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Career Management

Successful career development is more than doing a good job. Dressing for success, business writing skills, career networking – all are vitally important.

Business Management Daily’s succinct, workplace-tested career advice is designed to help you position yourself to succeed in your chosen field.

Diplomacyposter A good piece of conventional wisdom for leaders used to be to never do, say or write anything down that you wouldn’t want to read on the front page of The Wall Street Journal.  Times have changed though. As this week’s WikiLeaks release of more than 250,000 U.S. State Department documents shows, there’s a pretty good chance that your recorded thoughts and actions can end up all over the internet in no time flat.

As reported in the New York Times and other major publications, the State Department memos contain some rather embarrassing details of how diplomacy gets done and some very candid assessments of individual world leaders.  For example, according to a summary in the Financial Times, the documents describe French president Sarkozy as having a “thin skinned and authoritarian personal style,” Russian president Medvedev  as “Robin” to Prime Minister Putin’s “Batman,” Afghan President Karzai as “an extremely weak man who does not listen to facts,” Italy’s PM Berlusconi as “feckless and vain,” and North Korea’s Kim Jong Il as a “flabby old chap.”

Since most of those observations could be made firsthand by anyone who follows international news, you sort of have to wonder what the value was in writing them down.  In any case, they were and now the apologizing is underway.  While it’s unlikely that your closeted skeletons will suddenly appear on WikiLeaks (although the probability of someone’s Facebook page or blog is much higher),  you’ve likely faced situations as a leader where your true thoughts inadvertently come out (You’ve probably learned the hard way that the recall button on that e-mail you just sent by “Reply All” doesn’t actually do anything).  In spite of all the lessons you’ve learned, it will probably happen again in the future.  If not that, then you may end up on the receiving end of someone else’s unintended candor.

Here are some suggestions on how to apologize in the first instance and why and how you should accept the apology in the second:

Ten people to include in your network: 1. The Mentor 2. The Coach 3. The Industry Insider 4. The Trendsetter 5. The Connector 6. The Idealist 7. The Realist  8. The Visionary 9. The Partner 10. The Wannabe.

What’s the best way to get a job right now? Networking. What's the best way to network? According to many experts, via LinkedIn.com. The online service offers innovative ways to interact professionally with colleagues and build your web of contacts and connections. Here are six ways LinkedIn can advance your career.
Be careful if your employees are spreading the word online about your company’s products and services. Last year, the FTC issued new Enforcement Guidelines that require employees to disclose their relationships with their employer whenever they post comments or positive reviews about their employer’s product on a social media site.

What’s the best way to get a job right now? Networking. To reap the benefits of your network, you’ll first want to make sure it’s as strongly woven as a trapeze net. Start by effectively deploying LinkedIn. Susan Colantuono, CEO of Leading Women, says she uses LinkedIn in six ways to nurture her network:

At Deloitte, the annual report doesn’t stop with a financial statement. The financial services firm also publishes a “Talent Annuity Report” to chronicle its year in benefits and employee recognition efforts. “We published a Talent Annuity Report because we regard our talent as an investment that generates an annuity,” said CEO Barry Salzberg.

Following a speaking engagement for administrative professionals, I found myself listening to familiar comments. “My supervisor is so busy I never get a chance to have more than a two-minute conversation, and she never gives me feedback, so I never know what she is thinking.” In these circumstances you need to ask for what you need to be successful.

One of the country’s fastest-growing companies, LTC Financial Partners is looking for 300 new sales agents—and when those jobs are filled, more will open. Because the organization is constantly hiring, it’s also constantly trying to get new employees up to speed. So it created the LTC Insurance Training Institute to get recruits ready to work within five days.

Question:  “I often feel like an outsider in my office.  I am 61 years old, slightly overweight, and have gray hair. All my co-workers are in their 20’s and 30’s. The whole group goes out for “happy hour” once every six weeks. My boss’s boss came up with this idea, and he always attends. I usually avoid these get-togethers, because I don’t feel comfortable with the youngsters. Recently, a good friend said that this is a mistake. She believes my colleagues and managers will think that I’m snubbing them. I had a pretty good time at one happy hour, but I’ve skipped the last two.  Do you think I should start going?” — Old & Gray

When dashing off your next memo, report or e-mail, cut right to the core points. Readers see your writing as a reflection of how you think, so keep it direct and logical.