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Networking & Informational Interviewing

 

What is networking?

Networking is the process of meeting people, having conversations, exchanging information, and nurturing relationships. A good network of professional contacts can help you stand out in an applicant pool, be considered for opportunities to grow, and potentially lead to promotion.

You’d be surprised by how many people you know. Think of SBU faculty and staff you know. Consider your friends and students you work with through clubs, fraternities/sororities, and other activities. Family and extended family members can also be part of your network.

You can expand your network easily
 
  • People in your network who know you well may be able to introduce you to people they know.
  • Meet new people through organizations and activities.
  • Consider getting involved in a campus organization related to your professional goals and join the professional chapter as well, if applicable.
  • Join the SBU Alumni Association and get involved with their events.
  • Take advantage of the  Career Advisors Network (CAN) Program – the Career Center’s database of professionals willing to help!
  • Use  LinkedIn  – the professional networking site.
Networking techniques
 
  • With people you know, networking is easiest; you can initiate conversations, exchange information, and further develop your professional relationship. You do not have to become someone’s best friend to have a professional relationship.
  • With people you used to know (as in former colleagues or classmates), you could reconnect via email or through LinkedIn.
  • With people you don’t know, networking can be more challenging, but it is absolutely doable! Some ways you can initiate conversation include:
    • While standing on line at the bookstore, you could initiate a conversation about courses.
    • While attending an industry meeting, you could inquire about a person’s involvement in the organization or their work.
    • You could respond to someone’s blog post, op-ed, or article in a publication.
    • You could write to someone you don’t know, asking for a networking meeting – see below for guidelines.

 

 

 

Use your network to get career advice – conduct an informational interview.

This is a career research technique that enables you to expand your knowledge of an occupation beyond what you have already learned through investigation. In this type of interview, you are the person asking the questions – you are interviewing a person for information about his/her career. Through the informational interview, you may learn about the work environment, the rewards and frustrations of the job, as well as the personal qualities needed for success in the field.

 

An informational interview is not a job interview. That means it is not appropriate to use the session to ask about job openings with the organization. 

 

Now that you know what an informational interview is, let’s talk about how to secure one! The five steps to conducting an informational interview include:

Step 1: Identify professional to contact
Step 2: Prepare for the informational interview
Step 3: Request the informational interview
Step 4: Conduct the informational interview
Step 5: Follow up

Step 1: Identify professionals to contact

The best place to start is with your current network of contacts. Ask your contacts if they know anyone working in your field of interest who may be willing to speak with you and give you some advice.

Next, make a list of people you don’t know but you think might be willing to help. Approaching strangers is uncomfortable even for the most seasoned networkers, but you would be surprised at how willingly people help others who are interested in their careers. 

Finding Appropriate Professional Contacts
 
  • Stony Brook alumni and other professionals can be found through the Career Advisors Network (CAN) program. Members all volunteer to be a part of this database and welcome student contacts:  http://career.stonybrook.edu/students/educate/network-with-alumni
  • Student professional societies (e.g. Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers - SHPE, the American Marketing Association, the Pre-PA club) host networking sessions with professionals. The SBU Department of Student Activities website will have the latest list of student organizations.
  • Professional associations often allow students to attend off-campus industry gatherings at no or reduced cost. This will enable you to meet with professionals working in your field of interest, and may result in connections willing to conduct informational interviews. See below for examples of professional associations.
  • Professors and Career Center counselors may be able to provide additional resources.
 

 

Step 2: Prepare for the informational interview

Before you speak with someone, you  must  have investigated the profession and know something about it – you must show a professional that you are serious and well prepared. From your research, get a sense of the type of work performed by your contact, current issues in the field, and industry-specific key words and acronyms. Remember, these are people who are setting aside time in their busy schedules to provide you with information. Do not waste their time by asking questions easily answered by doing a little homework.

Research... research... research...

Industry

You could start with the big picture: the industry. What is it all about? What type of work is done in this industry? What are the latest trends? Who are the top companies in this industry? Who are the up-and-coming competitors?

For example, maybe you feel passionate about helping college students, and want to explore the industry of higher education. Perhaps you are interested in fashion or finance, or the environment. All of these industries are complex and have many different jobs associated with them. With more information, you can determine whether you like the industry well enough to explore it further, or whether you want to explore something else.

Career Fields

You could also start with a specific career field. What is it all about? What skills and qualities are needed in the field or required for career entry? What organizations employ people who do this type of work? What are some of the career tracks and sample job titles in this field, and what are the pros and cons associated with these positions? What training and education are required for career entry? What is the employment outlook?

  • For example, you might imagine yourself working in the legal field. What are all the possible types of organization that could employ a lawyer? Does one have to work in a law firm or open a practice? Are there other positions besides attorney that could be satisfying? If you are interested in a branch of the law, such as environmental law or international law, would there be different expectations?

 
Resources for Industry and Career Research

Professional association websites often provide the latest information about industry trends and often have job listings so you can see exactly what employers are looking for in hiring.  Blogs may also provide some insider advice; just be careful about the sources of information you review.

 


Questions... questions... questions...

From your research, develop a list of questions about the industry, the field, or the individual you will be interviewing. It is inappropriate to ask about specific job openings. Develop your questions with the purpose of gathering information about your intended industry or field.

Plan enough questions for a 20-minute, 30-minute, or 60-minute interview. Meaning – put your priority questions first and be prepared for a contact to give you just 20 minutes. Occasionally, things go so well that the interviewee will extend the conversation, so you should have extra questions ready just in case. 

Sample Questions About the Industry
 

1) In preparing for this interview, I found that this industry is expected to grow and expand job opportunities nationally. Would you say that holds true for the metro NY area?

2) I read in last week’s  Long Island Business News that Suffolk County has created a program to attract biotech firms to relocate here. How do you feel this might this impact your business in the future?

Sample Questions About the Career Field
 

1) In preparing for this interview, I learned that more companies are requiring project managers to have the PMP certification. What is your perspective on this development?

2) I saw the report on television last night that Wall Street firms are announcing new layoffs, yet I have also noticed several job postings in these firms. How will these layoffs impact internships and the entry-level job market in finance?

Sample Questions About the Individual
 

1) I noticed on your CAN Mentor profile that you do freelance counsulting. How do you market yourself to potential clients without seeming too pushy?

2) I've read a few blogs where people in your field say that one of the best things about this kind of work is the freedom / lack of structure. Do you share this sentiment? Would people who like structure automatically be a poor fit for this type of work? 


Initiate the Conversation

Before you contact a CAN Mentor, take some time to prepare. Consider the following:

To Do List Strategies for Conversation
Take time getting to know someone. Where possible, read about him/her in advance.   Before   meeting with your CAN Mentor, do your research by viewing his/her company profile and LinkedIn profile. Take some time to learn about the person’s background. What, if anything, do you have in common?
What most piques your interest about this person?
Consider your interests. What do you hope to get out of this conversation? What do you want to learn?
Determine your goals. What would success look like for you? Can you articulate your goals and what you need to achieve them?
Share your assumptions, needs, expectations, and limitations candidly. Ask for feedback. Be open to honesty and critique.
Discuss options and opportunities for learning. Share your progress (past and current). Consider what additional assistance, guidance, or support might be most useful. Be specific.

 

Step 3: Request the informational interview

An informational interview is a brief meeting, with someone currently working in your field of interest, that offers you an insider’s perspective. The purpose of an informational interview is not to get a job. It’s to better understand a particular position or industry and make potential connections in the field.

If you request an informational interview with a CAN Mentor, he/she will expect something more structured and focused than an informal chat. Treat the informational interview as a business meeting. Prior to the interview, research the company or career and develop a short list of questions that you would like to have answered. For a sample list of questions, visit       About Careers.

We recommend sending your request via email (see samples below); however, the nature and tone of your e-request will be different depending on whether the person to whom you are writing is a “warm contact” or a “cold contact.”

 

 

 

Cold contacts are people with whom you have absolutely no relationship, nor contacts. Be professional in your e-request, and use the subject line of your email to explain briefly who you are and what you want.

Sample content for email to a COLD contact

May 20, 2017 

Mark Steppe, Esq.

River, Song, and Obsidian Partners
1313 Avenue of the Harbors Suite 4444
Silver City, CA 12345

Dear Mr. Steppe:

I am a student at California Western School of Law, and am beginning my third trimester. Labor law has been of interest to me since I took a class in that subject as an undergraduate student. Your firm has an outstanding reputation in that field of practice.

My area of concentration in law school will be labor law. I would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you briefly to discuss your specialty. I am especially interested in your views regarding public vs. private employment experience. Any further insights you have would be greatly appreciated.

I will contact your office the week of June 2 to set up a mutually convenient time for this informational meeting.

Sincerely,

Adal Xavier

Once a day, date, and time is confirmed, email the contact a confirmation.

Sample confirmation email

Subject line: Confirming our meeting Tuesday, January 22nd @ 3:00pm

Dear Irene:

Thank you so much for your willingness to talk with me via telephone on Tuesday, January 22, 2012. As we agreed, I will call you at 3:00pm at this number: 555-555-1212.

I will reconfirm our meeting two days before, and at that time will send you a short list of my questions for discussion. If something comes up and you must reschedule, please contact me at yourname@stonybrook.edu or my cell phone: 555-555-5555.

Thank you again for your willingness to talk with me. I look forward to speaking with you.

Sincerely,

[Your first name & last name here]
Stony Brook University

Don’t forget to reconfirm two days before the meeting and INCLUDE your list of questions so the interviewee has time to prepare.

Warm contacts are people you know and people who know you through a close connection, such as the parent of your best friend. Warm contacts will be more likely to give you time if they have it. When writing a request to a warm contact, refer to your relationship in the subject line and use professional language in your email.

Sample content for an email to a WARM contact

(this is a warm contact since the individual is a member of the Career Advisors Network (CAN) – therefore s/he is already interested in sharing advice with SBU students):

Dear Mr. (or Ms.) [Last Name]:

I am a sophomore at Stony Brook University. I found your name in the Stony Brook Career Advisors Network (CAN) database, and I would like to learn more about your profession.

I love my psychology classes, and am now taking PSY 222: Adolescent Psychology. I would like the opportunity to speak with you about how you got into the field, and get your perspective and advice as I consider my own career path in psychology.

Would you be willing to set aside 20 minutes for an informational interview? I am open to further correspondence by email or phone, or in person if you prefer.

Feel free to reply to this email (youremailaddress@stonybrook.edu) or call my cell phone: 555-555-5555.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Sincerely,

[Your first name & last name here]
Stony Brook University

Hot contacts are people closest to you; those who know you well and will absolutely make time to help you. When writing to a hot contact, you may use casual language; however, the purpose of your e- request is still professional, so don’t assume you can simply put in your subject line something too casual, such as “Hey,” or “Yo, I need your help.”

Sample content for an email to a HOT contact

(Nicoletta is your best friend Roberto’s older sister)

Dear Nicoletta,

Roberto just told me that you work for an international development organization. I had no idea that your career is so closely aligned with my interests! Roberto may have told you that I’m majoring in anthropology with a minor in international relations. I’ve studied abroad in Tanzania and have also done research with a professor whose regional specialty is South America.

That’s why I’m writing to you today. I’m hoping you could find some time to share advice with me about my career path and my plans for next summer. I’m thinking about another study abroad experience, or perhaps an internship, and hope you’ll be able to help steer me in the right direction.

Nicoletta, I would so appreciate your time. Let me know if we can work something out.

Sincerely,

Angel DeZubita

 

 

Step 4: Conduct the informational interview

Exactly on time, call your contact  (or show up if you’ve arranged an in-person interview).

Make sure to...
 
  • Dress appropriately. Smart business casual – no need for an interview suit.
  • Arrive early – about 10 minutes before the appointed time.
  • Encourage the interviewee to talk. This means listen for understanding and ask probing questions.
  • Appear interested – sit up straight, lean forward slightly and maintain eye contact.
  • Relax. This is not a job interview. You and the person you are speaking with will enjoy the conversation more if the atmosphere is relaxed and informal.
  • Take notes. It is considerate, however, to ask permission of the interviewee before you begin.
Now for the conversation
 

First – thank your contact for setting aside time to speak with you. Acknowledge how much time you will take.   Example: “I am aware that your time is valuable and that we have about 20 minutes, so I’ll go ahead and begin with my questions.”

Introduce yourself briefly, stating your goals for the conversation (30-60 seconds). Ask your questions. Take notes. Listen for understanding and ask questions based on the responses you receive. Ask for clarification if you don’t understand something. Have a conversation.

Mind your time – make sure you are aware of the time and that you don’t go over.

When it gets close to the end of the time, even if you have to interrupt nicely, say something like this,   “Nicoletta, I’m sorry to interrupt you but we are coming close to the end of our time. I’m happy to stay later if YOU have time, but I don’t want to take advantage or assume that you have extra time today.”

Before you end, if the conversation went very well, ask for additional people the interviewee might suggest you speak with who could provide additional information or another perspective on the field.   Example: “Nicoletta, you mentioned that you used to work at a community college. Would there be someone currently working in the community college setting you could refer me to?”

Be sure to thank your interviewee with a smile and professional handshake.   Example: “Nicoletta, thank you so much for spending time with me today. As you can see I have several pages of notes, and I feel that I learned so much from you that I could have never read on a website. Would you mind if I stay in touch with you as I continue my networking?”

More ideas for informational interview questions
  • How did you come to this step in your career? Was it planned or luck or both?
  • What does your job involve on a daily basis?
  • How would you describe the atmosphere at your place of work?
  • How does the culture of the company impact your daily work?
  • What do you like/dislike about your job?
  • What are some of the most difficult problems you encounter in your job?
  • What would you consider to be the greatest rewards associated with your position?
  • What kinds of professionals do you interact with in your job?
  • Do people in this field change jobs often?
  • If you decided to change careers, what other types of work would you be qualified to do?
  • How easy (or difficult) is it to find a job in this field?
  • What types of skills are needed for entry into this field? What about at higher levels?
  • What type of compensation can an entry-level worker in this field expect? An experienced worker?
  • What personal qualities do you believe one needs for this career?
  • What are the opportunities for advancement in this field?
  • How can I best prepare myself for a career in this field?
  • How would I go about pursuing a related internship or volunteer experience?
  • What job search strategy works best?

 

 

 

Step 5: Follow Up and Say Thank You

Always send a thank-you email after the interview, even though you said thank you in person. The thank-you note is the extra step you can make to solidify your professionalism in the eyes of the person you interviewed.

Keep in touch with the professionals you meet. Based on your interviews, if you decide to pursue a career in their field, your informational interviewees have just become your first network of contacts! These professionals may be willing to help you down the road, so it is important for you to maintain contact with them to let them know how things are going and where you are in the career exploration process.

 

 

Phone Call Etiquette for Job Seekers

While conducting your job search, you may need to call recruiters directly to get more information about the application process, recruiters may contact you, or you may have a phone interview. Friendly and professional phone etiquette will leave employers with a great impression of you, and it will make you feel more confident in interacting over the phone.

1) Practice what you want to say before you call. 
Make sure your words are clear and that you’re speaking slowly and confidently.

2) Call in a quiet location, preferably using a landline.
Try to avoid distractions or bad reception.

3) Be prepared to leave a voice message in case no one answers. 
Having it written down is a great idea. When leaving a message, include your name at the beginning, the reason for your call, and your phone number.

4) Have your resume and cover letter on hand when you call. 
Be prepared! Keep a pen and paperwith you to take notes on names, numbers, and instructions. 

5) Ask the recruiter if they have time to speak to you. 
They may want you to call back at another time or to come in for an appointment. Be considerate of their time.

6) Let the recruiter choose when to call you. 
End your conversation with “Please give me a call at your earliest convenience.” Don’t presume and ask them to call on your schedule.

7) Don’t take any other calls while you’re speaking to a recruiter. 
Never place them on hold. You want to show that you’re serious about the position and that you are prioritizing this phone call.

8) Return calls within 24 hours. 
If a recruiter calls you, return the call promptly.

9) Send a thank-you note. 
Whether your call was a request for information or a phone interview, always send a brief thank-you note through email or postal mail.

 

Email Etiquette for Job Seekers

  Email has become an important tool for employers and students alike, and it’s almost guaranteed that you’ll need to send emails throughout your job search. When applying to jobs and communicating with potential employers through email, it is necessary to maintain a sense of professionalism.

 

1. Be clear in your subject line.
 The recipient should know immediately why you are contacting them. If you are responding to a job ad, write Application for XYZ position.
2. Begin with an appropriate greeting.

Your relationship to the recipient will determine how you greet him or her. 

For someone whose name you do not know, use Dear Hiring Representative:  
For someone whose name you know, use Dear Mr. or Ms. [name]:  
For someone you know personally, a simple Hello [name], is fine.

Never start an email with Hey or skip the greeting entirely.

In a first email, you always want to be as formal as possible. It is best to use Ms. instead of Mrs. or Miss for a woman if you do not know her marital status. If a person is a Dr., it is impolite to address them as Mr. or Ms. Make an effort to find out a person’s title so you can address them properly.

If a recruiter signs an email with just their first name, you may address them as such; if not, continue to use their title and last name.

Always put a colon after your greeting and skip a line before starting your message.

3. Write an appropriate body.
If your email is a job application, the content should be your cover letter. If you are simply asking a question, introduce yourself but do not ramble unnecessarily. Double check that you’ve included all the important information, and remember that professional emails should be brief, polite, and informative.
4. Break your email into coherent paragraphs.
 No one wants to read a block of text. Two to four short paragraphs is an appropriate length for an email. Make sure that each paragraph addresses a single idea and that your email is unified in its content and not a jumble of different questions.
5. If attaching files, include your name in the document titles.

 Name the files [Your Name, Resume] or [Your Name, Writing Sample]. You may want to ask the employer for his or her preference in document format, so that you can send files as .doc or .pdf accordingly.

6. Close off the email.

 Use a closing such as Yours Sincerely, or Best Regards, before signing your full name.

7. Use an appropriate email signature.

 Your signature is a great place to include your contact information after your name. Include your phone number, email address, and postal address.

8. Proofread!

Check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Don’t let one or two typos reflect poorly on your communication skills.

9. When making appointments, be flexible.

If a recruiter asks you to provide timeslots of your availability, give them as many options as possible. You want to work with their schedules. 

10. Respond in a timely manner.

 You should reply within twenty-four hours, as most people check their email several times a day. Expect to follow up with a phone call.

Some other tips to follow…
  • Use an appropriate email address. It should consist of just your full name. You never want to contact an employer from an email address like sexygirl95@myemail.com.

    Be formal and respectful. Always use basic manners (please and thank you) and never assume you can begin using improper punctuation or informal tone just because a recruiter might do so.

    Convey your interest. Even though you are using professional language, you want a recruiter to sense your enthusiasm and friendliness, not to come across as demanding or uninterested. This can be difficult through email. Read your message out loud and pay attention to your word choice and tone.

    Never use emoticons or abbreviations. LOL, BTW, TTYL, and other lingo are unacceptable in formal emails. These are unprofessional and for texting only.

    Be mindful of the To, CC, and BCC. If a recruiter includes someone else in their message, it may be appropriate to address them in your response. Other times, it may be unnecessary to reply to all the recipients. Use your judgment and be considerate of the recipients’ time.

    Never type in all capital letters. Using all caps or excessive exclamation points may leave the impression that you’re shouting.

 

Making a Linkedin Profile

 

Why Do You Need LinkedIn?

1. Online Presence

Many employers now perform background checks by simply entering your name into a search engine. By making a LinkedIn profile, you can guarantee that the first search result is work appropriate and further advertises your skills.

2. Networking

LinkedIn is a way to  network with employers, mentors, professors, alumni, peers, or other people in your industry. 

3. Job Search

LinkedIn is also a   platform for job postings. LinkedIn also provides statistical information on each employer like common positions, company headquarters, past and present employees, and more! After doing research, you can apply to positions that you’re interested in with your LinkedIn profile and uploaded resume.

 

 

Getting Started

1. Sign up
  LinkedIn is free to join, but it does have paid plans for more advanced features. For students just starting out, though, the free membership is fine!
2. Upload a photo
  Make sure your profile picture is appropriate—it should be a high-quality headshot of just you, ideally wearing a nice blouse, shirt, or jacket. It’s not uncommon for students to take a picture specifically for their LinkedIn profiles.   *TIP: At job and internship fairs, the Career Center operates a LinkedIn photo booth—we can take your LinkedIn headshot for you!
3. Create a URL
  You will automatically be assigned a URL of numbers or letters, but personalize your URL to advertise yourself. A professional URL might include your first and last name. It should be simple enough to include on a business card so that employers can find you.
4. Add your education information
  Include all relevant information, such as major, programs, degrees, and graduation dates.
5. Add your experiences
  This section is an opportunity for you to include an expanded version of your resume! All your past jobs, volunteer positions, and leadership activities can be categorized. You can also attach media files to give employers examples of your work.
6. Add your skills
  On LinkedIn, skills can be endorsed by your connections. If they can attest to your skill level, they can endorse you.  
7. Create a profile headline
  Create a profile headline that tells people who you are in the professional context. It might read “Undergraduate biology student with an interest in cardiovascular research” or “Senior journalism major interested in magazine editorial.”
8. Develop your professional summary
  Explain your career goals and qualifications. This section will look like the intro from your cover letter.

 You have a profile! What's next?

Networking
Find your peers, supervisors, and mentors on LinkedIn and send them requests to connect!

You should always accompany your request with a personalized message—this is even more highly recommended if you’re trying to connect with someone who may not remember you clearly at first, or if you are trying to connect with a potential employer. Let the person know how you met and what organization/connections you have in common.

 

Find people you know

To find people you know, you can search by name or email address, or you can look at LinkedIn’s recommendations for you (see “People you may know” in the Connections dropdown menu). LinkedIn will find people with common organizations and contacts, and you can sort through them and add those you know.

Who should I add?

While on Facebook it’s common for people to add someone they don’t know or someone they’ve only spoken to a couple of times, on LinkedIn, you want to be careful and choosy about who you include in your network. Your connections have the potential to connect you to people who can get you interviews. However, other connections—perhaps people you don’t know at all or people whose profiles are not professional—might act to your detriment.

Add coworkers, supervisors, mentors/mentees, friends, and family, but don’t add someone you don’t know personally or professionally.

How well do you know about that person’s professional goals? How well do they know yours? Think about these things carefully before reaching out to anyone. If someone you don’t know requests a connection, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask them how you two know each other and why they want to connect with you.

 
Status updates

Update your status about once a week.

Don’t forget—LinkedIn isn’t Facebook. No one wants to know what you had for lunch. Instead, post about your industry of interest. It could be news, advice, a question, or an opinion. Sharing articles that are relevant to your industry is a great way to start a dialogue with your connections and show your knowledge and activity with the industry. However, do not get too controversial with topics. Remain professional at all times to avoid conflict. LinkedIn is not a space for arguments to develop.

 
Groups

Join your university group and the groups of any organizations you might belong to, as well as any groups in the industry you want to enter. Participate respectfully and intelligently in group discussions about industry topics—this is a great way to make new contacts and to get your name known to employers!

 

How to use LinkedIn


Now that you have a great profile, make sure to keep it updated and to be active in conversation! Add new contacts as you meet new people, and pay attention to the connections your contacts have. If someone you know is connected to an employer at your dream company, don’t be afraid to ask for an introduction. Give the URL to your profile to employers or mentors you talk to and put it on your resume near your contact information. Even if they don’t add you, it’s a great place to show them your professionalism and your experiences and qualifications. A neat-looking, professional profile can go a long way in the interview process. Aside from showcasing your experiences, it shows employers that you understand how to create an online presence, which is a skill highly valued by companies.

 

Business Cards

Making a lasting impression and standing out in a large population pool requires both a firm handshake and a business card. A business card not only helps you get noticed, but it also gives your network contact information and a professional perception of you. Additionally, it is important to brand yourself—meaning to show how valuable you are as an individual, but also what goods and services you can offer. Having a business card is a great way to show potential employers what you’re interested in and what you have to offer. However, it isn’t just about giving out your business card; it’s about the cards you receive in return. You’re expanding your business network and increasing your chances of succeeding in the professional realm.

Information you should include on your business card:

Name. Use your full name or shortened version (ex: Joseph- Joe). No gimmicks, no nicknames.

Current university with   major(s) and minor(s)/degrees you’re working towards

Graduation date.  This is important for employers to know your availability.

Candidate for internship doing... OR  Candidate for entry level position in...  It is important to let employers know what you’re looking for. This aspect is important for branding yourself as well.

City, State. Street address is not necessary.

Phone numbers (work, home, or cell). If you decide to have more than one, indicate which is which. Ideally, a cell phone number is fine. Make sure that your voicemail greeting is appropriate.

Email address. Keep the email address you use professional. Aim for an address that simply includes your name and/or initials with no numbers. Steer clear of FancyDisc0Person239103 @unprofessional.com; johnjsmith @gmail.com looks much more professional. Do NOT use your Stony Brook email; for some employers it shows that you are unavailable for employment.

Optional information
 
  • A logo/slogan can make your card more memorable.
  • Any memberships you have (sororities, frats, student groups, etc.)
  • A link to your LinkedIn profile (or other professional website)
  • QR code – This shows that you’re ambitious enough to seek out something new and implement it to your benefit; it also means that recruiters can contact you for your specific talents and start conversation already knowing some of your background. QR codes are not aesthetically pleasing, but they offer a way for employers to use smart phones to read about you or visit your website on the spot. You can use   kaywa qr code  to easily make a code. Remember to always   make sure that a QR code works.
Quick tips and resources
 
  • Honors/Awards – This information is more appropriate for your resume. But if you’d like to also use the back of your card, a brief list of honors/awards is okay.
  • Location – If you are open to relocating for your next job, it may be best to leave out your physical address completely.
  • You can use Google Shortener to shorten long URLs. Your business card will appear neater and have additional space. Contacts might respond by thinking of you as internet savvy, but the shorter URL is easily forgotten. If you shorten a link, make sure you include the name of the site that the link is for.
  • Always   proofread  your business card. You want to make the best impression, and a typo will not let you achieve that. Make sure that all your contact information is correct and up to date.
  • Font should be at least 8 point as to be legible for all who will be reading your card.
  • As you’ll see below, make sure to keep a “safe zone” on your business card design. In case your printer or vendor’s printer is off—even by a centimeter—no crucial information

    will be lost.
  • Get creative! You don’t have to go over the top; a simple, clean design works, too. But having a nice design and typography doesn’t hurt, either.
Affordable business cards

Business cards are a great investment. But many college students are on a tight budget. Here are some sites that offer affordable prices for business cards:

If you’d prefer to make your business cards at home, you can use Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Microsoft Office also has business card templates.

For more information on business cards and to get some inspiration, see   Bestbusinesscard.net

Business Card Etiquette

Now that you have the basics of business cards down, you are ready to network! You are free to network at job fairs, while visiting family and friends, during chance meetings while on the bus, train, etc.—anywhere, really; you never know who you’re going to meet!

As a general rule, when networking you want to give your card at the end of the conversation. You could say, “It was great speaking with you. Here is my card; let’s stay in touch.” This should encourage the other person to give you his/her card too, but if not, kindly ask for it. Avoid casually handing out business cards; this makes a negative impression.

If you are at an interview or in a meeting setting you want to give your business card at the beginning. You might say, “Thanks for taking the time to meet with me; here’s my card to hold on to.”

Final Word of Advice

Remember, the business cards can’t do all the work. It is up to you to make a lasting impression, while the cards add to your presence. Pollak advises, “If you’re dreary and boring and unfocused and your card is fabulous, it’s not going to help," she says. "You have to be the best representative of yourself and your card is simply your information." Your business card should be a physical reminder of a good first impression.

You can find networking tips   here, or come down to the Career Center if you want more help preparing.

DO NOT INCLUDE THE STONY BROOK UNIVERSITY LOGO   – Based on business card guidelines, Stony Brook University students may not put the logo on their business cards. SBU can be represented in type only.

P rofessional Attire

 

CampusTap

 

We offer a variety of ways for you to learn from alumni and friends about careers. Select opportunities include the Career Advisors Network (CAN) Program (powered by CampusTap), our Annual Networking Mixer, Alumni Sharing Knowledge (ASK) Blog, and the Tour Your Future Series.

NETWORK WITH YOUR STONY BROOK COMMUNITY- JOIN CAMPUSTAP:

CampusTap is our NEW networking and  mentoring platform for the CAN program that allows you to make meaningful connections and exchange career knowledge with alumni and faculty/staff mentors, in career communities.   Click here and 'Join Now" to indicate interest. 

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