A Career Expert’s Advice on Creating a “Newsfeed” of New Opportunities

A recent HBR article by career expert Lindsey Pollak offered some great advice on how to curate your own personal job feed. Lindsey is the author of a book we love at myGreenlight, Getting from College to Career, which just had a newly revised version this year.

In the article, the first tip is to get specific: “if you were searching for a pair of shoes online,” Lindsey writes, “it wouldn’t be a very good strategy to go to Google or another search engine and type in shoes.” In other words you have to make sure you’re looking in the right places. To do this, you have to first decide exactly what you’re looking for. With specific terms and phrases you can narrow down the results and not waste time sifting through jobs that aren’t a good match for your needs.

The second tip is to research your particular niche in the job market. “The term ‘hyper-local’ doesn’t just apply to news; it also applies to jobs,” she writes. It is important to research and utilize the websites that are specifically geared to the type of job in the industry you are interested in.

Finally, it is crucial to realize and benefit from the ubiquity of social media. Even though social media can be a frivolous outlet, many companies do see social media as essential in the recruiting process. The way to gain the most from sites like Facebook and Twitter is to separate your professional and personal activity, according to Lindsey. That way, when looking for job opening, you will not be distracted or run the risk of seeming unprofessional. For example, on Twitter, you can create a “job info” list on your account, and then bookmark that page – creating an easy-to-follow feed of job-relevant data. Get searching!

What’s your best source for news of new positions, and how do you avoid information overload in the job search? Please share!

Jeffrey Pfeffer on Why Kissing Up to Your Boss isn’t a Bad Idea

Stanford Professor Jeffrey Pfeffer shared the often unspoken power rules of business on an eye-opening session of the Social Capitalist. An outspoken truth-teller and academic rebel willing to question the orthodoxy, he proved again with his book, Power: Why Some People Have It and Others Don’t, why he’s one of our very top thinkers in management theory.

During the interview, Professor Pfeffer shared reasons that making the powers-that-be look good isn’t a bad idea.

I think many of us in particular are uncomfortable with having other people, particularly other people who we may feel are unqualified or who have gotten their positions in an unfair manner or, you know, who knows how they’ve gotten their jobs, but they have power over us and we don’t like it. And so we say, why does this person have the right to tell me what to do? And then we act and behave in a counter-dependent fashion, and that doesn’t get us very far at all.

Everybody has a boss, and to the extent that your boss likes you, thinks well of you, and wants to make you successful, you’re probably going to do way better than if your boss doesn’t like you and would rather never see you again, in which case you’re likely going to be fired.

When your colleague and co-author Keith Ferrazzi came to my class some years ago, he’s made a statement that I think is completely correct. He said, “You are not responsible for your career. Your blinding ambition is not going to necessarily make you successful. It is other people who are responsible for your career.” The people higher up in the organization whose fate – your fate, they control. And so your job is to make sure that they want to make you successful and have an interest in your success and well being. The best way to do that is to make those people feel better about themselves. And so flattery, yes, is one technique. Not disagreeing with them openly or in a confrontational way is another thing. It’s basically asking about any behavior that you’re going to exhibit, At the end of exhibiting this behavior, will the other people feel better or worse about themselves and about my effect on their self kind of esteem? And so, a lot of this is about being energetic, being enthusiastic, being positive, because all of those things are part of having people feel better about themselves.

For more insights into the role power plays in your success, read the full transcript and get the audio recording of this information packed Social Capitalist interview.

For more information about Jeffrey, visit www.jeffreypfeffer.com.

Guest Blog: Ad Sales Executive Puts Never Eat Alone/myGreenlight Tactics in Action

Scott Olson is the director of marketing at Mediaspace Solutions, a marketing services agency bringing national brands to local markets. Mediaspace maximizes advertising budgets, increases ROI, and reduces operational drag through expert talent, incredible service and proven buying strategies. Our ‘What’s on Tap’ blog is updated twice a week and we’re regularly tweeting business to business marketing and advertising news.

In his best selling book Never Eat Alone Keith Ferrazzi sums up the argument for developing greater relationships when he says, “Life is less a quest than a quilt. We find meaning, love, and prosperity through the process of stitching together our bold attempts to help others find their own way in their lives. The relationships we weave become an exquisite and endless pattern,” (Never Eat Alone, 2005, p. 297, emphasis added).

Recently the Mediaspace Solutions business development group went through Ferrazzi’s book as a group in an effort to put what we learned into practice. Below are a few examples of both what’s been done and the sometimes immediate results we have experienced:

  • Small Gestures Big Impact – While on a recent trip to NYC, I decided to build a relationship with two CEO’s of major ad agencies. As part of the due diligence up front, I found out their favorite kind of wine by talking to their assistants. I purchased wine as gifts but bought Starbucks gift cards for their assistants. Both assistants were blown away by the gesture. “We never get any gifts” one said. I had two sincere conversations with two smart women and I now have regular communications with both of them. The key was being genuine and generous with no expectations in return. They are now on my “ping list” for regular communications. Keith’s teachings work. Continue reading

Does An Action-Oriented Guarantee Guarantee Action?

Here at myG we’ve seen that our program has the potential to move you toward your goals at top speed. But success is ultimately a factor of how much participants engage with and execute the program. As with any service-oriented offering: education, consultation, coaching, even nutrition, the magic secret sauce happens when content and tools meet with execution.

So many times the question becomes, how to ensure the kind of engagement that makes the magic happen?

I was intrigued this week by the introduction of an engagement-inducing money-back guarantee offered by premium job-hunting site TheLadders. If members don’t land a job within 6 months they will receive a full refund of the $2,495 (!) price tag for their Premium service.

So far, fairly vanilla.

But the action-inducing spin is this - the guarantee is only effective if the job-seeker holds up his/her end of the bargain.

“TheLadders guarantees that you will receive a job offer within six months or less if you participate fully in all components of the Program at the level indicated below. In order to be eligible for this Guarantee, within the first sixty (60) days of your six month subscription period, you must complete:

  • Attend 7 scheduled sessions
  • Complete Steps 1-5 of the Roadmap
  • Apply to 6 well-fitted positions (as described in the Program Roadmap)
  • Complete all follow-up activities assigned

In addition, in order to continue to be eligible for the money back guarantee after the initial sixty (60) days of your six month subscription period, you must attend a minimum of 75% of your scheduled sessions per month and apply to 6 well-fitted positions per month…” Continue reading

Be One of a Kind

Standing out in a myriad of applicants or even as an employee is often hard to achieve. That’s why it’s important to make your LinkedIn profile and resume different from the rest. You want something that catches the eye, something that makes people remember you, something that projects your individual brand.

This recent LinkedIn press release lists some of the surprising words that are overused on the site. They aren’t what you would expect, so make sure you’re not one of many by reading through your profile after taking a look:

1.    Creative
2.    Organizational
3.    Effective
4.    Extensive experience
5.    Track record
6.    Motivated
7.    Innovative
8.    Problem solving
9.    Communication skills
10.    Dynamic

“Competition for opportunities can be fierce, so craft your LinkedIn Profile and resume to stand out from the professional pack,” said Nicole Williams, LinkedIn’s Connection Director. “Use language that illustrates your unique professional accomplishments and experiences. Give concrete examples of results you’ve achieved whenever possible and reference attributes that are specific to you.”

If you’re a myGreenlight member, take some time to listen to this coaching call, with program director Sara Grace and special guest Michael Margolis, author and storytelling consultant to get the tips you need to reinvent your bio to compel new contacts to connect.

What are some of the most overused words in your office? Please share!

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

The Greenlight Highlight: Keith’s Executive Assistant Shares the Value of Building Relationships with Gatekeepers

MyGreenlight’s monthly community member spotlight interview.

Shannon Stewart
Executive Assistant to Keith Ferrazzi
Los Angeles, CA
Ferrazzi Greenlight Team Member Since:  August/2009

Elevator Pitch:These days, my entire elevator pitch is about my son. He’s such a cool kid and I love spending time with him. He’s really into art right now and I’m really into art so we are all about anything that has to do with art exploration.

What incident from your past do you recall being the moment it clicked for you that relationships make the difference to your success in business?

10 years ago I recognized that business is about who you know. My partner works in the entertainment industry and the dinner parties and events that must be attended to manage staying employed brings it all home for you. Whatever you are trying to accomplish, connections make things move a lot smoother.

Favorite Relationship Mastery Mindset and why:

For me, intimacy and generosity go hand in hand. Those two qualities in a relationship allow you to be most accountable towards each other. I always strive to develop a rapport for delivering generosity. It’s allowed me to develop partnerships with other executive assistants in various organizations. Our collaborations become an easier process because we have taken the time to get to know each other.

What still presents a challenge for you in building relationships that you continue to work on?

When I really know and care about someone, candor still presents a challenge for me. The closer I am to you, the more difficult it is for me to tell you what you need to know vs. what you want to know. My innate pleaser personality, squelches the willpower to be truly accountable to someone I care for and tell them the really harsh truths. I’m working on it.

What’s the coolest things you’re working on at home or at work right now?

At home, I’ve been creating an art space for my son because he’s really shown an interest in it lately. It’s a great space for him to get messy with minimal boundaries.  At work, I’ve been very engaged in the development of the new GM project.  It has allowed me to connect with some new individuals within and external to the organization.

How has putting a thoughtful process around your relationship development benefitted your business?

What I do for Keith has greatly facilitated and accelerated by my ability to put relationship development into practice. With so much distance and time between interactions with some of my colleagues, staying on their radar can be challenging.  I like to fill time gaps with gifts. I make sure that I pay attention to our conversations and pick up on hobbies, favorites, children and grandchildren’s names, but at the minimum most of us executive assistants can bond over one must-have of the job, Starbucks gifts cards. We can’t get through our day without a coffee run, so these are always appreciated. These small tokens add up to a ready-to-assist collaborative partner when it’s time to coordinate our next project together.

What advice would you give to new members of the community that you have found to be best practices for relationship mastery?

My normal state is to stick to myself.  If you’re like me, first decide, what is it that you want to do? Vague doesn’t work. Know who you want to build a relationship with and WHY. If you’re not clear in your mind, you’ll never do it. It will make the difference in how you feel about the networking and focus you towards some clear objectives.

Give us your best opening line for starting a new relationship.

If I find that I can use humor with someone, I will always go that route.  If I can get them to laugh, I can get them to talk and if I can get them to talk, I can get the call. Nine out of 10 times for sure.

Five Ways to Win Over Your Boss

There is no way to overemphasize how important it is to maintain a good working relationship with your boss. A boss can make or break you; this Monster article sheds some light on how to cement your position in the company.

Follow these tips to make sure that you’re doing the right things and acting appropriately in the office:

  1. Watch your boss and learn.
  2. Communicate the way your boss wants to.
  3. Look and act professional.
  4. Demonstrate initiative.
  5. Do great work.

Some of these tips are self explanatory, but others may need some context. For the first one, Peter Vogt suggests, “keep your opinions to yourself until you understand the company culture well and know what people will look upon with favor and what they’ll look upon with disdain.” This doesn’t have to mean that you never try to influence your company’s culture with your actions – but first you need to understand the rules of the game.

An important point brought up with tip number two is “whatever your supervisor’s style, typically it’s up to you to establish and maintain the lines of communication between the two of you.” Your boss may manage several people, therefore it is essential for you to keep him/her informed.

Your relationship with your boss continues to be important even when he or she isn’t your boss any more. Keith Ferrazzi blogged earlier this year about why that’s the case — take a look.

What’s the best strategy you’ve used to improve  a relationship with your supervisor?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Productivity When You’re Working at Home

Working from home can be liberating, but also tricky: It’s difficult to stay focused in an unrestrained environment. There’s no one to ask you what you’re doing or remind you about deadlines. You may get sick of yourself in pajamas.

The Oatmeal did a very funny comic about the pros and cons about working from home. Take a look!

According to this Microsoft article, there are some easy ways on to avoid the pitfalls of working from home:

  1. Set up a separate work area, with a computer and a specific computer and a reliable internet connection
  2. Make sure to store and back up your files
  3. Try to stay connected with colleagues by being available by phone and instant chatting tools

By creating a more formal work environment, it’s easier to stay focused and productive.

Have you ever worked from home? How did you stay on task?

Ritu Walia is myGreenlight’s Member Coordinator.

Bill Taylor’s Advice for Success Today

Check out an excerpt from the transcript for The Social Capitalist interview featuring Bill Taylor. Please access the audio recording here. Click here for the full transcript: Social Capitalist Transcript – William Taylor. Enjoy!

TAHL RAZ:     So you do make a point, so let me push you on that and just say, it’s not just enough to be smart and it’s really actually I think you make a point that it doesn’t – this economy doesn’t reward you to be smart at many little things.  You make a point of saying you need to be the most of something to stand out.

WILLIAM TAYLOR:    Yup.

TAHL RAZ:     Can you talk about that?

WILLIAM TAYLOR:    Well, I think this is true of organizations but it’s also very true of individuals.  It’s very easy, particularly in these kind of fast-changing, risky times, to get comfortable operating in the middle of the road.  That’s kind of what feels safe and secure.  That’s, in theory, where all the action is.  So you say okay, I’m in the hospital business or I’m in the airline business or I’m in the banking business.  And we know there’s kind of a conventional playbook for how to be in that business as a company, a conventional playbook for what an executive or leader in that industry looks like, and that’s what I’ll do.  But then I’ll just try to be three percent smarter or five percent faster.  We’ll chip away at the margins.  But everybody wants to be kind of in the middle of the road.  But today, where so much change, so much pressure, so many new ways to do just about everything, the middle of the road really has become the road to nowhere.  So what I urge organizations and individuals to do is to say to this, it’s not good enough anymore to be pretty good at everything.  You really have to become the most – it could be the most elegant.  It could be the most simple.  It could be the most exclusive.  It could be the most affordable.  It could be the most brash and colorful.  It could be the most easily accessible.  You know, for you as a person coming, you’ve all go to make your own choices.  But today, being successful requires getting outside of – the you know we had Rick Perry have his famous brain freeze last night at the debate.  One of the funny but true kind of homey pieces of wisdom from Texas is the only thing in the middle of the road are yellow lines and dead armadillos.  And I think that’s true on a Texas highway and it’s also true for all of us as leaders, innovators and individuals today.  You’ve got to figure out, why am I interesting and compelling to people?  Why should people want to hurry up and get energized and figure out how to help me succeed at whatever endeavor I’m trying to do?  How do I conduct myself as the kind of smart person that other smart people want to rally around support and contribute to?  And that requires you at some level to be the most of something in whatever environment you’re after. Continue reading

Non-Verbal Intelligence with Joe Navarro

Check out an excerpt from the transcript for The Social Capitalist interview featuring Joe Navarro. Read Tahl’s Raz’s blog post on the interview here. Access the audio recording here. Click here for the full transcript: Social Capitalist – Joe Navarro. Enjoy!

Tahl Raz:    So much of what you advise and so many of the concepts that you teach seem to be and revolve around the ability to detect discomfort or comfort in someone. How does that work? Is that true that it’s a central concept and is that something that people should focus on?

Joe Navarro:    Well, yes absolutely. You know from the time we’re born we are reflecting whether we’re warm or cold, whether we’re comfortable or uncomfortable, whether we’re hungry or satiated. Our bodies are immediately reflecting how we feel, what we think, what we desire, any mother or father will tell you that. And throughout our lives we’re constantly reflecting are we comfortable or uncomfortable. You’re sitting at a business meeting and somebody just says the most impolite, politically incorrect joke and you will see immediate discomfort in everybody at that table. It’s instantaneous, it’s authentic. Now, it will manifest in different ways but it’s there. The reason that I have focused in my books on comfort and discomfort is because when I looked at all the books that had been written on body language over the years … oh my God is was painful. It was painful for me to read that. I said, “Why don’t they simplify this?” because it really is quite simple. What we see when we’re with other people whether you’re dating somebody or you’re in a business meeting or so forth … are they comfortable with us? Do we see the signs of comfort or do we see signs of there’s some sort of discomfort? Now, is it discomfort because of what we’re talking about? Is it because I’m standing too close? Is it because my body smells? Or is it the topic? Has something been brought up that’s causing discomfort? And what we find, universally, is that our limbic system will reflect, very precisely, whether someone is comfortable or uncomfortable. And what I found was is most people don’t know where to look on the body for that information. They tend to either focus on the face or the eyes but really not pay attention to the whole body.

Tahl Raz:    Well, let’s bring this down to a place where we can really apply it and people can see how it functions in their work. For instance, I know that in your work with poker players you say you can sit in observing a game, even on television, and tell whether people are bluffing or not. And that obviously, if you can do that more than the average poker player, there’s something for them to learn there. For business people, what have you seen in dealing with them and teaching them in your interactions with them where some of this stuff comes up and their greatness weaknesses lie? Because they just haven’t been taught to read or process any of this? Continue reading