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3 Keys to Making a Career Pivot

Making a pivot in your career can be incredibly rewarding yet also overwhelming and I’ve seen many people give up far too soon. I’ve successfully navigated two career pivots and can tell you that it’s absolutely worth the effort, patience, and persistence to go after what you want. I’d like to share three keys to help you get on track with a successful career pivot.

Know What You Want and What It Takes to Get There

A really important step is to do your research. Obtain as much information as you can about this next move that you want to make.

  • Do you have skills and experience that will transfer over to the new work that you’d like to do? If you have a resume, a resume writer can help you to translate these skills to appeal to potential employers. Do you need more schooling or a certification? Consider if there is additional training or experience that you may need in a new role.
  • Informational Interviews – Find people who are in the job you want and ask if you can interview them. At one point in my career I had considered making a switch to work in non-profit. I asked friends and former colleagues who they knew that I could interview. I ended up connecting with several interesting people! After these conversations, I decided that non-profit wasn’t the best next move for me in my career. The information I gathered was highly valuable and helped me to decide my next step.
  • Break the Process Down into Smaller Pieces – What are the next couple of steps that you need to take? Breaking it down will make the process feel more obtainable and less overwhelming.
  • Financial Considerations – Will the pivot to a different type of work require a pay cut? If so, are you prepared for the reduced income? Will you need to take out a loan for additional schooling?

The more prepared you are to make a pivot in your career, the smoother the transition will be.

Make Connections

  • Tell People What You Are Up To – The more people know about the change you want to make, the more they can help you along your path. Let people know what you are up to both in your casual conversations with friends and with anyone new that you meet. That new person you just met may be the very person who can help you with the transition.
  • Build Positive Relationships with Everyone You Meet – The first time I decided to make a pivot in my career, I was able to make a transition fairly quickly because of the great relationships I had already built with the people that ultimately helped to connect me.

Avoid Getting Stuck

  • Stay in Action and Don’t Give Up – Set a goal to make a transition within X number of months or years; this target may move but it will keep you moving forward. The transition may not happen as quickly as you’d like but it’s important to not give up. Keep moving toward what you want.

“Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”  – Vincent Van Gogh

  • Think Long-term – I have my coaching clients do what I call “Future Thinking” – Where will you be in 2, 3, 5 years if you invest the time now to make a transition? Keeping the bigger picture or future in mind will help you to stay motivated when the process feels slow now.
  • Ask for Help – Talk through your options with a friend or family member. I have also found that finding an accountability buddy (someone who will hold you accountable to your own goals) helps tremendously. Someone who will simply ask how things are coming along or what your next step is can be a huge motivator.
  • Stay Open – In the end, you may end up choosing a different path than you initially thought, however it was the process of getting curious and putting things into motion that got you where you landed so it’s all good!
  • Get Creative – Consider creative ways to make the pivot happen. For example, can you reduce your current work hours to try a new side gig or take on an internship to get the experience you need?

This process can be quick for some people and it can also take some planning. Either way, set yourself up for success by staying informed, using the resources available to you, and taking action. I’ve seen people move from Administrative or entry-level jobs into Technical, highly-paid jobs. The world is full of possibility—you can make it happen!


A Declaration of Change

Marwa Doost When you think of a physician, you imagine someone standing in the center of a hospital, maybe even the Emergency Room, with a commanding persona. In one second they’ll be shouting out  a code blue which often reflects a cardiac arrest, and often times they’ll be yelling for IV’s which the nervous residents scramble to get. And funny enough, I imagined myself to be like that too.

But I wasn’t, not truly. I was passionate about it, about the fact of saving lives. Even today, the mere concept of the emergency rooms raises goosebumps to my skin.  I mean, how could it not? The emergency room is a battlefield, a place full of determination to save the lives of those who wish to live. But sometimes, it just didn’t feel right.

Really, if you were to open my heart the way a cardiac surgeon does, you would find millions of words inscribed into the little pockets of the right and left atriums of my heart. If you go even deeper, you’ll find quotes flowing through the valves.

So I’m a writer.

And writers tell stories.

This one begins in the heaven or hell of every student; the counselor’s office. I had initially gone in with the intention of figuring out my Fall schedule at Ohlone College as a pre-med. Guess what? I walked out with a completely different perspective.

“So kid, what’s your major?”

“Biological Sciences.” I replied with a huge smile, excited and nervous because counselors were just so intimidating.

Ooh, ooooooh okay.” Really, I wasn’t sure what to say as I rambled to fill in the silence.

“Or well English, you know? I love writing and for Medical School you only need to do the pre-reqs so I’m also leaning towards an English major as well.” Clearly, this wasn’t the right thing to say because next thing I knew the counselor had slammed her pen down and glared at me.

“So what? You want to go to medical school with an English major? You want to be the kid who gets in because of the unique major but can’t graduate because she only knows English and not chem or bio? Let me put it this way, while your classmates who majored in chem and bio have years of foundations, you have nothing and will be starting from scratch. So yes, you’ll get into medical school with your major but will you graduate? No.”

I was shocked, to say the least.

I didn’t mind her being straightforward because I often found it refreshing instead of the wishy-washy tone so many counselors used nowadays. But I hadn’t expected the response I got either. It was true, I never considered how an English major would put me at a disadvantage compared to others. I had never also considered life after “getting into medical school.”  It was then, while I watched her compare the biological science majors between UC schools that I began to feel afraid.

Why? Because suddenly I wasn’t sitting in the counselor’s office, suddenly I wasn’t 18 and stressed with how I would get into UCLA or Stanford. Suddenly, I was my thirteen year old self who had just finished writing a novel in the middle of a packed house ready to move to CA in 2015.

I realized my dream back when I was a kid and it was simple.

“I want to be everything a writer stands for.”

I wanted to major or minor in English, not biology or chemistry or biochem or anything of that sort. It wasn’t me, it wasn’t who I was, and it isn’t who I want to be.

I blankly stared at the lists of science related classes I would need to take in fall and was filled with dread. I was afraid, because going from medical school to an English major was drastic. I was a girl who liked stability and organization, and I didn’t know if my English major would provide me that. But it filled my heart with passion and life, and at the moment, as risky as it was, I decided to play the “follow my heart game” and see where it got me.

I was simply determined to major in English while searching for my true purpose in today’s society.

 


Networking Tips to Launch You on Your Path in Work & Life

Networking can be a very big word and may even feel overwhelming when you hear it. It certainly brings up some questions. What does it mean to network? Do I need to have work experience first?

Throughout my 20+ years in the work world, I’ve identified a few key things that I have found to be really helpful and that also take some of the pressure off and I’d like to share these tips with you!

What is Networking?

When it comes down to it, networking is simply just having a conversation with someone. It’s connecting. It’s developing a relationship. When you are connecting with others, it helps to think of the connection as symbiotic; meaning that the connection goes both ways. This person may have information that can help you and you may have information that can help them (even at a later point).

One definition of networking that I like is: “interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.”

Pretty simple, right?

How to Talk About Yourself

When you are just getting started in your career you won’t always be clear about a purpose or mission in life, so just start with where you are today. It can feel a little awkward talking about yourself at first but the more you do it, the more comfortable and confident you will get.

A great place to start is by creating a mission statement; no matter where you are in life. This can be related to your interests in volunteer work, customer service, or work that you know you want to do in the future.

Here are a couple of examples of mission statements, “I help customers to optimize their XYZ product so that they can have a stellar customer experience!” or “I give back to my community so that I can help to enhance the quality of life for those struggling to make ends meet” or “My mission is to deliver innovative ideas that contribute to the evolution of XYZ technology.”

You can also just focus on your interests or top skills. What excites you or makes you want to jump out of bed in the morning? What do you love to do? What tasks are you doing when you feel most productive and useful? These are all great clues about work that you are naturally good at or love to do and can more easily talk about with others. When you share more about your passions and interests, people will often want to know more about you and to help you along your path.

Still anxious about the idea of networking? Just start by asking questions. Ask people about themselves: what do they do for work? How was their weekend? What do they love to do in their free time? When you start the conversation, people will often start asking about you too!

How to Market Yourself

Marketing yourself can include a few things and it may be simpler than you think.

It can mean having an online presence. LinkedIn® is a wonderful resource for professionals. I always recommend that my clients keep an eye out for connection opportunities on LinkedIn®. An online presence can also mean having a website or a blog. Keep it professional yet informative—it’s also a great way to show more of your personality or style.

If you have a resume—get feedback, either from a professional resume writer or a mentor who can help you. When you are applying for jobs this is your ticket to landing an interview so you’ll want to make a great first impression.

Marketing yourself also means just simply showing up where you’ll have opportunities to connect. Join clubs, attend events, volunteer, or join outings. Just showing up can be the biggest part of getting connected with others. The key is to get in the habit of sharing more about yourself and what you are up to in the world so people know how to connect you (but also be curious about others). If you don’t enjoy joining groups, find an influencer—someone who can help to connect you with others. This could be someone you’ve worked for, a teacher, a mentor, or just someone that you admire and who is open to helping you.

Once you’ve made a connection, follow-up. This part is really important. People won’t know how to help you if you don’t ask. Thank them for their time and mention something you liked about the conversation or about their interests. If you are reaching out via email, there’s a great article with email templates from one of my favorite Career resources, The Muse, here: The Muse – Networking Email Templates.

Happy connecting!

 

Shannon empowers professionals to discover what they truly want in their careers so they can do fulfilling work on their own terms. www.shannon-rey.com


The Art of Facing Failure and Trying Again Anyway

Shannon Rey Gibbs For some reason failure has become a very big deal for us. We try to avoid it at all costs and become fearful of trying something new or putting ourselves out there where others may judge us. I still experience this myself but I’ve learned to keep doing the things that scare me anyway. If you ask anyone who’s successful in creating a business, product, or following; they’ll tell you that they’ve failed many times along the way and continue to fail even now. It took James Dyson over 5,000 tries before perfecting his now famous vacuum. Wow! So I am hear to tell you a little something about failure that will help you better deal with it!

Every failure is an opportunity to learn

You can learn a lot from failure. You learn how to do it better next time. You understand what was missing from that first try at something. You learn the reason for your failure, which may pleasantly surprise you—perhaps it was because it wasn’t something you wanted to do anyway and your heart just wasn’t in it. I’m personally grateful for these kinds of failures!

Each time you fail, you’ll realize that you survived it and you have a chance to start again. You can become stronger by looking back, making note of what you learned, and moving forward with the benefit of more experience. Developing this kind of resiliency with help you to bounce back stronger each time.

This is a great reminder:  “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” – Henry Ford

Give yourself permission to have small failures along the way

When you are feeling really stuck or just can’t seem to move forward at all after a failure, break the process down into smaller steps. What’s the next one thing that you need to do? Start there. And then figure out the next step. And keep going.

It takes some of the pressure off when you realize that yes, there’s a chance you may fail, however it may only be with one small step out of ten steps. When something doesn’t turn out the way you hoped it would, it just becomes information about what the next step needs to be. After all, maybe you were off track and needed to be headed in a different direction to get you on the right path!

Don’t let the fear of failure hold you back

You can have so many great experiences when you decide to be afraid and do it anyway. Instead of asking “what if I fail?” how about asking “what if I don’t fail?” Imagine the possibilities that are ahead just because you took a leap of faith.

I like this quote from Virgin Group’s founder, Richard Branson, “do not be embarrassed by your failures, learn from them and start again.”

There’s always something to learn from failures and it’s the courage to continue moving forward that counts.

Want to read another interesting take on dealing with failure? Read this blog post. For more interesting blog posts on life, school and career, visit the official GT20 blog!

Shannon empowers professionals to discover what they truly want in their careers so they can do fulfilling work on their own terms. www.shannon-rey.com


A Go-To Guide to Stress-free Resume Writing

Kate Beck As I’ve been gearing up to apply for colleges, summer jobs, and scholarships I can’t help but notice that all them require a resume component. Until recently I thought that resumes were mainly to get a job, but they’re much more important; they provide a picture of you and your accomplishments to those wanting to learn more about you. A strong resume writing game will help you build an effective document that would give prospective colleges and employers a comprehensive idea about your involvement at school and in your community.

“A strong resume writing game will give prospective colleges and employers a comprehensive idea about your involvement at school and in your community.”

Personally, I felt like the whole resume writing process was confusing, so I asked a few of my classmates what their experiences has been. I got responses like “my mom helped me”, “I used an online template”, and “I really didn’t know where to start”. This has really been eye opening for me because its helped me realize that no one quite understands how to confront the elusive resume. So I did the research and here is what I’ve discovered about resume writing:

Resumes have 5 main components

1. Header: This is basic; what’s your name and contact information?

2. Objective/Experience Summary: What are you looking to gain by sending your resume?

3. Experience: Most of the time this would be where you add work experience, but since you may not have any yet it’s okay to leave this part out or add experience here like volunteering, babysitting, tutoring, etc. What I’ve found is you probably have more experience than you think! The main key here is to be as detailed as possible when outlining your involvement. Why should people give you a second glance?

4. Education: Where are you going to high school? Are you taking any higher level courses? Have you been accepted to a college already that you can mention?
5. Other, i.e. awards, club involvement: What makes you stand out? Do you have a position as a leader of a club? What have you done that shows initiative?

Further Resource

Though my tips can help get you started, these sites have really helped me get a more complete understanding of resumes:
Raw Resume: Raw Resume gives a good summary on all aspects from A-Z on writing a resume.
Resume Baking: Resume Baking is a free site that lets you build resumes. I liked it because it guided me through the whole process. Plus it has the ability to be edited in the future!

Hope these tips and suggestions on resume writing help you slay the elusive beast!

Want to know more about how we deal with writing essential stuff? Read this post about college apps essay, it will change how you approach any kind of writing!

Kate is a senior in high school, loves cats, and takes every moment outside of school work to create something new- whether it be a blog post or a baked good!


Five Nifty Tools to Help You Break Into Your Dream Career (Part 1)

Vaish Kandhadai As the school year comes to an end, you are probably busy with your academics, graduating, starting internships or looking for permanent employment after graduation. Although the professional world looks like a scary place, we are here to tell you that it isn’t as bad as it looks. Once you know the industry you want to be a part of and have done your homework on the scope of your preferred occupation, you can officially prepare yourself to get hired fast! In this two-part blog post, we will talk about proven, effective ways to get your job hunting process going and get hired ASAP. To do this, we have identified five nifty tools to help you,so here are two to start with:

Network Effectively:

Talking to your parents, friends and professors about your career preference is where you must start but it is not quite enough. So leverage your social life to your advantage and network with peers and mentors. Here is how to identify a few: Try to find local mixer events and job fairs on event websites like Eventbrite. Although the probability of finding a job at a job fair is low, it gets you in touch with recruiters (and if you are very lucky, a hiring manager or two). When that happens, make sure you add them to your professional network on LinkedIn® so that you can get in touch with them when you see a suitable opportunity at their organization in the future.

Takeaway: Finding a job through an official recruiter might be a contrived process since you will run into many helpful but also shifty recruiters. Always seek out professionals who work for the organization or a reliable HR consulting firm dealing with reputable organizations. When in doubt, use tools like GlassDoor or LinkedIn® to find out about their authenticity.

Get People to Refer You:

Most companies rely on their employees to bring in quality resumes for positions they are hoping to fill. Why? A referral program is a cost and quality-effective way to reach out to qualified candidates. So, the more you network, the more people you will find willing to refer you for a position. Moreover, there are so many virtual communities who help you get in touch with relevant people who can help you with your pursuit. HireClub (invitation-based only) and Albert’s Job Listings and Referrals are two such Facebook communities acting as a professional support system of sorts.

Takeaway: Being more specific with your first circle of friends and family will be helpful because they can be your first point of contact to get in touch with someone relevant to your industry. Most organizations look at resumes faster if an employee refers it so remember to make the most out of it!

Not looking for full-time employment but would like to try finding a temporary vacation-time employment? This post might help you!

Vaish is the Content Manager for GiveTeens20®® and a Content Marketing Consultant in the Bay Area. In her pass time, she likes to pretend she is reading just to get out of doing household chores!

 


Four Proven Academic Hacks to Help You Through College (Part 2)

This is the second and final part of the Academic Hacks blog series. Click here to read the first part!

Maluck Nawabi, Enya Daang, Mangesh Darke and Catherine Tran As the final flurry of university acceptance letters begin to pour in, you are probably channeling your energy into going through an intense decision-making process. There is more to dealing with college than admissions and the interns at GiveTeens20®® (who have been there, done that and managed to stay sane!) have signed up to be your spirit guides! In this final part of the two-part blog post, they give you a few more effective suggestions (or academic hacks, as we call them) on dealing with the most important part of your life right now: preparing for college!

Community College is a Cost-Effective Option

College does not have to be expensive. Even in these sluggish economic times, financial difficulties should not prevent one from pursuing higher education, because cost-effective options such as community college are available. Attending community college is not just an affordable alternative. The non-monetary benefits of attending a junior college include being close to home and learning in smaller, flexible class sizes with accelerated and practical curriculum.

Moreover, junior colleges have a long history of catering to non-traditional students. Adults returning to school, part-time students with outside jobs and family obligations, and teenagers starting fresh from a blemished high school transcript to name a few. Not to mention, enrolling in a community college doesn’t always have to be the final destination in a student’s academic career.

Many public two-year colleges offer transfer guarantee programs that allow students to transfer credits from their junior college courses towards a Bachelor’s degree from their desired four-year university. Students who pursue this option pay a fraction of the cost for general education prerequisites that they would have likewise taken at a four-year school. Therefore, students should not be intimidated by the financial barrier that prevents them from gaining knowledge and learning practical skills.

Don’t Ignore Your Health

Getting good grades and being involved in extra-curricular are important, but so is your mental and physical health! In the long run, the assignment you’ve been skipping meals and nights of sleep for is not worth your health and well being. That brings us to the fourth and final subject of our academic hacks: do not neglect your responsibilities! As tempting as it may be, giving yourself breaks after getting the smallest of tasks done will lead to more stress as you approach the deadline with an unfinished assignment.

However, if you find yourself seriously struggling to stay awake, make sure you get a full night’s rest. Also, it is easy to put off eating and eat poorly while you are busy working, so be conscious of the time and eat foods that nourish your body! Pizza is awesome, but so is having the energy to get all that work done!


Four Proven Academic Hacks to Help You Through College (Part 1)

Maluck Nawabi, Enya Daang, Mangesh Darke and Catherine Tran As the final flurry of university acceptance letters begin to pour in, you are probably channeling your energy into going through an intense decision-making process. There is more to dealing with college than admissions and the interns at GiveTeens20® (who have been there, done that and managed to stay sane!) have signed up to be your spirit guides! In this two-part blog post, they give you a few effective suggestions (or academic hacks, as we call them) on dealing with the most important part of your life right now: preparing for college!

Manage Your Time Like a Pro

The most important thing to do at college is manage your time well. When first starting to sign up for classes, you may want to take a bunch of classes that seem super interesting or fill your entire schedule with classes that pertain to your major. However, I’ve learned that this isn’t the best strategy.

To start, there is nothing wrong with taking some classes for fun and learning something new; that is one of the reasons to go to college in the first place. Actually, I encourage you to take classes that interest you, even if they do not relate to your major. Personally, I took philosophy classes even though I am majoring in Computer Science. However, it is imperative to remember that you are paying nearly $500 per unit at a 4-year school. That is a lot of money when considering how many classes you will have to take.

There is no correct way to balance your time. The key is making sure to not overwhelm oneself. The first thing you should do when you start planning for classes is to thoroughly understand the effort and time the class requires. Usually, you can determine this by how many units the class is. If the class is high in units, then that means that you are expected to put in a lot of effort. Additionally, reading the course catalog gives you a good idea of what to expect in the course. As long as you plan accordingly and balance your time, college classes won’t be a problem.

Summer Classes are a Good Option. But…

Taking classes in the summer is ideal if you want to complete more units. However, you must take into consideration the fact that summer classes are four days a week for six weeks and they tend to be more time consuming. Therefore, you must carefully decide which classes to take. At first you will want to take upwards of three classes, but it is best to just take one class. Personally speaking last summer I wanted to take English, Biology, and Microeconomics. However, if I did take all those classes I would not be able to function like a sane person.

Schedule a meeting with your counselor to see which summer courses will count for two areas of general education requirements. For instance, sometimes an English class at a community college will count for both an English requirement and a critical thinking requirement. Thus, allowing you to save time and money. Once you enroll in classes at a local community college include that college in your FAFSA so that you can get the BOG Fee Waiver. With this Waiver your classes will be covered under financial aid.

Watch out for the second part of the Academic Hacks series that will be up on the blog next week. For more insightful suggestions on conquering college, read this post

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Four Ways to Make Junior Year a Memorable Part of Your Life

Muskan Sharma Everyone knows that junior year is labeled as the hardest year of high school. People often tend to look back at their junior year with a lack of fondness due to the stress it caused. Although there are many challenges that lie within this year, there are also lots of ways to make junior year meaningful. To ensure that you make junior year a memorable part of your life, here are some easy tips and tricks. Follow them to make this year as fun, productive, and least stressful as possible!

Stay Organized

It’s incredibly important for us to know our schedules well. Write down all the things you have going on- sport’s tournaments, dance recitals, finals, AP exams- on a calendar. Being able to know these dates ahead of time will help you plan because fewer conflicts with your schedule will make things less stressful.

Do the homework and pay attention in class

This one sounds pretty basic but it is one of the most important ways to marginalize pain in your junior year . You don’t have to be a genius to do well in school. All it takes is doing your homework, showing up to class, and reading what you’re supposed to. When you do these things you will see that everything else works itself out.

Pick a test and stick to it

The choice between SAT and ACT is always hard, but it’s important that you pick one and stick to it rather than try to study for both. Take diagnostic tests early on and analyze them based on which one you score better, which one you felt you had better time management with, and which one you found to be more difficult. Based on your results, make a well thought out decision and stick to it! Also remember not to stress out too much about it because at the end of the day, it is just a test!

Enjoy time with your friends

This is probably one of the most important things to ensure that you have a junior year filled with enjoyment, Although it is easy for us to often become absorbed in school, it is also extremely important for us to make time to have fun with our friends. Go out, do something crazy, you don’t want to look back on this time of your life and just remember stacks of textbooks piled high on your desk. You’re only going to be 16 once, so remember to make the most of it!

Muskan is currently a junior in high school student. In her free-time she enjoys listening to music, hanging out with friends, and trying new foods. Muskan also enjoys writing and aspires to be a journalist one day!


Five Tips to Help You Ace Those Final Exams

By Maeloni Edmondson Whether you’re in middle school or high school, we can all agree that studying for our final exams can be tiring and stressful. “Where to start?” and “how will I ever get through this?” we say as we struggle to keep from drooling all over our work. Although I usually find myself in these same situations, over the years, I have gathered strategies to make these dreaded moments pay off. And so, here are my five tips to help you ace those final exams!

Get a good night’s rest. It’s crucial to have your full 8 hours of sleep before anything. There is no point to study when you’re tired, as you will be distraught and will not retain the information the next day. Getting good rest ensures that you will stay alert for your study sessions, and will overall put you in a better mood.

Work smarter, not harder. Instead of memorizing the whole textbook, try to figure out your strengths and weaknesses. Watch summaries and educational online videos; create mnemonic devices and acronyms by associating previously learned knowledge with the book’s information. Use study guides, handouts, and flashcards. If you feel confident with your knowledge of the material, try teaching it to a friend or family member.

Create a study group. Who says you have to suffer alone? Surround yourself with peers who you know want to actually study. Share tips and quiz each other! If you can’t meet up one day, try video chatting. Technology is your friend on the path to productivity

Keep your study sessions brief and scattered. We’ve all experienced late night cramming. Although it is sometimes impossible to avoid, it is detrimental to our minds and our spirits. Make sure to start studying ahead of time: have a half to one hour sessions thrice a week instead of forcing yourself to memorize information the night before. Review what you previously studied at the beginning of each session, and make a summary of what you covered at the end.

Be kind to yourself.  Take breaks throughout sessions. Give yourself an easy goal, and reward yourself with a treat after completing it. Drink lots of water and do activities that make you happy. Even if you don’t receive the score you hoped for, know that no letter or number will ever undermine your accomplishments, intelligence, and happiness.

Maeloni Edmondson is a junior at high school and an aspiring Communications/PR professional. She sings, performs, loves to cook and experiment with makeup!

 

Read more useful tips and stories on acing academics, career and life from GT20 interns and contributors here!