Interested in a career in business development?

If you think you might be interested in a business development career, or if you’re not sure what a business development professional does, check out this article for an excellent overview about this potential career path. Topics discussed include how to prepare for such a career, including how an MBA or a JD degree can be very helpful. Bus dev guys put deals together, and knowing how deals are structured is essential. You can learn quite a bit by getting an MBA or JD, but frankly hands on experience doing deals is the most important factor.

Are you an ideal employee?

It’s a fair question, whether you’re looking for a job or you’re settled in with a job.

This articles describes 15 traits of the ideal employee. It’s a great list for prospective employers as they evaluate job candidates, but it’s also a great checklist for those of us looking for a job. What can we do to add more value to our company? Here are the first two items on the list:

1. Action-oriented – Hire employees who take action and take chances. While chances may lead to failure, they will more often lead to success and mold confidence while generating new ideas. Stagnant employees won’t make your company money; action-oriented employees will.

2. Intelligent – Intelligence is not the only thing, but it’s a strong foundation for success. While there are many variables you can be flexible on when hiring, intelligence is a must or you’re going to be spending an abundance of time proofing work, micromanaging and dealing with heightened stress levels.

The term “problem solver” isn’t on this list, though many of the attributes point to this quality. It’s important to be able to identify problems, but the best employees will help you solve them and also take the initiative where appropriate.

As you look for a new job and prepare for interviews, keep this list in mind.

5 Details for an Unforgettable Business Card


Free image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Business cards are a great way to leave a lasting professional impression long after an introduction. When it comes to quality business cards, it’s all about the details. Small details turn can a forgettable business card into a memorable one, giving you the edge over your competition.

The Cut

Poorly cut business cards show potential clients that you have subpar standards. They’re highly unprofessional can provide a negative reflection on the way you carry out your business. If it looks like your toddler took a pair of scissors to your business cards, you might consider demanding a refund. The same is true if your cards have frayed edges or worn sides. A professional, clean cut is non-negotiable.

The Personal Information

Business cards convey important contact information for potential clients and should always be kept up-to-date. It’s imperative to order new business cards as soon as the information on your current ones is no longer accurate. Never try to recycle old cards with penned in corrections, as that implies your company is cheap, unprofessional, and does not pay attention to detail. If any updates are made to your business, your business cards must be updated simultaneously.

The Business Logo

Your business likely has a brilliantly designed logo, but unless that logo conveys a major household brand your customers will not remember your business name. A logo can help to recall the memory of potential business associates even if your company name does not, so always remember to include your business name with your logo if it is not in the logo itself.

Colors

Mustard yellow could be your favorite color, but putting it on a business card will cause some of your potential customers to ditch the card immediately. This doesn’t mean that your card has to lack color completely. The trick is to make it subtle and keep the contrast high. Colors should be tasteful and easy on the eyes. It’s easy to be put off by poorly colored cards, which will cost your business money in the long run. You don’t want anything to keep your customers from reading the important information displayed on your business cards.

Font

Font plays a big part in whether or not your clients can read your business card. Make sure you consider your client’s interests ahead of your own, as some fonts can be very difficult to read. Even the more formal fonts of calligraphy can pose a problem to some customers. Keep it simple to reach your target customers.

Business cards are continuous advertising. They are also a reflection of your business choices and your attention to detail. The goal of your business cards is to make them an unforgettable piece of your business and a memorable staple attached to your name.

Protecting your professional reputation

Are you someone who is respected in business? Do you meet deadlines? Do you avoid making excuses when things go wrong?

Your professional reputation is critical, and it goes far beyond your core competency for your job. It’s often about the little things, like being prepared for meeting and being responsive.

This article provides a very handy list of the little things you should pay attention to.

Facebook and job interviews

Most people are aware now that the stuff you post on Facebook and other social media outlets will likely be researched by prospective employers. This interview with Dr. Lawrence Burgee, Department Chair and Associate Professor, Department of Information Systems, Brown School of Business and Leadership, Stevenson University, illustrates the point. He tells a story of one interview where an applicant was asked if a person could be their friend for an hour to look over their Facebook page while others were interviewing him.

Dave Navarro gives career advice to musicians

Bullz-Eye.com recently interviewed Dave Navarro as Jane’s Addiction was about to release their first album since 2003. In the interview he was asked about advice he’d give to aspiring musicians.

BE: What is the number one piece of advice you would give to someone starting a band today?

DN: I’ve answered that before, and to be perfectly frank, in this climate and the way the music business is, I would say the number one piece of advice is to do exactly what you love, and make sure you love doing it. I think back to when Jane’s Addiction started in the late ’80s, and we weren’t really aware that we would amount to much. We thought we were doing something special, but given the climate and what was successful at the time, we just felt that it was best to do what we wanted to do and stick to who we were, and as a result of that, we were able to gain some attention. The climate has changed so much, and the media has changed so much over the years, I’m astonished with how many people I’ve come into contact with that are really looking for fame, period. And those are all the wrong reasons to do this. You’d just be chasing some dream, and once you’ve reached a certain level of success, their whole life will be okay. But the fact of the matter is, they’re still stuck with themselves at the end of the day.

BE: So music’s not the end goal for a lot of these bands? It’s just celebrity that’s more important to them?

DN: I don’t want to say that, because there’s a really great rock movement happening, and there are lots of great artists out there. I’m saying that, and I’m sure you can understand, if you look in the more mainstream/pop world, there are a lot of people just chasing the notoriety. And hey, they’re happy doing that, I’m not saying anything negative about them. I’m just saying to upcoming bands, make the goal to work on the music that you’re most proud of, and the rest should fall into place.

It’s good advice, and the notion applies far wider than the music industry. Ask yourself why you pick any profession, job or career. Are you doing it for the money or other types of rewards, or is it something you really want to do for its own sake. You have to be honest with yourself.

Words of wisdom from Steve Jobs

Apple announced the death of Apple founder Steve Jobs on October 5, 2011. He was 56. Jobs was the founder and former CEO of Apple that transformed personal computer technology and invented devices such as the iPod, iPhone and iPad. He is shown announcing the Macintosh computer in 1984 in San Francisco, California. UPI/Terry Schmitt/files

Steve Jobs passed away today. He was one of the most important and influential people of our time and he will be greatly missed.

I would recommend that everyone, particularly young people, read this speech from Steve Jobs given at Stanford in 2005. It’s the best career advice I’ve ever heard.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

Read the whole thing.

Multiple job offers out there for executives

The job market is still very tough for most people, but many candidates for executive positions are receiving multiple job offers.

For the lucky ones, however, it’s 2007 all over again. “It’s incredibly competitive out there for talent, incredibly competitive,” says Kim Shanahan, a Korn Ferry partner in Reston, Va. Her searches for human resources executives have been “over the top — insane” because demand is so strong and candidates are becoming more selective. Adds Jeff Hodge, the San Francisco-based vice chairman of Diversified Search, a Philadelphia firm: “It is almost as if there’s been a floodgate opened, a material change since December.”

Korn Ferry (KFY) recruiters estimate that currently about 5% to 10% of executive candidates are ending up with multiple job offers within three or four months of starting their search. That might not seem like much, but competition is fierce for that group, and big signing bonuses are becoming common. In certain areas, including R&D, human resources, product development, and Java J2E software expertise, the talent wars are well underway, while elsewhere the job world is a frozen wasteland.

So who’s landing multiple offers? Those who show demonstrated results — and can prove they know how to grow businesses. Brian Sullivan, chief executive of CT Partners, uses the example of a CEO his firm placed at a Silicon Valley turnaround. In nine months he got the company on track, then sold it. “He now has three different offers from three private equity firms to go into one of their portfolio firms,” said Sullivan.

If you’re in this potential group the job market should be picking up.

The emergence of leadership coaching for executives

Executive coaching is the hot new trend as companies try to maximize the performance of their management teams. Check out this article on coaching from Fortune and consider whether coaching is right for you or for someone on your team.

Once seen as a last-chance effort to turn around flagging careers, coaches for top talent are going mainstream. They’re being brought in for newly hired senior executives, as well as for newly promoted department heads who suddenly must manage many more people. “Leadership coaching is the hottest thing these days,” says Kate Wendleton, president of the Five O’Clock Club, which has turned some of its outplacement and career coaches into executive coaches because demand has been so strong.

According to a July 2011 American Management Association survey, almost half of participating companies use coaching to prepare individuals for a promotion or new role. While half of companies provide coaches to midlevel or senior staff only, 38% make them available to anyone. Coaching’s three most common uses, according to the AMA survey: leadership development, remedial performance improvement, and optimizing strong contributors. “A coach is like a personal trainer for business,” says Erika Andersen, author of Being Strategic and coach to many media executives.

Coaches can run $200 per hour or more, and work can be done face-to-face, on the phone or both.

New jobs: Data Scientists

With the mountains of data being generated every day, companies are trying to mine it and make sense of it. The result is a booming job market in this area and a new career track for “data scientists.”

As part of a relatively new field, data scientists may come from many different backgrounds. Garrison says that employers are often looking for two things when considering a job applicant. “The first part is the technical background,” he says. Companies may want professionals with an industry background who are familiar with its specific jargon and trends. “If you want to work for a pharmaceutical company, you might need a degree in biochemistry,” he explains. Other jobs may require only a general degree in business.

In addition to the technical expertise, data scientists and competitive intelligence professionals also need to know where to find data and how to analyze it. Some colleges and universities offer graduate degrees or certificate programs in specialties such as data mining and data analysis. Professional groups such as SCIP also provide training opportunities for members.

Since data scientists spend a significant amount of time using computer programs and algorithms, it may seem logical that a computer science degree would be preferable for these professionals. However, many argue that a degree in physics makes more sense. Loukides writes that physicists not only have mathematical and computing skills but also an ability to see the “big picture.”

Daniel I. Shostak, President of Strategic Affairs Forecasting, has been tracking changes in the field of analytics for several years and says that those interested in working as a data scientist need more than just computer skills. “[They] need to demonstrate very good communication skills because many folks are very skeptical about the value of data driven analysis,” he said. In addition, Shostak suggests that potential job candidates become proficient in the statistical language R and have experience working with computer networks since they are often an integral part of working with large data sets.

As a hot new career, the government has yet to begin tracking data scientist occupational information. However, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that demand for operations research analysts, who provide some similar services, is expected to jump 22 percent from 2008-2018.

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