Well we are two months into 2012 and I have been stuck in a cubicle learning how to manipulate data like a magician in my new financial analyst position. It almost makes me wonder why my Master’s program didn’t offer report creation wizard courses instead of analyzing what financial ratios mean in regards to the health of a business. While stuck in my cube I have even contemplated about changing my career because I began to wonder how sitting on my butt staring at a million spreadsheets with little numbers was bringing any good to anyone.
Since I have become very actively involved with the Latino Youth Action League (L@YAL) I wondered if it would be a better idea to go back to law school to become an immigration lawyer. It would put me in a better position to help people while being able to promote L@YAL. It would be a larger fulfillment for me to participate in trying to pass the Dream Act than to create a pretty spreadsheet for the CFO of a metal distribution company. Just saying.
Now the big question is, if I do take this crazy career change how will I finance my underwater home, my already lucrative educational bills, and now my law degree. Are you starting to think I am crazy? My mom sure is. To try to at least finance the law degree I have begun to create a portfolio of scholarships that I qualify for. In addition, I have started to create a list of possible places that may possibly sponsor me and also of local scholarships in my area. Anything is possible, right? And you won’t know if you can be successful at something if you don’t try.
As I have been putting all of this information together I began to think of other possible career routes also and came across top careers for women during my search. I personally hate articles that segregate best possible careers for men and women because personally I feel that currently women are much more focused at exceling at their careers than men, especially Latina women. But that is only a personal opinion, so men please don’t cause in uproar. The tops careers for women in 2012 are the following:
Natural Sciences Manager
Chief Executive Title
So what are my thoughts on this?? Well I am not the only career aggressive women in town. My next question would be how do these women finance their educational goals and how did they reach such lucrative positions? So I won’t leave myself or you hanging I have decided to interview a few of the top women in Chicago within the next couple of months. Stay tuned to hear how they are exceling!!!!!!
There have been so many complaints about the economy being horrible and the scarce job availability for newly graduates. There is a growing fear of forgetting what you have learned in school. BUT the fear should not be that great. I have come to the conclusion that the best way to gain experience in the field that you have studied in is to volunteer. Taking the initiative to get out there to help the community is already a huge step that puts you ahead of the career game. It says a lot about your character, integrity, and dedication to not only help the community but also your hunger to succeed in your profession.
The main detail that is stumping our young ones is that to succeed in the present day you have to be innovative. We, as a whole, have forgotten how to be innovative. We have become dependent on routines and cycles. We are so used to following are supposed path of going to college, graduating, and automatically finding a job that we are now lost because the economy has altered that rotation. This alteration can either sit us down and make us wait until things get better or we can think of new ways to excel.
Volunteering is one way to start to learn the ropes, to gain experience, to build your network, to find new opportunities and perhaps find yourself a job where you didn’t expect to find one. The key is to be persistent and patient. Like everywhere you most likely will start at the bottom of the barrel doing jobs that you may not like or you find insignificant. Or you may get lucky since there are a few organizations out there that are new and are looking for junior board members or just members in general that will bring in new ideas. You just have to search.
This economy is stuff. The whole nation is seriously suffering not just from the bad economy, but from bad decisions on a variety of subjects. Do not get discouraged. This is a lesson for us as a nation. From the moment you step into school, start this process of networking and volunteering. The more people you know the better. You never know when you will need someone’s help and if you don’t then at least you can lend a helping hand to someone who does.
On Saturday, November 19th, I joined the Mujeres de HACE in their first annual holiday luncheon. For a while I have been curious about this group. I do have great cariño for HACE and I wanted to know how that filtered down to this particular sector. I have to say that I was not disappointed at all. From the entire luncheon, the speaker was the person that impacted me the most. I almost felt like I mirrored her life and she was saying my story for a moment. There is nothing more comforting than to hear a woman tell her story that is similar to yours and yet see that she not only overcame and succeeded, but she is now very well-off and inspiring others. I have never walked out of an event so inspired like I did that day.
Each time I attend these events I have that same awkward feeling of not knowing what to expect. The outcome of all networking events is always different. Some are successful and some are disasters. Despite my advocacy on networking I am probably still one of the shyest people out there.The idea is to try to practice as much as possible though and if you at least connect well with one or two people you have made a larger stride than most people.
This particular event was held at Brandi’s Banquet which is owned by a former Mujeres de HACE alumnus. Both breakfast and lunch were served, which was great because I love to eat. Between the meals a presentation was given by Luz Canino-Baker. The purpose of the presentation was to learn how to build a 5-year plan, similar to what they do in the Mujeres de HACE Leadership Program. I have never had a plan extend so far and much less did I follow up with any of my set goals. It’s intriguing how some of the most successful people audit their goals and actions. Some of the questions she asked us were even more fascinating since I never sat down and took the time to think on whether I was living the life that I wanted. So all in all, the presentation opened up a part of my mind that has not been touched before and it felt so motivating that I wanted more.
In addition to the presentation, I did get to meet some great women at my table. The event also offered a free photo head shot for your Linkedin profile, resume reviews, vendors selling their products, sign up sheets for Mujeres on the Run (which I definitely need to get more information on) and the Mujeres de HACE Leadership Program.
If there is another Mujeres de HACE event I definitely recommend attending. On November 30th, the fall 2011 leadership group will be graduating at the Northern Trust Bank on 50S LaSalle, from 5:30 to 7:30pm. Also I believe their leadership program kicks off in April. For more information please visit www.haceonline.org
And just to give you a glimpse of how to begin your 5 year plan to ensure your goals are met I will share with you some of my notes. First, we were asked a set of questions such as the following:
- What would you do if money wasn’t an issue?
- If you had 24 hours left to live how would you spend it?
- What motivates you?
- Who are the people that matter to you?
- What are the things that are important to you?
- Are you living solely for today? (think about the future)
After answering these questions you move on to choosing your 10 domains. These domains can be the following:
You then identify what you want each of these domains to look like 5 years from now. Be sure to be very detailed. Then have a friend, coach, mentor to help you achieve these goals.
And remember, “This is your life, not a dress rehearsal”. My favorite quote stated at the event. ♥
In my quest to grow and become a better person by helping those in my community I have become extremely interested in attending conferences and networking events that allow me to learn from others. One particular event that I am excited to attend is the Ninth Annual ILLCF Conference. The conference theme is “La Presencia Latina: Growth, responsibility, influence, and transformation”. Transformation is a big word and one that is very much needed. By attending these events you not only transform yourself and your way of thinking, but you also get the opportunity to transform others, which is the most important part.
The conference will be held on Nov 18th in the Donald E Stephens Convention Center and tickets are $25 for the day. The conference will open up with breakfast and then move into the open and welcoming session. From 9:45 to 11:45 am there will concurrent sessions or workshops. The sessions held will be
- Economic Growth and Job Creation: Rebuilding in Innovative Ways
- Health and Responsibility: Increasing awareness and access
- Immigration Reform and Influence: Leveraging Strength in Numbers
- Educational Transformation: Improving School in a Time of Budget Restraints
- Latina Empowerment: Creating Leaderships Strengths, Relationships, and
- Latino Student Leadership: Developing Knowledge, Skills, and Values
For those of you who follow my blog, all of these subjects are very important to me and they should be to you also. These are topics that we should all be involved in and aware of and will help us evolve and grow in whatever opportunities and obstacles we take on. In addition, the amount of people that you will meet will definitely benefit the network that you should already be working on.
After these very important sessions there will be a luncheon, a speaker, and then the very much awaited town hall meeting which will speak of the implications for the Latino community. There is no better way to improve yourself by becoming informed about your community. The more you attend these events to become informed, the more people you will meet. The more people you meet, the more opportunities will open up and present themselves to you. This is a cycle that should never let go. It is one for the main ways of becoming successful.
Since November 2010 I have been looking for a new job that will better fit my degree. In a market filled with so much uncertainty, I was lost. Never have I ever been so aggressive with my career. All of my vacation for 2011 has been spent at networking events, career fairs, and interviews in a desperate attempt to not lose what I had learned in the three years of my quest towards my Master’s Degree. As I recovered from furlough’s from the previous year and also shivered at each letter that came in that notify me of my school loans I wondered whether getting an advanced degree was actually worth it. If I did not get my Master’s Degree I imagined myself being stuck making collection calls for the rest of my life without much opportunity for advancement. Yet on the other hand, with my Master’s I have joined the club of “Lifetime Indebt ness” due to the massive school loans I incurred. Like many, I believed such an investment would pay off in the long-run. Yet, no one ever seemed to define how that “long” that long-run would be, nor how much suffering would take place in the short-run. Nor did anyone mention that other factors could limit any advancement in your career and you should prepare accordingly.
I continued to push though. I figured that even though there a millions out of work, at least a Master’s degree would put me a little higher in the ranking, right? I don’t think there can be anything more stressful than to work hard and not reap any benefits, but instead juggle the madness of bad luck. Furloughs, a flood, a dying dog, car trouble, and an idiot ex-boyfriend that ruined me financially couldn’t have put me any lower in moral stature. In addition to that, I felt like there was nothing worse than going to networking events, job fairs, etc, where people put your hopes up by complimenting on the potential that you have, but then shooting you down a day later because of the thousands of other people that also have the same potential or more. It’s a tough market and I can only imagine how those with no job may feel. I felt frustrated in an economy that has chosen to inhibit or absorb people’s hopes.
So in regards to career advancement, if you are in a position as me, working in a job that isn’t relevant to your goals and aspirations I recommend to not stop pushing at the company you currently work in. Let them know what you want and show them what you are capable of. It is easier to move within a company you are already in that to only look outside because of the harsh market. Yet, never limit yourself. Push both inside and outside of the company and you never know what opportunities may spring up. I have worked almost 8 years at the company that I’m at. Three years in, I advised that my goal was to move into finance. The Director of Financial Planning and Analysis advised at that time that I needed to get a higher degree to even be remotely considered for such a position. So I did. It took about three years to get my Master’s Degree. After obtaining my Master’s Degree I was still denied entry into the finance department due to lack of experience. Along, with networking, I also volunteered, and attended seminars and workshops that could enrich me to advance in my career. While I did that, one of the financial analysts at work left on maternity leave and I was given the opportunity to help.
Despite the fact that I was angry because I would be working in two positions at the same pay, I held back by tears and my anger and learned as much as I could to gain some type of experience. It was during this short trajectory where I demonstrated to everyone that I am capable of working in such a position and FINALLY got promoted in the beginning of October. I have to say that there is no better feeling than to accomplish something that took years of work and it’s exciting to know that the experience that I will now gain will only set me up for better opportunities down the road.
The fight is not over though. As I look at my school loans I wonder if they will even be paid in full during my lifetime. Therefore, while I have advanced in my career I am looking for other ways to not only fund my education, but also to help the Latino Community. These two paths will eventually tie in together to something greater, which is why the path of career advancement is such an art.
Last Thursday, July 14th, I attended one of the best networking events that I have attended this year. It was hosted by HACE at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. It started off with an opening presentation of the Director of Membership Patricia Mota followed by the director of Inclusion and Diversity of the Chicago Federal Reserve, a couple of Latino employees that work at the bank, and the introduction of the hiring managers.
After the short presentation, the networking began outside the auditorium. Right outside the auditorium there was an atrium that was filled with very tasty appetizers and a selection of punches lemonade. Around the atrium there were three rooms. In the largest room there were a number of people that spoke about the different departments and positions that the bank has. In the two smaller rooms there were hiring managers that were hiring for specific positions. One room was directed to towards accounting and finance and the other leaned on regulation I believe. As you can tell I was more interested in the finance room. In these rooms you are able to distribute your resume and speak with the hiring managers on the positions you are interested possibly leading to an interview.
I did not stay for the entire event, but there was a closing presentation and the distribution of gift bags. In addition, I forgot to mention, before the whole event started we had access to the money museum where we could read up on the history of the U.S. currency. I was going to take some pictures, but I didn’t want to get tackled by security or just look like a total nerd.
The next Latino Recruitment series is on August 18th at BP in Warrenville. I am actually pretty excited about this one. Check out the HACE website for more info and to register. Hope to see you there!
The saga continues, like many people, I continue looking for a job. As I get more involved with the Latin organizations I have noticed that in order to build a good network/ good relationships it requires time and dedication just like any other relationship or commitment. I am not sure what my original thought of networking was. I just knew that I had a fear of it. Maybe I did have a small inclination that through networking I would have landed a new job months ago, but we all know now that it is not going to work that fast. In fact, it has now been seven months since I’ve started networking and I believe that I have just reached a point in which I have built quality relationships. I am meeting more people than ever in which there is a consistent stream of communication. Not only that, but because of my participation, persistence, and dedication those that I have met or spoken to have kept me in mind when job openings cross their desk.
So what is the moral of the story, in order to accomplish anything, whether it’s growing your network or getting a job you must be patient and completely focused and dedicated. Attending a few networking events is not going to cut it. You must keep attending these events until you meet the right people. Until you get responses. Until you start landing those interviews and eventually a job. In the interim you will make some good friends and like the President of ALPFA mentioned to me, you may even make best friends.
So if you have stopped networking I suggest trying again. Give it about a year before you decide it’s worth it or not. I am sure you will learn that it is very well worth it.
Blogging is an entirely new world for me. I have never blogged before nor commented on anyone else’s blog either. My internet reading usually consisted of catching up on breaking news or where the best places to go out were. I had to do research on how to build a website so I can start blogging. It’s amazing how many people can be reached through the internet. The internet is a very powerful tool.
So why blogging? As you very well know, recently I have been very frustrated in my job hunt and other personal issues. I found myself writing about my frustrations to relieve some stress almost on a daily basis. A co-worker had mentioned that I should blog about my experiences. After a while of deliberating I decided to do so. I wasn’t sure what kind of reaction I would get from doing this. I procrastinated on publicly publishing my website for about a week after everything was done because I was so afraid of people’s reactions. I figured though, that whatever the outcome, if I at least am able to help one person with my experiences then my blogging was successful. If I struggled down a path, I want to prevent others from struggling. So I hope that I have helped at least one person in the couple of weeks that my website has been public.
I do have to say that having other people read my website in a way will help me build relationships with the people that I meet at networking events. At least that’s the feeling that I have. It seems that many people assimilate with a few of the blogs, which helps break the ice to begin building relationships. So I got to thinking, similar to Twitter and Facebook, if people begin commenting on not only my blogs, but other blogs out there also, a dialogue will be opened with numerous people which can lead to a new way of networking. It would be networking online similar to webinars but with no allotted times. So I hope that as I continue to promote this website something like this can be achieved. Especially since blogging is more accommodating to people’s heavy schedules since there is no physical meeting
place. The meeting place is universal dependent on people’s time and dedication
to the cause.
So as I continue to promote this website chime in. You never know what can happen.
One of the biggest things I am still learning to overcome is my fear of networking. Each time I go to a networking event though, it gets a little easier. Yet, there is one detail that bothers me very much and almost made me stop networking altogether earlier this year. There has been numerous times where I thought I made good connections with people at these networking events and sent out my follow up emails the following day but never received a response. It really frustrated me and I didn’t understand why this was occurring, especially at the events that targeted student’s career advancement. So the frustration of not being able to advance at my current job, not being able to find a job elsewhere, and having trouble getting responses back from the people that I met at networking events was heavily building up on me. Other than having the diminishing fear of networking, the fear of forgetting what I learned in grad school was growing. I felt and I sometimes still feel that the economy has really set up a brick wall from the professional career and financial independence that I have worked for.
Even though I was losing my faith in growing my network I attended one more networking event at DePaul University where one of the recruiters from the Chicago Federal Reserve told me to get involved with the Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement (HACE). I went online the following day and emailed the first contact I saw on the HACE website and received a response within hours. Having so many unresponsive people, I was ecstatic to get such a quick response not only from the person that I emailed but also from the people that were copied on the email.
Since that day HACE has been one of my favorite organizations to work with in my journey to expand my network and search for career advancement opportunities. To be extremely sincere, if it weren’t for the quick responses and the great people I met that work within this organization I probably would have given up my job search and networking efforts. Their dedication, sincerity, and intelligence to help those who want and need help in my opinion are extraordinary.
HACE has helped me in various ways. Through one of HACE’s career fairs back in March I was able to land an interview with Allstate. Even though I didn’t get the position it did motivate me further to continue to network. From what I have heard from other people, many of them don’t get responses from their job application submissions since the job market is so tight. Therefore, I felt like I was a step ahead of most people. In fact, the few interviews I have landed have either been through HACE or other similar organizations. So in my honest opinion, I believe that continuing through this path will probably be my most productive. In addition to this, HACE has also reviewed my resume, conducted a mock interview to prepare me for the Allstate interview, and continues to work with me on new opportunities.
There is one small detail that has disappointed me about this organization. I would like to see more student chapters in colleges and if it’s even possible in high schools also. Career development should start at a young age to create not only leaders, but to have a stronger community in general. I believe HACE has the capability to touch and change the lives of many. We just need to spread the word to help. If you would like to learn more about HACE please visit their website at http://www.haceonline.org
. Let me know if you have any questions or suggestions in regards to this organization. I would love
to see this organization grow.
I have to say that I was a little worried in writing this blog. I really wanted to focus on writing on how I was able to network at the Diversity and Inclusion Event that was held at Deloitte on Friday, June 17th and all the connections I made. Unfortunately, I was so exhausted from what felt like the longest week of my life that I really just wanted to go home and hibernate for the entire weekend. I survived though.
I know that on a Friday summer evening you would probably rather be doing anything other than attending a networking event downtown. Yet, if you are serious about your career and you are one of the many people who want a better position or merely just want a job it is necessary to sacrifice a few summer fun hours. It actually isn’t that bad. This particular event had a few drinks and snacks while you listened to the lecture and after there was liquor and hot appetizers for the networking portion. AND it was all free. So its basically a free happy hour while you meet people that can potentially change your life in a very positive way. So its definitely worth your while.
I started networking at the beginning of January of this year. Before that, I really didn’t want to get involve with it. Like most people I couldn’t find the courage to go up and just start talking to random people on why I was there. When I started to look for a job after I graduated from DePaul, I started submitting my resume and never got a phone call back from any of my submissions. If I was lucky, I would at least get the rejection notice through my email and usually that was months later after my submission. So I began to get frustrated. Yes, the job market is tight, but I was not going to let that ruin my career or stop me from moving forward. So I decided to attend my first networking even that was hosted by DePaul University, Ernst and Young, and ALPFA. I have to say that attending that event was probably the best decision I have ever made.
ALPFA is a national Hispanic non-profit organization that focuses on expanding people’s networks and making business leaders. This is one of my favorite organizations and I am finding that the more I work with them the more I like it. Getting involved with this organization, or others that are similar, help you grow professionally, helps you view the Latino community from a different light, and opens the door to meet some great people. So I suggest not only joining such an organization, but also becoming involved in the events they host.
This particular event was centered on the speaker Salvador Mendoza; A man who came from Honduras at a very young age that did not speak English and is now the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Hyatt Hotels and Resorts. He has been at Hyatt for about 14 years and before that worked with LULAC, another Hispanic organization, helping kids get into college. The presentation itself was about creating personal and professional brand equity through your community and diversity involvement. The following are a few pointers that Salvador made in the presentation that I will share with you.
1) Perceptions – Don’t judge people in advance. Learn what they are all about. You may be impressed
2) Many generations – one work force: Build a brand for each generation, don’t just stick within your own age group.
3) Communication – Remember that body language says more than what you think.
4) Respect vs. like: A few instructions came under this category. Become genuinely interested in other people/If you are wrong admit it quickly and empathetically/smile with your eyes/Let the other person feel that the idea is his/hers
5) Creating change – Ask questions instead of giving orders/Begin with praise and honest appreciation
6) Relationship economics (this one is important)
a. Clean up and prioritize your contact list (that includes your 5000 facebook friends)
b. Follow up with new contacts (within 3 days)
c. Schedule coffee meetings
d. Send handwritten notes
e. Schedule informal get togethers
f. Find a mentor and mentor someone
And the PUNTO FINAL of the presentation: Become a credible activist. (The only way to see the big picture is to make the right connections)
Motivate yourself to get to one of these events. They are definitely enlightening.