Thank you NOVA!
Every seat was taken. The organizers were a little surprised and I was a touch intimidated. I’m not a practiced public speaker (but I will be soon). I agreed to do the event a month or so ago and assembled some ideas in my very limited spare time leading up to it. Fortunately the drive down, navigating Washington DC beltway rush hour traffic, sapped enough of my attention span so that I never really had a chance to get nervous.
NOVA, Northern Virginia Community College, is a good size operation. The auditorium was filled to capacity with students, some parents, faculty members and staff. The topic: Job Search. The “expert:” Me!
During the 90+ minute talk and following Q&A session, we covered some of the core topics that I wrote about in Modern Job Search – including value, interview strategies and some discussion of resume preparation. The students asked really great questions and I did my best to provide answers. It was a lot more fun than I anticipated, despite my initial apprehension and the handful of mistakes I made.
I wanted to say thank you again to the organizers at NOVA for making this event possible. As I’ve been speaking with more and more university and college career guidance advisers and professors, I’ve come to learn that there really is an instructional gap when it comes to practical and practicable job search guidance, particularly process oriented material that provides a job search “road map.” This was somewhat reinforced by the students in attendance who seemed hungry for experience based knowledge. It’s been kind of an eye opener and I sincerely hope I helped.
I’m hopeful that I’ll get more opportunities to speak with students about their career goals and how to attain them. Based on the feedback I received and the energy and interest level of the attendees, I believe there is a need.
I remember feeling out of control and intimidated when I popped out of college (a long time ago) and that those feelings really hampered my ability to chase my goals. I know now that what I felt then was unnecessary and counterproductive; that in fact, there’s little to actually be afraid of and that mistakes are okay, they are part of the career exploration process. Part of the goal of Modern Job Search and any presentations I give is to reinforce that idea and provide a road map to empower people to experiment and explore without fear. I hope that message got through.
Kurt Schmidt is the author of “Modern Job Search” and the President and Owner of Capto Systems, an executive search firm focused on supply chain and strategic sourcing jobs in manufacturing and energy. He’s also an aspiring photographer and traveler. If you’re really looking for a job, you need this book!