3 Top Ideas for Success

22 02 2011

I’m a big fan of lists.  There, I said it.  I make lists for everything from groceries to goals and everything in between.  I’m an even bigger fan of short, concise lists.  Can you achieve the exact same thing in three points as you could with ten points?  Sure, why not?

I recently had the opportunity to hear Jerry Stritzke, President & Chief Operating Officer for Coach (yes, ladies – the Coach of luxury designer handbags, luggage and more) at my youngest sister’s graduation ceremony at Oklahoma State University.  I took a lot of notes from that speech on the program that listed all the graduates, but may have missed a few things he said.  After all, my baby sister was graduating college!

Jerry shared three really good pointers with the group of graduates about to enter the “real world”.  Rather than repeat them verbatim, I’d like to give my perspective.

Have a point of view. Having a point of view doesn’t necessarily mean that you should argue with everyone about everything.  As an individual who may be in the job search (this advice applies beyond as well), be deliberate about having a point of view.  Know the conversation topics, politics, and whatever else is going on in the industry and in the world.  Have your own perspective to add with your own thoughts.

Aspire to become. It’s important to have creative aspirations.  Know that landing the job with the corner office or even the luxury of having your own parking space will take work.  Not many people are handed these things.  Aspire to become what it is you want to be.

Have courage. Take risks.  Try something new.  You will fail (it’s inevitable), but learn from those failures and create an opportunity.  Jerry used the phrase to “lean into the pain”, stating that the journey will be difficult at times and that it takes courage to push through.

“It is the nature of man to rise to greatness if greatness is expected of him.” – John Steinbeck

In this competitive job market, you will hear that you’re unqualified for the job.  Don’t let that stop you.  Continue to learn.  Network like crazy (but with a plan – and keep them informed!).  Pay it forward and help others who need a “leg up”.

Have a point of view, have courage, and aspire to become.  Expect greatness from yourself.  Keep those few things in mind and you’ll figure it out.  Oh, and Jerry – if you happen to read this, give me a call.  My wife made her own list and I think you can help me out.  🙂

Photo credit: Esquire


Read Any Good Books Lately?

15 02 2011

Read any good books lately?  No, I’m not talking about the latest crime novel or vampire thriller.  I’m talking about a book that helps you grow as both a person and professional.  I just finished a great book and I’d like to highlight a few of the things that I found most useful while reading it.  The book is From Bud to Boss: Secrets to a Successful Transition to Remarkable Leadership by Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris.  It brought together literally everything a new leader needs to know as they transition into their role.  I’d like to think of it as a manager’s blueprint for success.  Notice I didn’t say “new manager”.  Why?  Because it’s relevant to both new and veteran managers!

Here’s what I got from reading the book:

  • Leadership development – whether you’re a new leader or a well-established leader, there’s something for everyone.  As a leader, you must continue to develop your leadership style and understand how to effectively work with your team.
  • Communication tips – everyone communicates differently.  Knowing how to communicate effectively and knowing that there are different ways to communicate depending on that person’s style will help me and YOU become a better leader.
  • A better understanding of my circle of influence – I now know what is in my power to influence and what’s outside of that circle.  Change is inevitable, but setting the right expectations of your team and yourself is crucial in establishing influence.  To quote the book, “People tend to live up (or down) to your expectations of them.”  Are you setting realistic expectations?
  • Advice as a new manager – I learned tips on how to celebrate progress (not just completion), how to handle resistance to change by others, how to be an effective coach providing feedback and feedforward. For the definition of feedforward, you’ll just have to read the book!
  • Inspiration to be the best – all of the tips, tools and resources made available by this book makes me realize that this quote speaks true:  “Destiny is not a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice; it is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.” –William Jennings Bryan.  We have to work hard to be the best.  Having a thirst for knowledge and healthy dissatisfaction of the status quo will help us achieve our destiny.  No one can do it for us.
  • And so much more! (Hey, if I gave you the Cliff’s Notes of the book, you wouldn’t read it, would you?)

From Bud to Boss is a one-stop shop to find advice on Change, Coaching, Leadership, Management, Communication, Listening, Effective Presentations, and nearly everything you need to become a great leader , transitioning into your new role.  This is a book that you can read cover to cover, or simply skim for the good nuggets of information.  They’re in there – you just have to look.  There’s even a reference to Star Wars Episode Six: Return of the Jedi (making me a bigger fan of Kevin and Guy than I was already).

Two other great features of the book are Bonus Bytes and Now Steps in each chapter.  Bonus Bytes expands the content beyond the printed word, taking you to their Bud to Boss Community, helping you put the philosophies and ideas into action in real life situations.  The Now Steps are calls to action at the end of each chapter, asking you to reflect on what you’ve just learned and to take action in real life, applying the principles.

Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris’ book From Bud to Boss launches on Tuesday, February 15th. To celebrate the launch, they have gathered some terrific gifts from partners. To find out about the gifts, please visit http://www.frombudtoboss.com.  I’ve also added this title to my Book List.  You can check it out, along with other excellent leadership and job search resources.  If you know someone who just got a promotion, is entering the workforce (think graduation gift), or has recently transitioned into a new leadership role, this is the book for them!

FTC Disclaimer: This is my review of From Bud to Boss: Secrets to a Successful Transition to Remarkable Leadership, by Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris.  In return for receiving the book in advance, I have been asked to give an honest review.  The book can be purchased at http://launch.budtobosscommunity.com/ and other online retailers like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Borders, and Books-A-Million.  I do not receive any proceeds from the sale of the book or any other compensation.

Shiny New Things!

11 02 2011

Greetings!  I hope you’re having a wonderful week.  Can you believe this blog is just 1 year old?  I can’t.  I’m working on some exciting new features for Campus to Career that will continue to add value to your career search and leadership development.  While we’re in transition of that launching, I would like to invite you to check out the Job Search Success Guide.  It’s a compilation of the some of the best and most popular blog posts over the past year.  Click the link or the tab at the top of your screen.

Some other good nuggets:

  • Check out my guest post this week at CornOnTheJob.com.  It’s titled “Lunch Interviews – It’s NOT About the Food”.  Click here to read more and learn tips for acing the lunch interview.
  • Check out my guest post series on the Campbell’s Let’s Can Hunger blog on Social Media 101.  The focus is on how SIFE teams can use social media to promote their community impact, but can also be used for a variety of purposes.  I’ll cover Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogging in the coming weeks. For more information on the Global Strategic Partnership with SIFE & Campbell Soup Company, check out www.letscanhunger.com.

Next week, look for a special post reviewing From Bud to Boss: Secrets to a Successful Transition to Remarkable Leadership by Kevin Eikenberry and Guy Harris.  If you just can’t wait, check out their website, www.budtobosscommunity.com.

Thanks for paying it forward!

Photo credit: Zazzle.com

1 Year & Going Strong – YOU ROCK!!

8 02 2011

On February 10, 2010, I made the decision to restart and refocus my blog.  When I first started, it was mainly “Kirk’s musings about life”.  Then, in October 2009, I started to focus more on the job search, offering tips and insight to help prepare those in what has proved to be one of our country’s worst economic downturns.  I started with a small blog on BlogSpot (now called Blogger, which is part of Google) and to be quite frank, there just wasn’t much substance to any of it.  Through some recommendations from fellow career bloggers, Word Press became the platform for me.

Photo courtesy of Shout Me Loud.

I’ve started and stopped blogging a few times before finding my groove.  One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2010 was to “either figure out what my purpose is for blogging or just quit”.  Let’s face it, there are a TON of influential people out there, proving some really great stuff in a variety of subjects.  I wasn’t going to be the only person in that space and it was going to take some serious time to be considered good enough to be included in the pro circles.

I did find my purpose and I think I’m on the right track to achieving my goal.  Let me make something clear, though.  The goal is not fame.  The goal is not to make a ton of money through blogging.  The goal is not to blog 24/7/365 serving as a fire hose of information (I do respect and appreciate those that do this, like Guy Kawasaki and others.)  The goal is not to throw around names, statistics and figures acting like someone I’m not.  The goal for me?  It’s all about paying it forward.

Over the past 12 months, here’s what I’ve learned:

It’s not just about me. Engage in conversation.  Use social media in the way it was intended to be used.  Be social!  Platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook can certainly be used to promote my personal brand, but it’s not ALL about me.  None of these platforms are intended for me to simply provide links, press releases and the blah, blah, blah about what I just ate for breakfast.  It’s about helping people.

The network is always expanding and it’s awesome. I’ve connected with some pretty cool people this year through social media.  I’ve even met some of them in real life, or IRL, as referred to in the Twitter-verse.  I’m not satisfied with the quality or the quantity of the connections in my network.  Fostering these relationships take time, but believe me, it’s worth it.  I continue to build new relationships, but can’t forget about those that are already part of my network.  My goal is to build on the connection level – it’s not about having 1,000 connections that are 1-inch deep.  It’s about having 1,000 (not an actual number goal, but you get the point) connections that are 100 feet deep.  The goal is to convert connections to relationships.

Paying it forward is more than a slogan. When was the last time you paid it forward?  The entire principle of this is to do something nice for someone else with no expectations of them doing something for you in return.  We’re human.  Some of us are better off than others.  Regardless of social stature, anyone can pay it forward and help their fellow man.  That’s one of the main reasons I started this blog.  It’s not about gaining business, followers, or even credibility.  Those things will come naturally.  It’s about paying it forward, helping others in hopes that someday, they’ll help someone else in need.  It’s a bit cliché, but if you haven’t seen the movie I would highly recommend it.

I know that I’ve learned more, but these seemed like the most compelling takeaways.  Before I get any farther, I’d like to thank YOU.  Whether this is your first time at Campus to Career or you’re an avid follower, I hope that you’ve found the information provided each week helpful to you in your career.  Together, we’ve achieved some pretty awesome stuff this year.  If you’re curious to see where Campus to Career has been mentioned, check out the Notable Mentions tab above.  I’ve covered topics like the job search, what to do when you land your dream job, leadership, the ins and outs of corporate recruitment and a lot more.  Don’t worry, there’s more to come!  I’m just getting started.

The last question is for you.  What would YOU like to see covered on the blog?  Is there something that I or a guest blogger can help you with?  Let me know!  You can leave a comment below, or email me directly at kirk.baumann@att.net.  I’d also appreciate it if you followed @campustocareer on Twitter and became a fan on the Facebook page.  Like I said before, each platform is different and I’ve learned that it’s not just to blast out press releases.  The conversation continues on Facebook and the Twitter feed provides more than just posts from this blog (paying it forward).

As always, thanks for reading.  YOU ROCK. I’m excited to see where the future takes us together!

3 Steps to Social Media Success

1 02 2011

Word cloud courtesy of Wordle.net.

Students and job seekers: Are you using social media for personal branding, engagement, career advice, and/or professional development?

Last week, I had the opportunity to host the Springfield chapter of the Social Media Club at SIFE World Headquarters (SIFE is my day job).  I recently connected with the group because of my passion for social media and my love of how it’s connecting people in ways like never before.  We held a student panel (search #SGFStudents for updates from the discussion), discussing opportunities that social media offers and the various issues associated with the topic.  I had the great honor to join Christie Love (@christielove936), Curt Gilstrap (@curtgilstrap) , and Mary Guccione (@xpertmarketer) with Angela Frizell (@oneztwolls) serving as moderator.  We had close to 30 people in attendance, which, for just the 2nd panel in the series, that number was good.  As a reference, the Springfield chapter of Social Media Club has only been up and running since August 2010.

Enough about the club and the panelists – here are 3 of the big takeaways I got from the conversation:

Find your voice; define yourself.

Social media is all about defining yourself.  What makes the most sense for you?  If you’re a job seeker, LinkedIn is where I’d start.  Make sure you have a complete profile, keep your network updated (NOTE: don’t link all your tweets – that’s annoying), participate in groups and offer your insight/expertise.  This can help you position yourself as a thought-leader if you’re good.

Ask yourself two questions:

  1. What do I want to accomplish with this social media profile?
  2. Would my current or potential employer view this profile as professional?

The internet is forever.  Tweets are being archived in the Library of Congress.  Google never forgets.  Whatever you post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, your blog, community forums, and other platforms will be forever visible.  Sure, your snarky comment about a co-worker may seem funny, even warranted at the moment, but think about the ramifications long-term.  What about those pictures you’re tagged in with the beer bong, stripper pole, or other unsavory items?  Think about this before posting.  My best advice is to simply keep it clean.  You can still have fun and connect with friends, family, coworkers, long-lost classmates and more via social media.  You just don’t have to broadcast how much you love to party.  We’re human – we know it happens.  Just keep it out of your profile.  Last comments on this: I’m friends with most of my family on Facebook, including my grandma.  Would you want Grandma to see the drunken pictures of you at the club?  I wouldn’t.  If you’re a bit more open with communication between you and Grandma, would you like to have the pictures or status update posted on a billboard?

Here’s a great article from my Twitter friend, Rich DeMatteo (@CornOnTheJob) on how to professionally position yourself on Facebook without losing your individual identity: How to Use the New Facebook Profile to Get Hired.

Pick ONE platform to start.

If you’re just getting started in social media, don’t spread yourself too thin.  It’s recommended that you find one platform to start.  Explore all the possibilities and master the platform if you can before moving on to the next greatest thing.  The big three are: Facebook (over 500 million users), Twitter (over 200 million users), and LinkedIn (over 90 million users).   It’s okay if you don’t find value in all of them.  It’s all about what makes the most sense for you.

Some quick tips on maximizing your LinkedIn experience:

  • Fill out the profile to 100%
  • Connect with colleagues, professors, industry experts (use a personal connection request, not the “I’d like to add you to my network on LinkedIn”. Reference how you heard about them, where you met, what you need help with, etc.)
  • Keep your network informed – if they don’t know you need help, they can’t help.
  • Participate in groups with thought-leadership and build influence
  • Don’t link ALL your tweets!  Use the selective feature, cross-posting only when relevant.
  • Follow companies – great for research, opportunity announcements and more!

Some quick tips on maximizing your Twitter experience:

  • It’s okay to be a spectator when you’re just getting started
  • Follow industry experts, users who provide inspiration, motivation, information, or a good laugh
  • Give more than you take – Pay it forward by retweeting 10-15x per 1 tweet of your own promotion
  • Participate in chats – two great recommendations for job seekers are:
    • #JobHuntChat – Every Monday night 9-10pm CST
    • #CareerChat – Every Tuesday 12-1pm CST
    • Add value to the conversation – it’s not just about what you had for breakfast, the “good morning” salutation, or a platform to make the weekend plans (use DM or Direct Message for private communication when the conversation becomes more personal)

Think twice, tweet once.

This links back to my first point of finding your voice and defining yourself.  There are some things that just don’t have a place in social media.  Christie Love stated that her rule of thumb is to “think twice, tweet once”.  I believe that this goes for all platforms, including email and text messaging.  Before you say it, think again.  How would someone perceive your comment?  My mother always said, “if you don’t have something nice to say, it’s best to say nothing at all.”  Smart lady.

A few past posts came to mind when writing this, so I’d like to point you to some additional resources:

What are your social media tips for students and job seekers?  Please feel free to join the conversation by adding a comment below, participating in the Facebook group, or tagging your tweets with #SGFStudents.  I’d love to hear your thoughts and help prepare the next generation of leaders!  As always, thanks for reading.

About SIFE: SIFE is an international non-profit organization that brings together the leaders of today and tomorrow to create a better, more sustainable world through the positive power of business. Founded in 1975, SIFE has active programs on more than 1,500 college and university campuses in 39 countries. Through projects that improve the lives of people worldwide, the university students, academic professionals and industry leaders who participate in SIFE are demonstrating that individuals with a knowledge and passion for business can be a powerful force for change. For more information, contact SIFE World Headquarters at +1 417 831 9505 or visit http://www.sife.org.

About Social Media Club: Social Media Club’s mission is to connect media makers from around the world to advance media literacy, promote industry standards, encourage ethical behavior and share lessons they have learned. The Social Media Club motto, “If you get it, share it,” is more than just a catch phrase. For Social Media Club members, it is a way of living and gaining trust within its communities.

The Springfield, MO chapter was started in August 2010 and meets the second Wednesday of every month.  For more information about the local chapter, including details on how to join for free, please visit the website, on Twitter or on Facebook.