Dr. Seuss, Career Advisor?

Not long ago, just before celebrating my daughters’ 2nd birthday, I came across a tattered copy of Dr. Seuss’ Happy Birthday to You!, and couldn’t help but smile as I thought back on pivotal moments in my life and career when Dr. Seuss’s wise words resonated. Since adopting this book back into my life for the benefit of my growing child, I have found myself stuck on the most famous line in the book, just as I was thirty-something years ago.

“Today you are you, this is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!”

As a Professional Career Strategist, I pride myself on advising our clients by inspiring them to see the true value within themselves. Now that I am once again immersed back into Dr. Seuss’ work through my child’s eyes,

I couldn’t help but wonder – was Dr. Seuss the world’s best career coach disguised as a children’s book writer?

 

Let’s think about this for a minute. As children, we’re taught to be confident, believe in ourselves, do the right thing, and naturally, we’ll land amongst the stars. Then, reality happens as we grow up: we learn the agony of defeat and the sting of disappointment.  We face the harsh coldness of “Thank you for your application, but…”

Little by little, all of those wise words we clung to and repeated before bedtime while reading some of Seuss’ classics seem as useless as, well, a cold plate of Green Eggs and Ham.

If Dr. Seuss (2.0) stepped into the role of a career coach, here is how we reimagine the applicability of some of his more famous quotes when considering a job search.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

The way we see it, this is Dr. Seuss, Career Advisor, reminding you to simplify your job search. You will not be a great fit for every role out there and not every sector is going to be ideal. Moreover, not all career fairs, networking events, and speed interview sessions will be helpful. Hone-in, for simplicity purposes, on a few sectors and companies you want to learn more about and start going through your connections, both digital and real, to make inroads. The Cat in the Hat would be proud of That!

 

“So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s a great balancing act.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve given this advice before, though perhaps with less of a rhyme scheme going on. Dr. Seuss is correct, though, as he is basically suggesting that you be thoughtful and strategic in your job search. So often, we hear the “quantity over quality” is what lands one a job. Applying to 200 jobs just because they have openings will not turn the odds in your favor for an interview or offer and could very well lead to MORE frustration when you don’t hear back.

Rather, focus on the companies and roles in which you are truly interested, even if that means only applying to 10 roles. From there, reach out to people at each company, follow-up, express interest in the role, and request time to learn more about the opportunity and overall organization. Basically, Dr. Seuss (the Career Advisor) is suggesting you balance out applying for quality roles with making essential connections at each organization, as this will significantly increase the likelihood that you actually land an interview.

 

“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.”

Your past is your past, and it is exactly what has led you to where you are in your life at this very moment. Most likely, you’ve learned a thing or two from your previous job experiences, good and bad. The purpose here, as Dr. Seuss has indicated, is to take that experience and focus on what your career can become – and lead with this in mind. Recognizing an abundance of responsibilities from your career to date is a decent start – but if you can’t speak to how this will apply to your future success, it’s time to recalibrate. Perhaps Dr. Seuss, Career Advisor, would ask you the following:

One fish, Two fish, At that role, What’d You Accomplish?

Don’t forget to note your achievements and make a plan; you can do all this eating green eggs and ham!

In all seriousness, we often lose sight of what we set out to do in the first place.  Unwanted advice, opinions, and poor career advice can negatively affect the direction in which we were hoping to steer ourselves. Losing trust in ourselves and the value we can bring to the career world would make Dr. Seuss a very unhappy career coach, er, writer.

On the anniversary of Dr. Theodore Seuss Geisel’s Birthday, celebrate with an inherent call to the brains in your head, the feet in your shoes, and empower yourself to venture on in any direction you choose.

It’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

Contributor: Michelle Dempsey, MS, CPRW

 

 

The Top 25 Jobs in America… Are Probably NOT for You

The “top job” in America has a median salary of over $116,000.

Sound good to you? Or does it sound like, with this salary, you’ll never even be close to paying off

your student loans/mortgage/business debt?

Either way – it shouldn’t matter.

Recently, Glassdoor.com put out this list, highlighting the Top 25 jobs in America. We’ll be honest with you, we scrolled the list, and were shocked to find that “Career Strategist” didn’t make the cut (Hey, we think it’s the best!).

The list was filled with many managerial positions, many more engineering positions, and many of those with decent salaries. All pretty comprehensive material if you’re on the hunt for a new – and better – career.

But what this list left off is critical. In fact, we think the one factor that should be considered, sometimes above all others – is what this job means for you, in terms of your own personal satisfaction.

Even the top-rated job in the world will not provide you with much if it is not aligned with who you are, what your background is, what your innate skills are, and – more than anything – what you need to be happy.

Life is stressful. Maintaining a meaningful and successful career path requires a lot of dedication and (wo)man-hours. We spend so much time focused on our jobs, or finding a better one, that it should undoubtedly be a job that fills our souls, and not just our pockets.

That being said, you cannot put a price on loving what you do.

Ever hear of the friend-of-a-friend that left his very high-paying (albeit high-stress), big-city, CEO job for the quiet streets of Nowhere, USA to relax and finally enjoy life a bit more? As Career Coaches, we’ve heard this tale first-hand, and we support it! The trick is to shift gears into the appropriate professional lane – and with ReFresh Your Step by your side, you too, can wind up with the #1 job in America – the #1 job, for you, that is!

It’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

LinkedIn Series – Resource For Success

If there is a heaven on earth for HR managers and recruiters, it is definitely LinkedIn. Over the last several years LinkedIn has quietly moprhed into a vibrant resource for job-seeking and networking professionals.

Why is LinkedIn such a powerful tool in today’s job world? For almost every professional at any level and within (arguably) most every sector, LinkedIn is largely considered the best online professional networking tool out there. It allows you to create a powerful profile in which, if filled out correctly, will display your strengths and experiences as well as best position you for your target audience. Additionally, the platform allows for extensive research into sectors, companies, and people on top of its key messaging system, job board options, and additional perks just for being a member of the site (and a non-paying one at that).

The question remains, though: are you maximizing LinkedIn for your professional development purposes? Moreover, is your profile truly effective? Have you learned effective messaging techniques to utilize in connecting with people? Do you even know what those Skills/Expertise Endorsements are used for and how important they are to recruiters? LinkedIn is more than just a profile platform and it is in your best interest to know how to best utilize it for your future needs.

Stayed tuned and check back to our LinkedIn Series for some key tips essential for your success story using LinkedIn. We will be discussing a range of related topics that will be vital to your ongoing career success; some of our topics will include how to strategically improve your profile, understanding the logic behind your Skills/Expertise (and the endorsements that come with those), the most effective techniques out there for connecting with people, and so much more!

Of course, don’t forget to connect with us on, what else, LinkedIn! Until then, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

Proven App: Can You Trust It?

It seems like there’s an app for everything recently – with the help of your smart phone or tablet, you can order Chipotle, check the weekly coupons for Publix and find the nearest ATM. Now you can even find a job on the go with the new Proven application.

Users can browse Craigslist job postings, upload their resume and cover letter and apply right from their computer or iPhone. So far, Proven has received great reviews from users for being easy to use and the numbers speak for themselves – 18K users downloaded Proven in January. Proven received 5 out of 5 stars from users on the iTunes store and the updated version allows users to sync accounts on their phone and computer.

While using the Proven app may seem like the new frontier in finding a job, it also has its limitations. Although the app makes it easy to send resumes and cover letters to potential employers, it also is restricted to positions posted on Craigslist. Not all job postings on the site are exactly what they seem and there is often a larger concentration in service industry job postings. This may require more in-depth searches to find a legitimate posting that is well-suited for an employee. Jobs on Craigslist also represent only a fraction of available jobs, so Proven is not a one-stop-shop in finding your next job.

With other job search apps like JobMo, Job Aware and Ultimate Job Search gaining in popularity, it seems like thousands of people are taking advantage of the convenience of applying for jobs on the go. As so many aspects of our lives are virtual nowadays, it makes sense that we would use technology to apply for jobs. Keep in mind that your online presence should also be kept up to date to best utilize the Internet in your job search. With RYS’ Social Media services, we can help you put your best foot forward in your online job search.

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

LinkedIn for the 1%: Yay or Nay?

With the popularity of social media in networking, it’s no surprise that users are increasingly establishing professional connections through sites like LinkedIn and even Facebook. While these sites can be incredibly useful for exploring potential job or partnership opportunities, there are many high-level executives who have a LinkedIn profile typically only updated by their staff – rendering it useless in terms of trying to network with the actual CEOs or CFOs. Now, a new site called Relationship Science is looking to make it easy to connect with the 1%, all for a small fee of $3K .

The upcoming launch of this site, described in this New York Times article, will enable users to enter a CEO’s name and see what kind of primary, secondary, or tertiary connections they already have to said CEO from the users’ own contacts. The search results will show how people are connected (“friend”, “friend of a friend”, etc) and will also judge the strength of the connection, from “strong” to “weak”. Relationship Science won’t post phone numbers or emails of its users, because as RS founder Neal Goldman points out, “This isn’t about spamming people.”

While this may seem like a great service, is it really worth it? Yes and no. For some, Relationship Science can show them connections to bigwigs they never knew existed. These contacts could be the key to being able to get a meeting or interview with the higher-ups, leading to career advancement. Unlike sites like LinkedIn where people need to create their own profile in order to interact on the site, Relationship Science uses the Internet, not the user, to gather information. This means you can still find connections with a company president without he or she having to put their own contacts on the website first.

On the other hand, not everyone needs to engage in this level of networking, and the price tag might not be worth it for most people in the workforce. Another good point is that even though you discover new connections, there’s no guarantee that anyone will respond to you.

What’s the bottom line? While Relationship Science may be worth it for a specific group of people, more often than not, real networking occurs in the real world. Attend networking events, actively update your LinkedIn profile and get to know your colleagues. In short, Always Be Networking! Refresh Your Step’s Networking Skills services can help you maximize opportunities to establish professional connections and career possibilities!

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Are You Part of LinkedIn’s 5%?

Were you one of the lucky LinkedIn users who received this email?

While you may have at first been thrilled to receive this email, your excitement may or may not have diminished once you realized 10 million other LinkedIn users also saw the same email in their inbox. After so many users were told they are pretty popular on the leading professional social media site, it left many thinking – was the email just a clever marketing ploy or something to be proud of?

Millions of professionals took to their Facebook or Twitter pages to brag about receiving the LinkedIn email, leading to the email story going viral (and lots of free publicity for LinkedIn!). Although many were quick to let others know how popular they were, many more LinkedIn users were skeptical.

“I was thoroughly irritated by that mail. It felt very spammy, a blatant attempt to appeal to narcissism, and not entirely credible. If I’m one of the top 5% most viewed profiles, and I’ve never generated any work as a result of my presence on LinkedIn, then what does that say about LinkedIn?”

“Maybe I expect a little more out of LinkedIn. But in the last couple of days, I got a congratulatory email telling me that I was “one of the top 5% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012!” This I seriously doubt. I’m wondering if this is not some kind of a psychological play on their part. In other words, if you find out you’re good at something that you didn’t know about, then it gives you a little boost to go look at it again. And there’s a click for LinkedIn.”

While there are no statistics on who exactly received the email, no college students I know received the email (neither did I!), but Emily Kapit, Lead Resume Writer and Owner of RYS, did. This fact lends credence to the “top 5%” email because it’s highly unlikely that established professionals would be competing with college students for top-viewed honors. In fact, college students are probably the ones looking at professionals’ LinkedIn pages in hopes of connecting with the right people in an effort to secure a great job.

What’s the bottom line of this story? Although this LinkedIn email may have been a nice ego boost, it’s far from an accomplishment worthy of putting on your resume. That being said, having an up-to-date, professional LinkedIn profile will help attract more views, which can lead to more opportunities in your career. RYS is here to help you with our Social Media services to make your social media presence the best it can be. With the help of RYS, you can challenge Presisdent Barack Obama (with 525K+ views in 2012) for the title of Most Viewed LinkedIn Profile of 2013 and wouldn’t that be quite the resume-worthy feat?

It’s Your Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

– Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Beware Phantom Job Postings

No matter if you are a college student entering the job market for the first time or a 30-year veteran of the working world, making a career change or seeking a promotion is something that may never be far from your mind. Unfortunately, as this Wall Street Journal article points out, you may have to face plenty of challenges while staying on the job search.

Even if you are actively applying for a new position or just looking to see what may be available in your field, many job postings may just be formalities – many positions are already filled by current employees or specially selected outside hires. While this may seem discouraging, there are plenty of things you can do to make sure the door to career advancement is always open.

First, never fall behind on networking. This ensures you stay on the radar of prospective employers while also forging new connections in your field. Networking can happen anytime and anywhere, online or offline, and it does not have to feel like work! Check out our blog post on networking to help get you started with this crucial aspect of professional life.

LinkedIn is a vital tool in keeping up with the opportunities available to you. Use the website and other social media to your advantage – connect with the people most relevant to your field, decide what you’re going to do with those connections, and decide on your final goal. Keeping those things in mind will make you an effective virtual networker. Check out our previous blog on using the Internet for continued career success for some quick tips.

While networking is a smart move in today’s connection-focused career world, you also need to strategically choose what jobs you apply to. As the article mentions, even if the NFL posts a job opening for a head coach, chances are you don’t qualify (no matter how well do in your Fantasy Football league). Look at exactly what the job is asking for and be realistic when deciding if it’s a position for which for you would be well-suited. As much as I would like to be a Cirque du Soleil performer, I don’t think my years of trapeze experience (which are non-existent) would get me hired.

Luckily, you’re not alone in this process. Our Strategic Career ConsultingNetworking Techniques and Social Media Presence services can help ensure you’re putting the best foot forward while in your current job or during a job search. With the right mix of smart socializing, a strong social media presence, and choosing potential jobs carefully, an amazing career opportunity is just around the corner.

Remember–it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

–Emma Ambler, Marketing & Communications Intern

Facebook’s Graph Search & Your Job Search

Facebook JUST announced their Graph Search function and while you could use it to see who among your friends has been to a certain sushi place or likes the latest Oscar-worthy movie, could it be helpful for your job search?

You bet so! Here’s how:

You can search for who among your friends (or “friends”) have worked at or are connected to a certain industry or company? Use the Graph Search! From there, message those with the strongest/most relevant ties, state your case for an introduction and watch the magic happen.

G-d bless Mark Zuckerberg.

 

Wall Street, Dust off Those Resumes!

Dear Wall Street-ers,

Wow, I used to BE one of you back when I worked on the PR and recruiting teams at Lehman Brothers. I launched my company as a result of Lehman’s bankruptcy and have worked with many of you across different functions since our inception. I can say without  doubt that you are an interesting brood.

Based on this article, I may be speaking to more of you soon. Are you worried about your job? Have you updated your resume or LinkedIn profile recently? Are you thinking about potential next steps in case you fall victim to the layoff hatchet? How’s that networking going (remember, late nights at the office or sushi place around the corner are opportunities to network; #ABN)?

Despite a slight adjustment, the old adage rings true: all bad things must come to an end:  “‘Most analysts say these cuts won’t go on forever. As soon as lending starts to pick up, banks will increase headcount,’ said Oppenheimer analyst Chris Kotowski.” While that may be the case and you could either land a new job quickly or get your old job back, have you pondered the REAL question: is going back to Wall Street what you really want?

It’s YOUR career–whatever curve ball is thrown your way, refresh, revive, renew!

 

Networking Success: Always Be Networking

Welcome to the first part of a two-part blogpost on networking; this first one is in regards to our new Networking Motto “Always Be Networking” (ABN) and illustrates the meaning behind it using a recent example of networking success in a rather surprising situation.

The second post, due out later this week, expands on this first idea and will discuss a range of other powerful networking ideas that can be summed up with a helpful mnemonic. Stay tuned!

Part I: The Power of ABN in Action

The idea of “Always Be Networking” (ABN) came up in conversation with a friend a few weeks ago in response to me attending a college football-watching party and somehow discussing Google interview questions with several school alumni (at one point, I actually had most of our table trying to answer an infamous query instead of watching a close game!). Apparently, I have been living the “Always Be Networking” lifestyle without even knowing it.

In short, ABN refers to the idea that opportunities to meet people who may somehow impact your career (and vice-versa) can show up in almost any situation. In this case, I was at the party to cheer on my husband’s team and take a break from work; I was not there to discuss my services, client successes, recent site re-launch or anything else related to ReFresh Your Step; that said, it happened and I didn’t mind. Apparently, the ABN lifestyle can include nachos smothered in cheese.

I’ve had networking on my mind recently as I prepared last week for a presentation (more on that in the next post); in taking a break from work and presentation prep early last week, my husband and I sat and watched the second Presidential debate. I was expecting political repartee and the occasional misspoken word by at least one of the candidates. What I was not expecting, however, was to see flashing, pulsating lights floating above our patio. Without even thinking about it, I headed outside to explore and was surprised to see an actual (toy-sized) UFO actually buzzing about overhead. Sadly, little green men were not controlling it; rather, an engineer who hates his current sales job was using his iPhone to fly his early Christmas gift. How do I know all of this? I asked. Here’s a summary of that conversation:

 

Me: “That’s so cool–where did you get it?”

Job-Hating Engineer (JHE): “It’s from Sharper Image and an early Christmas gift from my parents. I’m an engineer and love this stuff.”

Me: “Ah, I’ve worked with engineers before. What exactly do you do?”

JHE: “What do you do that you’ve worked with engineers?”

Me: “I’m a career advisor and have written resumes for several types of engineers, including a few aeronautical engineers and a NASA guy. That’s a great field you’re in.”

JHE: “I REALLY need to talk to you–I hate my job. I love engineering but somehow got into sales and really want to get back to my original path. Do you have a card?”

 

Never mind the fact that I was the opposite of professional-looking in that moment; I spoke professionally, engaged him in conversation, produced a few cards and returned to my debate-watching, all within a matter of minutes. Other than missing the original “binders full of women” comment, seizing the opportunity to speak with someone (even about the most random of topics–flying UFOs outside my window) truly epitomizes the official ReFresh Your Step networking creed of “Always Be Networking” (ABN). Tune in for our next post as we actually go over our handy (and rather happy) mnemonic for networking success, as well as a few extra tips to help our more introverted followers.

Until then, ABN!