Archive for August 2010

8 Ways to Be Happy, Relaxed, and Confident Before Work (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

August 23, 2010

How you start the day has a tremendous impact on how happy, relaxed, and confident you will feel the rest of the day.  In other words, a great morning routine is a key for career success.  Here are 8 easy steps you can take before work each day in order to be happier, more relaxed, and more confident: 

  1. Get up early.  If you get out of bed at least 30-60 minutes before you need to leave for work, you can make your morning much more productive and you will not have to rush.  (Yes, this means you may have to go to bed earlier.)
  2.  Make your bed.  This simple action only takes 15 seconds, and it gives you a feeling of accomplishment within 1 minute of waking up.
  3.  Exercise.  I usually exercise in the evening since it is something I look forward to doing at the end of the day.  If you do not look forward to going to the gym, then “get it out of the way” right after you get up.  You’ll have more energy all morning, and your evening will be free.
  4. Eat a great breakfast.  Most young professionals skip breakfast altogether or they rely on coffee and a bagel or worse.  Try cooking yourself some egg whites, fresh fruit, and oatmeal.  You’ll be proud of yourself for starting the day in a healthy way, and you’ll have more energy for the next few hours.  If you don’t want to cook, try eating some light yogurt with a bowl of bran cereal and fresh fruit. 
  5. Talk to yourself for 60 seconds in the mirror.  One day, I thought to myself how nice it would be to have a motivational speaker inspire me in-person every morning.  Then, I realized I could do this for myself.  While looking at yourself in the mirror, smile big and recite everything you like about yourself.  I initially laughed at this idea…until I tried it. 
  6. Take a thorough shower.  Don’t just use a shower to clean your body; clean out your mind as well!  Rather than singing or focusing on all your stress and worries, try saying out loud everything you are grateful for in your life.  Again, I initially laughed at this idea…until I tried it.  The best part of this action is that it does not require any extra time since you have to shower anyway.
  7. Look your best.  Put your best foot forward with your appearance, and you will feel much better about yourself.
  8. Read or listen to inspirational material.  Most people watch the news, read a newspaper, or zone out on their way to work.  Try reading or listening to something inspirational instead, even if it is only for 5-10 minutes.

Do you want to be happier, more relaxed, and more confident all day long?  Then, start your day the right way!  

P.S. Tune in tomorrow when we’ll highlight some tips for being happier, more relaxed, and more confident throughout the day. 

-Pete Leibman 

-Career Expert, College Speaker, and President of Idealize Enterprises 


Follow me on Twitter @PeteLeibman


9 Things You MUST Do Before Your Next Networking Event (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

August 13, 2010

Most people are completely unprepared when they go to networking events, and then they wonder why “nothing is happening” for them at these events.  Here are 9 preparation secrets to make your next networking event a huge success:

  1. Set realistic goals and a strategy for the event.  Are you attending to learn about a subject?  Are you hoping to meet the featured speaker?  Are you looking to make several new contacts in your field?  Walk in with a goal(s), and you will accomplish much more. 
  2. Research those who will be in attendance.  If you want to connect with the featured speaker, for example, it would be wise to spend a few minutes researching their work before the event, so that you are prepared to ask several intelligent questions during their presentation or when speaking to them afterwards.  Very few people ever do this, so you will stand out considerably if you do.
  3. Practice your elevator pitch.  Other than asking your name, the first question you are asked at any event is what type of work you do.  Click here for tips on how to answer if you are employed.  Click here for tips on how to answer if you are a student or looking for a job.
  4. Research the industry/organization hosting the event.  While small talk is inevitable at networking events, the most impactful conversations are with people who actually have something educational or thought-provoking to say.  How can you add value to your conversations by sharing some ideas or points for discussion?
  5. Make sure you are dressed correctly.  Treat a networking event like a job interview or a sales presentation because it could turn into one.  Make sure you look your best, and if possible, try to wear something that will draw people to you in a good way (i.e. a sharp tie or a striking necklace).
  6. Think of something creative to write on your name tag.  Everyone loves humor, and most networking events need more of it!  Use good judgment, but if you can incorporate humor into the name tag you wear at a networking event, people will start conversations with you.  I attended a Johns Hopkins University young alumni event in 2009, and I wrote “Class of ‘77” on my name tag.  People came up to me all night to tell me how funny my name tag was.  (In case you don’t know me, I am only 28 years old, so I clearly had graduated long after 1977!)
  7. Make sure you have business cards and a portfolio pad/pen.  If you forget these networking essentials, you will appear disorganized and unreliable.
  8. Eat 1 hour before the event.  See yesterday’s post for 5 reasons why this is essential.
  9. Brush your teeth right before the event.  Bad breath will kill your first impression, no matter how friendly you are or how great your appearance is.

Lack of preparation is the major reason why networking is not working for many people!  Do you want to ace your next event?  Then, follow the 9 tips above.

-Pete Leibman

-Career Expert and President of Idealize Enterprises


Follow me on Twitter @PeteLeibman

5 Reasons Why You Should NEVER EAT At a Networking Event (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

August 12, 2010

Do you want to keep your shirts stain-free? Then, STOP eating at networking events!

Unless you attend a networking breakfast, lunch, or dinner where it would be rude not to eat the meal being served, you should NEVER eat anything at a networking event.  (I am referring to the typical morning or evening event where appetizers are being served.)  Here are 5 reasons why:

  1. You might spill something on yourself.  Chances are you will be standing up while trying to eat your appetizers.  It’s way too easy to spill something on yourself in that situation.  Magnify any apprehension you may have by 10 if you have to meet new people with a fresh stain on your shirt.
  2. You will be distracted.  If you are focused on eating and satisfying hunger pangs, you will be distracted from speaking to other people.  It is also challenging to have a conversation with someone you just met when you have an egg roll in your mouth!
  3. You will not be able to shake hands.  You have a drink in 1 hand and a plate with appetizers in the other hand.  Unless you have a 3rd limb, that makes it difficult to shake hands when you meet someone.
  4.  Your breath will not be fresh.  Have you ever talked to someone after they have eaten a few Swedish meatballs?  It’s not fun.
  5. Your health will suffer.  Most food at networking events is incredibly unhealthy (i.e. crab cakes, fried meats on sticks, and egg rolls at dinner events and donuts, pastries, and bacon and eggs at morning events).

You are at the networking event strictly to build relationships, so eat something 1 hour before you arrive.  Even your health will improve by doing this!

-Pete Leibman

-Career Expert and President of Idealize Enterprises


Follow me on Twitter @PeteLeibman

3 Types of People Who Can Help You Get Your Dream Job (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

August 10, 2010

Are you a student or recent grad? Your rolodex is bigger than you think!

If you want to get your dream job, you need to get in front of the right people, and you need to impress them.  You do that through networking.

When I was a senior in college looking for full-time work, I made the mistake of thinking I had no connections.  Ultimately, I still got my dream job because I networked relentlessly with people I did not know.  However, I have always wondered if I could have still ended up in the same place (and saved myself a lot of time and energy) if I had done more to leverage the network I had as a college student. 

If you are a student or recent grad looking for work, do not make the same mistake I did!  Before you seek out a job, make a list of everyone you know.  Then, seek advice from all of them on breaking into your ideal industry.  Here are the 3 types of contacts every student has:

1. Your personal contacts.  Don’t take the people closest to you for granted!  Your family and best friends will be your biggest advocates, and they probably know a lot of people who could help you.  Make sure you also reach out to people from your hometown, your classmates at school, and people from any organizations or activities you have been involved in during high school or college (i.e. volunteer activities, social groups, sports teams, and so on).

2. Your academic contacts.  The career center is a student or recent grad’s best friend during a job search.  First of all, most (if not all) of their services are FREE.  Their staff can help you determine what type of work you want to do, they can help you craft impressive resumes and cover letters, they can help you prepare for interviews, and they can also connect you with alumni and employers in the field you want to break into.  Visit your career center NOW if you have not done so yet!  Your professors can also be a great resource during your job search.  Many of them currently work in their field of expertise.  Even if they do not, most will have prior experience in that field and know others who work in the field currently.  Other campus staff can also be a great asset (i.e. people in the athletic department, student life, or any of the other departments on campus).  While many of these groups can connect you with alumni, you should also seek out alumni on your own.  Most alumni enjoy giving career advice to students from their alma mater.

3. Your professional contacts.  This includes people you have worked with as an intern, part-time employee, or full-time employee.  You should also consider any professional associations that you might be involved in.  Professional associations are composed of industry leaders who know lots of other people in their industries.  People involved in such organizations are generally “go-getters” who also love to help ambitious young professionals.

In summary, employers hire people they know, like and trust, OR they hire people endorsed by people they know, like, and trust.  Do you want to get your dream job?  Then, make sure you leverage your existing network of personal contacts, academic contacts, and professional contacts!  You may be surprised at who your connections are connected to.

-Pete Leibman

Career Expert and President of Idealize Enterprises


9 Ways Your LinkedIn Profile is HURTING Your Career (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

August 6, 2010

A bad profile on will HURT your career!

With over 75 million professionals on the site worldwide, it is an absolute must for everyone in the business world to have a strong presence on

Whether you are looking for a job, looking to get promoted at your current job, looking to make a sale, looking to grow your business, looking to stay connected with your current contacts, and/or looking to build your network, the way you design your profile is essential.  Your LinkedIn profile will be among the first links to pop up when someone searches your name in google, and you better believe that people are “googling” you as part of any decision related to hiring you or doing business with you.

Unfortunately, most people do not take the time to design LinkedIn profiles that put their best foot forward online.  Here are 9 common LinkedIn profile mistakes that are hurting your career:

  1. Your profile is incomplete and/or has typos.  If you submitted a resume that was incomplete or full of typos, you would be removed from consideration for a job.  Treat your profile with the same care, and make it perfect.
  2. Your profile head-shot is unprofessional or you don’t even have a headshot.  You don’t need to go to a professional photographer.  Just use a picture where you are smiling and dressed professionally.  I often see students wearing baseball caps or other casual attire in their LinkedIn photos.  LinkedIn is NOT Facebook.  Your LinkedIn picture should show what you would look like if you were going to a job interview. 
  3. Your profile headline is boring, unoriginal, or hard to understand.  Like a good elevator pitch, your headline should be clear, original, and compelling.  Ask yourself what you would say if you had 10-15 words to describe to someone what you do.  See my recent post on elevator pitch tips.  The headline is valuable real estate, so don’t waste it!  If you are out of work or a student, then include some key achievements instead, along with a professional objective (i.e. “Honors Student at University of Maryland planning to work in sports & entertainment after graduation”).
  4. You have not included your email addressMake it easy for people to get in touch with you by including this in your headline!
  5. You do not appear to be well-connected.  Connect with EVERYONE you know.  Unless you are a student, it is a red flag if you have less than 50-100 connections.  Social proof is important, and I guarantee you know a lot more people on the site than you think you do. 
  6. Your summary is not as impressive as it could be.  Write your summary as a bio (written in the 3rd person) where you cite your most impressive achievements relevant to your current career objectives.  It is also recommended to include some sort of story (i.e. how you overcame an obstacle) related to your achievements.  Check out my profile at to see how to write a great summary.
  7. You are not involved in any groups.  Join relevant LinkedIn groups.  LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 relevant groups.  If nothing else, it shows that you are passionate about a certain topic(s), and there are a number of ways to build connections through those groups and to stay updated on events and industry trends.  We’ll discuss that in an upcoming post.
  8. You have not listed your achievements for each of your prior jobs.  Just copy and paste the achievements from your resume.  Make sure every line sells you.  Focus on how you make things or people better.
  9. You have not been recommended.  Get recommendations from clients, bosses, colleagues, professors, or  even peers.  Focus on quality rather than quantity, but get something here.  Don’t just get recommendations that say how great you are.  Get recommendations that focus on results you have generated (i.e. making a company money, finding new customers, creating a new program, leading a team or project that produced certain results, and so on).  When you request recommendations, you should also tell the person writing the recommendation what you want them to say.  This gives you control over what they write, and it makes it easier for them.

While LinkedIn can help you advance your career in a variety of ways, a bad LinkedIn profile will actually HURT your career.  When someone checks out your profile, they should think “Wow, this is someone I want to get to know.”  What does your profile say about you right now? 

-Pete Leibman

Career Expert and President of Idealize Enterprises

Follow me on Twitter @peteleibman

Career Advice from Kobe Bryant + 9 Beliefs That Get You Hired Faster (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

August 5, 2010

The first step in getting your dream job is to start thinking like Kobe Bryant.

On June 10, 2009, NBA All-Star, Kobe Bryant, was interviewed during the NBA Finals.  Here is an excerpt from that press conference:

Reporter: “…what is your reaction to some speculation that you may have hit a wall last night, that you’re tired?”
Kobe Bryant: “… so what if I did? I didn’t, but so what if I did?”

Reporter: “What does it mean if you did?”
Kobe Bryant: “It means nothing.”

Reporter: “Because?”
Kobe Bryant: “Because I’ll run straight through it.”

Less than 2 weeks later, Kobe Bryant won his 4th NBA Championship. 

Most career experts and career counselors bombard young job-seekers with tips on how to write a better resume, how to network more professionally, and how to prepare better for interviews.  Those are all important components of a successful job search.  However, the foundation for getting your dream job is the right mindset.  Without that, nothing else matters, and with that, anything is possible.  Here are 9 empowering beliefs that will help you get your dream job faster as a student or a recent grad:

  1. The economy does not matter.  Is the economy worse than it was a few years ago?  Of course it is.  However, over 90% of the country is still employed, national unemployment is only about 4% higher than it was before the recession, and you only need 1 job.  You don’t need to fix the recession yourself, so stop worrying about the economy, and stop using it as an excuse for why you cannot find a job!
  2. Rejections and doubts are inevitable during any job search.  Prepare yourself for the fact that people will reject and doubt you throughout any job search or the pursuit of any dream.  Expect this, and use it to fuel your passion.
  3. You are already employed.  If you are out of work or looking for new work, you need to stop seeing yourself as “unemployed.”  Start seeing yourself as self-employed; your job is to find a job.
  4. You are a salesperson.  You are not a job-seeker.  You are a salesperson, and you are selling yourself.  Do everything possible to get in front of employers who can “buy” you, and be prepared to explain how employers will benefit if they “buy” you.
  5. People want to help you.  It is easy to feel lonely and isolated when looking for a job, but you need to understand that people want to help you, especially when you are a student or a recent grad.  Make sure your current network knows what type of work you are looking for, and make sure you are also finding ways to get in front of well-connected people in your ideal industry.
  6. You can give employers exactly what they want.  As a young professional, it is easy to convince yourself that you don’t have enough experience.  While experience helps, employers are most interested in candidates who demonstrate certain traits.  ANY job-seeker can demonstrate these characteristics.
  7. Your youth is an advantage.  Older executives and alumni are willing to provide advice and referrals to young professionals that they often would not be willing to provide for older employees.  Embrace your youth as an advantage, and reach out to older generations for advice.
  8. Anyone can break into any industry in any economy.  Before working for an NBA basketball team (my dream job and a dream job for many others), I assumed that a company full of dream jobs would only employ people with 4.0 GPA’s from Ivy League schools.  I was completely wrong.  Most of our employees were from colleges I had never heard of, and some of them never even went to college.  Do not falsely assume that you need a certain pedigree to get a certain job.  It’s just not true.
  9. Your dream job is closer than you think.  You just need 1 break, and it could be right around the corner.  Keep moving forward!

Success in getting your dream job (or in achieving anything) begins with the right mindset.  If you ever feel like you have hit a wall on the path to your dream job, just take Kobe Bryant’s advice.  “Run straight through it.”

-Pete Leibman

Career Expert and President of Idealize Enterprises

Follow me on Twitter @peteleibman

13 Sales Traits That Will Get You a Better Job Faster (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

August 4, 2010

Do you want to get a better job faster? Then, sell yourself!

If you are currently looking for a job, or if you are thinking of looking for new work, you would be wise to approach your job search like a successful salesperson approaches his work.  Here are 13 sales traits that will get you a better job faster:

  1. Be confident: Successful salespeople believe in themselves and their products.  As a job-seeker, make sure you believe in what you are selling (i.e. yourself).  Confident candidates get better jobs faster.
  2. Be professional: Successful salespeople put their best foot forward at all times, in every environment.  As a job-seeker, make sure you look great in-person, on paper (i.e. your resume), and online (i.e. when someone “googles” you or looks you up on a social networking site).  Professional candidates get better jobs faster.
  3. Be friendly: Successful salespeople talk to everyone, and they build relationships everywhere they go.  As a job-seeker, make sure you are talking to everyone as well.  You never know who someone knows.  Friendly candidates get better jobs faster.
  4. Be enthusiastic: Successful salespeople love their products, and they love their customers.  As a job-seeker, make sure you demonstrate your excitement (without being desperate or creepy!) about working for a potential employer.  Enthusiastic candidates get better jobs faster.
  5. Be motivated: Successful salespeople are driven by the benefits they will receive by reaching their goals.  As a job-seeker, keep your eye on the prize of landing your dream job.  Motivated candidates get better jobs faster.
  6. Be focused: Successful salespeople only try to sell to qualified prospects; they don’t waste time trying to sell everyone.  As a job-seeker, make sure you are only trying to sell yourself to the right employers for you.   Focused candidates get better jobs faster.
  7. Be strategic: Successful salespeople take the time to map out a plan for reaching their sales goals.  As a job-seeker, make sure you have created a plan and that you are not wandering aimlessly through your job search.  Strategic candidates get better jobs faster.
  8. Be different (in a good way): Successful salespeople know how their product is better than offerings from competitors.  As a job-seeker, make sure you can illustrate how you are different (in a good way) from the rest of the applicant pool.  Candidates who are different (in a good way) get better jobs faster.
  9. Be organized: Successful salespeople have systems in place to track all of their efforts and progress.  As a job-seeker, make sure you have a system for keeping track of your job search efforts as well.  Organized candidates get better jobs faster.
  10. Be reliable: Successful salespeople always do what they say will.  As a job-seeker, make sure you are delivering on any of your promises or appointments.  Reliable candidates get better jobs faster.
  11. Be resilient: Successful salespeople remain tough during times of adversity and rejection.  As a job-seeker, remain focused on your goal and do not get sidetracked by temporary setbacks.  Resilient candidates get better jobs faster.
  12. Be well-prepared: Successful salespeople walk into each interaction with their prospects prepared for any objection and with a specific goal in mind.  As a job-seeker, make sure you prepare for any interaction with a potential employer.  Well-prepared candidates get better jobs faster.
  13. Be results-oriented: Successful salespeople focus on how they can help the prospect, not on how the prospect can help them.  As a job-seeker, make sure you are focusing on how you can help your employer achieve their desired results.  Results-oriented candidates get better jobs faster.

Do you want to get a better job faster?  Then, make sure you demonstrate these 13 sales traits throughout your job search!

-Pete Leibman

Career Expert and President of Idealize Enterprises

Follow me on Twitter @peteleibman