Ask Susie

Shifting into job search mode

Shifting into job search mode

I was motivated to write this blog because, as I meet people and “do life”, I find it fascinating to engage with individuals and inquire about their career choices. Conversations generally cover topics related to education, career path and satisfaction level. I’m always amazed at the responses, sometimes shocked or surprised by the choices that have been made and why. It’s obvious who has prepared well compared to those who have not. I find paths in life are as unique as the person. As life throws challenging twists and turns, it’s interesting to see how individuals respond in moving forward. Surprisingly, many of the young adults I meet in the 25 to 35 age group are underemployed, given their education and experience. Many are still in the jobs they accepted right out of college and often share that they work more than one job to survive. I am on a crusade to make this change! One enlightening thing I’ve learned on life’s journey— one that rings true for many of us—is that succeeding in college is very different from succeeding in a job search. Once you’ve graduated, the skills of research, solid communication, organization, networking and negotiating are crucial in promoting yourself in a competitive job environment and managing a vigorous job search. A successful job search requires project management skills, a heavy emphasis on organization, and follow-through. It requires putting in the hours of a full-time job, whether you’re already working or not, so you must become a very efficient and savvy project manager to land the interviews and get those offers. Perseverance and focus are essential in... read more
Resiliency — It’s in You!

Resiliency — It’s in You!

I loved watching the recent Olympics! Where else can we watch and get a sense of life as a high-level athlete up close? We see profiles that illustrate the amount of time, energy and effort it takes to maintain the human body, physically and mentally, at the highest level of competition. We are privy to the raw reactions of each athlete as they experience success or failure or unexpected trauma. That raw vulnerability touches my heart in the moment and makes the entire experience so unique and special. I am always left wanting more. One aspect that stands out dramatically is each athlete’s ability to focus in the moment. For those who fail, it’s the ability to process and regroup quickly and effectively. This is the ultimate example of resiliency in action. Each athlete has trained to deal with failure in an expedient manner. They still display human reactions — such as anger, frustration, disappointment — but their training is such that they can move through the emotional side quickly, or perhaps compartmentalize it for later analysis, and continue to compete at a high level. Most of us don’t necessarily train to deal with adversity the way high-level athletes do. Nevertheless, if we go through the conscious process of dealing with failure and working through it, we can, in most cases, bounce back and move forward within a reasonable amount of time. There are always exceptions, and those who need more time should never be shamed into rushing through the process. Let’s look at some lessons we can draw about developing resiliency for our own journey. First, understanding our... read more
Integrity – It Matters

Integrity – It Matters

I was inspired to reflect on this very timely subject when I saw it displayed on the marquee at the high school close to my home. Given our world’s current events, it could not have come at a better time and prompted me to do some deep reflection. Formal education is all about teaching you to think critically and evaluate information, facts and situations with an objective point of view, then sifting through your subjective perspective to find what you understand as truth. Your views and behavior on ethical values influence your personal integrity and the legacy you are building! If you want more details, examine this list from Texas Tech University where they teach applied ethics. I think of it as an expanded version of the “Golden Rule”: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/murdoughcenter/products/resources/recommended-core-ethical-values.php Every day we are bombarded with examples of human behavior through media and other sources. An awareness of the degrees of variance in personal, corporate and political integrity is critical, so sharpen your skills of discernment and be prepared. Let this awareness be an opportunity—a catalyst—to create or review your personal framework. When asked, it is imperative that you communicate your beliefs and how they guide your behavior. Using real-life examples that illustrate your motives, as well as a personal mission statement that clearly articulates your views, can have quite an impact. If you want to develop a personal mission statement, select your top three values from the Texas Tech list mentioned above. Use those to design a brief statement (that could be expanded when necessary) about why you believe they are essential. For further guidance, check out this... read more
Intensify Your Productivity Zone

Intensify Your Productivity Zone

If you have ever gotten into a “zone” when studying or performing a task, you probably felt like the stars had aligned, the ideas and energy were flowing and you were working at a highly productive pace. You might even have lost track of time, because you were so into what you were doing. At times like these, it feels like you are at the top of your game and you are on a roll! When I accomplish a lot in a condensed timeframe, I feel satisfied, like my mind is working as well as it can. Like a finely oiled machine! I can’t wait until I can replicate that feeling and experience another high-performance output again. Knowing and maximizing your learning style can help you achieve this. I know it’s true. I’ve observed the results personally and have also seen it work for clients and professionals. Let me start by sharing a simple example from my life experience. I have always been drawn to areas that have a lot of natural light, like windows, as well as interior areas with bright artificial light, as opposed to dimly lit areas. When I don’t have bright light I feel like my brain is not running on all cylinders, so I intuitively search out areas where those options are provided. I’d never seen that reported in black and white until I reviewed my AchieveWORKS Learning and Productivity report. A second example that may seem rather trivial is that I gravitate toward a traditional desk and chair when I want to concentrate, study, read or write. I’ve learned over the years that... read more
Internships Can Be Your Secret Weapon

Internships Can Be Your Secret Weapon

Internships are the best-kept secret to bridging the world of work. Once you get on campus, check out the internship program so you can start planning. Every college should have a well-oiled program offering appealing internship opportunities related to your major and career field of interest, but you can always bring one you develop for consideration. Imagine how cool it is that as a student, you can intern in an organization that could someday sign your paycheck! Keep in mind the impact of being immersed in the industry of your interest: the marketplace exposure offers you a tremendous edge over others who do not have this learning opportunity. You’ll gain real-world experience: it’s priceless, whether or not the internship offers monetary compensation. The bottom line is, internships provide built-in, top-notch knowledge and networking that you would never have access to any other way! While some internships offer compensation and others don’t, even those that do not provide payment feature other benefits that make them invaluable. If you desire employment at a competitive agency or firm, the networking and experience alone often lead to an inside track for job offers.  Informal methods, such as personal recommendations and word-of-mouth referrals are easily tapped when you have solid experience as an intern. Remember, interns are typically privy to inside information, including internal openings, as well as upcoming plans for expansion and hiring. So, what if your school does not offer internships, or at least not any in the organizations you like?  Forge a relationship with a professional contact and take it back to the college. Most colleges are happy to formalize the... read more
Why Use Career Assessments?

Why Use Career Assessments?

It would be wonderful if career development professionals could just gaze into a crystal ball and discern the best path for each person. While most professionals bring with them a wealth of personal and professional knowledge and education, career planning is a complex thing to navigate even under the best of circumstances. Numerous career assessments abound on the Internet. If you’re a young adult, you may not realize that career development is still a fairly new field in the realm of human development. One pillar in the field, John Holland, first introduced his theory, known as the Holland Codes, in 1959. Through timely revisions, the Holland Codes are still helpful today as a piece of validating information. While career counseling was initially used in the military for vocational counseling, it was quickly embraced in education and then marketed to the general public when the rise of self-help books became widely acceptable. One of the best-known of these books, What Color Is Your Parachute?, was introduced in the 1970s by Richard Bolles and has since became a staple in the career development field. Sold as a self-help tool for career seekers, it is still being updated and published today. In the early 2000s, Do What You Are arrived on the scene. Representing a new kind of self-help book, it used personality type theory to help readers identify strengths and talents unique to the 16 types described by the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Since its release, the book has become a time-honored tool in assisting those seeking career planning clarification. Shortly to follow was the Do What You Are® online career assessment... read more