Great Career Tip #3 – Who’s your role model? – Get a mentor

Hello All,

It’s week 3 of my series on the Greatest Career Tips that I ever received, and this week I have a special treat for all of you. This tip can provide personal insight on how you can grow personally and professionally in your career. If you know a friend or colleague who could benefit from this series, help them out and  share these tips with them. 

Enjoy,

Dr. Cris 

      Great Career Tip #3 –  Who’s your role model? – Get a mentor

There’s a slight difference between a mentor and a role model; however, both would prove promising in your career. A role model is someone who you admire; they possess qualities and characteristics that you believe are commendable. In some cases you admire this person’s positive qualities so much, that you become inspired to adopt the positive qualities that they demonstrate. 

It may be possible that you may not know or have met your role model personally; however, you may have become exposed to them through the media, social circles, or an organization. Some celebrities have often been placed in role model status, simply because they are in the public eye. The benefit of selecting a role model reflects your desire to make a positive change in your life and in your career.
When selecting a role model consider what they could share with you if you were given the opportunity to meet them and interact with them. Hopefully they should be able to provide you with a road map of their success and how you could use their experiences to change your life. But if you are not provided with the opportunity to make their acquaintance, then you need to select a mentor.
A mentor is someone who you have gained the pleasure of knowing and becoming acquainted with. The elements of a role model are the same; for the most part this person or people are those who you admire and they possess qualities that you would desire to emulate. However with mentors, because you know this person you are able to establish a relationship with them. And it is through the relationship that your mentor can help you to grow and develop into the person, or obtain the qualities similar to your mentor that you desire to possess. 
Barrie Davenport

Recently I contacted Barrie Davenport, who is also a career coach and a blogger; and asked her to mentor me. She agreed and although we have never met personally, we correspond via telephone and email. Barrie has provided great insight into blogging and enhancing the visibility of my blog. Although she launched her business Live Bold & Bloom just a year ago, she has found great success.

Because of the similarities between role models and mentors it should not be difficult for you to select someone who can provide you with guidance that you need to assist you in your professional and personal growth.


What College Major Should I Choose?

Identifying the appropriate college major that reflects a student’s passion and ultimately their career purpose can sometimes be challenging. The interest that they had in high school can sometimes shift directions upon entering into college. And the attempt that many colleges make to create a well- rounded student by promoting the opportunity to take classes in various general courses exposes students to perhaps a new found interest or it may confuse their decision making process regarding the appropriate college major.  
As a result, college students find themselves often changing majors, sometimes more than once. Or taking a break from school to find themselves, and try to refocus on what they really want out of life. There are even situations where students taking a break from college may become comfortable with a lifestyle that does not include school and they become complacent and decide not to return to college at all. 
 
The retention rate for college students across our nation is disappointing. Although colleges and universities are cognizant of this dilemma, most institutions find that they are powerless against the fact that some students are truly unaware of and not able to accurately identify their college major. And the students who seem to be impacted the most are freshmen. 
 
Approximately 30% of freshmen across our nation each year drop out of college; some of these students do return to school but not all of them return to the original college or continue with their original college major. As a result students’ will spend on average five to six years completing what is typically a four year bachelor’s degree. Not only do students take more time to obtain their degree, but the extra one or two years in college can add up, costing them more money than they would have spent if they had selected a college major that truly reflected their passion and purpose as a freshman and stuck with it.      
As an advocate of higher education, a career consultant, and a college professor, I have seen this situation occur far too often. College students become discouraged with the direction that they should take and without the proper guidance or direction, they simply give up on obtaining the college degree that they had hoped for. I was one of those students who changed majors more than once and I can sympathize with what our freshmen are faced with today. However, giving up is not the solution; there are ways to tackle this problem.
Solutions
Sometimes a break from college may be needed in order for students to gain a better or more informed perspective on their college major choice.  Some students may even want to take a semester or quarter off to volunteer through an organization such as Volunteer Match (www.volunteermatch.com) or the Student Volunteer Network (http://www.svnusa.org/svn/register.asp) where they can focus less on themselves temporarily and more on others who could use their assistance and kindness. Students could also consider gaining industry experience by opting for an internship to provide them with great professional experience and also enlighten them on the specific tasks and responsibilities of a career that they are interested in. This first hand experience could make or break their career choice. But the best part of gaining this experience is learning what works or doesn’t work for them as a possible future career.
At some college campuses, guidance counselors are available to assist students in finding their college major. Some college campuses even have a career advising department devoted to addressing these concerns. Both guidance counselors and career advising departments usually offer career assessments that students can take to narrow down possible careers and their specific college major. Finally, career coaches or consultants are ideal for assisting students. They usually provide an in-depth and personal approach to assisting students one on one with their career or college major needs. Their expertise and experience can be beneficial to students who simply need to identify their passion. 
Whatever option college students take to address the selection of an accurate college major, the take away from this problem is simple: do something, don’t give up. When it comes to obtaining a higher education the knowledge and experience that one gains during their college years is priceless.


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Great Career Tip # 2 – Create a great business card

Hello All,

As mentioned last week, I’m conducting a series on the Greatest Career Tips that I ever received so you can look forward to other great career tips each Friday.  If you know a friend or colleague who could benefit from this series, help them out and  share these tips with them. 

I hope you all enjoyed the career tip from last week on transferable job skills. To continue with the series, this week I’ve decided to touch on an aspect of visual identity that everyone of you should take advantage of. 

Enjoy,

Dr. Cris 

Great Career Tip #2
Create a great business card

Your business card is a visual representation of you. It provides one of the greatest opportunities to showcase who you are to others professionally. Although some of you may be employed for a company who has provided a standard business card that you are required to use, others of you may own and operate a business as an entrepreneur where you can exemplify your brand,  and the design of your business card can reflect your unique visual identity. For this reason you want to keep one aspect in mind, you will seldom gain a second opportunity to make a positive and memorable first impression; therefore, it is important that you get it right the first time.

Designing your own business card is not that difficult of a task. There are quite a few websites that will walk you through the process.  Just two name a few, Vistaprint.com and 123print.com are two of the more popular websites where you can customize a business card to your specific needs.  Using one of these sites will also provide you with the opportunity to purchase matching stationery, mailing labels, or even post cards.

If you’re not comfortable designing the business cards yourself, you could find a professional on line to assist you with the process. Their expertise could make your business cards stand out and open doors to potential new clients. You may want to ask a friend to refer you to someone who they have used to design their business cards and start building a new visual identity for yourself.  

Greatest Career Tips I Ever Received

Over the years I have actually worked more jobs than the number of years that I have walked on this earth, primarily by working two or three jobs at the same time. But one aspect that I have learned from working so many jobs is just how important it is to take away valuable lessons as often as you can. Therefore I have compiled some of the most valuable lessons or tips that have served me well over my 30+ years of experience in the professional industry and I hope that these tips are helpful to you. 
Over the next few weeks I will post one of these helpful tips each week and hope that you share them with a friend or colleague that might find the tips valuable.  Thank you for being a faithful supporter of Dr. Cris, the Dream Job Doctor.   

Great Career Tip # 1Consider your job skills as transferable


I know that all of you have gained valuable skills over the years. And those skills when necessary can be tapped into in order to secure an employment opportunity when you find yourself between jobs. Any skill that you can consider a specified talent is a gift and an untapped resource that can transition you into a career that perhaps you may have thought you were not qualified for. 

For example, when I left my cushy job as a retail manager and started a position as a residential coordinator for a university, one of the first comments that the assistant director of the housing shared with me was that “my managerial skills were transferable,” meaning that all of my years of retail managing customer relation issues could now be used to assist students who live in the residence halls. Initially I didn’t realize exactly what I was getting myself into, not that college life was foreign to me, but living among hundreds of college students at one time did take a bit of getting used to. 

 
The lesson here is simple: what skills can you offer an employer that perhaps you haven’t considered the true value of? What are the skills that you offer that you may consider as routine? Re-evaluate your talents and consider how you can use them in a career that may give you more fulfillment and job satisfaction.


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