Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dressing for Success in Cyberspace: Giving Yourself a Digital Make-Over

You pride yourself on your professional appearance and demeanor. You strive to create and maintain a strong identity and reputation within your organization, with your clients and peers, and in your industry. But are you as diligent a custodian of your professional brand in cyberspace as you are in the physical world? If not, you probably need a digital make-over…
I continue to be amazed by the number of anemic profiles there are on LinkedIn, how easy it is to access Facebook activity that’s not intended for the public, how many people have no filter and/or no sense of time and place when they post on Twitter, and how uncivil people can be when commenting on news articles and blog posts. Not much surprises me anymore, but the opportunities to wonder “What were they thinking?” seem never-ending…
Given my focus on digital rookies, I’m particularly intrigued by people who are so fastidious about their personal appearance and “real world” reputation but show virtually no regard for their appearance or reputation in cyberspace. They seem oblivious to the fact that they have a digital identity whether they want one or not – and more importantly, that in many respects their digital identity and brand are much more public and powerful than how they’re known and perceived in the physical world.
Lately, to drive home the point of how important it is for professionals to take responsibility for their digital presence, I’ve started using analogies like leaving the house without any pants on; wearing torn, stained, disreputable, or inappropriate clothes; being unkempt; and having a hairstyle, glasses, and other accessories that are out of date. And to address the frequent lament of “I don’t have time,” I highlight the time we make to do things that are important to us, like going to a hair stylist or the gym, or shopping for clothes and shoes. The point is that if we can make the time to take care of our physical appearance and put our best foot forward on earth, we should also be able to make the time to take care of our digital appearance and put our best foot forward in the cloud.
I’d like to extend those analogies by laying out the basic steps and tasks in a digital make-over. Although the recommendations are primarily targeted to rookies, the suggestions should be useful to people who are more digitally sophisticated and engaged as well. We can all benefit from a little closet cleaning… 
For more on the basic steps and tasks visit: Dressing for Success in Cyberspace: Giving Yourself a Digital Make-Over
I’m looking forward to sharing and discussing more guidance during my Career Management in the Digital Era session at the 2012 Forte MBA Women’s Conference in June.
- Courtney Shelton Hunt, PhD

Related Resources
Please share other resources on Digital Dos and Don’ts you have found valuable. Thanks!

Monday, April 23, 2012

You Already Have The Right Network To Land Your Dream Job

It’s a common frustration of job seekers everywhere – you are the right person for the job if only you could get to the recruiter or the hiring manager. Many students believe the dream job is possible only if your dream company recruits at your school. Submitting a resume to the company website is just a black hole. Appeals to HR go unanswered. Somehow you need to bypass these gatekeepers and get to the decision-makers.

Many people assume you need to be born into connections or be “lucky” enough to have a robust on-campus recruiting program, in order to get to the people who are hiring for plum jobs. But in reality, you already have the network you need to land your dream job.
When you have identified a dream company, you don’t just look at the hiring manager directly or even HR. You look at:
  • people outside your target area
  • people who have left the company
  • clients
  • vendors
  • consultants
  • board members
  • investors, and
  • ANY other constituents or stakeholders of your dream company.
Furthermore, you don’t just look at your immediate connections, but rather you look at your connections’ connections. With social media sites such as LinkedIn, accessing the networks of your network is so much easier. These networks of your network are oftentimes so much more fruitful – you probably know the same people as your immediate network, but once you are one or more connections removed, then the overlap recedes and you have access to people you didn’t know you know.
Now here’s how this works with a real-life example. In an earlier post on whether a dream job is truly feasible or just a pipe dream I wrote about a dream of mine to be on the guest panel of NPR show “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me!” If I were to go after a guest spot there, I would go after my network around this target:

I don’t know the producers of Wait Wait directly, but I do know someone who used to produce another show at NPR, which distributes Wait Wait. Who do you know at your dream job from a parent company, joint venture, or subsidiary?

I used to work in media, albeit publishing and not radio. Still, someone may have worked in radio in addition to publishing or before their publishing career. Who do you know in the broader industry of your dream company?

I belong to media and communications professional associations and can find radio, NPR, if not actual Wait Wait connections there. What professional associations do you belong to? What online communities and social networks can you tap into?
If I want to find the names of people connected to the show, it will be hard to find all but the most senior people. But in this case, the guests’ names will be readily available, and I can research connections to these. Who do you know that has worked with your dream company as a client, consultant, vendor, or in some other indirect way?
The guests are just as often comedians as they are journalists. So, in addition to media contacts, I will want to tap my comedy contacts. Who do you know in other areas of your life, maybe even a personal contact, that can help you get to your dream company?

You already know someone who can help you land your dream job. Who will you reach out to today?
Caroline Ceniza-Levine helps people build fulfilling and financially-rewarding careers, as the co-founder of SixFigureStart®. She is a former recruiter in management consulting, financial services, media, technology, and pharma/ biotech.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Are You Living Inside-out?

“The remarkable thing we have is a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. We cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.” -Charles Swindoll

During the height of my quarter-life crisis I would begin many of my sessions with my coach feeling either depressed, anxious, or an uncomfortable combination of both. I blamed my state of discontent on the fact that things in my life just were not going the way I wanted. My coach would say to me, “You gotta live in out and not out in!!” This was a critical lesson for me since I really bought into the misunderstanding that in order to feel better, things in my external world had to be better.

Most of us rely too much on what is happening or not happening in our life to determine what kind of mood we’re in. It’s as if the circumstances of life become the conductor of our thoughts, feelings and behaviors. And once we’ve boarded this out in train, we enter into a cycle of looking for something outside of us to ease the uneasiness inside. But often that uneasiness inside is simply a reaction to the opinion we are forming about the outside world. Rather than trying to change what is happening (which is often impossible), do an inside job and change your perception.

So consider what you are currently allowing to determine your mood. Are you more orientated to an out in way of feeling? If so, I encourage you to turn yourself inside out and take your mood back into your own hands. Doesn’t it feel good to know you don’t have to wait for someone or something else to do it for you? You are capable of determining your own inner experience no matter what is going on outside of you.

I understand at times this feels especially challenging. Life is not stingy with opportunities to learn how to be more content within ourselves no matter what; however, life is also very generous when we are less stingy with ourselves. It’s time to gift yourself with those great feelings you may have been projecting on something outside of you.



Christine Hassler, best-selling author of 'Twenty-something, Twenty-everything,' supports individuals in discovering the answers to the questions: "Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?" She is a Life Coach with a counseling emphasis specializing in relationships, career, money, personal development and spiritual growth. She will be presenting on 'The Myth of Having it All' at the Forté women's MBA conference on Friday, June 29.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Getting a Jumpstart on Your MBA: A Special Note from Forté Fellow, Justina Lee

Choosing to pursue an MBA is a big step, as it requires significant time and energy, let alone the financial aspect of your investment. Committing to your business school of choice requires (almost) a leap of faith, as you are not quite sure where the next few years will take you, or if it will even be a better situation than your current one.

As a Forté Fellow, I quickly learned of the various events offered by the Forté Foundation, specifically the Financial Services FAST Track Conference and MBA Women’s Conference, which were both held in New York City last year. As someone who wanted to soak up as much information as I could and explore all the potential career opportunities for MBA students, I applied and registered for both conferences.

The conferences occurred early in the summer, which gave me a jumpstart on my recruiting process as I updated my resume, prepared an elevator pitch and developed “stories” that I would tell others to give them an opportunity to learn more about me. I can honestly say that the hard work paid off! At both conferences, I heard from many amazing women who have illustrious careers in their respective professions, and spoke with women who are a few steps ahead of me in their careers and could share some insight. I also met many other MBA women from many schools across the country, who could relate to what I was experiencing. The best part was that throughout the fall recruiting process, I saw many familiar faces and will even see some of them during my summer internship!

By speaking with recruiters from different companies and functions, I gained a greater understanding of what firms were looking for and the different types of opportunities I could pursue. These conversations, combined with the panel sessions, helped me further identify my own strengths and weaknesses, as well as which functions and companies I wanted to continue to network with over the next months.

Overall, these conferences were not only providing a chance to network with other MBA women or professionals, but more importantly, these conferences allowed me to take the time and invest in myself. Not only did I learn how to better network, how to negotiate future situations (like asking for a raise…to all the women out there, if you don’t ask, you won’t get it!), and many other skills, but also more about the various career paths within the financial services industry. I strongly believe this self-assessment is something that everyone beginning the MBA journey can benefit from.

By Justina Lee, Forté Fellow, MBA Class of 2013
Tepper School of Business, Carnegie Mellon University

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Myth of Having It All

March 31st marked the end of women’s history month, a celebration of women’s contributions to history, culture and society throughout the history of our nation. Trailblazers like Gloria Steinem and Betty Friedan who helped redefine the role of a woman in America come to mind. Perhaps one of the most transformative messages born from the women’s movement was the concept that a woman can “have it all.”

I just returned from my last series of speeches to female collegians across the country in honor of Women’s History month on the topic, “The Myth of Having it All.” I am always amazed (and quite concerned) about the stress and anxiety young women subject themselves to by trying to do it all in order to have it all. What I reminded them and what I am inspired to remind you of today is that Feminism is not about having it all or doing it all. Feminism is about the freedom to choose what we want. I think somewhere along the path of the women’s liberation movement, we began to buy into the belief that to be an empowered women means we have to do everything that both men and women do. So instead of making choices, we have tried to fulfill both gender roles at the same time. And from my perspective, it’s not working. Instead of giving us a tremendous amount of freedom and opportunity, this concept of having it all has morphed into something that excuses putting so much on our plates that we are stressed out, burned out and running out of time for ourselves (and our loved ones) every single day.

So today I invite you to UPdate your belief of what having it all means. How can you shift from this externally referenced concept of HAVING it all to a more internally referenced idea of fulfillment by BEING your all? What choices can you make to take some things off your plate so you actually have the mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual energy to truly be your all? An empowered woman is not burnt out, stressed out, and freaking out over accomplishing a million things on her to-do list. An empowered woman knows how to conserve her power by not chasing after external validation or obligations.

As the month of celebrating women comes to a close, I feel grateful to be a woman in the world today as it’s an exciting and important time for our gender. As we move away from the pressure cooker of having it all and gracefully slip back into our natural nature of being creative, nurturing, compassionate and receptive, we are beginning to shift the impact that women are making. The past has been about participating more fully and equally in the world. The future will be about changing the world. Hear us roar!


Christine Hassler , best-selling author of 'Twenty-something, Twenty-everything,' supports individuals in discovering the answers to the questions: "Who Am I, What do I want, and How do I get it?" She is a Life Coach with a counseling emphasis specializing in relationships, career, money, personal development and spiritual growth. She will be presenting on 'The Myth of Having it All' at the Forté women's MBA conference on Friday, June 29.