Category Archives: Networking

Lessons from the cocktail table (1.0)

Hi friends,

I recently attended a networking event hosted by some of the regional Chambers of Commerce, and I ended up finding some great real estate standing at one of the cocktail tables not far from the dessert spread. It was ideal because I could set my plate (of desserts) and my drink* down, and since there was a steady stream of people looking to do the same thing, there were frequent new faces coming up to the table and joining our conversation

 As I was introducing myself to a friendly lady, she made a point to compliment my “bridge sentence.” Or, what I think many people refer to as the “elevator speech.” Either way, it’s that brief description you give to someone about what you do, beyond just your title. What was so interesting about her kind words is that I don’t even remember what I said. My introduction speech changes a little bit each time I say it since I actually have a number of ways I have been explaining my work and I’ll just pick what feels right in the moment. I try to keep it fresh and spontaneous.  This was the first time a stranger has ever complimented it, but it got me thinking that maybe, just maybe, there’s something to an elevator speech that sounds natural.  Hmmm.

Sure, you definitely want to have some go-to phrases (my main one is some version of “I help the OC business community connect with UCI students), but there is always room to adjust based on the setting and your crowd. I will keep you guys updated as I continue to do some serious research on this.  

-DBO 

*It was a Shirley Temple, thanks for asking. STs are my favorite drink as of late and it’s not because I’m seven. It’s because they are delicious, they look exotic and interesting, and they are alcohol-free which can often be a priority when I’m out working by myself.  They also come with cherries. I strongly recommend them. And for those who like a dose of caffeine with their grenadine, you can’t go wrong with a Roy Rogers.

Top 10 takeaways from NACE 2011

10 – Current hot topics in college recruiting include social media, early identification, student expectations of the hiring process, the rise of virtual recruitment & interview options, and tightening budgets (for both career centers and employers)

9 –  Dance floors, food lines, and airport shuttles are all great equalizers   

 8 – When it comes to work/life balance desires, new NACE research shows that GenY has more in common with GenX than others have previously seen reported. Thank you, we finally have new message about GenY!

 7 – Many schools are moving toward hosting niche events, rather than large “free for all” job fairs. The highest number I heard was from one of the Big Ten schools, at 35 events in one school year. Whoa. 

 6 – Don’t let the door swing and hit you from the back when you’re on an 8th floor balcony. Trust me, you don’t want to feel a surprise bump that high up!

 5 – Comfortable shoes. Period.

 4 – Words I heard to describe various employer/career center relationships: trust, transparency, customized, and “concierge-level service.”

3 – Among others, Guy Kawasaki’s tips for enchanting people include having a genuine smile, dressing to match your audience, customizing your presentations, and instead of saying “you’re welcome,” tell someone “I know you would do the same for me,” since it gives them credit as well.

 2 –  Get to sessions EARLY. Not on time, EARLY. There are some who are serious about their start times.

And…

 1 – conferences of any kind often feel like Crash Course + Boot Camp + Happy Hour – Outdoors. The best thing I learned is about preparation keep an open mind and open ears, carry lots of business cards, and pay attention! 

Thank you, Texas! See you next time!

NACE 2011, by the numbers

Well, it’s official! NACE 2011 is over and friends, I am exhausted! I lost count of the number of people I met, but I was able to tally a few final numbers (including Day 3). My apologies for the lack of posts near the end of the week. As you can imagine, there was PLENTY going on. Though, I will try to make up for it, beginning with:

Here is the real, daylight picture of my view, which I have been trying to post for about 6 days now.

Moving on, here is NACE 2011, by the numbers!

Disclaimer: some numbers are approximate

6…breakout sessions attended

6…networking events/socials attended (not including lunches)

4…trips to the coffee shop

24… songs danced to at the Glass Cactus.

18…elevator rides to and from my room on the 8th floor

0…pairs of boots purchased

1…swimsuit purchased (it’s a long story)

21…tweets

9…times that I wished I had a Southern accent (it’s my favorite )

3.5…actual days away

100+…new things learned

 Stay tuned for more NACE summary!

 -DBO

NACE Day 2, by the numbers

Disclaimer: some of these stats are indeed approximate. I’ll let you speculate as to which.

1…coffee needed after all

4…breakout sessions

2.5…socials

2…times I felt spoiled by employers (thank you, Enterprise & Northrup Grumman!)

1…pairs of boots resisted (still).

1…much smaller souvenir purchased instead

85…degrees outside during the drive to dinner (this is a good thing. It felt perfect after an afternoon of AC)

100…percent of people I’ve met who’ve been in their job longer than me

100…percent of people who were supportive when they learned how new I am

0…lozenges needed today. Phew

100…percent of effort I will give to improve my photography skills.

NACE Tweet-up, 6/1. My first ever tweet-up!

My evening view!

 

My wannabe view. Really, this is a close-up of the miniature train train track in the lobby. Awesome.

 

Chandelier at tonight's restaurant. Digging the beads.

 

Photo credit: New friend Dylan of Enterprise (also digging the mysterious and artistic blur effect he created :o). Also, extra thanks to Nicole & Tracy, our hostesses with the mostesses. L-R: California table at last night's Enterprise dinner

Meets & Greets

Greetings from the UCI Campus!

It’s a rather gray morning (for Orange County…meaning that it’ll probably be gorgeous in about an hour) and I’m putting in some hours in the office before I head out to two employer visits and a networking event this afternoon. “Meeting employers” is pretty high priority on my weekly to-do list here at UCI, so I thought I’d share some insight what exactly I’m trying to do. As it turns out, the employers I meet while out and about generally fall into two groups…

Group 1 – Employers that are already recruiting UCI students
To do list:
• Introduce myself and my position, and let them know about the rest of the Employer Relations team here at UCI. Not many realize that there are professional staff members on campus here to help support their recruiting efforts
• Meet the people and personalities behind their online job positing
• Get a sense of their organization, culture, values, and of the responsibilities associated with their current job openings.
• Learn about their industry so I can accurately describe their opportunities to the rest of my team
• Give them an idea of what kind of options they have when recruiting UCI students (the traditional online job posting is just the tip of the iceberg)

Group 2 – Employers that are not currently recruiting UCI students
To do list:
• Covertly mention the high caliber of our students, and their readiness for employment/internships
• Cross my fingers that they become part of Group #1

Okay, there’s maybe a little more to working with Group 2, but that will have to wait for another post.

As always, see you out there!
-DBO