Tagged: career advice

Dream Big, Take Small Steps, And Make It Count

5 Career Lessons I Wish I’d Had When I Was 22.

Here’s an article from LinkedIn that every undergraduate student and every recent college grad should read.

Sara Sutton Fell     May 5, 2014

I live in a college town, and besides just busy restaurants and more traffic, this time of year is chock-full of college graduations, commencement speeches, and lessons for young professionals just embarking on their careers. I thought back to when I was that age and what advice I wish I had been given — and listened to — that would’ve saved me a lot of stress-related headaches and self-doubt. As part of LinkedIn’s #IfIWere22 series, here are five lessons for my 22-year-old self. (Hopefully they’ll help someone else starting their career and interested in saving themselves some career-related agony!)

Common sense is more important than an MBA.

While an MBA can be useful, it is not a requirement to be successful in business. However, I believe that common sense is. I started my first business when I was 21, with a childhood friend who was also 21– and honestly, we both looked like we were about 16. We had no business experience whatsoever and obviously no MBAs, but we were incredibly driven and passionate about our idea. In an effort to learn from others’ experiences, we actively built a group of advisers who were older, had MBAs, and who were impressively experienced. But our company was an internet company in the dawn of the new economy, and while the advice was well-meaning and came across with confidence and levity, it simply wasn’t as applicable, and they didn’t understand the audience and product nearly as well as we did. Because we were young and lacking professional depth, we didn’t give these two factors enough credit, and too often we were swayed from our instincts by people who we thought were smarter just because of their MBAs. Bottom line, always be open to learn from people who might have more knowledge or experience than you, but don’t sacrifice your common sense for it.

Each and every job will teach you something about what you want to do (or not to).

No matter how bleak or pointless a job might seem, there is actually always a valuable takeaway… it just might not be what you expect. The boss you hate? Well, you might realize that you never want to be a manager like that. The soul-sucking job hawking a crappy product? It might be horrible, but you might learn some amazing marketing tactics that you will use down the line to get national awareness for a product you do believe. Regardless of your job and whether you love it or hate it (or vacillate in between), look for opportunities to learn about what you like and don’t like. These lessons will help you design your career in a way that makes you happy and proud.

Your career path is almost certainly going to be more of a meandering river than a straight path.

You will move backwards, forwards, sideways. There will be jobs that on the outside promise to be a ticket to the top, but instead that end up leaving you laid off when you are seven months pregnant, wondering how the heck you got there (as I did). You might take a job that seems like a step (or more) backwards in your career, but because you are such a high-performer you are offered an unexpectedly awesome skyrocket to the top within a few years (as I was). You might find that you want to switch careers entirely. So try to remember to ride each unexpected twist and turn, take it all for what it’s worth, and try not to stress too much that your career path isn’t as straight as you expected it to be.

Networking just to network can be more distracting than helpful.

We’ve all heard it’s about “who you know”, blah, blah, blah. And I get that, BUT. Be careful not to fall into the trap of thinking that quantity is more important than quality. While I admit it’s cool to see the “500+ connections” indicator on someone’s LinkedIn profile, if all of those 500 are strangers or low-grade acquaintances, you’ll be missing the real opportunities that networking really provides. So be sure to seek out substantive professional relationships (mentors, trusted colleagues, people in your company you admire, friends and family, or just people you respect). Keep regular communication with them, and engage them in real conversations. It’s not to say that general casual networking can’t be helpful–it can!–but don’t let it be your only goal. Because those deeper, “real” connections are like investments that will yield better and better results over time, on both a professional and a trusted personal level.

Place high value on company culture.

There are a lot of bells and whistles that companies may advertise as why you want to work there, but no matter what industry you’re in, the culture where you work is vitally important. Is there a ton of turnover? Do colleagues often have advancement opportunities? Do people enjoy working there? What the company values and identifies as important to them will impact you every single day. , also don’t rely on it exclusively. Supplement the information they’ve provided by researching people who work for the company (ideally in a related department) on LinkedIn, see if you have any connections, and ask them for an informational interview. Or use sites like Glassdoor to read reviews of companies from the employees themselves. And in job interviews, always ask specific questions about the culture. Always. You are going to invest a huge amount of your time and energy into this place. Make sure it’s a worthwhile investment.


Sara Sutton Fell is an expert in the online employment market and is currently the Founder and CEO of FlexJobs, an award-winning career website for telecommuting and flexible job listings. Sara is the Founder of 1 Million for Work Flexibility, an initiative to help positive change towards flexible options in the workplace.


The One Phrase You Need For Job Success

What do you need to succeed in you job and other in other regions of interpersonal space?   “Prioritize people over tasks,” says Cathy Engelbert, CEO of Deloitte.  As the head of 80,000 professionals she has a 94% approval rating from her employees.

Her secret to success? “Building a team that brings you solutions instead of challenges, listening to and collaborating with them—that ultimately prioritizes your focus on issues where you can have the most impact, not just scratch items off the to do list,” Engelbert tells Glassdoor. “To me, productivity is directly related to the personal relationships you are able to build.”

“[I]t’s about relentlessly pursuing the best interest of our people, clients, and community. And it’s impossible to lead well unless you know what’s on the minds of clients and professionals.  So, I spend a lot of time in the in the field with clients and with our teams serving those clients.”

When Glassdoor asked what type of people she likes to hire and why, Engelbert replied, “Among other things, we look for curiosity and agility—people who are committed to what they do and have a mindset of never graduating. With the innovation and disruption today, there’s never a point in time when we can stop learning. And the job you want—the job Deloitte will need someone to do—may not exist yet today. So we look for people who always stay curious, ask questions, and never stop learning.”

To read the entire interview go to


Do you know how employers regard your major?  Want to learn how to translate what you do in college to the needs of an employer?  We should talk sooner rather than later!  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679

Words of Wisdom for This Year’s Grads

My advice for graduates: Find purpose, chart your own pathway, and unite your people


Last week, I gave the commencement address at the Haas School of Business at The University of California Berkeley. It was exciting visiting the campus where I got my MBA back in 1984. Looking out at the graduates, I was struck by how much the world has changed since I began my career, particularly as technology has revolutionized every industry and day-to-day life for millions of people. I couldn’t help but wonder what kinds of change this next generation of business leaders would see in their careers.

Will these future leaders revolutionize travel, so that every plane, train and car is self-driving? Will they see machine learning and artificial intelligence disrupt every industry on the planet? Will they cure cancer, or eradicate a rare disease affecting children? Will they see a time when humans can live to be 150 years old?

The graduating class I addressed – in addition to the bright young talent around the world – will no doubt see amazing things like these happen. But regardless of what the future holds, I see three things as being critically important for today’s graduates to remember as they set off in the business world:

First, find purpose in your work every day.

One of the most important things you can do is be a part of a workplace with a purpose that you believe in. In fact, I have written about the importance of purpose here before. I was drawn to Novartis because of our purpose to improve and extend people’s lives, while changing the practice of medicine. Nothing compares to the moment you meet a patient who is alive, healthy, and able to spend precious time with family and friends because of a medicine we discovered and delivered to them. Find a company with a purpose you can believe in, and you truly will want to come to work every day. Use your talent to do something that matters for the world.

Second, know your career pathway is a journey.

On the way to the future, it’s important to think about where you want to make a footprint. A pathway is not just a direction from here to there, but a journey of many twists and turns. I began my own career in consumer packaged goods, and later was asked to join the board of a pharmaceutical company. While I didn’t know much about healthcare at the time, I was intrigued. Serving on that board opened my eyes to the massive impact of healthcare on the world. After a short time, it was clear to me that my next move would be toward this industry. Sometimes the best things in life happen TO you. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try something new. Know that sometimes, being an outsider can be a competitive advantage. Resist the urge to over-engineer your path. While new experiences can be challenging, they’re often equally rewarding.

Third, focus on uniting the people around you.

Success is achieved with a strong team. A leader must unite a team and push them to achieve more together than any one of them ever thought possible. A big part of this is listening to the people on your team and setting clear goals. Leaders need to hear both the good and the bad, then have the courage to make tough decisions. Ask people for their thoughts, find out what motivates them, what they like to do and what they want to achieve. Then find a way to bring everyone together around a shared goal that really means something to each person working to achieve it.

We can’t predict what the future will hold. But one thing I know is true: the next generation of business leaders will help usher in some incredible advances that will forever change the world. Remember to find purpose in what you do, leave heavy footprints along your path, and stay focused on uniting the people around you. I know you will achieve even greater breakthroughs than ones we’ve seen so far. Embrace this incredible opportunity. I can’t wait to see what you do with it.


Dear Grads,

Please continue to read the blog as you head off to college or to your first job.  You will continue to learn how to implement the advice from Joe Jimenez.  I wish you success and happiness in your next stage.

Stephanie        www.accessguidanceblog.com





Career Advice From A Pro

Anne Williams-Isom is the CEO of the Harlem Children’s Zone, a non-profit antipoverty initiative.

In an interview for the Business Section of the New York Times, Williams-Isom was asked for advice for college students.  Her response applies to everyone working,  waiting for a promotion, job hunting or living.

Q. What advice do you give to graduating college students?

A. “People can get so caught up in what they think they’re supposed to do and what’s going to be right for them.  But you should just want to get better at whatever you’re doing and always be volunteering for that next thing.

Be the go-getter.

Be authentic and a person of integrity

Then you’re going to meet people, and opportunities will come to you.

And keep the noise around you to a minimum so that you can hear the right opportunity when it comes to  you.”

Words of wisdom from a woman managing a huge agency and who is making a difference in the world.

Competence and Critical Thinking

One of my favorite newspaper columns is Corner Office by Adam Bryant which is found in the Business Section of the New York Times on Sunday. Adam interviews prominent business leaders and picks their brains about success.

On October 29, 2014, the target was Michelle Munson, CEO of Aspera.

“What career and life advice do you have for college seniors?” was the last question printed. Michelle emphasized the “what you know” over the “who you know”. Competence always attracts attention but it also opens the door for opportunity.

“You can’t respect an opportunity if you don’t know what you’re doing”, says Munson. “You need to get really good at what you do.” in order to recognize an opening door.

Practicing critical thinking leads to independent thinking which is the precursor of problem solving. “You can’t create unless you have some ability to discern what …is needed or doesn’t exist.”

Munson’s advice applies to anyone who is working, looking for work or who might need a job somewhere down the line. Educate your self broadly and deepen your skill set.

Here’s a link to the article http://www.nytimes.com/2014/10/19/business/michelle-munson-of-aspera-on-always-respecting-the-opportunity.html?_r=0