Credit and Career…Yes They are Tied

The last two years have brought big changes in the career market.  Jobs that disappeared because of the pandemic impact and new jobs created because of the pandemic.  There have always been trends in the career and job market and the past two years have created lots of new trends.

While credit has always been a big part of building toward financial freedom and success, the skyrocketing student loan debt problem has had an even bigger impact on credit during these stressful two years.  Combine that with the crazy real estate market and credit has boomed as a major player.  So how early can you begin building credit and is it really tied to my career.  The answers are, now and yes!

It is not unusual for a hiring agent to check your credit status to determine your viability as a good fit for their company.  Habits tell a lot about an individual, and credit status speaks volumes about character, how you manage time and money, your risk factor.

I frequently get asked when is it time to begin thinking seriously about careers, but I don’t think I have ever been asked, “When should my student begin thinking about credit?”  Well the trend is developing and the answer is “Now.”  Interestingly, over the last few years I’ve had the privilege of working with an incredibly dynamic financial educator, Hillary Seiler of Financial Footwork.  Check out this video about students and establishing credit.  Powerful! 

Get ahead of the trend, or at least get on board.  Start those financial talks with your kids, parents, friends.  Build your credit.  It impacts everything including your career!

Do You Need to Build Your Vision?

We hear a lot about goals, writing goals, SMART Goals and I am a big believer in the effectiveness of SMART Goals. After all, major companies and organizations and small companies alike wouldn’t create a business plan without measurable outcomes. Individual success is no different. But when it comes to being satisfied or happy in your career and the direction you are going, there is more to it than just goals. It is more than a big win, reeling in a big client, or hitting that next mark on the scale. It’s about seeing down the road and building toward a Purpose.

I realized back in the late 1990’s as I worked on my doctorate that there is a clear connection between Personal and Professional Goals. The impact of personal goals on a professional life can be just as profound as professional goals on a personal life. So integration of both is critical for optimal satisfaction. I have stories and stories of individuals who have accelerated their careers because of the impact of personal goals on their professional career. There have also been those that are the reverse and a professional goal dramatically impacted a personal life. But back to Vision.

James Clear in his 2018 book, Atomic Habits, said “Some experts estimate that half of the brain’s resources are used in vision.”  He went on to say, “For this reason, a small change in what you see can lead to a big shift in what you do.”  While he is obviously talking about what we physically see, I believe we can apply the same kind of theory to our sense of vision and seeing ahead, where we want to go or what we envision accomplishing.  

In a similar vein, John Heider in his 1985 book, The Tao of Leadership, addressed another art of building Vision when he said, “When group members have time to reflect, they can see more clearly what is essential in themselves and others.”  The art of building Vision is critical to the success of individuals and to organizations.  So it is no wonder businesses and organizations create Vision Statements.  Unfortunately, too often they become statements written in Annual Reports, Client Information Packets, and Marketing documents that all sit on shelves or in digital files and never really impact daily routines and life.  

When it comes to Vision, understanding the impact of family, friends, finances, religious beliefs, societal beliefs, abilities, and host of other elements is part of creating a Vision.   Understanding how Goals are a part of the equation is important also, but they do not stand alone when it comes to building a truly satisfying Personal and Professional Growth Plan aimed at identifying and living out Purpose.  It takes work, but the dividend potential is enormous!

Are you ready to invest in yourself? Are you ready to build a Vision Plan that moves you toward a Purpose? Contact me.

Recently in the News

There has been a lot of chatter regarding hiring practices and the use of personality type tests.  Specifically, there was recently a program on HBO MAX – Persona, the Dark Truth Behind Personality Tests. The program is well worth the watch to be informed.   Persona focuses on the use of the Myers-Briggs test and similar instruments as a tool to determine hiring.  As an educator trained in the use of many testing instruments, I believe there is a time and a place for using these tools, but it is important to understand the differences and the potential impact. 

One of the tools I have been licensed to use and use frequently is The Highlands Ability Battery and it is NOT a personality test.  It is not to be used as an instrument for determining hiring.  The Highlands is a test used to: measure natural abilities and assist in exploring potential careers, determining personal career direction, changes and options, and enhancing the balance of life beyond work.  It is administered by a trained professional, reviewed with the client in depth, and provides a lifetime of dependable resources. 

As the employment rate increases and opportunities present themselves to you, be aware of hiring practices, tests used as a part of the process, and how the information is used.  Want to know more about The Highlands Ability Battery, see samples, check out the research?  Contact me

Highlands – Data – Resume’

How important is data on a resume’?  It’s a question people do not ask themselves often enough when creating or updating their resume’.    Think about it.  If the average hiring agent spends less than 6 seconds scanning a resume’, what catches their eye?  What creates meaningful impressions to move you forward in the process?  

  • Data is king and can provide power for how you communicate and substantiate information.

Back in 2008 when the stock market tanked and millions were left without jobs, hundreds and even thousands were applying for the same jobs.  It became prevalent to embellish a resume’ with non-factual information.  Anything to get a foot in the door.   It backfired on thousands of people. 

  • Authenticity is the name of the game today and understanding yourself and how you fit with a company is vital.

Regardless of whether there is a pandemic, market crunch, or any other influencing factor on the employment rate, a factual and well communicated resume’ wins the game.  So how do you influence your chances to win the game?  Use your data.

First, for those of you who have taken a Highlands Ability Battery, your profile has key information for you based on the job you are applying for and specifics in the posting for that position.  Matching your data to a company’s needs and verbalizing that in a Summary Statement can power you ahead in the applicant pool.  Using that information in an interview can demonstrate your ability to understand self, working with others, the mission of a company, and relate it directly to outcomes.  Boom!

Second, review your resume’ and consider any of the bullet points you have identified and whether there is a relevant number associated with that responsibility?  If so, include it!  Including numbers in your resume’ helps guide the eye of the hiring agent and it provides a data point for which they can verify your performance both with you and potentially with a reference check. 

Third, have someone else review your resume’ before you send it.  Yes, you can spell check on the computer, but does the information make sense?  Always have a second set of eyes look it over before you jump into the pool!

Need more resume’ help or want to take a Highlands Ability Battery? Contact me.

Reading, an Impacting Factor for Career Success

“The man who won’t read has no advantage over the man who can’t read.” –  Mark Twain

As an educator, we learn early on that reading, the ability to connect meaning to printed language, truly is a science.  We also learned that reading well is an art that then can project us forward and into careers and opportunities.  Interestingly, when Johnson O’Conner did the background work in the 1920’s as development of the Highlands Ability Battery, a test of natural abilities used to assist in understanding self and career matches, they discovered a link between vocabulary level and level of career achievement. 

When kindergarteners enter school having been read to regularly, they typically out perform their peers who have had less reading and language exposure.  Over a period of weeks and months the achievement of each group becomes dramatically evident…..rather like interest compounding daily in a bank or investment portfolio.  The readers are able to attach meanings more quickly and therefore success builds on success.  The non-readers continue to struggle with initial learning of letters, sounds and word formations.  The gap grows. 

The need to read is vital for success in school. But it continues to play out the influence throughout our lives.  The more broad our vocabulary, the greater our ability to provide effective communication.  Reading just 15 minutes a day can provide incredible on-going vocabulary building.  Find a book, find the time, invest in yourself.  As Mark Twain said, “The man who won’t read has no advantage over the man who can’t read.”

One of the Top Ten Things Successful People Do as evident in many surveys over the years, is reading.  Yep, 30 minutes a day devoted to reading.  Whether it is self improvement, business, industry specific, biography, autobiography, fiction, non-fiction…!  In fact, it has even appeared as an interview question, “What are you currently reading?” as an indicator of motivation, self improvement, cultural fit to the organization.

So, what are you reading? 


Have you ever bought a raffle ticket or attended an event and on your ticket it was printed, “Must be Present to Win”?  Sometimes I have felt like it was a ploy because I was so ready to leave, but I didn’t want to miss my chance.  Other times I was so engaged in the event I wanted to stay regardless of the raffle potential. Being engaged made the difference.

Engagement is such a critical piece of the satisfaction quotient when it comes to enjoying a career.  You really do have to be present to win.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and numerous other sources, employment engagement numbers vary between 30-40%.  That means more than half of the people in the work force are not engaged in their work….they may be physically present, but they are not “Present to Win”

Athletes are notorious believers in similar beliefs: “Nothing left in the tank” or “Leave it all on the field”.  But the concept applies to more than sports.  Just like soft skills transfer across so many career options, success can happen anywhere, but you MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN. 

Being present is NOT demonstrated by, being late, frequent interruptions using social media not associated with the task at hand, conversations with peer colleagues about negative work conditions or other issues that do not further your positive movement forward.

Being present IS demonstrated by on-time behavior, limited personal interruptions, focused time on task, deadlines met and positive work quality. 

So, are you Present to Win?  Do your actions support your goals for a positive outcome?  What is your purpose and are you building toward it in an effective manner?  Think about it…every single day is a bit of a lottery and we have one ticket, one chance, to make it a win at the end of the day. 

Are you Present to Win?


Christmas, Hanukkah, birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, there are so many opportunities for giving and receiving gifts.  But we also carry gifts with us all the time.  You might think of them as talent and readily see them in other people.  The reality is, everyone has talents or gifts but not everyone has discovered them.  In fact, it’s not unusual to believe that we have only one talent.  Again, the reality is we have multiple talents. 

For superstars, it’s not hard for us to identify their singing, athletic, or cooking stardom.  Listen to a great speaker and their talent is immediately on display.  Become engrossed in a talented actor’s character portrayal and their gifts are revealed.  Even the confidence we get from a visit to our doctor is in part due to our assessment of their talents, and certainly when we run our hand over a beautiful crafted piece of wood we can feel the result of an individual’s talent. 

Sometimes talents or gifts are the art of problem solving, leading groups, speaking in public, working with one’s hands, mediating opposing sides, the list is endless.  So how do people discover their gifts?  Why do some people struggle to find theirs?  The truth is, it’s kind of like snowflakes, we’re all different and we discover those gifts differently and therein lies part of the beauty of our diversity.  But when you are struggling to find your path and your gifts remain a puzzle it is hard to embrace that diversity.

The Highlands Ability Battery can be a game changer.  As an assessment, its purpose is to identify and shine light on an individual’s abilities and provide understanding as to how those connect and ultimately tap into the natural gifts.  It also provides a network of understanding how a path chosen today may evolve into another path 10 years from now based on work force changes, natural abilities and a changing individual.  After all, who we are at 22 is not who we are at 52.  Our skills evolve, interests change, and opportunities present themselves based on where we are, who we know and how we’ve grown. 

Struggling to find your purpose, your gifts, your path?  Want to know more?  You can visit the Highlands Company website here or reach out to me at my website here to learn more.  After all, knowledge is power. 

It’s a beautiful time of year to celebrate your gifts!

Protect Your Assets

Everybody needs to protect their Assets.  Whether you are a student, an athlete, or a career professional, Assets are your future monetarily, intellectually and physically.  I’m a career specialist, not a financial planner. So this is about all things Assets, not just the numbers.

College Students and Athletes – Your scholarship is an Asset and needs to be protected via grades and care of your body. Internships as part of your degree program are currently the greatest avenue to being hired post-graduation making them very valuable Assets, so those opportunities need to be cultivated and protected through building relationships as well as job performance.  Finally, an on-time graduation is an Asset.  Do the math: If changing a major results in about 1 semester added, and if on average a state school in-state tuition is about $20,000 per year, that’s $10,000 more for the added semester.  Did you know the average college student changes majors 3-5 times!  That’s approximately $30,000 to $50,000 extra spent on a 4 year degree resulting in reduced earning potential due to time lost to the competition and your savings depleted or increased student loan debt.

Career Professionals – Long term plans for retirement need to be implemented early to become part of an on-going Asset strategy.  In the shorter term, there are lifestyle purchases that require purposeful behaviors for things like vehicles, homes, and unexpected expenses.  Daily habits both feed and protect our Assets.  Everything from a coffee at Starbucks or Dunkin to meals out verses meals prepared in can have a serious impact on your Assets.  Do you know what your Assets are or what you are currently worth?   Do you know what you could be worth?  What are your goals?

In my years as a professional I have met few people who understand the impact of daily habits or reps regarding protecting and building assets quite like Hillary Seiler of Financial Footwork.  I also rarely promote products or services.   But in my experiences working with individuals regarding their career futures I know that people rarely view their scholarships, internships, ideas, or daily behaviors as protecting their Assets Hillary gets it!  Click here to check out her website.  Think about your Assets.  What action are you ready to take?

YOU are your greatest Asset!  Asset protection becomes even more significant when unusual circumstances, like COVID 19 or a world financial crisis, result in job loss, geographic location realignment, company closures.  One thing is for certain, everyone needs to prepare for the unexpected.  Yes, even college students.  That doesn’t mean live in fear, but it does mean be purposeful in constructing sound Asset protection and sound habits to support that plan.  What action are you ready to take?

Stressed Out or Burned Out?

I learned long ago that we humans are very connected people.  Connected to each other, but also connected to interests and values that shift throughout our lives.  When our work life gets into conflict with our current values system we get a disconnect and ultimately become dissatisfied with whatever it is we are doing.  Enter national job force disengagement numbers of 65-70%.  That’s a scary number for businesses, productivity and if you are experiencing BURNOUT or STRESS as an individual.

Burnout and Stress affect job performance but they also affect our personal lives.  It can be like hitting a wall.  Have you felt ineffective at work, maybe overly tired, or perhaps at time cynical?  Maybe you are in initial stages of Burnout.  Or perhaps you have felt your performance is diminished, changes in body rhythms, emotionally edgy.  These could be signs of Stress.

Life truly is a balance and everyone’s point of balance is different.  Burnout and Stress can cause our sense of balance to be thrown off and we’re left with questions.  Should I change jobs?  Should I go back to school? Should I…..the list can get long when we get into the spiral.

Sometimes finding the balance requires a complete job reset, but sometimes it is a matter of tweaking the other parts of our lives that include interests and values.  Sometimes we use friends and family as our sounding boards, but sometimes we just need a coach.

I believe we should all be inspired by possibilities, discover our talents and abilities, and ultimately understand and be driven by our purpose.  Burnout and Stress may be stepping stones to finding these.  Want some help?

Increase Your Value to the Organization

Whether you are gainfully employed or out of work and deep in the throngs of job search, it’s always a good time to assess your Value to the company.  The onset of COVID19 forced people to assess their standings within a company and how their work would be carried out as they moved forward.  For some, it simply forced them out.  But understanding your Value to an organization and to yourself is vital to success.  Understanding how to increase it is equally as important.

On-line education has been with us for over 2 decades, but the recent demand for on-line learning has forced new delivery models into place and a whole new perspective on the work world going forward.  There are now thousands of free virtual learning venues offered through colleges and universities across the country.  Perhaps your own alma mater! Great ways to increase your Value.

While degree programs may be the most recognized form of increasing one’s Value, it’s not the only game in town.   Many institutions offer “certified “or “licensed” training programs that are far shorter and less expensive.  Companies like Microsoft and Apple offer programs for certification that can lead to excellent jobs. 

Learning a new technique, language or software are all examples of increasing your Value or potential Value to an organization. It also adds Value to self worth and confidence. Bonus!

I frequently talk about the importance of time management, but managing your intellectual property is equally as important in increasing your Value to self and an organization.  So while COVID19 may have imposed some very unusual circumstances on all of us, it is a great opportunity to increase your Value.  What course of action will you take?