I recently had an opportunity to interview Carey McBeth, who will be one of our guest speakers for the Backpack to Briefcase conference on March 31, 2012. If the event sounds unfamiliar to you, it is a popular annual conference hosted by SFU Career Services that features industry professionals and experts who share career insights and guidance with students. In this year’s event, McBeth will present on “networking etiquette for today’s business professional.”
McBeth has been a nationally recognized expert on etiquette, personal branding, and networking since 2002, with tons of experience delivering training to university students and business professionals.
“I was raised by a very traditional family where manners, courtesy and respect were constantly instilled in me,” she says. Her initial interest was in broadcasting, prompting her to enroll in BCIT’s Broadcast Communications. However, she ultimately opted against it and spent a few years working in the corporate world in business development. Eventually she enrolled in The Protocol School of Washington to get certified to teach business etiquette and international protocol. She sees her previous background in broadcasting as an asset, stating that it enabled her to build her business through a strong public relations campaign.
One of the things Carey likes about presenting to university students is the fact that they are “already in learning mode.” She thinks that this allows them to make good use of her teachings during a job search. “We are judged within the first 5 seconds of meeting someone,” she says, “and I want to ensure that students make the best first impression possible so business relationships have the opportunity to develop.” She hopes that her session will help students see the importance of managing their personal brand.
According to McBeth, common among students about to transition from backpack to briefcase is a fear of the unknown, though she acknowledges that every student’s specific set of fears will be unique. For students who are struggling with career decisions, her recommendation is to conduct informational interviews, which will allow them to learn about specific industries as well as requirements for potential employees. Furthermore, she encourages students to ask about anything they are unsure about:
“There is no such thing as a silly question. I wish I would have asked more questions when I had the opportunity.”
Backpack to Briefcase is coming up fast on March 31! To hear Carey and other expert speakers share their wisdom, register today before space runs out! There’s no better way to kick start your own transition from school to work.