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Energizing Your Networking, Part 2


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“SUCCESS IN LIFE = (THE PEOPLE YOU MEET) + (WHAT YOU CREATE TOGETHER).”
--Keith Ferrazzi in Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

Let’s continue our conversation for mastering the art of networking. In our last entry, we talked about initiating and enjoying the process of connecting and reconnecting.

Today, we delve into how to feed those relationships so that you stay on top of the minds of the people with whom you are connected when they learn about opportunities that are of value to you and for which you are a good fit.

Instead of badgering people, you want to be the person who provides something of value to make the relationship interesting. And here are five ingredients and they all begin with the letter “I”:

1. Information and Insights: Your connections are busy people. So if you come across some report or information that you know would be of value to them, it would be thoughtful of you to pass it on to them. Perhaps you could summarize the article and add a line or two of your view on it. Now you show that you are not just thoughtful, but you also give them a sense of your personality.

2. Invitations: You probably find out about or get invited to concerts, networking events, panel discussions and other kinds of programs that are of interest to other people in your network. Sharing these invitations shows that you are thoughtful. Of course, inviting someone to lunch or coffee always furthers a relationship. Have you tried inviting two or more people you know to get a "bite or beverage” and allowing them to meet each other? That leads us to…

3. Introductions: Introduce the people you know to other people you know. And you will be thought of as a resource and a connector.

4. Ideation: Two heads are better than one. Don’t you love hearing the term “out of the box” thinking. What if you arrange to sit down with a contact you’d like to know better and you each bring a challenge to the table, with the goal of coming up with at least 3-5 new ideas that would make a difference for each other? Exciting!

5. Inexpensive gifts: Email and even snail mail can get ignored, but nobody ever can ignore a thoughtful 3 dimensional item on one’s desk. A box of candy or a clever mug are starting points – but if you really put some thought to finding something that relates to a person’s professional or personal interests, you’ll truly stand out. Oh…and expensive gifts have an impact, too, but be careful you don’t come across as bribing where that would be inappropriate.

Of course, when all of this leads to and comes from an intent for open, interpersonal sharing about your personal and business lives, you build a deeper relationship of knowing, trusting and liking each other. You’ll build career enhancing relationship and also enjoy greater personal fulfillment if you focus on these activities in a way that’s enjoyable to you. Have fun with it.

Energizing Your Networking - Part 1

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“I’ve come to believe that connecting is one of the most important business—and life—skill sets you’ll ever learn. Why? Because, flat out, people do business with people they know and like. Careers—in every imaginable field—work the same.” Keith Ferrazzi in Never Eat Alone.

As many as 8 out of 10 people find the jobs they are in through people they know, otherwise known as networking. However, many people I speak with are uncomfortable, disorganized or unclear about how important it is to have the right view of how the networking works. So let’s take the discomfort out of networking and get inspired to initiate, energize and enjoy the most successful job search tool in the business world.

At the most basic level, networking is re-connecting with the people you know, connecting with the people they know and making new connections that can lead to exciting outcomes. A lot of people unfortunately think that networking is all about desperately wandering around groups or their community asking for a job. It’s no wonder that they find this an embarrassing and daunting thing to do.

I propose instead:
1. A mindset shift - flip from desperately seeking employment to enjoyable connecting with people in the working world. They may help you and you may help them. Take on an attitude of exploration and discovery and make it enjoyable to connect with people to support each other. You will find yourself with a new level of energy for networking.

2. Go to events - with the following clarity of purpose - to meet new people, gather new experiences and share information. Networking events are neither the right places to ask for new jobs, nor even necessarily to broadcast that you are looking for work. You don’t have to do much selling of yourself in a networking event, but you can let people know what you are up to in a calm confident way. Events are where you make connections that you’ll want to follow up with (see #3), not necessarily where you ask for or get job interviews.

3. Follow up - with a bite or a beverage. A meeting for breakfast, lunch, coffee or drinks is where you really get to connect and explore opportunities and possibilities. I invite you to approach these like you are two people who have a lot to share with each other. Know and trust that you have a lot to offer from your experiences and the people you know. Share jokes and personal humorous stories. Human beings are wired to connect. Just connecting alone can be valuable to the other person.

4. Make and honor requests - this is the most important step, and the one that most people don’t fully follow through on well. Ask for the connections you want. Be clear about who you want to meet and what kind of opportunities you are exploring. If you are seeking a CEO or other C-Level or executive position, ask people you meet to connect you to board members, private equity investors and relevant recruiters. Make a request to look on LinkedIn together to see what connections you can make for each other. You’ll see how closely we are all connected when you have been on LinkedIn for some time.

These steps will get you started on the networking road. Next week we look how to nurture the relationships you start or renew in your network.

So how about you? What will you do this week to upgrade your approach and activity in this wonderful world of networking?

Killer Cover Letters Part 2

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Last week we talked about how to streamline the streamline the process of creating cover letters that shout (or scream) that YOU are the perfect candidate for that ideal job.

Here are some more ideas to make your cover letter, your resume and you pop visually. This is critical in such a crowded marketplace.

1.  photo b858aa1d-c11b-4a2d-b524-1f5565f952a6_zpsgnwgxbwa.jpg A picture is worth a thousand words. In a world of words, words and more words, which can drain the energy of the person reading your submission, shake things up a bit and include a photograph, drawing, schematic or anything visual that conveys something about yourself. I had a client who included a technical drawing of a giant slingshot that he and some friends built between jobs. After three years of being unemployed, this client got a great job at IBM.

2. Large fonts! Staying with the visual theme – DO THINGS TO STAND OUT… Go over the top, and then come back a little if you feel you have to.

3. Color. ________________ You will stand out in a world of black and white with multiple bars of color and two or three different hues
______________________ __________________ _________________________________

4. Fit – Your fit for the job described is what will ultimately get you the job. That is what matters most from a strong opening line to the bottom of your resume, Don’t over reach for jobs that are not a fit and don’t “dumb down” your resume either. This is a waste of time. Focus on finding the right job. Respond to the key bullets of the job description using the experience from your resume as the bullets in your cover letter.

Good luck and keep me posted. I love to help and I love good news.

P.S. Career content creator “Career Jimmy” suggests that a P.S. is one of the most powerful tools to getting the interview. End with a powerful postscript as a call to action like P.S “If you contact me today to schedule an interview, you’ll be very happy with what I’m committed to contributing to your company.”

So, P.S. If you contact me, I’ll help you create a killer cover letter for your next job application.

Killer Cover Letters

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Last week, we discussed your resume. Today, we cover the cover letter.

In the pursuit of job interviews, I find that the cover letter is a necessary evil. You can’t send a resume without it but if you’re not careful, it could get in the way of your resume being given the proper amount of attention. The people you send your resume to are either looking at a large quantity of other resumes or are overwhelmed with other work – everyone is super busy these days. If you don’t grab it, the reader’s attention might get diverted and never return.

Meanwhile, I have known people who have subsequently become my coaching clients, who had otherwise spent one or two hours with each job submission because they were agonizing over the cover letter. With purely good intention, people who are hungry for a new job all too often try to fit themselves into less-than-ideal job descriptions. The result of that approach is fewer good interviews and tons of time wasted on applying to and sometimes interviewing for the wrong jobs.

It’s important to keep your cover letters short and focused (and if you’re a writer, you can make references to writing samples).

I am going to help you make the process short and focused as well. Here is your inspiration for writing tips and techniques to save you tons of time and energy while generating more and better interviews faster:

1. Start with a one-line paragraph identifying who you are and how you made the connection. For example, “John Smith recommended we connect” or “I’m the one best candidate for your listing in “Ladders” for “Chief Marketing Officer”

2. Then tee up the next section with something like, “Here are the key reasons why you would find me worth meeting” or “Here’s why I am the number one most qualified candidate for this position.”

3. After you’ve framed this up, present three bullet points of your most relevant qualifications for that particular job. I recommend you simply copy and paste directly from your resume. This will save you tons of time, and also provide the advantage of your reader seeing these compelling bullet points twice - once in the cover letter and again when they go through your resume. Repetition works. Repetition educates. Repetition sells. This method creates a matching game for the reader who might think back to your cover letter when they see this evidence on your resume. We want the screeners and decision makers to find reasons to select your submission and bring you in for an interview, and the more ways we can engage them in, the reasons you are a fit and the more likely that will happen.

4. Close it with a call to action like: “I will follow up with you in three days to schedule an interview.”

Keep in short, keep it simple and you will get results. Enjoy the process.

Next week we will go a little further into how to enhance your cover letter with creativity to grab the reader's attention and truly stand out from the crowd. For now, I ask, how about you? How many MORE cover letters can you see yourself sending out this week using this new approach.

Your Outstanding Resume

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I am going to share some secrets in resume crafting that will give you an advantage in any career transition that you are currently making or would like to make in the future.

Your resume is your first foot in the door. It's the beginning of making yourself known as the best candidate for the career of your dreams, the career that excites and fulfills you. Yet the resume is where people make their first mistakes. Instead of using it as a powerful marketing tool, most people make it a record of history by listing all of their past experience and responsibilities.

OR, even worse, sometimes people are lead to believe that functional resumes are the way to go. The pitfall of doing functional resumes is that it’s commonly known that candidates use this format to hide job hopping.

Most of the tips people tell me about that they hear and read about on the internet end up making everyone’s resume look the same as everybody else.

That is not for you.

Let’s have you create your resume as a sales presentation tool that represents you to be the-one-very-best-candidate for any position you are truly qualified for and would be excited to get.

Instead, let’s transform your approach from historian to marketer.

Here are a few important elements for you to create and customize your own unique outstanding resume.

1. You're the only you there is on this planet. Why should you look the same as everyone else with the same fonts and layout? Shake it up a bit with a carefully chosen font that expresses your personal brand in a way that is slightly off center from the usual style you believe your new employer would typically use.

Why should your objective look the same as everyone else with too many words?
You want to pinpoint what is your objective is, with powerful language of what you uniquely deliver, whether it be that you are a leading source of creative or analytical thinking. What are your greatest strengths and how would you express those values in words that match the language used by your potential employer?

2. Consider using a photo of yourself on the front or back of the resume or a schematic of something you designed, or a favorite person in history. Something visual is one way to make your resume stand out.

3. Use large font for your objective and small font for your name and address. Your name and address may be at the top of the resume, but it doesn’t make a powerful headline because where you live is not as important as what you are out to deliver.

4. Use color. This must be done with some taste – bright yellow or orange if you’re pursuing a job or path were such bold colors would be appropriate – or accents in blue’s or greys for a more conservative look. As soon as you vary from the usual black ink on white background, your resume will stand out.

There is a lot more to creating a resume that really pops. Get in touch with me if you want to discuss this.

Next week, we will talk about how we accompany this resume with a cover letter, a necessary evil, but I will tell you how you can create one that stays out of the way so that your resume gets seen and you are called in for the interview.

So what about you? What’s unique about you that if you represent it on a resume, it will stand out from the others.

Personal Branding

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“To Thine Own Self Be True” - William Shakespeare

I’d like share with you a terrific experience I had visiting the CF Martin guitar factory. The company has been producing the finest quality acoustic guitars under the “C.F. Martin” or “Martin Guitars” brand that since 1833. I was extraordinarily impressed by the craftsmanship and quality that I saw behind the scenes at the CF Martin factory, whether the guitar was built with a blend of hand craftsmanship and new technology or if it was a custom guitar made fully by hand. Listen to this podcast for more about my walk around the factory floor.

Everyone in the music business who played guitar has a Martin guitar, from Hank Williams and Johnny Cash through John Lennon, Paul McCartney, James Taylor, Eric Clapton to Ed Sheeran and many more.

Today theme is all about personal branding. While branding is important in business - that is having a consistency of look, communication and experience that reliably represents how a product or service reliably delivers value, the same can be correlated to individuals. Whether you are in a position of leadership or in a roll of business development or simply looking to advance or make a career change your career is really dependent on what people can rely on regarding the value you can produce.

Here are three points to refine your personal brand:

#1. Looks Can Kill: Consider anything visual that represents you from your personal grooming and your sense of style and how your clothing fits to how your look represents what you stand for and how you fit within your community. How things look also includes your resume or email - formats and fonts and layout. Anything that is visual should look consistent and should convey a feeling that represents your value

#2. Consistency of language The words you choose and the energy with which you speak and write also must be consistent with what you stand for and must speak specifically to the market you're speaking to. In an earlier segment of this blog and podcast, we talked about how your passion and talent must meet a market need that will give your career a trajectory and direction. While you're applying your passion and talent to a particular market need, make sure you're using language that matches the vernacular and the sophistication of your market.

#3. Walk Your Talk You must be really conscious of keeping your word to what you said you would do by when you said you would do it and honoring your word any time when you can't follow through. Always make things right with people. You can have the best presentation but if you're not walking the talk you won't have the credibility to build the reputation you want.

There’s lot more to personal branding that we’ve covered here, but this should get you started in the right direction. If you’d like to explore the subject more please contact me - I'd love to discuss it and see what upgrades we can create together.

So how about you?

What enhancements to your personal branding will you make this week?

Clarity of Career Direction

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The clarity of your career direction is key for your success whether you in a leadership position, in a business development role or if you are looking for a new job. It is actually particularly important if you are looking for a new job or to start on a new career path.
How do you find clarity of a career direction?

What I have found works with my clients is to for us look at where the intersection of these three circles come together – your passion, your talent and where these overlap with a market need or a need in society. Where is there a need in the world for what you offer?

What are you good at that people have seen you do and about which you can tell stories? One way I help my clients wake up with clarity to their career direction is to get them to write their success stories. Look at what are you good at that you love to do and do well. With accomplishment stories, you can talk about these things and get known and hired for them.

So I challenge you to write 10 success stories. What have been your favorite accomplishments? If these are your favorite, then by definition these are what you love to do and that you are good at. And these will also clue you in to where there is a need in the world.

An accomplishment story has three parts:

1. What goals were set? What where the challenges that needed to be overcome?

2. What was the process? What were the steps that you took? You don’t have to write a lot about that. People are more interested in results but they like to know that you have a process and thank you know what you are doing.

3. What was the result? What was the outcome of the accomplishment story you wrote about?

Your accomplishment stories probably end with exciting results. But you can also write a story where the result didn’t hit the goal. Sometimes goals are set arbitrarily. I have had clients who have discovered great results even though the goals that were set in the beginning weren’t met. Listen to the audio recording of this blog post for more on that story.

You may find that failures and setbacks can lead to good stories if journey challenged you and your process represents you well.
All these are breadcrumbs on the trail of your career path.

Next week we will take that clarity and use it towards a rebranding of yourself so that you are communicating your value and meeting a need in the world. This makes you employable.

So what about you? How many accomplishment stories will you write this week to clarify your career direction.

Begin With Your Mind In The End

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Most likely you have heard the expression, “begin with the end in mind.” Today we're going to delve deeper into that concept for the purpose of you enjoying outstanding career satisfaction and success.

That's the end and I have in mind for you.

The title of this program is “begin with your mind in the end.” I invite you to immerse yourself in a vision you have for the future. Close your eyes and visualize that possible future. You might first pick a date and time and place in the world where you’d like to be in the future. or an activity or career environment that you would most want to create around yourself. You could also consider few items and people you want at the same time for example wanting to live in a climate that suits your clothes and having a team of people working for you fully engaged on fulfilling your vision for your business.

Whatever you envision, stay with it for 5 to 10 minutes today or for 5-10 minutes longer than you usually stay in an envisioning kind of mindset. Revisit it tomorrow and everyday this week. Note some of the details. Create it to be as fulfilling as possible. Who are the people and what are the resources you need? What do you see? What you hear and smell – what’s the air like? Engage all your five senses.

If you put your mind in the end zone of your success, you are much more likely to have a vision with details that you can act on and fulfill. And send me a note. I would love to hear how we can help you make your dream come true.

So how about you? What’s something you envision for your ideal success in the future?

MAKE WORK A GAME

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“This is the real secret of life -- to be completely engaged with what you are doing in the here and now. And instead of calling it work, realize it is play.”
― Alan W. Watts, 1915-1973, British philosopher, writer and speaker.

Today we are going to talk about how to create a game. Make whatever you are doing exciting and fun. Perhaps you are unhappy with your work and are looking for a new job or career path. Or you are in business development looking to get more clients. Or you have a team to lead and are getting stuck or frustrated with how you are leading. There are some aspects of your work that are not fun. In fact, you could say that’s why it’s called work.

Work is not always supposed to be fun. But you can turn work into a game by using a couple of key strategies from well-conceived games. Look at any sports, or your favorite sport. It has a beginning, a middle and an end. There are rules and there’s a way of keeping score and keeping track of how you are doing along the way.

Here are some pointers borrowing from well-conceived games:

1. Frame up your goals. What would you like to achieve and by when? Set goals that are SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. We don’t always apply them when we could. Look at an area where you want to achieve something and set a time frame around a specific goal you want to achieve.

2. Have a team. Even if you are doing something solitary like getting a new job. Don’t go it alone. Partner up with somebody. Let them know what is your game, what you want to achieve. Hold each other accountable.. And see if they want to create a game for themselves, too. Hold each other accountable. Tell each other how many actions you are each going to take and by when. Constructive accountability is a great part of winning a game.

3. Track your results. Keep a score card visible and handy. Anytime you have a base hit, you keep score and enjoy the little victories and progress along the way. It might also remind you that whatever you have been working on, that had not been fun before, is in fact a game you are playing to win.

4. Celebrate and review your results at the end of the game. During every game, you will be winning and learning even if you don’t always hit the results you had hoped to. Certainly, if you do hit your results, you want to celebrate your win.

So what about you? What are you pursing that you want to turn into a game?

Outstanding Career Satisfaction

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“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Confucius

Today and every day, I am committed to you enjoying outstanding career satisfaction. I want you to wake up every day excited to go to work, and to know that your work is meaningful, rewarding and lucrative. I want your soul to smile and for you to earn enough for your financial needs are met and the future of your dreams is on track.

Let’s explore the key motivators that will lead you to outstanding career satisfaction whether you are currently in a job you like a little or don’t like at all. These ideas also apply if you’re out of work looking to get back into the game, or if you are looking towards retirement.

Here are three elements to explore fully to get you great clarity:

1. Direction: Where does your passion and talent meet a market or society need? What do you love to do and are really good at? It’s important to explore this in specific terms because it will be the curtain rod that everything else in your search hangs on. For example, rather than just knowing that you like working with people, look more specifically if you prefer speaking to large groups of people or if you would rather listen listening deeply to people in one-on-one conversations toward solving problems. Get the idea? Explore what subsets of people you like speaking to and what topics deeply interest you. Maybe you are moved to alleviate the world’s hunger problems, or perhaps you prefer working with customers buying fast cars. You can do whatever you want.

Maybe you’re moved to alleviate the worlds hunger problems working with people in the third world, or maybe you want to work with investment bankers and private equity investors or companies in the Fortune 500. Maybe you want to work with companies in the middle market, or maybe you want work with patients at a hospital or maybe you want to work with administrators at a hospital. Whatever you want to do, there’s a group of people there to serve and a career path around them. You can do whatever you want you want as long as you are willing to create and sustain a commitment until you’ve succeeded. I am convinced that you will find more satisfaction if your work also makes a difference about something you care about, which leads me to the second point.

2. Making a difference: In my opinion and experience, people who burn out in their jobs are caught in a rut of doing the same old thing and need to create something new in their job that would make a difference to our planet. This will make them happier to be in their jobs. Obviously, some jobs lend themselves more clearly to this, for example if you raise funds for a non-profit. But whatever you do, you can make a difference. For example, if you are providing customer service to people driving fast cars, consider also putting some of your salary to a good cause like lending to women in the developing world start a business. Perhaps you could convince customers to contribute to a worthy cause while they are driving fast. When you are out making a difference, you inspire the people around you. And this will give you career satisfaction.

3. Plan your work and work your plan. The first two ideas in this blog post are meaningless unless put to work. If your career direction is unclear, contact me or your favorite career advisor to crystallize your career path. Then communicate this to the right people so that they know what you are doing with your passion and talent, especially as it makes a difference.

When you integrate those three elements into your work every single day, you will find yourself in an outstanding state of being engaged in everyday living and everyday working. And that will show up when it’s time to get promoted or to get more business from your next client.

So, what about you? What’s next for your career? Which of these elements will you strengthen first?

Welcome! The purpose of this blog-cast is to provide thoughtful perspectives on leadership, team dynamics and peak performance for leaders and top producers. You'll start every week with savvy, upbeat and focused insights every Monday (read and/or listen) to produce exciting results by Friday (and beyond). Enjoy!

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