Writing Samples

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The Hidden World of Publishing

Ode to the Pen

New Article Available—”The Handbill as a Networking Tool”

Given the likelihood that your next job opportunity will be coming to you via your network, you need to be expanding your network all the time. This means some members of your network may not know you well enough to have instant recall of your career interests and goals. Enter the handbill.

I’d never heard of the handbill until talking to John Braun at the local coffee shop, and borrowing his copy of Winning the Job Race: Pathways Through Transition by Jack Heyden and Scott Kane (published in 2005).

The handbill is not a résumé. Though, according to Heyden and Kane, it is frequently mistaken for one. The book offers anecdotes of job seekers receiving feedback on how to properly construct a résumé after they’d shared their handbill with a member of their network.

Why Hadn’t I Heard of the Handbill?

Winning the Job Race is a book written by executives for executives in the job search, but the career guides I’ve worked on for years had likely not addressed the existence of handbills because the guides’ target audiences were recent college graduates. 

There may be an extraordinary few (or even several) graduates who have achieved great things, and have a clear career trajectory in mind for themselves. With that experience and specific career path in mind, they would be able to use a handbill to great effect. Bravo!

Most recent graduates, however, are likely to be considering a variety of opportunities that may use their particular skills and suit their interests. They may, for the moment, be looking for the best fitting job in order to accumulate experience. Decisions about their career’s trajectory are a matter for a later date. Turning out the best resume they can is a better use of their time and effort.

Still, I wish I’d known about the handbill some time ago because I would have paid better attention. Instead of quietly celebrating my achievements and moving on to the next challenge, I would have made note—actual qualitative and quantitative notes, references, and a bit of noise of the toot-your-own-horn variety.

Sample Handbill

What Is a Handbill?

The handbill is a highlight reel of your “best achievements” and a road map for others to what you want next. The intended audience is your pool of networking contacts. It’s a cheat sheet for them to see specifically how they can help you make the connections you want to make.

Instead of asking new contacts to make connections based on their best guess of what you’re looking for after reading your résumé, you are making a specific “ask”—I’d like to meet these people, in these industries, with these titles, in this general region, at these companies.

Networking used to be a small, intimate affair with two degrees of separation between close connections. That type of networking still exists, but the practice has grown. We are making new networking connections in greater numbers with less specific knowledge about the people involved. As a result, it is unlikely your new connections will have a clear memory of your particulars when they sit down at their computer the day after shaking your hand.

The handbill gives the members of your extended network a resource for understanding your specialities and how to help you. Not every person in your network will need a copy, but better to have it in your pocket and not need it, than need it and not have it. 

How Do You Properly Use a Handbill?

It bears repeating that not everyone in your network will need a copy of your handbill. A business card with your LinkedIn URL will suffice in most networking encounters. On rare occasions, though, you may enjoy a conversation with someone in a related field who expresses a deeper interest in helping you make a desired connection. When you mention your interest in speaking with the CFO at XYZ Company, it might spark something for them. This is a person who might appreciate a handbill because it will work as a reminder for them after the event.

The handbill can be an additional tool during your job search which, when used properly, can help the members of your network help you find that great new opportunity!

Written by Nancy J. Mellem, freelance writer and publishing specialist who has specialized in college and university career guide production for more than 20 years.

If you are interested in purchasing the full article or have questions, please contact Nancy J. Mellem.

New Article Available—”Guided Networking”

You’ve heard the statistic often—85% of jobs are found through networking. That is a huge percentage, and it means we should be engaged in active networking throughout our career.

First thoughts when considering your network will likely include close friends, family, and colleagues. Second thoughts can drift to large rooms filled with candidates and employers making “cold” introductions to each other—a thought to fill introverts (candidate and recruiter alike) with horror and despair. Don’t give up on this one, you can do it!

Of course, LinkedIn is a go-to source for the job seeker and, bonus, a boon to the introvert. Most career advisors will tell you that LinkedIn is a crucial job search tool. Despite this, many people interact with LinkedIn infrequently and/or incompletely. Not fully developing your LinkedIn profile or failing to engage with the community will put you behind in your job search when and if you are needfully searching.  

There is another type of networking event that doesn’t get talked about as much, and really should—guided networking. I highly recommend engaging in this process whether you are unemployed, employed or volunteering. It is a high-value form of networking engagement.

Additional sections of the article include:

  • How It Works—a 5-bullet list of the core features of the process
  • A Variation—a section (could be a sidebar) detailing a deeper version of the process
  • The Benefits—to each of the involved parties
  • Contact Information (Between Event Attendees)
  • Contact Information of Third Parties
  • Tips—a 4-bullet list (could be a second sidebar)

If you are interested in purchasing the full article or have questions, please contact Nancy J. Mellem.

Recent LinkedIn Article on Publishing


An op-ed piece containing my experiences in the field of publishing since the 1990s.

Portfolio of Creative Work

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GECC Articles

Graduating Engineer & Computer Careers magazine article “Relocation: Location, Location, Location”: http://www.graduatingengineer.com/articles/20070308/Relocation:-Location,-Location,-Location 

Graduating Engineer & Computer Careers magazine article “Sustainable Energy”: http://www.graduatingengineer.com/articles/20060919/Sustainable-Energy

Graduating Engineer & Computer Careers magazine article “What to do When Everyone Wants You”: http://www.graduatingengineer.com/articles/20040322/What-to-do-When-Everyone-Wants-You