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Five Days of Career Coach Christmas: Pay What You Can Days

It’s certainly cold enough out there in New York City to feel like Christmas!

And we’re on to day two of our Holiday Promotion week. Today’s promotion: our first ever Pay What You Can Coaching Days on Monday, December 20, 2010 and Tuesday, December 21, 2010.

In the spirit of good holiday cheer, I am offering ten 45-minute career coaching sessions to college students, young professionals, and others who are short on funds this season, but need some immediate career development and job search help. At the end of the session, I’ll send you an invoice and you can pay me a combination of what you can, and what you think the session was worth.

Applications are due Friday, December 17, 2010 so that I can email your scheduled time over the weekend. If appointments are filled, I will notify you and include you on a list for future opportunities. I’ve embedded the application form to get you started. You can also complete the form for career coaching services on the Google Docs page.

The Fine Print

All coaching will be delivered online or by phone. You must be a new client to take advantage of this offer. People who have attended The Opportunities Project events or received email advice from me are also not eligible. Participants must complete a coaching agreement and pay at least something- sessions are not 100% free.

For more information on our other holiday specials, visit our Promotions site. Stay warm!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Five Days of Career Coach Christmas: Discounts at Barnes and Noble

It’s getting close to Christmas and I am getting in the holiday spirit!  I’ll be featuring a new promotion from The Opportunities Project every day this week to help you with your holiday shopping and your goals for the new year. I’ll also be throwing in some career coaching advice here and there, as well.

(I have been away for the blog for a good reason, I swear. More on this another day.)

TFA Career Management Workshop

Monday, Day One: Books!

I am posting this late in the day (construction next door cut out my internet for three hours… grrr), but until midnight tonight, take advantage of our Barnes & Noble promotion of 16% off one item. To get the discount, click on this link and use coupon code BNGANQ4.

I am a big reader, so I am biased, but books make awesome gifts. If you’re not sure what to get for people on your list, check out my recommendations in my Barnes & Noble store. I have books for college students getting ready for their next move, anyone looking to make positive changes in their lives, or those of you lucky enough to be just looking for a beach read.

I am always looking for good recommendations to add to my store. Last night, I finished Club Dead, Book Three in the Sookie Stackhouse Southern Vampire Series, which I enjoyed, but not enough to  deem “store-worthy” for The Opportunities Project. (After reading it, I think the writers of True Blood would have created a better season three if they had stuck more closely to the original story in this book, though.) Because of my business, I try to read two non-fiction books for every fiction book. My next read is going to be either Basic Black by Cathie Black, Awakening the Buddha Within by Lama Surya Das, or The Dip by Seth Godin, which I started reading on my nook the last time I was in Barnes & Noble and loved.

What is your next read? What books do you want to get for Christmas? Let me know in the comments.

In case you are reading this too late and don’t get the discount before midnight, no worries. As a Barnes & Noble Affiliate, I offer coupons regularly. Just check Facebook and Twitter for updates.

Day Two’s promotion coming tomorrow!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Announcements: NYC Career Events, Press, and Holiday Shopping

It’s been a crazy week- lots of blog posts in the queue that didn’t quite make it. Just means more content to share later!

I have a few assorted announcements to make, so I’ll end the week with those.

New Event: Twitter Workshop and #nycjobsearch Tweetup

We have an exciting special event on Wednesday, December 8 at 6PM. Keith Petri of and I will be co-facilitating the last seminar in The Art of Pull Series: How to Achieve Career Success with Twitter. At the workshop, we’ll be doing an overview of how to best use Twitter with a special emphasis on using it for your job search. If you’ve ever wanted to know more about how to use Twitter for any reason, this is a great event.

The most exciting part of the event is that immediately after the workshop, we’ll be co-hosting a Tweetup of NYC-based people who regularly participate in Twitter chats about job search and career related issues, including #jobhuntchat and #hfchat, among others. These Twitter chats are usually comprised of 50% recruiters and career experts and 50% jobseekers so it’s a great mix of people to add to your network. If you can’t make it, use the #nycjobsearch hashtag to follow the event on Twitter between 6PM and 8PM on December 8th.

Both parts of the event are free. You can RSVP here, or if you want to make sure you receive a regular list of our events, join our Meetup.

Confused by all the terms? That’s okay, you’ll be an expert after our event. Promise.

The Opportunities Project in the Press

With the excitement of the holidays, I forgot to post our recent press appearances. If you didn’t see them in your Facebook or Twitter feed, here are two stories that I was recently interviewed for and that feature my advice on online applications and setting career goals for the new year.

When applying for jobs online, be a standout in The Star Ledger (November 21, 2010)

5 New Year’s Career Resolutions for 2011 on Monster and HotJobs (November 22, 1010)

Barnes and Noble Store Updates and Holiday Specials

Tis the season to shop for your loved ones, and maybe a little bit for yourself. This past week, I updated my Barnes & Noble store. If you were looking for great book recommendations (career related or a beach read), I have multiple lists. And on Monday, December 13, I will have a special coupon for my readers that can be used on any Barnes & Noble purchase.

I am also eager to announce the details of my two holiday specials next week.

– Pay What You Can Coaching Day on Monday, December 20, 2010

– Referral Program- get 10% commission through on all referrals for any of our coaching programs through December 31, 2010. You can also offer discounts to your referrals with a minimum purchase.

Stay tuned for more information starting Monday, December 6th!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

What It Feels Like For A Girl: The Girl Effect

Happy Thanksgiving! I hope that everyone is taking a day off from being a recruiter, a student, a job seeker, or whatever professional role you want to shed while you enjoy the four Fs: Food, Family, Friends and Football.

While the turkey is cooking, I wanted to post something for you to reflect on while you are giving thanks, especially on this American holiday. Last night, I saw an amazing video about an organization called The Girl Effect on Tara Sophia Mohr’s Wise Living blog. The Girl Effect invests in adolescent girls in developing countries to eradicate poverty, create thriving communities, and slow the spread of AIDS. The video is incredibly powerful and if you have three minutes today, please watch it. Even in these hard economic times, we should be thankful to live in a country where our daughters don’t face marriage and motherhood at age 12 as expected milestones in their life’s trajectory.

My business is about helping people achieve that next step in their career and lives, especially young women. Even though it’s 2010, I’ve worked all of my life in organizations that were primarily staffed by women, but led my men. I want take part in a shift that changes that for future generations in our country. I hope that in time, it’s common to have people just like me in developing countries, helping young adult women find amazing careers and become leaders, all because today’s generation changed the current realities expressed in this video.

The Girl Effect If you’d like to help, The Girl Effect has many suggestions. For me, they will be part of my 2010 charitable donation list. For job seekers and students who have time and are looking for ways to develop strengths (see The Opportunities Project’s Core Competencies), starting a club or campaign to benefit The Girl Effect would be an excellent opportunity to learn new skills and do good at the same time.

Lastly, the title of the post is a reference to the Madonna song What It Feels Like for a Girl. The Glee version has been an IPod favorite for those days when I want a little female empowerment in my music and Ani DiFranco is too heavy. If you’re a female handling the Food today, I highly suggest it for the kitchen soundtrack. If you’re handling the Football, you’re my hero.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

So Many Career Books, So Few Career Solutions

It’s almost Thanksgiving break! It would feel un-American if I didn’t fully endorse Thanksgiving. You have to love it because it’s a time for reflection on all the good in our life, as well as food, football and family. That being said, since college, I am still waiting for that miraculous Thanksgiving holiday that is truly a break and not a time of uncomfortable and rushed travel and a list of work that needs to get done before I return to New York on Sunday!

Because I can’t seem to break the habit, I am planning on spending time this holiday weekend working on some writing projects. Listed in my 2010 goals are (1) creating a free eCourse on the importance of self-efficacy in the workplace, and (2) finishing at least two short eBooks on specific parts of the job search process. One eBook will be free and the other for sale on my website in early 2011- sign up for my newsletter to get notified when these materials are ready. (Participants in The Opportunities Project’s Career Coaching Program will get copies of all our eBooks for free.)

Barnes & Noble Career Section

I visited the “Careers” section at my local Barnes and Noble to get inspiration. One would think that with all of these colorful books with catchy titles, everyone would be an expert at the job search and career development, no? Have you used books to help with your career goals? What type of books helped the most? What do you think is missing from this book category?

Please reply in the comments… and have a wonderful Thanksgiving, rushed travel and all!

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Why I Teach for America

Last week, I saw on Facebook and Twitter that the first members of the 2011 Teach for America corps had received their offers of admission. I think that’s amazing and congratulate all the new members of the corps!

Teach for AmericaThe Opportunities Project is a supporter of Teach for America (TFA) and its mission to ensure that everyone has the right to an excellent education. Over the last few years, Teach for America has been a force to be reckoned with in college recruiting. Last year, TFA was the largest employer of Yale graduates and 18% of all seniors applied for a slot in the corps. That means powerhouse investment banks and management-consulting firms are competing with a teaching program for the top talent. Why I think that is happening is a topic for another blog post.

If you read my bio, you know I started my career as a TFA corps member, teaching fourth grade and sixth grade in Washington Heights. I had always done well in school, but my high school experience had been very disengaging to me and I had little respect for teachers. When I started college, I was in the film production program at the Newhouse School at Syracuse and was planning my career in media domination. There were lots of little decisions and big experiences during my time at Syracuse that led me from media to the public policy program at Maxwell School and then Teach for America, but the most influential was likely my first semester in college.

Before getting to Syracuse, it never occurred to me that I would have trouble fitting in or that I would feel intimidated. But I struggled my first semester. I wondered if I really deserved to attend a private college with all of these other students- someone who had never been on airplane, someone who had never been to camp, and someone who had never heard the phrase Advanced Placement. But I realized that even though I hadn’t had all those experiences, I had advantages over other students, and they were my fourth grade teacher Mr. Brodeur and my fifth grade teacher Mrs. Desrosiers at the Wood School in Fairhaven, MA. They had taught me work ethic and the belief that I could have dreams and achieve them with focused effort and resilience. Even though my high school had let me down, the marks of the good teachers I had carried forever and I wanted to return the favor to other kids like me.

My experience with Teach for America over the last thirteen years has been up and down. Back when I did the corps, there was a tenth of the support they now offer corps members and I regularly got my ass kicked by my students. (I still talk to many of them now and I love how respectful they are in pretending this wasn’t the case). And in TFA’s efforts to set and meet ambitious goals for their alumni, they established tracks for career success (principalship, teaching, elected officials, etc.) and if you weren’t on one of those narrow tracks, my experience for many years was that I didn’t belong. However, I’ve seen in the last year that’s changing, too. Unresolved issues are my mixed emotions about their expansion in this time of municipal budget cuts and teacher layoffs, and my overwhelming desire to start a Facebook group called Shut. Up. John. Legend. But neither takes away from the benefits for students that wouldn’t happen without TFA, and the power of being part of a network of 20,000 alumni who are doing their part to make things better in this country.

Teach for America is not for everyone, even if you meet their rigorous selection model. But if you think you can make changes for young people through your relentless effort and courage, I encourage you to research the program, whether you are graduating this fall or are a professional. Their next application deadline is December 17th. Any questions for this alum, send them in.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

LinkedIn Raves and Rants

LinkedInTonight is my second workshop on LinkedIn since I started The Opportunities Project this summer. Is LinkedIn really that important that it deserves two workshops so close together? Yes, it absolutely does. LinkedIn is the future of how people build careers, especially for those of us who are not born into huge networks or attend schools that naturally facilitate those. In 2011, LinkedIn is updating their platform so that more people can directly connect with their network around work and jobs. Now is the time to build your network so it’s strong for when that happens.

So I have both a rant and rave about LinkedIn coverage online.

Power of Your Network

Let’s start with a rave. Here is a real-life example of how the power of LinkedIn can get you results. When I was starting out this spring, I met a great partner in Brooke Allen. Brooke runs an organization called No Shortage of Work– a group I recommend on my Resources page. As an experiment, he asked people he knew from No Shortage of Work and his other networks to connect via LinkedIn to three people he selected who had various career goals. Within 24 hours, each had over 500 new professional contacts and within ten days one was working in a new job. He has now been sending summaries of what other people have to offer and what people need and letting them connect on their own. This success wouldn’t have manifested without a platform like LinkedIn.

Power of a Complete Profile

So my rant. I am getting exhausted by LinkedIn articles that keep getting promoted on sites like SmartBrief that give incomplete advice. I am cranky because I have become obsessed with finding these articles and commenting on them – here and here – to add needed information and it takes time I could spend on other things. Not everyone knows a Brooke Allen meaning you really need to make sure your profile is maximized to get the connections you need. Despite all the bells and whistles, LinkedIn is essentially a database and you need to create a profile that is easily found. If you read an article that doesn’t say the number one thing you should do is to make sure that your profile is complete- yes, that means posting a photo- it is not worth your time and you should move along. LinkedIn officially states that complete profiles are found 40% more often in search results than incomplete profiles, but that doesn’t even take into consideration where you rank. For example, I am listed as one of the first ten career coaches in NYC when you search for that phrase because I’ve optimized my profile. Not bad for a brand new coach. Where do you come up?

Discussing whether you should make your job duties bullet vs. paragraphs is great, but if you can’t be found, who cares?

If you’re in NYC, come to our event tonight at 7PM at SLC Conference Centers (352 7th Avenue, 16th floor- cross street is 30th Street) to learn how you can take the next step with LinkedIn. Friends of The Opportunities Project can pay $10 at the door.

Veteran Career Follow-Up: LinkedIn Report, WSJ and NYT

Thanks for the wonderful responses to my post yesterday on what we can do to help veterans with their careers. A few articles were sent to me and I wanted to pass them on today.

Wall Street Journal- New Programs Steer Veterans, Families to Entrepreneurship

My alma mater Syracuse University (Cuse!) is working with veterans to help them start their own business. They are doing some work specifically with women veterans in 2011. Maybe I can help?

New York Times- Helping Veterans Find Civilian Jobs

The wonderful Niki Black forwarded an article from yesterday’s New York Times that I somehow missed on what private sector companies are doing to recruit and help returning veterans, including Microsoft.

Speaking of service, I highly encourage you to check Niki’s blog out. Her organization, Neighborhood Fellows, provides resources targeted towards the Black community and encourages conversation about lots of issues. Today, she’s talking Kanye, which is always interesting.

Linked In- LinkedIn Releases Data Insights and Tips to Help Veterans Build Careers

Finally, LinkedIn released a report on how their site can help veterans connect and find new careers. As much as I am an evangelist of LinkedIn, even I was surprised by the power it has for veterans. It is more evidence that you cannot conduct a successful job search in 2010 without maximizing LinkedIn.

Bringing us to today’s shameless plug for our LinkedIn event on Tuesday, November 16. After reading the LinkedIn report, you’re coming, right?

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Why I Do What I Do: Reflections on Veterans Day

A few weeks ago, I introduced a blog series I was planning on the “Whys” in our life, and more specifically why we do what we do professionally. Today is Veterans Day and I’ve decided to run the post that I planned to run last in the series, with a few changes. The series hasn’t run yet because, well, things happen. In particular, I’ve had too much fun blogging about my takes on authenticity in your professional life and promoting the fantastic events I’ve been doing with Keith Petri of But I think today is a fitting day to reflect on this.

So how does “Why I Do What I Do” relate to Veterans Day? Many readers may not be aware, but 10% of The Opportunities Project’s revenues go toward a scholarship fund to provide free career coaching for female veterans who want assistance transitioning into the civilian workforce. I am doing this because I respect the leadership and skills that the military teaches people- they far eclipse those taught by the best business school- and because it feels deeply personal to me. This is a recent thing- I haven’t had a life-long love for the military. My grandfathers were veterans but they never talked about it. My parents are liberal anti-war types and I inherited much of that view. I remember a military recruiter called our house once in high school and I laughed my ass off- I was an alternateen who wrote poems and worshipped Sylvia Plath- me in the military? Seriously, no.

The Opportunities Project supports their friends who served in the military this Veteran's Day. But I have a childhood friend who is like my sister that I reconnected with through Facebook almost two years ago. I went away to college and stopped coming home for breaks and she went to community college and moved around a lot. This was before everyone had an email address and we lost touch. When we found each other, I learned that she had joined the Army at 27 and it had changed her life. She now counsels soldiers who are returning from war or changing posts and I’ve learned a lot about what our young veterans sacrifice and what they gain. I’ve since visited her in two places that her and her family have been stationed and met more people who have served in Iraq than I ever thought I would. So one of the reasons I am giving back to our veterans is to honor the work that this woman I love has done to make things better for people who have signed up to serve our country.

Female veterans can apply for free career coaching from The Opportunities Project.(Fun fact- that first picture was taken with a Polaroid in 1993 in Martha’s Vineyard. That second picture was taken in 2010 in Savannah with an Android mobile phone. Fascinating to me for some reason.)

On the flip side, while I think there is no better education than the military, it angers me that so many 18 year olds feel that their only economic choice is to enlist. Two years ago, I watched The Recruiter, an HBO documentary about one of the most successful Army recruiters in our country and his efforts to recruit Louisiana high school students (unfortunately, it’s not available on ITunes). It was one of the most thought-provoking documentaries I have ever seen and a far better statement on the failures of our American education system than Waiting for Superman will ever be. Most of the students profiled in the movie were enlisting because it was their only professional and educational option after high school. The recruiter knew that and worked extra hard to make sure every one of them met the requirements for enlistment. I think that the filmmakers wanted me to think of the recruiter poorly for some of the ways he seemed to trick kids, but I loved this man for making sure they didn’t let this opportunity pass. I found the interviews with female recruits especially moving and I realized that this has sat with for me a while because I desperately wanted to make the world better for these young women. Hopefully, I can through coaching.

Yesterday, Penelope Trunk of Brazen Careerist ran a blog post on why we should cancel Veteran’s Day. Even if it was not a controversial issue, her thoughts come off as immature, whining, and unrelated. I am not quite sure how her mommy and daddy issues are relevant to whether the United States should collectively celebrate Veterans Day. I do agree that we should be talking about how our education system fails so many people and that many people in uniform (including firemen and police) could be more grounded in the struggles civilians face. I think our military budget is way too high. But none of this should demean the experience of soldiers who serve our country in the least. Our thoughts should focus on how we can do more for these people every day, not how we can also serve ourselves.

So that is “Why” I do one of the things I do. Information on the scholarship program details will be coming as I get more clients. And in the meantime, for a great post on veterans and their careers, read ERE’s take today.

If you’d like to guest post on Why You Do What You Do, please comment or contact me. I welcome a diversity of voices.

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog

Success Online- Blogging and Social Media

It’s here! Tonight is our event on Achieving Career Success through Blogging at 7PM at SLC Conference Centers (352 Seventh Avenue, 30th Street). If you still haven’t registered, use the discount code “Blogging 101” to get the $10 ticket price.

If you’re not convinced that spending time on online activities like blogging and social media can help you with your career or business, here are two quick stories before I go back to the finishing touches for tonight.

Just an example of how blogging can help… Last week, I wrote a guest blog post for my colleague Keith Petri’s blog about my thoughts on the Marie Claire blogging controversy- a writer wrote a blog post on obese people on TV and the public was outraged by the author’s take. Keith featured my content on Networked Blogs and on Friday, I got an email from someone I didn’t recognize. It was someone who had read my post because she was interested in the Marie Claire issue, but then got clicking around my business website and read that I do recruitment and leadership consulting, specializing in Gen Y, and her company needs that expertise. I now have a call scheduled to talk business. Sweet!

And just another example of how Twitter can help… Every Monday, I participate in a Tweet Chat called #jobhuntchat. Last week, someone in the chat posted that they were looking for a Community Manager position and based in Maryland. Some of my former colleagues started a MD based company and were looking for a Community Manager so I told her about the job. Last night, that person said she had an interview based on my lead. Even more sweet!

My lessons: Do new things. Learn and write about interesting things. Ask for help. Expand your networks. What are yours?

Posted via email from The Opportunities Project Blog