Next Great Step Blog & Newsletters

​​​​Bridging the Gap from College to the Real World

Spring 2017 - ​Lessons Learned About My College Self,  25 Years Later

I graduated 25 years ago. There…. I said it. I may feel like a much younger person in my mind but the age on my license cannot lie. Last weekend I traveled back to St. Louis for my 25th college reunion. This was my first time back to campus since the day I graduated in May 1992 … and it was surreal. 
On one of the many long walks I took with friends exploring the campus, a friend asked, “Do you feel that this was the right school for you or would you have done it differently? Any regrets?”
I had not really thought about path I had set upon when starting college and if it was the path I intended on taking. I have learned many things since graduating that have given me insight. Here is what I would tell my “college self” about lessons learned...

March 2017 - Jobs for Recent Grads :

                             How Parents Can Help (or Hinder)

Parents are increasingly concerned about their student’s employment during and after college. As a result, they have become more involved in their grown children’s search for jobs and summer internships. The involvement is understandable… competition for these positions grow with yet another 1.8 million students graduating this May. Parents are anxious to get a return on their investment in four (or more) years of tuition, as well as getting their child financially independent as soon as possible to manage any outstanding debt from student loans and move out. 

When your student asks you to help out, do you step in and show them the way, OR step aside and let them figure it out? Here is some advice on how to navigate this balance of where your role as a parent fits into their job search…and when it may be too much. Click Here to see where you fit in.

February 2017 - 5 Secrets to Landing an Internship or Job Out of College

​This is the time of year when Juniors and Seniors are focused on getting a summer internship or job after graduation. Campus recruiters may have come in the Fall to hand pick a few candidates but many students are still looking for work. Common questions asked of me are, “What does it take to get hired?” or “What do other students have that I don’t?” Some students think their GPA is not high enough. Others are worried that they are not good enough or not graduating from a “top” school. After guiding students through this process here are five secrets that help a student to stand out and land the job:

January 2017 - The Magic Number

Wouldn’t it be great to have a little magic in our life and get all of the things we aspire to in the new year? Health, family, career… the list goes on. If you are a college student, do you wish you could just snap your fingers and have a fantastic internship or first job appear before you? I know many do.
While I can’t wave my magic-wand and give you a great job, I can share advice about a magic number that can change the way you pursue your search, focus on opportunities, and speak to employers. The magic number is 3. Click here to learn why.

December 2016 - Tell Your Story

Interviewing for your first job or internship can be quite stressful. There are so many variables that can play a part in meeting with a prospective employer, but the one consistent objective is to establish WHO you are and HOW you can help them meet their goals. Employers cannot read your mind (wouldn’t that be great?) or just your resume, and then hire you without a meeting. 
On an interview, a common request by employers is “walk me through your resume” or “tell me about this role.” This is not an invitation to recite your resume line by line, but an opportunity to share something about the role that shows your understanding of the responsibilities and where you will fit in at their company. 
Employers really want a STORY … to hear about your experiences, how you added value, and how you can help them. Not too much and not too little… just right!
Click here for tips on how to tell

October 2016 - The Must READ...

Our college students are smarter than ever. They have access to more technology and information than the generation before them. So why are they struggling to be informed about what career to pursue or how to go about finding an internship or job? 
Getting the answers to “Will I like this field?” or “Is this a good fit for me?” is not as simple as a Google search. The real answers come from reading relevant news, research and talking to people in that industry. Specifically, reading the news daily can help students on their path to self-discovery.
While advising students and graduates, no matter what the industry of interest whether it is fashion, chemistry or business, I always ask the same question, “Do you read the news or any publication related to your industry?”  Too often the answer is NO. Find out the easy way to make it a YES. Click here.

​​​​September 2016 - Good vs. Great - Which One Are You?

It’s September. Labor Day has come and gone and recent grads are still searching for employment. For those who have used their summer wisely for active networking and recruiting, I continue to hear a very common concern. “I have had lots of interviews, meet all the qualifications, make it to the final round of interviews but I don’t get the job. I just don’t understand why?” Or it could be the graduate’s parents telling me the same thing. It’s especially uncomfortable when the parent is well connected with influential colleagues. The parent makes introductions to hiring managers and the student blows their chances for an opportunity.

What is happening? Are our recent grads ready for the work force? Are employers too demanding?

August 2016 - Ready For School…But Are You Prepared for the Recruiters

It’s hard to believe it’s August and back to college for many students. Many of my friends are helping make sure their kids have all the final necessities for school. One thing that often gets overlooked is the preparation for the on-campus job fairs and recruiter sessions that start in early fall. It’s hard to think about a job or internship for next summer when a student has barely finished this one. Students are focused on the new course schedule, roommates and school activities. Many students think that if you want an internship for the summer or job after graduation, you can start searching in March. However, many schools have their big Career Fairs in early September and October. Big companies also invest a lot of effort to recruit early in the year to have their spots set by February for next summer.

What should a student do to get ready and compete for a job or internship?

July 2016 - Help...I got an internship and I hate it!

The middle of summer is upon us and many rising college Juniors and Seniors are working hard at their summer internship. It is the time to learn the value of being accountable and responsible to an employer and focus on the needs of someone else. This is the job that is supposed give you the real world experience you don’t get at school and set you up with a high chance of a job offer when you graduate. It has become the “must have” credential needed to compete with your college peers.

There is only one problem… you hate your internship.Read on...

June 2016 - How Do You Compete?

Same College, Same Major, Same Grades - What Sets You Apart?

It was the spring of my senior year in college and I was jammed into a small office in the Career Services Center with fifteen of my business school peers. Graduation was around the corner, and this was the last rush to secure a job before we left. We were waiting for the coveted interview with the recruiter from Procter and Gamble, now known as P&G for a Consumer Products Marketing role. As a marketing major, I felt obligated to apply since it had the word “marketing” in the title. I really had no idea what the job was, nor did I want to move to Cincinnati, but I figured if everyone else in my class was interviewing for it, I guess I should too. We all had the exact resumes on the school-provided template and we were wearing similar grey or navy suits. At the time, I thought that should be enough preparation. I would rely on the 4 P’s of marketing from my class work and share how my academics would make me a good candidate. How did it go? Read on...

May 2016 - 3 Things A Graduate Can Do RIGHT NOW

Congratulations to all the new graduates! It’s time to celebrate. But now the diploma is in hand and all anyone seems to ask is, “So, what are you going to do now? Do you have a job yet?” 

And if you are a parent, it feels likes all of your friends’ kids have jobs. You also hear those dreaded questions directed at your graduate or even yourself and you cringe as well. Your sons and daughters are still managing that transition back into living in your home and they are not so interested in your advice. This blog is for the graduates and if you are a parent reading this please share… that way you don’t have to explicitly tell them yourself!Read on...

April 2016 - Why Are Our Graduates So Fragile?

College graduation is upon us and both parents and students have mixed emotions about this day. As a parent, you are likely beaming but possibly even teary-eyed as another chapter is coming to an end. As a student, you are likely relieved it is over, exhausted from the journey, but excited for the real world to come – to reap the reward of successfully transitioning to your dream job after years of academic pursuit. Then comes reality – trying to translate what was learned in college into getting a meaningful job. 

The endless resume re-writes, applying for jobs, networking and hoping someone has a contact to give you a chance. And the realization that looking for a job is not so easy. Are today’s graduates really ready for this? Why are some of our graduates struggling to put it all together?

March 2016 - I'll Just Wing It.

I recently met with a friend‘s son, Zach, who is a graduating senior from a top business school. Everything seemed to be in place for Zach in terms of his resume, good networking contacts and possible job opportunities. In fact, Zach was recently invited to tour the office headquarters of a large IT firm and meet some of the executives. Zach was excited to see what it was all about and felt really good about the opportunity. I asked Zach if he prepared for this meeting and he said,

“I’ve had plenty of interviews already. I’m great on my feet. I’m sure I’ll be fine. I’ll just wing it.”Read on...

February 2016 - Please Don't Make Me Call Them on The Phone

By the time I was 15 years old, I had taken many years of dance lessons.  I heard about an opportunity at the local Y that was looking for dance instructors for 3 and 4 year olds.  Even though I had no official certification, I thought this would be a good experience for me and it was something that I really enjoyed doing.  There was one problem…I had to call the Director of the program on the PHONE!!! Read on...

January 2016 - ​Welcome to the Next Great Step Newsletter 

We are excited to bring you monthly updates on how to help college students and recent graduates achieve career success. Students come to us seeking help on how to get the internship or first job.  Parents seek our help for their student as they want them to achieve personal and financial success…or more honestly, move out of the house.

What can a parent do to help their college student or recent graduate navigate the job market?

Here are 3 key things a parent can do to help their student navigate the job market.