Interview with Ashley Nixon, Ph.D., SPHR: Tips for finding your ideal self

What are the challenges people face when attempted to identify their
ideal selves?

Biggest challenge – Making themselves do it. Most students tell me they resented having to go through the analysis, dreaded it, avoided it, but then were appreciative for the insights after they had finished. It is not necessarily natural or comfortable to be that introspective.  

What are some tools that can be used to help someone track their
progress towards this ideal self (e.g. vision boards, flow charts,

Whatever tools work! I’m a big advocate for doing something, and incrementally improving until you have a plan that works for you. Also, Re-doing the analysis every few years can help you identify and incorporate changes. 

I imagine there are some folks who would argue, “why do I need to find
my ideal self, I know who I am!”  How would you address an individual
in this category to help them see the importance of the exercise?

If you know who you are, then this should be an easy exercise! I tend to see more half-hearted analyses than verbal complaints about the exercise. That’s a bummer, I’d rather have the opportunity to help someone find a way to make the exercise valuable than to see it become a missed opportunity.  

Have you ever written about your ideal self?  Did it change the
direction you were headed?  Be that career changes, personal changes,
and/or any effect on interpersonal relationships?

Yes! I did mine several years (I should probably update it at some point, but I do reflect on it every time I teach LEAD). I found some of the exercises very challenging, others unexpectedly insightful. Completing it had a very positive impact on my career confidence. Particularly as a young faculty member, it was great to see results that supported my career choices. It has also been helpful when new opportunities arise – does this align with my ideal self? Does is augment what I’m currently doing, or does it detrack? 

Is it ever too late to find your ideal self?

No – and it evolves as we do, so the joy and reward can be in the pursuit.  

Supposing there are long term goals that need to be worked towards,
how do you stay motivated in attaining your ideal self, are there any
tricks you can share?

One, long term goals always require short term goals so we can team an exciting visions with regular victories. Things that I try to do regularly: acknowledge and celebrate what I have accomplished (even if it’s not as much as I would have liked), be kind to myself when I fail to live up to my expectations (berating myself accomplishing nothing – concentrate on what to do differently next time), be okay with revisions (hopefully, we find new things in life to be passionate about as we experience it), and think about what I am grateful for and excited about everyday (you be surprise how much energy and joy this can create).

Lastly, any general advice you would share to those engaging, or
thinking of engaging, in an Ideal Self exercise?

Develop a purpose that is uniquely your own! Do the exercises, integrate them, and be accountable to someone for the analysis – the real rewards are in integrating those results into a full picture. Use that to come up with a development plan, so you can start taking small steps to get to where you want to be.

Ashley Nixon is an Associate Professor of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior at Atkinson Graduate School of Management. She teaches courses in human resources and organizational dynamics, HR principles and practices, training and development, and compensation and rewards.

Wall-ee visits the Willamette MBA Portland campus

The cuddliest dog in Portland’s Pearl District visits with MBA students as they attend a Tuesday evening corporate finance class.

First, Wall-ee is provided a warm welcome by MBA student, Misael.
Wall-ee prepares for the night’s lesson by skimming the assigned reading.

Wall-ee listens intently to the lecture with his new friend, Lacie.
Time for a break. This seems like a good spot!
Wall-ee explains how to calculate net present value to Carla.
Class is over-time to hit the books!

Hunter Interviews Mike Hand

Hunter discusses the MBA Program with Mike Hand PhD, Dean of Atkinson Graduate School of Management. They discuss the history of this MBA program, expected changes for the future of the program, MBA for Life, and much more.

Full Interview

Don’t have 40 minutes, here’s shortcuts to specific topics

Some history of the MBA program

Note from Mike to Hunter’s cohort

Any Changes to MBA for life expected in the future?


Chairs in the Portland classrooms

The Portland Campus

Carla asks, how do students change over course of MBA program

Value Proposition of Business attached to Liberal Arts Education

Business advisory board

New Data Science Program


I write this as I sit patiently for my flight to take off to Mumbai. After an 11-hour flight from San Francisco to Munich, I’m pumped because I slept 6 hours on that flight. I knew I had a ton to do when I settled at the hotel so getting that rest in was crucial. 

Always forward-thinking — my mind tends to think 2 – 3 steps ahead. I anticipate the madness and try to plan for it. 

Priorities continuously shift. Every Sunday evening  I review my calendar for the week. Every night before I go to bed I review my calendar for the next day. Appointments, meetings, and deadlines control my life. If it’s not on my calendar, I’ll likely not commit. If I request that you send me a calendar invite, it’s because I care. 

My priorities change and align with where I am in my professional career. I categorize them in 2 parts: career and health. 

Priority 1: Get my physical and mental health in check

Priority 2: Finish my MBA

Priority 3: Spend time with family and friends

My sister-in-law told me that you can only really juggle 3 priorities at once. When you exceed 3, the quality and effort diminishes. If you are like me and tend to look at every priority with urgency, I highly recommend trying these to help you stay grounded:

  • Accountability Groups/Partner

Success is not achieved alone and that’s when I can count on my people to hold me accountable for my actions. Not only do they cheer me on, but they also have similar goals, ambition and drive to never settle for less. Accountability works best when you all share common goals and share no judgement. You feel the struggle together and can talk each other out of losing motivation.

  • Practice Self-Care

I take this for granted and get caught up in the grind. Having some type of routine adds a bit of structure to my life. My self-care routine involves training with a fitness coach 3x a week at West Coast Strength and spending at least 1 day a week, alone. I am so thankful to have a trainer that works with my travel schedule. He prepares workouts that require minimal equipment that produce the same benefits as if I were with him at the gym. 

My alone time is when I can recharge and I typically do this on a Saturday or Sunday; it depends on what I have going on and when I can spend time with family and friends. If I have a group project due for school, I adjust my schedule. 

This is a work in progress and I always welcome suggestions. What does self-care look like for you?

  • Make time for your relationships

Quality time with family and friends is so important for my well-being. I’m a single working professional and student, so the time I spend with them is extra special to me and really, I prefer it over dating. That’s a different story, though. Maybe I’ll share some dating stories in a different post. Maybe. 

In the past 6 months or so I’ve made a point to carve out time to FaceTime with my family and visit my best girlfriends. Even if it’s 3-4 hours during the weekend, the quality time renews my soul while staying up to date with family and friends. 

Spend time with those who make time for you. Period. 

  • Throw away that “all or nothing” mentality and celebrate the small wins

I’ve definitely spent time planning a weight loss strategy and career growth plan. And I 

have definitely quit when I went off plan.  Yeah, don’t do that. Instead, brush it off and celebrate what you’ve accomplished. Even if it’s 2 consecutive days of working out or just getting yourself outside for a walk…the hardest part is getting out there. Small wins add up to bigger success. Don’t give up if you skipped one day on your meal plan. If you got an F on a midterm, you know what, you made it halfway through the term and you have control of what’s next. Stop buying the prettiest organizer and planner, just get yourself out there, grind and hustle. 

The Top 10 Entrepreneurial Programs in the Country.

The entrepreneurial path begins with a genesis of an idea. A mysterious unicorn lurking full of adventures, the ebbs and flows test anyone to their limit. It brings into question the sanity of anyone brave enough to embark on such a path, many have attempted few will succeed. Luckily there is help to better the odds, and one would be wise to utilize as many resources as possible.

An academic institution can serve as the proving grounds to test entrepreneurial theory and put into action both in personal and professional development. According to Bloomberg Businessweek global rankings the top 10 Entrepreneurial programs in the country are:

  1. Stanford University – The premier entrepreneurial experience rich and diverse, with deep ties to Silicon Valley and regions around the world. 
  2. Utah (Eccles) – Globally recognized for enabling students to experience entrepreneurship in both theory and practice.
  3. Babson (Olin) – Focuses on the creation of social and economic value by developing core capabilities of idea generation, opportunity recognition, resource acquisition, and entrepreneurial management. 
  4. UC Berkeley Haas – Integrates entrepreneurial thinking into the student experience by launching new ventures.
  5. MIT Sloan – The program is about invention. It’s about ideas made to matter. Here, they discover solutions to tomorrow’s interesting and important challenges. 
  6. Carnegie Mellon – Turns researchers, hackers, hustlers, and designers into successful entrepreneurs.
  7. USC – Sets a vision where others see risk, they see opportunity. Forget status quo. They thrive on change and imagine new possibilities, solutions, products, and the next big idea.
  8. UT at Dallas (Jindal) – Utilizes world-class academic education, industry-leading experiential training, and venture mentorship to support the launch of new businesses.
  9. Willamette (Atkinson) – An opportunity to plan an entrepreneurial venture and actively participate in the process of angel investing.
  10. Colorado at Boulder (Leeds)– Provides opportunities for students, faculty, staff, industry partners, and the community to engage in innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset.

This list can help narrow down a decision when reviewing possible programs to embark on the entrepreneurial journey.

How LinkedIn can put a six-figure salary within your reach

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This is a condensed version of an interview with Milena Otasevic, a Stakeholder Engagement and Readiness Lead at Nike and 2017 graduate of Willamette University MBA. She used LinkedIn Premium to go from getting her MBA to a six-figure salary with full benefits in just two years. To read the full interview, click here.

LinkedIn uses an algorithm to rank profiles and ensure they are showing the most relevant profiles that are the best match.

Think of it like searching Google for a restaurant; you want to appear at the top of the list, definitely on page one!

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The first step in optimizing your profile is ensuring that you have relevant content.

Use the same words in your profile, join relevant groups, follow industry news and companies, etc. The more you attach yourself to similar content, the more relevant you will be.

Update/refresh your profile regularly so LinkedIn knows you are still relevant.

Use a nice, professional looking photo, make sure to have a good tagline/summary line to grab people’s attention, and you also want to have some positive recommendations (just like you would want to see for restaurants on a Google search)!

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You have to spend time optimizing your profile.

Optimization is a continuous process where you interact with the content and the platform that goes so much further than updating (a one time activity when you have a milestone such as a new job or education).

Focus on what you are looking for, a field of expertise.

By interacting (reading articles, liking posts, posting articles yourself) with the platform in your preferred field, you share more information about yourself, making yourself more relevant.

In order to stand out, your resume/application should try to match the language of the job description. 

Think about it, out of hundreds of applications, a human person might pick a top 30 key words ranked by the ATS (Applicant Tracking System), screen 15-20 over the phone, invite only 5 or so for an interview; so consider the odds.

Networking is very important!

Many recruiters look for candidates on LinkedIn. Other companies hire through referrals. Think about the company you are applying for and consider what their “culture” is and how they like to recruit candidates.

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By doing a lot of informationals, you can learn about the most current industry trends from people who are in the work, biggest challenges, you learn how to “speak the lingo” – to get all that information so when the time comes for an interview for your desired job, you know how to talk about it and what to emphasize.

It’s all a long-term strategy; a marathon, not a sprint.

Your career development and growth is continuous, regardless of the job you are currently doing or your employment status; networking is for you to learn more about industries, possibilities, skills needed and relevant knowledge.

If you are an introvert and find networking a little more difficult, sign up for this excellent 5-day e-mail mini course, “Introvert to Introvert.” Networking will help you learn trends and challenges in the field so when you come to the interview phase you will be prepared to think about how you can help the company solve one of their challenges and know what skills and experiences you can bring to the table to help alleviate that problem.

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Where do you start?

Start by downloading LinkedIn app on your phone and the same way you check Facebook, Instagram or any other app, be sure to visit LinkedIn as well.

Interact with the content. Follow people who are leaders in the field, companies as well. Find groups to join, read relevant articles; just engage with the network the same way you would any other platform but here with the focus on your professional interests.

Review the job descriptions and select key words and phrases common to the position descriptions.

Go back and update your profile to reflect that language. Enable your settings to tell the recruiters you are looking for positions, what kind of positions and where. Subscribe to the free trial of LinkedIn Premium and monitor your stats (number of views, number of successful applications, etc) to determine if it’s worth the money for you.

Ask friends, coworkers or professors for an informational to find out more about what they do.

Ask them to introduce you to other people you can talk to – not for jobs, but just for learning and research!

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Special thanks to Milena for being willing to share all her tips and tricks. To read the full text filled with additional information, go to the full interview, located here.

Related posts: What Intel Wants : Characteristics Intel seeks in new hires.

9 Essential Reads : Great books for those making a career change.

Interview: You’re hired! Tips for optimizing your LinkedIn profile

When I began working for Willamette University MBA three and a half years ago I met a student named Milena. She was finishing up her first year in the program and starting to think about her future. Now that I am just about to finish up my first year, I’m finding myself in the same position. I admire her tremendous success since graduation and took this opportunity to reach out and ask how she attained so much success so very quickly. The following interview gives tips and tricks to use LinkedIn to your personal advantage to find the perfect job just for you and I can’t wait to get started!

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Before we get into the questions about LinkedIn, can you share a little bit about your background and personal history prior to graduating with your MBA from Willamette University?

Milena Otasevic (MO): I come from Serbia, where I worked for non-profits in the field of international education. I wanted to stay in the field of education but realized I needed to go back to school to get additional skills. One of the schools I applied to, and the only MBA program, was Willamette MBA. During my MBA studies, I decided to focus on Organizational Change, where I could use my transferable skills and work on helping people and organizations implement and adopt needed change.   

So what is your current title?  And I won’t ask your salary, but can you give me a ballpark? 

MO: I am currently working as a Stakeholder Engagement and Readiness Lead on a large enterprise-wide transformational initiative at Nike. The program is focused on Strategic Enterprise Capabilities and implementation of the ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system. My role is in the Transformational Change Office and our job is to drive the people side of change (communications, stakeholder engagement, readiness, learning, change impacts, etc.) My first job after graduation, I worked as a consultant and was paid $75,000 but with no benefits. My next job was as a contractor (External Temporary Worker – ETW) and I made $95,000 with health and dental. And now I am at six figures, including full benefits. 🙂 I don’t mind sharing. I am strong believer in sharing so that way others know what the market is and not undersell themselves! I don’t share until someone asks because I know people are sensitive. In Serbia, people would ask, no problem; here, not so much.

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Thank you so much for sharing.  When you graduated in 2017, where did you look for jobs?  Did you only look on LinkedIn?  Other job websites?  Or did you use the Career Services at Willamette for assistance?

MO: I applied a combination of strategies. One of my first steps was to work with Career Services on identifying potential employers, updating my resume and LinkedIn profile and then looking for alumni and connections to network with. I had done a lot of networking over the previous two years with the local employers and one of them referred me to a position. I met with the hiring manager who had already checked out my LinkedIn profile, and luckily it was already updated with the most recent experience. Before meeting, I sent them my resume. Over the years, since first starting a LinkedIn profile, I think 7-8 years ago, I had worked on getting recommendations from previous positions, endorsements of skills and joining groups of interest, either in fields of interest or companies I was interested in. 

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You previously mentioned that you think everyone should start with LinkedIn.  With so many different online resources out there, what makes LinkedIn stand out?

MO: For me, LinkedIn is different than other platforms because along with your resume, you can expand on your experience, provide more information, connect with people from the industry and ultimately BUILD YOUR OWN BRAND. I believe that storytelling is one of the most valuable skills. It is all about how you tell the story of your brand – who you are, what your values are, your achievements, and what makes you stand out. Other online resources like Glassdoor and Monster are simply job boards – posting openings and gathering resumes from applicants. LinkedIn, on the other hand, gives the job seeker a place to create their professional identity, and the hiring manager an option to access competencies, skills, and experiences of the many candidates.

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You said you think of LinkedIn as Google; can you elaborate on that?

MO: Like I previously mentioned, LinkedIn has the job seeker side and the job poster side; first, let’s look at the job board aspect of the employer side. A hiring manager/recruiter posts a job description, required qualifications, etc. and then they set a closing date for the posting, and how to apply; nothing new or revolutionary there.  They also put certain preferences for skills they are looking for (that’s where skills endorsements come into the algorithm).  People apply and hiring managers/recruiters can access hundreds or thousands of resumes, but most importantly profiles of potential candidates. But how do they find the right applicant?  

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Quantity is not necessarily quality. My thinking is, “If I was a hiring manager/recruiter, what would I need to be looking for to find the ideal profile?” LinkedIn is a wealth of information, but also a search engine – same as Google, so recruiters will search for the best profile matching the job description and skills. LinkedIn uses an algorithm to rank profiles and ensure they are showing the most relevant profiles that are the best match. It’s the same as me searching online for a restaurant. Google and GoogleAds work on search engine optimization (SEO) and rank websites based on relevant content, quality of content, and many other factors. That’s when I started thinking about how to optimize my LinkedIn profile so it would appear at the top. There is that old marketing joke, “Where do you hide a dead body? At the second page of Google search!”

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The first step in optimizing my profile is ensuring that I have relevant content. So if I am looking for a job as a financial analyst, I want to ensure that I use same words in my profile, join relevant groups, follow industry news and companies, etc. You also want to have some recommendations (like that restaurant I mentioned); a nice photo; a good tagline/summary line to grab people’s attention. Update/refresh your profile regularly so LinkedIn knows you are still relevant. In the same way you think about SEO, LinkedIn and Google are similar from the search engine perspective.

Is it really necessary to update my profile?  Do I need to have my resume up there for the world to see?  And what needs to be on my resume?  Is it going to be important to the recruiters?

MO: In order to unlock the power of LinkedIn, yes, you have to spend time optimizing your profile; note that I say optimizing and not updating. The difference is that updating is one time activity when you have a milestone (new job, new education); optimization is a continuous process when you interact with the content and platform. By interacting (reading articles, liking posts, posting yourself) with the platform, you are sharing more information about yourself. The platform uses machine learning to recommend more relevant content for you, so the more effort you put into telling it what you are looking for, the more relevant your profile is.

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Focus on what you are looking for, a field of expertise. The only reason I have my resume posted is because that makes my LinkedIn profile “complete;” another thing the algorithm looks at. I don’t care about that to be honest; I use the main profile to provide full detail and tell a more in-depth story of my experiences. I don’t think it matters to recruiters, either. They will usually ask for the latest version of your resume. If they don’t, I advise sending it and saying,”Here is the most recent version of my resume for your reference.” Put it up to complete the profile 100%.

Do I need to search for jobs?  Or should I be waiting for someone to come searching for me?

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MO: Yes and no. Yes because – you know it – that is more info for the algorithm. I like the option on job boards to set up an alert. Find a few position titles you are interested in search for them in the Jobs tab. Add location(s) as well. And in the upper left there is a toggle button Job Alert that you turn on. Every few days, Linked in will send you an alert for similar position in the area. I like to go and check the positions out. Of course, some I might apply to but remember – everything I do is feeding my algorithm, even my bounce rate, even if I open a posting and close it quickly because it’s not a good match. So you are doing that and you can do that on any job board. On the other hand, you are also optimizing your profile for others to find. So when a recruiter/hiring manager are searching for applicants, your profile is relevant. Two birds with one stone.

Can you explain ATS for me?  How do I make myself stand out?

MO: To make yourself stand out you first need to understand how it works. So with the internet, a lot more candidates are reached, meaning many more applications, with the hope that by casting a wider net, a recruiter is more likely to find the best candidate. But with the hundreds of applications on multiple platforms, it becomes too much work for a human to go through every single resume/application. The online job boards created an automated process to sift through the resumes/applications by looking for key words.

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That is why you need to make sure that your resume/application uses the job description verbiage because what the ATS (Applicant Tracking System) does is look for key word matches (exact word to exact word). In order to stand out, your resume/application should try to match the language of the job description.  Think about it, out of hundreds of applications, a human person might pick a top 30 key words ranked by the ATS, phone screen 15-20, invite only 5 or so for an interview; so consider the odds.  That’s how all the online job boards work.  I have to be honest, that is where the system breaks down for me; I have never had luck on any other job boards except for LinkedIn.

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That’s also called “the black hole” where you send you application and it just disappears. However, it soon became apparent that just because someone “stuffed” their resume with key words, they could come up as a high match but not necessarily be a good match. That’s where, for me, LinkedIn has the competitive advantage. Unlike other job boards where you just submit your resume, LinkedIn has all that other data on you – a more detailed profile and experience description, skills endorsements, recommendations, interaction with content (likes, comments), content creation (writing relevant posts), group affiliation, profile freshness, job searches, etc.; but you have to put in the effort to give it all that data so hiring managers/recruiters can get even closer to the right candidate. 

What is the best way to optimize my profile?

MO: The more you interact with the LinkedIn platform, the better your profile is.

Is it necessary to pay for LinkedIn Premium?

MO: Good question. So now you know how LinkedIn works to match employers and candidates and it’s free to use, so how does LinkedIn make money? Because they are a for-profit, acquired by Microsoft for $26 billion! One revenue stream is LinkedIn Premium, charging candidates a monthly subscription rate for certain perks (full list on LinkedIn profile) such as featuring your profile higher in searches, letting you see who looked at your profile, providing a list of skills each job poster is looking for and giving you 5 free InMail messages (to message people who are not your connections like recruiters or for networking), just to name a few.

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Is there value in that? Sure! Is it worth $24.99/month? Depends how you use it and who you ask! I would use the free month and see if you find value and if not, you can easily cancel the subscription.

How important is networking?  I really struggle with meeting new people, so this is a tough area for me to think about.

MO: MBA answer – It depends. I knew no one at Nike to network with, much less someone to refer me for a position. For both the temp and the permanent positions, recruiters first found me on LinkedIn. On the other hand, both my internship and post graduation jobs were mostly through networking with state government employees. So think about the company you are applying for and consider these questions; what is their “culture” and how do they like to recruit candidates?

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One of the biggest benefits of networking for me is not so much in knowing people in the organization, but more on the industry research side. By doing a lot of informationals, depending on how you conduct them (this is a completely other can of worms and skill set that is very coachable), you can learn about the most current industry trends from people who are in the work, biggest challenges, you learn how to “speak the lingo” (every industry has it’s own language – all jargon that means something only to people who are actually doing the job) and that’s what informationals are for – to get all that information so when the time comes for an interview for your desired job, you know how to talk about it and what to emphasize.

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It’s all a long term strategy; a marathon, not a sprint. Another reason networking is good is when you are actually looking for a job, the network you built is more likely to know someone hiring and can at least pass the information to you, if not refer you. Do you think you can do 20-30 minutes once a month with a stranger if you had prepared questions to ask? Just 20-30 minutes? And you never have to see that person again, just maintain the relationship with follow-up emails and check-ins? I think that is manageable and that’s what it takes.

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The same goes for networking events. I really struggled talking to people I didn’t know when I was fighting depression. It felt like such a huge task and it took out so much of my energy. But I always said to myself – I can do 30 minutes. And big events were even more draining. I would make myself go and I tell myself – I can talk to one person. 5-10 minutes and I can be out of there and not feel like an even bigger failure because I am not networking to begin my job search, because all I needed was feeling worse about myself. All of those interactions are practiceable.

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I’ll forward you a 5 email series I recently got on this topic and I thought it was good coaching advice (For more information and to sign up for this excellent 5-day mini course, “Introvert to Introvert,” click here) . Another reason networking is good, by talking to people you will learn about trends and challenges in the field so when you come to the interview phase you can think about “How can I help this company with one of their challenges? What skills and experiences do I have to help them alleviate that problem?”

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Doing that thought exercise as an interview prep helps a lot with confidence and that storytelling I was telling you about. I will tell you how I tell my story to give you an example but another thing easier in person. A really important distinction I want to make here: job search and networking are two distinct things. Job search and applying for jobs, everything we discussed above is one thing and you do it when you are looking for a new job. That’s all about a job. Networking is not about your job, networking is about your career.

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Your career development and growth is continuous, regardless of the job you are currently doing or your employment status; networking is for you to learn more about industries, possibilities, skills needed and relevant knowledge. We should be working on career development continuously throughout our life. A job is not the same thing as Career.

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I feel like a lot of people don’t understand this distinction and make them one and the same. Many people think networking is a chore and do it only for the purpose of finding a job. I still do informationals even today; it has nothing to do with whether I am looking for a job or not. I am not now (looking for a job), but I want to be in touch and know what’s trending, so don’t think about networking as job searching, like many people do; look at it as career grooming and development.

Okay, so the big question, where do I start?  I’m still in school, with a year left to go before I complete the MBA program – how far before completion of the program should I start making changes to my LinkedIn profile if I want to seriously use it as a tool for a new career?  Can you give me a step by step?

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MO: I would start by downloading LinkedIn app on my phone and the same way you check Facebook or Instagram or any other app, I would make sure I visit LinkedIn as well. Interact with content. Follow people who are leaders in the field. Companies as well. Find groups, articles… Just engage with the network the same way you would on any other platform, but here, with the focus on your professional interests. Then, search for positions you are interested in.

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Review the job descriptions and select key words and phrases common to the position descriptions. Go back, update your profile to reflect that language. Enable your setting to tell the recruiters you are looking for positions, what kind of positions and where. Subscribe to free trial LinkedIn Premium and monitor your stats (number of views, number of successful applications, stuff like that) to determine if it is valuable. Ask friends, coworkers or professors for an informational to find out more about what they do.

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Ask them to introduce you to other people you can talk to (not for jobs but for learning and research because that’s how I approach informationals – I am not asking the person for a job, I am learning more about what they do and researching the industry to find out if that is something I’d like to do and that’s how I present it to them in the intro email; it’s better to walk you through the process in person so we can role-play). Keep doing informationals.

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In terms of timing, it all depends on you. If you start now, you can take away some of that stress, for example with networking – you can start slow with once a month and as you get more comfortable, talk to more people vs start networking a few months before graduation and then plan to do it more intensely. So for networking, I say start as soon as possible so you can do it on your own terms. And remember, networking is career development, not a job search. For LinkedIn optimization, I also say start sooner rather than later. It takes awhile to train the algorithm and optimize your profile to come up high.

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As to actually applying for jobs, not sure if I have the best answer. Many people start early, but I personally don’t think it makes a lot of sense to start applying more than 3-4 months before you want to start the new job. Until then, invest time in networking and optimization. I don’t think many companies and hiring managers plan much more in advance than that or know prior to that time that they will need to fill a position. In the mean time, start by building the brand online and network to learn more. 

In looking at your LinkedIn, I see you have quite a few Licenses & Certifications.  Are those a good way to boost my employee value?

MO: Depends. First, do some serious research whether there are certifications in your field and how valuable they are. Some have value for employers like PMP, Scrum Alliance, PROSCI, Lean Six Sigma… (just listing a few I know). How do you determine a good certification/licence for you: 1) good old online research, 2) asking people during your informationals – “Hey, are there any certifications you look at?” (another benefit of networking), 3) go through job postings you are interested in – are there any desired/preferred licenses/certifications? Basically, do your research and leverage the entire eco-system we are talking here about. If you do find some certificates that are in job descriptions, keep in mind that might be one of the skills or search criteria recruiter enters. By having that piece of paper, your profile will jump up.

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Let’s say in my case, I want to be a Change manager, so I want a recruiter/hiring manager hiring for a position like that to find me and think my profile is relevant. Back to the beginning of the email – how would they find my profile. Probably a combination of Change Manager + PROSCI + CCMP + Oregon + ERP + or something along those lines. In that case, my profile will be more relevant if I have the certification. It is up to you to determine the cost-benefit analysis. Some of them can be quite pricey -PROSCI for example, $4,300, PMP thousands, Lean six sixma, same. You will want to make sure it will actually be necessary to make you stand out before you make that kind of investment. 

Thank you so much for taking the time to share all this information with me! I can’t wait to get started! LinkedIn, here I come! 🙂

A HUGE thank you to Milena Otasevic for being willing to take time out to share her insight on LinkedIn Premium and how to start a successful job search.

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Related Content: What Intel Wants : Characteristics Intel seeks in new hires.

9 Essential Reads: Great books for those thinking about a career change.

Psychology in Marketing – Emotional Response Strategy

Consumers are Emotional Constructors, Not Reactors

Your marketing strategy may include attempting to evoke specific emotional responses within your viewers, in order to pivot to a sale or get that click through. But, what if the way we understand the neuroscience of emotions is wrong?

The classical view of emotional neuroscience says that people are reactive and emotions rest in regions of the brain, but new research suggests that the experience of emotions are predicted by the subject based on prior events and information. Neuroscientist, Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett contends (in her book, How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain) that people need context and sensory input to form an emotional response. In other words, people need to have experienced a given concept before they can gauge how to feel about a given sensory input.

Give Them Sensory Input They’ve Already Experienced

If Dr. Feldman Barrett is correct, then what are the implications for the way we market our businesses and products to the consumer? I would argue that it means we have to tie our ad campaign to an existing experience, something that our target audience can relate to on the desired emotional level. 

Take for example the ad created by Wieden and Kennedy for Nike featuring Colin Kaepernick, the football player who stirred up controversy during football games in order to highlight the issue of racial inequality. Wieden and Kennedy’s team took the risk of appearing to support Kaepernick’s position by posting the sentence: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” right over the bridge of Kaepernick’s nose. This ad produced a familiar image – Kaepernick and his ideals – knowing that the emotional response from most consumers would be previously constructed and strong.

 Jump Start Effective Frequency

Wieden and Kennedy took a calculated risk that the positive emotional responses would outweigh the negatives, and they succeeded. The ad went viral and Nike saw an increase in sales of 31% over that Labor Day Weekend after the ad aired. If you believe Thomas Kennedy’s assessment of Effective Frequency (the theory that a person is totally unaware of an ad until they have seen it three times) then the strategy of using a prominent experience to share your product would bypass the need for multiple ignored advertisements. 

maybe this time

Wieden and Kennedy didn’t cause emotional reactions, they reminded people of their previous emotions regarding an experience they’d already analyzed and discussed. Thus, in a very small window of commercial ad space, Nike’s advertising company could catch the attention of those who had already built up the constructs of emotional response to a familiar image and message.

Ready for some proof? Let’s have a little fun with optical illusions! If you can’t tell me what you see in the below image (aside from black and white blobs) then, according to Dr. Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, you’ve just encountered something called Experiential Blindness. Curious? She reveals the image in her Ted Talk.

About the Doctor

(excerpt from accessed 7/24/19)

Lisa Feldman Barrett, PhD, is a University Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Northeastern University, with appointments at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to the book How Emotions are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain, Dr. Barrett has published over 200 peer-reviewed, scientific papers appearing in Science, Nature Neuroscience, and other top journals in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, as well as six academic volumes published by Guilford Press. She has also given a popular TED talk.

Dr. Barrett received a National Institutes of Health Director’s Pioneer Award for her revolutionary research on emotion in the brain. These highly competitive, multi million dollar awards are given to scientists of exceptional creativity who are expected to transform biomedical and behavioral research. She also received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2019.

Among her many accomplishments, Dr. Barrett has testified before Congress, presented her research to the FBI, consulted to the National Cancer Institute, appeared on Through The Wormhole with Morgan Freeman and The Today Show with Maria Shriver, and been a featured guest on public television and worldwide radio programs. She is also an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences and the Royal Society of Canada.

What Intel Wants

Are you thinking of applying with Intel? They have very specific characteristics they look for in their employees. How do you measure up?

1. Customer Orientation

  • Listen and respond to our customers, suppliers and stakeholders
  • Clearly communicate mutual intentions and expectations
  • Deliver innovative and competitive products and services
  • Make it easy to work with us
  • Excel at customer satisfaction

2. Discipline

  • Conduct business with uncompromising integrity and professionalism
  • Ensure a safe, clean, and injury-free workplace
  • Make and meet commitments
  • Properly plan, fund, and staff projects
  • Pay attention to detail
  • Keep Intel information secure

3. Results Orientation

  • Set challenging and competitive goals
  • Focus on output
  • Assume responsibility
  • Constructively confront and solve problems
  • Execute flawlessly

4. Risk Taking

  • Embrace a growth mindset in everything we do
  • Foster innovation and creative thinking
  • Embrace change and challenge the status quo
  • Listen to all ideas and viewpoints
  • Learn from our successes and mistakes
  • Encourage and reward informed risk-taking

5. Make it An Inclusive, Great Place to Work

  • Create an inclusive environment that fosters diversity
  • Treat one another equally, with dignity and respect
  • Be open and direct
  • Promote a challenging work environment that develops our workforce
  • Work as a team with respect and trust for each other
  • Win and have fun
  • Recognize and reward accomplishments
  • Manage performance fairly and firmly
  • Be an asset to our communities worldwide

6. Quality

  • Achieve the highest standards of excellence
  • Do the right things right
  • Continuously learn, develop, and improve
  • Take pride in our work
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A huge thank you to CorDarryl Hall, Data Analyst at Intel and Willamette MBA graduate 2019, for sharing this information with us!

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Looking for a Change?

When you are interested in making a career change, it’s essential to identify what, where, and how fitting the new career will be. There are many ways to approach changing careers in this technological era, but the most fundamental action you can take is building upon your expertise, skills, and competencies. To build up these, Willamette University offers exceptional programs throughout their College of Liberal Arts, Master of Business Administration (including MBA for Early Career and Career Change, as well as MBA for Professionals), and College of Law. Willamette University also offers various student organizations that contribute to professionals who are looking for a different career path.

Data Science is one of the many programs that Willamette University offers that would help career changers remarkably. Data Science is a combination of developing an algorithm, data interference, and technology to solve analytically complicated issues, and a complementary skill set for a career related to social media. Engineering and Computer Science, two more outstanding programs offered by Willamette University, are related to Data Science and would also programs to consider for serious career changers.

There are many engineering programs offers at Willamette University, out of all Software Engineering is one of an extensive program that provides career changers with more database focused path. Being more familiar with data channels is a great start and would benefit career changers with a core data manipulation skillset. With software engineering, they would enable themselves to rebrand and have vast experience with data munging. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median income for software developers (software engineer) is over $105,000 a year with 24% job growth (much faster than average). To build up analytical, communication, and problem-solving and interpersonal skills, software engineering is an ideal field Willamette University provides.

Ideal lists of programs Willamette University offers:
– Data Science
– Engineering (Software Engineering)
– Computer Science

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