Networking Tips for Introverts


We’ve all been there – the dreaded “networking” meet and greet situation.  Some of us – the extroverts – often find these situations easy (or even exciting) to delve into.  Others of us (the not-so-extroverts) can find these situations challenging, however.  If you fall into the latter category, this post is for you.  The following tips, originally published on GetFive, are an excellent starting point for someone finding themselves (possibly uncomfortably) in a networking situation.


The annual Chamber of Commerce dinner is being held after work tonight. Does the idea of attending fill you with anticipation or dread?

Extroverts love the opportunity to meet and greet, make connections, and chat with new people. It energizes them and revs them up. Introverts, not so much. Even the idea of a room full of people at a chamber dinner can cause the energy to drain out of them. Schmoozing and small talk — the lifeblood of networking — is painful and awkward.

But, like it or not, when it comes to business and career advancement, networking is a vital tool. It comes naturally to extroverts, but with a little planning, introverts can navigate those events like a pro, too.

Here are a few tips:

Do some research beforehand

If you know who might be there — other members of the chamber, say — jump on LinkedIn and look them up. See if you have any shared connections and look for other commonalities in their profiles. That way, they won’t feel like complete strangers.

Come armed with questions (and follow-ups)

One stifling problem introverts have with networking is the dreaded conversation starter. You’re waiting for a drink at the bar, standing next to someone. What do you say?

Offering a handshake and introducing yourself is a great go-to icebreaker. The other person will respond in kind. Now what? That’s when it’s useful to have a follow-up question ready. A safe bet is to say something about the event. “Have you been a chamber member long?” “Have you tried the hors d’oeuvres?” “What did you think of the speaker?”

Another way to go is to look at the name tag and ask about his or her profession. “Oh! I see you’re in HR. How did you get into that?”

Plant “hooks” in your responses

To keep the conversation going, don’t give one-word answers to questions. Instead, say something that will hook the other person.

“Where are you from?”

“Minneapolis. Yep, it’s as cold and snowy as people say it is. We don’t mess around with winter.”

Give yourself a time limit …

Don’t go into the event thinking you have to stay for the entire time. Give yourself 30 minutes or an hour. That way, it won’t seem so overwhelming when you walk in.

… and a goal

You don’t need to come away from the event with a stack of business cards and email addresses after having worked the room like a seasoned politician. Give yourself the goal of talking to three new people, and once that’s accomplished, call it a success.

Using these tips, networking will be easier. We’re not going to say you’ll learn to love it, but you can make it work for you. And that’s the whole point.

Three Tips for Rocking an Out of State Job Search

So, you’ve decided that you’re ready to spread your wings and relocate to another state for your next career move.  If so, you’re not alone.  A recent survey from MSN shows that 1 in 4 jobseekers are willing and ready to relocate in order to facilitate a career change.  With those statistics, you might think that employers are open to candidates from varying locales, but ask any number of job seekers who have been in the hunt for a job outside of their current area, and you will likely find that securing a position in another state is a bit more challenging than you’d expect.  Oftentimes employers do not offer relocation packages, and they may look poorly on candidates from different areas because of the time and effort that it would take to have them move to the job location.  Sometimes employers just don’t want the bother.

So, what can you do about it?  Below are three tips to help you move your interstate job search forward.

  1. – Remove location markers from your resume

Most recruiters agree that when they see a resume with an out of state address, it comes off as something of a red flag.  They anticipate that employers will give pushback on those candidates, and therefore they are moved to the bottom of the “priority list”.  One of the easiest things that you can do to make yourself more competitive in the out-of-state job market is to remove your address from the document altogether.

Also, keep in mind that an address is no longer an important element of the resume – in fact, it is pretty erroneous information at this point.  You would be better served to use the area traditionally reserved for your address to instead showcase a link to your Linkedin profile or a headline introducing yourself to the employer.

You can also take it a bit farther and remove the locations of previous jobs that you have held as well (since this is also not pertinent information) and use the Google voice app to create a local phone number.  These two strategies are less common, but still considered acceptable according to most recruiters.

  1. – Talk about it and BE HONEST

Once you’ve been called for an interview, it is best to address the topic upfront.  When talking with a potential employer, you should use affirmative language and reference a time-frame for your move.  For example, you might ask for a Skype or phone interview for the first round.  At that point, you would let the company know that you are planning to relocate by saying something along the lines of, “Yes, I currently live in Ohio – however, I anticipate moving to Boston within the next 8 weeks.”  You should also include that you are prepared to move at your own cost, as many companies rule out candidates for whom they feel they will have to make a substantial investment in up front (such as a relocation package).

Also take care not to lie or lead an employer on.  I’ve often seen candidates use a local address on an application in order to avoid getting red flagged for being a non-local applicant.  This is fine – however, be sure that you explain clearly to an employer that this is the address you anticipate staying at once you arrive in the area, and not your current address.  Telling an employer you currently reside in LA with a current employer in Colorado is a sure fire way to get those red flags raised again, and, what’s worse, now you look like a liar to the hiring manager.  Don’t do it – this is never a good idea.

  1. – NETWORK!

Aside from the above two tips, you should treat your out of state job search largely the way that you would a local search – with the exception of needing to cast a much wider net.  Network with as many people as you can from your target area – Linkedin is a great tool for this.  You should be making connections with people in your industry and preferred area – be diligent about this, and make sure any meetings/informational interviews/etc. are as fruitful and meaningful as possible.

You should also be prepared to make a few trips to your target area as well.  Doing this will allow you to meet with your connections in real time, as well as become familiar with the area itself.  Depending on your familial situation, you may also need to research housing, schools, etc.  All of this will be much easier to do in person.

8 Easy Ways to Add Impact to Your LinkedIn Profile

LinkedIn is the number one professional networking site in the world, with more than 467 million users and 3 million current active job listings.  Every company on the Fortune 500 list is represented on the platform, as well as a plethora of others.  The site offers opportunities for networking, connection with recruiters, job listings, and more.  From a job seeker’s perspective, being an active, engaged member of LinkedIn is not only a good option, it is a necessity!  Here are 8 ways you can improve your profile for career management and job search success:

  1. Update Your Profile Photo

Make sure you have a professional headshot photo that lets your personality shine through.  It should be fresh-looking and welcoming, and should allow any user who meets you in person to immediately be able to recognize you from this photo.  A good rule of thumb is to use a picture that is no more than five years old, the clearly shows your face, and that encompasses just a few hints of your personality.

  1. Communicate Your Unique Value Proposition in Your Headline

Write a headline that grabs the attention of your audience, and makes them want to read more about you.  Don’t be afraid to stray from the default headline of your current or most recent position – make it about where you want to be, and what you want others to know about you when connecting with you.

  1. Use the Summary Section to Tell Your Story – Concisely.

Think of the summary section as the executive summary of your resume – it should be personal and written in first person, and should communicate within the first two lines the things that you feel are most important for others to know.  Remember that the first two lines are all that your audience will initially see – grab their attention and make them want to click “read more” so that they can learn more about you!

  1. Customize Your Public Profile URL

Make your LinkedIn URL easier to share by making it shorter.

  1. Click on Profile.
  2. Click Edit Profile.
  3. Click on the “settings” icon to the right of your URL.
  4. Under Your public profile URLsection on the right of the page, click the “edit” icon.
  5. Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  6. Click Save.


BONUS! Once you do this, be sure to share it on your resume (in the place where your address used to be)!


  1. Ask for Recommendations

Recommendations are essential to a solid profile.  Reach out to former colleagues or supervisors, clients, professors, or vendors and ask them to write a short note on your behalf.  Make sure that you ask someone who knows you well and with whom you have a good relationship to write a solid recommendation.  Also remember that you have control over any recommendations that appear on your page – you have the final say in whether or not to include them.  Don’t feel bad about skipping lackluster endorsements or those that contain spelling/grammar errors.

  1. Connect with Coworkers and Classmates

LinkedIn is all about building and cultivating your professional network, so reach out to those around you and invite them to connect.  This is an easy way to build your network.  One easy way to do this is to join The Ohio State University Buckeye Network group – where you can connect with nearly 10,000 Buckeye alumni and staff members, as well as receive ongoing advice and discussions from ACM.

  1. Share Your Professional and Academic Accomplishments

Attract attention by adding visual representations of your work to your profile.  Upload videos, images, documents and presentations.  You’ve had some excellent achievements that set you apart from the rest, but those aren’t always easy to work into a resume – use LinkedIn to showcase your best work!

  1. Showcase Professional Expertise and Writing Skills through the Self-Publishing Feature

LinkedIn makes it easy to share your knowledge through its self-publishing feature.  You can write a book review, share how you have applied your learning to the workplace, or write about your subject matter expertise.

Updating your profile using these 8 improvements could make the difference between being overlooked for a position or called for an interview.  Feel free to reach out to Alumni Career Management for more strategies and one on one coaching for LinkedIn success!

Meeting New People

One of the most common asks by clients in our office is what are the best strategies for networking.  While there are a litany of tips that abound on the internet and in other career building resources, however, often you’ll find that those strategies don’t really work.  There are a few tried a true bits of advice that do work, however, whether you’re specifically in a networking situation, or just looking to meet new people in general.  This advice is as follows:

1.      – SMILE!

 Your smile is the first thing that people see when they look at you, and it should make a definite impression.  Think of your smile as your best accessory – it is the first thing that you put on and the way in which you present it says so much about you as a person.

 Smiling warmly allows you to give off good vibes and positive energy, and makes you more approachable to strangers.  The best thing about smiling is that it is free, easy, and requires no effort on your part!  Whether you have just started a new job, moved into a new neighborhood, or are just looking to meet new people, a smile and good attitude are the keys to making friends and getting to know people.

 2.      – Remember, people aren’t interested in you, they’re interested in themselves

 Now, that may sound harsh, but let’s be honest, it’s human nature.   Dale Carnegie said it best:

 “You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people thank you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you.”

 This actually makes meeting people easier because it alleviates the pressure of starting a conversation with your own interesting personal information.  All you really have to do is ask the people about themselves.  The more you can get others to open up to you about who they are, the better connection you will be able to make with them.  Try asking questions like:

 ·         What do you do for fun around here?

·         What was the best thing you did this weekend?

·         Why did you decide to live in this area/work for this company/join this group?

Of course, there are many different options for this – the most important thing is that you are able to strike up a conversation.  Listen well, and add input where needed.  This allows you to not only get to know the person, but also to become a better conversationalist.

3.      – Remember names

 This kind of sounds like one of those “duh” things, but it cannot be stressed enough how important this is.  How many times have you gone through an entire conversation and at the end realized that you had no idea what the person’s name was?  Or worse, how many times have you gone to speak to someone and realized that they had no idea what your name was?  This is the ultimate networking faux pas.  In order to avoid this situation, use the following tips:

 ·         Listen!

·         Repeat the person’s name back to them

·         Commit it to memory using a cue (“Shana has pretty eyes” or “Whitney had on killer shoes!”)

·         Write it down (back of their business card is best UNLESS you are dealing with someone of a different culture – then err on the side of sensitivity)

 4.      – Finally, know where to go

 How can you meet successfully meet new people if you don’t know where to go?  Maybe you aren’t beginning a new job, or you haven’t moved – you can still find new and interesting people if you know where to look.   Why not try joining a new club, group or class?  Some options could be:  your local YP organization, a book club or other interest group, Toastmasters, a volunteer agency, or a continuing education class (cooking, photography, pottery, etc.).  Any of these options will give you ample opportunity in a relaxed setting to meet and interact with others.

All of these are tips to help you find success in your networking on a personal and professional level.  Of course, through all of these, don’t forget to let everyone get to know you too!  You are a great person with plenty to offer – so get out there and show ‘em what you’ve got!

Monster Releases Top 10 Best Companies for Veterans List

November is the month for veterans.  Veterans’ Day is this month, and in recognition of that, and of the wonderful people who have chosen to serve our country, we choose to focus on some of the specific needs and interests of those who are currently or formerly serving in the armed forces.

For those who have left the service and are looking to begin a career in the civilian world, there’s a new article on that may be of interest to you.  Monster has released its list of the “Top 10 Best Companies for Veterans” for 2017. Take a sneak peek at which companies made the list below, or get the scoop on why each company was chosen by visiting the full article here.

Mantech International – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  46%

Intelligent Waves – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  47%

US Customs and Border Protection – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  29%

Lockheed Martin – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  23%

Booz Allen Hamilton – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  30%

Schneider International – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  28%

USAA – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  15%

BAE Systems – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  16.5%

Union Pacific Railroad – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  17.5%

Boeing – Percentage of workforce who are vets:  15%

What is perhaps most interesting about this list is that it is comprised by a high number of federal contractors, as well as many transportation and logistics companies.  This means that there is a high chance of being able to easily convert many of the skills veterans were trained on in their time in the service to practical application in the civilian workplace.

Remember that Alumni Career Management offers one on one support for all alumni of Ohio State, and welcomes veterans who are in search of advice while planning a career transition.  Additional resources can be found on our veterans’ resource page located here.


Communication 101 – Speaking Mistakes You Should No Longer Be Making

Have you ever been in the midst of a conversation with someone, and been so completely distracted by the way that they speak that you completely missed what they were trying to say?  Their delivery somehow muddled their message for you, and the effectiveness of their words was cut short by the way they were communicated to you.

Differences in communication styles have a significant impact on how well we are able to understand and work with one another.  People often make judgements and assumptions about others based on the way that they speak, and many times we draw on diction and inflection as ways to infer and build connections with others.

While we can’t always help certain things about the way we speak – like our accent, innate vocabulary, etc. – we can avoid a few of the most common communication pitfalls that affect people in the workplace.  So, whether you’re preparing to give a presentation, gearing up for a networking event, or simply looking to speak to a colleague or superior, being cognizant of eliminating these from your everyday speech will help ensure that your message is being conveyed clearly, and that the person to whom you’re speaking takes you seriously.

  1. – Vocal Fry

You know that thing that people sometimes do where they make their voice sound like a deflating balloon?  That’s vocal fry.  It can best be observed among people who bring their voice to a lower register as they complete a sentence – examples of famous people who use this communication style often are Britney Spears and any of the Kardashian clan (see below).

Unfortunately, people (particularly women) who use this speaking technique are often perceived as less competent, less educated, and less hireable in the workplace.

  1. – Upspeak /Uptalk

Upspeak (or Uptalk) is one of the most contentious trends in communication over the last 20-30 years.  A quick search of YouTube will foster results from as early as 1994, where people were lamenting the use of the technique even back then.  While there is little agreement to be found on where upspeak itself originates, what is clear is that it is a vocal trend that is almost universally considered annoying and unprofessional.  It can be most easily characterized as ending declarative statements with an “up” sound, giving the indication that you are asking a questions instead of stating something outright.

Upspeak is often considered to be unprofessional because it undermines the speaker’s level of competence in the eyes of the listener.  Ending each statement by appearing to ask a question gives the impression that the speaker is not confident in what he or she is saying, and that impression of lost confidence (whether accurate or not) often causes the listener to lost confidence in them as well.

  1. – Crutches

“Ah” – “Umm” – “Like” – “You know…” – How often do you use one or more of these words when speaking to others?  Words like those above are considered to be “fillers”, and are typically seen as crutches that help a person when he or she is at a momentary loss for words, or is not entirely sure of what he or she is speaking about.  Often we use them without thinking, and don’t even notice when they escape from our lips.

But other people notice them.

As with the other two speech patterns discussed here, crutches can have a negative impact on your ability to communicate well with others because their use conveys a lack of confidence and/or competence.  Often people who overuse crutches give the impression that they are either lying outright or that they don’t have a clear grasp on what they are talking about.

The key takeaway from each of these communication killers is that it is crucial to display confidence and competence when speaking with others, particularly in the workplace.  If you give the impression that you are unsure of yourself and what you are saying, you run the risk of being passed over and not being taken seriously.  Be cognizant not only of what you are saying, but also of how you are saying when speaking with others.

Making the Most of Career Fairs

If you’re in the midst of a career transition, or happen to be in the market seeking a new job, career fairs can be a great way to connect with potential employers.  When done well, career fairs are a very effective way of seeking employment opportunities, because they allow you to access a large group of companies and organizations who are looking to hire immediately (or at least in the very near future).  They are a low-pressure way for you to get in front of the people who are either making hiring decisions, or who can ensure that your resume gets to the appropriate decision-making individual.  Overall, career fairs can be an excellent investment of your time – but it is important that you approach them with care in order to avoid mistakes that could hurt your chances of success.  Here are five tips for making the most of your next career fair: 

  1. – Prioritize employers you would most like to visit

Career fairs – particularly large events – can be overwhelming.  You want to be as engaging as possible, and to give a great first impression to each person with whom you interact.  However, there may not be time to engage meaningfully with every employer there, and you don’t want to miss out on a company that you have a specific interest in working for because you “didn’t have time” to get around to their table and representative.  Even worse, you don’t want to find out after the fact that your dream company was there all along and you never even knew they were in the room.

Do some research ahead of time and create a priority list of “must visit” employers.  Most career fair sites will list the registered employers on their site for you to review, and will have maps available the day of the event.  Take a few moments to highlight for yourself where those VIP employers are located within the venue and ensure that you have enough time allotted to get to them before they become the “one that got away”.

  1. – Dress to impress

One of my favorite professors from undergrad had a signature saying that has stuck with me far better than anything that I learned from his textbook:  “Presentation is everything, and everything is presentation.”  This career fair will be your first and best opportunity to get to know a potential employer.  You want to stand out – but not because you chose to dress in casual jeans and flip-flops.

Dress professionally and neatly – act as though each interaction at this event is a mini-interview, and understand that you are being vetted for your fitness with these organizations even at this early stage.  Your hair should be neat and well-groomed, your nails should be clean and trimmed, and your dress should exude an overall impression of confidence and put-togetherness.

  1. – Make a plan (and execute it!)

As we’ve already established, career fairs are often large events with a myriad of different employers available for you to interact with.  In order to make the best of this opportunity, you should make a plan ahead of schedule and then give yourself plenty of time to execute it.  Do your research and know which employers are planning to attend.  Prepare your elevator speech and how you will approach them.  Budget a set amount of time for each interaction, giving yourself a cushion in the event that a meeting turns into a great conversation or something more. Be Prepared!

  1. – Prepare your pitch – and make it good!

The elevator pitch is one of the most important networking tools to have in your arsenal.  This is a simple, effective way to communicate to any potential employer or connection who you are and what you are about.  It should be no longer than about 30 seconds, and should let them know a little bit about who you are and why you might be a good fit for their company, organization, or project.  Don’t worry – the purpose of an elevator pitch isn’t to “close the deal” – meaning you shouldn’t worry that you’ve failed if you don’t walk away with a job offer in hand.  Rather, the purpose of the pitch is to simply spark an interest in you and your work from whomever you’re delivering it to.  Be gracious, be friendly, and be yourself.

  1. – Take notes and follow up

Here’s where you have a serious opportunity to set yourself apart from the crowd – take notes and follow up.  One of the primary reasons people who don’t find job fairs to be an effective place to seek employment feel that way is because they often fail to follow up properly once the event is over.  When someone hands you their business card or company information, jot a quick note or two on the back about your conversation with the person that will help you remember them in your follow up later (unless you’re in an environment where this is considered culturally insensitive – then you may make notes in your phone or on a separate note pad instead).  After you’ve done that, do the actual follow up.  Reach out to this contact via email of LinkedIn and thank them for the opportunity to talk.  Remind them about your conversation, noting anything that was memorable for you, and then ask for another opportunity to talk more one on one when they’re free.  It will make a difference that you took the time to reach out in a personal way, and also help them stay connected with who you are and what they can look for in you to help fulfill their current needs.

The big takeaway here is this:  If you plan well, utilize your time in the most efficient ways, and are prepared to follow up with connections that you’ve made after the event is over, you will dramatically increase your chances of finding success with a career fair.  Just a little extra attention spent on preparation may make all the difference for you and your job search!

Feel free to contact the Office of Alumni Career Management if you would like to talk to a career consultant in greater detail about how you can maximize the benefits of career fairs.

Top Three Reasons You Should Be Using Alumnifire


If you follow any of the Office of Alumni Career Management’s social media accounts, or have visited our webpage lately, you’ve probably noticed information we’ve posted about Alumnifire.

Alumnifire is the premier social networking site for graduates and current students to meet and network with one another.  It’s dynamic platform and offerings are exclusive to the Ohio State community – meaning you have exclusive access to the tools and benefits of this great tool simply by virtue of having attended this great university!

Currently there are more than 5,000 students and alumni networking and growing their professional presence through Alumnifire, and whether you are among that number or have never even heard of this tool before reading this post, we are here to give you the top three reasons you should be using Alumnifire to jumpstart your networking and career development today!


  1. – Alumnifire takes the stress out of networking

We’ve all been in a situation where we were faced with the task of “networking” and it seemed like an overwhelming thing to take on.  Whether it was just that the sheer number of people around was simply too much, or perhaps that you were intimidated because you weren’t exactly clear on how to approach someone or what to ask – sometimes networking is just plain hard.

Alumnifire takes the pressure off, though, by letting you know upfront what the people you meet are looking to offer you.  Each time a person signs up for an account, they are asked if they are interested in offering any number of helpful tools to other Buckeyes.  This may include anything from general career advice to introductions and informational interviews to relocation assistance.  This way, when you come across someone you would like to connect with, you’re immediately given information on what kinds of assistance they are open to providing for you.  This means that connection with them is easy and painless, and you don’t have to worry about stressing or “bothering” someone for a connection.  They’ve already offered their expertise and time to you – you simply need to take advantage of it!


  1. – Jobs!

Not only does Alumnifire offer a job board where members are able to create postings based on current openings that they are responsible for within their companies, it also offers you access to job postings from each company that currently employs a registered Buckeye.

Alumnifire’s dynamic technology has the ability to capture company information about where your fellow Buckeyes are currently employed, and then cross reference that with any job postings for that company from all across the internet!  This way, not only do you have access to jobs posted by those fellow alumni who are in a position to make hiring decisions – you also have access to listings made at the companies of each registered Buckeye regardless of whether or not they actually posted the listings themselves.  Pretty cool right?


  1. – FREE and EASY Career Building Tool

Hands down the best thing about Alumnifire is that you have access to all of the resources and tools provided on the site absolutely free by virtue of being an alumnus of The Ohio State.  From a huge network of fellow alums nationwide looking to provide varying levels of support in your career, to information on career paths and jobs in general, to mentoring opportunities, Alumnifire has you covered in a free and easy way.

Now that you’ve heard a little about what there is to be gained from Alumnifire, we have just one question for you:

Why haven’t you joined yet?

Sign up here to get started today!