Tag Archives: young professionals

Nov 16 – “Empowerment & Your Job Search”

2 Nov

I had a great time recently volunteering my career coaching expertise at Pace University’s career coaching clinic, at their New York City campus!  The event was full of alumni and students enthusiastic about their job search and what’s next for them in their careers.  It was great to see so many people taking control of their search and empowering themselves to reach out and get the most mileage out of their resumes, job search strategy and interviewing skills!

On Tuesday November 16th I’ll be joining Pace University again to give a talk on “Empowerment & Your Job Search”.  I’m excited about this event, as there’s really something for everyone here, even those who aren’t actually IN a job search!  But you’ll have to attend to get the full scoop.  We’ll look at the key inner components of a results-driven job search, the not-so-obvious mistakes we make in the face of career transition, and how to build critical awareness around the limiting beliefs that keep you from generating the momentum you need, and how to break them down.

To register, visit the Pace Career Services website or the “Empowerment & Your Job Search” Facebook page.

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Honey, We All Have to Fetch the Coffee at SOME Point…

30 Aug

When you’re 21 years old and fresh out of college, you’re full of energy, exuberance, enthusiasm and a plethora of other anabolically-loaded words that start with “e”.  You can’t WAIT to get out into the working world and show the man what you’re made of.  “I’m going to be different – I’m going to change the [insert industry here] world as we know it!” And dammit, good for you!  It’s not the least bit realistic… but as you move through the ranks of the working world, experiencing the ups and downs of being a career-ist, you will no doubt realize just how valuable that unrealistic attitude can be for you.

Here’s a newsflash to the Class of 2010, and pretty much anyone who came before, and will follow suit – you don’t have to change the world.  Changing your own life to simultaneously fit what you want and what the world demands of you is hard enough.  Where we make the mistake is not putting enough value and acknowledgment on what we do every day, you know, the little things that don’t always garner the accolades, but end up being topics of “man, I never realized how much that would come in handy later,” conversations.  Maybe not even that.

When I was 21 years old, I was a senior in college, and slightly bitter, because alot of my friends had these fantasically lax schedules, chock full of BS classes (and that doesn’t stand for bachelor of science…) and plenty of down time to, well, “be a senior”.  My Wednesday during the spring semester of senior year started at 9am and ended at midnight, commencing with my PR internship, continuing with my liberal arts classes I’d left ’til last semester of college, climaxing with my 3-hour art studio courses, and finally dying down around 11:59pm when it was time to close up the gym in my dorm, where I worked part-time.  The next day it started all over again, with my THIRD job, which was working at a modeling agency in downtown Boston.

Some days that job was a nightmare.  I remember riding in on the train in the mornings from Brookline with nervous aches in my back because no doubt

Yours truly, at 21.

my boss would find something to scream at me about, whether it was my fault or not.    After all, I was just the intern.  And then we’d make up, joke about something stupid, he’d insult me again and I’d go out and get him his coffee and French crueller donut at Dunkin’s.  With the added benefit of graduating college at the tail-end of the dot-com bust, I didn’t really have a choice about working there.  Job prospects were scarce, and in early May of my senior year I signed onto the modeling agency full time, as the head of the men’s and runway division.  I put up with a lot from my boss, but at the end of the day, my job was to talk to, take pictures of and look at male models.  I never said I was looking for sympathy!

Nearly a decade later I’m looking back at that first job and realizing how much I’ve grown professionally, and also how much I put up with.  I look at some of the ridiculous tasks I was stuck with (putting together a giant metal filing closet, or picking up my boss’ burrito for dinner), and sure, I thought I could do better.  One day I got stuck walking my boss’ friend’s pitbull, Neno, down Newbury Street, where he decided to relieve himself in front of the upscale brunch-goers at the Armani Cafe.  Also not impressed was Jimmy Fallon, who Neno nearly attacked on the sidewalk, shortly after (and just think, without my hasty restraint, there may never have been Fever Pitch!).

But I also look at the opportunities that came from demonstrating that I wasn’t afraid to do the low-level boring tasks.   I could easily sit on my high horse and argue that I didn’t go to the best communications school in the country to answer phones and shuffle resumes.  But processing and faxing a couple of hourly timesheets each week at the agency lead to eventually managing the financials of a multi-million dollar company less than 2 years later.   Shuffling a few thousand resumes over 7 years produced the credibility to build my own company in career advising.   I’m still not afraid of the small stuff.  In fact, I love it, because there’s something bigger underneath it all!   I’m not picking up the coffee anymore, except for myself, seeing as now I only have myself to answer to.  But when you work for yourself, there is no one else to do the low-level tasks.  And I’m okay with that.  Because more than anything that I might have learned in 10+ years about recruiting, advertising, graphic design or art, I learned that entitlement gets you nowhere, and initiative opens up more doors than you can even imagine.  I’ll give partial credit for that lesson to my dad, a several-decade successful entrepreneur himself.   At 61, does he complain about still fetching the coffee every morning?  I assume not, since these days he’s the one drinking it.   Yea, you might get stuck taking on an extra PowerPoint or two, and you may hate it until the sun comes up, but someone will remember that you threw your hand up, in the end.

So you don’t have to change the world.  You just have to accept that change is the only constant, and as long as you’re willing to roll with it, you’ll undoubtedly be okay.  Not every day will be great, not every day will be tolerable.  But the next one has potential to be life-changing, if you choose to make it that way.  And it’s all about conscious choice, making choices that, while they may not be ideal, they’re still YOUR CHOICES and they’re in line with the authentic you.

Sometimes it’s the small accomplishments, even the things we don’t ask for, but we STILL GET DEALT, that make us stand out.  Don’t be afraid to embrace those things and turn them into positive experiences that open up other doors.  Don’t be afraid to stick your hand up and volunteer for the crappy job you really don’t want to do, because in the end, you’re the person who said, “Sure, why not?  It’s not below me to offer up my expertise.”  It was my conscious choice to be that person, to stand up and say, “See me?  I’m here! And I’m worth it!”  Coaching is all about shifting perspective, from the catabolic to the anabolic, but we all have the innate power within us to do it.  It just needs tapping into. There are not magical tools, and as you’ll read on my “Services” page, my practice thrives solely on people who want to believe in themselves, that they have the answers already, and who want to do the work to uncover the hidden treasure within.  That may sound a bit cheesy, but it’s true.  It is within.  I found it, and [holy deity] knows that if I can, and others before you can, well, you can as well.

So what little thing are you proud of today?  Forget the world at large – what have you done today to change YOUR world that you would have otherwise overlooked?   Think about that…while you go take a coffee break.

Finding Your Niche… In Life, Love, Work & Otherwise

20 Apr

The first thing I learned about marketing my coaching business was to “define my niche”… my target market, aka the people or groups who are going to be the ones most benefitting from and investing in my product.  And by “product” you can be referring to an actual product, service, or you as a personal brand.  The Wikipedia version of this says, “A niche is the subset of the market on which a specific product is focusing; therefore the market niche defines the specific product features aimed at satisfying specific market needs, as well as the price range, production quality and the demographics that is intended to impact.”

FOCUS. You’ve seen it on inspirational posters in reception areas and offices and school classrooms, and now it’s time to make that cliché work for you.  When I first started my coaching business, I visualized success as being a full time coach with a full roster of clients, and being able to quit my 9 to 5.  And it takes time.  So I started by asking myself, “Who are the people that I really truly think my knowledge can help, and why would they want it?” For me, this subset of the larger market known as “everyone in the world who might be interested in some type of coaching” was drilled down to “20-somethigns who might be interested in coaching”.  More drilling and it became “20-something young professionals who might be interested in coaching”.  There are still a lot of those.  How about “20-something young professionals who are in career and life transition and interested in personal and professional reinvention”?  Now we’re getting somewhere!

You would think that casting the widest possible net, and in turn having a larger market to target, would increase your chances of success, but that’s actually not at all the case.  A wider market simply means larger output of less-focused marketing efforts (and time), and a good ol’ time trying to shoot fish in a barrel. Whereas a narrower focus means less output, and a much more targeted approach that’s much more likely to hit the people who are interested in and responsive to what you’re offering.

Because even if you aren’t marketing a business, you are marketing yourself as a personal brand or entity, whether that’s for a new job, a new opportunity, or a new relationship.  What are the parameters around your niche – what makes the most sense to your end goal, or, your “vision”, the overall picture of the scenario  you want?

Try this first goal:  “I want to join a softball team in New York City.  Let me post an ad on Craigslist.” Now what’s a better, more specific way to put that goal on paper so that every person looking for softball team members across five boroughs doesn’t contact you and essentially waste your time with inappropriate opportunities?

“I want to join a softball team in Brooklyn.  Preferably in Park Slope, but I’m open to Carroll Gardens, Bushwick and Williamsburg.  I have a phobia of bridges, so Manhattan and Queens are out of the question.” Here you’ve just defined what your niche focus for your “sell” is and why:  areas in northeast Brooklyn that are accessible from where you live by local transportation, without having to cross bridges (it’s just an example).

Goal #2 – I want to find a happy relationship: “I want to date someone who’s in their late 30s, good-looking and is successful.” Excellent- and Match.com just sent you an email with 50,000 men in the New York City vicinity alone that are between the ages of 37-40 and “employed”.

Of course, what you’re really looking for is this: “I want to date someone who is within the ages of 35-40, values what they do for a living, and who I feel I am intellectually and physically attracted to, which would be dark-haired men of Latin decent over 5’7”. Obviously you don’t want to go too specific on the details here so as not to block out potentially good matches with say, 5’6 and a half as height. But the point is to identify the internal motivators behind the external action: What does “successful” or “good looking” or “fun-loving” mean to you?  Because what it means to you may be different from what it means to someone else, and ultimately it’s YOUR vision you are working towards fulfilling, not theirs, so the definition must be all your own.

Be honest with yourself.  If you’re too specific, then you can always widen the net of criteria.  But starting too general sets you up for failure off the bat, and burnout.

One more goal scenario for you:  “I just graduated college and now I am looking for an entry-level job in marketing.” Try doing a Google search on “marketing” and you’ll quickly understand just how ridiculous that statement is.  Marketing is a great example for this because it is an incredibly broad field.  Going on Indeed.com, Monster.com, or even LinkedIn and searching “marketing jobs” is likely going to yield you unsatisfying results.  You have your general focus established: marketing; now let’s drill it down.  What kind of company do you want to do marketing for?  Where- New York, San Francisco, Tokyo?  What kind of clients do you want to work with?  What kind of working environment do you value?  How about growth potential?  What motivates you in a professional scenario?  What are you passionate about?

Try this:  “I am interested in an entry-level (0-3 years experience) marketing position within an innovative media or advertising company, because I really thrive on the creativity and forward thinking, laid-back culture that an agency environment fosters.  And I hate wearing suits.”

DO NOT get this statement confused with your cover letter, or your personal profile – this is meant for your own self-realization – something you write on a napkin, a notebook, or in your own personal Excel file, so that you’re not tempted to alter it by what you think the outside world expects of you.  It’s all about YOU, and not what you can sell..yet.  The selling part comes AFTER you establish what it is you want for yourself.  Otherwise it’s like setting a message in a bottle out to sea, hoping the right person stumbles upon it one day on the beach.  Once you figure out what YOU are looking for, and it’s critically important that you do so before anything else, THEN it’s time to focus on HOW to sell your fabulous self to that specific group.  Start here:

  • VISUALIZE what you want.
  • VERBALIZE it in a statement on paper.
  • DRILL DOWN that statement to make it more specific.
  • IDENTIFY who or what is at the receiving end of that vision – a potential employer, a potential activity, a potential mate – and what distinguishable qualities they hold that are non-negotiable to you.

Congratulations – you just found your niche focus.  Now it’s time to get you there!

New Tele-Seminar Series: Taking the Leap

30 Mar

This month jump-starts a fresh and exciting new 5-part tele-seminar series for young professionals and those entering into the career realm entitled Taking the Leap.

In an age where logistics and circumstances so often define our career decisions and our lives, it can seem like an impossibility to truly follow one’s passion in the face of adversity and challenge. The “Taking the Leap” tele-seminar series explores the lives of 5 young professionals who each made different decisions to take a leap of faith, and ultimately invent and reinvent themselves to create a career and life they are passionate about.  As young professionals  it’s easy to be blinded and overwhelmed by social, professional and financial obligations, and not realize the many different possibilities that are open to you when it comes to navigating your career path.  Not everyone opts to take ‘whatever comes their way’, to settle for earning a steady paycheck, or to take the road most travelled.  Hear the experiences of a few extraordinary people who faced the typical challenges of being a young professional, and redefined the norm in pursuit of their passions… and succeeded.

For more information and to register see the Events page.  Sign up for all 5 seminars and registration for the fifth one is free!

Register Now for the 5-Session Series

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