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Minnesota Career Development Association

MCDA celebrates National Career Development Month: Reflecting back to prepare for what’s ahead

December 1st, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Greetings MCDA Goers!

It’s back and worse than ever – WINTER! As you may know, November was National Career Development Month and as part of celebrating our work in the field, we wanted to reflect back on the amazing work we do and send out tips, resources and interesting facts tailored to you. We hope you find these beneficial and enjoyable. Oh…and take a moment to pat yourself on the back for all you do for our field, those we serve and MCDA. On behalf of MCDA – THANK YOU!  Have a fabulous day and wonderful holiday season!

Top 10 Tips Entering 2015:

1. Measure Your Progress: As you move along in your career, assess your progress periodically. “Every six months you have to reevaluate your short-term and long-term professional objectives,” Aretakis says. Use your own metrics, which could include additions to your portfolio of responsibilities and regular contact with high executives in your company.

2. Take over Your Professional Development: “It behooves the employee to go after the company’s career-development opportunities, to show how development would serve the organization and the individual,” says career coach Janine Moon of CompassPoint Coaching in Columbus, Ohio. However, the bottom line on professional development is that you own it. “You’ll always have to take care of skills and knowledge and make sure they’re current,” Moon says. “Build a pool of money to ensure your own development over the course of your career.”

3. Work with Your Mentors: Check in with your long-term professional allies and mentors, many of whom won’t be your bosses. “You always need to have mentors inside and outside your employer, experienced people with an interest in your personal and professional well-being,” Aretakis says. No mentor…no worries.  Now is a great time to find a mentor. Changing habits almost always requires help. Just as losers will help you lose even more, winners will help you increase the nature and extent of your success. Find one or two persons you respect and trust. Explain what you are trying to accomplish and how you plan to do it. Ask for frank advice (no sugar-coating); the most difficult to obtain but the most valuable to have.

4. Know When to Move On: Don’t stick with a company that lacks the opportunities or culture to empower your career progress. “If you have a core set of skills, good companies will let you go places with them,” Freeman says. “I’m on teams that have nothing to do with my daily job. You can get involved with new business or with transforming a business process.”

5. Get Your Career Moving in the Right Direction: Forward – Begin by asking yourself what you find frustrating about your job, say Caitlin Friedman and Kimberly Yorio, authors of The Girl’s Guide to Kicking Your Career into Gear. Is it your boss? Your daily responsibilities? Your coworkers? Are you not making the money you feel you deserve?  “Depending on the source of the frustration, make an action plan for yourself to change the situation,” Yorio says. “The next step is to ask yourself what you may be contributing to the situation. And then actively address the problem by asking for what you want, changing your job, confronting a coworker or even start researching a new career.”

6. Dust off Your Resume: If you’ve become comfortable in your present position, chances are you haven’t looked at your resume in a while. People who advance are always ready for their next move. You simply never know when a new position may open up in your present company or when a great opportunity will come your way somewhere new. Those who have their resume ready will be able to respond to new opportunities with relatively little effort compared with those who haven’t updated their resume in several years.  Cheryl Palmer of Call to Career, a career coaching service, suggests maintaining a record of your accomplishments as you go along in your job to help you keep your resume updated.

7. Invest in professional development: New habits always require new skills. Identify the skills you need to improve to progress in your career. Develop these skills by attending seminars and workshops, enrolling in evening and/or weekend courses (e.g. at a community college), and reading books to expand and deepen your expertise. Then apply these strengthened skills and seek feedback from an expert.

8. Strengthen Strengths: Coaching and mentoring deem individuals to be unique beings with special talents and unique abilities all their own. Coaches labor valiantly to maximize individual performance by carefully tending to people, and understanding what they’re all about, on a one-on-one basis. You know best what you excel in and what you most enjoy doing. These are the areas you should concentrate on and rely on to fulfill your career objectives and long-term ambitions. There’s nothing more deflating than individuals in careers that bring them little joy and satisfaction, even when the money fields are green. Develop your special qualities to their fullest. Strengthen your strengths and know your weaknesses.

9. Deliver Your 100% at the Workplace: While performing your job responsibilities, try to become an asset to the company you work for. Never step back from going that extra mile to stand yourself apart from other employees and prove your worth to the employer. Whether personally or professionally, build yourself an excellent reputation at the workplace. The reputation that you build will follow you everywhere and will be an essential ingredient of your overall career development and success.

10. Looking at Your Life as Though It Were a Canvas: While working on a painting, artists regularly step back from the canvas as a way of refocusing and evaluating their work.  Often an artist is too close to the work to see if the design is right, whether the values (the relationship of dark and light) are correct or whether the colors are working.  Only by stepping back from the canvas, away from the immediacy of the problem, can the artist evaluate what is working, what is not, and what adjustments need to be made. When is the last time you stepped back from the canvas of your life and what did you notice?  What are the ways you help your clients step back from the canvas of their life in the coaching session?

11. Identify Your Talents & Skills: Knowing your strengths, interests and weakness is a part and parcel of the career planning and development procedure. To be successful in your professional career, you need to be well informed about the talents, skills and unique qualities that you have. Take a look at and analyze the activities that you most enjoy and love to do. Review your academic history and the past job history to discover what you enjoyed doing the most.

12. Pay Attention to Your Physical & Mental Health: To be active and efficiently handle the work pressure at the workplace, you need to be fit both physically and mentally. Maintain a healthy eating habit, exercise regularly and derive strength from recreational, social and spiritual activities.

13. Fine-tune Your Presentation Skills: Many people try to get away from public speaking and presentation. Public speaking is one of the most powerful tools to gain publicity. It is an important vehicle to market yourself. Rather than hating such career advancement opportunities, you should try to find them. Giving presentations and speaking to the public can give your career a big boost.

14. Plan Ahead: Do you have a dream job or know the next job in your career? Start looking at job descriptions now and identify the gaps in your own knowledge and/or skills. Volunteer or join additional committees to gain the necessary skills you may lack in the present in anticipation of future requirements.

15. Final Tip: Have fun…laugh more…and whatever you do, have a joyous and safe holiday season.


Top 10 MCDA & NCDA Resources:

1. Career Development Quarterly: The Career Development Quarterly (CDQ) is the official journal of the National Career Development Association (NCDA).

2. Career Resource StoreNCDA offers carefully selected products for all career development professionals. 

3. Career Convergence Magazine

4. NCDA Professional Development opportunities: NCDA offers a list of events, webinars and resources to help advance career development professionals.

5. Career Development Resources: websites, tools, tips and recommended resources to aid your students and clients in their career development.

6. MCDA Mentor Program

7. MCDA News and Events

8. MCDA LinkedIn Group

9. Professional Associations for Career Development Professionals

10. Get Involved with MCDA!


Top 10 “Interesting facts you might not have known”:

1. Did you know that more than 33 years after dropping out of California State, motion picture director Steven Spielberg finally graduated from there in 2002 with a degree in Film? Steven Spielberg holds several honorary doctorates from Universities around the world and 3 Academy Awards, but didn’t finish his Bachelor’s degree until 2002.

2. Did you know that Oprah Winfrey, the reigning queen of talk shows, majored in Speech and Drama at Tennessee State University. Upon graduation she became the first black woman to anchor a local TV news program in Nashville.

3. Did you know that current talk show host Ellen DeGeneres’ first job was working at a car wash?

4. Did you know this about Brad Pitt? “My first job was on the corner of La Brea Boulevard and Sunset,’ says Pitt about his El Pollo Loco job. “I stood there wearing a chicken costume to advertise for this fast-food place.”

5. Did you know the Beatles were Steve Jobs’ Business Inspiration?“My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys that kept each other’s negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other. And the total was greater than the sum of the parts. Great things in business are not done by one person, they are done by a team of people.” And of course, teamwork is what led to Jobs’ incredible track record as an inventor.

6. Did you know in 1783 a black slave named James Derham worked as a nurse in New Orleans, eventually earning enough money to buy his freedom and move to Philadelphia, where he studied medicine and became a doctor?

7. Did you know that one in four workers has been with their current employer for less than one year? And, that the US Department of Labor estimates today’s learner will have 10-14 jobs by the age of 38?

8. Did you know the economic impact of art and design exceeds that of sports worldwide? And, that the Top 10 in-demand jobs in 2014 did not exist in 2004?

9. Did you know that the average number of people who apply for any given job: 118, and that 20% of those applicants get an interview. Also, did you know that on average, interviews last 40 minutes. After that, it usually takes 24 hours to two weeks to hear from the company with their decision.

10. Did you know that in the U.S., 42% of professionals are uncomfortable negotiating salary. By not negotiating, an individual stands to lose more than $500,000 by the time they reach 60. Also, more than half (56%) of all employers reported that a candidate rejected their job offer in 2012.


On behalf of MCDA – Happy Holidays to you and yours!

Darren Kaltved, Past President of MCDA

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