Debra Feldman

Make a Great First Impression in Person and Online

Many, if not more career connections are made today via social networking, as at live events. Here's how to share your information in a short and persuasive presentation.

September 16, 2010
by Debra Feldman

Are you planning to attend a networking event this fall? If so, plan ahead and create a business card-sized networking document that quickly communicates who you are, what you do and why you are exceptional. Make this remarkable and worthy of being passed along. This card could generate continuous referrals creating unexpected contacts as those you meet share it.

Yes, you could go viral! Here’s how to get started.

This is your marketing document and it must engage interest, show your value instantly and cultivate trust and credibility. It has to be memorable in both appearance and content, so that you and your potential value to others is not forgotten, but will be recalled as a unique resource as you want to be remembered.

Include full contact data (name, e-mail, LinkedIn profile, twitter account, preferred phone, personal website or blog, street address optional) and your headline to instantly create a mental picture.

Example: JobWhiz, Executive Talent Agent: Expert job search consultant opens doors to unadvertised jobs specializing in re-entry candidates, career changers, industry switchers and anyone who doesn’t fit the mold.” This space should state goals such as "Share ideas, advice and recommendations about career-related networking, using traditional and online techniques.” Link your online personality using a QR code and add it to your URL. This enables a smartphone user to zap you into their contact database.

On the reverse, provide three to five core competencies or brief success statements (using numbers or percentages indicating impact or change) designed to get attention. Here are mine:

  • Invents practical go-to-market strategy and flawlessly implements effective job search plan by connecting directly with hiring decision-makers, never HR.
  • Identifies and removes roadblocks to execute smooth, swift landings.
  • Develops networks purposefully using traditional connections and social media to identify unadvertised opportunities matching candidate’s ideal job specifications.
  • Creates an investment in long-term career insurance because inside contacts continuously generate leads to the hidden job market.

Along with your saying hello and elevator pitch, the card is your first and perhaps only chance, to make a great first impression. You want to pique interest and show your potential. It is not a job application or résumé submission. Today, it’s likely that once someone has your name, they will search online to learn more about you. Be sure to have the most flattering information posted. Whatever is findable online is your résumé. You cannot control what others say about you, but you can present positive information. Put your best foot forward by making sure to document achievements online (e.g. LinkedIn status updates and mentions in group discussions) and describing how you got those results.

Don’t expect benefits just from being in someone’s network. Networking is not only about asking for referrals, but about looking for ways to help each other for the long haul. Invest in your relationships and there will be great returns!

Bonus: Use this marketing message as a v-card attachment to e-mails.

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© Debra Feldman, 2010

Debra Feldman is the JobWhiz™, a nationally-recognized expert who designs and personally implements swift, strategic and customized senior-level executive job search campaigns with career insurance, banishing barriers that prevent immediate success. Her gift for Networking Purposefully™ and expediting stalled job searches — executed with high energy and savvy panache — connects candidates directly to decision makers, not HR. Learn more about her groundbreaking techniques that compress job searches from months into weeks. Contact Debra now at www.JobWhiz.com to expedite your executive ascent!