I spoke at SUNY Purchase yesterday, and it was painfully obvious how much students need help as they get ready to enter the corporate world.
So, here are a few quick tips from that discussion:
—Always reach out and shake hands when you are meeting someone for the first time, and look them in the eye. Eye-to-eye contact establishes trust. And dress appropriately–meaning business attire. Companies see you as an extension of their brand, so they want someone who will represent them well.
—In today’s business world, most professionals will experience change at alarming rates, and will probably change careers multiple times. So, as you are your own brand (You Inc.), from your very first job to your very last, you want to make a great impression on everyone you work with. I recently ran into a top executive I worked with at Sony who I haven’t seen in years. He didn’t remember my name right away, but he beamed because he remembered how he felt about working with me—terrific! My brand brought back good memories for him, and he immediately asked for my card.
—Never think you’re too good for any job you start in. No matter how menial, you want to do your best and leave a good impression. You never know if you will meet these same people later in your career. Trust me–it happens. So, don’t have an attitude of “I’m too good for this position.” Take it for the experience it is—have more gratitude than attitude.
—There is opportunity everywhere, so be open and receptive! I know of a consultant who was asked to speak at a meeting that he thought inconsequential. However, he decided to do it as a favor. There was a woman in the audience who liked his message and hooked him up with her husband. P.S.: That little speech brought him 400K worth of business.
A lot more came from that talk—look for more tips to come!
And–good luck out there!!!