Always put your best foot forward, because you never know when an opportunity may present itself.
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t There is an expression in the dating world that I have found extremely relevant to the business world as well. That expression is “always be closing.” Remembering my ABCs has served me well throughout my career, and if you are hoping to move up the ladder or if you simply find yourself back in the job market it can do the same for you.
t I think of the term “always be closing” as a reminder to always put my best foot forward because you never know when an opportunity may present itself. One way to do that is to always look your best. That means even when you are just running out to get the morning paper at the corner store, you make sure you are reasonably well-put-together. You never know who else buys their paper or gets their morning coffee there too. It may be the CEO of your company (or a future company that you would like to work for), and first impressions can last a lifetime.
t Never leave the house without your business cards. You never know where or when you may meet someone that can be a valuable business contact. Not only is it a great networking opportunity but it makes you appear prepared. You have now simultaneously made a connection and an impression!
t By far the best thing you can do is to conduct yourself well in all situations. This has become even more relevant in the digital age. If you are virtually always professional, but when you are out with your friends you cause a drunken scene in the streets all in the name of “fun,” you may want to rethink your plans. If your Facebook page is full of pictures of you collecting beads at Mardi Gras, you may need to revamp your social networking. Before sending out your resume, you may want to change your outgoing voicemail message to something more professional than, “Yo, I’m out! Peace!” or music with explicit language. I’m not criticizing what people do in their personal lives; I’m just saying you don’t want it to cost you your dream job.
t I realize this may sound like a lot of work but it depends on your goals and how important it is to you to make these types of connections and/or advances in your career. If you plan on going far, it is a small price to pay.