EVENT RECAP: Senior and Alumni Networking Night

By Anthony Saltarelli ’18, Nerelly Checo ’18

On Monday, September 14, the Center for Career Development hosted a Senior Alumni Networking Event with guest speaker, Jodi Smith. For those of you who could not make it, here are 8 memorable takeaways:

  1. Always have a conversation starter ready.

    • Jodi referred to this as a “snippet”. It’s a short, unique sentence about yourself, which provokes further conversation. For example: “Hi I’m Alex and I just launched my first iPhone app!”

  2. Give a firm handshake.

    • Always remember that anything more than three shakes is considered creepy and maintain eye contact during the handshake. The tip to having a firm handshake is making sure that the web between your thumb and index finger is also touching their web.

  3. Looking to make an exit from a conversation? Avoid saying “Excuse me, I’m going to the bathroom”.

    • Nobody needs to know that you’re going to to the bathroom. In addition, saying “Excuse me, I’m going to get another drink” may cause the person to follow you or ask you for a drink. Simply saying “excuse me” is sufficient enough.

  4. Be a lion going for the wildebeest. Circle them and pick who interests you the most.

  5. Do your homework before arriving to the networking event.

    • Know the dress code, whether food will be served, who is going to be at the event, modes of transportation and length of trip, availability of parking, etc.
    • Make sure to know the rank of whoever you are speaking to — you wouldn’t want to be caught talking poorly about the CEO to the CEO!

  6. Always wear your name tag on your right side.

    • Place your name tag closer to your shoulder. When you shake someone’s hand, you always use your right arm. Therefore, naturally, the other person’s eyes will follow your arm right up to your name tag.

  7. End the conversation gracefully.

    • Jodi emphasized two things in terms of ending a conversation. It is important to always ask for a business card because this is your way of maintaining a connection with them outside of the event. She recommends that upon arriving home, you should write the date, who this person is and what was discussed with this person. This ensures that you can write an email or handwritten note to the person that includes details that shows you remember them (it also helps them remember you so it’s a win-win situation).

    • As humans, sometimes our memory fails us. Watch out for ending the conversation with the common phrase “It was a pleasure to meet you”. You may have met the person in the past before and simply forgotten. Avoid embarrassing moments like these by simply saying “it was a pleasure speaking with you”.

  8. Always follow up!

    • Regardless of whether the person holds a job in an industry or workplace that specifically interests you, you don’t know who their connections may be.

#CrusaderIntern: Prepare + Prosper

Name: Mae Hougo ’18
Organization: Prepare + Prosper

Prepare + Prosper is a free tax and financial services non-profit based in St. Paul, Minnesota. During the tax season Prepare + Prosper sets up free tax clinics all around the metro area, which people below a certain income can come and receive tax help from our trained volunteers. The organization also encourages people to see their tax refund as a “money moment.” Their refund could be used to set up a savings account for the unforeseeable emergencies in life.

What were you up to this past summer?

I am the outreach intern here at Prepare + Prosper. I am working with the communications staff to inform the community about Prepare + Prospers services, and a few specific tax credits. In Minnesota there is a tax credit for families with children in grades K-12 to write off the school supplies and materials they buy. The summer is the perfect time of year to encourage families to save their receipts. My job has been to contact the principals of schools in the area, as well as local organizations that might be having back-to-school events. I send the schools and organizations materials and information about the tax credit and our services.

I also work with on the Claim It Campaign, which is a state wide campaign informing the public about the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). The EITC is a federal tax credit for low-income working individuals and families. This tax credit is the number one way to fight poverty in our country. I work with our Campaign Manager here at Prepare + Prosper in restructuring our materials so that they are useful, engaging tools for our viewers. I am also helping the organization become better connected with counties around the state in order to reach more people eligible for the credit.

What was your favorite part?

My favorite part of my internship was going into the community and sharing with people how our services can help them become more financially stable. Whether it is at a local shelter, or a veteran’s event, I enjoy the one-on-one time I can spend with members of the community. I hope that my doing so incentivizes more people to use our tax and financial services, which can allow them to get ahead.

What surprised you?

What has surprised me the most is how dedicated the network of volunteers is to Prepare + Prosper’s mission. I have been fortunate enough to attend a volunteer appreciation event. The volunteers dedicate so much of their time to this organization, and a lot of them donate money as well. They see how a tax refund can better a life, and continue to volunteer year after year.