What They Don’t Tell You About Life After College

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, College, Happiness, Olivia

~ by Olivia Humphreys

“College will be the best years of your life!”

It’s a common phrase anyone who has spent one day in college has heard before. As graduation and the threat of becoming a true adult stares you in the face, you begin to worry that this statement is true. The days of sleeping in, taking random naps in the middle of the day and spending afternoons celebrating Thirsty Thursday are quickly waning.

All that you have to look forward to now is working for the rest of your life and trying to climb the corporate ladder. Gross.

Or is it?

As a person who has successfully survived, and thrived, in my first year post-college, I can honestly say that being in the workforce is a 1000 times better than being in college.

For starters, there’s no homework or tests. I still have several friends finishing up their college careers, and do not envy them even a little when they complain about studying or writing papers.

You also get your evenings back. I’m fortunate that my current position allows me to leave work at work. This means I’m able to disconnect and enjoy my evenings how I want; something I rarely had the luxury of doing in college since I was always worried about my next assignment.

Terrible group projects are a thing of the past (if you’re lucky). This isn’t to say I don’t have group projects at work — I most certainly do! But my boss has done an amazing job of hiring fun motivated people that prove to me not all group work is derived from the devil. In fact, my job is super fun.

It’s hard not to have fun at work when you have such great coworkers and get to attend cool events.

Another perk is that you get to become a “real person.” This is how my best friend, who is still an undergrad, refers to me now. But it actually makes a lot of sense. Obviously, I have adult responsibilities like paying for food, rent, utilities, etc., but this also means I’m viewed as an expert in my field by students and my boss.

At CCPE, there are only three of us and I’m the only one with a marketing and PR background. This means, even though my job title is only outreach coordinator, I’m treated as an outreach director because I’m literally the only person who has marketing training. I’m the point person for all things regarding outreach and communication; something I never would have expected in my first year post-grad.

Post-college life has also been great because I’ve been able to read for fun again. In college, I was assigned a ridiculous amount of reading. This actually led me to despise it, so I very rarely read for fun while in school. Now that I’m not required to read 80 pages every night, I’ve been able to rediscover my passion for reading and try to read a little in the evenings.

There are also a million things you can do when you graduate from college that you never would have had time for before. These are some of my biggest accomplishments in the last year, in no particular order:

  • Became a writer for Thrivers!
  • Adopted an adorable dog, Flora!
  • Took a road trip to Texas, where I got engaged!
  • Officially launched my freelance wedding videography business, LivFree Videography.
  • Grown professionally in more ways than I can even count!

While there are a number of truly fantastic pros to being a “real adult,” there is one con. Surprisingly, it has nothing to do with money.

Honestly, it’s how other people sometimes view you because of your age. I’m fortunate/cursed in that I look younger than I am. At almost every event I’ve been to since graduating, I’ve been asked if I’m a student. In some people’s defense, I do work on campus quite a bit.

This normally isn’t an issue, but there can be times when it gets frustrating. For example, as my team walked into a luncheon this winter, an elderly gentlemen greeted my entire team with an enthusiastic and somewhat condescending, “Hey kids!” Granted, we are all under 30, but two of my coworkers have a Master’s and one even has a child!

In another instance, I overheard two ladies we share an office space with, talking about me one day. “She’s just too cute,” they said as I was leaving the room.

While these aren’t the most disparaging comments ever, they remind me that people sometimes view young professionals as, well, young and cute and not necessarily mature competent adults.

The best thing to do with comments like these is to just smile and move on. Don’t let them discourage you. Instead, let it serve as a gentle reminder that respect is often earned with experience.

At the end of the day, college was great. But being a real adult is the best.

by Olivia Humphreys | email | LinkedIn | Twitter

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Mission 101: Satisfy As Many Passions As You Can …

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Happiness, Maria, Personal Mission, Side Hustle, Uncategorized

 

~ by Maria Katrien Heslin

As a career coach and teacher of two career-related courses at Indiana University, I spend a lot of time helping people explore some of life’s biggies:

What matters most to you in life?
What do you do well that you really enjoy doing?
How can your strengths translate into meaningful work?
What big issue do you ache to solve?
If money were no object, how would you spend your time?
What’s your mission?

And many more …

The goal of this self-exploration is to help people identify (and then attain) the type of work that will make them feel like leaping out of bed with enthusiasm every morning, or at least most mornings!

For some, this professional bliss is just a dream, a luxury. But for many of us, it’s a delightful reality. And naturally, helping people achieve this success is incredibly satisfying work!

What’s even better is that when we feel content and fulfilled by work, we often find that our minds and energy are free to pursue even more interests either as hobbies, side hustles or purely for pleasure. Doing so can allow us to add a bit of lagniappe to our personal mission.

For me, this includes serving as a volunteer State Council member for the Humane Society of The United States (I love animals); contributing to publications such as Governing magazine, HuffPost and my team blog, Thrivers (I enjoy writing); and co-lauching a new organic T-shirt line called Quite The Tees (this one encompasses oodles of my interests!).

At first blush, a T-shirt line might sound like a pretty straightforward pursuit. But with Quite The Tees, my mother/artist/cofounder and I infuse a little humor, sass and smarts, while celebrating empowerment, education and the environment. Let me explain.

First, each tee features a specially chosen word or phrase intended to prompt curiosity and discourse, and each is accompanied by a compelling, short, short story that tells the tale of a woman who embodies the word on the tee.

For example, one of our words is “bibliophile,” with its accompanying story:

So Many Shelves To Fill …

No one recalled when, but it began the first time a librarian discovered a $20 bill in a copy of An Honest Thief. Sporadically, many more $20 bills would appear on the bookshelves. As time went on it was noticed that various books were missing; a lot of them.

Across town an elegant woman is putting the finishing touch on her table for a dinner party — fine china, ivory damask linens, silver gleaming in the candlelight. She surveyed the lovely room, taking particular pleasure in the hundreds of books on floor to ceiling shelves surrounding her.

bibliophile … one who collects or loves books

Next, we didn’t want our words to grace just any old boxy, stiff tee. We looked long and hard to find T-shirts that felt soft and cool, had a flattering shape and collar, and were good for the environment. Ours are made from an all-natural blend of 70% bamboo and 30% organic cotton.

Bamboo is one of those amazing kind of plants because it produces a 100% biodegradable fiber and it’s one of the fastest growing plants on earth. It also can be grown without pesticides and harvested sustainably. Bamboo requires less energy and water to grow; it absorbs moisture; provides added protection against the sun’s harmful UV rays; and it contains a naturally occurring anti-bacterial agent.


Bamboo also feels incredible on the skin. It’s an especially soft and breathable fabric — cool in hot weather and a great insulating layer in the cold — so it works year-round. What’s not to like about that? The cherry on the cake is that the shirts are Made in the USA, which holds several earthy benefits, too.

The fine art of conversation is languishing as all too often we reduce it to 140 characters or we flagrantly choose the company of our smart phones over the person right before us. This T-shirt line is designed for discerning women who appreciate colloquy. We feature little known or underused words in English and other languages because we’re one world, and sometimes things are best said in French. Or Portuguese. Or Swahili.

Wear a shirt that says “limerent,” and people will talk! You’ll look smart, you’ll inspire curiosity, and perhaps some actual communication and connection will spark.

A portion of profits from the sales of our Tees will go toward supporting the missions of organizations that benefit three of our favorite Es: empowerment, education and the environment. If you are part of such a group and would like to explore a partnership, we’d love to connect with you.

Quite The Tees is a fun and meaningful pursuit that allows me — when I’m not coaching, teaching, advocating or writing — to indulge in a little creativity; share my fondness of fashion, comfort, communication and language; and support some causes I care about deeply.

Mission accomplished.

 

by Maria Katrien Heslin | website | email | Twitter | LinkedIn

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Thriving In Simplicity

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Happiness, Mindfulness, Stephanie, Time Management

by Stephanie Harbison ~

What would life look like if things in life were less complicated? Would people be happier, less stressed, or feel more empowered to make big decisions? Would we be healthier, have better relationships, and perhaps even be more successful?

About two years ago I had to ask myself that question. “What IF my life didn’t feel so complicated?” At the time I was dealing with a recurring illness that was taking a lot of my energy and confidence; I was overwhelmed with work and had too many outside commitments; and I wasn’t making time for the people I cared about most. I couldn’t even make time for the simple things I really enjoyed, like cooking or running — they actually just caused me more stress!

Sleepovers! Cheers to good friends and comfy PJs!
Oh the days of sleepovers; cheers to good friends and comfy PJs!

This was definitely a time when I did NOT feel like I was thriving. Life just felt so complicated and I longed for the days when things were simpler; when I could just enjoy the moment. I didn’t want to worry about living up to society’s standards for success, I just wanted to be myself. I wanted life to feel simple again.

Like the days when you were a kid and you could play all day in the pool with your friends and never worry if anyone was judging you, or wonder if there were something more productive you should be doing. Or when you found the perfect pumpkin in the pumpkin patch and were so excited to carve it as soon as you got home.

And sleeping in … oh the days of sleeping in and not thinking about a laundry list of all there was to do that day. That’s the kind of simple I missed. So I started to envision what my life would look like if it was simpler, and what would I change to make it that way.

Dressing up never gets old. I knew it even when I was 5 years old!
Dressing up never gets old. I knew it even when I was 5 years old!

I envisioned being able to enjoy the things I care about without feeling distracted. Being more present, so I can be a better listener and a better friend. Feeling at peace, even when circumstances aren’t perfect. Finding purpose, even in simple everyday tasks. And making room in my life for the “good stuff,” so I could actually experience all of the blessings in my life.

I’m working on simplifying my life as I write this, but a lot of it has to do with changing my perspective. Instead of feeling unproductive for just watching football with friends and family, I want to cherish that time instead. Rather than dreading the grocery store or cooking dinner, I will find the things I like about those tasks and decide to enjoy them instead. Being intentionally positive is not always easy, but when I do it, I feel I can start to enjoy the little things a lot more.

I also realized I wasn’t dedicating enough time to the things I said were important to me; my supposed priorities. For me, these things are my faith in God, my family, and my health. I was spending plenty of time at work and with outside activities. I would offer to take the lead on any and every opportunity that came my way. Eventually, I had no energy to dedicate to what brings me the most happiness.

In order to bring life back to what makes me happy, I have learned I need to say “NO” to opportunities without feeling guilty, build routines around my priorities and “schedule” in free time. That last one is the hardest most days, but it is when I can be free to relax and read a book, go visit a friend, or say yes to an unexpected dinner invitation. The best stuff happens when you make time for the unplanned.

Chocolate is my simple pleasure, and Dove reminds me to take time for the other simple things too.
Chocolate is my simple pleasure, and Dove reminds me to take time for the other simple things too.

So what would I say about my life today? It’s a work in progress. Some days I feel energized by all that they day brings, and I feel like a multitasking queen! Other days I feel the weight of all the expectations I set upon myself. It’s on those days that I need to remember to take it one day at a time and not to feel guilty if I just don’t feel like being superwoman that day. Tomorrow is a new day and has enough worries for itself. Today, I will choose to live simply.

by stephanie harbison | email | linkedin

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I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends … I Thrive With A Little Help From My Friends …

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Happiness, Kelly

by Kelly Bush ~

In 1967 The Beatles sang about friends who tell you when you sing out of tune, stick by you even when you’re off-key and who will continue to listen to your song despite the dubious quality of your performance. It’s a cheery, happy ditty with a contagious tune but it’s also sage advice. We thrive with a little help from our friends — not just in life — but also in our work.

I know some would say it’s not the best idea to mix business and friends. And I can appreciate that there are risks. I’ve been burned with this myself. Once, when I introduced a social acquaintance to a professional contact, she made a fool of herself, and I was embarrassed to learn about it later. But that isn’t really what I’m talking about when I think of integrating friends into one’s career. Our friends can be one of our best professional resources simply by being in our lives and by being themselves.

Over the decade+ since I earned my undergraduate degree, I have watched my friends grow into incredibly talented professionals. Some of us went back to graduate school. Some are now Managers or Directors, some are now Creatives, some are Career-Changers … and all of them are people that if I step back and consider from a professional standpoint, are amazingly talented. If these weren’t my friends and I met them now as clients or colleagues, I would be wowed. And since they ARE my friends, I have the opportunity to study the successes of these incredible people from an excellent vantage point.

That’s right. I’m saying that I look at what my friends are doing and let it influence me. Sounds crazy, right? I know. BUT hear me out.

Meeting Discussion Communication Brainstorming Concept
Moving from my twenties to my thirties, I came to know myself better. Which has meant that the friendships that lasted, or the new ones I formed, were more and more in line with my values. These are friendships that run DEEP. These are people whom I admire and trust. “Friends” almost seems an inadequate label for some of these special people. They are integral to my success and comprise a major portion of my happiness.

Given that I value and admire these good friends, I cannot help but notice and celebrate their successes. When a girlfriend of mine recently advocated for herself in an annual review and subsequently received a fantastic promotion and raise that she absolutely deserved, I was ECSTATIC. I was also seriously impressed. She knows her worth and insists it be acknowledged.

Another friend left a stable role at a major corporation to take a chance on a small organization run by people he respects. He subsequently found himself with new professional freedoms and opportunities that have reinvigorated his career. And you better believe, I took note!

A third friend took a title and pay cut to join an organization that offered stability and the benefits her family needed. Watching her find satisfaction in a different way reminded me powerfully that needs can change and that flexibility is a critical component of career success.

And it isn’t just from the successes that I learn. Seeing friends’ professional struggles from up close can be enlightening too. Listening to a dear friend talk about the impact it had on her to be in a job where she was not given the tools she needed to succeed made me think about how important it was for me to address this in my own job.

Listening to another girlfriend express frustration that her employer would give her a pay increase only when she got an offer somewhere else – subsequently making it clear to her that they knew what she was worth and hadn’t been honoring that – was eye-opening.

Sometimes in hearing friends talk about a challenge they are facing, I realize that the same challenge has previously or is currently presenting itself to me. Or through their search for a solution, friends come up with options I had not considered. And it all happens because two friends were chatting about life.

Looking then, for inspiration for our careers, to those people in our lives whom we respect and admire as friends makes perfect sense. My close friends are people whom I trust, value and enjoy. My own career benefits from their role in my life. Because I get by with a little help from my friends. I thrive with a little help from my friends.

by Kelly Bush | LinkedIn

Kelly Bush

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Surrounding Ourselves With Thrivers

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Happiness, Uncategorized

by Maria Katrien Heslin ~

We clearly live in troubling, volatile times, where stress, depression and anger are ubiquitous; personal safety is precarious; incivility is commonplace; bitterness is booming; and uncertainty and unhappiness are rampant.

For many, it’s easy to get caught up in this whirlwind of negativity. We see it all over social media, in the news, and we may hear it and feel it from our friends, family and coworkers. Some of the feelings may be easy to understand and justifiable, others less so.

One of the dangers of getting stuck in the misery swirl is that too often we allow one adverse reality to impact how we perceive other aspects of life, such as our work, health, relationships or humanity in general.

It almost seems like negativity is catching. Actually, might this naysaying vortex be socially contagious? If a condition such as obesity is, then it’s likely a social trait such as negativity is too!

In fact, studies show that when one person became obese, their friends were 57% more likely than the average person to become obese; friends of friends were 20% more likely to become obese, and their friends were 10% more likely to become obese. Other behaviors such as smoking, happiness, creativity and drinking saw similar results.

Nick Cooney, in his book Change of Heart, What Psychology Can Teach Us About Spreading Social Change, shares that researchers suggest that such behaviors spread in part through subconscious social signals about what is normal. If the person sitting next to you is eating more, chances are you will, too. If several of your friends are Debbie Downers, you’ll begin to see that as a socially acceptable condition, and you’ll take on that behavior yourself.

The good news is, that hanging out with positive, hard working, fun, spunky and ambitious people can rub off on you too! The Jim Rohn adage that we are the average of the people with whom we most surround ourselves, is far more than lore.

And that’s such a huge part of why I’ve launched this blog “Thrivers.” Yeah, like the world needs another blog! Well, actually in these turbulent times, I think the world does need a vibrant voice of optimism, energy, hard work, positivity, fun, passion and accomplishment.

For Thrivers, I’ve handpicked a handful of writers of various ages and professions, who approach life with optimism, curiosity, energy, humor and a quest to learn, always. What’s not to like about that?!

These are individuals who love what they do professionally, or who are in the active pursuit of that work-centric joy, and who, to the best of my knowledge, don’t wallow, worry or whine excessively while they find their way.

Now this doesn’t mean they necessarily thrive 100% of the time in all parts of their lives or that they always have thrived — but they get what thriving is all about and are on a quest to grow, be happy and inspire others to do the same. On top of that, they’re all people who can write well and produce compelling articles that inform, entertain and engage the reader.

People of this ilk are true thrivers, and they are rare. I’m so fortunate to know them and to have their work gracing our blog waves. Yes, I am surrounding myself with fellow thrivers, which helps me keep thriving, and you can too. Here is a little bit about each of our contributing writers:


Hannah Goodwin graduated from Indiana University in May and this week started a full-time job in the office of Indiana’s Lieutenant Governor. I met Hannah a couple years of ago when she took my class Public Relations for Nonprofits. I liked Hannah right away. She’s sweet, incredibly sarcastic, self-deprecating, bright, inventive and determined. In her last semester, Hannah took my PR Career Success Preparation class, and she may not admit it, but given the plum job she’s just landed, apparently she learned a lot. 😉 Her first piece with Thrivers is called “It’s A Numbers Game,” which clearly demonstrates the qualities I’ve just ascribed her.


After 30+ years in fitness, Mary Yoke is pursuing her Ph.D. She is warm, lively, fit, pretty, interested and downright sparkly. She knows more than almost anyone about fitness and is writing her dissertation on people’s attitudes toward physical activity. Mary’s also a fantastic yoga teacher, who loves music and plays the piano daily while overlooking a large, lush lake. Enjoy Mary’s articles A Doctoral Candidate’s Meeting and The Motivation to Move.


Kate Halliwell is an excellent writer who just enjoyed a most enviable internship in LA at IndieWire, an online entertainment publication. She didn’t exactly sit around, filing or going on coffee runs there; she garnered more than 65 bylines! Kate also is lively and witty, and she has just started her senior year at Indiana University. Kate’s prolific on Thrivers too! Check out her articles:


I’m also thrilled to have the lovely Kelly Bush on our team. Kelly is a 30-something enjoying a new, fabulous career in the New York art world after taking a less fitting path. I met Kelly years ago, when she worked as a Teaching Assistant for my father Tom Heslin, who was an IU Kelley School of Business professor. Kelly is brainy, clever, wise, sharp, tenacious and cultured. Enjoy her first Thrivers piece.

For the moment, our sole male contributing writer is Tibet Spencer. Like the others, he is incredibly likable, funny, focused, astute and positive. He is outdoorsy and athletic, and has a natural charm about him. Tibet graduated from IU in May and has just converted his summer internship into a full-time job with an advertising firm in Indianapolis. His two Thrivers posts have been particularly popular:


Next up is Olivia Humphreys, who was chosen by her classmates to be the one they’d most like to hire, given the opportunity. She’s awesome. Like Hannah, Olivia took both my PR for Nonprofits class and the Career class, and she’s such a positive force. She characterizes herself as a relaxed Type A personality and is really bright, creative, organized and well prepared. Olivia graduated in May and almost immediately began working for a nonprofit called Centerstone. She absolutely loves her job, and in The Better of Two Goods, you can see why. Also enjoy her writing about The Importance of Craft Time at Work and Embracing My Ruby Slipper Syndrome.

 

stephanie copy
Brand new to the Thrivers team is Stephanie Harbison; her first post comes out next week. Stephanie is impossible not to like, despite the fact she’s so smart, sweet, funny and pretty! 🙂 She is also a great writer, who is passionate about her day job and her volunteer work. She and I met a few years ago and served as leaders of a local group, the Women’s Success Network. Watch for her upcoming piece and many more.

 


I round out the Thrivers team, and I’m a Mindful Career Coach, who helps people reach their professional mountaintop. I also teach at IU and love laughing, writing, traveling, animals and yoga. I’ll cover topics ranging from hot resume trends to mindful leadership, career success and workplace ins and outs.

So far, Thrivers is off to a flourishing start, with more than 1500 visitors in its first two weeks. We hope you’ll check it out, be inspired, learn from our experiences and share your own. Most of all, we hope you’ll catch the bug and thrive with us!

 

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It’s A Numbers Game

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Hannah, Internship, Public Relations, Success

I have heard my father say the phrase, “It’s a numbers game” to me countless times throughout my life in reference to everything and anything. Applying to college was a numbers game in that the more schools you applied to, the more acceptance letters you were likely to get. This helps to explain why I applied to 10 schools (with a special shout-out to Indiana University for winning me over).

It was this same numbers game mentality that came into major effect when I was applying for internships for the summer after my junior year. Having growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, and then attending school in Bloomington, Indiana, I had become a well-seasoned (no pun intended) Midwesterner, prompting me to want to see what else was out there. Aside from my desire to go somewhere new, the delicious tacos and having an older sister living there drew me to Austin, Texas.

During the early spring of my junior year, I was open to anything communications oriented including public relations, advertising, marketing, branding, etc. Although Austin may seem very specific in and of itself, I wound up reaching out to more than 100 companies in search of an internship. Some of the companies said they wanted an intern and had an official application; others I contacted by sending an email to their “info@” or “hello@” addresses saying who I was and what I wanted to do.

After the first batch of applications and emails, I heard back with a yes or no from only about 20% of companies. This was not the most encouraging statistic I have ever achieved, but being the youngest of three daughters, I was not to be ignored. I reached back out and followed up with all of the companies I hadn’t heard back from originally in hopes of getting more replies. I kept track of all of this by creating a document with the name of the company, information about them, the date I contacted them, date of follow up, etc.

list
I sent yet another email in the form of a reply so that the original email with my resume attached was convenient for the recipient. This email was just a follow up in which I also mentioned that I would be making a trip to Austin in the near future and would appreciate the opportunity to meet with them, even if it was just for the sake of making a connection. To my satisfaction, this sparked more interest and promoted more responses. I guess the fact that I went to school in Indiana also confused some people as I also received several emails making sure I knew their company was based in Austin.

I did wind up making a trip to Austin at the beginning of April and managed to line up 10 meetings throughout the Friday and Monday I was in town. Of those 10, seven were for internship interviews and the other three were simply about networking. By the end of that week, I had four offers of which I wound up choosing two. Neither internship was going to pay me so I figured I might as well get twice the experience and make twice the connections.

I was a public relations intern for Giant Noise, a lifestyle PR agency, every morning of the summer and an intern at Do512, a media promotions company, every afternoon.
I was a public relations intern for Giant Noise, a lifestyle PR agency, every morning of the summer and an intern at Do512, a media promotions company, every afternoon.

As you can see it really is a numbers game. I started off contacting 100+ companies, ultimately received responses, both positive and negative, from about 40, met with 10, got four offers and ended up having two internships in one summer. If you limit the number of people you reach out to, companies you contact, etc., then you in turn are limiting yourself of potential opportunities to thrive!

 

by Hannah Goodwin | email | website | linkedin | instagram

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I Don’t Know. But I Will Find Out.

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Art, Career, Career Change, Kelly

Once upon a time, I thought I had to know the answer. To any question. To everything about which I was asked. If I couldn’t answer a question definitively, I felt like it meant I was behind and that I had somehow failed to know what I should know. That it meant I was letting the askers down and that they would judge me negatively. I think a lot of people believe this, and in particular, I think many new graduates feel this pressure keenly.

Today, I know this is not the case. (And that sometimes, the askers even intend for you to feel this way!) I also know that this does not have to be how the story ends. You can rewrite the ending — maybe even more than once. Careers, interests and lives are not necessarily linear, and if I have learned anything in the decade+ since I began my career, it is that it is perfectly okay not to know the answer as long as you are willing to work toward finding it. Because therein lies the key — I don’t know the answer. But I will find out. These are some of the most powerful words in my professional — and personal — arsenal.

How linear is YOUR path?
How linear is YOUR path?

There are many instances in which I have encountered this concept over the years, and I can apply it to multiple facets of my career and life. For now, I’d like to look at this concept in terms of choosing a profession. What do I want to be when I grow up? Some people know from the get-go. Some people hem and haw. Some people have no clue. But at 18-19 years of age, we choose a major.

Because at 18-19 years of age we should know what to study to get the right job.

At 21-22 years of age, we graduate with our undergraduate degree — which may or may not be in the subject we originally chose because it may have already become evident that there were things we did not know about ourselves. Having graduated, we then go get a job in the profession for which we are trained.

Because at 21-22 years of age, we should know what kind of job will satisfy and vitalize us.

Then — having chosen a career, we are identified with and by it. When we meet new people, we do the social dance: Where are you from? Where did you go to school? What do you do?

Because our profession/career should now define us.

Hmm… Noticing a pattern here? There is a lot of should going around. And there does not have to be.

The first two years after I completed my bachelor’s degree, I had jobs. I didn’t view them as a career. They were professional roles for which I was qualified and which had benefits and a paycheck attached. I learned some things. I had one good manager who taught me a great deal. (Thank you, Jeff.) I was still figuring out what I wanted so it didn’t bother me much that I wasn’t settled into a specific career path. I was working and that worked for me. But this is not thriving.

Then I took my first job in what became a decade-long career. My Political Science degree got me an entry-level paralegal position at a very good law firm. I was patted on the back and congratulated for choosing this career path. It was stable. I learned the role, sought additional education, climbed the ranks and ultimately ended up as a Legal Analyst at a top-tier company. I succeeded, right? This is IT. I should be really happy.

And I was anything but. I still was not thriving! I was bored, stressed and while good at what I did, it brought me no personal satisfaction. None.at.all. What was wrong with me? I had succeeded in building for myself a stable career in a respectable profession. And I was not happy. Worse yet, I could not answer questions about what more it would take to make me happy. (More money? A better boss? Better work/life balance?) I did not know the answer and when asked, felt like I should know how to fix this.

So I explored. I thought about it. I didn’t make any rash moves — there was no dramatic quitting of my job and then eating ice cream in front of the TV while I faux soul-searched. But if I didn’t know the answer, I needed to find it out. And that meant I went looking. I read. I talked to friends and colleagues whose opinions I valued. I was honest with myself about what I valued, what I wanted and what I no longer wanted.

I began to see that those things which I identified as ‘success’ 10 years earlier no longer aligned with my values. I honored those things that had value to me and sorted out how to give them a more prominent role in my career. And yes, I sought out more education so I that I was qualified to do what made me happy.

Four Freedoms Park - Jan 2015.2
Thriving in NYC, Four Freedoms Park.


The result:
A career change at 33 years of age and no sense of guilt for having done it. Because it isn’t a mark of failure to recognize that you didn’t know something. I did not know at 22 years of age that I would love working in the art world. I had no exposure to this field and had no way of knowing that what I thought would make me happy was not the right fit. But when I began to know what I didn’t know, I went looking for the answer. Not knowing was not failing. Not finding out would have been failure. And through my education and experience I had come to see that clearly.

So what’s next now that I took the leap and landed (happily) in a new profession? I don’t know. But I will find out. And that means I am thriving.

by Kelly Bush | LinkedIn

Kelly Bush

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The Ten New Resume Rules You Need To Know Now

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Career, Career Change, Maria, Resume, Success

In the quest for attention, to provoke discussion or maybe because he or she hopes it’s the case, every now and again some innocuous troll will declare, “The resume is dead!!” Well yes, the old-fashioned, boring and bland version that itemized your professional past indeed has been bumped off. However, the resume that tells your story, accentuates your value and highlights your personal brand is alive and kicking open the doors of opportunity.

Long gone are the days of the traditional, 12-point, serif-fonted, duty-driven confessionaries that featured generic, me-centric Objectives Statements; painful minutia about past employers; less than stellar GPAs; and contact information for three pre-ordained references. Thankfully, the dawn of a new resume day has arrived, and it’s about to be your new best friend.

Here are the 10 new rules you need to know for a cutting-edge resume that will help you stand out from the hoards of fellow applicants, showcase your specific strengths, and land a lot more interviews so you can snag the job you really want. And it will help you thrive.

Rule 1: Your Resume Needs To Be Your BFF.

bff
Today’s resume is your best friend forever because it likes you a lot! That means it doesn’t talk about anything that showcases or even hints at your shortcomings. Instead, it’s a powerful marketing tool that explains why YOU are THE perfect person for the job of your dreams. Or at least the job you are applying for at that moment. The resume for the job you apply for a half hour later might look a little different.


Rule 2: Know Your Audience.

tattooed-businessman
If you are in a creative and edgy field such as public relations, arts management or fashion, your resume needs to look clean and modern with plenty of white space, an eye-catching but not gimmicky design, and with an accent of color, and a few tasteful social media icons or other graphics. If you’re an accountant or academic, the more standard look is probably still the more palatable. Do your research so you understand the culture of the field and of the specific workplace before your finalize and submit your resume.


Rule 3: You Must Tailor It, Always.

tailor
As I hinted in Rule 1, you can and must tailor each resume to the specific opportunity. That doesn’t mean every section is a do-over, but it does mean you can control exactly which information, skills, strengths and accomplishments you most want to highlight for the precise skills, values and experience sought in the actual description of the position for which you’re applying. Align away.

Rule 4: Liven Up Your Contact Information.

edit&enliven
In this section include your name, cell, professional-sounding email address, LinkedIn profile link, and any other pertinent social media links and your personal website, if you have one. Make the email and links live. Include your city and state if you like; no street address please; stalkers and identity thieves took the fun out of that.


Rule 5: Power Up Your Personal Statement.

personal
Say a terse goodbye to the “To gain a job in my field” Objective Statement and say a warm hello to the Personal (Branding) Statement. This is a power-packed sentence or two that conveys your particular value, strengths and personal brand. To help you write this, pretend a hiring manager has only what you write here to go by — what specific strengths, skills, personal values and value to the organization will you bring that are unique to you? Be sure you review this statement for each job you apply to, and tweak as needed.

Rule 6: Call Out Your Strengths.

strengths
Feature your top 8-12 skills that best match the position to which you are applying (and which you generally enjoy doing). If it makes sense to organize them in categories such as Leadership Skills, Soft Skills, Software Skills, etc., then do so. You’ll seem some people include that lovely self-rating skills bar chart; why proactively admit you’re not amazing at something?


Rule 7: Make Your Experience Relatable.

Experience
Your Experience section should highlight relevant jobs (and internships if you’re a college student or recent grad), your title, and your key measurable, accomplishments at each. If a position doesn’t seem pertinent to the job you are applying for, look at the transferable skills you were able to develop that may be incredibly useful to your desired line of work. Your potential new bosses want to see how what you have done in the past will help you help them now and into the future.

Rule 8: Place Your Education Strategically.

education
Unless your academic experience was extraordinary and very fresh, for most fields* this section need not be near the top of your resume as it has been in the past. You no doubt studied your butt off for at least four years, but this info can wait until we hear about your strengths, and perhaps even before your relevant experience. Do not list your GPA unless it is outstanding. Do not list your graduation years unless really recent, if at all. *If you know that success in your line of work is heavily dependent on certain all cap letters proudly trailing your name, you may wish to keep this info near the top.

Rule 9: Showcase Your Awards/Publications/Civic Engagement.

awards
Here’s a section where you really can be creative in terms of title, structure and content. Depending on what fits you best, this is sort of a catch-all for any awards, publications, civic engagement or clubs with which you are involved. If there are a lot of each, break them into the appropriate categories. For organizations and clubs, absolutely include your contributions and accomplishments so it doesn’t seem like you just sat in meetings like a lump.

Rule 10. Keep It Reel Real.

reel
Always remember to tell the truth, never exaggerate, and check and recheck spelling, spacing, grammar, consistency and punctuation until you no longer can see straight (or better yet, have a skilled proofreader do that for you!).

The bottom line is that your resume should serve as a marketing tool, calling out your special talents, experiences and qualities and highlighting what’s so very special about you and why you are the person this organization needs to add value and solve their problems.

Today’s resume has new rules, and by making them work to your very best advantage, they will help you thrive. You’re in charge, and you’re about to shine.

For more tips or assistance creating your new, very much alive, vibrant and powerful resume, visit my coaching site, coachthrive.us.

by Maria Katrien Heslin | website | email | Twitter | LinkedIn

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To The Recent College Grad Or Rising Senior: Go Get Some Skin In The Game!

Posted on Leave a commentPosted in Advertising, Communication, Experience, Internship, Interview, Job, Public Relations, Skills, Tibet

Nothing, and I mean absolutely no-thing, can prepare you for what happens after college.

If you have your act at least somewhat together (which kudos to you, friend — you can stop reading now) hopefully you have some sort of income lined up for your post grad situation. If you REALLY have your act together, then you’ve scored that stellar first job or internship and you are charging hard right out of the blocks, and you can also stop reading this post right here (major kudos).

But if perchance you’re like most of us, which I’m thinking you are because you haven’t stopped reading, you probably don’t have that dream position lined up. Heck you might not have any employment lined up at all.

Well I’m here to tell you it’s going to be okay. Take a deep breath and recite after me, “I’m 20-something years old and I have a college degree—I’m going to be okay.” There. Feel better?

So if that worked, great. You also can stop reading here.

Ah so you’re still with me. Okay, I can tell you are going to need a little more convincing.

I want to talk about a little thing that I believe holds far more value and potential than any paycheck will offer you, and right now you are at the perfect time in your life to dive head first into this great thing called, wait for it, experience.

That last little word carries a lot of baggage. It comes in all shapes and sizes, big and small, bad and good.

It peaks its head out of your suitcase as it rolls up the conveyor belt into the belly of a 747 heading to Australia while you board a plane to Ireland, forced to spend the next two weeks of your Eurotrip wearing the same two T-shirts and few pair of undies you stuffed in your carry-on.

And oh does experience show itself in that post-grad job the first time you speak up in a staff meeting and immediately insert your own foot directly into your mouth. Yeah, that’s experience alright.

But experience isn’t just fumbling around and making mistakes waiting for the smoke to clear and then proclaiming, “Ah! I’ve learned something.”

No, it’s a little more complex than that. Experience is this wonderful little thing that allows you to take chances and risks while investing in yourself. It allows you to validate what might seem to others like a foolhardy decision, but to you it is a step toward fulfilling your dreams and accomplishing your goals.

Experience is ever changing — that’s what makes it so glorious. It’s not confined or restricted by any set parameters, but rather delicately tied together by a single, bonding, golden thread. Good or bad, grand or modest, that thread — the commonality of all experience — is the notion that it holds value only if you choose to extract the marrow from it, find the benefit or lesson learned, and then tuck it away in your memory bank so that later you can recall it and put it to work. In plain speak: learning from experience is about your perspective, and every situation has a silver lining if you look hard enough.

Take for instance my own circumstances. I decided I wanted to work for a specific ad agency in Indianapolis, so I worked furiously to prepare myself for the interview and hopefully for the offer.

The interviews came and went and I felt that I did well. After the final round I parted ways on good terms, reassured that I had made a solid final impression.

A week or so passed, and the agency got in touch with me.

They regretted to inform me that they had filled the position. I didn’t have enough experience.

But they had another offer for me. They had an internship opening up for the summer, and they thought I would be a perfect candidate for the role.

Well, at first I was pretty put off. In my eyes I was the perfect candidate for the full-time position for which I applied. Plus an internship meant I would be paid hourly, which wouldn’t be enough to pay rent on an apartment in Indy. I would have to commute two hours every day in my old beat up Jeep Wrangler.

My first thought was there’s no way I could say yes to that offer. There had to be other jobs out there for me.

I took a day and thought about it.

I came to the conclusion that hey, this agency is willing to take a chance on me and give me the opportunity not only to prove myself, but also to gain priceless experience in the process. Plus I had wanted so badly to work at this agency, to say no to any offer would be ludicrous at this point.

So I said yes.

Within the week I traded my Wrangler — which just so happened to be my dream car — for a Prius, and began to prepare myself mentally for the early morning drives, long days of work and late evening commutes home.

I am just over four weeks into my 10-week internship, and to tell you the truth, I couldn’t be happier. Every day is something new — whether it’s a fresh podcast on the drive up in the morning or a new task at work — nothing is ever stagnant.

Of course there are limits to what you can say yes to and what you must turn down, but I offer you this: those limits are not as restrictive as you might think. There is always a way to get what you want, and trust me, the experiences will be worth it.

by Tibet Spencer | tibetspencer14@gmail.com

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