Your Next Post Might Cost You A Great Job

You better think about the context and content of your next Facebook status or Tweet if you’re in the market for a new job. Let me tell you something, if I were looking for a job right now I would pretty much need to eighty-six my Facebook and Instagram accounts. Go ahead and laugh—but that photo of me chirping up my last margarita would probably be frowned up.

If you think employers aren’t looking at social media when considering a candidate, think again. The Chicago Tribute says that 84% percent of employers used social media last year to recruit job candidates and 1/3 of those disqualified potential employees based on what they found. And just to round out the stats, The Muse found that employers are searching the following to learn more about you: Facebook 76%, Twitter 53%, and LinkedIn 48%.

Social media goes both ways. Employees use it to research potential companies and job opportunities. And employers not only check out resumes, cover letters, qualifications, and professional contacts—they also judge your personal history, professionalism, and your potential fit for the company culture.

So just remember that with social media, there is the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. You want to accomplish the biggest fail ever? Then tweet about your obsession with Fireball, your hatred for a politician, or make disparaging comments about your boss and colleagues. We’ve all done it, but it’s time to stop if you want to land a great job.

Here’s 9 ways to help you clean up your social media while you’re looking for a job.

  1. Google yourself and see what comes up. If you find posts or photos that are “suspect,” remove as many of them as you can.
  2. When you publish photos, make sure that they represent you in a positive manner.
  3. Change all of your settings to private so that you’re inner most feelings and indiscretions are left to those that you trust.
  4. When you share content, make sure that it’s relevant and useful to your industry so that it appears like you’re invested in your chosen profession.
  5. Change your interests to reflect things that are business-focused.
  6. Weed out friends that can make you look bad.
  7. Review your blog content and pull down anything that might be considered too edgy or controversial.
  8. Check YouTube and remove any videos that you’ve posted that might infringe on copyrights or portray you in unfavorable circumstances.
  9. Match your LinkedIn profile to your resume and make sure that you have engaging and pertinent endorsements.

Use your social network to your advantage. And remember that you can use your media to build a compelling brand for yourself.

 

3 Ways to Sabotage Your Next Event

3 Excellent Ways to Sabotage Your Next Event (Thumbnail 1)I love going to a big corporate event to watch all of the “Chardonnay Sisters” get hammered and hit on their colleagues. It’s especially fun to watch the shenanigans when the keynote speaker sucks and has nothing remotely important to say. And award shows are the best! I get a huge kick out of acceptance speeches, like someone thinks they got an Oscar or something.

Hey listen, I’m not saying that I’ve never drank martinis straight out of the ice sculpture, but come on, if you’re doing to take the time, effort, and spend the coin to host an event, then dammit, do it right.

Ok, I’ve already digressed. So let’s give you some decent recommendations in this blog.

Here’s what you need to know when planning your next event.

Book an Event Space that Wows Your Crowd. This requires some event planning savvy. And if you’re not an event specialist, hire one. Even if you’re on a restricted budget, an event planner will bring in the special touches that you might not be able to do on your own. They think of everything, down to the smallest of details. Not only does a good event planner handle the bulk of the planning and execution, they get great bro deals from their contacts to save you money.

First impressions are everything. You want your attendees to walk up in awe…you know, the red carpet effect.

Importantly, don’t forget that you want the room to look full, maybe even packed. This will look impressive and it will also prove to your boss that you’re smart, prepared, and that your event marketing and PR worked.

Establish the Focus of Your Event and Brand it Well. I’m sure that you’ve attended an event that we like to call the “Swiss Army Knife” event. You know, it runs the gamete—keynote speaker, networking, workshops, vendor booths—the so-called retail vendor event of the year! These types of misguided events make your company simply look stupid.

Event planning is a huge part of marketing. The event needs to extend the brand. It has to provide value to its attendees and most importantly, it needs to engage people. A bitchin’ keynote speaker is a must. And then provide some value adds, like additional expert speakers. Don’t overthink it; remember your audience and deliver one single message.

Again, if you’re going to do it, then do it well.

Remember the Scout’s Motto. “Always be prepared.” Event planning is a monumental task and anything can happen. Plan for the unexpected so that you don’t fail before you even open the doors.

This is even more reason to hire an event planner, who can deal with mics that aren’t working, a sound system that sounds like someone is talking through water, table centerpieces with wilting flowers, or event invites that include the wrong date. Like I said, anything can happen. And the details are what will astound your crowd.

Hopefully I’ve given you some sound advice. I believe in you, you’ve got this. You’re next event will rock the house.

Check out our event planning video – it’s epic. And remember the one important take-away—don’t invite Uncle Joe to your event. Bahahaha.event_management_video2

And not to gratuitously promote our products, but if you’re interested in an event planning career check out this link to our specialized studies program.

How to Lose Your Job in 5 Days, Hollywood Style

Businessman sleeping with sticky notes on eyes at desk in office

Well, you’ve decided that it’s time to move on and find a new job. At this point, I guess you have two options: try to get the pink slip or gracefully give your two weeks. Either way, just get it done in short order.

Here’s a terse set of brilliant exodus ideas for you to consider if you want to get out fast.

    1.  The Wolf of Wall Street Approach

Get totally wasted at lunch, which by the way, sounds really good to me. I would disclose some of my own indiscretions at this point, but then I would probably get canned myself and I can’t afford that. Anyway, I digress.

But, if you really want to get fired, I would grab your favorite colleague, rent a limo, and get down to some lush restaurant on the water. Then order vodka martinis every five minutes until one of you passes out. And don’t forget to charge it all on the corporate credit card.

This might actually get you fired in one day if you pass out and don’t show back up to work while the rest of your team is working their faces off.

Plus, a martini departure is a real classy move. In fact, it’s pretty epic. A cool boss would applaud you for this behavior—but I really doubt that will happen—unless I was your boss.

2.  Pull a Ron Burgundy

You’ve all see Anchorman right? If not, watch it. It’s the perfect professional meltdown. So Will Ferrell’s character Ron Burgundy ends up in competition from a woman, by god, for the anchor position. Young and beautiful Veronica Corningstone (played by Christina Applegate) rolls in, amongst a gang of chest pounding male colleagues and gives Ron a run for his money at the news desk.

Let me tell you, the perfect way to get fired is to have a gender war. And Ron and his band of idiots fired the cannons.

Burgundy totally loses his mind with Corningstone. His typical sign off was “keep it classy San Diego,” but he went ahead and laid it all on the line with “go f**k yourself San Diego.” I mean really, this is an awe-inspiring way to get fired. Just go ahead and toss out the “f-bomb” and check the pulse of the crowd. I’d pretty much put it all in and bet that you get 86’d.

3.  How Could I Possibly be Expected to Handle Work on a Day Like This? It’s probably a good idea to call in sick for the 10th time, especially if you’re trending on every Monday. I’ve been around the block a few times and I’ve played this game before. Rest assured that when I was a director, I tracked every move of my prime offender. My issue wasn’t really about this person not doing their job, it was more about him thinking I had my head up my ass.

Nothing pisses off a manager more than questioning their intelligence. So go for it Ferris.

4.  Grab the Goldfish and Peace Out. Sometimes your moral epiphany isn’t what the boss man wants to hear. One time I decided to write my own eulogy…that I titled, “I Woke Up.” It was basically my sentiment to my bosses for working me silly. 80 hours a week in fact, with a peasants pay. I guess what I learned is having an opinion might be frowned upon in some circles. So if you can’t reasonably voice it, then you probably don’t belong there anyway. So grab Flipper the fish and ask “who wants to come with me?”

5.  “You’re Not the Boss of Me.” Famous words from the infamous Dirk Diggler. You wanna really piss of the boss? Go ahead and claim that the company can’t survive without you. The best thing you can do is to act like life at the ol’ donut shop doesn’t go on after you leave. I once told my boss that I “ran circles” around my colleague. Then I asked for a 6-figure salary. And, unfortunately, I received a cardboard box and was shown the door.

Needless to say, these exit methodologies probably will burn bridges (as you’re crossing) to relationships and resources that you need later. With that being said, maybe a two-week notice and a fist bump is the better idea.

But… if you get my humor… it’s pretty classic if you get fired on your day off too. Anyway, good luck. Ditch the taco stand in style and then off you go to your next venture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are You One Degree (Fahrenheit) Away from Career Success?

A person's hand stretches out towards a kettle which stands on a platform which is part of a large solar stove outside in the sun.

And I’m not talking about an associate, bachelor’s, or master’s degree. In this blog I’m going to review a book that was published back in 2011 but is still very relevant today. The book is called 212 Degree Service: The 10 Rules for Creating a Service Culture by Mac Anderson.

This book is a fantastic and quick read. You have to read it from the perspective of creating an environment of service for both your employees and your customers. And employ the idea that your employees are just as important to your organization as are your customers.

Although there is a little redundancy in Anderson’s points, I think that was done purposely to reinforce the concepts.

Anderson starts with a simple scientific idea, “At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. With boiling water, comes steam. And steam can power a locomotive. And…it’s that one extra degree that makes all the difference.”

It’s a basic notion; the idea that each and every effort, each additional nod to an employee, and every additional outreach to your customer counts.

Anderson notes 10 tenants of service and this is what I took away from each point:

  1. “It starts at the top.” A great leader understands that his or her stewardship is what it takes to turn a good company into a great company. The leader’s main focus is to set the tone, create the culture, establish the brand, and carry that brand through everything that is done. Without brilliant leadership, that extra degree will never be attained.
  2. “Your customers must come second.” Your employees are number one and this is because they become the gateway to your customer base. By looking for ways to reward employees and serve them like a customer, you establish an organization of exceptional service. Employees are the ones that execute the brand, from leadership to customer service, from finance to marketing. So hire the right people and trust them to do their jobs.
  3. “Engage the hearts and minds of your employees.” A vision that employees can follow on a daily basis is critical. Anderson quotes Jim Harris, “When something captures your heart, you are driven to succeed. Heartpower is the core of any successful enterprise. Capture the heart, and you have captured the employee. For without a vibrant, beating heart, any enterprise is sure to die.” This is very poignant in that the vision of the company must be compelling and understandable. Build the fire within and make your employees your greatest asset. Establish an environment of open communication, empower employees to make decisions, and invest in training and development.
  4. “Make your culture your brand.” No matter how you build your brand, you have to do it with your employees in mind. So just like staff or product training, your employees must be trained on the brand as well. The brand must be extended from the top all they way down the chain. Nordstrom is a great example of good branding. They focus on customer service and it starts with employee loyalty and acceptance of the brand. Set lofty goals that can reasonably be accomplished by your employees. Whether you are a product or service brand, hold your staff accountable to meet the organization’s expectations. That will set and keep you on the path to success.
  5. “Understand the “how of wow.” What I learned from this tenant is that after you lead by example you have to make your customers fans of your brand. I write a lot about Apple…because they live and die by the “wow” factor. Consumers believe in why Apple operates the way it does… and the “why,” rather than the “what,” is why people follow the brand. Customers become ambassadors of your brand and that right there is a huge victory.
  6. “You only get one chance to make a first impression.” In today’s economy people have too many choices. They are bombarded with information. One bad impression results in a sale to another brand. So again, take care of your employees so that they take care of your consumers to deliver what they really want.
  7. “Identify your moments of truth.” Jan Carlzon from Scandinavian Airlines said, “Every moment, every contact must be as pleasant and as memorable as possible.” Once you have a service mentality created with your employees that carries down to your consumer. Get input from your customer and adjust to what needs to be fixed. And again remember that your customers are saturated with information and they have to use their gut feelings to make their decisions. That’s why the first contact matters the most to create a sense of authenticity. It’s all about engagement.
  8. “Don’t assume…ask.” A former Microsoft executive said, “Service is not a list of off-the-shelf solutions, it’s a constant process of discovery.” You can’t try to force your customers to believe what you think. Its simple: you need to ask them for their feedback and then adjust your strategy to their needs. Use surveys, focus groups, and questionnaire cards at every point of the sales cycle. Listen to your customers and be on point with their needs to help sustain the brand and make them customers for life.
  9. “Celebrate success.” Have fun. Revel in your wins. It’s the best thing that you can do for your employees. It’s the trickle down effect. And if anything it will create buy-in across the entire organization. For everything accomplished, awards are king.
  10. “Reinforce. Reinforce. Reinforce.” This is the key to the realization of your goals. Spread the word and your message and never let down. Keep things simple, memorable, and communicate it often. Track your process. Determine areas of improvement, set realistic goals, track, monitor and communicate results. Change faster than your competitors and you will reap the awards with your customers.

Every degree counts.

You may purchase this book at Amazon. Or watch a Mac Anderson’s movie on YouTube.

Fight for Your Right to Change

Change

So is it acceptable in today’s society to change your position? Well, if you look at the current political landscape, then no. In the case of politics, the moment that an elected official, public servant, or candidate veers the course, (no matter what side you belong to); the public immediately rebels against the institution.

We tend to knock people if they flip-flop, make an about-face, or drive toward a U-turn. Why is it that we insist on questioning everything and become skeptical at the moment of transformation? We’re somehow always keeping score. But is this a justified reaction? I personally think not.

For all of the naysayers out there, change is good. For god’s sake it’s human nature. We were born for change.

Today’s champions in business didn’t get to where they are today, building empires, by simply holding the line. If they didn’t change philosophies, direction, or strategies, as consumers we would never have new experiences or have the opportunity to purchase new products and services. One thing that I know is true is that disruption is at the root of success.

Whether you realize it or not, there is a gravitational pull toward change. We like “different.” We seek out things that are perceived to be better. Ask yourself; do you care about the centerline or the ordinary? No! And you know why? We don’t have the capacity or the time to spend our time listening to the ordinary. Ordinary is boring, it’s not remarkable. What interrupts our thinking and makes us listen is “different.”

Inventors, CEOs, business owners, product developers, and marketers know this path well. They have struggled to get to the masses, to make people listen. Their job is to create and then spread the word. But is the word worth spreading if it’s just like everyone else’s story? And now more than ever, companies have the challenge of voicing their messages to a more conspicuous consumer. To the consumers that are classified as innovators and early adopters. For this new kind of consumer, ideas that are worth spreading win.

Let’s look at toys. Matchbox, once a competitor to the Hot Wheel brand, owned the market when it introduced its small toy cars. Matchbox thrived as the standard everyday, Americana replica of a car. It was small enough to fit in a “match box.” Cool right?

But what if you could dream up a different kind of car? Trendy styling, lowered, 20”wheels, flames, performance-based; basically a “tricked-up” car.

Mattel eventually bought Matchbox to eliminate the competition and then created a new segment of toy cars, Hot Wheels, which consumers had never seen before. Although they now had two brands of cars, each was positioned to own a different part of the market. Mattel believed in disruption.

Now tell me the truth, if you had the choice of a Hot Wheel or a Matchbox car wouldn’t you choose the souped-up Hot Wheel? Don’t get me wrong; there’s still a market for Matchbox, just like there’s a market for a Camry. But when it comes to a ball-buster company like Mattel, they didn’t do too badly by inventing something new. In fact, Mattel’s powerhouse of Boy’s Brands: Matchbox, Hot Wheels, and Tyco-RC represents $1 billion in sales. And Hot Wheels reigns with the lion share of that revenue. Why? I’ll continue to repeat myself. Because change is good and there are tons of case studies that prove that it’s necessary.

If you don’t like the toy example then think about the milk case. Cartons, gallons, white, non-fat, 1%, and whole. We know the story. But what happens when you take the milk out of the refrigerated case? Now we have Soy and Almond Milk, maybe next to the refrigerated case, or even in the cereal aisle. It’s not refrigerated! What a novel idea. While milk sales plummet, soy, almond, and non-dairy products soar—to the tune of $1 billion in annual retail sales in the U.S. I think that you’ll agree that’s different. Change is good.

Sometimes companies avoid change because it’s risky. But the riskiest thing a business can do is to remain stagnant. I’m telling you that the same is average. And average doesn’t get anyone, anywhere. So if a CEO asked me my opinion, I would ask him or her to please interrupt me and seek me out because I’m willing to listen. I have too much information coming at me all of the time that I just have to ignore a lot of it. I demand better choices, great choices.

In the words of Socrates, “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

I say you welcome change. Quit fighting it. Stop questioning it. Accept that it’s time to think differently. Fight for your right to change. Trust me, its justified.

Kareer Kandor with Kathy, Volume 5

PrintIt has been awhile since I’ve posted a Kareer Kandor with Kathy piece where we take the opportunity to answer questions from our readers. We’ve gotten some pretty awesome inquires over the last few months. Don’t miss a word here—cause this is pretty good stuff. Check it out.

From Luci: I need to give two weeks’ notice but I don’t know when to do it.

Really? Buck up buttercup. So you accepted another offer and you need to quit your job, pronto. What are you waiting for? You hate your job. You wake up in a panic attack every morning because you don’t want to go to work. And you need to put a shot of whiskey in your brew just to check your email. I mean really, heyoo?

You know that at the least you will get your last two weeks’ pay while you’re waiting to start your new job. So just go for it and get it done.

I’m going to tell you something: some jobs are really like death certificates—just another toe tag on the cart. Buy the casket and bury it. The next gal that takes your old position is going to come around and write your eulogy anyway. And then your legacy is dust.

So don’t feel obligated or in the least bit regretful that you’ve taken on a new job. Enjoy a two-week vacation before you go off to the heavens of your next venture: TRAINING!

From Burt: My boss won’t answer my emails or texts. Therefore, I can’t get anything done. Any advice?

Well Burt, it sounds like you’re in a situation that most of us deal with during our days at the ol’ job. First of all, I think it’s disgusting when people blow me off. It’s totally unprofessional. I mean we’re all just trying to get our jobs done, right? And importantly, we’re looking for leadership.

This is what I would do. Try making phone calls rather than sending emails and texts and maybe you might have more luck getting a response.

Or better yet, think about scheduling a weekly update/status meeting with your boss at least once a week. If he or she is truly that busy then maybe you can utilize a face-to-face meeting as a way to get a lot of direction to get you through the week. This will allow you to lay out your priorities while getting input at the same time. Just make sure that you go in very organized so that you can get what you need from the boss man. And if this turns out to be a real consistent problem, you might need to go over your supervisor’s head to find a solution that works better for you.

No one is too busy to ignore emails, texts, or calls. Good luck!

From Fergi: Hello Kathy, I spend my days in meetings and then I end up having to take most of my work home with me so that I can accomplish something. Any advice?

Fergi, I struggle with this issue all of the time. Meetings are a drag and they can weigh you down like an anchor. The more meetings you sit in, the more work that piles up on your desk. And don’t you find that so many of these meetings are just a waste of time? There are lots of people that head up meetings just to hear themselves talk.

I would suggest mutiny, but that probably isn’t on the treasure map. But I’ve got a couple of ideas for you.

First, consider discussing this issue with your supervisor. You might be pleasantly surprised by his or her reaction if you layout your situation in a rational and logical way. It might be effective for you to discuss your workload, starting with the most pressing projects. Not only will that get you organized, it will also give the head honcho a good lens into what you really need to spend your time doing. Your boss will most likely find that you’re more useful and valuable spending time at your desk.

The other thing that you might want to consider is delegating. I’m sure that there are meetings that don’t require your attention. Make sure that you get agendas with your meeting invites so that you can determine whether it’s necessary for you to be there. And if you don’t receive the agenda, ask for it. Look for those meetings that involve planning and strategic development so that you’re using your highly sought after skills. You can look to your teammates to lighten the load and attend meetings on your behalf. Find the right person and just ask for a simple recap and then you can still remain in “the know.”

If those strategies don’t work—screw it and just don’t show up. I’m kidding of course.

That’s it for this week. Feel free to send in your questions and I will answer them in the next issue of Kareer Kandor with Kathy. You can email me at kstam@uci.edu.

It’s Not About What You Do, It’s Why You Do It

 

If you want to be an inspired leader, you need to watch this NOW. Check it out: Simon Sinek on “How Great Leaders Inspire Action.”

There are so many questions that we ask ourselves when we’re trying to rise above our competition, or lead our staff in a different way.

Why do we do what we do? And is the “what” more important than the “why?”

There is a reason why we decided to go to school, get our first jobs, get married, and start families. Those decisions were made on our believing that directionally they were the best choices for our lives. The why, not the what, of those choices was ultimately important.

The same thing applies at work, as we lead, and as we do what we do.

What Sinek discovered is that there is a pattern in the way successful leaders and accomplished companies operate: they think, act, and communicate in the same way. And he points to Apple as an example. Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne invented the Apple computer (the what) but why did they do it? Apple has access to the same media, the same talent, the same consumers, and the same organizational structure as many other companies do.

But what is different about their organization? Something else might be at play here right? Well, most likely it wasn’t luck or chance. They thought it out and strategically, company-wide, they focused on their customer’s needs. Ease of use and the propensity for great design. Apple continuously challenges the status quo. And not to anyone’s surprise, people buy into why they did what they did, and it’s extended across their brand and their entire product line. Success.

Sinek espouses that people don’t buy “what,” they buy “why.” Our decisions are made by two central parts of our brains. The neo cortex provides us with our rational thoughts while our limbic brain controls our behaviors. The combination of the two is what drives our preference for one thing or the other. We believe in certain things and in the case of Apple, its employees (through blood, sweat, and tears) believe the same thing as its customers. And that right there is the recipe for success. When it comes to purchasing patterns, only about 10% of users “just get it,” but the gap can be closed on the remaining 90% to get them to buy through creative and determined leadership.

Consumer purchasing patterns are determined by what they believe to be inspired leaders and brilliant companies. And in the long-term, end profits are determined by the why, not the what.

We follow leaders and companies because it’s what we want to do. There are some leaders that control, but the best enthuse others.

So what can you do to be an inspired leader and create the why?

  1. Challenge the norm. Strive for that 10% of consumers that wholeheartedly will believe in what and why you are do something.
  2. Drive your employees to believe in the needs of your users. This is how to motivate people to ask why.
  3. Steward the ship and never let an employee of yours take the fall. That will inspire trust and loyalty.
  4. Be impulsive. Don’t labor over the details. Just make the call and act on it. Right or wrong, at least you made a decision.
  5. Create an atmosphere of authenticity. Lead your staff to be real in their thoughts and actions.
  6. Open your doors. Establish an open working environment so that your staff feels comfortable interacting and strategizing with you.
  7. Always seek out your successor. Look toward your teammates as potential candidates for your job so that they can carry the torch if you leave your position.
  8. Inspire creativity and teamwork. Although individual contributions are critical, it’s proven that people who work in teams are more successful and provide better solutions as a whole.
  9. Find your mentor. Fostering a relationship with a mentor that can guide you will make you be a better leader. And you will learn a ton along the way.
  10. Believe in what you do. If you believe in your brand, your product, and your team, your staff will follow suit. Success.

It’s not about what you do, it’s why you do it. Words to live by.