1. Work with the Network You Already Have
How many people do you know already? I’m guessing easily 500, maybe even a thousand. If you think that’s impossible, try this exercise we used to give our new reps on the first day of training: go home and write down the names of 150 people you know. They can be any age, live anywhere, from any background. This has several purposes. The first is to show how to go about developing sales leads. Most young people are surprised when they realize just how many people they’ve had some contact or interaction with.
Many of our recruits will go to their Facebook page and write down every name, or get out their high school or college yearbook and copy names from there. Their lists usually include a lot of other young people and students who are unlikely to be in the market for our high-end products. The point is to show them how they are already networked to hundreds of others. It’s a starting place. Try it. The exercise can be surprisingly fun. The network you already have can be a great source for job opportunities. And save the list, who knows, maybe you will run for political office one day and you'll need a list of people to help you get your campaign off the ground.
The exercise is also an opportunity to challenge them to do more than the minimum. I learned the value of this lesson when I was in high school and had an an assignment to collect nuts and berries and leaves for biology. We were supposed to collect a hundred and identify them. It was so much fun that I kept going until I had collected about 200. My teacher was so impressed I got a grade of 200%. Ever since I’ve strived to outperform the expectations of others.
2. The Best Habit for Success
What I learned and try to teach others is that to get more out of life you need to give more. Don’t settle for mediocrity. Don’t do the minimum just to get by because all you’ll ever get, is by. If you can go above and beyond the call of duty, you are setting yourself up for success. Make this a habit and you’ll get promoted faster, you’ll get more out of life. Especially when you’re new at a job, the best thing you can do is pour your heart and soul into it.
Your first job may not be your dream assignment, but forget any thoughts you may have that your performance doesn’t matter. You never know who might be watching you, looking for talent to groom. That’s what happened to James Collins, a young man from Cleveland who lost his job in a factory and went to work at Wendy’s. He put his heart and soul into his work and had been promoted up the ladder to restaurant manager in record time.
What he didn’t know was that managers from the McDonald’s across the street had been watching him. One day one of them walked in and offered him a job managing the highest-volume restaurant in the region.
“When that happened,” Collins later recalled, “I thought about something my grandmother always used to say. ‘Do good when no one else is watching because you never know where your blessings are going to come from.’ I connected her advice, which I took to heart, with being observed by the folks from McDonald’s. You never know who’s watching.” Collins went on to become a senior vice president for McDonald’s USA.
3. Build a Great Resume First, Then Do What You Love
Many students struggle to choose a major. And who can blame them. Studies show that our brains are not fully formed until our mid 20s. So asking a teenager to choose a career path that they think they will be passionate about for the rest of their lives is kind of crazy. If you can find a summer job in marketing, sales, or even customer service you will have a unique opportunity to network with people who are in careers in many different fields. You will get the chance to ask questions about those career choices and it’s common for customers to offer advice. They love talking about their jobs, and love the idea that they are helping a young person shape his or her future.
The idea of waiting for that perfect career out of college is great, in a booming economy. But sadly, we are not in that type of environment. You have graduated into one of the worst economic downturns in our history. According to a report by Pew Research Center, 36% of millennials were living with mom and dad last year. The highest it's been in 40 years. It's not time to follow your passion, just yet. It's time to get to work, build your resume, and get out of your parent's basement. The experts are calling it a jobless recovery. That means, the best thing you can do is work on your resume, build on your experiences, and try to advance. Once you have a few years of solid work experience then you can look for the dream job. That's the reality that we live in today.
Success in business has many elements but the one that matters most is persistence. If you’re in sales and marketing and you’ve just gotten a series of rejections, think of it like dealing a deck of cards. If you get a run of red cards the odds start to favor black cards. Keep playing and the black cards inevitably will turn up. Don’t be in a hurry to give up, to hit the reset button. Even a job you dislike can be a great learning opportunity.
by John Wasserman
Proceeds benefit Children's Dyslexia Centers