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In the Driver's Seat

Category Archives: college graduates

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.…

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.…

Engineer Your Career: Make Big Career Decisions Using this Simple Process

From Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business By Charles Duhigg Try applying “the engineering design process” detailed in Charles Duhigg’s excellent book and you will learn to make better, less binary and more creative decisions. This “methodical approach to problem solving” removes the emotion so we can view our problems more objectively. It’s an excellent tool for defining career problems and coming up with potentially novel solutions.…

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.…

5 Ways to Develop Yourself as a Leader Early in Your Career

Leadership is one of those terms that is so ubiquitous it’s hard to define.

Why Recruiters Aren’t Returning Your Calls

There is a long-standing misconception among job seekers about recruiters – how they can help, how to engage them and, most often, why they’re not returning your calls. When I was head of marketing for the Association of Executive Search Consultants, we spent a lot of time explaining the difference between retained search consultants and contingency recruiters. To provide candidates with the opportunity to be “found” by search firms, the organization created a senior-level candidate site called BlueSteps.com, where candidates could pay a fee to list their credentials and search firms would consult the site to help fill their searches.…

5 Ways to Market Yourself as a Leader

  Photograph by John Santerre 2010 Being a leader means knowing who you are and what you stand for—You’ve decided upon your mission and you have a vision for how to get there. It’s informed by your value system—what you care most about and what you feel is right. Developing yourself as a leader means declaring a need in the market that you are passionate about satisfying, what your role might be in meeting that need and the audience you want to serve.…