Tag Archives: Networking

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…

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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

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.

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!