How to Introduce Yourself to a Stranger

… there are many instances when you will need to introduce yourself to someone new. Follow these steps and you’ll be in good hands.

Civilian or veteran – rarely do you hear someone say, “I love walking up to a complete stranger, introducing myself and believing they’ll want to talk to me!” Most everyone is apprehensive (or nervous) about introducing themselves to someone unknown to them. If your background and experience has been in a military context for a long time, this trepidation can be more real, because the nuances of networking are less familiar to you. You have been surrounded by people who dress like you, speak in the same jargon and narrative, and commit to the same mission.

In the civilian world, there are many instances when you will need to introduce yourself to someone new: At a business meeting, career fair, community gathering, and job interview. Even at a coffee shop, your kid’s soccer game, or social event, you will find yourself meeting people you don’t know.

Follow these steps to meeting someone new, and you’ll be in good hands (pun intended):

  1. Take the initiative. When walking into a room of strangers, most people stand off to the side and assess the landscape: Who’s there, who looks friendly and approachable, where’s the bar? For this reason, at most business networking events, you see a line of people pressed against the wall, heads-down in their iPhone, or hugging onto a high-top table for dear life.

    Instead, walk into the middle of the room with confidence! Assess the situation in terms of who you should meet, who looks interesting, and who you will initiate conversation with. Since most of the attendees will be reticent about introducing themselves to strangers, you can project confidence and certainty when you make it easy on them. Make it your burden and job to put others at ease by taking the initiative and introducing yourself.

  2. Shake hands. When meeting someone new, extend your hand for a greeting. An approachable person shakes hands with a new contact, expressing warmth, friendliness and, again, confidence! Resist the temptation to squeeze their hand into submission… as many military veterans tend to do! A bone-crushing handshake is not enjoyable and leaves a negative impression (trust me!).

    Similarly, don’t offer a “wet fish” handshake, which is weak and limp. This leaves the impression of low confidence and self-worth, and is an unpleasant experience for the recipient.

  3. Make eye contact. When you look someone in the eyes, you show them that you are present and ready to converse. For many people, eye contact feels too intimate and they look off to the side when speaking to someone they don’t know. Imagine how that feels for the other person? Awkward.

    Good eye contact displays your humanness, and empowers you to detect body language cues in the other person. Are they afraid? Are they happy? Are they distracted? If you watch their eye contact cues, you can adjust your body language and words to support or confirm what they need.

  4. Ask, then listen. When feeling anxious, many people tend to over talk, ramble, and monopolize the conversation. This does nothing for the other person. Humans prefer to talk about themselves, particularly about things they care about — their work, family, career, etc. When you do all the talking and don’t ask them questions, you are removing their desire to talk about things important to them.

    Ask open-ended questions to solicit conversational responses. For instance, if you ask, “Do you like networking events?” you’ll receive a yes or no answer. Instead, if you ask, “What do you find most valuable from this kind of event?” you will receive an answer that starts a conversation.

  5. Let them go (when it’s time). When is it time to say good bye to a new contact? This is often a real challenge! If you’ve been talking to someone who is painfully shy and afraid to talk to new people, they might not want to end the conversation with you (because then they are alone again). If your goal is to meet new people, then it’s unfair to you to stay in one conversation for an extended period.

    Graciously wrap up the conversation when you feel there is little left to discuss, or your interest is waning, or you wish to talk to other people. Politely say, “I’ve really enjoyed talking with you and look forward to continuing the conversation. I’ll email you to set up a time to grab coffee.” Then say good bye. Only say this if you truly do intend to follow up. If not, then offer something like, “Thank you for spending time telling me about your long career. I’m sure you’d like to meet other people here, too, so I’ll say good bye for now.”

When you can confidently approach strangers, introduce yourself, and end the conversation gracefully, you will leave a positive impression. Remember that most people you meet are equally as intimidated about meeting someone new.

Source: How to Introduce Yourself to a Stranger

Ten Classic Resume Bloopers

If your resume contains any such Archie-like malapropisms, it’s sure to be memorable, but it won’t leave the lasting impression you’re shooting for.

If you’ve ever watched those TV blooper shows, you know how funny slip-ups, gaffes and blunders can be. But while laughter may be good for the soul, it’s certainly not the response you want your resume to produce.

Baby Boomers (or Gen-X and Gen-Y fans of Nick at Nite) will recall the often hilarious pronouncements of Archie Bunker, the patriarch of the popular 1970s sitcom “All in the Family.” With just a slight slip of the tongue, Archie’s intended meanings frequently became completely convoluted (e.g., “consecration” instead of “concentration” and “mental pause” instead of “menopause”).

If your resume contains any such Archie-like malapropisms, it’s sure to be memorable, but it won’t leave the lasting impression you’re shooting for. Proofread your resume meticulously, and share it with trusted friends and colleagues to make sure you haven’t inadvertently substituted one word for another. Keep in mind that your computer’s spell-check function often will not catch these errors, since the problem is one of incorrect word choice rather than misspelling. To help ensure that your resume finds its way to the interview pile and not the circular file, avoid these 10 classic resume bloopers, culled from real-life resumes of job seekers from all levels, industries and career fields:

  • “Revolved customer problems and inquiries.”
  • “Consistently tanked as top sales producer for new accounts.”
  • “Dramatically increased exiting account base, achieving new company record.”
  • “Planned new corporate facility at $3 million over budget.”
  • “Directed $25 million anal shipping and receiving operations.”
  • “Participated in the foamation of a new telecommunications company.”
  • “Promoted to district manger to oversee 37 retail storefronts.”
  • “Experienced supervisor, defective with both rookies and seasoned professionals.”
  • “I am seeking a salary commiserate with my training and experience.”
  • “Seeking a party-time position with potential for advancement.”

Just what every employer is looking for — an expert in passing the buck. Sales managers aren’t likely to be impressed with this self-proclaimed underachiever. If customer accounts were leaving in droves as this statement implies, it’s probably fair to assume that this candidate also tanked as a top sales producer. Every hiring manager is searching for employees who exceed budgets by millions of dollars. Either this person is showcasing compulsively stubborn management qualities, or he has a challenging product packaging/storage problem. This job seeker was also in charge of bubble control. This is a common resume typo. There must be literally thousands of mangers looking for jobs in today’s modern world. Here’s a tip: Use your word-processing program’s find/replace feature to quickly correct this common mistake.

You can also modify your application’s spelling dictionary so it won’t recognize the word “manger.” Many of us have had a boss like this at some point in our careers, but you usually don’t find them being so up-front about their leadership inadequacies. There are a couple problems with this statement. To begin with, salary requirements don’t belong on a resume. Secondly, a salary should be “commensurate” with experience (meaning proportionate to), not “commiserate” with (meaning to express sympathy for). Sounds like a fun job.

Source: Ten Classic Resume Bloopers

4 Ways to Make Writing Cover Letters Suck Less

If there’s one thing that all job seekers have in common, it’s that they hate writing cover letters. With a passion. But why? It’s not like they’re very long. And when you really think about it, they’re not that difficult . But something about that step between the resume and interview gets people really, really irritated. In fact, people ask us all the time: Is there any way to make writing cover letters suck less? Well actually, there is—in fact, depending on what your cover letter pain point is, there are several. So, take a deep breath, relax, and try one of these ideas for making the process a little bit better.

Source: 4 Ways to Make Writing Cover Letters Suck Less

Should I Mention My Disability In My Resume Or Cover Letter? | Ask Vicki

In this answer on Quora, Monster career expert Vicki Salemi explains when it’s necessary—and when it’s not—to disclose personal information.

A. There’s no need to mention your disability on your resume or cover letter. The only time when you may want to mention your disability, such as hearing loss, is if the job you’re pursuing is relevant to your hearing loss and the employer will need to make reasonable accommodations for you as a result.

In the instance of hearing loss, let’s say you’re pursuing a job where you’re on the phone all day long, translating conference calls dictated in French. Hearing is an essential part of the job. But during a job interview, it’s illegal for the hiring company to ask (and discriminate against you) if you have any disabilities. They may, however, ask if you’re able to perform functions of the position with or without accommodation.

What’s an accommodation, you ask? According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, employers must provide reasonable accommodations to qualified employees with disabilities, unless doing that would result in an undue hardship.

So, back to the resume and cover letter: You don’t need to mention your disability. Remember, your resume and cover letter are simply marketing tools that highlight your skills and experiences relevant to the job you’re applying for.

Source: Should I Mention My Disability In My Resume Or Cover Letter? | Ask Vicki