One of the most powerful aspects of professional development is building your network. Connecting and building relationships and friendships with like-minded individuals is essential to any career.
Working in the career field is no different. I interviewed fellow career educator Clarence Anthony.
Clarence and I actually first met as final candidates during an in-person interview process. The day-long interview included both group and individual interviews. The group aspects of the day allowed me to meet and get to know Clarence as not just my "competition" but as a person, professional, and educator. In the short time of meeting Clarence, I related to his passion for a career and higher education.
What’s a typical workday for you like?
I really enjoy my work because there is no set typical day and that each day varies in terms of the type of work that I can/am doing.
On most days, I’m meeting with students individually in coaching and advising sessions, or I’m delivering programs to help students advance within their career journey. On other days, I could be strategizing and/or planning a new initiative that I would like to accomplish or advance my office's mission – the University Career Center.
What was your first job?
My first job was at Winn-Dixie, where I was a bagboy for 3 years in high school. I remember submitting a resume (I’m not sure what I had on it) and having an interview.
Working as a bagboy taught me the value of hard work and also communication and customer service skills.
What is your best piece of career advice to someone looking to make a career change?
The first thing that I’d say about making a career change is that it takes a lot of courage to leave either a job, office, or industry and venture into something new. It’s easy to stay in a situation where you’re comfortable.
With that being said, I’d say that it doesn’t hurt to take a risk to change your path. You find that you like the change or that you do not. Either way, you’ve learned something new about yourself. I’d also say that it’s important to think broadly about your skills and experiences so that you can talk about how they are translatable to the new venture that you’re currently seeking.
What helped you get to where you are now?
The biggest things that helped me get to where I am today are: First, having a supportive academic, professional, and personal network. Each of these parts of my network helped me stay motivated while also pointing me in the right direction and advocating for me as a person and professional. I also believe that taking risks allowed me to get to where I am. Each time I moved to a new state, it required me to continuously evolve, meet new people, and establish new connections. It takes time to establish consistent and authentic connections, so be patient with that.
What would your alternate universe dream job be (if you weren’t in Higher Education/ Career?)
When I was younger, I dreamed of being a football player since that is something that my home area of known for. Realistically, I think that I would either be an artist since I grew up drawing. I ended up not majoring in art because I didn’t believe that it was a “real” major. I also would probably look into law or consulting since I enjoy working with people to solve problems, writing is a strength of mine, and I’m naturally curious.
What makes a great LinkedIn profile?
A great LinkedIn profile, to me, tells a story. It’s not just a digital representation of your resume. I always recommend for people to explain what they did in a story or narrative format.
Go deeper by telling people what you enjoyed about a certain experience, and what you learned, or how you grew. I think that it’s also great to give examples of your work by uploading files. Both of these elements add more depth to your professional brand.
What do you want to do someday when you retire?
Whew, that is a long way off. Honestly, I don’t think I’ll ever truly retire. I’d hopefully have a family at that point, so I would take as much time as possible to spend time with them.
I’d also stay active by serving as a part-time consultant by keeping counseling appointments and giving presentations and training. I wouldn’t be able to sit still for very long since I enjoy having something to do.
Best advice for someone just starting their career?
Two things: First, be patient. Many people have goals that they want to achieve, but those things rarely, if ever, come to fruition immediately. Allow yourself to enjoy the present while also work towards your goals.
Second, think intentionally about your daily activities and the tasks that you take on. Assign yourself to things that you believe will truly help you to move forward, instead of being a “yes person” who volunteers for things that won’t help you to advance in the long run.
It’s 10 minutes before a big meeting or public speaking event. What do you do to get in the right headspace?
To get myself ready, I first make sure that I arrive early so that I’m all set up and ready to go. Nothing puts more pressure on a person than on arriving late to a big meeting or event. The next thing that I do is sit in silence and stay present at the moment. I think about what I’d like to accomplish, who my audience is, and then generally sit in silence to prepare myself.
At this point, I’ve been rehearsing before the date, so practicing in the last 10 minutes wouldn’t change the outcome much for me.
The app on your phone you can’t do without?
That’s easy – Pandora. I love listening to music, and I have a great variety of genres on my playlist to match the mood that I’m in. Music helps to ground me, refocus me, and pump me up when need-be.
Bio: Clarence is a native of South Bay, FL, a small rural town in South FL (Palm Beach County). Additionally, he is 1 of 4 children. He attended the University of Florida for undergrad and graduated with a bachelor's in sociology in 2010. He then attended Columbia University's Teachers College and graduated with a master's in psychological counseling in 2012. He returned to Gainesville to finally finish his school with a doctorate in counseling and counselor education in 2016. He's been working with the University of Michigan for 2 years now and currently works with Ph.D. students exploring the job market outside of academia. He enjoys staying active, watching and playing sports, and attending live music events outside of work.