Be the Boss Over Cancer

I graduated college in May of 2012 and I have been having trouble finding an actual job and I could most certainly use the help. I went to Parsons for Fashion Designing and my resume is great full of experience and internships. I have also been going through a treatment for my brain tumor and it can get really tiring and stressful, specially while trying to find a job. It would be an amazing chance to have someone's help. 

Thank you so much,


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  • Kathy Flora

    Kathy Flora on Jan 3, 2013

    Career Coach Comment:

    Hi, Giovana;  I am glad you reached out to us.   Hopefully we can put our collective knowledge to work to come up with some practical solutions for you.

    First, though, congratulations on completing your college degree, and gaining so much experience.  Yours is a very competitive field, and that experience will serve you well.

    I have a few suggestions for you, that  you may wish to modify, depending on your stamina and energy.  But, they work for most new grads and hopefully will also help you.

    First, Preparation: Make a list of all your strengths and what sets you apart from others in  your graduating class.   Think of stories from your experience that illustrate those strengths, and hone those stories so that you can tell them in the course of two minutes or less.  Focus on what you did to make a difference in the cases that you are describing.

    From there, make a list of all the roles you would like to initially play in the fashion industry, and put them in priority order.  First - your heart's desire and then next, and so on.  On a chart, list how your strengths will provide you with what you need to actually do the jobs you have listed.  In other words, match your strengths and experience to what is required for the jobs.

    Once you have that done, craft a one minute commercial articulating what you bring to any employer.  Use your strengths and your stories to focus your communication, and use that commercial any time you introduce yourself to others, especially in situations where you are meeting individuals in your field, or in interview settings.

    Once you have that preparation completed, you are ready to explore options and opportunities.  This you will find is most effectively accomplished via networking with those in your field or who may know people in your field.  You should make a list of everyone you know, beginning with those related to your goal, such as professors and instructors, and those who provided you with internships etc.  But, don't stop there.  I have clients who found their best networking contacts by talking with their dry cleaner, who also did the shirts for an influential person who was a job target.  So, if you get where I am going with this, speak to everyone and share your commercial with the world, one person at a time. Ask for their help and advice and ask for others that they may know who may also provide you with ideas and leads.

    When you are speaking with folks, ask their advice, don't actually ask for a job as such.  Tell your story, accomplishments, and strength, then ask, "What advice would you have for someone in my shoes?"  Then listen.  When they give you an answer, act on their advice and follow up with them to let them know what has occurred as a result of their advice.   They will most likely be thinking of referrals for you, so circling back may yield other opportunities.

    If during these conversations, the network contact has a real job lead for you, they will share it, if they like and are impressed with you and your drive and enthusiasm.  People like to be helpful and they want to be sure that when they make a referral, they will be well represented.  So, sparkle in the network appointments just as you would in any interview.

    This is a challenging way to find a job, but in spite of all the technology based approaches used today, it is still the most effective.  Its clear...have a story to tell, and tell it to as may people as possible so that they, too, can become invested in your search.

    You will notice that no where in this list of things did I say to share with anyone that you are undergoing treatment for brain cancer.   I do not know how your treatment is affecting you, but it really is no one's business during the job search unless you find it crucial to reveal that information.  Your best bet is to stand on your credentials and your enthusiasm and experience, showcasing the great work that you have done and can do for your next employer. 

    Wishing you all the best for a successful recovery  and a highly successful fashion career, beginning in 2013!

    Kathy Flora, Career Coach

  • Margot Larson

    Margot Larson on Jan 3, 2013

    Career Coach Comment:


    My colleague, Kathy, offers great ideas and a solid plan for
    your job search.

    In addition to all those tasks she recommends to lead you to
    the job of your choice, I would also suggest that you develop a Plan B.   

    This, of course, depends on what your top priority is right

    Is your primary interest making some money?  Having a job you enjoy? Getting closer to
    your ideal career? Feeling engaged and productive?  If you cannot land a job in your chosen
    profession, what skills could be applied to other jobs and professions to support
    your primary interest? 

    Often while keeping busy, even volunteering, you may establish
    a contact that will lead you to your goal.

    While you focus on your job search, perhaps you could also
    dedicate some time to acquire new skills that would broaden your marketability,
    whether in your fashion career or a separate track. 

    As you heal, it is important that you find a balance between
    looking after yourself and remaining stimulated and engaged, which also
    contributes to recovery.  I have learned
    during my battle with cancer to manage my energy so that I can focus on those
    things that are most important to me. 
    Sometimes, it included performing easy/less interesting work from home which
    was less taxing on my energy level yet allowed me to enjoy a certain level of
    productivity and achievement.

    Start the 2013 year by writing down five simple quantifiable
    goals, blending your life, health and career. Post your goals in a place where
    you will see/read them regularly. It will help you focus on achieving them.

    I hope all these ideas provide you with a helpful plan of

    Margot Larson

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