Be a Giver, Not a Taker – My favorite question of all time is, “How can I help you?” I started asking this question 20 years ago, right around the time LinkedIn got started and I was a Beta user. Most people only call to ask for favors, so GIVERS come across as incredibly unique. A few of the ways I personally give back include “pro bono” executive and Board searches for charity organizations, “pro bono” assistance for recent college graduates and connecting people that can help each other. Takers may prosper in the short run; however Givers win in the long run.

Value Relationships over Transactions – Most people these days are focused on transactions: What can you do for me? Of the 5,000 executive in my rolodex, maybe 200 are true friends. The rest are acquaintances. And that is OK. If you have 5 true friends in the course of your lifetime, you are exceedingly blessed. But consider this. When I have a $500,000 job, there are typically a dozen candidates. The three I know personally. They and have supported both my business and charity projects over the last 20 years. Then there is the thundering herd of acquaintances that I never hear from until there is a $500,000 job available. You tell me, who would you submit for the job? Relationships trump transactions.

Focus on the Long-Term, Not the Short-Term – America has become a culture of instant gratification. I want it all; I want it now. Gimme, gimme, gimme. In a word: Entitlement. In the career game, focus on your long-term strategy. Where do you want to be in five years? In ten years? Those that try to skip the hard work and get 50% pay raises typically end up in the unemployment line. Stay focused on your the long-term goals.

Stop Cold Calling Companies and Spamming Your Resume – If 85% of jobs come through your professional network, and 10% through Executive Recruiters, where does that leave applying to online job postings? You are better off buying a lottery ticket. And here is another fact: Companies that post online for $100,000+ jobs are NOT companies you want to work for. Why do you think they are posting online? First, they are cheap. Second, nobody wants to work there. Ask your peers for job referrals and make friends with one or two industry Executive Recruiters.

Never, Ever Quit – Best advice my Dad ever gave me. When I started my Executive Recruiting business 14 years ago, do you know how many companies and HR executives told me “no”? If I had $20 for every NO I would be living on an island in the Bahamas. And consider this, when you own the company, if you don’t sell you don’t eat. It was hard, hard work! Work hard, build a reputation of integrity and honesty….and never, ever quit!