Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Pack your Bags and your Briefcase: Six Essentials you can't Afford to Forget

Based on the expertise of Megan Alwine, Associate Director – Kelley Graduate Career Services

Have you ever packed for a road trip, loaded up the car, driven away, and then remembered all of the things you forgot to bring? Networking can be like that, too. “We had a good conversation. I sent a LinkedIn invitation. We’re getting together for coffee next week… Uh oh! Did I send a thank you?” So many times, it is easy to forget the little things when it comes to networking. And these are the little things that can go a LONG way. Here’s what should be on your mental “do not forget” checklist.

Things you might forget:

#1. Toothpaste: Talk to everyone
Forgetting your toothpaste can make you shy away from any conversation. Unfortunately, that timidity, when not from a lack of brushing, can yield missed opportunities. If you’re at a networking night, and [company] is only recruiting for their marketing department, do not write them off. This particular person might work in the marketing department but might know a good contact in the department you are interested in. If you make a good impression, they’ll probably pass your name on. In other words, you are always making an impression, so make it a good one.

#2. The GPS: Make it easy
Have you ever been on a road trip where your GPS has failed? When you don’t provide context for your connector, they’re forced to bust out the old-school map; it’s possible but not preferred. When you are asking someone to reach out to a contact to you, make it easy for them! One of the best ways you can do this is to write your email explaining exactly what you want. For example, “Hi Megan. I saw you are connected to John on LinkedIn. I’m extremely interested in [industry] and would love to get in touch with him to talk about [topic]. Would you consider introducing me to him?” By using this format, Megan is able to forward the message with minimal effort to connect you with John. Bonus: John sees you’re prepared and intentional about why you want to speak to him.

#3. Your itinerary: Define the ask
The planning and effort you put into your itinerary make the trip run smoothly. While networking, the ask clearly outlines who, what and when. A word of advice: when you’re requesting someone else’s time make it as simplistic and clear as possible. If they have to work to get time with you, you’re already starting off on the wrong foot. Make suggestions to take out any extra steps. For example, rather than email back and forth about times that would work, acknowledge their time is precious, ask for an allotted amount of time within a larger time window (i.e. Would you be available for a phone call between 3 and 5 pm this Friday?).

#4. Confirmation number: Maintain control of the follow-up
Without your confirmation number, all you can do is hope the hotel got it right. Print your confirmation number in formatting your follow up. In The Two Hour Job Search, Steve Dalton gives many great pieces of advice, but one of his best pertains to the follow-up. The template given in the book is as simple as this:
“I know time is a resource, so if we are unable to connect by email, I will try to reach you next week to see whether that is more convenient.”
By structuring your follow up this way, you give yourself an opportunity reach out (next week) if you haven’t heard anything back within a certain time. And, you know what? You’re actually showing the recipient that you’re accountable. You said you would follow up in 1 week, and then you do!

#5. Paying your credit card bill: Send a thank-you
Just like forgetting to pay the tab from your vacation can damage your credit score, don’t let forgetting to send a thank-you damage your reputation. Although sending an email to thank them for their time will protect you from damaging your reputation, does that convey how valuable you consider their time? One effective but often forgotten art is that of the handwritten thank-you note. While this doesn’t replace the email for the sake of a timely follow-up, it does speak to the receiver and sets you apart.

#6. Phone charger: Give an update to your connector
Your cell phone charger is just a small piece of equipment, making it the easiest but arguably the most important thing you can forget. Without your phone charger, you’d be cut off from the outside world (and Google maps which would be a disaster on a road trip). When you leave your connector in the dark, they might feel cut off, too. Someone you know generously agreed to tap into their network for you, something they were absolutely not required to do. (But luckily most people are super great and love helping others out.) Here’s the kicker – they want to know about what happened after they helped you out. Did the contact they set you up with work out well? Awesome! Let them know. Was it kind of a dead end? That’s too bad it didn’t work out this time. Still, tactfully let them know. Regardless, make sure they know you didn’t take their contact or effort for granted.

There you have it – six things to add to your mental networking list. Talk to everyone. Make it easy. Define the ask. Maintain control. Send a thank you. And give updates. These seemingly small changes might just have the biggest impact. 

This is the first in a series of blogs entitled The Career Life Cycle. Join us every other week as we cover a different aspect of the cycle. Stay tuned! Our last post includes a chance at an exclusive giveaway with one of Kelley's certified graduate career coaches.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

A Job Seeker’s Guide to Dealing with Rejection

Based on the expertise of Christina Schmidt, Associate Director of Business Marketing – Kelley Graduate Career Services

Clich├ęs like, “It’ll all work out”, or “Everything happens for a reason” are a whole lot easier to say than to hear, aren’t they? But at some point or another, failure is inevitable, and you won’t get exactly what you had hoped for. The supportive, caring people in your life will listen, sympathize, and then throw out something along those lines intending to cheer you up. Often those phrases can have the opposite intended effect, but don’t let a bitter reaction tarnish the truth in those words. Remember, you always have a choice – even when those choices aren’t about which job opportunity to pursue. When your only choice is how you’ll respond, consider the following before reacting.

You’ve built a network. This is extremely valuable, so work to maintain it. Maybe there was someone just *slightly* more qualified for that job. But what about your dream job they’re just about to post? Chances are, employees on the inside know of roles coming open before everyone else. By working to maintain your network, your internal contact might be able to 1) tell you about the position before it’s made public, or 2) say they know someone who would be a great match for the role.

It’s a chance to improve. Around Kelley, we call this an after action review: figuring out what went right and what went wrong. The key to this one is honesty. You have to be honest with yourself or whomever you’re talking to about why you truly didn’t get the job. There are a million and one excuses in the book. Don’t be someone who makes excuses. Be someone who takes responsibility for what happened and takes action to never let it happen again.

Use the opportunity to take a break. Sometimes we can get so focused on the job we applied for that stepping back from the situation to get yourself in the right frame of mind will do much more for you than hours of interview prep ever could. What’s your favorite escape from reality? Listening to a TED talk, working out, reading a book? The important thing to realize is it’s only a break. Don’t quit. When you’re ready, come up with a plan of action in how you’re going to move on. Don’t go it alone, either – this is a great time to bring in a coach, industry professional, or mentor you trust to bounce ideas off and hold you accountable.

Rejection’s never easy, but don’t let missing out on one opportunity lead to squandering two. By using rejection to fuel your progress, you’ll end up in a place better than you ever imagined!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

MBA Talk: Why Kelley?

Each year, aspiring business leaders from all over the world choose Kelley for their MBA. We asked them why.

Six current Kelleys from the Class of 2017—Lauren Maggion, Aaron Millicans, Guillermo Kalen, Erica Smith, Paul Carlson and Ryan Bradley—reveal what clinched it for Kelley in their MBA search.

Support at all Stages:

Lauren Maggion
“I initially stumbled on Kelley when I moved my friend to Bloomington for her Ph.D. I emailed the MBA program office to see if anyone was around, and they immediately responded that they would be happy to visit with me even during the summer! The visit to campus was great and solidified my interest in certain program aspects – the core, the small class size, and the post-grad opportunities. Once I applied, the outreach I received from current students was awesome. I was able to meet with alumni in New York City, and a lot of them reminded me that it is totally possible to be on the East or West Coast despite going to school in the Midwest. I visited Kelley once more during experience weekend and really decided to attend because of the fit of the Kelley Family. From everyone I spoke with, there was an innate sense of collaboration, and people that wanted to help me succeed.” –Lauren

“The culture of Kelley is very difficult to summarize, but it can be boiled down to supportive and flexible. Kelley has a very supportive and understanding attitude that allows all students to pursue a career of their choice. Regardless of industry, role or location, the Kelley faculty and staff want to understand your goals and aspirations in order to make them a reality.” –Aaron

“Collaboration is something you feel from the moment you make contact and then confirm again later at interview season, surrounded by colleagues/competition that are supporting you, and you supporting them. [Kelley] is a place where you master team building and learn about the power of relationships. You experience this with your colleagues, the amazing alumni network, your faculty and staff.” –Guillermo 

A Proven Track Record:

Erica Smith
“I chose to pursue my MBA at Kelley because I was confident that its program would help me achieve my career goal of becoming a world-class brand manager. In my eyes, the significant presence of Kelley alumni at premier companies such as Procter & Gamble and General Mills demonstrated that a Kelley MBA is well-respected within the consumer packaged goods industry.  I also saw that several Kelley women alums have risen to the rank of chief executive officer of marketing-oriented organizations like Popeye’s and Quiznos—which made me feel like I could walk in their shoes one day. Given the success of Kelley’s vast alumni network, I felt that a Kelley MBA would equip me with the skills to not only manage a brand but lead an organization one day.” –Erica

“The staff not only is collaborative, but highly prepared. Kelley has repeatedly ranked in top positions for its Graduate Career Services, and the majority of its students have great jobs before graduation. As an international candidate, I considered this to be essential if I wanted to have professional experience in the USA, since companies are looking for a highly prepared individual, both academically and professionally.” –Guillermo

Kelley Culture:

“One of the aspects of the Kelley MBA Program I have enjoyed most is the opportunity to meet and work with students from all over the world. During the Integrated Core during my first year, I worked on a team with a student from Bangalore, India—who is the most brilliant person I’ve ever met. The cultural and technical learnings he has imparted to me during our time together have been invaluable, and I know our bond with last through the years to come. I also had the opportunity to work on a consulting project for a small bakery in Ghana called Ladl Patisserie during my first year—which was another international, interactive learning experience I truly enjoyed.” –Erica

Paul Carlson
“I was attracted to Kelley because of the family-like culture, the academic structure, and the potential network that I could leverage to help support my transition out of the military. My family and I felt welcomed, valued, and part of the community.  The size of the classes and the number of veteran students were also contributing factors because I felt like I could create strong professional and personal bonds with my peers, professors, and staff.”  –Paul

“I was nervous about returning to Kelley since I had already experienced Kelley and IU as an undergrad.  I was worried that I wouldn’t get a unique academic experience the second time around.  I was worried that recruiters would find two degrees from the same institution pointless.  I was worried that IU basketball games wouldn’t be as fun in my early 30s as they were in my early 20’s. Looking back I can’t believe I even considered going anywhere except Kelley….especially because basketball games and football tailgates are DEFINITELY as enjoyable the second time around!” –Ryan

Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Consortium and Kelley: Enhancing Diversity in Business Starts Here

by Ruby Jones, MBA’18
Consortium Fellow
Winner of the Wallace L. Jones Fellowship

Ruby Jones
On Tuesday, March 8, I received a beautiful cream and crimson box announcing my acceptance to the Kelley School of Business as a Consortium Fellow. Four hours later, I quit my job.

Quitting was not on my “To Do” list for the day, but I was so overcome with emotion and excitement that I couldn’t wait any longer. I should clarify that by “quit”, I mean I gave a four-month notice, but after nine years with the same employer four months can seem like a short notice. As word of my departure spread, I was bombarded with questions: What is the Consortium? What is a Consortium Fellow? Why an MBA? Why now?

What is the Consortium?

The mission of The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management is to enhance diversity in business education and leadership by helping to correct the serious underrepresentation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans in business schools and corporate management.  

In its 50th year, the Consortium assists in recruiting promising students, of any race, who show a commitment to its mission, to attend 18 of the top business schools. In exchange for their commitment, students receive access to a close-knit on-campus family, a powerful network of more than 8,500 alumni, early exposure to internship recruiters and, for many, full-tuition fellowships from their respective universities.

What qualities define a Consortium Fellow?

My commitment to the Consortium’s mission began before my knowledge of the organization. As a child, I pledged a portion of my allowance each year to support the United Negro College Fund. Although I did not fully understand the impact, I knew I was helping students who looked like me attend college and join the workforce. This support of diversity grew throughout my undergraduate studies, AmeriCorps Vista service and work experience.

At Kelley, this commitment has continued through accepting a leadership role on campus with the Curriculum Advisory Committee and participation in Kelley Consortium activities. In the coming months, there will be various opportunities to assist Consortium candidates in navigating the admissions process. Although work is abundant and time is limited, I will make myself available to those candidates, because the ability to build and support diverse leadership is critical for future success.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Cutting the Cord: Best Practices for Transitioning Within the Same Organization

by Stephanie J. Gray, Associate Director
Kelley Graduate Career Services

Stephanie J. Gray
You did it! You set your sights on a new position within your organization and after months of networking and interviewing you have earned a new title and a new set of job responsibilities. There’s one problem: you still work at the same company, so leaving your old job isn’t as easy as handing in two weeks' notice. Your previous supervisor may have advocated for your promotion and your clients may not really understand how you work for the same organization, but can no longer help them.

I recently made this transition and I have come up with a few helpful tips to “cut the cord” with your old job and start your new adventure.

Take time off.
This is something that I wish I had done. If you have the opportunity, take a week off to decompress and get excited for your new role. This week will also help you to distance yourself from your previous position without having new responsibilities.

Accept that there will be a transition time.
You likely haven’t changed building locations, so you might feel like the same person, but you are a new employee in THIS office. Allow yourself some time to adjust to the new responsibilities.

 Redefine success.
What made you successful at your last job may not be what makes you successful at your new one.  Usually moving up or over will require a different set of skills, some that may be completely foreign to you.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Look In The Mirror. What Do You See?

by Kendell Brown, Associate Director of Alumni Career Services
Kelley Graduate Career Services

Kendell Brown
Often alums and clients contact me wanting to initiate a job search but they’re at a loss as to where to start. All that they know is that they want to start now! So to jumpstart their thinking, I’ll have them assess where they are today. Self-evaluation is a great way to inventory who you are, what you have to offer and where you want to go. Here are the six areas I encourage someone to consider and the order to consider them. 

Strengths – What do you do well? 
I encourage people to start here.  It’s typically an easy assessment to make. If you’re stuck or too modest to reflect on your strengths look at old performance reviews. Or think about what you like to do best and/or what comes easiest to you. 

Transferrable skills – What will you leverage?
This is a natural next step from strengths. Transferrable skills are those skills that you have that can be applied across a variety of positions. Meaning if you’ve got a strong drive for results in your current role – you’ll have a strong drive for results in your next one. Typically, there’s a high degree of overlap between transferrable skills and strengths. Although, you should be aware that it’s not necessary for a transferrable skill to be a strength.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Kelley Alumni Receive Free Career Support for Life

by Kendell Brown, Associate Director of Alumni Career Services 
Kelley Graduate Career Services

Kendell Brown
At the Kelley School of Business, the Graduate Career Services staff considers alumni career services to be about lifetime career support. We are here for Kelley alumni at all stages of their careers. On-campus career services teams focus on understanding a student’s values and interests to help with a job search and getting off to a good start. Alumni career services marries that initial knowledge with the knowledge that comes with experience and being “in the real world” to set and achieve career development goals.

For short term planning, almost all of my conversations are about the next career step—a promotion, an external job search or a career pivot (“I’m in finance but I’d like to get into marketing.”).

When it comes to mid-term planning, those discussions are more about having a broad career goal and the moves necessary to achieve it. We talk about expanding an alum’s responsibility scope, enhancing and expanding strengths and building visibility.

Kelley’s alumni career services support is free and unlimited. This is a testament to how much we value our alumni. I’ve talked with my colleagues in other schools' alumni career services offices and they are stunned that I meet with each alum as often as he or she likes and at no cost. In this respect, Kelley is truly singular.