Someone recently recommended that I read Neil Patrick Harris – Choose Your Own Autobiography and while I only started it […] Read More...
  I was pleased to be asked to do an interview recently about Women in Leadership and was enthusiastically telling […] Read More...
Have you heard “Ain’t it fun” by Paramore? It’s a catchy tune with great lyrics that drips with sarcasm and, […] Read More...
Most of us spend way more time working than doing any one other thing in our lives so it’s only fair that we thrive, be inspired and grow in whatever career or profession suits us. Working with both individuals and corporate clients, we make sure that the careers they have or that they are being prepared to have are as great as they can be whether that means staying put or making a change. Individual clients are guided toward their best possible career. With a neutral and judgment free space that allows them to be authentic and true about their careers, our clients move forward in a way that can positively impact every other aspect of their lives. Using assessments and proven career strategies, clients are guided to:
  • Identify their interests, talents and skills and use that to decide the next steps in their career
  • Create a personal brand both online and in-person to represent their true selves (this includes resumes (both traditional and cutting edge), application forms, social media branding and networking
  • Be proactive and innovative in their job search
  • Effectively interview and even negotiate for a new role
  • Be impactful in a new role and manage the transition positively
  Clients at all stages of their careers benefit from this consulting including:
  • Students (Secondary School, College & University)
  • New Grads and those with early career confusion
  • New Parents both going on or coming back from parental/maternity leave
  • Employees experiencing outplacement, layoffs & terminations
  • Companies who are trying to assess an employee’s leadership or management potential or desire
  • Individuals dealing with relocation (including international moves)
  • Those going through Mid-Career confusion
  • Individuals contemplating Retirement, 2nd, 3rd Careers & Beyond
  Partnering with strategic and progressive career companies also enables us to provide clients with even more career consulting options. We offer services face-to-face, by phone or by video conferencing.

Hey Students! Are you choosing your own adventure?

by Emily Koolen

Someone recently recommended that I read Neil Patrick Harris – Choose Your Own Autobiography and while I only started it a couple of days ago, it is riveting (and frustratingly awesome – thanks NPH). It made me think about the adventure that people go on when deciding on their career adventures. I think I could write on this topic from many perspectives but since many of my clients right now are panicking students, I’ll show them the love right now. So students…many of you are in your last few months of secondary, post-secondary or even graduate studies and may just be getting back from (or just about to go on) some sort of spring break. Once that fun is done, what’s your next adventure? Some lucky people have jobs lined up, acceptances to school (grad school or otherwise), or may be planning on taking a gap year to figure it out. Do these things actually sound exciting to you? Will they be part of your future autobiography? If you aren’t sure, here are 5 things to think about before seeking your next adventure:
  1. How adventurous are you? You don’t have to go base-jumping in your career if that’s not you, you could simply try a small dive first if you want. Social media is full of amazing entrepreneurs and risk takers who strike it successful but remember that they are a small few who make it. Being a small fish or taking that standard program is good too and may be a high enough leap for now. For a fun test to check how adventurous you are, go here!
  2. Do you smile when you think about what you will be doing the next year, 3 yrs or even 5 yrs? If not – what does makes you smile (and I don’t mean kitten videos)? Is there a way to incorporate that feeling of joy into your next step?
  3. Reflect on your past – even if you feel you aren’t experienced enough to have a past – you do. What have you done in the past (activities, courses, vacations etc.) that has engaged you and given you a sense of purpose? Reflect and document your past, grab those memories to help you see your next adventure.
  4. Are you choosing too quickly? You don’t have to make a decision right away – push away the pressure from parents, teachers or yourself and while you don’t have to be completely confident in your decision, you do need to be confident that the decision is yours and if you don’t have a decision yet, don’t worry – take the time to make it. Don’t rush it! Take a breather! The world will not end if you end up taking a pause (even if that means living with your parents for a bit) while you make a decision. Rushing things can be costly!
  5. Get some help. I don’t mean talking to Mom, Dad, Gramma or your older sibling. They mean well but are they objective, impartial and taking your passions and personality into consideration? Go talk to your Career Centre, Guidance Counselor or invest in a one-on-one Career Consultant who can help guide you.
  Contact me for a free consultation about your next adventure? Whether it’s a career or further education, I will help you discover what your next step may be. Also – for a great read – check out NPH’s Fabulous Book!

Girls Can Be & Do Anything They Want, Right?!?

by Emily Koolen

  I was pleased to be asked to do an interview recently about Women in Leadership and was enthusiastically telling my 8 yr old daughter about it.  As she is part of a very different generation, which I think they are calling Gen Z  (referring to what, I don’t know – end of alphabet, zombies), her perspective was quite interesting. She asked why there was a focus on “Women” in Leadership and not “Men” in Leadership and why anyone would be treated differently at work. After going into a lengthy response about celebrating how amazing women are and how far we’ve come all while desperately trying to stick to the facts instead of imposing my own opinions, she once again asked – but how are they treated differently? I was a little stumped. I know it’s a question of the ages and many a study, expert and even feminist has asked the same thing but the simple fact is that it’s a very good question.     Why is it that women are still battling to be considered equal in pretty much all contexts but especially at work? We know that the glass ceiling is still there and while there are so many strong women taking big strides in leadership roles such as Arianna Huffington (read Thrive – it’s great), Sheryl Sandberg, Heather Reisman and even Hillary Clinton, they are still the minority in terms of representation of leaders in every sense.     I am not just talking about heads of business or state but also the fact that more and more girls become less like leaders in their everyday lives as they hit the pre-teen years. Leaders and leaders-to-be at work are, almost to a fault, involved people in every other aspect of their lives. It’s part of their nature and they tend to develop these skills from early ages. The problem is that more girls (twice as many than boys) stop being involved in extra-curricular activities as they hit puberty. This is shown clearly in their drop in participation in sports (see article by Women’s Sports Foundation), as well as educational and arts-based activities. The stats show that social stigma and lack of positive role models are big causes for this dropout. Why do these girls stop developing as leaders? It seems that media, society etc are essentially telling these girls that it is bad to be a leader and if they are a leader, they may be considered bossy and maybe even a bully. These girls are listening to the naysayers because they don’t have enough strong female leaders (or progressive male leaders) to show them differently.       I know that many people and amazing groups are working so hard to counteract this but, frankly, I think that all that needs to happen is that everyone (including the strong women who are leaders) need to simply develop the perspective of an 8 yr old girl.  A girl who doesn’t understand why there are any differences. A girl that, in her world, can play the same sports, do the same schooling and eventually do the same jobs as the boys and who, in her innocence, doesn’t see this changing anytime soon. These girls don’t think and act like a girl but instead simply think and act like a person. This simple, but very inclusive, mindset is the ideal that we should all strive for. Let’s all strive to teach and coach our current and future leaders to be thinking of someone’s assets, skills, personality and talents and not their gender (check out the amazing Dove’s Like a Girl Campaign for an example). Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t have to celebrate Women In Leadership and instead be able to simply celebrate Leaders. I plan on continuing to work to instil this message in my own future leader as well as my career coaching & leadership clients everyday and hope everyone else does too! Girl soccer player

How do you prepare? A couple of tips:

by Emily Koolen

Have you heard “Ain’t it fun” by Paramore? It’s a catchy tune with great lyrics that drips with sarcasm and, in my opinion, offers real messages for all those new graduating students who are about to embark on their new lives as professionals.

I, for one, am excited to see what future generations will come up with and I get energized by their enthusiasm (maybe a good thing since I work with, and around, students regularly). The challenge is that I have had far too many conversations with students recently (as well as with the employers who are hiring them) about their lack of preparation for their future careers. Many students enter the workforce and get overwhelmed with “real life” versus their previous academic existence. Many students want the independence and easy step forward that is so easily depicted by Hollywood with the dream life (job, salary etc.) straight out of school. The reality is so very different! According to The Atlantic, up to 45% of College grads between 18-24 will actually become boomerang kids and move back home. Many are shocked that finding their supposed dream job, or even any job, is much harder than expected. Want to avoid being disappointed and yet still be on your way (whichever that way looks)? You need to prepare. How do you prepare? Here are just a couple of my tips…

  • Check out what others who graduated with your education are up to? Use LinkedIn, your school etc. to find these people and look at their paths. It may not be your exact path (and probably shouldn’t) but it will show some options of next steps. Better yet – contact these people and ask them how they did it and what they learned from it. You will find that most people will be open to these types of conversations! They may even become an excellent mentor.
  • Research the real cost of living (that doesn’t include only KD as a food group). Remember that your starting salary alone (if you even get one) will probably not afford you a cool condo in the trendy area. Remember the comfy clothes (Lulu’s perchance) and Uggs that got you to class as a student? That’s not going to cut it in a new job and you will be expected to own and wear appropriate clothes. Student loans? You do know they have to be paid back, right? Cost of drinks at the fancy club versus your Uni watering hole? How are you going to budget for this new life? If you know this information, you are going in with your eyes wide open and you will be know what you can handle financially and where the balance should be.
  • Develop a plan! Plan for the fact that you may not get that corner office or dream job for quite a while. What are the steps to getting there? What aspects of your dream are you willing to be flexible with while still staying true to you. Will you be willing to take a very entry-level job but at your dream organization? Are you willing to take a chance on an entrepreneurial opportunity and capitalize on those great ideas of yours? Students coming from any place (high school, college or Uni) have many bright opportunities out there but they cannot assume that those opportunities will be all sunshine and lollipops. They need to go out with eyes wide open and most importantly, plan for their bright futures.

Hey Students! No More Hitting the Snooze Button: It’s Time For the Real World

by Emily Koolen

You’re in your final year of post secondary education and you’re looking forward to waltzing into your first exciting “real” job. But in today’s competitive human capital environment, few new hires are being recruited directly out of school and you’ll likely have to work harder than ever to garner the attention of businesses. Young professionals are still in high demand, but the talent pool is larger, more diverse and more competitive than ever. So wake up students and stop hitting that snooze button, because it’s time to pour the coffee and face the real world. What advice can I share? These four tips that will surely help you confront your biggest career challenge yet: getting the right job.

Copyright © 2014 - Emily Koolen