Anna Graham Hunter webinar headshot

Thriving in Your Career: Finding the Right Fit

Guest Post by Anna Graham Hunter, Career Happiness Coach

Nod if this sounds familiar:

You hear about a position that seems perfect for you – new challenges, a prestigious company, a great title, and a salary range that’s a step up. They call you in and describe all the ways the company is great, why you’re such a good fit, and the many reasons you’ll love working there. After the first interview, you glide home on a high as you think about the possibilities. That night you start planning the wedding and imagining a life of happily ever after.

They make you an offer, you accept, and for the first couple of months, both of you are still feeling the glow of the honeymoon phase. You continue to think the best of each other.

But after a while, you begin to notice that interactions are feeling a little more forced, “off” in a way you can’t quite put your finger on. Some days it’s hard to remember your early enthusiasm, and, like one half of a married couple that’s grown disenchanted, daily habits start to irritate you: the way people talk in meetings, the tone of emails, the way decisions get made, how you’re expected to spend your time.

You remind yourself that this is your dream job. You remember the salary, the title, and the way your new responsibilities will look on your resume.

But after several months, it becomes harder and harder to convince yourself that this was the right move. Your relationship with your boss has started to sour, and you realize that you’ve lost respect for the person you were so excited to work with.

Now the only questions are:

  1. How quickly can you find something else?
  2. How can you avoid making the same mistake again?

Almost all of us have found ourselves in the wrong fit at least once in our work lives. And when it happens, the first thing to go is usually our confidence. We start questioning not only our competence (“If other people seem to be doing well here, what’s wrong with me?”) but also our ability to make decisions (“If I could be so wrong about this, how will I ever trust my instincts again?”).

One reaction to this doubt is to throw up your hands and assume everything is a crapshoot and that you’ll never know if something is going to work out until you get there.

But there is another, better way to choose your next career step, and that is to look beyond the credentials (salary, title, mission) and instead evaluate the ways in which you and an organization do or do not get along.

The three most important aspects of fit to consider are Feeling, Interactions, and Tasks.

  • Feeling is the overall environment of a workplace, from the way it looks to the way it sounds. What’s the energy level? What’s on the walls? How is the space organized?
  • Interactions are just that – how people interact and who you’re interacting with. How do people greet each other in the halls, if at all? Do they pop in and out of each other’s cubicles and offices, or do people three feet away from each other communicate via email?
  • Tasks are how you spend the day. Most positions come with descriptions of what you will be expected to accomplish, but that won’t tell you what you’ll actually be doing all day. Will you spend most of your time on the phone? Working collaboratively with others? Putting out fires? Staring at a computer screen producing PowerPoint decks?

Before you start exploring what your next step might be, you need to get clear on what you want for each of these aspects of fit. You can do this by looking at past positions and organizations and analyzing the components that felt both right and wrong.

Once you know what you want, it can be a challenge to discover whether an organization or position will be the right fit for you, but it can be done. The keys are to ask the right questions and look for the right clues.

By the right questions, I mean non-biased queries that force whoever is answering to be specific. The problem with questions such as, “How would you describe the culture?” is that it allows someone to speak in platitudes without backing anything up (“It’s great – really supportive, lots of teamwork.”)

One of my favorite questions is, “How does conflict show up in meetings and how does it get dealt with?” This assumes that there is conflict – of course there is – but does not give away the answer you are looking for.

Another of my favorite questions is, “What’s the energy like around here Friday at 5:00pm?” It’s impossible to respond in platitudes, and there is no assumed right answer.

Looking for the right clues means thinking like an anthropologist when you visit the office. Observe how the place is organized and decorated (or not). Listen for the noise level. Watch the people and how they interact. Do they seem tense? Energetic? Engaged? Checked out?

By getting clear on what really matters to you when it comes to feeling, interactions, and tasks, and then developing a list of questions and clues that matter to you, you will be able to gauge whether something is the right fit before you take the plunge.

Anna Graham Hunter will be presenting “Thriving in Your Career: Finding the Right Fit”  for Georgetown alumni on May 6, 12:30-1:30pm ET.  Register here and follow Anna on Facebook or visit her website.  Check out Anna’s past webinar for Georgetown:

The Power of Mentorships and Sponsorships: Guest Post by Connie Wong, Co-Founder of Lynxsy

Highlighting the recent webinar “Get the Meeting! Cultivating Mentors and Sponsors to Move Your Career Forward” with Jason Levin (MBA’06):

My blog topic this week will touch on the recent webinar hosted by the Georgetown Alumni Career Services on the important topic of mentorship and sponsorship. Guest speaker Jason Levin, career coach and speaker with Ready, Set, Launch, LLC—and Georgetown alum—provided a helpful framework for understanding how mentor and sponsor relationships differ and how they can be useful in your career journey.

Levin starts off the webinar by focusing on the basics, saying that “the ‘what do you want to do?’ question is the fundamental question that allows you to help others help you.” He encourages you to think ahead and envision the success you’d like to achieve in the next 18 months. Then break it down into what experiences, skills and relationships you need to get where you want to be in this timeframe.

Mentors are individuals who have related career expertise and wisdom to share; they may or may not be employed in the same company as the mentee. Their role is to help their  mentees get a clearer vision of career options and have a better understanding of what they need to reach that next level.

Sponsors on the other hand may have a different background than you, but tend to be someone from within your workplace. This is a person who may directly influence your career path.

You shouldn’t be looking for just one or the other—Levin encourages his listeners to pursue both types of relationships to reap the benefits each uniquely offers.

To learn more about the value of mentorships and sponsorships, including why you should consider giving back, listen to the whole webinar here.

And if working at a startup is in your 18-month career plan, visit Lynxsy to kickstart your journey.

Register here for Connie’s March 12 webinar on Breaking Into Startups for the Non-Coder.

Connie Wong is the Co-Founder of Lynxsy, an organization that strives to match recent grads with non-technical roles at high growth startups. Lynxsy is building a talent marketplace that puts the individuality back into job hiring and searching. They believe that finding the right match takes more than just an interview (it’s kind of like dating) which is why Lynxsy provides a trial period where companies and candidates can get to know each other better before a long-term commitment.

Their vision is to provide a platform that’s not just job-seeking, but career making. A place where startups can find the best junior talent to build the best possible teams, and where recent graduates can get their foot in the door at the best companies to launch their careers. Learn more at http://www.lynxsy.com.

Expectations of a Sales Development Representative (SDR): Guest Post by Carlos Cheung (B’13)

Originally posted at Sales4Startups.

Over the past couple months, I’ve interviewed with several different excellent companies: AdRoll, Square, Stripe, Mixpanel, OpenDNS, Okta, and Optimizely. One of the top things that contributed to my interview success is having a clear understanding of the role I was applying for and the value it brings to the company’s vision. Thus, I hope this post can shed some light on what to expect in the sales development representative role.

As the class of 2014 joins us in the workforce, there will be many graduates seeking employment and trying to figure out where they should start their career. I believe a great place to start your career is in a sales role at a hot SaaS (Software-as-a-service) startup. It’s a good point of entry to build your skills and learn about the industry.

Here are the objectives of a Sales Development Representative (SDR):

1. The main objective of a sales development rep is to utilize emails and calls to qualify and disqualify potential opportunities. Then set up appointments for account executives to close the deal. The KPI (Key-performance-indicator) for this role is how many qualified opportunities you bring in monthly.

2. The secondary objective is to learn about the sales process, company, product, industry, competitors, customer stories, and compelling events (things that happen in the customer’s world that may prompt them to buy).

Let’s take a deeper dive into the SDR role in two parts, audience and action:

(AUDIENCE) The role of a sales development representative (SDR) is twofold: inbound and outbound. Inbound refers to the potential customers who have engaged with your company through its marketing channels. Outbound is you reaching out to potential customers that have never engaged with the company’s product or services, i.e. cold prospecting.

(ACTION) The SDR role consists of lots of question asking and providing information. The role is similar to consulting where you understand what the business is currently doing; seeing if the product or service provided is a good fit for the business; and teaching them how it can help improve their business.

Here’s a presentation to understand the various stages of the sales process and the different sales related roles within an organization: Sales Roles and Sales Cycle.

Recommended Books Before You Start The Job:

These books will help you get a clear understanding of sales and how to succeed in the role. Once you become an expert in sales, those skills will be transferable to wherever you may go.

Major Account Sales Strategy – Understand the purchasing and buying process of the customer

The Challenger Sale – Understand what it means to be a great sales person

You Can’t Teach a Kid to Ride A Bike At a Seminar – Tactics to close the sale

Spin Selling – Understand the type of questions to ask

Predictable Revenue – Strategy to implement a sales team

Other Good Books:

Zero-Time Selling

To Sell is Human

Carlos Cheung is a 2013 graduate of the McDonough School of Business and currently resides in San Francisco.  He works in Market & Business Development at Optimizely, a startup that enables businesses and organizations to make better data-driven decisions through website & mobile optimization and A/B testing. Learn more about Carlos at carloscheung.com or follow @CarloskCheung.

How to Network When You Don’t Know What You Want to Do: Guest Post by Connie Wong, Co-Founder of Lynxsy

Highlighting our recent webinar, How to Network When You Don’t know What You Want to Do

“Networking” has become one of those ubiquitous buzzwords, so overused that people start forgetting it actually ever had any meaning at all. In a basic sense it’s talking on a professional level with people who could possibly help you achieve your long-term career goals. But if having a concrete idea of your future is a prerequisite for networking, what do you do if you just don’t know yet?

Luckily, Career Happiness Coach Anna Graham Hunter helped us crack the code on networking, helping to show that you don’t need to have it all figured out to start forming professional connections. In fact, it’s probably better to start from a more open-minded perspective.

The first step is figuring out what you want to do with your life in more abstract terms. Easier said than done in a world where people in their 30s and 40s are still figuring out what they want to be when they grow up. However, all it takes is a little self-reflection.

In order to discover the general direction you’d like your career to go, ask yourself these three questions:

1)      When have you felt most alive at work and what were you doing?

2)      Which colleagues have brought out the best in you?

3)      In which environment have you been most productive?

Don’t jump to the easy answers. Look within. What you discover about yourself and what you thought about your career may surprise you.

Anna then advises you to use these answers to formulate a “What Do You Want to Do?” Statement. This basically serves as a way to introduce your career aspirations when the answer is still more of a general idea.

To make it easier, here’s the MADLIB-style format:

“After several years of [highlight what you’ve accomplished and learned] I’m now exploring opportunities that will allow me to [describe tasks, people, and environments that comprise your goals in an abstract sense].”

Once you have your statement down, it’s time to start thinking about who you’d like to reach out to. When first establishing a connection, Anna recommends you reach out via e-mail where you should:

1)      Introduce yourself.

2)      Explain your intention (which is to learn more about the recipient’s industry, career history, or current role).

3)      Ask if he/she would be free for a 20 minute call and provide a variety of times when you would be free.

When you finally get on the phone with someone, it’s your job to lead the conversation:

1)      Ask if it’s still a good time to talk.

2)      Thank the person for taking the time to speak.

3)      State your intention.

4)      Use the “What Do You Want to Do” statement.

5)      Ask your first question!

Each person you’re talking to is going to have a different background, career history, and style of advice. Go into the call with the intention of learning. Even if you’re very interested in a particular person’s company, don’t ask him directly about open roles. Instead, you should be confident that if you effectively expressed your strengths and motivations, and a position happens to open up, the person will bring it up to YOU. In this way you’re making yourself the perused candidate rather than the one desperately grasping at jobs.

Finally, Anna recommends at the end of each call asking each and every person, “Who else should I talk to?” This question is the most important step because it’s the fastest most direct way to be introduced to new people who can help you grow in your career. Before you know it you’ll have grown your professional network and you’ll be at the top of people’s minds when that right job eventually opens up.

This post only scratches the surface, though! Check out the full webinar here to learn the complete ins and outs of networking. By the end you’ll have the confidence to build lasting professional connections, even if you’re not exactly sure where you want your career to wind up (and to be honest who is?).

Speaking of which, coming in on the ground floor at a startup is a great way to gain valuable experience in the workforce and can help you figure out what you want to do long-term. Head over to Lynxsy to discover what roles the startup world has to offer!

 

Connie Wong is the Co-Founder of Lynxsy, an organization that strives to match recent grads with non-technical roles at high growth startups. Lynxsy is building a talent marketplace that puts the individuality back into job hiring and searching. They believe that finding the right match takes more than just an interview (it’s kind of like dating) which is why Lynxsy provides a trial period where companies and candidates can get to know each other better before a long-term commitment.

Their vision is to provide a platform that’s not just job-seeking, but career making. A place where startups can find the best junior talent to build the best possible teams, and where recent graduates can get their foot in the door at the best companies to launch their careers. Learn more at http://www.lynxsy.com

Meet Latazia, Future Educator and Inspirer

This fall, the University launched “Georgetown Stories,” a multi-media, first-person, “vlog” (video blog) that will follow 11 undergraduate students throughout the academic year as their Georgetown stories unfold.  Each student’s story will be told through a series of videos, still photography, emails and social media posts with the goal of more intimately connecting everyone in the Georgetown community (both on and off of the Hilltop).  In a series of blog posts this year, ACS student intern Khadijah M. Davis (N’15) will be sharing these stories through the Alumni Career Services lens.

“I believed it was possible to do, so I did it”

Latazia Carter (C’17) is a Government and Justice and Peace Studies double-major from Nashville, Tenn. who has made a good habit of conquering her fears and looking past broader adversity to become a woman for others.

While still an underclassman, Latazia had the incredible opportunity to take a trip to Haiti to help rebuild houses lost after the catastrophic earthquake. While conquering her fear of heights to help rebuild the country, she was able to begin building upon her desire to continue being of service to others.

“Looking back, I should have been afraid, but I believed it was possible to do, so I did it,” says Latazia. “I am not only proud of helping, but I am proud of myself for realizing the effect our minds have on our expectations.”

Moving forward, she hopes to uplift the minds and expectations of students by devoting her life’s work to education justice.

“I want to inspire students to think of the world beyond their current circumstances and to understand the injustices present in society,” says Latazia. Ultimately, she hopes to do so by pursuing a career in school administration and becoming a professor.

Inspiration and Mentorship

Off campus, Latazia credits her mother with being her role model throughout her life. “She has gone through countless traumatic and life altering circumstances, yet she has never given up. Just seeing her alive and thriving makes me feel like anything is possible.”

On campus, she is inspired by her Korean professor who has grown to become one of her closest mentors. According to Latazia, “She is a woman full of wisdom and passionate about living a life that brings happiness into the world. My Korean professor gave me the courage to major in Justice and Peace Studies. I entered college as a Political Economy major, but she questioned my motives. She asked why I was taking it and if I wanted to like or love my major. I decided I wanted to love my major.”

Latazia has been able to identify mentors by “observing and listening to what someone says and does carefully.” A person’s values are important to her. “I would not choose a mentor based on their net worth, but rather the worth they find in the people and environment around them,” Latazia says.

After college, Latazia hopes to find a mentor who inspires her and “takes the time to learn my story as I will take the time to learn his or her story.”

She also would love to be a mentor to others on campus as she is to her younger sister back home. “I have no formal title as a mentor, but I strive to make myself available for anyone who needs my advice. I am also a mentor to my younger sister. She frequently calls to ask for homework help or advice. Growing up, my mother always felt horrible when she was not able to help me with my homework or projects because of her educational background, but now I figured it out. I am glad my sister can rely on me to help her understand things. I am the first person to attend college in my family, but I am confident in my sister’s ability to do the same.”

On campus, Latazia serves as a member of Groove Theory, Gospel Choir, a vlogger on Georgetown Stories, and the Student of Color Alliance Representative for the Black Student Alliance.

Meet Taylor, the Communicator

This fall, the University launched “Georgetown Stories,” a multi-media, first-person, “vlog” (video blog) that will follow 11 undergraduate students throughout the academic year as their Georgetown stories unfold.  Each student’s story will be told through a series of videos, still photography, emails and social media posts with the goal of more intimately connecting everyone in the Georgetown community (both on and off of the Hilltop).  In a series of blog posts this year, ACS student intern Khadijah M. Davis (N’15) will be sharing these stories through the Alumni Career Services lens.

Taylor Soergel (C’17) is a natural communicator from Pittsburgh, PA. She aspires to one day use her gift to cover breaking news stories through journalism or convey messages through work in public relations.

“I love communicating and working with others, so I think a career in public relations would be a great way to utilize that—whether through establishing and maintaining relationships with the media, a company’s shareholders, or the general public.” Taylor says, noting, “I am also an avid writer and love working with social media, which is becoming more and more important in organizations’ abilities to advertise and market their brands to the public.”

Being accepted into Georgetown is Taylor’s proudest accomplishment to date, and it was through the encouragement of mentors in high school that she decided to apply.

“Throughout high school, I had always dreamed of going to Georgetown but never thought I’d get in. I actually wasn’t going to apply because I was too scared of rejection, but my English teacher finally convinced me to give it a try. When I got my acceptance letter, I felt like all of my work throughout high school had finally paid off. It was an incredible feeling.”

Taylor says that this same English teacher, Mr. Caruso, is one of her biggest role models.

“He exudes a passion and love for learning that is truly contagious within his classroom, and he has inspired me to continue to question the world around me and to never settle—whether that means applying to reach schools, working towards my dream career, or demanding genuine, real friendships and being a solid, reliable friend in return.”

Taylor has also been fortunate to find mentors on campus, whether it is through her work with Georgetown Giving or in the classroom. “On campus, my biggest mentor is my boss, Joannah Pickett [Assistant Vice President of Annual Giving]. Joannah inspires me to think outside the box and has the amazing ability to simultaneously balance her career, her family, and her incredible sense of humor while never appearing too busy to help at a moment’s notice.”

Recognizing the importance of mentors and sponsors, Taylor hopes to find one in the field of communications. “I hope to find a mentor who is passionate about their work and holds themselves to values such as honesty and respecting and helping others,” she says. “I want to wake up each day excited to get to work and make a difference, so I want to find that in a mentor, too.”

On campus, Taylor serves as the copy editor of The Voice, Vice President of Breast Cancer Outreach and a member of both Hoya Blue and GIVES. She spends a great deal of her time outside of the classroom exploring the nation’s capital and applying for internships on Capitol Hill. With the guidance of her mentors, she hopes to make the most of her time at Georgetown.

Is a Startup Right For You? Guest Post by Connie Wong, Co-Founder of Lynxsy

Highlighting our recent webinar, “Look Before You Leap: The Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before Joining a Startup”

This week I’ve been asked to blog about an informative webinar by the Georgetown Alumni Career Services that examines the soul-searching you need to do before you enter the startup world.

Associate Director Sarah Hay hosted the one hour webinar, with two prominent Georgetown alums and former baseball teammates as featured guests: Joey Graziano and Parker Brooks. Graziano serves as General Counsel & Director of Talent at The Headfirst Companies. Brooks is C.O.O. of a private investment vehicle in New York City that he launched with a business partner in March of 2014. The pair each forged their way into startup success and took time from their thriving businesses to share their stories and insider advice.

Graziano and Brooks began the presentation by laying out what they call “The Big 5”—core questions they deem necessary to meditate on before taking the plunge into the startup world. The webinar covers each of these five questions in depth:

Why do I want to work at a startup?

Why do I want to work at this particular startup?

What stage startup am I potentially joining?

Who am I going to be working with every day?

What is the financial state of the startup?

Brooks’ biggest takeaway? Read, read, read. To follow in his footsteps, get a library card and check out all the books you can on whatever industry interests you. Take your education into your own hands. Graziano shared a different approach, emphasizing the value of networking and making yourself useful to people who can in turn provide you with connections.

Graziano added valuable advice on how to dodge a rookie mistake. He says that during the interview process he sees many young, smart candidates who are promising, but they do one thing that causes him to hesitate. That one thing is talking strategy. Most new hires at a startup won’t be brought in at that level, but rather need to demonstrate a willingness to do whatever is necessary to move the business forward in its early state. It’s good to know that potential employers may prefer candidates who are ready to do the legwork and not just talk big picture.

While the webinar content may resonate more with job seekers that have established work histories, newbies will also find useful insight in the webinar discussion.

This article is only a teaser, listen to the full webinar here to learn more. If, after mulling over the questions posed in this webinar, you decide you’d like to join a startup, head over to Lynxsy to get started.

Connie Wong is the Co-Founder of Lynxsy, an organization that strives to match recent grads with non-technical roles at high growth startups. Lynxsy is building a talent marketplace that puts the individuality back into job hiring and searching. They believe that finding the right match takes more than just an interview (it’s kind of like dating) which is why Lynxsy provides a trial period where companies and candidates can get to know each other better before a long-term commitment.

Their vision is to provide a platform that’s not just job-seeking, but career making. A place where startups can find the best junior talent to build the best possible teams, and where recent graduates can get their foot in the door at the best companies to launch their careers. Learn more at http://www.lynxsy.com

Meet Julian de la Paz (C’15), Future Talk Show Host and Mentor

This fall, the University launched “Georgetown Stories,” a multi-media, first-person, “vlog” (video blog) that will follow 11 undergraduate students throughout the academic year as their Georgetown stories unfold.  Each student’s story will be told through a series of videos, still photography, emails and social media posts with the goal of more intimately connecting everyone in the Georgetown community (both on and off of the Hilltop).  In a series of blog posts this year, ACS student intern Khadijah M. Davis (N’15) will be sharing these stories through the Alumni Career Services lens.

Julian de la Paz (F’15) is a culture and politics major, aspiring talk show host and all around breath of fresh air from El Paso Texas.

On campus, Julian serves as a board member on the GU Program Board, co-host and producer of a radio show on WGTB and television show on GUTV and a former intern at Late Night with Seth Meyers. After getting his start in entertainment by hosting Georgetown Program Board’s Spring Fashion Show and the Mr. Georgetown Pageant for the past three years, Julian hopes to one day become a talk show host and use his platform “to entertain my audience and highlight inspirational stories that may otherwise not receive much attention.”

The Georgetown Scholarship Program

For Julian, mentorship has been a key part in his success as a student. As a member of the Georgetown Scholarship Program (GSP), he was provided an invaluable source of mentors, sponsors and role models within the Georgetown community. Founded in 2004, GSP provides both financial aid and programmatic support for over 1,000 students through the combined efforts of alumni, parents and friends of Georgetown who are committed to providing resources to deserving students.

“Through my involvement with the program, I have met the most wonderful people who have served as a constant source of motivation and encouragement during my time at Georgetown,” says Julian. “I immediately think of Missy Foy (C’03), the director of the program, Christine Pfeil (C’10, MBA’16), the assistant director of GSP, and Susan Walsh (C’82) and Cristina McGinniss (N’73) – two incredible alumni mentors. GSP has become a second family to me here at Georgetown, and I plan to continue my involvement with the program post-graduation as a mentor and eventual donor.”

Mentors Inside the Classroom

Mentorship is also readily available outside of the GSP. When seeking out great mentors, Julian has found that anyone, from upperclassmen to professors, can offer great advice for major life decisions.

“During my first two years at Georgetown, I always looked towards my upperclassmen mentors for advice and direction on major life decisions. They were always quick to provide assistance and direct me towards others when they didn’t have an answer to my question. In addition, I have always utilized my professors as mentors and positive role models. Inside the classroom, they are experts in their field who impart knowledge on their students, and outside the classroom, they are mentors who are always ready and willing to be of assistance.”

Being a Mentor for Others

Julian’s experience with GSP has made him adamant about being a mentor for others during his time at Georgetown. “In the same way I have found mentors who are ready and willing to provide assistance, I have always placed myself in a position to help others.” He currently serves as a GSP Achieve Advisor. Through the initiative, upperclassmen students volunteer their time to help underclassmen navigate the internship and job search with resume and cover letter review, interview preparation and career advice during weekly office hours.

Post-graduation, Julian recognizes the importance of having mentors and sponsors in the entertainment and media field. “It isn’t as clear-cut in its path as others such as law or medicine. I am going off into the unknown in pursuit of my dream, so I would love to have someone by my side to offer their guidance and wise words of wisdom.”

Learn more about Georgetown Stories at www.georgetownstories.com and share your own Georgetown story #georgetownstories.