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FEI Career Services Tuesday, November 7: Tales from the Front – Strategies for Job Search Success


A near standing room only attendance of FEI members and guests joined with Beth Kurth, Emily Walt, Peter Rockett and Fred Covelle in a panel discussion of strategies for job search success.  It was an honest and personal discussion of their efforts, disappointments and successes. 


As moderator, Beth guided the panel through topics of networking strategies, emotional balance, people who helped or did not help, tactics and volunteer work.  There were consistent themes throughout:


·       Stay the course, be resilient

·       Be visible, network always – you never know when an opportunity might present itself

·       Timing and luck play a role but you control what you do

·       Exercise and clear your head, find a way to reduce stress

·       Volunteer work enhances your productivity; it’s another network, it feels good and pays it forward

·       Keep expectations in check, don’t take things personally

·       Practice – be on your game, know what your ask is

·       Talk about yourself in a different way, not a laundry list of what you do but who you are

·       Have a strategic plan

·       Stay in touch, become “top of mind”

·       Always be reciprocal with your ask – how can I help you

·       Everybody likes to be thanked – be appreciative of your support network


Throughout the discussion, the audience connected with the panel as heads nodded in affirmation –  I’ve been there, I’ve done that or I had not thought of that.  Networking continued following the panel event with lessons learned from our colleagues.





Kim Littlefield, Senior Vice President of Keystone Partners where she has over 15 years of experience in talent management and business development, presented to large group of FEI members and friends at the FEI Career Services meeting tonight. Kim’s presentation was delivered in a lively, interactive format with a focus on creating and maintaining a strong professional network as a critical tool for career success.

Kim provided specific, practical tips for:

·        Preparing for networking events

·        Networking follow up

·        Remembering names

·        Breaking in and out of conversations

·        Building lasting relationships

Kim stressed the importance of recognizing that successful relationship building occurs over time and is a give and take process that involves sharing of information, listening, and asking questions rather than just asking for a job. She also provided guidance on tactics for strengthening interpersonal communication skills (critically important to make a good first impression) such as active listening and proper handshake (good eye contact, firm but not crushing).  

Preparation for a networking event should include preparing and practicing a 30 second introduction. Kim suggested we actually record ourselves and listen to the playback (multiple times if necessary) in order to be as confident and relaxed as possible when delivering the pitch live. Other suggestions for preparation included setting goals for the meeting, arriving early, reviewing the list of attendees in advance, and possibly inviting a friend or colleague to attend.

Kim provided a clever working visual for conversation starters that included a house, work glove, family picture, golf club, airplane and a red light. Each of these visuals suggests a potential topic of conversation with the red light acting as a signal to either remain in a conversation or avoid breaking into one, depending on the surrounding dynamics.

The group divided itself into smaller groups of 4-5 and practiced techniques to strike up a conversation, remember names and cleanly break in and out of conversations. This approach not only livened up the event but was also a good way for attendees to learn to connect with each other on a basis other than just “what do you do for work?”

The event was very well received by the attendees and Kim’s presentation was followed by an extended networking session.

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