Owning Your Future

As a teenager, we all dream about the moment we take ownership of our first vehicle.  We spend hours calculating how we can make it happen; the jobs we’ll do, counting the change or dollars, making those deposits and monitoring the savings account until the day we finally make that first purchase.  Making that purchase brings a sense of pride, confidence and Ownership.

There are countless reports in the news and articles in papers or on the web addressing the skyrocketing costs of higher education.  But what is not being addressed is the fact that you can avoid some of the pitfalls by taking Ownership early.  If the National average is to change majors 3-5 times, and changing majors equals increased numbers of semesters and dollars spent, then it seems reasonable that having a more defined idea about one’s future career endeavors would increase the probability of an on-time graduation and diminished need for additional education expenses.  Taking Ownership means you take action.

The Highlands Ability Battery is a wonderful tool to help chart a course, to take action.  Did you know that by the time you are approximately 14 years old, your Natural Abilities are defined and measurable?  Imagine if you knew what they are, how they match with identified professions and combined that with a methodology to assist in learning about those professions so that you are prepared to choose a major.   You take Ownership – you take action.  That way, when you go to college you don’t waste semesters, exceed your budget, and you graduate with a meaningful degree in something you enjoy and it’s marketable.

Own your future.  Ownership is powerful!

Redirecting Your Work Life

While much of the time I target high school and college students, this post is for anyone in college, the work force, or considering going back to work.  Frequently over the last couple of years I have addressed Professional Development as it applies to high school and college students.  But to the career professional or the “stay-at-home parent” getting ready to re-enter the work force, this broad term also applies.  Generally speaking, there are sectors of the work world that refer to continuing your education or training for licensing as Professional Development or Continuing Education Units (CEU).

  • Physicians and Nurses
  • Attorneys
  • Massage Therapists
  • Teachers and Administrators
  • Realtors and CPA’s

This list is certainly not complete, but you get the idea.  Some professions require within a determined number of years, that you participate in classes or conferences in an effort to keep current in your field.  Some industries pay for their employees to attend these conferences or courses while others leave it up to the individual.  The important point here is WHY would you leave it up to someone else?

In a shaky economic market it makes it more challenging for individuals to pay for such training, but it pays dividends if you do.  Firms, companies and organizations have scaled back their resources to cover the costs associated with on-going training for employees, but the value of investing in you is enormous!  It not only increases your own intellectual value, but it elevates the employer’s perception of you as an individual and your willingness to increase your own potential.

In an interesting twist from a decade ago, there are now new programs geared to those who are out of work and seeking new directions and opportunities or those who need a brief course to get licensed and into a new profession that requires less preparation time and resources often required by four-year or advanced degrees.

Want to know how to increase your value to an organization or get redirected?  Contact me.

Break It Down and Create a Focus

Adult workers often talk about professional development or continuing education units and the associated costs, benefits or requirements for some professions.  However, I don’t think I have ever heard anyone reference high school students who prepare for college as undergoing professional development.  But that is exactly what it is!  There are costs associated and benefits to be had through professional preparation for college whether you do it yourself or hire a professional.

On the academic side, PSAT/SAT/ACT prep courses are all a form of professional development.  Parents invest significant dollars in order for their son or daughter to increase their score potential.  The investment is not a guarantee, but it enhances the probability.  So it is important to plan wisely and get the biggest bang for your buck.  When I am asked by parents or students, “When do we start,”  I always say, “Middle school.”  When the shock wears off, we get down to business and begin to plan from where they are at that moment.  But here is a tip for getting the best outcome with the end in mind.

Create a calendar that targets test dates and work backward.  Identify the necessary enrollment date and get registered on time to avoid late fees or missed application dates for colleges.  Using these dates, work backward again and identify the necessary time frame to participate in a prep course or private tutoring so that you have time to take practice tests and target areas needing improvement. That’s how to get the biggest bang for the buck!  While this only targets test dates, ultimately, you have already marked your calendar with application dates and can pace yourself accordingly.  Break it down and create a focus.

The world of work has changed radically over the last 5 years and it is more important than ever that everyone look at ways in which they can enhance their own marketability.  In order to do that, adults, college students and high school students need to look at professional development with a new perspective.  How can you invest in yourself, your loved ones or your employees to enhance marketability or job performance?  Need help? Click here to contact me for more information regarding your own professional development.

Be Aware and Be Proactive with Your Social Media

With everyone either back to school or getting there immediately after Labor Day, this is a great time to remind all students, college and high school, YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA PRESENCE FOLLOWS YOU.  No. I am not shouting at you in text format, but I am making a point.  If you (or your friends) blog it, post it on Facetime, Twitter, Instagram, or any social network, you are vulnerable to future employers, mortgage officers and credit opportunities, college admissions, and the list goes on.  Be aware and be proactive.

How many hours a month do you spend on the Internet?  How much time are you using it for education, entertainment, work, purchasing services or products, or connecting with friends and family?  The average American spends 32 hours per month on the Internet.  A tidbit I learned on a webinar hosted by Juicy Results, a terrific web marketing company.   And as I thought about that number, I realized I spend that much time per week and more on the Internet!  If the nature of jobs and careers in the future is changing, then this is important information to know.

Do you have a social media presence?  What does it look like?  Universities and employers alike are using social media to “check out” their candidates.  Everything from your email address and voice message to your pictures and comments on the Internet are available for public scrutiny and feed into your public image or “social entity.”

Just as different people have different perspectives on issues, different generations view and address issues differently.  In regards to social media, there is a great article and some interesting data that specifically address the issues of school and job impact.  Click here to read the article and be sure to scroll down to table 2B and note the difference between Baby Boomers and Echo Boomers.  While an Echo Boomer may see nothing wrong with a particular message posted on a social media site, the individual responsible for your admission to college or hiring you may be a Baby Boomer and the posting is offensive.

Now ask yourself the question again and consider who may be on the other side of the computer monitor checking you out.  What does your “social entity” look like?  What do you need to do to create the kind of social image that characterizes you but doesn’t jeopardize future opportunities?  Contact me if you need assistance or want more information.

Time Management – Putting You Ahead of the Game

Time management is one of the most critical issues facing college students, so you can’t wait to get there to get it under control.  It is also an imperative for being an effective employee.  If time management is a challenge for you, get a planner/day timer and start using it.  Begin with the end in mind!

College students who are seniors and facing graduation and the workforce in the next 2-3 months, you should be in “full pursuit” of that 1st full time job.  Attending college job fairs on campus or in your local area are good options and are all well underway.  Don’t forget those career-finder websites, but remember that if you use a headhunter service, ask about the fees!

College juniors, you may not be ready to secure that first post-graduation job, but attending job fairs is quite beneficial from the experience perspective.  Get out there and see who is hiring, who might have internships for senior year, and the projections for hiring next year.  Get business cards from those whom you are interested in maintaining contact.  It’s a great way to build a relationship!

High school juniors, do you need to register for the SAT or ACT?  The opportunities are diminishing for this year, so manage your time effectively.  Seniors, many of you are in wait mode and anxious for acceptance letters.  But that doesn’t mean you are on cruise control.  Grades need to stay strong, and if you are undecided about those colleges, be sure to do your homework evaluating the programs at each and making note of potential scholarships once accepted.  Need to connect your natural abilities to a major area of study?  Contact me.

Managing your time can put you ahead of the game, not just in the game.  The competition is steep out there, so begin with the end in mind!  Eye on the prize!

Ownership

As a teenager, we all dream about the moment we take ownership of our first vehicle.  We spend hours calculating how we can make it happen; the jobs we’ll do, counting the change or dollars, making those deposits and monitoring the savings account until the day we finally make that first purchase.

Then we reach our twenties and begin dreaming about that first house or townhouse.  We spend hours calculating how we can make it happen: the jobs we’ll do, making those deposits, establishing credit lines and finally making that first purchase.

For both of these big investments we take “Ownership.”  When it comes time to make the big investment in a college or vocational education, we need to be just as diligent and committed.  We need to take Ownership.

There are so many articles about the rising cost of college tuition, the affordability issues and the decreasing funding for financial aid or even performance incentives through state programs.  But what is not being addressed is that fact that you can avoid some of the pitfalls by taking Ownership early.

If the National average is to change majors 3-5 times, and changing majors equals increased numbers of semesters and dollars spent, then it seems reasonable that having a more defined idea about one’s future career endeavors would increase the probability of an on-time graduation and diminished need for additional education expenses.  Taking Ownership means you take action.

The Highlands Ability Battery is a wonderful tool to help chart a course, to take action.  Did you know that by the time you are approximately 14 years old, your Natural Abilities are defined and measurable?  Imagine if you knew what they are, how they match with identified professions and combined that with a methodology to assist in learning about those professions so that you are prepared to choose a major.   You take Ownership – you take action.  That way, when you go to college you don’t waste semesters, exceed your budget, and you graduate with a meaningful degree in something you enjoy and it’s marketable.

Ownership is powerful.

A Big WOW!

This week is a Special Guest Post – Bud Bilanich has been recognized on ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and countless other news programs and publications.  He has devoted his talents and passion to being a top life and career success coach with companies like Chase, Johnson&Johnson, Merck, PepsiCo and countless others benefiting from his work.  His message is valuable for high school students as well as those in college and already in the workforce.  I hope you will enjoy his work as much as I do:

 

I love Marla Brady’s College and Career blog.  She packs a ton of common sense advice into each post.  That’s why I was flattered when she asked if I would contribute a guest post.  I help young professionals – those who are just out of college get on the right track to life and career success.

Receiving your degree is a great accomplishment.  I remember how proud I was way back in 1972 when I became the first person in my family to graduate from college.  But as I began my career, I learned that there is a lot about life and career success that they don’t teach you in college.

I made a lot of mistakes as I went about creating my career success.  I’m hoping that I can help young people just beginning their careers to get the benefit of the knowledge I gained through experience with having to deal with the frustration and pain that sometimes come with gaining experience firsthand.  So I’ve written down some of the things I’ve learned about what it takes to succeed in your life and career. This is advice I wish I had when I graduated from Penn State in 1972.  I hope you find it helpful.

I’ve found that all successful people have five things in common.

  • Successful people are self-confident.
  • Successful people create positive personal impact.
  • Successful people are outstanding performers.
  • Successful people are dynamic communicators.
  • Successful people are interpersonally competent.

Self-confident people have at least three things in common:

  1. Self-confident people are optimistic.
  2. Self-confident people face their fears and take action.
  3. Self-confident people surround themselves with positive people.

People who create positive personal impact have at least three things in common:

  1. People who create positive personal impact develop and constantly promote their personal brand.
  2. People who create positive personal impact are impeccable in their presentation of self.
  3. People who create positive personal impact know and practice the basic rules of etiquette.

Outstanding performers have at least three things in common:

  1. Outstanding performers are technically competent.   They remain technically competent because they are lifelong learners.
  2. Outstanding performers set and achieve goals.
  3. Outstanding performers are organized.  They manage their time, stress and lifestyle well.

Dynamic communicators have at least three things in common:

  1. Dynamic communicators are excellent conversationalists.
  2. Dynamic communicators write in a clear, concise easily readable manner.
  3. Dynamic communicators are excellent presenters – to groups of two or 100.

Interpersonally competent people have at least three things in common:

  1. Interpersonally competent people are self aware.   They understand themselves and their impact on others.  They use their self awareness to increase their understanding of others.
  2. Interpersonally competent people build solid, long lasting mutually beneficial relationships with the people in their lives.
  3. Interpersonally competent people are able to resolve conflicts with a minimal amount of problems and upset to relationships.

When my niece graduated from Florida State several years ago, I wrote a little book called An Uncle’s Advice to His Niece on Her College Graduation.  Inside, you’ll find my thoughts on each of the success characteristics above and my best advice on how you can use them to build the life and career success you want and deserve.

You can download a free copy at http://www.budbilanich.com/uncles-advice/.  When you download the book, you’ll also get a bonus.  You’ll begin receiving daily life and career success quotes that have helped me on my life and career journey.

There’s a reason they call college graduation ceremonies “commencements.”  As you leave college you are commencing on a new and exciting phase of your life.  You are commencing on a career.  I hope that you find the career advice in An Uncle’s Advice…to be helpful.  You have my very best wishes for a lifetime of success.

Reading = Success

In early elementary school we learn to read.  Through middle and late elementary we refine the skills and begin to read to learn.  From that point forward, our acquisition of knowledge changes radically.  And today, when the trend of business and global infrastructure revolves around Information, how can we be successful without the ability to read and read well?

In the January 2013 edition of U.S. News & World Report, Best Colleges, there is an article, “A To-Do List for Your College Search. “  The article is great as it addresses activities that need to be done each year of high school, but one that caught my eye was in the Freshman Year.  The recommendation was, “Read voraciously.”  It’s true.  The more you read, your reading will improve as will your vocabulary.  Thus, your success on tests improves and your class performance.

The Highlands Ability Battery is a wonderful assessment of natural abilities and provides lots of great information for career path.  The funny thing is, even the Highlands Company recognized in the early 1920’s that vocabulary is so important to future success that while it is not a natural ability, vocabulary can be increased through reading and can serve as a significant indicator and enhancement to your success.   While math and English, science and history are not part of the assessment, the developers of the Highlands Ability Battery included vocabulary because of its power and influence on our work lives.

In a world where many believe “Knowledge is Power” or that the global world of 24/7 breaking news and technological advancements are going to shape an entirely new work force, they are paying attention to the trend.  The question is, “Will you?”

If reading increases knowledge, and “Knowledge is Power”, then opportunities for success increase with reading.  So, read voraciously.  Read books, read magazines, trade journals, newspapers, the web or anything you find interesting.  Build your vocabulary; increase your performance and your career opportunities.  Reading = Success.

Want to know more about The Highlands Ability Battery, your college major or career direction?      Contact me.

Top 10 Jobs Trends…Now and Through 2017

Whether you are a student in school or an adult in the workforce, it is important to recognize that many of the millions of jobs and even careers that have been lost in the last 5 years will not return even when the economy gains strength.  Our society as a whole has had a major shift in technology and jobs.  Jobs of the future will be “knowledge jobs”.   Regardless of how expensive education is, it will be vital to the future of our nation and the individuals within.  Education may be a university degree or it may be a trade or technical school certification, but having that education will make all the difference.

So, when thinking about the options,  it is important to pay attention to trends.    Trends of success in the future will include leadership and knowledge jobs.  Just check out this list of “Top 10 Jobs” and see if leadership and knowledge are not key components:

 http://www.boston.com/jobs/galleries/best_jobs/.

Want to know more about trends? Want to know if your natural abilities are well suited for one of these career directions?  Which college degree programs connect best with your abilities for a best fit and optimal success? Contact me.

Halloween and Other Scary Times

How perfect to end the month with Halloween and a topic of Scary Times.  If you are a junior or senior in high school or a senior in college you are facing scary times.  There is enough uncertainty in the world to create plenty of anxiety in those who are in pivotal transition points in their lives.

Actually, anyone who is trying to make decisions about college and career direction is facing scary times.  But you can reduce the stress by arming yourself with tools that enhance your decision-making and place yourself in better positions for opportunities.

In a time when information is a key to success, resources can be your most important tools.  Here are some key resources for you to pay attention to regularly:

1.  Athletes in any sport – www.collegesportstrack.com – a terrific resource for understanding the college sports recruiting experience and communicating with coaches to secure your opportunity.  Hans writes a great blog with specific information.  Bookmark it!

2.  College bound students and parents – www.sat.org – a must for registering for the SAT, pacing yourself with a prep program, practicing with their Question of the Day, and they are usually the first indicator of college cost increases.   An underused resource.  Bookmark it!

3.  Anyone thinking about career opportunities – www.bls.gov – a wonderful resource for looking at trends of jobs, sectors of employment and demographic availability of employment.  Another underused resource.  Bookmark it!

Scary times can be made less frightening when armed with effective tools.  Knowing your options, how to manage them and knowing more about yourself enables you to make more effective decisions and capitalize on opportunities.  Need a great resource to learn more about yourself, choosing a college, college major or your career direction?  Contact me.