I like the term “Strivers” for those of us who are constantly trying to make things happen, either for ourselves, our business, our clients, our community, friends and family. I also like the term “side hustle,” but that’s another story.
So if you are a self-identified “Striver,” or you are in a job search, or in a business development role, or are just trying to get a fresh perspective, here are three questions to ask yourself:
1) Is my LinkedIn profile up to date? Do I make it easy for people to find me on LinkedIn?
2) Is my phone number and e-mail listed at the end of every e-mail I send?
3) Can I position myself positively in 30 seconds to a complete stranger?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you have failed this little test and you have made it harder for yourself to succeed. Here’s my reasoning:
LinkedIn – you must have a LinkedIn profile if you are looking for a job, or trying to get a worthwhile connection with someone you don’t yet know. It is the first place that people look when they are introduced to you. A short profile is fine. Get a friend to take a great professional picture. A job hunt without a LinkedIn profile is just insane. And use LinkedIns tools to improve your profile.
E-mail signature – I am blown away by how many people leave their e-mail and phone number off of their e-mail. It does not matter how many times I’ve met you or been handed your card – you should be making it drop dead easy for me to call or e-mail you in a pinch.
Elevator pitch for you. In the startup world, we encourage everyone to have the shortest possible version of their story on hand in case they run into a VC or another influential person. The same goes for job seekers or other “strivers:” What’s the shortest, most positive version of yourself that you can present when someone says, “What do you do?” Here are some great examples:
“I’ve spent most of my career in media sales and I’m looking to do more.”
“I’m a writer, so right now I’m looking for some short PR engagements while I figure out my next thing.”
“I’m a repeat CFO and I consult on corporate and startup finance.”
See the pattern? Start with context and follow up with what you want to do. Then stop. Ask them a question. Let them ask you a question. Have a conversation. Ask them if you can follow up over coffee sometime. Way too many people (myself included at times) are so afraid they will lose the opportunity to talk with the person that they don’t even let them talk. Keep your elevator pitch honed, tune it for different types of people and make it your goal to have an interesting conversation. If you can do that, you will be remembered and you are much more likely to get a recommendation or an introduction.
And all of this will go so much easier if you have a good LinkedIn profile and your contact info at the end of your e-mail.
If you’d like even more tips on the New Rules for Career Success, join me at the Stamford Innovation Center tonight (Thursday, September 26) at 6pm for a discussion with 3 amazing career coaches. Here’s the link: http://bit.ly/15vorpB
Good luck, fellow strivers!