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

Posted September 16, 2011 by Pete Leibman
Categories: Networking, Professional Relationships

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 www.PeteLeibman.com.  (You can also learn about my speaking tour at www.PeteLeibman.com)  

-Pete Leibman (Pete@DreamJobAcademy.com)

-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

Do you know why it’s easier to get a job that’s NOT advertised than one that is advertised? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Posted August 23, 2011 by Pete Leibman
Categories: Get Your Dream Job NOW

While this comment probably sounds absurd, here are 3 reasons why it’s absolutely true:

  1. If a job is promoted to the public, you are certainly not the only person who can see it or apply.  When a job is advertised, an organization can receive hundreds of applications within a matter of hours.  Some top employers even receive thousands of unsolicited resumes every week.  Good luck standing out in a pile of 13,279 resumes.  On a side-note, the best way to stand out in a stack of resumes is not to use keywords or a high-tech software program to beat a computer system’s screening process.  The best way to stand out in a stack of resumes is to never end up in the stack in the first place.
  2. Many publicly advertised jobs are not currently available.  When you see an advertised job (regardless of where/how it is being promoted), it is often too late because the job was already filled.  There is no fool-proof way to know, although the longer it has been posted, the less likely it is still vacant.  In some cases, employers just want to see what is out there, and they aren’t 100% committed to or even that serious about hiring someone.  Have you ever given online dating a try just to “see what’s out there?”  Employers engage in non-committal scoping, too. 
  3. Most job openings are never publicly advertised anyway.  Employers will only promote a job opening to the public as a total last-ditch effort.  Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring person for a second.  Would you rather hire someone you found on Craig’s List or someone you trust from your existing network?  It’s a no-brainer.  When I worked in the NBA, HR for our company would send a memo to the entire staff whenever a position became available.  We could then talk to our supervisors about applying if we wanted to change jobs within the company, or we could refer people we knew.  Jobs were frequently filled without needing to look outside the organization.  Some companies even compensate their employees for helping them identify talent “behind-the-scenes.”  My college roommate once played in a basketball league with a guy who tried to convince him to work for his company.  We later learned that the person would have gotten a $2,500 bonus if my friend had been hired through the employee’s referral.

What’s the takeaway here for job-seekers? 

Stop looking for jobs, and start looking for people!  When you approach the right people the right way, everything else will take care of itself…

 

P.S. To receive a FREE 25-page report on Job Search and Career Success Secrets for Students and Young Professionals, visit my web site at www.PeteLeibman.com

-Pete Leibman (Pete@DreamJobAcademy.com)

-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

Do You Know Why Every Great Employer Is ALWAYS Hiring? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Posted August 12, 2011 by Pete Leibman
Categories: Employers and Industries, Get Your Dream Job NOW

It’s totally ridiculous when “career experts” write articles to notify job-seekers which organizations are hiring.

This is ridiculous because every great employer is ALWAYS hiring!

When I conducted a job search at the start of the recent recession, I was able to get offers from multiple organizations for jobs that each would have paid me at least $100,000-$125,000 in year one.  I was only 26 years old at the time, and several of the organizations who made me those offers were in industries I had never even worked in before.  I also only knew about 10% of what I know now about how to conduct a job search.  

While none of the employers was officially hiring, each organization was willing to create a job for me because of how I approached them.

Hiring someone is nothing more than an investment.  Every employer can and should create a job any time the right person comes along.    

If you can prove to the real hiring decision-maker that you will provide a positive Return on Investment (i.e. your value will significantly exceed your salary), then it would be stupid for the employer not to hire you. 

Great employers recognize this.  Employers who don’t understand this are organizations you shouldn’t want to work for anyway. 

If an organization is not consistently looking to hire top talent, then that organization is headed absolutely nowhere in the future.  Employees get promoted, change departments, leave to work somewhere else, get fired, get sick or injured, or even die.  (Sorry to be morbid, but it’s true!) 

Great organizations recognize that they need to have a pipeline full of talent since they will inevitably experience change and turnover within their organization.  If someone tells you his organization is not hiring, he either doesn’t want to hire you, or he isn’t the real decision-maker.

P.S. To receive a FREE 25-page report on Job Search and Career Success Secrets for Students and Young Professionals, visit my web site at www.PeteLeibman.com

-Pete Leibman (Pete@DreamJobAcademy.com)

-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

Do you know why credentials are overrated? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Posted August 1, 2011 by Pete Leibman
Categories: Get Your Dream Job NOW

I interviewed with the NBA’s Washington Wizards for an internship position during my junior year in college, and I got rejected. 

When that happened, I initially told myself that I must not have been good enough to get a job in the NBA.  At the time, I assumed that the entire organization was surely composed of Ivy League graduates with 4.0 GPA’s.  An NBA team receiving hundreds of resumes each week would certainly only hire the smartest, most qualified candidates, right?

Not even close.

Here is what I learned after getting hired for a full-time job with the team the next year.  Many of the organization’s employees went to community colleges or colleges I had never heard of, and some of the company’s most senior executives did not even go to college.  Most of the team’s employees simply got hired due to their attitude or personality and/or through networking and personal contacts; they were definitely not hired because of their pedigrees.  In addition, there were men and women of all ages, races, and backgrounds in the company.  Employers value diversity.

Here’s the inside scoop.  Employers hire candidates they know, like, and trust or candidates endorsed by people they know, like, and trust.  As a result, the most qualified people are not always the ones to get hired. 

Credentials are overrated.  Intangibles and endorsements are underrated.  This is especially true when you are a student or young professional. 

This is not meant to give you an excuse for not maintaining a high GPA, doing internships, and being proactive if you are still a student.  Is it easier for a Harvard grad with a 4.0 GPA to get a job than someone with 2.1 GPA from a community college?  Absolutely. 

However, don’t use your lack of pedigree or credentials as an excuse for why you can’t break into a certain organization or industry.  It’s not valid.  (Your major doesn’t matter either.) 

The most qualified person is not always the one who gets hired.  I guarantee there is someone with a weaker pedigree than you who has your dream job right now…

P.S. To receive a FREE 25-page report on Job Search and Career Success Secrets for Students and Young Professionals, visit my web site at www.PeteLeibman.com

-Pete Leibman (Pete@DreamJobAcademy.com)

-Author of “I Got My Dream Job And So Can You!” (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

Do You Know Why The Economy Does Not Matter For Your Job Search? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Posted July 27, 2011 by Pete Leibman
Categories: Attitude, Get Your Dream Job NOW

It drives me CRAZY when people use the economy as an excuse for not being able to land their dream job (or any job).

You don’t need me to bombard you with stats about the recession.  The media has already done more than enough of that.  I’ll just say this.

Take a look at national unemployment data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics over the last 50 years or so.  (This is also great reading material for insomniacs.)

You will see that unemployment has always fluctuated up and down with peaks in the 8-10% range (where it was in 2011) versus valleys in the 2-4 percent range.  Where will it be in the next few years?  Who knows?

More importantly, who cares? 

Let me state the obvious since so many people seem to be missing it.  How many jobs do you need to get? 

One job!  Not 100 jobs.  Not 25 jobs.  Not even 3 jobs.  You just need 1 job.  That’s it. 

There is absolutely nothing you could say that could convince me that you have a legitimate reason to be worried about getting hired due to a down economy.  I shared this philosophy with one of my mentors who encouraged me to tone down my stance for fear of offending some people, but I won’t.  The economy is only a problem if you think it’s a problem.  Don’t worry about unemployment statistics.  Don’t allow yourself to be brainwashed into a state of fear by the media. 

When I was a senior in college, unemployment was the highest it had been in 10 years.  I still landed my dream job even though I had never even had a full-time job before. 

Here is the truth: The economy does NOT matter when you know how to conduct a job search.  You just need one job.

P.S. To receive a FREE 25-page report on Job Search and Career Success Secrets for Students and Young Professionals, visit my web site at www.PeteLeibman.com

-Pete Leibman (Pete@DreamJobAcademy.com)

-Author of “I Got My Dream Job And So Can You!” (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

Do you know why it’s easier to get your dream job than most other jobs? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Posted July 22, 2011 by Pete Leibman
Categories: Get Your Dream Job NOW, Peak Performance, Success

One reason I got a front-office job in the NBA at such a young age (while being rejected or ignored by other opportunities that had much less competition) is because of how badly I wanted the job in the NBA.  This burning desire oozed out of me when I was networking and when I was interviewing, and it made me a much more appealing candidate. 

On the other hand, when I applied to jobs I learned about through job boards or career fairs or on-campus recruiting (i.e. opportunities I had absolutely no interest in), it was incredibly difficult for me to sell myself in a compelling manner.  I had to fake my interest, and employers were not fooled.  In hindsight, I’m VERY thankful those organizations blew me off!  If they had hired me anyway, I would have ended up like most young professionals who hate their first job out of college.

Most people find job searches draining because they are going after the wrong jobs!  When you are going after your dream job, your job search can actually be enjoyable (crazy thought, huh?) because of how excited you will be by what is waiting for you at the end of the tunnel. 

You will be much more motivated during your job search if your goal is to get your “dream job” than if your goal is to get “a job.”  Your motivation will lead to a more resourceful, positive mindset than if you just do what everyone else does and aim low.  A better attitude will also make you more appealing as a job-seeker.

It is incredibly satisfying and empowering to go after your dreams with every ounce of your energy, and even more amazing when you reach your destination.  Sadly, few people ever experience this phenomenon because they don’t understand the relationship between desire, motivation, and performance.

If you ever find yourself lacking motivation (during your job search or your career), it’s probably because you are not aiming high enough.  Believe it or not, you are more likely to succeed when you aim high…

P.S. To receive a FREE 25-page report on Job Search and Career Success Secrets for Students and Young Professionals, visit my web site at www.PeteLeibman.com

-Pete Leibman (Pete@DreamJobAcademy.com)

-Author of “I Got My Dream Job And So Can You!” (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

Do you know why doubters can HELP you achieve your dreams? (written by Career Expert, Pete Leibman)

Posted July 15, 2011 by Pete Leibman
Categories: Dealing With Difficult People, Get Your Dream Job NOW, Goals, Peak Performance, Success

Whenever you try to do something big or something for the first time, people will doubt you.  Do not be surprised when this happens.  This is the byproduct of most people aiming way too small with how they live their lives.  More specifically, there are 5 main reasons why people will doubt you can achieve your dreams:

  • They think they are helping you.  This happens often with our family and closest friends.  As a student, one of my family members told me I should be “more realistic” when it came to my first job out of college.  Even though this bothered me, I knew her heart was in the right place.  She thought she was doing me a favor by not letting me get my hopes up only to be disappointed (since she thought I would fail).
  • They don’t believe they could succeed. Another reason people will doubt you is because they don’t believe they could do what you are trying to achieve, either because they tried and gave up, or because they have never tried.  Several years ago, I went to lunch with a group of professional speakers who were much older than me.  During our meal, I shared my dream of publishing a book.  Immediately, the entire group shared their stories of being unable to get a publisher to offer them a book deal, and a few of them implied how “impossible” it would be for me to publish a book “at this stage of my career.”  Let me emphasize one point.  I was at lunch with a group of motivational speakers.  These people are supposed to inspire others for a living, and they were shooting down my dream!  Since I ultimately made it happen, I think this is actually pretty ironic and humorous.  Anyway, the message is this.  Most people (even some motivational speakers) have allowed life to beat them down.  Never allow someone else’s failures, insecurity, or lack of faith to dictate whether you believe your dreams are possible. 
  • You are trying to succeed faster.  Other people might doubt you because they make the mistake of thinking that it’s not possible for someone else to get somewhere sooner than they did.  When I was a senior in college, I shared my dream of working in pro sports with a senior executive from a team in the NFL.  He had been unable to get a job in sports right after college, so he told me it would be “impossible” for me to do it.  He then suggested I get experience in another industry and consider applying for jobs in sports 5-10 years later.  (This is an example of one of the terrible pieces of advice given to me as a young professional.)
  • They don’t like your dream. Don’t expect all of your friends or family members to be excited about your vision.  I don’t know your particular situation, so all I will say is that when you reach adulthood, it’s time to make your own decisions.  One of the biggest recipes for unhappiness is to bury your dreams in order to make other people happy.  As long as your dream does not hurt you or anyone else, then go after it with everything you have.   
  • Some people actually don’t want you to succeed.  This is also known as being a “hater.”  Yes, this sounds jaded, but it’s true.  Some people incorrectly believe there is a finite supply of happiness or success available in the world.  As a result, they think that if you are happy or successful, it somehow makes it less likely for them to be.  The truth is that there is an infinite supply of success and happiness available to anyone willing to put in the necessary effort.

The overall message is this: do not expect everyone to support your dreams unconditionally.  Instead, use doubts or criticism as added motivation.  In a way, I got my first dream job (to become an NBA executive) and my second dream job (to become a published author) because people doubted me, not in spite of people doubting me.  I used doubts from other people to ignite my conviction that I would succeed.  Doubters made me want it more and gave me an “enemy” to fight against.  The challenges unleashed my competitive juices and my desire to win.  I learned at an early age that your ultimate success has nothing to do with what other people think about your dreams.  Your success or failure will be the result of how you respond to fear, what you tell yourself is possible, and the subsequent actions you are willing to take to make your dreams a reality. 

Have you ever used doubts from other people as extra motivation to achieve one of your dreams?  If so, please share below!

P.S. To receive a FREE 25-page report on Job Search and Career Success Secrets for Students and Young Professionals, visit my web site at www.PeteLeibman.com

-Pete Leibman (Pete@DreamJobAcademy.com)

-Author of “I Got My Dream Job And So Can You: The Blueprint For Career Success As A Young Professional” (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