Lessons on Failure from Wile E. Coyote

28 06 2011

Failure:  It’s what we’re all afraid of in life.  Ok, not everyone, but you know what I mean.  Why?  Shouldn’t we expect failure on the way to success?  After all, there aren’t many people who make it big without a few, if not many, failures throughout their journey.

Remember the old Looney Tunes features with Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner?  Wile E. was an educated guy who tried in every way imaginable to catch the infamous Roadrunner.  This quest was of course, made possible by Acme, the coyote’s most trusted supplier of spy gear and roadrunner traps.  He must have tried thousands of ways to catch the Roadrunner, coming thiiiiiiiiis close, yet failing every time.  Did that keep him from ordering a new flight suit or rocket-propelled roller skates for his next ingenious plan?


Here’s a short video that helps make my point:

I think we can all learn a few things from Wile E. Coyote.  Here are a few:

Learn from it.  Let’s be realistic with ourselves.  We’re going to fail.  We shouldn’t let that get the best of us.  Instead, try to learn from your failure.  You know what worked and what didn’t.  Use that knowledge to build a better plan to generate a more positive outcome.  Have you ever really just flunked an interview?  Ask for feedback and put it to good use.  The next one will be better!

Go for it.  Most people are afraid to fail like I mentioned before.  That very fear keeps us from simply going for it.  Assume that you’re going to succeed.  Set the right expectations and go for it.  You’ll never know how it turns out if you don’t go for it.  Take a chance, a leap of faith.  You can only learn from this.

Keep moving on.  Keep moving on.  I say this twice for a reason.  Don’t let failure get you down.  If you focus too much on what you did wrong, you’re going to miss what you did correctly.  Keep moving forward with the knowledge you’ve gained along the way through failure.  It’s a learning experience for everyone!

As Jason Seiden says in his blog, “fail spectacularly.”  Learn from it.  Go for it.  Keep moving on.                   

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short (yet powerful, I hope) post.  If you have, please pay it forward by sharing with a friend or coworker.  I don’t make any money by writing this blog and all the resources are free.  Help me spread the love by sharing with someone!  If you like the blog, please subscribe.  You can also find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/campustocareer.  As always, thanks for reading!

Photo credit: BitMob


College Students: Are You Linked In?

21 06 2011

By Emily Bennington

What’s that?

You’re not?

If that’s the case, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity – one that might even cost you a job.

In fact, recent studies claim that up to 80% of businesses are checking out potential hires on LinkedIn before extending an offer.

For example, let’s say you had a killer interview with a company you really want to work for. You’ve been meaning to set up your LinkedIn page, but haven’t quite got around to it yet.

That shouldn’t matter, right? After all, you ACED the interview and are feeling good about your chances for a call-back.

Now, let’s say the company truly was (very) impressed with your resume and interview.

Actually, they’ve narrowed the search down to you and one other candidate. Good news! However, as a form of due diligence, they decide to Google you and that other loser to see what comes up.

Under your name, a lot of white noise about high school basketball stats.

Under the other guy, a LinkedIn page that features more than 100 connections (some of which the interviewer knows personally), recommendations from former professors, as well as an in-depth narrative on specialties and real-world experience gained from a summer internship.

Suddenly, all of those fond memories of your “killer” interview evaporate and candidate #2 gets the job.

Now who’s the loser?

To avoid this very real scenario in your own job search, here’s what you do:

1.) Sign up for a LinkedIn account. If you don’t know where to start, visit http://grads.linkedin.com and take the tour. LinkedIn is free and, like most social media sites, once you get the hang of it – it’s really not that intimidating.

2.) Make sure your profile is 100% complete. Not only does this demonstrate that you are detail oriented, but complete profiles show up higher in search engine rankings. Also, bonus points if you have a professional headshot made (even if you just go to the mall) rather than posting a pixilated and poorly-cropped snapshot.

3.) Ask for recommendations. Don’t be shy about this. Assuming you’ve been a good student, most professors and former bosses are more than happy to say a few kind words about your work and employability. Note: Only those who actually have LinkedIn accounts can provide endorsements.

4.) Stay engaged. As with everything in life, you get out of LinkedIn what you put in to it. So be sure to jump on every once in a while and fill out the status update, find a cool new application to download (Amazon reading list, Slideshare, etc.), a great group to join, or just research jobs and businesses that interest you.

In other words, there are a million ways to use LinkedIn to put your best professional foot forward. So don’t trip up because you’re not in the game.

About Emily: A frequent speaker to college students and organizations on the topic of career success, Emily has been featured on Fox Business, CNN and ABC News, and quoted in publications including the Wall Street Journal, New York PostUS News and World ReportYahoo Jobs, and the Washington Post Express. In addition, she is a regular contributor to Monster.com, the college section of The Huffington Post, and has never heard a Justin Bieber song in its entirety.

I recently met Emily at the annual NACE Conference in Dallas and can testify that she’s a class act.  If you’re not already following her, reading her blog, and learning from her, I would highly encourage you to start now!

Emily can be reached via email at emily (@) emilybennington.com or on Twitter @EmilyBennington.  Her blog is www.professionalstudio365.com/blog.

Your Road Map to a Successful Conference

14 06 2011

These days, it seems that there are conferences for every profession, hobby or interest.  From Comic-Con to academic/professional conferences like NACE and SHRM, the acronym alphabet soup leaves no one out.  There’s even a newer trend among conferences, called the “un-conference”.  Un-conferences typically have less structure, more face-time (not thousands of people listening to one person on stage), and quite honestly, seem to be a lot more fun.  The King of Unconferences in my book would be Mr. Bill Boorman.  Check out his blog – I’m sure he’d love to speak with you regarding this concept!  I’ve been to a fair share of both conferences and un-conferences over the past several years and would like to share my experience with you.

If you’re job seeking, exploring new opportunities, or simply looking to meet new people, conferences provide some great value if you approach them with the right mindset and expectations.  From free to over $2,000 for some registrations, there’s a way to maximize your experience and return on investment.  Here are my tips in no particular order:

Network your butt off.  If you’re an introvert, this could be the most frightening thing you’ve ever experienced.  Get out of your shell, meet people, and get to know them better.  If you can, pair up with someone you know who has gone to the conference before.  Ask them to introduce you to people to break the ice, and then take it from there.  Remember, networking isn’t about YOU.  It’s about what YOU can do for THEM.

Work can wait.  Sure, we all get the emergency email or phone call that we must attend to, but what good is your conference attendance if you’re holed up in your room the entire time?  Set your email’s out of office auto-reply to inform your clients that you’re out of pocket for the conference time.  It’s okay to monitor throughout the day – there will be time.  Just don’t get caught up in your work and forget why you’re at the conference.  You are there to learn more about the industry and the people within that industry.  Work is important.  You are working at the conference.  Sometimes 15-16 hours a day!

Don’t embarrass yourself.  Have fun, but know when you’ve had too many free drinks.  You’re representing not just yourself and YOUR brand, but also your company’s.  Keep your goal in mind – making new contacts, learning, and building your network and credibility.  It’s okay to have a glass of wine or other beverage at receptions.  But, too many Jaeger bombs can really tarnish that reputation!

Do your homework. Check the event website before going. Map out what sessions you want to attend and be sure to get there early.  In my book, “on time” is always too late.  Make sure you get into the sessions you want.  Know which sessions are the must attend (for you and your business) and which ones could be skipped.  If possible, check to see if you can get an attendee list.  Use that list to pick out who you really want to meet in person.  Find them on LinkedIn and/or Twitter and let them know you’ll be attending the conference and would like to formally introduce yourself.  You never know when you’ll run into someone and strike up a meaningful conversation and lose track of time.

Visit the exhibit hall.  Here’s a tip – don’t just stop in to sign up for their free stuff.  Yeah, it would be great to win an iPad, but is it worth getting several years of email spam and telephone marketing calls?  Wouldn’t it make more sense if you actually wanted to receive that information?  Think of the exhibit hall like a career fairKnow before you go.  Plan your route and make it a point to engage in meaningful conversation where you stop.  Don’t just stop by to play their game.  Learn about the organization, their services and what they’re all about.  If you have no interest, don’t stop by.  I’m sure there are people who disagree with me here, but hey, that’s simply my opinion.  🙂

I’m sure there are more pointers on how to maximize a conference experience.  Here’s a link to one from my good friend, Cindy Billington: 6 Musts When Attending Professional Conferences.

This isn’t just advice for professionals who are already in the industry or academia.  These things can apply to everyone regarding any event.  So, my main question to you is…

What are your tips for maximizing the conference experience?

Life, Unplugged

7 06 2011

In this fast-paced world, we’re all connected 24/7/365.  We have Google,  iPhones, Skype and many other devices that make our lives easier.  But, do they really make things easier or is all this connectivity causing more complexity in our lives?  This Sunday, my wife and I attended church service while we were home visiting family.  The pastor asked the very question above.  Is technology causing us more complexity than we care to admit?

Maybe we should call it “simplexity…”

So, what happens when these things don’t work?  What happens when the power goes out, the batteries go dead, and we’re faced to live in the so-called Stone Age?  (Read how you can manage when platforms like Twitter are down here.)  Can you handle being off the grid?  I remember (it wasn’t THAT long ago) when I was a kid…when a guy was smitten by a girl, he had to have the guts to do one of two things: Approach the girl and ask her out (GUTS, I tell you…) or carefully craft the most beautiful love letter since Shakespearean times.  If you had a good friend, they could sometimes help with an introduction, but you were mostly thrown into the moment, whether you liked it or not.  There was no texting.  There was no email.  It was all you.

There’s a lesson here…

Courage.  Confidence.  Communication.  GUTS.  It comes down to what we’ve been taught throughout our lives.  Take a step back, unplug for a little while, and refocus.  Ever heard the phrase, “there can never be too much of a good thing?”  You’ll know when it’s too much.  If you don’t, ask your friends, family or co-workers.

Before you write this off as a silly article, I want you to know that I’m just as guilty as anyone.  I’ve felt the “phantom buzz” of my smartphone, have the irresistible urge to check email every 5 minutes, and am plugged in like nobody’s business.  Take the time to appreciate the simple things in life and communicate with your family, with your friends.  Appreciate nature and take a deep breath for a moment.  Even if it’s just an hour that you can take away from it all, you’ll be glad you took it.

This relates to your career, your life, just about anything.  What do you do when you unplug?  Please feel free to share your ideas with everyone!  As always, thanks for reading.