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What does your brand say about you?

I don’t know about you, but I was told that the person who’s the most qualified and the hardest working gets the job. But, it turns out, at many companies, it’s just not.

I first learned this lesson in graduate school. I attended Pepperdine University in Malibu, California. You’ve probably heard of it. It’s beautiful. When I was studying for my MBA, I wanted to get an internship at The Gap. I assumed they would come to my school to interview students, but they didn’t. They went to UCLA (UCLA is ranked higher).

So, I posed as a UCLA student to land a job interview. It worked. While the UCLA students showed up in jeans and t-shirts, I arrived in a suit, with business cards and resumes. The Gap invited me to their corporate headquarters for meetings. But ultimately, they decided not to extend an internship. One of the reasons for the decision was, they have a specific list of schools they hire from. Pepperdine was not on that list.

This sounds unlikely, but it’s true. I went to a prestigious undergraduate school. There were also employers who would only hire from a small list of elite schools. Back then, I never thought about how unfair this really was. And, I landed my first internship at General Motors without ever having an interview. I remember that my boss said to me, “I didn’t need to interview you. You go to RPI. I knew you would be good.”

Fast forward to today. I was listening to a podcast called Revisionist History, hosted by Malcom Gladwell. Mr. Gladwell has taken a deep dive into the world of law school. As the episode begins, the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia is speaking to a group of law students. One student asked Mr. Scalia, “…what do smart, hardworking students need to do to be outrageously successful in the law?” Mr. Scalia answered, “…I can’t afford a miss. I just can’t. So, I’m going to be picking from the law schools that basically are the hardest to get into. They admit the best and the brightest. And, they may not teach very well. But, you can’t make a sow’s ear out of a silk purse. If they come in the best and the brightest, they’re probably going to leave the best and the brightest.”

Mr. Scalia went to Harvard. He’s saying that he hires from the very top law schools. Anyone who didn’t go to one of those schools, he won’t consider. And it turns out, very often, companies hire in the same way. If they don’t recognize your school or your past employers, it may not matter how qualified you are.

This method takes the burden off of employers to truly determine what makes someone the best. And, it means that the name brands on your resume could matter more than the experience that sits behind them.

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 Apple Podcasts 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

 

Signs It’s Time for a Midlife Career Change


If you’re like most people, you think you’re the only one. Everything was fine for the first twenty years of your career.

You were focused. You were happy. You were going up the ladder. Then, you hit an age. Maybe it was thirty or forty or fifty. But, suddenly, everything changed.
You are no longer happy at your current job. Something just isn’t right. But, nothing has really changed all that much. And, still, somehow you just aren’t satisfied.

It’s so confusing. Chances are good that you worked your entire career to get to where you are. You’re at the top of the mountain. And, yet, it seems like maybe you were climbing up the wrong mountain. It can make you question everything you’ve worked for.

If this has happened to you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. I talk to multiple people every single day who are having this very same experience.

We’re all just so secretive that we don’t talk about these feelings and thoughts out loud to each other. I wish we would. But, it seems that this kind of sharing might seem to indicate that we have failed in some way.

I prefer to look at it a little different. It’s more like this. You’ve conquered your original goal (the first mountain), and now you’re ready for a new one.

The priorities in your life have shifted. So maybe, you are no longer as motivated by money. Perhaps your retirement account is at a good place. Or, alternatively, maybe money motivates you more. Perhaps you want to catch up on your retirement savings.

Maybe you’ve learned more about yourself. You really don’t like managing people after all. Or, you really don’t want to work in a creative atmosphere where the expectation of producing new content never seems to go away.

Whatever it is, you’ve simply grown. You’ve changed. Growth and change are both good things. And, they’re an inevitable part of life.

Making a change midcareer doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It doesn’t mean you’ll fail in the future. Your priorities have just evolved. It’s time to find something new that better aligns with your new goals and your new direction.

Start small. You won’t find the answer tomorrow. And, you probably won’t find it in your head, thinking for hours, devising the perfect solution. The answer most likely doesn’t exist in any certain personality test either.

Almost always, this career change happens by doing. It happens by getting out there and having conversations with other people in different lines of work. It happens by researching various companies. It happens by volunteering for projects outside of your comfort zone. It happens by trying new things, to find what works and what doesn’t.

Career change is not an easy process, but the journey will take you to where you’re mean to be: a new life that is in alignment with your current and future priorities.

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.

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 Apple Podcasts 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

 

155 | Career Rebranding – Isaac Lake, Hilton

Episode 155 is live! This week, we talk with Isaac Lake in Memphis, TN. Isaac is a Manager of Brand Performance Support at Hilton. Previously, Isaac worked at the University of Memphis where he was the Manager of Facilities and Programs at the University Center. This is Isaac’s second time on the Copeland Coaching Podcast. He’s a former client and a friend. On this episode, we check back in with Isaac after 3.5 years at Hilton.

On today’s episode, Isaac shares:

  • The biggest differences between working in a corporate environment and at a university
  • Which transferable skills (and side hustles) helped him to transition into corporate
  • The role of networking in the job search
  • Advice for others looking to make a major career shift

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

To learn more about Isaac, you can find him on LinkedIn.

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 Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!

Increasing Your Executive Presence

I recently had the honor of speaking on the topic of executive presence, not just once – but twice. I participated in panels where we discussed the importance of executive presence to your career and how to increase yours.

The first question that comes to mind is, “What is executive presence, anyway?” There are many ways to answer this question. Business Insider says that it’s made up of these seven traits: composure, connection, charisma, confidence, credibility, clarity, and conciseness.

As it’s clear, many of these qualities are superficial. It’s unfortunate, but it makes sense. First impressions are made in about seven seconds. And, a hiring manager makes their decision about four minutes into the job interview. That doesn’t leave much time to make a good first impression.

Executive presence is even more important when you’re new to a field, or when you’re different in some way. At my first job, I redesigned parts on cars for General Motors. I was nineteen and twenty years old. Soon after starting, the plant manager called my boss and said, “Who is this little girl, and what is she doing with MY cars?”

It quickly became clear to me that in order to get my job done, I needed to do my best to fit in. As time went on, I worked to refine my own executive presence. I dressed more formally. I worked to speak more loudly and confidently. I paid attention to my posture. I made a point to be on time, and to keep the commitments that I made.

My devotion to this idea helped. Despite being young, I was promoted to director at twenty-seven and vice president five years later.

Don’t get me wrong. The types of biases described are not necessarily fair. Many are not terribly related to our ability to do a job or our intelligence. But, they are real. Because of that, it’s important to be aware of them and of how they influence your career.

So what can you do if you want to increase your executive presence? One of the best things is to observe those around you. For example, what do your colleagues at work wear? How do they communicate during meetings? Then, consider the details, such as how you react under pressure and whether or not you follow through on your commitments.

Your colleagues will notice these things when they decide how they feel about you. Work to be genuine. Even if you’re professional, if your presence is off-putting, it won’t help you in the long run.

The feelings others have toward you will have a large impact on your career success. Often, our success in business isn’t just about how smart we are. It’s about how good we are with people. And, how well we work together with people is influenced by our own executive presence.

If you’re struggling to achieve career goals, this could be a moment to take a step back and look for opportunities to grow your executive presence.

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

Should I put my photo on my resume?

Recently, I started receiving a question I haven’t heard much before. The question is, “Should I put my photo on my resume?”

It’s a great question! If you’ve wondered the same thing, you’re not alone. Resume templates are beginning to pop up on the internet with photos embedded. In all honesty, these templates are often beautifully designed. They look like a work of art. At first glance, they’re very enticing – and they make you question what you thought were the rules of the road with resumes. It makes you wonder if things have changed since the last time you looked.

Despite this, I would not recommend putting a photo on your resume. There’s certain information that companies aren’t supposed to factor into hiring decisions such as age, race, and gender. Providing a photo up front gives the company the option to make judgements about you that are unrelated to your work experience. Remember, it takes years to build up that experience. Yet, it takes less than ten seconds to make a first impression – even on a resume. A hiring manager looks at your resume for just a few moments before deciding whether or not to read further. It’s best to use this precious time on information such as your college degree and work experience rather than your current hairstyle and outfit.

In addition to taking the hiring manager’s eyes off of your expertise, you also risk leaving a negative first impression. There are certain unspoken rules when it comes to business. For example, you should always wear closed-toed shoes with a suit, or you should always be on time to an interview. The hiring manager probably won’t bring up the picture in the top corner of your resume. But, they will think to themselves and wonder how up to date your business skills really are. They’ll wonder why you included a photo, when it’s something that’s not done.

The same rule applies to your business cards. One of the only fields where it’s completely normal to have a photo on your business card is realty. It makes sense. Realtors are sales people. And, buying a home is a very personal process. You want to feel like you know your sales person well. But, in any other industry, a photo on the business card typically looks amateurish. It can make your otherwise professional looking cards look homemade, or too salesy.

If you have a great photo you want to show off, the perfect place for it is LinkedIn. Your LinkedIn profile is incomplete if it doesn’t have a photo of you. Be sure the photo is just you. Wear business or business casual clothing. Take the photo of your face, with good light, and smile at the camera.

If standards for resumes change, we will revisit this topic again. But, for now, don’t be drawn into the pretty template with the bright photo. Using it will only make you look out of touch with hiring, and the unspoken rules of business.

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

138 | Your Working Life – Caroline Dowd-Higgins, Bloomington, IN

Episode 138 is live! This week, we talk with Caroline Dowd-Higgins in Bloomington, IN.

Caroline is a speaker, executive coach, author, and media host. She hosts the Your Working Life podcast, and is author of the book This is Not The Career I Ordered.

On today’s episode, Caroline shares her own success story of career reinvention – transitioning from opera singer to executive coach. She also shares her tips on being resilient, being your own self-advocate, and embracing the concept of being good enough to go.

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

To learn more about Caroline, visit her website here: http://carolinedowdhiggins.com/. You can also find her on Twitter at @cdowdhiggins and on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/cdowdhiggins/.

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 Apple Podcasts and leave me a review!