Category Archives: Community Relations

Thank you, Gracias, Merci, Danke…

Confession time: Despite being a member of Generation Y, there are some things about me that, by most definitions, are a bit old school. Examples: I love me some Otis Redding, I have never read a book on an e-reader, and I am a big fan of both Vince Vaughn and Will Ferrell (Just kidding. Sort of. That’s a different kind of Old School).

But, most importantly, I firmly believe in the value of good ol’fashioned thank you notes. Not emails, not re-tweets, not shout-outs in the comments section of a website, but short & sweet, personal, handwritten notes that make the back of my pinky turn black with ink as I write them.

Like this

That said, thanks to our director’s willingness to let me try new (or old!) things, I recently spent some hours compiling a list of employers in a particular field that had utilized our services last year, and then hand-writing them thank you cards. In an era of email-blasts and tweets, I encountered some raised eyebrows at this project. However, guess what happened!

…Okay, you don’t have to guess, I will tell you: among those who have received the cards, feedback has been very positive! Responses have included a LinkedIn request, emails of appreciation, and job postings for which they’d like to recruit more UCI students (in my field, this is one of the best responses possible).

So, the reason I share this experience here is that perhaps this story may strike a chord with some of my fellow old-schoolers and/or note-writers. Take heart…you are not alone! Send that thank you card with pride! Get some ink on your hands! Lick an envelope!  And, then, feel good about your effort because people will notice it.

With that, hope everyone’s week is off to a good start. Until next time…

Lessons from the cocktail table (3.0) – Or, how I learned to love networking.

Picture this: eleven sorority sisters descend upon the Deschutes River in Maupin,OR for a rafting weekend to celebrate their ten-year anniversary of pledging together. Kind of a big deal, right? Yes, you are correct. It was.  Though, while on this trip, I learned a valuable lesson from a river rafting guide, and it wasn’t just how not to drown  if/when I fall out of our raft on a class 4. 

picture credit: http://www.asrk.com. (Yes, that's really our boat!)

In between rapids, we were able to enjoy some gorgeous scenery, glassy water, and conversation that ranged from life updates to mindless chatter. At one point, our guide inquired about what sort of work we were all in. We took turns explaining, going around the boat and offering up our titles and (if necessary) brief descriptions of what we did. I thought nothing of it, figuring he was just making conversation.

Someone commented to our guide about how cool it must be to meet so many different people in his job.  He responded by whole-heartedly agreeing and acknowledging that when he asked us what we all did, he was networking.

Wait, what? Cue the record scratch.

I didn’t think I’d hear that word this weekend!  What do you mean, you’re networking?  We’re on a boat!  We’re wearing life vests!  I smell like sunscreen!  You’re trying to network with me?

Turns out, he wasn’t just trying, he successfully did it. It wasn’t formulaic, it didn’t feel obvious or forced, it was just people getting to know each other in an enjoyable setting. That can technically count as networking, right? It opened my eyes a bit (okay, a lot).  Lesson learned: networking can come in all shapes and forms and it doesn’t have to include a nametag, business cards, or a handshake.

Side note: I wonder if I can convince our director that I should go “networking” again this weekend on the Deschutes…

We're smiling because we survived.

-DBO

6 months, by the numbers!

Hi all!

For those who were in the UCI Career Center yesterday, you may have seen Michelle and I in our matching tiaras. This week officially marks our 6-month anniversary on campus, a mini-milestone of which we are slightly proud. It’s also given me a few reasons to reflect and come up with….drumroll, please…a list of numbers!  Here is what the first 6 months as a brand-new Employer & Community Outreach Specialist can look like:

  • 1340 sent emails
  • a bunch more received…many have been re-sorted and/or deleted so a grand total is not available. We’ll just go with “a bunch”
  • 23 networking events
  • 41 employer meetings
  • 9 days of conferences/travel/off-sites
  • 279 Tweets
  • 24 blog posts
  •  Plus, many hours dedicated to training, research (on both the employment community and UC Irvine), meetings, and getting up to speed on best practices

I’m not what numbers in other jobs look like, but I see this list and feel okay – I think they represent a good start, but more room to grow (side note: these numbers should be fairly exact, but I reserve the right to claim a margin for human error). 

Michelle is away from her desk currently, so I wasn’t able to grab her for a pose. But, here is proof of the existence of our “6 mos.” tiaras...

...Not to be confused with “lo mos” tiaras, which is what one colleague thought they said. Though, BabelFish tells me that lo mos is Spanish for “the mos”. I never knew the mos was a word, and dictionary.com tells me that “mo” is short for moments. So, in a way, our Tiaras said “The Moments.” I am okay with that.

-DBO

Not your typical Employer Visit

Thanks to MPACE‘s series of Summer Open Houses, earlier this week, I had a chance to visit our friends at Nordstrom, to learn about their college recruitment efforts. As you can tell, they brought out the big guns to greet us!

That's me on the left

Tomorrow, it’s a trek down I-5 to check out a medical device company. It’s a timely visit, as our students showing lots interested in the BioTech field these days. Wish me luck!

48 hour trip to the Hoosier state – CHECK!

What time is it again??

So, I haven’t ventured further East than Texas in a surprisingly large number of years…who knew a 3-hour time difference could be so jarring? (Arriving at the hotel at 2:00am didn’t really help, either!)  Exhaustion aside, my trip to Interactive Intelligence earlier this week went well.

I think the majority of what I learned is most applicable to my fellow UCI Career Center colleagues and our students, so I’ll save the company profile for them.  That said, to summarize this trip, I’d say: Good people, cool company, long hours, impressive facility, lots of information, yummy snacks, and access to iced coffee both mornings…I was a happy camper. I took a couple of snapshots to prove that I did in fact travel this week…I wish more of them turned out, but either way, here you go!  

My plane out of California. It was the oldest plane I have been on in recent years...after that flight, I'll always look at individual air vents as a luxury!

My attempt at an action shot: Arriving at Interactive Intelligence HQ1.

Snazzy lobby space that makes me want to paint my office.

You know it’s going to be a good visit when your shirt matches the wall.

Sunset during my layover in Phoenix, a gorgeous way to one of the quickest trips ever!

In other news, I’ll be in the office for three whole days next week, so I’m looking forward to sharing more updates soon!

 -DBO

To buddy, or not to buddy. That is the question.

Hello and Happy Friday!  I am looking at my upcoming schedule, and I’ll be out of the office for part of next week, representing UCI at an employer event in Indianapolis. It’s my first time in the Midwest, and the 12th state I’ve visited in my lifetime (not counting airport layovers…I’m looking at you, New Jersey.)  Side note: It looks like I’ll have just a few hours of downtime on one my days there so if anyone has any suggestions, I’m all ears!

As it turns out, I’ll be the only UCI person there, which is not a  new thing. Most of the events I attend as the sole representative from the UCI Career Center, which means I get to make all new friends and contacts (Shout-out to Emily from TechMD, who I get to see everywhere!)

Though, every so often, a local event comes up at which I know people, or even have someone else from the Career Center with me.  I love when this happens (who doesn’t love seeing people they know?) but it can get sticky…the way I see it, there are two sides.

  • If we are there with someone we already know and like, we may be more inclined to talk to them and not to new potential friends and contacts
  • On the other hand, having a familiar face around is always comforting, and can help anyone (I.E., me) relax more and have better conversations with others.

I believe we can call that a double-edged sword. Does anyone else have thoughts on the matter? Is there a perfect formula, like “Spend 30% of your time with someone you know and 70% with new people?” I might just have to ponder that during my layover next week…more to come!

On an unrelated note, I wanted to share a picture I took this morning from the view of my parked car before my first appointment of the day.  Not a bad way to wake-up!


Have a great weekend. Next stop: Indianapolis!

-DBO

Lessons from the cocktail table (2.0) – Dena’s First Five Networking Notes

Oh man, you guys. I need some help. Take a look at the number of business cards I have to sort…

I almost put one of mine in the picture “Where’s Waldo” style, but then I figured live.from.oc readers probably have better things to do than squint and look for the UCI logo!

I’ve learned in almost-6-months on the job that it’s one thing to go out and talk to people and tell them I work at UCI (while subtly mentioning that our students make awesome interns and employees)…It is another thing to stay on top of all my new connections! Since I’m charged with meeting and keeping in touch with lots of people, I’ve had to change some of my habits (and make some new ones), and I thought I’d share some lessons I’ve learned over the last few months.

  • Nametags are there for a reason. I don’t hesitate to talk about them and tell someone “Oh, I’m just looking at your nametag so I can get your name down.”  There is no shame in that…at least, not where I’m from!  In fact, I would argue that it’s better to acknowledge the fact that you are looking at their nametag instead of letting them think you are just staring blankly at their torso. Though, that’s just me.
  • Business cards usually have room for notes (thank goodness), so we don’t have to remember every detail ourselves. I usually scratch something about where we met, what we talked about, and whether or not I said I would follow-up with them.
  • If I don’t recall someone who says they’ve met me before, I usually (politely) ask “can you remind me where we met?” So far, this has never resulted in me getting slapped, and it’s a lot less uncomfortable than pretending like I do remember. Usually, people answer the question and I say “Oh, thank you for reminding me. Now I remember.” And then we move on, happily ever after.
  • Putting the cards that need immediate follow-up on my keyboard means I HAVE to look at them.
  • Emails are the best method for follow-up because A) I have a record of it, B) I can be clear and careful with my wording and C) my email signature has a link to live.from.oc D) the recipient can (hopefully) keep my note on file and reply when it works best for them

I’ll be sure to add more suggestions as they come to me. It feels like getting good in this area up may be an ongoing process for me, I’ll keep you updated. And, as always, see you out there!

-DBO