4 keys to choosing the right mentor

How a mentor can help you navigate the career landscape.

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a two-part series on mentorship.

You’ve heard about the power of mentors, but honing in and landing the right one can be difficult. While some programs, like University at Buffalo’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, provide help in connecting mentors to mentees, they typically match people based on industry and skills.

Although there are tactical benefits to this approach, it overlooks what might be the most important factor in a mentoring relationship– the chemistry between mentor and mentee.

The best mentors:

1. Put the relationship first.

For real mentorship to succeed, there needs to be a baseline chemistry. Studies show that even the best-designed mentoring programs are no substitute for a genuine, interpersonal relationship between mentor and mentee.

Mentoring requires rapport. At best, it propels people to break from their formal roles and titles (boss versus employee) and find common ground as people.

Pat Whalen, director of Niagara Global Tourism Insititute, said “Chemistry is important, and it doesn’t happen with just anyone. What my mentors had in common was that they cared about me. They saw something in me others didn’t.”

When the relationship is the foundation, both parties will invest more in helping one another to be accountable and to make one another proud. All of which drastically improves the final outcome.

2. Focus on character rather than competency.

The best leaders go beyond competency and skills, focusing instead on helping to shape other people’s character, values, self-awareness, empathy, and capacity for respect. They know that, in the long run, these soft skills are the basis of leadership and lead to success, and that mastering others is strength, but mastering yourself is true power.

3. Are optimistic, but will challenge you.

Mentors should help you consider both why an idea might work as well as why it might not. They should challenge your way of thinking and ask you the hard questions, but then help you sort through different ways of attacking the challenge.

Matt Pelkey, partner at Colligan Law, shared this, “My best mentors have always pushed me outside my comfort zone. They challenged me to take risks in my career and to be the best version of myself.”

4. Seek first to understand, then to help.

The best mentors recognize that the best way to inspire others is to be fully and selflessly committed to the best interests of their colleagues and employees. They don’t seek only to uncover their mentees’ strengths; they also look for their underlying passions to help them find their calling.

At its highest level, mentorship is about being “good people” and having the right “good people” around us — individuals committed to helping us become fuller versions of who we are.

Mentors are teachers and leaders

Original post in Upstart NY

Michael Spence is a speaker, trainer, and business consultant focused on people, performance, and profits. He learned much of what he knows about business and technology by leading a young telecom sales organization to 400% growth and being listed on the Inc 500; everything else he picks up from interviews with business leaders and influencers. Sharing his lessons, Mike trains organizations on managing a multigenerational workforce, soft skills, and sales enablement.

Contact us for a free consultation to discuss your training needs and how we can help

 

Who are millennials? And why do they matter so much?

Who are millennials? And why do they matter so much?

 

 

According to the Pew Research Center, “millennials are defined as those aged 18 to 34 in 2015.”

➡️ They are the largest, most educated generation in Western history

➡️ By 2020, millennials will make up over 50 percent of America’s workforce

➡️ Millennial buying power is $200+ billion annually and they spend more on experiences than on material possessions

 

 

 

Millennials are the first large generation who have experienced all forms of digital communication as the ONLY form they ever knew.

The way things WERE done is completely alien to them – and they are not tethered to the past.

Millennials are also a generation who have not fully experienced a “Bear” market or large economic downturn – or a new “War” that affects the entire country.

 

It’s a good idea to spend a bit of time understanding where millennials find meaningful direction.

Technology and specifically hand held devices

Multi-Tasking (gig economy)

Diversity and new experiences

Collaboration and teamwork

❤Compassionate

Adventure

 

Millennial preferences match mobile content marketing strategy.

To better communicate with millennials and integrate them into your content strategy remember these 4 tips:

1. Interruption has been replaced with listening

2. Distracted minds find comfort in visual media

3. Personal customization is of the utmost importance

4. They want social proof, as do all digital buyers

new media, social media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This new generation of workers is transforming the HR function.  SHRM research found Five Trends That Changed HR Over the Past Decade.

1. ‍Feedback becomes fluid. No more 1x year performance reviews. That’s crap.

Stat: “85% of Millennials would feel more confident in their current position if they had more-frequent performance conversations with their managers.”

TIPTo successfully integrate new workers and get their best productivity, training and performance coaching needs to be on-going

2.  Socialmedia activity, strategy and policy

TIP: A content marketing strategy that makes sharing easy and engages your teams social networks boosts your brand

3. Remote Workers = flexibility and extra hours

TIP: Include training on digital collaboration to ensure the human element isn’t lost.

4.  A la carte benefits like tuition reimbursement

TIP: Calibrate perks to remain competitive in the war for talent.

5. Gig economy = more project based, contract work

TIP: “In the U.S., slightly more than 1 of 4 workers were gig workers in 2016, according to McKinsey & Company

The gig economy is transforming things in ways we haven’t seen yet. Years ago if you left a job to do something on your own you were looked at as a failure. Now you are seen as an entrepreneur – new economy – guru.

And technology is also helping. As a simple example – I’ve sold things on EBAY for 15 years – and I now see entrepreneurial EBAY stores and businesses there and on many other sites like Shopify and Amazon. The millennial generation has enjoyed the fruits of the changes in technology.

 

We, as leaders, manager, and employers need to make a conscious effort to understand this new generation and what they find meaningful.

It makes all the difference to integrate them into corporate culture and increase collaboration and productivity across generations.

 

Developing a corporate culture will make or break your business – read more in this article

 

Millennials, does this sound about right?  What would you add so we can better serve you?

If you are a manager or marketer, what tips do you have for connecting with the younger generations?

 

coaching performance results. Who is Mike Spence?

 

Coaching Performance Results applies brain-based learning methods and behavioral science to improve employee development training.

We help organizations design and implement human capital management programs that address the diverse needs of today’s multi-generational workforce to improve employee experience and retention.

We support business transformation by providing people development solutions from on-boarding through to senior leadership development. Delivering training interventions, coaching and mentoring. Specializing in personal development, leadership and sales performance. Designing talent management strategies that support, enable and align with organisational objectives.

We deliver L&D training programs that improve EMPLOYEE experience, CUSTOMER experience, and Brand LOYALTY.

Schedule a conversation to discuss your needs: calendly.com/michaelspence

The New School For Career Success

WE CAN DO BETTER

For years parents and educators have come to me with the same concern. Their children/students are struggling to find direction after graduating from college. The kids don’t know what to do, and their parents don’t know how to help. And they’re not alone.

Consider these statistics cited in a recent Forbes article.

  • A national Pew survey says 57% of prospective college students believe college is no longer worth the tuition it charges.
  • Seventy-five percent of respondents believe a college degree is unaffordable.
  • An Inside Higher Ed survey of chief academic officers revealed that 96% believed their universities “were doing a good job.”
  • In sharp contrast a Gallup survey showed 14% of the American public, and only 11% of business leaders, strongly agreed that graduates have the necessary skills and competencies to succeed in the workplace.

Is a college degree the new high school diploma?

Here’s why your degree’s worth is stagnant. A new study of the degree premium, published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, finds that its growth has flattened in recent years. While the premium grew rapidly in the 1980s — mostly because of the decline of manufacturing jobs that required just a high school diploma — its growth slowed in the 1990s.

Since 2010, however, the premium has largely remained unchanged, said the report’s author, Robert G. Valletta of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. The “patterns indicate that the factors propelling earlier increases in the returns to higher education have dissipated.”

At the same time, Valletta was careful to note that his findings should not be interpreted to mean that young adults should skip college. Overall, higher education yields positive earnings for workers over their lifetime, he said, but salaries vary greatly by college and major.

Growing Gap Between What Business Needs and What Education Provides

McKinsey published a groundbreaking study of the impact of education on employment (“Education to Employment“), and it demonstrates the challenging mismatch between our educational system and the job skills employers need.

We don’t have a jobs crisis in the world, we have a skills crisis. Some clear evidence from this report.

  • 45% of US employers say lack of skills is the “main reason” for entry-level vacancies
  • Only 42% of worldwide employers believe new graduates are adequately prepared for work.

This data echoes the data we hear regularly from clients. Companies need to invest heavily in internal development programs to stay competitive.

At Coaching Performance Results, most of our clients are investing heavily in new corporate universities, onboarding programs, and what we call “continuous learning” programs.

The Economic Impact of Student Debt on the U.S.

The student loan debt crisis has been compared to a ticking time bomb for the U.S. economy. Since the 2007-2008 recession, student loan default rates and overall national debt has been big news.

This is bad news, both for student borrowers and for the U.S. economy in general. Because as it turns out, carrying this much student debt takes a toll on other areas such as housing, retirement, and even discretionary household spending.

The national student loan debt crisis is negatively affecting the U.S. economy. The housing market, which is rebounding since the recession, is hampered by a segment of the population that wants to purchase but is held back by student loan debt. Family economics and small business growth are also affected. If a solution isn’t decided upon, it’s possible that within the next decade the value of a college education, both individually and to the economy, could be outstripped by the cost to obtain it.

The student loan companies are the real bandits, who stripped financial independence from millions of young professionals.

The Cost of College

The average annual increase in college tuition from 1980-2014 grew by nearly 260% compared to the nearly 120% increase in all consumer items. In 1980, the average cost of tuition, room and board, and fees at a four-year post-secondary institution was $9,438, according to the Department of Education.

Most Republicans Think Universities And Colleges Are Bad For America

A rather striking poll by Pew Research has just been released that reveals that only 55 percent of Americans think that colleges and universities “have a positive effect on the way things are going” in the US. This may be a majority, but it’s a fine one. In any case, this means that almost half of Americans think universities and colleges are having a negative effect on the national state of affairs.

Either way, when centers of learning and educational ability are being shunned en masse, and when their importance is replaced by a total acceptance of the increasingly extreme views of the party platform, this is no longer politics, or reality – it’s fundamentalism.

The Workforce Is Changing

The Job Market Is Changing

Let me add context by sharing a few local statistics about the job outlook in Western NY.

Each year WNY Colleges graduate: 5000+ more education gradates, and 3000+ business management grads than there are open positions.

137,000 retirements are expected over the next 10 years.

20% of those jobs will be in advanced manufacturing which directly relate to STEM related curriculum.

This information can help students make informed college and career decisions that lead to a job in their field upon graduation.

College isn’t bad, it just needs to adapt to meet market demands

Higher education might not like how the national conversation has shifted to focus on the dollar payoff of a college degree, yet as an industry, it has long touted the economic benefits of going to college by riding the coattails of national averages on the degree premium.

The schools and universities provide course work with good intentions. But students are not privy to current information on job outlooks to help students make informed career choices. They don’t cover that on campus tours or at new student orientation.

  • K-12 education is focused on test scores and retaining their funding, hence teaching to the test while adapting to the common core curriculum this was pushed on districts.
  • Colleges and Universities are slow to make changes that improve student outcomes due to the bureaucratic nature of the business, and state and government funding.
  • Following a series of federal sanctions, ITT Tech on Tuesday shut down its 130 campuses shows that for-profit institutions didn’t have their students best interest at heart.

The job market is changing at a much faster rate than degree programs are adapting. Innovation and technology are changing workforce demands. This contributes to the disconnect that exists today.

Summary

There are all sorts of reasons to get an education. It gives you perspective on the world, it makes you a complete person, and of course most importantly of all, it helps you build a career.

We don’t have a jobs crisis in the world, we have a skills crisis.

Students don’t perceive that traditional education methods drive job skills.

The #1 cited way (60%) students believe they learn skills is through “on the job training.” (Our reserach shows that 72% of business managers say the same thing.)

Change is happening and businesses are innovating. Technology and a changing workforce drives this change.

The rising cost of a college education has heightened the public’s awareness and sensitivity to the ROI of a college experience. Parents, students, K-12 and colleges educators and administrators all need to contribute to positive change. Our youth are counting on us!

  • Students need to be proactive about their career development
  • Parents need to improve the career conversation in the home. Perhaps enrolling your children in an personalized career coaching and college planning program like CollegeCPR
  • Schools can implement career exploration programs
  • Colleges can adapt to meet employer needs and job market demands
  • Administrators can evaluate curriculum with urgency and provide forward thinking, progressive career training to faculty and staff

Everyone can chip in to provide more service learning opportunities that allow students to get hands on training and apply what they learn in real world context

Coaching Performance Results brings you CollegeCPR

If I sound brash at times, it’s because I have a passion for opportunity for youth with a desire to have a social impact on the success of my community. I’m an advocate for college education and professional development. It’s important that students make informed decisions about their career aspirations and reverse engineer the path to get there. That’s where Coaching Performance Results steps in to ask the tough questions, share job market stats and hiring trends, and guide students through a career plan that moves you from education to employee.

CollegeCPR takes a tactical and practical approach to improve career exploration and planning. Providing a focus on extra curricular activities, service learning, and skill development that prepares students for professional success.

Educators

We train administrators, faculty and staff in coaching skills to help students succeed in college, career and life. We support both K12 and Higher Education institutions in creating a culture of coaching on campus through a variety of training and certification programs

Students (CollegeCPR)

We bridge the gap in career conversation through guided activities focusing on career exploration, personal strengths, and gaining the skills and experience to successful transition from student to professional.

Soft Skill Training for Everyone

Across all industries, employers and industry leaders are identifying soft as critical skills for both employees and job hunters. Yet, these core skills are relatively absent in the traditional education model. We teach this “missing curriculum” to help people become more employable and more effective leaders and contributors.

Executives & Managers

We help meet professional development needs by training and coaching managers, or onboarding new hires. We help your leadership team and staff increase productivity, improve management, and ensure business’s success.

You may also like these articles:

CollegeCPR coaches girls about STEM careers

The College Disconnect – Are students unemployable?

The Secret and the Power of Connecting

LinkedIn 101: Six Reasons to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile

To see upcoming posts from CollegeCPR subscribe below, or you can request more information at mspence@collegecpr.com

Follow the Coaching Performance Results page on LinkedIn for productivity hacks and transformational leadership tips to help you build your personal brand.

How can I help you develop professionally and boost your career?

Ten Insightful Quotes (and Great Leadership Lessons) From Seth Godin

Why bother searching through the usual list of famous quotes when one man, Seth Godin, shares plenty of insight on business, marketing, and leadership.

 

A Buffalo success story, Seth Godin is a renowned author, master marketer, and a thought leader. Seth’s family are Buffalonians vested in the community.  Seth’s heartfelt introductions from his sister, the Buffalo Jewish Federation, and the proud director of the Albright-Knox art museum made this event very personal. The Godin family was praised for their contributions, support, and endowment in memory of their mother.  As I l watched Seth from across the room, his smile and face eluded a true sense of gratefulness.

  • A sold-out event of 350 community leaders joined together
  • A small enough venue for direct eye contact and quality networking with anyone in the room
  • The slide deck paired with Seth’s artsy, practical and fresh perspective had an audience of all ages sitting attentively, engaging often, and laughing more than expected

If you are reading this, you are probably like me, a fan of Seth. I have read and applied teaching from many of his books, including: Permission Marketing, Tribe, Purple Cow, The Dip, Linchpin, and Small is the New Big.

My personal draw to Seth is his thought leadership and our shared passion for challenging the status quo.  In everything I do, I believe in challenging the status quo. I have failed more times than I care to admit. But I have felt gratification, and tasted the fruits of my labor when I execute a project against the odds. Boy does that feel good. It’s that feeling that keeps me coming back to entrepreneurship time and time again.

In my latest project, CollegeCPR, I challenge the education system and offer a better way for families and young professionals to approach career planning. At times I receive opposition, but most times my story resonates and receives burning support from those who recognize or have experienced the challenges faced by today’s college graduate.  Despite any challenges, CollegeCPR recognizes the problem is real and we are committed to impacting change. The below excerpts from Seth’s book, “What to do when it’s your turn” apply to our approach.

“THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ARE SUCKERS.” 

“Many powerful organizations fear a truth teller. They work hard to avoid being confronted by an individual who sees the world as it is and by a person who cares enough to change things.”

While developing CollegeCPR, I became a student of social media and digital marketing in order to grow my business. I looked to experts like Seth as a teacher, studying his work. Since that time, I have developed a team that is constantly running tests and tweaking strategy based on customer feedback.  Our recent focus is the science of marketing – social psychology and why do people take action. One key to creating content that converts is audience engagement.  Our strategy is founded from advice of Kevin Kelly and Tim Ferris when they talk about 1000 True Fans.

Below are 10 of our favorite quotes from Seth on Business, PR and Marketing, Fear, Coaching, and Presenting.

Business

“Selling to people who actually want to hear from you is more effective than interrupting strangers who don’t.”

“There’s no shortage of remarkable ideas, what’s missing is the will to execute them.”

“Don’t find customers for your products, find products for your customers.”

 

PR and Marketing

“People do not buy goods and services. They buy relations, stories and magic.”

“In a crowded marketplace, fitting in is a failure. In a busy marketplace, not standing out is the same as being invisible.” 

Seth Godin 

 

 

 

 

Fear

 “If failure is not an option, then neither is success.”

“The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.”

Coaching

“The problem with working with a coach isn’t that we don’t know what to do. The real problem is that we don’t want to change our mind.”

Presenting

“You can spend your time on stage pleasing the heckler in the back, or you can devote it to the audience that came to hear you perform.”

KEYNOTE AUDIENCE

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bonus Quote from Stop Stealing Dreams #manifesto

“The good jobs of the future aren’t going to involve working for giant companies on an assembly line. They all require individuals willing to chart their own path, whether or not they work for someone else.”

“Large scale education was not developed to motivate kids or to create scholars. It was invented to churn out adults who worked well within the system.”

 

Learn to incorporate these quotes into your thought process and you will unleash your true potential beyond what you thought was possible.

What is your favorite Seth quote? 

 

Do you want to learn the career activities that your college and university don’t want you to know.

Do you want to learn the skills that employers wish they taught you in college?

 

To engage with Mike Spence:coaching performance results. Who is Mike Spence?

Follow Mike on LinkedIn

Find CollegeCPR on Facebook

Email: mspence@collegecpr.com

 

 

 

Five Tips to Achieve More Effective Meetings

Meetings are a powerful tool that are widely misunderstood.

Did you ever sit in a meeting feel the desire to yell, “Get to the point?”

Have you ever walked out of a meeting and thought to yourself, “That was a total waste of time?”

Meetings fill an increasing number of hours in the workday, and yet most employees consider them as a waste of time. According to a survey of U.S. professionals by Salary.com, meetings ranked as the number one office productivity killer.

Before we discuss Five Tips to Achieve More Effective Meetings, we first need to address mindset. Employee mindset training can transform the flow and outcomes of your meetings.

mindset: the established set of attitudes held by someone.

Teams we train to implement the W.A.I.T. mindset see significant improvements in effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of their meetings on the bottom line.

Our TOP Time Optimization Tip: W.A.I.T. a minute before you speak

Click Here To See The W.A.I.T. flow chart

If everyone considered this, meetings would be much more effective

There are ways to run effective, efficient meetings that leave your employees feeling energized and excited about their work. Here are five tips to achieve more effective meetings:

  1. Distribute and Review Agenda In Advance. Review list of attendees. Prepare an agenda template so all future meetings can be planned by filling in the blanks. You should establish ground rules, we ban technology and remind others to be mindful of using the W.A.I.T. technique. The mindset is taught, reinforced, recognized, and rewarded ingraining it into company culture.
  2. Clear Objective and desired outcome. A meeting must have a specific and defined purpose. Before you send that calendar invite, ask yourself: What do I seek to accomplish? Are you alerting people to a change in management or a shift in strategy? Are you seeking input from others on a problem facing the company? Are you looking to arrive at a decision on a particular matter? Standing meetings with vague purposes, such as “status updates,” are rarely a good use of time.
  3. Take no hostages. An engaged audience is required. But, nothing derails a meeting faster than one person talking more than his/her fair share. If you notice one person monopolizing the conversation, call him out. Say, “We appreciate your contributions, but now we need input from others before making a decision.” Be public about it. Establishing ground rules early on will create a framework for how your group functions. You can use the “Parking Lot” to manage off topic discussions.
  4. Stick to your schedule. Start on time, end on time. Create an agenda that lays out everything you plan to cover in the meeting, along with a timeline that allots a certain number of minutes to each item, and email it to people in advance. Once you’re in the meeting, put that agenda up on a screen or whiteboard for others to see. This keeps people focused.
  5. Follow up. It’s common for people to come away from the same meeting with very different interpretations of what went on. To reduce this risk, email a memo highlighting what was accomplished to all who attended within 24 hours after the meeting. Document the responsibilities given, tasks delegated, and any assigned deadlines. That way, everyone will be on the same page.

Meetings truly can be valuable and productive. Master these five elements and you can run productive and efficient meetings that move the needle forward.

To see upcoming posts, follow Coaching Performance Results LinkedIn business page

Each like, comment, and share helps me learn from you.

Contact us regarding W.A.I.T Mindset training for your team

coaching performance results. Who is Mike Spence?

 

W.A.I.T. Mindset Is The Top Optimization Tip To Improve Every Meeting

First I will address mindset. Employee mindset training can transform the flow and outcomes of your meetings.

mindset: the established set of attitudes held by someone.

Teams we train to implement the W.A.I.T. mindset see significant improvements in effectiveness, efficiency, and impact of their meetings on the bottom line.

Our TOP Time Optimization Tip: W.A.I.T. a minute before you speak.  If everyone considered this, meetings would be much more effective

W.A.I.T. Instead of allowing one’s mind to wander during meetings, actively engage your brain to focus on another’s point. This way we become much more mindful of ourselves and those around us. Certainly W.A.I.T. and listen to other meeting participants then speak with greater meaning. It’s a both-side-of-the-coin exercise.

To see upcoming posts, follow Coaching Performance Results LinkedIn business page

Each like, comment, and share helps me learn from you.

Contact us regarding W.A.I.T Mindset training for your team

coaching performance results. Who is Mike Spence?

Manufacturing is big business in WNY: These 6 blogs will help you stay current.

You may, or may not realize, but manufacturing is one of the three industries in the greater Buffalo area with the most job opportunity.

You probably didn’t know that WNY college/universities graduate:

  • 4000 more teachers per year than there are jobs
  • 3000 more business management professionals than there are jobs
  • WNY and other blue collar towns need to do a better job preparing their community members for the jobs available and creating career ladders within companies to prepare for the influx of retirements coming due to an aging workforce

Working in the manufacturing world means it’s important to be in the know about changing regulations, technology updates, enhancements and overall industry trends. That responsibility can be daunting. Thankfully, there are resources that make it easier to stay in the loop.

CollegeCPR and buffalo manufacturing jobs

One such resource is the blogosphere.

By following relevant manufacturing blogs, you are an asset to your company and a resident expert on an evolving and rapidly growing industry. With that, make sure these six manufacturing blogs are on your radar.

  1. Shopfloor is the blog of theNational Association of Manufacturers (NAM). It has been a recognized resource for manufacturing advocacy on issues such as energy and labor policy, legal reform, trade and regulation.
  2. Manufacturing Innovation Blog, the blog of the Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), discusses key issues for U.S. manufacturers such as how robotics shape the workforce. It serves as a resource for manufacturers, industry experts and the public to discuss key manufacturing topics.
  3. The Alliance for American Manufacturing (AAM) is a non-profit, non-partisan partnership formed in 2007 by some of America’s leading manufacturers and the United Steelworkers. Its mission is to strengthen American manufacturing and create new private-sector jobs through smart public policies. Recent posts cover topics ranging from the cybersecurity risks in supply chains to the importance of workforce training in manufacturing.
  4. Manufacturing.net bills itself as “the leading source for manufacturing and product development news.” With writers who are experts in a variety of aspects of the manufacturing industry, this blog updates multiple times per week including news, magazine articles, association links, tradeshow information and web communities.
  5. With an overarching focus on industry news, Manufacturing Business Technology has comprehensive content that makes it one of the best manufacturing blogs you’ll find.
  6. Manufacturing Transformation is a comprehensive and expertly-crafted resource for industry insiders focusing on the effects of globalization in the manufacturing trade. Feel like you have industry savvy to share? This site invites outside contributions.

Of course, this list doesn’t cover all of the great manufacturing content and resources out there, but it does provide a baseline for helping marketers and PR practitioners stay up-to-date with new methods and anticipate emerging ones. Keep current to help your company stay abreast of the competition, or even ahead of them. You’ll be able to modify your plans as you see changes happening or stay the course, depending on the newest information being disseminated.

And there you have it, folks. Now get to following

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CollegeCPR coaches girls about STEM careers at Tech Savvy event

March 18, 2017

CollegeCPR spent the day at University at Buffalo for Tech Savvy, speaking with girls (Grade 6-12) and parents about STEM careers and college preparation activities.

What did we enjoy most?  Our conversations with students and parents about career exploration, college preparation and ways to overcome the common challenges faced by today’s college student.  We discussed job opportunities in the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Math, Engineering) and what activities are needed to best position students for college and career success.

What is Tech Savvy?

Promoting Science and Technology Careers for Girls

Tech Savvy is a daylong science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) career conference designed to attract girls to these fields and to inform families about STEM education and careers.

Tech Savvy was founded in 2006 by the AAUW Buffalo (NY) Branch, under the leadership of then-branch president and Praxair employee Tamara Brown (ME Chemical Engineering, 2003). With the support of Praxair and community groups, this annual event has become a huge success, serving upwards of 700 girls and 200 parents each spring at the University at Buffalo.

This year we will focus on the college application process, the importance of service, and getting into college. Hence, students will have an AAUW University college application. The student brought this applications and we asked questions about their strength’s, favorite subjects, career interests, and plan to achieve career goals.

About AAUW

The American Association of University Women (AAUW) advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research.

Our society tells girls and women that they don’t belong in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. As early as first grade, children have already developed a sense of gender identity, and most have developed unconscious bias associating boys with math. Toys still reinforce rigid, highly gendered stereotypes that encourage only boys to build or engineer. And even kids’ clothing still proclaims that girls are bad at math.

At almost every step of the STEM education ladder, we see girls walk away. By seventh grade, many girls are ambivalent about these fields, and by the end of high school, fewer girls than boys plan to pursue STEM in college. Especially in engineering, physics, and computing, female college students are likely to be outnumbered by men in their programs. With some important exceptions, schools dedicate few resources to recruiting and retaining students in fields that are non-traditional for their gender. Women who do graduate with a STEM degree enter a workforce that is historically unfriendly to them. And once they get there, stereotypes, gender bias, and the climate of academic departments and workplaces continue to block women’s participation and progress.

But the low number of women and girls pursuing STEM fields is not a status quo we can live with. It has significant implications for women’s financial security, economic growth, and global innovation.

AAUW is committed to encouraging women and girls to pursue STEM, and we have a multipronged approach to make it happen.

About CollegeCPR

CollegeCPR is a social impact company committed to college, career and life success. We work with parents and students to accelerate success, by guiding learners through occupational exploration, soft-skill development, and career coaching. We work with institutions to create a campus-wide culture of coaching through high impact training and print/digital content.

On a personal level, we appreciate the support of parents, students and educators and programs like Tech Savvy. We sincerely want to hear the challenges and share in your successes!

Employee engagement initiatives and professional coaching has shown to boost goal attainment and increase productivity. We offer corporate workshops, coaching, and College/Career planning web-based courses.

Follow CollegeCPR on Facebook

Or email us at mspence@collegeCPR.com

AAEU, STEM, Michael Spence, CollegeCPR

4 Reasons to Optimize your LinkedIn Profile

REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD BE ON LINKEDIN AND YOU SHOULD OPTIMIZE YOUR PROFILE

  • “Linked In is not a platform to forget about it. Microsoft purchased for 26 billion dollars so they won’t let it slide away”
  • “It’s the go-to platform for professionals, particularly in B2B space.”
  • “Pay attention to your personal brand on social networks. Current or future customers might checking you out on LinkedIn and probably all networks.”
  • “It’s a great way for you to create personal leverage for yourself from a professional standpoint.”

In January 2017, LinkedIn the platform for professionals just had its biggest desktop makeover. The new design now features seven core areas, home, which is your feed, messaging, jobs, notifications, me, my network and search. Below is the new page layout.

It’s important that you leverage the content “above the fold.” The most valuable real estate on your page is your headline and opening summary statement.

EXERCISES TO HELP YOU CREATE YOUR PERSONAL BRAND:

  • Get your Elevator Pitch – what makes you interesting and different (iTunes has a new show called Return of the Apps where it’s like Shark Tank but for Apps – they call it an Escalator Pitch).
  • Elaborate in detail – Who you are, what you do, who you do it for, and what they’re going to get out of it. But keep it to 3-7 sentences.
  • Brainstorm on key words for yourself – what search terms would people use trying to find you (i.e. names, skills, products, services, or even industry jargon)?

TIPS FOR LINKEDIN PROFILE SECTIONS:

  • NAME: Use your real name, save the cool trendy fun for other platforms
  • URL: Reserve your vanity URL on LinkedIn – should be same as your real, full name if possible
  • PHOTO: Ditch the photo from college and get a professional headshot
  • HEADER IMAGE – Use an image that illustrates what you do, with something that pulls through your brand or illustrates your skills

HEADLINE:

  • Your professional headline is the line that comes up next to your name when someone searches so you can go deeper than just your job title.
  • Try to incorporate the keywords you came up with in the earlier brainstorming – take advantage of your space.
  • This is where you have to stand out with a condensed version of your elevator pitch

SUMMARY:

  • This is the place where you can take a deeper dive into who you are, what you do and who you help.
  • Start with the paragraph you created earlier in the exercises – incorporate your key words here
  • Speak to who you’re trying to connect with
  • Be sure to break this up! No one wants to read multiple long paragraphs. Use bullet points and white space so they can easily pull out the key takeaways.

EXPERIENCE:

  • Elaborate on your experience
  • Put former employers
  • Highlight achievement
  • List services
  • Personal differentiators
  • Add media like presentations or created content – visuals are great for social media (you can also put under your summary section)
  • The media can be documents, presentations, videos, photos – be sure to use pdfs rather than Word documents
  • Schooling – go deeper here into achievements, awards, etc.
  • Even if you got a degree into what you do today, that’s okay because that is part of your story and it can also be a connecting point into who you are

FEATURED SKILLS & ENDORSEMENTS

  • This is your opportunity to show your credibility and thought leadership in your space
  • You get 50 skills – use this wisely – you want to be relevant skills to what you do
  • Don’t just write “Microsoft Word” as a top skill since that won’t separate you from others
  • This is like SEO for your personal brand
  • Pay attention to the Top 10

ADDITIONAL ITEMS:

  • This area is more for freelance and contract work
  • List your publications, i.e. guest blogging gigs, or featured articles, but you don’t need to feature every single post), especially if they have gone viral or are more evergreen and relevant
  • List and Organizations & Volunteer work –

Suggestions To Make Your Profile Better:

LinkedIn isn’t forgetting its core service with its new update. The site will now offer suggestions to make your profile stand out based on what recruiters are searching for. LinkedIn will suggest what skills you should add, as well a summary created by LinkedIn based on your experience.

Contact Mike Spence for help optimizing your LinkedIn page, crafting a brand story, and growing your business using social media:

The Secret and Power of Connecting

The Secret and Power of Connecting

Networking VS Connecting

Networking: interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.

  • There are plenty of events/groups that will produce little to no return.

Connecting: join together so as to provide access and communication; provide or have a link or relationship with; form a relationship or feel an affinity.

  • Connecting is the more powerful of the two. Connecting is the art of developing and leveraging relationships into mutual beneficial lead sharing.

Everyone wants to know how to connect.

 Everyone wants to know how to make appointments.

 Everyone wants to know how to meet the right people.

 Everyone wants to connect more to sell more.

 Everyone wants to connect more to succeed more.

The secret is to become known FIRST – making it easier to make connections. Make people want to meet you. It’s all about becoming known as a person of value, both in your community and in your industry.

However, I do not dismiss networking altogether.

Rather, I suggest a few strategies to increase ROI from networking events.

  • Choose industry specific events where prospects gather, not just competitors.
  • Target events on topics where you are an expert and can offer a solution.
  • Review membership directories and list of pre-registered attendees before committing.
  • Work the room
  • Have quality conversations. Ask questions to understand their business, their challenges, and how you can help.
  • Make it personal.
  • When you follow-up, pay it forward with some free advice or a lead

Attending the right trade show. Paired with strategic pre and post marketing increases discovery conversations & follow-up appointments. Some of the highest ROI networking of my career comes from large trade shows and not small networking groups.

The wrap up:

Nothing shortens a sales cycle like a personal relationship.

Don’t underestimate the value of a handshake and client-centered face to face conversation.

If you are likable and memorable, they will take your next call and be forth coming with information.

A question for you:

Did you find this helpful?

What do you suggest to help other readers get the most from their networking?

Where does social selling fall into the spectrum of connecting?

 

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