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.

“Deep Dish” Decision Making – College Acceptances

It’s time.  For those of you who are high school seniors or parents of those students, or juniors in the preparation mode, this blog is for you.  It’s decision time.  Now for seniors or soon for juniors, the same information will apply, so take note.

The previous blog posting was about the 6 Considerations for College Majors.  Those are great guides for thinking about where you want to go to school and what you want to study.  They help to narrow the field.  But now, you’ve sent out those applications and the letters of acceptance are being delivered.  How will you choose?  Will you fall into the trap of going where your best friend goes, lots of peers or school name recognition?  Will you choose because Mom or Dad are promoting because it is their Alma Mater?

Making that “Deep Dish” Decision needs to be well grounded in your best interests.  After all, you’ve spent years deciding whether you prefer deep dish or thin and crispy pizza and whether you like meat lovers toppings or vegetarian.  Buying a $200,000 education is a bit more involved that a $20 pizza.  So devote the time necessary to get it right.  Where do you believe you culturally fit in, socially have opportunities, geographically have independence and manageability, athletically have an opportunity to live out your sports dream or participate in university events, financially can be educated without incurring unreasonable student debt, and academically above all else – where can you get the program that will serve you best?  When it comes down to the final decision, dig deep into the universities offerings of majors to ensure there is a good fit.  When you make a college visit, look at the buildings, the technology and even the methods of course delivery to ensure it is right for you.  Just because an institution offers a major in business doesn’t mean it offers the area of specialty that is right for you.

So for each college you receive an “Acceptance” look deeper and compare them carefully.  Your homework done now will pay off big in securing a four-year, on-time degree in a major you will enjoy and a career path grounded in “Deep Dish” Decision Making.

Their Rankings vs. Your Rankings

There are plenty of opportunities to read up on college rankings.  U.S. News, Princeton Review, TIME, Yahoo and the list goes on for those who provide annual updates of the best in the Nation.  However, it is important to recognize that the terms of measuring the “best” are different for each of the groups analyzing the data.

Some of the rankings published are based on graduation rates, faculty resources, and student retention while others are based on student selectivity and alumni giving.  There are lots of combinations and criteria used so it’s important to understand why an organization identifies an institution as #1.   If you use rankings as a guide for creating a list of colleges of interest, are you considering the ranking criteria for those institutions?  Even more important, are those the same criteria that are important to you?

Making sure you get a good fit college experience is grounded in making sure you do your homework and address your own rankings of colleges and universities.  Along with using the criteria of those published in high profile media, have you considered your own desires for social preferences, cultural experiences, geographic location, academic opportunity, athletic opportunity and financial impact?

Just like the statement, “apples to apples” it is important to evaluate your list of colleges and universities with a similar ranking system so that you thoroughly compare all of your opportunities and desires.  This is important both on the front end of the process of college search and on the back end at the time you are making a decision and there are multiple acceptance letters to be considered.  Will you let emotions drive your decision, or will you evaluate one more time?

College Search

This is a really critical time for juniors and seniors in high school who are college bound.  Juniors need to be actively engaged in a plan and a process of managing timelines of tests and prep programs, exploring options and building their “Full Student Package.”  Seniors, you are applying to colleges and universities.  So, for all of you, I encourage you to visit the CollegeWeekLive website and explore colleges and universities that are part of the site.  As a site member, they provide great tools for students and parents as well as virtual tours, live chats and tons of information.  It’s free so sign up today!

http://www.collegeweeklive.com/index.cfm?

The clock ticks and calendar waits for no one.  Don’t miss an opportunity!  Capitalize on your options.  Need help understanding options and clarifying direction?  Contact me.

The Importance of Identifying a Major for College – Early

In June of 2008, The Wall Street Jour­nal pub­lished an arti­cle ref­er­enc­ing The High­lands Abil­ity Bat­tery and the impor­tance of stu­dents being able to iden­tify their nat­ural abil­i­ties for the ben­e­fit of life­long career man­age­ment.  But it is also impor­tant to under­stand that the abil­i­ties that are mea­sured at age 17 for a high school stu­dent, remain con­stant through­out your life.  There­fore, the results are applic­a­ble for a life­time and serve as a great resource in career deci­sions whether that deci­sion includes decid­ing on a major area of study, pro­mo­tion oppor­tu­nity, going back to school, or tran­si­tion­ing into retirement.  The results are also a great source of data verification on resume’s and in interviews.      http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121375062383682907.html

Select­ing the right major can mean the dif­fer­ence between grad­u­at­ing col­lege on time or becom­ing one of the national sta­tis­tics.  Nation­ally, less than 40% of col­lege stu­dents com­plete a four-year degree on time and more than 51% require up to 6 years to com­plete a four-year degree.  That fright­en­ing sta­tis­tic impacts your abil­ity to cre­ate a pro­duc­tive income after 4 years, but it also comes with a price tag that equates to a national aver­age of $30,000 per stu­dent in loan debt due to changed majors.  Imag­ine being ahead of the game just by grad­u­at­ing on time!  Imag­ine sav­ing $30,000 for an advanced degree or to open your own business!

Your Elevator Speech

If you walked into an elevator, the door closed and you found yourself next to a college recruiter, coach or potential employer and had 30 seconds to promote yourself, what would you say?  When the door opens and they walk away, what would you have said that makes you memorable enough that they want to know more?

The old “Elevator Speech” is a business technique that has been used for decades, but it is still effective.  In fact, for young people who have less experience promoting themselves to future employers or college admissions offices, it is a great way to collect your thoughts ahead of time so that when opportunity strikes, you’re prepared.  I find that when young people are asked to, “Tell me a little about your self,” they get caught like deer in headlights or ramble with no impressive points.

So prepare ahead.  I can help you do that so that the initial meeting or unexpected opportunity can be managed with a prepared and relaxed “30 second Elevator Speech.”  Promote yourself by being prepared.  What will you say in 30 seconds that will leave them wanting more?  Contact me.

Follow Up On That Interview

Are you interviewing with a college coach, college admissions staff or with a potential employer?  The rules of engagement are the same, Follow Up!  Making a great first impression is important, but it is also important to leave a Lasting Impression.

Students, pay attention to the articles and tips provided for job candidates.  They carry the same importance for you.  The difference is you will substitute the word “coach” or “admissions staff” for the interviewer as you read the articles.

I can help you structure that targeted follow-up message, but you also need to pay attention to the trends.  Here are some good reads that confirm my message to you and the collegebasics link has some good examples of follow-up communications for high school students making those college visits.

http://www.forbes.com/2011/03/01/job-interview-follow-up-leadership-careers-advice.html

http://www.quintcareers.com/interview_follow-up-dos-donts.html

http://www.job-seekers-edge.com/interview-follow-up.html

http://www.collegebasics.com/applying-to-college/interviewing/59-following-up-after-the-college-interview.html

Contact me for your specific situation to get a great result!

 

 

Mapping a Summer Plan

Whether your summer begins May 7th , June 4th or June 25th, 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!

Scary Times

How perfect to end the month’s theme of Timelines on Halloween with a topic of Scary Times.  But if you are a 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 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 how-to information.  Bookmark it!

2. College Bound Students and Parents – www.sat.org – a must for registering for the SAT, pacing your self with a prep program and 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 you arm yourself 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 you, choosing a college, college major or your career direction?  Contact me.

The Importance of Job Search When You Are Not Searching

Last week I wrote about trends that had occurred over the last 30 years in the career and job market.  I specifically identified the newest flash of social media opportunities.  My goal was not to encourage everyone into the social media marketplace, but to make a point of the changes in trends according to our culture and the world and that we must be forward thinking in our plans for future success.

Whether you are a college graduate, a high school student deciding on college, or have chosen a path of vocational training, it is important to look ahead and pay attention to job and career trends even when you are not looking for a job.  Click here to take a look at the lists in the 2011 Top Ten and the Worst Ten Jobs.  More important, pay attention to how the lists were developed.  Income alone is not a reason to select a career field.  Satisfaction with your career is comprised of other elements that include but are not limited to stress factors, time off, and professional development opportunities.

Just like Capital One asks, “What’s in your wallet,” are you asking yourself, “What’s in my future?”