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Best Way to Have Outstanding References

Best Way to Have Outstanding References

Last week, I thought I had a phone stalker on my cell. I didn't recognize the number and the caller ID had a weird name. Finally, I picked up the phone. It turned out to be the head of HR for a company in NYC doing a reference check on an intern I had 5+ years ago. I was totally caught off-guard. I hadn't heard from this person in over two years, was given no warning I'd be contacted, and didn't even know what position he was applying for. I did my best to give a good recommendation, but I know there was confusion in my voice.

I hung up the phone and thought, "That was annoying." As a career coach, I know the solution is to let the young person know and counsel him to never let that happen again. But, I have to wonder how many references out there might be so annoyed by something like this that they'd just swear to never be a reference again?

Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions: 10 Tips for Doing it Right

Feedback is the Breakfast of Champions: 10 Tips for Doing it Right

Whether from bosses, spouses or friends, it’s not easy to hear about our shortcomings. And letting others know how they can do better is almost as uncomfortable. Feedback can stir up all kinds of self-doubt, defensiveness and career worries – and if handled poorly, it can go radioactive.

But I think about feedback differently. For me, it isn’t about pointing out others’ weaknesses; on the contrary, it’s about helping them eliminate stumbling blocks in order to build on their strengths. That’s why I call feedback “the breakfast of champions.”

And it's essential. Operating without feedback is like driving a car with no speedometer, learning to cook without ever tasting your food, or playing basketball without a scoreboard.

 

How to Become a Top Industry Expert

How to Become a Top Industry Expert

I've had a lot of people contact me in the last six months asking if they could "pick my brain" about the best way to become an industry expert to advance their careers. Writing for Linkedin has been instrumental in that. I truly enjoy contributing here. I just wish I had more time to take all those calls and coffee meetings because I really love chatting with people about this. As a career coach, I am a huge fan of personal branding and the need to develop your business-of-one's "expert status" as a way to stay employable for a lifetime.

Unfortunately, my work has gotten so busy, I no longer have the bandwidth to speak individually with everyone who asks. Thus, I decided to do a free webinar on the subject called: 5 Secrets To Becoming A Top Industry Expert. 

The Paper Routes That Changed the Business World

The Paper Routes That Changed the Business World

Leaving a flock of domesticated birds to their own devices, mis-handling ice cream scoopsand returning children to their parents covered in flour aren’t achievements you’d expect to see on top-tier resumes. Yet they’re all experiences that LinkedIn’s Influencers -- some of the top minds in business -- remember from the first jobs they ever had. Over the next few weeks, we’ll publish stories from nearly 90 Influencers discussing the first time they earned a wage, as part of the “My First Job” feature series.

One takeaway from this compelling collection: Start young. About 80 percent of the business leaders that answered a survey on their early jobs were working before they were 18 years old. Reassuringly, these weren’t all prestigious assignments. In fact, when we surveyed participating Influencers, 39 percent said that their first professional gig comprised mostly grunt work.

Around 20 percent of the Influencers in this series worked in food service, 10 percent were retail store clerks, and another 10 percent landed entry-level office jobs. One job was particularly popular: Nearly 10 percent of survey respondents had a paper route.

Career Curveballs: Three Big Things I Learned When I Got Fired

Career Curveballs: Three Big Things I Learned When I Got Fired

In the Spring of 1984, I drove to my job as the Director of Marketing for the Parker Brothers Toy & Game Company. I can remember that drive vividly. The sea air wafting off Boston’s North Shore filled my senses. It was a beautiful day – serene and promising. Our company had recently changed ownership, and things had been a bit chaotic, but I still felt confident about my ability to meaningfully contribute. The Vice President of Marketing greeted me when I arrived. Gravely, he asked me to step into his office. Without hesitation, he told me my position had been eliminated. I had been fired. Ten years of my career down the drain in a flash. I was heartbroken, bitter, and felt blindsided. Feeling dejected, and every bit the victim, I returned home to my wife, my two small children, and my one very big mortgage. My outlook was one of doom and gloom.