I have had an entrepreneurial spirit for a long time - it is why Project Management as a career path appealed to me - running a project as a PM is like having your own business. You are responsible for the success or failure of the project; you are the negotiator, the face of the project, so to speak - and you get to flex a bunch of different tasks and skills to manage the workforce (who mainly do not report to you, so you have to really be a great people-person) and to report on the projects to upper management. So when I first started working as a consultant, these pieces of my personality and skill set really helped me manage myself as an entrepreneur.
I loved reading these articles about women and entrepreneurship. According to the Inc.com article by Kimberly Weisul, women have always opened more businesses than men but there has now been an uptick in women of color branching out and opening up their own businesses. There is a tie in to the shaky economy and that some women may have been laid off and now are looking for more control - and there is nothing like the control of running your own business. That being said, it can also be something over which you have the least control of your life - you are responsible and in control, but success is really dependent on your clients. It does include reference that Millennials and Gen X'ers (note: I am Gen X) are more likely to want to be entrepreneurs and that this increase in women of color women becoming entrepreneurs might be in part due to the immigrant background of seeing their families start with nothing and work for themselves.
The Forbes article by Peggy Drexler has a great statistic, "There are more female entrepreneurs than ever before - the estimated 7.8 million women-owned businesses in the U.S. represent a more than 20% increase since 2002. " The article then talks about the differences of confidence between men and women. There is a tendency for women to underestimate ourselves - to assume we cannot try something new or branch out. Our experiences in Corporate America might underline these feelings but we can re-program ourselves to be confident, to try new things and to maybe branch out and run our own businesses and add to that 7.8 million number.
What do you think about the articles? Why do you think there has been such an increase in female entrepreneurs, particularly women of color? What do you think about women and confidence? Are you a confident women and if so how do you maintain your confidence?
Inc.com Women Business Soaring Thanks to This Group
Forbes You're Competent Now Get Confident
I saw this article from Forbes that is an excerpt from Laura Shin's book The Millennial Game Plan: Career and Money Secrets to Succeed in Today's World and had to make a post out of it. It is geared towards millennials but it can help all of us. I was one of those people - someone who set up a LinkedIn and then forgot about it. As I have recently relaunched this company, The Next Step, I have found LinkedIn to be so important to my company - keeping people thinking about my services and (hopefully) reading my blog posts and maybe even learning something new from me...
It is important to make LinkedIn really represent you - what does not fit on your resume can fit here. Also, you can strategically find people to connect to that can help you find your next step. Make sure LinkedIn represents who you are and what you can do.
I would be remiss if I did not mention my newly launched service called the LinkedIn Review and Edit - I use a proprietary 14-point query document to get the information you need to have on your LinkedIn profile there and then I also help craft your connection emails so you can use LinkedIn to the best of its ability. Check it out on my Order Your Next Step Here page today and let me know what you think.
What do you think of LinkedIn? Is your profile dormant? Or do you use it for networking to your next step and beyond?
How To Use LinkedIn 5 Smart Steps to Career Success
I could not have asked for two better articles to write about. The first one from Fast Company really ties in to some other projects I am working on that are focused on helping people identify their next step. It is a challenge to relaunch ourselves but it can be so worth it. We are constantly changing and gone are the days when you joined a company and stayed with them for your whole career - for better or worse, we rarely will find a place where we can stay for 30+ years. And really, this might be a good thing.
When I left Merrill Lynch in 2000 for an opportunity at a dot-com back in early 2000 (yes, if this was a movie, you would all be yelling, "Don't go to the dot-com! The bubble will burst!" but it is not a movie, so I did it) -- anyway, when I left, everyone was shocked and asked me "How can you leave Mother Merrill?" The company was considered to be like a mother because people grew up there and spent huge chunks of their career there. Just a few years later and the company as I knew it did not exist anymore - in large part due to the financial crisis of 2007 but also just the idea of having one employer for your whole career just disappeared, in general.
So, identifying your next step if you are unhappy in your current career or just cannot make your current career work for you can be done but it takes time and work. Timothy Butler's (author of Getting Unstuck: A Guide to Discovering Your Next Career Path; link below) thoughts on making that next step when you feel stuck and unhappy in your career are highlighted by Jane Porter. It is important to know your skills and what makes you happy - and again, this changes over time. What made you fulfilled in your 20's might not work for you in your 40's. Your skills, though, have been shaped over the years and honed by you - know how to retool those skills and make them apply to your next step. Also, having a vision is helpful - making a vision board sounds hokey but it can really work. So asking yourself such questions as:
-what are the pieces of your current industry/career that make you happy
-what are you good at
-what do you want to learn to be good at
-what makes you happiest
can help you identify what to do next.
Then, networking based on that vision can help you further identify and then find your next step. All great pieces of advice, especially the one to silence your inner critic. We can all be our own worst enemy - when you internal voice is saying "No, you are not good enough..." or anything negative, force yourself to re-frame it as a positive thought.
The excerpt in Fortune of the book Leap: Leaving a Job with No Plan B to Find the Life and Career You Really Want by Tess Vigeland (link also below) is so powerful. So much of our identity is tied into what we do for a living. It is one of the first questions you are asked when you first meet someone. Tess has powerful thoughts and is brutally honest about having had the perks of being able to say "Oh, I am a successful XYZ person" and then when in the midst of change, not having that descriptor anymore can be brutal. I think we all know how this can feel. Her book looks interesting, so I am including the link to it here. She focuses now on trying to ask other questions or people instead of "what do you do?" and she has a good point on not letting our jobs or careers define us. I have a soft spot for that line of thinking - but that being said, we spend so much time on our careers particularly here in the US that what we do will always be a defining characteristic for us. My friends in Europe, though, have a totally different perspective. To them, they work to live not live to work and their identities are not at all tied into what "pays the bills" but what their passions are - golf, being in a band, following live music bands, etc, etc.
What do you think about the advice on finding your next step? What do you think about leaping without having a next step planned? How do you define yourself? What career advice works for you out of the above? Have you read either book posted below? What did you think of the books? If you have not read either of them, check out the links to the Amazon listing below. Happy Hunting!
Fast Company How to Change Careers When You Don't Know What You Want to Do Next
Fortune Tess Vigeland on why you are not your job (even if you are famous)
When I started my professional career, I was 22. I was 22 with an MBA and a quasi-management type position where most of the people who "reported" to me were almost twice my age (or more). I have always believed it is super important to look and act professional. It helps with your career growth and advancement - and at the very least, it can never harm your growth and advancement.
The Inc.com article by Bill Murphy, Jr. makes it look easy and I am happy to say that a lot of the things I see on the list are things I try to espouse on a daily basis. Being confident and realistic are two big ones. I am super confident and love to push myself but I also have a clear sense of reality and what is doable, and what is not doable. And I definitely love the curiosity entry - I agree that no one ever should stop learning. I know that learning is what makes me happy and it is why teaching is such a passion of mine - when I am teaching, I learn more from my students than they can ever learn from me.
What do you think of the simple habits below? Do you naturally have some of these habits? If yes, which ones? Does it help your career to look / be professional? Let me know in the comments below. Happy Hunting!
17 Simple Habits That Make You Look More Professional
I think everyone who follows this blog has the idea that I feel public speaking is a very important skill to have for career success. Imagine how much my former students have learned this lesson from me?
One of the best classes I ever taught (imho) was an advertising class that I set up as a mini-advertising agency with student groups as mini-project teams. I was able to get real local business owners to come in as "clients". Before the client presentations (which we treated as real professional presentations with business attire and PowerPoint handouts, etc), we practiced and drilled the presentations over and over. Each student were amazing advertising professional by the time we met with the "clients". It was a grea,t successful project that led to real-world experience and some clients implemented a lot of my students' ideas.
That being said, public speaking is a challenge and this article gives some tips for speaking with eloquence. The first one is to know the power of silence - interesting first tip but I get it - you do not want to speak just to hear yourself. You want to have something to say that is meaningful. Most people as speakers have issues with the word "uhmmmm" or other pause fillers like "like" - the only way to avoid this is to practice, practice and prepare. It is ok to just pause but you have to be practiced to not automatically fill that pause with a sound like "uhmm". Have the ideas of what you want to say and I like his advice of a substitute phrase. He recommends using, " Well, you see now..." but you can have different phrases to use, too.
I agree with the no jargons and no curses. Being descriptive is great, too - but not too descriptive. You do not want to take 100 words to say what 20 or 50 would accomplish.
Anytime a student gets up to talk and the time requirement for a presentation or a client pitch was 5 minute or even 10 minutes, they would say, "Oh my goodness, I cannot be up there for that long... I cannot talk for that long" - but in reality, they would often-times go OVER the allotted time. This is important to realize when asked to give a presentation at work (which, yes, chances are you will be asked to give a presentation - I sat in on a nursing school class at a local college recently full of professional nurses and each of them said they were required to give presentations at least once a quarter at their jobs on specific topics - if a nurse has to give a presentation, imagine you will, too).
In closing, always practice and remember, no one can tell how nervous you are - it is not obvious to those of us in the audience listening to you. Get out there and give a presentation or speech soon.
What do you think about the tips for speaking? Has the ability to speak well helped your career? Happy hunting.
Fortune What Are the Best Tips and Hacks for Speaking with Eloquence and Sophistication
Interesting article about how people underestimate themselves. Life's regrets are definitely more around the chances you did not take than the chances you DID take.
According to the article, we think we are less creative than we are - which limits us from trying to come up with innovative ideas and potentially new products or more. Also, we assume people will say no to us more than they really will - so we do not ask to promote our new business or we do not ask our manager for a raise, etc. We put ourselves into these boxes meanwhile there is a whole world out there, if we can only be brave. So, go for it. Try something new today - a new idea or to ask for something you normally would not ask for in your career and let me know how it goes.
Do you agree with these findings? Do you think you are creative and persuasive? Do you think it is important to career success to have those characteristics? Happy Hunting!
Inc.com You're Probably More Creative and Persuasive Than You Think
"These are great suggestions that really transform the resume...I came to the right person for help ..."
Just a quick blog update for today - it is a call for more feedback...
I love getting client feedback. If you are someone I helped with a resume or cover letter, let me know in the comments below what you thought of your new resume. Even if you were one of my former students for whom I did a resume overhaul - as an adjunct, the first thing I do is request each student's resume, for which I would do an absolutely free review, edit and improvement - oh, and these former students of mine have lifetime reviews -- so does everyone out there want to take one of my classes now to get in on the lifetime review savings? Happy Hunting!
Fortune's best advice for 22 year-old's can be applied to those of us much older, too. The last piece of the advice it to protect your reputation and the quote is very powerful, "Your brand is what people say about you when you're not in the room." This. Just this. What do people say about you? What are you known for?
The rest of Ryan Harwood's article hits on some great points, such as being the bigger person. I interpret this as treating people with kindness and it is so important. Although you might be on the ascent of your career, you do not know where you will wind up tomorrow or from whom you will need help or advice, so always be nice. Also, it is always best to admit your mistakes (if and when you make them). Of course, do your best to avoid mistakes - but remember, we are all human and by default can make mistakes. He speaks of never giving up and always working hard - but balance that with not being controlling and worrying about the "what-if's".
The advice from Inc.com by Betty Liu dovetails nicely with advice on how to manage your reputation by avoiding some common mistakes. She talks about the adage to behave as though it is going to be printed on the next day's newspaper headline. I use this a lot while teaching at local colleges and universities because I think the younger generation is desensitized to a newspaper cover because so much of their lives are public and shared via various social media platforms. That being said, I do coach my students to learn to live more privately - we discuss settings on their social media accounts and instead of a newspaper headline, I ask them if they would want their grandma to know what they did...hey, whatever works.
She talks about not gossiping negatively - gossip is something that bonds co-workers and we all have done it but the caution is not to be overly negative all the time about others or the company for which you work. I like that avoiding spelling errors and grammar mistakes is included - all the more reason to have your resumes and cover letters professional edited :). Lying, sloppiness and being late are also included as things to avoid doing.
What do you think about the articles' advice? How do you protect/build your own brand? Do you consider yourself to be a brand? If no, why not? Let me know in the comments below. Happy Hunting!
Fortune Article: Best Advice for a 22 year old Stop Bragging About Your Accomplishments
Inc.com Extremely Common Mistakes That Can Damage Your Reputation
CareerBuilder has a succinct write up of the top 10 things to not do in an interview. Some of them are common sense (hello, put your cell phone down during the interview - unless, maybe, someone is in labor - and that person better be your significant other). That being said, the list is quite helpful. It can be easy, while nervous on an interview, to break any one of these rules. This is why I think that practicing your interview skills is so important with mock interviews with friends or family members - or if you are lucky, with a mentor who has more career experience than you do. A mentor can be found anywhere, really - through your LinkedIn profile or there might be a former professor of yours that is available for a meeting every now and then to help you with your interviewing skills or in a pinch, a friend or sibling can help out just fine. I will have more blog posts about mentors coming in the future.
The most important takeaway to this list and my blog post is to never go in cold to an interview. Always have questions for the interviewer about the company and try to make those questions as specific as possible to the position you are interviewing for while also showing a broader knowledge about the company, the industry, the competitors and new advancements that are being discussed online or in the news. Leverage your LinkedIn network for advice and/or research purposes to see what else is going on either in the industry or at the company.
If you are well prepared, then avoiding these interview mistakes should be a breeze. Let me know in the comments what you think of these interview don't's. Have you ever done one? Has someone you interviewed done one? Happy Hunting!
CareerBuilder Top 10 Things Not To Do In An Interview
This article is an interesting overview on the tie in between education and economic growth.
The idea is that education alone is not the answer because if it were, there would be way more results in countries where education has been promoted and extended and yet, we do not see the increases in economic growth following that pattern. It also points out the short-sightedness of education as the growth strategy as it would only truly benefit those under 18 or younger than 25, at best. For those of us who are older and not in the mindset of schooling, how could it help us to get more education, especially with the cost of higher education here in the US particularly?
I thought this article was going to address the rising cost of higher education in the US or at least reference it - but it did not. However, it does quote that , "At most modern firms, fewer than 15% of the positions are open for entry-level workers, meaning that employers demand something that the education system cannot - and is not expected - to provide."
This ties back to a higher-ed viewpoint of firms looking to hire employees. It does not really relate to the immense number of economies that have increased schooling to the high school level.
The article provides per capita income for the average country with at least ten years of schooling of $30000USD in 2010 but that same level of education had per capita income of $5000USD in Albania, Armenia and Sri Lanka. Or course, it does not clarify if this figure is adjusted for local cost of living - so what does $5000USD provide you with in these economies? But, it does still show a lower GDP and thus a lower growth that is stopping these countries from becoming richer.
I feel more research can be done on this topic - I found the article enlightening and it led me to more questions so maybe one day I will write a follow up on this topic.
What do you think about this article? Do you think education is a key to economic growth? What do you think are the key(s) to economic growth?
Does Better Education Really Drive Economic Growth
Everyone wants to be creative and find new ways to get more sales or to get things done quicker or cheaper... Or not? Sometimes, being creative is tough because it requires you to step outside of your comfort zone. Everyone has always done this X thing at your company this Y way - who are you to suggest a new way to do it? Well, you are the one to suggest a new way to do something and your employer, if they are smart, will want to hear and potentially implement your ideas...
So how does a company encourage this type of thinking? One way can be by encouraging episodic memory. Time.com has the theory in place with an article about Harvard University psychology Ph.D candidate Kevin Madore's study that shows detailed memory making can help a person be a more creative problem solver.
I would assume this could be something addressed in a training program. Maybe a small roll out of training maybe one afternoon to mimic the study results - having your employees take note of every detail in a meeting such as where people are sitting, hair color, etc and then seeing if this helps unlock their creativity in problem solving. I am a detail-orientated person and my whole career (and my education, too for that matter) was helped by my extensive note-taking and attention to detail. Especially as a Project Manager, having the documentation was a massive help in getting projects done on time and (usually) under budget.
The Mashable article by Andre Durand talks more about the actuality of increasing innovation - from always listening to the "crazy ideas" and to also be comfortable with failure to help increase the innovation of your company. An interesting item is about the parable of the Stone Soup - so to always keep your ideas as open-ended to keep working on it with other people and never consider something "cooked", I guess, and also to always have conversations around "What If".
What do you think about these ideas around increasing innovation and helping encourage creative problem solving? Can you see them working at your company? If yes, why? If no, why not? Happy Hunting.
Time.com Creative Problem Solving
Mashable 4 Tips to Foster Company Culture of Innovation
A lot of my posts have been talking about how important it is that you are a cultural fit in the mind of the hiring party - that they can picture you at a cubicle or office at their company - but it is just as important for YOU to feel comfortable and interested in being surrounded by these people for a bulk of your days as the employee. Most important is, of course, your manager but your co-workers are also part of whether you succeed or fail. These two articles talk about bosses and coworkers .
The use of the term "bad boss" is a relative term - what management style works best for you might be the stuff of nightmares for someone else. You really need to get a feel for the type of person your manager is and the type of management style that works best for you. The article from CareerBuilder gives some great tips like observing how the manager handles other people during your interview and how they treat you - are they asking great questions, are they engaged. Also, do not be afraid to interview them as best you can - ask questions that will give you insight into how they would handle you as an employee. There is only so much you can really determine during the interview process so one piece of advice I would add is do not forget to trust your gut - make your decisions rationally but with the understanding that if your gut is saying something is off, maybe it is.
Fortune has a really great write up from Kim Getty, President of Deutsch LA about what they look for in employees and you can use these tips when considering what you want in your coworkers. Deutsch LA wants people who are entrepreneurial and can think outside the box and with that, the confidence to keep coming up with new ideas even if not all of them are successful. Also they look for doers - someone who is not just waiting for instructions but can move and make things happen on their. The ability to be problem solvers and know more than their area of expertise is also a wanted trait. The best advice to be applicable to YOUR next step decision is the Plane Ride Test - can you picture yourself sitting next to this person for a long plane ride?
So as the companies you meet with are assessing your fit with the colleagues and culture, it is important for you to be doing the same. Using some pieces of advice from the above two articles can help you make your best next step. What do you think of the advice? Is it applicable to you as an interviewee? What if you are a hiring manager, does it apply to you, too? Happy Hunting!
Career Builder Tips for Spotting a Bad Boss In An Interview
Fortune 4 Qualities of Great Co-Workers
Networking is a great way to potentially find your next position - or it can just be a great way to expand your circle of like-minded people across your industry or other industries. It can be a bit overdone, though and should not be considered the main way to find your next position. That being said, it is still a great resource to have at your disposal - the ability to have people from other companies or even just other departments of your company knowing about you and your skills could lead to new opportunities.
Networking is WORK though - you cannot just assume you are networking because you have a LinkedIn account - you have to continually work on your network of contacts - keep in touch and not just to ask for something. The articles I am highlighting today look at networking at industry events, networking through email and general networking tips. Oh, and as a bonus, I am including my old school advice on how to network from 2002. It is an oldie, but a goodie. A lot of my tips (I wrote 7 rules of networking) might be old, but can still work. When I was networking in 2000, I was told by everyone I met with that they had never received a personal letter asking for advice before - we all know this is not the case anymore as networking is now a common act to the point that receiving a request from someone you do not know can be considered a junk email/letter.
Attending events in your industry and/or in a professional organization is a way to keep up the face to face contact with those on your LinkedIn or to meet new people to add to your LinkedIn. Fortune has some quick rules in their article "How to Work a Room at an Important Networking Event" such as to carefully choose which events to go to and to look your best. These are both important items - you do not want to go to every event but pick the ones that make the most sense to your goals - oh and of course, you should know what your goals are before you attend any event. Are you there to make contacts for your eventual career move? Are you investigating a new industry and want to find out more about it by speaking to people in said industry? Or are you looking for sales leads?
Of course, you can also network outside of events - so Mashable has a great graphic and article detailing the best way to email a contact for networking purposes. The basics are to first use social media (perhaps Twitter or LinkedIn) to make a connection to the person's recent career activity. Second,offer your insight on something they recently did or perhaps send them an article that applies to them. Third, be specific (what are you interested in knowing, how long might the call take, what are your questions - include them in advance) and finally, show your appreciation.
The last article really ties it all together - networking is a two way street and it is work - you must take the time to connect with your "connections" more than just a static LinkedIn or even Facebook account. You must add value to the conversation and also be willing to help others. What do you think about the tips and advice given here? What do you think about my (vintage) 7 rules of networking? Would they still work today?
Fortune How to work a room at an important networking event
Mashable How to Write Networking Emails That Won't End Up In the Trash
Fortune Forget What You Know About Networking, Do This Instead
Great articles from Entrepreneur and Inc.com, links below. Entrepreneur talks about entering any interview as an equal partnership of business ideas and not as being lucky for the interview or that they are lucky to interview you.
A key quote from the article is, "Per the Carnegie Institute of Technology, 85% of the decision to hire you is based on your personal traits. Only 15% of the decision is based on your skills, experience or proof that what you do is better than other people who are competing for the position." This ties back into my previous blog post , link below, that your ability to present yourself well in the interview is super important - like eye contact and smiling at the interview.
So being confident is important and realizing that you are selling yourself to the company - more so than your abilities and skills, it comes down to culture. Can the hiring manager and the other employees see you as "fitting in" at a cubicle or office with them? I will have more to say and share about culture in the next few blog posts, so keep an eye out for those insights based on some research I had done for my DPS program.
Also, I wanted to include what Inc.com says about assessing Carly Fiorina's recent POTUS debate and compares it to actual interview steps and tips, including a great performance based interview template from LinkedIn (link below). Also important is knowing how to discuss your accomplishments and prepare, prepare and prepare.
Check out the links below and let me know in the comments what you think about the tips mentioned above. Happy Hunting!
The Most Successful Job Interview Tactic
4 Awesome Interview Tips From Carly Fiorina
Performance Based Interview
I am sharing this article for all of the job seekers out there - this shows the top 5000 private companies and highlights the data the list shows such as top industries, states etc. This list can be useful to identify potential companies in your industry that are growing to submit your resume. Make sure your resume is in the best shape it can be in though before you apply - check out The Next Step for your resume needs and happy hunting!
Top Growing Private Companies
Lisa Vento Nielsen