“Building a Professional Image on Paper, Online, & in Person”

November 11, 2009 at 11:00 pm (PRCA 3339)

I attended PRSSA National Conference in San Diego, California at the beginning of November. I attended keynote speakers and professional development sessions throughout the 5 days I was at the conference.

The final professional development session I attended  was “Building a Professional Image on Paper, Online, & in Person.” The speakers at this session were Walter Bateman II, who is a retired CEO of the Harleysville Group and Natalie Neczypor, a Marketing Executive at Ernst Young LLP.

Walter Bateman II’s key points in being successful in your Job search

  • Job searching is a job in itself”
  • Get Organized: buy a manila file & title it “Job Search”; this is where you should keep everything in the searching process
  • Look at yourself as others see you, not as you see yourself: ask questions like:

What do you bring to the table as far as talent goes?

What do you represent?

What would represent your ideal long-term career?

What is your vision?

  • Strategy: 1 or 2 sentences with HOW you will achieve your goals with your tactics (see below)
  • Tactics: Ask yourself who are the engaging influential people in my life (mentors) and what is my knowledge of the economy?
  • Keep Notes: Which conversations went well & why others didn’t go very well
  • Keep a calendar: Have only follow-up dates for interviews and applications listed on this calendar
  • Direct your resume’ to the CEO of the company with an engaging cover letter. Remember: If you send your resume’ to the CEO, they may want to personally meet with you in their office and if you don’t have the “balls” so to speak to sell yourself to him/her then don’t send your resume’ straight to that person.
  • Know your value to the company. Most young employees believe they are much more valuable to the company than they actually are. Figure out what your value is & keep it in mind when speaking to your “boss.”
  • Be proper in your approach in your cover letter, resume’ and interview.
  • AVOID: business “Buzzwords”
  • Your resume’ is a selling tool…the product you are selling = yourself
  • In the interview, make sure you show your accomplishments along with your commitments

natalieNatalie Necypor’s key points in being successful in your interview

  • Awareness: Know who you are (strengths, weaknesses, accomplishments)
  • Know where you are going in the next 3 minutes, 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months, 3 years
  • Resume/Portfolio: categorize your experience into 3 categories

1. Experience

2. Impact on experience

3. Results (use numbers, dollars, etc)

  • Be your own personal brand & always sell yourself. You are the only person who can sell yourself, nobody else can do that for you, but other people are able to help you along.
  • Build Repor: Don’t just talk about the weather, the pictures in the interviewer’s office, typical stuff. Talk about something that matters & work on it so that it is always your ice breaker. The weather, etc., doesn’t make you stand out against other interviewees; everyone that walks into that office talks about that.
  • Set an agenda: know what you are going to talk about in what order (give an overview of yourself; ask questions; present portfolio, etc.; conclude)
  • You have to spend money in order to make money How much would you be willing to spend to have your dream job?
  • Research the company & the interviewer: Ask the person who referred you or got you the interview what questions you should ask; don’t be afraid to use your people resources along with the internet; use words that are found in quotes your interviewer has said in your interview
  • Practice: Go to Barnes & Noble and buy the interview CD
  • Behavioral interviewing: Even if your interviewer isn’t using behavioral interviewing (i.e. “Tell me a situation where you have shown leadership?”), answer your questions in behavioral interviewing style. It will shock & wow them along with being able to elaborate your experience (stuff on your resume’).
  • Clear your entire schedule so that you aren’t rushed to leave the office; you never know when you might be sent through to the next step in the interview process (i.e. to talk to another person in the office).
  • Bring Several Resume’s: If you do get sent to several offices to continue the interview process you will want to be prepared to hand over more then one resume’ than just to the original interview.
  • Show personality: For men this means in your tie but stick to a blue or black suit, black or blue socks, and black shoes. For women this means in your shirt or bag, but stick to 3 accessories at the maximum, pants/skirt, stockings if wearing a skirt, avoid short sleeves, and wear closed toe shoes.
  • Take notes to use during the interview: They will ask you what you know about the company and it is okay to use your notes you brought. They don’t expect you to know everything and they understand you’re nervous so use your notes. Have your questions written down in your notes.
  • Questions to ask:

What objections do you have in placing me in this position? (Note: take notes when they answer this question, you will want to know what to work on)

What is the next step in the interview process? (Note: You don’t want to just walk out of the interview only saying “thank you for seeing me today”. Everyone says that. You want to show them you are serious about this interview and you want to know what to expect as far as when you should receive a follow-up.)
  • Ask for contact info & a business card
  • Send a handwritten “thank you” note ASAP. Keep thank you notes in your car and when you get to your car after the interview, take a minute and write it to the interviewer. Take the thank you note to the nearest mailbox and they will receive it within 48 hours usually.
  • Send a “thank you” e-mail: When you get home, send an e-mail showing your gratitude for the interview.
  • Thank the recruiter: If you had to go through a recruiter to get the interview, call them and tell them how great the interview went and tell them everything you learned. Chances are they will call the interviewer or tell them the next time they speak how well you thought it went and that you learned so much.
  • Call the person who got your resume’ to the top of the pile.
  • Call the person who interviewed you and thank them.

  • Be open to relocate: If you are willing to relocate, then you will narrow the competition down. If your career is that important to you, then your boyfriend/girlfriend will be there 5 years down the road when you come back home.
  • Be ready to do it all: be ready to manage in the beginning, not just be in your entry level position.
  • Remember: You are only as good as your last 15 minutes. So make those last 15 minutes count in the interview. This is your time to make a lasting impression.

This session was the one I got the most out of and made the conference completely worth while, even if I had only gotten to go this session. Mr. Bateman & Ms. Neczypor answered all my questions and more that have been sticking in the back of my mind since I have begun thinking about the job search process. I know it will not be easy at all and it will be a hard job looking for a job, but I do believe these tips above have helped me in understanding what companies are looking for and what to do to help show them what they are looking for: ME!


1 Comment

  1. Correct Body Language in Your Interviewing Process « Jcam19’s Blog said,

    […] a previous post, I recapped a professional session concerning interview tips which I attended at PRSSA’s […]

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