How to Finish 2011 Strong: Best Blogs, Books and Bits of Advice

Hard to believe it’s already nearly 2012. The holidays are always a good time to take stock of the past year and your accomplishments so, before you crack open the champagne, you may want to think about your goals for the coming year. Where do you want to go? How can you get there? Who can you rely on to help you? What kind of advice do you need to guide you?

 

As we look back on 2011 and our own accomplishments (most notably the publication of our first book, Be Your Own Best Publicist: How to Use PR Techniques to Get Noticed, Hired and Rewarded at Work), as well as our choices and key learnings, we thought we’d share some of our favorite founts of advice from colleagues, fellow career advisors and just plain ol’ smart folks.

While we believe the wisdom imparted in our book and blog posts is helpful to many, we also love learning from others who have interesting things to say about career, creativity and life in general. Here’s our short list:

 

 

Breakdown, Breakthrough by Kathy Caprino: We had the pleasure of serving as fellow advisors with Kathy in a Mediabistro Job Search Boot Camp this fall and were totally impressed with the advice she had to give to the students. Her book, Breakdown, Breakthrough, focuses on why women (though men can benefit from it as well) feel disempowered and teaches them how they can overcome their fears, obstacles and professional crises to find breakthroughs. As someone who spent years in the corporate world and had to navigate her own professional crisis and layoff after 9/11, Kathy went back to school to become a therapist and is now a successful career coach and speaker who draws from personal experience to help others.

 

Jonathan Fields: We don’t personally know Jonathan but Kathy Caprino actually recommended that we check out his blog and we absolutely love it (and then coincidentally saw that there’s an article about him in the January issue of ELLE magazine). He’s a former SEC lawyer turned entrepreneur and author/speaker on creativity, career, play and entrepreneurship who has written two books,  Career Renegade: How to Make a Great Living Doing What You Love, and more recently, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel for Brilliance. While we have not yet read either, they are on our reading list for the New Year and should be on yours as well. In the meantime, you can read some great advice, insight and interviews on JonathanFields.com.

 

Lindsey Pollak: Our friend Lindsey is the ultimate expert on Generation Y and her book, Getting from College to Career, is a must-read for any college student or recent graduate, all of whom could use some advice on how to navigate a very tough job market upon graduation. Lindsey’s blog is also fantastic and, though we’re part of Generation X, we glean great career advice from it as well, particularly on how to manage Gen Y employees, which can present its own unique challenges to any boss with young people on his or her staff.

 

College Bound and Gagged: Speaking of college, another great book comes from a lovely writer/self-coined “Stand Up Psychologist” Dr. Nancy Berk, who interviewed us for her radio show this year. College Bound and Gagged is the straight-talking survival guide for anyone (read: parents) who are trying desperately to navigate the pre-college time and remain sane in the process.

Careerideas.com: Kim Styler, who spent years working in the magazine industry, started this resourceful website to provide a behind-the-scenes look at as many careers as possible to help others figuring out their own path to learn as much as possible about what it’s like to work in various industries — such as book publishing, PR, film, HR, technology, etc. There are hundreds of video interviews with successful folks in these fields (including Jessica!) who answer questions such as “Who should or shouldn’t go into this business?”, “What’s your typical day like?” and “What do you like best/worst about your job?” Even though we’re not looking to change careers, we have enjoyed watching many of these videos just to hear more about what different jobs entail. Note: You can watch snippets of all videos for free but if you want to watch the full-length versions, you do have to sign up for a monthly or three-month package, at $14.99/mo. or $29.99, respectively.

And then a few nuggets of year-end advice from us that we hope will help you prepare for a successful and exciting 2012:

Look Back/Look Ahead: Take some quiet time to write down what you thought really worked in your career/job over the past year and what didn’t work as well. Determine what you can do better/differently/more of/less of in the coming year that will make you more efficient and effective in your job.

Be Thankful: Reflect on the moments — both small and big — that made you feel successful in 2011 and the people who supported you, connected you to someone else, and/or gave you positive feedback that helped you stay focused on your goals. Then, send those people a thank you note. It may sound hokey,but they will appreciate it, and you’ll stay top of mind for them in the New Year.

Do What Makes You Happy: Most of us spend more time at work than anywhere else, so it’s important to be fulfilled in what you do. Think about what would make you happier in your career and what changes you might make to help you get there. It could be as minor as telling your staff that you need an hour of “quiet time” each day to focus on strategy and not be distracted by constant interruption or emails. Or, it could be as drastic as switching careers or starting your own company, as Meryl recently did after doing PR in-house and at agencies for several years. Now is the time to take a risk, make a change and figure out how to advance your career — and happiness — in 2012.

Have any New Year’s advice, book or blog recommendations to share? Tell us here, on Facebook or Twitter (@bestpublicist).

Now I Know… (AKA Advice for the Graduating Class – Part II)


They say hindsight is 20/20 and that all advice is autobiographical.  So, when we thought about offering tips to this year’s graduating class, in addition to considering some of our favorite tidbits, we asked our colleagues and contributors to share one success strategy based on their experiences:

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