TheLadders, an established career resource for professionals, asked me to write a blog post offering career advice to recent college graduates. I said I’d be happy to with the help of my family and friends. (For all those who generously shared their success tips, thank you for your contributions!!!)
- Part 1, posted May 2015, gives you the perspective of my millennial children and stepchildren (all 7 of them).
- Part 2 gives you the perspective of several of my colleagues, most of whom are Baby Boomers like me.
- Part 3, to be published in July, will give you my own perspective (since, as a professional coach, I’m not “technically” supposed to give advice!).
I pray you find this helpful. Enjoy.
Career Advice – On the Value of Hiring a Coach
Find a good mentor/coach you trust—someone who has lived longer than you have—someone who has made mistakes and learned from them—someone who is willing to share openly. A coach doesn’t have an “agenda” for you like your friends and relatives do and can help you with every aspect of your life, including things you hadn’t thought of. Maybe your boss is frustrating and you need to develop a plan together to make it work. The degree of success in a career is directly related to the degree of success you achieve in your personal life. Responsible Money Management. Engagement. Marriage. In-laws. Where and how you celebrate holidays. Pregnancy. Children. Barrenness. Illness. Temptations. Accountability. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Find a good mentor/coach!!
~Pam Taylor, Life Coach
Career Advice – On Having the Right Attitude
1) Unless something is unethical or abusive, all work is good work.
2) You’re LUCKY if your work is your passion. However, if it’s not, indulge your passion elsewhere, but find the joy that IS present in what you are doing.
3) SAVE SAVE SAVE in the early years. Saving those first 10 years out of school will pay more dividends than the next 30 years of saving.
4) Say YES more than you Say NO. Be open to new places, new people, and new experiences.
~Stacy Rebbert, Marketing Manager/Social Media Strategist
Career Advice – On Listening to Your Heart
Don’t focus on your “career.” Instead, follow your heart. Your “jobs” may change, but your calling will become clear the longer you journey. (I feel like so many college grads feel like their life’s work has to be in the profession of their college degree. But they find themselves unhappy and unfulfilled. If they would allow themselves to listen to their heart, they could move on from one thing to the next, and their life would become one fluid “calling” or “purpose.”)
In short, it’s OK to change jobs, or even careers, if you’re listening to your heart, and the greater purpose to which you are called.
~Martin Holsinger, Author, Speaker, Entrepreneur
Career Advice — On Playing to Your Strengths
Don’t make decisions based on fear. My 19-year-old college junior just finished a year-long internship with a respected company doing marketing analytics for pricing. She learned a lot, including recognizing that she is meant to do something different than analyze spreadsheets for the rest of her life. The internship paid well, was conveniently located, and the people were nice. It was “safe,” but it was crushing her because it didn’t play to her strengths. Staying there would’ve prevented her from trying out a different subset of marketing, or exploring a different industry, or extending her range of relationships.
Bottom line, find something that allows you to use your strengths! If your current job doesn’t allow for that, ask your manager about adding more responsibilities that do. If that isn’t possible, craft a plan!
~Susan Whitcomb, Career Coaching Expert and Author of 7 Career Books
Career Advice — On Enjoying the Journey
Almost all experiences/jobs can be good if your attitude is to see the gold nuggets not the dirt. Many times you will learn how NOT to do something and what NOT to do. I personally had my greatest career and ministry opportunities when I took some (calculated) chances and risks. My suggestions:
- Be a pioneer, not a settler.
- Be a good listener, but understand many well-meaning people give bad or distracting advice based on their own life.
- Pray for wisdom and discernment to HEAR the good advice. Good decisions will have PEACE attached.
- Move on from toxic people and work environments, but have the attitude “Do not leave ugly.” Keep the right people in your contact network.
- Seek true JOY and excitement for what you do.
- Remember that ALL great jobs and endeavors also include difficult times and circumstances.
I am an advocate for being a self-employed business owner. Having your own business is part of the American Dream. You can build your own business as a PLAN B alongside your current job or position. Find someone who can mentor and guide you in this!
Finally, know that generally the happiest, fulfilled, and most successful people seem to get there and STAY there with the “Slight Edge Principle”: Do a few extra things every day on a long-term consistent basis. This makes a HUGE difference over time. Those who employ the “Slight Edge Principle” are the ones who REALLY seem to enjoy “The Journey.”
~David Easterbrooks, Social Entrepreneur
Career Advice – Short and Sweet
- Do your best, change jobs if you’re not enjoying it, keep balance in your life from the beginning, and start your retirement savings immediately. ~Cinda Weisgerber
- Network, network, network! ~Mary Anne McDonald
- Go after your dream and invest in your future. ~Anita Levesque
- Never burn a bridge. Ever. You never know when you will meet up with that person again and need their help. ~Nancy Dart
- Never settle. There will never be a “making it.” It’s not the years in your life but the life in your years. ~Marconi Douetts
- Volunteer in a similar area of your degree if possible if you can’t land a job due to lack of experience. ~Jim McFarland
- Become a specialist and expert in a niche field. It takes 10 year to become an expert. Stick with it for the ultimate reward. ~Debbi Moore
- After having interviewed hundreds of college grads for sales positions, there was a common theme among them that should probably be addressed. No, you don’t get the corner office, best parking space, and a six-figure income the minute you graduate. Those things are earned!!! ~Karen Hirsch
- Communication is important especially with your boss. Be sure to check in regularly with him or her. Be punctual to all meetings and appointments. ~Lori Schofer
- It’s not about who you know or what you know. It’s all about who knows YOU. So, network, build, and nurture relationships; and never be afraid to reach out for expertise, help, or to share your expertise with others. ~Susan McMullen, 6-Figure Business Coach for Women