Archive for March 2011

4 Keys for Business Cards for Job-Seekers (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

March 29, 2011

I did not have business cards during my job search when I got my dream job to work in the front-office for an NBA team at the age of 21.  I don’t  believe they are essential to your success as a job-seeker either. 

Having said that, if you really want to have some cards created, they better look very impressive.  A business card that looks like it was printed on your home computer will diminish the value of your first impression.  In other words, it’s better to not have business cards than to have cards that look cheap or sloppy.  So, if you choose to invest in business cards, make sure you follow these 4 tips:

  1. Include a professional headshot.  I learned this by meeting hundreds of fellow professional speakers over the last few years.  Nearly all of them have headshots on their business cards.  The first time I saw a picture on a business card, I thought it was weird.  The 10th time I saw a headshot on a business card, I changed my mind (and my own business cards).  A LinkedIn profile lacks personality without a great headshot, and your business card will as well.  Just don’t make your headshot too big, or it can look obnoxious.  To be consistent, just use the picture from your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Include your full contact information: full name, professional email address, mailing address, phone number, and links to your relevant social media profiles (i.e. LinkedIn).
  3. Show your value.  Include a few bulleted points on the back of your card with several relevant achievements or academic/professional highlights.  Or, you could include a short (5-10 words) value statement where you express your dream/professional mission or where you state how you make other people/organizations better (i.e. like if my cards were to say “I help students and recent grads get their dream jobs”).
  4. Get your cards designed by a professional.  You can find a graphic designer at elance.com, fiverr.com, or guru.com.  You could also just get a friend with a graphic design background to create them for you. If you are not a graphic designer, do not design your business cards yourself or they will probably look amateur.

How can you tell if your cards appear to be high-quality?  People should actually comment on how great they look.  If they don’t, throw out your cards and get some new ones (or just focus on what’s most important: having real conversations with people and building real relationships)!

P.S. For more free tips on how you (or your group’s members) can get their dream jobs and advance their careers, visit my web site at www.IdealizeNow.com.

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

www.IdealizeNow.com

www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com

The Magical Power of “Why Not?” (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

March 23, 2011

Beautiful, blond hair. 

Striking blue eyes. 

Long, perfect legs. 

A smile that could make a linebacker weak in the knees. 

She was physically beautiful, and I was not the only person on campus who took notice.  Veronica was THE girl at Johns Hopkins University when I was a student there.  All the girls wanted to be her, and all the guys wanted to date her.  We met briefly in a class at the start of my sophomore year (when she was a freshman), and I was blown away by her appearance.  The thought of dating her literally never even crossed my mind even though she sat near me for months in 2 of my classes. 

In hindsight, I had a decent amount going for me at the time (other than a horrendous wardrobe consisting largely of t-shirts and sweat pants), but I had barely talked to girls in high school, and I wasn’t much smoother during my freshman year in college either. 

Fast-forward to the end of my sophomore year, and I found myself waiting for a bus ride on campus. Veronica walked up to the bus stop with a friend, looked at me, and said “Hey Pete,” as she gave me a look and eyebrow raise that seemed to add “Didn’t think I’d remember you, did you?”   

She was right.  As she gave me that look, I thought to myself, “Wow, I didn’t even think this girl knew my name.”  We talked for a few minutes as we rode the bus, and then we went our separate ways.  The following week, school ended, and I went home to New York for the summer. 

She crossed my mind a lot over the next few months.  As summer came to an end, and I got ready to go back to college for my junior year, I thought to myself: “Why not?  She remembered my name.  That has to be worth something.”  More importantly, I thought, “What the heck do I have to lose by asking her out?  What’s the worst thing that could happen?  At least I wouldn’t wonder what might have been.”

When I got back to campus, I still lacked the confidence to ask Veronica out, especially since I didn’t even know if she had a boyfriend.  However, I realized that one of my friends was friends with her, so I asked him if he knew what her deal was.  Unbeknownst to me, he asked her what she thought about me.  She told him to tell me to call her.

The day after learning this, I excitedly mentioned it to one of my other friends, who responded by saying, “Dude, she’s totally out of your league.  You could never get that girl.” 

I thought about what my 2nd friend said and nearly blew her off, but I reminded myself that she had told my other friend that I should call her.  Still somewhat shocked by this development, I told myself again, “Why not?” 

When I saw Veronica at a party the following weekend, I asked for her phone number, and magically, she gave it to me.  Several weeks later, we started dating. 

Unfortunately, this story doesn’t have the happy ending you might have expected, as Veronica and I only dated for a few months.  However, that experience was one of the best learning lessons of my life.  I realized that when you say “why not?” and are open-minded, anything is possible.   Even a shy, quiet guy who had barely dated could get THE girl on campus. 

As crazy as it sounds, it was that experience that ultimately gave me the confidence to go after my dream job to work in the NBA when I was an inexperienced, 21 year-old kid lacking any relevant work experience or connections.  When other people doubted that dream, I just said to myself, “Why not?  They were wrong about Veronica.  Maybe they will be wrong again.” 

They were…

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

www.IdealizeNow.com

www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com

Twitter: @peteleibman

6.5 Ways to Unleash Your Creativity and Skyrocket Your Career (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

March 16, 2011

Find creative ways to make your organization better, and you will be an extremely valuable, well-compensated employee.  Despite what many people think, creativity is a skill that can be developed.  Here are 6.5 ways that you can be more creative:

  1. Think outside of your box/cubicle.  It’s hard to think outside the box when you are inside a cubicle that is the size of a box!  Want to be more creative?  Go outside.  Even better, find a scenic, expansive place to do some thinking.  Many of my best ideas have come to me when I’ve been outside at a lake, in the mountains, at the beach, and so on. 
  2. Get away and explore.  Time away from a project will leave you refreshed when you come back to it.  You will often be able to look at the project from a different viewpoint.  I’ve had some of my best ideas while traveling, exercising, or while trying out some kind of new experience.  (Luckily, there is no video footage of my “new experience” as a student in a hip-hop dance class…)
  3. Ask the right questions.  When you ask the right questions, you get the right answers.  Instead of thinking to yourself, “why am I not more creative” or “how come I never come up with any great ideas,” ask yourself empowering questions that get your mind headed in the right direction.  3 simple questions that can unleash your creativity are:

a. How can I/we do __________ faster? 

b. How can I/we ­do __________better?

c. How can I/we make __________ more profitable?

4. Brainstorm with others.  You will never reach your creative potential alone.  There is tremendous value in brainstorming with other people in your organization/industry AND with people from totally different backgrounds.  An outside perspective can often provide a fresh source of ideas missed by people within the same organization/industry.  

5. Get messy.  Creativity only happens you draw outside the lines…

6. Read.  One of the reasons I love to read is because of what happens in my mind as I am reading.  Ideas magically seem to pop into my head.  Read quality material every day for at least 15 minutes, and watch your creativity skyrocket.

6.5   Write down your ideas.  Make sure you have a way to collect your ideas as they pop into your head.  This could be through a document on your computer, a note-pad, and/or a digital recorder.  An idea is worthless if it is forgotten after conception!

Creativity will propel your career (and your bank account) to new levels!  Like this post or got something to add?  Please comment below!

P.S. To learn more about how you (or your group’s members) can advance their careers, please visit my web site at www.IdealizeNow.com.

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

www.IdealizeNow.com

www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com

Twitter: @peteleibman

6.5 Common Phrases That Will Make Your Boss Hate You (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

March 9, 2011

No matter what you think about your boss, he/she has a significant impact on the future of your career.  As a result, it is wise to stay on your boss’ good side.  There are certain phrases that drive all bosses crazy.  Make sure you NEVER say any of the following 6.5 phrases to your boss, no matter how tempting it might be.

  1. “Sorry, I’ve been busy.”  One of my biggest pet peeves is when someone uses the “busy” excuse as a reason for not doing something, especially if the task was something that could have been done in a matter of minutes.  Guess what?  Everyone is busy!  We all have 24 hours in a day.  No more and no less.  Being “busy” is never an acceptable excuse at work.
  2. “I’ll try my best.”  What the heck does that mean?!  Your boss doesn’t want you to “try your best.”  Your boss wants you to get it done! 
  3. “That’s not part of my job.”  When I worked for the NBA’s Washington Wizards, one of my colleagues actually raised his hand during a staff meeting and said this to our Vice President in regard to a new policy.  I thought our boss’ head was going to explode.  However, he responded professionally by saying that part of the employee’s job description included “other duties as assigned.”  Note: Saying “That’s not part of my job” to your boss, in front of the entire staff, is not a good way to advance your career…
  4.  “Why do I have to do this?”  Do you want to know why?  Because your boss said so, that’s why!
  5. “Sorry, I forgot.”  I hate to break it to you, but you are not allowed to “forget” to do things at work, unless you want the company to “forget” to keep paying you.  Use your Outlook Calendar or some other system to remind yourself of what needs to be done.
  6. “I didn’t know that’s what you wanted.”  Get clarity on any project or task BEFORE you start.  Your boss does not expect you to be able to read his mind, but he expects you to ask what he wants if you are not sure. 

6.5   “You are an idiot.”  This is not good to say to your boss either…even if it is true! 

What else should you never say to your boss?  Please comment below, and I may reference you and your idea in my job search and career advice book due out in spring 2012 through The American Management Association.  Just keep it respectable. 🙂

P.S. To learn more about my speaking availability for The 2011 or 2012 Dream Job College Tour, please visit www.IdealizeNow.com or send an email to Pete@IdealizeNow.com.

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

www.IdealizeNow.com

www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com

Twitter: @peteleibman

Is Your Email Inbox Destroying Your Productivity? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

March 2, 2011

Email was designed to increase productivity.  However, most people have lost all control of their inboxes and allowed email to destroy their productivity.  Here are 5 easy steps you can take to regain control of your inbox, so that you can be more productive at work:

  1. Pick up the phone.  If you find yourself spending more than 5 minutes writing an email, that’s a sign you should be making a phone call instead.  Email should only be used for administrative matters, not for anything open to interpretation.
  2. Save templates.  Create a folder in your email system for “email templates” or “common emails” and save copies of any emails that you send frequently.  Then, rather than having to re-write the same email 100 times, you can simply copy and paste the template and update whatever changes are necessary.  I have templates for emails sent to new networking contacts, templates sent to prospects after initial sales calls, templates for people signing up for my e-newsletter, and so on.  Saves me a TON of time.  Just make sure you personalize each email template before sending!
  3. Create email folders and USE them.  Create folders for different categories of messages.  For example, you could classify emails by client, by project, and so on.  Rather than keeping all emails in your “inbox,” this makes it much more manageable to find emails later on, and it prevents your inbox from looking full.  I also have an email folder entitled “read later.”  Whenever I receive an e-newsletter or a message from one of my LinkedIn groups, I move it to my “read later” folder, which I only check on Fridays or weekends.
  4. Use the “delete” button.  Save the last message in an email thread and delete all prior emails.  Clean out your inbox weekly and delete any messages not worth saving; over 90% all emails fall into this category.     
  5. Keep email CLOSED most of the day.  Do NOT keep your email system open all day.  I used to do this, and I’d drop whatever I was doing every time an email popped up.  My clients and colleagues loved the fact that I often replied in less than 30 seconds, but I’d constantly get interrupted.  Even worse, if/when people did not hear back from me within 15 minutes, they would call me to see why I had not responded yet.  I had conditioned everyone around me to expect rapid responses.  Keep your email CLOSED most of the day, and check it every hour, or a few times each day.  If people really need to reach you, they should pick up the phone and call you!  Otherwise, they should be prepared to wait up to 24 hours for a reply.

Take control of your inbox, and your stress will decrease, and your productivity will go through the roof! 

P.S. Please comment below if you like this article, or if you have another idea on how to use your email inbox to be more productive!  To learn more about my speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please visit www.IdealizeNow.com or send an email to Pete@IdealizeNow.com.

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

Pete@IdealizeNow.com

www.IdealizeNow.com

www.linkedin.com/in/peteleibman

Blog: http://CareerMuscles.Wordpress.com

Twitter: @peteleibman