Monday, November 19, 2012

Here's my Card, Call me Maybe?

“Here’s my card,” I answer, as I smoothly reach into my left pocket and pull out a stainless steel cardholder. I flip open the top and swiftly slide out a card. I smile politely, handing off my personal identifier to what could be my future employer. I take note of the facial expressions; the eyebrows slightly arch, pulling the forehead muscles together and the head gives a faint nod of approval. I can tell they’re impressed. Mission accomplished, I think to myself. With a brief shake of the hand and soft smile to bid farewell, I turn and walk the other way playing it off as though I've worked in this field for years.

Business cards are an easy and cheap yet professional and powerful marketing tool. As I pointed out in a previous blog post, and as I’m sure you've been told a thousand times already, it’s not what you know but who you know. Keeping track of individuals you've met and allowing them to have a tangible item in return that explains you is the best method for networking. Business cards are convenient. Plus, handing a stranger a resume on a plane or at a sporting event in hopes of gaining an ‘in’ with the individual is quite comical and inappropriate.

Now you’re probably thinking, why do I need a business card? What would it even say? Just because you don’t have a full time job or internship, doesn't mean you shouldn't have a business card. As a busy student constantly engaging in new activities and meeting new people along the way, college is the perfect time to start creating a professional network. Business cards assist in branding yourself while making successful connections. It can be as short and sweet as name, major, email, phone number, and expected graduation date. Don’t feel embarrassed or uncomfortable if there is no real substance to your card; your basic contact information is all it takes to obtain a connection. Look at it this way: If you didn’t have a business card and someone asks for your contact information, would you be more or less embarrassed scribbling it down on a nearby napkin or scrap piece of paper?

Business cards are the perfect supplement to a great first impression and make you appear more professional. Vistaprint is a great place to order your first business cards; you can even get basic designs free of charge (and no, Vistaprint is not paying me for including them in this post). Just remember to use a solid email address, not your school one. What happens after you graduate and start making more professional connections? Once you receive them, carry them with you at all times. You never know where you might run into someone of interest.

Share your contact information, network, and start establishing your personal brand. Get a hold of some business cards, as soon as possible, and enjoy the impressed responses you’ll receive from potential employers.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Is the Economy Turning for Upcoming UT Graduates?

The economy was a major focal point for the presidential race and has continued to be for the country as a whole.   Recent numbers indicate that a slow but steady economic upturn are just around the corner.   This past Sunday, the St. Petersburg Times and shared several success stories of local Tampa Bay area businesses as well as possible business relocating to this region.   Staying current with the local economy is a critical strategy in your search for a full-time job or internship.   Local resources such as the newspapers, business journals and even on campus programming, can lead you right to the companies who are hiring despite everything you have heard in the media.   Check out these great stories below.  

Three financial firms may inject 1,000 higher-wage jobs in Tampa Bay area

Tampa-based takes off

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Veterans Day

November 11 marks the observance of Veterans Day.  It was originally designated “Armistice Day” after the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919.  Since the fighting in World War I ceased on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month,  November 11, 1919 was proclaimed the first commemoration of Armistice Day.  In 1954, legislation was passed to honor veterans of all wars, and November 11 was designated as an official federal holiday – Veterans Day –  to honor American veterans for their patriotism, love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

The University of Tampa is a proud participant of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ Yellow Ribbon Program and has been recognized as a Military Friendly School.  In addition, the Office of Career Services has identified some specific Veteran Student Resources for our veteran students including tips on translating military skills and experiences into a functional resume.  

This year on  Veterans Day, say thank you to a veteran for his or her service. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Dining Etiquette

Our annual Etiquette Dinner will be held on Friday, November 9th in the Vaughn Center Crescent Club.  We expect over 150 students and 20 employer partners who will host the students at their tables for the meal.  Virginia Edwards, a nationally recognized etiquette and protocol expert, will again be the featured speaker.  In her October newsletter, she included a list of “Five Dining Ifs” that she allowed me to share with you.  These tips and many more will be shared at the dinner this Friday night.  If you haven’t made a reservation for this year, we’ll see you next year!


Five Dining Ifs

Handling oneself at the table during a business meal can be nerve racking.  Like anything else you have accomplished, it requires practice.  Here are just a few things to remember.

ü If your soup or beverage is too hot, do not blow on it or fish ice out of your water glass to cool it down.  It can be cooled by stirring with a spoon or left to cool naturally.

ü If you tend to “talk with your hands”, do not do so while holding your fork or knife.

ü If you are finished eating, do not push your plate away.  Leave it where placed when served.  Place your fork and knife in the “I’m finished” position as a signal to your server to remove the plate and utensils.

ü If you are not drinking coffee, do not turn your cup upside down in the saucer.  Place two fingers on the rim as the server approaches and say “No thank you.”

ü If you have separation anxiety when it comes to your cell phone, leave it turned off in your pocket when dining.  Even on vibrate it can be a distraction to you and to your dining companions as you constantly silence the buzz.

Don’t bring out your “manners” just for business occasions.  Practice makes perfect so remember to use proper dining skills at every meal.