What Can I Teach You... Or What Does "My Cousin Vinny" have To Do With Career Planning (VLOG Included)
I have a double blog post for today because I just had to share my #VLOG on it's own
As an educator and an executive, I have over 15 years experience with how to present yourself, how to make your resume stand out and, of course, how to interview well. These are just some of the topics I will be sharing, in person, at the seminars being held at Wagner College through their Office for Lifelong Learning. I made a teaser video (and a shout out to all my former students) to give an example of the type of information you can learn from me oh, and I did my infamous "My Cousin Vinny" impersonation...
Check it out and let me know what you think! Also, register for my seminars and learn (& laugh) all about how to professionally get to your next step! Happy Hunting!
So I took a recent getaway and did some #unplugging as per my own #profadvice and it was really great. It led to me be more invigorated and ready to tackle some new challenges and some new adventures than I thought it would. I did not foresee that a few days away would really lead to so much new energy but it did.
As an entrepreneur who also still works as a K-12 teacher, an educator and who designs and builds out content for training sessions, seminars, blog posts oh and also has a home life to manage, it can be tough to manage my time effectively and sometimes even to prioritize what to spend my limited "free" time on so having that break really helped me focus and prioritize for the next few weeks. I am hoping it extends and lasts even longer but I will let you know.
The extra focus I was able to gain from my getaway had me thinking about my business model and my business plan. So much of my identity and skill set is wrapped up in my teaching and public speaking skills. I am just still amazing by the amount of opportunities that have arisen for me as an entrepreneur and small business owner as a direct result of these skills. I knew when I first started doing resumes as a side gig almost fifteen years ago that I would someday like to do courses and seminars to bring my knowledge to more people - it is a big part of why as a professor I have always brought in real life experience and resume development and more to all of my courses. That being said, I do not think I could have predicted the partnership with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning. As I just received a copy of the press release they created regarding my classes and seminars, I am sharing it here because I am so proud and excited. I am also just so sore from pinching myself because it seems like a dream!
I love getting in front of people and sharing my ideas, wisdom and more and I think there will be more announcements coming over the next few months. It is exciting to have a business and to be passionate about it but most of all, it is just awesome to (hopefully) help many people with the skills and talents that I have spent so many years cultivating. I also love working one on one with my clients who find me through my blog, word of mouth and twitter. It has been amazing to see my web traffic spike - I shared the photo of my spike in visitor traffic recently on Instagram. Oh yes, I am on Instagram now so please follow me there, too at thenext_step123.
I cannot wait to see more clients and teach my seminars over the next few weeks and months. I do hope to see you there! What are you waiting for? Take your next step with me.
Why are you an entrepreneur? What is the best part of it for you? How did your business plan help you build your business? Let me know in the comments or via tweet or chat. Happy Hunting!
When you decide to move on from your current position, it should be because you are ready for your next opportunity and have found a great fit for you to build the rest of your career. Sometimes, though, you are put in the position due to toxic coworkers or some other issue with your current positions.
No matter what, the reality today is it is very rare to spend your whole career at one company. When I started my career in 1999 at Merrill Lynch, it was considered normal to stay for the long term and when I left everyone was shocked and said, "how can you leave Mother Merrill?" I was always planning and focusing on my career plan and growth, though at 22 I did not know it yet and I made some big missteps and yes, mistakes, but most people will at those ages and even later in life without a mentor or someone to learn from (uhum, maybe someone like me for all of you reading my blog and stuff - I am blushing just typing it though and do feel so humbled by the amount of people reading and sharing my advice- it is amazing to me...).
You must think about on some level what you want your career to be - are you interested in being an entrepreneur at some point or having a more flexible career - for everyone today, the demands of life can jump out of nowhere - our parents are aging and can need our help or we can have a spouse who gets sick or even need to manage our young children for a few years to avoid paying our salaries to daycare costs -- having a plan and knowing that said plan can change is so important.
When you are ready to move on, make it as professional as possible. Never ever burn bridges. No matter what. Always keep things positive. Stay in touch with your former colleagues and be helpful to them so that perhaps networking can always be a two way street.
If you want to have some help on career plans for you, check out my upcoming How to Take Your Next Step seminar - a huge part of what I provide my clients with is insight/advice and a plan to get to their best next step for them. Join me and find out more on November.
What do you think about the advice on moving on? Happy hunting!
Did you know that being a project manager is just like being a superhero? Nah, I am just being facetious but as a project manager you need to maintain and balance the needs of many different stakeholders AND make sure everyone you depend on to meet your time deadlines is doing their jobs and doing it well without direct supervising/management ties to said everyone.
One of the best tools I used in my career as a Project Manager is the ability to communicate and encourage. I found communication to be key because so many people are just juggling so many different things that having a clear cut plan and communicating it effectively and efficiently were major keys to success for completing projects on time and under budget. Also, how you communicate had to be tailored to each person. See, I have always been a teacher, I guess. I became a PMP (Project Management Professional) in 2004 and an adjunct in 2003, so I have always known that people learn and respond in different ways. I was able to apply that knowledge, gained from my various students undergraduate and graduate, to my colleagues and business partners in achieving project success. I knew some people would want to read pages of documentation but most people just want highlights and only their own role information. Other people like to read about everything going on and some people detest reading and prefer verbal updates. I was able to tailor my communication plan accordingly and quickly based on my observations and my "teachers instinct". I was also able to maintain all of the information needed in one master file that I used to keep track of the various stakeholders, participants and what they were informed of and when.
It sounds tiring but it was not - in fact, it allowed me to run multi-million dollar projects and do so while keeping as many people "happy" as possible. You cannot keep everyone happy, though - especially on large, multi-national projects that crossed time zones and had meetings occurring late at night or early mornings as well as language issues. For those times, you need my second tip - encouragement. You need to be the person who jumps in and helps out whenever and however necessary. I was lucky enough to be sent to Singapore two weeks before my wedding in 2005 to help a project team formulate a project plan and more. Yes, I said two weeks before my wedding. And yes, I was the bride. But despite that or maybe because of that (see, I never wanted to get married but that is a story for another day :)), I was able to jump in and help out and that led to people being willing to jump in and help out for me, too. I gave 110% to every project and I got it back, too in tenfold or more. It was amazing and it was by being encouraging and not just from the sidelines but actually being there, being an extra set of eyes or hands and not just the "gatekeeper" but being on the field and jumping in coding or more was instrumental in helping me be a great project manager.
So much of being a project manager is being a change agent and as I have posted about that before, being the change agent is akin to being the devil. People dread change. Change is scary. But putting change into affect as seamlessly as possible with great communication and great encouragement can make it be a wonderful learning experience for all involved and can notch up your career to the next step.
What do you think about my advice? Are you a PM? Do you want to be a PM? If you are interested in finding out more about project management as a career path, check out my upcoming seminar in February at Wagner College Office of Lifelong Learning and I hope to see you there in person! Happy Hunting!
In November I am giving my all to my upcoming seminars on how to take the next step in your career. I will be standing in front of a group of new people (aka “students”) who I have never met before and giving my #profadvice and keeping everyone excited, energized and on their toes. It is going to be an intimate event with actual work happening during the session - I am including a picture of my initial planning "to do" list. As someone who pulls triple duty, I take time where I can find it to plan and manage my business. Sometimes, I use my iPhone notes section to begin to brainstorm about new ideas and events. This is an inside look on how this entrepreneur begins the planning process. Of course, I drafted this a few weeks ago and have much more behind it for the event, but this is just a teaser post after all.
The act of getting up in front of a group of "students" or seminar attendees is something I could not do if I did not have extensive experience with public speaking and with the ability to teach – when I first started teaching in 2003, I was terrified. This despite the fact that I was the go-to person to give presentations in undergrad and grad school and was the Speech and Debate team captain at St John’s University [blogger note: I was state and north east champion in 1998 for my Prose rendition of Sandra Cisneros Bien Pretty - check it out what a great short story and I was told by the judges that I really made them laugh and cry when I did it...] and I even gave the commencement address at my graduation in front of at least 1,000+ people. Despite that, it was not until I became an adjunct professor that I realized how to make content come alive – how to create content to teach and how to help my students find joy in learning. Yes, that sounds corny but finding joy in learning is how to grow, how to become a better person and just how to continually get better at life, career and more. If you stop learning, you are not living.
So for these upcoming seminars, I am bringing my A-game. I am starting off with resumes and cover letters (again, check out the image below for a teaser). This is the basic building block to finding your next step. Without as close to a perfect resume as possible for you that represents you and your strengths, skills and accomplishments, you cannot get to your next step. The seminar is from 7pm-9pm and when you leave you will be ready to take your next step with your resume and cover letter that reflect the best YOU and that can get you the next step in your industry you are interested in most. I am also doing bonus material in thank you notes - you can read my blog post about thank you notes to understand what I think about how they should be done - and then you can come to the seminar to have me show you and make it meaningful in person. You can also get a sense for what I will share if you have been reading my blog interview tips, resume advice categories - amplify those posts with real in person training and one on one time between me and you and you will see why the $99 price tag is a huge bargain!
For the next seminar, we will focus on using social media to build your brand. For some of us, this does not even make sense as a sentence but it is what is setting apart “meh” candidates from “WOW” candidates for hiring managers and hr folks. Using social media effectively and “smart-ly” can mean the difference between looking for your next step and having your next step find you. It really is that powerful. As a relative “newbie” to the world of social media to brand myself as an "expert", I still can teach you a lot about it and my knowledge is latest and greatest because I have been learning this right now - not ten years ago, not five years ago but right now. Using social media has unlocked so many opportunities for me that I do not think I would have had without using the tools I use to brand myself as #profisin and #profadvice to really convey my insights and advice to the masses. It is scary and not for the faint of heart but done right with my rules and advice can lead you to the career path for you.
For the third seminar, we will tackle interviewing skills and media training. If you have been following my blog, you know a little of what I think about interviewing and media skills but I have so much more to share in person with tips and techniques to make you stand out for any type of interview. Having media skills along with interviewing skills are a necessity today. Everyone needs to know how to be camera ready in addition to being able to discuss their strengths and abilities using the bragalogue – telling stories is how to achieve a positive interview experience.
Check out my VLOG (coming soon) for a teaser on what we will be covering in these seminars. Let me know in the comments or via chat what you would want to see addressed to make your resume and cover letter perfect. Happy Hunting!
When you have a business plan, it is something that constantly changes and includes all aspects of the business.
Sometimes it involves making product pricing changes after your initial launch period is over. I recently updated my pricing to match the level and quality of my services provided. As a professional and as a woman I find it hard to price myself but I do think this is across the board for most entrepreneurs. Deciding how to price your products and services, especially with services, is a hard thing to do. For initial grand opening celebration purposes, my pricing was low.
So low, in fact, that for each of my clients I was underpaying myself for the amount of hours I was spending to get their perfect resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and college apps and essays. I recently upped my prices to match more evenly the amount of work and expertise I bring to the table. My grand opening pricing was always meant to be a short-term strategy to get the word of mouth out there. It was value pricing but at the same time it might have been a negative to my business because the thought might have been that "$50 is so low, maybe the service is not good."
As a business owner, the decision to raise prices is always a tough decision to make because it might yield less customers, which is never good. However, my value is in my time, expertise and attention and like any business owner, my pricing needs to reflect that.
My partnership with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning is part of what has helped me realize it was time to retire my celebratory launch pricing and go to my long term strategy pricing plan. At my upcoming seminars this November, I am providing all of these services including resume, cover letter, interviewing, media training and brand management for $99/per session or $229 for all 3 seminars. This will be in person and with some one on one training to be had for these great prices. For my long term pricing plan, it is $150 value pricing for just resumes and cover letters which are done primarily via email only versus these seminars which give you the whole Next Step package of services, knowledge and more to build out your next step with my one on one consulting advice as well as my resume, cover letter and LinkedIn expertise.
It is a good wake up call as an entrepreneur to realize what your work is worth even if it can be challenging to ask for that amount. In many ways, it is like a salary negotiations - tricky for all because you can always price yourself out of the market. I read a recent article about a potential hiree who did not disclose his salary requirements to the company and then it came out much later in the process that the company was almost 30k short of what the hiree expectations were and the lament was it would have saved everyone time and effort to have known this in advance.
So in running my own business the question is still there on pricing. I started off very low to celebrate my launch and now have updated my pricing to reflect my value added that I bring to the table. What do you think about my new pricing? Do you struggle with the same things re pricing and/or salary negotiations as an entrepreneur or as a job seeker? What is the price point for you - do you know and plan this out in advance or wing it? Do not forget to click below to find out more about my seminars with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning and I hope to see you next week! Happy hunting!
So I am following my own #profadvice and #unplugging while on vacation. However, I could not help but share my upcoming Seminars with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning called "How to Take the Next Step in Your Career" which are scheduled for evenings in November. All of the information is below and I will update this post with the link to the Wagner College page when it goes live in a few days. If you are interested in joining me at this seminar, please send me a chat message and/or a message below and I will make sure you get on the list to attend with us! Happy Hunting!
How to Take the Next Step in Your Career Workshops
Led by Lisa Vento Nielsen, MBA, PMP
Professor Nielsen is an executive, educator and an entrepreneur who has spent the last decade helping professionals like you identify and execute on their life plans with the appropriate tools for success. Her business, The Next Step, is a well-known local provider of all things career orientated and her blog and social media are looked to for help in finding the next step for many people. Also, she is currently providing a certificate course to our adult learners on Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business.
She has designed this seminar program as a career planning boot camp to help anyone in any career who is interested in growing professionally or for those who might be in need of retooling and finding new employment. She also specializes in helping people who have been out of the workforce re-enter for such reasons as childcare or other unforeseen issues. Her background in financial services and publishing industries and the over 15000 resumes she has reviewed all lend credence to the fact that she is a powerhouse in building your brand and achieving your next step.
This is meant to be a 3-part seminar workshop providing you with the tools and techniques you need to stand out from the crowd and achieve your next step in your career. You can choose to take just one of the seminars but it would be best for your career if you can take all three.
Part 1: Resume/Cover Letter Intensive Workshop
Bring your resume and cover letter to work on improving it with a leader in resume editing and improvement. If you do not get enough call backs, you will improve your call backs after getting your resume improved and learning the tricks and tips on how to make your resume and cover letter stand out from the crowd.
Part 2: Using Social Media to Build Your Brand
Do you know how to use social media to represent yourself and stand out from the crowd? Using Twitter, LinkedIn and even a blog appropriately can put you head and shoulders ahead of anyone else –using them incorrectly can put you out of competition for any job. Learn what is the right and wrong way to use social media and how to network effectively OFFLINE as well as online.
Part 3: Interviewing Skills and Media Training
Are you prepared for any interview? What about being on video? Do you know how to use any medium to effectively communicate and get the job?
Tuition: $229 for all three workshops; $99 each for one or two workshops
This advice post is in honor of someone I met with recently who I gave this advice to in person but I thought there are others who can benefit from these words, too.
When you move on from your last job, sometimes it is because of a bad or uncomfortable situation. Sometimes you do not get along with your boss or sometimes you do get along with your boss until all of a sudden, you do not. Often, you move on because there is a better opportunity and you are managing your career to find those opportunities but a lot of the time, people move on because they are unhappy with some aspect of their current job.
No matter what the situation, keep it to your chest. In other words, do not complain about and otherwise bad mouth your former job, co workers or boss. This is never ever a good thing to do. I understand we are all human and as such we have a need to vent -but it just makes you look bad. As much as you think it makes your old boss look bad, it does not. It leads anyone who has any professional experience to think "oh, so that is how you are as an employee". The best thing to do in any situation is to take the high road - speak openly and honestly but without the emotional tinges so just say, one of the following reasons for why you moved on:
1) "I was not as happy there as I could have been and decided to move on."
2) "It was time for me to find a new opportunity"
3) "It was time for me to move on - I had become bored in the routine and were looking for a new challenge."
4) "I needed to follow my career plan and this fit into it."
Just keep the bad feelings and hurt to yourself, your best friends/family and/or therapist. It is not something to broadcast to everyone and anyone. Do not under any circumstances go on a diatribe about how terrible the old boss was, how everyone hates said old boss and that you are so happy to be rid of said old boss.
What do you think about my moving on advice? Have you ever met and hired an employee who bad mouthed their previous boss? Happy Hunting!
Whether it's your first day at your first job or your first day at your tenth job there are basic rules to that can help you get along with (most) coworkers. There are cases, though, where nothing you can do can help you build a relationship with coworkers and I will address those (usually) outlier situations in a future post. If you have advice or anecdotes about working in impossible coworker situation, let me know in the comments or via email, text or chat.
My quick prof rules are below:
1) Be Professional
Arrive to the office on time or early but not too early maybe a good rule of thumb is no more than 30minutes early. Be ready for the day - until you get acclimated do not assume everyone eats breakfast at their desk - maybe there is a meeting every morning where eating is not done so wait and see how things go and then follow the herd accordingly. You do not want to be the only person eating at their desk each morning. When it comes time to have assignments, do them on time and well. If you are having trouble, try to solve it on your own first but if needed, ask for help. Try not to have to ask for help every time but it is better to have help than to make too many mistakes.
2) Be Private (but not too private)
Do not talk too much about your personal life - if you are young or just cooler than me, you might be tempted to mention you are hung over from the weekend - try not to be hung over from the weekend on your first day or any day for that matter and if you are do not bring attention to it. If you have a personal life, keep it that way. Do not let it encroach on your work place from day one but at some point, you will find that it helps to have conversational tidbits about you to make you seem human and to potentially find some friends at your work place.
3) Know the difference between work friends and work colleagues
The bulk of your fellow employees will probably fall into the colleague category - someone who you share work with but not private thoughts with. Know the difference between these two types. You can find friends at work - I have been blessed with some who continue to be friends today - but it is not everyone. Some people need to be kept at arms length for various reasons - jealousies, weird feelings, etc.
4) Be polite
While being professional should cover this it just includes being respectful of everyone - if someone is not respectful to you, do your best to not react. Always try to "let it roll off your back" - I think the saying is like a duck lets water roll off their back. If someone is mean or nasty to you, chances are they are like that to everyone. That does not make it right but it usually means karma will take care of that person and they will not be at the company for long. Do your best work and try to remember that bringing your emotions into the work force can be too tricky and can make you look worse than the people who are the ones who are the problem.
5) Beware the office romance
Seriously, run away from this. Of course, I guess, sometimes you find your soulmate at work but it can be so tricky and tough. Most companies now will make you sign a romance agreement if you find love on the job and it includes rules and usually an instant transfer if you and your beloved are in the same department.
What do you think of my rules to get along with your coworkers? Do you agree/disagree? What would you add or change? Happy Hunting!
I have been an entrepreneur for more than a decade and in that time, technology has finally caught up to a point that anyone can run their own business from anywhere and this leads to a unique issue with time management - basically, you can run your business 24/7 and you will do so but you need to manage your time effectively to ensure you take care of you and anyone else you need to care for (e.g., if you are a mom/dad, too).
I can literally spend all day working on "stuff" such as marketing, creating connections and appointments to promote my business with partners such as schools and universities and just finding clients for my services such as resume writing and/or application essays. This is great but, remember, I am often pulling triple duty and still teaching at various schools from K-12 and creating content for my upcoming course on Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business for Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning oh and all the other stuff that having a young family requires.
My general rules for time management is here for you to check out and see if any of it applies to you as family person, employee, entrepreneur and whatever other roles you take on (say maybe school volunteer too - maybe I should just call myself quintuple duty instead of triple duty?):
1) Schedule your time effectively - I generally teach 3-5 days per week so I know I have certain tasks I do on the weekend. Yes, being an entrepreneur means you will work on the weekends but it is okay - it is really okay because it is what you are passionate about and what you know you can help the most people with by doing so you do it with glee. So I map out my week on the weekends - I schedule for which days I hope to work (as a substitute, sometimes I am on the money and sometimes I over or underestimate how many days I will be called to teach but since I have a plan and do some pre-work on the weekends, it is doable). I also prepare drafts of my blog posts - these posts are so important to my business and sharing my name and expertise with the world is how I garner so many clients and referrals and more. It is worth the time it takes to craft original posts.
2) Know what is important - so, every day, I create a new blog post. I work on these posts on the weekend and in any spare time I have available to me during the week. I find these posts to be so important to garnering attention, clients and partners that I do not cut back on them - at all. This week I am spending a few days on a family vacation but I will still post each morning to share my thoughts and more with all of you. If the posts did not garner as much attention and revenue as they did, I would not do a daily post. I would drop down to once a week or twice a week because creating content every day that is worthy to share and represents me and my business is a challenge. That being said, I do love challenges so maybe I would still do the daily post even if it did not yield as much as it does... Hard to say.
3) Take a break - this is hard for me and with technology, it becomes so easy to just sit on my iPhone or iPad all day and read and share either from Twitter or LinkedIn or some other sites. It is also possible to work on my clients' stuff for hours at a time - this is all the way it needs to be but you do need to have some downtime scheduled. So I am up at 5am so I can do work uninterrupted until almost 645am and then I schedule "breaks" between 3:30pm-6:30pm so I can do homework, dinner and more with my kids before I get back on the computer or iPad or whatever to work more.
4) Unplug before bed - this is so important. Whatever comes up in the middle of the night can be handled at 5am at wake-up. You as an entrepreneur and just as a human being need rest and sleep like anyone else. If I do not get at least seven hours of sleep, I am useless. I know this and schedule my nights accordingly and that includes silencing all of my various communication methods until morning.
What do you think about my time management must haves? What do you need to manage your multiple roles effectively? Happy Hunting!
For my high school readers (or their parents)...
I got to college in 1994 when it cost $9500/per year to attend St John's University. By the time I graduated in 1998, it was $15000+/per year. What it costs now to attend is twice that amount (give or take, even with the Staten Island campus discount). When I was in high school, I was a decent student but never applied myself. Here is what I would have done differently:
1) Get awesome grades - I would have studied, like even a little. I spent so much time not studying, it was an art form. Math was beyond me - surprisingly, I wound up with an MBA in International Finance but I remember sitting in all of my high school math classes just lost and confused - again, all my own fault as I had awesome teachers but I just did not try. I graduated with a B average from high school and missed out on many many merit scholarships. In college, I got all A's. Let me let that sit in for a second - I got all A's in every college class I took at St John's, which means I had the ability to go to college for free on academic scholarships but I did not because I did not apply myself. As a teacher now, I spend a lot of time telling my story to anyone who will listen - I am not sure if it helps at all nor do I think it would help if I had a time machine and went back and told my teenage self that but I keep telling everyone anyway and if I made a time machine, I would even try to tell myself...
2) Seriously, study. I would say to definitely take the time to study - so much of what we study in high school seems like boredom and death and now as an occasional high school teacher, I see it - the boredom, the need to be anywhere BUT in the classroom, the interest in looking out the window and showing up and winging it. Try not to do that - try to understand that high school can help you so much in terms of where you go to school, what you study and how your life can proceed.
3) Get hobbies - get involved in your school, community or church/religious organization. Volunteer or work with your parent's or their friends or even your friends' parents - see if you can find out what you like to do either through internships or working locally or even considering traveling into NYC in the summers to work and keep track of all of these activities in the form of a resume or some other portfolio showing your work. If you have a talent, nourish it - do not begrudge those piano or violin lessons - embrace them. It is part of what can set you apart when you apply to colleges and it can help you with your whole life and people who know how to read music are statistically better at math.
4) Always plan - have an idea or a rough idea of what you want to do when you graduate in 4, 3, 2 or 1 year. Be ready for the "growing up" part of going away to school. I have helped many people write their defense letter when transferring back home after going away and losing focus. Being young is about losing focus but you want to balance that - if you know you would not follow any routine at all if you go away to school then consider commuting for the first year or two. If you are hesitant to spend a lot of money for your education (brava/bravo, if so), then consider going to your local community college for a year or two and then transferring to another school. Always think about what career you would like and then have back up plans because no one truly knows what they want to do when they are in high school and in fact many adults even do not know what they want to do but everyone knows when they are doing something they do NOT want to do. So start with that.
5) Watch what you do on social media. Use a fake name, do not use too many personal pictures - just keep your social media account as clean as possible. Colleges will google you and look at anything that is not set to private. So keep things set to private but to make things easier, try to live life without documenting it all. Every time I catch a kid trying to snap a selfie in school (not allowed), I remind them that just a few short years ago I am sure their families were following them with a camera and begging them to smile for one more picture and now all they do is take pics of themselves.
What do you think about what I wish I knew before then - what would you add? Let me know in the comments or via twitter or chat with me below. Happy Hunting!
What I wish I knew when I first started my career back in 1999 as a newly minted MBA with a new language under my belt can fill 2 or 3 books. Here are my quick tips for recent grads or even those with a few years under their belts in the career world.
Tip 1: Look for a career, not a job. This is easier said than done. If you went to a pricey school (which is, basically, almost any school - except CUNY or SUNY), you might have a student loan monthly payment coming due 6 months after graduation.
[Bloggers Note: maybe I need a pre-tip -- ok, pre-tip 1 is that 6 months from graduation, you will get a bill from your student loan(s) if any that need to be paid - it has always amazed me how many of my students did not know this].
Take your time to find your career and, if needed, get an extension on your student loan payments by deferring them for some time until you find the position. I hope you did some internships and tried out some different industries while in undergrad or grad school - if you could not, try to meet with as many people as possible and interview them about the industry/company they work for - people do love to speak about themselves so try to find out as much as you can from them to help you identify where you can be happiest.
Tip 2: If your school has a career center (they almost all do), sign up for an interests test. Even if you are almost done (or done) with your degree - an interest test can give you some hints and items to go on to move forward with your career search. Remember, just because you majored in something it does not mean you will wind up doing that exact thing. I was a Marketing major and really never worked directly in marketing.
Tip 3: Be strong in your written and spoken communication. Many companies will hire a great liberal arts grad over someone who was mediocre in some other major. Having the ability to speak and write are very important - practice these skills all the time. While still in school, create content - maybe blog on something relevant to your major (not just your personal life). Take pride in your school work and have some of it be "portfolio ready" - so be ready to create a portfolio of some of your best reports or presentations to share with your hiring manager. I used my MBA dissertation more times than I can count as a writing sample / portfolio piece. I hated creating that document - my professor (Dr Mockler) was so tough that he reviewed my dissertation the day before it was due and gave me an "F". I was in Italy and had done the whole 80+ page typed research paper using sources found via the internet (what was the internet in 1998-1999? Not what it is today - this was real work - finding library sites and using database searches, etc). I went back to that computer lab, reopened the file - and felt that there was nothing I could do to change it so I went back to my apartment by the Vatican and wallowed. The next day, I submitted the same paper and got an "A" and he published it in his next textbook. Now, that is a tough teacher...
Tip 4: When you receive your first job offer, truly understand what it means. If you do not know (you won't), ask. Find out what your job band is or classification - some companies use numbers to say you are a level 25 employee or some use letters so you are a W employee level. So few people know or understand what that means. If you are truly interested in building a career at your firm, it helps to know exactly where you are starting from. Each employee "level" or "band" has a salary continuum built into it and knowing where you start can help you plan where you want to go. It also will help you during performance review time and as your salary creeps up (hopefully) to the top of the band for that designation, you will be most aware of when a promotion can be possible. Some of this information might not be given to you right away but once you approve of the offer and sign the necessary paperwork, you can probably get access to some of this information. At the bare minimum, knowing your level and understanding how leveling works at your company will definitely give you a leg up on your career management plan.
Tip 5: Have a career management plan, in draft of course. Just like running your own business, your career is your brand and your future. Have an idea of where you want to be in 1 year, in 3 years and in 5 years. Always keep your resume up to date and ready to share it. Always keep your networking a two way street and do your best to always do your best.
What do you think of my tips that I wish I knew when... What would you add? Happy Hunting!
I know the adage is you get nothing for free but maybe you can - if you know where to look.
As an entrepreneur, a woman, a mom, a teacher and more I am always looking for resources to help me manage well, everything. I wrote a few weeks ago about the seminar on entrepreneurship I attended that was held by the New York State State Small Business Development Center. Well, recently, I went for a follow up meeting at their offices located on campus at the College of Staten Island and it was just wonderful. My contact, Joseph Muller, had really great ideas for me to utilize for my business - oh and he also got my research questions answered by the office of research which is run by actual research professionals who are just excellent at what they do.
Mr Muller spent an hour or more with me discussing my business and brainstorming ideas and more for me to execute right now. One of the best ideas to come out of the session was to create a flyer (hello, I was a Marketing Major oh and a Marketing Prof - why didn't I have a flyer already?? - see the cobbler's kids have no shoes...). The end result is below - what do you think?
Also, we discussed more about my marketing plan and came up with some great takeaways, most of which Mr Muller and team will be helping me to execute in some way, shape or form.
Do you know about the resources that can help you? Have you ever met with the Small Business Development Center? I am including the link to the resource below - happy hunting!
As I build out my course for Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning on Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business, I have been thinking about creating content.
Every day, I create a blog post and share my thoughts, advice and, I guess, "lessons" to you, the reader. I am always surprised by how many people read my blog posts and/or favorite/retweet them via Twitter. I feel humbled every time I check my web stats (I am down to checking just twice a day - when I first relaunched, I will not tell you how often I checked because you will laugh at me).
So being a teacher (or an educator or a trainer) means I am used to creating my own content. When I started teaching in 2003, I used a textbook and the slides the textbook came with but I quickly started to do my own thing - to create my own slides or to just re-configure the slides with my own content and quirks. I started to tailor my talks to the students in the room (my first day routine about asking each student to talk about themselves was NOT ever for naught - it was how I learned who had what work experience, who had what language skills etc and then I could use that to coax/force interaction from the class).
Using this blog is so different for me, though, because I am constantly creating new "content" (lately, at least, since I went off and started blogging without using source articles as discussion fodder) and it is to anonymous readers. I do not know if you who are reading this work in financial services and need help on an interview or if you are thinking of starting your own business and need some advice. That is why I am so lucky that Weebly offers the chat option on this website and I wind up "chatting" to a lot of clients / potential clients about what their next steps are and where they need assistance.
As I build out my course content for the Entrepreneurship course, Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning and I realize that this course is unlike any other - that the content is key to getting across my message and my lessons learned on how to actually create a new business from scratch and go from zero to launch with it so quickly your head might spin (mine sometimes does)...And just because I included some reference to the class today, I am going to put the link below to register so you can join me on launching your new business.
What do you think about creating content for your career? Do you think it would help you stand out if you had a blog and /or commented on LinkedIn to show your industry knowledge? Let me know in the comments below and happy hunting!
Performance reviews are the bane of everyone's existence - in my professional opinion. No one likes to complete them, no one likes to read them and then having to measure each of your employees based on these documents or program readouts is about as fun as having an organ removed.
For my recent graduates working full time for the first time and even for those of you who consider yourself "ready" to do your end of year performance documentation, here are my thoughts on how to make it "fun" or as fun as possible.
When you are hired for a position, there is usually a job description that becomes, by default often, your goals for the year. Sometimes you are brought in and charm everyone and a job is created for you and then the job description truly matches more about who you are and what you are bringing to the table. Other times you are hired for a job like "Analyst level 1" and that job description leads into your "goals".
What do goals have to do with your performance review? Well, those goals become entered into your employee file either through a review system or just using Word and then you are judged based on those goals. For your first year on the job, expect to be reviewed twice - once at the 6 month mark and again at the year mark. Your yearly review will follow the company's schedule though -maybe this is done every November or every June. Every company is different.
Know what your goals are and if you can provide input into them, do so. Do not over-promise on your goals, though. Do have some "stretch" goals - things that will be a challenge to accomplish - but do not have too many of these or else just like when you were in school, you can wind up with a failing grade on your performance review. All companies use some form of the scale meaning:
Throughout your year, keep an eye on your goals and maintain "proof" on how you did - if you get a compliment regarding one of your goals or other accolade, keep the email in a folder called "performance review". If you are struggling on some of your goals, get help sooner rather than later. Ask if you can be tutored or ask for advice on how to handle the issue. Be proactive. Do not say you are worried about your performance review -just be conscientious and focused and proactive if need help to achieve your goals.
Follow company protocol in writing the document or using the system. If there are 360 reviews where other people rate and review you anonymously, take advantage of that but be careful always during working with others - always be professional and helpful in your company even if there are no official 360 reviews because this will always be part of how you are considered a great employee or an employee who is merely tolerated. I will write more about relating with your co-workers over the next few weeks.
Do your best, document it concisely and appropriately and include metrics and other documentation if possible when doing your performance review. Once you submit the paperwork, you will be reviewed by your management and usually given a face to face meeting to discuss the results and review any remediation plan (if necessary) or given information on your reward (if any).
If you company does not do a formal performance review process, what is done to measure employees? What do you think of the performance review process? Is my description and advice helpful or on point? Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen