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Category: Skills

Career Advice for College Graduates

Filed under: accountability, ambition, Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Best Advice, Career & Money, Career Advice, Communication, Decision Making, Goals, Good Habits, Quick Tips, Skills, Success

Most of the best career advice isn’t learned in school or discussed during formal annual reviews. They’re the priceless nuggets of wisdom you tend to learn through the school of hard knocks instead – sometimes too late. One of the best gifts that seasoned leaders can give to college graduates is practical, candid feedback on what they really need to know to succeed in the “corporate jungle.”

In classic David Letterman style, here are my top 10 career advice tips for college graduates and early career professionals:

#10 Build relationships before you need them

Don’t wait until you need something to have a substantial discussion with your team leader or other key executives. A crisis is a real buzz kill for relationship building so avoid building relationships in the midst of a crisis and instead build them before you need them. Director of Columbia University’s Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Programs, Beth Fisher-Yoshida discusses the importance of relationship building in 5 Ways to Develop More Meaningful Relationships at Work.

#9 Learn your boss’ communications preferences early and adapt to them

When you adjust your style to better fit your manager’s communication/work style preferences, you become easier to manage – and that’s a good thing! This becomes even more important when you encounter that unavoidable “difficult boss” which research shows will likely happen at some point. Learning effective managing up techniques can mean the difference between success and failure when faced with a challenging boss personality.

#8 Don’t hide your awesome

Inexperience can be an asset so use it! Don’t hold back on sharing a completely different idea or approach, or questioning if there might be a better way. Your lack of “experience” could be the key to innovation so leverage that. If you’ve developed a template for tracking incoming orders or have used an amazing app for researching vendors, share that with your team. If there’s momentum around an area where you have expertise, don’t be afraid to volunteer to lead the effort. Remember that you don’t have to know everything to take lead on a project or task.

#7 Become the go-to person for something valuable

I like to say it’s not just “what you know and who you know” but also “who knows you and what you’re known for.” Becoming known as the Prezi, Slack or Sharepoint expert not only builds your organizational credibility, but it also creates demand for your participation in a wide range of projects that you may not have otherwise had exposure to. Stay attuned to the high demand skill sets in your industry or organization and develop deep skills in an area that is highly valued. If you become known as the resident Prezi expert in the company, you might find yourself working directly with the EVP on her upcoming board presentation and that one on one face time can prove invaluable. Over time you’ll want to be careful not to become pigeon-holed into one particular skill set, but building extreme competency in a few areas early is virtually always a smart move.

#6 Fiercely manage your personal brand

Just as the brands Tiffany, Coke and McDonalds evoke very specific sentiments as you think about them, your name has the same impact when others hear it. Decide what you want people to think about when your name is mentioned, then get about the business of building and managing your personal brand. Whether it’s your dress, lunch buddies, cell phone ring or email syntax, remember that with every choice you’re reinforcing your personal brand. Joseph Liu’s 5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand At Work insists that brand building isn’t just for executives; it’s for everyone.

To read the full article by Dana Brownlee, visit it here at Forbes.com.

How NOT to Introduce Yourself

Filed under: Branding, Career Advice, Professional Development, Skills

Networking is one of the most challenging skills you may have to learn in the world of business. It can be an awkward experience, having the attention of a group of strangers focused on you, and trying to make a good first impression.

It’s an important moment. The person opposite you might be someone who could make or break your career. If you make a good impression, he or she might be able to refer your next big client, or have the influence to help you land that next big contract.

On the other hand, if you act like a doofus, you might alienate someone who might have been an otherwise important connection and relationship.

If you’d like to avoid looking like a jerk, avoid being this guy when introducing yourself:

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>

Why You Should Listen, Even If Others Don’t

Filed under: Career Advice, Communication, Good Habits, Skills

The odds are very good that the last person to whom you spoke barely heard anything you said. Don’t take it personally – most people just don’t listen.

Even the people who never listen know this is true. Most of us know it’s bad to be distracted, zoned out and oblivious… but many of us do it anyway.

Likewise, most of us know it’s bad to be so stuck in our own biases and beliefs that we block out half of what other people say… because we label their thoughts as “wrong” even before they stop talking.

But we are surrounded by noise. We don’t call it noise. We call it by many names: texts, emails, tweets, updates, voicemail, ads, memos, reports, sales pitches, junk mail, TV, Netflix, ITunes…

To protect our sanity, we tune out 99.9% of the world. We even tune out our own feelings. But once we start doing this, we make the mistake of tuning out important stuff, like what the people that matter to us really need us to understand.

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>

How To Make Friends With Ambitious People

Filed under: ambition, Professional Development, Quick Tips, Skills

If you’re trying to take yourself and your life to the next level, it makes a lot of sense to aim higher when it comes to making friends. The right friends will support you emotional and provide practical help along the way.

If you have exiting friends that aren’t as ambitious as you are, chances are that they’re unconsciously holding you back. You don’t have to stop seeing them right away; your best bet is to focus on building friendships with new people.

If you want to make friends with ambitious people, read on. In this article, I would like to share with you three important steps. These steps will help you go to the next level in your social life, meet many ambitious and interesting people, and have them stick around for a long time.

Click here to read the rest on Careerealism >>

Do You Have These 4 Soft-People Skills?

Filed under: Personality, Skills, Social Impact, Success

Have you worked with or for a person with a strong leader-type personality? They’re adept in driving for results and measuring performance. They have no issue delivering hard feedback or making tough decisions. At times however, their sharp edge becomes a limitation. They haven’t spent much time developing their soft people skills and it’s making them less effective in their role. Maybe this even describes you.

In a workshop I was conducting on personality types an example was shared about a boss that everyone in the room had worked for. The general dislike of this individual was still evident as everyone had at least one example of how this person was overbearing and difficult to work for. He was eventually asked to leave the company but only after he left a trail of carnage in his wake. His memory lives on.

If you have a strong leader-type personality, you absolutely must get a handle on developing your soft-people skills. There are 4 Skills in particular that may not come naturally but you can learn.

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>

Seven Ways To Sharpen Your Memory

Filed under: Cognitive Ability, Focus, Good Habits, Skills

We often talk about our ability to remember in terms of its being good or bad: “I have a mind like a sieve,” “He has a photographic memory,” “She works hard, but she just can’t retain what she’s learned.”

What we fail to recognize is that the way we use our memory has a lot to do with how effectively it operates. Here, seven strategies from cognitive science and psychology that will allow us to remember better.

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>

How to Tackle Something You Have No Idea How to Do

Filed under: Productivity, Professional Development, Skills, Strategy

My career has been filled with daunting tasks.

I graduated with a degree in the all-too-general category of business, which didn’t exactly prepare me for any one specific industry. So, when I settled into a career with a healthcare technology company—knowing absolutely nothing about healthcare or technology—I was faced with a tough gig.

My boss would pull me into her office and rush through my next assignment: “Listen, I need you to reconcile our 10 biggest clients’ lists of providers with their billing before we switch to the new accounting software.”

I’d nod and take notes, but inside, my stomach was turning over with a mixture of fear and frustration. I don’t even know where to start, I’d scowl. How does she expect me to do this?

But the thing is, regardless of whether you know how to do something or not, it’s part of your job to make sure it gets done. You won’t always be able to get formal company training, and often, your boss won’t be able to guide you through the task step-by-step; it’s up to you to figure out how to see it through.

After a good deal of frustration, I eventually learned how to take that completely overwhelmed feeling and turn it into something productive. Here’s how.

Click here to read the rest on The Muse >>

There’s No Getting Around It: Communication Counts

Filed under: Communication, Good Habits, Insights, Skills

No matter who you talk to or what you read, at the heart of every major issue lies the same problem. As the prison warden in Cool Hand Luke said so well, ” What we’ve got here is … failure to communicate.”

In business and life, we have to interact with other people in order to survive. We are constantly giving and receiving information in one form or another. We must write, tweet, call, text, email or if all else fails, speak in person. Some of us may gain energy from personal interactions (extroverts) while others of us consume energy during those interactions (introverts). But the challenge is the same – in order to survive, we have to participate in the exchange of information.

When communication fails, problems arise.

Click to read the rest on LinkedIn >>

What it Really Takes to Succeed

Filed under: Goals, Good Habits, Insights, Skills

The modern marketplace demands that people possess a wide range of skills. But what core qualities are truly essential to career advancement, regardless of industry or job?

The answer could fill a book and it has, thousands of times, if not more. Myriad experts claim that career advancement is a function of everything from extreme self-confidence to extreme humility (or both at once). Still others make the case that big-time professional success derives from more sinister behaviors, such as callous ambition or unfettered narcissism. And then there is the whole “positive thinking” bandwagon, which claims that getting ahead is primarily a function of believing you can. In sum, there’s so much contradictory advice out there about the core components of success that it’s enough to reduce you to a weary sigh of: “Whatever.”

Which is just fine. Because we’d suggest that you can’t really manipulate yourself into success with personality tweaks or even major overhauls. In fact, we’d say just the opposite. The most powerful thing you can do is, well, be real. As in not phony. As in grappling, sweating, laughing, and caring. As in authentic.

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>

How Influential Are You? Measure It!

Filed under: Behavior in the Workplace, Branding, Self Reflection, Skills

It’s simple, influence matters. It matters in your job and your private life. In fact, influence is part of every human interaction. Just think of parents influencing their children, political or religious leaders influencing their followers, CEOs influencing employees, sales people influencing customers, friends influencing each other and the list goes on…

Influential people have an edge over others who are not influential because with influence comes the ability to make others listen to what you have to say. Influence gives people the power to change beliefs and drive actions and behaviours in others and this is important in all aspects of life, whether you are a CEO of a global company, a sales rep, a football coach or someone that is simply trying to get friends to do or believe something.

So what makes us influential then?

Click here to read the rest on LinkedIn >>