How many times have you said to yourself, “I am going to start going to the gym in the morning”? You set your alarm, you laid our your gym clothing…and then hit snooze until 7am when you actually had to get out of bed?
Colleen is a recruiter in NYC. She has climbed the ranks to her current role as Head of People at Clarity Staffing. She shares her experiences and tips for some of my most commonly received questions.
So let’s get started at the beginning. What did you plan to do after graduation when you were in college?
I started college in the School of Education at Boston College and expected to follow my mom and sister’s footsteps without knowing if it was the right fit for me. During my first year or so, I realized the classroom was not the right fit for me. I stayed in the school of education, but started focusing on business and psychology and majored in Human Development, focusing on psychology in business and other HR-[human resources] related courses. HR seemed like a decent fit, but I don’t really know if I knew what HR meant at that point.
I graduated in 2009, which was not a great time to be looking for a job. I couldn’t be picky, so I focused on any position in HR support and recruiting. I also had a marketing internship at one point after graduating. I was trying to just get experience and get my feet wet in a corporate setting. I landed a job as a Campus Recruiting Coordinator at a financial firm. I quickly knew this was not my forever goal, but that it was good experience and a good first job. It was heavily administrative, but it was a good opportunity for me to learn from my superiors and it showed me that recruiting was something that I enjoyed. I loved connecting with candidates, but I didn’t love the travel needed to continue on a campus recruiting path.
After that, I started at Clarity Staffing. I didn’t know much about staffing agencies at the time, and what I did know was sort of negative [not everything you hear is true]. I have had so much experience there: hands on recruiting, business development, client management. I have learned a lot by doing all of these jobs and hopefully I get to help people find their dream jobs.
And what is your title today?
Head of People at Clarity, which is a recent transition for me to an internal management role. My day is focused on supporting the entire office and its clients. I do some internal HR work and internal recruiting [if you’re looking for a job in HR message me and I will make an introduction]. The position is constantly evolving since it is new to me. It’s good though, because I get to work all sides of the business.
What is the long-term picture for you professionally? Do you know? Do you like what you do?
I am really happy at Clarity. I have been able to make progress and grow. I would like to stay and continue to grow with Clarity. There are a lot of new things coming over into management I would like to watch grow and flourish. I also like that I can still interact with people I have placed in jobs thanks to our referral network. The referral network enables people who were placed in jobs to refer new candidates to us.
What advice do you have for someone who is trying to get into this field?
Don’t be above any work. Almost every entry level job is going to be administratively focused. An entry-level position in HR is going to include scheduling candidates, meeting and greeting people, preparing candidates and helping your superiors. Entry-level positions are as much an opportunity to gain experience and to learn about the industry and about what HR or recruiting means as they are about what other opportunities there are down the line. Also, HR means so many different things at different companies. You can be super specialized, or one can run everything in human resources for a whole company. Entry-level positions are an opportunity to learn about yourself.
How much would an entry level position pay?
HR assistant/recruiting coordinator roles are typically entry level. They would pay between $35k-$55/60k. If you are someone with corporate experience looking to transition and can handle a lot, then you may err on the side of recruiting coordinator positions that would potentially pay on the higher end of that spectrum. You need a lot of grit though. You are going to constantly be running around, scheduling many people, answering the phones, it’s definitely a high pressure role.
What type of positions do you typically place candidates in?
Clarity Staffing focuses on administrative support, HR and marketing. This includes all levels from reception to C-Level [as in CEO]. Lately, we have been expanding into finance and accounting. We place candidates in temporary, temp-to-perm [temporary for now, typically no benefits, but the goal is to bring the candidate on permanently] and permanent positions.
What makes a candidate stand out to you?
Areas we focus on a lot of times are not necessarily skill-based jobs (you don’t necessarily need to use a specific computer program for example). Looking at resumes, we want it to be easy to read, simple and clear. No flash is necessary for most positions. Most recruiters look at resumes for no more than 20 seconds.
Skip the flashy, crazy formatting. Just provide straight forward easy to digest information. Keep your resume as up-to-date as possible. Make sure you use the same tense throughout. Ensure it’s easy to see what company you were working at, the dates you were there and what your title was. Don’t include references.
Where does education go on a resume?
As a general rule, if you graduated in the last year or two, put education at the top. If it’s been longer than that, put it at the bottom. Realistically, we will find it, the most important thing is that it’s there.
Do you consistently ask candidates any specific questions?
We really want to learn about the candidates. We try to get to know them so we can make the match for them. We know candidates are consistently asked “Tell us about yourself” in interviews, and we try to prepare them for that. You should be an expert on your history. The biggest mistake candidates make is not knowing their own background well enough. You should be able to tell your story with a positive tone, even the parts that you didn’t like much.
Is there anything else you want to share with my audience who are made up of new college grads, career changers and generally people who are at turning points in their lives?
The best advice I can give is to see the value in every position or job you have. We have candidates come in and despite other issues – not seeming professional, not having the right experience – we can place them if they have a positive attitude. Make sure to spin everything in a positive light. Everyone learns something from every job, from waiting tables to babysitting. Don’t brush over anything, see the value, don’t get discouraged by taking a wrong path. Find the value.
Also, if you are transitioning to a new career, don’t be above anything in the next step. Your experience may not translate, but five years in the grand scheme of things is nothing.
Act on what you want and where you are genuinely going to be happy. You can make all the money that you want but if you’re miserable it’s not worth it. People who go in and take the chance if it’s something that they truly want to do, they put the energy, time and succeed more and those people grow more.
What tips do you have about interviewing for a job?
The interview starts long before you sit in the conference room – keep that in mind. Be friendly to the people in the elevator. Be friendly to the receptionist. Follow up with thank you notes. These things will set you apart. That’s the goal, find a way to set yourself apart.
We have had candidates that go out for interviews and everything went well, except they were rude to someone in the elevator and it got back to the hiring manager. They were on the phone in the lobby and the receptionist was put off by that. Small things could be the difference.
Even when you’re answering your phone, just answer your phone nicely every time you answer it and you won’t have a problem. You never know what someone is calling to offer you.
What’s the best way to get in touch with you or team?
Anyone who is looking to apply should apply through the website www.claritystaffing.com. There is a ‘submit your resume’ button – a recruiter will reach out. [Contact me so that I can let Colleen know you are interested]
Recruiting or sales experience – they are hiring internally right now – all teams!
This week we continue our search the sweet spot job, we dispel several myths about the job search.
The primary millennial stereotype says that millennials are job-hopping, passion-seeking, entitled jerks. We don’t have any loyalty or direction and just want to be handed our accomplishments. There are many articles and videos that talk about about how awful millennials are, typically in relation to the workplace. Here are my top five reasons why they are wrong, why their advice is incorrect, and why you need to say “thanks” and get right back to your modern job search.
- Myth: You should prioritize your company over financial stability and growth.
Gone are the days of pensions, and worse yet, many millennials have to accept the realization that the baby boomer generation did not prepare well for retirement. They also did not have to combat student loans in the way that millennials will (68% of students will have debt, over $30,000 on average). We may never receive social security, but we pay into the program to support the baby boomer generation. We have to achieve financial stability by any means necessary and that often means…
- Myth: Job Hopping is bad and self-indulgent.
Baby Boomers held an average of 11.7 jobs between 18 and 48 years, Millennials are expected to have up to 15 jobs in the same time frame. Furthermore, when comparing millennials and Gen-X-ers those who graduated college between 1986 and 1990 had an average of 2 jobs during the first 4 years after college, Millennials are expected to have an average of 4 jobs. This is not BAD it is a fact of life.
- Myth: In the beginning of your career you shouldn’t prioritize your personal life.
Never was there a day at the start of a Baby Boomer career where they were expected to be on call 24/7 because there were no cell phones. They didn’t get e-mails on Sunday, because there was no e-mail. You are entitled to choose to have the same limitations in your life as other generations have been entitled to.
- Myth: You should apply for jobs through the company’s website and wait to hear back.
In 5 minutes you can upload your resume and apply to millions of jobs, just like everyone else. Digital applications work sometimes but up to 80% of jobs are filled prior to their listing. The definition of insanity is repeating the same action and expecting the sale result…
- Myth: Changing your career and job hopping is suspicious.
Recruiters and hiring managers are ready to embrace career changers and they understand statistics about average number of jobs each age bracket will have. Will you have to answer hard question? YES. Will you be rejected from the job because you changed your career path? No.
Over the past 7 years, I have grown a lot. I am a natural pessimist. In an instant, I can become certain the worst-case scenario is happening. However, I have also come to prioritize seeking happiness and joy in my life. These are my primary goals. There are many factors which increase happiness (and productivity) which we will explore on this blog. Today, I am focusing on music and its impact on happiness and productivity.
I am sure there is a song that makes you smile every time you hear it on the radio (or Spotify). Sixpence None the Richer – Kiss me and Don Mclean – American Pie can always bring a smile to my face, partially because they bring back childhood to me and partially because they are just great songs. Thankfully, a team out of Australia recently provided me with some data to back the claim that listening to music can make you happier. In a study with the absolutely amazing name, “If your happy and you know it: music engagement and subjective wellbeing”, they found a relationship between increased subjective wellbeing (a measure of life satisfaction) and engaging with music by dancing or attending live events. These results emphasized the importance of music in social settings for happiness.
Best yet, not only do people feel more satisfied with their lives when they dance or experience music, music has been shown to encourage the release of dopamine (a neurotransmitter known to be released in response to positive things such as a good smell or sex) in the brain. Music keeps the brain from wandering – which is great because I know when my brain wanders if finds it way to a list of all the things that could go wrong that day. Researchers have shown that listening to music while working keeps people focused on the task, leading to tasks being completed more quickly. Music-listening employees also came up with better ideas than music-free coworkers. It is believed these results are thanks to an elevated mood of the music listeners.
It is recommended to try non-lyrical music to see how it can influence your mood as that will elevate your mood and productivity without having you distracted by lyrics or singing “Bye, Bye Bye” to your coworkers. One of my favorites is the Pandora Classical Goes Pop station.
What do you listen to at work? Are you allowed to listen to music? What are your happy songs?
If you google, “How to find your dream job?”, you will get 11,700,000 results – 11 million ideas of how to find and get your dream job. That is a lot of opinions. Most of these articles will tell you to think about what you want to do and go after it. They don’t address the analysis paralysis which can be accompanied by having the doors wide open. They don’t address the fact that you KNOW that is the idea, you’re just trapped in analysis paralysis.
I hope you can handle one more opinion, because for March, I am bringing you a 6-week guide EVERY WEDNESDAY to help you understand your needs and wants when it comes to choosing your “dream job.”
Except we are not trying to find our “dream” job. We are trying to find our sweet spot job. Don’t worry about what you will be 20 years from now. Worry about what you hope to be doing 2 or 3 years from now. It’s like dating: in a perfect world you find Mr. Right, but in this imperfect universe, you may just find Mr. Right NOW!
A Sweet Spot Job will suit your personal and professional goals today. It is not necessarily paying you exactly the salary you want, it is not necessarily giving you the perfect work life balance, but it is giving you mostly what you want, and that is enough to give you breathing room to truly know, through experience, what is important.
Forced choices, in particular those “rock and a hard place” choices, can make life difficult and stressful. Changing perspective to finding your Sweet Spot Job can take off the pressure and enable you to see the forest through the trees, if you will. It also allows you the freedom to admit what you want and need today may not be what you want and need in the future.
Today you may be single, living in NYC in an apartment that costs more than half your monthly income, and your top priority is a job that allows you to go into work at 10 on Friday since you enjoy going out Thursday nights. In 10 years, you may need a job that lets you work 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. because you have to be there to pick your kid up from school. Your life is constantly evolving and you need to approach your “dream” job hunt in the same way.
Over the next few weeks, we will walk through the 5 W’s of finding your Sweet Spot Job, and hopefully get some clarity on what you may want as life moves forward.
Marcy D is a full-time physical therapist and mom to two adorable little girls with one more on the way! In her “spare time”, she is building a health and wellness coaching business – basically she is super woman. Here are her thoughts on finding and defining success, how she got into her career(s), and what advice she has for you! As usual – [my commentary is in the brackets].
[What did you plan to do “when you grew up”?]
When I was 17 and faced with choosing a college, locking into a major and subsequently a career path, I knew I wanted to help people, but I didn’t have that much life experience, [because who does at 17?]. At the time, my world views were limited and I thought that a career in service meant becoming a doctor, or a nurse, or a physical therapist – the people I had experience with. So I applied to college for nursing and physical therapy and, in the end, chose to go to the University of Miami. In the end, my choice between nursing and physical therapy came down to my desire to travel far away from home, [ RI where Marcy grew up] and the fact that UM was a top 5 physical therapy school, and I was accepted to their combined undergraduate and graduate program so it took me 6 years [rather than 7 years] to get my DPT. So at 17, I locked into my career path, based on a few fast choices and a strong desire to help people.
[What are you doing today?]
Today I am a DPT [Doctor of Physical Therapy] at a school for children with special needs, and I am growing a health and fitness business, both of which I love. Both allow me to be helping people the way I envisioned as a child, just from two very different avenues.
[Wow, you must be pretty busy how did you decide to on an entrepreneurial pursuit?]
Honestly, although I love my current job as a pediatric physical therapist, about 2 years ago I started to feel I was already burning out after only 6 years of working in the field. I was working in a large teaching hospital, in a high stress environment, that took a lot of my attention, energy and effort even outside of my work hours. I loved the children and families I was working with, but felt torn apart by the lack of work-life balance. I was missing bedtime stories and Mother’s day brunches at my daughter’s school. I was waking up on Sunday morning already consumed by the amount of paperwork and stress lying ahead of me, taking me away from my family even on my days off. I was 8-months pregnant with my second daughter and I knew I didn’t want to go back to my job at the hospital, but I also knew that not working was not an option for me, financially or professionally. Then I saw an ad on Facebook talking about health coaching. I didn’t even know what it was, but the ad said “Do you want to have more freedom to spend time with your family?” It seems so silly, but it was my sign. I couldn’t help but think “YES” I do. So I reached out to the girl who was recruiting for her team and learned she was a pediatric nurse who had transitioned into coaching and now had built a successful business where she was able to follow her dream and serve others, but also be home with her children. She had the balance I wanted so badly, and I just knew in my heart that this was my sign. I knew taking on something additional when I was already overwhelmed and exhausted and very pregnant may have seemed crazy from the outside looking in, but I also knew I couldn’t afford not to make a change. My desire to feel happy, to be a more present and energetic mom, and to get back to doing something I loved was too strong to ignore.
[What was it like starting a new business? How did your friends and family respond to starting a business that was out of your career path?]
It was scary – I mean terrifying. I was scared of what everyone would think. I told my sister first. She was ok with it, but I knew my family would be worried that I was doing something that didn’t make use of my degree, was unconventional and coming out of left field, and I didn’t want to let them down. After all, they had invested so much in my education, I could never say out loud to them “I hate my job”. I feared failing. I feared embarrassing myself in front of my colleagues. I mean what would they think? And because I was launching my business via social media, if I did fail, EVERYONE would know. Because we all know, once it’s on Facebook, its official! But somehow, like I described, the fear of staying still scared me more, and was enough to keep pushing me forward. And eventually, my friends and family to took the time to see what I was doing and realized that it wasn’t all that different than what I do as a physical therapist. My purpose at the end of the day in my coaching business is never to sell a product or recruit for my team, it is to help others feel confident, healthy and strong; to educate other’s on the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and give them the support they need to reach goals they had given up on. The real turning point was when I signed my dad up for the program for his birthday, and I put him in one of my coaching groups and by the end of the program he realized I was still on track, this was all part of my plan to help people.
[Wow that is really impressive that you stood strong through that. To get back a bit to your day job, what advice do you have for someone who is in your shoes, they know they want to help people in their career but they are not sure how?]
Keep your options open. Pursue what feels right now, but also what aligns with your goals 2-5 years down the line. I am still really happy with my path, but I keep my mind open to what opportunities are available to me every day.
[What does an entry level physical therapy position pay in your area?]
I was making $28.00/hour when I first started – and I have nearly $200,000 in student loan debt.
[Many of us have been there and having debt, now, I know this is a hard question but, if you could do it all over again, with the knowledge you have now would you do it differently?]
I would still become a physical therapist, but I would give myself the same advice I gave my youngest sister who just applied to college – GO TO URI [the state school where her family lives] – you will get the same education, have the same opportunities and must less of the debt. I have worked with many physical therapists who went to school in all different places and they are just as qualified as I am with less debt. To be clear, I am beyond grateful for the experiences I had University of Miami, and wouldn’t trade it for the world. I do feel I gained value in my time away from home and experienced culture and diversity in ways my small town in RI had never shown me, and the education I received there left me feeling prepared and excited about physical therapy. However, I have worked with many physical therapists who went to school in all different places and they are just as qualified as I am with less debt and feel as strongly about their college experience as I do.
[I am with you, I appreciate my education tremendously and I am fortunate to have paid of my debt but I definitely wouldn’t recommend anyone putting themselves into extensive debt to get an education…Tell me something – how do you define success?]
Success is a moving target, much like happiness. It’s not something that once you have it you have it forever. I see it as a series of goals that you are meeting. It changes over time with what your needs and desires are.
[I love that, can you tell me what a day in the life looks like for you?]
5-6 am : Wake up: write down three things I am grateful for while drinking a bottle of water and my pre-workout. Starting my day with gratitude is part of my workday routine. It helps me to start the day with the right mindset and perspective before diving into a crazy busy day of balancing work and mom life. Next, I get my scheduled workout in for that day. I am always following one of the set workout programs I am coaching my clients through. Following my workout, I check into my online accountability groups, make sure that any open questions are answered etc. I then quickly check my coaching email before switching gears into mommy mode!
6-8 am: After my workout and morning “power hour” for my business, I am able to completely shift my focus to my favorite job, being a Mama. I get ready for my workday, and get the girls set up and ready. I am present with my family during this morning time and my office is closed.
8-4: On my commute to work I get in my PD [personal development] by listening to a podcast or audiobook. Currently on my playlist: “The Charged Life” podcast. My work day as a pediatric PT involves 30-minute sessions, back to back, helping children gain physical mobility and strength that increase their ability to access their school environment, and play with peers. Unlike in a more traditional PT setting, where a therapist may tell a patient to do 10 leg lifts or squats and talk their patients through a treatment plan, working with children with autism takes a lot more patience, creativity and flexibility. I create play-based treatment plans, while running behavior plans for each child, and addressing their specific learning needs. It is tiring mentally and physically, but, just like my coaching business, it is my passion. To help these children learn their strengths and abilities and develop a sense of competence and confidence through their physical abilities. Some days are harder than others, but all are rewarding if I can keep that perspective (hence starting my day with mindset).
4-7:30: I am sure to block out time where I am focused on my family. Dance class, helping with homework, dinner time, bath time and bedtime.
8-9:30: Back to working my health and fitness business. I use this time to reach out to new clients who may have shown interest on my posts about upcoming fitness challenges or in learning more about coaching, connect with my current clients, answer questions, create content and schedule out posts that add value, and check in with my own daily accountability. This is also the time when I will check in with my teammates! While I work for myself, I do not work by myself. The network of amazing women I have met serve as a phenomenal resource, support and sisterhood.
9:30: 9:45: I end my day by reading something positive before bed. I am currently reading “Daring Greatly” by Dr. Brene Brown. An excellent book for recovering perfectionists like myself.
[Is there anything else you want to share with my audience?]
As hard as it is, don’t let what others think you should be doing, a job title, a degree or even what you envisioned your career or life to look like at some point in the past, put limits or restrictions on your next steps. As we get older, hopefully we are growing. And with growth comes change. Which is terrifying and empowering all at the same time. Yes, you might fail, you might face resistance, and have no clue what you are doing, which can be uncomfortable. But, ask yourself, is change scarier than the idea of staying “stuck”, of not feeling happy, and fulfilled. In my mind, it is always worth it to take a risk on yourself. You deserve to be happy.
[How can people reach you?]
I have been thinking a lot about my strengths and weaknesses this week as I continue to speak to clients about what their needs are and how to develop a plan. I find myself revisiting THE question : what are your strengths and weaknesses?
For me, my strengths include my ability to speak publicly, bring people together, take a perfect group selfie and teach people how to achieve their goals.
My weaknesses include my inability to keep my apartment as neat as I want it to be, my ever evolving organizational skills, and impatience for customer service agents over the phone who put you on hold for extensive periods of time – who is with me?
But does it matter what our weaknesses are? Why is this a penultimate & fearsome question in an interview? Unfortunately, many training and continuing development programs highlight weaknesses and try to correct them rather than developing strengths. Motivationally speaking, this is the equivalent of a parent focusing their energy on a D in math for their otherwise straight-A student.
People often feel rejection or a negative comment more fiercely than a compliment. How many times have you replayed the moment a partner rejected you as compared to remembering the moment they told you they cared?
If we foster an environment of growth and development to each other’s strengths, employees will be more apt to improve their own weaknesses AND to approach the processes far more optimistically.
What do you think? Are you more apt to work on your weaknesses when you are more confident in your strengths?
Does your place of work encourage you to pursue you strengths? Do you receive positive reinforcement, or only hear from supervisors when something has gone awry?
Murphy’s Law says that ‘Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.’ It was first coined at Edwards Air Force Base in 1949 at North Base, after a machine had been wired incorrectly.
There are people whose lives are virtually founded on this concept. Their negativity and expectation of Murphy’s Law reinforces their belief that the universe takes any opportunity to bring on the worst case scenario.
I was one of these people who figured the worst case scenario would happen, so why bother being hopeful.
Murphy’s Law was founded in a meaningless moment of frustration and that is when it’s most-commonly referenced – when our phone won’t connect to the internet, when we forgot our umbrella in the rain – but what if we took these moments, said “oh well”, found a solution, and moved on? Even more, what if we acknowledged that this moment was put there to challenge us to understand our limitations, to learn from and move on?
There are no failures, there are only opportunities to learn.
Do you ever find yourself wondering why everyone else seems to have their sh*t together, but YOU can’t even seem to find a job you like?
So many women are underpaid, overworked and constantly passed over for promotions AND not even super psyched about their personal lives!
You are not alone.
50% of people are unhappy in their jobs and 80% of women are underpaid.
But I am here to help! I help women take the fast track to seeing the value they provide, identifying the skills they bring to the table and finding jobs they enjoy showing up for – at least MOST of the time 😉
Sound like a plan? Let’s chat and figure out if this is the right time for you to get started.
What do you do?” A question in the same family as, “When are you going to find a partner/get married/have a baby?” and “What are you doing after you graduate?” These are often questions which strike a nerve. They are questions which, while meant well, can be stressful to answer- at best!
So what are you to do if you don’t have a traditional answer to this type of question?
Step 1. Breathe. Like so many things in life, breathing is the answer. Consider who’s asking before feeling judged or threatened – are they asking out of genuine care for you? Are they asking because this is a handful of questions that just come easily to most of us? Do they even care about your answer? – and then embrace the reality.
Step 2. Is this a social or professional situation? If this is a social situation, it is much easier to brush off the question – make light or a joke of the answer if it suits you. But keep in mind that if you are job hunting, every opportunity could quickly become a professional situation.
In a professional situation, turn to your mighty 60-second pitch. This is a one-minute summary of where you are at in your life. It should include a quick, relatable background story, a humble brag or explanation of what’s happening right now, a reference to how amazing you are and goal statement.
Example: I got into advertising after being mesmerized by commercials when I was a kid. I used to make my sister act out commercials for whatever product our mom had purchased that day. I recently took the lead on a campaign for Toys R Us and they were thrilled with the results. My boss was impressed by how I managed to bring together the ideas of our clients and copywriters to have a cohesive theme. Now, I am looking to use these skills to transition into a leadership position on an in-house advertising team.
Phew! That is a mouthful, but when it is meaningful to you, having your 60-second pitch can take away the anxiety of the moment and flows as if it’s off the cuff.
Having trouble coming up with your pitch or not even sure what your goal is beyond “get me out of my current position?”Let’s figure it out together! Schedule your free consultation today!