Category Archives: Career Development

Making the Most from a Networking Event

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: September 8, 2017

Image courtesy of TheInfiniteActuary

Networking events are essential for career development and business opportunities. Whether you need to find a job, connect with certain employees or companies, or desire to collaborate on a project, networking events can facilitate your professional growth. Since it can connect you with the right people, it’s important to approach networking seriously and make the most of it. Here are six networking event tips how:

1. Be prepared
You’re going to meet people, so it’s best to be prepared to talk about who you are, what you do, and what you’re looking for. You won’t look very professional if you’re stumbling over your words or taking too long to respond to a question. Be ready to discuss your career, aspirations, and experiences. Don’t forget to bring your resume if you’re looking to get hired, or your business cards if you need to distribute your contact information.

2. Find a way to stand out
You certainly won’t be the only person that the people at a networking event will talk to. Everyone will mingle throughout the evening and possibly have conversations with dozens of others at these events. Whether it’s finding a common interest with someone, sending a follow-up email within a few days, or having a firm handshake, it’s important for you to positively stand out to this person so that the people you connected with don’t forget you.

3. Ask good questions
Asking questions is beneficial not only because it’ll help you better understand a person or organization, but also because it’s the backbone of networking conversations. These conversations are fueled by inquiries, so try to ask the right questions when appropriate. It may help to do a little homework about a person or the company he or she works for beforehand. Try making a list of potential questions you could ask others before attending a networking event, that way you feel prepared.

4. Dress like a professional
You don’t have to dress like you’re going into an interview, but do everyone a favor and leave your oversized suit at home. Remember, you’ll be making a lot of first impressions when you’re networking. Make sure to have a clean overall appearance, and, just like in interviews, avoid wearing perfume or cologne. Keep your business cards in an easily accessible places. After all, you don’t want your new acquaintances watching you digging through piles of rubble in your bag.

5. Have a goal in mind
Don’t go to a networking event blindly. Ask yourself beforehand what you want to accomplish from meeting certain people. Looking for job opportunities? Have an elevator pitch memorized.  Trying to collaborate on projects? Be ready to explain what you have to offer to their team. When you meet people, think of how they can help you carry out your plans and act accordingly.

6. Don’t forget your manners
It may be tempting to look around for an exit when you’re in a dead conversation, but remember to maintain a level of professionalism. When someone is talking, listen. If you want to end the conversation, end it politely rather than abruptly. Remember to ask just as many questions as you have answered. You don’t want to burn bridges with potential connections within the first five minutes of meeting them.

Networking is a powerful way to expand your professional connections and you should always take advantage of the opportunity to build your contacts. Understanding the right ways to prepare for them can help you set yourself apart from everyone else.

How do you approach networking events? Let us know on Twitter and LinkedIn! Follow us on our website to search open tech roles that might be a great fit for you.

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How to Effectively Run a Meeting

This Post was written by Scott Deutsch
Date posted: September 5, 2017

Whether we like them or not, meetings are a large part of everyone’s day-to-day activities. When you’re taking the time to gather the entire team, it’s important to focus on increasing productivity by optimizing the time you have together. If you’re having trouble mobilizing your team, consider following these best practices for effective meetings:

Before the Meeting

Have a clear, organized agenda. People should know exactly what to expect before going into the meeting. You may be surprised by how many meetings begin with no real purpose and leave people feeling as if they’ve just wasted part of their day. Send out an agenda to each team member. Make sure it allocates time for project presentations, brainstorming, problem solving, and whatever else you may need. Make the meeting’s purpose clear so people know what topics are up for discussion.

Set a precedent of staying punctual. One of the best ways to ensure a productive meeting is staying consistent and punctual. If your team knows you start and end your meetings on time, they will be more likely to show the same respect and be timely themselves. There’s nothing worse than sitting around waiting to start the conference due to someone’s tardiness. Request that people arrive five minutes early and if needed, outline how long they have to discuss their projects.

During the Meeting

Follow the agenda. If you’ve gone to the trouble of outlining discussion topics, make sure to follow the guidelines you’ve set. If you’ve allotted 15 minutes of brainstorming for the first item, try not to linger on it much longer than that. People will be more energized when they see that you’re sticking to the plan and you’re ready to keep moving.

Take note of other issues. There’s bound to be a point when the conversation deviates from the main discussion topic. This is okay to a certain degree, but don’t be sidetracked for long. Acknowledge the points that have been brought up by taking note of them in the meeting’s minutes, then move on.

End with a plan. Allocate time in your meeting agenda to discuss a concrete action plan. Delegate tasks to specific people and determine due dates. By the meeting’s conclusion, each person should know exactly what is expected of them and when it’s expected to be completed.

After the Meeting

Follow up. We can’t stress the importance of this enough! Even if you had a lively, productive meeting, that doesn’t mean the work ends when the group disperses. Talking with your team at the start of the week means getting in contact again by the end of it. Use this as a way to check in on the progress of projects that were assigned during the meeting. Following up shows your team you’re organized and taking an active role in their work.

Take the time to evaluate your meeting habits and pay attention to areas that need improved. Before you know it, you’ll be executing productive, efficient meetings that leave your team feeling energized and motivated.

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Common Questions To Expect in your Next Interview

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: August 4, 2017

Yes, job interviews can be nerve racking, especially when you’re anticipating the difficult questions. But, you can prepare several ways. You can research the company, review your skills, refresh your knowledge of technical programs and you can also anticipate some of the questions they’ll be asking. Here are three common interview questions and because we have your back …. a few tips on how to approach answering them:

Why are you seeking to leave your current position?
Avoid sounding too negative whenever your job history comes up. Now is not the time to vent all your frustrations about your previous employer. Instead, use this as an opportunity to outline what goals you have for your career path. Maybe you want to leave your current role because you feel that you have not been able to grow professionally as much as you would like. Take this negative and turn it into a chance to talk about the types of projects you want to be involved in. Let them know you are looking for a job that gives you room to advance.

What is your greatest weakness?
Do not answer with something that sounds more like a strength, such as “I’m a perfectionist.” This is overused and the interviewees will appreciate a more thoughtful, honest answer. Whatever you do choose to share, put a positive spin on it. Elaborate on what you are doing to break a bad habit or explain how you have taken the time to recognize your weaknesses.

Do you prefer working alone or on a team?
While this question seems simple enough, it can be tricky. If you answer that you prefer teams, you don’t want to send the message that you aren’t confident in your skills when functioning independently. If you prefer solo work, your interviewers may translate that into you not being able to work well with others. If this is true for you, let them know that you are open to both styles. Otherwise, be honest with your preference. Doing so will help you better determine if you are the right fit for the job.

Feel like you could use a little more interview prep? Here are some guides to help you ace the interview and make a positive impression during the job hunt process.

Tweet us your questions, follow us on LinkedIn, and check out active job openings on our website.

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How to Make a Positive Impression at Your New Job

This Post was written by Bridge Technical Talent
Date posted: June 27, 2017

                                                            Image courtesy of Today

Pop the champagne! You finally landed that job you’ve been interviewing for, and you’re about to start your first day. You know that the key to a successful transition is demonstrating quality, thoughtful work, but so is making a positive impression with your new coworkers. After all, you’ll be working with them every day. How do you make a positive impression in a new job?

First impressions in the workplace are just as lasting as they are during interviews, so be cognizant of the impression you give off. Getting started on the right foot will pay its dividends in almost all aspects of work culture: people will be more likely to trust you, respect you, and be friendly to you. Here are seven tips to make a positive impression in your new work culture:

Arrive early, stay later when possible
You don’t want to be ‘that guy’ who always walks in late and is constantly finding excuses to leave the office an hour early. You might find yourself in the occasional moment when you cannot help but be late, but for the most part, people tend to pick up on your attendance habits within the first few days. Being mindful of this will show those around you that you are responsible and you can handle simple expectations such as punctuality. Also, you are more likely to be included in office coffee runs or dinner after work if you’re present – a great way to start building those relationships.

Dress to impress
No one is going to take you seriously if you show up to work in a wrinkled blazer, crooked tie, and ankle socks. Having a clean overall appearance will enhance your professionalism, which will ultimately leave a more positive impression on your office peers. You don’t need break-the-bank designer suits, but make sure your clothes fit you properly, fit the vibe of the office culture and are dry cleaned every once in awhile.

Respect seniority
No one likes a wise guy. It’s great to feel confident in your new role, but remember to show the proper respect to veterans in the office, especially when it comes to the people you report to. Learn from them and follow the decisions made by your superiors and respectfully ask questions when you don’t understand a task you’ve been given.

Keep personal life separate from work
As time goes on you will get to know your coworkers better, but to start it is generally better to avoid mixing work and personal life. Share enough about yourself to start cultivating meaningful relationships, but don’t go overboard.  If you have a personal matter to attend to, make sure to do it quickly and quietly, or away from the office.

Take initiative
Don’t be afraid to stick your hand out first for a handshake, propose project ideas, or ask your peers questions. Asking questions shows that you’re trying to learn and being engaged in your work will show others that you are eager to be there. Just remember, no one has ever been successful by sitting back and waiting for someone else to make a move.

Make an effort to get along with your colleagues
You’re at work to do work, but that doesn’t mean you should only keep to yourself. It helps to get along with the people around you. Ask if anyone needs an extra set of hands on any of their projects, offer favors like covering for someone while they are out of the office, and be an active participant in meetings. If there’s an office gathering after work, try to go to those to make stronger connections.

Have a positive attitude
As an organization, you and your team are striving toward a common goal. It is important to always stay positive even in challenging moments, because it’ll help everyone to move forward. In addition, having a ‘can do’ mentality gives off positive vibes, which will only help you and those around you.

Being the ‘new guy’ has its challenges, but if you embrace it the right way, you’ll be integrated into the office culture before you know it. If you present yourself in a way that is positive and helpful from the beginning, you’ll definitely have an easier time getting along with your team or co-workers.

Making the right impression at your new job can make your adjustment to your new role and environment an easier transition. What are some things you keep in mind when entering new work environments? Let us know on Twitter and follow us on LinkedIn to see open tech roles that might be a great fit for you.

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