Presenting Yourself


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When you are seeking an internship or a job it is important to present yourself in a positive light. In addition to the obvious, and frequently discussed, resume and cover letter, there are a number of other ways of promoting yourself and connecting with employers in the job and internship search.

Business Cards

Having business cards is part of being a professional. Always have them with you. Business cards are especially valuable when you are at networking events where it is impractical to carry resumes. Also, some recruiters at job and internship fairs may not take resumes, so handing them a business card helps them remember you.

Content

  • Contact information is the focus of the business card: name, email, phone number and LinkedIn address.
  • Your contact email should be professional and contain your name - your UMD email is a good example. Leave “book_worm033” and “MisterDunkalot” in the past.
  • List "University of Minnesota Duluth, Class of 20XX" with the name of your degree.
  • You might also include a tagline explaining your professional interests, such as, "Aspiring Marketing Professional," "Interested Personnel Specialist," or "Graphic Designer."

Etiquette

  • Business cards are generally exchanged at the beginning or the end of an initial meeting, for example, “It’s been nice talking with you. Here is my card; let’s stay in touch.”
  • Examine any business card you are given, comment on it and clarify any information before putting it away.
  • Use your business cards wisely. Do not hand them out casually to everyone or leave them lying around.
  • Unless you are at a job and internship fair, wait for the person with whom you are conversing to initiate the giving of their card. In some circles, it is frowned upon to ask superiors for their cards.
  • To protect your business cards, and keep them easily available, purchase a business card case.
  • Business card etiquette may be different in other countries. When traveling abroad, learn the customs of the country. Consider translating one side of your card into the language of the country you are visiting.

Design

  • Use an easy-to-read font style no less than 8-point in size.
  • All information should be at least 1/8 of an inch from the edge of the card.
  • Use font style, color, layout and design strategically. It is your choice how creative you decide to be. Nice design and typography will make a good impression.
  • You may use UMD’s school colors but not the official school logo.
  • Keep in mind, the business card is just your information. You still need to shine in person.

Phone Use Tips

  • Use a professional outgoing message.
  • Eliminate distractions and background noise when using your phone.
  • Have a fully charged battery and ample service before answering or making a professional call.
  • Speak slowly and clearly and spell your name when leaving a message.
  • Don’t answer your phone while driving.
  • Don’t answer a professional call when in a public place or while engaged in a social activity.
  • Don’t walk around while talking on your phone.
  • Turn off your phone while waiting for an in-person interview. If you usually review your notes on your phone, use another method so you don’t appear to be checking messages.
  • Turn off your phone during an in-person interview, presentation or professional meeting

Elevator Speech

An elevator speech is a brief introduction of you. It is usually 30 seconds to one minute, the time it takes for an elevator to go a few flights before the doors open and the person to whom you are speaking exits.

What to Include

  • Who you are (your name).
  • What you currently do (“I’m a junior communication major attending school full time while also working 20 hours a week as a server.”).
  • One or two big goals you have right now (“My current goal is to land an entry-level position in marketing after graduation.”).
  • What you are doing to reach the goal(s) (“I’m applying for marketing internships for the summer and building my portfolio by taking electives in digital design and marketing this semester.”).

End With a Question

  • “Could you tell me more about the new product you are developing?”
  • “I saw information on your website about your financial management training program. It sounds interesting; could you tell me more about it?”

Example:

Hello, my name is Mary Smith, it’s nice to meet you. I’m a junior at the University of Minnesota Duluth majoring in electrical engineering. I am interested in an electrical engineering internship this coming summer. I’ve taken courses in electrical circuits and digital system design and I am familiar with the MATLAB and SPICE programs. I know your company recently expanded their product line to include wireless communication devices and I researched this area extensively for one of my classes. Could you tell me more about the new product line?