I am UIC: Tips for success
Last week, I attended a networking event for the very first time. The event, LIT College Tour, took place at Student Center East, and I am so glad that stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to attend. I walked out of the event with useful information and valuable advice from very successful people.
The two groups of panelists consisted of leaders and professionals from diverse fields. Among those present were Magnolia Insights’ CEO, Farmers Insurance’s recruiting manager, The Ideal Candidate’s founder, and award-winning journalists from Univision and CBS. During the discussion, they shared tips for success and explained the significance of making good first impressions with potential employers, the key characteristics that make excellent leaders, and the importance of acquiring and maintaining mentors throughout our academic and professional lives.
I’d like to share these tips with you:
Making a good first impression is essential when meeting a recruiter and it consists of approaching them with confidence. A firm handshake, a smile, good posture, consistent eye contact, clear speech, and at least some knowledge of the particular company/professional are a must. This is the first time that a potential employer is meeting you and you want them to remember you as someone who is genuinely interested and eager to learn, work and grow in a specific field.
To be a good leader, you must be humble. You should be open to criticism and always be conscious of the needs of everyone else. You should help pave the way for those who are following their footsteps. As one of the panelists said, “Once you get to the top floor, don’t forget to send the elevator back down.”
Panelists advised that as college students, we should make it our responsibility to reach out to our advisors, professors or even professionals in the fields that we aspire to work in, to ask them for mentorship. Mentors are essential in our academic and professional lives. They are not only individuals that can help us make the right career choices, but also individuals who we can establish long-term professional relationships with that potentially lead to job opportunities in the future.
Actually talk to people when it’s time to network
When it’s time to network with people at the end of events, actually talk to people and ask questions. Whether the individual is a recruiter or another student attending the event just like you, talk to them and exchange contact information. You never know who you are going to meet and what useful connections they might have. The panelists generally agreed that many times it is who you know, rather than what you know, that plays a major role when obtaining a job.
Michelle García De La Vega is a senior double majoring in communications and Spanish. Among the things she loves doing most are drinking coffee and laughing. The moments she appreciates most in life involve family, friends, music, warm weather and experiential learning. Her goal is to travel someplace new every year and she aspires to one day be a conduit of news for her community.