My name is Kim.

I’m one of the interns working at The Gabriel Institute and this is my last summer before I have to “go big, or go home,” and the last thing I want to do is go home.

Don’t get me wrong, my parents are lovely, and there is something wonderfully comfortable about a place you grew up in for 20 years. However, I come from a small town in Upstate New York, with an even smaller economy. (Not to mention I am also 21 and no longer am amused by the “what time are you going to be home” question.)

From high school well into my college years, finding a summer job was never a problem. All the restaurants were seasonal, and loved if you were only looking to work May through August. But those are restaurant jobs, and I decided to go to school for Communications and Journalism, not restaurant management.

One of my good friends (who lives in Philadelphia) was listening to me whine one day about not wanting to work in a restaurant all summer: how it wouldn’t get me ahead for graduation next year; how my internship in Washington D.C. fell through; how there was no one hiring interns back home, and an entire list of other things I was dreading about the summer. His only response was “Come live with me in Philly.”

Within days I decided to do it; to turn into a grownup and move out. I packed my bags and drove five hours with nothing but determination to make it the most fun and productive summer ever. It was my time to “go big.”

When I moved down here two months ago I had nothing. I knew a handful of people. I was sharing a room with my friend, and barely had a dresser-sized space in the closet in which to put all of my belongings.

I was unhappy with my money situation, my professional inexperience, and my living quarters. So I did something about it.

My determination for a job or internship was first on my to-do list. I put a few applications in at some restaurants, figuring it would be a very good plan B. I then signed up with an internship search website (www.internships.com) and within days had an interview for The Gabriel Institute in center city.

Two of the restaurants called me back for interviews, one of which I accepted.

I took some down time from job searching (praying both interviews would follow through) to see an old friend from my freshman year of college. She mentioned that one of her roommates just moved out and they were looking for someone to fill the spot to keep rent down. Bingo! A week and a half in Philly and things were going my way.

So now, two months later, I live with three people, two of whom are strangers, and one who is a gross slob, but I have my own space for when I need it. I didn’t originally want to work in another restaurant, but I have made a ton of new friends that I hang out with on a regular basis, and it’s great money. My internship is unpaid, but I enjoy the work and it’s giving me something wonderful to put on my resume, and I like it.

So in hindsight I’d say I did pretty well.

The point is folks; there are always ups and downs. You can never have EVERYTHING that you want, and you can never be completely satisfied with everything in your life. The difference between people who succeed in this world and those who don’t can be as simple as reorganizing and changing your situation until the only “bad” things are the little things.

Make your “big picture” one that you can stand to look at every day.

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This post originally appeared on my CEO2CEO blog, but I figure it has some usefulness for the future CEOs of the world. That’s you – but you might not have gotten your first job yet. Stop grumbling about the economy and read on…

I looked at a senior executive’s resume today – something I never do, but he is such a nice guy and his Teamability was so good, I figured I’d do it, just for research.  He’s a consultant now, but he’s been in senior management the latter part of his career.  With the economy improving, he’s on the prowl and some lucky company is going to get him.  After he fixes his resume…

So I’m going to offer my advice here, in hopes that if you are looking for a new C level job (or any job for that matter) that it will help you too.

First, put your address on it so it doesn’t look like you are living in your car. I know you have a lot of experience and you want to cram in into two pages because somewhere there is a ‘two page rule’, but really, this is not the place to skimp.

Then think about a better title or tag line.  No one will read everything you wrote because resumes are inherently boring, especially compared to some of the funnier jokes your friends sent you today or you read on your intern’s monitor.

Put your industry right up there in the title.  I know you want to appear flexible but executive recruiters care about industry.  A lot.  That’s how they make money, specializing in an industry.  So get it on there.

Also use the title you expect or want.  Like Lord High Executioner or Ruler of the Queen’s Navee.

So your title will be something like Chief Financial Officer, Aerospace Industry, or Senior Organizational Development Leader, 18 years in Banking.  Don’t use a number if you think it isn’t a good one.  (I don’t know what a good number is.  This is something you need to be comfortable with.)

Rework your opening summary paragraph so it doesn’t sound like Dogbert wrote it.  (I like Dogbert but you have to make this very concrete because it isn’t being read by people like us.) Short sentences.  Really.  People don’t read…  Okay, make that most people.  And they are screening your resume.  Make.  Them.  Happy.

Then make the bullet points pop.  Make each one count and make them very different.  No Dogbert.  No hackneyed words.  If you don’t know what words not to use, read Dilbert.

Be more specific on Core Competencies, if you have a section with them.  Make it reflect you and no one else.  If we were talking sales we would be talking differentiation.

Now you’re ready to prune your list of past employment.  Be brutal.  Only keep what will keep the reader reading.  That’s a summary statement, what you did, how it made the company happy.  That’s it.  And leave off your first jobs if they don’t contribute anything.  Same with non-degree training and such.

Now you have room to GIVE ME MARGINS!!!  People who actually might want to talk to you want a place to make notes.  Or doodle.  Whatever, it will look better.

And remember, especially if you are a senior executive, that the hiring manager reading your resume is likely to have ‘significant experience’.  That’s HR-speak for ‘old enough to need reading glasses’.  So pump up that font.  Please.

And good luck!

The choices you make in how you spend your time will shape how your college experience turns out. So join something! Whether it be a club, an organization, Greek Life, or a sports team, it will give you the opportunity to meet new people, make friends, and most importantly, have fun. I myself joined the Rugby football club at Clemson University, and it was the best decision I have made at school. I now have thirty guys to hang out with, something to do during the immense amount of down time I have, and the experience of something new is always exciting.

There is always something to do no matter what you like to do. There are countless activities for you to join or participate in, and most schools offer a way to find them. At Clemson, it looks like this:  http://stuaff.clemson.edu/organizations/listing.php.

The number of activities can be overwhelming, but don’t let that hold you back. You can always switch or drop something if you find that you do not like the activity, if it does not fit your schedule, or if it is simply not what you wanted. If you like multiple activities try a test run of them. The worst thing that can happen is it does not work out, and you move on.  If you are interested in something and there is no club for it, you can make up your own. That’s how the High-Five club at Clemson got started.

So make good use of groups as a source of fun, but keep in mind that your academics are just as, if not more, important. Keep in mind that there are certain things to beware of when joining a club:

  • You are at school to get a degree. It does not matter if you have the most fun you have ever had in your life if you cannot get through college. If you want to see your parents really yell at you, try wasting forty grand a year.
  • Do not spread yourself too thin when it comes to being in clubs or organizations. The more deeply involved you get, the better your experience can be.  But if you are too busy to give a hundred percent to what you are doing, then it can quickly become more work than fun.
  • Although one goal of joining a club or organization is to make friends, do not isolate yourself from everyone else. I had a roommate who became a complete jerk after he joined his frat.  “Have diversity of friends” may sound stupid, but it allows for more fun (options rule).

It is understandable that every person may, while having fun, take a few crazy pictures. However, what you need to keep in mind is that although that night was a lot of fun, the pictures may be less than appealing to people who weren’t there to enjoy it….such as people in the HR Department at the company where you hope to get hired. It’s a fact: businesses do not just look at your resume. Many of them dig deeper and do background checks, which can include your Facebook page and other social networking sites.

As you probably know, Facebook allows you to connect to friends, tag pictures, and set up wall posts. However, the pictures that you post and tag are left open to viewing and interpretation by others. A picture of you at a party with beer cans all around looks, to you, like a fun night with some friends. But to the HR person it may appear that you are a party animal, or worse, an alcoholic. Depending on the nature of the job and who is doing the research, even a single bottle or can in the picture could be devastating to your chances of being hired.

These days there are a lot more people looking for work than there are job openings to be filled. Some companies will receive hundreds if not thousands of resumes, and will cut the number down to just twenty-five before actually reading them. Even the smallest of reasons—a misspelled word, or an unattractive layout—can lead to rejection. If you make it past that point, the last thing you would want to do is give them some other obvious reason to rule you out…but it happens. In one instance, the President of an organization was waiting for a candidate to arrive for an interview, and decided to take a look at the person’s Facebook page. Thanks to some inappropriate photos, the candidate was history before he even started his interview.

If you think this is the exception, think again. According to an NBC Nightly News report from 2008, about 77% of employers were using search engines to evaluate candidates, and 35% had eliminated candidates based on the information they found. Two years later, you can bet that those percentages are even higher.

So your future is on the line. What do you do? For starters, imagine you are the HR interviewer. You have four candidates, and in preparation for the interview you go online and see that:

n  John posted a picture of himself playing beer pong

n  Lucy appears in a photo with two other girls, all dancing on a tabletop in a bar

n  Luke’s picture shows him slouched on a couch, watching tv with some other guys, and there are beer cans all over the place

n  A picture on Janet’s page shows her and a friend just laying out in a park

Who would you choose? John seems like a party boy who drinks all the time and possibly just plays with alcohol. Lucy seems to be out of control and possibly a party girl. Luke’s photo makes him look unappealing, and also a heavy drinker, while Janet’s picture shows nothing very impressive, but there is nothing suggestive of bad behavior, either. So if these were the only four to choose from, Janet would get the job.

Basically, if you are serious about life after school, monitor the pictures (and other stuff) you put up for the public—and the HR department—to find.

Hi. I’m Josh Sinkow—a new intern working at The Gabriel Institute. At Clemson University I play club rugby in which we have a ‘top-down’ organization on our team–from our coach to a captain, president, vice-president, secretary, field manager, and social chair. As a team we all work towards winning every rugby game we can and, hopefully, going to the playoffs.

In a business team you also want to organize yourself with a series of ‘leaders’ like the CEO, president, managers, secretaries, and so on. Together the leaders of the team set the strategy and improve the team’s readiness, skill, and morale for success on and off the field. Each individual needs to be able to do their role and not interfere with each other’s jobs otherwise conflicts occur. The role each individual plays on the team is essential to the success of the whole unit.

In rugby the forward’s job is to hit, crash, and fight through while the backs’ job is to run and perform trick plays. If a back were to jump into the ruck with the forwards then the team is short a back, making it easy for the other team to get the ball, pass it off, and run around or through us. In business, if an assistant starts making decisions for the president, there will be conflicts, errors, and a possibility of “dropping the ball”. Every individual has a job to do and needs to fulfill the role otherwise the whole company suffers. Even the lowest level employees are needed otherwise the work just would not get done. Each individual member of a business team needs to know what their job is, be able to accomplish that job, and fulfill their responsibilities in the job that they are in so the team can reach its goal.

Perhaps most important in both sports and business: having a positive and constructive attitude when working with others is the secret to having a great team.  And that brings us back to The Gabriel Institute’s product, which is called TGI Role-Based Assessment. RBA was created specifically to identify and measure how people ‘team’ together. TGI’s research shows that each person has a different kind of drive, or personal ‘mission,’ to meet the needs of their team. This is called their ‘Role’ in RBA. And having positive orientation to working with other people to benefit the group is an RBA measurement called Coherence. Putting Role and Coherence together can tell you a lot about a person’s ‘Teaming Characteristics’, which can accurately identify the ‘best-fit’ for each person in a work environment.

I have a lot more to learn about Role-Based Assessment, but there’s one thing I’m sure of: there’s a new way to know how people will perform in teams, and that’s something really worth knowing!

“To the east side?” you ask.  No, through the corporate ranks.  The Gabriel Institute’s very own Paul Sevcik was recently asked to write about his transition from intern to Client Services Manager for the Eye of the Intern blog, and here’s what he had to say:

Making the move from intern to full-time employee

I was in the last semester of my MBA program and all indicators were bad.  The job market was down and paid positions were scarce as recently laid-off seasoned professionals joined the merry-go-round looking for work. At a networking event, I learned about an unadvertised internship at a company located in the same building where I took to my graduate courses. I chatted up the CEO of the company and was invited to apply for the internship.

This particular company had a unique way for potential interns to start the application process.  Submit a resume?  “No, thank you,” they said.  Call some references?  “Nope, we don’t do that,” they said, “just go to our website.”  Oh boy.  I had heard that story a thousand times!

Although skeptical, I went to their website and applied by taking their Role-Based Assessment, which actually turned out to be fun. When I clicked submit, I received the typical: “We’ll be in touch.”  I followed up by sending an email to the CEO of the company.  The next day, I received an invitation to interview with them.

The interview was like any other with typical questions about my skills and experience, but a new dimension was added when they actually gave me my assessment results. This was a surprise because I had received my results at an interview before. I read over the report and thought, “Wow, this company really gets me!  Before they even brought me in today, they knew how I could contribute to their team.  Wait a minute–they brought me in because they already know I will be a positive contributor to their company!”  The interview discussion was very productive and within a week, I was working at The Gabriel Institute doing work that I really enjoyed.

I worked at The Gabriel Institute for three months and sampled work in Sales, Human Resources, and Operations.  I had expressed interest in these areas during my interview and my supervisor made sure to balance the type of work I did. In the process, I worked with every person in the organization, which was a small startup company with a heavy entrepreneurial focus.

As my third month came to a close, I received and accepted an offer for full-time work at another company. The experience at the new company, however, was so negatively different from the supportive and productive environment at The Gabriel Institute that I terminated employment at the new company on my 90th day.

So there I was without a job or internship and no sign of the economy improving anytime soon.  What was I going to do?

I asked the CEO of The Gabriel Institute, the company where I had done my internship, out to breakfast and the next morning we sat down to talk about my future with the company. My internship was reignited with a bend toward temp-to-hire work. Three months later, I transitioned from a temp to a full-time employee and now, I’m the Client Services Manager.  Part of my job is to oversee the internship program. Today, the program is formalized and the positions are advertised at local universities, several online internship sites, and on the company’s website. The process for becoming an intern still starts at the website and we only bring in interns if we know their assessment results fit with our needs. The assessment works like a charm and I am proof it’s possible to go from intern to full-time employee at a small company that’s willing to take the risk during turbulent times.

The original blog posting can be found here.

In honor of Brian’s marriage to the lovely Stephanie, here are the five secrets of marital happiness.  If you’re reading this, you are probably more focused on career at this point in your life, but remember that balance is wonderful and you can learn a lot from being with a loving mate.

  1. Feel kindness toward each other and act on your feeling every day.
  2. Always think more highly of your partner than your partner does of him or herself.
  3. Keep a big store of the balms and bandages your partner prefers.
  4. When there are pebbles in your partner’s path, sweep them away quietly.
  5. Listen to the way your partner is talking, not just to the words.*

And, by the way, these could be useful for career relationships too.

*These originally appeared in Personal Excellence magazine in February of 2007.  If you want the rest of the article, leave a comment here!