Finding Meaning in Your Career

20111112_weinberg-048-Edit-web[1]Pamela Weinberg
Website: www.pamelaweinberg.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pamelaweinberg/
Twitter: @pamelaweinberg

I had the pleasure of meeting Marie-Yolaine Eusebe the founder of Community2Community (a nonprofit organization dedicated to rebuilding Haiti) recently and was thoroughly impressed with her drive and commitment to her job. As a career coach, I am always interested in learning more about how people transitioned into the careers they have, and Marie-Yolaine’s story struck me as most interesting. She worked in corporate America with no nonprofit management experience, but when the crisis in Haiti became front-page news, she quit her job and founded C2C. Quite brave and impressive!

I often work with alumni who feel stuck in jobs that pay the bills, but that don’t make them “feel good” about what they are doing. Most of us don’t have the means to leave our jobs and dive into work that would likely be more personally satisfying, but might leave us financially wanting.

Luckily, doing work for a meaningful cause does not have to be an “all or nothing” proposition. Many organizations offer opportunities for interested people to spend their vacation weeks, long weekends, or summer holidays volunteering for their cause. Whether it is collecting donations, helping to build homes, or providing professional expertise, there is always an organization looking for passionate volunteers—whether they can give one day or one year.

Corporations are becoming more and more conscious of this desire to “give back.” Many are involved in supporting nonprofits and encourage their employees to be as well. Some even have paid “volunteer days” off, and offer incentives to employees that volunteer. For example, EY’s Corporate Responsibility Fellows Program appeals to top performers looking for a way to give back to the world through work, while exploring a new country and culture. The Fellows program sends a highly select group to low-income countries for three months at full pay. They use their skills to work with promising local entrepreneurs at a critical point in their business—typically providing help they couldn’t otherwise afford—and help jump-start growth in these emerging markets.

If your company doesn’t have a formalized volunteer program, suggest one. Research has shown that encouraging employee volunteerism is a winning proposition.  According to a United Healthcare Survey released in April 2010, employers who establish formal volunteering programs for their employees benefit in several important and distinct ways. From an employee perspective, current employees who volunteer through their workplace have a more positive feeling toward their employer and report a strengthened bond with co-workers.

For those who are ready to take the plunge into full-time work with “meaning”, check out www.encore.org, a wonderful organization geared to helping those looking for second-act careers that encompass passion and meaning. Though the organization focuses on those near retirement age, it is a valuable resource for career changers of all ages, providing useful information and resources for finding and transitioning into careers that give back.

The bottom line is: everyone has the opportunity to make a difference. Whether you are able to volunteer one hour, one month or one year, it is a proposition guaranteed to add meaning both to your life and to someone else’s. Just do it!

Read more from Pamela Weinberg!

Personal Mission Statement: A GPS for Your Career

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A post by NACE Guest Blogger, Pamela Weinberg
Website: www.pamelaweinberg.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pamelaweinberg/
Twitter: @pamelaweinberg

Most of us have seen corporate mission statements when we have researched employers and industries. Typically corporate mission statements encompass the values of a company; their goals, and their future plans for growth.

Not many of us have seen or created a “Personal Mission Statement,” however, but we all should, as should our students. How helpful to have a short paragraph to guide us in our careers; keep us moving forward and on track. A mission statement not only states your goals, but also lays out the steps needed to reach those goals.

A personal mission statement should be brief. Three to five sentences are sufficient. Tack it up on your computer; save it on your Iphone, stick on your refrigerator. Your mission statement is meant to guide you in your day-to-day activities and help you stay on track to meet your short-term and long-term goals. A mission statement is as useful for job seekers as it is for those who are happily employed. Some tips to keep in mind when creating one:

  • Make sure your mission statement is personal; it should sound like “you” and be authentic.
  • Include skills, character traits, and knowledge that you consider important and would want a potential employer or client to know about you.
  • Describe what you want to focus on and who/what you want to become in this stage of your career.

Sample Mission Statement

Brian W, Graduate Student, Engineering

“To have a successful career at a software engineering company which will utilize my technology skills, leadership abilities and provide a platform for my continued career growth. I will do this by continuing my education in technology; attending conferences in my field to network; and by obtaining a research position at my university within the next year.”

A personal mission statement is not meant to be stagnant. It is meant to change and grow as you do. Once goals are met and milestones are reached, your mission statement should be revised to included new goals. Your statement should help propel you forward in your job search or career.

Twitter for Job Search: Be the Smartest Candidate in the Room

20111112_weinberg-048-Edit-web[1]

A post by NACE Guest Blogger, Pamela Weinberg
Website: www.pamelaweinberg.com
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pamelaweinberg/
Twitter: @pamelaweinberg

For most job seekers LinkedIn is the “go-to” social media site. (I will talk about LinkedIn in another post.) I have been encouraging students lately to take to Twitter to get the most up-to-date information about the companies and industries they are interested in and to build their personal brands.

Here are some tips you can share with students about using Twitter for the job search:

  • Follow companies where you would like to work. You will have real time information on hiring, expansion, and new product development. And when the time comes for an interview, you will be completely up-to-date on company happenings.
  • Follow industry experts. Not sure who they are? Check out www.listorious.com to see who the top tweeters are in each industry.
  • Retweet relevant posts. Your twitter posts should reflect your career interests and aspirations. A student interested in a marketing position should follow and repost interesting and topical articles about marketing.
  • Search for jobs: Websites such as www.twitjobsearch.com list many positions only found through Twitter. Why? Because employers want to hire those who are social media savvy.
  • Connect Directly: Someone that you follow say something interesting and you want to comment? Go right ahead! It’s a great way to develop relationships with experts in your chosen field. Anyone on Twitter can be sent a direct message by placing the @ before their Twitter handle in the message box.

Want to get started? Tweet me at @PamelaWeinberg!