Blog Post #454 Sophomore Year

Coaching for Life Success:  Sophomore Year

Moving on to your sophomore year:  What does the author suggest for making yourself remarkable and unique?  

Mentor:  If you haven’t found a good mentor, continue working on it.  

But, if you have a good mentor or have found one, meet with your mentor at least once a month.    

Is your mentor helping you?  How so? Have you built rapport with him/her?  

Can you build this relationship more?  Can you work it for an internship for the summer between your sophomore and junior year?  Internships are great opportunities to see if you like that major. I did faculty internships to build my skills in the computing field.  


Are you meeting other professionals?  Set a goal to network with professionals at least once a month.  Are their campus clubs or societies with your major? Are there groups in the community where you can network?  Can you shadow a professional for a day to see what their day is like?


Are you in the right major?  How do you know? Are you feeling confident?  (It is okay to change majors, but make it for the right reason.)

What kind of specializations might exist in that major? Taking that a step farther, what elective courses might you take to give you an advantage?

Don’t stay away from tough classes and tough teachers.  Being challenged is a good thing. You WILL be challenged on the job – might as well get used to it.

And … experiment with other academic fields.  Interested in another field? Take a class, get a minor in another field – or a double major.  Of the millions of university students across the world, having multiple backgrounds and multiple experiences can give you an advantage.  Broaden your skills and yet also narrow your skills to be what you want to be – and what should be in demand.

Also, expand your horizons.  Consider studying abroad (and make that a meaningful experience with both academics and travel).  


Soft skills (interaction with others) will also be important in your future.  Continue to work with organizations and clubs.

You may also consider work – either a paid job in your major field or a non-paid non-profit.   That can help you build soft skills. Be careful where you are and what you are doing. Keep the end in mind.  No complaining!!

Things to think about:

How are you working on your mentors and mentoring?

How can you build better and stronger networking relations?

How can you build your soft skills and build relationships?

Are you considering other majors or minors or studying abroad?  What areas?

Quote:  Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.  Calvin Coolidge


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Blog Post #453 Freshman Year / Time Management -3

Coaching for Life Success – Freshman Year – part 3 – Time Management

Okay, time to throw out aspects of the first freshman blog – where I say “Don’t get involved, say “NO” to activities”.  Part of college is learning balance and learning time management.

I stressed the importance of keeping distractions to a minimum – focus on your goal – getting a degree.  

BUT – for many of you, you already have an obligation – such as being on an athletic scholarship or joining campus organizations.  Some will have part-time jobs. Again the priority is to get to graduation, but keeping balance your life.

Many athletic groups will expect you to spend time in the weight room as well as on the practice field.  If you are in a fall sport (football, volleyball, cross-country), your season will start before your classes start. If you are in a winter or spring sport, you will be having informal practices and working out in the weight room.  It is like a job that you have to squeeze around your academic schedule.

If you have been a high school athlete, you know some of the balance between classes, grades, assignments – and your sport.  Likewise for many other activities. As I drive by the local high school on August mornings, the outstanding marching band is learning their new drill.  If you have been in dramatics, you have balanced your play rehearsals around your classes as well.

Time management is the key.  When you get an hour between classes, don’t throw it away, use it for study, for review.  Find a quiet corner and reread your textbook, or go over an assignment. Depending on how much time you have, you can go to the library and find a study carrel.  This is NOT a social time, but a time to ‘invest’ in yourself and your academics. Time is precious don’t waste it.

Go back to that first lesson on what to do in your freshman year and think about your schedule.  Block out your time. If you have a sport and weight training, put that on your schedule, put your classes in the schedule, put your study time in your schedule; put your exercise time in your schedule; put your meals and sleeping on your schedule.  AND STICK TO YOUR SCHEDULE. When you have a full schedule (with activities or sports), your life can be complicated. If you are in a sport and traveling to an away game, take an ebook with you, record some of your professors’ lectures and listen to them on the bus,  

Your iPhone (or another smartphone) can be a blessing or a curse in time management.  If you have that hour between class, you can spend the hour texting friends, checking out your Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook feeds, or you can be reading your textbook (or listening to it) on your phone.  If you have a quiet place for studying, you can listen to quiet music while you study.

Side note:  I have found over the years, that some of the most successful students and most successful adults are very busy and do know how to manage their time.  College is a good time to build good habits for the future.

College is preparing for life in many ways – the academics, the degree, the vocational choices, but also in learning time management.  Learning how to be selective and not overdoing activities and coordinating your time commitments is a good life lesson.

Things to do:

If you are in college, prioritize your activities.  If you are an athlete; if you are pledging a Greek organization; if you are in drama or music; you have to manage your time.  What is a higher priority for you?

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Blog post #452 Freshman Year – part 2

Coaching for Life Success – Freshman Year – part II

Let’s continue looking at things you should be doing in your freshman year to give you an advantage over those millions of college students around the world.

In previous lessons, we have talked about networking and mentors – now is the time to start working on your network and your mentors.

Networking:  If you are thinking about a specific major, check out the various clubs and organizations that relate to that major.  For example, in my field, computer information systems, there was a student organization for those majors. They brought in speakers and professionals in that field.  One event this student organization did was a take-off on speed dating. Each student rotated through six to eight professionals for a five-minute ‘interview’. (A good time to have your elevator speech polished!!) After the interview, the professional gave the student comments about how they did in the interview and how they could improve.  Another student organization did an event where two professional sat with six students around a table. The professionals threw out a question and the students took terms answering it. Sometimes the questions were more open-ended like “If you had a million dollars and had to spend it in a week, what would you do”; and sometimes more specific like “Why did you pick your major” or “What do you see yourself doing in twenty years.  If you have been faithful in doing the previous assignments, you will be ready to answer such questions.

Hang around afterward and ask the visiting professionals on how they picked their majors and their careers.  Ask them for others to network with or to shadow. They have volunteered their time to help students, make the most of it.

Also, start networking with your professors and others.  Stop by to introduce yourself during their office hours. If you are in a large class, (like most freshman classes), introducing yourself will help you understand the professor better.  And it will help them know and understand you. Find out why they picked their major and what path they took to becoming a professor.

This can be tricky.  With your own professors, they something think you are trying to be a “teacher’s pet” and by coming to visit with them, you are really just trying to get on their good side.  Be humble and honest about wanting to network and find out more about careers that might interest you. Build rapport – but don’t be a pest. Never stay longer than 10 minutes unless they seem like they want you to take longer.  (As a professor, I’ve had students that stopped by talk and I couldn’t get rid of them; and also I’ve had students who seemed to really want to know about my suggestions for careers and we talked an hour and it seemed like 10 minutes).  

I would ask where the student is from (nice icebreaker), what activities they were in high school, what major they were thinking about, what groups they were thinking of joining on campus, and other gentle ‘getting to know you’ questions.  Don’t go into political, religious or other controversial topics – your professors are probably twice as old as you are and probably have their politics, religion and other factors figured out for themselves!!

And a word of precaution.  I NEVER met a student in my office with the door closed.  Keep the door open (especially for female students with male professors).

Network with others at or near your university.  Every university has an alumni network. Stop by, introduce yourself and see if there are alumni from your major in your hometown that you can network with over Thanksgiving break, Christmas / semester break, and spring break.  Most alumni are very loyal to their university and will try to help a current student. Maybe you can volunteer to help in the alumni office (watch your time commitment).

Mentor: It is time to start looking for more specific networking help with mentors.  If you feel you have a good rapport with a faculty member or other, ask them if they would like to mentor you.  Give them some ideas of what you are looking for. It needs to be a two-way relationship – they have to get some value out of working with you and you with working with them.  If you are just using the relationship to find an internship or job, it isn’t as valuable as letting them feel valuable in career direction and assistance.

Things to think about:

  • Start working on your network.  Make appointments to introduce you to your professors and possibly others.
  • Then refine your relationships to look for more specific and deeper relationships with a mentor.

Quote:  “The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” ― William Arthur Ward


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Blog Post #451 Freshman Year

Coaching for Success:  Freshman Year

For the next five lessons, we’ll look at some specific things to do each year (Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior and Graduate School).  Some will overlap. If you are not in college, there may still be some gems in the material.

Freshman Year:

Yay – you have been accepted to college!!!  You have done the previous lessons, you understand that the competition is world-wide now; you have set goals including Big Hairy Audacious Goals (BHAG); worked on your attitude; decided to go for GREAT, not just good; find ways to be remarkable; know about traps to avoid; worked on your self-talk and motivation; you are picturing yourself successful and imaging about what your world will be like in several years; worked on networking and finding a mentor or mentors.

So, some specific things for freshman year.

First – learn to say “NO”.

When I went to college, I was scared I’d flunk out.  My first semester, I spent at least three hours for every hour in class.  I read my books, I did my assignments, I did extra assignments. I “knew” the material quite well.  And … I learned how to say “NO”. When somebody on my dorm floor came by to say “Hey, let’s go for pizza”, the answer was NO; when there is a dance / speaker / program / event at some location, my answer was NO.  

I created a calendar (it was on paper, these days, Excel would work.  I scheduled classes, studying, meals, sleep and not much else.

To be honest, I was VERY boring.  While the adage is “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” maybe be true, in my class, “all work and no play” helped me to get great grades that first semester.  I did learn how to slack off after that semester, but I was set a high level by getting strong grades that semester.

Second – learn how to study.

Okay, you have been a student, from Kindergarten through High School.  You know how to study don’t you? The reality is probably not. You ‘kind of’ know how to study.  

Sure, you go to your room at (say) 7:00 p.m., turn on the TV or music, check your email, Google some information, check out the latest YouTube videos or Facebook posts, and read your textbook.  At 11:00, you put down your books and congratulate yourself on four hours of studying. You maybe did an hour.

The suggestion is to get rid of distractions.  No TV, and it might be okay for music – like soothing Bach string quartets!!  Don’t go on the Internet (unless you absolutely need to); don’t go to email or Facebook.  

There are many great concepts available for you.  I’ve been looking at: and and many others.

Take time to read and really understand studying.

Your campus probably has a Learning Center (or similar).  Go there before classes start and find a class, seminar on “Studying in College”.  Even if you have to pay something, it should be worth it.

Third – Plan / Plan / Plan your Schedule and your Time.

As mentioned before, develop a schedule – AND STICK TO IT.  

Every minute of your life is now set for one main goal – do a great job in college and graduate on time with highest honors.  Every minute should have purpose. Sleeping has a purpose – refresh your body; exercise has purpose – keep you fit (and that might be more important than you think); even a few (very few) social events have a purpose (relax you and clear your mind).  Every minute counts. Try not to waste time.

Allow some down time – time for some exercise, a jog around campus, maybe even a basketball game or activity.  But, the reason you are in college is to learn and to get a degree. Playing a pickup basketball game might be fun and a stress reliever, but does it help your learning and degree goals?  

Socializing is good, but watch your time.  There is an old expression that is probably true (not true for all, of course) that college is the best four years of your life.  After all, you get to live away from home, away from parental supervision, setting your own time – and (generally) letting somebody else pay the bills.  I remember after my first semester, one of my best times of the day was after dinner in the cafeteria. A casual group would get a cup of coffee (which is where I learned to drink coffee – but it could be water or anything) and just talked.    But, I didn’t spend hour upon hour socializing!!

Saturday? Sunday?  Yes – you study on BOTH weekend days.  “But there is a big home football game this Saturday” – okay, then get up at 7:00 and study before the game.  “OH – my favorite pro team (in my case, the Green Bay Packers) are on Sunday night football – I have to watch!!”  To be honest you don’t “have to watch” it. You might enjoy it – and if you allocate your time, you can take some time to watch the game – but if not, you can take a break every hour and check the score – and get back to studying.

Fourth – tests

Depending on the class, tests will probably be the main component of your college work.  When the professor announces a test (and it should also be on the course syllabus), start them preparing for the test.  What has the professor emphasized in class? What important concepts are in the textbook? Are there study questions at the end of the textbook chapter?  Do them – all of them. Get another textbook from the library (and yes, they should have similar texts for all classes) and go through the study questions and review questions.  

I remember being so ready for my math classes tests.  I did all the assignment in the textbook, including ones the professor didn’t assign.  I pictured myself (envisioning / imaging) knowing all the questions, I walked into the classroom so prepared that I could almost have taught the class – AND – created the test.

Again, go to the Learning Center and get help on test studying.  Essay tests will be different than multiple choice tests.

Things to think about:

  • Read (and read and read) and take thorough notes on how to study in college.  
  • Find where the campus learning center is and make an appointment (you can probably make an appointment online even before you get to campus).
  • Start reading your books.  Write down your notes. The kinesthetic process of reading (eyes) and writing (hands) help the learning become stronger.
  • Set up a schedule.

Start practicing saying “NO”  No, that isn’t strong enough!!!  SAY NO!!! I HAVE TO STUDY!!!! MY PRIORITY IS TO GRADUATE!!



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Blog Post #450 Mentoring IV

Blog Post #450 Mentoring IV

Continuing from yesterday – How to find a great mentor.

In this article from Forbes Magazine, about looking for a mentor, the article says:
“If someone has to ask the question [will you be my mentor], the answer is probably no. When someone finds the right mentor, it is obvious.  The question becomes a statement. Chasing or forcing that connection rarely works.”

For example, let’s say you are a student at XYZ University thinking about majoring in accounting.  You hear that Professor Simione, from the Accounting Department at XYZ has written the #3 most successful accounting textbook.  You make an appointment to see Professor Simione through the department secretary and the first time you can meet with her is in two weeks.  In those two weeks, you read up on Professor Simione, you see the press releases from the book publisher, see her bio online and you get excited about meeting her.  Your appointment is at 2:00; and at 1:30 you are in a chair in the hallway outside her office – sitting nervously waiting. You can hear her on the phone as you sit in the hall.  

At 2:15 she opens her door and invites you in.  She is very cordial and welcomes you with a friendly greeting.  As you sit down, her phone rings and she says “I have to take this, it’s my publisher”.  You sit quietly for 15 minutes as she talks with her publisher.

She returns to you and says “Now, where were we?  Yes, you are interested in majoring in accounting.”  She goes on for a few minutes about how strong the program is at XYZ University, the percentage of those that pass the CPA exams on the first try out of the program, and some other information.  The phone rings. This time it is the department secretary and you hear Dr. Simione say “Send her down”. She again returns to you with a few more comments about accounting when there is a knock on the door.  She looks up and says “Hello Dr. Wilson.” She turns to you and apologetically says “I’m sorry, I can’t talk longer with you today. Hopefully, I gave you some ideas about accounting.” You leave and Dr. Wilson goes into her office, the door is closed and you are out in the hallway again, without getting to know Dr. Simione and without being able to ask her about being a mentor to you.

So, back to the drawing board.  You start attending the Accounting Society meetings and meet many of the members.  They have speakers from some of the local businesses come in to talk about their experience.  You make sure you get to know the guest speakers and ask them some questions (that is, you start networking with them.)  Be patient, eventually, you will ‘click’ with a person that will be a great mentor for you.

The article suggests that you have to be a person that the potential mentor would be glad to have.  Do you look studious? Are you reasonably dresses? Are you comfortable with that person and are they comfortable with you?  

The last suggestion from the article is:  “Finally, whenever you’re in a quandary about how to get help from someone, put yourself in their shoes.  If the tables were turned, what would you want to see from this individual asking for help? If you were inundated with requests for help every day, what type of person would YOU choose to assist, and why? Go out and become that person that others would love to support and nurture.”

There is an old adage “to make friends you have to be a friend first”.  Let the mentor feel comfortable with you, volunteer to help them with projects, work the relationship.

What do you think?

Have you had mentors?  How did you find them?


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Blog Post #449 Mentoring III

Blog Post #449 Mentoring III

Continuing from yesterday – looking for a GREAT mentor!!

I have been a mentor for many students.  But, this link (article) says it as well as I could:

  1. Willingness to Share Skills, Knowledge and Expertise
  2. Demonstrates a Positive Attitude and Acts as a Positive Role Model
  3. Takes a Personal Interest in the Mentoring Relationship
  4. Exhibits Enthusiasm in the Field
  5. Values Ongoing Learning and Growth in the Field
  6. Provides Guidance and Constructive Feedback
  7. Respected by Colleagues and Employees in All Levels of the Organization
  8. Sets and Meets Ongoing Personal and Professional Goals

Yesterday we looked at the first four points, Today, we are going to look at the last four points.

5) Values ongoing learning and growth in the field.  
You MUST be a lifelong learner.  Your mentor needs to be conversant with what is going on in the field.  I was an information systems person and my field changed every day – with new technologies.  I had to keep up with artificial intelligence, robotics and more, although not be an expert in each area.

6) Provides guidance and constructive feedback

Your mentor needs to lead and guide you – not yell at you.  He/she needs to encourage you and give you enough guidance to move along.  Learning new things is a tough balancing point – too hard and the learner gets ‘turned off’; too easy, and again the learner gets turned off.

7) Respected by colleagues and employees in all levels of the organization.

Your mentor needs to have such positive values that others recognize him/her.  As a ‘master teacher’ and a service award winner, I was respected by others. My mentees knew that and knew they could approach me.

8) Sets and Meets ongoing personal and professional goals

In this whole series of blogs, I have written about attitude, goals, being great and remarkable.  Your mentor also needs to have goals – both personal and professional.

Find a great mentor, stick with him or her.  I have students that even now, years after graduation ask me questions and contact me for advice.


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Blog Post #448 Mentoring II

Blog Post #448 Mentoring II

Let’s look at this from the ‘reverse side’ – what is a good mentor.

Yes – if you are in college, if you are changing jobs, if you are just unsure of what is going on – you need a mentor.  Years ago, it might have been your father or mother, or a clergy person. Today it is more likely to be a professional in your job field.

I have been a mentor for many students.  But, this link (article) says it as well as I could:

  1. Willingness to Share Skills, Knowledge and Expertise
  2. Demonstrates a Positive Attitude and Acts as a Positive Role Model
  3. Takes a Personal Interest in the Mentoring Relationship
  4. Exhibits Enthusiasm in the Field
  5. Values Ongoing Learning and Growth in the Field
  6. Provides Guidance and Constructive Feedback
  7. Respected by Colleagues and Employees in All Levels of the Organization
  8. Sets and Meets Ongoing Personal and Professional Goals

In older days, a person might become an apprentice to a master.  That master would guide that younger person to eventually become a master as well.  

Today, we are going to look at the first four points.

  1. Look for a mentor/expert in your area that you are learning.  It might be great to have an expert in finance, but if you are learning information systems, that might not be the best choice (but, don’t dismiss the option too early).  As a faculty mentor, I wanted to share and teach the field; I wanted the student to learn and grow.
  2. You don’t want a crabby mentor.  You want one that is positive and upbeat.  Now, we all have bad days, and if you approach a person who you think is good on a bad day, try them again.  Maybe they are sick that day. I’ve had days when I should not have been in the classroom – flu and feeling lousy.  But, most days I’m very positive and very upbeat.
  3. ** You must have a mentor that is interested in YOU.  If they are not interested, don’t have the time, can’t make the time for you, forget that person. This is probably the most important on the list.  Better a lesser expert that has time and wants to help you than a well-known expert who is NOT interested in you or in mentoring you. Some people (faculty) have a great rapport and have a lot of mentees, but most can squeeze in if they believe in you.
  4. While some realism is good; enthusiasm is contagious.  Remembering the old quote “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm”.  They will know the field, the job opportunities. Trust their judgment as they guide you.  If they say a particular field has drawbacks, listen to them. If you want to be a marine biologist and you don’t like water and ships, they might counsel you into another aspect of biology.

While networking is very important, having a fantastic mentor can top that.  Your mentor becomes your cheerleader. Build the relationship carefully. Take the mentor for a cup of coffee.  Listen carefully to them, interact with them, ask questions, and be sure to tell them “Thanks”. As a faculty mentor, I loved to encourage student mentees, but that time spent mentoring took me away from some research, grading and lesson planning.  But, be careful of their time. Ask if this is a good time.

Tomorrow – more mentoring – the last four bullet points from above.


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Blog Post #447 Mentors 1

Coaching for Life Success:  Mentors 1

A very important topic today – finding a mentor.  

First – what is a mentor?

A mentor is a person or friend who guides a less experienced person by building trust and modeling positive behaviors. An effective mentor understands that his or her role is to be dependable, engaged, authentic, and tuned into the needs of the mentee. (taken from – which is a great resource to check out)

Having an experienced person listen to you; guide you and when appropriate give suggestions is going to be very valuable to you.  

Over the years, I have had many student mentees.

Example 1: Jerry was unsure of his major and direction.  We talked frequently and as it got to be time to register for classes for the next semester, we agreed for him to add a programming class to his schedule.  He wasn’t sure he wanted to be a programmer or an information systems major. My advice was to try it out, it is one class and if it doesn’t fit, he could drop the class or finish it and go in another direction.  As it happened, he loved the class and did extremely well. This lead to more information systems classes. Then was the opportunity for an internship. He had some different options. The experience of an internship was going to be good no matter where he went.   He selected an internship with a major financial company – and now 20 years later has been promoted several times, has a group working under him and is very happy.

Example 2: Andrew was also good with information systems and we talked frequently about careers and direction.  He too had many options upon graduation and took one with a leadership development program which gave him about five internal positions within the business over a three year period.  At the end of that time, he was very valuable to the company and know the ins-and-outs of how the entire company worked from working in the different departments. He settled in and was recognized as a valued employee.  Then an opportunity came for him to move within that company to a different location. We talked about it – moving away from what he knew and people he knew to a new town, a new boss, and new experiences. It meant selling a house and starting over.  Again, we talked and I listened to what I was hearing from his heart. He made the move and is so much happier and in a great position to continue to be promoted.

Example 3: Lori was an average student.  She did well and we talked frequently. Coming from a very close family and a small town, she just didn’t want to take a position in a large company in a different state.  We found a fantastic internship with a non-profit organization for her. She really flourished in that environment and while that non-profit organization didn’t have an opportunity for her, she found her niche in a governmental agency and loves what she does – with less stress and more time with family than she would have had by moving to a neighboring state.

I do have many more mentoring success stories.

The author suggests that college students find a faculty mentor.  Talk to them about careers. Experienced professors will also be able to help with networking and finding professionals to talk to.  

Take time to talk to your professors. Stop by their office to chat.  Ask them why they picked their particular discipline. Stop to visit at least monthly.  Then narrow your focus to two that seem to be better able to help you in your career and future.  Get to know them more – take them for coffee (aside, faculty love to go for coffee). Build your relationship.

Things to think about

  • Research mentoring and being a mentee.  
  • What makes for a good mentor?  
  • How can you be a good mentee?
  • If you are already in college, start working on this.  Make an appointment to visit with your professors – even those outside your intended major (with their networks, they will probably know people and opportunities that might be of interest to you.

Quote for today: “I am not a teacher, but an awakener.” ― Robert Frost


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Blog Post #446 Networking 2

Coaching for Life Success:  Networking 2

So, you need to build a professional network.  

Are you on LInkedIn?  If not, you should be, and it should be professional.  Link up with professors, with classmates, with professional friends.  LinkedIn is NOT where you put your vacation pictures (or, your pictures from last Saturday’s night party).  Keep it up to date!!

Next, find professional societies.  If you are a college student, there may be various groups on your campus – AITP student chapter; Accounting Students Organization, and almost every major has a professional society.  Get involved – (almost all organizations like volunteers, and if you volunteer you get to meet more people and get to network more!!)

If you are not a student, check out various meeting groups – like MeetUp (I just found a Beginning German speakers group in Austin).  Some groups are professional, some more common interest groups. And, even if Beginning German is not a professional group for you, you will still meet people, who know people in your field.  Networking – rubbing shoulders with others that might know somebody who knows somebody!!

The adage “A turtle only makes progress by sticking out his neck”.  Stick out your neck, meet new people.

Now don’t be too self-serving in your networking – it is not just about YOU!!  Volunteer for organizations (even if behind the scene), be a regular at meetings, invite your new friends for coffee or a beer.  To have friends (and networking friends) you must be a friend.

(Aside, I went to the ISECON Conference in 1990 not knowing anybody.  I volunteered for the board of directors, was selected in 1992 (elected), and eventually became the conference director for four years, a member of executive committee, and the ISECON /EDSIG “IS Educator of the Year”)

Work on your elevator speech (as if you are in an elevator with a hiring manager, you have between the ground floor and the 20th floor to make a good impression – about one to two minutes).

Be proactive.  When you meet somebody new, ask what they do for a living.  (It is a nice ice-breaker question anyway). Be interested. Somebody in their company does what you want to do – find out about that person, that company, and who might be a networking person at that company.

Be patient.  It may time to build your network; it may be a while before somebody gets back to you; a person/company might not have an immediate need for your skills – but be in communication (and not ‘begging’ for a job).  It might be that one day a person at that company dies in a traffic accident and they need somebody quickly – and the person you know remembers you and you get a call for a temporary assignment.

Build your resume, part-time jobs, internships. volunteering that you have done.  Show that you are a real person.

And, of course, be ready for an interview!!!  



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Blog Post #445 – Networking 1

Coaching for Life Success:  Networking – part I

Today we will start looking at networking.

When I was young and naïve, I seriously thought it was “What I know not who I know” that made the difference.  After 38 years as a professor, I understand that knowledge is important, that thinking and being able to adapt is very important, but having a network is also very important.  So, who I know – and who I network with is important.

Overview:  What is networking?

According to San Jose State University; “Networking is simply an information exchange between you and another person. It involves establishing relationships with people who can help you advance your career in many ways” (see the beginning link)

You can network with anyone.   You can ‘network’ with your roommate, your classmates, your professors.  Let’s look more at the purpose of networking

Purpose of professional networking:  The SJSU definition says “establishing relationships with people who can help you advance your career in many ways”.

Who to network with for a career?

As you have been thinking about who you are and where you are going, this is a good time to meet with people in that field.  Let’s say you are thinking about going into computing – you should be finding people to talk to in that field. Within computing, there are several areas – programming, vendor liaison, networking (computer networking, not people networking), architecture, ERP, CRM, security and much more.  Most students who are thinking of computing may not be thinking of all the options and talking to some computing professionals can help you understand the field.

There are many sources for networking – your neighbors, your parent’s friends and people they know, even your high school career counselors will know people to talk to.

How to get a networking appointment

Call or email the person to see if you can ask them questions about their field.  Make an appointment of approximately 15 minutes. If you are going to the person’s work site, be very understanding of their time.  A CEO or high-level professional making $200,000 a year on an hourly basis is about $100 an hour. Not that you will need to pay for the time spent with the person, but be careful of their time.  The time they spent with you is the time that they could be making million dollar decisions for their companies.

Have an agenda – ask specific questions – do your homework before you met.  Questions you might want to ask in a networking session:

  • How did you choose this field?
  • What is your average day like?
  • What professional organizations are you part of and why?
  • What advice might you have for me?
  • If you could start over, how might you do it differently?
  • Why do you like what you do?
  • Did you always want to be in a position like this?
  • Who has made the biggest impression on you and why?
  • (And … don’t ask embarrassing questions – like how much you make)


Take notes in the interview.  Follow up questions with related questions if appropriate.    And … definitely THANK THEM for their time.

Things to do:

  • Find a person to  interview, make the initial contact
  • Dress for success (that is, dress appropriately for the interview)
  • How did you determine who to interview?
  • Did the interviews help you towards – or away – from a particular field/job?
  • Who else should you interview?  Why?
  • Could one of the people you interviewed become a mentor?  Why or why not?

Quote for today: “Becoming well known (at least among your prospects & connections) is the most valuable element in the connection process.”  ― Jeffrey Gitomer

Posted by Bruce White, 0 comments