DEV Community

loading...

A Newbie's Handbook to Talking About Your Skills

Sarah Bartley
Front-end Web Developer | Moderator for Elphas Can Code on Elpha | Creator of Disney Codes Challenge
・29 min read

Originally published on May 23, 2020 on BritishPandaChick Codes. I made tweaks to the original post so it would work for The Practical Dev.

We're ready for mission three of the CNC2018 Get a Job challenge. This might be an odd time to write a blog post about networking since many networking events are impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Despite these uncertain times, it is more important than ever to network.

Networking is the career strategy every career expert recommends. Many people I know in tech got their jobs through networking. The CNC2018 Get a Job challenge has several missions related to networking so this post is the beginning of many posts on this topic.

In this mission, the first networking topic is becoming comfortable talking about yourself and practicing for network events. This might feel like an odd topic for a mission, but talking about yourself can feel uncomfortable for many people. The things that can make job seekers feel uneasy talking about themselves include impostor syndrome to nervous jitters talking about your skills for the first time.

In order to feel as ready as possible for your networking event, job seekers need to have a plan in mind for the event and practice talking about their skills so it feels natural for you. Today's post is going to share Code Newbie's advice and resources to help you prepare for any networking event and how you need to practice so you can become confident talking about your skills. You'll learn exactly what you need to do in specific networking situations, how to start conversations, and how to put together an elevator pitch.

Mission Three Homework

This mission has two main objectives job seekers need to complete. First, job seekers need to attend one networking event. This can be attending an in-person event or scheduling time to network online each week. Two, job seekers will be creating an elevator pitch to use at the networking event then start practicing their pitch for the event.

Networking Notes Worksheet

Throughout this mission, job seekers will be using Networking Notes to help prepare for networking events. These notes are where you will record information about your event and put things you prepare to use for your event here. At the end of the event, you will be putting your reflection of your event here.

Code Newbie provides job seekers with a Google Docs worksheet with the template for Networking Notes, but you can create your own worksheet for this mission. First, choose where you would like to make this document. This can be in Google Docs, Microsoft Word, or even a bullet journal. I recommend picking something you know you will be able to use and access easily.

Two, set up a template in your networking notes so you can copy-paste it later when you register for networking events. Below are the steps to help you organize your template. This includes setting up two sections for preparation and reflection.

1. At the top of the template, have an area for the event name and date.

2. Underneath the event name and date, add four subheadings. Put enough space under each subheading so you can fill in information later. You will need the following subheadings.

  • Pitch. This is where you'll be putting your elevator pitch you'll be using for the event.
  • Skills. You will list all the skills you want to mention and focus on during the event.
  • 3 Stories. These are short stories you will want to use at the event.
  • Questions. Your list of questions you want to get answered at the event go here.

3. At the bottom of the template, add the following four questions. This is where you will reflect on the networking event. Leave enough space underneath each question for you to write your answers in later.

  • What worked? What are three things that you said when talking about yourself that worked really well? These things are what you will want to use again in future events.
  • What are three things you said that did not work? Why do you think they didn't resonate?
  • What would you plan on doing differently next time? What might you change about your story, or should you replace it altogether?
  • What people/companies/ideas do you want to follow up on? Any potential job opportunities you want to look into?

What items do I need have for a networking event?

Code Newbie recommends all job seekers regardless of what event they are attending bring something to take notes with. This can be a notebook with a pen or having a notetaking app installed on your phone. Before you attend the event, you will want to write down your questions from your networking notes in your notebook so you can reference them later during the event.

If you are attending an in person networking event, you will want to consider bringing a few business cards with you. Business cards are a great way to give your information quickly to others when they ask. I know job seekers that use business cards they get from others as a way to jot down information they learn from the conversations so they can follow up with that person later.

Don't have a business card? A business card is a nice to have item, but it isn't something you need to worry about if you are attending your first networking event. As you attend more events, you will want to consider designing and printing your own business cards for you to take to events.

Objective One: Register to Attend a Network Event

Your first objective in this mission is to register for one networking event. This can be attending an in person event or participating in an virtual community. Registering for one networking event will help you get into the habit of networking and attending events regularly.

I've already talked about different ways to find online and in person networking communities in Skillcrush 300. You can revisit "The Newbie's Guide to Networking" post to get even more information on how to find networking events.

==> Click here to read "The Newbie's Guide to Networking" post!

Virtual Events

Networking online is happening quite a lot during this pandemic. Many in person organizations and meetups are moving their events online while more online communities are popping to help job seekers during this time.

Virtual networking isn't just for a pandemic. Job seekers who live in areas where there are little to no networking events can use online communities and events to get the same benefits as in person events. It is also helpful for busy job seekers than are unable to attend in person networking events after a long day at work.

Job seekers can get started networking online by looking for specific niche communities.

Niche communities are great for learning about virtual events and meeting with people that can best help your accomplish your career goals. As you search for communities to join, Code Newbie encourages job seekers to join ones that let you feel like you can talk to people just like you. For example, a job seeker looking for a software engineer role will want to join communities related to coding and programming.

This person will want to participate in threads and chats related to programming. The job seeker will want to join platforms, groups, and Slack Channels that match the topics they are interested in. Code Newbie recommends two platforms job seekers can use to start networking online.

The first resource is Code Buddies. CodeBuddies is a global community where developers can help other become better at coding and software development. CodeBuddies has a variety of hangouts available which makes it good for networking and getting help on any coding concepts.

==> Click here to learn more about CodeBuddies!

The second resource is the Code Newbie Slack. Slack is a popular tool used to network virtually and there are a variety of workspaces you can join depending on your interests, industry, and skills. The Code Newbie Slack focused on coding and programming, but their Slack workspace provided channels for non-technical topics.

In Person Events

Once things have calmed down, in person networking events will resume. While it isn't clear when in person events start up again, you can use the information in this section to help you find events you'd like to attend to in the future. In-person events are another form of networking job seekers can use to meet people in the industry they want to work for.

There is a wide selection of in-person networking events job seekers can attend from casual meetup groups to large conferences. The best way to find in person networking events is to search by your niche or industry. Niche communities offer a variety of in person and online events members can attend.

These events include classes, meetups, and even international events. You can find out when these communities are hosting these events on their social media pages or joining their e-mail newsletters. Two examples of niche communities are Girl Develop It and Women Who Code.

Both organizations target a specific niche and offer a variety of events for their members. Their communities announce their events in their newsletters and on their social media profiles.

==> Click here to learn more about Girl Develop It!
==> Click here to learn more about Women Who Code!

A popular resource many job seekers and career experts recommend is Meetup.com. Meetup.com allows people to find local events close to where they live. Meetup.com has a search feature on its website which allows job seekers to use keywords to find specific events they would like to attend. If there are no meetup groups in your area, meetup.com allows members to create their own meetup groups.

==> Click here to learn more about meetup.com!

At the time of the challenge, Code Newbie encouraged job seekers to visit the Code Newbie website and look at the meetups page. This page had information about different mixers they hosted in Washington DC and Philadelphia. Today this page is no longer available.

Instead there a link to the CodeLand website. CodeLand is a conference designed for new developers just starting to learn how to code.

==> Click here to learn more about CodeLand!

Another good resource for finding in-person events is Free Code Camp study groups. Free Code Camp has several study groups all over the world which allow developers to meet up and learn how to code together. If you are interested in creating your own study group, Free Code Camp has information available to help people create their own study group using the Facebook group feature.

==> Click here to learn more about Free Code Camp study groups!

Register for your event!

Pick one event you would like to attend then register for the event. The steps to register for an event will vary depending on the platform you pick so follow the instructions very carefully. Once you have registered for the event, add the event information to your calendar.

You can use a calendar app or write down your event on a calendar. I recommend writing down this information in place you will be able to see it later and not forget about it. The last thing you need to do is write down the event name and date in your networking notes.

Objective Two: Practice Talking About Your Skills.

Now that you have registered for an event, you can turn your attention to preparing for your event. This means putting together a plan for the day of the event, figuring out how you want to present your skills to others, and actually practice talking about your skills so you are ready for the day of your event. In this objective, you'll be getting three items ready for your networking event. You will be writing your elevator pitch, 3 short stories, and a list of questions to ask others at the event.

1. Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitch is a short, professional summary of who you are. People listen for elevator pitches to get a preview of who you are and what you are looking for. A strong elevator pitch leaves a lasting impression on others and keeps you top of mind in their heads.

So if anyone asks you to tell them more about yourself, your answer will be your elevator pitch. Career experts will have different opinions on what makes a good elevator pitch, but they all can agree that a good pitch shows others that you are a good candidate for the role you want. So it is a delicate balancing act of promoting yourself and sharing your goals.

The way you frame yourself is very important to consider as you write your elevator pitch.

What you say in your pitch will present a picture to the listener that you are prepared to do the job. Before you can start writing your pitch, the first step is to brainstorm. During this brainstorm, write down what your goals are and what makes you a good candidate.

Once you have a list, pick a few of the goals, skills, and qualities you want to use for your pitch. If you need help figuring out what makes you a good candidate, don't be afraid to ask people that know you best what they think makes you a good candidate. Now you can start writing your elevator pitch using the items you just picked from your brainstorm.

Once you write your pitch, re-read your pitch and edit it to see if the pitch frames you as the best candidate for the role you want. When you are satisfied with your pitch, you can write your elevator pitch in your networking notes then start practicing your pitch until the day of the event.

How to Frame Your Elevator Pitch

The secret to a great elevator pitch is connecting your past and present together. As you write your elevator pitch, you always want to evaluate how your elevator pitch is framing you as a candidate. You can do this by putting yourself in someone else's shoes and what their perspective would be if they met you at networking.

What impression would this person have of you if this person heard your pitch at a networking event? Code Newbie wants job seekers to take a look at this elevator pitch a job seeker has put together. What is the first thing you notice about this pitch?

"I was a high school English teacher for ten years and learned how to code about seven months ago. I’ve been learning JavaScript through an online program, and I’m currently looking for my first position."

This pitch isn't bad. It has the essential items that an elevator pitch has. However this pitch doesn't frame the candidate in the best way.

The pitch leads with the fact this job seeker was an English teacher instead of a developer. This communicates to others that this job seekers is a newbie and is trying to break into the industry. That might be true for this candidate, but the tone and vibe is what people pick up on and this pitch gives off a vibe that this job seeker isn't quite confident for a developer role.

The job seeker can make this pitch better by framing this pitch so it shows this person is job ready.

So what does a job ready elevator pitch look like? First, it leads with the role you want. This job seeker should reverse the order of the original pitch and have the developer experience first.

The pitch then can briefly end with a little bit of details on past teaching experience. Now the new elevator pitch should like the following.

"I’m currently a developer, hoping to get a new role working with JavaScript. Before that, I actually taught high school English for ten years. Being a high school teacher has helped me so much as a developer, especially when figuring out really tough problems. If you can figure out how to make a bunch of rowdy teenagers settle down and care about grammar, you can take on any bug!"

This job seeker's updated pitch is much better not just because of the order of how the roles are talked about. It better connects this job seeker's present and past together so it is interesting and unique. Most of the elevator pitch concentrates on the present and what the job seeker is doing now as well as things this person can help others with now.

If you are a job seeker making a career change or are just graduating from school, you will need to be extra careful putting together your elevator pitch.

Your pitch is how you will be presenting yourself to others and giving them their first initial impressions of you. So as you put together your pitch, you will constantly be evaluating the way you are framing yourself and skills. Are there past experiences which gave you certain skills and qualities? These are things you will want to explain in your pitch with a couple of sentences to show how the two are connected.

2. Short Stories

One of the ways to help connect your past and present experiences together is with three short stories. Short stories are a great way job seekers can show how they use their skills in different situations. In this mission, you will need to have three short stories prepared for the networking event you will be attending.

Before you can start writing any short stories, it is time to brainstorm and figure out what your stories will be about. Your short stories will be highlighting specific skills so write down a list of all the skills you can do. Once you've made your list, pick at least three skills you want to use for your short stories. Write these skills in your networking notes.

If you aren't sure what skills to pick for your short stories, go back and look at your homework assignments from the past two missions. These assignments can help you decide what to use. Code Newbie recommends job seekers also use job descriptions as a guide too. Use the skills mentioned in job postings and job descriptions will give you an idea of what skills people are going to be on the lookout for.

Now that you've chosen the skills for your stories, it is time to start writing your stories. Each story needs to best show you using a chosen skill. As you write your stories, you want a certain skill in action or in a situation. If you would like your story to concentrate on an experience you have in the industry you want to work for, you will want to talk about what you did and the results you brought.

Are you not sure where to start?

Code Newbie helps job seekers get started by giving them different story ideas. Use the following story ideas as a starting point to begin writing your story.

  • Project you worked on
  • Problem you found a solution for
  • Ideas for future projects

Selecting the Best Stories

It can be hard choosing just three stories for an event, but Code Newbie encourages job seekers to use a mix of different stories. This means using stories you are proud of as well as ones you aren't quite sure about. Using stories you aren't sure about does seem like an odd thing to do at a networking, but networking events are the perfect place to gather data on your stories and see how people react to your stories.

As you meet and connect with new people at event, you will want to observe how people respond to the stories you tell. What nonverbal cues do people have as they listen to your stories? What questions do they ask?

These observations will give you some clarity on how well your stories do as well as gather data on what the people you want to connect with are interested in. This way you can adjust your stories for future events so you create the best impression possible with the people you want to connect with.

Another factor you need to consider in picking your stories is the length. You will want to pick stories that can be told quickly. So as you decide on what stories to use, you will want to ask yourself if this is something that can be told in a few sentences while showing as a strong candidate. Once you've written your stories, add these stories to your networking notes.

3. List of Questions

The last item you will need to prepare is a list of questions you want to ask during the event. Networking isn't just about learning about open job positions. Job seekers can learn more about the companies and roles they are interested in by asking questions.

Think of your questions as goals you would like to accomplish at a networking event. These questions will give you a blueprint for what you need to do at the event from what answers you need to figure out to who you should connect with so you can use your time effectively on the day of the event. Before you start writing your question, you will want to think about the people you want to connect with.

You can use your homework from the previous two missions to help you create your questions. Code Newbie suggests job seekers identify the people you want to talk to at an event. You do this by looking at the event page.

The event page has a lot of information that can help job seekers think of thoughtful questions to ask such as the guest list, speakers, hashtags, and previous topics discussed at an event. All this information will give you an idea of who you might want to connect with.

Next, create your questions.

These questions will be your guide to getting the answers you want while building a connection with that person. Once you have an idea of what answers you want to find out, you can work backwards and figure out how to create your questions to get the answers. For example, job seekers that have a specific company in mind will want to learn more about what working at the company is like.

So they will want to ask questions that help them get a sense of what a day working at a company is like. A job seeker trying to connect with someone who has a similar background will want answers such as how people got their first jobs.

Questions aren't just for building a connection others attending a networking event. You will want to prepare questions just in case sponsors are attending. Sponsors often attend network events to recruit.

So if you see sponsors listed on the event page or on the guest list, you will want to make sure you connect with these people while you are there and see what positions they have available. Write down all your questions in your networking notes.

Objective Three: Attend Your Event

You will want to keep practicing your pitch and short stories up until the day of the event. On the day of the event, you will want to make sure you are ready to set the best impression possible. So you will want to arrive at the event at the scheduled time and double check you have all the items you need for the event. You will also want to plan your outfit so you look like a professional and makes you feel confident.

Before you go to the event, have specific goals in mind you want to accomplish while you are there. These goals could be talking to a certain number of people or spending a certain amount of time at event. Code Newbie encourages job seekers to set at least two goals for a networking event.

Do you need help starting a conversation at a networking event? Code Newbie provides different conversation starters and templates to help job seekers handle different networking situations. As you join different conversations and make new connections, remember to pay attention to what questions people ask you.

These questions are going to give you an idea of how people react to things you are using. So as you talk to others, examine the facial expressions and cues people have during the conversation. The way people respond will give you an idea of what people gravitated to.

If you want to follow up with anyone you meet from the event, ask for a business card. If someone doesn't have a business card, ask for specific contact information such as an e-mail, phone number or social media handle. Code Newbie recommends asking for a social media handle since social media makes it easier to keep that person top of mind with other people since profiles have photos and contact information on them.

Objective Four: Reflect on Your Event.

After you attend your networking event, the last thing you need to do is reflect on everything that happened. Self reflection is good since it helps you analyze how your elevator pitch and short stories went with other people so you can see what you can keep or improve for future events. In order to complete this objective, you need to answer the questions at the bottom of your networking notes. These questions will serve as a guide to help you think about the networking event in a critical way.

A Guide to In-Person Networking Situations

Are you not sure how to start a conversation at a networking event? Networking is a lot of small talk so it can sound intimidating. It can be confusing for job seekers to know how to respond to different situations.

In order to help job seekers be more confident in different networking situations, Code Newbie has put together conversation starters and tips on how they can approach different situations.

Starting a One on One Conversation

1. Look for spaces where people like to gather. This is where you can find people you to start a one on one conversation with easily. A good place people often gather around is the food and beverage area.

2. Found someone you want to talk to? Code Newbie suggests making eye contact first then going over to introduce yourself. You don't need to introduce yourself in a fancy way to avoid overthinking it. Just keep things simple. A good example of introducing yourself might be saying "Hey, I don't think I've met you yet. I'm [your name]."

3. Use something easy to start a conversation. The thought of beginning a conversation can sound intimidating but the best ways to start a conversation is by concentrating on what you already have in common with this person. Something you will already have in common with a person is the networking event you are attending so use the event a topic to begin your conversation. If you need more conversations starters, Code Newbie has put together a list of ways job seekers can get a conversation going.

  • "Hi, I'm [your name]. What brings you to [event you are attending]?"
  • "Hello, I'm [your name]. How long have you been working in tech?"
  • "Hi, I'm [your name]. What do you think of the talks so far?"
  • "Hi, I'm [your name]. It's my first time here, what about you?"
  • "Hey, I'm [your name]. Do you come to these meetups often?"

Joining a Group Conversation

1. Look for an opening in the group circle. Once you find an opening, wait for the group to stop speaking. When the group stops and looks in your direction, introduce yourself. Code Newbie recommends job seekers introducing themselves to a group by saying "Hey everyone! I'm [your name]. How's everyone liking the event so far?" to everyone.

2. What should you do if the group doesn't stop talking and acknowledges you? Code Newbie suggests job seekers make as much eye contact is possible. Another thing you can do is pay close attention to what the group is talking about.

Once you figured out the topic, you can contribute positive comments during the conversation. Comments can get people's attention. Some positive comments Code Newbie recommends job seekers use are "Neat!", "Interesting!", and "Congratulations!" in these situations.

3. Don't be afraid to interject yourself in a group conversation. A good way to interject yourself in a conversation is to ask questions to the person is talking. A couple of questions you can ask the speaker are "How did you do that?", "When did that happen?", and "How did you come up with that?" depending on what the conversation topic is. These are great questions to ask since it lets the speaker know you want them to elaborate further or respond.

4. If there is enough room for a long interjection, you can give more information to the speaker. Adding more information will keep the conversation going with the speaker. It also has a bonus effect of keeping you top of mind with the speaker. To create a longer interjection, Code Newbie has put together the following starters.

  • "You know, that's really interesting. I've always wondered how that works. Can you tell me more about how you did that?"
  • "Sounds like you love your job. What's the best part?"
  • "That's an impressive project. How did you get started?"

5. Start a one on one conversation with someone disengaged from the group. If you see someone not participating in the group conversation, make eye contact then introduce yourself. Then start a brand new conversation with this person. Ask questions like "So have you been here before?" or talk about common interests.

Politely Leaving a Conversation

1. Start with a thank you. The goal is to create forward momentum and a thank you is a great way to do this. Code Newbie provides job seekers with a couple of examples of how to use thank you to leave a conversation below.

  • “Thanks for sharing that. There are so many people here! I should make the rounds. Talk to you again soon!”
  • “I loved hearing about how you got started in tech, that’s really inspiring. I’m so glad I got to meet you. Alrighty, time to meet some more awesome folks!”

2. Ask the person if they know anyone at the event. You can ask the question "Do you know anyone else here I should try to connect with?” to people at events to see who else they know. If the person does know others at the event, you can ask this person to introduce you. Below are some ways Code Newbie suggests job seekers ask others for an intro.

  • “Neat! Would you mind introducing me?”
  • “Thanks so much! Let me go introduce myself.”

3. Introduce the person to people you know at an event. If you know someone attending the same event, ask the person if they would like to meet the person you know. A good way to ask if a person wants to be introduced to others is to say "You should meet [person's name], she also came from [insert background]. Can I introduce you?" to that person. If the person says yes, you can go over and introduce this person to other connections you have.

4. Mention another event you will be attending. A good way to bring an event into the conversation is to say "Thanks for a great conversation, [name]. I've got to go, but I'll be attending [event name] in a couple of weeks. If you can make it, I hope to see you there!" to that person.

Leaving an Awkward Conversation

It can feel difficult leaving an uncomfortable conversation, but Code Newbie provides a few templates to help job seekers escape an awkward conversation quickly.

  • “[name], it was so good meeting you. I’m starving! I’m going to go grab some food.”
  • “Thanks for sharing your views. Oh, my gosh, it’s 9 already? I’ve got to go make a quick call.”
  • "Interesting. Do you know where the restroom is?"

A Guide to Online Networking Situations

Things are going to be a little bit different when networking online. Online conversations differ from in person conversation since they are ongoing. So job seekers will need to tweak their approaches when talking to others online.

1. Look for places dedicated to networking. Good channels and hashtags to use are ones related to job hunting, hiring, careers, and freelance. Code Newbie encourages job seekers look at channels and hashtags that interest you. This will help you find places where you can join conversations easily.

2. Start adding comments. Comments are how you will be able to join online conversations. Once you've joined a couple of channels, you can start contributing to conversations.

You can ask questions, comment on an existing thread, or create your own thread. Keep responding to people's conversations and commenting until you find a couple of people that have similar interests or career paths as yours.

3. Use the direct messaging feature to send messages to people. When you find people that have similar interests and career paths, use the direct messaging feature to send them a message. Direct messaging is how you can ask a person for more information about them such as their experiences and career goals. You can also use this feature to share your story with them and what your goals are.

4. Ask questions. Questions are a great way to start online conversations and help create meaningful conversation. You can use questions to create a new thread on a platform. Code Newbie provides the following templates to start online conversations.

  • “Has anyone here used [language/tool] to make [project]?"
  • “Has anyone ever tried [insert language/tool]?”

Saron's Pro Networking Tips

This mission has several of founder Saron Yitbarek's tips sprinkled throughout the mission. Her tips are things she's learned from her own experiences networking as well as well as hosting several podcasts.

1. Ask open-ended questions.

The best questions to get a meaningful conversation started are ones which are open ended. Questions that get a yes or no response might be easier to ask, but open ended ones create conversations. It also lets the speaker know you are interested in what they have to say. So don't be afraid to ask questions.

Saron loves using open ended questions. Saron has learned from hosting several podcasts that people love talking about themselves and open ended questions are the way get conversations started. If you need help creating open ended questions, Code Newbie encourages job seekers to use the following templates to make your questions.

  • "How do you feel about [topic]?"
  • "What has your experience of [tool/language] been like?"

2. Read Industry News Before Your Event

Not sure what to questions you should ask? Code Newbie encourages all job seekers to keep up with industry news. Just knowing what is happening in your industry is going to give you an idea of what others might be talking about at an event.

You can use the news you read and hear about to start conversations with others as you are networking. In order to use industry news as a conversation starter, you can ask others if they have heard of a specific story or event. When you use these topics in an open ended question, you will be able to get others to share their opinions. This will create meaningful conversations that benefit everyone involved.

You can learn industry news by googling your industry and seeing what results pop up. You will want to look for sites that regularly keep people in the industry updated on what is accurately happening. A good way to find industry news is asking your connections what they like to use in order to stay current with everything happening in the industry.

Code Newbie gives job seekers a few examples of industry news sites a developer might use to stay up to date with everything happening in tech. Just look at the latest articles or tweets before you attend event so you can ask questions and be familiar enough with the topic so you can talk about it.

==> Click here to learn more about Recode!
==> Click here to learn more about TechCrunch!
==> Click here to read The Verge!

3. Don't ask someone to hire you.

It sound like a good idea to just get straight to the point and ask someone to hire you. However this strategy has the reverse effect and just makes the person you are talking to very uncomfortable. It will also give someone a negative first impression of you and can make you stay top of mind in the wrong way.

What you should do is ask specific questions related to find a job. This might appear as questions related to the company or the interview process the company uses. These kind of questions will give you the information you are looking and be easier for the person to answer. Most importantly it will help you stay top of mind with others in a positive way, increasing your chances of getting a position at a company.

4. Keep things casual and concise.

One of the common mistakes job seekers make while they are networking is oversharing information with others. It can tempting to just share everything with another person, but this can make things awkward for the other person. Hearing a person share every detail of one's life story overwhelms the listener. This is especially true when networking online and getting messages from people.

What you will want to do is be selective of what you choose to share. This isn't only for safety matters, but it makes things feel like an conversation. As you have more real life communications with people you meet at networking events, you can share more details about your life with them.

Recommended Resources

This mission has four resources to help job seekers become better talking about your skills and networking. Job seekers are encouraged to use these resources to help them prepare for their networking events.

the First resource is "3 Easy Ways to Start a Conversation with Anyone" video by Charisma on Command. This video shares different tips people can use to start a conversation in any situation. You can use these tips to get ideas to help you think of your own conversation starters for the network event you want to attend.

The second resource is "8 Tips to Networking Without Being a Fake" by Marie Forleo. Marie shares 8 tips job seekers can use to network authentically.

The third resource is the Developer Networking Tips blog post by Spark Post. Spark Post share networking tips developers can use to network effectively in order to find a tech job. However job seekers in other industries can still use these tips to help them network efficiently too.

==> Click here to learn more about Developer Networking Tips!

Finally, there is The Software Developer's Guide to Networking by John Sonmez. John's guide covers everything developers need to know about a networking including finding events, identifying the right people to connect with, and the right way to network. John even has a section to help job seekers create their own online networking groups and events.

==> Click here to read The Software Developer's Guide to Networking!

Time for some self-care!

Networking isn't easy and it is can feel very overwhelming for job seekers. However you can make networking less intimidating by using some of these tips during your networking event.

1. Take a short break during your networking event.

Sometimes it helps to just take a short break from trying to accomplish all your networking goals. Code Newbie advises job seekers to find a place to escape when you arrive at an event. This will be a place you can go when you need your break to escape and recharge. Good places to use as a place to take a break are the bathroom, a private corner, or an empty room.

2. Ask a friend to be on stand by.

A good way to help relax is just hearing a familiar voice or reading a message from a friend. You can see if your friend can be on standby just in case you need to call and chat for a couple of minutes. If your friend can be on standby during the whole event, you can ask your friend to record a video and send it to you via text message with a reassuring message.

This way you watch it when you are taking a break. You can also use apps such as Marco Polo to send video messages to others and get messages from your friends to watch later.

3. Use different breathing techniques to relax.

Breathing exercises are a great way to help you calm down and re-center yourself. Code Newbie provides job seekers with three resources where they can a variety of breathing exercises to try. Pick some of these exercises to use for your next networking event and use them while you are on your mini break.

==> Click here to learn more about Breathing Techniques for Stress Relief!
==> Click here to learn more about Breathe2Relax!
==> Click here to learn more about Pranayama Universal Breathing!

Conclusion

Congratulations! You are officially ready to start networking. If you would like feedback on your elevator pitch and short stories, you can post these items in two different places. First, post your items in the Code Newbie Facebook. Two, you can e-mail Code Newbie for help at cnc2018@codenewbie.

If you would like to see other examples of an elevator pitch or short stories, you can see what others post in the Code Newbie Facbook group. You can also look for more examples on Twitter using the hashtag #CNC2018. Don't be afraid to give others feedback on their pitches if they are looking for opinions on what they can improve or share any networking events other job seekers would be interested in attending.

As you start making more connections, you might want to ask people more questions about companies and roles you are interested in. The next mission of the CNC2018 challenge is going to share information and resources on how job seekers can use informational interviews to learn more about different companies, share their stories, and strengthen their connection with people that can best assist throughout the job search. By the end of mission four, you'll be ready to start scheduling and preparing for informational interviews.

Discussion (0)