I am passionate about many things - such as being mindful of every moment, of living life and not worrying about the what ifs and about sharing my skills and talents. I am an expert on college and career readiness - I have written books on the subject (check them out here -> College and Career Readiness Series) and have launched training about it (see testimonials from my students here College and Career Readiness Testimonials) and am scaling up to do more about sharing these lessons and my skills in the coming weeks and months.
After cancer, not much scares me - so being out there again and facing potential rejection is like "NBD" for someone who is newly "NED" (no evidence of disease - well for the past year and change already). Yesterday, at CareerCon, I met many many students and offered them all free resume help. I also offered to send them free copies of my College and Career Readiness books and over 80 filled out slips to get copies of the books sent to them (working on it; have to order more books as my stock is down to nothing). These books are for sale on Amazon for $7-8 each and my resume services start at $100 so WHY in the world did I give these things away for free?
Simple - I am starting over from scratch - I spent the last 18 months dealing with breast cancer and for a time working full time as a teacher and now it is all starting over. What is not starting over are my content, my lessons, my speaking ability - that is all as it ever was and ready to be shared with students who struggle - and it is most of them. The days when you could teach yourself (as I did) how to interview well, how to write a resume that rocks are gone. It is a "dead" skill - I am looking to resurrect it, though, one classroom at a time, or one auditorium at a time.
I wrote the books, prepared the presentations and my 15+ years experience as an executive, educator and entrepreneur are ready to jump right in. I also met potential partners yesterday and I offered them free one time presentations about college or career readiness or entrepreneurship. I have some meetings already set up over the next weeks. Giving something away for "free" might sound crazy but it is a great strategy to break back into the world of college and career readiness. I am focused, I wrote the books, I build the training and now it is just a matter of signing the clients.
What do you do to build your business? How does it work for you if you gave away "free" stuff?
Topics for Career Readiness
Topics for Workshop on Workplace Culture (book being written)
What do you think about the combination of college AND career readiness? Have you read my books or taken my training - if yes, please share your thoughts!
Hello it's Jennifer Riddo. I'm a little late but Happy One Year Anniversary to The Next Step.It is my honor to be an intern with Lisa this summer and watch her small business grow to great success with her. I have learned so much so far and how to brand myself at just 17. Imagine what you could learn from her as a client?
Last Thursday, Lisa went back to Staten Island Technical High School. This time she paired up with Bob Wolf, founder of HOPE. Lisa and Bob had never worked together before but but you would have never known it.I have experienced a lesson from both Bob and Lisa alone before but when they worked together, I felt it was more powerful to hear from both of them at once. They worked well together to share their skills on how to succeed in the workforce with the students.
One student at Staten Island Technical High School, Emma Shen,was very insightful and asked a very powerful question. She asked Bob and Lisa what is was like to work side by side interacting with her peers as entrepreneurs and teachers. This question was very powerful and resonated in the room. She also spoke about how both of them are very inspiring individuals.
Lisa and Bob both spoke about how interviews are everywhere. When you are meeting someone new on the elevator or at the beach this summer it can be an interview because you are introducing yourself to someone new who hasn't heard about you or your stories before. Lisa spoke about learning to incorporate your elevator pitch as you meet these individuals to show who you are on a professional level.
Both Lisa and Bob are public speakers and related public speaking and interviews to everyday life. It is not just when your going to sit down with a hiring manager for a job that you need to share your stories. As well, it is not just when you have to do a presentation in class or a speech that you need to use your voice to be powerful and speak.
As a young adult, I used to assume that I only have to use my elevator pitch when I am heading to an interview with a hiring manager. Through lessons from both Bob and Lisa, I now realize that interviews are everywhere and I need to learn how to sell myself and quit being so nervous. I have no reason to be nervous - or I can learn, when I am nervous, to channel that energy into positive energy as Lisa taught me to do.
As Lisa said," Everyone is competing for these jobs now not just people at a young age, you need to get out there and make sure they know who you are." It is very important at a young age to learn how to sell yourself so you are well known and can get your dream job in the future. Lisa also spoke about how sometimes you face downs in life but shake it off like Taylor Swift and learn from it. As a teenager, every small failure can feel like the end of the world but Lisa reminded us that it's not, it's just an experience to learn from.
It was great to watch two experts work together to show young adults how to become successful in their future and the workforce. If you are a young adult I recommend checking out both of their websites to learn from Lisa and Bob.
I also suggest reading Lisa's blogs with free advice and following her on Twitter and Instagram @thenext_step123.
You can also find me on Twitter @nextstepintern to learn more about what great things Lisa has to offer. I might see you, also, as I will be hanging flyers at local libraries, college campuses and parks to inform local Staten Islanders about Lisa's small business and what she has to offer.
My interns have been doing an amazing job sharing, from their perspective, my career readiness training held at Staten Island Technical High School’s Summer College Head Start Program. You can read about what they learned here (7/12 event by Jalynn), here (7/12 event by Jennifer), and here (7/14 event by Jennifer).
From my perspective, I can tell you exactly what I told my students who got to take part in this training – no matter how well I know the lessons I want to share (and hello, I have been creating, sharing and documenting these lessons to students since 2003 oh and wrote 2 books about it - The Book on College Readiness and The Book on Career Readiness) I still get nervous before any presentation/class.
This is a powerful thing to share – imho. I do not know if enough people are comfortable sharing that sometimes executing on your dream, your passion can be scary. By sharing this, it helps me really bring home the lesson that everyone is nervous about public speaking, about following their dreams, about putting themselves out there but the key is in using that nervous energy to help yourself be more present in the moment and not to pull you out of the moment.
When I have the opportunity to share my lessons, advice, books and passion for college and career readiness for students, that is what is the most exciting thing for this small business owner. In teaching others, I learn as well.
the next step teaching career readiness on 7/12
On Tuesday 7/12, it was a long day of “lessons” – I had a lot of information to share about
There was also some give and take (more in the afternoon session than the early morning start) and I was beyond impressed with what the students had to share.
After giving them the tools to be ready for careers and even college – it was time to break and I gave some “homework” assignments for the next session on 7/14. I decided to go with a "low-tech" session for that Thursday.
The next step "low-tech" learning session on 7/14
On Thursday, 7/14, it was time for the students to demonstrate what I taught them. We began with the 3 skills -> everyone was able to tell their skills in stories and then move forward and execute on their elevator value pitch. This is not an easy thing to do for anyone – these students made it look easy. Everyone wrote down their pitch and shared it and I had only to make minor edits for their execution strategies.
Getting the chance to go back on 7/21 was amazing too – focusing on the interview skills boot camp and having a co-presenter was so powerful. As an educator, I am used to sharing the spotlight at times and having a co-teacher but as an solopreneur, I am more used to doing my work on my own. That being said, having a co-presenter for this was amazingly powerful for the students. I am going to wait until my interns share about what they thought about this training before I add more.
I hope to be presenting at more and more schools in the New York City area with my College Readiness and Career Readiness. I hope to be at your school soon! If you are interested in learning more about my training programs, click here.
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Enjoy reading this blog post by my intern, Jalynn mcmillan a future pr maven...
Hello, this Jalynn Mcmillan and I am an intern for Lisa Vento Nielsen for the summer of 2016. I am thrilled to be interning for her as I plan to pursue a career in public relations. Many of the things we (me and the other intern Jennifer) do while interning for Lisa are directly related to our career goals. I would highly recommend interning for Lisa, she is very kind-hearted and patient, if you ever have any questions she's more than happy to help you. She can really help you better yourself.
This internship will help me learn a lot of new skills like marketing, photography and of course will help my resume. Since 80% of resumes end up being thrown out, it is crucial to know how to build a resume that will get you hired. One of the books I am currently reading by Lisa is also truly informative The Book on Career Readiness: The Prof's Guide to Graduating College with a Job Offer.
Last week on Tuesday and Thursday, Lisa did her Career Readiness Training at Staten Island Technical School. The other intern, Jennifer, wrote about her thoughts on that training here. It is exciting to be able to share my thoughts on the event, too. Lisa is interested in having us be “career-ready” and writing a blog post definitely fits in to my career goals of public relations. I am also working on creating some press releases for her company, too! Look for updates on that from me soon, too.
On Tuesday July 12th at Tech, she spoke about topics such as what it takes to get hired and how to make a resume worth reading that won't end up in the trash. As younger people, it may be harder for all of us to be hired. Not only for teenagers in high school, but also for me a sophomore in college. The hard truth is millennials get stereotyped. Employers might take one look at us and their head will be filled with negative, harsh judgements of us right away without even giving us a chance. They could think we are always going to be on our phone or that we are bad communicators or that we are too young to be responsible. Lisa talks about the ways to prove that we all don't fit into that stereotype.
It's also important to utilize social media. Our generation may have to prove ourselves harder than other generations but we have some tools that can help this be easier, too. LinkedIn should be your new best friend. Well, not literally but it can 100% help you on your career search. Even if you are in high school it's never too early to start, who knows it might help you land an awesome internship. If you want to be a journalist you could post some articles on there, if you want to be a filmmaker you could post some of your films, or if you want to be an artist you could post some of your artwork. This will help you be seen by employers. Lisa always says use social media to showcase your brand. Furthermore, it is essential to stay true to yourself and be authentic.
The most important thing you should know is how to create a resume worth reading. Employers want academic success and extracurricular activities but they also want experience. You should have references as well. When building a resume it should be in reverse chronological order. The most relevant should come first and the least relevant last. You should focus on the latest and greatest. As Lisa would say, remember this is the script of your story and it's the paper that gets you in door but it's you that gets you hired.
She also had extensive help on what to do during an interview and based on her talk, I documented these rules that will help you on an interview:
Thanks for reading my post! Please follow me on Twitter @nextstep_jalynn and Instagram @thenextstepintern_jalynn and continue to learn from The Next Step via this blog, her YouTube Channel, her books and on Twitter & Instagram @thenext_step123.
Also, please sign up for exclusive content and other special news/events here --> The Next Step Exclusive Content & Offers.
I am proud to showcase my intern Jennifer Riddo’s take on my training that I presented on July 12th at Staten Island Technical High School. Not only did she take photos and some video for social media but she also drafted up this blog post for me.
I particularly like how she wrote about the experiences of learning with me as my intern – I have shared already the prep work I did as a career readiness expert for the interns (read about it here). Thanks for learning with me, too!
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Guest post on career readiness training by Jennifer riddo
Hello my name is Jennifer Riddo. If you don't know anything about me one thing is I love to write. I am honored to be an intern with the Next Step this summer. I am learning so much so far and can't wait to learn more through this program to help me take my next step in applying for college and starting my career.
I am elated to be a guest blogger and have this opportunity. Lisa's projects are very engaging. I even read the The Prof's Guide to Enterpreneur-ING. (Order your copy of the book here.)
It was a great read and one of my favorite quotes from Lisa in this book was, " You do not need to be your own company to be a boss. You just need to identify how to rock out on your career as if you are CEO of yourself."
I found this quote to be very inspiring since I tend to look at people who are my bosses as being in charge of me. It helped me learn how to run my future because I got the power to take charge of myself.
This past Tuesday I went along with Lisa and the other intern, Jalynn, to attend The Next Step's Career Readiness training event at Staten Island Technical High School. Lisa discussed college and career readiness tips to help students take their next step to success. You can learn more about her work on this here --> College and Career Readiness Training and Workshops.
During her interactive presentation, Lisa provided great advice that resonated to me even as her intern taking pictures. Lisa described the importance of building your brand. I am sure when you hear brand, you think Michael Kors or Coca Cola. At least, that is what I always thought of when I heard the word "brand".
We are all our own person and our brand is who we are as a person. The brand of me is made up of my skills and talents and what I can bring to any job anywhere. No two people are alike that's why it is important for you to build and sell yourself as your own brand.
Lisa even said," LinkedIn is more powerful than a paper resume." I found this to be eye opening. As a 17 year old who never heard of the site it opened up my eyes to join in to help create and promote my brand. Since technology is advancing in the world, it is easier for a future employer to find you on the web.
I learned from Lisa's talk that sometimes people write too much on their resume and that hiring managers do not want to read paragraphs; however, LinkedIn can allow for more "space" since it is not a paper based tool.
Lisa also spoke about the importance of knowing your passion and having a back up plan for your career. Since the job field is very competitive having a back up plan after college is a must. It's best to find your passion and figure out how to connect it to a career field of interest. If you love waking up every morning to go to work it's not a job. If you think about it for a second, you are getting paid to do what you love. I thought this was really powerful and I am glad I got to hear it while I am still in high school!
Of course, she spent some time talking about the importance of interviews. I look at an interview as the most important part of the job. If you blow the interview your chance of receiving the job is very slim. Lisa considers your resume the script on the interview. This means that your resume is basically a piece of paper that holds all of your stories.
She spent a lot of time talking about the importance of "stories" and how it is your stories that make you who you are and present your brand and your "professional self" to the interviewers. Don't be afraid to tell your stories.
Lisa also spoke about the importance of being proactive. When applying for an internship it is a good idea to have a list of skills you would like to learn. From that list of skills, show your future employer. It is important to work with them to learn those skills through your internship.
Lisa is the type of person that makes you feel comfortable from the start. When you meet her, you can tell she is really willing to help you. She is the safest person to network with and she is a great resource for help as she told the students we met with at Tech.
As someone reading Lisa's blog, I advise you to use her resources to the best of your ability. As well, feel free to follow me on Twitter @nextstepintern, where I promote and share more about the Next Step. You can also follow Lisa on Twitter and Instagram to learn more from her. This internship is a great experience and writing about it as an aspiring journalist has been an amazing way for me to execute on learning and practicing great skills for my next step. I hope to have the chance to share my experience with you again soon.
photos credit my interns Jennifer & jalynn -stay tuned for jalynn's post about the training
As the career readiness expert of Staten Island (I mean, I wrote The Book on Career Readiness, after all) when I found out I would be getting two interns who could begin work on July 5th, I kind of went a little out of control.
I began with this video showcasing my PPT file and what I hope to teach the interns:
Then I made a more detailed video about the full skill set mapping and project management level planning:
I also wanted to make a companion post to the one about Positioning my Company to be the College Readiness Expert post about Career Readiness – so here it is. Showcasing the content I use to build my lessons and workshops and how I am branding myself as an expert. Just a sample of content on these topics can be found here Blog Posts on University Advice.
To build off of that content I am also creating longer YouTube Videos – such as this one- my first in a series for Career Readiness:
And of course, I began podcasting on Career Readiness, too:
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And putting all of this in action is my recently created training document and orientation video for my interns, who I am going to meet this morning. I am really putting my all behind this college and career readiness - and having two interns for the summer means a) this solopreneur gets to have help building out some projects and b) I get to help two students be more career ready. I am even sharing the video I made for them that shares my 7 top projects I need help with and so much more..
Oh and do not forget about my College and Career Readiness Workshops. What do you think about my career readiness push? Tomorrow's blog post will be about my upcoming 5th book - the next in the College and Career Readiness Series all about Workplace Readiness. Please consider following me via any of my social media or letting me know your thoughts in the comments. Happy hunting!
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The 7 projects i need help with AND the skills the interns will gain from them - career readiness
I spend a lot of time in my workshops for the NYC Ladders for Leaders program trying to “teach” how to build a network. For some, this can be as natural as breathing but for others, it is like trying to walk backwards on the moon without oxygen.
I have found that those who are great at networking are really just making it look easy. It is not an easy thing to do and for most of us, we struggle. Yes, us. Even me. As much as I am social and gregarious (meaning – I love to talk) it is still something that is hard to do.
During my lessons and in my books, I give the game plans on how to network for both seasoned professionals and those just starting out in their careers. Some of my quick pointers are:
What do you think about my quick insights into building a network? Please join my network by following me on Twitter or signing up here for special content and offers through my mailing list.
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As a small business owner, a mom and an educator, I have been quite busy and looking forward to a long weekend to focus on my next to do list and to relax a bit. I definitely have tons of initiatives under way and more to come on building my business as the college and career readiness expert for Staten Island AND for the work I do with individual clients around the country on professional branding and more.
Recently, I was asked to contribute to another blog via Teacher.org's website - my first two posts launched this week and it solidifies my experiences and expertise on college and career readiness:
Being Career Ready: Quick Lessons on Being Career Ready
The Facts on Implementing College Readiness: The Facts on Implementing College Readiness
What do you think of the articles?
I am so looking forward to a big week next week at the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce (and others) CareerCon with my table to represent my company! I hope to see you there on June 2 (make sure you sign up for the event via eventbrite, though)!
Have a great weekend everyone and please keep reading and sharing my lessons! Take the time this weekend to remember and thank the people who keep our country safe - remember those who gave their lives to do so, too.
Happy Memorial Day & Happy Hunting!
In my workshops on Getting the Job, I spend a lot of time talking about building a brand. The lessons I give to the 16-24 year old students who I am teaching are focused for their age group BUT the ideas behind it are applicable to all.
As a small business owner who specializes in helping people "brand" themselves, I have tons of advice and how-to's on using LinkedIn to get noticed. And it works. It is a different level of lessons though for my students through the Ladders for Leaders program but the basic principles apply. Here are some of my best "rules" to use to get noticed on LinkedIn.
1) Use LinkedIn to share industry related content - do not be "spammy" but do share occasional interesting to you news articles about the industry you want to join. When you are ready to do so, you can and should include a brief description about the article and why you are sharing it but be very careful to make sure your sentence structure is great and all spelling and grammar is perfect, too. Try to do this at least once a month. Beware you do not post the same article twice.
2) Your summary should be on point - it should boil down to your Elevator Value Pitch
about who you are and what you can do. As I mentioned on Instagram recently, I just updated my LinkedIn Summary and it was a true case of the cobbler's kids having no shoes - I do this for a living and yet my LinkedIn summary was lacking. Now, it reads how I want it to read showcasing my company and what I do and as a bonus, it helped me update my About page for this website, too.
3) Consider inviting people to connect with you in a professional way. If you are on an interview or at a networking event and find yourself really connecting well in person, you can and should ask if it would be acceptable for you to connect with them on LinkedIn. You should have tailored "inmails" ready to be used for people you target by industry or role - my book, The Book on Career Readiness - The Prof's Guide on How to Graduate with a Job Offer
has these templates included in my chapter on LinkedIn.
4) Be professional always on LinkedIn - your profile picture should be of just you in professional attire. Do not post things that would better be kept to Facebook or just off social media entirely.
Look for a post soon about my specific social media strategy for all career professionals to be noticed and hired quickly! Also, if you follow these quick 4 tips for LinkedIn, you will be noticed and contacted - and find yourself having a high conversion rate of clicks to interviews! If you are not sure how best to execute this plan, you can consider hiring me for the $150 LinkedIn Overhaul package in which I provide you with a personalized career plan, one on one coaching and personalized instructions on how YOU should use LinkedIn - click here to learn more.
Happy Hunting and please sign up to get exclusive offers and content here: Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers
I have been building this business since July – unless you count the years and years of other experience that I use in building this business then this has been in play since 1994. I found that giving my workshops and seminars really helped me to formulate the lessons and the experiences that college students and young career people today need to be successful.
One of the worst things young people can do today do is be complacent. They can look around and see some people rocking and rolling on their goals and to do lists and I think it freezes them and makes them think “why should I start now?” I blame social media for this, honestly.
When I was growing up, I mean, I was aware of what some of my closest friends were doing and knew some of them were smarter and more put together than me but I did not know without a doubt that yes, they ALL were smarter and more put together than me. I think by viewing people’s social media, we get this “false” sense of what other people are up to and sometimes this makes us unable or unwilling to move forward on our goals. There are always some people who let their freak flag fly on social media (please if you follow me and learn with me, do not do this) but most people post their curated life, their acceptance letters, their perfect hair and activities…
It is important to not focus on what other people are doing and instead focus on the skills of the future. In my books, seminars and workshops, I provide real actionable steps on how to cultivate these skills for the future. Here is just a quick rundown of some of the skills I promote and how to get them:
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I created a customized content solution by being able to offer the second workshop for the Ladders for Leaders program in my online learning center, which can be found at www.thenextstep1234.moonami.com.
I broke up this workshop into 12 distinct “lessons” and used my VoiceThread license to create interactive lessons using the PowerPoint file. The lessons covered are:
This workshop can also be done in person. I found that again it “wrote” itself with my extensive corporate experience coupled with my years as an educator, I was able to create real focused lessons and put it into an online environment for my students to complete on their own time.
Each lessons contains a flat PowerPoint file, my video lesson using VoiceThread and the PowerPoint, links to videos for viewing and then a forum where students can interact and document their thoughts on the lessons. So for example, after the Professional lesson, I ask the students to document what they need to feel professional. I think this can help them build out their script for their interviewing and their futures.
What do you think about online workshop delivery? This content and workshop is available for both in person and online delivery. I am considering turning this into a teleseminar, too. Click here to schedule me to give this workshop for your students book The Next Step for your training and workshop needs.
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My company, The Next Step, has been doing workshops for the Ladders for Leaders program (read more about it here). Over the past two weeks, I have been presenting, in person, Workshop 1 called “Getting the Job”. I have presented these workshops to 4 core groups of students (or cohorts). The whole workshop is 6 hours; we broke it up into two 3-hour in person sessions. Each session was different and each one was amazing and exhilarating.
The first topics covered in part 1 of Workshop 1 were:
The topics covered in part 2 of Workshop 1 were:
Are you interested in having me speak on these topics at your school? I also am providing this workshop via a webinar for online viewing. If you are interested in attending an online version of this training, let me know. I also updated my web pages showing more of my training offerings on both College and Career Readiness Seminars page and my Online Course Curriculum and Training.
I am looking forward to bringing these workshops to more students for their next steps in career readiness! Happy Hunting!
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Lisa Vento Nielsen