Guest post by Leon Hendra
Cheryl Palmer is a certified executive career coach and a certified professional resume writer and is President of Call to Career, a career coaching and resume writing firm. She has been featured on the Wall Street Journal, CNN, MarketWatch, The Ladders, ExecuNet, and Yahoo HotJobs. Cheryl was also a guest on a radio show entitled How to Find a Job Fast hosted by Chris Russell of Secrets of the Job Hunt where she discussed tips for finding employment more quickly in this economic downturn. In addition, she was a guest on WMOV where she discussed networking for your career with host Greg Gack on the radio.
Cheryl has a social media program for executives to aid them with reducing the amount of time it takes to land a new position. She also conducts webinars on social networking. You can visit her website at her website Call to Career.
Cheryl recently took time out to answer some of my questions on her career, whether you are an aspiring career coach or already in the field, Cheryl’s insight will help you on your way.
How would you describe your career path to date?
It took me a little while to find my career path. I fumbled around in college trying to decide on a major. I finally settled on government and politics because I planned to be a lawyer. However, an internship at the local courthouse made me reevaluate that decision. Since I was close to graduation I got my Bachelor’s in that field, but I never went to law school.
Instead, I spent a year in Mexico teaching English, and then when I came back, I buried myself in the library to find a career. I decided that there must be other confused people out there like me, so I chose to go to graduate school to be a career counselor.
I have worked in a variety of settings in the field of career development, including the federal government, the corporate world, higher education, and now entrepreneurship.
How did you get into the career coaching business and what attracted you?
As I mentioned in my previous response, I got my degree in counseling and worked as a career counselor. It became apparent to me a few years ago that career coaching was where the career development field was headed, so I got my coaching certificate.
What is the next stage/objective on your career path?
Right now my focus is to grow my business. I see a lot of potential in my career coaching business, and I am hoping to expand soon.
What do you consider to be the most important factor in your career success?
I would say perseverance. When I was in graduate school I saw some of my classmates drop out, and many times I would have to ask myself why I was doing this. I continually reminded myself that in order to enter my field I needed the Master’s degree. That kept me going until I finished my program.
I’ve run in to setbacks during the course of my career, but I believe you don’t get something for nothing. You have to work to get what you want, and you have to stick to it. If you don’t, you will wash out and always wonder what would have happened if you had persevered.
What advice do you wish you had received when starting out your career?
Watch your back. Not everyone is going to applaud your success. Some people will be jealous of you and will try to derail your career and use you.
What are the major differences that you see in today’s job market compared to when you were starting out?
One similarity is that I graduated in the midst of a recession. It was difficult to get that first job because there were highly qualified candidates that I was competing with who not only had the same degree that I had, but they also had experience. I had to persevere in order to find a full-time job in my field.
One difference though is that this recession was much deeper and longer lasting. And when I was in school I was able to pay my tuition with a part-time job and scholarship money. That is a lot more difficult to do these days, and new graduates are now feeling a lot more pressure to find a high paying job starting out so that they can pay back student loans.
What skill or ability do you think is the most essential for success in the current job market?
I would say that the most essential skill is mastering the job search process. The second most essential skill is learning how to stay employable.
I find that a lot of job seekers are good at what they do, but they are not good at finding a job in a very competitive job market. Simply being qualified for a job is not enough these days, you need to be able to effectively communicate your value to a potential employer and mobilize your network to assist you with your job search.
Then once you land a job you need to keep your skills up to date so that your skills are marketable. You can never afford to rest on your laurels.
With the current economic climate and a job market that is tougher than ever, what advice do you have for people starting out on their career?
Be persistent and believe in your abilities. If you don’t believe in what you have to offer and if you are not persistent in the pursuit of your goals, you will not maximize your potential.
What individual or book do you look for for inspiration in your career?
I look to the Bible for inspiration. There are stories there of other people who faced what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles, but they overcame.