Category Archives: 1. The Scoop

The Scoop

Networking 101 for Introverts

Career advice about the importance of networking is everywhere, but for the shy or introverted, the idea of charging into a social situation and making small talk can be overwhelming. However, the following tips can help even the most reticent person become a competent networker.

Find small events. Avoid large settings with big crowds and instead opt for a more intimate gathering. For the most reluctant networkers, reach out first on social media just to practice “meeting” new people.

Bring a buddy. Having a friend as back up can lessen the initial nervousness that comes with attending a new social situation.

Initiate a conversation. Rather than wait for someone to approach you, take the initiative to begin a conversation. One-on-one chats are easier than jumping into a group discussion.

Be yourself. Often introverts have the perfect set of qualifications to be excellent networkers—good listening skills and the ability to develop close relationships.

Ask questions. Asking about someone’s career trajectory or industry knowledge is a great way to break the ice. Additionally, consider memorizing several questions to have as conversation starters before the event.

–From Washington Post Jobs

The New Etiquette of Phone Calls

In a galaxy far, far away… well, not quite, but in the recent past, making a phone call simply meant picking up a phone and punching in numbers. Not anymore.

The preponderance of communication channels has changed the way to approach speaking on a phone. Below are the new rules of making a phone call.

  • Text before you call. Check with the individual you want to speak with to determine the best time to make the call. Unexpected phone calls can trigger a host of worries about emergencies or bad news. The before-call text is good business etiquette, too; it shows respect for the recipient’s schedule.
  • Use apps that enhance phone call quality. Some phone carriers provide an HD option to improve reception, but users must ask their carrier to have that feature enabled. Using Wi-Fi is another way to improve the reception quality of cell phone calls and has the added bonus of avoiding data usage.
  • Talk on speakers. Between Siri and Alexa, making a hands-free phone call is easy. However, remember to stay close to the speaker so you can be heard.

Phone calls are the best way to make a connection more human. Texting alone simply cannot communicate nuance and tone.

–From The Wall Street Journal

 Start a Great Career in Your 20s

Fortune 500 top executives such as Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook and Steve Ballmer of Microsoft offer advice to those just starting their careers. Below is a sampling of their suggestions.

  • Have an incredible work ethic and be persistent—John Scully, Apple, Pepsi
  • Figure out what you want to be doing five years from now; be systematic about learning—Drew Houston, Dropbox
  • Dream big, especially women, and commit to things and make them a regular habit—Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook
  • Find something you’re passionate about. Work hard, have good ideas, and put yourself in a position to get lucky—Steve Ballmer, Clippers
  • There’s no substitute for hard work. You’ll be more successful if you put coworkers first—Dan Schulman, PayPal


Are Your Students Too Familiar With You? Employers Try Texting for Beginning-Stage Interviews… You Know the Worst Filler Words?

Are Your Students Too Familiar With You?

Many professors are finding today’s students a bit too casual for comfort. From the automatic use of first names to carelessly written e-mails and text messages, students’ informal behavior has some instructors formally perturbed.

The overly nonchalant approach to the professor/student relationship may just be a symptom of a larger societal change toward informality. However, many professors believe the uptick of such conduct on campus is the result of students never being taught college classroom etiquette.

Instructors who advocate formality have their reasons. They say the use of titles is an important way to establish the authority and respect essential to the unique link between teacher and student. Addressing an instructor as professor, doctor, Mr. or Ms. also shows esteem for learning. Instructors likewise note that traditional classroom etiquette is good pedagogy. After all, part of the job of the instructor—especially those teaching business communication—is to correct sloppy or inappropriate prose.

To set the right tone with students, some instructors include specific parameters for student-teacher interactions on their syllabi and discuss proper classroom etiquette early in the semester.

–From The New York Times

Employers Try Texting for Beginning-Stage Interviews

Frustrated by millennials not picking up phone calls or ignoring e-mails, a number of employers are meeting the generation of new workers where they live—on their smartphones.

Using messaging apps such as Canvas or Jobr, firms are texting questions to potential employees to answer in lieu of conducting initial phone interviews or waiting for e-mail responses that never arrive. The practice allows recruiters to share the transcripts of responses to others within their organization and takes up less time than scheduling dozens or hundreds of phone calls.

Texting initial interviews gives candidates time to frame thoughtful responses rather than having to think on the spot. However, interview texting etiquette is still the Wild West. Should the applicant respond immediately? Use emojis? These nuances will likely be worked out as the practice becomes more widespread.

–From The Wall Street Journal

 You Know the Worst Filler Words?

We all use filler words—words or sounds like um and ah that mean nothing but can serve to fill in conversational holes. However, when speaking in professional contexts, filler words can make the speaker sound unprepared, nervous, or ill-spoken.

Increasingly, a new filler phrase is making its way into the lexicon, and it, you know, has some people, you know, pretty irritated. Saying you know instead of what is really meant not only sounds unprofessional, it’s confusing because much of the time, the listener does not know. Whether the speaker is a television analyst, job candidate, or business leader, the use of filler words dilutes a speaker’s message. Below are tips to help eliminate meaningless phrases from your speech.

Watch the pros. Ever notice how sports announcers report the action seamlessly? That’s because they think before they speak, and if they need a moment to gather their thoughts, they leave a pause instead of using a filler.

Record yourself. Observe yourself speaking for a few minutes to catch your own use of fillers. Consider including a friend while you watch to help pick up mannerisms you may miss.


What’s a Guy to Wear?? Finding a Mentor—An Essential Career Step… For Some Hirers, Algorithms Trump Résumés

What’s a Guy to Wear??

As the line between work and play blurs, the decision about what to wear to the office can become fraught, especially for men. Sure, wear jeans—but how faded? Office casual can be great—but does wearing pressed slacks make a guy overdressed?

For men in the workplace, everything from facial hair to colorful socks can speak volumes. And while a bad choice may not land a hipster in HR, it may impact his ability to move up in an organization. Below are some tips to avoid the pitfalls of wardrobe mishaps.

Replicate high-end looks. The advice to dress for the job you want still stands. However, many workers’ paychecks do not support buying at Barney’s. Instead, try emulating an expensive look by shopping at bargain stores like Nordstrom Rack and H&M.

Beware of sticking out. Overstepping with bold fashion statements such as a colorful polka dot tie or a large handlebar moustache may cause ridicule among coworkers and show a lack of judgment that could have long-lasting repercussions.

Ask when in doubt. If you notice your boss eying your scraggly beard—not in a good way—discuss it. Explain that you grew facial hair to appear older and gauge the boss’s reaction.

–From The Wall Street Journal

Finding a Mentor—An Essential Career Step

Perhaps the most important career move you can make as a new-hire is choosing a mentor to help you grow in your current position and broaden your skills for a lifelong career. Of course you want a mentor who understands organizational politics and is willing to share contacts, but good mentors offer even more. They should genuinely want to help others and click with a mentee’s personality.

Consider the following before asking someone to be your mentor.

Define your own objectives. Which skills do you want to work on, and who might be the right role model to help you do so?

Choose an inspirational mentor. Associate yourself with a mentor who can offer you a different perspective toward problem solving than your own. It’s the best way to grow.

Pick one…or two. A good mentor within an organization will know the ropes about that particular workplace. However, an individual outside the organization may provide a wider view of an industry as a whole. Some experts advise having several mentors to help you develop your work skills.

From SFGate

For Some Hirers, Algorithms Trump Résumés

To increase hiring pools, some employers are using algorithms rather than résumés. Global brand Unilever has been targeting potential new-hires by placing ads on Facebook and career-advice sites. People who click on the ads are redirected to applications for internships and entry-level jobs, which are pre-picked by scanning the applicant’s LinkedIn profile. When the applications are submitted, they are then scanned by an algorithm that eliminates half the pool.

Those who make the cut are next asked to play online games that assess skills such as recall and concentration, and the applicants who make it through the tests submit video interviews in which they respond to questions about how they would respond to job-related situations. Only after passing that hurdle does a face-to-face meeting come into play.

Users of the new recruitment method point to its merits, such as eliminating human biases and personal preferences. Although still in its initial stages, the strategy is being implemented for Unilever hiring across the globe.

–From Fox Business