Networking for Beginners in 7 Steps

To network is to develop social contacts with a goal of improving your career. This is crucial in large cities, where the competition for good jobs can be fierce or in smaller towns, where your personal and professional reputation matters.

For most people, networking is a learned skill and not a natural talent. Below you can learn networking for beginners in 7 steps.

Practice makes perfect

Practice makes perfect

 Step One: The Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is your 20-30 second professional introduction. If you’re looking for a job, the goal of your elevator pitch is to tell you new contact who you are and what kind of job you’re looking for.  There are many ways to develop an elevator pitch as there are people in the world but the basic idea is to describe what you do, explain what sets you apart, and explain the types of opportunities you’re looking for, and then practice. See links at the bottom of the page for how to write your own.

Step Two: Think of everyone you know

Start with friends, family members, your spiritual community, your volunteer connections, old coworkers and employers, college instructors, or old clubs or associations. Make a list to track who you’ve reached out to, and for heaven’s sake, be polite. If someone has given you information or another connection, make sure to thank them and if possible, send them a thank you card, call, or even email. If their tip gets you a job, or even an interview, be sure to let them know.

Step Three: Networking is two way street

The best way to improve your networking skill is to be a good connection for others. Providing information or putting in a good word for someone you can vouch for makes you a valuable connection and your own network will be more eager to assist you.

Step Four: Socialize

Everyone’s busy, but good networking means planning time to build new connections. Participating in group outings (even recreational rather than professional ones), attending career fairs, and volunteering to help out with members of your network will help build your relationships and strengthen the bonds of your network.

Step Five: Stay in Touch

When you don’t need help from your network, it’s tempting to drop off contact. Similarly, it’s tough to follow up with members of your network you’ve already sought help from, but it’s essential to stay in touch. Set dates to follow up with your network, both when you’re seeking assistance from them and when you’re not. Check in with them. Your goal is to develop friendships and real connections and you can’t do that with people you only speak with when you’re desperate.

Step Six: Use the tools you have

Your resume and cover letter are great tools in your arsenal. Some networkers keep their resume on hand so they can easily pass it off to potential employers. If that seems too pushy for you, you can post on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms that you’re interested in new job opportunities. The very best tool is LinkedIn and setting up a free personal account will allow you create an easily shareable resume and connect with people you’ve just met (as well as old connections) that you can add to your professional network.

Step Seven: Don’t exploit your network

Perhaps the most important aspect to networking is for you to respect their time, energy, and reputation. Don’t blow off job tips, even if you don’t think their suggestion would be a good fit. Reply politely and follow up with the job lead whenever possible. The worst thing that could happen is that you attend an interview and learn that you were right and that you don’t want the job.

Don’t nag or beg your network, or put pressure on them to help you. Your network will remember being treated poorly and will be unwilling to assist you again. Reciprocate any assistance they give you whenever possible. Say please and thank you, and put it in writing if you don’t know the connection intimately.  Follow step five and stay in touch with your network so that you have a real relationships with them rather than only contacting them when you need something. If a connection levies their reputation at work to get you an interview or a job and you don’t take it seriously, they will feel used and insulted.

 

Networking is a life long skill and it doesn’t come naturally to most people, so it can be intimidating to start, but with practice, you too can become an expert networker.

 

Mindtools.com |Crafting an Elevator Pitch

Inc.com | How to Give a Flawless Elevator Pitch

Forbes.com | How to Create an Elevator Pitch

Why Humility is Essential to College Grads

You worked hard to earn the top marks and prove yourself both at college and in the professional work force. You’re ready to make your mark, get that great job, and start down a better path. And while your confidence is great, here are a few important things to keep in mind that will help you land and keep that first job.

Yes, you can be confident and humble

Yes, you can be confident and humble

There are no guarantees

If you struggle to find a job after you graduate from college, it’s easy to feel defeated. It’s natural to blame the school or program, the economy, or even the person who interviewed you for the job. Unfortunately there are no guarantees when it comes to education, and while a diploma or degree will definitely help, sometimes finding the right fit for your life and skills is challenging. This doesn’t mean you’re a failure or that your investment was a waste. If possible, contact your career center at your educational institution and see if they can provide you with any feedback or support. They may give you access to job postings you wouldn’t have found out about otherwise.

You won’t start at the top

It’s a cliché but it’s easy to forget that when you’re training to do a particular job, that doesn’t mean that’s the job you get right after college, which is part of why humility is essential to college grads. No matter what level of education have, all new hires start out at the bottom and have to earn respect at their new job. They can do that by being reliable and confident, and also by mastering the next few skills.

Practice receiving feedback and criticism

Just like in the classroom, if you want to improve your performance, you must learn to accept feedback and criticism. Training for a new job can feel vulnerable and intimidating. It’s hard to make mistakes in front of new coworkers and supervisors. Having the humility to accept feedback and adjust your performance accordingly is what will make you stand out among other applicants and new hires.

Learn to accept failure

What if you really mess up? Your first step is to be accountable and take responsibility for your mistakes. Shifting the blame to someone else might have worked in high school or college but in the workplace, employers don’t want to see a lot of finger pointing. They want employees who have the integrity to admit when they make an error and begin a discussion about how to fix the problem or improve their performance.

Ability to learn is more important than intelligence

The most important thing anyone learns at college or university is HOW to learn in the first place. There will always be someone smarter, more talented, or more experienced competing for the same job. What will set you apart is your willingness to embrace on-the-job learning, policy or leadership changes, new technology, and increasing workplace diversity.

How to Create Your College Study Space

As deadlines and finals draw near, having an organized personal study space becomes more important than ever. Not sure how to create one at home? Here are 8 easy steps to help you create your college study space.

Home office desk, chair, and hammock

Just don’t relax too much

1.  Find a comfortable space. The best spot to study is comfortable, but not so cozy you get drowsy. Ensure there is adequate room to spread out your study materials. Some people are lucky enough to have a dedicated study space, like a desk in a quiet room at home. Others will have to make do with a temporary study space, like at the kitchen table or on the living room couch. It doesn’t matter where you study as long as you come prepared.

2.  Ensure adequate lighting. Overhead lighting can be too dim for some learners and cause eyestrain. The best solution is a task light, like an office desk lamp. Good lighting will ensure you can see all your work properly.

3.  Get organized before you begin. This means ensuring you have set aside time, and that you have all your study materials, books, and supplies so that you don’t have to keep interrupting your progress to go hunting for missing items. If you have a dedicated work space like a desk or study nook, you can also decorate your space with your favorite colors, photos of loved ones, inspirational quotes, or anything else that reminds you of your goals.

4.  Prevent distractions. This means staying away from social media and putting your phone out of arms reach so you aren’t tempted to answer every message or catch up on errands. If you can close your door and family members or friends, you will find it easier to stay focused. Do you need to study in complete silence? Try to work your schedule around an empty house. Many people prefer quiet music, with or without lyrics, to help filter other more distracting noises.

5.  Use the clock to your advantage. Set time-related goals and give yourself small rewards for completing them. Complete a chapter in 20 minutes and take a five minute Facebook break. Study flashcards for 20 minutes and go make yourself a healthy snack. When you break your studying down into small chunks it doesn’t feel so overwhelming.

6.  Refuel. Ensure you have hydration and healthy snack choices when you sit down to study. This can be a refreshing glass of ice water or maybe a steaming mug of your favorite tea. Some people create study rituals and enjoy their favorite drinks or snacks during study time to help them stay motivated. Just stay away from anything with too much sugar or caffeine, as too much of either can make you sleepy or jittery.

7.  Schedule breaks. Whether you’re using a clock to set goals for yourself or not, it’s important to schedule breaks. Stand up and do some stretches. Take a five or ten minute walk. Refill your cup, and then dive back in.

8.  Still having trouble? Take a study field trip. Some people just don’t study well at home and have an easier time concentrating on campus, or in a coffee shop or library. There’s no “wrong” place to study if it works for you, so don’t be afraid to try different environments to see what helps you stay focused.

Keep Calm and Get Excited for your Future

Guest Post by Deanna Anweiler, Robyn-Lynn Donlevy, Brandy Emmerich, Kysha LaPlante, Isabella Luna, Allison Mamer, and Trista Stokalko, Executive Assistant Class of 2016.

Whether you are just starting your program, or halfway through it, your journey awaits you.

39th Annual SBC Business Show

The Road to Success SBC Business Show 2016

The Road to Success can be a bumpy one, but the tips and tricks you will learn at the show will help you along the way.

The purpose of the Business Show is to help educate students on real life experiences in the workplace. Learn valuable life skills that will better you in both your personal and work life. It is also a way for you to connect with Saskatchewan employers.

The show will take place on May 4, 2016, from 1pm to 3pm at Saskatoon Business College. There are some great sessions planned for you to experience.

Alumni Panel

This panel will contain former SBC graduates who can give you an inside look at how their schooling has helped them in their careers after finishing school.

HR Panel

Talk to HR Panel about tips and tricks to perfecting the job interview. They will educate you on dos and don’ts of landing that perfect job.

Dress for Success

Learn how to dress for the job you want, not the job you have. When you feel good, you will do better work.

Pinching Your Pennies

Get some tips on how to manage your finances and build your savings after graduating.

Living in Balance

Learn to relieve stress one road block at a time. Find a healthy balance between your work and home life.

Professional Social Networking

Talk about creating and managing professional social media accounts when starting your new career.

Sign-up is April 19-21 across from Room 8 during the morning break and the Student Lounge during lunch break.
 Get ready for an exciting afternoon that will help you as you begin your journey on The Road to Success.

Office 365 for productivity anywhere, anytime.

In case you thought you were the only person trying to keep with technology don’t feel bad, you are not alone.

We live in a technology driven world twenty four seven now.  A classic example is now the Office 365 offering by Microsoft.  Personal and corporate users can now access their software on a subscription basis with access to cloud storage and all the Office 2016 software packages.

Consider the benefits to your company and staff productivity.  You can literally have staff working on the same document saving it to the same one drive account.  Here are some other fantastic features:

  • Access work away from the office.  (You can connect up to 5 different devices off one cloud account).
  • Share Securely when you save and upload your documents to a secure storage medium that is safe and secure from hackers day and night.
  • Collaborate between staff for enhanced productivity.
  • Manage all your accounts easily in one place.
  • Save big on both staff and infrastructure to maintain an Exchange environment and keep all updates and patches current.
  • Join the future of file sharing and management. Individual packages start as low as $6 per month that can be accessed anywhere you have an internet connection.

Office 365 at SBC

For more information please visit www.office.microsoft.com for your free trial today.

SBC is a Silver Mid Market Solution Provider and a Microsoft Office 365 reseller of these licenses. If you would like a quote or want to discuss moving to Office 365 please call Rich Chapman at 306 244-6333.

Several attractive plans are available depending on your requirements and path you want to explore.

Perfect Interview Wardrobe on a Budget

If you’re getting ready for the big interview but your interview wardrobe is less than professional, it’s time to get strategic. Here are some tips for putting together your perfect interview wardrobe on a budget.


Step One:

Decide how to present yourself.

When it doubt, always dress MORE conservatively. It’s better to overdress than underdress.

Look online.

Ask advice from friends and family

Don’t use your interview wardrobe to express your unique personality. Let your resume do the talking. If you’re not sure if it’s appropriate, it probably isn’t.


Step Two:

Shop your closet

Before you spend a cent, you need to take stock of what you have.

If it’s stained or creased: See your drycleaners.

If it doesn’t fit, consider a tailor.

Shop Your Friends and Family

Can you borrow items from a friend or family member?

Shop the Stores:

  • Shop thrift
  • Hunt off-season
  • Buy online
  • Be practical: Most people wear 25% of their wardrobe 80% of the time.

Consider accessories:

Consider your coat, bag, scarf, belt, shoes, and jewelry. Make sure any accessory is understated and is not distracting.

Styling

Ensure hair is clean and neatly styled—including facial hair. Any makeup worn should be conservative. Nails should be clean. Do not wear any scented products.


 

Step Three:

Trial Run

Try on your interview outfit and style before your interview and check a full length mirror or have someone take a picture of your outfit to ensure you’re confident and not missing anything.


 

Step Four:

Keeping Up Appearances

Change out of interview clothes immediately after returning home. Keep them separate from other clothes on quality hangers. Ensure they’re ready to go whenever you get the call.

dos and don't dress for interviews

Infographic courtesy of: http://blog.accountingprincipals.com/

 

College Anxiety is Normal.

Whether you’re halfway through your program or just considering full-time education, anxiety is actually normal.

Are you experiencing any of the following symptoms?
  • Unrealistic or excessive worry and fears or guilt
  • Stomach upset, diarrhea, excessive dry mouth
  • Dizziness, chronic tension headaches
  • Racing heart, muscle tension.
Have you tried to cope in any of following ways?
  • More caffeine
  • Procrastination or avoiding contact with classmates or teachers
  • Drinking your worries away
  • Tackling other large unrelated projects
College Fear Anxiety

Anxiety can make you feel alone, but you’re note.

You may be tackling anxiety issues. If exams, assignments and classroom study make you feel anxious, just remember that you’re not alone. Anxiety—especially in college—is actually completely normal. What matters is how you cope.

Strategy #1 – Tackle the Source

Open your emails. Explain to your instructor what’s going on in your life. Make a plan to tackle your to-dos and keep yourself accountable. Communicate if you get stuck. Avoidance often makes anxiety worse. Open communication can help you adjust to the workload that comes with full time classes.

Strategy #2 – Take a Break

Work out. Take a walk. Catch up with friends and family. Watch a movie. Meditate. Read a book. Take a bath. Indulge in whatever ritual you enjoy because sometimes taking a few hours away from the source of your anxiety is enough to come back with fresh eyes and a new approach.

Strategy #3 – Treat Yourself with Compassion

Change is stressful. College can cause anxiety even among people who thrive on learning challenges. Remember that what you are feeling is valid. Don’t try to be perfect or fixate on your mistakes. The important thing is to be open and honest with yourself and keep moving forward towards new experiences.

 

 

9 New Year’s Resolutions for your Career

Whether you’re looking for a 2015 career makeover, or you’d just like to iron out some kinks in your professional life, these 9 New Year’s Resolutions for your career will set you on the right track to make this year your best yet.

1. Identity your skills

Are you a logical, detail-oriented person or a natural communicator? Would you rather work at a creative start-up or a multinational corporation? Take stock of your skills and your preferred work style with these free quizzes.

Human Metrics – Jung Typology Test

What Career is Right for Me? – Assess your skills, interests, style, and values

Rasmussen College Career Aptitude Test – based on your own skills assessment.

Focus Diagnostic – based on what motivates you at work.

2. If you hate your job, make a plan

If you dread going to work each day, you’re not going to do your best work and you and your employer lose out. You need to make a change. That might mean changing your role, taking time off, finding another job, or going back to school.

3. Go back to school

Maybe you need to refresh or upgrade a single course, or maybe you need to consider college, university, or a trade. If your career is stalled out, education and skills training is an excellent option for increasing your confidence and making yourself stand out to employers.

4. Practice work-life balance

Whether your goal is to see more of your friends and family, take more trips, develop skills or hobbies, or just reduce your stress, it’s important to maintain work-life balance. Set up clear boundaries and goals for time spent doing things that have nothing to do with work.

5. Manage your social media presence

Lock down your Facebook to ensure everything you post is private to control what employers and clients can see. This is important because it shows both discretion and tech savviness, which is valuable to employers. Here is a how to guide from Wired’s Wiki. Consider other social media outlets you use and see if there is anything you wouldn’t want your boss or clients to see.

6. Eliminate bad habits

Are you always ten minutes late? Do you check your phone constantly in meetings? Do you leave dirty dishes in the staff room sink? Do you procrastinate on large projects, or check Pinterest or Reddit when you should be working? You might want to break those habits now before you hear about them from your boss.

7. Augment interpersonal skills

Are you a strong communicator or could you use some improvement? Whether you’re working with difficult people, or practicing being assertive, it’s never a bad idea to brush up on your interpersonal skills. Knowing how to communicate effectively with all your coworkers (yes, even the difficult ones) makes you valuable, diplomatic, and effective.

8. Challenge your beliefs

The things we believe about ourselves aren’t always true. We might believe we can’t change a certain habit or that we can’t learn a new skill. Embrace opportunities that challenge your beliefs about your limitations and you will be surprised what you can accomplish, both personally and professionally.

9. Build a comprehensive strategy for how to handle your career in 2015.

Review the last year and make a realistic, actionable plan for how to set your goals in motion this year. Here’s an excellent example from Chris Guillebeau, author of “The Happiness of Pursuit”.

Copyright Bill Waterson, Calvin and Hobbes.

Copyright Bill Waterson, Calvin and Hobbes.

 

Have a safe holiday and a happy new year from everyone at Saskatoon Business College.

 

4 Signs a Career in Mining is Right for You

How do you know if a career in mining is right for you? Answer ‘yes’ to these four simple questions.

1. You want a professional job that with a leading international corporation

Mining Industry Business Specialist

Ever thought about a career in mining?

Working for large companies can be positive if you’re looking for benefit packages, flexibility, opportunity for growth, and lots of structure. On the other hand, all that structure can mean a lot of red tape, and sometimes a corporate culture that leaves you in the cold. Give some thought to what kind of work environment you’re looking for and what’s a dealbreaker.

2. You want to earn more than other people in your field

In Saskatchewan, as in the rest of the world, a career in mining can end up paying more.  For example, an Accounts Payable clerk working for a major mining company or a key part of the mining supply chain, can expect to earn 44K to start—more than 8K more than the national average for the same work in other industries. Mining industries are keen at attract the best employees and are often willing to pay wages that reflect that.

3. You want jobs in demand

Mining has traditionally been a cycle of boom and bust but new opportunities are always available, both in Canada and abroad. Mining experts like Alex Fallon say that the two staffing challenges they face are attracting qualified engineers and knowledgeable professionals with an understanding of the industry. These two groups are always in demand.

4. You want to learn about business, risk, and mining.

People who attracted to careers in mining need an appetite for risk and an aptitude for business. They need to understand logistics, communications, and health and safety management. Young professionals with this specialized knowledge are uniquely placed to excel, both in the mining industry in Saskatchewan, and across Canada.


For more information on a professional career in Mining, check out SBC’s Mining Industry Business Specialist program, developed in part by SREDA President & CEO Alex Fallon.

The 12 Best Free Apps for College Students

Make the most of your time in college with these 12 best free apps.


Productivity

OneNote/Pocket/Evernote/Google Keep

All these apps collect all your notes, lists, reminders, recipes, homework, photos, voice recordings, and more. You can access from phone, computer, and tablet. All of them are free moderate users and some are free even for users who require a ton of storage. They are similar in their functionality and so which you choose is a matter of preference but in general MS Office users prefer OneNote; Pocket is best for folks with a lot of online reading; Evernote has more features and functions and Google Keep works well for serious Android users.

OneNote |Pocket |Evernote |Google Keep

Evernote elephant

Never forget


Storage and Backup

Dropbox and Google Drive

Known your files are secure and backed up in the cloud. Store personal or work documents, photos, movies, music and more and access them from your phone, computer or tablet. Dropbox has a much larger upload limit while Google Drive allows users to create, upload, and download docs, spreadsheets, diagrams, pdfs, videos, and more.

Dropbox | Google Drive (video)

 Agendas and Lists

Any.do/Wunderlist

Create and curate lists and schedule reminders, share with others, and schedule your day for maximum productivity. Try both apps to see which one you prefer.

Any.do| Wunderlist

Share your lists

Harness your lists


Budgeting

Mint

There are no runner-ups when it comes to free, secure personal finance software. Plug in all your financial info to create a budget, find ways to save, and be alerted to suspicious financial activity on your cards. This is an award-winning tool to track and manage your income and expenses.

Mint

Mint dot com

Manage your money intuitively


Reference

Dictionary.com/Wikipedia

Both are terrific references. Dictionary.com is your portable word and spelling reference manual, while Wikipedia provides brief, reasonably accurate overviews of complex ideas and topics for further research. Both are free to download.

Dictionary.com | iPhone | Android

Wikipedia | Android |iPhone


Relax

Calm

Sometimes you feel overwhelmed. Practice Guided or free meditation along with an optional how-to so you can take anywhere from 2-30 minutes out of your day, recharge, and live in the moment.

Calm

Calm app

Take a deep breath