By Laura Dunn, Huffington Post
Jamie Peretz of 2MyCareer: Millennials Finally Get the Career Consulting They've Been Looking For
By The Story Exchange
Name: Jamie Peretz
Women in Business Q&A: Jamie Peretz, Founder, 2MyCareer
Business: 2MyCareer , career consulting for millennials
Industry: Coaching and Consulting
Location: New York, New York, USA
Reason for starting: After spending 15 years as an executive recruiter with Korn Ferry International, the world’s largest executive search and talent management firm, I knew that many of the millennials I was meeting needed advanced career consulting. Specifically, they needed individualized advice, refining the presentation of their experiences and crafting personal narratives in a manner that would appeal to competitive employers. I began 2MyCareer as a way to aid these individuals so that they could compete for highly sought after positions in their fields of choice.
How do you define success? For me, success happens each time that one of my clients secures a desired position. The job market for college students and recent graduates remains competitive and I am always so delighted to be able to help these talented individuals.
Biggest Success: I recently worked with a grad student whose goal was to join the 2 year analyst program at a leading global investment bank. However, the individual had attended a relatively unknown college and it had been several years since their internship at a boutique investment bank. In short, they had neither the educational nor employment background of others vying for this prestigious position. After working intensely to refine the person’s narrative, presentation and written materials, this person was offered a coveted slot in the program.
What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it? I’ve encountered two types of challenges to date. The first challenge is when an individual articulates a desired career path that to me seems, at first blush, and after further consideration, unachievable. For example, an art history major without a science background is not a good candidate for NASA. The puzzle that we then need to solve is, how can we optimize the art history student’s academics and other myriad experiences while simultaneously addressing their interest? Are positions where collecting, archiving and then marketing information about an organization like NASA achievable? The second type of challenge is one that I share with all small advisory firms. How do I get the word out about 2MyCareer? I do a lot of networking, both social media and the old fashioned kind, and I give talks and workshops at different venues, such as colleges and parents associations.
Who is your most important role model? I very much admire my fellow Princeton alum, Wendy Kopp. Not only is Wendy the founder of the national teaching corps, Teach for America (TFA), but she has continued to grow TFA into the leading organization it is today. Incredibly, Wendy proposed the creation of TFA as her Senior Thesis for Princeton’s Sociology Department. TFA recruits graduating seniors from selected colleges, trains them for five weeks, and sends them for a minimum of two years to some of the country’s most needy classrooms. Since 1989, over 30,000 Teach for America teachers have instructed more than 3 million students in 34 states. And if that wasn’t enough, Wendy is now working on expanding the global program, Teach for All, which is already active in 22 countries.
Jamie Peretz is founder of 2MyCareer, a college to career advising service to assist ambitious college students and recent graduates in realizing the careers they have worked toward. Candidates receive consultation designed to give them the knowledge and skills required to turn their academic and other achievements into meaningful employment. Prior to founding 2MyCareer, Jamie was a managing director at Korn Ferry International, the global leader in executive recruitment and talent consulting. Previously, she held executive positions in investment banking at Credit Suisse and JP Morgan, and was an attorney with Pillsbury Winthrop. Peretz holds a BA from Princeton University, and MBA from NYU and a JD from Georgetown University.
How has your life experience made you the leader you are today?
While it is my experiences as an executive recruiter that are the most direct link to my current leadership role, all of my career, educational, and athletic experiences have combined to give me the ability to lead 2MyCareer and effectively advise college students and recent graduates in order for them to obtain their first choice career. As an executive recruiter for 15 years with Korn Ferry International, the world's largest executive search and talent management firm, I advised dozens of clients across the globe on hiring strategy and candidate selection while simultaneously interviewing thousands of professionals. As a result, I have very extensive insight into what companies seek in their employees, and why. As a former investment banker and lawyer, I have very relevant experience with complex industries, and with a large array of varied clients. I have also had the privilege of mentoring students through several non-profits, which has turned out to be as meaningful for me as it has been for them. Additionally, as a competitive amateur equestrian, I have learned much from my trainers about leading and coaching individuals in high pressure situations.
How has your previous employment experience aided your tenure at 2MyCareer?
My years at Korn Ferry were instrumental and invaluable in many ways. It was an experience that I frankly don't believe could have been replicated in any other industry. Executive recruiters, or headhunters, are responsible for finding the very best candidates for a specific job. In that process, the headhunter spends a lot of time identifying the right candidates, persuading them to consider the opportunity, meeting and interviewing each and every individual, introducing the best potential hires to the client, overseeing the prolonged hiring process and finally, negotiating the employment agreement. This entire process has given me expertise about what candidates really need to get the offer. I have participated in innumerable hiring decisions, and have witnessed over and over again who gets hired and why. While a candidate must have relevant experience, that is only part of the equation. Successful candidates all have highly compelling narratives that truly distinguish them from their peers. Fortunately, college students and recent graduates are still at a stage in life where they can optimize all of their academic achievements, interests, and experiences to create individualized and special narratives. Students are also avid learners who greatly benefit from this personalized advice. Already immersed in an academic environment, they are accustomed to teachers, coaches, and mentors, and eager and open to learning.
What have the highlights and challenges been during your tenure at 2MyCareer?
The highlights of my time at 2MyCareer have occurred each and every time that one of my clients has secured a desired position. We are always beyond thrilled and we give credit to one another where it is due. The adrenaline and emotions are high, and the sighs of relief are audible. And while I wish that the first career job market was less competitive, today's challenges do make victories sweet. There have been two types of challenges to date. The first challenge is when an individual articulates a desired career path that to me seems, at first blush, and after further consideration, unachievable. For example, an art history major without a science background is not a good candidate for NASA. The puzzle that we then need to solve is, how can we optimize the art history student's academics and other myriad experiences while simultaneously addressing their interest? Are positions where collecting, archiving and then marketing information about an organization like NASA achievable? The second type of challenge is one that I share with all small advisory firms. How do I get the word out about 2MyCareer? I do a lot of networking, both social media and the old fashioned kind, and I give talks and workshops at different venues, such as colleges and parents associations. I do admit that I have a leg up in networking. Part of how an executive recruiter ferrets out the best candidates is by talking to lots and lots of people, and that has always been a part of my personality.
What advice can you offer women who are looking to start their own business?
I think that anyone starting a business needs to truly expect the unexpected, and to expect to devote enormous amounts of time and energy into their product or service. I have learned that the unexpected things will be both good and bad, and there will be events that will point you in directions that you may not have even considered in your business plan. For example, I had planned for 2MyCareer to work with college students beginning sophomore or junior year. More of my clients however, come to me as seniors or recent graduates. These students are just as welcome as the sophomores and juniors, but require a somewhat different approach and strategy. Not a problem, but an unexpected twist. Another unplanned clientele for 2MyCareer has been international students studying in the United States. With a million international students here at any given time, it seems in retrospect surprising that I had not anticipated their interest, especially since I worked with so many international clients at Korn Ferry. These students also require a slightly different approach and strategy. I've enjoyed becoming highly informed about the unique challenges these students face. This has required me to be flexible and to be able to travel to locales such as China on short notice for meetings with educators and students. This, once again, has been unexpected but exciting!
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
I have found a great way to make this easy. The secret to my work/life balance is to devote part of my weekends and vacation breaks to pursuing my other passion - horses! My equestrian endeavors feed my drive and energy for my work. To quote the late President Ronald Reagan, "there is nothing better for the inside of a man than the outside of a horse" (or for the inside of a woman!) There are many reasons why I love riding horses. Horses are such graceful and strong animals. The thrill of galloping around a field or jumping over fences is addictive. You are outdoors in a beautiful setting getting a full workout. Riding demands one's full attention and therefore clears the mind as effectively as meditation. I also compete at horseshows as an amateur in the hunter/jumper world. Like any other individual sport, when it is your turn, the heat is on! And when you perform well with a four-legged companion, it is a proud moment. The thrill and focus of riding translates into a real boost for my efforts at 2MyCareer.
What do you think is the biggest issue for women in the workplace?
I have found that the two biggest challenges for women in the workforce are interrelated. The first challenge, in many industries, including those that I have worked in, is that women are not "one of the guys" and don't want to be. I recognize that this sounds ridiculously simplistic, but I have witnessed it over and over again. Women often have different reference points, experiences, family responsibilities, athletic interests, sensitivities, hobbies, communication methods - the list is never-ending. And while none of these differences theoretically matter to anybody, they result in women's workplace support systems and networks often diverging from those of the men. Step back and consider how many men that you know really have a "best buddy" who is a woman? This affects not only the workplace milieu of many women, but sometimes also affects their ability to build the same familiar relationships as their male counterparts with suppliers, contractors, and clients, among others. Therefore, the second challenge for women is finding mentors. Once again, I don't believe that men intentionally choose not to mentor women. In fact, many try extra hard to do so and some are successful. But it can be hard for a man to mentor a woman, especially when your wife raises her eyebrows every time you affectionately, and innocently, mention your mentee's name.
How has mentorship made a difference in your professional and personal life?
Interestingly, I was not fortunate enough to have been mentored by senior women while working in either executive recruiting or investment banking. But that is because senior women are rather scarce in both of those professions. While there are certainly plenty of senior women in executive search, there are very few at the very top. My own most significant mentor was a former Head of Korn Ferry's New York and East Coast offices, Chuck Wardell. Chuck was very instrumental to both my professional and personal life because he taught me not only to really see and believe how talented I was at my career, but to not hesitate to simultaneously pursue my equestrian dreams. He really taught me how to "go for it" on two fronts at once. He encouraged me relentlessly, but was not shy about nicely pointing out any area that could stand improvement.
What is super special about Chuck became apparent after he had left Korn Ferry and was running another major search firm. It turned out that most of my colleagues at Korn Ferry's New York office believed that they had a unique relationship with Chuck. And I have learned that this quality really and truly defines leadership. Not surprisingly, BusinessWeek named Chuck one of the world's most influential search executives in 2008, and Chuck started his career as a decorated combat veteran, having served with distinction in Vietnam. I was, and still am, in awe of Chuck.
Which other female leaders do you admire and why?
A female leader that I have very much admired for a long time is fellow Princeton alum, Wendy Kopp. Not only is Wendy the founder of the national teaching corps, Teach for America (TFA), but she has continued to grow TFA into the very recognized leader it is today. Incredibly, Wendy proposed the creation of TFA as her Senior Thesis for Princeton's Sociology Department. TFA recruits graduating seniors from selected colleges, trains them for five weeks, and sends them for a minimum of two years to some of the country's most needy classrooms. Since 1989, over 30,000 Teach for America teachers have instructed more than 3 million students in 34 states. And if that wasn't enough, Wendy is now working on expanding the global program, Teach for All, which is already active in 22 countries. But I would not have had my career to date, nor become the person I am today, without personal attention from the other female leader I admire, my mother.
Blossom Peretz - Bunny to her friends and family - graduated from Yale Law School as one of 7 women in a class of 160. She began her career as a lawyer in the days when many law firms would openly, and without explanation, refuse to interview a woman. My mother did many things as a utilities lawyer, and was chosen by another woman, Governor Christie Whitman of New Jersey, to create and run the Office of Ratepayer Advocate, which aligned the state's interest in having financially viable competitive utilities with its interest in providing safe, adequate, and proper service to all utility customers. She balanced all of this with raising three successful children. Needless to say, the entire family was there for her swearing in by Governor Whitman, a proud and happy moment we will always remember.
What do you want 2MyCareer to accomplish in the next year?
What I am most looking forward to for 2MyCareer in the next year is to continue our rapid growth. This will be accomplished by continuing to distinguish our company for the way we help clients craft and communicate a personal narrative that leads to a gratifying first career. While I would never have launched this business without the extensive experience and real passion that I have, it is truly humbling for me to acknowledge how much more I have learned. While my core understanding of what makes a graduating student more competitive in the job market than his or her peers has not changed, I readily admit how much more I now understand about this generation and both its challenges and gifts. I am as determined now as I was then to give them the tools they need to successfully land and master their first career. And I still want more for 2MyCareer. More client success stories, more collaborations, more awareness of the wisdom of college to career advising, more confidence from this generation about all that they have to offer, the list goes on and on. Of course, I also want to see the general business climate continue to expand to make room for this generation. Finally, I want to see these students and their parents happy and excited about this big next life step, and I hope that they will continue to benefit from my advice. The huge smiles, and sighs of relief, make me so grateful that I have been able to assist and pass along my recipes for first career success!
Building A Narrative For A Wider Horizon: A college to career consulting expert supplies students and recent graduates with some valuable advice.
By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Jamie Peretz is the founder of 2MyCareer, a consulting service assisting ambitious college students and recent graduates in navigating the transition from academia to a rewarding career. She’s been a managing director at Korn Ferry International and an investment banker at Credit Suisse and JP Morgan and her education includes a BA from Princeton University, an MBA from NYU and a JD from Georgetown University. She’s been interviewed before by Big4.com on best practices for those looking to launch their careers.
Her first piece of advice in our most recent installment centered around exercising caution and discretion when building an online resume.
"It’s a good idea to open a LinkedIn site after your first summer job,” she says. "After that, as time goes by, you should continue to build your profile of skills, experiences, successes and recommendations.”
Peretz is quick to point out the focus here needs to be purely business-oriented.
"Your LinkedIn page is almost as important as your resume, so treat it accordingly,” she says-adding nothing should be posted anywhere, at any time, which might lead a potential employer to question your character or judgment.
She also says creating a "personal narrative” is a process each student can focus on so they have a complete picture of their studies, interests, extracurriculars, jobs and internships, and volunteer work by the time they graduate.
"The idea here is to wind up with an articulable story of why you are now prepared for a particular entry level career.”
Above all, the former attorney with Pillsbury Winthrop stresses students need to have a personal stake in the areas they pursue because it is impossible to be good at something you have no passion about.
"This needs to be part of your narrative and it must ring true,” she says. "It has to reflect your interests – which lead to your experiences – which lead to the decisions that you make and the career paths that you explore. Of course, over time, your interests and career will evolve – but there will be a central path that endures and strengthens.”
Exploring and taking risks is another ingredient for career success and new activities and different types of classes are suggested as ways to widen your horizons. Peretz says the people sitting around you in classes can be a window to experiences that will spill over into the business world later on.
"Your classmates are likely to be from all over the world and from all swaths of life, and forging these friendships may be one of your best opportunities to learn cultural dexterity – which is important for all individuals – and most businesses as well,” she says.
Should College Seniors Plan to Spend Spring Break on Their Job Search?
That week off of school is a great chance to catch up on your job search — or start it, if you haven’t yet
Catherine Conlan | January 30, 2015
Spring break is just around the corner, which means a lot of college seniors are pondering their options: Work on their job search or have a little fun before graduation? Or maybe combine the two with some "voluntourism”?
If you’re wondering what to do with your senior year spring break, here’s some advice from career specialists.
Starting late or finishing strong?
If you’re just getting started with your job search, you’re already behind the game, says Sharon D.D. Reid, assistant director of career services of The Milano School of International Affairs, Management & Urban Policy at The New School. "Most entry-level corporate/business and technology positions and management training programs recruit seniors in the fall,” she says. "During the spring, there might still be a few opportunities in business, but nonprofits and public sector employers could have more since their hiring tends to be ad hoc.”
Spring break might provide you with just the stretch of uninterrupted time you need to focus on your job search, says Tracy Ball, an academic and career counselor at the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. "Searching for a job is a process and takes time. College seniors who are focused on completing their coursework often find it hard to add job searching to their busy academic and co-curricular schedules.” Check to see if the career center staff is available during the week of spring break.
If you haven’t already, clarify what types of jobs you're targeting and map out a week-by-week plan to land one by graduation time, says Maggie Graham of Career Design. "It's rarely the hare that wins the job-search race. The determined and focused turtle wins almost every time.”
Is ‘voluntourism’ the answer?
Some students use spring break as an opportunity to volunteer. "A week-long volunteer trip designed for college students is only interesting on a graduating senior's resume if the experience is clearly relevant to that student's personal narrative and career goals,” says Jamie Peretz, founder of 2MyCareer. "For example, volunteering at an archeological dig in Asia offers both future archaeologists and museum curators potentially valuable first-hand experience. However, that same trip offers virtually nothing to help build the experience, knowledge and resume of an aspiring financier.”
Reid agrees. "Don't rely on a one-time voluntourism experience to impress potential employers — if you want to demonstrate that you are an engaged member of society, focus on your ongoing community service where you are both applying knowledge and skills learned in school, and developing new skills transferrable to any work environment.”
If you do end up on a volunteer trip, it’s unlikely to swing a job offer one way or the other, Graham says. "It'll provide you with some amazing anecdotes for your interviews and possibly your cover letters. It can also give you guidance about the direction you want to head: geographically, nonprofit or corporate or socially responsible business, industry.”
As for partying hard on your spring break, Graham has some final words of warning: "We’ve all heard the stories about incriminating photos on social media.” If you're going to cut loose, be mindful of the photos that may end up online.
Volunteering’s Positive Double Whammy
By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
"I think there’s a distinction between volunteering to help you in your own personal development and in your career development. Volunteering is always important for someone’s personal development and it can be important for professional development.”
This from Jamie Peretz, the founder of 2MyCareer, a college to career advisory service assisting college students and recent graduates with first careers. Prior to founding her company, Jamie was a managing director at Korn Ferry International, the global leader in executive search and talent management. We caught up with her recently to chat about the
importance of volunteering to career development in the Big4.
When it comes to building a career foundation, this important piece of the puzzle can be essential to help people on the cusp of starting a career clarify their own interests, goals and passions according to Peretz, who holds a BA from Princeton University, an MBA from New York University, and a JD from Georgetown University.
"Basically I think the two angles leapfrog off each other,” she says. "Someone is always drawn toward a career they have a passion for.” She cites personal experience with mentoring roles that broadened her horizons and understanding while simultaneously laying part of the foundation for 2MyCareer.
She goes on to say while anyone and everyone should be volunteering in areas where they are able to help, an objective analysis of the experience is a great way to clarity one’s natural strengths. She explains:
"I think if you can use that experience and step back to say ‘What did I like and not like about that?’ and what does that tell me about how my career could unfold, volunteering is helpful.”
On the other side of the coin, Peretz is clear you should never shy away from any of these opportunities just because there’s no obvious career advantage for a specific path. She notes any kind of volunteering affords the chance to hone networking skills and the ability to work with others. Any chance to learn how to be more effective in a group will come in handy for those looking to climb the ladder in the Big4 and elsewhere.
Peretz also stresses there’s nothing wrong with looking at the possibilities through a more business orientated lens.
"If you’re at a certain stage and you need to be somewhat selfish about your time and where to best spend it, you can take advantage of volunteering being a double whammy since you can help other people and yourself.”
We finish up with her saying volunteering might be most effective for junior professionals as it offers an additional tool to help them create their career paths.
How to Get Over the Holiday Hangover
Jaime Peretz, Founder of 2MYCAREER.COM, knows that this next tip will NOT gain her any popularity points, but will be extremely helpful in ensuring your easy transition back to work.
"Arrive back home not on the night before it’s back to work, but on the day before the day before,” Peretz says.
For example, if Monday is your first day back to work, then Peretz recommends being home by Saturday. This will give you time to unpack, refocus, get organized for what lies ahead, and then, so you can return truly refreshed, relax at home for a short while before diving back into the fray.
Of course, the other major reason she sticks to this rule is that if your plane or train is delayed, or traffic snags ensue, you’ll still be back on the appointed day.
"Do you really want to be that person at the airport counter, frantically demanding that you be re-routed so that you can make it to that important Monday morning appointment–and be told to get back in line because everyone is in the same dire situation that you are? This is avoidable. Leave a cushion of extra time.”
She learned this the hard way.
Peretz says, "On the day my family and I were supposed to be flying home to NY from a holiday trip to Aspen, we were snowed in, and of course everyone had to be back for important meetings or class the next morning. There was nothing to be done, and the panic that ensued essentially ruined that Rocky Mountain High we’d been enjoying! Think about your return from vacation the way you do about any important transition in your life, and don’t cut things too close–it’s never worth it. Give the vacation/work transition the kind of time and attention it really needs.”
Great entry-level jobs for social science majors