Tips From Our Career Coach

Check out these quick and timely tips from GAA Career Coach Catherine Tuttle.

Prepping for a Performance review

Why do we have performance reviews? Ideally, it’s so you and your supervisor are clear about how effective your contributions have been within your team/organization. It is meant to be a two-way conversation – a chance for you and your boss to review the work you’ve been doing, what has been going well, where you might want to improve, and identify opportunities for growth.

Whether formal or informal, there are certain best practices that if followed, will help you get the most out of your review.

  • Start by reviewing the goals you set the year before individually and/or as a team. What have you been able to accomplish? What have you been able to help your team accomplish? What have you not been able to achieve and why?
  • Be specific, write down key points and quantify your accomplishments where you can (revenue growth, process improvements, increased engagement, productivity, etc.). It can be helpful to keep a running list of your achievements throughout the year. Take time to assess your efforts after completing a big project and document your success. PS – this will also come in handy when you update your resume for a new opportunity.
  • Get outside feedback. Talk to people on your team about how you’ve made an impact (and be ready to return the favor). Often, we are blind to our own strengths and play down our accomplishments. Share your thoughts with others to make sure you’re not missing anything.
  • Be ready to share how you have tried to improve yourself proactively. Have you attended an online training? Did you start a certification program? Are you taking advantage of self-paced online courses through LinkedIn Learning or Coursera? Let your boss know about these things and how they relate to your current performance and future goals.
  • Try to leave your review with clear goals and expectations. Write them down, and perhaps email them to your manager as a re-cap to make sure you’re both on the same page. From there, track your progress throughout the year so you’ll be even better prepared for the next review. If your boss is open to it, perhaps you ask for a 6-month check-in to make sure you’re on track or if priorities have shifted.

Don’t have a formal review process within your organization? Think about following the steps above to create your own informal review. Schedule a time with your boss to ensure you understand the goals she or he has set for the team and how you can contribute. If you understand how your role and your team fit within the greater organization, you’ll be better able to prioritize your time and potentially offer to help with areas outside of your day-to-day responsibilities. These types of stretch assignments are key to growing your skill set, increasing your visibility within your company, and building a network inside and outside your organization.

July 2021 - Making a Career Pivot

Check out these quick and timely tips from GAA Career Coach Catherine Tuttle.

Making a Career Pivot

According to Prudential Financial’s Pulse of the American Worker survey, 1 in 4 workers is preparing to look for new opportunities now that the pandemic threat has subsided.

Why? The past year has highlighted the things people value most in their lives and their work and they no longer want to compromise. Burnout and career advancement are at the top of the list of reasons to pivot along with flexible schedules, and economic well-being (increased salary and better benefits).

Employees are looking for company cultures that reflect their values, but that can be hard to discern from verbiage on a company website, leaving many applicants weary of moving forward. Many are also suffering from application fatigue (63% according to a recent survey), exhausted from applying to hundreds of jobs with little employer response or feedback. In fact, almost 20% of the respondents had been searching for over a year.

So how do you go about maximizing your search efforts and increasing the likelihood that you’ll end up at the right company? I’ve included a few tips below to get you started. I’d also recommend checking out the Making Career Transitions webinar on the GAA site here.

Take time to reassess. Start to gather information about yourself by reviewing performance appraisals and getting feedback from friends/mentors.  What are you good at?  What are you recognized for?  And of those things, what do you most enjoy?  What are your favorite skills?  What are you naturally drawn to and interested in?  What is important to you about work?  Who do you enjoy working with and in what types of environments?  Understand what is important to you and use these key takeaways as a guiding star as you evaluate different options/opportunities.

Identify your options. Once you know what’s important to you going forward, you can start to narrow your options and identify new industries and functions that may be a good fit. You may want to start by focusing on and identifying an industry that is strong or emerging in your target area and perhaps has similarities to your current industry experience. If you’re unsure which industries to target, look for former colleagues who held a similar role to you and have moved on to other companies – what industries are they working in? What companies have accepted their previous experience? This can be a good place to start and help you get these ideas on paper in a concrete way.

Do your research, then get out from behind the computer. Obviously you can learn a lot online, but talking to people in the industries and roles you’re interested in is the best way to identify whether the industry or company are a good fit.  Often times there are major differences between what is listed online or in a job description and what a job or company culture are actually like. In addition to industry trends, projects they’re working on, opportunities and risks, ask about company culture, company leadership, and opportunities for growth.

When it comes to making a career pivot, the greater the change you’re looking to make, the more important your relationships become. The more people you talk to and the more you understand about your intended industry or function, the sooner you will land your next role.

May 2021 - Advocating for Yourself at Work

Check out these quick and timely tips from GAA Career Coach Catherine Tuttle.

Self-advocacy: taking initiative to communicate your needs and wants to others in order to support your overall wellbeing. From a personal perspective, this may mean saying no to a volunteer engagement in order to protect your time and do things that truly spark joy. Professionally, this may be asking for a raise, a promotion, or the ability to take part in a professional development opportunity.

Whether you’re only a few years into your career or 20, advocating for yourself at work can feel uncomfortable and awkward. But relying on others to champion your best interests can lead to your feeling overlooked or underappreciated.

Self-advocacy also raises awareness of the problems you face and the resources needed to overcome them which sets you up for success short- and long-term. As an added bonus, self-advocacy at work promotes self-advocacy in other areas of your life, giving you the confidence necessary to go after your personal wants and needs. With purpose and practice, we can all become better advocates for ourselves and others.

Form genuine relationships: Forming collaborative and mutually beneficial relationships with co-workers across levels and functions is a great way to showcase your hard work and willingness to help the organization as a whole. It’s also a great way to build internal advocates which means less convincing when proving you deserve to have your request met.

Be ready to articulate your value: Before making your request, review your recent accomplishments (quantifying where you can). Even your boss can’t be expected to know all of your achievements, especially not off the top of their head, so remind them of your value by highlighting key wins. Then articulate how your request will enhance your success and add value to the team*.

Frame your request: Whatever you’re asking for, it’s important that you align your goals with the goals of the organization. In order to achieve your desired outcome, frame your request as a win-win for both you and the company. For example, if you are asking for additional help on a project, focus on the optimal outcome: the product gets finished quicker and will hit the market in advance of a competitors product launch; or the product will get broader exposure because you’ll have the ability to focus on strategic partnerships vs. tactical details. Whatever the request, make sure your goals and the goals of the organization are not mutually exclusive.

Practice makes perfect: When practicing interviewing skills with alumni, I always tell them they can think about how to answer questions and even write everything out, but practice answering questions out loud is the only way to get more comfortable and gain confidence. Often times the way things sound in our head and how they come out of our mouth are completely different. Interviewing can be nerve wracking but so can asking for a raise. Practice with a friend or even in front of the mirror, just practice!

* I understand that for many of us, the idea of highlighting your achievements feels like bragging – something we’ve been told not to do since we were children. That said, it’s important you find ways to become comfortable giving yourself kudos. Maybe that’s a monthly email update to your boss that can easily be shared with key stakeholders, or asking a client to share their positive experience with senior leaders. Owning your wins and sharing them confidently will be key to advancing throughout your career.

March 2021 - Giving and Receiving Feedback

Check out these quick and timely tips from GAA Career Coach Catherine Tuttle.

While feedback is rooted in the idea of continuous improvement, it seems to have been falsely linked to performance management and corrective action. If individuals and organizations could embrace a growth mindset, focused on future potential vs. past mistakes, we could start to reframe feedback as an opportunity to challenge ourselves and perform at a higher level.

It is important to keep in mind that we all have blind spots; areas where there may be a mismatch between our intention and others perception. If we accept that we all make mistakes, it empowers us to view feedback as a tool for personal growth and continuous improvement.

I realize this is easier said than done, especially since our past experiences with feedback may or may not have been positive and affect our comfort level with the process, but with practice those giving and receiving feedback can begin to change their perspective.  I’ve included tips for both audiences below.

Giving Feedback

  • Timely feedback is ideal, but if you can, prepare before delivery. Identify the key pieces of information you want to share and provide specific examples to back up your points.
  • Consider your tone. Ideally, you want to come across as positive and supportive, taking an empathetic and solution-oriented approach to build trust and rapport. I often use the phrase ‘it’s not what you say It’s how you say it” when giving feedback to my 9-year-old son. A tried and true saying that applies in business and personal relationships.
  • Focus on facts and behavior, not the person or their personality, to make the feedback less personal and more objective. Avoid sharing personal opinions.
  • Leverage active listening skills. After delivering the feedback, ask for their thoughts on your perception of their actions, and allow time for them to process if needed.
  • Create a forward focus by framing feedback in a way that encourages and allows the individual to make improvements. You might even offer to help them explore ways to apply the feedback going forward.

Receiving Feedback

  • Ask for feedback regularly. In doing so, it becomes more routine and helps avoid surprises down the road. It also allows us to own our mistakes and move forward rather than dwelling on them.
  • When asking for feedback or receiving feedback, try to focus the conversation on a specific area and keep a positive tone. For example, asking “what could I have done better when engaging stakeholders on this project” vs. “what did I do wrong”.
  • Engage multiple parties and stakeholders to get a well-rounded perspective rather than one person’s opinion. This allows us to look for themes and identify key areas for growth based on input from multiple sources.
  • Be gracious even if you don’t agree with the feedback you receive. Thank the person for their time and perspective, then take a step back. We all have development areas but that doesn’t mean you have to accept all feedback unconditionally. By distinguishing between facts and feelings, we can assess the feedback more objectively.

Jan. 2021 - Combatting Imposter Syndrome

Check out these quick and timely tips from GAA Career Coach Catherine Tuttle.

Imposter syndrome is the phenomenon of capable people being plagued by self-doubt. Even Jody Foster, after winning an Oscar said: “I thought it was a big fluke. The same way when I walked on the campus at Yale, I thought everybody would find out, and then they’d take the Oscar back.” And Maya Angelou, the incredible author and poet once shared: “I’ve written 11 books but each time I think, ‘uh oh, they’re going to find out now.  I’ve run a game on everybody and they’re going to find me out.’

To combat imposter syndrome, we have a lot of learning and unlearning to do when it comes to recognizing the internal barriers we face and working to break them down. While no small task, I’ve included some ideas below to get you started.

Fake it till you make it: While this doesn’t sound like the most scientific theory, it is backed by science.  One study found that when people assumed a high-power pose for just two minutes, their dominance hormone levels (testosterone) went up and their stress hormone levels (cortisol) fell.  As a result they felt more powerful, in charge, and showed a greater tolerance for risk.  Additional research states that simply saying positive affirmations (for instance, “Catherine, you are going to rock this presentation”) have a powerful effect on how you see yourself.

Identify and change limiting beliefs: It is essential that we identify and label limiting beliefs we have about ourselves. Then, according to Byron Katie who has been researching these beliefs and their effect on our life, we must ask ourselves three questions: is it true; is it absolutely true; and who would I be without that thought? Notice your reaction to these questions. Are you fearful? If so, of what? What are you protecting yourself from? Embarrassment, failure, something else? It’s important that we examine these beliefs before acting on them so we do not limit our potential confusing feelings for facts.

Visualize your success: If you are questioning your ability to lead, present to senior leadership, or simply take on a new project, visualize how you’ll navigate the situation successfully in advance. Conduct a mental dress rehearsal of how you will approach challenges. Confidence doesn’t have to come from experience. Similar to positive self-talk, visualization can help prepare you to overcome doubts as they appear.

Impacts of gender inequality:  While anyone can experience imposter syndrome, women and minorities tend to experience it more intensely and are more limited by it. The inequalities faced over time have shaped how we see ourselves and what we see as possible. In 2019, McKinsey & Company’s Women in the Workplace Study highlighted role-modeling and mentorship as key to engaging and promoting women and minorities within organizations. Other studies have backed this up showing role models have an amplified benefit for these groups because in general, it is hard to believe we can become something we cannot see. If your organization does not have formal mentorship or networking opportunities, look externally for ways to engage and make meaningful connections.

Supporting someone experiencing imposter syndrome: Just because you’re not currently experiencing feelings of imposter syndrome doesn’t mean you can’t help those who do. If you are reading this, I hope you will consider ways in which you can help.

  • Normalize imposter feelings. It is estimated that 70% of people experience imposter syndrome. In addition to Jody Foster and Maya Angelou, Sheryl Sandburg, Tom Hanks, and Michelle Obama have also admitted to these feelings of doubt. Simply sharing this fact and letting a colleague know that it’s completely understandable and something they can overcome.
  • Even better, share your own stories of overcoming imposter syndrome. This will continue to normalize the feelings and perhaps inspire the listener to overcome their limiting beliefs.
  • Remind them of their accomplishments. If a colleague is expressing doubts about being tapped for a new project, remind them of past successes. Perhaps a project you worked on together where they played an integral part in moving things forward or a time they received recognition from senior leaders.
  • Encourage colleagues to share their ideas. Create a safe space for discussion and recognize the value they add to the team.

Nov. 2020 – Bouncing Back After a Layoff

Experiencing a layoff can be unexpected, unsettling and downright discouraging. Check out this article from our career coach on how to bounce back from a layoff.

Take the time to process: Even if you weren’t happy in your job or were thinking about leaving prior to your layoff, no one likes to hear they’re being let go. Just like we need to move through the first few stages of grief to get to the upward turn, we need to process the shock, pain, and anger associated with a layoff. If you take the time you need to work through the emotions, you’ll be much better off when you move into the job search process, especially when it comes to talking about your experience.

Let go of the stigma: Even before COVID people were being laid off regularly. It is a function of the world we live in. In an economy where over 50% of Americans are employed by small businesses (those with 500 or fewer employees), and where companies are bought and sold every day, layoffs are inevitable and you are in good company. A gap in your resume is not the red flag it used to be and many people have them for many different reasons. Also remind yourself that being laid off is not the same as being fired. It does not say anything about the quality of your work or the relationships you had within the organization.

Set your goal: Sometimes a layoff can be seen as an opportunity to take your career in a new direction. Perhaps you’ve been thinking about switching industries or functions. If so, I’d suggest watching our webinar on Making a Career Transition that includes exercises to get you moving in the right direction. Or maybe you want to stay in a similar role, just in a new organization. Either way, take the time to think through your options and your timeline keeping in mind that the bigger the change, the more time (and effort) it will likely take.

Update your resume and LinkedIn profile: It’s important that both speak to the skills and experience you have that are relevant to the types of roles you’re pursuing. Going back through old performance reviews can be helpful if you’re having trouble remembering your accomplishments in each role. You can also reach out to former colleagues and view the LinkedIn profiles of co-workers to refresh your memory. Updating your resume is typically something people struggle with so if you need help getting started, watch our Creating a Strategic Resume webinar. We also have one on Leveraging Your LinkedIn Profile. And of course, you can always set up a career coaching appointment by emailing

Don’t rely too heavily on job boards: Reaching out to old colleagues, friends, and leveraging your extended network is incredibly important in a job search. Added bonus, setting up phone calls and Zoom chats will break up the monotony of submitting online applications. And while there are thousands of jobs listed online, there are also many jobs that never get posted. If you’re relying strictly on job boards, you’re missing out on the hidden job market. You can learn more about Breaking Down the Job Search Process here on the GAA site.

We understand that bouncing back from a layoff can be difficult and the GAA is here to help. If you need assistance navigating this transition, feel free to reach out via to schedule a career coaching session.

Sept. 2020 – Treat the Job Search like a Job

Check out these quick and timely tips from GAA Career Coach Catherine Tuttle.

Sept. 2020 – Treat the Job Search like a Job

Create a schedule: When you have a job, you are expected to show up every day. Take this approach when looking for a job and commit to a certain number of hours per week. Then block them on your calendar. A few hours a day four or five days a week is a great start. Set your alarm, get up at a designated time, get in a workout, and then get to ‘work’. If you’re looking while employed, try blocking out an hour or so two or three days a week either in the evenings or over lunch.

Assign yourself tasks: If you’re a recent graduate, make sure you’re monitoring postings on Handshake. If you’re more seasoned, set up job alerts and search on LinkedIn. Either way, for online postings, make sure you’re tailoring your resume for each position ensuring key words are included and easy to find. For more on that process and maximizing your chances when applying online, I suggest watching our virtual coffee chat recording from August.

Make yourself visible: Visibility within and outside your organization is incredibly important when it comes to building your skillset and building your brand. The more people that know who you are and what you’re capable of, the more opportunities come your way. This concept holds true when you’re looking for your first job as well. In my experience, almost every college graduate gets their first job through a human connection. That could be a recruiter at a (virtual) job fair, a family friend, or another UNC alum. Don’t just rely on job boards and online applications; you’ll be relying on technology and technology doesn’t always work.

Push yourself outside of your comfort zone: We don’t grow staying inside our comfort zone. Submitting online applications is safe, but it’s also passive. Putting yourself out there and becoming more than an online application is scary. Believe me, I’ve been there, but I promise it gets easier. UNC has one of the most incredible alumni networks I’ve seen over the past 15 years. If asking for information or advice from someone you don’t know is intimidating, start with the Tar Heel Advising Network, an online platform where alumni can volunteer to be a resource for other alumni in transition.

Build in rewards: The job search typically takes between three to six months and that timeline can be extended in times of economic uncertainty. It is a marathon, not a sprint so treat it as such. Celebrate the milestones to keep yourself motivated. That could be dinner with a friend, a day off, or an ice-cream treat for dessert. Acknowledge your hard work and celebrate your wins whether it’s securing an interview, connecting with an alum in a company of interest, or simply showing up every day!

Utilize your resources: In these uncertain times, the GAA has extended career coaching for members. We can help with everything from resume updates to job search strategy, networking and more. Included in your Carolina Alumni membership is a complimentary career coaching session once every 12 months (a $150 value). For an extended time, we are offering additional coaching sessions complimentary to Carolina Alumni members. Learn more, or email us at to schedule your appointment today.

July 2020 – Maintain Visibility While Working Remotely

During the COVID-19 pandemic, working remotely became our new normal. However, during the last five years, the U.S. has seen a 44 percent growth in remote work and this upward trend is expected to continue – perhaps a bit quicker than expected, due to current circumstances. In fact, a recent report by Upwork, an organization that connects professionals to businesses seeking specialized talent, predicts that 73 percent of all teams will have remote workers by 2028.

Here are some key strategies below to help you maintain visibility while working remotely, temporarily or longer term:

Communicate Face-to-Face

While it may be tempting to turn the camera off during Zoom calls or Google meetings, consider leaving it on. So much of our communication relies on non-verbal cues, allowing us to connect with people on a deeper level. While it may not be the same as an in-person meeting, video is the next-best thing. And with screen sharing and other capabilities, it almost feels like traditional inter-office brainstorming sessions and collaborations.

Schedule Coffee Chats and Lunches

Rather than delete upcoming coffee meetings or happy hours, take them online. Invite your team to a virtual coffee break or teammates to chat over lunch. Just because there’s no common area to gather doesn’t mean you have to limit communication to email and conference calls. The success of business today relies on the ability to collaborate, share ideas and trust one another. It’s important to continue and build upon personal connections with your professional colleagues.

Speak Up and Ask for High-Visibility Projects

Just because we’re not physically in the office doesn’t mean companies aren’t moving forward with strategic initiatives outlined prior, or in response, to the global pandemic. If you are hoping to build your skill set or grow within an organization, it’s important your visibility extend beyond your immediate team. Take this opportunity to raise your hand for projects that allow you to build your brand across functions and levels. Don’t wait for someone to ask; volunteer your involvement upfront when you first hear about them.

Coordinate Reviews of Key Projects

Celebrating accomplishments and acknowledging everyone’s hard work on a project is important. However, it’s also important to take time to assess outcomes and identify opportunities for improvement going forward. In doing so, you’re addressing one of the biggest challenges of remote work: communication across teams and departments. Allowing everyone to share their experience and documenting these insights allows the team to see how their individual contributions are connected to and influence the actions of others.

May 2020 - Staying Connected from Home

As we settle into our new normal of social distancing, it’s important to stay connected personally and professionally. I find myself picking up the phone and calling a friend instead of texting them, and accepting every Zoom meeting, coffee chat or virtual happy hour that comes my way. Why not take advantage of this common desire to connect and the flexibility in our schedules to reach out and re-engage our network.

In order to maximize the effectiveness of your efforts, I suggest being strategic in your approach and applying a mix of tactics to keep your networking meaningful and productive. Start by determining your goals. Are you looking to secure a new role, build a new skillset, transition to a new industry or simply re-connect with former colleagues? Be clear about what you hope to accomplish and let that guide your outreach.

To help you as you build your virtual networking strategy, I’ve included some additional tips below:

  • Think about converting all of your upcoming in-person meetings to virtual ones. Did you have coffee scheduled with an industry partner or dinner with your two best friends? Don’t cancel, simply suggest you chat over Zoom or Google Hangouts. From there, build time into your calendar for proactive outreach and anticipated conversation.
  • Use this time to network within your own organization. Visibility and engagement creates a path for advancement.  Reach out to colleagues across functions. Check in, ask how they’re doing and what their challenges are. Perhaps you may be able to lend a hand.
  • Are you thinking about transitioning to a new industry or function? If so, reach out to connections in your area of interest. Ask for time to talk over the phone or Zoom so you can learn more about their career path and the skills necessary to succeed short- and long-term.
  • Focus on quality, not quantity when it comes to relationships. Try to avoid one off conversations and instead, aim to check in periodically. A great way to do this is to follow-up on any ‘to do’ items from your first conversation. Did your contact recommend a certain book to read or someone else to reach out to? If so, loop back and provide an update once your ‘homework’ is complete.

While there is still much uncertainty surrounding this global pandemic, I remain certain that meaningful connections are essential to our well-being.  Research shows that social connection can lower anxiety, help us regulate our emotions, lead to higher self-esteem, and actually improve our immune systems. With all the possibilities technology provides, make sure you continue to connect virtually until we can meet again.

March 2020 - Optimizing your LinkedIn profile

Are you thinking about launching a job search in 2020?  If so, optimizing your presence on LinkedIn (which now has over 575 million users) should be a key part of your job search strategy. With 20 million companies listed on the site and 14 million open jobs, it’s no surprise that 90% of recruiters regularly use the site to recruit talent.

I’ve included some tips and tricks below to get you started.

  • Members with profile photos get up to 21 times more profile views. Think of your photo as the first step to building your personal brand.  You want to communicate that you are friendly and trustworthy.
  • Your headline is the second thing people will look at when viewing your profile. Describe yourself and express your value proposition in a unique way. Your default headline will be your current job title but depending on what you hope to do in the future, that may not be the way you want to be remembered.
  • Maximize your summary.  To improve your search rank, include keywords that highlight your top skills (use job descriptions to identify what employers are looking for). To keep the reader’s attention, write like you speak.  Make your summary more of a cover letter by talking about what you do, but also why you do it and what makes you tick.
  • Ask for a recommendation (or two)! Recruiters are looking for a combination of technical skills specific to certain roles (experience with certain databases, SEO, social media expertise, etc.) but also soft skills (critical thinking, collaboration, communication, etc.). Everyone is going to say that they work well on a team and enjoy creative problem solving, but when someone takes the time to reiterate these skills on your behalf, you gain credibility.
  • You can learn even more by watching our webinar on LinkedIn.

Jan. 2020 - Making a New Year's Transition

As a career coach, I typically see a surge of interest in January. It’s a time of year where we reflect on the past and set goals for the future. Whether you’re thinking about changing functions or industries, positioning yourself for a promotion, or re-entering the paid workforce, I’ve included some tips below to get you started.

• Build time into your calendar. Transitioning takes time. By treating your transition as a project and breaking it down into manageable pieces, it will become less overwhelming and you’ll be more likely to stay the course.

• Be ready to do some self-assessment. You will need about half as much information about the job market as you think you need and about twice as much about yourself. Start by reviewing performance appraisals and getting feedback from friends and mentors. What are you good at? What are you recognized for? And of those things, what do you most enjoy?

• Think outside of your professional identity. Are you involved in organizations outside of work, perhaps as a volunteer or a board member? If so, consider your experience there as well. These activities may show your pride in your accomplishment, maybe even more than your day to day tasks.

• Be ready to network – especially for big transitions. Don’t be scared to put yourself out there. You don’t have to have a specific job title or company in mind, but you do need to be able to articulate your value add for a new industry. From there you can start to reach out to people working in industries, functions or companies of interest.

• Start with informational interviewing. When reaching out to connections, focus on information and advice. People are more likely to respond and you’ll get more candid information than you would if you were focusing on a specific opportunity.

Dec. 2019 - Networking Over the Heelidays

With the holidays in full swing, it’s tempting to put your job search aside, opting instead to focus on holiday cards, presents or travel. But, if you’re in a job search or thinking about making a change come January, it’s important to build/maintain momentum. Here are a few tips to get you going:

• Set goals for yourself. It’s easy to get distracted this time of year so build time into your calendar and hold yourself accountable.

• Prioritize proactive outreach. Connect with contacts in companies of interest and reach out to recruiters. While postings may die down in December, they’ll pick back up in January and those associated with hiring are building their pipelines.

• Take advantage of office events. Rather than sit next to your work BFF, sit next to someone you want to work more closely with. Or maybe this is a good time to introduce yourself to senior leadership, or a member of the board. If so, make sure you’re armed with talking points and good questions to keep the conversation going.

• Introduce yourself to at least two people you don’t know at every holiday party you attend. To start the conversation ask how they know the host, where they are from or what they’re doing for the holidays. Take time to build a personal connection.

• Quality over quantity. Your goal is not to meet everyone at every event. Your goal should be to establish a few solid connections that provide context for future contact.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season, and I look forward to working with many of you in the New Year.

Nov. 2019 - Jump Start Your Networking

Do you feel like your personal networking has hit a road block? Here are a few tips to get it started again:

1. Make a list of companies you’re interested in and reach out to connections. When your outreach is geared toward information and advice vs. a specific job, people may be more likely to respond.

2. Move beyond your immediate network. Studies show we tend to find jobs through second- and third-degree connections vs. first-degree connections. You can always start with people you know, but the last question I would always ask is: is there anyone else you think I should talk to?

3. When searching for contacts, try to find people at a similar level. If you are a director or at the executive level, then you want to find someone with a similar role. If you are a recent grad, ideally you want to look for someone who is no more than five or six years out of school. By networking with people at your age and stage, you are building relationships with those who are connected to the people and processes hiring talent at your level.

4. Keep your outreach short and sweet. People will likely be reading on their phone and won’t want to scroll endlessly through a list of questions. Request a time to chat briefly in person or over the phone. Be clear that you’re simply looking for 20-30 minutes to learn more about their career path, company or role. You can also use this sample email.