by Ellen Mehling, Career Development Consultant, METRO

It is well-known that networking is vital to a successful job search and a thriving career. LinkedIn has made it easy to connect with a large number of people, but in-person interactions should not be neglected and should be conducted with thought and care. Those who have met you in person and who really know you and have worked with you in some way are going to be the most beneficial to you. These are the people who will refer, recommend, or even hire you. These first words and conversations with other professionals can make or break your opportunity for further contact.

Your Introduction

You will be remembered by the manner in which you introduce yourself, so choose those first words deliberately. Sometimes just your name, title, and workplace will suffice. And sometimes just your name and a general descriptive title (even just “librarian”) is appropriate, depending on the person or audience you are introducing yourself to.

In some cases, a few words describing what you do will be needed. If, for example, your title doesn’t make your job responsibilities clear or if there is a certain skill you want to be sure the person you are talking to knows about you, be sure to mention that too. If you are a student, give the name of the school and your degree-in-progress, with the possible addition of the kind of information work you hope to do following graduation.

It is best not to introduce yourself by saying you are unemployed or job hunting. I have heard many info pros begin their introduction with something like, “I was laid off two years ago…” We all have setbacks in our careers. By introducing yourself with a past setback you are telling other people that this one-time event, which may have occurred some time ago, has defined you in a permanent way. This encourages others to think of you as unemployed and that is not likely to lead to new opportunities. I would also avoid the phrase “in transition” as it has come to mean “long-term unemployed”.

Lead with your strengths; introduce yourself in the present tense, (“I am…” rather than “I was…”) and have some project or part-time job or volunteering or internship or blog or research or service in a professional organization that you can talk about later in the conversation. Keep your introduction to one or two sentences. After that, *listen* to the other person’s self-introduction and ask a follow-up question or two, to get things started. Read more…


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Managing Your Career in a Negative Environment – Library Worklife:

By Mandy R. Simon

Many of the colleagues I’ve spoken to lately have alluded to having a similar problem in their work environments, regardless of organizational size or type: rampant negativity from co-workers. Workplace negativity is insidious and can feel downright inescapable. As the old-timey educational movie reels explain about tooth decay and drug addiction, negativity can seep into an organization unannounced and threaten to discourage even the most motivated and enthusiastic leaders. How does one manage their career in such a climate? Here are some tips I’ve found useful for staying buoyant in a pessimistic sea.

Maintain organizational awareness and self-awareness.
Buy into the vision and mission of your organization. Then ask yourself, where do you fit? Take a self-inventory of what is within and outside of your control. Where can you positively contribute and what skills do you have that can positively influence others (who may also be feeling the ill-effects of a negative environment)? Focus on the things you can change and improve. Go where you can do your best work. Pay attention to your co-workers. Encourage those who are working towards their own goals. Praise them on projects they initiate and effort they’re putting forth. They may not be getting recognition for their efforts, either. If you see someone doing a good job, acknowledge it. Encouragement isn’t reserved for managers and supervisors.

Find a friend.
Find a supportive friend with whom you can commiserate and allow yourself a certain amount of time to complain. Then, stop. Each of you is responsible to pull the other out of the negativity drain. Make a commitment to acknowledge when enough-is-enough and the conversation needs to turn around. Periodically remind each other about the organization’s mission. Get to know each other’s career aspirations so you can remain on the lookout for opportunities as they arise and seem to fit each other’s professional goals. Be a cheerleader for this person and vouch for their competencies and successes when you can. Read more…

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