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Your Career & The "Premium Rush"

I live one block off Broadway on New York City's Upper West Side. This morning I was on the way to brunch with a friend, and I saw something unusual: two and a half blocks of cabs and cars all lined up on the street. Parked. Only a few of them were there. The street corners were packed with police officers, people wearing orange reflective vests, and people with microphones and wires in their ears.Traffic_blur

I heard one of them say, "How do you spell brunch?" as he typed out a message on his iPhone? And then, many of them came inside the restaurant to join my friend and I. We sat at separate tables.

I asked a few questions and learned that the crowd I saw had gathered together for a common goal: They are shooting stunts for a movie, Premium Rush. The movie is about a bike messenger, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt who gets involved in a chase around the city. You can learn more about it on this blog, or via IMBD.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt wasn't in my neighborhood this morning. Apparently the shots that are being filmed are what you will see as he zooms through traffic, but he won't be shooting the stunt.

But before I left the scene, I did take a couple of mental pictures that I do want to share with you. It takes many staff to film a movie...more than I imagined. Did I mention there was an entire side street filled with trailers and production vehicles, too'?

Despite all the job reports--the stories about lack of jobs in entertainment, for recent grads, etc.--there were people of all ages taking place in the shoot. There were people moving large scale equipment, people working to direct traffic, people who specialized in communication, videographers, technicians, and security. If I were in the movie industry, I could tell you who else was there, too. But that's not what I do.

The mental picture I left with is just how many jobs there are--to take part in a big project. Not everyone gets to be Joseph Gordon-Levitt and star in a movie,or to perform stunts, or to work as a senior producer. But if you're in a rush to land the career you want, perhaps a good way to start is by finding out all the task that go into producing the finished product of your dream job--and then look for a side door.

Do you have any experience with this? Share.

To Your Success,


Note to Recent Grads: Advice Worth Ignoring

I worked on college campuses for over a decade before starting my own business, and I've seen a lot of Pomp and Circumstance come and go. I've watched graduates saunter out into great jobs in a strong economy, and I've watched more than a few turn around and go straight back to school in a down economy. But regardless of whether you graduate this year, next year or you graduated five years ago, here are three statements that you can expect to hear--and which I think you should ignore.Hne

1. This is the worse job market in ___ years. You will never get a job. (Assume this is right and don't apply for jobs, you can guarantee you won't get one.)

A CEO I once worked with loved to tell the story of a man who was angry with God because he hadn't won the lottery. He shook his fists and shouted at the sky, "Why haven't I won? I deserve it. I'm a good man, I've worked hard. Why won't you help me?"

The clouds parted, a loud voice spoke. "My son, buy a ticket."

Moral: You have to apply for jobs in order to be in the game.

2. You need a stimulus package to get a job. A recent Op/Ed in the New York Times pleaded for a stimulus package to incentivize employers to offer new grads entry-level jobs. While a stimulus package may very well help, it's important to remember that people are getting jobs--with regularity.

According to the Department of Labor, nonfarm payroll employment has expanded by 573,000 since December. The number of unemployed is under 10% nationally. It's true that there are more unemployed recent graduates now than there were two years ago, but it doesn't mean that you don't have a chance of landing a job. You just need to pay attention to where the jobs are--both in terms of industry sector and in terms of location.

Action step: Take a look at Indeed's job postings per capita or industry employment trends. Consider refining your search based on what you find!

(I found a job in a recession post-college, when I decided to make a contrary move. I moved to DC instead of New York to seek out a job as an Editorial Assistant in book publishing. My job search took three weeks.)

3. You will enjoy living with your parents--forever. Every year, the percentage of recent graduates moving back home to live with their parents increases...While this may not be your plan "A," it may not be your parents either. Take a look at this New Yorker Shouts and Murmur's piece.

Not sure whether to laugh or cry? If your mom tells you they are moving to a new house so that there is less space to clean up, you may want to take this as a subtle hint. (This really happened to a friend of mine...he was finally told "we love you but we don't have anymore room.)

Bottom line: Ignore the naysayers, and the gloom and doom statistics.

Your job search isn't about numbers. It may be a numbers game to find positions, but in the end, people hire people--not resumes or online applications. Proof positive: All of the recent grads who were guest bloggers on this site last summer to discuss their "hire me" strategies have jobs. Full-time ones with benefits.

For the most part, the best way to get hired is the same as it was 15 years ago:

  • Know what you are good at
  • Learn what employers need
  • Target the market and research potential opportunities
  • Build a community/network
  • Apply
  • Articulate how you can meet employer needs

Yes, social media has complicated the process, but it's also shortened the distance between people and opportunities. (Earlier today, I reached out on Twitter to share a piece I wrote for Career Hub about Olympic Gold Medalist, Natalie Coughlin. She wrote back. How cool is that?)

What are you waiting for? Get out there! (Then let me know how I can help.)

The College Junior's Summer To-Do List (Guest Post)

Summer is almost here, and you know what that means: sleeping in, road trips, and wasting the day away by the pool. After all, this is your last summer of freedom before entering the year-round working world. It's a great idea to embrace what will soon be the last of your college years, but don't let this summer pass you by, or you just may miss a golden opportunity. So, while you're taking a break from the pool to let your sunburn heal, take a moment to do something that can positively impact your future.

  • Network: This one's easy: Networking doesn't have to be intimidating or hard work. It can actually be quite fun to go to events and meet new people in your community. They might not be keg parties, but have a good time seeking out parties, charity events, and other get togethers where you can get to know the professionals you'd like to work with in the future. They can help you land a job, launch your start-up, or provide guidance along the way.

  • Make sure you're on track: If you haven't already, you should check, double and triple check your requirements for graduation. Nothing would be more tragic than expecting a diploma to greet you next summer, only to find out you're just a few credits shy. Talk to your academic advisor, check out your school's catalog, and be absolutely sure of what you need to take care of next year.

  • Snipe the best classes: On a similar note, as a soon to be graduating senior, it's essential that you make it into the classes you'll need to complete your degree. So this summer, make sure you know when the course listings come out, and be among the first to build select classes for the fall semester.

  • Identify and meet recruiters: Get to know recruiters in your chosen industry. Let them know you'll soon be hitting the job market so that they will be familiar with you when it's time to start looking-and remember to follow up when that time comes.

  • Intern: Yes, it might put a dent in your busy schedule of sleep and partying, but taking on an internship is easily the most valuable thing you can do this summer. Do your time and work with a company that you'd like to be a part of in the future, and you just might find yourself with a job offer before graduation comes. Look for one that works with your schedule, while still satisfying your needs for experience and networking. Let your friends enjoy their hangovers. If you take these steps, you may find yourself enjoying a nice paycheck next summer.

By taking on these helpful summer tasks, you'll be well on your way to a successful senior year and a promising future upon graduation. Be sure to enjoy your last college summer, but don't forget that now is the time to plan for the successful career in your future.

This guest post is contributed by Angela Martin, who writes on the topics of Career Salaries.  She welcomes your comments:

Get a Green Job in Two Years (& Save $$$ on Training)

There's no doubt about it: Green is the new black. It's hip, cool, and sexy to work an environmentally friendly position that allows you to "do good." (Apologies to my mom, the former English teacher, who will scold gently remind me that the phrase "doing good" violates all rules of good grammar. But I digress.)


Virtually every article I've seen about bright spots in the job market recently highlights the increasing demand for green jobs. So does my own homegrown research. Anyway you slice it, green jobs are in vogue--and there are more openings for workers in other field.

But, even with all of the employer demand, there's a slight wrinkle: Many green jobs require technical training and an area of expertise in order to get hired. In many cases, you may find it very difficult to get an interview for a green job if you don't have knowledge of the field or industry in which you'd like to work. Unless you are a technical sales rockstar, and want to work in "green sales" related to a project you've worked on before, you may find that you need additional training--even to get to the interview.

Many colleges and universities are rapidly expanding their environmental science and curricular offerings in order to meet student interest and employer demand for green jobs. But college can be expensive. Which is why I really loved this article from CNN Money on how you can train for a green job in two years.

The secret (according to the article) is to attend community college. Many community colleges are offering innovative two year programs designed specifically to meet regional industry needs: it's a great way to hedge your bets for employment security. So check it out, if you are so inclined.

I'm going to digress (again), and close with a bit of a love letter three reasons why community colleges can be terrific places to boost your credentials:

1. They cost less than many other colleges and universities.

2. In general, the academic job market is very tough for individuals who want to teach at the college and university level. And frequently, positions go to people based on their scholarly and research work--not just based on their love of teaching.

So frequently, you can find devoted and --outstanding teachers--at the community college level. People who want to teach--not to publish the definitive last word on ____________.

3. Community colleges often have great feeder relationships with other schools--and you can still get a four year degree by transferring if that's what you want.  Some states have stellar linkage programs between community colleges and state universities (The University of Virginia, for example, has great relationships and linkage programs with community colleges in Virginia.) If this is something you are interested in learning about, research this.

Over the 8 years I worked at Ivy League schools, I met with several individuals who went to community college before "getting into an Ivy." All of these students had a great experience at the community college level. They credited their Ivy League admission in part to great teachers and mentors who believed in them and encouraged them. One of these students, a Philosophy major who had earned a 4.0 GPA at her new school, said that she missed her community college professors because they spent more time with her.

I'm not saying that community colleges are better than Ivies, or that Ivy League professors don't care about their students. I'm just shedding light on the options--and a potentially hot one for this economy. Take a look--especially if you are thinking about going green!

To your success,