Don’t Forget Your Cup!

Southern Belle

Don’t forget your cup that is what I have to tell myself everyday or hear my coworker tell me. You would think I’d remember by now, but some days my hands are full or my mind is on something else and I just forget. It’s a part of my everyday routine and I  can’t function without it, yet I still remind myself to take it with me. It made me think, what else do we forget that we shouldn’t? Did I lock the door? Did I turn off the oven? Do I have my keys? There are so many things we do and so many places we go no wonder we forget things. Life seems so rushed now and we have to remember to slow down.

I think it applies in our careers as well. Are we rushing through it? Are we so busy trying to get to the next level that we don’t appreciate where we are?  Are we enjoying what we are doing or just going through the motions?  What are our priorities or values?

It’s so easy to get bogged down with what we have to do and what’s next that we forget the present. In my job as a career coach I am always learning new ways to help my students and want to be able to carry all of them out, but I have to remember that my most important job is to meet students where they are and go from there.  My students are my priority and as long as I am serving them I know I am doing a good job- they are my cup- I cannot forget them.  There are days I have to work on other things like reports or attending meetings, but all of these things circle back to my students and how they are affected.Ruts are inevitable, we will all have times of going through a rut. During a rut, we have to remind ourselves why we are where we are and why we do what we do. We have to remember our cup.

Tell me what your cup is in comments below.

The Ever Effective Job Hunt

Job Search

Every day we hear how difficult finding a job can be, but in the same breath, we hear of someone obtaining a new one. How does that happen?  I believe there are people who search for any job, no job, or the right job.  How do you decide what jobs to apply for?  What about all those job applications you have to fill out, then tweaking your resume to fit each job description, and finally you play the waiting game.

To begin, you need to have an idea of the types of jobs you want to look for. This means the type of environment you want to work in as well as the hours you want to work, and if it’s a job that you will enjoy.  You want the job to be a good fit so think about what you bring to the table what S.T.A.G. you have,S.T.A.G. being your Skills, Talents, Abilities, and Goals. In her book, Cut the Crap, Get a Job, Dana Manciagli said, “Industries are not jobs. But it is a start as it is good to have some interest in an industry or two. However, much more important is to know what type of job, based on the skills you have from your past experiences(including what you are not good at).  Focus more on the function or department you see yourself working in.”   It’s vital when looking for a job to really know yourself and what you want from your job and to not just take any job, but one you will enjoy.

As you look for jobs on LinkedIn or read through the job descriptions carefully and look at what the job is really asking for.   Does the company want someone with good communication skills, or a lot of experience in the field?  Think of the job description as a contract where reading the fine print is a MUST!

Let’s say you found 2-5 jobs to apply for and then you start filling out job applications and they are asking for TMI, things you don’t remember and you realize that you don’t have all the answers!  What do you do?  Most online jobs have a short form you fill out and many require that you create an account with their site and then take you to the actual application.  What I have learned from employers is that one of their pet peeves is when applicants fail to completely fill out the job application, this takes it to the discard pile immediately.  Be sure to complete the application to get you one step closer to a job.

Now that you understand job apps, let’s look at your resume.  Your resume needs to be tailored to every job you apply for. This means that you will tweak it with keywords from the job description.    Your resume needs to be neat, clean, and easy to read.  The format should be consistent, your name should stand out, and remember include a profile summary, not an objective.  Your reference should be on a separate page with your contact info at the top.  (For more info see my blog on resumes)

Congrats! You have sent off your job applications along with your proofread by someone other than you resume.  Does this mean that you now do nothing but sit around in sweats watching Netflix?  No, it means you are proactive!  You are now making connections on LinkedIn, networking and talking to people about your  job search process. This is a time that your elevator pitch really comes into play During this time, you may apply for more jobs or volunteer to gain experience, don’t be idle.

Applying for jobs can be tedious and time consuming so make sure you apply for jobs you really want so you make the most of your time.  The process is so worth it, when you land a great job. It’s important to be active in the job hunt and let everyone know about it. As you go through the process, you will learn new things and be on your way to a finding the job that is right for you.

Movie Lines and Careers

If you're a bird

Movies are a part of our lives, everyone loves a good movie.  I begin thinking of how I could use my love of pop culture and movies to relate to careers to teach my students.   I begin hearing all of these classic movie lines and how they could apply to careers and career development.  It was actually fun and I begin trying to create a workshop around it.  Here are 5 movies that jumped out at me with lines  that can teach us career lessons, there are dozens more that may become a future blog.

The Godfather, 1972

“Great men are not born great, they grow great” Don Vito Corleone -

Lesson 1:To truly succeed in your career, you must think of learning as a life long process and not an overnight event. You must always challenge yourself and push yourself forward. Go out of your comfort zone, try new things, tall to someone new. In order to grow and become what you want to become, you have to first try.

“I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” Don Vito Corleone

Lesson 2: This popped out to me as a self marketing tool, when you go for a job interview, you need to be the offer the employer can’t refuse. You must be able to sell yourself in an interview to land your dream job. Be the best they’ve seen! 

Dirty Dancing, 1987

“Nobody puts Baby in a corner.” Johnny Castle

 Lesson 3: I must admit, this is one of my favorite lines of all time!  As I begin to think about what it really meant, it dawned on me that what was being said was that no one should be labeled or placed in a corner when they have so much potential. Don’t let anyone corner you in your career or life. Be who you are and accept yourself.In your career, you will deal with negative people who will try and bring you down, don’t let them win. Always be yourself and do your best.

“I carried a Watermelon”  Francis “Baby” Houseman

  Lesson 4: We will all have embarrassing incidences at work or make mistakes. That is okay, correct what you can and move on!  Hopefully you get a second chance to redeem yourself and try again. Many people have had a “I carried a watermelon moment and survived, I know I have.

Toy Story, 1995

“To infinity and beyond”- Buzz Lightyear

 Lesson 5: To me, this means go big or go home as Kate White teaches in her book, “I Shouldn’t Be Telling You This.”  When you are working on an assignment, go the extra mile even if it’s a lot of work. Show what you can do, think outside the box. Be okay being or thinking different. I read of a workplace where everyone sat around and threw their ideas for projects no matter how crazy or far-fetched they seemed, everyone got a chance to share their ideas. Don’t be afraid to share your ideas to go big or go home.

Reach for the sky”- Woody

  Lesson 6: As adults, we become jaded at times and put away childhood dreams we wanted to accomplish because we feel they aren’t possible.  I say that we still need to reach for the sky and reach for what we really want- go for the big promotion or open that new cake decorating business you always wanted to open.  Write a book or take a class in a subject of interest. Remember,  from lesson 1, you don’t have to do everything overnight, carve out time each day to work on your big dream- Kate White teaches that too.

The Notebook, 2004

“If you’re a bird, I’m a bird” Noah Calhoun

Lesson 7: Another one of my favorite lines. Noah and Allie loved each other truly and they did argue a lot, but they also supported each other. Find someone to support your career goals and dreams who will push you to do your best. It can be a significant other, a parent, or sibling or you may find “your person” at work like Christina Yang and Meredith Grey did. Whoever it is, give each other support and pep talks when needed. Don’t give up on each other or yourselves.

“Stop thinking about what I want, what he wants, what your parents want. What do you want? Noah Calhoun

 Lesson 8:This is something I often talk to my students about, what do they want from their career, what are their hopes and dreams? Your career should be yours, not anyone else’s. It is important that you know what you want and if you don’t, then do all you can to find out. Go see a career counselor, take an assessment, and write down what you find. Once you know what you want, do all you can to make it happen.

Fast and Furious 6, 2013

Who’s got a plan B?  Roman

Plan B? We need a plan C, D, E. We need more alphabets! Tej Parker

Hey, we do what we do best. We improvise, all right? Brian O’Conner

Lesson 9: At times in work and in your career you will need a back up plan and to be able to improvise. Things happen, people get sick or you forget something you were supposed to do. It’s life, so don’t panic, monitor and adjust. This is a soft skill that all people need, to be able to adapt to changes and various situations. If you can keep your cool and be level headed, people will take notice and turn to you when things go south.

You know what they say, Stasiak, if you want the career-changing big fish, you gotta be willing to put on the big boy panties and sail out to the deep water.

Brian O’ Conner

Lesson 10: I think this quote sums things up nicely! It encompasses trying new things, growing and learning, challenging yourself, and not being afraid to take risks- all things needed in your career development.

Thanks for reading!

How to Conquer a Job Interview

The Beatles

Imagine that you have an interview for your dream job in 2 weeks.  You feel: EXCITEMENT, you do your HAPPY DANCE; you call your best friend, THEN, YOU GET SUPER NERVOUS!!! I have got to start getting ready right now. How am I going to get ready?  What am I going to wear? Who can help me get ready? This may be how you feel when you learn you have a job interview and it is all completely normal. The best thing that you can do is prepare.

Today we will discuss how to interview the right way, what all the interview questions are really asking, and gain interview practice. The goal is for all of you to leave here feeling prepared for job, internship, or graduate school interviews especially with Employment Engagement day coming this week.

First things first: Prepare for the interview! This is more than choosing what to wear and actually practicing an interview with your career coach, those things are important, but here are a few simple things you can also do. Research the company- visit their website, find out the latest news going on in their organization, if you know anyone working at the company, talk to them! Connect with them via social media and read what those pages have to say. Become familiar with them so that when you are asked why you want to work there or what you know about the company, you have a strong answer. Interviewers want to know what you know about them. Find something from the website or social media that you can relate to and share that in your interview.

Your outfit says a lot about you; make sure it’s sending the right message! Do choose an outfit that you are comfortable in but is also professional. Dress for the job you want, not the one you have.  A white button down shirt and black pants are always in style!  Stick with neutral tones such as black, gray, khaki, and navy. Make sure you will not have a wardrobe malfunction by having your skirt and top a proper length. Pull your hair back if you have a tendency to fidget with it like I do. With jewelry, if you know it will distract you, don’t wear a lot.    You want to look confident and ready.

The next step is to begin practicing for the interview with your career coach.  It is also an excellent idea to video yourself practicing. An actual interview can be one on one or with a panel; you have to be ready for anything. As you answer questions, remember the interviewer may not ask the exact question that you practiced, but it will be similar. What you need to do is to craft or create concrete examples or stories to share to make you stand out! Brooks Harper discusses the importance of storytelling in his book, Why Should We Hire You, he says “That’s all interviewing is: Telling your story in a manner that persuades someone to hire you.”  Peggy Klaus discusses the same idea in her brag book; she says that an interview is the perfect time to brag. Interviewers are trying to get to know you so let your personality shine through with your words; don’t rely solely on your resume.  When speaking with her nephew Max, she emphasized the importance of bringing your resume to life. Once you have your examples and stories understand that you can use them with a variety of questions. Remember when answering questions to use the STAR method- situation, task, action, and results.

It’s important to be familiar with specific interview questions, but it’s more important to understand what type of question the interviewer is asking you.  According to a recent article from US News, 4 common types of interview questions are: straightforward, behavioral, situational, and brainteasers or skills test. If you understand what the interviewer is really asking you than you are able to answer specifically. Often people make mistakes in interviews by not answering the question that was asked. If an interviewer asks for a specific example, give them an example, don’t be vague.

At the end of the interview, you will have an opportunity to ask questions, don’t say you don’t have any to ask, you do!  The interview is also the time for you to ask questions about the company. Let’s go over a few sample questions for you as the interviewee to ask and why. At the ending of the interview remember to shake hands with everyone and collect contact info if possible. Send a thank you note to everyone involved in the process, it goes a long way. Follow up from an interview with a phone call or email to see how things are progressing, this shows that you are serious about the position and interested as well.

An interview can be intimidating, but if you will do your part to be ready, then you will succeed. Remember to practice interviewing, dress appropriately, share stories to make you stand out, and follow up!  Interviews are the deciding factor for you obtaining or not obtaining employment. Make your interview memorable in a good way. Be positive, confident, and professional. If you will follow the tips from this workshop, then you will be on your way to conquering any interviews that come your way.

Writing as a Career Coach


I love writing- writing lists, blog posts, articles, in my journal, it doesn’t matter really. Writing is a way that I am able to express myself and put my thoughts on paper. It can be very cathartic for me  as well.  I think that everyone should find a healthy way to express themselves if it’s writing, painting, singing, or designing. Everyone needs a creative outlet!  I am very blessed to be able to share some of my writings with others whether via this blog or Linkedin.

As you may know I currently write book reviews for our on campus newspaper. I was recently interviewed by one of the staff writers to talk about the Center for Career Coaching and Professional Development and the Institute for Leadership and Professional Excellence which the C3PD (what we call the Center for Career Coaching and Professional Development for short) is part of.  I also wrote another  piece for two of our upcoming events here on campus. This week we have a Dress for Success Fashion Show. I wanted to share the links  for these 2 items with all of you. Enjoy!


Let me know, what’s your creative outlet?

Is it writing, painting, singing or something else?


Surviving a CareerApocalypse


This is a presentation I gave during our Spirit Week here at CC.

A career-apocalypse is coming soon for all of you! You will have to decide what you’re going to do to survive! You have 2 options- be a career zombie or a career robot. What does this mean? Today we will discuss how to succeed in the workforce by knowing yourself, your audience, using your strengths, talents, abilities, and goals, and networking. My goal is for all of you to be prepared to not only survive but thrive in the workforce.

Let’s discuss the characteristics of robots and zombies. Robots are engaged in their work, zombies not so much. Robots like Wall-E, Optimus Prime, and Rosie the Robot can be caring and express feelings. They are also task and detail oriented, good at manual labor, loyal, resourceful, and intelligent.  Zombies on the other hand unlike R from Warm Bodies are slow moving, not engaged in their work, are loners, non- communicative, can be aggressive, and are hard to get rid of.  In the world of work, you want to be seen as a robot and not a zombie.

To do this you must first know yourself and know your audience. Who are you? What do you feel your purpose is? What do you enjoy doing? What do you want to get out of your career?   You can also ask yourself what are your values or what do you value? Is it money, prestige, time with the ones you love, making a difference? Once you know these things you can move forward. You must also know your audience. What type of audience do you want to serve? Is it people, animals, a specific demographic such as the elderly or youth? You must be able to reach your audience at all times, remembering that the audience can change or remain the same. When you are applying for a job, the company or organization you are applying to is your audience.  If you are a doctor, your audience is your patients, if you’re a lawyer, it’s your clients, your audience is whoever you are serving.  In a work situation that can include supervisors, coworkers, and the public that come into your company. Knowing how to communicate with your audience is vital- you may learn that your supervisor prefers to communicate by email, while your coworkers prefer face to face contact.  Pay attention to your audience as well as listening to themIn his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell discusses a study about physicians and time spent with their patients. The study found that physicians who spent just 3 extra minutes listening to their patients were sued less for malpractice-just 3 minutes. Listen to your audience. I promise you that if you will pay attention and listen to your audience, you will win them over every time.

To be engaged at work, you need to be using your S.T.A.G.- strengths, talents, abilities, and goals. This will help you to be more productive and happy.   Think of your dream job, will you be using your S.T.A.G. or not? If you aren’t sure what you want to do, think of what you wrote down and brainstorm on some jobs that would be a good fit.

Although zombies travel in packs, they are still considered loners.  Being a loner won’t help you at work. This doesn’t mean you have to be  best friends with everyone at work, but you do have to interact with them.  You can be polite and professional. It’s important to know the company culture.  You need to learn how to network In and outside of work. You need people to help you survive this career-apocalypse. Think of T.V. shows like Under the Dome, Lost, The Walking Dead and movies such as Hunger Games and Divergent. All these movies have certain characters- the hero, the hero’s significant other, the villain, the frenemy, and the loose cannon.  The ironic thing is that they all serve a purpose. At some point, you will need them or vice versa. This is how networking is. In order to progress in your career or even change careers, you will need to have a rapport or relationship with others. It’s not difficult, you meet someone, ask them about themselves, listen, and respond. You have a conversation, it can be awkward but it can be done. You never know who you will meet and how they can help you or you can help them in the future. I’m not saying to talk to people simply to get something from them or to get used, but when you can genuinely help someone it feels good. What you really want from networking is to build relationships.

I  don’t if the robots or zombies will win at Ludy Bowl this weekend, but I know to win a work, you need to be a career robot and not a career zombie. You want to always be engaged in your work and not just going through the motions.  All of you can do great things if you will apply what we have discussed today in the workforce.

Why Resumes?


College Student said no one ever

Why do you need a resume? It’s what gets you an interview. It opens doors for you and gets you into places. Your resume has to stand out and be excellent! Think of your resume as your personal marketing tool-its sole purpose is to make you look good. Hiring managers see dozens of resumes a day, what will make them want to not only look at, but also read yours?

Today we will discuss what you need to know about resumes to be prepared for the workforce. To do this you need to use qualifiers and quantifiers, tailor your resume to each job you apply for, and the elements that are in all resumes. When you leave here today you will be able to put together a well-crafted resume that will help you land an internship or job.

      Let’s begin by discussing the three types of resumes there are. The chronological resume is the resume that highlights your work experience from most recent to least recent. The chronological resume is for people with extensive work experience and no work gaps. It shows a progressive work history and includes dates. It works well for those who are seeking work in a similar field that they are currently in.

A functional resume highlights your skills and accomplishments. It does not include dates and works best for people who have a wide variety of work experience. People who may have gaps in their work history may use this type of resume. The hybrid/combo resume is the most common. It’s a combo of the chronological and functional. It highlights your skills followed by your work experience and education. It works well for people with little formal work experience. 

     As discussed your resume is the first impression that employers make of you. It’s you on paper. The look or the layout is important.  You want your resume to be given not just a glance, but a long enough glance to be read and land you an interview. This means that the layout needs to be organized, consistent, and easy to read. The font needs to be no smaller than 10 point but no larger than 14 point. Make sure the font is consistent throughout. Your name needs to be the biggest item on your resume- it needs to stand out like the name of the movie on a marquee sign. Include bullet points to emphasize information. Most resumes are glanced at for 7-20 seconds and either trashed or kept in the keep pile for another look. Your goal is to get a second glance. 

      To get that second glance, you want to have the right type of information on your resume. You need to have your contact information at the top centered,  a profile summary discussing your skills and talents, your education experience, work experience, and volunteer activities. If you are a student, your education should be at the top, you can also discuss any extracurricular activities you are involved in. This can be included with your education or as a separate heading. The title of your headings don’t matter, but having the right information does. Keep it relevant and current! You will also need a separate reference sheet.

To tailor your resume to a specific job means that you read the job description and pick out keywords and use them in your resume. Many companies now use an applicant tracking system to see how many keywords in the job description are in your resume. To do this, you need to get past the company jargon at the top of a resume and get down to the nitty gritty of what the company is looking for.   I want you to understand that you have to look past the job title at what type of person the company is looking for- if you feel you fit that description then proceed. Don’t let a title intimidate you or make you think the job is no for you. The title doesn’t matter, it’s what you do within the title that does.

      The information in your resume needs to include quantifiers and qualifiers or put simply words and numbers. Action words like the one on the Prezi are words that you need to use. Begin every bullet point with an action word.  It’s important to be specific so that you are able to back up what you say and give yourself credibility. For example do not simply state Trained new employees, state trained over 15 new employees which resulted in customer satisfaction increasing by 20%. This shows that you are capable and good at training others, you are effective and get results. Numbers catch people’s eye, use as many numbers as you can. You are able to use numbers in any job whether you are talking about the number of students you teach or the number of news articles you wrote for a marketing internship- numbers count. You don’t always have to be exact you can give an estimation if you cannot have an exact number. Numbers help give you credibility.  Your qualifiers and quantifiers need to prove that you can do what you say you can.

No two resumes will ever be the same, but they all need the same type of information.   One last tip is to keep you resume updated and current. Continue to add any new skills, accomplishments, or degrees to it.

 Your resume is your first impression to a potential employee. It needs to be organized, concise, and updated. You are representing yourself. Your resume can open many doors for you. You may have many careers, and each time that you obtain a new job, it will be in part to your resume. You are now prepared to have a resume that will help you to be on your way in the world of work.

Leveraging Social Media for College, Scholarships and Jobs

This is from a social media presentation I gave at our Step Above camp this summer.

Linkedin logotwitter logofb logo

What is your favorite social media site and why?

What is it used for? What is its purpose? How else can it be used?

            Today, we will look at how you can use social media to help with college, scholarship, and job searches, as well as some of the dos and don’ts of social media etiquette. 

How many of you have an idea or know where you want to attend college or branch in the military? What do you know about the college, or branch and what makes you want to attend or be a part of these organizations?  A good way to find out even more information about these places is through their social media sites. Look at the reviews and comments from students, faculty, and parents. Social media is also a place where you can ask questions and make possible connections with people.  Think about what a potential school’s social media says about them. Remember that colleges and military branches are looking at your social media pages too. They are googling you, your Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and everything else. A good rule of thumb is if you are embarrassed for your grandparents or college admissions rep to see, don’t post it.   In the world, we live in; people make snap judgments as you all know so be careful.

            You can also use social media to search for scholarships.  Scholarship America posts new scholarship info on their Facebook and twitter pages. 

            As you progress and prepare for college, military, and beyond you be utilizing social media for more than just posting statuses.  You will want to become marketable and build a brand for yourself. Think about what you want to be known for and if that is the image you are now projecting. (Break into groups and discuss what they want their brand to be based on their career goals and what they want to be known for.   When you are job searching let your contacts know because as we discussed previously, you never know who knows each other. In The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, he discusses 3 types of people, connectors, mavens, and salespeople. We are going to focus on connectors.  Connectors know a lot of people and they know lots of different types of people. Connectors help people find other people. They are really good networkers. When you can connect with a connector, you have just broadened your network.  Think about your group of friends you all know the same people but when you know more people, you have more opportunities. (*My story about Christy) This is where social media comes into play; you will begin making connections through other people. Think about camp this week, you have made new friends that you will add to your social media network, you’ve met people in the business world, and when you make one new connection, you then connect to all their connections. You may even find that you know people in common and didn’t realize it.  You also widen your circle this way. Think of the people that you know in your life that are connectors that are good at helping people find people. Maybe you are a connector and never realized it. 

How many of you are familiar with LinkedIn? LinkedIn needs to become your best friend! It’s a professional network that helps people connect with others and find jobs. It’s easy to create a profile with your work, school, or volunteer experience. You can post any type of presentations you’ve done or things you have written. You can join professional groups that interest you and connect with other professionals. (*Maria Art Story) LinkedIn has a job section just for students and once you begin attending a college, you can join that network and connect with alumni. LinkedIn is a great tool that you need to begin familiarizing yourself with.

            It’s important with all social media that you are engaged and active. This doesn’t mean that you need to be on social media 24/7 but it’s important to show interest.  There are small and simple things that you can do, if you are interested in helping the environment join groups that want to help the planet. Share articles or posts that are important to you to spread awareness to others. 

Social media is here to stay and is always changing so stay current! Your best bet is to use it to your advantage and allow it to be a positive tool in your life. You’re building a brand, what do you want it to say about you? What is your message to the world? What do you have to say? Use social media to help you with scholarships, college, and job search information. As long as you use social media etiquette you will thrive