Project management are skills that I use every day in my career, running my business, as an educator and even at home. These are skills you probably use too, but do not even know it.
You can learn a quick definition about Project Management and the skills needed here from the Project Management Institute Website. I also have been blogging about project management, too.
I find myself following project management principles with my business as if I am running multiple projects together that roll up into what makes my company a company. For The Next Step these individual projects are:
I also need to be aware of my resources – which are in a sense limited… For my in-person events, training and speaking engagements, I cannot overbook or double book. I need to have the availability to be at each event, client and/or classroom for the “magic” to happen. Yes, I said “magic” – deal with it. I know I am corny. I truly am passionate about what I do and every event I have is infused with my energetic and passionate presentation. I utilize a PowerPoint file in the background, my books as the take home part of the event but during the event, it is all me and the interaction with my “students” no matter how many or their ages.
For my online events and courses, the limitations are not as severe. I could theoretically host up to 250 students online and still be “teaching” and helping them take their next step. That is why I am working on offering more online learning sessions and options for those who would like help taking their next step.
Managing a business that belongs to me and fits my personal and professional needs oh and is kind of successful has been a dream of mine for the past 14+ years when I first thought about being an entrepreneur and then went for it and failed a bunch of times in the process. Now, I am poised at being able to persue this passion around helping people prepare for college, careers and professional Next Steps.
Are you learning with me yet? I teach about Project Management specifically for careers (and more) via Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning – courses will begin again in the Fall – click here for more information: Seminars on Project Management. Happy Hunting!
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I had a very big week last week and I think this week is shaping up to also be a bit intense and exciting. I am working on some potential big announcements over the next few weeks so please stay tuned!
My online article about my business in the Staten Island Advance (read the article here) really gave me a big boost in terms of promoting my business and hearing from potential new clients and partners. It also gave me the confidence I needed to set up my table at the Wagner College and St John’s University Career Fair last week and I am so glad it did because that event was amazing for my company to network with other business owners in Staten Island and service providers from outside the borough PLUS I got to meet and mentor some great students who also gave me their resumes for potential internships with my company.
I am so lucky that I have a “plan” that I follow and add to as I go because I think this is how I have been able to accomplish a lot in the last (almost) 8 months since I hit “publish” on my website www.thenextstep1234.com. I have written and self-published two books; I have almost 200 blog posts floating around and gaining readership as we speak in the great world of the internet. I have been a speaker at a few events and have countless more scheduled in my book over the coming weeks and months. I have an amazing partnership with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning to provide seminars and lessons on cutting edge career and education topics (find out more here and here) and I have more exciting developments and initiatives in the works.
Just yesterday morning, as my family sat down to breakfast and we checked out the Staten Island Advance print edition, there in section A on page 4 was the amazing write up about my business and I was dubbed “Sherpa for youth” based on my extensive content on my blog on university advice as well as my college and career readiness seminars and workshops and my books on College Readiness and the one I am working on how to graduate with a job offer. (Find out more about my books here Amazon Author Page).
The feeling of excitement, pride and humbleness that this caused is indescribable. I know I am not a mommy blogger but the look on my kids’ faces was enough for me to know that my balancing act of focusing on my business and these initiatives while also trying to be a hands on mom is so worth it – it is hard sometimes to balance but it is so worth it. This is my passion and all of my years of experience as an executive, educator and entrepreneur have led me to this business in this iteration and as I have said many times before, the reason this is so successful is because I tell my authentic stories in blog, in person and in print to build my business by helping people take their next steps.
What do you think about press and promotion? How do you manage building your brand as a business? If you are not a business, do you think these lessons in press and promotion can be applied to you? Keep an eye on this blog for a future post about that –how to use press and promotion to build your brand as a career person (in draft now!). Also, if you are interested in a speaker, click here to book Speaking Engagements.
Thanks and happy hunting!
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College and Career Readiness - getting the college students of the future prepared for their next step
This week I am speaking at a youth event on college/career readiness and including social media as a touch point in my discussion. It was very timely that I saw (and shared) this Mobile EdWeek.org article on how only 8% of high school students are college and career ready.
I plan on using some information and points from my book(s) - The Book on College Readiness is published and the second installment in the series on How to Graduate with a Job Offer is in process- and points from my workshop program that I do at some local Staten Island area high schools. If you are interested in speaking with me or booking me for an upcoming event, click here Speaking Engagements.
My thought process is to keep the talk to around 20 minutes and to highlight some of my most important lessons for this age group. Bear with me as I flesh this out using my blog as a thought collector. Like I tell my students, it is time to throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks...
My plan is to start with my introduction highlighting my experiences as an executive, educator and entrepreneur and tying it back to my background here locally on Staten Island - the schools, the experiences I had as being from a "small town" outside of a big city are what made me who I am and how I was able to transition to living in Europe, being in Asia for work and more.
Building off of this idea of being from Staten Island, I think it is important to spend a bit of time talking about "stereotypes" and what that means for them and their futures. Then, I will focus on how to be "ready" for college with picking the right school and having the perfect application "for you"! See, each student is different and every application needs first and foremost reflect you and your strengths authentically. I will talk about how to get the best recommendation letters and how to have work experience and build a portfolio of school work.
The skills needed in this future economy will also be addressed in my prof-like way - I will include teaching/learning and public speaking as my two main ideas but I will include the theory of "project management". I will talk about building a network of people interested in helping them in their futures and include myself as someone to include by trying to follow up with me and get a free resume review.
I will then spend time weaving in social media and the do's and don't's of maintaining a profile that is both youthful and professional. There is a way to be both! It's not easy, though.
What do you think of my college and career readiness "quick" talk? I go into a lot more detail and training in my other seminars and workshops. I do anticipate this piece of my business becoming one of the largest for me to manage and potentially expand around. On Thursday, I will be representing my company at the Career Fair at Wagner College because I do see the need of growth as I position myself and my company as the expert for the Staten Island / tri-state area on preparing students for college and career. I work on larger formats of training in the form of workshops and quick seminars and also my various books and content that is available on my blog for free are also resources for this field.
So for this speaking event, of course, I will be bringing copies of my books to give away and some swag like magnets and such.
How do you build your business using speaking engagements? Do you like to speak in front of crowds? For this event I don't know if it will be 10 people or 200... I just go for it! Years of public speaking training have prepared me for anything - I provide this training with me at Seminars with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning!
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As a project manager from (almost) birth, I have the tendency to make project plans and to do lists and more on a daily basis. I have been always focused on managing things like “projects” even before I knew that was what I was doing. When I was in college, I would know down to the day count for requirements to finish the class – like “15 days until my paper is due and 22 days until my final” this was how I compartmentalized and studied and prepared.
I took this with me in my career. It started with my graduate assistant position in Italy; there were some real initiatives I helped with in terms of building databases and tracking application processes with the Queens campus and more.
Once I started my career for “real” at Merrill Lynch in Jersey City, I knew that I was interested in building tasks and plans around activities. It was not until I got to Standard & Poor’s in January 2001, though, that I learned enough to put a name on what I was doing as “project management”. By 2003, I was applying to the Project Management Institute to get my certification in Project Management.
There are stages to projects and in order to sit for the test you need to show documented project hours in all of the stages and sometimes just doing the application process for this exam is a project in itself. As I talk in this post about project management skills and why these skills are important for YOU to learn, I have to mention that for those of you who already KNOW this to be true and are interested in achieving the PMP certification that I am offering an intensive course at Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning to help people prepare for and pass the PMP exam (find out more here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/pmp-exam-prep/). This course is taught by me and uses my unique learning and teaching style to get you ready to take the exam.
How can being a project manager help with your career?
For those of you who are new to your career and/or have been "typecast" in a certain role and are interested in breaking out and getting more respect, money and/or responsibility in your career, the idea of project management is something that you might want to be taught on by me. I am an expert in Project Management with over 12+ years in Corporate America as a project manager and now as an entrepreneur, I use project management skills and techniques daily to grow my business.
You should register for my upcoming seminar at Wagner College on Project Management (to register, click here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/). I teach about the ways in which you can use these "project management" skills and how you have already been using these skills, without realizing it. Particularly for the young professional who has found themselves “stuck” in retail or in dead-end admin type jobs, this focus on project management skills training is so important to diversify and become competitive.
These skills allow for you to be a generalist, which is so important in today’s job market, while being able to apply these skills and talents to any job or industry or market. I want to also mention to those who have blank spaces on their resumes (see more here Transitioning Back to the Workforce) having this type of training for the price point we offer it for at Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning is a great way to kick start your learning process and prepare you for your next step.
My two recent books that I have published (order today on my Amazon Author Page) have chapters dedicated to the skills needed in this job market and for your career planning process and I talk at length about Project Management and how these skills are so important. Why just read the book when you can get lessons from me in real life here on Staten Island?
Would you be interested in learning with me in person this May? Register today here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/ and happy hunting!
So much has been happening in terms of my entrepreneurial journey that I thought it definitely deserved a blog post all of its own.
Having two published books now (find out more Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com) has been an immense addition to my business. I understand that this is not something everyone can or should do but for me, it has been this snowball like experience with my content and marketing and more.
I got to drop off some copies of my books yesterday to some business partners (both potential and actual) and it was amazing how it was received – this is a big deal to have as an entrepreneur as a kind of calling card. So, in other words, instead of networking and dropping off my business cards to make connections, I can include my book(s). Which book is dependent on the audience – for some of my potential and current partners, the Entrepreneur-ING book is the one to share and for others it is The Book on College Readiness and for some it is both books. Yes, I have a LOT of irons in the fire!
I am excited to share that College of Staten Island will be raffling off some copies of my Entrepreneur-ING book at an upcoming school event. Also, I am in talks with some other local colleges to do the same. Last but not least, thanks to my youngest brother, I am featured on an author radio interview program that aired on Thursday 3/10 – not singing of course but talking about my new books. The link to hear the interview is here: My Radio Interview on Entrepreneur-ING
This link with my presenting the real ideas and passion behind my company is why I am the person to help you with media training and interview prep. I was nervous before this interview because I had never been on the "radio" before and as much as I love to speak, there is a challenge with speaking through the phone line and without facial cues and body language. Oh AND it was recorded "live" meaning no "whoopsies" allowed! That being said, if you listen to the whole thing, you will see how it went. I was quite pleased with the whole interview. I think my enthusiasm and passion came across and that I also was able to present my expertise without "bragging" - it was through stories. What do you think?
On Wednesday, I met with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning to discuss some of the initiatives The Next Step is working on with them (find out more here Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business
and here Seminars at Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning), and during the meeting we marveled at how much is happening so quickly. We were chatting about how I might need to scale – and I can see it. I am a solo-entrepreneur right now but I do not see that staying for long. I do see the need to potentially have an intern in the 3-6 month time frame and that is why I will be at the upcoming career fair for St John’s and Wagner College.
I wrote and published two books because I had so much to share – and the next installments of both series are underway and will be published soon. I have different strategies for my products and my business. I am focusing on getting into the high schools and doing workshops and seminars on how to be ready for college. In addition, I have some other upcoming speaking engagements to share my message and like I said in my Impostor Syndrome Post, I am the source – I have over 13+ years’ experience across higher ed, corporate America and entrepreneurship so it is an interesting background to have for my small town.
I am lucky enough to have been networking and meeting tons of people over the last few months since I have re-launched and everyone has been wonderful, helpful and given great advice. I have mentioned in previous posts that I work with the SBDC and SCORE as well as other organizations to make sure I am positioning my business well.
So to say I have a lot going on is an understatement. What do you think about the business and the way I am running with it? Do you think publishing books is important to being an entrepreneur today? Are you interested in reading my books? What do you think of my radio interview? Happy Hunting!
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As an entrepreneur, I am interested in always finding new ways to promote my business, my mission and me. Publishing book(s) is definitely a big way to do this and I now have two books self-published (more on this later in the week or click here for Lisa Vento Nielsen Author Page on Amazon.com.
I had a great week last week with some very interesting meetings and accomplishments that I wanted to spend some time on this Monday morning reflecting on and sharing my lessons learned.
Using Constant Contact
Last week, I created my first newsletter using Constant Contact. People have been registering with my site to get exclusive content and I have been working on an editorial calendar to deliver something new and exciting each week via newsletter in addition to the daily blog posts. I have a lot of lessons to share so this has been working out well.
People are interested in learning more from me based on the blog and social media plan I follow. Those who sign up from my website are important to me because they took the time to register their email address with me. Every one of my 300+ unique visitors, of course, are important to me of course but those who take the time to sign up definitely deserve extra content and surprises! (Sign Up Here for The Next Step Exclusive Content and Offers ).
It was a simple process to design a newsletter, include some photos and some great insider view content. The template matched my site design and I was able to personalize the whole newsletter and send it to my contacts, networking partners and other with a few clicks. In addition, after the newsletter is scheduled, I can automatically have it post to my social media following a set schedule for more people to read and see what I am doing in this more personal way. It is like a personalized email from me for the week. I will add more detail around Constant Contact once I get more skilled at using it - this is just my second newsletter launching today so I need some time to see if there are results to using a weekly newsletter or if I should do it maybe once a month instead. I am still figuring this out for my business. If you use Constant Contact or some other form of email connection with your clients and subscribers, what do you think works? I would love to hear from you on your lessons.
First PRWeb Experience
Also last week, I wrote, designed and set up my first official press release to go out on the “wire” using PRWeb. This was an investment but I wanted to really make a splash in the media for the east coast about my first book, Entrepreneur-ing and I was also able to include reference to my (now-published) second book on College Readiness.
The whole process was simple from start to finish except for the ultimate fear I experienced that I would make a typo or otherwise make a mistake for sending this out to tons of media organization and other industry focused recipients. This press release is launching this morning and I will make a follow up post on whether the $259 investment was worth it.
PRWeb had cheaper options (beginning at $99) but this was the package that seemed to provide the most potential growth in terms of website hits and potential interest in my book and content.
The website is straightforward to use and you can use their “template” to load in your content on your press release. I had already had a press release written about the Entrepreneur-ing book but I did have to edit it and make it more press-ready. I could include URL links but they had to be 100 words apart to avoid the press release being considered “spam”. I will provide an update on if this investment was worthwhile once I get my results from PRWeb and see how that translates into my business – for instance, will people buy my book or will I get calls for more speaking engagements, etc.
My main focus is on the local geographical area and that was why I selected certain cities in the East coast to highlight for this press release.
As someone who does not normally spend money on promotion and marketing, this is a very interesting experiment for me. I was at one point paying to “boost” my Facebook and Twitter posts but other than that, I have not been “paying” to create buzz for my site. Shortly after launch, I was getting between 100-150 people a day on my site and within the last month it has spiked to between 220-350 people a day on my site. This has been great and I am seeing some conversion in terms of sales but now that I also have some published books, I would love to see a greater conversion rate and some “passive” income due to royalties from said books.
Have you ever used a Press Release service to share content? What did you think about it? Was it worth the investment?
I had a meeting last week with the Staten Island Economic Development Council SIEDC (http://siedc.org/) and I will be attending some networking events as a “mentor” and will be the speaker at the May 17th Business Council meeting. I will be sharing lessons on blogging and social media at that meeting and I am so looking forward to sharing my excitement over how blogging and sharing content can help build a business and a reputation.
There are many more irons in the fire, so to speak and I am looking forward to sharing with you how things turn out between the press release, my Constant Contact experience and my upcoming speaking engagements. I am a real entrepreneur who is interested in bringing you along on my journey. If you are interested in becoming an entrepreneur, you should really consider looking into the certificate course I provide with Wagner College Department for Lifelong Learning on Entrepreneurship: Building Your Own Business which will provide you with the tools, skills and abilities to go from zero to launch for your own business.
Now is the time to consider being entrepreneurial and you can even take my lessons in this course and apply it to a side-gig or other initiative that you can do while still working full time. In addition, if you are interested in just a “taste” of how being entrepreneurial can help your career, consider signing up for the seminars at Wagner College on How to Take the Next Step in Your Career; as I just published the book on Entrepreneur-ing and it’s potential impact on careers, you can assume this seminar will run again if you cannot make the first installment on March 1.
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Interviewing How To
The trick of interviewing is to be personable, professional and practiced. Those 3 P’s are the most important way to make a great impression and it goes without saying that you must also be “punctual”. At times, life happens but I am by default always early by at least 30 – 45 minutes. Here are some of my words of advice on interviewing:
More on Interviewing:
Recently a student asked me if it was okay to go on an interview even if the job was not appealing. In my opinion, I think this is a conundrum. On the one hand, you do not want to waste anyone’s time – your own or someone else’s. On the other hand, there are times where you have limited information about the job and even less information about the company and their other departments, divisions and needs. It is therefore in your interest to make a point to go to interviews even if you are not sure the company or the job is a good fit for you. It allows you to meet new people, to practice your interviewing skills and maybe could lead to your next step through indirect means. For instance, you might meet with XYZ company about this job but they know someone is hiring within their industry or even within their company for something else and pass your information along.
If you are professional, punctual, practiced and prepared you might find yourself with additional opportunities and that is why I ultimately advised the student to go on the interviews, even if the job did not seem to be a good fit.
What do you think about my advice? Do you think interviewing more helps you be a better interviewee? Would you consider taking training in my seminars at Wagner College on How to Take Your Next Step which focuses on interviewing training, media readiness and more? Click here to find out more: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/seminars-offered-by-the-next-step-and-wagner-college-office-for-lifelong-learning.html
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How to be professional goes hand in hand with how to be a great co-worker. I think this is a topic that is a great one to give my lessons about. As a professor, whenever I say we are doing group projects almost everyone groans. People need to realize this being in groups will follow them for their whole lives. So much of our career is spent dealing with other people. Every group project in college is an unmitigated disaster yet I still assign group projects in all of my classes. Why? Because I am a jerk? No, because that is real life. You will graduate and you will be assailed by the same stereotypical group members that you had for your worst ever group project in almost every way at work. Some people do get very lucky and never deal with that dynamic again but think about it – if you have never had a bad experience with a co-worker at work, maybe YOU are the bad co-worker? (I imagine someone sitting there and thinking -- Mind = blown.)
Everyone has a horror story or just wears badges of honor from dealing with political minefields at work. If you really sit and compare your work and your place in the office hierarchy on a daily basis, you will go insane. You cannot do that. You can, however, be the best most professional version of you that you can be. You can focus on your tasks and on motivating those around you to be the best they can be, too. This is not easy.
This is being a project manager – you become responsible for the greater picture and all of a sudden ,even though you hate talking to that person you are now responsible for that person doing their deliverable. This is being in a matrix organization, too, though – you do not even have to consider yourself a project manager (trust me you are one or you can be one if you let me unlock your potential here http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/) you can just be in any modern organization with more than 10 employees. Tasks overlap and what you need done has to be done for your to succeed. Do you know how to motivate someone to do that (blogger note to self: future blog post idea).
A way to be a go-to member on any team is to be a good co-worker. You can do this by:
What do you think about these steps to being a great co-worker? Do you think it is important to be considered a great co-worker? Why or why not? Happy Hunting!
You can use social media to cultivate an authentic, professional online version of you and it is quite easy to do. The plan I want you to follow is to have a "professional" version of the online accounts that can best be leveraged into building your brand and finding your next step in your careers. My lessons on what tools you can use to build your brand and how to use them are here in this post.
I have been thinking about making a post about this for some time; there is so much out there with social media that we do to curate our lives and share our best moments or best dinners but we do not always use social media in a way that can help our careers. In fact, for a large percentage of the population social media is actually harming their career options.
People use Twitter as though it was a whisper to their best friend without processing that it is like taking an ad out in every newspaper in the world and saying whatever it is you said. I tell my students all of the time I do not get how the “Beliebers” who were posting about cutting themselves will find jobs like ever. And now it is the Kylie Lip Challenge and what will be next? There is so much out there that can be tied to you forever – if what I thought and wrote in my journal about when I was 12 was out in the internet, I would not be here doing this blogging… As of now, my diaries are in my attic and on lock down just so my kids don’t find and read them… (More on social media mistakes http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/pitfalls-of-social-media).
You can use and cultivate an authentic, professional online version of you and it is quite easy to do. Some people chose to have a dummy account where they share the real them – maybe the infamous “finstagram” written about recently where people use it to share silly pictures of themselves vs their real instragram which is the “real” pictures. However, the better plan for you is to have a “professional” version of the online accounts that can best be leveraged into building your brand.
So that begs a question, what tools can you use to build your brand? As someone who is just recent to the world of “professional” social media, I can help you with this – my Facebook account was never over-used; in fact, I cut back on posting my children’s stuff about a year or two ago and now I use my facebook as a way to promote my business while still trying to be human and interacting with my actual friends who are on there. That being said, a bigger part of my “friend” life is outside of any website and in real life – I am lucky, though, to still be friends with girls from my high school, people from my MBA program and more…
I started using twitter for real only with my business before that I had an account that was dormant and that I only used once. I see the power of twitter, though – especially as a business owner. Every time I show my stats / unique visitors on my website it is predominantly from the social media sharing that I do of my posts and content. I have over 1500 people a week on my website and I do not pay for any advertising. I just share (I think) great content.
How to Build Your Brand
So here are my ideas on how you can build a “brand” on social media:
"Rules" for Posting
Quick rules for posting as we are trying to build your brand, please keep these boring rules in mind:
What do you think about my quick suggestions to begin to build your online “brand” – does any of these quick things appeal to you? Would you like to know more? Consider joining my seminars in March on How to Take Your Next Step that will be going over brand management and media training and more in person for only $99. Click here for more information: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-workshop/. Happy Hunting!
Overview on Importance of Learning
There are many ways to learn; the most important thing is to be open to learning. I think for a lot of people, the idea of new-ness is scary. I get that; I really do. As a Project Manager for my whole career, I know how much change scares people to the point that the defense mechanisms kick in and it becomes an uphill battle from day one to implement something new.
Before I even knew I was a project manager, I observed the launch of a brand new computer system while in university – this was moving from typewriters to computers for the staff of the office and it was one of the most painful things I have ever seen. The staff was predominantly older women and the idea of using a computer literally paralyzed most of them with fear. The old way of doing things was so ingrained for most of them; they had been in their positions an average of 10-15 years per person. This was not just switching a switch or pressing a button this was a radical re-learning and learning curve for brand new processes and steps.
I learned a lot just by observing. I did not understand why the training documentation glossed over the bare minimum of computer technology training that would have helped make the new machines on their desk a little less scary. I got to be a part of the training as it impacted my work, too, and I remember stopping the training and going back one on one with people on general computer know-how overviews.
The launch happened and no one was injured or hurt but the memory remained of the fear which led to stress and issues across the board. I slowly started my career in Project Management and always got rave feedback from teams because I always took the time to tailor the lessons, the training(s), and the launch to the unique needs of my user base. So much of project management is about communication and helping people learn – all of which helps people stop rejecting the change.
Mini-Case Study Review
A big part of my dissertation (drafted a few chapters only) was to be about the impact of learning styles on project success. Or something like that. The question always becomes how can you quantify. You can use Meyers Briggs or some other learning ideal to gauge success / failure rates but I did not get that far.
For what I can tell you is that being a learner will only help your career. I think this goes hand in hand with my previous post about being entrepreneurial in your career because as entrepreneurs, you are always learning. More on that post here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/manage-your-career-like-its-your-own-business-applying-entrepreneurial-traits-to-your-career
Think about how you like to learn and how you learn best; for some of you this might mean thinking back to your school days. However, if you work at a large corporation, you have probably sat through training and/or had to teach yourself something along the way. My plan is to influence you to take on these types of learning methods more often because learning is the key to career growth.
I am using the terms self-directed learning and learning from others as two learning styles to encourage. Ideally, you can and should have a mix of both learning experiences in building and growing your career.
Self Directed Learning
What does this mean? For our purposes, I am calling self directed learning something you can do for yourself. This can be done via online tutorials, reading materials and / or other things that you do on your own. This is a great way to unlock your potential and learn; you can do this at anytime and without relying on someone else to be present and/or online to do it. Also, you can learn at your own pace – if you need to go back and review previous chapters or lessons, you can do so without worrying about “other-itis” or what the other people are doing.
You can do this one on one with a book. Now, some people cringe at the sight of a book; I have never met a book I did not like. I adore reading and cannot stand to listen to an audiobook – maybe you prefer audiobooks. This is great; make the time to identify a skill set you need for your career. Remember the idea of soft skills and hard skills (more on soft skills here http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/improving-your-communication-skills-quick-hacks-to-being-a-good-communicator.
You can do a lot of self-directed learning if you think of the plan and execute on it. A good way to do this is to make a list. Make a list about what skills you are considered excellent at – are you the go to person for numbers on your team? Are you the go-to person for HTML coding on your team? Are you the “research” person; like someone needs to know how X is done in Y country and you find it? Are you natural at languages? Whatever these things are that you are already sharpest at, see if you can continue to improve on them – make yourself “known” in this field – do your research and share it in a blog or other place (post coming soon on building a brand online).
With that list, also add in the things that you are not so good at. Do you struggle with public speaking? Do you cringe when you have to write a report? Is email correspondence something you were asked to improve on? Think back to your performance review (cringe, shudder and move on) – what were you asked to improve on? And think about reviewing my tips on how to handle the performance review here: http://www.thenextstep1234.com/blog/how-to-do-your-first-or-50th-performance-review.
Now consider how you can move forward on those items – what books are available, what can you find on the web via YouTube (do not forget my YouTube channel for learning, too) and what can you do on your own to sharpen and improve those skills.
Learning from others
We are by nature sociable people (most of the time) and for some of us learning with others it the only way we stay on task and motivated. Also, it is a whole learning experience to have others taking the steps with you. Of course, as an educator, I am a great person to learn from in person or via my web channels and I am moving towards creating more interactive content and experiences for my followers. There are seminars and training courses you can take that can fit any budget (http://www.thenextstep1234.com/seminars-offered-by-the-next-step-and-wagner-college-office-for-lifelong-learning.html) and there is online and in-person options that can fit your schedule.
Identifying Your Learning Style
For this, you need to know which way is the best way for you to learn. Do you need concrete deliverables the type often found while learning from others? Or are you better working independently?
I have a quick learning story when I was leaving the country, I was 21. I had never spoken Italian – I mean, I took Italian for four years in high school and all I could do was the vowels and a prayer. Now I was moving to Italy and really wanted to learn the language. I could have went there without the language as the classes were all in English but I wanted to get “more” – that is who I am, I am a learner.
So I got a textbook or two and began studying almost every day for a few hours. I also found a tutor who was a friend of the family and went to her house once a week to study more. I literally re-wrote about 2-3 textbooks in memorization. Since this was 1998, there were limited online options for anything in terms of uhm anything so when I got off the plane with my dad I was flabbergasted with the sounds I heard coming out of everyone’s mouths; I thought maybe instead of studying Italian for the past 2-4 months that maybe I studied German by mistake. I then committed myself to doing and learning as much as I could in Italian and by 2 months of immersion living there and doing everything outside of class and studying in Italian, I was dreaming in Italian.
When I think about what I could have done with that lesson plan today with the wealth of information and “course” materials everywhere; I could have been watching Italian movies on Netlfix (still do this), reading Italian news on line (done) and watching YouTube videos, Rosetta Stone and more. Oh, and my tutor would have been someone who was fluent and would only speak to me in Italian… This is just one idea of how to use a mix of self and with others learning to move forward.
How can you use learning to identify and improve your skill sets? What do you think about learning for your career? Consider joining me in person to learn for your career: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-workshop/ and here on Project Management http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/.
You need to be ready to present yourself anywhere and anytime to be ready for your next step which is why my seminars in March at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning are including “media training” on the agenda. As a public speaker and now, in some ways, a public person sharing so much on my blog and vlog (youtube channel is here, please subscribe: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1JteHStt5UNE3buyBhLvMA) I want to revisit this with a quick video (or two) see below and also my lessons learned as I create and build my business presence like, everywhere.
The idea is that we all should be working on building our online "brand" - this is more than just our personal social media world of Facebook and Twitter and Instagram but adding a layer of professionalism or having a version of these tools for our professional goals. I can tell you right now that almost no one uses LinkedIn the way they should and a huge seller is my product to overhaul and improve LinkedIn profiles along with teaching people how to use their profile to help them get their next step. I will be doing this in my seminars for only the $99 cost as opposed to the product I sell, which is more money. So think about the value pricing there. A recent article said that hiring managers look first to LinkedIn to find candidates for open positions so do not miss out on using this to help build your brand.
Some of my lessons learned have actually been quite funny. As much as I talk about media training and what it means to job seekers, I recently made a mistake. Despite “teaching” the lessons to media training including being fully dressed even if the meeting is only of your face and I shot a whole video for my YouTube channel in full top professional attire and PAJAMA BOTTOMS – my family is still hysterical laughing over it. Thankfully, it was not a live shoot and I was able to crop the shot in editing to release it to my unsuspecting YouTube channel watchers but it was hysterical and ironic given how much time I spend preparing people for these types of things – even the prof can make mistakes! Obviously…
Another lesson I have been learning is what equipment works best and how to make better quality videos. I have been doing this only a short while and am definitely still learning how to do the best produced videos. I recently found an editing program that works with my Canon camera for my videos and I am pleased with that accomplishment but I am definitely still a learner in this area.
What do you think about social media and also the idea of being "media ready" for interviews and more? What are your plans for building your brand online? Will you be joining me at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning in March; register here: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/.Happy Hunting!
You need to stay ahead of the curve with technology; especially as women. So much that will be changing over the next 4+ years is going to impact jobs that are mainly women- dominated. So how can you prepare for this?
As an educator and a career “guru”, I will tell you that you need to continually learn and get focused on how to be ready for the changes that are coming. The only way to do this is to identify what are your skill sets that cannot be done by technology and how to apply said skills into new roles and new industries. This is not as tricky as it sounds.
A lot of work is project based; even for those who have no idea that it is – for instance, a small company and / or an old fashioned company might not realize that what they are doing with each day is a project based mentality. Even as a teacher, what we do is project based planning lessons, monitoring schedules, assessing people’s performance. The ability to identify, nurture and highlight these skills in project management can be the best way to diversify yourself and your career for your next step.
Identifying the skills around communication, teaching and management can all help propel you onto version 2.0 of your career path. Particularly if you are in the fields identified as being hardest hit by new technologies taking over said roles – those of admin, customer service, banking etc. You are already skilled in details and personality if you hold any of those jobs. However, are you ready to transition if tomorrow (or four years from now) those jobs do not exist any longer?
You need to identify who your “teacher” can be, your “Sherpa” so to speak to help you grow and guide your career. Have you considered taking a seminar with me at Wagner College for only $99 to identify your current skill sets that can be tweaked and moved over into the high demand world of Project Management?
Click here for more information:
Yes, it sounds like a doomsday prophecy but I can see it becoming true – the advances of AI and technology is astounding. There is an app that can be your own personal “concierge” and /or high powered “admin” available already and more are coming. People barely use the phones anymore for calling people and making appointments; things are done virtually via website and/or other methods of communication are used instead of direct contact.
Check out this video I made about project management, below and let me know in the comments or via any of my social media channels what you think about it. Happy Hunting!
How to apply my lessons learned as an entrepreneur to manage your own career - a mini-lesson with homework below:
As an adjunct professor since 2003, I have a lot of experience with creating content, devising curriculum and executing on said content and curriculum in both in-person and online classroom settings. As a public speaker since uhm birth, I am able to bring content to life in any format and on any topic (my first courses I taught were macro and micro economics and trust me, no one fell asleep in my classes despite the "dryness" of the topics - supply and demand curves anyone? Anyone? Bueller, Bueller? You get the idea.) You can see more about my teaching style on my YouTube channel (please subscribe if you like what I am creating).
I have been entrepreneurial in nature since 2004; I took my skills and abilities into consideration when I recently relaunched my business. I have been helping people get to their next step for the past 15 years by doing one-off projects of editing resumes, writing cover letters and more for various people in my network. Also, I have been an educator for almost 13 years where I have always brought in real-world advice and lessons along with textbook topics in a dynamic and engaging way.
Now, I am focusing on helping my clients get to their next step with career help (resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn Profiles) and education help (application essay and resume package) as a professional business and not just as a one-off. Also, I am using my skills to create real-world training and seminars on managing careers for clients.
With the relaunch of my website The Next Step in July of 2015, content has been one of my strategic advantages. I have used my blog as a way to distinguish myself as a provider of career advice, education help and more. My content and my social media strategy has been a huge part of how I have built my reputation, my client base and even specific strategic partnerships, like the one I have with Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning.
With this partnership came the ability to use my teaching expertise along with my Project Management background to create seminars to help people identify and take the next step in their career. This unique blend of corporate America experience as a Project Management Professional (PMP) since 2004 and as an educator since 2003 has helped me to create this seminar with amazing content and actionable next steps for those just starting out in their careers, those already working and interested in growth and even for those who have been out of the workforce for some time and need to re-train and re-tool their skills to return to the workforce.
On February 4, I will be launching this seminar to help people grow their career with Project Management. It is an exciting event for my company and for me as an entrepreneur. As an entrepreneur, you need to know your strengths and what you are able to do - I know that for two hours on Tuesday February 4, those who attend will learn from me how to grow their career with real actionable next steps.
I am including two videos below. The first one talks about how important it is to continually learn and how learning can help your career. There is a lot of research out there that shows being a generalist is better than being a specialist in this economy. I talk in this first video about how learning can help you remain ahead of the competition and help you to be a generalist in your own career.
The second video talks more about my upcoming seminars at Wagner College Office for Lifelong Learning and explains why attending these types of events can help you maintain your competitive advantage.
Now for your "homework" (I cannot help myself; I am an educator, after all.):
I wanted to make a post about the differences between teaching online and teaching in person.
For me, I love both methods of delivery and instruction because as challenging as it is to step in front of the room in front of a bunch of people, it can be just as challenging to engage those same students via technology.
I feel I am pretty adept at using technology to provide content and lessons across any medium. I would say this has only improved since I relaunched my business in July. Now I am using web based videos and looking into hosting teleseminars and more to help provide more and more content under The Next Step banner.
I have been teaching for (almost) 13 years and when I began teaching everything was done "outside" of technology. It was rare for you to email your students; if something changed and you needed to get a message to them, it had to be done in person (as in you would call security and have them put a sign up telling the class changes in schedule, etc). In 2003, we were just starting to use email methods of communication but even if you sent an email, there was no guarantee your students would read it because they more often than not had to log in to a desktop computer to even access those messages.
Over the last decade plus I have seen people move to more immediate ways of communication and though I took some online courses (asynchronous ones – meaning you could log in at any time to do the work) in 2008-2010, the way I launch and teach my online courses now just five short years later is much different and more robust and more student and teacher friendly.
When I was taking online courses for my DPS degree, the environment was kind of simplistic; just text answers and attachments allowed. Now, you can include video and make your PowerPoint files come alive with either Camtasia or Voicethread; you can actually make the classroom come alive via Moodle or Blackboard or whatever program you use for online delivery – heck, I feel I am making a classroom come “alive” by integrating video content into my site along with my blog posts. We have come a long way.
What do you think about online vs in-person learning? I will say that having an audience in front of you is very different to teaching to an "online" room. That being said, new technology is working on scanning and recognizing feelings by doing facial scanning and sending the information to the professor. This is interesting because I definitely use in person cues when presenting and teaching to figure out how people are feeling about the material. As I move forward with my seminars and other courses that I deliver both in-person and online, I look forward to learning from my audience and sharing the best information based on my lessons and curriculum.
I made this video using some new techniques with Camtasia but I do notice it is blurry. I need to work on my equipment and see what I did wrong. The content though of this video is all about how I became a teacher almost 13 years ago and what role mentors and being a good teacher play in making my decisions about my business and how I run it.
This video talks more about communication and using education to diversify yourself and to stand out from the competition. My seminars coming up at Wagner College for $99 or 3 for $229 are a great way to get your feet wet with continuing your education and growing your career.
There is so much based on my work, educator and entrepreneurial experience that I am bringing to my seminars at Wagner College. Find out more on my February seminar here: http://wagner.edu/lifelong-learning/career-management-seminar/
I hope to see you there next month! Happy Hunting!
Lisa Vento Nielsen