Today, MND welcomed four new guests for Connections Friday. Thank you Laurie, Shawna, Luke and Jay for sharing your career journeys and success tips with us!
Laurie works as a program officer at a philanthropic foundation in Baltimore. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Laurie worked in a number of industries, from food service to retail to her current position. As an English major in college, Laurie learned how to communicate effectively. She credits her major with setting her on her career path, and notes that her abilities to listen, speak, and write well, along with her customer service and interpesonal skills from prior work experience have enabled her career success. Laurie also stressed the importance of networking and referrals for finding employment; she landed her current position, which she has been in for six years, after interviewing for another position at a different company! The interviewer knew she wasn't right for his position, but referred her to her current boss because he could see her skills and potential. "Think about networking," Laurie told clients, "let people know your career interests, even in casual conversation."
Shawna is the annual giving director at a local University. She encouraged clients to think about a career in fundraising, especially if they have sales experience. "Fundraising and sales are very similar," Shawna said. She began her career in insurance sales, but desired more time and flexibility to raise her family. She wanted to continue to use her sales skills, writing and persuasion, and fundraising was a good fit. Like Laurie, Shawna also found many of her positions through referrals and networking. "Talk to and meet people," she said. Shawna got her current position by calling the university and selling herself. Even though there was no open position, she was persistent in following up and showing interest, and eventually landed the job. She also urged clients not to let their unemployed time go to waste. "Use your time to volunteer and learn a new skill," she said.
Luke works in online marketing solutions. He shared some valuable advice with clients about how to get hired. "It's not about you, its about the value you bring," he said. Luke explained that knowing the value you bring to a company is a mindset shift. It is important to think not so much about yourself but about what you will bring to make your employer do his or her job better. "Individuals can be trained," he added," but you can't train drive, personality, and integrity." By communicating one-on-one and making contacts however, you can show your value and personality strengths. Luke also wanted clients to remember that, "no one can take your experience, education, or skills from you"; hearing "no" from a potential employer is not a rejection of you as a person. Lastly, Luke challenged clients to write their personal business plan, with manageable steps for success, and to continue to improve and challenge themselves in any opportunity.
Jay is the CEO of a company that designs technology for other companies. After attending college in Arizona, Jay got a job but did not excel. He then learned about barcoding and starting getting into it. After working at it for awhile, he got better and eventually, started his own barcoding company. It wasn't always easy though. Jay's business partner was disloyal and Jay ended up in trouble. With no money to his name, he had to start over with a borrowed laptop and begin to grow his business from scratch. "I worked hard and had drive," Jay said. He would wake up at 4am to fly to different places to do business, for periods of time sleeping only on the plane. His determination paid off however, and his company has now been in business for 15 years. Jay's advice to clients going on job interviews was, "be prepared. Come on time, know about the company you are interviewing for, and follow instructions." He also stressed the importance of being willing to make mistakes. "I failed many times," he said, "but take chances and risks. There is money out there to start a business."
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