Posted tagged ‘Dr. Woody’

Guest Post: Making The Most of Your Referrals

October 1, 2010

You have probably heard it before, but I’ll say it again, it’s all about who you know. Anytime you have an opportunity to connect with a referral, be sure to make the most of it. Referrals can be a powerful tool when seeking to gain access to internship opportunities. Always check your network to see who can refer you with an inside player. Once connected with an inside player, it’s up to you to make the most of it. The following are some tips to consider when linking up with a referral.

Do Your Homework!!!

From the perspective of a referral, there is nothing more frustrating than talking to a student who hasn’t done their homework. By homework, I mean preparing for the call. You should never pick-up the phone without having a good sense of who you are calling and what you are looking to get from the conversation. Remember, when you are reaching out to someone to ask for help, it’s up to you to do the work. The contact doesn’t owe you anything, so don’t go into the call expecting them to be ready with a set of solutions or list of contacts they are going to blindly link you to. It’s up to you to earn it. Your job is to ask questions and explain what it is you are looking for from the conversation. If you want their help, you are going to have to make the case that you are worth helping out. Nobody wants to refer a student who will give them a bad name.

Know Your Takeaways

Any good salesperson always knows what they want out of a sales call. In other words, they have a list of what they want to get from the prospect. For you, it’s about knowing the takeaways you want from the conversation. It’s important to have a sense of what you hope to get from the contact, so as to keep your conversation focused.

Offer To Help

Always be willing to offer yourself up for any help they may need. Although you may not feel you have a lot to offer, you never really know. It’s important to demonstrate your willingness to give back. Chances are, they aren’t going to take you up on the offer, but it shows good will on your behalf.

Follow-up

After any call or meeting, always follow-up the next day with an e-mail to thank the contact for their time and help. Be sure to provide them with any information they requested (resume, bio…) and remind them of any key action points from the conversation. Don’t be shy about following up a week later if you haven’t heard anything back. I can tell you from my own experience, I get a lot of e-mails and sometimes I either miss e-mails or just forget to respond.

Referrals are a powerful tool that can give you an edge against other candidates. Be sure to use them wisely!

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a coach and author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy. Dr. Woody is president of the consulting firm HCI, sits on the Academic Advisory Board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership, and holds a PhD in organizational psychology.Dr Woody

Guest Post: You are NOT There for the Food

September 27, 2010

Dr WoodyWhen presented with a flavorful array of tasty options it’s hard to resist the temptation to indulge, particularly when you are a starving student. There is something strangely enticing about the novelty of that daily special or those wonderful little bite-sized items perched on little white doilies. However, when it comes to the art of the lunch interview or the science of working the room at a networking event, remember, you aren’t there for the food! You are there for the meeting… and you are being watched.


A Lesson Learned

When it comes to navigating the business lunch, I’ll never forget a lunch meeting I had a number of years ago with a former student of mine. She was my star student from an organizational psychology class I taught during my time as a doctoral student. I was very excited to see her as she had recently started her first professional job for a Fortune 500 company. She was just learning the ropes and wanted to get some advice from me on how to best deal with operating in the business world. She was about to teach herself a valuable lesson.

Just a few minutes into the meeting I was quickly reminded of how new she was to this game. When the server came over she promptly ordered the restaurant’s signature “monster” burger. My immediate thought was “oh boy, this should be interesting.” As she was somewhat of a dainty young woman, I knew this would present a unique impediment to good conversation. Needless to say, when this half-slab of a cow showed up oozing at all sides, her face was overcome with concern. For the remainder of the lunch the poor girl struggled though it, desperately trying to protect her white silk blouse. It wasn’t a pretty sight and needless to say, she learned a good lesson.

Remember, it’s not about the food, it’s about the conversation. If you really are looking to make a meaningful connection, the food should be secondary. Sometimes going with the conservative no-mess choice can help keep you focused on the task at hand.

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a coach and author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy. Dr. Woody is president of the consulting firm HCI, sits on the Academic Advisory Board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership, and holds a PhD in organizational psychology.

Guest Post #4 by Dr. Woody: The YOU Plan: Why Personality Matters

September 15, 2010

Dr WoodyWe all have our own mix of attributes and experiences that combine to create the unique value we bring to bear in our college and internship endeavors. Arguably, the most powerful of these intrinsic forces is personality. Your personality is a root driver of the behaviors and actions that you demonstrate on a daily basis.

Although there are many influences on human behavior, I believe that personality is one of the most significant. Other influences that drive behavior include experience, culture, upbringing, and religion to name a few. What differentiates personality from these other influencers is that personality comes from within, whereas the others mentioned are external. In fact, your personality is partially responsible for determining how you respond to those outside influences.

What is Personality?

In a simple sense, personality is really about your natural inclinations. We all have natural leanings and comfort zones. We are all born with and quickly develop our own unique disposition.

One of the most well researched models of personality is the Big Five. The Big Five consists of five high-level factors that can be remembered as OCEAN: Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion/introversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism (often referred to as emotional stability). The model states that we all have varying levels of each factor that operate together to create our individual personalities. The model has gained such wide acceptance that even the psychologists at e-Harmony use it as part of their matching system.

Assessing Personality

When it comes to assessing personality, there are literally thousands of personality assessments on the market. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of these assessments likely provide as much intellectual insight as your daily horoscope or the latest quiz in Cosmopolitan magazine. So, when looking for a good assessment, consider the source. Simple on-line assessments can sometimes do more harm then good.

The most popular Big Five-based assessment is the NEO-FFI, but this is not easily accessible. Two other well-known models include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the DISC assessment, both of which have enjoyed a tremendous amount of popularity in workshops and are sometimes used in classrooms.

How Your Career Center Can Help

When it comes to personality assessments, the best place to go is your campus career center. Most career centers offer a variety of assessments designed to aid in the self-discovery process. If you strike out there, check with the psychology department. Graduate students often use personality assessments as part of their research projects, so if you are willing to participate, you may get to take an assessment.

Having a good sense of your natural talents will be critical to your success. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a position where most of your time is spent outside of your comfort zone. When you are in your element, you are at your best. The bottom line is that career success requires really knowing yourself and where you best fit in. Knowing your personality is a good start.

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a coach and author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy. Dr. Woody is president of the consulting firm HCI, sits on the Academic Advisory Board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership, and holds a PhD in organizational psychology.

Guest Post from Dr. Woody. The YOU Plan: It Starts with Values

September 1, 2010

This post is the second in a series of guest posts by acclaimed executive coach and organizational psychologist, Dr. Michael Woodward (aka “Dr. Woody.)

Dr WoodyIn my first blog post last Wednesday, I talked about the importance of answering five fundamental questions designed to help you take charge of your college and career life.  The first three questions focused on the value of introspection. I truly believe that in order to effectively navigate college life and develop a career direction, you really need to know yourself first.

When it comes to knowing yourself, you have to start with values. The personal values you cling to inform the everyday choices you make. Values can be thought of as the principals or moral standards you hold near and dear. Your values act as a compass to guide you in uncertain times. They are the rules you follow and the ethics you adhere to when dealing with others.

The unfortunate reality is that most of us can’t readily articulate our values. Whether working with executives, high school principals, or college students, whenever I ask about values the response is usually the same, a puzzled look coupled with a touch of embarrassment. Values aren’t something we tend to think much about, yet they are so critical to how we live.

So, how do you assess your values? Doing a quick web search for values checklists will provide a lot of results. I also have a values checklist in my book, The YOU Plan. The key to using any adjective checklist is taking the time to narrow down your list to your top five and then put them in your own words. This is a much tougher challenge than it seems because it requires making tough choices. However, it will help you prioritize what you really do value.

A good way to test your values is to ask yourself three questions:

•    Am I willing to fight for it?
•    Am I willing to sacrifice for it?
•    Am I willing to pay for?

If you are not willing to fight, sacrifice, or pay for something then you have to question whether it truly is one of your values. The bottom line is simple, when pursuing an internship or career opportunity it’s important to understand the role your values play in the decisions you make. Every organization has its own unique culture driven by a set of core values. These values often come from the organization’s founders or executive leaders. It’s up to you to understand what these values are and determine how well they match with your own. There is no worse feeling than being in an environment where your values are misaligned with that of your employer.

Any good career and life plan starts with introspection. A critical component to the introspective process is assessing your values. Assessing your values starts with selecting your top five and then asking yourself if you are willing to fight, sacrifice, or pay for them. Once you have put your top five in your own words, go out and investigate those internship and career opportunities that best align with your values.

Michael “Dr. Woody” Woodward, PhD is a coach and author of The YOU Plan: A 5-step Guide to Taking Charge of Your Career in the New Economy. Dr. Woody is president of the consulting firm HCI, sits on the Academic Advisory Board of the Florida International University Center for Leadership, and holds a PhD in organizational psychology.


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