Month: December 2018

Career Development Guide – Freebie

Career Development Guide

How many times have you asked yourself “What do I ultimately want out of my career?” Sometimes it’s hard to think through every possible scenario that could become your life. People often say “It’s not about the money, it’s about what I love.”, but let’s be honest, you’d love it a lot more if the right pay came along with it. Am I right? That is why I have created a downloadable Career Development Guide.

 

I have developed this guide to walk you through developing your professional career in 5 easy steps.

1. Who are you? (Knowing yourself)
2. What skills do you already possess? (Where are you now?)
3. What do you want for your career? (Where do you want to go?)
4. How might you get there? (What steps do you need to take to get there?)
5. Who can help? (What resources might I use?)

 

Who are you? 

This section focuses on your interests. Your interests play a huge role in having a successful and beneficial career. It walks through your values and the primary things you would look for in your career journey.

Where are you now? 

We’re going to break down your starting point. In order to make it to any finish line, you have to know where you’re starting from. You will look into the things you do well, your experiences, as well as the things that you could improve on. (None of us are perfect, so don’t leave that blank!

Where do you want to go? 

Now, we’re still running this race, so you have to know where the turning lane is. You’ll think of your goals, you’ll think of your 1 and 5 year plan, and you’ll also consider the challenges.

How might I get there? 

This is the meat & potatoes of the development guide. What types of things must I learn? For example, if you want to be a business analyst, there are certain skills you will need. You will need to be able work in Excel. Okay, so how can I get better at Excel? You can commit to completing the Expert class in Excel on Udemy.com. I want you to think in real terms on what you can do to accomplish your goals.

Who can help? 

When it comes to who can help, think through family and friends. Once you think through them I want you to find a mentor. Check out one of my earlier blogs to learn more about mentors.

ACTION!

The development guide closes with you creating your own personal career plan based on steps 1-5, as well what you plan to do to make it happen. Be honest and transparent with yourself, or else you’re the only one you’re hurting.

You may get your copy of Corporate Melanin Millennial’s Career Development Guide by subscribing to our newsletter or clicking here.

 

You will get an automatic download, but it will also come to you via e-mail. (If you don’t receive it, please check your spam.)

Initiative is Everything – A Personal Narrative

If opportunity doesn’t knock, build the door yourself.

We all have been told to take initiative at some point in our lives. I have always been one to take things literally. I know what I want, and I know when and how to go after it. I’ve told this story to quite a few people in passing, but I’ve never just written it out. The way I got my first “big girl job” is a little different than most, but it is also the way I got my graduate assistantship. I’m going to start at my graduate assistantship, and work my way forward.

Graduate Assistantship

How often have you been told it’s not what you know, it’s who you know? Well, I’m living proof that you can use WHAT you know to get to who you WANT to know. In 2015, I was getting ready to graduate from THE Valdosta State University. I knew that I didn’t want to pay for grad school, I researched where I wanted to go, and how to get a free ride. In Janaury of 2015, I started researching marketing departments at various colleges I wanted to attend. Once I found those colleges, I looked up who was over graduate assistantships there. E-mails were sent to every single one of them. I told them my qualifications, my background, and why I deserved to be their graduate assistant.

I also took it one step further, I researched the head of every marketing department to see if they were looking for a graduate assistant. This was the first step, they would soon know my name. All of them said they weren’t sure, but would reach out later. (Which we all know rarely actually means anything.) I graduated May 10, 2015. On May 12th I got an email from the VP of Marketing at Armstrong State University requesting an interview as their GA had gotten sick, and they needed someone to start ASAP. I had already accepted my term at Armstrong for the Fall, and here they were asking me to come 3 months earlier PAID. My (now) husband and I took the trip to Savannah for my interview. They offered me the job on the spot, and asked if I could get enrolled that day.

My godmom opened her home to me for the Summer. I moved within 2 weeks down to Savannah to take a job + tuition that I had no plans to do. This is to show that initiative pays off when you least expect it sometimes.

Corporate America

If it works at least once, there’s a high probablity that it would happen again right? I knew the company I wanted to work for EARLY. The research was done, I knew people who worked there, and I knew I was skilled enough to do it. Around mid-2016 (before I graduated) I decided I was going to make my way into those walls. I searched “Company name college recruiter” on LinkedIn. After coming across her LinkedIn and sent her an InMail. (Check out my article on LinkedIn!) After about 2 weeks of not responding, I reached out to my sister in law, who previously worked there to find out how e-mail addresses at the company were set up. She told me the standard way, and I took my shot and sent an e-mail requesting an interview for an internship. In this email, I detailed my background, experience, and dedication. Within 24 hours, she responded to me stating that they don’t have internship opportunities for grad students, but they do have another program and she’d love to discuss it with me. We set up a conference call for the next day. She requested that I reach back out in 2 months when the application would go live. I reached out (thanks to a calendar reminder) on that day 2 months later. She set me up an interview, and the following Monday I had an offer.

Shoot Your Shot!

There is importance in taking initiative. Are you doing all you can for your career? When did you last reach out? Are you following up effectively? Being passive in your career search won’t help you in the long run. A leader is not one who sits around and waits, but goes after what they want!

 

When is the last time you took initiative? How did it pay off?

5 Books for the Career Driven Millennial

We may not be students anymore and required to read, but reading can help keep you motivated, teach you some new skills, or even just give you a different outlook on things. I am adamant about reading at least 1 book a month. Today’s goal is to share a few of those books with you.

How to be a Bawse: a Guide for Conquering Life – Lilly Singh

“A Bawse knows that if you want to be taken seriously, you need to show people who you are, and then keep showing them.”

This book is great for any millennial wanting to work their way to the top. She drops gems about navigating your boss and working through the drama. She wants you to succeed, and never settle.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity – Kim Scott

The essence of leadership is not getting overwhelmed by circumstances.

If your goal is to be a relatable boss, to get to know your employees past the surface, then this is surely the book for you. I enjoyed every moment of this book, and I learned how to be a leader through not just title, but word as well.

Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win – Jocko Willink

Instead of letting the situation dictate our decisions, we must dictate the situation.

This was actually a required read in my old department. It may be military based, but every concept applies to corporate America. The basis of the book is clear, it takes the employees to make a good team. Leadership relies on having a team built in strategy. At the end of every chapter, there’s an applicable to business section that makes the book even more relatable.

Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office: 101 Unconscious Mistakes Women Make That Sabotage Their Careers – Lois P. Frankel

A personal brand is a promise of performance that creates expectations in its audience. Done well, it clearly communicates the values, personality, and abilities of the person behind it.

The do’s are just as important as the don’ts. This book as a great focus on how to navigate through a male-driven economy. Lois talks about 101 things women are engrained with as we grow up, and how you sabatoge those things. It is by doing that that we can get that corner office.

How to Win Friends and Influence People – Dale Carnegie

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.

Networking is key! This book is all about having the right people around you, and the importance of it. I have noticed that friendly personalities and optimism go a lot further than sulkiness and pessimism. I consistently recommend this book to anyone looking to further their career, because people are always the first step.

 

Let me know if you’ve read any of these books, and what books you would recommend for millennials in corporate America. I know many of these are aimed towards women, but if you have any other suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments!

XOXO,

Nikki

What Do Your Leaders Say About You When You’re Not in the Room?

“What do your leaders say about you when you’re not in the room?”

The board room door closes and chit chat amongst leaders begin as they wait for their meeting to start. “How’s Bob doing this month?” A senior manager asks. Your manager grins, “Bob is doing okay, he comes in late every now & then but he’s doing okay.”

That one statement can determine your next promotion. When you think people aren’t watching, someone probably is. My first year on the job, I was sitting in a meeting with high level executives, and an intern came in. This intern was brilliant to say the least however he spent his time in the meeting trying to connect to the internet in order to watch a soccer game.

The intern didn’t say much, but within that 2 hour meeting his manager had received four complaints about him. His brilliance was no longer the focus of attention because the negativity outweighed the positive.

Let’s think about this in another sense. When you go to hotels and they have comment cards for you to fill out, how often are you going to leave a comment: – when something good happens or when something bad happens? Likely you will leave a complaint over praise, if you are like most Americans.

Corporate America works the same way. That 3 day report you worked on finishing can easily be overshadowed by those 10 minutes you were scrolling through Facebook and a manager saw you.

Your strongest reputation comes from what people say about you when you’re not even in the room.

When I decided I was interested in a promotion, my mentor told me to make sure I told my current boss I was looking so that he could advocate for me. I was confused, why would I tell him I want to leave his team? Wouldn’t he try to stop me? My mentor explained that a good manager wants you to succeed. You succeeding means that they are succeeding.

After I made it through that conversation with my boss, he let me know that he was reaching out to the hiring manager to let them know how much he recommends me. Those little things matter especially considering he was probably going to get a call anyway.

What do you think your manager would say to another manager about you? Would they go on and on about your impeccable timing skills or details analytic reports or would they say that you miss the detailed tasks or small deadlines? Those small deadlines add up over time. 

There are 5 things I want you to think about when thinking of career progression.

  • Am I spending down time on my phone or am I asking for additional tasks?
  • Do I speak when I walk into a room?
  • How often have I completed my assignments on time WITHOUT having to be reminded of them?
  • When was I  reprimanded multiple times on the same topic?
  • Have I been caught off topic?

If most of these are negative, it may be time to rethink the image and persona that you are putting out into the world. 

Think through these and let me know how your answers turned out in the comments. Are you a pro in reputation management? Don’t forget to subscribe!

XOXO

Nikki

What Type of Career Seeker are You? – Quiz

There are multiple types of career changers. Take this quiz to find out what type you are, and keep reading for more detail. A career changer is someone who has an internal need for something in their workplace. See what type of career seeker you are.

The Meaning Seeker

You’re driven to do work that you care about, whether it’s on a small scale or a large one. Whatever you’re doing, it has to connect with your values and what you want to give back to your company, the community or the world.

You want to feel that you’ve made an impact, and that your work has done good in the world. This doesn’t mean that you have to work for a non-profit, though.

Your work could be anything from marketing and business to teaching and government or anything and everything in between – it just depends on what it means to you!

The Passion Seeker

Nothing is more important to you than being passionate about the work you’re doing. You want to enjoy the process of it, and be immersed in the day-to-day flow of your work.

Your connectedness and sense of well-being as a person comes from doing work that you’re passionate about because you’re an artist at heart.

No matter if your artist’s medium is paint or numbers, or whether you create with a computer or words or something entirely different, you are an artist because you come alive through your connection to the process of doing your work. Look for work that allows you to do what you love.

The Balance Seeker

You’d love to find a job you enjoy, but your job serves you – and supports the rest of your life and the activities that you care about – not the other way around.

Finding a job that fits with your life goals and that you can enjoy at the same time is the challenge for you.

The Goal Seeker

You are driven. When you set your mind to a goal, you do everything you can to reach it. You’re used to success and good at focusing on the steps you need to get there.

But when it comes to career change, you might feel a bit confused as your previous goals have already been accomplished or don’t seem to hold the same appeal anymore.

Now the question becomes: “What can you get fired up about?”

What type of seeker are you? Did you expect that?