Archive for May, 2008

Fast-track Your Career Success by Going Abroad

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008
"Today's students and young professionals must be willing to go global, not only get to the top, but to compete successfully in the international marketplace." -Stacie Nevdomski Berdan, marketing communications expert, author and speaker
Stacie Nevadomski Berdan started her career with Burson-Marsteller in Washington D.C., where she later transferred on to work in Hong Kong and throughout Asia. After realizing the direct relationship between working abroad and fast-track career success, Stacie co-authored Get Ahead by Going Abroad: A Woman's Guide to Fast-track Career Success with C. Perry Yeatman. Find out more at Show Notes How can working abroad fast-track your career? 83% of women surveyed for the book agreed that their experience working abroad was key for their rapid career advancement. Here's why:
  • It differentiates you—you become an internationalist.
  • It offers opportunities that are not always available in your home market:
    • Smaller markets offer access to high level business contacts
    • It gives you the opportunity to take on general and line management jobs earlier in your career.
    • It offers you high visibility—people take notice that you are succeeding in a different environment
How can students prepare for opportunities like this?
  • Study abroad if you can. With U.S. currency as it is versus the strong currency in Europe, you may consider looking at other markets like Latin America, South Africa and Asia.
  • Do your research on companies and industries that offer more opportunities—those expanding or more global in nature.
  • Take an interest in language and culture—language will continue to be an important part of integration. If you don't already have the language skills, try an online course like Praxis Language (This shouldn't be a deal breaker, it just makes it a lot easier).
How can young people find these international opportunities? Finding a company with an international presence is a great way to go, but it may take a few years to get the skills and tools under your belt in order for the company to transfer you. Landing an international assignment is the most difficult part about the entire process itself.
  • You must be a top performer. This is a substantial investment for companies, and they don't send mediocre people.
  • Make it work for you and the company. What's so special about you that will help your company in a certain market?
  • Tell as many people as possible about your desire to go overseas.
  • Always be willing to go where the jobs are.
Some young people also find success moving to these countries on their own and looking for work. What are some of the Biggest Challenges About Living and Working Abroad?
  • It can be wearing to be the one who is different at all times—although this can be thrilling as well, and enables you to learn and grow much faster.
  • Learning new regulations and laws to work by—learning new things while unlearning old things while still being expected to perform at the top level.

Your College Degree is Not a Free Ticket to a Valuable Career

Wednesday, May 14th, 2008
In a thought-provoking article titled America's Most Overrated Product: the Bachelor's Degree , Marty Nemko brings to mind some of my own experiences as a college student and raises the question, "What is the value of a college degree?" Nemko states:
"The past advantage of college graduates in the job market is eroding. Ever more students attend college at the same time as ever more employers are automating and sending offshore ever more professional jobs, and hiring part-time workers."
He also quotes the 2006 Spellings Report, which stated:
"Unacceptable numbers of college graduates enter the workforce without the skills employers say they need in an economy in which, as the truism holds correctly, knowledge matters more than ever."
I've seen this myself, and I've often wondered what many of my less-motivated peers would one day go on to do with their lives. There is absolutely more behind a successful career than simply passing your college classes for four years. Although I would have had a hard time getting to where I am today without my college education, I would never be there with a college education alone. Don't just tell your future employer that you're passionate about the industry you want to be a part of. Prove it.
  • Join Associations
  • Keep your fingers on the pulse of the the latest industry trends
  • Blog about these trends and your opinions on them
  • Talk to people who do what you want to do, and find out how they got there
  • Listen to podcasts
  • Read books outside of your class curriculum
  • Get internships or relevant job experience (from what I've seen in job candidates, you should consider getting more than one internship. The bar is certainly rising)
  • Supplement your education by finding an interesting course or lecture that your university doesn't offer through open courseware. For example, Stanford has some interesting lectures on the "Communications and Media" in iTunes U (props to Jeff Siarto for pointing out the value in open courseware)
  • See if there is an online network for your industry where you can connect with professionals (You might start with a quick search on Ning)
1.5 million people will graduate from college this year. What are you doing to stand out?

New Perspectives on The Creative Career

Sunday, May 11th, 2008
What could be better than career insights and reflections from a "recently corporate" young professional? How about career insights and reflections from multiple young professionals? After coming together to create a few podcasts, I've decided to open things up and add a few new voices to The Creative Career. Joseph Tateoka, Kevin Saghy and Bryan Blaise, who you heard in the recent podcast, "You're Graduating, Now What? Perspectives From Four Recent Grads" will soon begin contributing. You can read their bios on the About page. My ultimate goal is to help you, and I think that by opening things up a bit and getting multiple perspectives, we will really be able to make this little experiment of mine more valuable to all of you college students and recent grads out there.

Starting Over After College – 5 Ways to Build Relationships in a New City

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008
In college, your best friends are practically handed to you—everyone starts out living in close quarters in the dorms, which means that finding someone to hang out with is as simple as walking down the hall. When you graduate from college and move on to a new city, it can take a bit more work. When I moved to Chicago to start my career, I knew next to no one, and as I was juggling a new career, settling into my new apartment and trying to maintain relationships with friends from college, getting out there to meet new people took a bit more energy. On top of this, I spent the first few months practically running a hotel out of my apartment every weekend as college friends came to visit the city, which didn't leave as much time as I would have liked to get out there and build new relationships. So Where to Start? Here are a few ideas to get you started if you're starting over in a new city after college:
  1. Join a young professional association . Although I admit that I never "officially" joined, I did meet a group of amazing friends at a young professional social last summer (you can hear from some of them in our "Perspectives From New Grads" podcast). Look for associations in your industry, or see if your university has a young Alumni Association set up for recent grads.
  2. Join or set up office extracurricular activities. Many companies offer after-work activities, such as sports teams or volunteer activities. This is a great way to get to know colleagues outside of the pressures of the working environment. Our office even has a team-building committee to help set these things up. If your company isn't very involved in these extra activities, ask around to see if you can organize your own committee.
  3. Leverage facebook . This ended up being surprisingly handy for finding and connecting with some of my acquaintances from college who I didn't otherwise know had relocated to the city.
  4. Wear your alma-matter t-shirt. I'm not kidding, I actually met a good friend this way. It's amazing how important those little common connections become when you are in a new city.
  5. Check out . One of my more memorable experiences was when I decided to check out a event for young women who were new to Chicago. I was greeted at the restaurant by the group organizer—a man in woman's clothing who called himself "Heather." Ok, so it wasn't exactly what I expected, but with something like 70,000 meet-ups being held around the country each month, there are definitely some great opportunities out there to find people you share interests with. As a side note, there are also a number of more professional meet-ups organized through I was actually introduced to Alexandra Levit, who I interviewed in a previous podcast, through someone who I met at an interactive meet-up.

You’re Graduating, Now What? Perspectives From Four Recent Grads

Friday, May 2nd, 2008
[display_podcast] After our first year working for various PR agencies in Chicago, Kevin Saghy, Bryan Blaise, Joseph Tateoka and I sat down to reflect on the transition from college to agency life. Some of the common questions we covered include:
  • Should you take time off between college and your career?
  • Is there room for negotiation when you start your first job in PR?
  • How do you adjust to agency life, especially tracking all of your time?
If you have any questions or topics you'd like us to cover in our future conversations, feel free to write in or leave a message on the call-in line at 206-350-4929. I'll note that these are all personal opinions from everyone involved, and no one is directly representing their respective agencies during this conversation.