Are you a Lion, Otter, Golden Retriever, or a Beaver? Kate Hammond P’23 used this famous “Five- Minute Personality Test”
as the jumping off point for her talk last evening, sponsored by the Women in Business at Lawrenceville (WIB@L) Club. Hammond, a Princeton University Career Transition Advisor, shared best practice tips and strategies on networking, finding a mentor, and building a personal brand
She used the Five-Minute test to help attendees get a snap shot of their strengths, weaknesses, and natural inclinations – then discussed how those influence critical business skills, including motivation, time management, communication style, decision making, and reactions under pressure.
“In high school, you have to be a generalist and excel in everything,” said Hammond. “And you end up putting more time into your weaknesses than your strengths. Once you begin your professional career, you’ll focus on your strengths, what you love, what you are good at, what makes you original and different.”
She emphasized that careers are not linear, recounting how she began her professional life as a broadcast journalist. When her dream job as a network news anchor did not materialize, she turned to what she called “Plan B,” aiming to use her communications, writing, and networking skills in another field. She earned her MBA at Wharton and moved into corporate public relations for companies including American Express and General Mills, before switching to academia. “There are lots of ways to reinvent yourself,” she said. “You don’t have to be locked into anything for the rest of your life.”
Hammond stressed the importance of doing the best at every job and being open to feedback. “If you can’t be the best, be nice,” she said. To secure references and mentorships, Hammond explained, “You need to be remembered well and liked.” She encouraged students to think carefully about creating a brand, a one-minute “elevator speech” to describe succinctly their skills and interests. “Practice it first on your friends and relatives,” Hammond suggested. Networking, whether to find a mentor or an employment reference, should happen “organically” – it’s not something that can be forced. She recommended seeking out as many people as possible in your field of interest to consult, using LinkedIn (as well as Lawrenceville’s alumni database) to keep everyone apprised of your progress. “The smallest connections can make the biggest difference. Stay in touch with everyone – you never know!” Hammond advised.
WIB@L founder and President Ingrid Guo ’21 noted that personal brand building, an area of expertise for Hammond, is critical for young professionals. “An individual student should have a personal brand, just as our school – and our entire student body – have specific brands,” she explained, adding that Hammond’s expertise as a Career Transition Advisor at Princeton makes her uniquely qualified to address networking, mentorship, and personal branding with Lawrentians.
Guo created WIB@L last spring to “inspire and promote leadership in young women in the business world where males are traditionally dominant,” she explained. “By encouraging innovative and mission-driven thinking, [we] hope to cultivate business leaders and make impacts on gender inequality.” She wants the club will become a vehicle to foster mentorships between Lawrenceville alumni and current students.
“Ultimately, [we would like to] build a permanent organization bridging current students to Lawrenceville alumni leaders and practitioners in the field of business,” she said. “Through this organization, current students can benefit from mentorship from the real business world, and alumni would find a new way to give back to the school.”
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