3 Questions to Ask Yourself after Graduation to Get Momentum

28 06 2016

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Graduation can be an exhilarating time. All of the work you have put in over the past few years has finally paid off. You are finally able to step into the working world and put to use all the information you have been taught. The world is your oyster. Every opportunity is at the end of your fingertips. But for some reason that light at the end of the tunnel has become distant again. Maybe you are feeling overwhelmed, underwhelmed or just plain stuck. What you need is more than the inspiring cliches like Nike’s “Just do it” or “Leap and the net will appear”. What you need is momentum!

Momentum means you’re moving, and things are happening. It means you’re making progress, and it feels good! While it is human nature to wish and hope for things, you have to be willing to take initiative and answer the hard questions to get you to where you desire to be. Here are three questions to ask yourself that will get you closer to attaining the momentum you are seeking as you transition from graduation.

What is really stopping you?
Take an honest look at where you are in this transitional season of life. What is holding you back? Are the people you count on for support not showing up for you? Are your goals attainable? Or are you simply drained from busting your tail for the past few years and you need a breather?

Once you answer this question, take it to heart and put to action what it is you need to move beyond the barrier. Whether you need to find a new support system, redefine your goals or indulge in a little R&R to become rejuvenated and refreshed, make it happen!

What do you want to be known for?

“Carve your name on hearts, not tombstones. A legacy is etched into the minds of others and the stories they share about you.”  – Shannon L. Alder


This is a big question to answer. Take some time today and think about the legacy you want to leave behind. Do you want to be a memorable leader? Do you want to be known for your compassion for others? Once you clarify your vision and declare the direction you are headed, you will soon uncover the momentum you are in need of and desiring for yourself.


Who can you learn from?

“One of the greatest values of mentors is the ability to see ahead what others cannot see and to help them navigate a course to their destination.” – John C. Maxwell

Whether we need to get out of our own heads or are seeking guidance, mentorship is crucial in advancement. Finding a mentor or someone who can provide insight and lend a listening ear can be very beneficial in many aspects of life, especially as we are in the midst of transitions through life stages. Many times when we sit down and talk to someone about where we are and where we want to be, we hear a story from someone who has had the same issues and sometimes even bigger hurdles to jump than we have had to face. Hearing that they had it hard and made it, helps us recommit to the work ahead.

While getting momentum may sounds simple, the work isn’t easy – but it is always worth it. The time is now! Answer the through questions and break through the inertia that’s keeping you from your dreams! Get momentum and go!

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Jason and Jodi Womack met in the front row of history class in college. Jodi asked to borrow Jason’s notes. He said, “No.” That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship. Jason’s “No” quickly turned into a “Yes” and 23 years later they’re still partners in work and life –  running their own international consulting firm, The Womack Company, where they help busy professionals be more productive through coaching, consulting, their Get Momentum Leadership Academy, and now their book, Get Momentum: How To Start When You’re Stuck. (Wiley, May 2016)





Acing the 400hr Interview

21 06 2016

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You read that right. A 400 hour interview. Before you start freaking out, let me break it down for you…

The standard internship period these days is approximately 10-12 weeks, predominately focusing on the summer months. Most internships are full-time positions (40hrs/week), hence the result of a total of 400hrs (40hrs/week x 10 weeks = 400hrs.) Internships are no longer about temporary summer help at the office. Instead, they’ve become proving grounds for future employees. Think of it as an extended interview. In this case, a 400hr interview!

On the corporate side, the ultimate goal of the internship is to convert the intern to a full-time position after college if the intern performs well. For the intern, that could be the same goal or the goal could simply be to expand your knowledge base and level of experience so that you’re better prepared for the world of work post-graduation.

So, how do you set yourself apart from all the other interns?? There is a LOT of intern advice out there. It all seems to boil down to the following points:

Ask Questions! You might be saying, “but, they hired me because of my skills. I should know how to do the job and how to do it well!” WRONG. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. You’re not expected to know everything on the first day. Jump in, ask questions, seek feedback (but not so much that you annoy the boss…there’s a fine line) and try not to assume anything. Let your curiosity flow!

Get Out of Your Cubicle! As an intern, you have some AMAZING access to executives and individuals who will later be more difficult to reach. Take advantage of this opportunity and connect with people outside of your work group, division, etc. Most companies hold several intern mixers throughout the internship period, so you’ll have the chance to interact with your fellow 400hr interviewees. Focus on your work and projects first, but don’t be afraid to ask your supervisor for the opportunity to meet or job shadow with people in your areas of interest.

Seek Out Mentors! Would you rather enter uncharted territory and try to blaze your trail blindly or would you rather have a few tips/tricks to help you succeed in your journey? If it’s the latter, then be sure to seek out a mentor during your internship. You might be asking, “where do I even start??” Never fear! A lot of today’s internship programs have carefully selected executive sponsors and mentors for their interns. After all, they want YOU to succeed! Other places you go for mentor assistance include your university’s career services or alumni offices. They should be able to help get you connected. If you prefer the DIY method, check out LinkedIn’s Alumni tool (click My Network, then Find Alumni) or create a simple Boolean search (ie: “awesome company ABC + Syracuse University”) and see what pops up. Be sure to connect using a personalized request like this.  Once connected, set up a short meeting, share your goals, ask for help and where you can potentially help as well. Remember, the mentor relationship goes both ways!

Do Your Homework! Ugh. Homework. Don’t you have enough of this during the regular school year?? The reality is that homework never really goes away. When you graduate, it simply goes by different names like research and preparation. As an intern, be sure to do your research and create your plan of attack so you can ROCK your presentation. Not a fan of public speaking? Check out this link for some tips on how to avoid common mistakes.

Tell Us About Your Experience! Now, hopefully your experience is a good one. Tell your friends about the things that were so great (like the culture, your team, the work, the company’s mission, etc.) AND tell them about the things that weren’t so great. You can do this in a tactful way. Sites like GlassDoor provide individuals with the opportunity to share their experiences anonymously. I’d recommend checking this site as you do your “homework” researching potential target companies for your career. Here’s why you should tell your network about your experience: personal referrals are more powerful than any corporate recruiting spiel. It’s the truth! Wouldn’t you want to get the inside scoop on the overall experience from someone you know or someone you know has had a similar college background?

PS. Vanilla Ice has something to say about internships. Click here. 🙂

Now, go out there and ACE the 400hr interview! You’re going to do great.

Anything you’d like to add? Feedback? Leave a comment! As always, thank you for reading.

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6 Questions to Ask About Benefits

7 06 2016

 

It’s very exciting to receive a new job offer, but there are still many questions that must be answered before actually accepting and starting a new job. Certain information may not have been discussed in an interview, and are critical for a new employee to successfully adapt to a new job and environment. If you are ready to start a new job, but aren’t sure what questions to ask, here are a few to know.

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What is the Company Culture Like?
Once you’ve received a job offer, it might not hurt to ask what the company culture is like. It’s both helpful and necessary to understand how adaptable and flexible a company is when it comes to requesting time off, scheduling activities outside of work, and other things like dress code and in-office behavior.

Overall Leadership Type?
It is important to know what kind of leadership is common throughout the new company and to understand what kind of work environment you’ll be spending your time in. Some companies may favor a fast-paced, high-energy work environment, while others may have a more gradual or quiet work space.

May I Have a Hard Copy of the Job Offer?
Asking for a formal, hard copy of your job offer can also be useful for a number of reasons. If your job suddenly includes new tasks that were not included in the original job description you were hired under, you will now have proof of it. This could help out a business lawyer if you find you need to seek one out for compensation issues, or if you decide to ask for a raise.

May I Have a Hard Copy of the Benefits Package?
After receiving a job offer, the very first item you should ask your employer or Human Resources representative for is a formal, hard copy of the benefits package. Asking for detailed benefits information in an interview is often considered rude or presumptuous. Asking once the job offer is made, however, is critical. Some employers offer unique benefits, such as tuition reimbursement programs. Asking for a full copy is necessary in order to understand all the perks that come with your new job and to know what you can work toward in the future.

How is Compensation Structured?
Another critical question that should be asked is whether or not your compensation plan includes bonuses. Some companies offer bonuses, but only if specific requirements are met, which vary greatly. It’s important to know exactly how your compensation plan is structured and what it takes to achieve bonuses.

What is the Corporate or Business Philosophy?
One last question you should ask is what the overall corporate or business philosophy of the new company is. Inquiring about the company’s short-term and long-term goals will help you determine if you’re a good fit and how you can adapt more to the overall atmosphere and culture.

Securing a job offer can be very exciting. The Ottinger Law firm recommends having a list of things to consider before actually starting a new job though. Understanding your new benefits package, your new job’s compensation structure, and the company’s philosophy are all critical pieces of information that will help you successfully adjust to your new job and employer.

Photo credit: Evan Dennis, Unsplash.com