3 Tips for Success That Most People Ignore

3 Tips for Success That Most People IgnoreI love professional and career building events. I have to admit though, some of the tips given at these events can be pretty repetitive. But, can you guess why? Because they’re important!

Ironically, as important as these tips are, most people don’t actually follow them, including myself sometimes. Here are three tips that are given at professional and career growth events that most people ignore. Hopefully after this you won’t be one of them.

1.      Actually Follow Up With Contacts

Business cards are amazing. They’re the keys that can open almost any door that exists. However, if you don’t use them, they’re pointless.

As soon as you get a new contact, reach out to them through email. Even if you don’t want something now, you may need something later. By the time later comes around, they’ll remember you.

Read more at Elite DC Magazine. 

The Hunt: My Story

The day that I received my job offer (my #1 pick might I add!), I was talking with a friend about how I couldn’t believe that my job hunt was actually over. In the end, I earned two job offers! No more applications! No more interviews! No more waiting! What a relief!!

My 4-month journey for not just any job, but the perfect job for me was nothing like I imagined. It wasn’t just hard; it was way more than that. It took a lot of creativity, networking and advice from mentors and people who were in my position not too long ago. Let me not forget to mention a whole lot of praying! Throughout my entire search, I was still interning full time. It was exhausting, but somehow I was able to do it. My friend suggested that I share my experience with you on my blog. Not because in the end I received a job offer, but because I worked my way to choosing the right job for me.

The Hunt

Anytime you see The Hunt in a post title, get ready. That’ll be me sharing with you parts of my own job hunt. I’ll also share tips and lessons that really great and successful people told me, and some that I’ve even picked up on my own.

I don’t believe there’s a set formula for success. However, I do believe that there are a few equations that will bring you closer to the finish line.

Why Can’t Millennials Get Jobs?

Check out #2. Notice how it links back to the usage of social media. What you’re posting on your social networks REALLY MATTERS. Be mindful, millennials!

-Erica Hilton

PRofessional Solutions, LLC

Millennials — people born between 1981 and 2000 – are creative, good at networking and have strong technological skills.  So why can’t they get a job?

A survey of 501 hiring managers by Adecco, the human resources consulting company, found some troubling answers.

The three most common interview mistakes noted by the managers about Millennials were:

1-      dressing inappropriately for the interview (75 percent saw this);

2-  posting “compromising content” on social media channels like Facebook (70 percent of hiring managers saw this); and

3-  failing to show interest in the job by not asking questions about the position or business and not having researched the prospective position (62 percent saw this).

Millennials can’t afford to appear unprofessional.  According to Dean Baker, co-director of the Center for Economic and Policy Research, 58 percent of all new jobs in the past year have gone to workers older than 55.  

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What’s Your Motivation?

I’ll be the first to tell you that trying to succeed in this day and age isn’t exactly easy. Some days can be down right hard. You know what I’m talking about. Chasing your dreams can sometimes be a rocky road. Every day you’re competing against the best of the best, and you’re always trying to prove yourself to the rest of the world.

No matter how rough the road to success may get, always keep in the forefront what motivates you. What do I do? Everyday on my way to work I pass the White House. Now I’m just a regular girl from a regular town in North Carolina, but every time I walk pass the White House I remind myself that if I got here, there’s no telling how far I’ll go next.

What’s your motivation?

The White House

Matt Mullenweg – Founder of WordPress

Matt Mullenweg and Erica Hilton

In July 2012, I had the opportunity to attend the Next Generation of Government Summit. The summit was two days of networking, training sessions and amazing guest speakers.

While there I got the chance to meet the founder of WordPress, Matt Mullenweg. It was really refreshing to hear him speak. The one thing that really stood out to me was how laid back he was. He didn’t have a full on business suit on. He had an energized presence about him. In other words… Matt was not a stiff! It was a great reminder that success comes in all shapes, sizes, colors and forms.

Failure Doesn’t Always Mean Failure

Things don’t always go as planned, but I’m sure you’ve experienced that at least once already. If you would have asked me this time last year where did I see myself in a year and a half down the road I would have told you that I’d be living in Miami, going to the beach at least once a week, earning a MA in Public Relations and chasing a really cool career in entertainment public relations. Now is that what I’m doing? Absolutely not! Why? Because that isn’t where I was supposed to be.

Sometimes what you think you want isn’t what you’re supposed to have for yourself. When I’m talking with friends or just people in general and topics come up such as not getting certain positions, not receiving an acceptance letter or even just accidentally missing an application deadline, there’s that little sting of rejection at first. Then the conversation turns into what does the mishap mean? Are you not supposed to attend that school? Is there a bigger position somewhere else waiting for you? Is this just not for you now because it’s not the right time? Would this actually make you unhappy? See, failure doesn’t always mean failure. I like to say that ‘failure is not an option,’ but I realized that sometimes failures hold the best lessons in life for us. Therefore, they aren’t failures, just redirections.

I remember applying for graduate schools, and the school that I was dying to go to originally didn’t offer the money that I needed. What did I do? I went with the school that did. And the outcome? One of the best decisions that I could have made for myself, which back then I had no idea I was doing. Now I just graduated from graduate school. I have a paid summer internship with a government department that actually incorporates everything that I enjoy doing and not just the communication aspect of things. Also, I didn’t have to take out any loans to get my master’s degree. What seemed like a failure at first from not receiving a large scholarship from another institution ended up leading me to one of the biggest blessings of my life.

I look at my life now and even though it’s not what I would have pictured it to be, I am thoroughly proud of myself and happy. For that reason is why I am so thankful for all of my mishaps and redirections that I’ve had thus far.

What I’m trying to say is don’t get discouraged by mishaps and redirections. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and whatever happens is meant to happen. Follow that yellow brick road forever. If you come to a road block sign, go the other way! Don’t give up. God (or whomever or whatever you believe in) will always lead or redirect you in the right direction.

Never JUST Network!

Networking is a strategy. Treat it like one.

Introducing yourself and exchanging business cards won’t always give you the desired outcome that you’re looking for. It’s important to establish your plan of networking before attending  an event. Never just assume networking for every event is the same.

I love networking; so many opportunities come out of meeting new people! Anytime I’m getting ready to head to an event that I know has the opportunity for some great networking, I always keep three things in mind:

1. Always network with a purpose.

What’s your reason for wanting to network? Is it that you’re hoping for a job offer? Maybe an internship offer? Did you just move into a new area and are looking for things to do and people to hang out with? Are you looking for people in your field of interest to perhaps give you recommendations one day? Once you determine the purpose of your networking you’ll be able to craft a networking plan to help you achieve your goal.

2. Research THEN network.

What type of event is it that you’re going to? Who’s going to be there? What type of career do the people attending have? Is the topic of discussion something you have experience or an interest in? Once you know background information about the event and the people who are attending you’ll be able to prescript conversation topics, look up related current events, bring hard copy information, and know in advance what information you want to share.

3. Make sure your net-worth is actually worth networking.

There’s so much more to networking than who you know and who knows you. It’s more important what people know about you. From past experiences, I refuse to vouch for people unless I know about their work ethics, and I know a lot people who follow the same guideline. It’s great if a lot of people know you, but if the information they know about you isn’t good it’s irrelevant. Always work hard. Don’t just work hard when you think it benefits you. Whether it be a job, internship, school organization, committee, or even your online presence, make sure the information that you’re outputting about yourself is worth knowing.

The next time you know of a networking opportunity approaching, try these three tips. They have definitely come in handy for me!