4 Tips for the Professional World I Learned During Office Hours
I’ve been in college for three years now and one sure-fire thing to expect from office hours is either helpful advice or inspirational proverbs from professors that have been in the ring way longer than you have.
Okay, maybe not every professor. Cue the teachers that say “come to office hours for additional help” only to send you desperately back to Chegg.
But fortunately my Supply Chain Management professor offered helpful and practical tips to improve my professional life. No matter what field you are pursuing, these tips are relevant, useful, and *no promises* may just land you your dream career.
1.) Business Card. Business Card. Business Card.
Resumes are great and all but you have no clue who you will run into at your nearest Zaxbys.
For instance, a friend of mine (let’s call him Joe) was waiting in line for his Kickin Chicken sandwich when he bumped into a young lad. They made small talk and a few minutes later, the stranger asked Joe what was his job. Joe explained he was working for x y z company but that he wanted to work for a company that offered a position better suited his skill sets. Joe was working under operations management but he already reached the highest level his current company could offer him. He wanted to work for a company with more vertical movement.
Well, the stranger was on the hiring committee for a highly reputable company and they were currently looking for an operations manager.
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t pack a hard copy of my resume if I’m heading out for a 3 count nibbler meal at my local Zaxbys. But you know what has your contact information, fits in your pocket, and makes you look mighty professional?
A business card.
2.) What To Put On a Business Card if You Don’t Have a Big Boy/Girl Job
Okay, a business card is great and all but what should I put on it if I don’t have a full time job?
Whether you are full grown adult with a big boy/girl job or an intern scurrying to make coffee for your 16 superiors or a college student doubling down on job applications, you can have a business card.
Take a minute to think about any clubs or organizations you are involved in. Do they relate to your field? Wonderful. Use that. Do you hold a leadership position in this extracurricular? Even better.
Here is an example business card for an individual without a big boy or girl job.
DO NOT PUT YOUR PHONE NUMBER.
It just takes one psycho to get a hold of your business card and leave you 30 voicemails a day.
So… best to just add an email.
Business cards are a fantastic and easy tool to remind employers you’re on the hunt for a job.
So now you can bombard them with TWO self promotional products.
3.) Remind Your Connections That You Connected
Say you’re attending an aerospace convention and you meet Billy Bob from NASA. You make small talk about your major and aspirations and connect on your mutual love for coding.
WRITE THAT DOWN.
You are not going to think of it in the moment but as soon as Billy Bob turns to Carry to compliment her research paper on rocket engines, write down how and where you connected on your handy dandy business card . (Draw a line through the card so you don’t accidentally give it away.) The reason you do this is so that if Billy Bob has an opening for aerospace engineering (assuming you’re an aerospace engineer in this scenario), you can open up your email to him referencing your personal connection.
And then attach your resume.
That extra personal connection you referenced could be the ultimate differentiator between you and someone else.
4.) Cracking the Code to Career Fairs.
It wasn’t until junior year of college that I realized the purpose of career fairs is not in fact to hurl 65,000 copies of your resume at every employer. No, the goal is to pitch yourself in a matter of seconds.
My professor for supply chain assigned us a project where we had to write a 10 page analysis on the supply chain of a company. The assignment was timed perfectly as the career fair at my university was taking place. Rather than toss my resume to employers like every other person in the crowded fitness center, I hunted down the companies I wanted to work and said,
“Hello, I’m interested in learning more about your company’s supply chain. Is there someone I can contact to get some more information?”
Now you might be thinking,
“Nour, why would you, the person who wants a job, ask them for a favor?”
Asking for help provides an opportunity for them to give you contact information and also showcases your interest in the field. In my case, I asked companies I wanted to work for if I could analyze their supply chain and, right off the bat, I noticed a difference in how recruiters treated me. Their eyes lit up with excitement, thrilled to hear something other than the mundane “I want a job, here’s my resume” bit. They then provided me with either their contact information or a point of contact.
One recruiter even slid me her business card over a generic brochure to avoid being caught whispering, “I don’t do this often. Contact me after the career fair.”
Employers want to see genuine interest for their company. Asking to learn the ins and outs of their firm exhibits your commitment and might just lead to your future career.
Office Hours. They’re good for more than just homework help.