Swipe right for your perfect (career) match

Ah yes, Valentine’s Day is here. Can you taste the sugary sweet joy of love in the air? Do you feel soooo lucky to have the perfect partner or the perfectly Valentine-themed dressed children?

Even if your answer to the above is yes (and good for you if it is...really, I mean that...), you still may need to revisit the relationship you have with your career. No, that doesn’t mean go out on an overpriced prix fixe dinner with your colleagues tonight. Think about what you want from your next role and go out and get it. Besides being a great time to stress eat an enormous amount of chocolate, It’s also a pretty good time of year to find a new job. LinkedIn Workforce Report shows hiring was 13 percent higher last month than a year earlier.

Now, step away from the Russell Stovers. It's time to make a change and find your perfect match...for a job. Here are some tips to get you out there.

Get yourself in shape. Give your resume, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles the makeover they need to feel confident and to take the job search world by storm. Throughout the editing process, focus your content on the results and impact of your work. If you have quantified information that shows scope or impact definitely don’t be shy about showcasing it.

Tip: A quality position description on your resume consists of 1) a strong action verb 2) quantified information 3) results/impact of your work.

Do some light stalking. Think you have a good idea of what you want your next move to be, but not sure you have what it takes? Hunt down some people who are in that role and talk to them. Back in my higher ed days I used to recommend students research what alumni with their skills and academic backgrounds were doing via the Linkedin’s Alumni Tool. This could be valuable to anyone regardless of your career level.

Tip: Join your university’s alumni group and try to message people you find through it.

Get on the internet. Where do all eligible candidates go to find their match? The internet, of course! Forbes outlines some of the best job boards out there right now. I would also add Werk into the mix. It’s curated jobs with flexibility built in for those seeking work/life balance.

Tip: In my opinion, an active job search means you’re applying to 5-10 positions per week.

Follow these tips and it will help you get out of your loveless job relationship and into a position you’ll feel great about (get your head out of the gutter). Good luck!

New Year, new goals - but are they SMART ones?

We know by the endless lines at the gym and the influx of detox social media posts that a new year is upon us. With the strike of midnight, a magic wand waved, a clean slate given. 

Where do you start? Forget about sweeping, unrealistic New Year's Resolutions that set you up for nothing but failure. Set realistic goals. Get real things done.

It would be nice if a crash diet made helped shed the pesky 10 lbs from baby #2 or a new planner meant you never forgot another appointment again. The truth is, you aren't going to change your life overnight and you aren't going to become a different person without a good plan. Let's talk about setting goals that elevate you to a better version of yourself, and gets you some real wins on your way there.

First on your New Year, new you (barf) agenda should be to set S.M.A.R.T. goals. We all love a good to-do list, but to impact real change we need to take a list of goals one step further and make them S.M.A.R.T. ones.  Make sure the goals you set are specific, measurable, achievable relevant, and time-bound. 

Here's an example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal:

By March 2018 I will have created a networking target list of 50 contacts in the social entrepreneurship space by researching my alumni database, LinkedIn groups, and by revisiting my existing first degree network.


In this example, the goal is not just "create a networking list". That's vague and won't keep you accountable.


You want to push yourself a bit here, but not to the point that you never accomplish the goal. Most people fail because they set goals that are impossible to reach, and will give up before they get even close to reaching them. 


Focusing on the outcome of a goal keeps you accountable. Making sure you have a clear result outline 


Defining a clear due date creates the same sense of urgency you needed when procrastinating your college paper writing. Instead of cramming a semester's worth of Shakespeare into one night of marathon writing, be a grown up. Keep yourself on track throughout the time frame you set for yourself.


You don't need to change your life to make a big impact in it. Start with small goals and get comfortable with the S.M.A.R.T. method. This year, make it your resolution to make better resolutions.

Wear your pants and other professional insight for the recent grad

The other day my three-year-old son stood before me donned in his spider man pajama top, no pants, and his giant Clifford book proclaiming “Ok, mommy. I’m off to work. It’s PJ day at work today!”

I giggled and asked him to show me his office. We entered his room and he pointed to the endless crew of stuffed animals on his bed,  “ Look! These are my work friends. We all sleep together. What should we have for lunch today?”

This brief insight into a toddler’s mind made me wonder how much work perceptions change when we enter the workforce. Most of us eventually learn that pants are required and sleeping with all of our friends is a bad move  (pesky social norms). In college, career services teaches fundamentals of resume writing, cover letters, job search resources, and using LinkedIn, but are recent grads really prepared for the professional world?

My experience in undergraduate career services showed me that there is such a desperate need to a) get students actually thinking about life after college and to b) teach them the bare minimum basics of how to consider career options, go after them, and ultimately get an internship and job. What often isn’t taught is the c) the “wear your pants” common sense factor of functioning in the workforce. I considered some of the cringeworthy professional faux paus I witnessed and came up with helpful tips to make sure recent grads thrive and grow in their early career.

Save the drama for your mama...and please leave her at home. When I worked in higher ed, parents called me or showed up (awkward) to career counseling appointments with their student. I heard employers tell stories about how moms and dads called to negotiate their child’s salary. I told students it’s fine for their mom to call/scream at me, but I’m not responsible for hiring them. Momterventions won’t fly in the real world. Know your worth (Payscale.com and Glassdoor.com are both great resources), show proof of it in negotiations, wear your grown up pants, and get the compensation you deserve - on your own.

Work hard, play...a medium amount. Community in the workplace is important, but no one wants to be the one dancing on the table at the company Christmas party. Oftentimes socializing with coworkers outside of the office serve as golden opportunities for networking. However, one must learn the art of social moderation in the workplace. Nurse your drink. Go out after the happy hour. Stay off of social medial.

Find a mentor...but don’t be awkward about it. Convincing clients the value of networking always proves challenging. Somehow today’s recent grad freely tweets their grievances 75 times to their favorite brands, but can’t fathom asking a professional they admire for 15 minutes of time. Networking, however, remains the cornerstone of professional success throughout one’s career journey. Coffee chats go a long way even when you already have a job. Remember, no GMOs in networking. Let relationships grow organically. After a networking meeting, set Google alerts for topics that came up in conversation - from sports teams to issues in the industry. It will give you an excuse to reach out again to say hi, and also provide compelling information!

Say thank you...in person and in writing. Just like at my son’s preschool, manners matter. I am always floored when students don’t know they need to write (or more likely, type) thank you notes after interviews. After a job is procured, formally thanking people is still a good practice. Handwritten notes (with an actual pen and paper) also go a long way. A client wrote me a really kind note after she got a job and it made my day!

Grow up...and grow a thick skin. Unfortunately, the real world isn’t actually my son’s perception of office culture. Our stuffed animal friends don’t always play nicely. When I sought a promotion at one of my first jobs, I interviewed with the president of the company. He asked how I took negative feedback. I told him that my former soccer coach used to scream and yell at me and call me the “best player for the other team” no matter what was happening on the field. He knew that I never cried or took his words personally. My coach’s poor tactics prepared me to land the promotion. The president later told me that my example gave him the confidence to deal with the pressures of working with a challenging supervisor. Hopefully you don’t attain resiliency through poor coaching tactic, but try to hear what your boss asks/tells you and not how they are delivering the message.

Overall, my son has a few years before he gets recruited by the investment banks (although with trends going how they are OCR may begin in kindergarten). We’ll have time to set his expectations. For the recent grad, it’s important to consider how professional conduct makes or breaks your early career. Resumes, cover letters, and interviewing skills are essential skills, but they won’t get you to the next level in your career.  Follow some of these common sense tips, and you’ll set yourself up on the right path.

Forget Passion. What's Your Schtick?

The advice “follow your passion and the rest will come” always made me puke in my mouth a little. Perhaps I’m a dream killer or the mom who gives the cucumber sticks instead of lollipops in your lunchbox type of career coach. To me, passion without the right balance is crap. Whether preparing someone to make their first career move, prepping them to nail an interview, or helping them land a promotion, I learned that nothing replaces a good schtick. If you want a rewarding career or productive staff, it starts by defining and channeling value.

Experience working in career coaching showed me that some people get consumed by passion and lose sight of reality. Conversely, some people focus on reality and lose track of their soul. How do we avoid this?

Well, with a well thought out, Hillary Rodham Clinton-esque plan, of course. And a good schtick.


Miss ya, Hillz

My passion is writing. As an English major, I learned about the unfortunate demise many writers met. I realized quickly that I wanted to earn a steady paycheck (lame, I know), and the opportunity to buy stuff from the real J. Crew and not just the Factory (yes, I am that basic). While writing never ended up being the passion I followed as a career, my writing skills ended up being the added value I brought to every job. It set me on a path to finding what I am really good at - helping people find their schtick, and communicating effectively in various ways.

Still love ya, Hemingway. 

Still love ya, Hemingway. 

Enough about me. How can you find your schtick?

First, think about yourself: I know it seems useless. However, think about how you go through the motions of your day. Even at your most mindful, are you thinking about you? What do you actually like to do? What do you do the best? When are you the most at ease? Self-assessment is crucial to finding your schtick and discovering real career fulfillment.

Write (or type) it down: Even if you are on the subway start writing down skills, interests, and values in your notes. Getting ideas outside of your head is crucial to making sense of them. Try to arrange things in order of priority to better refine your next steps. Send yourself mental notes via voice memo. I am 100% the crazy person talking to myself into my headphones as I am walking down the street, but it helps me keep track of my thought processes in the midst of the crazy day-to-day.

Evaluate your current job: What do you like? What don’t you like? Is the company great but the job just meh? Consider all of these factors and think about if there is another job out there that might be a better fit. Life’s too short for meh. We need to find work that “gets” us. If you could get an outfit perfectly tailored to you free of charge, you would. May as well try to put the effort into finding the job that’s the perfect fit. It costs you nothing to try.

Talk to people: Yes, actually talk to them. Identify folks in jobs that seem interesting to you. I’ll let you start on the internet by sending emails to contacts or former supervisors. I even encourage some light internet stalking (I mean researching) via LinkedIn. Set something up. Grab coffee. Ask them questions about themselves. Clients are always terrified of reaching out to people for a quick coffee chat. I get it. It’s transparent, and people are going to know you want their help and insight. Who cares? I often ask a timid networker what they would do if they were on the receiving end of the email. Would they help the person? Only one person ever said no. She was a jerk. The truth is, most people do want to help other people. Send the email. Pay for their coffee.

Find your schtick: You get it now! You’ve thought about what you need to do to be the most effective in your work, where you add your most value, and you talked to everyone on the internet about their jobs and found what seems interesting to you. Now go out there and land the job that’s best for you! Just kidding. This takes work and time. Much like anything in life once you think you figure it out, something else happens and you need to rethink it all. The most important thing to do is keep an open mind, know your worth, and be brave enough to try something new.

Stay tuned for webinars and podcasts that will walk you through even more steps needed to find your schtick. We'll share other people's stories, too. If you have an experience you’d like to share, please reach out to us at info@schtick.pro.