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How Strong is Your Network?

May 29, 2013

How Strong is Your Network?

This is not a question on how many bars your phone is getting right now, but a question about the strength of your personal network. The value of forming and building a strong network of contacts now will pay dividends down the road.

Building a strong and valuable network takes time and will require a little bit of effort. Your network will only be as valuable as you want it to be. Some people will find it easy to connect with everyone, while others will connect with a smaller more personal group. These relationships are the backbone of successful networking since you would more than likely do business with someone you know over a person met in passion or with an unfamiliar business..

You might be asking yourself “How do I build my network?”. The answer is different for everyone but here are a few ways that I find to be successful:

  • LinkedIn – LinkedIn is Facebook for professionals. Facebook can be useful but LinkedIn is specifically for connecting on a professional level. It allows you to gain and acquire expertise through group discussions and answering questions, connect with others in your field and market yourself with an online resume.
  • Networking Groups – These are usually weekly or bi-weekly meetings limited to a small group of people (usually 20-30) based on their field of expertise. Networking groups are great to get started building your network because everyone involved is there to help each other out by passing business. You will also get to know members on a personal level.
  • Business Cards – Having a clear and concise business card is very important. Whether you are currently employed or not, having professional-looking business cards is essential to good networking. Make sure to include basic contact info and if you are in a position that does not provide business cards, do not be afraid to make up your own.

Building your network also requires a certain finesse for sharing information that is professional rather than personal. Services like Facebook, Twitter, Vine, etcetera, are great for personal use, however exercise caution in how you connect with people before you get to know them. It would be a shame to put all of the time and effort into your professional image only to have it undone by a post you did not want to share to your professional network.

Whether you are a recent college graduate or a veteran of the work force, there is no wrong time to begin networking. Get started now by connecting with me on LinkedIn or Twitter.

Post written by YPN Board Member: Michael Miller

Give yourself a Thanksgiving break!

November 21, 2012

In a little over 24 hours, the details of our jobs and work weeks will have fallen away, to be replaced by a flurry of holiday activity in the form of potato mashing, turkey basting, parade watching, family joking and teasing, and, inevitably, some relative falling asleep in front of the TV.

Yep, in case you hadn’t heard, it’s Thanksgiving. And that means—well, a whole bunch of things. It means if you haven’t been to the mall yet this month, you’ve probably missed your last chance for stress-free shopping this year. (Unless you’re into that sort of thing.) It means snow days loom just a tad closer on the horizon, and “crunchy leaves season,” as your dog knows it, is coming to an end.

It can be stressful to consider all that’s left to do between now and the start of the new year – the budget marks you need to hit, the tax changes you need to make, and the possibly dozens of events you’ll need to juggle, whether they’re work parties or kids’ plays, over the next month. And while it’s tempting not to consider them at all over the next four days, sleepy as you might feel after all the tryptophan and sugary apple cider, that’s probably not your best approach.

Instead, consider taking some downtime over the course of this long weekend (assuming you have one) to prepare mentally for the season to come. Whether you’re the person responsible for 2/3rds of your family’s Thanksgiving meal, or the one tasked with knowing the score of the game AT ALL TIMES, take five or ten minutes and go for a walk with an aunt, watch the kids playing football in the backyard, or just stretch out on the couch. Be present and enjoy the little things – isn’t that what Thanksgiving is all about? The rush will be right here waiting for you when you get back.

Speaking of relaxation, thankfulness, and holiday events, when you’re ready to get back in the holiday mix, be sure to mark your calendar for our Second Annual Festivus holiday bash, this year on December 18th. As the 60+ of you who attended last year already know, Festivus is our annual silent auction/food-and-wine fest/ casual holiday party extravaganza benefitting the Food Bank of Delaware. Last year, we raised over $700 for the causelet’s see if we can beat that!

Thanks everyone, and enjoy the turkey, stuffing, and moments of relaxation and craziness alike. We’ll look forward to seeing you on the other side.

YPN Hayride at Bellevue State Park

October 11, 2012

From the dawn of civiliation to the backyard today, the bonfire is the ultimate fall get together. Leave the briefcase at home while you celebrate the change of seasons with a YPN hayride & bonfire at BellevueState Park. Swap ghost stories (the only time networking should be scary) and cook S’mores as you make new friends and new connections YPN style.

We’ll start off with a 50 minute hayride through the park (hayride leaves promptly at 7 p.m.) and top the night off with an hour around the fire. Grab your cold weather clothes, some wine or beer to share (this event is BYOB,) and we’ll provide the goodies to roast!

This event is strictly limited to 40 people and will fill up fast. Secure your spot around the fire and register today.

Vitals:

November 1st

Arrive by 6:30 p.m. Hayride begins promptly at 7 p.m.

BellevueState Park

800 Carr Road

Wilmington, DE19809

Wear warm outdoor appropriate clothes

BYOB/W

Cost: $15 Non YPN Members, FREE for members

Top 3 things you missed at the YPN launch party

September 29, 2012

The YPN kicked off it’s first official event of the year this past Wednesday in traditional style: great food, drink, and company. With a blend of seasoned young pros and new faces, it was a relaxing (and delicious) way to celebrate the start of a new YPN year!

Here’s what you missed if you didn’t go:

  • PizzaYPNers enjoying some pizza

Free pizza at that! From our gracious hosts, Extreme Pizza in Wilmington, who feature such awesome pizza names like The Ragin’ Rooster, and the Everest (challenge accepted!)

  • Awesome Networking

That’s why we’re all here isn’t? I met people looking to get involved to help them gain experience, get job referrals, or just meet new people in the area to help them grow. Luckily, the YPN offers help in all those areas, with events supported by a friendly and active membership.

  • New Fee Structure

We’re all about making it easier for you to get out there and connect! Our new fee structure is set up to pay just a yearly due, and not worry about grabbing cash (or an approval slip) for each event. Only $75 per year if your business is a New Castle County Chamber of Commerce member, $150 if not a member of the NCCCC, with all events for the year included in your dues! Non-YPN member are always welcome, and the cost for non-members will be posted per event.

If you couldn’t make it to the launch party, don’t worry – we have lots of great events coming up. Our next monthly (free) happy hour is Oct.  11th at Kildare’s in Newark, and we have an educational seminar in November aimed to help with resume building. I look forward to seeing you all there! ~ Bex

Rebecca Stansell is the marketing and sales manager for FruitFlowers and an avid pizza lover (Margherita ftw!)

2012-2013 Season Launch Party

September 10, 2012

Date:  September 26, 2012
Time:  5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Location:  Extreme Pizza
Cost:  $10 Current YPN Members
($15 Non-YPN Members)

WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND:

We’ll be starting our SECOND YEAR off right with a networking mixer at Extreme Pizza in Wilmington on September 26th. Please join us and the Fun Department for pizza, drinks, games and connections that Wednesday night in a fun, laid-back atmosphere where the focus is on YOU.

There will be a QUICK introduction of our new board members, information on this year’s YPN dues structure and member benefits (hint: it’s WAY BETTER than last year’s. You live, you learn! Grow with us.) We’ll also share information on joining YPN committees and leadership, in case you’re interested in that sort of thing. And, there will be free food (and drink specials). Join us and see what we’re all about, or, get ready to kick off a new and improved year with us, because what else are you doing on a Wednesday?

Reasons to attend in bullet list form:

  • You’re new in town
  • Got nothin’ to do that night
  • Have never met anyone from the Fun Department
  • Have never had GF pizza (it’s great, strangely)
  • Want to check out the changes on LoMa
  • Want to show off your battle wounds from last weekend’s Mud Run
  • You think there’s “nothing to do” in Wilmington for the under-40 crowd
  • You somehow missed every single one of our events last year
  • You came to Festivus and therefore have been dying for the next YPN event
  • And so many more!

PARKING:  There is free parking in the Colonial Parking lot at the corner of LoMa and MLK after 5 p.m., and on-street parking at $1 per hour on Lower Market street.

Contact information: Please email events@youngprosnc4.org or call (302) 294-2052 with any questions.

Millennials: The Lost Generation?

August 1, 2012

So we’re Millennials. We keep hearing that term over and over and over. By definition, its those born between 1978 and 1998 (although some say 1980-2000 & others say 1980-1995). We are the last generation born before the turn of the century. We “grew up” (& many of us are still growing up) during the new millennium. But what does the term really mean? What does it mean as a basis for defining who we are and how our life is up to this point?

Sure, we were the first ones to use DVDs, download our music, laugh at Spongebob, and essentially get through school thanks to computers – but shouldn’t these things have given us an advantage over our parents generation? You would think so, but the numbers are telling a different story.  While more Millennials are enrolled in or graduated from college then any previous generation, we also have the most student loan debt per person than any previous generation. 4 out of 10 of us live at home with parents and that number is rising quickly.  Real unemployment for Millennials is currently 12.8% and was as high as 28% in 2011. When we do find work, it’s often low paying jobs or having to take a lower salary then the previous generation for the same position (with more of a workload). 76% of Millennials have put off marriage altogether. As of 2011, 21% of 18 – 34 year olds are currently married.

So what do we do? There are many arguments on why we’re in the position we are in, from the economy collapsing in 2007 to growing up in a 9/11 era of fear and uncertainty. We can’t go back in time, but we can work towards the future. We are the next generation of America – and like all Americans before us, we will overcome. Look at Mark Zuckerberg, who’s only 28 years old and is worth over $1 billion. How did he do it? He saw a need and he pounced on it. It was a huge mix of opportunity, luck and action. That’s what we need  to do ourselves. The image of (our parents version) of the American Dream is not the same dream we have for ourselves. To achieve our idea of success, we have to change the very definition of the word. Success to me is not making $100,000 grand a year with a big house in the suburbs and 1.5 children (who wants half of a kid anyway?). Success, to me, is being happy, being loved and feeling like I’m contributing something to the world. It’s feeling like I’m contributing to something greater than myself.

One thing that is certain about our generation is that the rules have changed – all of them. We can’t rely on staying at the same company until retirement age. We can’t rely on that 401K that may or not be worth anything at retirement. What we can rely on is our will. Our hard work. Our creativity. Our compassion and our determination. In our parents generation, Facebook wouldn’t have even been possible. I’m pretty sure you had to walk to someones house to ask them if they wanted to hang out.  A tablet computer was something for futuristic sci-fi movies, not something that we could stream the latest episode of Family Guy from our beds. THIS is our present. We are a resilient generation. We’ve seen some of the best of humanity and some of the worst of it. I truly believe that living through the times we have lived through will make us better. It make take us a little longer to get to our destination, but we’ll get there in the most creative ways. We’ll get there in ways that haven’t been imagined yet. We will blaze paths that were thought impossible. That is truly the testament to our generation. Previous generations may call us lost but whos definition of lost are they using? We’re not lost at all. We’re well on our way. It might not be the path they would have chosen for us – it might not even be the path we would have chosen for ourselves – but we’ll get there.  We’ll get there and we’ll shine. America hasn’t lost a generation – it’s created a stronger one.

Kyle McMahon is the owner & operator of the Delaware based Elyk Studios Photography & Videography.

Www.elykstudios.com

Facebook.com/elykstudios

Twitter.com/ElykStudios

Announcing our Young Professional Advocate of 2012

May 4, 2012

The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce our 2012 Young Professional Advocate award winner, Rachel McCulley!

Rachel has been with the NCCCC’s Young Professionals Network since its beginning, in May 2011, and filled the position of Secretary on our executive board for the 2011-2012 year. Rachel went above and beyond her role, creating an amazing Web site for our group, leading our marketing team in raising the YPN’s visibility, and attending almost every YPN event this year. She has truly elevated the organization to a new level. Rachel coordinates the Asperger’s Program at ServiceSource, a nonprofit offering support services for people with disabilities. Thanks for all your hard work, Rachel!

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