Career Conundrum

When billionaire Mike Bloomberg spoke to the recent graduates of Harvard Business School about their careers, he told them, “Make decisions based on the quality of the opportunity and where you’ll have the most fun and the most room for growth.”  His message to them was rooted in understanding themselves.  It’s a lot like the message Erika Boissiere wrote about in her April 22, 2019 Forbes magazine article, “When You’ve Made the Wrong Career Choice”.  She says, “You can’t shelve unhappiness forever.”

Identifying the Career Conundrum:

Rarely does a week go by that I do not get a phone call, email, or run into someone who is experiencing disappointment in their career choice.  They are in a Career Conundrum, with the nagging questions of:

  • Do I stay or do I go?
  • What else can I do?
  • How do I know I won’t feel this same way 5 years from now?

So, is she right?  Does unhappiness keep you awake at night, distract you while you work and drive, gnaw at your stomach, and diminish your performance?  That feeling of being stuck is a miserable place to live.

People who love their work are highly motivated.  But I believe that everyone has the potential to be highly motivated.  Finding the “right fit” career is key.  In fact motivation is one of the five key pillars of Emotional Intelligence and key to career success.

Counter the Career Conundrum:

Are you ready for a successful process? Contact me about taking The Highlands Ability Battery and creating a new path!  Finding the “right fit” career is a process and requires an investment in self.  Investing is the act of putting something in, like time, money, effort.  We invest in our 401k and we expect an improved outcome.  Why would anyone invest endless hours at a job that doesn’t feel right when there are so many other options?

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.

Summer – Jobs – Opportunity

Whether your summer begins May 10th , June 7th or June 21st, the landslide of summer workers/participants will hit in full force.  You need to be prepared to submit applications and do interviews before everyone else.  So work backwards.  Identify your target date for starting work and work backward with your plan.  You will need time for interviews, phone calls, application completion, Internet or local searches and networking.  That means you start now mapping a summer plan.

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                Great for searching College Internship Opportunities

www.getthatgig.com                     Opportunities for students 16-21 years

www.teenjobsection.com          Interactive map of opportunities across the country

www.snagajob.com                       Getting and making the most of your job

The important thing about starting now is you begin looking at the opportunities.  And opportunities do not apply only to work.  Opportunities may refer to athletic team participation, experiences or internships.  What would you like to do?  Are there jobs/opportunities you are particularly interested in doing and things you just would not consider?  What transportation barriers exist or what options are available if a good opportunity presents itself?  How many hours a day will you be available to work/play/volunteer?  Is summer class part of the equation when figuring schedules for work?  Different employers will embrace your availability as a summer worker and as a student working to get ahead.  Others may find value in your performance and embrace the opportunity that you may be available for the next few seasons.  The here and now impacts tomorrow!

By starting your search now, you have some time to explore options and activate a network.  Just like business people network to expand and strengthen their own client base, students can network to find great summer opportunities through parents, relatives and family friends.  Now is the time to get started!

Imagine How Great!

Imagine how great it feels when you accomplish something you didn’t think you could.  Franklin Roosevelt said, ” Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort.”

The task of searching for colleges, making a choice of career paths or college majors, or even changing direction once you have gone down a path, can be overwhelming.  So break it down.  Create a calendar with a reasonable end point for making a decision.  Work backward creating identified tasks that will lead you to that endpoint.  Be sure to have checkpoints so you can measure your progress along the way.  Remember, there is satisfaction or “thrill” in creative effort….your plan.  There is “Happiness” in the “joy of achievement” and making that decision.  So, enjoy the process.  Learn, grow, achieve!

Need help breaking it down?  Contact me

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!

5 Tips for Locating Internships, Externships and Career Shadowing

Internships, externships and career shadowing are great experiences for learning, vetting out what career possibilities make sense to you, and establishing links for future employment.  But I get asked, “What is the difference between internship, externship, and job shadow?”  Typically, externships are much shorter and unpaid.  They can be a couple of days to a few weeks in length and are primarily job shadowing experiences.  The extern is an observer.   A job shadow is typically a one day event and again, the individual is an observer.  However, an internship is usually at least a semester in length and may or may not be a paid position.  The intern is assigned duties that mirror what an employee in the position would be expected to do on a regular basis.

So how do you go about finding these great opportunities?  Here are 5 Tips for locating or creating an internship, externship or career shadow experience:

#1 – Employers of your parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles or any extended family member.  Activate your network!  Remember, it may mean you create the experience on paper and present the proposal.

#2 – Family friends and their businesses

#3 – Businesses you frequent and like their product or service

#4 – City or County government offices

#5 – Quintcareers is a great website with links to tons of opportunities, job skill and interview recommendations as well as a zip code activated link for locating internship opportunities in your desired hometown or college town.  Internmatch is another as is Summerinternships.com

Got a great internship story?  Comment here and generate ideas for others.  Or, if your company hires Interns or promotes shadowing experiences, please share those as well.  It’s all about networking!

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.

Finding Your Balance – A Good Fit

It doesn’t matter whether you are a high school student, a college student, or an adult … finding a “good fit” for college or work is a bit like finding your balance.  Robert Fulghum wrote about it in his book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten.  He said, “Live a balanced life – learn some, think some, and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”  Wise and wonderful words!

As a high school student, it is important to be engaged in not just the grades of specific classes, but the activities and experience of high school.  In doing so, you build your value to colleges and universities through your experiences of participation, leadership and service.  All of which include opportunities to work, or play or dance or perform or demonstrate who you are as an individual.  It helps you to find your balance and understand where you fit in.  Likewise, as you search for colleges and universities you begin to develop an understanding of those things that are important to you in finding the “good fit” experience of higher education.

College students looking for that first job coming out of school, you begin to understand the kind of environment that you would find satisfying or the kind of people you want to spend the bulk of your day with as you go about creating a career.  Life begins to take on a new balance that is based on an evolving set of values, interests and abilities.  Do you know what yours are?

The culture of an institution like high schools, colleges and universities as well as the culture of a work environment all provide opportunities for you to find your balance.  But it does take some effort, it doesn’t happen by accident and you must pay attention.  Just like Mr. Fulghum said in his book, “Live a balanced life – learn some, think some, and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.”