Do You Have a Pen? 4 Things You Should Never Leave at Home

Jul 07, 2011 -
Whether you’re searching for a new job or just hoping to meet new networking connections, there are certain things you should never leave home without. First and foremost, you must bring business cards with you no matter where you go. If you start chatting with a potential business connection in line at the mall, handing him or her a business card is much less awkward than recording one another’s information on paper or electronically. Obviously, make it easy to connect with you by providing your email address, website, social networking handles, phone number, and any other relevant information a person may need. It couldn’t hurt to have a professional looking headshot and/or personal branding statement on there as well. Secondly, a pen and a pad of paper can be an important thing to carry around. Although we all tend to have our Blackberrys or iPhones handy, it typically takes less time and effort to quickly jot down a few notes should you need to refer back to them later. Ideally, you’ll want a small pad of paper that can fit in your pocket or purse and won’t feel like a burden. Another thing to bring with you everywhere is a good attitude. Everyone has a bad day, but taking it out on the grocery store employee or gas station manager won’t impress anyone. In fact, you might make a bad impression on a potential business partner or employer during these everyday interactions. Always step out of your house or apartment with your best foot forward—you never know when you’ll meet someone that will be vital to your future career. Lastly, don’t leave home without your prepared elevator speech. When someone asks you, “What do you do?” or “Where do you work?” be prepared to give them a concise (but somewhat comprehensive) look into your career by talking about your expertise, education and skills. This individual that you’re just forming a relationship with could be an influential contact to bring into your network—perhaps they’ll be a future employer or refer you to a job opening that you’ll ultimately take. Make an unforgettable first impression by coming off as a confident, capable professional. Think there’s something I missed on this list? Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section. Heather R. Huhman is founder and president of Come Recommended, a content marketing and digital PR consultancy for organizations with products that target job seekers and/or employers.