On this episode of Prepped & Polished Radio, Alexis Avila interviews Dennis Charles of Boston-based Charles Career Mentoring. Dennis talks about job trends today and how young professionals can stand out in the job market.
Dennis Charles holds Masters in Educational Psychology from Loughborough University in the UK. Prior to this role, Dennis was a high school teacher and professional soccer player and coach.
Full Word-for-Word Transcription
Radio Show. I’m your host Alexis Avila, licensed guidance
counselor, private tutor, and founder of Prepped and Polished
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Joining our show today is Dennis Charles. Dennis is founder of
Boston based firm, Charles Career Mentoring. Where he builds
careers with passion. Dennis is originally from the home of this
years Olympics, East London.
Prior to this role Dennis was a high school teacher, a professional
soccer player. He has a Masters in Educational Psychology, and
is a proud graduate of, and he’ll help me pronounce this later
Loughborough University in the UK. We’re delighted to have
Dennis on our show. He’s going to share with us about what’s
going today in the job market. Give us some tips on how you can
land your dream job, especially for young professionals.
Before we start I just want to make sure listeners have our contact
information. Our email address is Radio@Preppedandpolished.com.
If you’d like to submit a question at any time, you can use
that email address. Often our listeners will have questions as
they’re listening or afterwards so we always appreciate hearing
from our listeners. So you can email us any time at
Radiopreppedandpolished.com. Hey Dennis, are you on the line
Dennis: I’m here with you Alexis. How are you doing today.
Alexis: Good, thanks so much for joining us. How was your weekend?
Dennis: My weekend was fantastic, I was actually down in New Jersey. I
have a lot of family…
Dennis: And thanks so much for having me on the show, I really, really
appreciate it. It’s great to be here.
Alexis: Well, I had the pleasure to meet you quite a few times at
networking conferences and I’m really impressed with how you
relate to young people. And I just wanted see if you could tell
us, start out by telling us a little bit about Charles Career
Mentoring, and how you came up with your company?
Dennis: Absolutely. I’ve been really doing mentoring and coaching and
training for my entire life through various [inaudible 03:02] I
was a former high school teacher. As you mentioned, I used to
be a professional soccer coach. And worked in summer camps for
a number of years as well. The whole time I was really working
with young people, and young people being anywhere from probably
5 years old up to 25 years old.
And one of the things I’ve really always loved doing was helping them
figure out what they wanted to be doing with their lives.
Whether it was younger end of that spectrum, just what were they
interested in. What was fun for them, up into the older ones.
What did they want to be doing in college.
Whether they wanted to be going into college or maybe taking some
time out before they went to college. And once they graduated
from, helping them with their career direction. Helping them
really get out there. Get a job that for them was fulfilling, in
which they can be successful and which they can be satisfied and
they can make a contribution to the world.
And so about five or six years ago I said, you know what. I’m going
to make a go of this and I began to build a private practice and
really enjoyed it over the last five or six years. Just helping
out young people, helping them get into the world and really
making a difference through the work that they do.
Alexis: Well that’s amazing. And you’re making a difference for sure.
What have you seen in the last five years since you’ve started
your practice with the job trends, especially today?
Dennis: Well it’s really been interesting times, the economy’s kind of
been here and there and everywhere. When I first started off it
was a case of you got the job, you got the career, you got the
credential, and then you could go out and market and sell
yourself, and companies would almost be fighting over themselves
to hire you. Then of course you went into the recession 2007
-2008 and things changed dramatically. Companies were slashing
New hires, even interns weren’t getting paid what they were getting.
New hires were getting significantly less income that they were
maybe five or ten years ago. And what I really realized was
those who were being successful were able to standout a little
bit and really able to demonstrate that if a company were to
take a risk to hire them that they could deliver value. I think
ten years ago would hire 100 recruits and hope that 40 would
Now they’re looking at really targeting the 40 recruits and knowing
that those 40 they’re going to hire they’re going to work with
and stick with. So the hiring process for people coming out of
high school, coming out of college has changed dramatically.
This idea about what the value I can deliver is absolutely huge
Alexis: Oh definitely. And I totally hear you said at the beginning
when you started five, six years ago. There were companies
fighting for clients, now obviously tables have turned a little
bit. We have clients trying to fight other clients for jobs,
Dennis: Absolutely, yep, yep.
Alexis: So, now this is where you I’m sure that you I’m sure that you
shine because you are a career expert. But without giving all
your secrets away, because I definitely encourage listeners to
sign up for Dennis’s program. But what tips if any do you have
for standing out in the job market?
Dennis: The one thing that I hammer away over and over again with the
clients I work with about the private clients and those that
come to my training are really develop an entrepreneurial
mindset. Now what does that mean? Even if you’re going to go
work and get hired for another company. You really need to
consider: what is the value that you’re going to be delivering?
Why should that company, first of all, hire you? And then consider,
given your responsibility, and then consider promoting you. And
I believe that comes from having an entrepreneurial mindset. So
going in and not just saying all right, this is my job
description, I’m going to do it. But just taking that as the
basis. Going in to an organization, going into a company and
saying this is my job description and what else can I offer.
Where do my skills lay, what’s the value added that I offer, because
time and time again, Alexis. I see those that have gone in and
interned in a company, have got great, great references are the
ones going on and getting hired maybe above those that maybe got
better grades throughout high school and college. Those that
have really gone in and made a difference within a company, an
organization. Been able to demonstrate that, been able to
communicate that to a potential employee are the ones getting
Alexis: Yes, that makes sense. So just kind of having just a little bit
more of the networking mindset as well.
Dennis: Absolutely. Really get out there and build your network. And
networks are a funny thing. Of course again, the last five or
six years we’ve seen social media explode where those that are
on Twitter, on Facebook. You may have 1500 friends on Facebook,
but that to me Alexis, is not really networking.
I would rather see somebody with eight really solid contacts then
1500 random, spread out contacts, who most of whom they’ve never
met in their life. But if you had five to eight really solid
dependable contacts that you could be networking with in your
chosen field. And you really developed those relationships and
put depth into those relationships and demonstrated that you are
a person of substance with those people. Then that’s going to
really help you with your leverage.
Now there’s a statistic out there that 3% of all jobs that are filled
are not actually advertised. So they’re not getting out and
into, we’re talking old school, but they’re not getting out into
the news paper. They’re not getting out to Monster, but they’re
actually either hired within, or they’re positions that become
available and people know through various networks. I’m looking
for a position as a graphic designer. Oh, I know a really great
graphic designer, you should call John.
So if we’re looking at only 17% of jobs and careers coming from
advertisements. You want to really be focused on that 83%, and
as you say, networking and building that, as I call it, that
bridging capital, is really something that is going to be
essential and crucial going forward.
Alexis: That is cool. Sign me up. So now this might be sort of a
redundant question. You know when I go outside you see people
who are just struggling to find a job. So what are maybe like a
couple tips that come to mind if you see somebody coming into
your office just really struggling. Like maybe she’s shy, who’s
knows. But just is kind of firing blanks. What would you say?
Dennis: This is a typical thing I see and this is not everybody, but if
this is very common, is that they’re casting their net far too
widely. They’re saying, I just want a job. Well, that’s not
particularly appealing to potential employee. So what I do get
them to focus down and narrow down.
I’ll sit down and through a process of investigation I’ll find out
where a potential clients skills are. I’ll find out where a
particular clients interests are, and really work out a specific
strategic plan from there. Because as you say a lot of people
are floundering around or fumbling around. But it’s very
difficult to hire someone, just imagine that you’re working for
an [accounting] company, and you just want any job. You’re
probably not going to get hired.
But if you’re hiring in an accounting company and somebody comes in
with the qualifications, with the desire, and says, one of the
things I really love about [accountancy] is just at the end of
the day when I really get those numbers right, and I can really
deliver great service to a client. In fact, I had an internship
six months ago with a particular company, and I just really
loved the client interface, the one to one. That was the thing
that really got me going.
The person is going to get hired. The person that shows up and says,
maybe I want a career in accountancy, maybe I just want to get
hired, please hire me. It kind of smacks like desperation.
So, one of the things I’ll do Alexis, is really get them laser
focused in an area. And work from there. Come up with a plan
from there. So if their interest is in computers that such a
broad field. But again it’s far too general.
What is your specific interest in computers? What are the skills you
have, what are the skills that you can learn, and what’s the
value, getting back to that entrepreneurial mindset? What’s the
value you’re going to be able to go in and demonstrate that you
can deliver to a potential employer?
Alexis: Well that’s amazing. I like the fact that just focusing really
with laser like vision, and just kind of pursuing it with
everything you’ve got.
Dennis: It’s one of those things. I’m a big sports fan, and I find it’s
always [inaudible 12:15] successful in sports are the ones that
are specialize. You know we have very specialized sports over in
the U.S. We have a guy that’s maybe 300 pounds. He doesn’t say,
I’m going to try out for the gymnastics team. I’m going to try
for the triathlon team. I’m going to try out for the sprinting
team. He say’s, 300 pounds.
I can probably be a really good line backer on the foot ball team.
Let me put my attention, and focus my attention for three or
four, five years on being a line backer, and he’s going to have
much more success. My guess is a 300 pound guy is not going to
be very, very good at arrhythmic gymnastics, so why put your
Alexis: Absolutely. I guess my last question is if you could just share
with us a success story that you recently had.
Dennis: Yeah, last week I had got a text message from one of my
clients, because one of the ways I work, I like to work in real
time. So I’ll use a lot of Skype, I’ll use a lot of email.
I’ll use text, I’ll use phone calls, and of course I’ll use face-
to-face. And this guy’s a remote client. He’s out in the
Midwest, really nice guy. But just been struggling to find a
career that for him is fulfilling. He’s able to make the
financial end work, but he’s just kind of running into a series
of dead-end jobs. He found it difficult to wake up in the
morning and to get himself motivated.
Alexis: And how old was this guy?
Dennis: He’s in his late 20’s.
Alexis: Late 20’s, Okay.
Dennis: And in many respects, very similar to a recent grad in that he
hadn’t just really found that thing that made him come alive. So
we really focused on what he wanted to be doing. And what he
really wanted to be doing was a lot of customer service. Working
with customers in the entertainment industry.
So for the last six weeks I just had him out and networking and
building up his skills. Interfacing face to face, one to one,
and I get a text message I think it was last Monday. He says,
you got to call me now. I think I was with another client. So I
call him back a half an hour later and I say what’s going on. I
got a job, I got a job, I got a job. He was so pumped and so
excited, and it’s an entry level job, and so in his late 20’s.
One of the things he said was it’s not his perfect career, but it’s a
place where he can begin to leapfrog onto his perfect career. So
for him now the thing is to do. Now he’s got this position, now
how can he demonstrate that when a more senior position within
this organization becomes available that he should be the one to
be hired. That’s the work that we’re going to be focusing on.
Alexis: Wow. Not only is it a success story, but it hasn’t stopped.
Dennis: Yeah, absolutely. And really it never does. I think you know,
one of the things, Alexis, that I see with skilled people, even
folks like Richard Branson from my country most people know him
from the Virgin organization. He has coaches, he has mentors,
he has trusted advisers.
He doesn’t believe that he can do this alone. He works with others
to get input. And ultimately while he takes responsibility and
makes decisions himself, he doesn’t do so until he gets a
significant amount of input. One of the stories when he started
Virgin Atlantic Airlines he went to a guy that had been running
an airline for the last 15 years. A guy named Freddie Laker in
the U.K. And said, can you help me. And this guy said Freddie
Laker kind of really mentored him for the first three years of
building up his airline.
Alexis, one of the things that I’ll say about America is that we love
to do things, were autonomous, we’re independent, we love to do
things on our own and for ourselves and there’s tremendous value
in that. I think that reaching out and getting help,
particularly in regards to careers, with regards to academic
help which I know you do at Prepped and Polished as well. Just
that reaching out and getting help at the right time, it really
can make a difference.
Alexis: Well said. Well this is great. Thank you so much. I think it’s
really evident that the way that you approach every relationship
is just with your methodical, strategic, and you just infuse
passion into your students and your clients and really make a
difference. I know you deliver, so thank you so much.
Dennis: It was my absolute pleasure talking with you Alexis. Thanks so
much for inviting me on, and thanks so much for having the
conversation. I think it’s really important work we both do.
And I really appreciate you taking the time to reach out. Thank
Alexis: Oh yeah, my pleasure. Well thank you. This wraps up our show
today with Dennis Charles, founder of Charles Career Mentoring.
Please visit Charlescareer.com to learn more about Dennis’s
company, and while you’re there, definitely sign up for his
informative newsletter. I get it, it’s excellent. Thank you
again for joining us Dennis, and thank you for joining us on the
Prepped and Polished Radio Show, we’ll talk to you soon.
Care to share your job searching experiences? What was one of Dennis’ career tips that resonated the most?
Post your tips/comments below.