Are You In It to Win It?

29 03 2011

I was flipping through the channels one evening and happened upon NBC’s game show, Minute to Win ItGuy Fieri is the host – you may know him from Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives or Guy’s Big Bite.  He seems to be everywhere I look these days (or maybe I watch too much Food Network).  What compelled me to stay on NBC was the team in competition for $1Million.  It was a family of extraordinary kids.

The Bishop family, or Team Bishop, was Aimee, 19, Drew, 18, Holly, 13, Cullen, 11 and Brad, 10.  Their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were in the audience watching and sporting their “Team Bishop” t-shirts.  As I watched the show, I couldn’t help but be inspired by their teamwork, leadership and communication skills.  Here are a few takeaways that can relate to your career and life in general:

Teamwork – Look at how the Bishops worked as a team.  Everyone played a specific part.  They practiced and knew where their strengths and weaknesses were.  Because of that, they were able to maximize their potential.  Do you know your greatest strength?  Better yet, do you know your greatest weakness?  What are you doing about it?

Leadership – Drew and Aimee were the oldest, yet they allowed their younger siblings to lead the team in several challenges.  In fact, the youngest, Brad, took on the last challenge for the $1Million.  Not only did Brad show great leadership, he was inspired by the leadership of his siblings.  Remember, each team member had practiced (practice makes perfect).  Each kid had a light-hearted “can-do” attitude about everything, regardless of the difficulty of the challenge.  This sunny disposition has helped them succeed in life.

Communication – Each challenge grew in difficulty the farther they got in the competition.  Effective communication in the form of positive coaching was a theme throughout.  Let’s face it – all siblings have rivalries.  They all fight.  But, the only thing you saw was the positive reinforcement and coaching for their team members in the competition.  Without this communication, I don’t think they would have made it so far.  Think about how you’re communicating with others.  Is it positive?  What message are you sending?

Support – As stated above, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were in the audience cheering on Team Bishop.  This cheering was a form of support.  Several times, Guy went into the audience and asked Mom and Dad about their kids.  You could tell that they were very proud of them no matter what the outcome of the competition.  On the flip-side, Team Bishop planned to use the money to purchase a larger house for their parents in appreciation of all their support and sacrifices over the years.  They weren’t cocky – in fact, they were very humble about their upbringing and accomplishments, wanting to repay their parents in this way.  Who is supporting you in your career or job search?

So, how did they do?  After two hours of nail-biting, poised at the end-of-the-couch nervousness, I’m happy to report that Team Bishop walked away with $500,000.  I think it’s all because of the things mentioned above.  Watch the full episodes by clicking here.  What are you doing in your job search or career to “win it?”  Please comment below.  As always, thanks for reading!

Photo credit: NBC

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12 Things You Didn’t Know About Me

22 03 2011

12

Today marks my 75th blog post for Campus to Career, which is just over a year old. I thought long and hard about what I was going to write about and realized something. You probably don’t know me. I’d like to one day fix that, but in the meantime, thought it would be nice to share some fun facts about myself. Some of the statements below will come as no surprise to you. Others may leave you thinking something like, “he did WHAT??” I’ve kept it light and fun. Hope you enjoy!

  1. My first job (other than mowing lawns) was at my mother’s day care center. It was one of the largest in the state. My job? Toddlers. Guess that was more along my speed.
  2. I’ve visited 13 countries (Mexico, Canada, U.K., Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany (twice), Austria, Hungary, Singapore, Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Japan) in the past 10 years. My goal is to see more of the world, taking my wife with me to enjoy it even more.
  3. My heroes include my dad, mom, grandparents, Christopher Reeve, Helen Keller, Mark Twain, and Abraham Lincoln to name a few.
  4. In grade school throughout high school, I raised and showed cattle with my dad and siblings, participating in many local and state 4-H shows. Yes – I have the green jacket to prove it. It’s hanging next to the blue FFA jacket. 🙂
  5. I’ve had a wide variety of pets that have included a barn owl (only while it was being nursed back to health for the wildlife refuge), a sugar glider, hamsters, gerbils, fish, ferrets, even an opossum or three here and there (had Pete the Possum in college unbeknownst to the R.A.). Those pets came and went (or had to be released back into the wild) while I kept dogs, either a boxer, Great Pyrenees, or St. Bernard. Today, the wildest pets I have are a long-haired Chihuahua named Izzy who thinks she’s a person, and a cat named Pickles, who thinks he’s the boss (especially since he outweighs the dog by 2x).
  6. I have collected Superman memorabilia since I was a kid. It’s mostly action figures, a few comics and a LOT of miscellaneous things. Yes, I’ve even been to Metropolis. It’s in Illinois – the town hosts a Superman Celebration each year.
  7. I’m the only child in my family that was born in Oklahoma. The rest of my family: brother, sisters, mom and dad, are all Texans. Don’t worry – I’ve been known to say “ya’ll” from time to time, too. NOTE: You won’t find any OU fans in the family. Oklahoma State orange looks better on the Baumanns.
  8. I took a different route to gain my formal education. While many of my classmates were looking at 4-year institutions, I chose a 2-year state college to get my Associate’s degree (in Pre-Journalism) on a full scholarship. Then, I transferred to a 4-year state school and got my Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Communication with a Leadership minor. My college sports allegiance? Not what you’d think….it’s the Arkansas Razorbacks. (Woo pig sooie!)
  9. I managed one of the largest college radio stations in the country while in school. My shift? The morning show from 6am-10am. My radio name was Kryptonite Kirk. It’s funny to think about that now. I had a blast! During this time and just after college, I worked weekends at one of the regional radio stations. Sometimes it was Country, other times it was Adult Contemporary or Rock. Maybe that’s why my music tastes are so eclectic.
  10. During my time in broadcasting, I wrote an Oklahoma Association of Broadcaster’s award-winning television script for a cooking show. The name of the show? Cookin’ with Captain Kirk – Backyard BBQ.
  11. I once won a contest on MTV Radio. The challenge? Each contestant was asked to give their best impression of a character from the television show, King of the Hill. If you’ve met me, you know that I do a mean Hank Hill voice. 🙂
  12. I love my current job with Enactus. If you didn’t already know that, all you have to do is ask me, read my blog, tweets, or Facebook updates. I’m fortunate to work with great people and for a wonderful organization that empowers those in need to better their way of life and standard of living.

Here’s the moral of the story. Life is an interesting adventure. It’s a journey that you can learn from, becoming a better person. Were you surprised by any of the things I shared above? What’s an interesting fact about you? Please feel free to add a comment below and let me know! As always, thanks for reading.

Photo credit: lilypenelope





How To Stand Out From Other Job Seekers

15 03 2011

Guest post by Greg Coyle, MyWebCareer

In this tough job market, building a strong professional online presence and leveraging it is a great way to stand out from other job seekers. With the majority of employers now checking out candidates online, a strong online brand has the potential to push your resume to the top of the pile.

Employers value candidates and employees that are passionate about what they do. Your online presence should communicate proficiency in your chosen domain, your commitment to what you do and the value to an employer of investing in your talents.

Thankfully, building a professional online presence and using it for competitive advantage is easier now than ever before. Keep in mind however, that building a strong professional brand is not accomplished by just creating a bunch of online profiles. The key to standing out from the crowd is engagement. Create your professional online profiles and then, get engaged. Join industry groups, follow thought leaders, post and answer questions and, above all, network.

Here are just a few ways to make yourself stand out online. You shouldn’t limit yourself to these online communities but they’re a good start:

LinkedIn

This platform is like a playground for professionals. As many of our social interactions now take place on Facebook, it’s not surprising that professional interactions occur more and more on LinkedIn. Connecting is the first step to engaging. Connect to those you know at first, and then from there, expand your network through those connections. Be proactive and start contributing to conversations. LinkedIn offers numerous industry groups, join those relevant to your areas of interest. Post a question, or answer someone’s. The point is to engage, keep the conversation going and demonstrate a level of interest. You’ll start to see familiar faces, and you’ll start to stand out.

Quora

Quora seem to have hit upon just the right formula for a successful and truly useful user-driven question and answer community. The site is rapidly attracting new users, among them some of the most influential and well-known names across numerous industries. Sign-up for free, fill out your profile and start following some people and topics. Once you’re comfortable with how it all works, start looking for topics where you can make a useful contribution. Quora is an excellent medium for building awareness and reputation and significantly less overhead than managing a blog.

Twitter

When I co-founded MyWebCareer back in January 2010, I was a Twitter skeptic. I didn’t have an account and couldn’t see what possible value 140 character messages could have in a business and professional environment.  Those assumptions have caused me to eat much humble pie over the last few months. 20% of our users now come to us through people sharing their Career Scores and experience with our service on Twitter.  Many of the industry thought leaders and analysts we now work with, we connected with on Twitter. So, think about getting engaged professionally on Twitter, follow people active in your industry and consider contributing to Twitter discussions or even Tweet your own ideas and views.

What else would you add to this list?

Greg Coyle is the co-founder and Director of Product Development at MyWebCareer. For the past year, Greg and his co-founders at MyWebCareer have been working on developing online tools for career professionals that enable you to discover, evaluate, and monitor your professional online brand. You can visit the beta at www.mywebcareer.com and get your free, personalized Career Score.





Book Review: GET HIRED!

8 03 2011

Students and recent graduates: How many books have you read about the job search?  Have you noticed that they all follow a similar blueprint?  “Do this, don’t do that…”  Some of it is very subjective, while some of the advice is just that – advice, not proven fact.  Many of these books provide great content, but let’s face it – in the busy world of go, go, go, you want a book that gets right to the point. The goal: Land a job after college.  The timeline: As soon as possible!  Why not take the key points learned and apply them to your job search?

I recently read GET HIRED! A Recruiter’s Formula to Land Your First Job After College.  The author, John Lepley, has been a corporate recruiter for the past 18 years and wrote GET HIRED! to pass on his knowledge and formula for success to college students to help them land their first job after college.  Want to know one of the best features of the book?  It gets to the point quickly to get YOU HIRED!  I met John last year at an event and his passion is amazing.  He wants to help YOU land a job.

GET HIRED! A Recruiter’s Formula to Land Your First Job After College: The title says it all – it’s a formula.  From tips for Freshman that will help them gain a competitive edge, to key sections on networking to résumés, cover letters, the interview and what to do when you receive an offer, GET HIRED! keeps it simple.  John took all his experience and the shared experiences of other recruiters and wrapped it up in small, yet VERY dynamic package for the reader.  It’s all there – in less than 90 minutes (that’s giving you an average of 1.5 minutes per page), the way you approach the job search will change.  You’ll have a strategy, clearly outlined by GET HIRED!, that will help you along the path to success.

“GetHired! is a great source of information, insight and tools to empower college students through the process of landing their first job. It is a “must read” for high school and college students who want to prepare for their future. Parents will also reap great benefits from the book as they guide their young adults into the next phase of their lives.”

–          Steve Hayes, Sr. Partner – The Human Capital Group, Inc.

So what are you waiting for?  Take the first step – get the formula to land your first job out of college.  Click here to purchase the book.  GET HIRED! makes a great graduation gift for high school students attending college next semester (parents – hint, hint).  Looking for a gift that literally keeps on giving?  Give  this book.  I’m not even a college student, yet continue to read and re-read the book.  Why?  Because someday, I’ll be up for that promotion or will interview for the new position and will need to be prepared.  GET HIRED! provides tips on how to write a résumé that will get noticed, how to network effectively to find unadvertised jobs, and much more.  Get your copy and GET HIRED!

FTC Disclaimer: This is my review of GET HIRED! A Recruiter’s Formula to Land Your First Job After College, by John W. Lepley.  This is my honest, unsolicited review.  The book can be purchased at www.johnlepley.com/purchase.  I do not receive any proceeds from the sale of the book or any other compensation.





Live & Learn: Lessons from James Franco

1 03 2011

This past Sunday evening, James Franco and Anne Hathaway co-hosted the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, celebrating excellence in acting, film making, music and much more.  The two actors starred in a variety of different promotional commercials leading up to the big event, poking a little fun at the ways each were preparing for the show (everything from learning ballroom dancing to avoiding wardrobe malfunctions to the practicing of voice and diction.)  Here’s one of the videos:

After the awards were given out and the after-parties had ended (well, today IS just Tuesday….they may still be celebrating), I started thinking about how impressive each actor was in their respective films.  But, what about outside of the movies?  How do these people stay on the cutting-edge of the art form?  I did some digging and was delighted to find a great story in what James Franco is doing to keep himself in tip-top condition.

You see, regardless of how many golden statuettes are on the mantle, Franco (like any good actor or job seeker) keeps learning.  He doesn’t stop his personal and professional development just because he “made it.”  He keeps pushing himself to be better.  Another actor, Carrie Fisher once said, “There is no point at which you can say, “Well I am successful now, I might as well relax.””  I completely agree with her (Princess Leia is a smart lady.)

I could make a list, highlight the top 3-4 points of what I took away from all of this, but I think it all comes down to a core principle.  Never stop learning.  Franco continues to develop his skill, pushing the envelope and stepping outside of his comfort zone.  Not only was he in a movie this year, but he stepped into unknown (and to be honest, not so glamorous) territory with his TV debut on the soap opera, General Hospital.  You see, while many actors who have made it as big time movie stars view television as beneath them, Franco saw this as an opportunity to understand something foreign to him.  Soap operas tend to film with a one-take approach, meaning you have one shot and then the director moves on.  In movies, the same scene, even the same few lines could be repeated for sometimes 20 or more takes.  On top of all this, Franco went back to school last year and graduated from UCLA and he’s currently studying at both the Rhode Island School of Design and working on his PhD in English literature at Yale.  That’s what I call dedication, discipline, and determination.

“I just know there’s a lot I want to know. And, also, I’m energized by doing various things, and when I cross these different disciplines and mediums, they inform each other, and give and get energy from each other, and inspire me.” – Franco, as quoted in The Star-Ledger

I’m not endorsing James Franco or even suggesting that he’s perfect.  But I think we can all learn from his dedication and determination.

Here’s my challenge to you: Learn something new every day.  It doesn’t have to be something big like “learn to speak Chinese”.  Set tough, yet attainable goals for yourself.  Keep learning and keep growing.  I’ll leave you with this quote that I came across recently (it fits perfectly):

“The unfed mind devours itself.” –Gore Vidal