Bringing a friend can help when meeting contacts
Q: Jill, I’ve recently joined a networking club in the hopes of finding a better job. This is a big but necessary step for me as I’m somewhat of the shy type. Can you share some tips with me? It’s just difficult attending by myself as it is all so new for me.
A: I’m glad you’ve taken this step. Half the battle of finding a more desirable job is spreading the news that you are looking! Being shy and networking are definitely not the best match, but rest assured you are not alone. Regardless of the game faces you see at these events, I guarantee you that even the extrovert can find a new space somewhat daunting.
A couple days before the event, plan a short script to help you through. Rehearse it with someone you trust. It shouldn’t be too long — just a minute or two introduction that includes your current job status, future career goals, and, of course, marketing your skills in a concise and confident manner.
You can also bring a friend for support and motivation, but don’t end up hiding by the snack bar, chatting all night with your friend. Be mindful to stay up to date on the news, current trends (particularly in your field) and entertainment happenings. All these can help you ease your way into a great conversation that is already in progress. Take a deep breath and remember everyone is there for the same reason. As you continue to attend these events, I guarantee it will get easier. Good luck!
Q: A friend and I were having this debate and I thought you could weigh in on it. Who would you hire honestly: The person who has all the skills but not the friendliest or the person with all the personality but three-quarters the skill?
A: It all depends on the job requirements. Am I hiring someone long term that I would have to deal with every day or am I outsourcing a specific task for six weeks and I just need to get the job done? Is there a budget for training my new hire? It’s not a black and white answer, but I think in most cases I’d hire the latter. An employee who refuses to fit in — and by that I’m referring to qualities like kindness, approachability, and mutual respect — can become an emotional strain on the office, which, in the end, can affect the company’s bottom line. Who would you hire?
Jill Andrew CYW, BA (Hons.), BEd, MA ‘08 is an award-winning journalist and educator with additional expertise in the performing arts, public speaking, PR, media literacy/awareness, fundraising and entrepreneurship.