Testimonials

What People are Saying: Testimonials

“Approaching a resume build mid-career is a daunting task.  I was nervous about everything from formatting to content.  Cindy was a steady and supportive guide from the start.  Not only did she help me work through the construction of a resume I’m proud of, but I felt like she had valuable observations to offer on the challenges of mid-career changes.   The net result was a piece of mind and, hopefully, a great new career.  She was incredibly helpful and I’d recommend her highly to anyone facing this difficult situation.”

     – Mike S. , Director, Financial Services

 

“Cindy’s natural ability to connect on a deeper and more personal level with people, allowed her to effectively support me in my developmental goals and strategies – whether it was to get promoted, take a new role abroad, or to hone my skills as a new manager. I’ve appreciated the positive environment she creates, and her solution-oriented approach to coaching has always made me feel like she’s vested in my success and professional development.”

    – Samantha L., Vice President, Finance Industry

 

“I have known Cindy Joseph for more than 20 years. Because of the quality of her work, she was continuously promoted and entrusted with greater responsibility, at two major global firms. Personally, she has coached me through some career difficulties. Her advice and insight proved invaluable. She has also provided helpful suggestions to trim the fat on resumes, with a quick turnaround time.  Because of her many years in the industry, she is able to quickly fine tune a resume, highlighting exactly what a recruiter is seeking.”

    – Maiga D., Attorney

 

“This past September began the start into my fall semester as a senior at Cornell, as well as the start to a stressful journey into career recruitment season. I was put in contact with Cindy by a close friend. Through a conversation on the phone, Cindy walked me through the interview process, giving me step by step information about what to expect and how to handle any question with confidence and ease. Speaking with her not only eased my mind but also ensured that I went into the recruitment process feeling well prepared.”

    – Evodie G., Energy Industry

 

 

Frustrated with Career Advancement? Here’s What to Do About it (Part 2)

I recently shared a few insights on why performance isn’t enough to power your career, and why you should focus on your visibility and managing your brand.  In Part 2, let’s explore two more strategies for professional advancement.

ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT

As far as I know, most people are not mind-readers, and when it comes to your career, neither is your manager. While leaders should absolutely focus on developing their people, many of them have so much on their plate, including their own careers, that it’s unrealistic for them to intuitively know what everyone on their teams are interested in or ready for at any given moment.

In my case, I’ve been passed up for my share of promotions or juicy projects, but interestingly enough, I’ve rarely been denied the asks I put out proactively.

Steal My Tactics: Here’s why you should speak up:

  • There were roles or projects that my manager at the time had no idea I cared about or wanted. When I raised my hand, it not only put that manager on notice, it also demonstrated my own engagement and ambition
  • Sometimes the ask wasn’t something I could have immediately, but my manager was able to keep it in mind when the opportunity did come around
  • Every now and again, the ask initiated feedback about why I wasn’t ready or why someone else might have been selected – not the answer I was hoping for, but better to get some insight than to have questions kicking around in my head

Ask yourself, what’s the worst that could happen?  You might get a no, but you could also get just the assignment/project/promotion you wanted!

BONUS TIP: Sometimes it’s tough to know if you’re truly ready for an opportunity, but if you’re going to put the ask out there, do some homework in advance. Take some time to find out what you can about the skills or requisites are and be prepared to share how you stack up.  Remember to keep in mind anything you’ve learned or understood about your personal brand.

SPONSORSHIP

Rounding out these strategies, let’s take a look at who’s in your corner.  In Part 1, we explored the importance of the right people knowing who you are. Taking a step further, you should also have someone of influence who can advocate on your behalf in the appropriate forums. I can directly attribute a lot of my own career progression to having the eyes and ears of leaders with influence, who were either able to give me opportunities directly or advocate that I receive them.

Finding a sponsor may seem daunting, but there are a few things to keep in mind for identifying and maintaining that relationship:

  • Remember, strong performance is the foundation for getting the attention and support of a potential sponsor
  • Consider who has influence in your department and what you might offer the individual or their business (relationships are a two-way street!)
  • Be sure to drive and nurture the relationship and be consistent with how regularly you touch base
  • Make your sponsor’s job easy by sharing updates on your progress and accomplishments
  • Be open to their feedback and recommendations, but as with any aspect of your career, you should ultimately decide how you implement the advice you receive
ARE YOU DRIVING YOUR CAREER?

Performance alone rarely gets us to the top.  Take a good look at your approach and consider how you might:

  • Be visible, build relationships and strategically showcase your accomplishments
  • Manage your personal brand
  • Ask for what you want
  • Find and maintain relationships with key leaders who will advocate on your behalf.

Anything missing from this list? Please share your own experiences, questions and recommendations.  If you’re looking for some personal support, reach out to me to learn about my career coaching services.

Frustrated with Career Advancement? Here’s What You Can Do About It (Part 1)

I’ve watched so many people go hard, year after year with modest career progression, while others seemingly fly up the ladder.  I’ve often been asked about my own career journey, having survived 15 years on Wall Street, which can be notoriously tough and unforgiving.  There are many lessons I can share for sure. It took a while to find my groove, but eventually I realized that advancing my career was ultimately up to me, and it wasn’t enough to sit back and hope I got tapped on the shoulder for the next opportunity.  So what separates those who thrive vs the rest?

If we assume performance and delivering a strong work product is the baseline, what else needs to happen?

VISIBILITY

Early on in my career, I was frustrated.  I was committed to my job and my firm, I worked long hours, I did what was asked of me, and yet it felt like no one noticed my effort.  I remember the lessons my parents taught me… “Do your best, work harder than the next individual, don’t cause trouble!”

While all of that was useful, I made the mistake many of us do.  I put my head down, plugged away and assumed my work alone would pave the way for my next promotion or would support the case for a pay bump at the end of the year.

In actuality, I wasn’t getting noticed.  I wasn’t invisible, but I didn’t have much of a profile either, and the folks who were in charge couldn’t tell you much about me aside from the fact that I completed my work and delivered as expected.  But my career interests or aspirations?  The type of projects or work I wanted to do next?  My real personality and how it aligned with what I was being asked to do? And aside from my manager and team, what about the people who actually made decisions on compensation and promotion? Did the right people know me and have my best interests at heart?

The answer to these questions early on was ‘no’. And for a few years, I felt like I was at sea in my career, and almost left the industry altogether in frustration and feeling like an outsider.

So what changed?

Firstly, I had to push myself out of my comfort zone.  I’m a social and friendly person, but naturally more of an introvert who tends to be fairly private.  You can absolutely succeed as a quiet, introvert at work, but that can’t be your persona 100% of the time.  You have to pick your head up and make sure you’re building relationships and credibility with key people at work.  If this doesn’t come natural to you, set an intention you think you can manage.

Some Practical Tips:

  • Decide on a handful of people to network and keep up with
  • Settle on a regular schedule for reaching out (if the opportunity to touch base isn’t organic), provide updates on your accomplishments and achievements.
  • Make sure you’re developing reciprocal relationships – you may have your own motives in reaching out, but as a ‘thank you’ to those who help you, consider what support, insights or connections you can share with them
  • As you develop these relationships, keep in mind that people rarely want to talk about business 100% of the time, so try to find areas of commonality outside of your projects, decide on what you’re comfortable sharing about yourself, and be prepared to engage in small talk until it feels natural to you
  • BONUS: Who are the people who should know you? Start by ensuring you are engaged with your immediate manager and team (don’t assume they know what you’re accomplishing!), but you may also want to build visibility with your manager’s manager, other colleagues with whom you work with on key projects and senior leaders who may have influence in the career advancement of people within your department.

 

PERSONAL BRAND

Ok, so people may know who you are, but what are they saying? Again, don’t assume that because your work is strong, people are saying positive things!

As a human resources business partner and senior manager of my own teams, I’ve seen many instances where an individual has strong, fundamental skills necessary for the job, but has no idea how the perception of that individual behind closed doors was holding him or her back.

When you consider your personal brand, think about how you’d like to be perceived.  What do you want people to say about you when you’re not there? Is that consistent with who you are today? Are you consistent with how you project your brand day-in, day-out?

Building Your Brand:

  • If you’re unsure of the answers to these questions, by all means, ask someone. Ask your manager, your peers, your mentor and trusted colleagues how people see you, and what is the buzz (or lack thereof) about you at the office.
  • If you don’t like what you’re hearing, it’s time to consider some changes.  Either you work on changing the behavior, and hopefully, the perception of your brand, or maybe the organization isn’t the best fit for you and it’s time to look elsewhere.
  • Be holistic in the creation and assessment of your brand. Consider how your present yourself (what you wear, how you speak, your attitude, etc) and your work product (the quality of your work, how you deliver against expectations, your grasp of the content at hand, etc). These are all important in the image you project, so don’t focus on any one area to the detriment of the others.

 

Want to learn more insights?  Check out part 2 of my tips for your career advancement strategy, and if you’re interested in more one-on-one guidance, feel free to reach out and schedule a complimentary discussion about how career coaching can help you!

40 Before 40

Besides launching a new business, 2018 is a big year for me. While I’ve yet to fully embrace being “middle-aged”, I’m excited for turning 40 – I feel great physically and more balanced than I have in years. I celebrate most birthdays with a fun dinner or big party; every now and again, I get fancy and do a concert with friends or scope out a new destination to explore. I’m one of those people who will claim my birthday week (or sometimes the entire month) if I can pull it off!

So for 40, why not do the year? Starting today, I’m kicking off my 40 Before 40 list. I hope to check this list off, one-by-one in time to celebrate the big day.

In no particular order…

My Tribe

1. Put together my family tree

2. Write a letter to the person who’s impacted me the most

3. Adopt a new puppy

4. Host a dinner party… and do all the cooking myself

5. Create a trust to care for my loved ones

 

Wellness

6. Make fitness a priority – no more falling off the wagon!

7. Finally learn to swim… for real

8. Run a 10k

9. Eat at least one serving of veggies every day (because I don’t always)

10. Go vegan for one week

11. Treat myself to a solo spa day

12. Go 24 hours without technology (I’m sweating already)

13. Clock 40 miles in 40 hours

14. Drink a half gallon of water every day (inspired by Gabrielle Union, who looks AMAZING at 45. She drinks a full gallon a day, so I figure I can shoot for half of that!)

 

Travel

15. Visit 2 new countries, taking my tally of nations visited to 40!

16. Go on a solo trip (for all of my travels, I never been on vacation alone – it’s time!)

17. Plan a staycation (I’ve been around the world, and have yet to experience all that NYC has to offer. I’m going to plan an epic week and experience the city like an outsider)

 

Education

18. Read 40 books

19. Learn French

20. Dabble in Graphic Design

21. Learn some real photography skills

22. Try knitting

 

Philanthropy

23. Find a new charity to support

24. Become a Big Sister

25. Teach something

26. Perform 40 acts of kindness

 

Just for Fun

27. Perfect a signature dish

28. Watch an iconic tv Series I’ve missed or never seen

29. Take a new dance class

30. Snorkel

31. Create a signature cocktail

32 – 37. See Star Wars (bear with me; there are so many iconic films I’m embarrassed to admit I still haven’t seen!)

…and Casablanca

…and ET

…and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

…and the Godfather

…and West Side Story

38. Purge my closet (my friends joke that I still have clothes from the ‘90s! Time to update and upgrade a few things, and have my wardrobe reflects where I am in my life)

 

Business

39. Write a book

40. Start a third business (while we’re out here going for things!)

 

Anyone else with a big birthday this year? Let me know how you’re celebrating in the comments!

Setting off a New Year – 3 Ways to Challenge Yourself

The last few years have been interesting for me.  For a long time, I felt in control of my career and happy about the life I led around it – I had the support of an amazing family and group of friends, I traveled the world and I got to do a job that on its best days felt like I got to give back to communities I really cared about.  Sure, there are life goals I’ve yet to accomplish, but all in all, I felt fulfilled and grateful for my experiences.

Over time, the part of me that’s ‘gone with the flow’ has gradually realized that approach hasn’t always served me.  Whether it was jumping on and off the fitness train, allowing the needs of others to come before my own, or taking on too much at work because I didn’t know how to say ‘no’, I started to notice there were areas in my life where I was allowing things to happen to me rather than setting my own path.

Sound familiar?

Well, I’m not sure if it’s exhaustion or the idea of turning 40 this year, but a few months ago, I did something I’d only dreamed of doing. I quit my corporate career and decided to ‘do me’.  Now, I’m not recommending everyone run out and leave well-paying, secure jobs to make a change. But after years of doing what everyone expected of me, I knew it was time for me to write my own story and do it my way.

Now that I’m out on this limb, I’m going to approach this next chapter in my life and career with intention. So how am I taking on 2018?

PASSION

You know what I loved about being a recruiter?  I got to help people start their dream careers. I graduated from college with a degree in Psychology and no corporate experience.  I felt my way through my first few years in corporate life. As a recruiter, I empathized with the experience my candidates were going through and enjoyed helping them develop as young professionals and navigate unknown territory. I coached countless young people and watched many of them grow and achieve their own professional goals.

You know what I could do without? Budgets, headcount discussions, meetings (that could have been emails) on end…

When I decided to re-evaluate my career, I started with a blank slate. I asked myself some questions we rarely take the time to consider: What am I good at? What do people ask my help with? When do I feel my best at work? When am I having fun?  Of course, I had to marry that with: What can I get paid to do? But you get the point.  Not that I’ll never work on budgets and headcount again (and, in fact, any entrepreneur or senior manager will tell you those are important parts of any business), but I’m excited to spend my days more focused on the work that truly moved me and, more importantly, made an impact for the people I mentored.

YOUR TURN: What are you passionate about, personally or professionally?  If you’re not regularly feeding your interests, make an action plan for carving out the time, resources and means to pursue them. Take small steps to pursue an activity you love.  If nothing speaks to you immediately, don’t sweat it. Revisit a favorite activity you used to enjoy as a child or follow your curiosity about a topic that peaks your interest.  Whatever you choose, having something that gives you life at the office or after hours makes a huge difference in [xxx].

NEW VENTURE

I come from entrepreneurs.  My parents have owned their own businesses for 30 years.  My brother and I had a front-row seat to the idea generation, the set-up, the client-building, the long hours, the wins and the setbacks… which is probably why I decided it’d be easier to work for someone else!

As much as I admired my parents’ grit and persistence, I liked the structure, team environment and steady paychecks that came with working for someone else.  But after I found myself putting in just as much time and effort and lacking control over how I spent my days, I started to take a fresh look at the idea of self-employment.

I’m under no delusion about the effort and skills needed to succeed at the helm of a small business.  Everything rides or dies on the strength of your product or service, your ability to promote yourself and your business, reaching the right clients at the right time and your position in the market. We haven’t even talked about having a bit of luck! But I’m excited to take everything I’ve learned for the better part of two decades and put my mark on the coaching industry. I’m anxious to take on a new challenge and build a business from the ground up.

YOUR TURN: When was the last time you tried something new?  Is there something you’ve been wanting to do, but have been too busy or scared to attempt? Push yourself to grow and stretch beyond your comfort zone, and remember that not everything has to be tackled at once.  Think about what you need in place to get going today and what you can add or build in later. Just get started!

SELF-CARE

We’ve all been there – hell, some of us are there today.  We’re so wrapped up in our responsibilities, should-dos and have-tos, bills and [xxx], everyone and everything that demands our attention.  Somewhere along the way, we find ourselves on auto-pilot.

This year, I’m challenging myself to better self-care! That’s right, unapologetically tending to the important things in my life. That means unplugging from time to time, being more mindful, getting more sleep and finally sticking to my fitness goals.  Sure, life’s thrown things at me that have been beyond my control, making it tough to tend to my own needs sometimes, but how many times have I just given up or given in? Or worse, how many times have I neglected to try? Self-care is about setting the intention and carving the time and space to make my mental and physical well-being a priority.

YOUR TURN: What does self-care mean to you?  Find at least a few minutes for yourself each day to just ‘do you’.  Consider a ritual or activity that makes you happy or just helps you relax and decompress. There are endless ways to practice self-care, but if you’re looking for a few ideas, start with improving your sleep and getting your body moving!

 

HOW WILL YOU CHALLENGE YOURSELF THIS YEAR?

Whether you call them resolutions, challenges or something else, it’s important to have goals you’re working toward. Life is about moving forward and without some sort of compass, we can find ourselves at the whim of the environment around us.  If you’re ready to take a fresh approach this year, I have a few tips for your journey:

  1. Set goals that are realistic and achievable.  You may have an interest in becoming a musician, but if you’ve never picked up an instrument, it may be a tall order to have your album drop next month.  Do a bit of homework or ask a few people you trust about their experience and then make it your own.
  2. Remember – progress over perfection.  Avoid getting overwhelmed with large goals. Break them down into small, manageable steps if you need to. For myself, starting a business has been daunting – I have so many ideas and there any number of directions I could choose. How did I move forward? One step at a time – I organized my goals, prioritized what absolutely needed to happen first and got going.  Don’t let the fear of not having everything mapped out paralyze your ability to get anything done at all.
  3. Get an accountability partner. Whether you tell the world or find one person who will keep you on task, it’s often a bit easier to make progress on your goals when someone else is checking up on you!  I tend to keep many parts of my own life close to the vest, but I’ve always had a small, close-knit group of family and friends with whom I share my dreams. They know just how much to push and when to cheerlead.  Even sharing my new venture with a few folks helped me put my plans in motion – it suddenly became real and I knew I needed to show something once I put the intention out there. Find your tribe and allow them to help support you in your progress.

Now go on and get yours in 2018!