Friday, April 21, 2006

Refresh, Review and Renew your Career in May!

Spring is finally here -- time to shake off the winter cobwebs and refresh, review and renew! We kicked it off in March with an FUN anniversary party at Mannahatta -- thanks to all who came out to support! We're going to continue with three upcoming Competent Advantage TM seminars.

On Wednesday, May 3, I'll be helping Brooklyn's best and brightest graduating seniors from 14 colleges and universities market themselves to prospective employers. The Brooklyn College to Career Expo at the New York Marriott at Brooklyn Bridge will host 75-100 actively recruiting employers. The Competent Advantage TM seminar, at 9:30 AM in Salon A, will focus on practical strategies to develop a personal marketing pitch and enhance your job search portfolio.

On Wednesday, May 17, the Manhattan Chapter of National Coalition of 100 Black Women is hosting a Competent Advantage TM seminar to educate members and the wider community on career advancement and leadership development. At 6:30 PM, we'll be discussing practical ways to leverage your strengths and succeed in the workplace. The Manhattan Chapter of NCBW is dedicated to advocacy, leadership, and gender equity. This is accomplished through mentorship and a series of conferences, networking and special events. I'm excited to be part of their spring professional development programming!

On Tuesday, May 23, I'll be chatting with women entrepreneurs at the Network Enterprise, hosted at the Grace Institute. From 6-7:00 PM, we'll be talking shop about marketing and expanding small business enterprises. Like me, the Grace Institute believes in building a base for continuous professional and personal growth. I can't wait to meet all of you fabulous entrepreneurs!

How will YOU refresh, review and renew YOUR career this spring?

Sunday, April 16, 2006

If Your Career Were a Snake, Would It Bite You in the ...?

I had an illuminating experience last week that led me to pose this question to you. The experience involved shipping and packaging. So, you might ask: “How is this related to my career development?” Please indulge me, and read on!

My company,
InStep Consulting, recently submitted a proposal to an organization seeking training and development services. Due to the critical nature, I decided to call the Purchasing department on the due date to confirm our proposal had been received. I’d already tracked the package via FedEx, and noted it had been recorded as delivered at 9:37 AM. However, at 10:00 AM, the Purchasing department could not locate our proposal. I made a follow-up call to FedEx to confirm what I read on their website. Of course, the representative could not offer any new information; however, he did offer to contact the driver to confirm that the package had been delivered to the organization’s office (not just the building). In the meantime, I emailed a copy of the delivery confirmation I’d downloaded off the website to the Purchasing director.

I’ll fast-forward to my last conversation with the Purchasing director that afternoon, which went something like this:
PD: “The delivery confirmation you sent does not show a delivery address. Are you sure that your package was addressed correctly?”
CE: “Yes, the package was addressed to your organization to the attention of your proposal reviewer. I provided your shipping address to my production company, Printers-R-Us. Printers-R-Us shipped my proposal to you directly.”
PD: “Wait a minute, did you say Printers-R-Us?”
CE: “Yes, why do you ask?”
PD: “Oh, I have a package from Printers-R-Us right here – it’s been here since early this morning! I was looking for a proposal from InStep Consulting. You’re all set!”
Ok, maybe you’re still wondering why I chose to recall this story. Upon reflecting on my experience, I thought of some potential applications. When things are too close, we can’t always see the whole picture. For example, when you hold a book too close to your face, the words are too blurry to read.

In your career, have you ever missed out on a project or opportunity that was right “under your nose?” When you found out about it later, did you wonder how you overlooked it? Luckily, in this story, I was able to help the director find the proverbial “snake” (or proposal) by describing a bit about our production process. That conversation helped her to “adjust her lens” and find the package on her desk. Are you able to step back and “adjust your lens” to discover potentially hidden career opportunities?

The miscommunication described in my story also can apply to career development and exploration. The director was looking for a proposal (and, thus, a package) with my company’s name. While the proposal inside clearly indicated my company name, the package more clearly referenced the production company. Does your “career packaging” – perhaps in the form of a resume or cover letter – convey the best impression of your accomplishments?

Just food for thought -- let me know what you think. Take care, and don’t let the career “snake” bite YOU!

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Spring Forward into 2nd Quarter!

So, did you remember to turn your clocks ahead today? Besides entering daylight savings time (well, those of us in the US whose states follow this protocol) we've just "sprung" into a new quarter.

How will you stay on track and leverage your Competent AdvantageTM in the second quarter?

Last April (in preparation for tax filing), we talked about federal education tax credits and company tuition reimbursement programs -- two great options to help you receive training and keep your skills current.
  • As you think about your upcoming projects and responsibilities, what new skills would be helpful to learn in this quarter?
In February, we talked about how a change of scenery can help us to stay motivated. It's important to take breaks and "unplug" so that you can retain the right level of energy to fulfill your goals and commitments.
  • As you think about the next few months, how will you recharge and get re-energized?
With warmer weather often comes the desire to get out of the house and socialize! Professional associations and volunteer opportunities are superb options to network and meet people in/outside your industry.
  • As you think ahead, what events or activities would be relevant for you to attend?
These are just a few suggestions that come to mind. What do YOU have in mind?