“It’s not about the number of business cards you collect or the quantity of networking events you go to…it’s about the quality.”
This was one of the first pieces of networking advice author and international education professional Mark Overmann gave the full house of yPIE members last week in the Marvin Center at Geroge Washington University. Overmann is deputy director at the Alliance for International Education and Cultural Exchange and coauthor of Working World: Careers in International Education, Exchange, and Development.
Now in its second edition published earlier this year, Working World offers an engaging guide for cause-oriented people to begin or advance careers in international education.
What has changed since the book was first published in 2008? While the job market is increasingly competitive, Overmann told the crowd that the good news is that international skills are increasingly in demand.
We all need to recognize, especially when breaking into a new field, that there is no perfect job. Instead, Overmann emphasized, we need to focus on what “buckets” we each need to fill. What is a bucket? It could be a specific skill or an area of interest. Each job you have as you pursue your career path will help you fill up your “buckets” and become a more well-rounded professional.
Resumes and cover letters were also a hot topic. All agreed that a cover letter should creatively answer the question “Why you?” and not just be a regurgitation of your resume.
Following a lively discussion stemming from a question and answer session with Overmann, yPIE members reviewed each other’s resumes and offered constructive criticism and advice.
Overheard at one table with American Idol fans: “Now that I’ve had Paula Abdul review my resume, I need to hear from Simon Cowell.”
What is your best piece of networking or job hunting advice? What was your main takeaway from the Working World event? Share your comments below!