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Professional networking can create effective career transition

There is a large number of professionals who have learned how to maximize their career through industry affiliations and networking.  Choosing an organization to affiliate with can be a daunting task depending on the amount of time you can devote to participation in the group, format they meet, and overall objectives you have for being involved.  Consider the following:

  • Does your industry have a specialized national organization that has a local chapter?  Groups like American Marketing Association have national scope and regional or local affiliates that allow for in person interaction with colleagues.
  • How much time do you want to devote to involvement in the organization?  If you are transitioning into this industry, you may want to use participation in a networking group to build skills to use in your next position and/or to meet potential employers.
  • What skills can you use through your participation that are relevant to your next career opportunity?  Offering to coordinate programs, solicit donations, schedule speakers, or lead a certain area (Treasurer, Committee Chair) could be a win-win for you and the organization.

The overall goal should be to join an organization that can add value to your career development and that you can change your level of activity to create the best work-life balance throughout your life.  For those of you involved in marketing, check out the American Marketing Association website.  Not only are there benefits for professional development, but this organization has also developed partnerships to provide value-added support to their collegiate and professional members.

4:16 pm          Comments

Volunteering can bridge gaps in skills for transitioning workers

Changes in the economy have put some workers into positions where they may not have the opportunity to build upon or develop skills needed for their specialty or industry.  One venue to gain key workforce skills can be in volunteer work.  There are several things to consider when evaluating volunteer experience and which ones could support your career goals:

  1.  What responsibilities/activities are you involved in during your volunteer work?  Will those activities utilize skills that are valuable in your career?
  2. Can you learn new skills at the location that could be transferred into your career?  Are there opportunities to gain leadership, organizational, project management, administrative, or communication skills that you would like to build on to use in your next job?
  3. How can you network in your volunteer work to expand your professional contacts?  Will there be situations to interact with other volunteers who have a common interest and may be aligned with your career goals?
  4. Will prospective employers identify the volunteer work as bridging a gap in employment if you are between positions?  Have you focused the choice of location and activities on skills that are relevant to your specialty and industry?
Visit local websites for more information on organizations to volunteer for. 
3:39 pm          Comments

Following Up During and After the Phone Interview

After you have answered all of their questions, the interviewer will ask “Do you have any questions for me?” – the wrong answer is “Not really, thank you.”  It’s also not the time to have a list of 50 questions to take up the rest of their day.

  • Prepare what questions you have for the interviewer in advance – this isn’t the time to make them up as you go.  Think about what you really want to know – “What qualities have successful people in this position had?” “What types of evaluations or feedback do employees regularly receive?” – answers to these questions will tell you something and show the employer that you are interested in their company.

  • Don’t ask questions about salary or benefits in the phone interview – those questions might be appropriate at some stages of face-to-face interviews or even more appropriate once you have the job offer.

  • Clarify what the timeline for hiring is so you know when to expect to hear back from them.

  • Don’t forget to ‘close the sale’ – ask to move forward in the interview process, meet with them in person, or speak with someone else in the organization if applicable.

  • Email and fax a follow up letter thanking them for the time and consideration if they are an out-of-town recruiter.  A handwritten thank you note, if it’s possible to have it delivered by the next day is also a personal and impactful way to follow up. 

  • Call them two days later to verify they received your letter and ‘check-in’.

Having professional follow up skills that show your persistence and ability to communicate will be appreciated by employers.  Even if you don’t get that position, they may end up contacting a colleague to reach out to you on another opportunity.  For more information about follow up in the interview process, go to and

12:07 pm          Comments

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