Your Career Toolkit to Help Navigate A Forever Changed Job Market with Mark Herschberg
Roy talks to Mark Herschberg the author of The Career Toolkit, Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You. Drawing on nearly twenty years of teaching at MIT’s “career success accelerator” program and a career spanning half a dozen industries, Mark distills the key skills for a twenty-first-century career.
From tracking criminals and terrorists on the dark web to creating marketplaces and new authentication systems, Mark has spent his career launching and developing new ventures at startups and Fortune 500s and in academia. He helped to start the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, dubbed MIT’s “career success accelerator,” where he teaches annually. At MIT, he received a B.S. in physics, a B.S. in electrical engineering & computer science, and a M.Eng. in electrical engineering & computer science, focusing on cryptography.
At Harvard Business School, Mark helped create a platform used to teach finance at prominent business schools. He also works with many non-profits, including Techie Youth and Plant A Million Corals. He was one of the top-ranked ballroom dancers in the country and now lives in New York City, where he is known for his social gatherings, including his annual Halloween party, as well as his diverse cufflink collection.
Listen to more great episodes of The Business of Business Podcast here
The Career Toolkit
Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You
By Mark A. Herschberg
Drawing on nearly twenty years of teaching at MIT’s “career success accelerator” program and a career spanning half a dozen industries, Mark distills the key skills for a twenty-first-century career into The Career Toolkit, Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You.
Section one, Career, lays out a process for constructing an actionable career plan, then guides the reader to success both in interviews and on the job to advance along the career plan.
Section two, Leadership and Management, focuses on the fundamentals of managing and leading, applicable to managers and individual contributors alike. It details the essentials of a high-performing team, how to foster a learning organization, how to reduce meetings by making them more effective, and much more. Unlike typical management books, these tools apply no matter what project management approach an organization uses.
Section three, Interpersonal Dynamics, describes how to successfully negotiate, efficiently build a network, and effectively communicate with people from any background. A final chapter on ethics in the workplace provides guidance through common challenges every employee is sure to face at some point.
The importance of these skills is well established, yet they are rarely taught in school or corporate training, leaving most people to learn only from experience. The Career Toolkit, Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You fills these gaps.
Full Transcript Below
Your Career Toolkit to Help Navigate A Forever Changed Job Market with Mark Herschberg
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the business of business podcast. I’m your host, Roy, of course we are the podcast that brings a wide variety of guests to help us talk about a lot of diverse topics that are out there. And so today is no different. We have an awesome guest. Mark Herschberg is with us. He is drawn. He is the author of the career toolkit, essential skills for success that no one taught you.
He’s drawn on nearly 20 years of teaching at MIT’s career success accelerator program and a career spanning half a dozen industries, mark distills the key skills for a 21st century career into the career toolkit, essential skills for success that no one taught you a book that he is, I think it was released in January if I’m correct, January of 2021.
So started this year.
Well, Mark, welcome to the show. I certainly appreciate you taking time out of your day to be with us because it’s going to be a timely topic. I saw this week, we’re recording, into February of 2021 and the jobless claims were down. With, I guess, more and more people, getting the sh the COVID shots and, maybe people, actually figuring out how to open up safely where we can, start doing business again.
I think this is a very timely topic because there’s going to be, I would say, I would think that there’s a lot of unemployed people that we’ll be able to put this to good use, but then there also probably a lot of people that have been hanging on to their job for this last year, not knowing, what’s going to happen and not really any place to move. We may see a huge burst of movement.
Well, thank you for having me on the show. Pleasure to be here. You’re right there is after an event like this, there’s going to be a sea change in terms of the job market. We are getting more people going back to work. There’s been estimation that the unemployment rate, the actual rate is closer to 10%, and we know that it certainly hasn’t been uniform, right? A lot of people in entertainment, a lot of people in, hospitality services, they’ve been a lot more hard head than my peers of technology, who haven’t really felt a recession, plexus, a boom move of some.
We’re also going to see a change in the type of jobs. We’ve heard about how offices may not ever fully come back, right? We’re going to shift how we’re being in offices that may change the demand for certain types of jobs related to that.
Right? The number of receptionists we need may go down overall, right? The number of people doing things within an office, administrators, these might also decline, but we’re also going to see more new jobs coming up. There’s a great opportunity for people who are trying to shift their job, trying to pivot, or even go out on their own and start their own type of entrepreneurial efforts.
Yeah, exactly. That’s what, we’ve seen a lot of people with their side hustle that all of a sudden it became the main hustle as we go through this. And, not that they chose to be entrepreneurs, they were, kind of squeezed into it. We may see some of them, going back to the, workforce, well, going back to a unemployment type situation as well, but you bring up a good point about this whole, what does, what are jobs going to look like in the next year or two? Because, I wish I could recall.
There’s a big company I saw yesterday that they just came out and said, they’re going to allow their workforce to work from anywhere in the world where they are, as long as they can have a secure connection. And it was a big company. I don’t know if you read that or not, but it’s neither here nor there, but I think speaking to your point that, yeah, we are going to see a lot of changes and I assume technology, trying to keep everybody communicating at their home and keep, PCs working and, Internet’s up and all that.
That’ll probably be way in demand.
Now, a lot of companies are talking about this shift to remote workforces, and I’ve certainly worked at remote first companies in the past prior to the pandemic and obviously have been remote for the past year. I’m not sure companies have fully thought through what the secondary implications are now, the primary implication. Okay. We know we can work remotely, right? You’ve seen it. And there are some great benefits. You’re no longer recruiting just from a Metro area. Now you’re recruiting Watson.
We are globally, there are still some questions about what happens to salaries, where I live in New York and other cities like San Francisco. We obviously pay more because of our higher cost of living. What happens if I moved to Tennessee, you adjust my salary, but then there are some secondary effects. I don’t think companies have thought through this. We might be able to work remotely for a while, but what happens there is some advantage to being in the office at least some of the time.
That might be as simple as we’re going to be in the office three days a week or one week a month. Sure, I can now live further away from that office, from that Metro area, because I’m going to commuting every day. What happens if I’m on the beach in Thailand? And I know some people who work from there, great place to be great lifestyle, but you can’t come into the office as much. Will that impact job prospects. I can contribute the same way. Right?
Think about our networking. Where do you go after work? You grab a drink with someone there’s some embed in your city and you go get coffee with someone. Can you do that when you’re in a different time zone are away and that’s getting proper careers.
Yeah. You know that, of course we’re a little off topic I promise. We’ll get, yeah, we’ll get back to the book in a second, but it’s interesting because that whole networking aspect, I’ve worked at home for probably the last 20 years and, have a lot of external contacts that, talking on the phone every day that are scattered all over the U S but, I would suspect for somebody that lives in a local area, trying to find a job or make a career change that this whole pandemic has made that worse because a lot of people get the jobs through the job boards and stuff.
I, I suspect that there still a lot that get it through networking and a friend of a friend, or, I heard this or just happened to run into at the restaurant today and thinking, Hey, I’ve got a position for you.
I guess that’s going to probably impact, career seekers going forward as well.
That serendipity is definitely going to be more challenging if we live in a distributed environment. Now when we talk about networking in the book, networking is about relationship building. It’s not just collecting cards for people so we can build that relationship even remote, but that initial meeting of people is much easier when you go to some industry event after work in your city.
Exactly. Exactly. Well, so let’s get back to the book, sorry. I just kinda got off track cause it’s just, there’s just so much going on and there’s still, I think there’s still a lot of unknown, but so you wrote it, came out in January of 2021, I suppose, that you were still riding some of this when we ride in the midst of the pandemic, is that correct?
I actually finished the book and finished the final proofreading second week of March 2020. I was going to originally target late spring. Of course, a bunch of things hit including the pandemic. I was looking at the summer, the pandemic threw everything into chaos, so we just delayed the release.
Okay. What inspired you to write this? I know that you’ve been, kind of in the industry for quite some time.
My primary job, my day job has been as a CTO, chief technology officer, building different startups at small traditional startups at fortune 500 playing startup. Along the way, something happened to me when I started to hire people, I noticed when I would ask them a technical question and ask them about software. That gives me the answer. I’d ask a market or some marketing question. They’d give me the answer. I would ask a general question, like what makes an effective leader?
What do you look for in a teammate? How do you think about building your network and I’d get these blank stares, right? No one has thought about. The only reason I thought about it was I realized that my own career development to become a CTO. It wasn’t simply being a really good programmer. I had to develop these other skills. I set out to learn them, but people don’t teach them to us consider we’ve all heard networking is important, right? Every one of us, since we’ve been kids, everyone’s telling us it’s important.
When has someone actually sat you down and said, let me tell you how to do this important thing. Right? You’ve had more training how to tie your shoes than how to network. Right. Right. That seems crazy. Right. I started to put together materials to train up my own team. At the same time, MIT was looking to develop a similar class. I heard about this, reached out, said, oh, I’ve been working on this. Can I help?
They said, please help us develop it and then said, please help us teach it. I’ve been teaching for a past 20 years and I took a lot of what I’ve done in that class. I and other people, as well as things I’ve done elsewhere, I put into a book because this is not just for MIT students. Right. This is for everyone.
Right. And, you know, yeah. You’re so right about that on, especially, were talking about on the networking side is that there’s a way to do it and there’s a way not to do it. I think that’s the other thing we have to be cautious about is, sometimes we can do more damage in what we think is the correct networking process. I think that’s even become a lot more sensitive in this time when everything is, kind of an outreach through the internet or through other apps or programs. It seems that, and I’ll just kind of say, LinkedIn, people want to network.
Instead of going through these proper channels, it’s a, Hey mark. I’d like to connect and you say, okay, let’s connect. It’s like, Hey, I’ve got 25 units of this. I’d really like to sell you at a discounted price today. It’s like, but then it’s, and it’s kind of soured.
A lot of people I’ve talked to you lately, they just, it’s gotten kinda like email and telephones, they screen out everything and if they don’t know you, they just don’t let you in which, it kind of damages that the ability, the cool thing about LinkedIn, for everybody is we connect in, connect with anybody across the globe. It’s not just local anymore, but there’s still a right way and a wrong way to do that.
I probably take a more restrictive view than most people. I talk about this in the book, I will not connect with someone unless it’s someone who I know and about whom I can say something positive. Now there are people I’ve known for 50 years. Well, not quite 50, but for decades where I can really recommend them. Some are maybe students of mine, but I can say, Hey, yeah, they’re smart. They’re hard working.
No, that little. Everyone’s someone where I can make a positive referral because the people who just say connected to 10,000 people, what’s the value of that. The value of our network is that we can open doors for each other. Exactly. Right. If I’m just taking any random person who knew how to click connect on LinkedIn, then I’m sending you garbage. I’m sending you spam. You no longer trust me to make referrals.
Now the good people in my network, I’m going to refer to you. You’re not going to take them either. I think of your network, like your home. Now I have strangers in my home all the time. Other than pandemics, I host parties. I have people over entertain at home. They’re friends of mine and they’ll bring other people and okay, stranger, you’re referred in, you’re welcome in my home. I’m kind of trusting.
You’re not going to smash things. That’s a reasonable assumption. I’m not going to let a random person off the street into my home unless it’s a random person I met on the street I got to know is, Hey, you’re a nice guy. Yeah. Listen, why don’t you come over next week?
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And, no, I think that’s a good practice, to have of control because the other thing too, it’s like it, for, even if you’re not looking for the career, it’s like, it can eat up a big chunk of your day trying to answer or try and, be, do the responsible thing, trying to interact with people only to find out that their motives may not be as totally pure as trying to get to know us. The other thing I always talk about too, is in this networking businesses, it can’t, I don’t think, and I’ll ask your opinion is that this is it’s give and take.
It’s just not about, Hey, I’m connecting with mark or I know mark. What can I get from him? And try to extract everything I can from you without having any reciprocation.
Absolutely networking is about building a relationship. No one wants to meet someone to say, Hey, Roy, nice to meet you. Here’s what I need. Right? Selling you something. Give me a job. Whenever I meet someone, I think what can I do to help you? Right. Right. We build a relationship. It takes time. I think of it like karma I give before I get. For people like the example you gave where they’re just trying to cold call on sell, look, if your job is cold calling, no one likes it, but I get if that’s what you need to do fine.
You say, hi, I’m reaching out to sell you this. When you are pretending it’s networking, that is not networking. That’s, as you point out, it’s sours it for all of us. You waste my time and yours be upfront and say, look, I want to sell you these twenty-five units.
I’ll probably say no, but I’ll respect that you were.
Yeah, exactly. So, over 20 years in the career accelerator, in course MIT is an awesome school. Imagine you’ve seen a lot and you’ve probably seen a lot of changes over those 20 years as well. What are some new and unique things that you feel like you’ve put out in the book?
Well, would say one of the more innovative things in the book, I’m going to talk about, kind of a med the book itself, and then we’ll get to the content is actually the fact that there’s a companion app. Okay. I do not want to build this app. I thought this existed and I can just license it. One of the challenges with any type of book like this or any, we’ll say self-help books in general, you read the book, you say, wow, those are some great tips.
And then you just forget it. Right? Cause three, four weeks later, you’re busy with something else. The other launch, of course you read it were sitting on the couch. Where do you actually lead? Not sitting on your couch, maybe during a pandemic, but the rest of the time it’s in the office, the book’s not with you. What I did is I took the content from the book.
If you went through a book with a highlighter, where are the key points, right? What are the memorable quotes? Put that into an app free app from the Android and apple stores. You can go get the app. Now each day it’s going to pop up like a daily affirmation, right? It’s just going to pop it up automatically. You go, oh, right. That was a good point. Swipe it away and nothing else to do until tomorrow. It’s going to help reinforce the lessons.
It can also be used. If you’re about to go into a networking event, you’re not going to carry my book with you and say, I got to reread the chapter. You can search for a tip, or you can quickly swipe through just tips for that particular type of event to brush up on it. And I really shocked. This did not exist before.
I think more books in the future will have things like this.
Yeah. That’s, those steps because we hear the same thing at, the podcast level two is like, well, that was a great talk, action packed, information pack. Then it’s like, my head’s still spinning. I didn’t know really where to get started. That’s great that you can provide that affirmation that people need to, actually put it into use, I guess would be the best thing. Cause like you said, we’re generally, I lay down in bed and read it and think, oh, that was good. Hope to remember it, in the morning when I wake up.
You also asked for, let’s get to, what’s an actual new idea that they haven’t heard before. Not just, you can read more about the book, let’s take communication. Okay. I’m going to give a simple example. Now there’s lots of books in communication. They’re all great. One challenge for us is as we communicate changing our communication style to match that over audience. Okay. We’ve probably heard this before generally, but let me break it down into a very concrete model. Okay. Let’s just take left-brain and right-brain people.
And we know left-brain people. They are very analytical. They are very organized. If I’m trying to pitch to someone who’s an extreme left brain person, my approach might be, I’m going to have a 20 point PowerPoint slide and I’m going to go point by point and point, to be subsection I, right. Here’s the point I’m going to lay it out logically and they’re going to, okay.
Yeah. This makes sense. If I was to take someone in an extreme right-brain person and I said, I want you to sit through 20 PowerPoint slides. We’re going to have this big detailed outline. They’re going to go two slides in. This is, this is nuts. I can’t focus. Right. How would I pitch them? I’m going to pitch them with a story. I’m going to pitch them with envision what we can do here. Right. And sell them on the idea. Okay. That’s not going to work for a left-brained person.
Now this is a simple example, how I will convey the message, same message, but I’m going to pitch it in very different ways, different imagery, different language, even different methodology, right. PowerPoint versus, you know, sell them. Maybe I even do like a video, right. Showing what it could be like. Yeah. This is a simple model in the book.
I talk about more complex versions of this, but it’s important to understand how each of us communicates. We have a preferential communication style. When I want to communicate with you, it behooves me to change my style, to match yours, to make as easy as possible for you to receive that message and focus on the message and not trying to understand the message in your own language.
Okay. Interesting. That like matching, I’ve heard something about like this before community like matching the cadence and the speed and not necessarily trying to mirror it, but like for myself, very slow talk and lot of people are like, come on, man, let’s get on with it, spit it out. I’ve worked around some people that, more amped up and talk a little faster. I kind of have to pick up my pace to be is that generally what you’re talking about as well?
That approach is I believe this is not my area of expertise, an NLP neuro-linguistic programming approach and matching styles. Certainly if one person speaks we’ll take our own backgrounds, right. A slow kind of Southern pace versus I’ve got a very quick New York pace and I can talk at this pace with other new Yorkers. It’s certainly just going to be weird for the two of us to converse. Right. It’s a similar idea, but not so much with the pacing and the tone, but about how you convey that message, right. How you want to present it. Okay.
Yeah. The, one thing I was thinking about too, was the, how, I guess this kind of gets back to the networking and keeping up is that if there was a message that I could put out to younger people, and I’ve tried to tell them this is capture as much information as you can, you need to have a notebook and write down everybody’s name and, a little jot down about them as you go through life, because it’s amazing how sometimes things come in full circle that we either run into them or maybe they work at a company that we’re trying to get into. Have you got any thoughts on that?
Yes. I mentioned this in the book. There’s a great list called the Mackey 60 students. It was created by a man named Harvey Mackie. He’s got some great books like, how to swim with sharks without getting eaten alive and dig your well before you’re thirsty and what he had. He ran, I believe it was a paper business. He had all his salespeople who said, here are the 66 things you need to know about your customers. This is true, not just for salespeople. All of us should know this about the people in our lives that you’re not going to all 66 things. What does it include?
Well, some basic information, contact information, their job title, but also things like if they’re married the date of their anniversary, where they went to school, do they have any food allergies? What are their hobbies? What are their kids’ names?
This is helpful because it helps us connect. If I knew that you were an alcoholics anonymous, I’m not going to say, let’s go meet for a drink after work. Let’s meet for coffee. Right? If I know you’re a vegetarian, I’m going to make sure I pick a restaurant where there are vegetarian options. If I want to get back in touch with you, I haven’t spoken to you for a while. Well, knowing what university or college you went to, I can easily reach out and say, Hey, I just saw an article about your football team. It made me think of you, right.
I can find things relevant to you because I paid attention to you. All of us need to, as you said, learn about the other person, right?
Yeah. And that’s the difficult part. And, that’s where I struggle is, taking the time there’s different segments in life that you have different people. It’s just, you really have to change your mindset to set down and make that happen. It’s not going to happen easy. I can guarantee you that it’s something that you do have to work. Another thing of this is kinda talking to, I guess, about resumes and experience. I had a guest on not long ago that he had some pretty good jobs, took off some time in the middle to, went.
I think he was backpacking around Africa or Indonesia, somewhere down there. And, everybody said, man, this is going to kill you when you come back and try to get a job, but this gap and, whatever. And he said just the opposite. He said that when he came back and rewrote his resume, that he just, put that in there that time.
There was no gap, but he said when he would go, to do interviews and I think he was in marketing at the time. It’d be like, he’s sitting there waiting for them to ask him a marketing question. They’re like, so tell me about this trip. What did you do here and there? So I guess the point there, the question and all that is that the external things we do outside of our job can be very beneficial in conversation starters, but also kind of intriguing the, I guess, the hiring managers as well.
Let me ask what was the age of this person?
I think he was in his mid thirties, maybe young 30 ish, somewhere in there when he took off. Yes.
One thing when we look at this is of course we have to look at supply and demand in my field of technology for a senior technical leader to take time off and then come back after lips. I mean, to make it a little bigger, two or three years away, they’re going to look and say, are you up to date on this technology? Yeah. Right. And, but, on the other hand, they’re also going to say, what, I have trouble finding senior technical leaders. If you line up enough, beggars can’t be choosers. Right.
It kind of depends on where you are in the supply and demand. I can tell you as a, when I was a college senior, one of the best things I had on my resume was in addition to, okay, I’m a candidate for these degrees at MIT. I went to the new England school of professional bartending.
I took a class for two weeks every night and got my bartending certification. Now here’s the thing about college recruiting. And I’ve done this. I’ve been on campus recruiting. All the students look the same because every one of them at this university, oh, you’re a computer science major. Like everyone else I’m interviewing. You’ve all taken basically the same classes. Right, right. Oh, you took this one. They took that one. You play lacrosse. She does a glee club. Right. You’re otherwise all the same. Right. Even other schools, you look the same.
I was the only person probably they’ve ever seen who had new England school of professional bartending on my resume. Every person asked me about it. Everyone remembered me. This is in the days before the web. They only had the, oh, you’re the bartender. They remembered my resume when you are a common candidate.
I’m guessing from when I’ve hired people in their mid thirties, that level of experience in marketing, I can get hundreds of resumes. This is going to help you stand out. This is going to help you suddenly, oh, look, I have literally scores of people look alike. Huh? This guy’s a little different. I want to meet him.
Yeah. That kind of leads into the next question is, how the importance of career planning, the sides I graduated, from school yesterday. Now I think I’m going to send out a couple resumes and see if I can get a job. Can you just kind of go into, the importance of, and I guess it’s not only for just new graduates, but if, even if you’re in an industry and you want to make a change, there still needs to be some planning and preparation for that.
This is true for all of us throughout our careers. This is something that I haven’t seen really addressed much elsewhere. You asked about new things in the book, and certainly I talk about negotiations. There’s other books on negotiations. I’m not going to say I have some secret. No one else knows, but the way I approach career planning, I haven’t seen it done elsewhere. All of us need a career plan. If you think about anything you’ve ever done, right? Any project at work, you’ve always had some plan.
You can never say to your boss, Hey, listen, I know you want me to work on this over the next six months. I’m not going to waste time building a plan, I’m just going to wing it. I’m just going to go week by week. And just trust me. If I was going to say no way, get me a plan, get me an outline.
Right? Right now your career, it’s a lot more than six months. So you want to create that plan. The key thing, what people don’t understand to say, well, you can’t plan for life. What? You can’t stick to your plan for life? You want to create a plan and then you’re going to revise as you go. Well, how do we create a plan? Think about that future goal. Think about that ideal job, not just your next job, but that job 5, 10, 20 years down the road, or think about the company that you want to start recognize that you probably don’t have all the skills today to start that company or take that job.
Look at that skills gap, look at where you want to be, where you are, and now you have this gap. You have to overcome, how are you going to do it?
Well, you’re going to say, I’m not going for that job. Next year, I’m going to take a different job next year. I’m going to find that path that gets me there. You can learn about this by talking to people in that role or in other roles and understand if I want to be here, what skills do I need? What jobs will set me up for that? And you say, okay, for that next job, that first job I’m going to take. I still have this skills gap, but over the next 6, 12, 24 months, I’m going to work on those skills, qualify me for this job.
Repeat step-by-step to get you where you want to go. Of course, adjusting as you go, right? Revise your plan at least once annually.
Yeah. And talking about skills. If you’re fortunate enough to work for, a major corporation that sends you to a lot of training, another something I’ve told some younger people is be sure and get you, either something electronic or a binder, keep those certificates because it may not matter much today. You may forget about it, but in six months, a year, two years, five years, that certificate that you have may mean a whole lot when your job hunting,
Certainly she’d do like to keep track of this stuff. Even keep track of the notes, because you never know this training. You might say, I don’t know this isn’t relevant for my job. Well, not today, but down the road, it might be just like someone you meet today in your network, you went to, well, I don’t really see, he doesn’t do what I do today. That’s okay. You never know where you’re going to be in five years. Right?
Exactly. Skills gaps is gonna lead to the obvious question of ethics. I know that I know you, and I know you cover ethics in here, but, I, and I don’t even know how to phrase the question. I’m just going to throw it out there and say, so many people, I guess they bulk up their resume with skills. They may or may not have to try to get hired, but that’s kinda most of the time you’re going to get caught with that. I guess maybe we could just cover generally in ethics when you’re career hunting, some things that we need to do and some lines that we definitely don’t need to cross.
I’ll first mention why I covered ethics. I’ll give an example, to what you raised ethics. The skills I have in the book, these aren’t just marks thought this was good. It comes from not only my experience from hiring, mentoring people, but feedback. We’ve got that in my team and similar feedback I’ve seen at other universities of corporate America saying these are the skills we want. We want people who are leaders. We want people to know how to negotiate for a good teammates. They also list ethics.
Unfortunately, ethics is just never invested in by companies. I think that’s a real shortcoming. I hope that started to change. Now let’s look at a concrete example. This was, this was a question raised me if through a different media channel and a hiring manager was there’s a candidate looking for a job and gave as a reference, his former manager.
The hiring manager, Paul, this person and the former manager had this equity issue because he looked at this guy’s LinkedIn and said, yeah, I, what, the way he describes the job, the things he said he did, that’s not right. Like this isn’t, this is just kind of spinning it. Well, this process outline, right, but he was hesitant to call this out. I don’t think I should pull it out because this candidate, we all know what it’s tough right now. Right? We’ve had the pandemic. I feel really bad for this candidate. Maybe that candidate had a spouse and children. They didn’t want to hurt that candidate.
While that is noble in thought, the mistake was thinking, it’s too common, ethical mistakes. One is we confuse the known, I know this person for the unknown, right? All these other candidates. I didn’t even think about them. I don’t know who they are and the specific for the general, because yes, if you call out this person, you hurt his or her chances.
What happens if you don’t, you’re hurting the chances of everyone else, everyone who was honest, everyone who might be Barrack bald by the job, you PERT, all those candidates. You heard the hiring company who now has an unethical, possibly unqualified person for the role. Really we need to think of in this larger context, and while this former manager was meaning, well, if you put in a larger context, you can still mean well and realize you need to do the right thing. Yeah.
Yeah. I guess that the other thing I thought about when you talked about this, looking at LinkedIn is it’s important to have everything that looks, not, inflated, but have the truth across all your media channels. Because sometimes I’ve looked at, applicants and it’s like, well, LinkedIn says one thing, their, resume says, one thing, I talked to somebody that said maybe even something else. If they have a Facebook page, it’s like, it says something totally different. It’s a need to make sure I I’ll let you speak to that.
Again, social media is, I don’t think, I’m not sure that some of these, like the Facebook thing, some people use it like it was 10 years ago, but I know that you just have to be careful what you put on there. Not only, the Rez speaking to the resume side, but also just your personal content as well.
Very true. Now certainly if their Facebook job title doesn’t match, why see on LinkedIn or elsewhere, I’m going to assume Facebook’s out of date. If everything else lines up and oh, I verify their employment hooks. I find Facebook who thinks about, oh, it changed jobs, update Facebook, right? So take that with a grain of salt, but you’re right. That look, you get evaluated. We all have a personal brand. I briefly mentioned this in the book, other Dorie Clark’s book, I think it’s reinventing you. Or the title might be, you as a brand, Dorie Clark’s book really gets into this further.
All of us have a brand. All of us have a reputation. If I look for a job, even if I don’t know, the people I’m interviewing is interviewing, even if we don’t know each other, we know people in common and they’re going to ask those people about bidding.
I mentioned the book, we are actually all interviewing all the time. Right now. I am interviewing, I have no idea what job it’s for, but someone out there is listening and they’re thinking, oh, mark, he makes really good points or mark, oh, this guy is boring as hell. If our paths ever cross, you’re going to have a preconceived notion about me. This is a type of interviewing just in a very big way. All of us are doing this quite a lot of the time. Yeah.
Yeah. Not, I had a very specific incident that I’ll kind of relate about. That is, I was hiring for, it was a Jack of all trades position marketing and doing some other things around the office. So, I’d been interviewing and weeding through resumes for about a week and it was like Thursday night. I said, okay, I finally made a decision. This is the person I want. I get a call out of the blue from somebody that knew somebody. She’s like, I heard you were looking for some, this position and I’ve got these skills. I look, she sent me the resume, like, wow, that’s awesome.
It’s just the person I want enthusiastic. I mean, so, she’s like, I’m really desperate for the job. I’ll do whatever we need to do. I said, well, I’ve kind of made a decision. She’s like, please just give me a chance.
We met one evening, like at seven o’clock at a Starbucks talk to her things seemed great, but I went back home that night and I started, kind of trolling through her or, social media accounts. Wow, there were some things that porn sites, my outlaw on her, on these, right out in the open for anybody to find. Anyway, I was like, saved me from making a huge mistake because I was about two minutes from, given her phone call and given her the job. It, I think you have to look at that both ways. It’s not, it’s not just what she does in her personal life.
That’s her business. That’s true. If you work for me, then all of a sudden my image is, you and you’re putting whatever you’re putting out there is kind of coming back on me. Maybe I’ll let you speak to that just and how that, how employees are.
Well, people think I’m just an employee. That’s my personal life. It doesn’t matter. Especially if you’re a smaller professional, it can really hurt the person you’re working for.
If you’re a solopreneur, if you are a small company, this really does reflect back on you and on load at MIT, the policy has been when we interview students, right? As, for admissions, the rule is actually, you’re explicitly told not to look at their social media because we recognize a 16 year old is going to make bad jokes and pres right. And not to hold it against them. For phragmites, you said, look, students, and teenagers, we’re looking at admitting. We’re not thinking about that against do. We’ve all done dumb things at that age.
As an adult, it very much does count against you. And you have to recognize this. And this is your brand. If you get super drunk one night and that makes it in the papers, people are going to see this about you. Well, it’s not the newspaper, but Facebook and social media, it’s showing something about you and people will judge you for that.
Yeah. Just be careful on both sides, be careful what you put out there. If you’re hiring, especially the smaller businesses where your reputation is really what you trade on, just be careful and make sure that you cover all the areas there. For sure. So, with our career plan, if you’re fortunate enough to get into a bigger company that actually has some training, what are some recommendations for taking advantage of whatever training and skills that accompany can get? And, again, I’m going to relate something back to me that, when I was young, I worked for at and They had training anything.
I mean, they had training all over the place and I was young and eager. So, anytime I could sign up for something or anytime they asked me if I wanted to, I beat like, yeah, because I wanted to gather all this knowledge in, but some of the, older guys at the time were like, I’m not going to train in.
I’m not going to sit in there and do all this. I, I guess we can touch on a couple of things is, how can we take advantage of it, but also the importance of taking advantage of that?
Yeah. Let me, let me address that. Although training by companies, even big ones is came fewer and fewer these days. Let me offer a simple example, why you want to take advantage of this, and then we’ll talk about how you can create this yourself, even outside a big company. Okay. What’s an example why this is important. Let’s take negotiated. This is the easiest skill to demonstrate with. Imagine you go, we’re going to be an employee. Now you go and get a job offer for $70,000 and have some negotiation training.
You say, damn, I know how to negotiate in this job. I’m getting negotiate. I’m going to get 71,000, right? That’s a pretty small negotiation. This wasn’t, you were some master, right? It’s going to be, it’s only 1000. If you sit in that job for 30 years, you never take another job. You sit there for 30 years.
What happened? Well, you just made a thousand dollars more because of that negotiation for 30 years, you made $30,000. One, five minute negotiation just earn you $30,000. Now, of course, this is not realistic. You’re not going to sit in a job for 30 years. You’re going to take other jobs for motions, negotiate raises, and you’re going to negotiate more than just once. And you’re probably going to learn how to negotiate for more than just a thousand dollars. Learning to negotiate, not to be the world’s greatest negotiator, just learning to be a little better than where you are.
It’s going to yield tens of thousands, potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars to your lifetime earnings. Of course, as a small business owner, you’re going to be dealing with suppliers and customers and partners and lots of other people. It might not be a salary, but you’re going to go to Kate over and over.
This is an additive skill. Now negotiation is the most obvious example, because you can say, Ooh, I negotiate. And literally got more money. When you work on your leadership. When you work on your communications, it’s not someone says, Ooh, you’re a better leader. Here’s another thousand dollars. When you are a better leader, people see that you’re given more opportunities, more chances to succeed, more chance to be promoted or to leave for better paying jobs, right? So it is additive. All of this builds upon itself.
You want to invest today, whether you are 22, right out of school or 42, and you’re still looking at years ahead. It is additive. Now I mentioned that a lot of big companies don’t have these training programs, not as much as they used to, but you don’t need them. Here is the secret to how to learn these skills.
Most training is done through knowledge transfer. Most training is we’re going to teach you how to do Excel, macros, useful skill. If they have a class, maybe you should take it and learn how to do Excel. Macros. If you take that class, you’re going to sit there. They’re going to say, here are the macros. Here are the keystrokes. Here’s what to do. You’re going to memorize it and go forward. And now you have that knowledge. You’re going to be very clear about when you need to use an Excel macro or not.
That’s very different than skills like communication or leadership. It’s not immediately obvious when there’s a communication challenge. It’s not like you’re going to be taught communication in the next week. This is where to apply it. It’s more subtle. The other thing is there’s no do these three things and you communicate, there are lots of different aspects to it.
There’s lots of different approaches. No one is best. The way to learn this, the way we teach at MIT, it’s the way business schools have taught this for decades is you want to create a peer learning group. You want to get different people to come together. We talk about communication issue and we talk about a situation and Roy, how would you approach this? Oh, that’s interesting. I never would’ve thought of that. I would’ve done it differently.
Even if I don’t like how your approach, it doesn’t fit for me, even just understanding that, knowing that it helps me have a better, deeper understanding of the issue helps me recognize how other people might be approaching an issue. If you’re in a big company, you can create this peer learning group through HR, just on your own with other people. If you are on your own, you can just create a group through peers through maybe a local business group.
You can create a local meetup group and you can download this free kit on how to do it from my website that explains how to set up a group, how to think about you can use my book for it. But I don’t want you to think this is just a ploy to sell books, you can use any other book you want. You can use great podcasts like this one, and say each week, we’re going to listen to Roy’s podcast and discuss it as a group because it’s like group discussion. That’s where the learning comes from. Interesting.
That’s a great concept. I’ve heard that before. I’ve been a part of like, entrepreneurs, CEO groups, where people sat around and, it’s basically the same thing. That’s a great idea. I never really thought about applying it, just in general, but these guys, it was awesome because between all of us, we had all had some the same. We’d all had a problem come up. Somebody could give us some advice on the best way to handle it or the converse. They could tell you what, this is, what I did. It did not turn out very well to you so, well, one more topic, try to cover right quick.
I know we’re long on time, but, such, a lot of great material here. I mean, we could probably talk for days and cover this and never scratched the surface, but, let’s talk about negotiations for a minute and I mean, it’s important.
It’s important again, to know where is the line? I just got offered a job for 50,000 and now I’m going to counter offer with 85. There’s a, I guess we have to know when is that, kind of where’s that line that somebody, the person on the other side of the table is like, I’ll just, again, I can use myself as an example, like when you’re house hunting, if you go out and you find, a house that’s $300,000 and you look at it and you’re like, I would offer them about 175 for it. My thing is there’s always so, such a big difference is I wouldn’t even make that offer because they would say no.
And, on the other hand, I guess, if you never, if you don’t ever ask, you never know, but the reality is that when you’re so far apart, the other party just doesn’t even bother to counter.
How do we, how do you handle that when we’re talking about our careers?
Sure. When you’re in this situation, there was a great book. I read where the author said your opening offer should be the biggest number or smallest, depending on your side, the biggest number you can make with a straight face. Right? So you say, well, look, if you really think you’re worth 85,000, I think it’s fine to say 5,000. Now what comes out of this? Well first, why do they think it’s 50? Why do you think you’re 85? Maybe you have very different expectations about the role or about your skillset.
That might uncover the other key thing is you never just say, I want 85. I’m going to offer 50. You want to give your reasoning, right? You don’t just say, I want, frankly, I don’t care what you want. I only care what I want. Right. If you can justify, if you can say, this is why I deserve 85, I have these skills, these abilities, these things that make me stand out.
So, I hadn’t thought of that. Okay. Maybe I can’t do 85, but I definitely see you’re worth more than 50. There, it’s not simply the number it’s about how we approach the number and in the book, I break down each stage of negotiation and how to approach it.
Okay. Yeah, because that be delicate. Some you look at, if you just look out over the salaries, the same position in different industries can pay wide ranging, wide range. Anyway, just, and that’s always, to me, it’s very tricky being on both sides of that. If I’m trying to, ask for more as the, trying to get a job, or if I’m trying to, if you’re working for me and you’re trying to negotiate more as trying to, stay where we can stay on good terms, if you do a good job or, I really feel like you’d be an asset, but not, I don’t know if that’s kind of a tricky part for me. I never know really, w w when did jump on that one.
Yeah. It is. It comes from some experience in threading the needle. This is exactly why if you have that peer learning group, to your point, getting that advice, saying, look, I have this tricky negotiation, and you can say, well, I had a similar one. To your point, we learned so much more from failures than successes. It’s great that you’re going to bring in those stories. Right?
Yeah. The other thing I, I saw that you mentioned too, I think we always have to keep in mind and I, this goes to the explaining of our skills and why we think we’re worth more, but we truly have to set this up. It’s a win situation, not a, never a win loss, because that’s always going to, you may win at the moment, but eventually things go south and that whole relationship sour. I think that’s important to keep your eye on that ball to very true. Yes.
Well, mark, well, I certainly do appreciate, like I said, we are running, you’re gracious enough to give me a lot more time than what we had allotted. I appreciate that. There’s just so much good information. I’m going to challenge everybody to run out and get the book. What is the app that goes along with the book?
The app called the career toolkit now of course contains all this information that I mentioned earlier. If you go to my website, thecareertoolkitbook.com, you can learn more about the book. You can follow links to go to Amazon Barnes and Nobles, even local bookstores to buy it again with me, or go to one of the stores to get the app, which is free. You can also download all these free resources, like talked about or links to other books and resources that will help you in your development. Okay, great.
Will, y’all be sharing reach out before I let you go. What is a tool are, a habit that you have every, that you use every day that really adds value could be professional, could be personal, but just, what is that thing that really, does it for you every day?
I, there are these great people successful. So this is my daily habit. I don’t think I have a daily one other than to recognize when I am in stressful situations. This has gotten easier as I’ve gotten older, to have the wisdom and perspective to get out of the moment, get out of that stress and say, I’ve been stressful situation before I’m going to overcome this and just not let that drag me down and pull down the rest of my day or the rest of my thinking. Being able to do that. Mental reframing is so important for your mental health and efficiency. Yeah,
No, you’re exactly right about that because it’s a, if you get hit in the morning and you can’t get over it just tends to run your whole day and your, my productivity goes away. So, that is a definite challenge for me as well, just to be able to shake it off and reset and move forward. So that’s great advice. All right, mark. Well, again, thanks a lot. We certainly appreciate you being here. That’s going to do it for another episode of The Business of Business Podcast. Of course, you can find us at www.the businessofbusinesspodcast.com
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