Bud Bilanich http://www.budbilanich.com Your Career Mentor Fri, 24 Oct 2014 16:29:02 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Three Steps for Mastering Any Skill http://www.budbilanich.com/6988/ http://www.budbilanich.com/6988/#respond Fri, 24 Oct 2014 15:13:05 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6988

Bob Bly is a pretty cool guy — and a great copywriter.  I subscribe to his email newsletter to learn how to improve my writing.  Bob also has some great insights into other things as well.  Yesterday, he sent an email in which he explained his thoughts on how to master a new skill.  I sent him one back asking if I could post it here.  He responded a minute later giving me the OK to do so.

Here are Bob Bly’s thoughts on mastering a new skill or subject.

In my experience, there are 3 things you can do to accelerate
your mastery of a skill or subject.

1–Study. Read books and e-books on the topic. Listen to
podcasts, webinars, and teleseminars. Go to conferences,
workshops, and lectures. You probably already do this.

But if studying is all you do, you are not doing enough. You
must add the 2 steps below, especially #3.

2–Observe. Follow the successful people in your field, see what
they do, and do the same.

If you are a direct mail copywriter, for instance, don’t throw
away your junk mail. Open and study each piece, and collect the
ones that impress you or that you receive multiple times. (If
you receive it multiple times, it means the mailer is working.)

3–Do. If you are an aspiring web designer, design some web
sites. If you are an aspiring novelist, write a novel.

Malcolm Gladwell, Mark Ford, and others have said that to get
good at something you have to do it for 1,000 hours … and to
become a master you have to do it for 10,000 hours.

Yet when I speak at writers’ conference and ask how many write
every day, only about 20% of attendees raise their hands.

The trick is to get yourself in a situation where you write
every day, so you quickly log the 1,000 hours you need to become

If you are an aspiring writer, take a look at your local weekly
newspaper. Are they advertising in the help-wanted section for
part-time reporters? Sign up. Churn out a lot of articles. The
hours will accumulate and you will start to get much better as a
writer. Or volunteer to write the newsletter for your church or
the professional associations of which you are a member.

In college, although I majored in chemical engineering, I
actively wrote feature and news articles for the school
newspaper, which luckily for me, was a daily, not a weekly.

Here’s one:


By the time I graduated with my BS in chemical engineering, I
had logged over 1,000 hours writing. I wasn’t great, but I was
already good — a huge advantage.

I welcome your feedback! Did you like today’s message?

What other topics would you like to see covered in my e-mails?

Please let me know at: rwbly@bly.com

As always, please feel free to forward this e-mail to a friend!

If you liked this essay, and want to read 75 more just like it,
get my new book Don’t Wear a Cowboy Hat Unless You are a Cowboy
– and Other Grumblings from a Cranky Curmudgeon, which you can
order here:


I like Bob’s common sense approach to mastering a new skill: Study, Observe, Do.  I especially like “Do.” You will get better with practice.  That’s a fact.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can download a free copy of my bestseller Straight Talk for Success at www.BudBilanich.com/straight-talk/  When you do, I’ll begin sending you daily motivational quotes and give you a free basic membership in my career mentoring site.



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Career Advice from the CEO of SanDisk http://www.budbilanich.com/career-advice-from-the-ceo-of-sandisk/ http://www.budbilanich.com/career-advice-from-the-ceo-of-sandisk/#respond Fri, 24 Oct 2014 13:05:49 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6991

Sanjay Mehrotra and two other immigrants, Eli Harari and Jack Yuan founded SanDisk in 1988.  SanDisk is an innovative company.  They were the first to produce USB flash drives — which made floppy disks obsolete.  Their microSD card is the world’s highest volume card.

Here are his best three pieces of life and career success advice…

  • Never give up.  You will be amazed at how much you can achieve.
  • Just because you can imagine a better mousetrap doesn’t mean that you can build one.
  • Data can’t give you all the answers – sometimes you have to listen to you heart.

I have a made a habit of following my heart.  I have taken new jobs because they just seemed “right” to me.  I left my corporate job  in 1988 to start my career coaching business because my heart told me the time was “right.”  I know this sound very unscientific, but I’ve learned to trust my intuition and follow my heart.  I suggest you do too.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can download a free copy of my popular book Your Success GPS at www.budbilanich.com/your-success-gps/  When you do, I’ll give you a free basic membership in my career mentoring site and begin sending you daily motivational quotes.

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What To Do When You Manage to Tick Off Your Boss http://www.budbilanich.com/what-to-do-when-you-manage-to-tick-off-your-boss/ http://www.budbilanich.com/what-to-do-when-you-manage-to-tick-off-your-boss/#respond Fri, 24 Oct 2014 12:58:00 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6985

I was interviewed by a Laura McMullen, a reporter for US News and World Report the other day for an article she was doing on what to do when you tick off your boss.

You can see Laura’s article here:


I always tell my career mentoring clients that it is really important to build a strong relationship with their boss.  Your boss has a lot of influence over your career.  If he or she likes you, he or she will sing your praises.  If not, he or she may bad mouth you.  When you’re being considered for a promotion, your boss will be the first person the hiring manager talks to.

Do yourself a favor and build a strong relationship with you boss.  My best advice?  When you screw up, admit it and fix it.  That way you’ll be able to mitigate any damage to your relationship with your boss.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can download a free copy of my popular book An Uncle’s Advice to His Niece on Her College Graduation at www.BudBilanich. com/uncles-advice/  When you do, I’ll begin sending you daily motivational quotes and give you a free basic membership in my career mentoring site.

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What to Look For in a Job http://www.budbilanich.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-job/ http://www.budbilanich.com/what-to-look-for-in-a-job/#respond Thu, 23 Oct 2014 16:34:13 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6982

I encourage my career mentoring clients to take charge of their job search, to figure out exactly the kind of company where they want to work.  This is empowering.  It puts you in the driver’s seat.  Not every job and not every company will be right for you.

This article tells you what to look for in a company…


I like this simple “Four P” idea: People, Purpose, Product, Potential.  If any of the four are missing, you might want to walk away from a job offer.

Thing about it.  You spend a lot of time with the people at work.  You don’t have to be best buds with all of them, but you do want to find a place where you feel comfortable with the people and their manner of interacting.

Most of us want to be part of something that is bigger than us.  That’s where purpose comes in.  Look for a company whose purpose fits with your identity.  For example, when I was young I was recruited for a job with a tobacco company.  I didn’t even schedule an interview.  On the other hand, I joined a pharmaceutical company because I liked the work they were doing.  This is not to say that tobacco companies are inherently bad, and that pharmaceutical companies are inherently good.  But the purpose of one did not appeal to me and the purpose of another did.

In many ways product is tied to purpose.  The tobacco and pharma examples above are kind of extreme. Maybe you want to work with a company that does cool stuff and produces cool products.  Go for it.

Finally, when you evaluate any job you should focus on the potential for advancement, and the company’s potential for growth.  Given the opportunity, always go with a company that offers you the potential to grow and develop.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can download a free copy of my latest eBook Career Success Rx at www.BudBianich.com/career-success-rx/  When you do, I’ll begin sending you daily motivational quotes and give you a free basic membership in my career mentoring site.

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How to Use Rejection to Create Your Success http://www.budbilanich.com/how-to-use-rejection-to-create-your-success/ http://www.budbilanich.com/how-to-use-rejection-to-create-your-success/#respond Thu, 23 Oct 2014 14:29:19 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6979

Rejection sucks.  It hurts.  No one likes to be rejected.  On the other hand, rejection provides you with an opportunity to learn and grow and move forward in your career success journey.  This article lays out four good ideas on how to use rejection to create your career success.


I love this advice.  IN fact, it is similar to the advice in Tweet 36 in my career mentoring book Success Tweets.  “Don’t be afraid to fail. You fail only if you don’t learn something from the experience. Treat every failure as an opportunity to grow.”

Fear is the enemy of self-confidence – and career success. Most people fear failure, criticism and rejection. It’s only normal. We all want to feel good about ourselves. Failure, criticism and rejection are not pleasant experiences. They lower our self-esteem and make us feel bad about ourselves, so we often avoid doing things that we think might lead to failure, criticism or rejection. However, if you want to create the life and career success you want and deserve, you have to have the courage to do things that might result in failure, criticism or rejection.

Failure, criticism and rejection provide you with the opportunity to grow and develop – to succeed. You can’t take failure, criticism and rejection personally. Failure, criticism and rejection are outcomes. They are a result of things you have done. They are not who you are. We all make mistakes and fail. We all do things that cause others to criticize or reject us. This doesn’t mean that we are failures. It means that we have made some poor choices and done some not-so-smart things.

Failure, criticism and rejection provide the opportunity to start over – hopefully a little smarter. Buckminster Fuller once said, “Whatever humans have learned had to be learned as a consequence of trial and error experience. Humans have learned only through mistakes.”

If your fear of failure, criticism and rejection paralyzes you to the point where you aren’t willing to take calculated risks, you’ll never learn anything or accomplish any of your goals.

Don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail, or when others criticize or reject you. My best career advice is to put your energy into figuring out why you failed and then do something different. Here are four questions to ask yourself the next time you fail, or get criticized or rejected.

  1. Why did I fail?  Why did I get criticized or rejected? What did I do to cause the failure, criticism or rejection?
  2. What could I have done to prevent the failure, criticism or rejection?
  3. What have I learned from this situation?
  4. What will I do differently the next time?

If you do this, you’ll be using failure, criticism and rejection to your advantage. In Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill says, “Every adversity, every failure and every heartache carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit.” I know it’s hard to see the benefit or opportunity in failure, criticism and rejection. But it’s there – you just have to look hard enough. But it all begins by facing your fear and acting. The less you fear failure, the more career success you’ll create.

The common sense career mentor point here is simple. Successful people are self-confident. Self-confident people face their fears and act. They follow the advice in Tweet 36 in Success Tweets. “Don’t be afraid to fail. You fail only if you don’t learn something from the experience. Treat every failure as an opportunity to grow.” Our most common fears are failure, criticism, and rejection. Follow this career advice. Choose to find – and use – the learning opportunity in your failures and you will become more self-confident and successful. It’s sad but true – failure, criticism and rejection are often the price you pay for becoming a career success. Facing your fear of failure, criticism and rejection, and acting will pay big dividends when it comes to your life and career success.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can download a free copy of Success Tweets at www.SuccessTweets.com.  When you do, you’ll also receive its companion piece Success Tweets Explained.  And, I’ll start sending you daily motivational quotes and give you a free basic membership in my career mentoring site.

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10 Smart Interviewing Tips http://www.budbilanich.com/10-smart-interviewing-tips/ http://www.budbilanich.com/10-smart-interviewing-tips/#respond Thu, 23 Oct 2014 12:07:59 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6977

You have to work hard to get an interview.  Once you get one, don’t blow it.  This article lists 10 things you’ll want to avoid in any job interview.


Most of these are common sense, but I’ve stopped being surprised when someone I’m interviewing commits one or more of these errors.

I’d like to focus on number 9 — not being prepared.

Long before I became your career mentor, I worked in Training and Development in some big companies.  When I was breaking in to the field I used to worry that my training delivery might not be good enough.  My boss gave me this bit of advice: Preparation makes up for a lack of talent.

That advice holds true for most things in life.  It’s especially true when it comes to job interviews.  Make sure you’re prepared when you show up.  Learn everything you can about the company.  Learn everything you can about the industry.  Anticipate questions. Practice your answers to them — out loud.  Come prepared with questions to ask the interviewer about the company and the position.

The better prepared you are for your interview, the better chances you’ll have of landing the job.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can download a free copy of my popular book Your Success GPS at www.budbilanich.com/your-success-gps/  When you do, I’ll begin sending you daily motivational quotes and give you a free basic membership in my career mentoring site.



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Learn As If You’re Going To Live Forever http://www.budbilanich.com/learn-as-if-youre-going-to-live-forever/ http://www.budbilanich.com/learn-as-if-youre-going-to-live-forever/#respond Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:24:17 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6975

My career mentoring clients will tell you that I am a big believer in the importance of lifelong learning.  I try to learn something new — however small or trivial — every day.

Some folks tell me that they would like to focus on learning, but they’re simply too busy to keep learning.  To me, this is like saying that you’re too busy to breathe.  Lifelong learning is an important key to your success.  This article gives you some ideas on how you can find the time to learn — no matter how busy you are.


Tweet 81 in my career mentor book Success Tweets says, “Become a lifelong learner.  The half life of knowledge is rapidly diminishing.  Staying in the same place is the same as going backward.”

Here’s what I have to say about that tweet in Success Tweets Explained

If you want to become an outstanding performer, you need to become a lifelong learner. The other day, I came across a great quote from Louis L’Amour, the great American writer of stories about the old west. I think this quote captures the essence of lifelong learning…

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.”

I know a lot about career and life success. I’ve written several books on it. I give lots of talks about it. I’ve coached hundreds of people – helping them build the life and career success they want and deserve. I write this blog. At one point, I thought I knew it all.

And you know what? Every time I write about life and career success, every time I speak about it, every time I coach someone offering my career advice, I gain a deeper understanding of what it takes to create life and career success

I begin anew every day, doing whatever I can to learn about life and career success so I can pass on this knowledge and wisdom to others. I choose to keep learning. So should you.  I’ve learned that if you don’t keep learning, you don’t stand still – you fall behind in the game of life. I’ve also learned that what I learned after I knew it all was some of the best and most important of my learnings.

Thomas Carlyle once said, “What we become depends on what we read after all of the professors have finished with us. The greatest university of all is a collection of books.” He lived in the 19th century. If he were alive today, he might have amended his statement to say, “Books and the Internet are the greatest university of all.” Today, so many of the great books, as well as other life and career success information, are available on line. The Internet is a great way to access this information. The important thing is to keep learning – how you do it and where you get your information is secondary.

I have a huge collection of books on a variety of subjects. These books are the first place I turn when I am looking for information to post on my blog, when I am working with my career success coach clients, when I am preparing a speech and when I am designing a training program. When I can’t find what I’m looking for in my books, I go on line.

My best common sense suggestion for becoming a lifelong learner is simple. Read. Read technical journals. Read trade magazines. Read business publications like “The Wall Street Journal,” “Business Week,” “Fortune” and “Forbes.” If you think they’re too stodgy, read “Fast Company.”

Read your company’s annual report. Read your competitors’ annual reports. Read your local newspaper and “The New York Times.” Read news magazines like TIME. Read business and industry blogs. Read ezines and eBooks. Read books.  Reading is the best way to stay up with what’s happening in business, in your industry and in the world.

There are other things you can do to keep learning. Attend seminars. Join the major groups or trade associations for your industry. Attend their meetings and participate. Volunteer for committee work. Become known locally in your field. Take a class at your local university. Use your company’s tuition reimbursement program to get a free undergraduate or Master’s degree.

Your education doesn’t stop when you graduate from college or get an MBA, it begins anew. As the article I mentioned above, points out, there are many ways to keep learning. Decide which ones work for you, and then follow through.

Remember what Einstein said about lifelong learning…

“Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong learning attempt to acquire it.”

The common sense career mentor point here is simple. Successful people are are lifelong learners. They follow the career advice in tweet 81 in Success Tweets. “Become a lifelong learner. The half-life of knowledge is rapidly diminishing. Staying in the same place is the same as going backward.” Lifelong learning is really important to creating the successful life and career you want and deserve. Treat each new day as an opportunity to learn. Stay open to new people and new ideas. If you do this, you’ll come to realize that you are never finished learning and that what you learn after you know it all is the most valuable knowledge you’ll develop.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can download a free copy of Success Tweets and Success Tweets Explained at www.SuccessTweets.com.  When you do, I’ll begin sending you daily motivational quotes and give you a free basic membership in my career mentoring site.


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How to Impress Your Boss http://www.budbilanich.com/how-to-impress-your-boss/ http://www.budbilanich.com/how-to-impress-your-boss/#respond Wed, 22 Oct 2014 14:49:04 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6973

One of the biggest myths regarding career success is “Good performance is enough.”  Good performance is NOT enough.  It is merely the price of admission to the life and career success sweepstakes.

People who get ahead have mastered a set of career management competencies.  One important competency is your ability to manage upwards — to build a strong relationship with your boss, and to help him or her look good.

This article lays out four things you can say to your boss to strengthen your relationship with him or her.


All of these tips are great common sense advice.  I particularly like the first one.  Go to your boss with solutions, not problems.  When you have to present him or her with a problem, present a solution.

One of my clients is the head of Supply Chain for a very large (Fortune 25) company.  He has over 30,000 people reporting to him and operations all over the world.  He also has a little plaque on his desk that says “DBMAPWOAS.”  When people ask him what the letters on the plaque mean he says, “Don’t Bring Me A Problem Without A Solution.”

There you have it.  If you want to build a strong relationship with your boss, bring him or her solutions to problems you’ve identified.  If you want to build a super strong relationship with your boss, identify solutions to problems he or she is facing.  Focus on being a problem solver and you’ll not only build a strong relationship with your boss, you’ll be on the road to the life and career success you want and deserve.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can download a free copy of my popular book Your Success GPS at www.BudBilanich.com/your-success-gps/  When you do, I’ll begin sending you daily motivational quotes and give you a free basic membership in my career mentoring site.

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Questions to Ask a Potential Employer http://www.budbilanich.com/questions-to-ask-a-potential-employer/ http://www.budbilanich.com/questions-to-ask-a-potential-employer/#respond Wed, 22 Oct 2014 12:50:06 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6971

When you are interviewing for a job, you need to impress the hiring manager.  You’re there to sell yourself, plain and simple.  But you shouldn’t approach an interview as a supplicant.  You need to have enough confidence to show a prospective employer that you are evaluating them almost as much as they are evaluating you.

There will come a time in most interviews where you will be asked, “Do you have any questions?”  This is your opportunity to show the employer that you are a serious candidate who wants to be sure that they have the right opportunity for you.  This article lists eight questions you should ask in every interview.


Even if you are not asked for your questions, I suggest that before the interview ends, you say, “Can I ask you some questions about the job and your company?”  Most interviewers will say yes.

Asking these eight questions serves a dual purpose.  First, you will gain a better understanding of the job and be able to make a more informed decision if you get an offer.  Second, you will impress interviewers with your thoughtfulness and preparation.  This will distinguish you from other candidates and may be the thing that results in getting a job offer.

Your career mentor,


You can download a free copy of my popular book An Uncle’s Advice to His Niece on Her College Graduation at www.BudBilanich.com/uncles-advice/    When you do, I’ll begin sending you daily motivational quotes and give you a free membership in my career mentoring site.

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Common Sense Resume Tips http://www.budbilanich.com/common-sense-resume-tips/ http://www.budbilanich.com/common-sense-resume-tips/#respond Tue, 21 Oct 2014 16:10:10 +0000 http://www.budbilanich.com/?p=6969

Your LinkedIn profile and resume are the first two things hiring managers will see about you.  This article focuses on five things you can do to get your resume noticed — and get the interview.


I like this article because it reinforces a point I often make with my career mentoring clients: create a unique resume for every job in which you’re interested.

Some people say this takes too much work.  I say that if you’re not willing to put in a little extra effort looking for a job, you’re not very likely to succeed once you get one.

It only takes 30 minutes or so to craft a unique resume for every job.  This is time well spent.  Sometimes, all it takes is reordering your accomplishments to make sure you highlight how your experience, skills and accomplishments focus on what the hiring manager is looking for.

Your career mentor,


PS: You can download a free copy of my latest eBook Career Success Rx at www.BudBilanich.com/career-success-rx.  When you do, I’ll begin sending you daily motivational quotes and give you a free membership in my career mentoring site.

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