anything that looks interesting that could be beneficial to you. Do online courses and certifications, because industries are always changing and there’s always more to learn. You want to set yourself apart from others applying for the same job, and this gives you the chance to spice up your conversations in interviews and your resumé. McClellan makes a reading list every year with 100 books she plans to read. She reads outside her comfort zone and learns something new every day. Never get lazy and always stay on your toes. It may be hard to find books you want to read or online courses you think could be beneficial, but you have to make yourself learn. On another hand, you should also do some introspective studying and figure out what you struggle with and what you can do to improve those things. You know you’re going to be asked what your strengths and weakness are.
Tip 7: Stay Up to Date on Current Events
In this day in age, technology makes it way too easy to stay out of the dark on what’s going on around your community, nation and the world. You may think you won’t, but you will be talking about politics at some point. There’s no excuse to not pay attention to the news. You don’t have to know every little detail, but it’s better to know what kinds of questions to ask when having a conversation rather than standing on the side with nothing to contribute.
Tip 8: Don’t Dress How You Think People Want You to Dress
Even though you need to be professional at all times, put your best foot forward and market yourself well, you should still be who you are. Every woman will be wearing a black dress and blazer with modest heels at every event; but, if you like pink, throw in a pink blazer or accessories. You want to feel more like yourself so that you can be comfortable. Don’t try to be someone else.
Tip 9: Ask Questions
Have a standard set of five questions to ask in an interview so you can have a better feel of the culture at that company and what the job you’re interviewing for entails. For example, McClellan always likes to ask what makes the person interviewing her stay at that company. You want to know exactly why you would want to work there. In an interview, you’ll find out if you’re best for that job and if that job is best for you. It’s a two-way-street.
Tip 10: Do Your Homework
Always do your research on a person’s or company’s background before going in for any interview or going to a networking event. You need something to talk about and you want to sound like you know what you’re talking about. Show that you have real interest. If you don’t feel like learning more about a company, maybe that company isn’t the best fit for you. You should do your best to be prepared, whether you end up feeling prepared or not.
Now you know what tips Cathryn McClellan has followed to get to where she is in her career at Young Professionals and what she does to continue her career in the best way possible