20 Conversation Starters for Networking Events
When it comes to networking , here’s a secret: Everyone feels a little awkward introducing themselves to strangers. But it’s a whole lot easier when you have conversation starters ready to go. We’ve gathered 20 of our favorites for a variety of networking events. Try these out and you’ll make some great new connections – and maybe even have a good time! Conversation Starters for Any Event Certain ice breakers are tried and true, regardless of the event. Keep these in your back pocket for when you need a simple, friendly way to get the conversation rolling. Ask the basics – “So, what brings you here today?” Talk about the food – “The cheesecake is calling to me. Would you like me to get you one too?” Comment on the weather – “What a gorgeous day! It’s a shame we’re cooped up in here. They should offer outdoor conferences!” Ask about the event – “What’s your favorite session so far?” Compliment them – “I’m so glad you asked that question in the last session. I was wondering the same thing.” Conversation Starters at an Industry Event If you’re at an event within your industry or profession, use your status as a recent graduate to encourage conversation. You’ll find most people are happy to share insights with a newcomer to the field. Ask about their job – “I see from your badge that you work at Smith Inc. What do you do there?” Talk about industry trends – “The keynote was fascinating. What do you think about this new direction for our industry?” Comment on a session – “I’m really excited to attend the technology session next. Are you going to that one?” Look for advice – “I’m fairly new to the industry. Have you worked in this field for a long time?” Ask about the event – “Have you been to this conference before? This is my first time.” Conversation Starters at a Mixed Crowd Event When you attend an event with a mixed business crowd, look for ways to make a connection right off the bat. Get them talking about themselves and a great conversation is sure to follow. Ask about their location – “Where are you from? Did it take long to get here?” Be interested – “So, what’s your story?” Talk about the event – “What made you decide to attend this event?” Find something in common – “I see you have a University of Tennessee sticker on your laptop. I just graduated from there!” Compliment them – “I love your phone case! Where did you get it?” Conversation Starters at a Local Event If you’re at a local event, this opens up more potential for friendly questions. Find out what you have in common and build from there. Ask about similar events – “I really like this event. Do you know of any similar ones in the city?” Talk about the venue – “This event space is quirky but has everything you need. What do you think?” Comment on traffic – “Did you have any trouble with the construction on 476 this morning? I just made it in time.” Ask about their hometown – “So, are you originally from Lexington?” See if you have mutual acquaintances – “I see you work at ABC Inc. My friend Ashley works there. Do you know her?” -- When it comes to starting conversations at networking events, there’s no need to feel awkward. Keep it simple, look for connections, and try to put the person at ease. The process will soon become second nature.
25 Questions to Ask Yourself to Choose a Career You’ll Love
Don't be afraid of being different What is your Personality/Temperament like? Does being around people energize or deplete you? Do you enjoy a busy, dynamic environment or a quiet, focused workplace? Are you self-motivated or do you need direction to stay on track? Can you react spontaneously or are you more of a planner? Can you read/respond to others’ emotions? Do you feel more comfortable in a small, medium or large company? Where do you want to live? Urban, suburban, rural? Do you seek stability or variety? Are you a people pleaser? Do you like short tasks or long-term projects? Do you love being the center of attention or prefer a behind the scenes role? How do you handle deadlines and pressure? What are your Values/Motivations? Do you want to be a leader in your field or industry? Do you want to be an entrepreneur? Would you rather have more time off or more money? What financial goals do you have? Home, children, travel? Would you be unhappy if your job didn’t help others (directly or indirectly)? Are there industries or specific companies that you would never work for? Do you want the ability to not think about work as soon as you leave? Do you want to be defined by your occupation? Or is it just a piece of your identity? What are your Skills/Strengths/Aptitude? What comes naturally to you? What do other people tell you about your strengths or weaknesses? What is a struggle no matter how hard you try? What unusual skills do you have? What are your Interests? What are your hobbies? What aspects of them are similar? Do you have a passion about certain causes? Why? What Knowledge/Experience/Education do you have? What personal experiences do you have that would give you special insights? What work experience do you have? What industry, organization type, or size? What is your degree? Did you enjoy the subject matter? Would you be okay with pursuing higher education if you had to? I haven't failed. I just found 10,000 ways that won't work - Thomas Edison
3 Things You Must Do Your First Week on the Job
The first day of your new job can feel a bit like the first day of school. You wake up at the crack of dawn, put on your carefully selected outfit (approved by all your friends – and Mom), and can hardly eat breakfast because there’s an Olympic gymnast in your gut doing cartwheels. But the similarities end there. Starting your first professional position requires a different mindset. Although your employer will provide an orientation, it won’t be like the detailed syllabus in your last college course. You must be proactive in getting the information you need to be successful. In today’s blog, we’ll get you off to a strong start with the three things you must do during your first week on the job. 1. Meet With Your Boss to Discuss Expectations When it’s your first week on the job, no one expects you to know everything, anticipate every problem, or complete your tasks quickly. There’s a learning curve. However, you don’t want to make assumptions about how fast the learning curve should be. To make sure you’re on the same page, it’s important to sit down with your new boss to discuss their expectations. At the beginning of your first day, see what they have planned for your orientation . If you don’t see an opportunity for one-on-one time with your new boss, ask if that’s possible. Explain that you’d like to discuss their expectations for your first week. Set a date and time – making sure it’s as early in the week as possible. During the meeting, here are some questions to ask: How would you define a successful first week for me? Is there any information you want me to read or watch this week? Are there any coworkers you’d like me to meet this week? What specific tasks do you expect me to complete this week? By confirming these details, you’ll save yourself a lot of needless anxiety. You’ll know exactly what’s expected of you in the first week. Your boss will also appreciate your proactive approach . 2. Get to Know Your Coworkers Some employers have more thorough orientations than others, so if there’s no set process for meeting with your coworkers, ask about scheduling 15-30 minute informational interviews with key staff. Ask your boss to help you identify which people you’ll be working with most closely , but also those who’ll have an impact on what you do every day. For example, let’s say you’re the Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Sales. You’d want to meet with all the other executive assistants of top-level executives, but also with the Pricing Manager and Marketing Manager because they’ll be collaborating frequently with the VP of Sales. You’ll need to understand their roles and how they might interact with you. Here are some example questions to ask when meeting with coworkers : What is your role, and what are your responsibilities? How does your role interact with my position? How can I make your life easier? What are your expectations of my position? In addition to these work-focused questions , don’t forget to be human. You’re meeting someone that you’ll see every day for (hopefully!) a long time. Be friendly. Ask questions and share a bit about yourself. You’ll probably need to lean on your coworkers a bit at the beginning, so thank them in advance for their help. Good work relationships make everything easier . 3. Give Your Boss a Status Report at the End of the Week You made it to Friday. Congrats! But before you pat yourself on the back, it’s time to wrap up your successful week with a status report to your boss. There are several benefits to this: You can confirm you’ve met the expectations discussed earlier in the week. You’ll come across as an organized professional with sharp communication skills. You can solicit feedback on your progress. The status report doesn’t have to be elaborate. It could simply be an email with bullet points. Here’s an example: Dear Michelle, Thanks for making this a great week! I wanted to summarize what I’ve completed, so you can provide any feedback and decide on my focus for next week. Completed orientation with Human Resources Completed all three modules of the online training course for our CRM Interviewed everyone in our department - John, Stacy, and Brent Interviewed Mike from Accounting, Josh from Sales, and Amanda from Marketing Had a walk-through of our new manufacturing plant Prepared three work orders Answered three customer calls (with Stacy coaching) I’d love to meet with you Monday to discuss when you’d like me to take over all incoming customer calls and what other tasks you’d like to delegate. -- That’s it! Three simple steps that will give you the edge as a new employee. By establishing expectations, getting to know your coworkers, and wrapping up your week with a professional status report, you’ll be less stressed and make a positive impression on your new employer.
4 Best Tools To Keep You Organized Your First Year on the Job
In today’s video, we are going to talk about some tools and resources that will help you keep yourself organized on your first year on the job. 4 TOOLS TO KEEP YOU ORGANIZED YOUR FIRST YEAR ON THE JOB 1. Evernote - Best Note Taking Tool PRICE : Free for basic Evernote is one of the better known apps for note taking and organizing information. USES:
• Organizing research and notes
• Writing down your to-do list
• Drafting blog posts
• Writing down progress on mid and annual performance reviews for yourself.
• Saving articles to read later.
• The best part about it is that it syncs across all your devices. 2. Trello - Best Visual Organization Tool PRICE : Free for basic Trello is a well known app that’s especially good for tracking and visualizing the progress of your ideas. Using their card based layout, you can create a card for every idea and then jot in notes there. Organize these ideas into categories or lists. Create task lists and checklists within cards. Color code them. 3. Google Docs - Best Collaboration Tools PRICE : Free for basic Google docs allow you to work together on the same document real time. Make revisions and leave comments for others to see in the document. Share the document across multiple teams for easy access. 4. Basecamp - Best Collaboration Tools PRICE : Free for basic There are a lot of collaborative project management tools, but Basecamp is one of the best for:
• Managing projects, groups and client work.
• Communication around teams and projects.
• The user interface is simple, intuitive and easy to navigate.
4 Interview Tricks for Sizing Up Your Prospective Boss
It’s tough to know in an interview if your boss will help you adjust to your new role and thrive in your career. After all, everyone is on their best behavior during an interview. This blog provides four interview tricks to size up your prospective boss without saying a word. Incorporate these and you’ll have plenty of insights before you say yes to that job offer. Research Your Potential Boss If you’ve already researched the company in preparation for your interview, it’s time to do just a little more. While their website might have a lovely description of the company culture, you need to know the real story. What would it be like working for your boss? The best place to start is LinkedIn . How many connections does he/she have? Are there any endorsements? This feature allows LinkedIn users to vouch for the skills on someone’s profile. Look for soft skills like communication , leadership , and teamwork . This isn’t a fool-proof way to assess their skills and popularity, but if they have many endorsements, it shows they have a strong network. Next, see if they have any recommendations. Do they seem genuine? Try to spot trends in what their colleagues are saying, such as mentoring or being inclusive. Then, see if you have any mutual connections. Reach out to ask for their opinion on your prospective boss. If you’re applying for a small organization, you might also want to check out Glassdoor . This website collects real employee reviews of workplaces. If the company is not too large, you have a better chance of being able to figure out when employees are talking about your potential boss. Pay Attention to Your Surroundings As your potential manager is walking you to the interview location, how are fellow coworkers reacting to him/her? Do they make friendly banter? Are there smiles and hellos? Or do you notice a stiff, obligatory nod? This helps you evaluate the culture, as well as how your boss is perceived . If you’re meeting in their office, take a good look around. Is it a sterile environment, with no signs that they have a life outside of work? Or do you see family photos and other indications that they lead a balanced life? However, you should also keep in mind that some individuals are simply private and wish to keep work and life separate. However, it’s a helpful piece of information to consider along with other clues. Be Aware of Body Language and Behavior This is the most important indicator of your future boss’ personality . What should you look for? Being on time, and if not, a polite explanation and apology Introducing you to any coworkers in a respectful way Paying attention during the interview (not taking calls or checking phone) Being prepared for the interview (knowing details about your resume) Confident eye contact and friendly smiles Answering your questions fully In many cases, you’ll get an immediate gut reaction based on your interactions. Even if the job seems perfect, don’t overlook your intuition. A bad boss can make a great job miserable . Read Between the Lines Your potential boss’ questions can often reveal more than the questions you ask them. Notice the types of questions they ask and what they seem to care about the most. Is most of the interview about how you would handle the day-to-day tasks of the job? Do they seem focused on the minor details? They might not be open to your creativity or insights. This could also be a red flag that your boss may be a micromanager who doesn’t trust his/her team. If they ask questions that show an interest in you as an individual, that’s a good sign. Questions like “What do you do to relax?” “Do you consider yourself an introvert or an extrovert?” This shows they understand the importance of personality and temperament in creating a team that works well together. They also recognize the value of a well-rounded person who has many interests and motivations. In your next interview, size up your prospective boss without saying a word. Research them on LinkedIn and Glassdoor Pay attention to their office for clues about their personality Don’t ignore body language and behavior that raises a red flag Focus on the interview themes to understand their priorities
4 Steps to Deal with a Coworker Conflict Professionally
We’ve all been there. It’s the end of a long day and your coworker is getting on your last nerve. You always seem to be at odds with this person. But this time it’s really affecting your ability to do your job. Plus, you’re stewing about it off hours too. Before you have that epic meltdown you’ve been daydreaming about... Read on for how you can resolve a conflict with your coworker professionally and keep your sanity in the process. Check your assumptions
“Why is he/she doing this?” You’re probably coming up with some "not-so-nice" reasons why, in your own head. He’s incompetent . She is lazy . They are trying to annoy me . But none of these are likely. Making assumptions is the best way to make yourself angry for no good reason. Pretend (even if you don’t believe it right now) that this person has the best intentions . Here’s an example: Hi Joe, I didn’t see your additions to the status spreadsheet that we agreed to update on a weekly basis. If you overlooked this new task, no problem. Just wanted to give you a heads up. Explain how it’s affecting you If the problem persists, keep assuming the best about your coworker. Ask polite questions that help you understand their point of view. Then explain how their behavior affects your work. Keep it friendly and helpful. For example: Hi Joe, Just wanted to remind you that I need your additions to the status report today. Let me know if you’re having any trouble collecting the data. I need your input generate the client report that’s due tomorrow. Please let me know when it’s ready. Don’t let it get worse Let’s say in the example above, Joe doesn’t fill out the spreadsheet for three weeks in a row without you reminding him. You might be thinking – “See, I was right! He’s lazy!” But again, this is probably not the case. Joe might have many other responsibilities, and this is low on his list. It’s important to you, but not to him. Rather than sending emails that get more and more passive aggressive (and getting more frustrated), it’s time to talk. That takes us to our next tip. Talk it out face-to-face Sometimes, technology escalates communication problems . If you’re already frustrated, an email will likely come as angry or patronizing. Joe might not even realize you’re annoyed. Then he’ll get a strongly-worded email from you and think, “ Geez. What a Jerk. ” If he’s not very professional, he might ignore your request just for spite. Then you have a bigger conflict on your hands that’s harder to resolve. How do you initiate the conversation? You could casually stop by his workspace or schedule a meeting. If you’re not in the same location, a phone call is still better than an email or instant message. You want to come across as friendly and open. Here’s an example. You: So, Joe, I wanted to talk about the status spreadsheet. Joe: I know, I know I’ve been bad about completing it. I’m sorry. It slips my mind. You: I totally get it. It’s one little task among many. It’s just that the client reports are a critical part of my job and I’m at a standstill if I don’t get your input. It makes the company look bad if they’re delayed or missing information. By expecting the best of your coworkers and checking in with them about misunderstandings, you can avoid most problems. Don’t let technology get in the way of authentic human relationships. Just remember: Check your assumptions Explain how their behavior affects you Don’t let it get worse Talk it out face to face
4 Traits Employers are Looking for in a PR Specialist
With new forms of media and distribution popping up every day, the field of public relations (P R) is buzzing about all the resources they now have to shape stories and influence public opinion. It’s an exciting time to pursue a career in this industry. Although PR has changed over the years, certain tried-and-true skillsets are still very relevant. Learn the top four traits employers want in a PR Specialist and how to make sure you demonstrate all of them in your next interview. 1. Storyteller Your goal as a PR professional is to capture attention and sway opinion. And there’s no better way to do that than through storytelling . In fact, studies have shown that stories affect the brain differently than listening to purely factual content. Employers want to know that you can promote their organization’s mission by sharing their story in unique, relatable ways. Questions they might ask to see if you’re a storyteller: Tell me about yourself. What is your greatest strength/weakness ? 3 Ways to Demonstrate Your Storytelling Skills: Think ahead about how you can answer key interview questions with a brief story, rather than
simple statement of facts. Practice incorporating the elements of a good story – set up, conflict, climax, and resolution
– to make it engaging. Share your stories with friends and family to get feedback on your body language and tone. 2. Confident Speaker As a member of the PR team , you act as the face of your organization. You might need to speak at conferences, on a news segment, or at a fundraising event – sometimes with little notice. Employers want to know you’ll be professional, confident, and prepared. Questions they might ask to see if you’re a confident speaker. Are you comfortable with public speaking? Are you able to think quickly on your feet? How to show them you’re a confident speaker: Use the interview to demonstrate your preparation and confident manner as you
answer questions. Explain what you do before an event to be as prepared as possible. Tell them about any opportunities you’ve had to practice your speaking skills. Talk about a mentor (or business leader) that you try to model yourself after when speaking. 3. Persistent In today’s world of information overload, it takes more than a press release (even the best press release ever!) to get the word out about your organization, its people, or products. Not every pitch to every media outlet will result in a front-page article at exactly the right time. It’s about being smart and persistent in your PR activities . Employers want a candidate who won’t take the easy route or give up when they’re not making any traction. Questions they might ask to see if you’re persistent: Tell us about a time you had to work through a difficult problem. How do you handle stress? How to show them you’re persistent: Share a story (using the principles noted earlier) to demonstrate your willingness to power
through setbacks , whether in a job or at school. Talk about how you approach problems so they don’t become major obstacles (asking for help, taking a break, or researching options). Tell them about how you keep work from affecting your health or productivity (exercise,
mindfulness, rest, breathing, etc.). 4. Collaborator To do your job successfully, you need good working relationships with individuals both inside and outside your organization. When pitching to media, PR Specialists must read people well, understand their motivations, and know how to persuade. When creating a PR campaign , your team will work collaboratively with marketing, sales, and leadership to bring all the necessary pieces together. Employers want to see candidates who have the right demeanor to build solid relationships . Questions they might ask to see if you’re a collaborator: How do you handle a difficult coworker? Give an example of a successful project you worked on as a team. How to show them you’re a collaborator: Emphasize your listening skills and how you see others’ perspectives. Point out your best skill when it comes to teamwork
(leadership, organization, follow-through) and play that up in your story. -- Keep these four traits in mind in your next interview and you’ll be one step ahead of your competition. Good luck in your career as a PR Specialist !
4 Traits Employers are Looking for in a Project Manager
Project managers are critical in today’s complex workplace. You’re the compass for the team, keeping everyone on track so your organization can reach its goals. The best part is – project managers are essential in nearly every industry, which opens up many career paths. Interviewing for a project manager position? Learn the top four traits employers want for this role and how to show you’ve got what it takes! 1. Organized This trait should come as no surprise. Project managers are responsible for managing tasks, timelines, budgets, and other resources. Unless you’re organized, all these moving parts can quickly get away from you. Employers want to see that you’re good at processing information quickly, creating logical systems, and keeping everything accessible to the team. Questions they might ask to see if you’re organized: Tell us about how you approach a new project . How do you prioritize tasks in a project? How to show them you’re organized: Provide a logical, step-by-step process to show how you take a structured approach
(For example, data gathering, meet with project team, etc.). Talk about tools or resources you rely on to keep your projects organized
(such as Asana or Smartsheet ). Share a story about how you developed a system or guidelines to organize information for yourself or others. 2. Adaptable You might say the only constant in a project manager’s job is change. In an average day, you’ll have to adapt to a team member who’s not keeping up, a new strategic direction, or budget constraints.
Employers will look for signs that you can manage these frequent changes without getting frustrated or becoming inflexible. Questions they might ask to see if you’re adaptable: How do you handle competing priorities ? Tell us about a time a project went off track and what you did. How to show them you’re adaptable: Be clear that you expect changes to the project plan , and that you see them as challenges, not problems. Share a story about how you quickly changed course during a project or how you went with the flow when you had no control over the situation. Focus your answers on how you kept an open mind and looked for solutions, not people to blame. 3. Collaborative As a project manager , your role naturally places you in contact with individuals throughout the organization – often coordinating tasks for people who don’t report to you or who are higher up in the company. This can be challenging, especially for someone new to the field. Employers want candidates who can be assertive, but also create respectful working relationships . Questions they might ask to see if you’re a collaborator: How to you encourage positive working relationships? How would you deal with a coworker who’s not helpful or non-responsive? How to show them you’re a collaborator: Emphasize your active role in keeping communications open and clear . Focus your answers on how you assume the best intentions before taking any action. Share a story that demonstrates how you approached a difficult coworker (or fellow student) in a way that was respectful and empathetic. 4. Great Communicator As the point person for the project, the members of your team look to you for clear communications that will keep them on track. You’ll need to assign tasks, send reminders, share project resources, and facilitate meetings. You’ll be communicating through emails, agendas, reports, or discussions on Slack. Employers want to see that your communications – both formal and informal – are clear and purposeful. Questions they might ask to see if you’re a great communicator: How would you describe your communication style ? Tell us about a time you had a misunderstanding at work. How to show them you’re a great communicator: Talk about being direct and approachable, and how you listen before replying . Point out that different people and generations have communication preferences and you try to take them into account. Share a story about how you learned to be a better communicator through a misunderstanding, like a poorly worded email or an abrupt text message. -- Keep these four traits in mind during your next interview for a project manager position and you’ll make a great impression – and snag the job!
4 Traits Employers are Looking for in the Field of Video Production
Video is far and away the most popular type of content on the web. In fact, YouTube is now the second largest search engine behind Google! As the cost for producing videos has come down over the last decade, the demand for video production professionals has skyrocketed. You’ll have plenty of opportunities, whether in-house for a large organization, within a marketing agency, or in the film industry. Are you about to interview for a position in video production? Learn the top four traits employers want and how to demonstrate them in your answers. 1. Collaboration As you know, a video set has a large cast of characters, and we’re not talking about the ones being filmed. Production assistants, grips, boom operators, camera operators – the list goes on. Employers want to know that you can work seamlessly with their crew to help the shoot go smoothly (and inexpensively). Questions they might ask to see if you’re collaborative: Walk me through how you communicate a problem on the set. Tell me about a video that turned out better because of great crew chemistry. How to show them you’re collaborative: Explain how you take initiative by offering a solution , rather than simply stating the problem. Share a story that demonstrates how you found a balance between listening and offering your perspective. Show an understanding of your role and how it supports the rest of the crew. 2. Patience In the world of video production , there are always unexpected delays. Weather, traffic, uncooperative equipment – it happens. And depending on the kind of videos, the days can be long. If you’re not okay with “hurry up and wait,” you’ll get frustrated easily. Employers want candidates who can go with the flow . Questions they might ask to see if you’re patient: How do you handle stress? Tell me about a time your video shoot went way off track. How to show them you’re patient: Be clear that you fully expect things to go wrong, that it’s a part of the business. Share a story to demonstrate how you’ve persisted through setbacks , whether in a job or at school. Tell them what strategies you use to manage frustrations (exercise, meditation, humor) 3. Attention to Detail Whether it’s rearranging sequences, adjusting the lighting, or tweaking the script, a great video requires close attention to detail before, during, and after production. Employers want to know that you’ll be on top of your game for every shoot. They rely on each crew member to be prepared and organized, so they can have a quality final product . Questions they might ask to see if you have attention to detail: How do you make sure you’re prepared for production day? Tell us about a time when you made a mistake. How to demonstrate that you have attention to detail: Talk about tools or resources you rely on to stay organized (checklists or apps). Share a story about a mistake, taking responsibility and describing what you did to learn from the experience. Use the interview process to demonstrate your attention to detai l – with a perfect resume, cover letter, and following all instructions about the interview process. 4. Creative Creativity in video production can mean everything from designing a storyboard to stretching the budget or trying new technology. Regardless of your position on the crew, employers want candidates who are open-minded and natural problem-solvers . Questions they might ask to see if you’re creative: What’s your greatest accomplishment ? Tell us about a time your input made a video better. How to show them you’re creative: Talk about how you view problems as creative challenges . Share your proudest creative moment with enthusiasm, whether it was a great idea, design,
strategy, or solution. Walk them through your creative thought process , in other words, how you took it from idea to action. -- Approach your interview questions with these four traits in mind and your future employer will check all their must-haves off their list. Good luck in your video production career !
5 Traits Employers are Looking for in a Marketing Specialist
It’s an exciting time to join the marketing profession! Nearly every day, new technology disrupts old forms of media and advertising. Not only that, today’s consumers have high expectations. They won’t settle for boring or lazy marketing strategies. If you’re someone who thrives on innovation, you can look forward to a playground of creative opportunities. Ready to start your marketing career? We want to help you make the best impression during your interview. Learn the top five traits employers are seeking in a Marketing Specialist and how to make sure they shine through in your answers. 1. Collaborator Modern marketing requires the skills of many creative professionals. Marketing strategists, web developers, graphic designers, copywriters – the list goes on. Working together effectively is critical for success. In addition, marketing touches every aspect of an organization, so you’ll probably collaborate with individuals throughout your company and external vendors. Employers want to see that candidates work well as part of a team and can communicate professionally. Questions they might ask to see if you’re a collaborator: • Tell me about a challenging project that required a team effort. • How would you deal with a coworker who’s not helpful or nonresponsive? How to show them you’re a collaborator: • Talk about when you worked as part of a team, what your role was, and how you contributed • Share a time when you interacted with people different from you and how you built trust and relationships • Describe how you communicate with a team to keep the project on track and an instance when you
took a leadership role 2. Storyteller In a crowded online space, it’s never been more important for marketers to understand the power of a good story. Marketing is about creating an emotional pull that’s also memorable. But don’t worry, you don’t have to do a song and dance at the interview! Employers want someone who can share a story that captures interest quickly, educates the audience, and leaves a lasting impression. Questions they might ask to see if you’re a storyteller: • Tell me about yourself. • What is your greatest strength/weakness? How to show them you’re a storyteller: • Respond to several of your interview questions with a prepared story that has a memorable and interesting aspect • Talk about your motivation for pursuing marketing with an animated story that shows your enthusiasm • Practice any stories with friends and family to get feedback on your body language and tone 3. Adaptable The speed of change in the marketing field is unprecedented and it’s not slowing down any time soon. To be an effective marketer, you must be flexible and anticipate change. Equally important, you need to explore new trends and technologies, so you’re prepared for what lies ahead. Employers want to see that you’re open to new ideas, have a sense of curiosity, and the motivation to seek out new ways of doing things. Questions they might ask to see if you’re adaptable: • How do you handle competing priorities? • Where do you see yourself in five years? How to show them you’re adaptable: • Talk about a time when you were in the middle of a project and the priorities changed drastically,
then explain how you handled the changes • Share how you stay updated on the latest marketing trends (identify specific thought leaders,
companies, podcasts, websites) • Convey your excitement for learning and growing and describe your continuing education plans 4. Creative When we say creative, we’re not just talking about coming up with great ideas and concepts for an ad campaign or YouTube video. You also need to be creative in stretching the marketing budget, trying new tactics, or seeing your audience in a new light. Sometimes time and financial constraints give rise to the most creative ideas. Employers want to see candidates who are natural problem-solvers. In other words, they want individuals who view problems as creative challenges. Questions they might ask to see if you’re creative: • What’s your greatest accomplishment? • How do you handle pressure or challenges? How to show them you’re creative: • Share your proudest creative moment, whether it was a great idea, design, strategy, or solution • Talk about a situation where you were under pressure to solve a problem and how you came through • Describe a time when you thought outside the box or offered a different perspective to your team 5. Good Cultural Fit As we discussed above, marketing team members collaborate with individuals throughout the organization. The Marketing Specialist is often in the position of asking for help. You might need budget information from Finance, blog approval from Legal, or brand guidelines from a graphic designer. If you’re not operating within the cultural “rules” of their workplace, it’s harder to get your job done. Employers want to know that you’ll be able to quickly and effectively navigate their culture. Questions they might ask to see if you’re a good cultural fit: • How would your friends and family describe you? • How would you create positive work relationships with your coworkers? How to show them you’re a good cultural fit: • Learn as much as you can about the company culture by researching the company website, social media, any online reviews – and incorporate this knowledge into your answers • Share an example of how you adjusted to a new work environment and how you learned to
understand the culture and expectations Now that you know what employers are looking for in a Marketing Specialist, you’ll be better prepared for your next job interview. Keep these five traits in mind as you think through your answers and you’ll be one step ahead of your competition.
6 Ways to set yourself up for success at work
1. Work on your soft skills People do business with people they like It's important to know how to work with others, view other people's perspective and be able to come to a mutually beneficial agreement Practice listening skills. Most people respond without listening 2. Find Mentors Look for 2-3 mentors that can help you acquire new skills Mentors are great at providing constructive feedback and areas of development Make your relationship with your mentors mutually beneficial by offering help 3. Expand Your Network Networking can be awkward but necessary in expanding your circle Select events to attend that are alighted with your professional and career growth goals Create genuine relationships with people; they are more likely to help that way 4. Work on your career development plan With your mentors and supervisors, put together a career development plan Define short and long term goals for yourself Under each goal, define milestones you will need to reach to accomplish these goals 5. Establish yourself as a thought leader What comes up when you google your name? Make sure your Linkedin profile is updated as it will come up on google search Write articles on www.Medium.com or your own blog post Creating content and posting on social media websites and blogs allows you to create a robust online presence for yourself 6. Understand the difference between important work and busy work Work smarter, not just harder Make sure that the work that you are doing is aligned with the goals and objectives of the company you are working for Understand how the work you are doing fits the greater mission, vision and goals of the company you work at
7 Smart Moves to Turn an Internship into
“You’re hired!” Want to hear those magical words on the last day of your internship? You have more control over that outcome than you think! Read on for seven smart moves you can make to increase your chances of turning an internship into a great job. 1. Act Professional Hopefully this goes without saying, but acting professional throughout your internship should be your number one priority. If you don’t come across as a mature, reliable employee, the rest of our tips aren’t going to help. So, what’s does “being professional” mean in practice? • Show up on time • Dress according to workplace guidelines • Avoid office gossip or politics • Limit personal calls • Stay off your phone • Use appropriate language 2. Build a Network Take advantage of every opportunity to introduce yourself throughout the organization. Find out what each person does and how it connects to your role. As an intern, people are often happy to share their experiences, so don’t be shy about asking questions. Say hello in the lunch room. Get to know your coworkers. Ask your internship supervisor if you could schedule short interviews with other staff to better understand how the company works. You might discover a new area of interest. You can also expand your professional network within your industry. Be sure to send each employee a LinkedIn connection request right away with a thank you for their time. 3. Find a Mentor Typically, your internship supervisor acts as your mentor. However, there could be other employees in the organization with roles more aligned with your career path. As you network using the ideas above, identify individuals who could act as a mentor during your internship and beyond. See if there are ways you could assist them during the internship to build goodwill for future referrals or recommendations. 4. Ask Smart Questions Show your enthusiasm by asking questions. About everything! You don’t have to limit your questions to your assigned tasks and projects. You can (and should) ask about the company, customers, and industry. Employers want to see that you’re interested in why they do something, not just how it gets done. If you’re worried about taking up too much of your supervisor’s time, write your questions down and go through them when you have a formal meeting. They’ll appreciate your courtesy. 5. Be Proactive Like any modern professional, your internship supervisor is probably juggling a million tasks each day. Nothing impresses them more than being proactive. Could you figure something out? Or make an educated guess? Do it! Don’t bother them with obvious questions or twiddle your thumbs waiting for them to come out of a meeting when you could have moved forward. The exception – when it’s an external communication that could make them look bad. Use your best judgment. If you finish work early, ask for new projects. If your supervisor is busy, read the company blog or make a list of questions as discussed above. Make the most of your time. They’ll appreciate and notice that you’re not just playing on your phone when you run out of things to do. Being proactive during an internship shows you’re resourceful and can solve problems – which are at the top of the list for desirable employee traits. 6. Request Feedback Don’t wait for your final internship review to hear how you’re doing. Asking for regular feedback will show them: • You’re able to handle criticism. • You’re motivated to learn. • You can adapt and grow. Depending on the length of your internship, see if you can schedule a review at the halfway point. You’ll learn if there are habits or trends in your work that you need to improve. By incorporating their feedback and making progress toward your goals, they’ll see an employee with great potential. 7. Speak up And finally, make sure they know you want a job! This might seem obvious, but some college students use internships to gain experience or test out an industry, so it’s not a given that you’d want a full-time job. As part of your networking, mention your interest in working with the company. There might be openings in other areas that your supervisor wouldn’t know about – or think to tell you. It’s also a good idea to meet with someone in Human Resources to see if there are openings. Ask to be notified if something comes up. -- Want your internship to lead to a job? Follow these seven tips: 1. Act Professional 2. Build a Network 3. Find a Mentor 4. Ask Smart Questions 5. Be Proactive 6. Request Feedback 7. Speak Up