Copeland Coaching | Blog - Career tips from a job and career coach

Should I go back to graduate school?

May 29, 2017 | Posted in Advice, Education, Graduate School, Newsletter | By

“Should I go back to graduate school?” This is a question many professionals wonder about each day. If you’ve struggled to find a new job in the difficult economy, you may be seriously considering it.

I challenge you to carefully weigh the pros and cons of graduate school before enrolling. It’s both expensive and time-consuming, so if you’re going to go, you want it to be for the right reasons.

If you’ve had trouble finding a new job, and think graduate school is your golden ticket to that perfect opportunity, think again. After graduating, you’ll find yourself going through the same process you are today: building your network, applying for jobs and interviewing. Contrary to popular belief, job offers will not pour in just because you have an additional piece of paper from another university.

Do a cost-benefit analysis of a graduate degree. Add up the total cost of your education, including salary you will forego while in school and the cost you’ll pay in tuition and expenses, such as books. How does the total cost compare to the increase in salary you expect to see after graduation?

If you want to go because you’re not sure of what you want to do with your life, look for another alternative. Graduate school is a very expensive way to figure out what it is you want to do. If you’re unsure, talk to professionals who work in the fields you’re interested in to learn about what they do. Look for an internship or volunteer opportunities to test the waters with less commitment.

Most of all, don’t go back just because society dictates that you should – or because mom and dad think it’s important. Society isn’t going to pay off your student loans, or stay up late at night to help you study.

On the flip side, there are a number of very good reasons to go back to graduate school. I went back 10 years ago and earned a Master of Business Administration. I did it because I was often pigeonholed with an undergraduate degree is in engineering, and wanted to move up in the ranks of management. I also knew that financially, the investment would pay off at future jobs. It opened doors that allowed me to grow my career.

Another great example of when a graduate degree makes sense is when you want to work in a profession like law or medicine. These are both examples of jobs that require advanced and highly specialized degrees. Without a medical degree, you can’t practice as a doctor.

If you’re still unsure if graduate school is for you, Google “grad school calculator.” You’ll find a number of sites that help with your own cost-benefit analysis. They’ll look at your current salary, the cost of graduate school and your expected future salary.

Whatever decision you make, be confident in your choice. Understand what you’ll give up and what you’ll get in return to ensure a positive experience, whichever direction you choose.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

More →

Please, let your child grow up.

May 24, 2017 | Posted in Advice, Career Corner Column, First Job, Job Search | By

Today’s young people are more thoughtful and kinder than many of the older job seekers they’re competing against. They care about making a difference more than their own personal finances or another self-serving endeavor. From the outside, it seems that parents are pouring more of themselves into these young hearts and minds than ever before. This effort is incredibly admirable.

But, can I please make a plea to you, Mom and Dad? Once your kids are on their way out of college, please let them grow up.

Very often, parents want to perform a job search on behalf of their child. The parents mean well. They don’t want the child (or should I say adult) to struggle on their way into the real world. The problem is, brokering the child’s job search doesn’t do the child any favors.

Many young people today seem to be so used to parental involvement that they don’t recognize their parent’s behavior as unusual. This means that they don’t push back when the parent has crossed a line.

But, you know who does think it’s unusual? The hiring manager and the other people in the child’s life who might otherwise help them to find a job. Whether they share their thoughts or not, they’re thinking it.

Struggling to find a job is part of life. That may sound strange, but the process of finding a job doesn’t just land us a place to work – it teaches us how to look for a job. It teaches us how to network. It teaches us how to solve problems. And, sometimes the process of looking can also teach us what we do and don’t want to do for a living. Those are very important lessons. Lessons that we will miss if mom and dad serve us a job on a platter.

Don’t get me wrong. Advice from a parent is incredibly valuable. Talk to your kids. Answer their questions. Give them guidance. You’ve been down the road and you have so much helpful information to share.

Then, take a step back. Let your child do the work. You wouldn’t take a math test for them in high school. You’d help them study and then you’d let them prove themselves in the classroom.

Last year, I interviewed a Chief Marketing Officer for my podcast. He described a situation to me where a young employee received a performance review they didn’t like. You won’t believe what happened. Mom called him to talk over her child’s concerns. Can you imagine how much that hurt the child’s future? The child missed the lesson, and in the process, they lost the precious respect of their boss.

I get it. Parents are just trying to help. But, at this stage of life, parents will be the most helpful from the sidelines. Trust that you’ve been in enough work to this point. Your young person has their head on straight. They know what’s important to them. Now, let them go out and get it.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

More →

134 | Getting Great References – Ray Bixler, Philadelphia, PA

May 23, 2017 | Posted in Advice, Interviewing, Media, Podcast, References | By

Episode 134 is live! This week, we talk with Ray Bixler in Philadelphia, PA.

Ray is the CEO of SkillSurvey, an online reference checking firm that helps organizations recruit, hire, and retain talent. In addition, Ray has more than 20 years of human resource and career development experience.

On today’s episode, Ray shares his advice for identifying and getting great references. He shares the latest trend in reference checking technology. And, he also shares tips on how to avoid common mistakes we make as job seekers.

Listen and learn more! You can play the podcast here, or download it on iTunes or Stitcher.

To learn more about Ray and his company SkillSurvey, visit his website at www.skillsurvey.com.

Thanks to everyone for listening! And, thank you to those who sent me questions. You can send your questions to Angela@CopelandCoaching.com. You can also send me questions via Twitter. I’m @CopelandCoach. And, on Facebook, I am Copeland Coaching.

Don’t forget to help me out. Subscribe on iTunes and leave me a review!

More →

Pay me fairly!

May 22, 2017 | Posted in Advice, Money, Negotiating, Newsletter, Pay | By

Let’s face it. We all want to be paid fairly. But, what “fair” means can be hard to tell.

After all, we were all taught not to talk about a few key things with others: politics, religion, and money. So, how can you know how much you’re worth on such a taboo topic?

As you can imagine, determining whether or not you’re being paid fairly can be tricky. But, fortunately, the internet is making it a little easier.

Research is where it’s at. You need data to help you determine what’s truly fair. Here are a few ideas for helping you to determine your fair market value.

Salary.com – Salary.com provides salary data by zip code and title. This can be useful information, especially if you’re searching at a small company.


Glassdoor.com – Glassdoor compiles anonymous, self-reported salary data. It’s reported by title, location, and company. They also rolled out a new tool earlier this year that can be very helpful called the “Know Your Worth Tool.” And, best of all, Glassdoor periodically sends you updates to let you know if your market value is increasing or decreasing.

Your University – One area that many job seekers overlook is called a post-graduation report. Most universities put these reports out, sharing how much their graduates make 1-2 years after graduation. Some also include data about the specific companies their graduates are working for. Although this report is the most helpful when you’re a young professional, it can help to provide another data point in your search for information.

Last, the good old fashioned way of salary research can help here too. Talking with friends a little more openly about money can shed quite a bit of light. And, if all else fails, a few competitive job offers from other companies will definitely give you a better idea of what your current going rate is.

I hope these tips have helped you. Visit CopelandCoaching.com to find more tips to improve your job search. If I can be of assistance to you, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Also, be sure to subscribe to my Copeland Coaching Podcast on iTunes or Stitcher where I discuss career advice every Tuesday! If you’ve already heard the podcast and enjoy it, please consider leaving a review in iTunes or Stitcher.

Happy hunting!

Angela Copeland
@CopelandCoach

 

More →

Questioning Your Hiring Manager

May 17, 2017 | Posted in Career Corner Column, Interviewing, Job Interview, Media | By

Sometimes, getting a job is dependent more on what you ask than what you answer. Let me explain what I mean by this. We spend so much time preparing for how we will answer the hiring manager’s questions, yet very little time thinking about what we want to know.

I often compare job interviews to dating. And, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been on a first date where I hoped that the guy sitting across from me would propose. That would be crazy, right? But, somehow, we do it every day with job interviews. We show up just hoping to be picked. We forget to think about whether or not we actually like the company.

The place where this is especially problematic is with the questions we ask. Very often, during a job interview, the hiring manager will say, “Do you have any questions I can answer for you?” If we’ve been in an all-day interview, it’s not uncommon to have gotten all of our questions answered over the course of the day. We may respond with an honest, “No, thanks. I’ve already gotten all of my questions answered.”

This response seems reasonable. Unfortunately, many hiring managers don’t think so. It surprises me the number of hiring managers I’ve talked to who are stuck on this issue. When the job seeker doesn’t ask questions, the hiring manager doesn’t assume their questions were really answered. They assume the job seeker isn’t interested. That’s right – they think you don’t care about the job.

Well, we all know that isn’t true. You didn’t take off an entire day at work to interview for a job you don’t care about!

Let’s avoid this unnecessary hurdle of the job search process. Make a list of questions. Research questions online. Keep more questions on hand than you’ll need, with the expectation that you will only ask a few of them.

If you find that by some chance, the hiring manager does manage to answer all of your questions, don’t stop there. Think of more on the fly. I know this can sound daunting, but here is an example of a question that the hiring manager probably didn’t fill you in on already.

“Why did you choose to come work here, and what’s your favorite thing about the company?”

This is a good question, because it helps you to learn more about the hiring manager. It gets them talking about themselves. It helps you to learn more about the company. And, most likely, it will be a question the hiring manager didn’t answer before. As hiring manager’s, we tend to focus on asking the candidate questions – and on sharing information about the role. We are rarely talking about our own personal experiences.

Before your next interview, list everything you want to know. Decide whether the company is a fit for you, and avoid being the desperate candidate. It will help you get your questions answered, and will increase the chance of a job offer.

Angela Copeland is a Career Coach and Founder of Copeland Coaching and can be reached at CopelandCoaching.com or on Twitter at @CopelandCoach.

More →