Whether you are just entering the workforce after graduating or redefining your career path, there are ways to set yourself up for the greatest chance of success. When interviewing and networking with professionals, it is essential that you are always putting your best foot forward. This means much more than dressing the part and prioritising your personal grooming. Of course, you do want to look presentable. But there are some other areas that mustn’t be overlooked.
Don’t Make It About You.
First of all, it doesn’t matter what the manner or the attitude is of the other person hiring you, or who you are connecting with, at a professional mixer conversation should not resolve around you. By all means, when the timing is right, say what your accomplishments are. But state one achievement and refocus your attention and questions on others. Not only do you learn industry and inside information that can help you on your career journey, but you come across as having the interpersonal skills and level of thinking or creative mindset that professionals and managers are looking for.
Don’t lower your standards.
When you are advertising your skill set or ‘selling yourself,’ it is important to maintain a level of respect toward employers. While some may lament on the rudeness or impersonal touch from some companies, it is not a reason to lower your own standards and act accordingly. You are a professional. You have graduated or have experience. Don’t let other people’s manner drag you down or make you react in a way you later regret. If you follow the correct application guidelines or query call and email businesses and present yourself in an approachable and professional manner, you win in more ways than one. You may not get the job you are hunting for, but you will create an air of respectability, confidence that will gain you a reputation that could land that job anyway.
Learn the Art of Conversation.
In social and business situations, sometimes we all come up short with nothing to say. It happens. Interviews are partly scripted and you have studied the questions. Unfortunately, in socializing and schmoozing there is no set script to follow. Sometimes you have to rely on your own skills and genius to make a meeting or conversation work. That being said, learning the art of conversation is crucial. Becoming a master conversationalist is as simple as getting the other person talking while revealing little about yourself. Some tips when the conversation ebbs:
•Ask questions about their experience and history. You will at least know a little about the background of the person you are meeting with. Ask something based on that. It will show you are interested and also you could learn information that you don’t get to read anywhere else.
•Make a statement about your own experience and interests and get them to comment on it. People love to talk. Even more, many are just dying to let others know what they think or express their accomplishments.
•Get informed. Read the news. Follow BBC, Independent UK and the Telegraph on Facebook. Also, read up on your own profession. What magazines or professional publications are out there that are discussing the latest information? By learning what is being discussed or what current theories and trends are, you can use this to your advantage in a conversation. Most of us might not have in depth knowledge of current issues, but commenting on something that is happening or has happened in the city or the world stage allows enough knowledge for you to prompt others for their take on things.
- By Jesse Short