I fielded this question a few months ago at an event for job-seekers in Minneapolis: “Should I get personal business cards to hand out at job interviews?” Unfortunately for those in attendance, I didn’t give the best answer. In fact, I think I gave what amounts to a non-answer. Something like “every situation is different.” Oh, great response. Thanks for the insight, Charlie.
Sample card from moo.com
But now that I’ve had some time to think about it, and after consulting my friends at BrazenCareerist, I’ve solidified my position. It’s always a good idea to have a personal business card.
After posing this question to probably 50 different people in the last month, I heard three main objections, valid or otherwise. Actually, they were all invalid as far as I’m concerned. Here they are–the reasons not to print personal business cards: Continue reading
I like some people right away. Others take a while, though I may end up liking them more in the end. Why is that? And how do others react to me when we first meet? I did a little research on how to get people to like you, and here are ten of the top tips, in no particular order:
1. Give sincere compliments and thanks. Everyone knows a suck-up, but it’s pretty easy to give honest compliments even if you’ve just met someone. Clothing and accessories are a sure bet. “Hey–that’s a great bag.” Personal traits or characteristics work, too. “I admire the team you’ve built. They work together so well.” “Thanks for introducing yourself. I appreciate that you went out of your way.”
2. Ask lots of questions. Most people love to talk about themselves. It’s their favorite topic. And one of the first lessons in sales is that the person asking the questions is the one in control of the conversation. Asking questions to get to know someone you just met is a sign that you’re interested in them, and we’re all more apt to like people who take a shine to us, right? Continue reading
It’s Friday afternoon, and much of the nation is on the tail-end of a nice little heat wave. Feels like spring, doesn’t it? The tendency is to knock-off early and head on home. But how about ending the week on a high note? Here are three easy ways to support career growth that take less than one hour combined.
- Invite 5 people to coffee or lunch next week. Don’t include people from your immediate network, though (friends, current coworkers, family). Reach out only to past coworkers, people you met at conferences/happy hours/online, or twice-removed current coworkers. Using LinkedIn, this shouldn’t take more than 15 minutes. Just send a quick note saying “We haven’t talked in a while so I thought I’d check-in and see what’s new with you. Have time for coffee Tuesday morning?” Invite 5, because only one or two will have time. Building and maintaining these relationships will pay dividends later, when you least expect it.
- Write down, on paper, three skills you want to learn or improve in the next month, and pin it to your cube wall. Written words form a permanent record. Once you have these three things on paper, you’re almost half way there. If you’re feeling saucy, take the next step and write down two or three things you can do on Monday to jump-start the process.
- Ask your leader if there’s anything else you could be doing to make the team more effective. The mere act of asking puts you in the top percentile of employees. You’ll improve your standing in the eyes of leadership, and hopefully you’ll get something new to master. Guaranteed win.
Actually, these three things should take under 30 minutes, and you’ll end the week feeling like you accomplished something positive, different, and new.
Starting a new gig presents a different set of challenges. Not only are there concerns about learning the business, getting around campus, and driving a new route (or–gasp!–figuring out the bus schedule), but you also have to meet new people. I know lots of outgoing, friendly types who don’t have a single problem with this. But I know just as many people who are more naturally introverted or shy, and would prefer to be introduced by someone else rather than take the initiative. For these folks, making new friends at work can be a challenge. Continue reading
I have two friends, Jason Smiles and Frank Assured, who are both great guys worth knowing. When it comes to building social relationships, they have contrasting styles. Whether they think about it or not, they attract people in different ways–both men and women. I’d say they break down about like this:
We all know the benefits of social networking when job hunting, right? With so many people hunting for jobs, the focus on using Web 2.0 technologies to get to the top of the resume pile is on the front page every day.
Using every possible avenue to land the perfect job is the smart play. You never know when or where you’ll strike gold. To increase your chances further, start networking well before you have to. That way when it comes time to rely on your network for help, you’ve already established a wide range of contacts and hopefully paid it forward with many of them.
Look at it this way: your career is a 40 year project and you’re the project manager. Networking is part of the job.