6 Reader Comments
3 Steps to Creating the Perfec
Posted By 3 Steps to Creating the Perfect Elevator Pitch on 9/12/2016 9:36:43 AM
The start of fall usually brings with it a schedule packed with networking events and what better time to master your elevator pitch then now. Whether you are in school, just starting your career or an experienced professional there will always be endless scenarios where you need an elevator pitch. The perfect elevator pitch will consist of enough information about yourself to give the listener your background and goals in about 30 seconds. I swear this is not a myth and can be done!
Follow the next three steps to master your elevator pitch. Each section should be very brief, the name 'elevator pitch' does come from the notion that you should be able to get through it in an entire ride.
1. The Fundamentals: This is very brief. Keep it to your name, company/school, job title/major. Hi, I'm John, I'm currently attending the University of Toronto with a major in Finance.
2. Your Background: Again, very brief. What have you done in the last 1-2 years of significance? I recently just completed an internship at RBC Securities working on their fixed income desk.
3. Future Goals: What is your one significant goal for yourself. I am interested in landing a job in sales and trading in Toronto on a fixed income desk.
It is crucial to have your elevator pitch perfected since you only have a small window to make a positive impact at any networking event. By emphasizing certain interests or achievements you can adapt it to almost any scenario. Give yourself some time to practice your elevator pitch out loud to get comfortable saying it and build some confidence. The less nervous you are the more confident it will come across. If you need help perfecting yours then please send me an e-mail and I would gladly review it!
Founder & Consultant, Morris Career Consulting
Connect and Maximize Time
Posted By Making Connections and Maximizing Time on 4/28/2016 4:24:09 PM
Having multiple opportunities to volunteer your time and network with like-minded individuals certainly isn’t the worst situation for a young professional to be in. I consider myself lucky to be in a position where I can work with local leaders and influencers. Not only do I gain knowledge from their guidance and meet new people through volunteering, I am able to showcase my skills and be a part of a team of diverse and enthusiastic people. However, the balance between engagement, work, and home life can pose a substantial struggle for young professionals trying to fit it “all” in. We cannot be everywhere all the time, nor can we be everything to everyone, but in an increasingly connected and competitive world, the grind is on for young professionals across the province to be hyper-engaged and well-connected both in their work and extra-curricular lives.
For those working the nine to five, with fairly restricted flexibility, this “balance” may seem nearly impossible. When speaking to friends about volunteering or getting involved on a board or committee, I often hear a response like “my work schedule simply will not allow it” or “I want to, but it will make my days too long.” And that’s fair. In order to be truly engaged on any board, committee or long-term volunteer basis, an individual must offer a generous amount of their time. For those wanting to become more involved but are finding it difficult to squeeze everything into their day planners, here are a few tips that may help maximize your time:
Have a candid conversation with your supervisor or boss about where you want to volunteer – Most companies and organizations have policies in place for their employees to explore professional development. Many volunteer opportunities, particularly community based organizations, have governance structures including boards and committees that potentially align with professional development goals. Volunteer opportunities can also lead to additional training and mentoring, which can also fit into your organization’s definition of professional development. Talk to your boss to determine whether some flexibility can be introduced into your regular work day to accommodate appropriate volunteer work. For the employer, they bonus by having a more engaged, well-rounded and happy employee, while the employee is able to exercise freedom and further develop their skills in a new environment.
Align your “at-work” goals with your volunteer goals – The beauty about volunteering on a sector or program based committee or board, (think Chamber of Commerce, economic development-based, social services, etc.) is that it can be easy to tie in your current work with some of the goals of your respective volunteer opportunity. Accountant? Volunteer to be a treasurer on a board of directors. Web or graphic designer? Offer to volunteer on a working group for a not-for-profit’s website refresh. Not only will you add to your portfolio of work, you will be making valuable contacts and expanding your network at the same time.
Don’t be a YES person – It’s okay to say no. Community engagement and volunteering can sometimes snowball into too many opportunities to handle. The best volunteer is an engaged and energetic one, and stretching yourself too thin will only result in burnout and even worse, burning bridges due to lack of engagement. Commit, see through and move on to your next big thing!
Regardless of your availability or work schedule, volunteering is a fantastic way to get out, do something new and meet people. If you’re in an area with a local Young Professional Network, give them a shout and they will have plenty of ways to get involved, or can refer you somewhere that will interest you. If you have any tips for balancing work, life and play – let us know; we would be happy to share more tips with our YPNs.
Until next time!
Co-Director of Communications, YPNO
Past Chair of Strive: Young Professionals Group
Defining a Young Professional
Posted By Defining a Young Professional on 4/28/2016 4:24:49 PM
Is your YPN having trouble with the definition of what a "young professional" is for the purpose of membership? You may wish to limit membership without arbitrarily discriminating against those who may get a lot out of being a member or who have a lot to offer. As the Young Professionals Network of Ontario has addressed in the past, this is a common issue. Obviously there are two parts to the definition, so let's break it down:
What is your definition of ‘young’? Are you going to create an age cut off?
Across the board, the generally accepted age cutoff for a ‘young’ professional is 40 years old throughout Ontario. The young professional network of which I am Chair is no exception to the ‘under forty’ rule; however we have implemented an alternative criterion as well.
In Simcoe County, we have used the model of 'under 40 or in your first 10 years of practice'. This definition covers some people who are a bit older than the age cut off but who are in a newly established career and are looking to make connections.
What is a professional? What types of jobs are ‘professions’?
Your professional network probably doesn’t need to have a definition for a professional; it’s a pretty self-explanatory standard. If a person is passionate about his or her job and is interested in being involved in the community, he or she would probably fit into your group.
In Simcoe County, we have determined that a ‘professional’ is someone who is in a regulated profession (like a lawyer, doctor, accountant, etc.) or entrepreneurs. Although we are not very strict in vetting people’s credentials, having this standard does create predictability in what type of people you may meet at one of our events. That being said, we have members who are between careers or those who are still completing entrance requirements, such as articling students.
It’s clear that there's room to get creative with both categories and you can probably get away with not having any criteria. In the end, the goal is for your members to be exposed to other like-minded individuals who are young at heart.
How does your YPN define a Young Professional? Do you agree with these standards? Let us know on our Facebook page.
Chair, Simcoe County Young Professionals Association
Co-Director of Communications, YPNO
Posted By Econo-Tural Development & Branching Out Across The Province on 4/28/2016 4:24:58 PM
Alright, I made it up, Econo-tural isn’t really a word. I was trying to think of a word that equally considers the essence of an economy and cultural identity. You see I’m a firm believer that these two things go hand-in-hand, forming the expressions of a society.Nine years ago I left a smaller town that didn’t have a very diversified or appealing culture, and you could say the same about it’s economy, at best. Its economy was more visibly collapsing, and I didn’t see it getting any better. The writing was on the wall. I didn’t agree with the depressed bitter culture… the people, the lifeblood of this city, wasn’t one that would thrive in difficult times. The fabric of society was weak there. I made a decision to move to Kitchener-Waterloo a region which displayed a positive culture. A vibe you could feel everywhere. Hints of a promising economy. That was the beginning of 2007. If I’ve ever been absolutely correct in a general assumption, that was one of those times. Waterloo Region has never let me down in that regard, in fact it’s lifted me higher than I thought possible at the time. I’m not the only one who thinks so. The region has gained attention throughout the Province and beyond.
In the spirit of keeping this short and sweet, I’ll spare you the onslaught talk of my deep fondness and pride in this city I now call home. I’ll cut to the chase; one of the things that makes Waterloo Region great is something many of us agree on. Collaboration. The willingness to work, share, learn, and grow together. It’s choosing to be positive and open rather than negative and selfish. It’s a different attitude to how you interact with those around you. Your colleagues. Your clients. Your suppliers. Your friends. The person sitting next to you at the café. It’s a conversation. Realizing it’s a small world, the positive energy is reciprocal. It connects you, and moves you up and around. Doors open. Doors suddenly everywhere. What I’m trying to say is that it’s nothing short of amazing and beneficial for everyone.
I know this isn’t the case in the majority of Ontario cities. In fact, it can be quite the opposite in some regions, like the one I left. And so, I started wondering: “how often do we collaborate as a province?” Ontario is as massive as it is a diverse land complete with natural barriers and a lot of "space in between". (Beautiful space might I add) We’re bigger than most countries in the world, so it’s a lot of space, with room for improvement, such as high-speed rail. But we live in an age that makes it easy to communicate despite these challenges that only 100 years ago would've been significantly more difficult. Modern technology and accessibility makes this easier than ever. A perfect example is this very board of directors (YPNO). The Founders in Thunder Bay understood the need to branch out across the Province, with other directors in Kenora, Hamilton, New Market, Sudbury, and Waterloo to name a few. We meet monthly using web video conferencing, and more recently a web based team communication app, and other online tools.
What if all of us took some time to stop and think about collaborating across the Province? If you’re in Windsor for example, why not reach out to your equivalents in Niagara Falls? Both are border cities with the U.S., perhaps with similar challenges or strengths. Some associations or organizations are using this model to spark creative thought or problem solving.
A lot of Ontario is going through a tough time right now. Some people fail, some people strive when challenged. What if we all connected, bridged those gaps, and bettered each other. What if we created a new energy right across the province? Made some new friends where we may not have thought to. What could that do for you? What could that do for someone else?
I can promise you one thing, it won’t be negative. So jump on the web, open a map, pick a city, take a virtual trip, find your equivalent and reach out! Maybe you’ll have coffee some day and solve the world’s problems. Who knows! It comes down to attitude, and the choices we make.
Past Chair of the Kitchener-Waterloo Young Professionals, and works as the Sales & Marketing Manager at INS Inc.
Director of YPN Development, YPNO
Planning for success
Posted By Planning for your YPN's success this year on 4/28/2016 4:28:37 PM
Each new year is a new opportunity to rethink and re-envision your Young Professional Network’s plans and activities. For Hamilton HIVE, 2016 presents new opportunities and considerations as the organization is now incorporated as a non-profit. As the 2016 HIVE exec creates the operations plan for the year, there are a few key considerations that govern our approach in executing HIVE’s vision. Here are a few suggestions that can help you define your YPN’s focus for the year:
Be crystal clear about your mandate and your assets
Many YPNs share a common vision to advance young professionals in their communities. Within that vision, however, there are complex questions to tackle. How do we define and meet our goals based on our current capacity? What are our assets and our competitive advantage? Answering these questions serves as a reality check exercise, which can be the blueprint for deciding the scope and scale of your YPN’s activities.
You know the saying “no man is an island”? In a world where connections and networks matter, no YPN can thrive alone! Consult with your fellow YPNs and seek ways to collaborate, either by co-presenting events, co-chairing committees or co-promoting each other’s initiatives. In Hamilton and Hamilton HIVE, we’ve seen success coming out of unique collaborations between our member groups, businesses and community organizations. These partnerships can present win-win situations for all.
Know your audience and what they want
The young professional demographic is huge and has diverse needs. HIVE’s target demographic (individuals aged 18-39 years old) are at different stages in their lives. They are students, workers and parents. They might be thinking of career advancement, ways to transition to the workforce, meaningful social life, networking opportunities, philanthropy, community involvement and more. Recognizing and differentiating their needs can help you decide the focus of your YPN’s activities and programming for the year.
Engage young professionals in the process
It’s not rocket science: when activities and programming are planned for and by young professionals, they often resonate stronger and are more relevant to young professionals. Find ways to engage the emerging class of young professionals in your city. HIVE strives to do so through its three subcommittees: HIVEX conference planning, public relations and sponsorship and stewardship. The subcommittees provide a platform for young professionals to gain and sharpen their skills, learn from one another and explore new areas of interest. The volunteers are instrumental in creating new content for the website, coordinating the programming for Hamilton’s premier young professional conference and garnering sponsorship for HIVE.
Now onto you. What are the key considerations for your YPN as you plan for your year? I’d be happy to bounce off ideas. Contact via firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair, Hamilton HIVE
Catalyst for Success
Posted By Relationships are the Catalyst for Success on 4/28/2016 4:31:19 PM
Many people have different interpretations of ‘networking’, chatting with people from a different area or sector of work, simply meeting new people or the exchange of business cards and chit chat over a beverage. In many instances, this is a fair depiction of what it looks to be, but there is a deeper meaning than simply exchanging business cards and meeting someone new. Whether you are at a networking event to acquire new business, introduce yourself and meet other people, advertise yourself and/or your business at the end of the day, you should be there for a very specific reason. If you’re simply handing out as many business cards as possible- good for you but how many people did you truly engage and connect with on personal levels. Now, I’m not talking about sharing extremely confidential information, when I say personal level, I’m talking getting to know each other and making un-forced conversation- Building a Relationship.
When you build relationships, you are essentially building a base (foundation) with another person. What is more effective- handing out a bunch of business cards with the hopes of a follow up? or connecting with a few people and handing out cards to those you connected with? It seems like such an elementary concept, but you’d be surprised that people fail to acknowledge this concept. Personally, I am not a huge fan of the word ‘networking’ simply because sometimes I feel it has a negative connotation for just wanting something from someone “here’s my card call me if you need ___” (It can also be intimidating to some) When you’re building relationships you are making connections, but you are building enduring and mutually beneficial relationships. This concept builds off the theory where connecting with a few people in a room of 150 is better than trying to meet everyone and handing each a business card. You want to ensure you are building your personal brand and truly connecting with someone- there will be many more opportunities to meet new people, don’t try to do it at once.
Social Entrepreneurship is the phrase I like to use when I think of going out and meeting new people at ‘networking’ events. You represent yourself, the company that employs you and your colleagues. Excelling at this can enhance your career significantly once you’ve become successful at it, it’s an essential skill to possess. It isn’t about who you know, but who knows you- people like to do business with those who they can trust, act as a resource and help each other when in need. Go out there, meet new people- build relationships, and make a difference in your community. Relationships are vital to your career and can go a long way.
Relationships are the catalyst for success.
Coordinator, Young Professionals Network of Ontario