Friday, December 21, 2018

Is Photography Still a Good Career?

Recently, I had the opportunity to work with a client who was interested in a career as a photographer. She completed her assessments and learned about herself. She found that she was already skilled at visualization, oral, and written comprehension. Along with the required skills that she had inventoried, she realized she was quite creative and had previous experience and success in photography.

However, while working through our validation section, we determined that "photographer" had a low outlook according to Career One Stop and other Career Exploration sites. This meant this career was not expected to grow and could be shrinking. The outlook growth was projected to decline by 8% in NC and decline by 6% in the US over the next 10 years. It was very disappointing.

I thought it was unusual that Career One Stop had made a new video for this occupation but the outlook data was still poor. Why would they invest in making a new video for an ending profession? It didn't make sense. Luckily, I had individuals in my network that were able to help us better understand what was going on within the industry. So, we reached out to an individual that is very immersed in the field to shed some light on this career.

During our informal information interview, he confirmed that the profession of just being a photographer is declining. Job seekers need to have more skills than just taking pictures to gain employment and stay competitive. A job seeker must be able to write well, edit pictures, use software (Adobe or Corel), and be able to manage projects.

Careers in computer generated imagery (CGI) are hot! Product designers and stylists must be versed in photography and designing 2-D and 3-D images. From a cost perspective, many companies are finding that it is cheaper to create an image from CGI versus using props etc. which are needed for a still photo. Read this great article on how Furniture marketers can use CGI.

Other careers that have roots in photography but a much better outlook are:

Other job occupations to consider are: Social Media Strategist & Multimedia Storyteller

Many of these occupations are employed by companies and organizations that hire in a full-time or part-time capacity. There are many freelance opportunities as well.

If you have a desire to be a photographer, it is still possible to find stability and make money. However, you must be open to other job titles and develop a complementary group of skills to be successful.

Randolph Community College in Asheboro, NC has a strong Photography program. They work to ensure that their graduates have the photography skills as well the employability skills to land a job when they finish their 2 year program. Visit Randolph Community College to learn more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Be Grateful for Your Network!

Your network is critical to your success. During this Thanksgiving season, pause and be grateful for your network. Whether it is big or small, professional or social, your network is valuable.

To read more tips, check out our post on Networking Made Simple.

Friday, September 21, 2018

I am Secure with My Job but Not Fulfilled. Now What?

Job Security is defined as the chance that a person with a job will become unemployed. Potential job security can be influenced by the economy, political environment and the type of profession. According to an article published in US News in July, 2017, the jobs that have the MOST job security are: Database Administrator, Dentist, Sonographer, Mathematician, Actuary, Nurse Practitioner, Midwife, just to name few. Just with these 7 occupations, you can see why these jobs have high Job Security. They are tied to healthcare, crunching numbers and managing data. Key elements that are needed to make our world function.

Job Fulfillment is defined as the happiness you experience when you use or develop your abilities on a job (as defined on Many individuals have different interactions that make them feel happy, energized and motivated when they do their work. For some it could be a pay checks, helping others, recognition or a sense of achievement.

So the BIG question: Do you have both?

If you're lacking in job stability, there is an easy fix by studying outlook data, career ladders and understanding your transferrable skills. Once you do this quick work, you can develop a career plan that will get you to a more stable career.

If you're lacking job fulfillment let's dive deeper.

Quick Questions (Take your 7 min ME BREAK):

What makes you happy when you are doing work? Keep in mind, this can change. Over the years, what initially made us happy changes. To become aware of your job fulfillment ask yourself the following 3 questions:

  1. If your salary was decreased by 30% would you immediately begin looking for another job?
  2. Can you see yourself doing what you are doing 5 years from today?
  3. Do you have enough TIME to engage on the job in ways that bring you joy?

If you answered NO to 2 or more of these questions, then you may be challenged with lack of job fulfillment.

Here are the follow up questions for you to answer in your 7 minute ME BREAK:

  1. In response to quick question #1, what job would you look for if your money was decreased?
  2. In response to quick question #2, you had more TIME at work to engage in more meaningful work what tasks/functions would you do?

Do you feel you have both job security and job fulfillment? If so, let's celebrate!

If not, perhaps it is time to explore how to increase your job satisfaction by completing a detailed assessment or working with a career coach. These steps can help you develop a Career Plan that will include both.

If you feel you need a Career Coach to get better results, Smart Moms can help. Complete the Interest Form and we will be in touch.

Monday, July 30, 2018

If Apple Comes To RTP: What Job Could You Land?

There is a lot of talk that Apple may come to the RTP area. The reasons are numerous but the biggest ones include:

  1. Apple Has Created Support Infrastructure In NC - An Apple Data Center already exist in Maiden, NC since 2010. It is about 2.5 hours from Durham and located near Hickory, NC. This data center is providing Apple with a major East Coast infrastructure hub to support its iTune music store and iPhone app store. Apple has already invested close to $4 billion to Catawba county and provided state level tax breaks to set up shop in Catawba county. They have also built 3 large solar farms in Maiden, Conover and Claremount to power the data center. The 200-acres photovoltaic solar panels supplement power from Duke Energy and Bloom Energy. In summary, Apple has already made significant financial and construction investments in the State of North Carolina.
  2. Apple Leadership Has Roots In NC - Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple and prior COO. He has an MBA from Duke University and recently spoke at the Commencement Address for the Duke Class of 2018. Eddy Cue is Apple’s senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services and has a Bachelors in Computer Science and Economics from Duke University. Jeff Williams, COO holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Duke University.
  3. Raleigh-Durham Has the Business, Research, and Academic Environment to Support Apple's Growth Goal - Our community is rich in Environment Technology and had 5+ surrounding IT/High Tech colleges to provide people and strategies for success. In addition, our RTP community houses more than 250 companies where Apple can leverage ideas, workers and resources.

Should Apple decide to launch in NC, this would be their 2nd Headquarters with their main headquarters located on the West Coast. Their growth goals include a national pledge to create 5k - 20,000 jobs within the next 5 years somewhere within the US.

Top Positions that could come to RTP are:

  1. Research Positions (Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Robotics, Big Data Tools)
  2. Technical Support Staff
  3. Operations (Program Mgmt, PMI, PMP, Agile Tech, Business & IT/CS degrees)
  4. Software Developers/Engineers (PHP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL, SCRUM, Objective-C, or C++)
  5. Customer Support/HelpLine (CCENT, CCNA, Python, Go, Pearl, HR)

If these positions come to RTP, those with required certifications and relevant experience should have a strong chance of landing one. Visit the Apple job listing page and research the requirements for jobs occupations posted in other regions to prepare and understand Apple's requirements.

In addition, CEO Cook, also alluded to his "top-down" requirements in a 60 Minutes Overtime interview in 2015 when seeking ideal candidates. In essence they are NOT looking for "YES" men and women. They are looking for individuals that are able to defend their point of view and still possess a "passion" to change the world. Apple seeks individuals that are "Wicked smart people who have a point of view, and want to debate that point of view, and people that want to change something," Cook said. Expect to be interviewed by many people before landing the job and the ability to show your work.

Additionally, Machine Learning and AI experts are currently of deep value to Apple.

Need help preparing for interviewing or recognizing your strengths through an Employer's eyes? Smart Moms can help! Submit a career coach interest form and we will be in touch.

The content in my blog post was compiled from the following articles and websites.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Why Understanding your Company’s (or Client's) Objectives Is Critical!

Somewhere in our lives, we all experience a need to make career goals and plans for ourselves. Perhaps they are spurred by the need to fund a dream career, make more money to fuel retirement or to help pay for a child’s college education. The action could be promoted by the need for a more fulfilling job or one that has more career growth. The list can go on about our reasons for setting career goals and making moves.

Even when you are not focused on making career moves for yourself, if we are working for someone (and we all are working for someone in some fashion), we must stay abreast of our company’s (or client’s) goals and objectives. Being left in the dark and “out of the loop” is a very scary feeling. Decisions that can drastically effect you are being made at a level where you may not have visibility. Outcomes and resulting actions are not going to filter to you until initiatives are being implemented. Stay informed.

Scenarios to Ponder:

Consider that your company’s objective is to be bought out by the end of 2018. You may never know this objective because it was not relayed to you personally. Yes, being bought out might be a good thing for the company and maybe for you (stock options, retention bonus, etc). But it could also mean that the company will experience a layoff, or there may be a duplication of responsibility and some positions will have to be eliminated.

Perhaps you learn your company is spending a fair amount of research dollars and efforts to develop a new line of products. You are not in the area where company’s revenue is being invested. There is a chance you could become obsolete or devalued as the company's focus changes? Many industries and services have been obsoleted. Consider the film developing industry – gone! Phone books, dictionaries and encyclopedias – gone! All within the last decade.

How Do I Understand My Company Objectives:

To stay abreast requires being proactive. Schedule the time to read, research, and engage with others. Here is my list of suggested actions:

  1. Read/Listen to news articles (Reference USA, Hoovers, The Motley Fool, local online newspapers, HBR Ideacast)
  2. Read press releases and annual reports. Look for what is not being said or addressed. Consult with people in your network to fill in the information gaps.
  3. Flag and read all emails coming from your company’s communication department, marketing teams, president/CEO’s office. Set a reading time i.e. Saturdays 9 am over coffee in your favorite coffee shop/reading room.
  4. Attend staff meetings, functions involving higher level staff, gatherings involving partners, and suppliers. Meet someone and have a meaningful connection at each gathering. Do your best to stay in contact with each person periodically.
  5. Stay abreast of what other departments are working on. Note which technology, techniques, processes and staff have been obsoleted.
  6. Note who has retired and/or left the company. Are you noticing any departure trends? Can you explain their departure? Is it tied to any company objective/goal?

Understand Their Objectives & Goals - Now What?

Are the company’s objectives inline with your goals or some of your goals?

YES - Identify the skills, networking efforts, attitude adjustments that you need to continuously work on to be a part of the companies’ objectives.

How do you give yourself the training, experiences, and knowledge to be of value when your company makes a major shift?

NO – Identify your strongest skills and reflect on your level of interest in using them. If your interest is high, then determine the companies in your area or outside that value this skill set. Use your networking and begin to strategize on how to move. No company options, consider an entrepreneur/consulting launch.

Need help exploring your career goals? Smart Moms can help. Please submit an interest form and we will be in touch.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Networking Made Simple

My previous business partner, Michelle Yanik, taught me foundational networking strategies back in 2003. I remember asking her what the purpose of networking was, and she answered me with, “networking is the act of helping others”. Since then, networking has saved my business and career countless times.

The key to effective networking is not to expect things from others but to think of it as an act of selflessness.

I compare it to tossing a stone into a pond. When you offer your skills and resources to others, (or in this case, toss a stone into the pond of a network) the energy is returned to you in the form of ripples. If you can establish good relationships with the people in your circles, you can also gain rapport with the people in theirs and good things always come back around!

Here’s an example: As a job seeker, my network has helped me develop my impact as an altruistic and effective recruiter. Recently, a seasoned connection that I had forged with the manager of a local nonprofit introduced me to another dedicated career coach. We’ll call her Clarissa. At our very first meeting, I was enamored by Clarissa’s ambition and drive and knew immediately that she would be a terrific addition to any team. I reached out to a colleague who was organizing classes for job seekers in the area and recommended Clarissa to her. After Clarissa was hired, she proved to be an outstanding member of her new team and my relationship with her supervisor strengthened as well as my relationship with Clarissa. Clarissa and I are now working together on an exciting project, and as you can see, you never know how your healthy relationships can turn into profitable ones!

Once you feel like you’ve mastered the art of valuing and nurturing your relationships you might want to also consider “Strategic Networking”. This type of networking includes identifying your long-term goal, the people and organizations that can help you reach that goal and accepting the non-linear process that it might take to get there. Understanding that your strategic networking efforts may not operate in one manner (like getting referrals or collaborating) is vital to the process of building a network. Some strategic networking approaches involve 5 to 12 months of commitment! Still, having a deliberate approach to forming meaningful relationships can help connections and rewards come sooner to you and your peers.

I have found that networking skills come in many forms. They can spawn from a willingness to make introductions, provide information, insight and encouragement. It can even be asking someone to do a favor for a colleague or friend. Whatever the task, remember to always approach others with selflessness; I assure you, it always comes back around.

If you feel you need a Career Coach to get better results, Smart Moms can help. Complete the Interest Form and we will be in touch.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Strategies if you Are not Landing a Job

Here are some proven ways to land a job if you are a seasoned professional but have hit a roadblock.

  1. Get Past Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) – Use the right keywords on resumes and cover letters - Use to identify the keywords in a job listing and make sure they show up in the right context in your resume and cover letter/email. Also add high demand keywords into your social media profiles. Consider Wordle to identify the top keywords.
  2. Make sure your resume is accomplishment-rich! Search the web for Accomplishment Rich Resume Examples for ideas.
  3. Set up job alerts on 2-3 of these top job sites: Glassdoor, Indeed, and LinkedIn. Use these job alerts to stay abreast of opportunities at target companies. Leverage your network for introductions and referrals. Top Job Sites.
  4. Find A Transferable Career -
  5. Network – Talk To Friends, Family, Church, Social Clubs – Strengthen your Networking Skills. Many of the jobs available are acquired through networking methods. Check out this Video on Networking.
  6. Visit A Trade Show or Job Fair – NETWORK and LEARN something new in your field. Stay current with new knowledge and certifications.

If you feel you need a Career Coach to help get better results, Smart Moms can help. Complete the Interest Form and we will be in touch.