If you have any doubts about reading Career-ology, read this. . .

If you have any doubts about whether you should read Career-ology, consider these common misunderstandings:

Myth #1: I will get these skills from my employer and as part of my day-to-day job.

You will probably not receive training in all of these skills. Even if you do, how will you continue to hone them once the specific training is complete? If your employer does provide this type of training, your colleagues are also being trained. How will you differentiate yourself?

Myth #2: My job or career is __________ . (Fill in the blank with your position). The skills in this book don’t apply in my situation.

The skills and concepts presented in this book apply to all industries, professions, and roles—from entry-level to the C-suite. You may use some skills more frequently than others, but they are all important.

Myth #3: I already know this “stuff.”

You may have been introduced to these skills and concepts. You may even have acquired a working knowledge, but you have not mastered these skills as a new professional. Most successful professionals will say they practice and improve their skills throughout their entire careers. Professionals who believe they are finished learning will not be successful. Those who believe in and practice lifelong learning, however, will always find opportunities and success. Approaching your career with the right mindset could make the difference between simply having a job and having a successful career.

Myth #4: I took a public speaking or a business writing class while in college. I don’t need those chapters.

See the answer to Myth #3 above.

Why these skills and concepts?

The skills and concepts in Career-ology are important for professionals in every industry. They will be critical throughout your entire career. The following is a brief overview:

  • Professional networking. The secrets of networking can transform it from a chore to an enjoyable experience.
  • Business writing. The ability to clearly articulate your ideas in writing (anything from a simple Tweet to a 100-page technical report) is essential.
  • Public speaking and presenting. The ability to stand up and present your ideas clearly and concisely is also essential. There is no avoiding it! You will have to be able to communicate ideas to as few as two people or to a room full of 200 or more.
  • Sales and negotiating. Everyone is in sales no matter his or her job!
  • Organizational awareness. Understanding the people you work with and the unwritten rules they follow will give you a solid career edge.
  • Creating your personal brand. Your style and behavior can enhance your personal identity as a professional.
  • Developing your executive presence. Projecting a presence of leadership, displaying grace under pressure, and creating the desire in others to get the job done will enhance your career and your life in many ways.

Reading List: Eat at Frog

Eat That Frog

by Brian Tracy

Why read this book? Written by the international best-selling author and leader in professional development, Eat at Frog will help you jump- start your professional development (or any other task in your work) with twenty-one proven methods and techniques. These methods are integral to accelerating your career: #7 Focus on Key Result Areas, #10 Take It One Oil Barrel at a Time, #11 Upgrade Your Skills, #13 Identify Your Key Constraints, #21 Single Hand Every Task.

Reading List: Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

by George Leonard

Why read this book? This book is a bit esoteric, but I’ve included it here because “practice” and “mastery” are at the core of accelerating your career experience. I first learned of Leonard’s book through my own Aikido practice and really admire his Yoda-like lessons. These lessons transcend career and include all aspects of life.

Reading List: Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better

Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better

by Doug Lemov, Erica Woolway, Katie Yezzi

Why read this book? If you question the value of practice in your career, this is a MUST read. Many of the rules will show you how to set up practice routines for skills where the solution is not obvious. Rules most applicable to accelerating your career experience include: #1 Encode Success, #4 Unlock Creativity . . . With Repetition, #7 Differentiate Drill From Scimmage, #9 Analyze the Game, and #10 Isolate the Skill.

Building Blocks of Leadership

The skills and concepts in my book, Career-ology, are the foundation of leadership. Think of a great leader and rate his or her abilities on a scale of one to ten against the following skills:

  • Professional networking
  • Business writing
  • Public speaking and presenting
  • Sales and negotiations
  • Organizational awareness
  • Creating a personal brand
  • Developing an executive presence

Chances are the leader you selected rated highly in most if not all of these skills.

You can demonstrate the qualities of a leader without having direct reports. You don’t need a title or an organizational chart either. A true leader is a person whom others will follow regardless of the authority of a title or the incentive of a paycheck. Acquiring and practicing these skills and concepts are an excellent place to begin your journey to becoming an outstanding leader.

LinkedIn Official Blog

There is no better source of information about the most important professional networking platform in the world than the LinkedIn Official Blog. If you want to learn more about LinkedIn, go right to the source. There are hundreds of blog posts arranged by topic and searchable by keyword.

Reading List – The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business

The Power of Habits: Why We Do What We Do In Life and Business

by Charles Duhigg

Why you should read this book? You will dive deep into the science of habits and learn how to harness the power of habits to accelerate your career experience. Duhigg, an award winning business journalist, also explores institutional habits and the idea of keystone habits that can be used to turn around organizations like Alcoa, the Fortune 500 manufacturing company, or products like P&G’s Febreze air freshener.

Find a Mentor

As you get to know the people in your organization and industry, seek out a few mentors. You don’t have to formalize a mentor-mentee relationship for it to be beneficial. Look for people who have forged a path congruent with your own career goals. If your organization offers a formal mentoring pro- gram, be sure to take advantage of this valuable resource.

Adapted from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 7: Organizational Awareness.

The Best Resource for Mastering Public Speaking

When it comes to mastering public speaking, there is no greater resource than Toastmasters International(TM).

Toastmasters International offers its members a venue for practicing communication and leadership skills. Clubs meet regularly and members fulfill different roles at each meeting. There is a proven curriculum of increasingly more challeng- ing topics, techniques, and formats. Fellow club members evaluate speeches for each other. They also give support and encouragement to speakers of all abilities. Toastmasters In- ternational has grown to 14,650 clubs in 126 countries since its founding in 1924.

I encourage you to join Toastmasters. Each club has its own personality, so visit several clubs to find the one that best suits you. Visit the Toastmasters International website to find a club near you.

This is an excerpt from Chapter 5: Public Speaking and Presentation Skills from Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career