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5 Steps to Getting Event Sponsors

Over the past 18 months, I’ve had the opportunity to host 5 networking events and by the second one, I was able to secure support from various sponsors. Yes, the events were still relatively new but the numbers don’t matter as much as value. Without value, it doesn’t matter how many attendees or social media impressions you have. You may think that your event is “too small” but it may be exactly the type of event a company is looking to support.

But, let’s be honest – reaching out to sponsors is nerve-wracking! Between finding the right people to contact, drafting the emails, waiting patiently for responses (you’ll probably refresh your emails every few minutes) and dealing with rejection, landing sponsors is not easy. However, if there’s anything I’ve learned since organizing my own events – nothing worth having comes easy and you don’t get what you don’t ask for. Yes, it’s nerve-wracking to reach out to potential sponsors but if you successfully land sponsorship support, it can truly help to elevate your brand.

Here are 5 tips to help you get event sponsors:

Create a strong sponsorship package

It’s imperative that you have a short yet concise document that you can share with your sponsors that highlights exactly why they should get involved with your event. Here are the key things to include:

  • Who you are and your expertise (what’s your background, why are you passionate about this and what makes you qualified)
  • Details on past events (attendee numbers, photos, positive feedback – highlight your growth!)
  • Attendee demographics (describe your attendees by age, interests, location, professional background, etc.)
  • Benefits of sponsoring your event (a.k.a. What value can you provide them?)
  • Testimonials
  • Sponsorship options (will you provide pre-set packaged opportunities or customized options?)
  • Contact information

Research and create an outreach list

When it comes to sponsorship, don’t just throw spaghetti at the wall and hope it sticks – in other words, don’t reach out to anyone and everyone and take whoever responds. You need to be specific in terms of who your ideal sponsors would be so that it makes sense for your event. Take time to research and ask yourself the following questions:

  • What brands can best integrate into your event and provide value?
  • Who has sponsored events similar to yours?
  • What brands do our attendees like?

 

Create customized emails

Once you have a targeted list, it’s time for you to start your outreach. I highly recommend trying to find emails for a specific person – emails sent to a general mailbox rarely ever receive responses. If you can’t easily find the best contact from the company’s website – don’t get discouraged! Here’s what I do:

  • Look up the best contact on LinkedIn
  • Once I have the first and last name, I research to find out how the company structures their email addresses (for example – is it firstnamelastname@company, firstname.lastname@company, etc.)
  • The quickest way to find out how the company structures their emails? Search for a recent press release and check the contact details at the bottom!

Before you start reaching out, it’s important to know exactly what type of support you would like from them. Take some time to brainstorm some ideas so that if they ask you what you have in mind, you can respond right away. Be direct yet reasonable in your requests.

Your emails need to be short but valuable and from the first few sentences, you need to make clear what’s in it for them. Start by addressing them by name and then briefly introducing yourself, what you do and the value you provide. Let them know your package is attached for them to review and be sure to end the email with a call-to-action so that they’re more likely to respond – you could ask to set up a call or a meeting to provide them with more details.

I also suggest creating a tracker so that you can keep a record of all the emails you sent out, what date and the responses you receive. This way, you’ll be able to effectively follow up.

Keep the communication lines open

Once a sponsor has agreed to partner with you, it’s important to openly communicate with them both before and after the event. Provide them with all of the event details and update them on any changes that may occur. Also be sure to respond to all emails within 24 hours.

Follow-up

Your follow-up after the event is extremely important. If you’re able to maintain the relationship, you could potentially have a permanent sponsor! Within 48 hours, send each sponsor a thank you email with pictures and stats from the event. I also suggest sending a handwritten thank you card within 7 days to really show your appreciation for their support.

Now, let’s be honest – you could follow all of these steps and still receive a No. If you do (and it’s very likely that you will receive a few of them – that’s just life), do not let it discourage you. Move forward and continue reaching out because you’re sure to find the right company that completely believes in your vision and will help to take your event to the next level.

Would you be interested in an e-Book on all things event sponsorship, including more proposal tips, screenshots from successful sponsorship packages, email templates and more? Leave me a comment below! 

These New LinkedIn Updates Will Up Your Networking Game

LinkedIn has been an important networking platform for years but over the past few months, they’ve made some significant updates to their user experience to help us taking our networking to the next level!

Here are 3 important updates you should know about:

Easily meet up with other members

Have you ever been out of town for a conference or meeting and wish you had the opportunity to connect with people in your network? Well, now you can! You have to opt-in for this feature in order to make your current location public but I can definitely see it proving itself useful for those who “never eat alone”. P.S. If you’ve never read the book, Never Eat Alone, it’s a must-read that will completely change the way you view networking.

Photo Filters

Bring your Instagram skills over to LinkedIn because you now have much more options to to edit your photo from cropping to a wide array of filters. Don’t forget – your photo is the first thing people look at when they land on your profile so you should always ensure it’s high-quality and the best reflection of you!

Message connections from anywhere on LinkedIn

Connecting with someone on Linkedin is easier than ever as you can now access the messaging tool from wherever you are. Found someone interesting you want to learn more about? You don’t even have to leave their profile to send them a message! Plus, Linkedin now provides message prompts to help you construct the perfect message. We’ve all been there – we want to send a short but intelligent sounding message but we have no idea what to say. Looks like Linkedin understood our pain and has pre-written messages that you can either use word-for-word or simply just use them as inspiration for what you would like to say.

If you haven’t been spending much time on LinkedIn lately, head over and check these features out. Happy networking!

Why You Should Dress Up For A Phone Interview

When contacted by a company for a job opportunity, it’s likely that before you are invited for an in-person interview, you need to complete a phone interview.

Now this may seem pretty easy – you get to sit at home and simply talk on the phone without having to deal with the added stress surrounding an in-person meeting. You know what I mean – it seems much easier since you don’t have to worry about your body language and attire.

The thing is though – what you choose to wear can influence your performance during a phone interview.

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4 Ways to Gracefully Exit a Networking Conversation

When it comes to networking events, a common challenge for people is figuring out the right icebreakers. What exactly do you say to end that awkward silence and start a conversation?

I was recently quoted in a roundup article on Ladders HQ alongside six other professionals to share my favourite go-to icebreaker – statement jewelry. Trust me when I say it’s the networking tool you never knew you needed.

But icebreakers aside, it’s not just starting the conversation that’s a challenge – it’s gracefully exiting it. You know what I mean. You need to end the conversation because you see someone else you would like to chat with – or you simply want to go home and curl up with a blanket and Netflix. (By the way, that is totally understandable and I may or may not have left a networking event to do this.)

networking

Whatever the reason is, here are 4 scripts you can use to gracefully leave the conversation:

Be honest about work

“Sara, it was a pleasure meeting you but I do have to head out as I have a few other things on my to-do list tonight. Enjoy the rest of your evening!

Going to chat with someone else

“Pleasure chatting with you, Claire – I actually see an old colleague of mine that I’d like to say hi to before heading out. I’d love to get your card though and I’ll connect with you online.

When you want to plan a follow-up chat

Alicia – so glad we met tonight! I do have to head out but we should definitely set up a time to chat further about [insert topic you talked about here] – can I get your card and I’ll shoot you an email this week?

When you’re looking for a job and they seem like they could help

Grace – so nice chatting with you. Unfortunately, I do have to head out but do you mind if I get your card? I love the sound of the culture at [insert company name here] – by what you’ve said it seems like a great place to work! I’d love to connect and set up a time for us to grab a coffee – if you have some time in your schedule in the next few weeks?

What things have you said to exit a networking conversation?

Stylish and Successful: Louise Mangalino

I remember when I first stumbled on the @burgerpawty Instagram page. I was instantly drawn in by Louise’s perfectly curated photos and with pink being the predominant colour, you know that I immediately had to follow her. But Instagram aside, I absolutely love what Louise has created with Burger Pawty (she’s a total girlboss!) and after learning more about her through this interview, I’m dying to try out a burger!

Keep reading to learn more about Louise:

Let’s say we just met at a networking event. How do you introduce yourself and what you do?

Hi, I’m Louise Mangalino and I’m the HBIC (Head Barbie in Charge) of Burger Pawty: a collection of sliders and snacks for your inner sparkle, available for catering and special events.

What does your morning routine look like? Do you have any tools or apps that help keep you on track?

On weekdays, my morning routine consists of waking up at 5:30AM, getting ready ‘til about 7:00AM (includes showering, makeup, hair and deciding what to wear), and then off to work at my day job! I work as an administrative clerk in an office Monday to Friday.

On weekends, my morning routine really varies, depending on what’s on the schedule. Although I love sleeping in any chance I get, I love going on adventures even more! After my morning dose of Twitter and Instagram, I love exploring the city and checking out new corners I haven’t been to yet. If my boyfriend happens to have the day off, as well, we venture out together and usually grab brunch somewhere new.

Even in the times we live in, I can admit that I’m the last one to use the calendar app on my phone to keep track of things. I’m a pen-to-paper kind of girl and can often be found jotting down important notes or ideas in my planner or on random scraps of paper. Writing things down helps me remember.

For many of us, it’s very difficult to figure out what our passion is. We’re told to “find our passion” but yet it seems to be easier said than done. How were you able to find a career path that you’re so passionate about? What advice can you share?

I’ve always been a passionate person and often give 100% in everything I put my name on. Once I have the spark for something, it’s really hard for the wheels to stop turning. In terms of finding my passion for Burger Pawty, it was sort of a no brainer: I love food! I’ve always been surrounded by good food growing up: my parents are both naturals in the kitchen and my brother attended culinary school at George Brown. This meant good food, all the time! Burgers are my weakness and you can read all about it on my personal blog, BURGERS AND BARBIE$ (www.burgersandbarbies.com). I also do all the design, branding and marketing for Burger Pawty and that stems from my passion and love of the arts. I’m a creative person by nature and have always excelled in this field.

My best advice is to find something you love and run with it—no matter what that passion may be. If it’s important to you, hone it and make it your own. Be genuine in your craft and don’t look back.

My personal brand is the epitome of my professional success. I believe that your personal branding is the single most important tool for your business.

Looking back at your career thus far, what’s one thing you’ve learned that has made a significant impact on you?

One thing that I have learned that has made a significant impact on me is that your time is valuable. When I was starting out, I would say yes to everything because I sincerely didn’t want to upset anyone. I had invested a lot of my time, creativity and resources into certain projects and I often overworked myself. It’s easy to be taken advantage of in this type of industry. My boyfriend gave me one of the best pieces of advice that I carry to this day, and that is to “know your worth.” Your time, energy and talent should always be reflected in the end result. If your heart’s not in it, you don’t have to do it. It’s important to say no sometimes and to stand your ground.

How important is your personal brand to your professional success? Any tips for someone who is trying to discover what their unique brand is?

My personal brand is the epitome of my professional success. I believe that your personal branding is the single most important tool for your business. This is an important value I learned in Grade 10 Careers Class. My teacher at the time expressed how important your personal brand and presentation are to how others perceive you. You get back what you put out there. If you take yourself and your work seriously, others will see that and will treat you with the same respect. Most importantly, be yourself through and through.

For anyone trying to discover what their unique brand is, try and think about what makes you unique. What makes you stand out? What do you love the most? What can’t you live without? Try to narrow these ideas down and soon enough, the answer will be staring you in the face.

Do you think that your appearance has played a role in your professional success? If so, how?

I believe that, to an extent, my appearance has played a role in my professional success. As mentioned, I believe that your personal branding is the single most important tool for your business and this goes hand in hand with your appearance. If you present yourself professionally, then you will (or should) receive a professional response. Not only does this coincide with how you dress, but with your attitude, as well: it’s important to have a winning attitude. A great attitude trumps a professional outfit any day of the week!

What are 3-5 items that you suggest every young professional woman have in their closet?

A good pair of heels, a good jacket and business cards are a must!

What is your go-to outfit?

For my go-to outfit, I like to keep it casual: a dress or skirt-top combo, a flash of denim and white sneakers.

A great attitude trumps a professional outfit any day of the week!

What are your tips for looking stylish yet professional at work and/or client meetings?

My advice for looking stylish yet professional at meetings is to dress the part, while remaining true to your personal style. Think about something that is uniquely you and incorporate it into your “signature look”: a brand colour, a pin or even a specific shade of lipstick! All while keeping in mind who you are meeting with, what the objective is for this meeting and where you will be meeting to formulate your best outfit for the occasion.

What’s your shoe of choice – flats or heels?

I’ve always been a heels kind of girl, but I’ve been dressing it down a lot lately. I’ve never been into flats (ie. ballet flats, loafers, oxfords, etc.), so if I had a true choice I would say sneakers. They’re best for running around to and from meetings and for exploring the city! I’m fortunate that the industry I work in is pretty laid back and no frills.

Follow Burger Pawty on Twitter and Instagram as well as BURGERS AND BARBIE$ on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

Why You Should Move Away After College

Your post-undergrad years are the time of your life to be selfish. And if any part of you yearns to move away from everything you’ve ever known, do it.

Many college graduates are mired in some combination of debt, an identity crisis and their disdain for job searches. In my case, all three (to an extent) bogged me down after receiving my degree. I’m not saying moving is a magic bullet solution for postgraduate stress. However, it does give you a new journey to look forward to.  Set a worthy goal and deadlines, and you’ll be amazed what starts to happen.

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5 Lesser-Known Ways to Use Social Media in Your Job Search

social media job search

When we talk about social media, we don’t talk enough about how beneficial it can be to your job search. With the job market being extremely competitive, it’s necessary to find unique ways to learn about potential job openings and stand out among your competition. We already know about the tried and true methods such as simply searching on job websites or asking within your network but what if I told you there are some you may not even know about?

Here are 5 lesser-known ways to use social media in your job search:

Run a Twitter Search

This is such a quick and easy way to check for current job openings in any city or country!

  • Visit search.twitter.com
  • Let’s say I want to look for current openings in Toronto, in the search bar I would type in hashtags #hiring and #Toronto
  • I would also try another search with “hiring” and “toronto” (the difference is that this will bring up tweets that simply mention those two words – the first search would only bring up tweets that use those specific hashtags)

Not only is this great to search for jobs but it’s one of my favourite methods to search for local networking opportunities!

Use LinkedIn’s ‘Open Candidate’ feature

This relatively new feature is a favourite for people who are currently employed but actively looking for a new job. By simply clicking a button, you are able to turn on ‘Open Candidate’ status for your profile which will privately indicate to recruiters (it will not show up on your profile in any shape or form) that you’re looking for a job. A huge disclaimer though: LinkedIn can not guarantee that you won’t show up on the radar of recruiters for the company you’re currently working at – chances of this happening are slim but still if you’re not willing to take the chance, this may not be for you)

Create ads on social media and/or Google

Although this method comes with a cost, I think this is such a creative way to get the attention of employers in your field. You can pay to create an ad that targets particular people and/or companies with some messaging convincing them to hire you. I personally love the story of a copywriter in the States that purchased the names of his favourite creative directors on Google AdWords. With the assumption that they regularly Google their names (which you should be doing regularly!), whenever they did so, his ad would come that said “Hey, [creative director’s name]: Goooogling yourself is a lot of fun. Hiring me is fun, too” with a link to his website! And yes, he did land a job from this!

Use Facebook (with caution)

If you haven’t heard, Facebook announced last week that you can now apply for jobs on Facebook! I’ll be honest – I’m still not sure how I feel about using such a personal platform for job hunting but hey, it may be something you’re willing to try. This new feature allows you to not only search for jobs but apparently if you see a posting you like, you simply hit “Apply Now” and you’re taken to a pre-populated page with your name, educational and employment background and basically any other information you have made public on your Facebook profile. Your application is then sent to the employer in a Facebook message where you can directly communicate with them. I highly recommend using this method with caution and doing a long and thorough audit of your profile for anything that may paint you in an unprofessional light.

Share your expertise through content

You know what they say…if opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. One of the best ways to get on the radar of potential employers is to showcase your expertise online. You can do this through simply sharing articles with a small personal commentary or you can write your own unique articles highlighting your expertise in a particular industry. Whatever you choose to do, be consistent and professional and you’ll find that this will greatly increase your visibility.

Happy job hunting!

 

How to Get an All-Star Profile on LinkedIn

It’s safe to say that when someone wants to learn more about you (particularly employers and recruiters), they are going to search for your LinkedIn profile. But with over 400 million users (and counting!) on the platform, how do you stand out?

Well, you not only make sure your profile is complete, but it is a strong profile. Like any social media platform you may use such as Instagram, LinkedIn does have algorithms and they reward completed profiles by ranking them higher in searches. In other words, sure, you may be a great candidate for a job in terms of experience and credentials- but you may be ranking on the last page of a search (which means recruiters won’t find you) because you haven’t spent time completing your profile.

But again, a complete profile is only half of the battle. The more content you add, the strength of it will increase. Have you ever noticed the profile strength meter on the right hand side of your profile?

all-star profile

There are 5 profile strength levels:

  • Beginner
  • Intermediate
  • Advanced
  • Expert
  • All-Star

So, now you may be wondering – how do you get a All-Star profile on LinkedIn? Well, here are the profile sections you need to strengthen in order to reach All-Star status:

Photo

Having a high-quality professional headshot for your LinkedIn profile photo is one of the best investments you can make for your personal brand. As one of the profile elements that is “above the fold”, your photo is the first thing that people look at so it must be a positive reflection of you.

Headline

Your headline will always appear beside your name on LinkedIn which means it’s prime real estate that you need to take advantage of. Make sure you include your current job title or if you’re currently job searching, make it known that you’re on the job market and indicate the role and/or industry you’re looking to get into.

Custom URL

Securing your custom URL will allow you to better share the link with others whether it be on your resume or business cards. When you initially set up your profile, your URL will be a set of random numbers but by customizing it with your first and last name (add a few numbers if your name is common), it instantly adds to your professionalism.

Summary

I tell my clients all the time that the summary is the most valuable element of your LinkedIn profile. Sure, the employers wants to look at your job experience but your summary will allow you to really highlight what makes you remarkable. You can be personable, funny (to a certain extent) and share your career story. This is also the place to include relevant keywords to your industry.

Ready to take your LinkedIn to the next level? For a limited time only, I’m offering LinkedIn audits (including writing your custom summary!) for only $45. Book now: www.dowelldresswell.com/services

Experience

Don’t just fill in your company and job title. Provide some background on the company (especially if it’s not commonly known) and your specific accomplishments.

Volunteer experience

Show potential employers that you’re well-rounded by showcasing the work that you do in the community.

Skills

What key skills do you possess? Make sure that every single one is present on your profile.

Endorsements

Although the actual reliability of endorsements is questionable as it seems people fill it out for others without actually knowing their skill set, having endorsements on your profile is valuable and will contribute to an all-star profile rating.

Recommendations

Reach out to former colleagues and managers and get them to write up a quick recommendation for you! Not many people bother to do this and you’ll definitely stand out among recruiters if you have strong recommendations.

Publish

There is power in the LinkedIn publishing platform. With an existing audience ready to consume interesting and educational content, it’s a great place to showcase your writing skills, expertise and increase your exposure on the platform.

Remember, it’s not just enough to simply be present on LinkedIn – you need to create a presence which starts with having a strong profile. If you dedicate some time to filling out your profile so you can achieve an all-star rating, you’ll be 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn. I mean, my business bestie Jeanne just moved to Cayman Islands for her dream job because she was recruited to become the marketing manager for a new hotel. Want to know how they found her? LinkedIn. Trust me, you could be only a few LinkedIn profile updates away from your dream opportunity!

 

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Building Your Personal Brand Through Content

Your personal brand is made up of a variety of different elements but out of all of them, there is one that your visibility is dependent on – content.Content is what allows you to demonstrate your expertise, highlight your value and showcase what makes you remarkable.

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