Dedicated to the progress and advancement of all paralegals.

Mentor Blog

Welcome to our mentor blog. Here you will find posts from
industry professionals on such topics as:
  • Resume & Cover Letter tips
  • Interview Tips
  • How to succeed at work
  • How to get a Mentor
  • What every Mentee should know
  • I lost my job. Now what?
  • Healthy habits
  • 26 Jul 2010 7:32 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    Take These 3 Steps for Career Success
    By Vicki Voisin, ACP


    Throughout my career, I have immersed myself in learning. Because I have always worked as a paralegal, I have primarily attended and spoken at law-related seminars. Lately I've become interested in time and space organization, so I've been learning a lot about that, too. I've discovered, though, that it is also important to take ample time to focus on personal development .

    Why? Because it's essential that you work harder on yourself than you do on your job. If you do this, the job will take care of itself and your life will be successful.

    Over the years, I have learned 3 steps for success that I want to share with you. I refer to these as my "a-has" because they have helped me focus on very important areas of my life and they have also helped me create a successful career.

    1. You are the average of the five PEOPLE you hang around the most. This is a principle taught by Jim Rohn, whom some call the father of personal development. A light bulb went off when I heard this. It made me realize that it's necessary to surround myself with people I want to be like....people who are success oriented, who have vision, who have spirit and dedication.

    The key is to make a concerted effort to be with people who think big and talk about great ideas, instead of the headlines of People Magazine, the price of gas (how depressing!), or how much they hate their jobs and their bosses. Attitudes and levels of thinking are contagious. Beware!

    There are tons of great seminars offered both where you live and all around the country. You have no excuse not to get out there and surround yourself with people who have positive attitudes and like-minded goals.


    2. Your ENVIRONMENT must support your goals. Your success depends more on your environment than you may realize so it's imperative that you give yourself an environment that supports you at the level you want to attain, not the level you are at now. There are three areas of your environment that you should give your utmost attention:

    • Your physical environment. Do you love your work space? Do you have enough room to work comfortably? Does this space encourage you to think? Are you surrounded by things that are beautiful and bring good memories, such an eye-catching piece of art?

    We can't all have a gorgeous view from our offices, or even a window, but we can create an environment that brings us peace and tranquility without spending a lot of money. Little touches like flowers, photos of friends, family or your recent vacation, even an interesting paperweight, can make you feel good.

    • Your emotional environment. Do you get the support you need from your friends, family and co-workers? These people are not mind readers. It's up to you to ask for what you need from them.

    I have a great group of friends that I can bounce ideas off, ask for help with problem solving, and share my successes. Of course, sometimes I just need to vent! If your friends, family and co-workers can't provide this, you may need to find a career coach or a support group that will.

    • Your intellectual environment. It's crucial that you feed your brain with new ideas and up-to-the-minute knowledge. Are you stimulating your brain every day? If not, you need to find a way to make this happen...to expose yourself to creative and innovative thinking that will stretch and increase your brain power. Again, seminars, teleclasses and books/audio programs are helpful. I really enjoy listening to these on my iPod so I can learn while I take a walk or when I travel...this makes a long drive, a lengthy wait in an airport, or my time on an airplane zip by. My personal favorite is downloading books to my iPod from my membership at www.audible.com. iTunes also has many podcasts and other programs available at little or no cost.

    3. Your future is created by your habits. It only makes sense that your daily habits will create long-lasting effects in your life. The habits you establish today will determine the results you have tomorrow.

    If you want to be healthy and in shape, you must have the habits of a person who is healthy and in shape. If you want to be a successful paralegal, you must have the habits of a successful paralegal. If you want to be a leader, you must have the habits of a leader. None of these things will happen tomorrow unless you establish habits today that will lead to the results you want.


    Your challenge: Visualize YOUR tomorrow. What kind of person do you want to be? Where do you want your career to take you? Then decide: What new habit can you put into place now that will make your tomorrow what you want it to be? What can you do today to create a work environment that gives you joy? What will you do to surround yourself with people who will support you and who will be a positive influence? Ask yourself these questions now so that you can create habits for yourself today that will result in the tomorrow you want.


    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ©2010 Vicki Voisin, Inc.

    Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes a weekly ezine titled Paralegal Strategies and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network. More information is available at www.paralegalmentor.com.

  • 23 May 2010 4:23 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    How do you handle change?
    By Vicki Voisin, ACP

    Change is inevitable.
    It is the one constant in life and something everyone experiences. These transitions are not always easy to navigate, though, and it's sometimes difficult to view them with optimism.

    Here are five ways to see the positive in these transitions and to embrace changes as they come your way:

    1. Don't dwell on the past. There are many emotions associated with change that may keep you from moving forward. Instead of spending time stewing about what you were or what you had, focus on where you are going and what you want to be. Then devise a plan to create that future.

    2. Focus on the positive. Your attitude toward the change will have a direct effect on the outcome of the process. If you concentrate on success and view change as an opportunity that exists to teach you or to lead you to something better, you'll find it easier to make the transition. Change may lead you to something new and rewarding that you wouldn't have had the ability to pursue before. It may lead you to new friends, a new job, or a new hobby.

    3. Focus on others. Instead of spending time feeling sorry for yourself because of the changes you're going through, focus on other people. You'll feel better if you help someone else. You may also realize that, compared to the problems of other people, what you're going through really isn't so difficult after all. Do what you can to make their lives better and you'll find you've made your own life better in the process.

    4. Accept reality. Here's a favorite saying: "It is what it is!" This certainly fits when you think about change. Your transition will be easier if you accept the change for what it is and understand that it's out of your control. Try to relax and be open to possibilities. You'll end up in a better place.

    5. Surround yourself with supportive people. You may feel isolated by the transition you're experiencing and you may think no one else can help you. Quite the contrary! Change will be easier if you let other people into your life. Look to family, friends, co-workers, spiritual leaders...anyone who will listen, encourage and support you. They'll also help you remain in the loop, stay optimistic and hopeful.

    Here are some questions to consider when you're struggling with change:
    • What's good about this?
    • How can I make this work for me?
    • What does this change allow me to do that I couldn't do before?
    • What positive results will come from this change?

    Change is inevitable and usually not something you can control. What you can control is your attitude and how you allow the change to affect you. When change occurs, don't settle for merely surviving. Instead, make the change work for you...grow and thrive!

    ***Note: OK...a new paint color on the lighthouse I see several times every day isn't a life changing event; but after considering the above, I'm ready to move forward and accept that it's out of my control. The lighthouse is red...the lighthouse is beautiful!

    ========================>
    ©2010 Vicki Voisin, Inc. 

    Vicki Voisin, "The Paralegal Mentor", delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by achieving goals and determining the direction they will take their careers. Vicki spotlights resources, organizational tips, ethics issues, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential. She publishes a weekly ezine titled Paralegal Strategies and co-hosts The Paralegal Voice, a monthly podcast produced by Legal Talk Network. More information is available at www.paralegalmentor.com
  • 29 Apr 2010 9:07 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)
     
    The link below is to a free e-book on Finding and Realizing Your Professional Path. Please feel free to share.
     
     
     
     
    Sincerely,
    Mariana
  • 16 Feb 2010 8:38 PM | Anonymous
    CUNY Citizenship Now!
    CITIZENSHIP NOW!
    Event Announcement

    Wednesday, February 24, 2010
    11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
    Queens

    NYC/CUNY Corps Logo

    Event Sponsor

    MetCouncil

    Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty


    Julissa Ferraras

    New York City Council Member
    Julissa Ferreras


    Council Member  Dromm

    New York City Council Member
    Daniel Dromm

    Quick Links

    Dear Deborah,

    Since the beginning of the year, Citizenship Now! has already served over 600 clients at our Hatian TPS events with the help of over 400 volunteers from the New York City area. Help us continue our push to make 2010 a record year for service.

    Please join us at our upcoming event on
    Wednesday,
    February 24, 2010 at Jackson Heights Jewish Center.  At the event, we will provide free legal assistance to help lawful permanent residents apply for naturalization.  This is an
    opportunity not only to help immigrant communities, but also to network and hear from our event cosponsors Council Member Julissa Ferreras and Council Member Daniel Dromm. Please find complete information about the event below.
    Citizenship Now! 
    Application Assistance Day
    with Metropolitian Council on Jewish Poverty.
    Co-sponsored by NYC Council Member Julissa Ferreras, and NYC Council Member Daniel Dromm
    Wednesday, February 24, 2010
    11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
    Jackson Heights Jewish Center
    37- 06 77th Street
    Jackson Heights, Queens
    Get Directions
     
    To volunteer for this event, or for more information, please call Nadine Huggins at (212) 568-4679 or email nadine.huggins@mail.cuny.edu  


    Please note: Breakfast will be served to volunteers at 10 a.m. Make sure to arrive promptly, so that you don't miss it!

    Sincerely,
    Kym Gashi
    Special
    Projects Coordinator
    CUNY Citizenship and Immigration Project
    (212) 568-6294
    kymete.gashi@mail.cuny.edu

  • 06 Feb 2010 6:18 PM | Deleted user
    A new member has suggested this site: Paralegal Mentor.com, created by Vicki Voisin, aka The Paralegal Mentor. She offers strategies and resources to help your career.
  • 30 Jan 2010 9:51 PM | Mariana Fradman (Administrator)

    I would like to share the article written by Monica O'Brien with you. It will answer some in not all questions I am getting on a regular basis.

    Sincerely,
    Mariana Fradman

    6 Tips to keep a Mentor

    by Monica O’Brien

    I get messages almost daily from people who read my blog and want to meet with me by phone or in-person. As a rule, though, I won’t meet with anyone unless they have interacted with me several times, or they give me a good reason (not just “let’s chat”). I realize this may make me seem snobby or elite, which isn’t my intention.

    Steer clear of being a time vampire

    My intention is to avoid time sucks. I would love to be everyone’s friend, but it isn’t a reality for me at this time. I have work, school, a house, and a family that all need my attention too.

    Plus, I realize some people are just out there to use me, and some people are one-hit bloggers who will disappear in 2 months, and some people don’t have that much in common with me, and it’s hard to sort through whom I should spend my time getting to know, especially online.

    Six tips to connecting with a mentor

    I think anyone with any amount of clout can probably relate to this. So if you want to meet someone you admire, here are six tips on how to make it happen:

    Tip #1 – Choose someone local

    While the internet holds a vast number of possibilities, at the end of the day my most useful connections are made offline. In my experience, the value of having a local network is at least tenfold the value of a having an online network in terms of job leads, collaboration, and sales opportunities. So it helps to find someone you have a chance of meeting in-person someday.

    Maybe you have endless financial resources and “local” for you means anywhere in the US, or anywhere in whatever country you live in. That’s cool. For me it means people in the Chicago area, usually, or people who are deep enough into social media that they will always be attending the big blogging and social media conferences.

    Tip #2 – Bring something to the table

    Mentors are at the top for a reason; they surrounded themselves with talented people throughout their careers. To get a mentor you need to give him a reason to think that helping you will somehow benefit him. Otherwise, he will not make time to meet with you.

    If you can’t think of a good reason to meet with someone, here’s a default: tell him you want a career like his, and that you have questions about how to pursue the same path. It’s probably true to some extent, right?

    But then you also have to prove you have the potential to go all the way. Force the person to see himself in you; that’s your in. Because who doesn’t want to help someone that is where he was once?

    Tip #3 – Act on advice

    Your mentor will not want to mentor you if you don’t act on his advice. If he is going to make time for you, he doesn’t want to feel like his efforts are going to waste. Plus, acting on a mentor’s advice is a sign of your deep respect for him and his experience. So stop making excuses or explaining why you can’t. Just do what he says; it did work for him, didn’t it? Mentors hate “can’t.”

    But before you act, make sure your mentor is giving you good advice, because that can be a problem too. And if it is, why is this person your mentor still? People can waste your time too, so don’t let them.

    Tip #4 – Report back

    Once you’ve taken your mentor’s advice, let him know. It shows that you can take direction and it makes him want to keep mentoring you. And then you’ll get more advice. But it’s lame to ask for more advice before you’ve acted on what you’ve already been given.

    In fact, don’t report back unless you’ve acted on advice. It makes you go from “interesting mentee” to “wasting my time” very quickly. See point #3.

    Tip #5 – Know the difference between a friend and a mentor

    Raise your hand if you wish you were friends with Barack Obama. Even most republicans would be all over this; but realistically, you probably won’t ever be friends with Obama by contacting him out of the blue about his policies.

    If you want to be friends with someone, don’t ask for advice; instead, invite him to a party, or meet up with him for drinks. And then let it be. Don’t contact him 15 hundred times afterwards for advice. Friendships develop naturally out of common interests and fun; mentor relationships develop professionally. Friendships develop out of mentor relationships too, but usually when the two become equals.

    So choose which relationship you actually want before you contact someone, and expect to wait for either the advice or the camaraderie, depending on which you pick.

    Tip #6 – Avoid public screw-ups at all costs

    This one is by far the most important, because when you ask someone for mentoring or contact information, you are borrowing that person’s brand. Mentors with power are afraid that their mentee will do something stupid and it will reflect poorly on them also.

    And honestly, of all these tips, #6 is what worries me most when I collaborate with others. The more power I get, the more guarded I become against these types of requests. And I think about how I’m nowhere near the top, and how people who really are at the top must feel. Do they worry about this too?

    Author:

    Monica O’Brien writes career advice for young professionals at her blog, Twenty Set. You can also follow her on Twitter (@monicaobrien).

    http://www.personalbrandingblog.com/6-tips-to-keep-a-mentor/
  • 06 Dec 2009 4:38 PM | Deleted user

    Written by Technical Recruiter, Marc Ingrassia

    My experience has shown that cover letters are more of a formality. I do technical recruiting so, I am more about skills than packaging. Keep in mind recruiters and HR people go through a lot of CV's daily so they generally scan resumes for qualifiers. (And, keep the cover letter short.) Here is a list of things I tell job seekers.

    Cover letters

    Mr. Hayes, I am responding to your paralegal position. As I am flexible with my work hours and have proven skills in computer and legal searches, I know I am equal to the job. I look forward to hearing from you in the near future.

    RESUMES:

    • Read other paralegal resumes and get a feel for what sounds good and what doesn't.
    • Imagine you are competing the resumes you read (because you probably are) and you are the one reading the resumes...ask yourself, what would make me stand out?
    • >Modify resumes to emphasize the qualities that the employer is looking for---within the realm of honesty, of course.
    • Use short, bold words and sentences.
    • Don't be afraid to promote yourself with descriptions...Adept at...expert with...excelled in..
    • Don't be overly fancy or cute. Just get the message out.
    • Remember, the resume is basically an invitation to come back and find out more about you...it's not a tell-all.

    Mark Ingrassia
    Technical Recruiter
    mark_ingrassia@yahoo.com
  • 22 Oct 2009 12:55 PM | Deleted user

    *****

    Are you searching for a job?

    Do you need to update your resume?

    *****

    Your approach to your resume and your job search in 2009 is totally different from any time in the past.  This can be both time-consuming and challenging!

    How will you locate legitimate job postings?

    How will you write a resume that get results?

    Find the answers here:

     

    A Blueprint for Your Job Search in Today's Digital World

     

     

    This 90-minute MP3 download and comprehensive handout provides you with a methodical approach to:

    • Craft a winning resume...
    • Write a perfect cover letter...
    • Conduct a successful online job search....
    • Create a professional presence on the internet
    • Locate contacts who will help with your job search
    • Understand the benefits of social networking
    • Learn how to choose and link to relevant job sites

     

     

    Here's one participant's opinion:

    “A Blueprint for Your Job Search in the Digital Age" was the most useful résumé/job search workshop in which I’ve ever participated.

    Thanks to you, I was able to condense my two-page résumé, bloated with “darlings,” into a one-page power résumé with an impressive “F-Zone.”  Every time I open the document now, I see at least one thing that could be improved, stated more succinctly, or moved into a more critical area of the “F-Zone.”

    I look forward to soon being able to report that my new and improved résumé (attached), cover letter and interview skills have landed me a job.

                                                             ----Margaret Agius CP (Westland MI)


     

    You will be provided with simple steps that will help you...

    ...Decode your cover letter sentence by sentence and your resume section by section

    AND

    ...Explain how your eyes “see” text and how your choices affect the way an employer reads your application documents.

     


    ********

     
     

    The Presenters

    Vicki Voisin, also known as The Paralegal Mentor, delivers simple strategies for paralegals and other professionals to create success and satisfaction by setting goals and determining the direction they will take their careers.

    She spotlights resources, ethics issues, organizational tips, and other areas of continuing education to help paralegals and others reach their full potential.  Vicki publishes a weekly ezine titled Strategies for Paralegals Seeking Excellence and hosts free monthly Mastermind Calls.

    Vicki received her B.A. degree in Business Management from Central Michigan University and received her Advanced Paralegal Certification (ACP) from the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) with a specialty in real estate.

     

      Charlsye Smith Diaz, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of    English specializing in technical and professional writing at  the University of Maine.

      She holds a masters degree in professional writing from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth where she wrote about law firm culture. She has served as editor and has written for Facts & Findings, the journal of the National Association of Legal Assistants and has written for GP Solo, a publication of the American Bar Association.

      Charlsye is also an education and technical communication consultant for the National Association of Legal Assistants (NALA) where she helped develop the Association's online specialty training program.

     

    You won't want to miss this important information!

    Your investment is only $27.00 for this high-content high-quality course.

     

     

    Vicki Voisin – The Paralegal Mentor
    PO Box 743
    Charlevoix, MI 49720

    ©Copyright 2009. Vicki Voisin, Inc.

     
     
  • 15 Oct 2009 1:34 PM | Deleted user
    Hello Mentees,

    Check this out:

    Great Job in Tough Times


    Here is the Great Job in Tough Times, tele-seminar "Social Media and Your Job Search: A Strategic Approach" with guest speaker, Leigh Henderson.  Leigh Henderson is Managing Director of Leadership Training Room based in New York City and provides executive and mentor coaching services.

    Date: Wednesday, October 21, at 8 pm EDT

    During this hour, Leigh will guide you through:

    • A strategy for creating your online professional presence.
    • The basics of:

      LinkedIn: Business Attire
      Twitter: Business Casual
      Facebook: Work/Life Balance
      YouTube: A great video is worth a thousand clicks
    • Managing your career with social media.
    (If you sit in front of a computer during the tele-seminar that would be great. We'll show you some examples live. Not possible? No worry we'll talk you through it.)
     
    Register here: greatjobintoughtimes.com .

    If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at info@GreatJobInToughTimes.com.

    Jane CranstonAll the best,

    Jane Cranston 

    Jane Cranston
    "The Job Search Expert"

  • 12 Oct 2009 1:30 PM | Deleted user
    Attention Mentees:
     
    How are you? Fine I hope. How is your job search coming along? My job search tips are listed below:
     
    Go to Martindale.com (www.martindale.com) to do research on the law firms and legal speciality that you are interested in. Fax your cover letter and resume to those law firms.
     
    That is how I got all of my permanent jobs.
     
     
    Good Luck.
     
     
    Regards,
    Letitia M. Smith
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