Thursday, April 22, 2010

6 Tips for Landing Your Dream Job

As unattainable as a dream job might sound, with the right amount of forethought and preparation, you can make the move as well. Here are six tips to get you started:

1) Learn about yourself. Take time to do a self-assessment of your values, how you like to work, and what you’d be compelled to do even if you never got paid. Research careers and industries that map to your skills and interests. Hit the Internet, set up informational interviews, take relevant coursework, and arrange to go onsite at a company in your chosen field.

2) Don’t be deterred by a lack of experience. In developing a resume and other promotional materials for the field you want to pursue, think about how your current skills and talents apply to the responsibilities you’ll hold in the new job. For example, knowledge of project management, client relations, information technology, and sales will take you far in most types of careers.

3) Ease into a new career one foot at a time. Perhaps this means earning a paycheck at your current job while doing a part-time internship in your new field or taking an adult education class or workshop on the weekend. The only way to find out if you’re passionate about something is to try it – ideally with as little risk as you can manage.

4) Remember that any progress is good progress. Even confident people stay in unsatisfying jobs because they feel safe, and because they’re afraid of making a bad decision. But in the quest to uncover a source of meaningful work, though, your worst enemy is inertia. Make an effort to do one thing, like e-mailing a networking contact or attending an event – that moves you a bit closer to your big picture goal.

5) Start early. Younger professionals have more flexibility when it comes to test-driving different careers. The process of self-discovery is much easier when you’re unencumbered by family responsibilities and substantial financial burdens, and when you haven’t yet reached a level in a career where it’s tougher to turn back.

6) Have realistic expectations. Even if you’re lucky enough to hold your dream job, there’s no such thing as the perfect work situation. Every job has its ups and downs, and aspects we love and aspects we don’t love. And dream job doesn’t mean “cushy” job. As your mom always told you, anything worth having in this world requires some effort. There will be some days you feel like shutting the alarm off and going back to sleep, but many more where you feel more energized by the prospect of work than you ever thought possible!

Want to learn more about landing your dream career? I hope you'll attend my session at the Forte MBA Conference this June!

Alexandra Levit is a Wall Street Journal columnist and an adviser to the Obama administration on workplace issues. She’s the author of New Job, New You: A Guide to Reinventing Yourself in a Bright New Career.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Come Learn about What it Takes to Lead!

In today’s world, it’s not enough to be a good student or merely competent at your job. Women who secure seats at the top echelons of business use specific techniques for building influence. Beyond delivering exceptional results, they behave, communicate and utilize their power strategically to garner respect.

Please join my session “Cultivating Leadership Skills: What You Won’t Learn in Business School” and explore how successful women find their leadership voice. We’ll look at practical how-tos for negotiating the workplace, shaping a career with meaning, and championing your own needs by advocating for professional growth and advancement.

You will come away from this session with some of the most critical lessons shared in my book: learning how to make the right impression from the start, gaining a seat at the table, and showing that you have something valuable to say and should be listened to.

-Selena Rezvani, Author of "The Next Generation of Women Leaders: What You Need to Lead but Won't Learn in Business School."

Monday, April 19, 2010

Early Bird Raffle Deadline Tomorrow

Thinking about registering for the MBA Women's Conference? Don't wait! Take advantage of the opportunity to possibly win 1 of 2 shopping sprees being given away at the conference. When you register before April 20, you're automatically entered into a drawing to win!

DEADLINE TOMORROW, APRIL 20. To learn more and register go to:

Monday, April 5, 2010

The 2009 Forté MBA Women’s Conference: A Powerful Beginning to my MBA Career

Attending the 2009 Forté MBA Women’s Conference was one of the best decisions I made in preparation of my MBA education at Babson. After working for four years at the national women’s nonprofit Step Up Women’s Network, I was eager to gain the female perspective on the MBA experience. The Forté conference served as a MBA primer of sorts – both personally and professionally. Personally, it provided me with direct access to impressive women from across the country who were in exactly the same life phase as I was. I only knew a few other males who were about to embark on the MBA journey so connecting with these women was very important to me. As I attended workshops and listened to dynamic speakers, I was reassured that both the excitement and anxieties I felt about beginning business school were very normal. Professionally, the workshops introduced me to critical topics and skills I would need to master before school began.

In terms of networking, I met two key female allies at the conference that have proven to be valuable connections. The first was a fellow conference attendee who planned to attend a different MBA program. We certainly didn’t let the distance of our respective schools stop us. We bonded and to this day remain friends. As fate would have it, we will soon be reuniting as participants in Duke MBA Games! The second woman was a soon-to-be second year student at Babson. The time we shared at the conference provided a critical platform for our relationship throughout my first year. Since our initial meeting she has served as an incredible support by providing advice on classes, clubs and internship hunting. The conference also introduced me to leaders at key companies that proved to be valuable in my internship hunt.

All in all, the Forté conference set the stage for my MBA career. It provided me with information, access and a dose of inspiration about the exciting life that lied ahead in business school.

-Alexa Brandt, Forté Fellow, F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, Babson College