Thursday, February 23, 2012

5 Steps to a More Professional You!

As many of you might know, global spokesperson for LinkedIn, Lindsey Pollak, will be visiting our campus very soon! To be precise, she will be presenting a program on “The Insider’s Guide to LinkedIn,” on March 13th at 6:30 p.m. in the Mack Student Center Plaza Rooms. Not only is she an accomplished business woman, who knows the ins and outs to LinkedIn, but she is also the author of “Getting from College to Career.” This extraordinary guidebook provide hints, tips and advice for those looking to transition into the professional world, or even into a new field. In preparation for her visit, I have read her book and the following are few of her essential tips that will help anyone develop a professional image and reputation.

1. Get a professional email and signature: As a student from generation Y, there was one point in our existence where it was “cool” to have a cutesy/ funny screen-name and email. Yes, even I at one point thought lilswimmer540 was a socially acceptable online image to promote, and maybe in 5th grade it was. However, now it is time to upgrade to a more professional look. Create a free account on Gmail, Yahoo!, or Hotmail with a simple combination of your first name/ first initial and your last name. Additionally, add a simple signature line at the end of your email:

Your Name
ABC University
Cell Number

Lindsey Pollak“ism”: “Don’t ever, ever, ever lose an opportunity because someone couldn’t easily find your contact information.”

2. Record a Professional Voicemail: Do you have and inappropriate ring-back tone/ voicemail greeting? Or a generic greeting that says “you have reached the voicemail box of 555-555-5555, please leave a message?” If you have answered yes to one or both, then it is time to make some changes. Record a new simple and professional voicemail message: “Hi, you have reached Jane Smith. I am unable to get to the phone, but if you leave me a message, I will call you back as soon as possible.”

Lindesy Pollak“ism”: “Basically, potential employers should feel as though they’re calling another desk in their office, because that’s exactly where you want your phone to be someday.”

3. Email Like a Professional!!!!:
1. DNUCAPE, or Do Not Use Cute Acronyms in Professional emails: Unless you’re on a friendship basis, this means no more LOLs, BRBs, TTYLs.
2. Use proper capitalization and punctuation: DO NOT write a whole email in lowercase and forget to use punctuation.
3. Do not use emoticons in professional emails: Save the smiley faces for your friends.
4. Cool it on the exclamation points!!!: I know you’re excited, but try to limit yourself to ONE exclamation point per email.
5. DO NOT leave the subject line blank: Today professionals receive tons of emails, you don’t want yours to be overlooked because it looks unimportant or like spam.

Lindsey Pollak“ism”: “When in doubt, have someone you trust proofread an important e-mail message. It’s always better to be safe than spam blocked.”

4. Get Carded: Alright, so maybe you’re still a student or just graduated, but that’s no excuse not to think of yourself as a professional. Order online or stop by your local office supply store to create some business cards for yourself. Things to consider including: your name, degree, anticipated date of graduation, cell phone number, email, LinkedIn address, website, professional blog or twitter account.

Lindsey Pollak“ism”: Students who have business cards show “maturity, foresight, and eagerness to have the appropriate tools for the working world.”

5. Develop your 15 second pitch: Trust me, there is nothing worse than having someone ask you, “tell me a little but more about yourself,” and being at a loss for words. This is the most common question to be asked during an interview or even when networking, so be prepared.
Step One: Tell them who you are-
Consider major, awards, internships, licenses, jobs (anything relevant to the industry or the position you’re applying for).
Step Two: Tell them what you’re good at- Are there certain skills, passions or experiences that would be interesting or applicable?
Step Three: Provide a call to action- Let the person know what you’re interested in doing or why you are pursuing a particular job.
Step Four: Practice- Through practice you’ll be more confident and be sure to deliver a pitch that is clear, creative and concise.
For more help check out:,,

For more advice, come meet the guru herself, Lindsey Pollak on
Tuesday, March 13th at 6:30 p.m. in the Mack Student Center Plaza Rooms

~Alison Charlebois, Graduate Assistant

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