We’ve all heard the saying – little kids, little problems. Big kids, big problems. One of the biggest challenges when parenting older kids is helping them launch a career that will excited and challenge them. Sandy Golinkin is the CEO of Raising the Bar, a consulting company that specializes in career development. “It focuses on mentoring college students/young adults who are curious and confused or stressed about their best potential career paths and how to best prepare to excel in an ever-changing work landscape, and become the best professional version of themselves,” explains Sandy. Her program helps young adults build their resume, hone their interview skills and more. “Raising the Bar also guides many who have been in the workforce for years, but may be changing careers, or starting their own business,” adds Sandy. We spoke to this dynamic founder about the wonderful resource she has created, her advice to anyone looking to launch a new career (young adults or empty nesters!) and more.
Can you please tell us a bit about your background?
A few highlights of my career, which began at Rolling Stone magazine, included being a founding publisher Departures magazine, running Travel & Leisure magazine, serving as Publisher/SVP of Allure magazine, launching Lucky magazine to unprecedented success, and having the honor of being named Conde Nast Publisher of the Year twice. I also worked at Bloomberg as group-publisher of their luxury initiative.
I hired, mentored and trained over 500 people, many of whom have gone on to impressive careers at Apple, Google, JP Morgan, Facebook, the Council on Foreign Relations, and Goldman Sachs, to name a few. I taught people on my teams how to bring their A-game and professionally raise the bar!
Would you please tell us a bit about yourself on a personal level?
I live in NYC; I am divorced/single and while unfortunately I do not have my own children, I am very proud to have 19 godchildren. They are a very special and important part of my life.
Sweets (particularly ice cream) are my downfall and I also love Italian food. One of my closest friends lives in Greenwich and I love to visit her and her and her incredibly wonderful family, and am a huge fan of the amazing ribs she makes! I love to read both fiction and non-fiction (I’m big fan of Diane’s books in Greenwich) and love discovering great binge-watching series.
How did you decide to create Raising the Bar – was there an “aha” moment?
I created Raising the Bar after spending a lot of time with young adults and listening to them often grumble about how their college or university had done precious little that was effective or productive in helping them bridge the gap between academics and the full time job world. My aha moment was when I was coaching one of my god children who had recently graduated and he said, “not sure how I just graduated from Harvard summa cum laude and was never taught any of what you have just shared with me…”
What is the advice you give most often to young adults looking to be hired?
Learn how to be a very good listener and also being well prepared can be invaluable; the better prepared you are, the more self-confidence you will have. Networking can be an excellent way to learn about opportunities and also what it is like to work for a particular company or industry.
What is the biggest mistake you see kids making while in college in terms of not setting themselves up for job hunt success?
A few suggestions for college students to set themselves up for the beginning chapter of professional success: #1 Have as many internships/part-time jobs as possible while in college. #2 Be curious about potential career/job opportunities. #3 Understand where you add value/what can you contribute and learn how to articulate that in a succinct and informative way. #4 Never forget the importance of being a good listener and always be well prepared! #5 Networking/Linkedin can be invaluable!
What advice do you give to moms most often who want to get back into the workforce?
I work with a lot of empty nester Moms and they are often surprised and delighted to hear that their role as a Mom, has ensured that they have developed some very important skills. Negotiating with a teenager counts for a lot, as does managing 3-8 schedules every week, and possible work with schools/organizations re events/fund raising can be very useful experience as well! Companies that have “returnship” programs greatly value these skills. Also most important to be able to articulate your strengths and what you can contribute and how that aligns well with the qualifications of the position you are interested in right now.
How have you pivoted during COVID?
I have been working much harder during COVID as it is a wonderful and fulfilling distraction. Also, in support of Black Lives Matter, I have launched an initiative: Black Careers Matter coaching/mentoring people of color at no charge. I also have made my Zoom classes for college students available to all students at no charge during COVID.
Zoom Classes Include:
Life After Graduation: Launching your career search
Crafting the Perfect Resume: Standing out and getting noticed
Practicing Interviews: Preparing to present your best self
Cover & Follow-up Letters: First impressions and maintaining contact
Excelling After the Offer: How to be an invaluable entry-level employee
These classes can be found on https://raisingthebar123.com/
What is next for Raising the Bar?
Next for RTB in 2021 is a wonderful TikTok partnership. Some new and exciting speakers will be joining the Raising the Bar Speaker Series, and by popular demand, possibly a few return visits. I also am focused on continuing my work with Black Careers Matter and next week proud to be welcoming a terrific group from Spelman College to my “ongoing professional study groups”.
What would you tell yourself 20 years ago that you wish you knew then?
Experience comes in many shapes and forms many of which are greatly sought after in the work place. Coding is becoming more and more invaluable, can be done at home and companies are seeking more female programmers. Also, in the workplace it is okay to admit you have made a mistake, and people will admire you for being so transparent – no one is perfect! Keeping in touch with the future – it is always good to be knowledgeable and articulate about change and what increases efficiency, productivity and communication.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I love meeting new people on the phone or Zoom and always welcome any and all questions. My cell is 917 270 4002 and my email is [email protected]
My website is https://raisingthebar123.com/