*Published on April 12, 2022
The week leading up to Easter Sunday seems like an opportune time to discuss hopping around. Unfortunately, job hopping is not associated with candy treats being delivered to our homes. Even without the candy treats, what can job hopping do for our careers?
Our careers benefit from job hopping with (potentially):
1.) A Higher Salary.
2.) An Expanded Network Reach.
3.) An Opportunity to Experience Various Work Environments.
4.) The Confidence and Flexibility to Leave Toxic Work Environments.
So, what exactly is ‘job hopping’? Typically, job hopping is defined as staying in a job for less than a year and doing so multiple times (in a row) throughout a career. Job hopping once or twice in a career is possibly expected, however more than that hiring managers start to ask questions.
There are generational differences in the job hopping viewpoint. Baby Boomers and Generation X lived and breathed the company loyalty mentality. Staying in one company for a career lifetime was not out of the question, and sometimes a career expectation. In contrast, job hopping is commonplace for Millennials and Generation Z.
Let us put this into perspective. Generation Z began entering the workforce shortly before, during, and after a global pandemic. This was a time where college students were having their internship offers rescinded. Graduating college seniors were seeing their first full-time job offers taken away. Most companies were not afforded the opportunity to remain loyal to their commitments due to the pandemic, thereby rescinding their job offers and/or laying off the youngest generation entering the workforce. The younger generations quickly became loyal to their own careers first, rather than the hiring companies.
Outside of the generational differences and the COVID-19 Pandemic, what are the typical causes of job hopping?
1.) Employees feeling underpaid.
2.) Employees no longer enjoying their work responsibilities.
3.) Employees having a poor relationship with their manager.
4.) A lack of flexibility for work-life integration.
“In the midst of the Great Resignation, employed individuals as well as active job seekers are looking at new opportunities for higher pay and more flexibility,” said Richard Wahlquist, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Staffing Association. “If employers want to effectively compete in the war for talent, they’re going to have ensure their workers receive competitive compensation and that workplaces embrace flexible work schedules wherever feasible.”
(American Staffing Association, “Show Them the Money: Pay Is Most Important for Potential Job Seekers”)
We know with hopping, what goes up must come down. We have discussed the upside of job hopping. We have discussed the reasons why people job hop. So, what is the downside of job hopping?
1.) Job hopping can negatively label a job seeker. Perhaps an unwillingness to commit/stay loyal to an organization. Perhaps the concern of the time, energy and costs wasted when onboarding and training an employee, just to have them leave within the year.
2.) With job hopping, what relationship depth (or lack thereof) are you building with colleagues/decision-makers in under a year?
3.) In less than a year, are you truly gaining a deeper skillset (product knowledge, technical skills, hard skills, soft skills etc.)?
Job hopping is a part of the ‘new normal’ today. In a job search strategy, having a clear, concise, and consistent message is crucial. A job seeker’s cover letter, resume, LinkedIn profile and interview conversation should sync up with the job seeker’s authentic career story.
Here are suggestions in a job search conversation for the ‘Easter Bunny’ of job seekers:
1.) Be prepared for transparency. Call out quick transitions between companies. “I have had some quick transitions in between companies.” Follow this point up with being direct on what happened.
2.) Be direct. “I was subject to forces outside of my control in a lay off due to a pandemic/company acquisition/management restructuring.” Or maybe there was another reason. “I realized the work I was asked to do did not line up with the job description as advertised.”
3.) Be proactive. What did you take away from this experience (learning opportunities)? How did the experiences and skills you picked up along the way advance your career?
4.) Be in know. Do your homework. Define a clear and concise message about your ideal future career responsibilities and why with this target company. How do the past roles lend themselves into optimizing this next role with the target company’s vision?
5.) Be reassuring. Alleviate the future hiring manager’s fear through a quick conversation point of how you are looking for a growth opportunity with this company and why it is the ideal fit.
Up until this point, our discussion has stressed the importance of being your own advocate. While advocating for ourselves and our future careers is necessary, sometimes having others do the talking speaks volumes. Do you have past performance evaluations or written recommendations from your job hopping roles? Consider adding quotes from others (past management, colleagues, clients) that speak to your experience, skillset, and work style.
Although job hopping does not leave candy treats in our homes like the Easter Bunny, take a moment to reflect on the career treats job hopping can offer your career vision and how that aligns with your target company’s vision.
Until next time, here’s to hopping into the next right career move!
*Published on March 28, 2022
Cover Letters. Yes? No?
When applying for a job, consider the application process as your very “first assignment” for your “(potential) new manager.” If the cover letter is an ask in the company's application process, then the cover letter is a part of that "first assignment."
Imagine saying “no” regarding your first assignment to your new manager on day one of your new job. Imaginations can run wild, but that is just madness (and not the fun kind like March Madness). Cover letters are very much a part of the hiring process, and an important part when you highlight what the documentation can represent.
Cover letters offer individuals the opportunity to have their voices shine in a world full of dull business professional. There are recommended formats in assisting job seekers with a head start approach, such as a Traditional Cover Letter and a T-Style Cover Letter. Personally, I am partial to the T-Style Cover Letter. This style offers more white space and a showcase of the link between job requirements/responsibilities and the job seekers experience.
The format details include the “how-to(s)” in layout, length, grammar, heading, and recipient information. Not to bore you with the basics, but here goes:
· Layout: 11–12-point font, ¾ - 1-inch margins, save as a .PDF
· Length: 1 page, about 3 paragraphs (think less can be more)
· Grammar: 1st person
· Heading: Include your full name and contact information. Also, consider the name of the role you are applying for, followed by a few descriptors of your top relevant skills.
· Recipient Information: Do your research in whom to address the cover letter to – LinkedIn, company website, or ask the recruiter for the right contact.
With approximately three paragraphs in a typical cover letter, here are suggested topics for the Introduction (1), Job Descriptive (2) and Conclusion (3) paragraphs.
· Introduction Paragraph
o What is your story and how does it align with the story of your target company?
o How does your story lend itself to an ideal opportunity for the target company’s vision through the position you are applying for?
· Job Descriptive Paragraph
o Pull in the desired job description accomplishments with how your skills and experience line up for optimum performance within the specific industry.
o Power up your relevance and relatability with the use of keywords and industry jargon.
· Conclusion Paragraph
o Reconfirm your interest in the role, your follow up plans, and a call to action.
o Show kindness with a thank you to the reader.
o Is there a statement by the CEO, the mission statement, a recent statement in a press release that caught your attention? A quote from a recent performance evaluation with your current manager that speaks to your skillset? Consider making reference to one of these / what peaked your interest recently – what makes you relevant?
Cover letters are there for you to be informative and direct with a side of personality and brevity. Leverage this documentation to enhance your introduction to the hiring manager for a seat at the company’s table.
*Published on March 21, 2022
Congratulations! You were selected to interview with your dream company. What is next?
Let us first get to know the styles of interviews:
Whether you have been invited for an in-person interview or a video interview, knowledge, preparation, and action are the keys to job interviewing success.
Be in the Know
All this to say, go get ‘em! You received the invitation to interview with one of your target companies. Prepare yourself, level up your knowledge, and take action in bringing your best self to the next stage in your career.
*Published on March 14, 2022
Legacy leadership environment successes were drawn up with a traditional linear approach. Success was created, replicated, and repeated. Employees were immune to and invested in the organization’s culture and identity. Being loyal to one company for an entire career was a common theme in earlier day workforces.
Fast forward to today:
A period where technological advances are accelerating at exponential rates even within generations.
A period where a pandemic has uprooted the way we work, giving us all a time for self-reflection in understanding what makes the most sense for our careers on a new playing field.
It goes without saying (but I will say it anyways), leadership cultures have no choice but to move from the legacy environments we have become accustomed to.
Before we look to the textbooks on Leadership 101, let us take the time to consider who are the players in the current workforce and what is our human makeup.
What is innate to our biology in the way we effectively interact and collaborate with others?
How can we use what is within us as humans to successfully lead with a mission driven focus?
Organizations are comprised of multigenerational skills, knowledge, and unique driving forces. The workforce is comprised of the Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennial Generation, and Generation Z. The current majority consisting of:
Generation X (1965 – 1980)
Millennial Generation (1981-1996)
Generation Z (1997 →)
Each generation is defined by unique traits. Without the awareness of these generational differences and styles, frustrations can arise in a workplace with legacy leadership at the helm of the organization.
As an example, there are distinct communication styles typically more effective based on generations. Millennial generation employees prefer communication via IMs, texts, and email. Still, email is not the first choice of communication style for Generation Z employees. Characteristically, Generation Z will choose communication via IMs, text, and social media.
Ideal career responsibilities can vary by generations as well. Generation Z employees, more often than not, look for the option to work on multiple projects at a time with the flexibility to work independently/self-directed. Millennial generation employees also seek flexibility on their work assignments, then again, they look for managers to get to know them personally and desire immediate feedback.
The above-mentioned attributes are to name a few in the due diligence of learning the generational differences in the workplace. Learning this information is important, however applying this knowledge through leadership to craft a culture that influences employees is a game changer.
Now that we know the players, let us take a deeper dive into the biology makeup of the players. My curiosity of neuroscience and how biology impacts the workplace has me constantly seeking learning opportunities through books, podcasts, articles, webinars, and such. Through this curiosity, I bring to you today what I have learned.
Consider these biology topics and applications in conversation with the leaders and future leaders of an organization:
Biology Lesson #1: Prejudice impacts our brain and our life.
Workplace Conversation Point: Be aware of unintentional/automatic prejudices.
Biology Lesson #2: A sense of purpose activates a brain’s reward center.
Workplace Conversation Point: Work with purpose and give employees the opportunity to communicate and use their purpose to drive the organization’s mission.
Biology Lesson #3: Constantly tracking goals over-activates adrenaline in the brain.
Workplace Conversation Point: Try not to overfocus on goals.
Biology Lesson #4: Men have twice as many receptors for serotonin in their brain than women do.
Workplace Conversation Point: Consider your positive reinforcement efforts with the knowledge that employees’ needs vary.
Biology Lesson #5: Mirror neurons are chains of nerve cells that reflect other’s emotions.
Workplace Conversation Point: Know your audience and the emotions of others around you.
Biology Lesson #6: Simple biology supports a link between movement and learning.
Workplace Conversation Point: Move and learn. Try walking meetings with employees.
Biology Lesson #7: The amygdala is the emotional processor in our brain.
Workplace Conversation Point: Do not let fear and anxiety take over your mission efforts.
Biology Lesson #8: When we develop good arguments that support other opinions, we activate the part of the brain that increases the power of collective intelligence.
Workplace Conversation Point: Develop arguments for your opinions and the opposing opinion. Create innovative solutions that bring the best of both opinions to the table.
All this to say, we are all wired for success. It is in how we use our unique biology wiring that allows us to collaborate successfully with others and bring an organization’s vision to fruition. Let us close the door on the legacy environment and open a new door to a neuroscience driven organizational ecosystem.
*Published on March 7, 2022
One of the most common words listed in a typical business job description is ‘multitasking’. The ability to multitask is a trait highly sought after by organizations.
Or is it?
The illusion of multitasking is completing multiple tasks effectively at the same time. However, research suggests that only 2% of people have the true ability to multitask.
“In reality, our productivity goes down by as much as 40%. We don’t actually multitask. We switch-task, rapidly shifting from one thing to another, interrupting ourselves unproductively, and losing time in the process.”
(Harvard Business School Publishing, Bregman, “How (and Why) to Stop Multitasking”)
Let us demystify the legacy job candidate expectation of multitasking. Organizations believe employees are doing more than one thing in “multitasking.” However, for the majority, all that is happening is a process known as task switching. In task switching, employees are activating one part of the brain, shutting it down, activating another part of the brain, shutting it down, and so forth. When employees do this, they must shift blood flow in their brain, which in turn makes them less productive and more exhausted. Employees are more successful in predominantly single tasking.
This cost of task switching is known as the “switch cost effect.” The switch cost effect generates a disruption to our flow state.
“Flow state describes a feeling where, under the right conditions, you become fully immersed in whatever you are doing.”
(Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Jeanne Nakamura, Positive Psychologists)
Each time we are interrupted and switch tasks it takes on average 23 minutes to get back to where we were before the interruption. For example, although a two-minute email response takes two minutes, the full process of stopping the initial task, responding to the email and then regaining focus on the original task would more likely disrupt 25 minutes of an employees time management.
When we consider our careers, our skills need to meet the challenges we face for us to achieve workflow. If our skills exceed our challenges, we become bored. On the contrary, if our challenges exceed our skills, we become overwhelmed.
Want to increase your productivity, attention span and time in a flow state? Here are activities to consider:
1. Practice the Pomodoro Technique
The technique uses a timer to break down work into intervals, traditionally 25 minutes in length, separated by short breaks (five minutes). After four intervals, take a longer break (15 - 30 minutes). Then repeat.
The five minute breaks could consist of stretching, a short walk, making yourself a snack/drink, going outside for some sunlight, and something I prefer, practicing breathing exercises.
This technique helps you resist all those self-interruptions and re-train your brain to focus. Each interval is dedicated to one task and each break is a chance to reset and bring your attention back to what you should be working on.
2. Remove all distractions. Sounds simple, right? However, still a challenge for most of us.
Put your cell phone in another room.
Close all applications on your laptop other than the ones you need to complete your work.
3. Consider daily mindfulness techniques to bring attention to the present moment.
One breathing exercise that I like is the 4-7-8 breathing technique.
Exhale completely through your mouth. Then close your mouth and inhale through your nose for a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale completely through your mouth for a count of 8. Repeat.
So here we are, at the end of this article. I want you to check in with yourself to honestly assess how many times you lost focus throughout this read. No need to get down on yourself if and when you do lose focus, but remember like everything else in life, 'practice makes perfect': practicing focus exercises and completing single tasks will get you one step closer to the elusive "perfect" in productivity.
Is your organization hiring right now? Time to write up a job description? Unless you are hiring the “2%” referenced initially, “multitasking” should be removed from the requirement list on the job description, and not even considered a “nice to have”. Multitasking takes a toll on productivity in a professional setting, in addition to our everyday lives. Food for thought: let’s replace “multitasking” with what we are truly after - the “ability to focus."
*Published on February 28, 2022
Stress in our careers is inevitable. We can grin and bear it or assess and rise from it. Some might think that is a choice, while others know it is imperative for our overall wellness to choose the latter.
Per The American Institute of Stress, the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) conducted research for workplace stress:
40% of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful
25% view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives
75% of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago
29% of workers felt quite a bit or extremely stressed at work
26% of workers said they were often or very often burned out or stressed by their work
Job stress is more strongly associated with health complaints than financial or family problems.
With the knowledge of these statistics, let us discuss exercises that can improve our workplace functionality and reduce our overall stress levels.
1. The 5-4-3-2-1 Grounding Technique
The goal in this technique is to focus in on the present moment using the five senses.
No matter the moment you are in, take the time to identify:
5 Things You Can See
4 Things You Can Touch (things other than what you identified through sight above)
3 Things You Can Hear
2 Things You Can Smell
1 Thing You Can Taste
2. Box Breathing
The goal in this technique is to aid in promoting composure in high stress situations through breath work.
No matter the moment you are in, take the time to:
Inhale slowly through your nose for a count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of four.
Exhale slowly through your mouth for a count of four.
Hold your breath for a count of four.
Repeat this process.
3. Diaphragmatic Breathing
The health benefits in this technique are reducing levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body, lowering heart rate and blood pressure, and boosting relaxation.
Take time daily to practice the following exercise (five to ten minutes at a time):
Lie down on a flat surface comfortably.
Place one hand on your stomach and another on your chest.
Inhale slowly through your nose. The stomach should push upward against your hand.
Exhale slowly through your mouth. The stomach should fall down.
At all times, the chest should remain still.
4. A Mindful Wakeup
Start each day with gratitude in your heart and a personal set of intentions.
Take time daily to practice the following exercise when you wake up:
Quietly say to yourself three or more things you are grateful for in your life.
Focus on one point on your ceiling and take three deep breaths.
Refrain from looking at your phone or computer until your morning routine and intentions are complete. This step ensures a fresh start at “zero” rather than in “the red” with others’ expectations.
Applying the above mindfulness techniques in combination with optimized career development strategies with a mission-driven focus will lead to overall life (health and career) wellness.
(Check out my discussion on optimizing career development strategies in the article below: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/remote-work-everything-we-hoped-alicia-ramsdell-ccsp-gcdf-mst/?trackingId=JUptuy1wSLOh0f%2BBO2ncng%3D%3D)
All this to say, Career Up while Stressing Down.
*Published on February 22, 2022
Be careful what you wish for. I am not sure about everyone else but ten years ago I could only imagine a world where I had the flexibility to work from home. A world without preconceived notions of being a slacker if you arrived at the office after 9AM or left the office prior to 5PM any given day.
Our career lives require an accommodating time management system. Some had hesitation in allowing team members to work from home with the thought everything was just going to fall apart. I remember leaving my office prior to 5PM to attend my evening graduate school class, an accommodation that was previously agreed to with my management. On my way out the door, my manager said “I see you are taking a half day today. Are you going to come in early tomorrow?” Zing!
As someone who came from the Financial Services industry, I recall the pre-Covid mentality held a predominantly ‘butt in seat’ requirement for career advancement opportunity. The opportunity to work from home because of the Covid pandemic was initially well received. No more commute, no more expensive dry-cleaning bills, no more water cooler talk…
However, as the days turned to weeks, the weeks turned to months, and now we are approaching the two-year mark of the Covid pandemic, the buzz on the streets is a longing for the best of both worlds – a collaboration of effective work ways from the pre-Covid days and post-Covid days. While some offices are planning a slow return, others are offering a hybrid approach, and still others are remote for the foreseeable future.
With remote work a potential constant in our future careers (depending on industry), how can organizations and the people behind their brands optimize career development strategies with a mission-driven focus? Check out these seven suggestions.
1.) Journal your Role Expectations and Weekly Accomplishments.
a. You were hired for a reason. There is a list of job responsibilities that you will be accountable for - write these down.
b. At the end of each work week, read each responsibility, identify the tasks you completed this week, list the specific accomplishment(s) and whether you enjoyed completing the task.
c. Tracking your responsibilities, accomplishments and fulfillment levels can help you recognize a career path where you will bring your best energy to the role, leading to a driving force behind the organization’s mission.
2.) Set up Weekly One-on-One Meetings with your Direct Manager.
a. In the initial one-on-one meeting with your direct manager set the groundwork for role expectations, communication efforts, your role/team’s impact in the organization’s mission and what true success looks like for your role.
b. Follow up one-on-one meetings can:
i. Identify workload priorities.
ii. Revisit your role’s expectations and determine if they are being met.
iii. Walk-through your weekly accomplishments and energy levels as completed.
c. Whenever possible, VIDEO ON in your remote meetings. There is a need for proximity to and empathy of others in successful organizations. With a lack of physical presence, an emotional connection can be created with the Video On. Without this proximity nor emotional connection, we can prioritize our own interests over other people in turn creating a selfish, less effective work environment.
3.) New to the organization? Create a 30-60-90 Day Plan
a. With the enhanced knowledge of your role expectations and what success looks like, create a 30-60-90 Day Plan that incorporates:
i. Your focus for each month.
ii. Your priorities for each month.
iii. Your specific learning goals, with metrics, for each month (start with 3).
iv. Your specific performance goals, with metrics, for each month (start with 3).
v. Your specific personal goals, with metrics, for each month (start with 3).
b. Bring this document to the attention of your manager and ask your manager if he/she would be your accountability partner in your career vision.
4.) Revisit the Four Quadrant Exercise Monthly with your Manager.
a. Each month identify areas where you enjoy your work, where you are successful, and what learning opportunities are in front of you. On the other side, acknowledge areas where you are skillful but do not particularly care to complete more of this work, or where you are not particularly skillful and again do not care to learn more.
b. Highlight this self-reflection practice with your direct manager each month.
c. Download the Four Quadrant Exercise under the Resources section on Mindful Career Path’s website: mindfulcareerpath.com/resources
5.) Get to Know your Team Members.
a. Set up weekly one-on-one 15-minute chats with your team members (one team member a week).
b. Discussion topics can include current work efforts, learning endeavors, networking opportunities and career aspirations.
c. When you get to know your team member on a personal level (conversations about kids, family, local sports teams, etc.) this can promote an emotional connection.
6.) Regular Communication with the Extension of your Team.
a. Do you see the bigger picture of why you are responsible for your role? How does your role impact the overall mission of the organization? What is the extension of your role? How do your responsibilities and work/project results impact other departments?
i. For example, if the product you work on in your finance role, is also impacted by real estate, legal and portfolio management decisions, take the time to learn those extensions.
b. Set up quarterly conversations with the extension of your role. In the previous example, consider setting up a quarterly meeting with a member of the Real Estate team, then the Legal team, then the Portfolio Management team, and so forth. Gain insight into the bigger picture of why you are doing what you are doing.
7.) Attend or Create the ‘Give a Shout-Out to your Team/Get to Know your Team’ Remote Events.
a. If offered, attend the remote team building events.
b. If not currently offered, consider a proactive approach in creating an engaging team building event.
c. Consider the networking opportunities and emotional connection built through these engagements.
Capitalize on these seven suggested effective remote work strategies. Remember, there are chances to thrive and bring your best self to work be that in an office location, remote or hybrid opportunity. We exist in our lifetime with unlimited potential – how will you choose to make the most of it?
“As we’ve moved to virtual work, we haven’t just coped, we’ve actually thrived. We are more focused on the things that have the greatest impact for our customers, associates and the business. We are making quicker decisions and acting. Meetings are now more inclusive of people regardless of location, level or other differences. We have great momentum and need to figure out how to carry it forward.”
~ Suresh Kumar, CTO at Walmart
*Published on February 14, 2022
Reading is a therapeutic part of my daily life. Reading is an exercise where I gain knowledge. Even more so, reading is where I benefit in entering a mindful space. A space where I can focus my awareness in the present moment.
After a good read, I can certainly suggest that read to my network. Yet, my suggestion does not guarantee that same book will grab my network’s attention. If I shared one of my favorite books to an audience of twenty people, it is uncertain how many, if any, would be interested enough to read that book. If I took the time to learn and understand my twenty-person network, and suggested reads individualized for each one of the twenty people, there is a better chance in capturing everyone’s attention.
As a career coach, I consider the same approach in resume writing for my clients and students. When applying to multiple job opportunities, learning and understanding the needs of your target audience is essential in tailoring your resume unique to that target company and role.
To name a few, here are tailored resume tips to consider in your next application process:
1.) Learn what is most important to the Target Company.
What is the mission, vision, and/or values of the company?
Craft a summary statement aligning your hard skills and soft skills to what is important to your audience.
2.) Match each Job Responsibility on the Job Description with a previous Career Accomplishment statement.
Read each job responsibility on the job description.
Write down a previous quantifiable career accomplishment that highlights your success in delivering that value with a previous organization.
3.) Consider a Combination Resume format
Unlike a Chronological Resume format, where your previous career accomplishment statements are listed in order, a Combination Resume format offers the opportunity to highlight your most relevant and attention-grabbing career achievements (up to six achievements) in a prime resume real estate area. This area is known as “above the fold.”
On the top half of the first page of your resume, between the Summary section and the Work Experience section, consider highlighting the best of the best of your career achievements as they relate to your target audience’s needs.
Think of this resume section as the ‘Career Trailer’ to your ‘Career Movie.’ Does the ‘Career Trailer’ capture your specific audience’s attention to watch your whole ‘Career Movie?’
4.) Include only Relevant Career Accomplishment Statements in the Work Experience section of your Resume.
With the career accomplishment statements drafted from point #2 above, enter each relevant achievement in its respective company/role (Work Experience) section.
Moving on, if I shared a favorite book of mine to my audience, they could make a guess as to what other books I would enjoy. However, my audience would be making assumptions based on their perspective of the book. What if, instead of sharing one of my favorite books, I shared a list of my favorite books I have enjoyed reading, the ‘Why?’ behind my interest in reading each, what captured my attention, and what were my biggest take-aways? This strategy would deliver the necessary information for my network to better serve my future reads.
Unlike resumes, LinkedIn profiles are not job description/target company specific. LinkedIn profiles are a holistic insight into the user’s career development. LinkedIn profiles are one of the first places your target audience will learn about you – what message is your profile sharing with your target audience?
To name a few, here are LinkedIn profile writing tips to consider in your job search strategy:
1.) Personalize your LinkedIn Profile URL
Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
Then click Edit public profile & URL.
Remove the numbers, and just leave your name.
2.) Prime Real Estate Areas to consider optimizing on your LinkedIn profile:
Headshot – Fourteen times more likely to be viewed if you have a picture.
Headline - Consider putting your desired job title in your Headline. Think, ‘what will my target audience type in the LinkedIn profile ‘Search’ box to find their ideal candidate?’
3.) About Section Outline:
Engage your audience from the start of your About section (before anyone needs to click ‘see more’). (A one liner with industry statistics or ask a relevant industry question.)
Speak to your ideal career future with proven results through past career experiences/accomplishments.
Include your passions and skillset.
Incorporate keywords/phrases and relevant experiences based on your Job Framework/Ideal Job Description.
How do I create a Job Framework? Check out my blog post here: https://lnkd.in/gE73CJ6J
4.) Featured Section
Create and add your Personal Marketing Plan document to the Featured section.
‘Should I add my resume to my LinkedIn profile?’ is a question I often hear. A resume is most effective when tailored to a specific job description/company. A Personal Marketing Plan speaks to your big picture career vision, including sections such as your current title, target job titles, contact information, competencies, target market and companies, education, and career experience.
Much like each book an author writes, your career story and career vision are unique to you.
Know your audience when recommending their next read. Know the job description and hiring employer when tailoring your resume.
When looking into suggestions for your future reads, articulate what reads you have enjoyed in the past and why. When looking to your network for job opening suggestions, clearly articulate your big picture career vision with your target industries, companies, and roles, what you have enjoyed and why, and career accomplishments relevant to your desired future.
All this to say, Career Up & Keep Reading!
*Published on February 8, 2022
When it comes to your career, there is a difference between “finding the next best thing” and “finding what is right, ideal and unique for you.” Does anyone ever tell you what they think your next best job opportunity is, be it through social media communication, from a colleague, experts in the industry or even family?
As helpful as people try to be, what is the “next best thing for your career” does not always equate to what is "right, ideal and unique for you." Only you can define a career truth where you will bring your best energy.
We spend most of our lives (1) sleeping, and/or (2) in our careers (hopefully not at the same time). I might not be a sleep expert, but I know from experience, when I was unhappy and stressed in previous career roles, my sleep was the first to be negatively impacted.
Sleep and stress are fundamentally linked. Stress is an inevitable part of careers, especially when there is a lack of fulfillment. Showing up to work each day with a lack of energy can lead to a lack of career fulfillment. Showing up to work each day in a constant state of stress can prevent you from sleeping. A lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety, more stress and impede your mental well-being.
With this knowledge, how can we find the right career move that is ideal and unique to you. Clarity in your career message is a priority.
What does this mean from a practical application perspective?
1. Identify your previous career achievements.
Journal your specific career achievements (ideally from the start of your career).
Categorize your achievements in big picture categories (such as, Leadership, Project Management, Data Analysis, Product Management, etc.).
Rank each career achievement – high energy or low energy. What was my energy level when succeeding in this career moment?
Filter the high energy career achievements.
Analyze the results – what is the common thread from a big picture perspective in my career achievements where I had high energy?
2. Create an ideal job description.
Consider a job title(s) you are interested in pursuing.
Find job descriptions with this job title(s).
Read the job responsibilities line items on the job description.
When you read a job responsibility that you believe would bring you high energy, copy and paste that responsibility line item on a blank Word document. Continue to do so reading about fifteen plus job descriptions.
At the end of this activity, you will have a Word document with a list of job responsibilities that will bring you high energy in an ideal career.
3. Identify your target company list.
Start by listing fifteen plus target companies on a file.
Next, prepare your research for each company to determine your ‘Why?’ in what makes this company a right fit for you and for them based on what you bring to the table.
4. Use social media for its intended good.
LinkedIn is an ideal platform to set yourself up for success in putting yourself in front of the right opportunities and audience.
a. Have you set up job alerts?
Click the Jobs icon at the top of your LinkedIn page.
Click the Search Jobs field and enter keywords or company name.
Enter the Job Location in the Search Location and click Search.
Filter the search results options ideal to you.
Toggle the Job Alert filter to set the applicable Job Alert.
View LinkedIn’s Help Page here: https://www.linkedin.com/help/linkedin/answer/a511279/getting-email-alerts-for-new-job-postings?lang=en
b. Let Recruiters Know You are Open to Work
Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
Click View Profile
Click the Open to button
Click Finding a new job
Provide the requested information & whether you want all LinkedIn members or only Recruiters to see that you are open to opportunities.
View LinkedIn’s Help Page here:
Career clarity can lead to a job search strategy that just makes sense. Apply the above steps to your career search. A solid career search strategy can lead to career fulfillment. Career fulfillment can lead to less stress. Less stress can lead to a better night's sleep.
All this to say, Career Up & Sleep Well.
*Published on August 20, 2021
A daily driving force fills us with a sense of meaning. A career development or change is typically met with an external search, whether individuals are starting out in a college education, or transitioning in their current career.
‘What companies are hiring?’ ‘What roles are available?’
We look to the outside world to provide us with an answer that is only internally within us.
Our brains can be rewired to look and understand internally before we explore externally. Our awareness and confidence in our sense of meaning will open the door externally and better serve our career purpose. In this article we will explore a five-step process in determining ‘energy givers’ and how they serve to align an individual’s sense of meaning. The process will continue with developing future career learning opportunities and transforming ‘energy givers’ into career accomplishments.
· Step One: Define ‘energy givers.’
*Author’s insight* Imagine a world where everyone lived inspired by their positive energy, rather than going through the motions of ‘energy drainers.’
o ‘Energy givers’ are the elements in one’s life that drive the doing and enhance the deciding - life activities that give you energy, rather than take your energy away.
· Step Two: How do we capture our ‘energy givers’?
*Author’s insight* As Robert Fulghum’s quote goes, “All I need to know I learned in Kindergarten.” As a kindergartener I remember writing down my day’s ‘goods, bads and uglies’ in a journal. Without intention, it gave me time to reflect on the day, what brought me joy and what did not. Fast forward to my adult life, transferring this self-reflection practice conveys an ultimate value in defining and bringing to life my own career story.
o Journaling daily is a key component in defining your ‘energy givers’. Grab a notebook and a pencil, and just start writing. A certain power is derived from writing down our thoughts, our self-reflections, our experiences, as opposed to typing into a laptop or a phone.
o Take time each night to pinpoint the day’s moments. Write down activities led with the most energy (the ‘goods’), activities lacking in energy (the ‘bads’), and interactions with activities and/or people that drained energy (the ‘uglies’).
o Repeat this process each night.
o Revisit your energy story weekly. Reread the daily journal entries for the prior week and notice the common thread through all the ‘energy givers’ and ‘energy drainers.’ Where did career energy come from, and what poked holes in the energy?
This energy analysis will be the start of your career fulfillment process. Let us discuss the practical application of this analysis and next steps.
· Step Three: Take the thread with the common ‘energy givers’ and needle the way into more opportunities that bring career fulfillment.
*Author’s insight* For instance, if a common thread through the ‘energy givers’ is working in a collaborative effort away from a computer screen, then an accountant role would not be the most appropriate fit. However, if an individual’s background is in the accounting industry and he/she enjoys the subject matter itself, and another common ‘energy giver’ is working with the younger professional generation, exploring opportunities to educate graduate students in accounting may be a more appropriate fit.
· Step Four: Move onto the thread with the common ‘energy drainers.’
*Author’s insight* If a common thread through the ‘energy drainers’ is using Advanced Excel skills to sort through an extreme amount of data, opportunities surrounding this type of responsibility would be ones to steer clear of. However, if storytelling is one of your ‘energy givers,’ then once that data is sorted and compiled into workable components, creating stories from the data analysis in a creative mode may speak to career fulfillment.
So here we are: Journaling every night, analyzing the results every week, what is next? Stay organized.
· Step Five: Track ‘energy givers’ and ‘energy drainers’ in an organized way.
*Author’s insight* Organization allows for career moments to build on one another and ultimately lead to fulfilling your vision in life. Are your daily career efforts contributing to the greater good you are trying to serve in life?
o Revisit your organized efforts on a monthly or quarterly routine. This tracking system affords the opportunity to pivot in career growth with ever-changing priorities and efforts.
Ultimately, ‘energy givers’ are areas designed for the proactive pursuit of learning opportunities. Given this day and age, advancing a professional education does not necessarily mean taking out loans to go back to in-person learning at a higher education facility. It could be exploring more cost-effective and convenient approaches, like LinkedIn Learning courses, or online certification programs.
Furthermore, job descriptions give a general idea of what a career future will look like in that specific role and organization. A consideration of the job description responsibilities and the percentage of time spent in ‘energy giving’ activities, compared to ‘energy draining’ activities, is essential. If the role is predominantly in the ‘energy giving’ mode, explore the opportunity in depth through conversations with internal personnel. On the contrary, if most of the responsibilities are spent in the ‘energy draining’ mode, consider an alternative solution.
When in Kindergarten, our educators and loved ones looked to harness our energy to best serve ourselves and surrounding environment, amplifying the positive energy, and reforming the negative energy. Bring forward this same strategy in career development. Journal, organize, reflect and apply ‘energy givers’ to lead efforts in pursuing a career vision.
*Published on December 21, 2020
As it relates to career development, “finding your passion” can be a trigger phrase…even scoffed at. Most of us may not feel lucky enough to have “found our passion.” So before reading on, realize you are not alone.
Many individuals have put in a tremendous amount of time, energy and hard work leading to career accomplishments to be extremely proud of. However, being accomplished in our careers is not an automatic correlation to the level of passion we have in what we do.
What if we were given the opportunity to learn what drives us every day, and then pursue career accomplishments in alignment with that driving force? “Finding your passion” is a common phrase we hear nowadays but not necessarily with a practical application that many of us were taught.
In my grandparent’s generation it was typical of women to stay home and raise a family, while a husband would go to work to support the family financially. Not a whole lot of “finding your passion” talk back then.
As a young man, my grandfather was a World War II Corporal in the United States Army. His travels brought him to Germany where he bravely fought for the freedom of others. When he returned home, he proudly supported his family with a 36-year career at General Electric (GE).
To my mother, uncles, sisters, and myself, he delivered countless lessons in having pride for our country, support of our family, the never-ending need and desire to educate ourselves, and how to be resilient in the unknowing of what your future holds. I now strive to teach my own children these same lessons.
My grandfather passed when I was a freshman in high school. If I were blessed with the opportunity to ask him if he “found his passion” in his career in the Army and GE, I believe his response would be as such:
“…those lessons and opportunities supported a wonderful life for my family and that is the truest sense of ’finding my passion’.”
You see, “finding your passion” does not have to be this overly fancy, head-in-the-clouds concept. Imagine a world where we all were in a career that we truly had a passion for, and derived a sense of meaning from, ultimately serving a purpose that made this world a better place for each generation thereafter.
Jay Shetty, the host of the ‘On Purpose’ podcast, once said:
“Passion is defined in three levels: (1) Our purpose in life, (2) Our desire to build our skills and strengths, and (3) Our compassion for others in that purpose.”
When I think of my grandfather, I want to share three lessons he taught me:
(1) His purpose in life was to serve a country he was grateful for and felt blessed to live in. Enter his career in the Army.
(2) He mastered the skills that aligned with his strengths with a continuous desire to learn. Enter his GE career as a maintenance electrician, making engines for jets.
(3) His compassion prompted him to act on behalf of his family and country. Enter his unwavering support of his family and the love of his country.
As I write this I do not view “finding your passion” as the unattainable in our career reach. Does it take a commitment to learning? Yes. Does it take the support of your community (yourself, family, mentors)? Yes. Does it take acknowledgement of your financial obligations before taking a leap into a new career? Yes.
My take is that we all have a daily driving force that fills us with a sense of meaning. Not only is it an attainable goal in life, but there is also research* to back the health benefits in “living your passion” and having a sense of meaning in what we do daily.
Benefits of “finding (& living) your passion” include*:
Whether you are starting out your college days, or transitioning in your current career, a typical reaction when a sense of career development or change is needed, we as a human race almost naturally look externally.
We look to the outside world to provide us with an answer that is only internally within us.
Let us rewire our brains to look and understand internally before we explore externally. Our awareness and confidence in our sense of meaning will open the door externally and better serve our career purpose.
Initially, how can we “find our passion” with a practical application?
“Finding your passion” starts here.
Self-awareness grows here.
Career exploration and transition are developed here.
In an upcoming article, we will explore how those energy givers will serve to align that passion and develop it with future career learning opportunities transforming into career accomplishments.
Through first-hand experience, I know your passion can drive and develop your career with the ability to support yourself and your family. So why not explore this opportunity?
Let us take the next step in “finding your passion.”
*Published on December 18, 2020
In preparing for a Leadership Development presentation, I took a deeper dive in understanding the biological differences between the male & female brains. I believe this insight can be powerful in leadership styles.
Key research items to note:
So, who cares? What does this mean from a leadership perspective?
Women need twice as much positive reinforcement to increase serotonin levels, in turn increasing dopamine levels.
'Biology' food for thought in determining effective leadership styles on a team’s employee by employee career satisfaction & productivity levels.
*Published on October 1, 2020
I wanted to share a story written by a Mindful Career Path client of the emotional roller coaster kicked off by an unexpected layoff.
“The request for an impromptu meeting with my manager came in the morning. One hour later I was told my role was being eliminated from a division that I helped build.
Just like that. Twenty years with the same company in various roles was coming to an end. I was managing a large, complex project and was given a short timeframe to transition responsibilities and hopefully find a new role.
The conversation was shocking and unexpected. I’m considered a high performer at the company and was consistently receiving feedback that “you are doing great.” So, what changed? Why was my role suddenly being eliminated? A million thoughts ran through my head. I immediately experienced an emotional roller coaster of confusion, anger, embarrassment and anxiety. How could they do this to someone who has poured so much time and energy into the company for 20 years?
Fast forward and I’m in a new position where I have an opportunity to thrive. Great, congratulations! But how did I get here? How did I go from the emotional roller coaster and 100 questions to landing a desirable role? The answer: a career coach, tenacity, and the power of networking.
The emotional roller coaster I mentioned above did last for a week or so. I still have feelings and questions about “why” that happened. However, I knew that I owned my outcome. Sure, other people could help, but they had to be prompted with the right conversation.
Enter my career coach, Alicia. Alicia is a career mindfulness coach (Mindful Career Path) and we connected because I thought it would be useful to talk to a third party about my situation. Alicia empathized with my situation as she told me that she had experienced something similar in the corporate world. Alicia empathized, but she did not pity me.
We discussed my feelings but focused on the future. What is the next step? How do I get to where I want to be? Where do I want to be? Alicia guided me through a process to determine what type of job, and what type of company and leader, I should target. A major part of the process is to focus on the network and start building relationships. We discussed how to craft a personal vision statement and network with a purpose.
I began networking with close relationships. People who I worked closely with in previous roles who either worked in the same company or had moved on to other organizations. I came into every conversation with a positive mindset, a personal “why” statement and an ask. I kept my message clear and concise and allowed the person to talk.
Do you know what we as humans really enjoy? Talking about ourselves! When you leave a conversation in which the other person talked for 20-25 minutes do you feel connected to that person? How about when that person touches on a subject you are really interested in and you divulge information about yourself you did not expect?
I did not focus on getting a job in these conversations. I focused on creating a relationship.
I did not focus on asking for a handout. I focused on asking open-ended questions that would allow the person to speak freely.
Conversations that went well led to conversations with others, many of those influential in the hiring process, who would eventually be the connections that helped me land my current role.
Would they have been willing to go the extra step if I approached the networking conversation differently? What if I did not approach the conversation positively with a clear and concise message about what I want to focus on in my next role? I do not think I would be in the position I am today.
Alicia and I connected on a weekly basis while going through this transition. We reflected on conversations and strategized on upcoming networking opportunities. We targeted opportunities both within my company and externally based on my personal vision that we had previously crafted. Without the up-front conversation with Alicia, my path might have been much different and even unsuccessful.
Go through your emotions. Be angry. Be irrational. Take a day or two off and clear your headspace. You deserve it.
And then, focus. Here’s what I learned:
· Do not panic.
· Set your sights on the next opportunity.
· Enlist help with a career coach like Alicia and Mindful Career Path.
· Be tenacious.
In the end, the only one truly invested in you getting an opportunity is you.”
*Published on August 9, 2020
What is Imposter Syndrome?
“Imposter Syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.”
~ Gill Corkindale, ‘Overcoming Imposter Syndrome,’ Harvard Business Review
Where does the Imposter Syndrome experience come from?
Research suggests that early childhood experiences can be the root of Imposter Syndrome. Personal branding efforts are often a focus in career development discussions—funny that the ‘personal brand’ we are tied to as children can unwittingly be carried into our career.
Those that face Imposter Syndrome typically have early childhood experiences that generally fall into one of the two following camps:
1.) You were either known as the kid where things came easily to you with your natural ability, without much effort; or
2.) You were known as the kid that worked extremely hard at what you did, not necessarily with a natural ability.
Undoubtedly, success in your career is a combination of working hard and having a natural ability.
Blended with learned experiences and responses, there is a greater chance of experiencing Imposter Syndrome in a toxic work culture. This combination feeds a sense of personal self-doubt and career insufficiency regardless of a track record of achievements. Even with accolades and credentials, Imposter Syndrome can fragilize your worth.
Here are a few micro-story clips from my time in Corporate America where I chose to unwisely divest energy:
“You don’t have enough technical expertise.”
“How come you don’t know everything? When I graduated college, I knew it all.”
“Alicia, everyone told me you were a superstar, but I just don’t see it.”
“(bleep, bleep) …why won’t you just take responsibility for this mistake…I don’t care if it wasn’t you…”
As a result of Imposter Syndrome, our career can feel at a standstill:
So how do we combat these feelings of inadequacy and move forward in the career fulfillment that deep down inside we know we deserve and are longingly striving to attain?
First, know that your feelings are valid.
Listen to your intuition. The feelings you are experiencing are powerful. Intuition connects your body, mind, and spirit.
Have conversations about these feelings, ideally with someone other than family. Our families are overly invested in our career well-being and may find it difficult to be objective.
Speaking with mentors, prior managers, and colleagues that you had a positive working relationship with can help in identifying gaps between your self-doubt and your true career achievements.
Rework your self-imposed limitations.
Know your self-worth—journal your career achievements. Reread your annual reviews and recommendations received, and highlight quotes bringing added accountability and verification to your career successes.
Strategically turn moments of failure into learning opportunities.
Take a deep dive into a micro-story of failure. (Because in the grand scheme of life, moments of career failures are just that – a micro-story). Ask yourself – What happened? Why am I here? Do I want to be here? What opportunities are available for me to expand my desired area of expertise?
Discover your vision.
How do you want to help the world and our future in the legacy you leave? Keep in mind what you do now, and what aspects of your career you find most fulfilling even if it does not specifically relate to the industry you are currently in.
Unleash your Career ‘Metahuman’
In 2019, Deepak Chopra released his book “Metahuman.” Prior to its release, Deepak Chopra was quoted:
“The true self is something we glimpse during experiences of joy, freedom, love, bliss, and creativity. Metahuman allows you to identify these states and make them continuous. Then you don’t have to listen to the social self, which is the face we show the world, or the unconscious self, which obeys pure impulse.”
Imposter Syndrome can paralyze us into our “unconscious self” with our past career experiences. With a growth mindset, we can learn “freedom” and “creativity” from our experiences and focus our energy on our career vision. When we engage the strategy and stick to the routine tactics, we yield greater results in our career development & fulfillment.
*Published on May 15, 2020
Nervous, anticipation building, excited, worried about making the right impression, putting your best foot forward – all thoughts that create a traffic jam in your head when walking into an interview. You took the steps to prepare for an engaging conversation with the hiring manager. You believe you have what it takes to not only make it to the next round of interviews, but to land the job you are excited to mark on the map in your career journey.
Throughout my 15 years in the corporate world my own career mileage was supported with various trainings including effective management courses, interview training, employment law and many others. The interview training course I participated in was the most memorable and had the greatest impact on my day to day corporate industry and career development roles.
At the beginning of this interview training course the instructor distributed toy cars to each attendee. “Always remember car – C-A-R,” she said. She conveyed to us that she wanted to present in a memorable way so we could easily apply the knowledge we gained in that course to our daily work setting. That toy car remains on my desk as a simple reminder when I am interviewing from a manager seat or from a career coaching seat for a client’s career development.
From a management perspective you can be empathetic to a potential candidate and the nerves baggage they bring with them when traveling into your office for an interview. Nerves can either deter the candidate’s response into a drawn-out response that does not answer the hiring manager’s interview question or condense a response that does not convey your personal brand and ROI.
For the benefit of both the potential candidate and the hiring manager, my role as a career coach is to deliver a road map in interviewing best practices. Part of the delivery is educating my client on the most effective and engaging response formats in an interview setting whether formal or informational. Authenticity throughout your career development is key – being your authentic self is delivered through your personal brand and ROI. Your personal brand and ROI are highlighted in an interview setting through the C-A-R Method.
The C-A-R Method drives home the point of how the potential candidate can make an immediate impact on solving current challenges the company, and specific department, is facing. The company’s open position was created to fill a “pothole” resulting from a gap in resources and knowledge. This method is in a format that highlights a potential candidate’s personal brand and ROI by answering:
(1) What CIRCUMSTANCE you were in
(2) What ACTION you took
(3) What was the RESULT
Using this method, answers are concise and focused. The hiring manager can now start to envision whether this potential candidate will take hold of the “steering wheel” and provide true value to the open role with the past career achievement/experience, and soft and hard skills necessary to do so. This is based on the premise that past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior.
Let us look at two types of answers to this common interview question:
Describe a difficult work situation or project and how you overcame it.
Answer without the C-A-R Method: “When difficult work situations arise, I typically work well with my teammates. We meet to discuss best course of action, and implement each step effectively and successfully, which allows us to meet deadlines timely.”
Answer with the C-A-R Method: “As a product manager I was recently responsible for rolling out a product two weeks ahead of schedule. My challenge was to manage the team effectively, so they were able to meet the accelerated target date. I introduced multiple initiatives with the team including (1) setting specific and measurable action steps for each team member, (2) setting up weekly meetings to hold our group accountable for our action steps, and (3) adding multiple resources through the use of the college interns work day deliverables. These initiatives allowed our team to roll out the new product two weeks ahead of schedule with a 95% customer satisfaction rate.”
See the difference? The second answer highlights your authentic self and past career achievements. Using the C-A-R Method allows the hiring manager to appreciate your personal brand and ROI.
The C-A-R Method drives home your personal branding and allows for a greater professional connection between the hiring manager and the potential candidate. Using these career success stories can drive you up to your next career mile.
You won’t always get the job when you do prepare for an interview, but you’re unlikely to get the job when you don’t prepare.
*Published on April 8, 2020
It happened. Many hours of updating your career story in your job-specific resumes. Networking in conversation, at local events, and over the phone any chance you had. Patience never seemed so challenging. The day…the moment…finally arrived.
You receive the call from the company recruiter expressing their interest in bringing you and your talent in for an interview. You can write the next chapter in your career story. Your emotions are running high and you feel you have already won. However, now’s the point to keep pushing forward and preparing the communication of your career story.
A client of mine recently lived this experience. He overcame adversity and at times self-doubt. He received the opportunity he had been preparing and working incredibly hard towards. The call came in…the one he was waiting for. His emotions were running high.
It had been many years since the last time he had applied and interviewed for a position. This practice felt like a brand-new experience – especially in this new day of social proofing your online presence. With his emotional celebration, we regrouped and refocused on interview preparation to highlight and continue to create his career story.
He took the time to research the target employer and interviewers, know his personal brand and practice communicating it in front of his mirror, his family, and me as his career coach. He made sure his online presence reflected his personal brand and presented his attributes that deemed him as the ideal fit for his target industry and employer.
Each day leading up to the interview he practiced answering the inevitable “Tell me about yourself” question, in addition to several other potential interview questions. He dedicated his time to sincerely seeing the alignment of his values with the company values. He outlined C-A-R statements for his past career achievements that told his career story of how he can make an immediate impact in solving the challenges faced in the company/department (C-A-R – What was the Circumstance? What Action did you take? What was the Result?).
Researching and recognizing the company’s mission and vision, and having the insight into essential ways to make a great impression during the interview, were vital in my client’s preparation. He confidently began to visualize his career story and his chance to verbalize it in person with his target employer.
Let us fast forward to the day of the interview. I must admit as his career coach I had butterflies in my stomach for him. He had been working diligently to get to that next level in his career in a targeted role. When his name popped up on my cell phone after his interview, I anxiously fumbled my phone because I couldn’t pick it up fast enough. The tone in his voice said it all – he was optimistically excited with his chance for a second-round interview. He just knew in that moment all his dedication in preparing was certain to pay off. He knew this was the turning point in his career story.
Guess what? He was right. One day later he received “THE” call – on the other end was the company recruiter – “We would like you to come back in for a second interview with the head of the group.” And the rest is history…
My client put his professional energy into highlighting his career story through his words, career documentation and online presence. He was able to sit back and reflect on the preparation strategies he used in creating an impactful conversation through the interviewing process.
By working on that first rough draft and refining it, he was able to present his prospective employer with his polished and practiced career story.
You can’t go from ‘career lust’ to ‘career love’ without ‘career learning’.
*Published on March 20, 2020
When you first start dating someone, lust can feel a lot like love. However, until you learn more about that person, you don’t know if it is truly love. This same concept resonates in the career development world, whether you are just starting out or transitioning to a new career.
Recently I collaborated with local high students while engaging at their school’s “Wellness Day”. The experience was inspirational. The workshops I created blended career interests and mindfulness. My favorite part in connecting with students is their youthful enthusiasm and knowledge that they can be anyone and anything.
My objective for these workshops was for each student to appreciate the importance of “career learning” in between “career lust” and “career love”. In our discussions, a handful of students had a specific career interest in mind – a beautiful sight to see. At the same time, much like myself in high school, most students were undecided in a career choice – which was also a beautiful thing. For those who had a specific interest in mind, they did not have the opportunity to experience job shadowing and volunteering in the career fields of their choice.
In our workshops we talked about what they would do on a “free Saturday” if they could not go on social media or drive aimlessly around with their friends. We worked through interest assessments to gain a basic understanding of where each student’s interest lies at this point in their life.
Interests can change throughout our lifetime. As we age you see and experience more, and our perception of the world changes. These life experiences can change our priorities and/or open doors to new opportunities. In this way, interests are similar to lust—initially strong, but can change and fade over time.
Bearing this in mind, we considered the value in completing interest assessments frequently throughout your high school years and into your career. Each student had an opportunity to complete an interest assessment during the workshop and were able to tie back the results to our initial “free Saturday” interests’ question.
Unlike our interests, which can and do change, aptitudes are our natural abilities and inherent talents, based more on our heredity. They are intrinsic to who we are as individuals. As deeply ingrained as aptitudes are, they evoke the endurance of love. Therefore, when it comes to a person’s career, those who ignore their aptitudes are more inclined to experience dissatisfaction in their profession.
We talked about the value in the offered aptitude assessments. To illustrate, I walked through my results in the YouScience.com aptitude assessment. There is a benefit to using an aptitude assessment in conjunction with interest assessments.
The students began to develop what may be their ideal future career story. I stressed the importance of having conversations with people in their future career target industry. The students and I collaborated on topics to discuss and questions to ask.
This naturally flowed into a “next steps” dialogue on what to do if they like what they hear through their networking. We agreed that the best way to learn is by doing. This led the students to brainstorm on the “how-to’s” of target industry engagement. We spoke of the significance and advantages of volunteering and job shadowing in the rapidly approaching summer months.
It was remarkable to see the level of engagement in a career development conversation at such a young age. The students took away the difference between “career lust at first sight” vs “career love.” They learned the importance and process of learning about various career options before the “true career love” moment – that moment when you can say, “I love you back” to your career choice.
*February 10, 2020
Parent-stress. House-stress. Work-stress. Put it all in a blender and what do you get? A typical day in the life of a working parent. Some days are overwhelming. Some days it’s hard to focus and complete the never-ending list of tasks and goals. Fortunately, there are ways to manage stress before it takes over your personal life.
Three years ago, I was on the soccer field with friends, enjoying some “me time” and playing a sport I loved so much; but I wasn’t feeling that same child-like happiness I typically experienced. I didn’t understand. Was I with friends? Check. Was I playing soccer? Check. Was I taking a short break from being a parent, wife and co-worker? Check. So why was I feeling anxious? I couldn’t shut my brain off. Career stress had infringed upon my personal life. I thought to myself; I don’t have time for stress. My life consisted of endless moving parts: work, family, housework, and keeping up with whatever social life I had left.
In retrospect, I was no longer taking the time to draw a dividing line between work and my personal life. I was not taking the time to be aware of the present. It was scary. Here I was on the soccer field, a place that was once my refuge, and my mind was flooded with stress. I had experienced work stress in the past, but I had been fortunate enough to redirect my energy into an experience I found positive and fulfilling.
A friend recommended I read Strength in Stillness by Bob Roth. Bob Roth is one of the most experienced and coveted meditation teachers in the world. For over 45 years Bob Roth has taught thousands of people Transcendental Meditation. Transcendental Meditation is an easy technique where you practice meditation for 20 minutes, twice a day sitting comfortably in a chair with your eyes closed. Although the method requires 40 minutes a day, the rewards that you reap are honest rest, relaxation, and your brain functioning with increased coherence. The physiological and psychological benefits of Transcendental Meditation can be powerful and wide-ranging. This method can be utilized to promote emotional health, stress management, and boost your psychological well-being.
Three years into my own Transcendental Meditation practice, I can confidently speak first-hand to the overall relaxation of my mind and the increase in my body’s positive energy. In just 40 minutes a day, this method has provided insight into different aspects of my personality. I initially took the approach that if nothing else at least I can have 40 minutes of quiet time. However, incorporating Transcendental Meditation into my everyday life has been the inspiration and motivation I needed to fuel my professional passion and energy into my career goals and internal locus of control.
I call this stage of my life “Understanding the Importance of 40 before 40”. Prior to reaching the age of 40, I have incorporated setting aside 40 minutes a day to have a positive impact on the day’s remaining 1,400 minutes. Implementing “40 before 40” in my daily routine has brought a greater fulfillment in my career and personal life. Why? It’s simple; this is my life, and I plan to enjoy it.
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