I have the pleasure of working for an amazing company. I’ve been at Schwab for 16 years and while I have a great team, manager, and clients, I started to lose some of my initial enthusiasm for my role after I’d been with the firm for a number of years. I spoke with my mentor about how I was feeling and he suggested that I get involved with an employee resource group (ERG). An ERG is a collection of employees that share a common background such as Veteran status or ethnicity. Groups are also formed around interests such as parenting, wellness, or philanthropy. ERGs can be found at companies both large and small.
During my five years in Schwab Talent Acquisition, I’ve worked hard to identify myself both in and outside of the firm as an authority in job search techniques. As a result, when friends, colleagues, or family members are presented with a new opportunity I’m often the first person they ask for advice. More often than not, they call me in a total panic because they haven’t updated their resume in several years and have no idea what the standard is today for a great resume. Oh, and they have to submit their resume by tomorrow. Yikes! If a recruiter contacted you today, do you have a resume you are proud of?
A common complaint shared by many job applicants is that they never receive a response to their application. In fact, according to the 2015 CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior Study only 14% of job applicants feel that companies are responsive. On the flip side, 29% of employers feel there are simply too many candidates to respond to. So what can an applicant do to increase their chances of getting noticed?
How do you define the word leader? If asked that questions a few years ago, I likely would have answered “someone that manages others.” My guess is many others would answer the same. This year, I am one of 91 Schwabbies selected to participate in Schwab’s Aspiring Leaders Program and as the six-month program comes to a close my definition of a leader has completely changed. True: a leader might manage others; but being a leader is so much more than being a people manager. A leader inspires, innovates, challenges the status quo. A leader does all of these – and none of them require that they have team of direct reports.
After my four years of active duty in the U.S. Army ended in 2001, I struggled with what to do next. Talking to other veterans, this seemed to be a common dilemma facing exiting service members. In the hopes that it might be helpful to other military vets and mid-career professionals navigating similar career decisions, I thought I would lay out some best practices that worked for me in my career transitions (both out of the military and from one industry to another).
Having spent about 20 years in the workforce, I’ve crossed the paths of quite a menagerie of colleagues. From my early days waiting tables to my current role at Schwab, I have met and worked with some of the most phenomenal human beings I could ever imagine. Since we spend nearly a quarter of our lives at work, it should come as no surprise that workplace relationships are a major driver of job satisfaction.
In my post A Career… Without College? I shared how I landed in human resources without a formal education in my field. After that post was published I received quite a few positive emails from readers sharing their own stories of overcoming challenges on the path to their dream job, as well as some from readers that were given a push in the right direction after reading my story. I was thrilled to hear that my intended message was received loud and clear: YOU control your career destiny. A positive mindset is a major part of guiding your career towards your ultimate dream job, but positivity alone will not get you there.
Some people are “naturally” organized, some are not. I would place myself in the second category, and for that reason have had to make a concerted effort in both my personal and professional lives to stay on track and complete all my deliverables.
Let’s face it: social media and the internet have taken over our lives! Perceptions and desires that once were driven by “traditional” media such as television and print are now controlled by the almighty mobile device. Many have tried to resist the impact of social media on our daily lives, scoffing at the “poor etiquette” or “lack of real conversation” that technology has created. Love it or hate it, this new way of obtaining information is here to stay. So, will you allow social and online media to enhance or inhibit your online brand?
I started my career at the tender age of 19. New to the working world, I didn’t really know just yet what I wanted to do with my life – I only knew that I wanted to learn and grow, and I hoped that wherever my path led, I would achieve professional success. Throughout my career I have been influenced by many people; some have driven me forward and some have held me back. I’d like to share the story of one of the single most important relationships that has helped drive my career forward; it’s about a person who took me under his wing but also let me fly on my own when the time was right. This is the story of my mentor.
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