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In the Driver's Seat

Category Archives: Career Path

Want a Summer Internship? Here are the 6 Things You Need to Know

So you’re a college student and while you really want a summer internship, you either haven’t gotten around to working on it or have made some inroads but given up. The good news is there are still plenty of internships available if you’re willing to apply yourself to the task. You should know that the most competitive, structured and paid internships are mostly gone by now. And because of the regulations around paying interns, some big companies have abandoned their internship programs, so there may be fewer paid internships available.…

How a College Senior Can Build A Network in 3 Easy Steps

A panicked college senior at University of Michigan, my alma mater, contacted me recently. Dear Ms. Cheston, I’m graduating in May and have been applying for jobs with nothing to show for it. I’ve completed over 100 online applications and haven’t received one call back. I don’t have connections and neither does anybody in my family. I will have student loans to pay and can’t afford to be without a job after graduation.…

How a 2016 College Grad with No Experience or Connections Got His Dream Job in 6 Months

Happy 2017! I don’t know about you, but I find the onslaught of tips for committing to New Year’s resolutions anxiety-producing. Personally I prefer – and find more effective –making incremental and realistic changes as I feel inspired – by a book, a talk, a client…or a thought in the shower. Then I’m able to plan for that change in a specific and habit-forming way, propelled by positive energy. But everyone’s different.…

Want More Interviews? Build Your Career Brand in 4 Steps

So you want a job that pays you to do your best work. You want to be appreciated for your experience, your special abilities and your creativity. You want to work for an organization that aligns with your personal values, a place you can feel proud to call home. Sounds reasonable, right? It is — but you have to do a bit of work. You have to articulate your career brand.…

Get the Feedback You Need to Get Better at Your Job

  I have a 23-year old client who is doing a one year, post-graduate fellowship. During our call this morning he told me that while he enjoys his work it can be slow and that his bosses don’t give him as much work as he’d like. In fact, they expect him to take initiative and suggest work he thinks needs to be done. While he has some ideas for new projects he struggles with how to initiate conversations with his boss who seems so busy with more important work.…

Summer Internship Not Working Out? Here’s What to Do

It’s mid-summer and you’re in the midst of a coveted internship, following an intense and competitive interviewing period. When you were hired, you and your parents were thrilled. But it’s not working out. This summer, many seemingly promising internships will instead end up being boring, repetitive and unfulfilling. And they may not even be paid – even with all the attention on what constitutes a legal internship and how unpaid internships favor the privileged.…

Want a Mentor? Don’t Make these Rookie Mistakes

I was listening to one of Tim Ferriss’s excellent podcasts the other day, and he made the comment that the best way to guarantee someone won’t mentor you is to ask them directly to be your mentor. That sounds counterintuitive. But here’s why it makes a lot of sense. Mentoring someone in a formal way requires a lot of time. Scheduling meetings, making introductions to others who can help, answering questions in person and by email – these activities can all add up to a big time suck.…

Graduating from College and No Job In Sight

Dear Ms. Cheston, I am graduating from college this May with a B.S. in Public Health from Syracuse University, but I’m no longer sure I want to go into this field. While I’ve taken some business courses as well, I don’t know what to look for in a job, and when I apply to jobs online, I never receive a call back.  As I move closer to graduation, I am nervous that I don’t have a job lined up for after graduation.…

Anxiety and Your Job Search: Getting the Treatment You Need

A client of mine, an engineer with a PhD from a top school, had an easy time getting interviews. But during every meeting he became nervous and hesitant, stuttering and sweating as he was asked to respond to the most basic interview questions. Another client, highly intelligent, articulate and charming with many interests and good work experience for her age, didn’t feel worthy of the jobs she interviewed for. Each time she met with a hiring manager she spent most of the time nervously apologizing for the 20% of the job’s requirements she lacked instead of focusing on the directly related experience she did have.…

There’s No Such Thing as a Dream Job

Do you, or have you ever had, a “dream job”? Do you have any friends, former classmates or colleagues who describe their job as a dream? Do you believe them? Don’t get me wrong – I love when I see someone fulfilled in their work, successfully using their strengths in an environment where they feel appreciated and fulfilled, and getting paid appropriately to do it. But that’s no dream: behind that deep sense of satisfaction is someone who has ventured down the path of self-discovery, sometimes at real personal cost, and has matched his strengths and most important values with a need he is uniquely suited to fill.…