Tips for Work and Life with Andrew LaCivita

Career coach and award-winning author Andrew LaCivita shares insights on leading a rewarding career and fulfilled life.
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Now displaying: June, 2017
Jun 26, 2017
Are you in a situation where you could use a helping hand from your friends? Colleagues? Acquaintances? Join career expert and award-winning author Andrew LaCivita as he discusses business networking: how to build professional relationships!


Check out Business Networking: How to Build Professional Relationships on my Tips for Work and Life Blog with the video, podcast, full transcript, and more!:


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No matter what your job is, over the length of your career, your network and it's health and strength is going to be your single greatest advantage in succeeding in your career.

Sure, a lot of you starting now have some smarts, a good job, and are willing to work hard. All that sets you in the right direction, but over the long-term, over a multi-decade career that simply will not be enough to be truly successful.

My 7 Key Success Factors for Business Networking

There are two areas I want to review about networking: what makes it successful and how to actually do it! So, let’s review my seven key principles for how to do it successfully and then a five step plan of attack to execute those principles.

  1. It’s an all-the-time thing.

You need to do it all the time. If you only do it when you need it, you're not going to be successful. If you need to network, it's already too late if you don't already have a healthy one. Be very, very consistent.

  1. Give value first. Take second.

Give value first to others before you ask for something. It could be anything. But whatever value you provide—your time, energy, education, favors—give it first.

  1. Give more than you take.

Put more into the networking bank. Keep making deposits before you make withdrawals.

  1. Do it live.

This is not an email thing. This is human interaction. This is building deeper relationships. This is spending time with people.

  1. Do what you say you’re going to do—build trust.

Always follow through. Whether you’re providing information, making a referral, etc. You want to be known for having a good “word,” being trustworthy, and being dependable.

  1. Move it forward and expand their network.

If the interaction between you and me dies with you, you haven't helped me build my network. So, you want to make sure you're thinking how can I help expand this person's network? Who might be good for him or her to know? You want to pay it forward, you want to move it forward, and you want to expand their network. The point is for both of you to grow your networks.

  1. Build a systematic plan that allows you to execute.

You need to build a plan that makes you consistent, organized, and working toward building a healthy network that meets your goal and the goals of others.

My 5-Step Plan to Build a Healthy Professional Network

This plan has served me well for multiple decades. It’s also helped me build and keep and extremely healthy network. This process works

A. Set your networking goals.

The first place to start is to set your goals. Don’t just start dialing up people and emailing them. That isn't going to get you where you need to be. You have to have a goal. And what do I mean by goals?

There are many, but let’s talk about four:

  • Educations and advancement of your knowledge
  • Camaraderie
  • Job hunting
  • Grow customers, partnerships, etc.

B. Build your relationship map by doing your research.

Who do you know who can move you toward your goals? Who do they know? Who do you want to know? Who might know them?

Build a relationship map. Literally build one. It could be a list of people, could be a diagram, or whatever it is that you want to do.

C. Identify 60 to 100 people you can connect with who can help you meet your goals.

Build a nice list of individuals. Spend an hour or so each month identifying the right people for you to connect with and contact. Do your homework. Be aggressive.

D. Prepare standard messages you can modify.

Draft 3-4 templates you can use to contact people and they tailor each one (in the next step) based on your relationship with them.

E. “E” is for execute.

Execute a consistent reach out program. For me, I contact five people at the beginning of each month.

I go through my list of people and my relationship map. I identify 5-6 people I’d like to contact. I either call them or email them to see if they want to get together (phone, coffee, lunch, dinner, etc.).

Give them a week to get back to you. If some don’t, start contacting others and so on and so forth.

Five people might not sound like a lot, but keep in mind you want to actually get together or speak with them. This is about spending time!

Adjust your plan according.

The point isn’t to do it exactly as I’ve laid it out. The point is to tailor this or some plan to accommodate your needs.

Feel free to adjust accordingly based on your goals. Most importantly, have fun and be generous!

If you enjoyed this video, give me a LIKE, COMMENT, and, of course SHARE with your friends. Expanding is what it’s all about!

Like this episode? Please share it via social media and review it on iTunes! I can keep this blog and all future podcasts and videos ad-free and sponsor-free ONLY because you share my work! Please share or subscribe to my podcast and YouTube channel too!

Want more advanced material? Join the milewalk Academy and grab some of the free offerings that support the instruction in this post!

Jun 17, 2017
Have you wanted to change careers, but don’t know how? Want that job, but don’t have the work experience? Join career expert and award-winning author Andrew LaCivita as he discusses career change success: the first 7 steps!


Career Change Success: The First 7 Steps on my Tips for Work and Life Blog with the video, podcast, full transcript, and more!:


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Be encouraged!

For all you out there watching (listening or reading this), I want to offer some words of encouragement. I know you can do this! I've done it three times. If I could do it three times, you can do it.

The great news is you have the ability. It’s also never in the history of the world been easier to make a career change with all the resources we have now to help educate you and get you going in the right direction.

Have a plan…

The problem is most people don't have a plan, which I'm going to give you today—the first seven steps of that plan.

But first, a little perspective and motivation…

I want to just give you a moment of perspective and I want you to tuck this away in the back of your mind as you watch this video or any of my videos for that matter.

If I wasn't brave enough thirteen or so years ago to make a career change and then again two years ago to make another change, you'd never be benefiting from this video or any video I've ever created, or any training course, or anything I've ever done to help facilitate your career and your life.

I want you think about as you're hesitating to make that change. Think of all those people in this world who would benefit from you doing so.

So whether you are an old pro (like I am) wanting to make a drastic career change, or whether you're a college student looking for that first job, or anybody who wants a job where they don't feel like they have the requisite experience, this video is for you. I'm going to give you the first seven steps I would take.

Let's roll…

1. Make sure you want it and make a list.

It sounds silly, but there's a huge difference between a passing fancy and a burning desire. Most people fail not because of their ability, but because they don't have a good plan in place.

They haven't thought it through about whether or not that career or that change is going to align to what makes them happy.

So, the first step that I would take is I would list out all of my requirements I need in place to be happy. Make a list. It sounds simple, but very few people do it.

BONUS: I have a three-part video series you can watch. It's called The First 5 Steps to Career Success: Get Your Career Focused, Organized, and On Track. Watch this to make sure you make the right list.

2. What are you willing to sacrifice?

You have the ability to achieve your goals. You have the ability to make this career change or get that job. The reason a lot of people fail is not only because they don't have a plan, but also because they're unwilling to give up certain things in their life. You have to put in extra effort to compensate for the areas you’re deficient. You need to “catch up.”

Think…nights, weekends, compensation, and so forth. You might have to take a little pay cut if you want to make a change. What are you willing to give up and not give up? Get clear on that and be committed to sacrificing those things that will prevent you from being successful in making this change.

3. Learn the capabilities and qualities.

You need to discover the capabilities important for success in that particular career or job. What do I mean by capabilities?

Here’s an example. When a sales person is sells a product or service, knowing exactly how to sell that particular product is a trade skill learned through experience selling that specific product.

That skill is usually something easily taught or learned. But, great sales people transcend product and services. They have foundational abilities like good leadership skills, good organizational skills, and good communication skills.

They're good listeners. They know how to connect the dots for their customers or prospects to show them how their products and services will benefit them. They're good at psychology.

These are foundational abilities that can be developed that make a great sales person a great sales person.

If you want to be a chef, then you need to figure out what capabilities make awesome chefs.

There are many ways to do that, but there are two easy ways. You could literally Google “what qualities make a great chef.” A whole bunch of blog posts will come up and a whole bunch of books will come up. Read. Learn. See if those are qualities you think you already have or can develop.

The other thing is you can do a little research with individuals who are currently doing that role or have done that role. There are lots of ways to get this insight, but you want to make sure identify the capabilities.

We're going to use these in a later step in the process. This is a huge deal.

4. Do your reconnaissance with people currently doing that career or job.

Talk to people currently doing that job—and I want to stress the word currently.

Why do I make such a big deal about this? It's okay to talk to somebody who was a chef or a sales person. But, human nature is we tend to forget what it was like, what some of the struggles were, what it was like not to know what we know. Also, their techniques or their interactions with the world might be a little outdated.

You want to talk to people who are currently going through it. It's fresh in their minds. They know what they're dealing with. It's front, it's center, and they can share it with you.

You can start making a longer list of things you're going to have to evaluate and consider to know whether you're going to want to make this change.

It might sound exciting when you're thinking about making that change, but if you don't have some realistic real-time data you're not going to be successful.

5. Build your Franken-Mentor.

It's never been easier to get help and get educated on a career you want. I call this one “building a Franken-Mentor.”

When I became a trainer a few years ago, I didn't know how to work a camera. I didn't really have a great (social) platform. I didn't know what it was like to build a membership site or a training course or a number of other things I had to learn. I have seven different people it takes to help me shoot this video! LOL.

I had to learn from many different people, who were experts at what they do. I took an entire army to deliver this video to you!

Google them. Find their books. Find their blogs. Follow those people.

Figure out and align those capabilities with individuals who speak on this or write on that or talk on that and start to learn.

Over time, you'll find some experts are a little bit more effective than others. Continue to follow them. That’s how you’ll really start educating yourself.

Go build that Franken-Mentor!

6. Anticipate and plan for the struggles.

It’s amazingly stupid to me people want you to envision success. (Yes. I just said that.)

You hear a lot of people talk about, "Well, just imagine yourself successful." That's BUNK. (Yes. All capitals bunk.)

You can't just imagine yourself into success!

The better way to imagine yourself towards success is to envision the struggles you will encounter and anticipate them. Then, envision yourself working through them!

Talking to the people currently in the job, researching the change you want to make, and then putting a plan together as to how you're going to overcome those challenges is what get’s you through them and on to success.

How will you react when you encounter that obstacle? I’ll tell you how you’ll react. You’re gonna kill it because you were prepared for that encounter. When you hit it, you had already envisioned the struggle, anticipated it could surface, and were ready for it emotionally and with your plan!

If you just envision yourself on the beach having cocktails, it isn't going to work.

You probably have a dozen or so problems you have to overcome. All of us do. There's a bunch you’ll prepare for through your research. There’s some that will be unanticipated.

But, everybody has three problems. You have a:

  • Learning problem
  • Marketing problem
  • Job-interviewing problem (if you stay in the corporate world)

7. Execute your plan to overcome the struggles and advance toward success!

Now it’s time to execute!

The learning issue we discussed a bit. Build your Franken-Mentor, get the books, follow the blogs, do the research, do your reconnaissance, talk to the people, start getting educated, start becoming more and more familiar. This issue is pretty straightforward. It just takes a little elbow grease.

Most people are concerned about the “marketing issue.” People always want to know, "What do I put on my resume? What if I don’t have the right experience?”

If you did step number three (Capabilities and Qualities) and identified those foundational traits you will be in great shape.

The best employers know the capabilities they need to evaluate in a potential employee and they are hiring for the long term. They will notice that match in your resume.

Here’s what to do. Take whatever experience you have…

If you're a college student, it’s your internships, part-time jobs, school projects, classes, and whatever else you have at your disposal.

If you're professional, it’s whatever work experience you have.

Use your list of capabilities, go through your work history, and start identifying the projects, the efforts, and work you did that built skills, which align to those capabilities.

Put that information into your career profile, your highlights, and bullets in the professional experience on your resume. See How to Build the Ultimate Professional Resume for more on this.

You also want to add this information in your cover letter and LinkedIn profile. Of course, prepare for some of the popular job interview questions in the same matter. That is, develop your responses using “stories” of developing those capabilities and how they match to the new job or career.

You must focus on the capabilities. That’s the biggest key to success to get over the marketing and job interviewing hurdles.

Like this episode? Please share it via social media and review it on iTunes! I can keep this blog and all future podcasts and videos ad-free and sponsor-free ONLY because you share my work! Please share or subscribe to my podcast and YouTube channel too!

Want more advanced material? Join the milewalk Academy and grab some of the free offerings that support the instruction in this post!

Have you seen my FREE Job Interviewing Webinar titled 3 Keys to Ace Any Job Interview? There are several available times this week. Attendees receive an awesome eBook titled How to Interview the Employer: 75 Questions to Ask Before You Take Any Job. Check it out!

Jun 5, 2017
Confused about how to answer the dreaded "Tell me about yourself" question in a job interview? Join career expert and award-winning author Andrew LaCivita as he discusses tell me about yourself: best way to respond!

This one goes out to all the people on my Tips for Work and Life Blog Subscription and my YouTube subscribers who’ve pelleted me with emails and comments asking to please shoot this video. This one’s for you!

Why the “question” is terrible…

This question is terrible for a couple of reasons.

The first reason is related to the employer. First off, it's lazy, it's ineffective and it doesn't guarantee the employer it will actually get the information they need to make a good determination about whether you're a good fit for the company.

Great interviewers design well thought out questions that elicit specific information that allows them to make those determinations.

The second terrible is it's even worse for you because it puts you in jeopardy of falling over one of the greatest tripwires in the job interview.

The number one reason you do not get hired (see this video Job Interview Tip: The Number 1 Reason Why You Do Not Get Hired) is your inability to map your fit, value, qualifications, and skills to what the employer needs at the moment.

Think about what's happening when you're in a job interview. You know you're fabulous. I know you're fabulous. The employer has even said you're fabulous by inviting you in for the interview. They think you’re qualified on paper.

They've also think the same thing about all the other qualified candidates who are interviewing for the job. But, only one or maybe a couple of you are going to get hired.

He or she who best maps their skills and qualifications to what the employer needs is going to be the person they hire!

Three techniques to nail this…

How do you know what they need to make that determination?

  1. Ask

The first technique is my favorite. When the interviewer asks, “Please tell me about yourself,” just respond…

“Hey, Mr. Lazy Interviewer Man, my background is lengthy and diverse. Is there any particular part of my background you'd like me to discuss so you can make a determination about whether I'm a good fit for your company?”

Oh. I know there are a whole bunch of you out there saying, “Oh no, Andy I can't answer a question with a question! That’s just bad form. I was told never to do that!”

That's ridiculous. It's fine to answer a question with a question if you need clarification.

They've likely asked you this question at the very beginning of the process or the very beginning of the interview. They dumped you into a wide-open field. It's okay for you to ask for some guidance. It only took you ten seconds to do that.

Want to know what’s worse than you answering a question with a question? That’s you spending ten minutes talking about something that's fabulous about yourself that they don't care about or has nothing to do with helping them determine whether you're a good fit for what they need! Ouch.

The more important thing we should focus on when you ask your questions is being able to anticipate the possible responses or outcomes. What could their replies be?

The beautiful thing about your particular question is there are likely only two responses. When you ask, “Is there a particular part of my background," their response is going to be either yes there is or no there isn't.

If they say, "Yes, there is a particular part of your background. Here it is…," you're golden. Just respond to what they cited. That's the best scenario.

If they say, “No, there isn’t any particular area…,” here’s your pro tip.

Always bring a copy of the job description with you to the interview. If you ask that question and they say, "No, there's nothing in particular," then pick up the job description and say…

"Okay, Mr. Lazy Interviewer Man, it looks like based on your job description you're looking for these skills and qualifications and the role has these responsibilities, so I'm going to share my background as it relates to the job description so you can get the insight to determine whether I'm a good fit for your company."

  1. Use the pro tip I cited with the job description…

For those of you who simply refuse to ask the clarifying questions, go directly to the pro tip I just mentioned using the job description.

  1. Don’t want to ask for clarification and don’t have a job description…

Sometimes you don’t have a job description or it’s so thin you don’t have much to go on. No problem!

Let’s make the assumption if you are in a job interview you have some inkling of what the job entails and what background best suits it.

When the interview says, "Please tell me about yourself," simply respond…

“Okay, I'd love to tell you about myself. I assume the job entails [this and that] and these would be the skills you’d be interested in knowing I have so you can make a good determination about whether I'm a good fit for your company so I'll share my background as it relates to that."

Now, you've given them your assumption about what the job entails and what you think are the important skills you need to have.

If you are incorrect, there's not an interviewer out there who wouldn't stop you and say, "Actually, Mr. Smart Job Candidate, that's not entirely true. Let me clarify that for you. Here's what the job really entails and here are the skills we really need to assess."

Now, you've got the information you need, you just got it a different way.

If they don't interrupt you, take some comfort in knowing you're on the right track and off you go.

Want more help getting hired?

FREE EBOOK DOWNLOAD: Ace Your Job Interview: Master the Best Answers to the 14 Most Effective Job Interview Questions. Get it here:

This eBook contains:

  • 14 best job interview questions
  • 43 variations of those same questions
  • Why the employer asks them
  • What the employer is looking for
  • The very best responses

FREE—VERY POPULAR—WEBINAR: 3 Keys to Ace Any Job Interview. Learn everything you want to know about answering and asking job interview questions. Sign up here:

Attendees get a sweet, FREE eBook How to Interview the Employer: 75 Great Questions to Ask Before You Take Any Job. Don’t miss it!

Like this episode? Please share it via social media and review it on iTunes! I can keep this blog and all future podcasts and videos ad-free and sponsor-free ONLY because you share my work! Please share or subscribe to my podcast and YouTube channel too!

Want more advanced material? Join the milewalk Academy and grab some of the free offerings that support the instruction in this post!