Category Archives: Orange County

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

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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

Top 5 highlights of the week

Greetings friends!

1) Big news this week!  We unveiled our 2011-2012 Corporate Alliance Group program. It’s been a longtime coming, and it’s such a relief to have the information out and available. I’ll spare all the details since this blog isn’t the best place for specifics, but in a nutshell, it allows us to partner with employers who recruit on campus and who “take an active role in furthering the vision and development of the Career Center.” Oh, snap!

2) In the last six weeks, I’ve gone to two networking lunches during which someone led us in stretches. Is this a new thing?  My shoulders want to know…

3) learned about a new project through the Irvine Chamber of Commerce Emerging Professionals group that I will hopefully be helping with!  Stay tuned! 

4) Had a visit with Mark of OCTA (shout-out!) to learn more about OCTA, their internships, and to see Mark’s presentation skills, which our students will hopefully get to enjoy come fall.  

 5) got to share some ideas and see lay-out for our new Career Center website, launching in early fall 2011.

Bonus highlight: the realization that I may need another photographic technique since the classic outstretched arm makes all my pictures will look the same.  Or, maybe I should just change my jacket…

Have a great weekend!

-DBO

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.

Important things: employer visits and a picture of a field

Depending on the day, we can see close 60 new job postings coming down the Zotlink* pipeline. I thought I’d share a bit about how we decide which companies to which I’ll request a visit. Here is a sampling of what I’m asking myself…

  •  Are lots of students applying to this job?
  • Is this a unique opportunity for our student?
  • Or, on the flip side, is it in one of our top recruited areas, but offering a new angle or “niche” opportunity?
  • Is the position itself unique? True story – I visited an organization looking for Robotics Teaching Interns. There are definitely fewer Robotics Teaching Intern positions than there are, say, Marketing Intern opportunities. 
  • Was the job or company description especially engaging or attention-grabbing?
  • Is there potential for a long-term recruitment relationship with this organization?
  • Did this company invite me to visit?

Hopefully that gives a general sense – there are certainly more reasons outside of this list, but these are some of the basics.

Since we’re up to the third post now, I can probably let you all know that I am a fan of anything that looks like the country (which is one of the many reasons I’m excited to go to Texas next week for the National Association of Colleges and Employers [NACE] conference). Apparently, you can take the girl out of Eastern Washington, but you can’t take the Eastern Washington out of the girl. On that note, here is a picture I took after one of my employer visits. It’s not what I think of when someone says “Orange County” but lo and behold, it’s indeed the OC. Please excuse me while I go park in the field and turn on some country music.  

Happy Thursday!

-DBO

*Zotlink is UCI’s online job posting board, which comes in the form of a snazzy website that is free for employers to use (and free for students to use to apply)