Executive Career Coach, Michele Brant, offers career stories and strategies to help you create a thriving career and meaningful life. Each episode begins with a short relaxation exercise and then Michele shares her best stories and strategies in four areas of career advice: Job Search, Career Change/Discovery, Career Advancement, and Work-Life Balance.
Career Rejuvenation Advice Podcast Episode: #5 Leadership Wellness Basics
Leadership Wellness Basics
In this podcast I will be sharing Leadership Wellness basics.
We typically praise the person who is the last to leave the office and who works during weekends and holidays. Often, however, that person is the first to fall in the war of workplace attrition.
Leadership demands long hours and great effort, but taking care of ourselves is just as essential as hard work. Go-getters often feel that every minute of every day must be filled with work, but that is just not a healthy way to live. Because more does not always mean better, a leader must learn to draw a hard line in the sand when asked to take on boundless responsibilities. Learning to say “no” is a matter of self-preservation.
Here are some basics to consider:
Get enough sleep
Studies show that the gap between getting just enough sleep and getting too little sleep may affect your health and your mood
Sleep loss affects how you think
It helps to turn off all electronic devices 1 to 2 hours prior to going to bed
Stick to whole foods whenever possible instead of packaged processed foods
Processed foods are addictive and can be harmful to your health with added salt, sugar, and unhealthy oils processed foods are addictive
Whole foods are foods that are left in their natural form, or as close to its natural form as possible
Easy way to start: increase the amount of fruits and vegetables in your daily diet
The human brain is made up of approximately 75% water, so it is no surprise that dehydration has a dramatic effect on brain health
Dehydration impacts: mental fatigue, mood changes, premature aging
Benefits: supports healthy brain cells, improves blood flow and oxygen to the brain, helps balance mood
Generally accepted that you need to consume at least sixty-four ounces of water a day
Exercise changes the brain in ways that protect memory and thinking skills
Indirectly, exercise improves mood and sleep, and reduces stress and anxiety
Start with a few minutes a day, and increase the amount you exercise by five or 10 minutes every week until you reach your goal
To effectively combat stress, we need to activate the body’s natural relaxation response
The relaxation response is a physical state of deep rest that changes the physical and emotional responses to stress (e.g., decreases in heart rate, blood pressure, rate of breathing, and muscle tension)
Breathing exercises like how I start off all of my podcasts
What is one thing you can do right now to take care of you?
Career Rejuvenation Advice Podcast Episode: #4 Career Exploration 101
Career Exploration 101
In this podcast I will be sharing 3 things you can do now to lead to a career path that is a good fit for you.
Whether you’re embarking on your first career out of school or looking to make a career change, the first step is to think carefully about what really drives you.
You might find it hard to get past thinking about “what pays the most” or “what is most secure,” especially in today’s economy. But the truth is most employees rank job satisfaction above salary in ensuring they feel happy at work.
So, unless you’re in a situation where you have to take the first available job to make ends meet, it’s important to focus on your primary interests and passions. This can open doors to careers that you might not have considered.
Once you have that foundation, you can start fine tuning your search for the right career. You may be surprised at how you can fit your passions into a new career.
Exploring your career opportunities
* Focus on the things you love to do. What have you dreamed of doing in the past? What do you naturally enjoy doing? Jot down what comes to mind, no matter how improbable it seems. For me: Fashion, Exercise Physiology, Making a Difference in People’s Lives
* Look for clues everywhere. Take note of projects or topics that stir your compassion or excite your imagination. Reflect on stories of people you admire. Ask yourself why certain activities make you happy, and pay attention to times when you are really enjoying yourself. Noticing that I love cheering people on
* Be patient. Remember that your search may take some time and you might have to go down a few different roads before finding the right career path. Time and introspection will help you identify the activities you most enjoy and that bring you true satisfaction.
What is one action step you can take now to get closer to a career path that is a good fit for you?
Career Rejuvenation Advice Podcast: Episode #3 Out of the Box Networking
Out Of The Box Networking
Networking should be one of the cornerstones of your job search, but sometimes job seekers get bogged down with churning out online applications. For those who are unfamiliar with the process, networking may sound like shopping one’s resume around to various professionals and asking them for a job. In reality, networking is often a process of several one-on-one conversations with a wide range of people, both within and outside your industry, about your professional interests and employment history. Each of those connections can provide next steps and more names of people worth contacting.
Real life examples: client’s situation with a hiring manager that didn’t lead to an offer, client that reached out to a Professor at GT, connecting with college alumni, clients mom and cousin, former college friend, Talking to the person in the queue at graduation (G’s second cousin), me at Church, make it a habit to ask for 3 more introductions at every networking meeting
If your job search seems stuck in a rut, it may be time to shake up your networking. Here are some practical ways to move beyond the endless business card swaps to make better use of your current contacts and cultivate useful new ones:
Get Outside the Business Box
The more people you meet, the more likely you’ll encounter someone who can offer you an opportunity or pass your name on to someone else. Make a point of communicating your job search goals to virtually everyone you interact with: your hair stylist, the dog groomer, your next-door neighbor. Reach out to those old high school friends who found you on Facebook. Probe your common interests, and you might be surprised how many contacts turn up in your industry.
Everyone wants to help a volunteer, right? Offer to help with events, committees or projects that can put you side-by-side with new faces in a fresh context. Volunteering gives you a common purpose that helps open up conversations.
Don’t be afraid to approach a big shot. Scott Ginsberg, author of The Power of Approachability, urges people not to be intimidated by leaders they admire. Send an appreciative email to an expert or speaker, and you may be surprised when they follow up.
Even your dog can help. People really open up around their pets. Visit dog parks and talk to other owners. Some bars and restaurants even have “yappy hour” events with treats for Fido and drink specials for you.
Be the Duck in a Pool of Swans
It’s tough to stand at traditional networking events, so get creative. If you’re a man, try going to a women’s networking group. If you’re an executive assistant, try attending some executive-level mixers. When you’re the odd duck in the room, you’re a walking conversation starter.
Be the Expert
It’s great to attend networking events, but it’s even better to be the speaker at one. Put together a presentation on a niche topic that’s in your wheelhouse and offer it to groups that may be interested. Be sure to include tips and examples from your own business experiences—and be entertaining! Networking groups and professional associations are always clamoring for speakers; consider service clubs like Rotary and your local chamber of commerce, too. You’ll expand your network, build your resume and raise your visibility, all at the same time.
You can also take the lead and make yourself the hub of a network. Arrange a lunch for a small group of people you’ve met at recent networking events, or introduce your various networks to one another.
Build relationships within targeted companies
if there is a company you’re highly interested in working for that’s not hiring right now, reach out directly and set up an informational interview. That way, when a position opens up, they’re more likely to remember who you are and know for certain you’re genuinely interested in becoming a pa...
Career Rejuvenation Advice Podcast: Episode #2: Job Search: Networking Tips
Job Search: Networking Tips
Networking is about collecting information and getting the names of new people to talk to, not asking someone for a job. By talking to enough people and collecting enough information, you will hear of career opportunities and how to pursue them.
Mutually Beneficial Focused
Networking works when you form mutually-beneficial relationships; you and your contact need to have something to offer each other, either now or in future. You have to feel comfortable with each other and shouldn't feel that you are asking your contacts for favours or are in some way indebted to them.
Your initial approach should be done in a way that doesn't embarrass you or make you feel awkward. Some people are happier initiating contact by phone, others by email or even letter. Each approach has its advantages and disadvantages, so use whichever one you are most comfortable with.
Your initial approach to a potential networking contact should reflect this. A good opening approach to a networking contact could go something like this: Adapt it to suit the objectives you have set for each contact and your particular circumstances:
"I was given your name by XX who thought you might be able to give me some advice/ we might have some interests in common.
"One area I'm looking at is the [industry/ company]. I am trying to find out about [your objectives] and wondered if you would you be kind enough to spare 20 minutes or so to allow me to ask you a few questions about this? My background is in […] and we may well be able to share information."
Of course you want to adapt it to suit the objectives you have set for each contact and your particular circumstances.
Some people you approach will be quite willing to meet, others may prove more difficult. If you encounter resistance, try to explain – without being too pushy – that you just want to have a chat and that you are not asking them to put themselves in a difficult position. If you still can't get a meeting, don't take it personally, just move on to your next contact.
Be sure to have an agenda. Once you have your meeting arranged you need to structure the conversation to achieve your objectives. Be clear about what you want to get from the meeting and prepare your questions in advance. Start the meeting by introducing yourself and your career background concisely. Briefly outline your experience to date and your goals, and then move onto your information-gathering questions. These might include:
* How did you start in this area?
* How do you think your company's culture compares to its competitors?
* What skills and personal qualities do you think your company looks for when recruiting?
* Who do you think I should be meeting in your company/sector?
* What advice would you offer to someone coming into this business for the first time?
* What would you recommend I do to prepare for getting work in this sector?
* Do you think my past experience and skills fit into this company/ sector?
* What opportunities do you see in the future for this industry?
Give the other person time to think about their answers but try to keep the conversation going. Take notes; it shows that you value their answers and are taking the information they give you seriously.
Make sure, as the meeting draws to a close, that you ask if they can give you the names of a couple of other people you should be talking to. Could they introduce you? If not, could you mention the fact that they gave you their name? Always aim to leave a networking meeting with two new contacts to approach; it's the best way to expand your network.
Don't expect too much from the first meeting with a new contact. Networking doesn't always produce immediate results,...
Career Rejuvenation Advice Podcast: Episode: #1 Job Search: Mindset Tips
Job Search: Mindset Tips
* Prepare for rejection and thank them
* Silence is common
* Don’t go down the WHY tunnel
* Reward yourself
Prepare for rejection and thank them
Unless you’re the luckiest job seeker in the world and find a perfect match first time, rejection is going to happen and often many times. You must treat each experience as a learning exercise. One contact I know sent a great email thanking the interviewers for the opportunity and learning experience after he was rejected for a position. It turned out they had made a mistake and the head of talent called him back for an interview. The gracious response added yet another positive element to his application and even called his accidental rejection to the attention of the head of talent. Positions close and re-open all the time, building lasting bridges is essential.
Silence is common
It's not uncommon to submit a resume to an online application system and hear absolutely nothing back – not even a confirmation that your info was received. Even if you get past this stage and actually speak to a person, you may end up ghosted at any point with no explanation as to why.
Yes, these practices are rude and disrespectful to job candidates, but they are also extremely common. Don't take it personally. Recognize that silence is expected. In most cases, you will only hear from prospective employers when you're in the running for a role. If they're not interested, they most likely won't bother communicating that. Don't hold your breath waiting for more information.
Don’t go down the WHY tunnel
For many, the mysteries involved with job search are incredibly difficult to handle. It's rare that you ever really know why some decisions are made. Few organizations provide feedback to rejected candidates for fear of accidentally stepping into murky legal waters. Once again, silence is the most common form of feedback, which leaves much to the imagination.
Many job seekers try to make sense of the situation by fabricating scenarios to explain why they didn't get the job or why they didn't even get invited to an interview. Unfortunately, such exercises are totally futile.
You might look at a job posting and think you're perfect for the role, but you have no idea what other factors are in play – and you probably never will. Maybe they had an internal employee already in mind for the job. Or maybe the budget got cut and the job was eliminated. Or maybe they saw a gaping hole in your skill set or just didn't like the font you used on your resume. Maybe they hired a bad employee from your alma mater in the past so you were immediately blacklisted.
If you try to guess what happened, you'll drive yourself crazy!
The only course of action is to continue on. Don't waste time with speculation. In most cases, it's out of your hands anyway. You couldn't have done anything to get a different result.
Finding a perfect fit for your career objectives and skills takes time. You probably neglected relaxation during your executive position, so now is the time to develop relaxation techniques and plan activities to ensure you are on top mental and physical form for your job search.
Gains small or large are one step closer to landing a job. Appreciate your achievements and you will capitalize on each step forward that much more.
Are you choosing YOU in your career or does it seem like that won’t happen until pigs fly?
Best Career Advice
Michele Brant, Executive Career Coach offers compelling career stories and strategies that she gathered in over a decade of working with people in the areas of job search, career change and advancement, job discovery, and work-life balance. Michele offers a much-need relaxation exercise with each podcast to get you in the right frame of mind.