Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My favorite career books for your summer reading list

Reading all the negative news about the economy, layoffs and the rising price of oil is enough to depress even the most optomistic among us (of which I count myself.) So to inspire you this week, I wanted to share some of my favorite career books. This way, you can read something uplifting and inspiring and get ideas to take your mind off the negative and instead focus on moving your career forward.

--Looking to test out new career path?

Check out Test Drive Your Dream Job by Brian Kurth and Robin Simons. Brian is the founder of Vocation Vacations, a company that creates opportunities to test out different careers from winemaker to voice over artist to private investigator. With this book, you can set up your own test drive of any career you've been dreaming of. This week I'll be test driving a dream career for me - cabaret singing! For those of you in the New York City area come see me live at Don't Tell Mama on 46th Street between 8th and 9th avenues at 8:30pm on Thursday, July 24th.

--Ready to go from college to career?

Today's college students are doing more internships, externships, informational interviews, studies abroad, etc. Yet many still feel lost when it comes to defining the ideal career. Getting from College to Career by Lindsey Pollak is THE resource that grads need to not only land a job, but create a career path that works. You can read Lindsey's blog posted under my favorite links.

--Have a fear that's keeping you from living your dream?

If you've been thinking about making a career change but just haven't had the courage to make a move, check out Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Dr. Susan Jeffers. It's a book I've read and reread all the times I've felt afraid to put myself out there in new ways. In fact, I'm listening to it now before my cabaret show on Thursday!

What career books have you found helpful? Are there a few you've found particularly inspiring?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Informational Interviewing 101

Too often people overlook the informational interview as a key tool in landing a new job or making a career change. I got my previous job at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia through an informational interview. It was a conversation that led to many career opportunities for me.

If you've been wanting to do something different in your career and aren't sure how to go about it, try this approach:
1) Make a list of careers you'd love to be doing (Aren't sure? Read my article on Finding Your Purpose.)
2) Write down all the questions you'd like answered (for a sampling check out the online informational interviews at TheCareerProject.org).
3) Ask your network for anyone they know doing the career(s) you want. If you don't get any leads from this step, try going online to industry associations or check with your alumni association. Email or call the Executive Director and ask for any contacts he/she can recommend.

Seems easy right? Well not if you make the conversation all about you. Rather than focusing on why YOU need to talk to this person and why YOU need a new career and why YOU really want information; Instead, focus on why your interviewee is the perfect person for you to speak with because he or she is accomplished in this field and came highly recommended. Be genuinely interested in the career path of the person you are interviewing and you will not only get information but build rapport.

If you're still not sure how to informational interview for your own situation, email me at coaching@maggiemistal.com or call in to my segment on Martha Stewart Living Radio Thursdays at 9:30am and 3pm eastern.

And let me know your experience with informational interviews. Have they worked for you? Who have you informational interviewed?...

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

The challenge of too many interests

Have you ever felt like a Jack or Jane-of-all-trades, master of none? It's a problem for many of my clients. We (yes, I include myself) can often feel like our multiple interests are a problem, causing us to feel scattered and unable to focus in our careers.

I often hear my clients lamenting: "If only I could stick with one thing...If only I knew what I wanted to be when I grow up...If only I didn't have so many interests..." If this sounds like you, don't fret any longer.

Being a person with multiple interests is actually a benefit to your career. Why? Because having many interests makes your more adaptable in the fast changing world of work we now live in. The key is to embrace your interests and manage your career so that you get the variety and change you crave.

To get ideas of how others are creating careers that fit all their interests, here are two very helpful resources I've found:

--One Person, Multiple Careers by Marci Alboher
--The Renaissance Soul by Margaret Lobenstine

There's no need to bounce from one career to the next. Contact me if you're unsure how to create your ideal career at coaching@maggiemistal.com.

And let me know if you feel you're a person of many interests. Have your many interests helped or hurt your career?

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Landing a Job Over 50

I've been getting lots of calls on radio and several emails from people over 50 who want to change careers or land a new job. Many, though quite accomplished, are very concerned that their age will be an issue in finding a new job. Here's my advice if you're concerned about landing a job over 50:

--Write out your ideal job description(even if you think it's impossible.) By articulating what you want, you are in a better position to tell others about what you are looking for and increase your chances of finding it. You're also less likely to settle for the first thing that comes along.
--Read career books. Betsy Cummings book, Job Hunting Over 50, offers practical advice and useful tips. I interviewed Betsy on Martha Stewart Living Radio and got great response from listeners on her advice.
--Go online. AARP has an entire career site dedicated to people over 50. Their site even includes the list of best employers for people over 50! Seniors for Hire is also a job hunting site specifically for people over 50.
--Of course, career coaching can be of help in offering your specific advice on your situation. I'd be happy to do a complimentary 30 min session for anyone struggling with this issue.

And let me know - Has age been an issue in your career? Or have you found the "career fountain of youth" and been able to sustain a great career well over 50?

Post your comments below. I'd love to hear from you!