Category Archives: career coach

Tapping into your Parent’s Network for Your Post Graduate Job Search

My oldest will be graduating in May; so this is written for all  the upcoming college graduates.

Maybe you are reluctant to ask your mom or dad if they would help you to build your  professional network.  Don’t be.

Tapping a wider network of professional contacts can advance your job hunt, especially for recent graduates who are still figuring out their professional identities and their job search strategies.

Ask first, then contact.

Ask for some specific introductions and names of people in companies you are interested in.  Then ask your connection to tell you about the person, their career, expertise, and how long they’ve known each other.

When you introduce yourself to the contact, write a personal note, something like: “You know my Mom; she speaks highly of you as a respected leader in Community Development. I’ll be graduating this May and would like to connect with you.”

Have conversations.  Don’t ask for a job.

Learn to have conversations with people. Approach contacts with an “information gathering” perspective.  If the person is available for a brief conversation, ask how they got started in their career, what challenges they faced and any advice they can share with someone getting started in the industry. Use your curiosity to learn about different career options.

Keep in mind that most professionals are happy to help you if they can.  Many like the opportunity to pay-it-forward by helping young professionals make connections and by opening doors.

Be professional.

When someone you know gives you access to their network, recognize its value and treat it with respect. Approach each contact professionally and be sure to follow up.

Don’t forget to follow up with the person who provided the initial contact (whether it’s your mom, dad, neighbor or other relative). Be sure to let them know how your efforts are going.  Your contact may want to send their own note of appreciation.

If you are a college student about to graduate, finish strong and best of luck in your job search!

Serendipity – a fortunate happenstance in your job search

Networking as one of the key components of a successful job search.  As a career coach, I encourage and teach my clients to have what I refer to as “information gathering” conversations as one of the components of their job search strategy. Some career coaches and recruiters refer to these as “exploratory interviews.”  Whatever you call it – networking is key to your job search success.  Especially when you consider that statistically between 65-80% of new jobs are secured through referrals.

Networking and talking to people who work at companies that you are interested is all about building relationships.  Learning how others got their start in their career, or what projects a company is working on, can help you focus your direction, learn about new career options, and reflect on your potential fit with an organization.

Building relationships is a powerful networking tool. Not only are you building your professional network, you could be “the” one who gets a phone call when a new position opens up. You can have conversations with people, whether their company has any current job openings or not. Keep in mind, that most companies welcome employee referrals of high-caliber talent.  Being proactive in your search and making connections can help open doors for you. These conversations can bridge the distance between where you are in your career today and where you want to be.

As a quick anecdote:  Remember the call I received from one of my coaching clients, sharing how she “serendipitously” received a call about a new job opportunity from someone she sat down and had an information gathering conversation with a few months ago?  Well, I’m happy to report back that she secured the job offer and is now working in her dream role in a new industry!

If you want to learn more about how to have information gathering conversations, please feel free to contact me. And if you have your own “serendipitous” experience  – I’d love to hear about it!

Believe in yourself

“Take a leap of faith and begin this wondrous new year by believing. Believe in yourself. And believe that there is a loving Source – a Sower of Dreams just waiting to be asked to help you make your dreams come true.” ~ Sarah Ban Breathnach

When’s the last time you really believed in yourself?  Get honest with yourself.  When it comes to your career, when was the last time you believed that you could get that promotion or pursue your utopian career goals?

Let’s face it. The wear and tear of lack of appreciation or recognition for your contribution at work takes a toll on your self-esteem and confidence.  After a while you stop believing that what you do makes a difference, or that you really are capable of doing more, of contributing at a greater level.  So you start going through the motions.  Showing up for work when your heart really isn’t in it anymore.  That’s even more exhausting; you leave work tired, so you sit on the couch and watch TV numbing out your feelings so you don’t have to face the pain you are really feeling.  Yet that quiet voice refuses to be quiet.  It’s nudging you to step forward.  To take a chance.  To dream again.  To believe in you again.

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”  ~ Henry Ford

If you feel frustrated in your current position, undervalued, unappreciated and feel called to do something else with your life you may wonder where to begin. Often as a career coach, I get asked by clients how to rediscover their passion and discover new options for the next chapter in their career.

In my opinion, one of the best career guide books out there is “What Color is Your Parachute” by Richard Bolles.  The seven stories analysis is a career assessment exercise that has helped thousands of job seekers discover truths about themselves.  Discovery hidden talents and unique abilities is what we use to develop their unique value proposition as part of their strategic job search plan.

“Believe in yourself!  Have faith in your abilities.  Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. “ ~ Norman Vincent Peale

As we begin a wondrous new year, I encourage you to believe in yourself again.  Believe in your dreams.  Give yourself permission to pursue your career goals –   a happier you, a more appreciated you, and a more meaningful career path awaits.  Begin.

Yes, you can!

This week I’ve talked to three of my coaching clients who were experiencing different levels of frustration. The job search isn’t going as smoothly as they would like.  Interviews aren’t getting scheduled as quickly as they’d like. One has accepted a better offer, advanced in her career; yet it’s not her utopian role.

Job search frustration, with a side of FEAR. What if you don’t get the job you really want?  What if you don’t transition into your ideal role?

Well, what if you do?  What if you can land the career of your dreams?

Many of us have the voice of the naysayer, the critic, ever present, constantly projecting negative outcomes.  The committee that won’t stop talking.  Today, that voice needs to stop.

When you doubt your abilities, feel discouraged, or are on the verge of despair, don’t give up.   I pray that you hear another voice telling you,“You can do it and you will!”

No one said a job search or job transition was easy. It’s hard work. Even when you are using a strategic job search road map.  Even when you are leveraging the power of networking, reaching out and establishing connections with key contacts at your target potential employers.  Relationships take time.  Building trust and credibility takes time.  Having the right doors open takes time.  Be patient and persist.

I know you can do this.  You are worthy of engaging in work that you are both capable of and passionate about.   If today you are frustrated, give yourself permission to feel your feelings; just remember feelings aren’t facts.  Don’t let your feelings derail you from taking action toward your career goals.

Pause and reflect on what brings you the most joy and satisfaction in your work?  Would you like to feel that way more than less?  Visualize you in your dream job.

Now, take an honest inventory of the actual work you’ve completed this week in your job search.  How many new contacts did you make?  Networking events that you attended?  Number of calls to former colleagues who are working in your target niche or who have connections that could help you?  If you didn’t reach your target job search activities; then recommit to completing the actions next week.

ACTION is the magic key.  Keep taking positive actions forward.  Make the call.  Send the LinkedIn request to connect.  Call your former colleague; catch up on projects they are working on and bring them up to date on your career goals.

Keep believing. Keep taking positive steps daily toward your goals.  You can do this!  You are not alone, I’m here every step of the way cheering you on.

May you hear my voice encouraging you: “You CAN do this, and you will.”

Career Tune Up

Career Tune UP

 Springtime naturally brings a sense of awakening for me. It’s a time of renewal and rebirth.   A couple weeks ago I went into my local mechanic for a routine oil & filter change.  It was a super busy Saturday and it took a couple hours to complete.  I was willing to wait because I know the importance of routine maintenance for a vehicle.   Your career is no different.

Successful careers involve regular check-ups (updates to your resumes with recent projects and accomplishments) and periodic more in-depth tune ups or alignments.

What about you?

What is your current career dilemma?

How satisfied are you in your current position?

Are you engaged and challenged professionally? Or do you feel deflated and tired at the end of the day?  Do you enjoy your work?  Wake up excited?

Carve out time to explore some questions.

What allows you to provide the best service to others?  Where do you add the greatest value?

What is it that brings you joy?  What type of work makes you happy?  Is it working with customers?  Promoting new programs?  Creating websites?  Developing enterprise infrastructure? Leading groups?  Training?

Think of this appointment as a “check-up from the neck up.”   Use the time to take stock.  Inventory your skills and your assets.  If you are unhappy, remember you have choices.   You have the ability to improve your happiness and career satisfaction; if you are willing to take action.

A career tune up involves taking an honest assessment of our knowledge, skills and abilities.  It involves exploring career options that maximize your value and contribution.  When your skills and interests overlap with your passion, you will experience greater levels of engagement, contribution and overall career satisfaction.   When you align your career with your innate talents, skills and abilities, everything flows more smoothly. Work becomes effortless and life more meaningful. You may be surprised when your energy and enthusiasm come back too!

Can I help you?  If you need help with exploring your career options, I provide career transition coaching in-person, over the phone and via Skype.

Dare to Soar

Many years ago I walked into a Successories store and bought cards that had a picture of an eagle with the words “Dare to Soar. Your attitude in life almost always determines your altitude.” I believe having a positive mental attitude is a key to success. That your attitude (and your actions) determines your place in life and in your career.

You may be reading this and thinking, “It’s not that simple.” Or “yes, but, you don’t understand, my case is different.” You may have a long list of reasons why you can’t succeed or have the career that you would love. It’s okay. I understand. For many years, I made excuses for not following my path. After all, I was a single mom raising two girls. How could I leave an industry and career track that had afforded me a six figure income, to pursue starting a business in career coaching when I needed the security of a steady income? However, when your work feels like drudgery and there is no joy, it’s time to evaluate what you are doing. If you are feeling burnt out, discouraged or depressed in your current job; know that these are symptoms of not following your vision.

It’s time to ask yourself some tough questions and assess your options. Pursuing your “dream” career does not have to be an all or nothing pursuit. Begin by listening to your heart. Give yourself permission to dream about what your ideal career would look like. Begin to chart out a career map. Take positive steps toward your goals. Update your resume. Network. Go after career openings that take you closer to your ideal role.

I am not suggesting that the process of following your vision, connecting with your passion, and pursuing your life’s purpose is easy. Nor is it a straight line. Often there are stepping-stones. You may have something you love to do that may be better as a hobby than as a career. Perhaps you’d like to be a photographer, yet you have a full-time career in Technology earning six figures. Do you leave a steady income that supports your family to pursue your utopian role of traveling the world, walking the beaches and taking pictures of sunsets? I’m not suggesting that you do. How about taking your camera with you on all your business trips? Carve out time for a couple of hours to take pictures and start sharing them with the world.

Funny how it works. When you give yourself permission to follow your heart and play in the realm you are passionate about; your happiness increases. Your overall well-being increases. You’re soaring and it’s effortless. Your energy is renewed. It carries over into all areas of your life, your friendships, your family, your community.

Find a visual that remind you of your goal. Whether it’s a card with an eagle with the words “Dare to Soar” or a handwritten sticky note that has the Nike slogan – Just Do It!

Dare. Risk. Visualize. Act. As the process unfolds, your confidence and self-respect will improve; your satisfaction with life will increase. You may even find yourself with other eagles soaring in the clouds.

If you need help discovering your strengths, exploring your career options and creating a map to your ideal career, contact MGM Solutions today. We can help you successfully transition your career.

Career Mapping

The approach we take to career mapping is based on the strategic planning tool of SWOT analysis.  This is a process where you take a hard look at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats, and plan accordingly.

SWOT analysis can be carried out for a product, place, industry or person.  It involves specifying the objective and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective.  As it relates to your career, you map out your end goal.  Here’s some questions to get you started: 

What would you like to achieve?  Do you visualize your goals?  Do you have positive affirmations that help you live your goals?  

Completing a SWOT Analysis can help you tremendously by uncovering career mapping swot analysisweaknesses, discovering strengths and developing an action plan to overcome the obstacles that have prevented you from reaching your goals. 

Knowledge is Power 

Once you know the Truth you can be free.  You can empower yourself with the tools and resources you need to accomplish your wildest desires and grandest career goals.

This is a practical and simple tool that you can use. 
Okay then, let’s get started!
Make a list of all your strengths. In particular, consider what skills, knowledge and experience you have that makes you indispensable to your current employer (and future prospective employers).

You will also want to consider what the demand for these skills is in the marketplace. Think about your functional and technical skills as well as your soft skills.

Do you know how to perform market analysis? Business process improvement?  Project Management? Understand SEC reporting requirements? Are you great at motivating teams to peak performance? Are you the one that the CEO calls to use your diplomatic skills to facilitate tough negotiations?  Are you the “go to” person who builds consensus among stakeholders? Identify these.  These are the strengths that make up your value proposition.

Next, take an honest inventory of yourself.  List the areas where you can improve. What has been shared with you during performance evaluations? 

What items are relevant to the type of positions that you would like to have? After you identify the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you are lacking you can decide if you are willing to invest the time and energy to improve upon these skills.
Give yourself permission to dream.  If you could do anything in the world for your career, what would that be?  This is the step I like to hand my clients paper with blue skies and white puffy clouds. 

Dream.  Dream Big! 

Let your mind wander to the infinite possibilities that surround you.  What do you see?  What ideas do you have for growth?  Where can you contribute to and add the greatest value?   Is it within your current employer or outside your company? 

During this step in our coaching, many clients discover there are real opportunities available that they had never considered before. Choices.  You are not trapped. A whole new world opens up. Hope is restored.

What are you afraid of?  What is the worst thing that could happen? What can go wrong?

Examples can include:  changes to the executive management team, a new Executive Director, budget cuts, downsizing, outsourcing; mergers or acquisitions; health changes; pending major life events . 

This is the place where you have full permission to let the committee have its say (the voices in your head that tells you the sky is falling) and list everything that comes to mind.   Write it down.  Put it on paper.  Say it out loud and take the power out of it.  This is the Fear that has held you hostage.  Remember that the acronym FEAR stands for False Evidence Appearing Real.

Now that you have this list, make a plan. During MGM Solutions career coaching sessions on Career Mapping, after we have completed a SWOT Analysis we start with opportunities. 

What are the career titles or positions that you would like to explore? Once you have uncovered positions that you would really like and had not considered before, let’s explore them.

Identify where you would like to be.  Now, review the strengths and relationships you can leverage to get there;  also consider any weaknesses you need to overcome.

Prioritize your biggest threats and make a plan to neutralize them. If you have never done this, you can approach this with confidence.  This is a proven method to build actionable plans that will lead you to success.

 If you need help with your SWOT Analysis or Career Mapping, contact MGM Solutions to assist you. We are here to help you and provide custom personalized solutions to meet our client’s individual needs. 

Customize Your Linkedin Profile To Grow Your Network

The Immediate Benefits of a Custom LinkedIn Profile

As a Job seeker, you may ask, is it important to have a LinkedIn profile?  The answer is YES!

Who uses LinkedIn?

Most business professional are on LinkedIn: the average LinkedIn user is in their early 40s, earning more than $100,000.  Almost every CEO from every Fortune 500.  There are more than 300 million users on LinkedIn.

Why use LinkedIn?

LinkedIn is a goldmine of information.  It is the #1 professional network for business professionals. LinkedIn is all about business networking.

What are the Benefits of a LinkedIn profile?  

Creating a LinkedIn profile gives you the opportunity to market yourself.

In today’s economy, tech savvy recruiters and company leaders are directly sourcing and mining for candidates based on keywords, industry, niche subject matter expertise and education.

Creating and updating your LinkedIn profile puts you in the driver’s seat. It gives you the opportunity to proactively market yourself.  You can make a positive and significant impact on your job search by strategically creating and updating your LinkedIn profile to bridge the gap between where you are today and where you want to be in the future.

With the avalanche of social media platforms job seekers are bombarded with messages about “personal brand.”

What does it mean to you?
Think of it this way, your job search is like a sales situation, whereby you are your product.  In the MGM Solutions ten step strategic job search strategy, one of the steps is to define a Personal Brand.  

A Career Coach works with you to create, practice and refine your own personal Unique Value Proposition (UVP).  When you apply branding strategies to your LinkedIn profile, you elevate your profile by incorporating key words that brand you and make it easier for interested parties to find you.

Who better to market you, then you?  

In your quest for your perfect next career opportunity, you know who you are.  You know what you have done in your past jobs. You know what you hope to accomplish.

When you create a LinkedIn profile you can convert your goals into keywords to brand yourself. You can include and share the type of tasks, functions and projects you love.  

You can showcase your strengths.   You can also strategically weed out past work experience to downplay past experience that is not relevant to the career role you want in your future.

Who chooses your headline title?  

Every communication you generate on LinkedIn will have a professional headline attached to it.  So choose wisely.  Don’t use your job title as your headline. You are NOT Your J-o-b.  So tell the world who you are really.

Another benefit to creating a LinkedIn profile is that you can choose your own headline. You can take the opportunity to add in your specialty, your niche and a dash of personality.

When you consider that LinkedIn has more than 300+Mil contacts you will come to realize that LinkedIn is a “goldmine” of information.  LinkedIn is your own personal “digital rolodex.”   All the phone numbers, email addresses, background information, educational data and professional profiles of the people you need to reach, at your fingertips.

By leveraging the features of networking through connections, you can leverage the power of LinkedIn is a critical resource in your job search process.

If you have question or comments about LinkedIn profiles leave them below and I will get back to them ASAP.