Sunday, July 25, 2010


Good morning.

“And the beat goes on……………………….”

One of the major concerns expressed by emerging leaders in the Focus Group project I did for the Hewlett Foundation was the lack of available career path advancement counseling and advice.

Here are five good tips from Joann Lubin in her Wall Street Journal column:

1. Network Effectively Rather Than Aimlessly
Focus on forging "strategic relationships".

"Relationships can't be built in 60 seconds. People hire people they like and trust. So, work on building better ties with your contacts by being a reliable resource for them and offering frequent updates about your career.

For the same reason, attend industry conferences. Scrutinize the participant list, pinpoint executives you wish to meet and schedule encounters there.

2. Sweat the Small Stuff

Tiny missteps may derail your career. You appear unpolished when you talk like an adolescent, curse at colleagues or proffer a sweaty palm.

Outdated clothes, frayed cuffs, messy hair, scuffed shoes or excess cleavage also signal poor judgment. "Looking your best at any age is what you should aspire to," advises Patricia Cook, an executive recruiter in Bronxville, N.Y.

This lesson also applies to cover letters. Inspirica, a New York high school and college tutoring concern, found mistakes in 93% of 220 letters from tutor applicants over the past year. Many flawed letters came from experienced writing tutors.

"Pay attention to everything you write in cover letters," warns Lisa Jacobson, Inspirica's CEO. "Otherwise, you will get weed whacked right out."

Send hand written thank you notes.

3. Make Your Résumé and Business Card Work Overtime for You

Too often, résumés chronicle your past rather than promote marketable skills that would benefit potential employers. An additional "pre-résumé" may make more sense, says Rick Gillis, an author of two job-hunting books who devised the concept. The one-page document contains a brief objective statement that describes precise ways you will improve a particular company, he adds.

A pre-résumé also includes highlights of four career accomplishments—plus a string of key words (such as "multi-task professional") that get detected by resume-tracking software.

An online résumé offers another approach. You can show work samples, references' video testimonials and any data that may demonstrate successes in your career, such as surpassing sales targets.

It's equally important that your business card convey a memorable first impression. List your strongest skills or highest degree right under your name. But omit your physical address to appear flexible about relocation. Don't overlook the reverse side of your card. Rather than leave it blank, you can display the name of a prominent prior employer.

4. Pay It Forward

Whether you're on the job or seeking one, you should help others propel their careers without expecting return favors.

5. Know Thyself—and Be Ready for Reinvention

You should constantly take stock of your dreams, values and transferrable skills. Scrupulous self-assessments can help you pinpoint strengths and weaknesses. To succeed at your current workplace, you must be equally flexible about accepting lateral moves.

• Embrace potentially risky new assignments.

And here are five more I would offer for your consideration:

6. Enhance your skills with ongoing training and professional development. Don’t wait until training is offered to you, seek out seminars, courses, workshops and other ways to increase your business knowledge. Learn how to think critically and to analyze issues.

7. Find a Coach or Mentor – even if unofficial. There are many people out there in our field who will be glad to help you, all you have to do is ask. I guarantee you they will be flattered and honored if you seek their coaching,.

8. Be Seen / Be Heard. Don’t blend into the woodwork at events where you network. Offer up well thought out ideas and opinions on major issues. Demonstrate you have done your homework, and have given thought to major issues impacting the sector. Respond to blog postings. Participate in discussions. Don’t worry that all your ideas are brilliant – nobody has a monopoly on good thinking.

9. Become an expert at (at least) one issue. Get known as one of the “go to” people as having expertise in one major area in which you’re interested in. Jockey to get on panels at conferences, publish articles. Get involved in research. But don’t forget that there are many sides to any issue – make room to consider the thoughts of other people.

10. Smile – cultivate an image as an optimist. No one likes someone who is always the pessimist, with the dour personality. Be the kind of person YOU would like to hang out with. Complement those around you.

Some great stuff on the net out there last week:

Arts Journal Blogathon on Creative Rights & Artists

And a great interview with my own Mr. Miyagi – John Kriedler

For a really excellent round up of interesting stuff on the web, see Ian David Moss’ Createquity.

Have a great week.

Don’t Quit.