2017 HBCU Careers Magazine

HBCU Careers Magazine

The 5-ings for Career Advancement By: Dr. Mike Ammons Director, Raleigh-Durham Aspire Campus North Carolina Wesleyan College

You’ve completed your college degree, have been hired working a full-time job, and transitioning to being a full-fledge professional. Now what? While you have completed an important milestone in your formal education, the real learning has just begun. As you have probably figured out by now, the job market is a competitive place and you find yourself surrounded by others who are all wondering the same question, “How do I get to the next level”? Don’t despair; the following five practices will help you separate yourself from your peers. Mentor-ing

Seeing is believing! Humans are visible creatures in that we are fascinated by our visual senses. The more the senses are engaged, the stronger the memory. Mentors serve as visual models that enable us to see the possibilities of what could be and provide tangible evidence of success. Reflecting back on my childhood, I can remember being intrigued by the airplane SR-71 Blackbird. What sparked my interest about this plane was the fact that it did not look like any other place. It was sleek, black, and fast reaching peak speeds of over Mach 3 (three times the speed of sound). At one point, it was the fastest manned aircraft in the world. Due to my interests, my parents bought me an SR-71 model to assemble. When I opened the box I was overwhelmed by the number of pieces required to assemble the plane. Along with these parts came a visual image of what the plane was to look like in addition to instructions on how to put it together. After hours of laboring and numerous glances at the image on the front of the box, I was the owner of an assembled SR-71 model airplane. Just like this model SR-71 airplane, when we look at what it takes to be successful in our professional careers, it can seem overwhelming. That is why it is important that you find a mentor so they can provide both an image and instructions on how to get it done. Not only should you seek out a mentor but you should also mentor others. Pastor and author Andy Stanley states that if you are one step further down the road than someone else, then you have something to share. So, get to sharing! Network-ing Have you ever heard the statement, “It is not what you know it is who you know”? There is some validity to this statement as organizations don’t hire people, people hire people. It is reported that up to 80% of jobs are found through personal relationships. In a quest to answer the question, “How did you get where you are”, I interviewed and met with people in my career field to determine how they were able to get into their current position. Time and time again these individuals responded that it was through a personal connection that enabled them to get the job over other candidates who were equally qualified. In today’s job market, networking is essential to career advancement. I recommend taking a three-tier approach when it comes to networking in which youmake connections professionally, in your community, and web-based (Internet). Some useful professional communities include but are not limited to LinkedIn, Toastmasters, and the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).


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