Reading List – The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea by Bob Burg and John David Mann

Why read this book? This is a superbly written parable whose main message is that in business, as in life, it is better to give than to receive. The Go-Giver is both inspirational and aspirational as you build your professional network. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Adapted from my new book, Career-ology: The Art and Science of a Successful Career, Chapter 3: Professional Networking. Click here to download 2 chapters of the book for free! Available on Amazon today.

Business Cards for Networking

Business cards are a vital part of a networking event. Make sure you bring double the number that you think you will need. Due to resource constraints, some companies don’t issue business cards to all of their employees so you’ll need to create one for yourself.

If you are in this situation, visit one of many online resources to design your own cards. This can often be done for as little as $10 and they will usually arrive within one week.

If you create your own cards, don’t use your organization’s name, logo, or your work contact details.

Select a good quality cardstock (at least a sixty-pound cover stock), as some online stores will provide you with cards that feel a bit flimsy once they arrive. Some nice features to consider include embossed print, metallic ink, and other options. For most industries, select a basic font with black ink on a white card. For more creative industries, you can choose many more interesting fonts, designs, and colors.

Include the following information on your professional business card:

  • Your name
  • A personal phone number (Be sure that your voicemail is appropriately professional.)
  • Your personal email address
  • Your occupation or job function
  • Your industry (or combine with above, such as: “IT Sales,” or “Federal Government Grant Writer”)

If you don’t have business cards with you at a networking event, it may signal that you are not prepared. The physical exchange of a piece of cardstock still dominates the networking scene in most industries. During networking events where there are people of different generations, exchanging cards instead of relying on a smartphone app is always a reliable approach.

The Business Card Exchange Ritual
There have been many words dedicated to the proper method Read more

How I Landed My First Job

This is a great example of the importance and power of networking for recent graduates looking for their first job. The Hoya Gateway program mentioned in the Gabrielle’s post is an initiative that I launched and developed for the Georgetown University Alumni Association. Hoya Gateway won the 2014 CASE Gold Accolades Award for Best Practices in Alumni Relations. You can learn more here: http://hoyagateway.georgetown.edu/about

Don’t Forget the “Why” on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a very powerful tool for building and maintaining your professional network. I’ve blogged about LinkedIn often.  Check out Getting Started on LinkedIn for College Students and LinkedIn Maps to Visualize Your Network.

I currently have 500+ people in my LinkedIn network. I did not add these people randomly, but instead chose to add them to my network. For the LinkedIn requests I receive, I use my own LinkedIn protocol to determine with whom I will connect. My guidelines are not complicated, are infinitely flexible and work for me very well.

For everyone on LinkedIn considering a “Connect” request, the most important question is: Read more

Best Advice from Leading Executives

Business Insider compiled a list of “best advice” from 22 top executives. I’ve pulled the top 10 bits of advice that apply to new professionals and summarized it here.  The full Business Insider post will provide the context for each quote and reveal who the wise sage is behind each pearl of wisdom.

  1. There’s a finite amount of time you’re going to be doing this. Do this really, really well. – Terry J. Lundgren, CEO, Macy’s
  2. Never to look back in regret but to move on to the next thing. – Richard Branson, founder and chairman, Virgin Group
  3. I see a bunch of good choices, and there’s the one that you pick and make great. – Marissa Mayer, VP, Google
  4. First, it’s good to solicit your people’s opinions before you give them yours. And second, your people will be very influenced by how you carry yourself under stress. – Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and CEO, Goldman Sachs
  5. You’ve gotta learn to listen!” – Maureen Chiquet, Global CEO, Chanel
  6. Follow my instincts and take the risk. I wanted to create a new way of looking at retail – Tory Burch, co-founder and creative director, Tory Burch
  7. Never forget Warren, you can tell a guy to go to hell tomorrow — you don’t give up the right. So just keep your mouth shut today, and see if you feel the same way tomorrow. – Warren Buffett, chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway
  8. Just remember, it’s a small business and a long life. You’re going to see all these people again. – Richard Parsons, former chairman, Citigroup
  9. Always have the courage of your convictions. Always state what’s on your mind. Follow your gut. And observe what other people are doing around you. – Joe Uva, former CEO, Univision
  10. Remember—you’ve got to make your deposits before you can make a withdrawal! – Steve Schwartzman, chairman and CEO, Blackstone Group

15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 3 of 3

And here’s the final installment of the 15 point list. . .

11) Persevere – You will encounter many challenges in your career.  Your response to those challenges will say more about you than your successes.

Try not.  Do, or do not.  There is no try. ~YODA, Jedi Grand Master

12) Communicate with confidence – Communication via the spoken and written word are one way to demonstrate your professional abilities.  Practice public speaking and perfect your writing skills, until you far surpass your peers—the bar is usually not that high.

The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and the lightning bug. ~Mark Twain

13) Display humility – Demonstrate humility and personal accountability in your career and you’ll never go wrong.

There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self. ~Ernest Hemingway, Author

14) Be flexible – As a recent graduate or new professional, be flexible in your career path.  Build career skills that transcend your current function, role and industry make you invaluable in the marketplace and provide more opportunities.

Change is the only constant. ~Heraclitus, Greek Philosopher

15) Make connections – Networking is a key professional skill.  If you focus on what you can do for others, networking won’t feel like a chore.  Your efforts will be rewarded in what you’ve given and what you will receive.

Dig the well before you are thirsty. ~Chinese Proverb

15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 2 of 3

Continuing with our list. . .

6) Connect the dots – Consider the big picture and where your career fits in your company, industry and the worldwide economy at this moment in time, in addition to, the past and the future.

We often need to lose sight of our priorities in order to see them. ~ John Irving, Author

7) Display realistic optimism  – There will be plenty of opportunities in your career to be optimistic (or pessimistic) depending on which you choose.  Choose wisely.

A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty. ~Winston Churchill, Politician

8) Continued improvement – Throughout your career, there is one constant which is YOU.  Be the best professional you can be.

Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune. ~Jim Rohn, Entrepreneur

9) Commit – Your commitment to a task, the project, your job and your organization is being measured everyday by your subordinates, peers, colleagues, managers, share holders, customers and clients.  If it is not 100%, others will know it.

The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.  ~Henry Ford

10) Be alert – Opportunities in your career won’t always find you.  Be on the look out and willing to create opportunities for yourself.

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door. ~Milton Berle, Comedian & Actor

Stay tuned for “15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 3 of 3” next week.

15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 1 of 3

Ilya Pozin wrote a great post on LinkedIn titled, “15 Things Successful People Do.”  Here is the Career-ology version of Pozin’s list with a focus on your career and professional success.

1) Fail – At some point in your career, you will encounter failure—your position is downsized, you get overlooked for a promotion or bonus, you choose a job that isn’t the right fit.  You cannot have success without failure. Stop.  Assess. Adjust. Keep moving forward.

When I was young, I observed that nine out of ten things I did were failures.  So I did ten times more work.  ~George Bernard Shaw, Playwright

2) Set Goals – You must identify and develop the critical career skills with the same discipline of your formal college curriculum.  As a professional, you are responsible for establishing and working towards your goals.

People with clear, written goals, accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine. ~Brian Tracy, Author

3) Don’t rely on luck – Luck is only one small part of the professional success equation.  Without mastering the right skills, you cannot rely on luck alone.

I am a great believer in luck.  The harder I work, the more of it I seem to have. ~Coleman Cox, Author (interesting note: Thomas Jefferson is often incorrectly cited as the source of this quote)

4) Track progress – Like setting specific goals, tracking your progress against your career goals is important.  Make adjustments when required, but stay focused on your progress.

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning. ~Benjamin Franklin

5) Act – This is your career.  Take responsibility and take action.

If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it. ~Michael Jordan, Professional Athlete

Stay tuned for “15 Things Successful Professionals Do: Part 2 of 3” next week.

 

The Problem With Your Elevator Pitch–And How To Fix It

To be fully prepared for a networking event, you need to have your elevator pitch.  Much has been written about crafting this short 20-30 second introduction about yourself and your business, company or services.  Much of what has been written is not good advice.

My advice to craft your elevator pitch (also referred to as your “30-second pitch”) is to provide at least one interesting hook which prompts the listener to ask another question about what you do.  Alternatively, it should provide enough color that it is memorable while also easily conveying what it is that you actually do.

Deborah Greyson Riegel offers some very sound, practical advice in her Fast Company article.  Here are the highlights:

  • Don’t speak the way you write.
  • Utilize common vernacular (aka, use the simplest language possible).
  • Turn your pitch into a question.
  • Practice saying your pitch out loud, with feedback.
  • Be willing to forgo your pitch entirely.

Read the full article.

Deborah Grayson Riegel is a communication and behavior expert, and is the president of Elevated Training Inc. and MyJewishCoach.com. She is the author of “Oy Vey! Isn’t a Strategy: 25 Solutions for Personal and Professional Success.”