5 Key Steps to Help You Capitalize on Your Opportunity

Do you click on those internet articles that begin with “10 Things You…” or “The Top 10 Places….”?  I find myself intrigued at times and just have to go for it.  But the truth be told, sometimes all we want is something short and to the point.  So my message this time is for Students…both high school and college.  If you anticipate needing a job or internship for next summer, now is the time to begin making a plan to make connections and get on the radar while you are on Winter Break.  So, here are the 5 Key Steps to Help You Capitalize on Your Opportunity:

  1. Identify where you will or want to be during the summer.  As a high school student that is probably at home, but for college students you may identify a different location.
  2. Identify your area of interest for work experience or an internship in your intended field.
  3. Identify who you know personally in that industry or find out who the industry players are that you don’t know yet.  Key word, yet!
  4. Create your Contact List including name, name of business, email address, phone, physical location and be sure to leave space to make notes of your contact with them and future opportunities.
  5. Identify your available dates and times and take action to set up appointments with those individuals or businesses as soon as your Break begins.

Capitalize on your opportunity to secure a summer job or internship by creating a plan using these 5 Key Steps.  Even if a business isn’t hiring yet it is never too early to develop a relationship with the hiring agent.  That way, you get ahead of the competition, create a relationship with someone who may provide that great opportunity, and you still have plenty of time to enjoy that Winter Break!  Organization using 5 Key Steps = SUCCESS!

Power in Your Dreams

Did you dream of being a fireman, football player, or a teacher?

Who asked you what you want to be when you grow up? What is “Grown Up”?

Did you ask yourself?

Do you still have that dream? What’s next?

There is POWER in your dreams. I’m talking about the dreams in your heart. When you think about what you want in your life and how you are going to get there. What is it that makes you excited?

Dreams motivate us forward, keep us from being “stuck”, and at times propel us in directions we may never have imagined. But dreams have to be backed up with action. Sometimes those dreams are not clear and require action like peeling an onion, exploring multiple layers. And sometimes, when dreams are realized or achieved, we find ourselves asking “Now what?”

Dreams keep us engaged in life. Whether it is a dream about a career, a dream to travel somewhere on a bucket list, meet someone you hold in great regard, skydive, climb a mountain, sit on a beach, write a book, start a business…….dreams keep us engaged. That drive within a dream is the power that keeps us going.

Where is your power? What is your dream? What’s next?

 Love what you do!

Your Social Image…Everything Counts

I spoke just last night to a group of high school students and their parents regarding choosing college majors and careers.  As part of that presentation, I talked about the importance of preparing now and part of the preparation needed to be addressing their “social image.”  I defined their social image as anything from email address to social networks and chat rooms.  We talked about the impact on college admissions as well as employment.  This is a message I have carried and delivered for the last several years.  In fact, one of my blog posts May 2012 was titled Your Image to Others.

Today I opened my iPad, went to CNN to start a little light reading while I ate my lunch and was horrified to read one of the headlines, Sexting Scandals: How They Will Affect Students’ FuturesMy heart sank, but it just affirmed that my message was spot on and I hoped that those students and parents last night took the message to heart and answered my Call to Action.  You can click the link to read the entire article.

Everything Counts!  You can’t go through the technologically driven lives we are faced with afraid to act, respond, and click, but you must “click responsibly.”  Clicking includes taking photos, sending messages via email, text or any other social media mode.  That little voice of right and wrong or maybe even an “Oooops” needs to be awakened and put on full alert.  There is too much at stake.

 

Student “To Do” List

Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the day to day demands that we lose sight of the where we are in the big picture. For high school and college students that location can be critical.  So in an effort to re-focus and clearly identify where you are, let’s look at the resources.

As a high school student with college on the horizon, you need to assess your grades. On-line access through district portals makes that possible.  Do you use it?  Are there patterns in your grades like low tests, or quizzes, missing assignments?  This is a good time to evaluate where you are so that there is a good outcome for the semester.  After all, many of you are nearing midterm and you have time to correct problem areas.

College students, you are in a similar position. You have on-line access to grades, you can see patterns of performance and you have time to address problem areas.  Time management has a direct impact on your grades and a vast majority of college students face dropping out because of poor time management that manifests itself in low grades or even probation and loss of scholarships.

However, for you, there are some resources and practices that are different from high school. If you need assistance, check your professor’s office hours and make an appointment.  It will help your status in class as they will see you as an individual who is interested and one who cares about their class performance.  You can also check out math or writing labs that provide student-to-student tutorial services free.  There are lots of services available, but you have to take action and take advantage of them.  Contact me if you need help navigating the system.

Know where you are so that there are no surprises.  Assess your situation and make a “To Do” list to ensure action and accomplishment.

Summer Plans Build Resume’s

High school and col­lege stu­dents face sim­i­lar ques­tions, “What to do with the sum­mer break?”  Your age, trans­porta­tion avail­abil­ity and class require­ments may dic­tate part of your sum­mer, but there may be some time that goes unclaimed.  The ear­lier you begin mak­ing the plan and tak­ing action, the more oppor­tu­ni­ties you can cre­ate for your­self.

 

Remem­ber that vol­un­teer­ing is another great way to explore areas of inter­est, gain vol­un­teer hours if you need them for high school grad­u­a­tion require­ments, and to build value in your­self to col­leges and future employ­ers.  Both work­ing and vol­un­teer­ing build your resume’ and reflect a part of who you are and what you offer an insti­tu­tion or company.

 

There are some ter­rific web tools for iden­ti­fy­ing sum­mer employ­ers as well as tips for effec­tive inter­views.  Here are just a few:

 

www.quintcareers.com

 

www.getthatgig.com

 

www.teenjobsection.com

 

www.snagajob.com

 

If you need more guid­ance or want to con­struct or update your resume’ for col­lege or the work force, con­tact me.

Are You the Best You Can Be?

Whether you follow football or not it is hard to escape the hype of the Super Bowl.  I happen to love it.  Who’s the best quarterback, the best rookie, the best commercial, the best Super Bowl party food, the best over the top fan attire….I love it all.  It expresses a passion.  And whether it is a hobby, an ethnic food, team logo wear or the work you do, passion adds to the enjoyment of life and helps us to be the best we can be.  It helps us connect with others that have similar interests.

High school students, if you don’t know what your passion is, explore more and find it!  Colleges and universities want to know what moves you and why their institution will be a good fit for you.

College students, whether you are applying for an internship or getting ready to graduate and applying for that first “just out of college” job, that potential employer wants to know that you have passion too.  Happy employees make for more productive employees.  Demonstrate your passion for the company you are looking to embrace.

Even you guys in the workforce, are you demonstrating a passion for your work?  If not, why not?  Sometimes we still enjoy our work but the balance of life brings us to a place that seems to have diminished that passion.  What do you need to do to rekindle it?

Life is a balance.  Being the best we can be includes enjoying the work we do, balancing it with spending time with family, friends or activities we enjoy and paying attention to the passions that make us better people.  Are you the best you can be?

Your Marketability

Are you a high school student presenting yourself to a university market, a college student or adult looking to get in the work force?  The question for all of you remains the same.  What do you have to offer?  There have been lots of articles like this one, “What Employers Look for in Candidates,” in which the author is identifying key elements that almost all employers look for in screening candidates.  But interestingly enough, many of these same characteristics apply to college admissions also.  They want to know what you bring to the table.

There is a distinct difference between skills and abilities.  Do you know the difference?  Did you know it is possible to measure abilities and quantify how they can influence job performance?  Just as it is important to be able to give concrete examples of tasks or responsibilities and outcomes from a previous job or experience in an interview, it is also important to know what the company’s or college’s expectations are and how your abilities can provide exactly what is needed to ensure a successful fit as an employee or student.  Knowing exactly what your measured abilities are and linking them to a job description adds power to your marketability.

What is your personal marketability?  To measure your abilities and help you articulate what you have to offer….contact me!

Career Trend Shifts

I talk often about the importance of paying attention to the trends.   Over the last decade we have experienced huge changes in trends of all kinds, not just the obvious of the day, “What’s trending on Twitter.”  I’m talking trends in careers and how that impacts new majors at universities, degrees and technical program certifications.

When television programs like Law and Order, CSI and a host of other crime shows hit it big, universities responded to the increased interest and demand by offering more programs in Forensic Science and Criminal Justice. When the market collapsed and millions of people went back to school, what new major was hot on the scene, Entrepreneurship!  People needed to reinvent themselves and find new opportunities.  While it hasn’t been for everyone, it does feed a niche market.

So what’s hot in Business schools now? Analytics!  Yep, the study of business data and there is lots of it!  Click here for an article in The Wall Street Journal, “Big Data Gets Master Treatment at B-Schools”. 

Paying attention to the trends allows you to make informed decisions.  After all, when you choose a college or a major you are making decisions that impact your earning potential, potential satisfaction and quality of life.  Doing your homework can pay big dividends in ways far greater than a paycheck!  It may be a great new trend, but is it right for you?

Got a question about what else is trending in career fields and what is the best fit for you?  Contact me.

5 Tips for Students Making Career Decisions

Some individuals seem to have known from the time they were 5 years old what they wanted to be “when they grow up.”  Others seem to struggle their whole lives.  So here are a few tips to help you navigate the question whether you are in high school or college:

  1. Pay attention to the classes you really like in school.  They are often an indicator to your natural talents.
  2. Volunteering and part-time jobs can help you better understand what you want to do more of or never want to do again in your lifetime!
  3. Ask yourself these two questions, “What is my passion?  Do I want it to be my life’s work or part of the balance in my life?”
  4. Career shadow someone in the fields of work that you have interests.
  5. Understand the job market for your intended career expertise.

There is no magic wand to wave or ruby slippers to click together to figure out your career path and find satisfaction.  But there are steps you can take to move you in the right direction!  These five tips are part of a process.  This process combined with The Highlands Ability Battery can provide information and options for achieving career satisfaction.  Want to find out how your natural abilities link with career options?  Contact me.

So Incredibly Awesome

Have you ever been to a party, restaurant or buffet where you felt so overwhelmed by all of the incredible choices you simply had no idea where to begin? Do you have a favorite store like Bass Pro, Apple, Nordstrom or Barnes and Noble filled with those things you love to browse?  Do you usually begin your meandering through that place with a plan that includes some random wandering coupled with a distinct methodology so you don’t miss anything?

That’s how I feel about the new Highlands Ability Battery Career Exploration tool. It is so incredibly awesome!  When you take the assessment, your data gets linked to careers that are a good match for your natural abilities and provides an amazing array of opportunities to be explored. That array includes everything from careers right out of high school to careers requiring a PhD.  Perhaps you want a career with hands-on experiences but you don’t want 4 years of college, what’s available and a good match?

In my career as an educator I have watched the educational pendulum swing from promoting vocational education to dismantling vocational programs and promoting college for everyone. Now we hear STEM, STEAM and all the hype of the pendulum swinging yet again.  The reality is that neither vocational training nor college education is for everyone, but everyone has a place and everyone needs to be prepared to take the next step.  But it requires purposeful thinking and purposeful actions.

Having a career or multiple careers that you truly enjoy is so incredibly awesome. Are you ready to take the next step?  Contact me.