Archive for the ‘Professional Relationships’ category

3 Secrets to Get Anyone To Like You Right Away (Video by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

September 21, 2011

This video/article has ben moved over to my new blog. Check it out here:

-Pete Leibman
-Founder of Dream Jb Academy
-Author of “I Got My Dream Job and So Can You”
-Featured on Fox, CBS, and CNN


Why Networking Is NOT All About Who You Know (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

September 16, 2011

It drives me CRAZY when people say, “It’s all about who you know.”

Most people think networking is all about who you know.  Well, they are wrong.  Some people think networking is all about who knows you.  They are also wrong.

People who think networking is all about who you know or who knows you are usually people who think networking is about collecting business cards or amassing thousands of meaningless connections through social media. 

Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to connections.

Here’s the truth: Networking is all about who likes you and who respects you

Before referring you to someone else, a successful person is consciously or subconsciously asking himself, “Do I like and respect this person enough to put my reputation on the line by introducing her to someone I trust?”  If the answer is “no,” networking will get you nowhere.  However, if the answer is “yes,” you can usually get almost anyone to open his rolodex.  

Unfortunately, there are people I “know” that I would never refer to my top contacts because either (a) I don’t like them or (b) I don’t completely respect them.  This might sound harsh, but I guard my reputation very carefully (you should also), and other referral sources will have a similar mindset.

The good news is that it does not take years of rapport-building to get someone to like you and respect you, and it is incredibly easy to stand out in a good way. You just need to make someone confident that you will represent him well if he puts his reputation on the line by introducing you to his contacts. 

For example, one of the executives influential in helping me get my dream job in the NBA when I was only 21 was someone I spoke to for less than three minutes in-person.  I simply introduced myself to him the right way at a networking event.  The result?  He connected me with five of his best contacts after we spoke briefly on the phone the next week.  I’d be willing to bet he had some family members (i.e. people he “knew” very well) that he would not have been willing to do that for…

Networking is NOT all about who you know or who knows you.  Networking is all about who likes you and who respects you. 

Your first goal when you meet someone new should be to get them to like you and respect you.  Make sure to tune in to my next blog post when I’ll you how to do just that…

P.S. To receive a FREE 25-page report on  Job Search and Career Success Secrets, visit my web site at  (You can also learn about my speaking tour at  

-Pete Leibman (

-Author of “I Got My Dream Job And So Can You!  7 Steps Towards Creating Your Ideal Career After College” (due out through AMACOM in spring 2012)

-Founder of Dream Job Academy

-Keynote Speaker for The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day

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 or send an email to

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


Twitter: @peteleibman

7 Secrets for Dealing With Difficult People and Overcoming Interpersonal Conflicts At Work (Written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

February 7, 2011

There’s no way around it.  Whether it’s an annoying customer, a critical colleague, or an awful boss, we all have to deal with difficult people at work sometimes.  Here are 7 secrets for dealing with difficult people and overcoming interpersonal conflicts at work:

  1. Don’t take it personally.  No one is born with a rotten attitude; people lash out when they don’t know how to deal with stress and adversity in a healthy way.  Last year, I was involved in a networking group, and one of the women in the group was incredibly abrasive and critical.  I later learned that her young daughter had just been diagnosed with cancer.  That tragedy did not give her the right to disrespect us, but it made it easier for me to understand why she did.  At work, you usually won’t know what’s going on in someone’s personal life.  If someone is difficult, it probably has absolutely nothing to do with you, so don’t take it personally.    
  2. Consider your role.  Having said that, you might have had something to do with the other person’s poor attitude!   As hard as it might be, when someone is critical, you have to listen to what is being said, and ignore how it is being said.  Did you do something that brought on the reaction?  For example, one of my roommates recently lashed out at me when I mistakenly threw out some of his kitchen tools during an overenthusiastic New Year’s Day cleaning session.  While I did not like how he discussed this with me, what he was saying was totally accurate.  I was 100% wrong for throwing out several of his items without asking if he still wanted them.  Ultimately, I was the cause of his reaction, and I took accountability by agreeing to replace the items.
  3. Fight fire with water.  If someone lashes out at you, it’s very tempting to fire back.  However, that will only make the situation worse.  Always keep your cool and stay calm, no matter how hard that might be.  If necessary, excuse yourself for a few minutes and get some fresh air outside.  Let the other person vent, and choose your words very carefully when you respond.  You will be amazed at how people calm down when you hear them out and consider their perspective.
  4. Kill them with kindness.   You should never let people walk all over you just for the sake of keeping the peace.  However, many difficult people have low self-esteem and are actually just crying out for some genuine appreciation.  Especially if the person is a subordinate or colleague, consider being a source of encouragement.
  5. Talk it out in-person.  Never go behind someone’s back because that will only make the other person even angrier if it gets back to him/her.  I made that mistake once at the start of my career after college.  You should also not rely on email or texting to discuss disputes.  Talk face-to-face (ideal) or via phone, if an in-person meeting is not possible.  Discussing a conflict over lunch can also serve to clear the air and help you repair or improve a strained relationship. 
  6. Involve other people carefully.  If you have failed to settle a dispute with another person, then (and only then) consider bringing in other people to help with a resolution.  Just be certain that the difficult person knows you will be bringing in someone else for help.
  7. If all else fails, minimize interactions.  Sometimes, no matter what you do, you will not be able to improve your relationship with a colleague, boss, or customer.  In that case, either eliminate all interaction with the person (that’s probably not possible if the difficult person is your boss!) or minimize the time spent with him/her as much as possible.  Your #1 responsibility is to keep yourself happy.

Like this post or got something to add on how to deal with difficult people at work?  Please comment below!

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. To learn more about my 1-on-1 career coaching programs or my speaking availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour, please send an email to

5 Myths and Truths About High-Performing Salespeople That You Need To Know To Get Your Dream Job (Written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

January 31, 2011

What pops into your head when you hear the phrase “salesperson?”  Chances are you’ll think back to some time you dealt with a sleazy, slimy, pesky salesperson who tried to jam a product or service down your throat.  Given the behavior and demeanor of the typical salesperson, most people have misconceptions about what it takes to succeed in sales.

When I was in college (before I started my sales career), I assumed that you had to be sleazy, tricky, and dishonest in order to be a good salesperson.  Since I am none of those things, I wasn’t sure I could cut it in sales.

However, after setting a number of sales records in the NBA, I realized that the best salespeople are those who truly care about their customers.  If you have integrity and you’re good at building relationships and professional friendships, you can be great at sales. 

Approach your job search like a high-performing salesperson approaches his work, and you will land your dream job faster and with less effort.  Here are 5 myths and truths about high-performing salespeople:

Myth #1: High-performing salespeople have inborn qualities that low-performing salespeople do not.

The Truth: Not everyone can become “the Michael Jordan of sales,” but selling is a skill that can be learned by anyone. 

Myth #2: High-performing salespeople are dishonest and tricky.

The Truth: High-performing salespeople have integrity.  Customers buy from salespeople they trust.

Myth #3: High-performing salespeople are very aggressive and confrontational.

The Truth: High-performing salespeople build rapport with their customers; rapport is not built through force or manipulation.  Customers buy from salespeople they like.

Myth #4: High-performing salespeople are lucky.

The Truth: High-performing salespeople create their own luck by having a positive attitude, being well-prepared, and taking massive action to achieve their goals. 

Myth #5: High-performing salespeople are focused on their own needs and desires.

The Truth: High-performing salespeople are focused on their customers’ needs and desires.  They focus on how they can help the customer, not on how the customer can help them.

In summary, if you want to get your dream job, you need to think and act like a high-performing salesperson.  Anyone can learn how to sell.  Demonstrate integrity to build trust, be likeable to build rapport, create your own luck by having the right attitude and by taking the necessary steps, and make sure you always focus on the needs and desires of the people you want to buy you (aka to hire you).

If you like this post or want to add your thoughts, please comment below!

7.5 Dirty Little Secrets For Using References To Get Your Dream Job (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

January 24, 2011

In one of my favorite books of all-time, Influence by Robert Cialdini, PhD, the author talks about the principle of social proof, which states that people often look to the opinions of others to form their own conclusions. 

This has strong applications for job searches, as hiring persons are definitely influenced by the opinions of others when thinking about who to hire.

Here are 7.5 dirty little secrets for using references strategically in order to get your dream job:

  1. Use references who LOVE you.  Sounds obvious, right?  Well, I haven’t always done this, and you probably haven’t either.  When I was in high school, we learned from one of the colleges that rejected me that one of my letters of recommendation had been a red flag and a factor in the rejection.  (Don’t ask me how my Dad figured this out!)  Apparently, my history professor wrote a paltry, 2-sentence letter on my behalf.  We were surprised at his actions, but I should have known better.  I had asked him for a letter because he was a brilliant writer, and I thought he would write a really good letter; he had not been one of my biggest advocates.  Big mistake. 
  2. Use references who are reliable.  I once asked a former boss to serve as a reference.  This guy was a big fan of mine, so I figured he’d be a great reference.  However, the letter he gave me to submit had several typos and did not even include a standard header.  It looked terrible!  Luckily, I saw the letter before it went out.  I should not have been surprised.  He was one of the most disorganized people I knew.  Make sure your references have their act together.  If they aren’t normally reliable and thorough, they won’t suddenly become reliable and thorough when communicating with people on your behalf.  If your references look bad, you will look bad.  The opposite is also true…
  3.  Use references who look like and/or know the people you want to impress. For example, if you are applying for a marketing job where you will report to a Director of Marketing, it would be much more impressive if you have several recommendations from people they know or from other marketing executives.  A recommendation from your history professor won’t hold as much weight.  Now, if you are starting your career or making a career change, this is not always possible, but try to use people who know and/or look like the people you are trying to impress.  We are much more easily influenced by people we know or by people who look like we do.
  4. Tell your references what to say/write about you.  This might sound sneaky or conniving, but most people have absolutely no idea what to write or say in a testimonial or letter of recommendation.  As a result, most testimonials are the worthless, generic kind, like “John is a great guy.  I highly recommend him.”  Here’s a confession for you.  Most of the best testimonials I have ever gotten are testimonials I have written myself and gotten permission to attribute to another person (with their permission).  Many people actually thank me and tell me that even though they are more than happy to endorse me, they would have had no idea what to say.  Use your judgment on this one.  Some people are more comfortable with this than others.
  5. Tell your references what to say if/when asked about your weaknesses.  Last year, one of my former colleagues asked me to serve as a reference for him.  Given the work that I do, and since I am very thorough, I thought about how to respond if a hiring person asked me what my colleague’s greatest weakness was.  Guess what the FIRST question was that I was asked when his future boss called me?!  Luckily, I had a well-constructed comeback planned, which I conveniently sandwiched between a discussion of my colleague’s strengths.  (Thank you…I know I’m good!)  The chances of your references thinking about that in advance are close to zero.  It’s your responsibility to prep them on what to say when asked about your deficiencies.  If you don’t, they might step on a land-mine for you.
  6. Let your references know what to expect.  Ask if you can use them as a reference before doing so (many people don’t do this!), and give them a heads-up on how their testimonial will be used, who might contact them, and so on.
  7. Get testimonials from your references on social media sites.  Employers check these sites when considering you for a job, and social media sites rank high when someone “googles” you.  You can also “re-purpose” a testimonial posted on a social media site.  For example, by filming a video testimonial and posting it on You-Tube, or by getting a recommendation on LinkedIn, you can then take part or all of the testimonial and use it again somewhere else (i.e. as 1-2 sentences in a cover letter or as part of a 1-page testimonial sheet).

7.5   Take care of your references.  When people put their reputation on the line by serving as recommendations, you owe it to them to make them look good.  You must also send a thank you note and try to return the favor by helping them somehow.   Also keep them posted on their progress; they want to know if they were involved in helping you get your dream job!

In summary, one of the best ways to get your dream job is to influence the hiring decision-maker with strategic testimonials and references.  When you get the right people to brag on your behalf in the right way, you won’t have to do as much of the bragging yourself…

Like this post or got something to add?  Please comment below!

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. To learn more about my programs and availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour (or for individual career coaching), please send an email to

7 Questions Employers Have That They Won’t Ask You (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

January 21, 2011

When I had to hire my first employee for one of my businesses, 7 concerns swirled around my mind.  The person who eventually got the job was the one who addressed all of my concerns with how he presented himself to me.

If you want to get your dream job, you need to understand what is going on in the minds of the people in a position to hire you.  No matter what organization you want to work for, and no matter what type of work you want to do, every employer and hiring person is secretly asking themselves 7 questions about EVERY job candidate and potential new hire. 

Many hiring persons probably don’t even recognize that they are subconsciously asking themselves these questions, and none of them will blatantly ask you these 7 questions.  However, you still need to address them in every interaction you have with potential employers:

1. How much can we trust you?  If an employer doesn’t think they can trust you, you aren’t going to get hired, no matter how talented you are.  Position yourself as someone who can be trusted.

2. How hard are you willing to work? If employers think you are lazy or unmotivated, you aren’t going to get hired, no matter how talented you are.  Position yourself as someone willing to work hard.

3. Are you going to be a pain in the “neck?” If employers think you are going to be tough to manage or get along with, you aren’t going to get hired, no matter how talented you are.  Position yourself as someone who gets along well with others.

4. Are you going to have one foot out the door from day 1?  If employers think you aren’t committed to their organization for the long-term, you aren’t going to get hired, no matter how talented you are.  Position yourself as someone who really wants to work for the selected employer.

5. How much are we going to need to hold your hand?  If employers think it will take a lot of time and effort to get you up to speed, you aren’t going to get hired, no matter how talented you are.  Position yourself as someone who can contribute from the start.

6. Are you going to embarrass us?  If employers think you won’t represent them well in-person and online, you aren’t going to get hired, no matter how talented you are.  As social media and the Internet continue to evolve, this is becoming more and more important.  Position yourself as someone who is professional and responsible.

7. Are you more than capable of delivering the results we need in this position?  If employers don’t think you can get the job done better than anyone else, you aren’t going to get hired, no matter how talented you are.  Note: if you satisfy the first 6 concerns, this concern is often eliminated, even if you don’t have a lot of relevant work experience. 

The hiring process is like dating in many ways.  When you first meet someone, you size them up (subconsciously or consciously), and you make judgments about their personality, character, value, and how much you fit with each other. It’s the same with getting your dream job.  Overcome the 7 concerns every employer has about job candidates and new hires, and you will significantly increase your chances of getting your dream job!

-Pete Leibman

-President of Idealize Enterprises

-Creator of The Dream Job College Tour

Creator of The Washington Wizards’ Sports Careers Day


Twitter: @peteleibman

P.S. To learn more about my programs and availability for The 2011 Dream Job College Tour (or for individual career coaching), please send an email to