I spend a lot of time in my workshops for the NYC Ladders for Leaders program trying to “teach” how to build a network. For some, this can be as natural as breathing but for others, it is like trying to walk backwards on the moon without oxygen.
I have found that those who are great at networking are really just making it look easy. It is not an easy thing to do and for most of us, we struggle. Yes, us. Even me. As much as I am social and gregarious (meaning – I love to talk) it is still something that is hard to do.
During my lessons and in my books, I give the game plans on how to network for both seasoned professionals and those just starting out in their careers. Some of my quick pointers are:
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In my workshops on Getting the Job, I spend a lot of time talking about building a brand. The lessons I give to the 16-24 year old students who I am teaching are focused for their age group BUT the ideas behind it are applicable to all.
As a small business owner who specializes in helping people "brand" themselves, I have tons of advice and how-to's on using LinkedIn to get noticed. And it works. It is a different level of lessons though for my students through the Ladders for Leaders program but the basic principles apply. Here are some of my best "rules" to use to get noticed on LinkedIn.
1) Use LinkedIn to share industry related content - do not be "spammy" but do share occasional interesting to you news articles about the industry you want to join. When you are ready to do so, you can and should include a brief description about the article and why you are sharing it but be very careful to make sure your sentence structure is great and all spelling and grammar is perfect, too. Try to do this at least once a month. Beware you do not post the same article twice.
2) Your summary should be on point - it should boil down to your Elevator Value Pitch
about who you are and what you can do. As I mentioned on Instagram recently, I just updated my LinkedIn Summary and it was a true case of the cobbler's kids having no shoes - I do this for a living and yet my LinkedIn summary was lacking. Now, it reads how I want it to read showcasing my company and what I do and as a bonus, it helped me update my About page for this website, too.
3) Consider inviting people to connect with you in a professional way. If you are on an interview or at a networking event and find yourself really connecting well in person, you can and should ask if it would be acceptable for you to connect with them on LinkedIn. You should have tailored "inmails" ready to be used for people you target by industry or role - my book, The Book on Career Readiness - The Prof's Guide on How to Graduate with a Job Offer
has these templates included in my chapter on LinkedIn.
4) Be professional always on LinkedIn - your profile picture should be of just you in professional attire. Do not post things that would better be kept to Facebook or just off social media entirely.
Look for a post soon about my specific social media strategy for all career professionals to be noticed and hired quickly! Also, if you follow these quick 4 tips for LinkedIn, you will be noticed and contacted - and find yourself having a high conversion rate of clicks to interviews! If you are not sure how best to execute this plan, you can consider hiring me for the $150 LinkedIn Overhaul package in which I provide you with a personalized career plan, one on one coaching and personalized instructions on how YOU should use LinkedIn - click here to learn more.
Happy Hunting and please sign up to get exclusive offers and content here: Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers
There is a way to be ready to bounce back strategically and to be in control of all of the pieces you can be to be ready for your next step.
I am a huge believer in preparing and being ready – and this includes how to set things up in the event of potential career shipwrecks such as being fired, laid off or demoted – or just realizing your career is not going the way you want it to go. This can be just as demoralizing as the other 3 things; if you have an idea or a dream of where you want to be and find that you just cannot get there, it can be disheartening. I have some solutions for you, though to use to combat these potential career disasters.
I have said it before but it bears repeating, continually learn to improve your career; if you have not read that post already, you really should – join the over 6000+ people who read it in March. These are some key ways you can build out your skill set, refocus and transfer skill sets to your next role and by doing this, you can transition to something “bigger” and “better” for your next step!
Stay “hungry” and manage your career like it is your own business – this is THE POST that led to my first book (click here to learn more All About Entrepreneur-ING Books). Hire people to help you be ready for that next step – it does not have to be me but if you are in the tri-state area and transitioning back to the workforce after taking time off or being unemployed OR if you are someone who is focused on being competitive and ahead of the pack, look into what I provide my clients and the value-added of having an author, executive, entrepreneur and educator build your content to make you shine in terms of branding yourself and more – oh and remember, it would all be tax deductible expenses for 2016 tax filings!
Consider hiring me for your next step.
If you do not hire me, then hire someone reputable who is invested in helping you get to your next step or use your skills and talents and network to help you prepare your documents for your next step. At a minimum, you must have stellar resumes, cover letters AND LinkedIn profiles to be “ready”. I say resumeS and cover letterS because there is possibilities in changing industries and showcasing different skills and talents for segmented job searches. As part of all of my packages, I provide the career plan, up to 2 resumes 3 cover letters to showcase different expertise for you. The LinkedIn profile really should be focused on one “industry” segment but can be highlighting multiple skill sets and pieces of your personality to help you hit the right people with your awesomeness.
You also need to have a social media presence that is both professional and focused on showcasing your skills and talents and not what you ate last night! I talk a lot about this in my books and my blog and look for future posts about it, too.
Most important of all though is to have built a network as focused and invested in you as you are in them – that means having the give and take and being present and available to “help” as much as you want to be helped.
What do you think of my advice on bouncing back strategically? DO you have these things in order for your career? Happy Hunting!
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This is a companion post to my blog on What to Do if You Get Fired. One of the main differences between being fired and laid off is around the "stigma". It is much less; it is an "easier" psychological process wrapping your head around being downsized or laid off versus being "fired".
Even the words imply different things - fire really means pain but laid off is almost like saying you were just let go due to circumstances beyond the employer's control. "Fired" means, for most, that you did something to make yourself lose your job.
Ultimately, thought, the result is the same - you went from being employed and for most of us that means having a purpose and a routine to losing that footing in the world. It is a challenge to "bounce back" and it requires you to be ready for the change. It is important to have certain things "ready" at all times to be one step ahead of potential changes to your employment status.
Many of my clients are people who are currently employed and just being "Entrepreneur-ING" in terms of preparing for their next steps and these folks are the ones who are ready for when/if they have a change in job status. Consider hiring me for your next step.
If you are laid off, there are some positives around what you can walk away with, if you are ready to negotiate. You can negotiate a package for ending employment that usually includes severance payments and could even include career counseling or some other back end training and/or help for your next step.
If you are not given a package deal, consider negotiating to include severance package and/or career counseling services.
When given access to training and/or career counseling help, take advantage of it. Also always have your network and elevator value pitch ready and shared across your networks. Learn more about that with me here blog posts on how to network and crafting your elevator value pitch. You should share with your network both your elevator value pitch and the fact that you are available for a new opportunity.
No matter that you got "laid off" it is more important to move past it as soon as possible and begin planning on taking your next step. It can be tempting to take the decision made by the company too hard. Parting ways with your company can be upsetting and/or depressing. It is important to always try to see silver linings in the situation.
Consider retraining and re-framing your skills much like I advise my clients when they are transitioning back to the workforce - if you have to have a blank space on your resume, try to fill it with training, seminars and volunteer work as I discuss in my blog post on transitioning back to the workforce. Also, you can register for my seminars here, - find out about my seminars here.
For the few and entreprenuer-ING (All About Entrepreneur-ING Books, you can wind up landing even somewhere more senior than where you left. I will be writing a future post on transitioning to a higher position after bad news of firing laying off or downsizing etc.
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Getting fired does happen sometimes because you do not fit in with a company OR you are last one in, first one out when things get tough and sometimes you made a mistake or a misstep that led to you being fired.
These are all very different stories and lead to very different options for you to pick up the pieces. Being fired is traumatic. I am lucky in that the last time I was “fired”, I was 15 and working at Roy Rogers. In my defense, it was SO hard to make those chicken packages I just could not deal – and Roy Rogers was hella busy and hey, I was only 15 – and you get the idea – this was over 25 (almost) years ago and it still can be something to be defensive over!
I am lucky, honestly. I led my career with focus (mostly) and never found myself on the chopped block again but that does not mean I did not have issues. For those of you unlucky enough to have been fired more recently, it is not the end of the world. In fact, there are tons of examples of people who have been fired and it was the catalyst that led to bigger and better things.
Being “laid off” is often considered not being fired – but ultimately it is similar to being fired in that you have no job. I was laid off in early 2000 from a dot-com (who wasn’t) but it still left me scrambling. I learned some lessons in early 2000 and I have built on these lessons as I help clients and students alike recover from being fired or “let go” or “separated” from their companies and careers.
What do you do when you are fired? Sometimes, it comes out of left field so it does not leave you time to be prepared but most people can sense something is going to happen. It is rare that you walk into the office thinking today is the day you get promoted and then wind up being escorted out by security with your belongings in a box. I mean, it is rare – unless you are delusional or at a crazy company that likes to torture employees.
For some people above a certain level, being fired leads to a negotiation process with the ability to ask for career counseling and a severance package but for the rank and file, this is just a goodbye without anything. How can you be ready for this without thinking negatively for no reason?
I am huge about not thinking negatively – not to sound all granola and crunchy but I do think if you put out negative thoughts, negative things come back (see a future post about Meditation that I have in the works for more on that). It is important to always be ready for anything and a good way to be ready for your career is to always have a great resume and LinkedIn profile.
If you cannot maintain both, please keep the LinkedIn up to date and active. You can find out more of my advice on LinkedIn here Blog Category LinkedIn Advice. If you just cannot fathom LinkedIn and how it works, please consider either my do it yourself LinkedIn product OR my LinkedIn Improvement Package on improving and instructing you how to use LinkedIn – this takes me over 10 hours of work on my part and it leaves you with an excellent noticeable profile and the game plan on how to use it.
Also, always cultivate your network. You do not need to spend 20 hours a week on this – that is insane. You can just always be “available” and at times, out there with meetings and events. If you see something that would apply to someone’s life, job search or more, take the few minutes to send it over to them just as a way to “water” your relationships. There are some people that might expect more but almost everyone is so busy, just occasionally hearing from you is enough to help the relationship for when you have to send the “Help, I have been fired” message.
And you should never send a “help, I have been fired” message anyway. It should read more like,
“Hi, Joe. I hope the email I sent you about XYZ helped with your project. I wanted to also let you know that I am looking for new opportunities in my field (or another field or x or y). If you know of anyone looking for [INSERT YOUR EVP HERE – find out more here Using Your Elevator Pitch as a Value Statement] please keep me in mind. Looking forward to seeing you again! Warmest regards, Jane”
You do not have to say you have been fired BUT if you are interviewing for a new role, you do have to be transparent. Resist the urge to bad mouth the company or otherwise make it seem like you have been betrayed or abused. These are all massive red flags for hiring managers and everyone, really. Make it as professional as possible. Do not bring emotions into it. When asked your reason for leaving your last job (it is right there on every job application and definitely brought up in any interview), “The company and I decided to part ways” or “The company made some changes that led to my position being no longer necessary” or “I was fired because [INSERT PROFESSIONAL SOUNDING REASON HERE].
If you were fired for gross misconduct or something very negative, this will come out when your references are called. As much as companies are tied up into what they CAN and CANNOT say (such as basic information confirming employment dates), a savvy hiring manager (on either side) can figure out the real story without too many words. If you have done something extremely unethical or borderline criminal, be honest and beware when / if you can pick up the pieces of your career.
This is in very rare cases; most people are fired due to poor performance which can often be brought back into the culture/fit discussion in terms of how your mesh with a company. And this is hard to identify until you are in the trenches of said company but you can use some of my advice here The Next Step Blog Posts on Culture and Fit.
What do you think of my in case of firing advice? Have you been fired before? Why? Was it something that allowed you to change your career for the better? Is it something that still causes you anger and/or other emotion? How did you mask the emotional aspect? Happy Hunting!
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The elevator pitch has often been defined as what you would say to the CEO of your company if you were in the elevator together. Now, though, many employees either have more access to their CEO's or wouldn't know them if they met them in the elevator (we live in a time of extremes, after all). This is no longer the best reason for why you need an elevator pitch and I am going to say it should be considered more of a Value Pitch (or an EVP, if you will for Elevator Value Pitch).
This means your old "elevator pitch" (if you had one) needs a makeover to highlight your VALUE of what you bring to any company, client or coworkers. Having this statement be ready and focused is, in my opinion, a magic formula to ensuring people know who you are and what you can do. Yes, magic. If done right this is a quick 2 minute overview of who you are and what you do and can lead to opportunities. This is important to have even if you are secure and happy in your career and it is a necessity if your career is not where you want it to be or if you have no career.
Here are my quick tips to creating and using an elevator value pitch (EVP) for you.
1) To do this right, you need to practice and hone your words so that it matches what you are and you must practice it so that it comes out naturally. Share it with close family and friends to see what they think of it. You could miss something because you are thinking about your career in a certain way. By sharing this potential EVP, you can make it more meaningful and robust.
2) No matter where you are in your career (happy/sad/lacking) this is something everyone you know should be aware of - the highlight of who you are and what you can do / are looking for in your next step. Of course, the level of sharing should be higher if you are lacking a career at this moment.
3) You should have this "pitch" be part of your social media strategy (see more on this here Build Your Online BRAND Not Your LIKES). You can "sneak" it into your LinkedIn profile maybe on the summary section and you can use it via Instagram and Twitter, too. It does not have to seem weird and do not overthink it. Consider creating an Instaquote with your elevator pitch in bullets or sentences and share it. You share much more than that, I am sure.
Do not be embarrassed to present yourself as a professional using the platforms you usually appear relaxed on - it is okay to be complex.
4) You should share this via your close networking partners while asking them what they use to stand out in a crowded marketplace. This can be a great learning experience for you and your partners. Do not share this way with everyone you consider a networking partner; I am specifying to highlight those you are "close" with - those who you speak about career goals and whatnot.
5) For those you are not "close" with, consider how you can bring this information up and always know how to be ready to build out this "pitch" into actionable results. If you give your pitch to a new networking person, figure out how you can "show off" (in measure). For example, if you state you are an excellent researcher, bring the conversation around to find out what the potential networking partner might need re research and then deliver some examples to them in a friendly way. Such as,
"Dear, X, It was so great to meet you at XYZ on Thursday night. I enjoyed our conversation about Z and I happened to see this during some of my research and thought it would help you in your work. Have a great day! Warmest regards, XXY"
Do you have an elevator pitch already? Does it meet the criteria of being an EVP? Does it showcase your strengths and abilities in a quick way? I am including my "EVP" for my small business here, although to make it match an actual EVP, I would remove the last sentence. Let me know your thoughts in the comments or via social media. Share your EVP with #EVPTheNextStep. Happy hunting!
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Big Meetings & Next Book in College and Career Readiness Series The Prof’s Guide to Graduating with a Job Offer
This week is a big one for me. I have some exciting prospects for teaching at different universities and also on potential seminars for my college and career readiness program that I launch in the high schools.
I am considering how to get more exposure but then I remember that I am doing ok with exposure, all things considered. I have two press releases via PRWeb that are promoting the books I published in February 2016. In addition, I was interviewed on a radio podcast for AuthorUniverse click here to hear it My Radio Interview on Entrepreneur-ING.
And, last but not least, I have been networking and building relationships across Staten Island, as this is my target market. The message I bring to the borough on how to be ready for college and career is a unique one built off of my 13+ years in higher ed as an educator and experience in Corporate America and as an entrepreneur. All of these pieces come together to focus on an amazing presentation highlighting how to succeed in college and beyond. I actually discuss and highlight what skills are needed, how to present yourself, handling social media and more. If you are interested in hiring me to speak on these topics, please book The Next Step for your speaking engagement here.
I am already over 6000 words in to book 2 of the College and Career Readiness Series. Book 1, The Book on College Readiness – The Prof’s Guide on Surviving High School and Kicking Butt in College is published and available on my Amazon Author Page and my website, too.
Here is a sneak peek of the introduction to the Career Readiness installment book that I am working on as we speak, The Book on Career Readiness – The Prof’s Guide on How to Graduate with a Job Offer. Let me know what you think and Happy Hunting!
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This installment of the College and Career Readiness series is focused on career readiness and graduating with a job offer.
I have spent so much time over the last 13 years as an educator focusing on getting my students ready for the real world in addition to teaching them the subject matter at hand that putting these lessons into a book is the best way to share it with everyone who is interested in being ready after graduation to begin their CAREER.
I use the world CAREER instead of JOB for a reason. People can focus on getting a job but the best thing you can do is to think in terms of career. The economy and the skill sets are changing so rapidly but there are ways to be more prepared and more “hirable” than your competition and reading this book is the way to do it.
I will discuss and provide actionable lessons on the following topics that you can then apply to your life and help you to be ready to graduate with a job offer and then you can read my Entrepreneur-ING series to continue to be the boss of your own career:
Chapter 1: Completing Your Degree with “Distinction”
This chapter will discuss how to stand out among others graduating with you across the nation. I will discuss what graduating with “distinction” means and how you can leverage this for your career search. If you read the first installment of this series, you should know what skills you needed to work on and how to make them visible to the world. If not, I will provide all of the quick ways you can achieve distinction at the 11th hour before graduation and during interviewing season.
Chapter 2: Building On Those Networks
This chapter will discuss the best ways to build your network and how to get noticed for the right reasons. We will discuss making the most out of your school work and your school to help you get on the right road to making contacts and having interviews.
Chapter 3: How to Write the Perfect Resume
With over 15 years of resume writing and hiring experience, I will show you the best methods to make the perfect resume applicable to all; I will also have a feedback look implemented where I will be open to receiving resumes for review, as part of the book.
Chapter 4: How to Write Your Cover Letters to Get Noticed
The cover letter is wrongly considered unnecessary; it is necessary and it must be written in an engaging and intriguing way to get you into the door for the opportunities that are out there. This chapter is full of templates and writing ideas to make your cover letter stand out from the crowd.
Chapter 5: Using LinkedIn and Other Social Media to Stand Out for the Right Reasons
Many jobs today are not listed publicly but instead are filled via social media and LinkedIn. Having an awesome LinkedIn profile is a necessity to finding your place in the world and I will walk you through my proprietary 14-step guide to improving your profile and give you for free my lessons on how to use your new profile to stand out for the right reasons. This will also apply to other social media platforms.
Chapter 6: On Interviewing
My hacks and tips on how to be prepared for interviewing. I will discuss the different interview styles, methods and formulations in terms of how you are asked questions, where and the amount of interviewers.
Chapter 7: Interviewing Skills for In-Person Interviews
How to make a personable connection during interviews, how to act on the interview, what to say and how to say it and more.
Chapter 8: Media Training Overview
This is about something near and dear to my heart and that I do extensive training on in real life – how to manage interviews held via technology. There are rules and tips on how to make a connection via Skype or other technology.
Chapter 9: What to Do After the Interview
The full guide on what to do (and not to do) after the interview. I will include detailed information on thank you notes how to write them, why to write them and more.
Chapter 10: Finding Opportunities
More insights into how to take your next step; how to find a career path and what to do when you do not know what you want to do.
Chapter 11: Closing the Deal or Negotiating and Accepting the Offer
On negotiating salary, getting letters of recommendation that will help you get the job and starting on your first day.
Chapter 12: Building Your Career with Skills and Learning
Sneak peek at book “The Prof’s Guide to Entrepreneur-ing: Using Entrepreneurial Skills to Launch Your Own Business or be the Boss of Your Career”
LinkedIn, despite the recent trouble with the stock value (for more on this, see my LinkedIn Post on Stock Valuation) is the place to be to make connections and to build your career.
I have a very labor intensive product to overhaul my client’s LinkedIn account (see more here LinkedIn Overhaul Product) that takes approximately 7-10 hours of work on my part. I redesign the content, prepare built in searches for careers, contacts and groups and create a plan on how to use LinkedIn all based off of my 14-point proprietary questionnaire.
Recently, I was thinking about this product and considering raising the price because of the time involved in the process but before I do that I decided I would launch a new product in the thinking of my Resume Do It Yourself Kit Product for entry level professionals. This would, too, be for entry level folk and not my executive clientele who need the full product offering from me.
The LinkedIn Do It Yourself Kit would also come with a free copy of my Entrepreneur-ING book and the research and how-to guide created exclusively by me along with some extras (there are always extras) for $50. I think this product can be positioned for more people and can help put the powerful tool of LinkedIn into the hands of the individuals who need it most - the entry-level professional. The use of this tool, LinkedIn, can put the focus on using motivation and entrepreneur-ING to get grow your career by being more visible and apparent.
In my opinion, people who would buy this product are entrepreneurial and focused on being competitive as new career entrants and that is inspiring to me! I have been doing some speaking engagements recently with both my College and Career Readiness Seminars and other professional focused speeches and for each 30-60 people I speak in front of, a handful reach out afterwards to make a connection and I am always impressed with that as being the "professor" and having people respond to and react to that to build a networking relationship is wonderful. It is the same for this type of product - by learning how to use LinkedIn with my unique lessons and product, you can be the one making these types of relationships across the board for your career.
LinkedIn is something quite powerful in that no one else is using it right. It is like my
Old School Networking advice from 2000-2002; the stuff I did to network to my position after the dot-com explosion was unique and got my actual job offers because not everyone was doing it - this is how LinkedIn is right now. I am basically at expert status on reviewing, helping and moving others to use LinkedIn the right way. I have done some other posts on LinkedIn already with free advice (more here LinkedIn Blog Category) but thought I would go over a few quick new tips I have been thinking about and implementing for others.
1) LinkedIn is NOT FacebookThis means do not save memes or other “quirky” things on this platform.
2) Keep your profile picture professional and of just YOU. Be dressed for the job you want not the job you have.
3) If you are employed but looking for other opportunities, make this known subtly so that your current coworkers/managers/etc are not made aware of it. For instance, craft your summary and information so it is so appealing that people call you based on your expertise OR subtly make reference to being open to opportunities (key word: SUBTLY).
4) If you are not currently employed, get some volunteer work and/or short term engagements to highlight on your profile. Also, think about how you can diversify yourself with schooling, training or some other skills based training to have that updated on your LinkedIn.
5) Do engage professionally on LinkedIn; make new connections, bring discussion and thoughtful points to other discussions (as applicable) and share some informative content and lessons to the platform.
Ideally, write something yourself that can help make you “shine” via the LinkedIn Pulse function.
What do you think about this LinkedIn advice and new product? I can tell you that many people do not use LinkedIn appropriately or effectively; I hope you take this advice and consider my products for this category for your next step. Happy Hunting!
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I had some meetings recently and at one of them, I was asked to attend the Wagner College Center for Academic and Career Engagement’s Speed Networking Event on March 2nd. I shared a little bit about this on Instagram but really thought it warranted its own blog post because it was an amazing experience.
The event was held on campus in the Faculty Dining Room; which is a wonderful room for this type of event – open, airy and with enough tables to have each “expert” have their own table. Everyone who was there was representing themselves, their businesses, experiences and giving back to the students who need a “safe” place to practice networking.
There were 9 experts there representing all different industries and roles – from finance to publishing to electrical and entrepreneurs and corporate types, too. Or like me, someone who is Corporate, Entrepreneur and Executive all rolled into one!
Each expert stayed seated and the students moved from table to table every 10 minutes. The students were professional to the “t” from clothing to hair / makeup (if applicable) and demeanor. It was an amazing proud moment for me to see so many college students doing so much so well. I cannot take credit for it but I definitely think I helped them even more with professionalism and networking skills in the ten minutes I had them at my table.
Also, I gave them all my business card and I am hoping to hear from some (or all) of them in terms of creating a networking / mentoring relationship. I feel I met many amazing future leaders in business, sociology, law enforcement and maybe a few future NFL players, too.
I got to talk about principles and lessons from my book on Entrepreneur-ING in terms of how to be motivated, proactive and focused in careers. We chatted about how I run my day and where I see my company and it was challenging for me to think this through with each mini-audience in terms of where I do see my company. I was able to tell them about my 1600+ website visitors per week and some of them brainstormed with me on new marketing tips I could use for promoting my site and message and books. It was a give and take even though I was there to “teach” them! Which is how I have found all of the teaching moments in my career / life, I give but get more back than I could ever give.
In terms of my business and growth potential, I can definitely see the possibilities of this little company I launched in July growing within the next 6-12 months where I could be hiring help or interns. In fact, I recently signed up for a table at the upcoming Wagner College / St John’s University Career Fair to begin canvassing for talent willing to help me with some new initiatives.
More to come on my blog and social media about my new initiatives. I am hopeful to have built some mentoring relationships last night and I offered copies of my new book to anyone who asked for it via email so I hope to be sending out some packages soon! You can order your own copy of my books here Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com.
What do you think about networking? Did you ever attend an event like this at your school? What would you have wanted to know about networking but never had the courage / opportunity to ask? The best part about this event was we could just share our real-world tips and encourage the students to always network and my biggest advice of the night was to recognize the give and take in relationships and to network by sharing some knowledge, advice, article or something to build a relationship and not to just ask for something. Common sense but I got to give specific examples to them in mini-lessons because that is how this prof teaches! Happy Hunting!
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I am the type of person who is always reading, always learning and always considering lessons to bring to my blog and my other content venues (such as my recently published book - see it here: Amazon Author Page The Next Step) and I enjoy finding new lessons out on my own and with some business partners because it always seems to dovetail nicely into new pursuits. For instance, the idea of franchising as a way to become an entrepreneur and how I can now address this option in my next installment of my Entrepreneur-ING book series which will detail going from zero to launch with a business idea. I feel that if I did not recently have some discussions about this, that I would have not included it in the final book.
I think this is the way for everyone and why it is so important to network and build business (and personal) relationships with other small business owners. A big part of the reason I joined the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce and am looking into joining Richmond Business Connections is because a lot of what I do is in a “vacuum” - I interact with clients, potential clients and friends and family of course but sometimes you do not want to turn your personal relationships into business reviewers. Also,I think your clients are already kind of pre-qualified to get and understand your message (because that is why they are your clients). For instance, someone I am working with right now said (I am paraphrasing) that after seeing my content and my message that it was a no-brainer to hire me for my branding package (see more on my blog post on my new Branding Package ).
I recently had some meetings and discussions around franchising and I felt like I had overlooked this in the past in my content and lessons on entrepreneurship. I am definitely going to be doing some research on different franchising opportunities and plan on polling those who registered for my Entrepreneurship: Build Your Own Business course at the Department for Lifelong Learning at Wagner College to see if they want to address this as I already have all 12 modules full of tons of executable zero to launch information for them to go ahead and build their businesses. Click here to register for the Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business course at Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning today!
Franchising is interesting because there are many different options for franchising and you invest in a business that comes with education, training and procedures. The PMP (Project Management Professional) in me adores procedures. I cannot help it. Training manuals and learning plans are just so important to me – I have written them, recreated them and I do believe my new book on Entrepreneur-ing is a basic simple language procedure manual for you to use to execute on building your brand whether for your career or your own business. More on my new Book Entrepreneur-ing here.
So I will be creating some new content around franchising and I know of some people who might benefit from this information. For instance, if you are laid off and / or not ready to retire, the option to be an entrepreneur is a big one – it is called the “second” career or “encore” career. For many people, though, the idea of going out there on their own is a daunting one and perhaps the ability to franchise or to invest in a franchise is a better option for them.
I hope to create some interesting content on this and start sharing it here as the weeks go on – it fits in so nicely with my Entrepreneurship content and learnings. Also, the second installment of my Entrepreneur-ing book is focused on actually launching the business and this can and will include information on franchising.
For instance, I see a lot of people doing MLN (multi level marketing) options on Facebook – while not exactly a “franchising” world it is something similar – you know the kinds the 31-bags, BeautiControl, Younique Makeup and IT Works – it is interesting because this is all done on the idea of running your own business but it is not exactly the same. Look for a future post comparing and contrasting MLNs with Franchising and other entrepreneurial pursuits.
What do you think about franchising? Have you ever considered it as an option to being an entrepreneur? I am working on more content and research on franchising with a new networking partner, Ed Brochin of FranSight - Franchise Consulting Services.
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I was asked to speak at the Richmond Business Connections about social media and blogging. It is so exciting for me to speak; I am open to all speaking engagements but my calendar is beginning to fill out so please consider clicking here to hold your dates:
Or just right here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/speaking-engagements.html
Speaking Events – Richmond Business Connections
The Richmond Business Connection group is a networking group focusing on referrals, business tips and more. I loved the way they used their website to promote my speaking engagement : http://www.rbcofsi.com/events.html and I used this to promote it, too. It is a great looking site and really highlights the members and the events they provide for their members.
I will say as an entrepreneur, I do a lot of my work in a bit of a vacuum in terms of content creation, social media marketing and more. I definitely have been self-teaching myself the ways of social media and it was great to have a platform to share my lessons learned in person to other business owners. I rely on my strong writing skills and the passion that I have for writing to continue to create and share content to help me stand out as a local expert on careers, college, college and career readiness and more.
In addition to all of the content and work I am doing in the college and career readiness as well as my one on one relationships with my clients who reach out to me for resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn Profiles and more (click here to hire me http://www.thenextstep1234.com/store/c1/Featured_Products.html), I am building out a consulting piece in terms of social media and entrepreneurship. I already had an EBook in draft on blogging but now I will branch out my business to include helping entrepreneurs and other small businesses use social media and create content.
Today’s event (and every weekly meeting) was at 8am at Z-One on Richmond Avenue. It was warm, welcoming oh and for the first meeting you attend, it is a free breakfast so don’t say you can’t get anything for free. I got to see each person give a tip or a referral. It was very interesting. Any business person can email and set up to attend the breakfast as a meet and greet. You get 60 seconds usually to discuss your business but because I was asked to speak, I got to give a 15-minute talk on blogging and more.
I was given the floor and everyone was super interested and asked awesome questions. So much of what I do is focused on building content and sharing it – it is the sharing and the building part that I spoke about. I gave a step by step lesson on how they could start doing this and even got to answer some more specific questions to clarify exactly how to move forward. I have some follow up meetings set up with some of the attendees and I am going to work on helping other small business branch out into the promotion and social media that I have self-taught myself how to do. I was not a Twitter native or even a blogger in any of my past lives.
So much of what I knew about the web came from my stint in a dot-com in the early 2000’s (which means like nothing compared to what is available and out there today). I got very lucky in that I have had experience with using technology for small business purposes from 2002- on when I ran some small businesses and know how hard it was to share content without taking out an actual ad in a newspaper to point people to your website. Now with social media, I can just have my website and content to share via various modes of social media. I have to give a shout out to my website building tool, Weebly, is really one of the best I have ever used. I have used other Web site building tools and the site I have with Weebly is, in my opinion, a beautifully designed site and very functional. There is the building blocks there for great design – I personally love it – let me know what you think, though by sticking around after reading this and navigating through the rest of the site.
I look forward to potentially becoming a member of this group within the next few weeks. What do you think of networking groups? Have you joined them as a small business owner? Also, as I have said before when I share all of my social media secrets but I just struggle with Facebook. It seems that I cannot get promotion without paying for it via Facebook. What do you think? Happy Hunting!
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I am working on a few community initiatives as I write this post; I am also recognizing that I am just one person and that I need to schedule accordingly. I keep mentioning the commercial from 10 or so years ago where the sales team is walking into a meeting and checking to see if the lead has the information to present and he points at his head and goes, "It is all here" and then he gets hit in the head with an opening file drawer and passed out. Everything in my plan and business is me so I need to make time for balance as well as growth.
It is so important to give back. Any person, whether they own a business or not, should consider finding a niche to volunteer with to give back to or to grow themselves. Whether it be just a few hours or just dollars that you want to send in, giving back is good for you. Why?
For those who believe in it, Karma is based off of the theory that what you do, comes back to you. Karma is a big reason to do nice things – it definitely helps you and your brand (or business) to be known as someone who gives back. But Karma is not the only reason.
If you do not believe in or care about Karma, you will believe in the results of doing something nice for someone who needs it. If you have a skill, talent or extra funds, using it to help an organization that means something to you or by pitching in your skills and talents and truly seeing the results is an amazing boost to your self worth and it WILL INCREASE YOUR SKILL SET.
How is that possible – simply because by pitching in and helping others, you will be, in a sense, teaching. By teaching someone something, you are learning. Here I go again with that stuff about learning. If you give back and teach someone or help someone achieve something, you are learning yourself. You are learning how to create a lesson, and perhaps how to make someone understand something. This is a magic ability to have and it will spill over into your professional life and make things click. Yes, being a parent at times can help with this, too but something about helping someone that is not related to you and learning how to handle learning styles for individuals of all ages makes it a powerful tool to have.
My community outreach is in progress (more on my community outreach is here http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/giving-back-to-the-community-as-an-entrepreneur
and here http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/results-of-my-community-outreach) and when I go back in February for my second round of roll up the sleeves and “do-ism”, I will be teaching and helping people execute on their dreams. People who maybe do not have quality career-level help and could not afford my type of help. But in giving back and doing this, I am the one who is receiving the benefit. I am the one who gets to tailor my message and learn more from teaching than they can by listening to me.
What do you think about giving back? Do you need a speaker or a lesson for an upcoming event in the NYC area (Staten Island and beyond). If yes, check out more about what I can do here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/college-readiness-seminars--more.html to get on my calendar before I book up. Happy Hunting!
Wednesday night was my first Staten Island Chamber of Commerce event and it was wonderful.
I joined the chamber officially just this week and they hosted a mixer where I was able to speak about my business as did the other new members.
This is all new and exciting to me and I always love to speak in general but getting up in a lovely restaurant (South Shore Bar and Grill - highly recommend it lovely place, great food etc) with about 30 people or more watching me was great practice! See, even a public speaker like me thinks of this a challenge though a good challenge...but one nonetheless.
I was ready for the event and loved talking to people one on one and in groups - I found each talk helped me formulate what I wanted to say when I was given the floor.
When it was time for me to introduce myself and my business, I think I hit on everything. Some of what I said is listed below and really encompasses my mantra and my elevator pitch - sometimes, I do not even have to say it - I recently ran into someone that I wanted to tell about my company and they already knew and told me they are impressed seeing what I am doing to build my brand via LinkedIn and other content channels.
My Elevator Pitch
The Next Step is built around helping with college and career readiness. I have experience as an educator and an executive focusing on helping new graduates, high school students and career professionals take their next steps in career and education goals. I create content, EBooks as well as offer interactive and informative seminars, training and courses on careers, blogging, entrepreneurship, and really anything that I blog about can be turned into a lesson / class etc. Also, I work one-on-one with clients to help them with resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles and application essays. As part of my service, I include coaching and career plans without additional charge and my LinkedIn product particularly teaches you based on your needs on how to use LinkedIn to have YOUR phone ring instead of you having to make the calls to get attention. Oh, and I closed with the fact that I am interested in speaking at any event - I am an educator and interested in sharing my company, my message and teaching people to be ready for their next step.
Upcoming Speaking Event
For example, here is an awesome link showing an upcoming speaking arrangement on February 16: http://www.rbcofsi.com/events.html
At the event, I got a stack of business cards and I am working on reaching out to everyone who spoke with me.
As I build this business, I look forward to making and creating more partnerships and learning from everyone. I think joining the Chamber was a great way to grow my connections and to learn and grow more!
What do you think? Are you interested in joining the Chamber of Commerce? Let me know if you have any questions! I am looking forward to hitting the ground running and being involved with the upcoming Workforce Development Committee and with the Career-Con event. Happy hunting!
When you are ready to think about your career, what do you do? Do you map out your career plan? Is it kinda fluid? Is it dependent on completing some degree and / or other coursework? Is your dream to do something so unique that no one has ever done it before? Or is your dream to just keep yourself employed throughout your career without any real plan for it?
That last one can be hard in and of itself. Just keeping full time employment is a task in itself with our economy – less people are retiring, there are more people out of work and looking for their next step and a lot of companies are struggling with the “new economy”. Of course then there are other factors such as global issues like war and refugees and potential financial issues within the US around student loan debt. I will be working on a post on this but the idea is that, much like the housing crash that led to a near financial collapse in 2007-2008, the student loans that have been packaged and repackaged and sold and resold (much like the mortgage instruments), could lead to another financial collapse.
Well, we all remember the curse, “May you live in interesting times.” We definitely live in "interesting" times. How do you manage the various external issues along with your need to manage your career?
I think it makes sense to focus on what you can control – which is you and your experiences and how you explain and share those experiences with potential career partners.
An important thing to do is to always have your elevator pitch ready; that in a nutshell what makes you special. With helping my clients get to their next steps, I am always shocked by how many know various languages but do not highlight it in their resume or in their elevator pitches. If you know multiple languages, you should promote that as it is a rarity to find people who speak more than one language and it can be the niche that gets you into a dream company.
If you do not know what belongs on your elevator pitch, think of this – what makes me good at what I do? What makes me better than the average person in this type of role? Or what diversifies me for where I want to be vs the competition? Some examples of the elevator pitch are below and can be inserted after someone asks you what you do or who you work for:
“I am the go-to person on my team for implementing change for technology projects; I am the only one who speaks business-speak and tech-speak…”
“As a PMO analyst, I travel the world and have found my knack for languages and programming code has made me a necessary part of various project successes…”
You can brag a little; not too much. You want the sentences you say to stand out and maybe spark a connection with whom you are talking to that says, “Hey, I know someone who needs a PMO analyst on their team….”
Of course, while using your elevator pitch, also listen carefully to who you are talking to is saying. Know when to ditch the pitch and just make a new connection. It is a balancing game between promoting yourself and turning off the people you have just met.
What do you think belongs in your elevator pitch? What do you think are good examples of pitch-worthy sentences? How do you know when to use it and when to ditch it? Let me know in the comments below, via any of my social media links or via email. Happy Hunting!
Now that we are back to regular “routines” after the holidays, we can focus on prepping for this new year. Many people do not believe in making resolutions – just think about the gym business. Yes, the gym business. There are tons of people in the gym on the day after New Year’s getting memberships, re-upping their memberships and then after a week or two …. Nada. No more gym going. This is the idea of resolutions and why many people feel they are useless. To really make changes, to establish new habits and new routines, it truly takes only two weeks. Two weeks of doing something makes it your new routine, your new habit… your new you! But you have to do it for those two weeks and then the next 50 weeks will make 2016 your year to shine.
Some of my quick ideas for making this year the best year for you and your career are as follows and all ideas and recommendations are my own - I am not compensated by any of the items I recommend below although I would love to be (subtle blogger hint for free swag, thank you very much):
Lisa Vento Nielsen