The Value of “Thank You”

By: Trish Freshwater

Saying “thank you” is something most of us do without even thinking: after a waitress serves a meal, a sales clerk helps you find a particular item, someone holds a door open, or after you sneeze and someone nearby says,

“God bless you.”

These pleasantries are part of our daily routines – our American culture. Likewise, “thank you” seems to rise in value when it’s in the written form. Even more if it’s hand written.

In the job seeking world, a simple thank you note goes a long way in showing your respect for the interviewers, your values, and interest in the job. But these days, is it okay to send a text thank you? How about an e-mail? Does it have to be a hand-written note on a fancy card or stationery?

Choosing the Right Thank You

Can I text a thank you?

While text messaging is a popular way to communicate, it may not be the best choice for a thank you message after a job interview unless you have already established a pattern of texting with the individual. Therefore, I strongly recommend that you consider an e-mail instead.

Can I e-mail a thank you?

Sending an e-mail is perfectly okay. It’s a great way to send a timely message thanking the interviewer for his or her time and to follow up on your conversation, the same day. This can be helpful if the hiring manager is traveling and plans to make a hiring decision before returning to the office. However, to really make an impression, you still should send a hand-written note in addition to your e-mail.

What to include: Remember to start off with an opening, thank the person for his or her time and mention something brief about how you are a good fit for the position. Don’t forget to close the message with a “thank you” or other closing statement and include a signature that has your contact info and a link to your LinkedIn profile or other relevant website.

Do I have to send a paper note?

A hand-written thank you note goes a long way in showing your respect for an interviewer. They also help you stand out from the crowd as many people don’t send thank you notes in this format.

Hand-written thank you notes can be written on a half sheet of blank card stock or on a generic, blank thank you note. In fact, I keep a box of the blank thank you notes in my desk so that I always have them on hand.

What to include: This note will be much like your e-mail message – including an opening, two or three sentences about why you’re excited about the job and why you’re the best qualified, and a brief closing that thanks the interviewer for his or her time. Most importantly, you want to write this note the same day of your interview and get it in the mail right away. Check out these sample thank you letters for help in writing yours.

A Little Thank You Goes a Long Way
In today’s fast-paced world, I recommend sending an e-mail thank you on the same day that you interview for a position. Sometimes a hiring manager is anxious to make a decision quickly – so they won’t have time to wait for your thank you card to arrive in the mail. However, it’s also really important to send the hand-written note, too, as it will show your attention to detail and will speak volumes about your personal character.

On average, about half of candidates don’t send a thank you note. So, taking just a few minutes to send thank you notes can really make you stand out from other qualified candidates. The time you invest in writing these notes will be worth the effort.

10d A Productivity Tool for Your Job Search

By: Vic Massaglia

Life is complicated and time is short, especially if you are someone who works hard and plays hard. Wasting a precious resource like your time can mean missing out on chances to grow professionally and engage socially, and let’s face it, managing the daily administrative tasks that accompany an ambitious lifestyle can be mind-numbingly boring!

For years I had tried to find the perfect productivity/planning tool to help keep me keep organized, on-task, and meet deadlines so I could focus on what’s really important in my life. I tried using many various tools such as:

‘To do’ lists – which I’d lose and extremely burdensome to transfer action items from one list to another.
Outlook or Google tasks function – I would miss tasks because of it’s linear design (listing tasks as a list).
Various types of planners (e.g. Day Runner, At-a-Glance, Franklin) which felt overwhelming because of the amount of daily and weekly maintenance I had to do.

My calendar as a place to put my tasks but had so many action items, it really would clutter my calendar and I’d confuse what I should be doing with where I would supposed to be.
Post-it® notes but would frequently lose the notes.

A PalmPilot (they were called PDAs – Personal Data Assistants – yikes!). This tool was a step in the right direction but was not compatible with other technology. In fact, many people carried so many devices, they looked like they had Batman’s Utility Batbelt.
So you see, I tried many different tools and systems, and none of these seemed to work for me. Perhaps they may for you.

A few years ago, however, I finally found a tool that works perfectly for me and have developed a system that I have found to be extremely effective. I use a free, web-based tool called Remember the Milk (RTM). It truly lives up to its creator’s claim that “it makes managing tasks an enjoyable experience.” I use the site for everything I need to do and remember. Since I’m the only one with access to my RTM account, I use it for both personal and professional reasons, and I believe it’s the perfect tool for students and professionals.
It’s also very helpful in managing the one’s job search.

With RTM, I love the global view where I can see all of my projects. Here’s how easy it is: You create “Sections” that will organize tasks. For example, you can create a “Follow-Up” section where you can list people you need to connect with or a section titled “Job Postings” to help you keep track and follow-up with the jobs you apply to. Then, you list ”Tasks” under the “Section” heading where you can include a lot of useful data: due dates, notes, websites, tags, etc.

In addition to being able to be sent reminders via email, Twitter, Facebook, etc., an extremely helpful function of RTM is that it’s able to sync with your mobile device and with your Google calendar.

I use RTM particularly for tasks and use a calendar for is only two things: where I’m supposed to be, and what I’m supposed to be working on.
With all the organization/productivity tools I listed above, I have found Remember the Milk to be the most effective tool for me and, as I mentioned, have used it for years. Give it a try. It’s super easy and, more importantly, it will help you keep organized and productive!

Author
Vic has a passion for working with students and professionals who are preparing to establish careers on a global stage. He has extensive experience in leadership, career and organizational development in both the public and private sectors. Currently, he is a career counselor and adjunct associate professor for the University of Minnesota Law School, where he provides career path, job search strategy, and life-work balance counseling for law students, alumni, and foreign-trained attorneys. He is also principal of Cygnus 360, a career development consultancy that helps career counselors, career services offices, and clients with their career needs which include creating their brands using social networking tools and other technology. Vic is currently serving on the board for the National Association for Legal Career Professionals (NALP).
He is a former board member for the Minnesota Career Development Association (MCDA), past president of the Minnesota Legal Career Professionals City Group, and former director of learning for the Minnesota Organization Development Network. You can follow Vic at Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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The Five Commandments of Job Searching

By: Yolanda Owens

In the current employment climate, landing a job may feel like a task that can only be achieved through divine intervention. But if relying on a wing and a prayer isn’t part of your job pursuit, then here are five employment commandments to help you get to the occupational pearly gates.

Thou shalt not be a spaghetti thrower.
You know that old trick of testing spaghetti to see if it’s done by throwing some against the wall and watching if any sticks? Well many of you approach your job search the way.In your frustration, you’re throwing everything against the wall. We get the concept of casting a wider net. But there is no need to apply for every job on a company’s career site in hopes that one of the applications will stick.

Not only will this leave you with a mess you won’t want to clean, it will also leave employers with the impression you’re not serious about their company or putting any thought into your job search. Be strategic and thoughtful in the roles you apply to. Not seeing anything that fits what you’re looking for? Then check your LinkedIn contacts and find friends with connections to the companies you want to work for and ask for an introduction. An introduction now could lead to an opportunity later…And you won’t be wearing spaghetti on your face.

Thou shalt let hooked on phonics work for you.

Save yourself and the employers whose jobs you’re applying to some frustration and read before you respond. Whether it’s the job description, an email about an interview or potential meeting, an application, or an invitation, take the time to READ (not skim, assume, or guess) what’s being said or asked before you react.

Keep in mind that there could be hundreds of applicants applying to the same job. So the deciding factor could boil down to who’s able to read more effectively without interrupting the manager or recruiter with endless questions that have already been put in writing. Exercise patience and your reading comprehension skills and let hooked on phonics work for (not against) your job search.

Thou shalt always dress to impress.
Just because a company embraces casual Fridays or has a business casual dress code, doesn’t mean you come to your interview dressed for happy hour on the beach. Always dress in professional business attire (suit, tie, skirt, heels…) when going for interviews and make sure the clothing is clean, pressed, and presentable. You should never show up to an interview with mustardy armpits or look like a balled up piece of paper in sensible shoes. Be well dressed so you’re remembered for your many attributes and not your fashion flaws.

Thou shalt not commit stalking.

As a recruiter, this commandment is near and dear to my heart. We understand you want to get our attention and stand out among the masses. But invading personal space will not win you any brownie points in the attention grabbing game. So please don’t blindly friend recruiters and managers on their personal social networks, personal emails, websites, or personal cell phones in hopes of making a good first impression.

Trust me, this is the quickest way to get your credentials added to the recycle bin or blacklisted in larger recruiting circles. Use this as your litmus test; if you’d feel weirded out by someone doing the same thing to you, you should probably rethink your actions.
Thou shalt not talk in generalities.

Employers aren’t looking for generally speaking when reviewing candidates to fill their roles. They want candidates who can give them specific examples of what they bring to the table. So don’t come to the table regurgitating the job description or spouting what someone in the role would generally do.

Instead, talk about what you’ve done in your previous jobs to improve a process, save money, be more efficient, demonstrate your leadership or accentuate teaming skills. Then take it a step further and quantify these examples. Explain how your process improvement caused 25% fewer defects saved the company $5000 and freed up four hours a day in production time. That says a lot more to employers than the fact you created a spreadsheet.

Author
Yolanda M. Owens is a recruiting sensei, intern whisperer and awarding-winning author of How to Score a Date with Your Potential Employer. Learn more about Yolanda and her employer “dating” tips by visiting her website or fan her on Facebook.

Are you learning everything you need to know?

By:  on April 4th, 2012

Most students begin college thinking they’ll learn everything they need to know for their future careers in the classrooms on campus. While you’ll gain considerable knowledge learning facts and figures, theories and policies, you’ll also develop critical thinking skills, learn to work in teams, build leadership skills and begin to see the bigger picture as it relates to your career field and a specific job within that career. At the same time, are you really learning everything you need to know?

Some skills come from experience and others require you to practice … and practice, like public speaking. As you prepare for your future, here are some specific skills that could benefit you in the working world.

Public Speaking:

At some point in your career, you will need to speak in front of a group of people, whether it be a presentation you’re giving or defending your point of view. Even if you took a public speaking class, you should continue learning and practicing how to articulate and organize your thoughts. You can join clubs, such asToastmasters that teach you the basics of public speaking.  It’s a great way to practice with an audience who will give you constructive criticism and encouragement.

Dealing with Tense Situations:

Throughout your life, you will work with many people who don’t see eye to eye with you.  You’ll encounter times when projects aren’t going in the direction you had hoped for or you and a coworker will need to have a tough conversation about processes, ideas or responsibilities.  Learning to take a step back and approach the situation with an effective and constructive communication approach while understanding the emotions of each person involved is key to resolving difficult or tense situations professionally.

Working as a Team:

In college, your team projects often give you the chance to develop your planning skills, teach you how to delegate and build in accountability to your team. Sometimes, you find that you need to be prepared to step in when others don’t deliver. In the working world, you’ll use all of these skills and more.  As you develop your teamwork skills, remember that sometimes it’s good to listensetting team goals and building trust in the group is important, and personalities can have a big impact on the team’s leadership.

Get connected:

Keep up on the latest news from your industry and also potential companies where you might want to work. You should also learn how your targeted companies are affected by current events.  To learn more about the industry, consider subscribing to business publications, blogs, or newsletters by industry associations.

Build your professional network  by connecting with potential mentors or leaders in your industry by asking your professors to introduce you to their contacts. You can also search for professional contacts on LinkedIn and Twitter–but regardless of how you find people, you want to truly connect with them and build relationships. Get to know your contacts personally–don’t connect just to add another contact in your LinkedIn address book. It would also be beneficial to attend professional organization meetings and introduce yourself; be seen, be known, grow your possibilities for contacts after graduation and beyond.

Time Management:

While managing assignments for multiple classes and campus clubs is beginning to teach you how to manage your time, learning to set priorities and meet deadlines are also critical skills. Do you use a calendar or other online tool to track your assignments? Do you make lists to track your responsibilities? Do you procrastinate or set aside too much time for social activities? Take the time now to build good time management skills to ensure your success later on the job.

The classroom is producing an excellent student.  It is up to you to go one step further and produce an excellent employee.

 

Author

Michele is a Senior Recruiter for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a former assistant director at the University of Maryland University College’s Career and Cooperative Education Center, she’s no stranger to students trying to plan their careers. During that time, she worked with non-traditional college students to gain school credit for on the job work experience. Michele also taught seminars on job searching, resume writing and interview techniques, and partnered with local employers to help students gain employment. At Sodexo, she has continued her interest in shaping student careers by serving as a mentor to an intern in the company’s Future Leaders Program. Michele began her recruitment career in 1999, joining Sodexo in 2008 where she recruits for a range of food, facilities and environmental services positions. Michele holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park (go Terps), is a charter member of a Baltimore area Toastmasters chapter, and a Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) and Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR). When not giggling with her two girls, Michele enjoys writing … and watching the Yankees win, much to the dismay of her husband. Join her on LinkedIn or just Network with Us at Sodexo.

Are You Ready for Your Next Career Move?

By:  on August 8th, 2012

 

Approaching a manager to discuss your next career move or request a raise are examples of two conversations that create anxiety for many employees. Fortunately at Sodexo, we have anannual conversation with our managers about our professional development and future career goals. This meeting is a scheduled conversation that encourages open conversation and allows each manager to be a mentor  and partner in our professional growth.

But what if you don’t have this type of relationship with your manager? Where do you start when you feel it’s time to pursue career advancement?

1. Do your homework.

What have you done in the past six months or year that would qualify you to move into a new role? Make a list of all of your accomplishments and the ways you have positively impacted your department and your company. You need to be able to demonstrate that you’re ready for new challenges. For example, does your accomplishment list match the expectations for your current role or does it show that you’ve gone above and beyond? Does your list specifically show your potential for growth into a new role?

Identify the position you want to move into and read the job description closely. Do you have the skills and experience required for that role? Have you exhibited the leadership qualities expected in that role or managed similar projects? Do you need to add any skills to your resume? Now is the time to reflect on where you have been and where you want to go.

2. Timing Could Be Everything

While the annual review process could be a natural time for these types of conversations, you may want to approach your manager at another time during the year. In fact, having regular conversations with your manager will help build an open dialogue about your professional ambitions and advancement opportunities within your company. He or she may have some advice to help get you there faster or with greater success.

If this is the first time you’re approaching your boss, it’s important to plan your meeting appropriately so that you don’t catch him or her off guard. Send an e-mail requesting a meeting to discuss your performance and potential. This will give your manager time to prepare for the meeting. Regularly check for new internal listings that are a good fit for your background and experience and use them as examples of your future ambition.

Once you have a list of prospective roles for your future, research the skills needed for each position. This will give you time to strengthen them, through professional development opportunities before applying and interviewing for a specific job.

3. Follow Procedures

Sometimes as an internal applicant, employees subconsciously think they’re a “sure thing” because they already work for the company. The truth is that you have to work just as hard as an external candidate to be noticed and selected for the job.

Follow all application processes accordingly. Ensure that your resume is up to date and reflects your recent accomplishments. Also, giveinterviews the respect they deserve – dress appropriately and prepare yourself just like when you applied for your current role. Don’t assume that the hiring manager or recruiter already knows about you and what you’ve done within the company.

4. Follow Up

 

Most importantly, don’t forget to follow up. Thank you notes go a long way to impress those who interviewed you. You might even consider sending one to your current manager who has helped you along the way through this process.

If you’re not selected after the interviews are done or the timing is not right, talk with your manager and ask for feedback about how you can gain the necessary experience to be considered for similar roles in the future.

Your success in advancing your career relies strongly on your preparation. The best advice I heard once was to show your potential by being an exemplary employee in your current role. The more you act like the person you want to be, the more likely you are to get there.

Author

Trish is a senior communications manager for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a member of the marketing and communications team for Sodexo’s Talent Acquisition department since 2010, Trish is an employment expert who aims to educate job candidates about the hiring process, networking opportunities and the culture of Sodexo. A graduate of Marist College (BA – Psychology) and the University of Southern Mississippi (MS – Public Relations), Trish has never been far from the classroom. As a former adjunct professor for the College of Charleston and professional advisor for the college’s Public Relations Student Society of America chapter, she enjoys helping students reach for their potential and guide them through the process of preparing for their future careers. A lover of technology and gadgets, cookies, chocolate and baking, Trish spends most of her free time raising two small children and competing with husband to obtain the most stamps in her National Parks Passport book. Feel free to connect with Trish or learn more about careers at Sodexo.

Turning a Business Card Into a Relationship

By: Ronisha Goodwin on November 15th, 2011

I give my business card to a ton of students each semester. Sometimes I hear from the students who ask for my card, and sometimes I don’t!

I often wonder why a student asks for a business card and then doesn’t reach out to me. It seems like such a wasted effort! But yesterday a student asked me for tips on how to develop a relationship with a recruiter, specifically what to do after you receive their business card. The student’s question made me consider if the reason why some students don’t contact me after I give them my business card is because they just aren’t sure what to do next. Recognizing that this may be the case, here’s a few suggestions on what you can do to develop a relationship with a recruiter or industry contact after receiving their business card.

Send an e-mail
Start with reaching out via e-mail. The purpose of your e-mail is to reintroduce yourself to the recruiter and open up a dialogue between the two of you. Your e-mail should be about 5-6 sentences in duration and sent within 3 days of the recruiter giving you their business card. Include in your e-mail where you met the recruiter (specify the event….career fair, reception, etc.) and the opportunity or program you’re interested in learning more about or applying for with their company. You may want to include 1 or 2 questions as well; these questions will help your recruiter with shaping their response to your message.

Follow up
You and your recruiter may exchange one or two messages after you send your initial e-mail. You did great by taking the initiative to reach out to the recruiter, so what’s key from here is that you follow up. If you know that the recruiter is returning to your campus or the two of you will be attending the same industry event or conference, you now have a perfect opportunity to send another message.

Your level of follow up will help you stand apart from the masses. I may not remember every e-mail I receive from a student, but I do recall those students who consistently reach out to me or make the effort to build a relationship. Just be mindful that you don’t overwhelm the recruiter with too many messages. I suggest you limit your correspondence to no more than 1-2 messages each semester depending, of course, upon the recruiter’s responses.

Be sure to include details within your messages that will help delicately sell you as a candidate. If since the last time you spoke with the recruiter, you made Dean’s List, were voted into a leadership role within a student organization, or will be studying abroad, these are all tidbits of information worth sharing within your message. Just keep in mind you want to be subtle!

Response time
Lastly, be understanding and a bit flexible in regards to your recruiter’s response time. Depending upon their work and travel schedule, they may not respond to your messages right away. Give them the benefit of the doubt. Remember that the two of you developing a relationship is as much a benefit to the recruiter as it is to you. I’m much more confident when offering a candidate that I’ve interacted with many times versus a candidate that I’ve had limited interactions with before offering them a position, because I feel it’s more likely that the candidate that I’ve built a relationship will accept my offer.

Developing a relationship with a recruiter may initially appear as formidable task, but once you take the first step, you’ll realize it’s much easier than you think!

Author
Ronisha is one of Hyatt’s College Recruiting Managers. Hyatt’s College Recruiters visit more than 30 college campuses each year recruiting top talent at hospitality programs across the country. A graduate of The Ohio State University, Ronisha begin her Hyatt career as a Human Resources Corporate Management Trainee. During her ten years with Hyatt, she has worked at Hyatt Hotels in Orlando, Maryland, Virginia and New Jersey. To learn more about opportunities with Hyatt please visit hyatt.jobs, follow Hyatt on twitter @hyattcareers, become a Hyatt Facebook fan at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts Careers and follow the Campus Recruiter blog at blog.hyatt.jobs.

Personal Branding: Time to Reflect and Move Forward

By:  on February 7th, 2012

Now it’s back to school and you’re wrapping up the start of a new semester. It’s exciting to think you’re a little wiser and one step closer to graduation. But are you ready? Have you thought about what’s next, short-term and long-term? Do you need to bring your grades up to apply to that graduate program you’re set on? Have you done enough networking to ask for a few letters of recommendation? Now is the time! It should be sinking in that this whole college experience is moving fast. This wonderfully crazy, stressful, and exciting time won’t be around forever.

Think back to January 2010; did you accomplish the things you were eager to do then?

Here’s what I’d suggest: make a list of the personal branding accomplishments you did within the year. Include networking functions you attended, internship/work experience, and student organization activities as examples. Then make a list of things you didn’t get to do. This list will become your personal branding top priorities in 2012.

Hold yourself accountable–keep this list somewhere you can see daily and work on a task a week, if you can do more often that’s great! If you’ve wanted to introduce yourself to your Dean or register for a conference do it! Don’t procrastinate; let’s try to do more this year than last.

Additionally, if your short-term plan includes a summer internship, T-Mobile will be seeking 112 interns in the areas of Marketing, Sales, Finance & Accounting, Legal, Technology, and Supply Chain. The positions are all open on our job site, www.tmobile.jobs. Please review the full job description and apply directly to the positions that fit your qualifications.

Cheers!!

Author

Desiree is a University Recruiter at T-Mobile USA. She is currently responsible for developing and implementing effective recruiting and branding strategies related to short and long term needs. She does this by partnering with business line leaders to build relationships and establishing realistic expectations. A big part of being a recruiter at T-Mobile is striving to position T-Mobile as an “employer of choice” and facilitate a world class recruiting experience for candidates. Desiree is also responsible for training managers and recruiters on the University and Internship Program. Desiree spends her free time spending time with family and friends, traveling, and volunteering with various groups. She also loves to read and trying anything that is new and fun.

Advance Your Career with Community

By: Michele Posehn on April 24th, 2012

You tweet. You’re on LinkedIn. You’ve got the online networking thing down. But what about offline? Are there some local networking opportunities to consider?

Consider your everyday life. You shop, you vacation, and you dine out; in all of those situations, you are encountering people. Life is the original social platform–minus the 140 characters. I have found myself in many situations that have led to great contacts–dinner parties, sporting events, even striking up a conversation with a stranger while waiting in the grocery checkout line. In your everyday world, the casual encounters of your daily routine can open up a network of connections with limitless possibilities. Consider some of these common–and not so common–places where people are networking offline:

Community Events
Do you participate in local charity events or other community events that businesses might sponsor or participate in? Not only can you meet potential employers or talk to employees of companies you are interested in, you will likely meet many people with years of experience in your industry who can turn into good mentors or someone who can help you get a foot in the door. Tradeshows also offer a wealth of business contacts, especially since companies pay handsomely in sponsorships and usually have a strong onsite presence. Also, check out career fairs at local colleges–your campus Career Services office should have a listing of upcoming events.

Chamber Memberships
In your local community, you may want to consider joining the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber exists solely to promote local business interests, so meetings are usually well attended by business leaders. Chambers meet regularly–often including monthly breakfasts with speakers and business after-hours networking–and are a great way to make an impression on those in your area.

Golf, Sports and More
It’s no secret that many business leaders enjoy a little networking on the golf course. So, if you golf, there is a great chance you could bump into a new contact on the course. But what about local sporting events where companies buy box seats or sponsor a night for their employees to attend? Sometimes being in the right place at the right time can make a casual conversation into something more about a specific company.

Now, consider this. There is a gym in New York City that recently began offering an exercise class for “sweat workers.” The idea is that some business leaders would like to opt out of lunch meetings at restaurants that pack a punch in calories, and get down to business while working out. While this option may not be for everyone, it’s an interesting trend to watch.

While being on social media is important, don’t discount everyday opportunities that present themselves. It’s a great feeling when you look at a crowd of people and realize that any one of them could add value to your job search and build your network.

Author
Michele is a Senior Recruiter for Sodexo, a world leader in quality of daily life solutions that contribute to the progress of individuals and the performance of organizations. As a former assistant director at the University of Maryland University College’s Career and Cooperative Education Center, she’s no stranger to students trying to plan their careers. During that time, she worked with non-traditional college students to gain school credit for on the job work experience. Michele also taught seminars on job searching, resume writing and interview techniques, and partnered with local employers to help students gain employment. At Sodexo, she has continued her interest in shaping student careers by serving as a mentor to an intern in the company’s Future Leaders Program. Michele began her recruitment career in 1999, joining Sodexo in 2008 where she recruits for a range of food, facilities and environmental services positions. Michele holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland College Park (go Terps), is a charter member of a Baltimore area Toastmasters chapter, and a Certified Internet Recruiter (CIR) and Certified Diversity Recruiter (CDR). When not giggling with her two girls, Michele enjoys writing … and watching the Yankees win, much to the dismay of her husband. Join her on LinkedIn or just Network with Us at Sodexo.