synko associates

Preparing Teens For Careers

Growing up, I spent every day after school from seventh grade through my sophomore year in high school delivering papers.  During my junior and senior year I worked part-time in the produce department of our local grocery store to earn money toward college.  These after school jobs taught me the importance of showing up on time, following through on tasks and responsibilities, spending and saving the money earned and I developed a sense of pride in my work.

Today, for many teenagers, after-school activities or club sports have usurped those part-time jobs. Fewer and fewer young adults experience the character-building responsibilities a job can instill. Has this change been for the better or not?  Click this link and read on…


A Mid-life Awakening

Mildlife Awakening

What’s that? A mid-life awakening is when you realize that working toward what you want out of life is more important than achieving some arbitrary set of objectives cascading upon you from someone else’s mountain top.

If thoughts about focusing on your goals, rather than what someone else wants from you is on your mind, the following article is for you.   If “what am I supposed to do with the rest of my life” is still on your mind after this article, drop me a note.  I’d like to hear your story. 

Nick Synko

Switching careers later in life: What you need to know

Finding Your First Job After College

Finding Your First Job After College

The following article posted by Lori Buiteweg, JD, President of the Michigan Bar Association, highlights Career Coach Nick Synko’s tips for your first job search after graduation (whether from law school or not). Synko Associates provides Outplacement Career Transition Services to corporate outplacement clients and individuals of all backgrounds.


Did New Year’s Day find you thinking, “This is the year I’m going to get my dream job?” Or maybe, “I’m almost done with law school! Now what?!”

I hear a lot of general lamentation over the inability of lawyers to find jobs. “Glut” is the word I hear used to describe unemployed and underemployed lawyers. But is there any truth to that? Well, let’s look at the facts. Out of approximately 35,000 active members of the State Bar of Michigan, 1.6 percent were unemployed and seeking employment in 2015. According to the ABA the 2014 figures break down as follows: 

  • 26,248 graduates of the class of 2014, or 59.9 percent, were employed in long-term, full-time positions that require bar passage.
  • 4,912 graduates of the class of 2014, or 11.2 percent, were employed in long-term, full-time "J.D. advantage" positions where a law degree is preferred.
  • 8 percent of the class of 2014 were unemployed and seeking employment.

With law school debt often resulting in monthly payments the size of a mortgage (and sometimes a mortgage plus day care), it is obviously important to land a job immediately upon passing the bar, if not sooner. While contemplating the gravity of this reality, I decided to survey a small, medium and large firm to find out their dos and don’ts for job hunters. 

The Small Firm

I chose the Reed Law Group because I know the principal, Steven A. Reed, well and he just hired a Cooley Law School grad who was an extern of mine about a year ago. It makes sense that a small firm is looking for someone who can hit the ground running...... Read more click here

The Medium Firm

I chose Conlin, McKenney & Philbrick, P.C. in Ann Arbor. Elizabeth M. Petoskey answered these questions. Elizabeth said these are what she finds most important on a resume:

  1. Experience and/or interest and prior success in the practice area we are looking for
  2. Legal education
  3. Interest in our community ....... Read more click here

The Big Firm

I chose Bodman PLC in Detroit. Thomas P. Bruetsch answered these questions. Thomas said this is what he finds most important on a resume: A candidate needs to know his or her audience. Most hiring partners are also busy practicing lawyers, and they receive many, many resumes. Different positions require different skills and backgrounds...... Read more click here 

Advice from a Career Transition Coach

I also interviewed Nick Synko of Synko Associates, a career transition coach extraordinaire. I asked him what kinds of questions he would ask a client who came to him complaining about not being able to get a good full-time job.

Nick said he would ask:

  1. What is your job search strategy? Are you making online applications only? What are you doing to take a more comprehensive, aggressive approach to finding a job?
  2. Have you invested in a career coach? If not, who is mentoring you in your job search and what are their qualifications?
  3. Have you had your resume evaluated by a qualified career counselor? How many resumes have you sent out? If your efforts have been unsuccessful, what have you done to upgrade the impact or market presentation of your resume?
  4. Which companies would you identify as high priority target employers? What have you done to understand their business and mission to identify who to contact and how to construct an introductory letter that may draw attention to your candidacy?
  5. What industry or professional journals and websites do you pay attention to? What related professional meetings or tradeshows have you attended to increase your professional knowledge?
  6. What courses have you completed during your period of unemployment to demonstrate you are up-to-date professionally and a continuous learner?
  7. What you are doing to take an organized, systematic approach to networking? What have you done to network in the last few weeks? Have you attended networking events? Have you attended professional association meetings?
  8. Are you using social media (Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) to advance your job search strategy? How are you continuously improving the use of social media to reach your network? Have you evaluated the LinkedIn profiles of your competitors? What do you uniquely offer compared to them? What do you lack?
  9. When asked about your expected salary requirements, what number or range do you state? How have you researched that number to know if it is high or low, and competitive?
  10. Who have you used to coach you through mock or practice interviews? How have you prepared for scheduled phone interviews? Provide a list of a few standard interview questions you expect. How do you answer those questions?

Read the full article by clicking here......


Lead with Heart and Get the Job Offer

A few months ago, a coaching client was trying his best to land the next job.  In fact, he was very good at generating interview opportunities.  However, after completing multiple interviews at various employers he had not received a job offer.  All he was told each time was that another candidate was selected.  The only exception was an agency recruiter (a headhunter) who told him the last company’s impression was that he did not have a high enough energy level.  That was hard to understand because our client clearly wanted this job.

What was particularly disturbing is that all the jobs for which he had applied had clearly communicated selection criteria checklists and he was very well qualified for these assignments.  On paper, he was THE candidate for the job.

In frustration, he came to see me. One day we were discussing yet another new job opportunity and his body language and facial expressions were definitely upbeat and different.  There was an interest level, an excitement and energy, an enthusiasm that was different from anything I had previously witnessed.  I asked him, “Why?  What is different here?”  He responded, “Honestly, my heart just was not in the other jobs; this one has a “heart factor” that clicks on all levels.”

His heart had never so clearly surfaced until that particular occasion.  Therefore, I asked the obvious, “What is on your heart checklist?”  We flip charted an entire page (about ten factors or so) that were his heart factors.  As a side note, it was interesting how focused he was and how quickly the heart list developed.

Should you also have a list of heart factors posted on a flip chart?  Some would say this is your list of goals.  Many times it is.  Other times we have seen critical additional information come forth when we move our conversation from goals to heart. Lead with your Heart and get the Job: A Blog post forSynko Associates, LLC

Checkpoint – Today’s exercise requires you to avoid looking at your target goal. For now, look within your heart, reach your deepest buried wish list, connect with your dreams and create a brainstormed list of your thoughts that develop. We suggest you dream beyond the boundaries, limitations and restrictions that society or others place upon you. Consider Einstein’s words, “Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” As I personally mature, I find that often times the mediocre mind I need to get past is my own.

My boundaries, limitations and restrictions hold me back just as tightly as those of others.

Next, return to your goal target and see if anything needs to be added. If so, add these items and highlight anything there that connects with your heart. Our coaching experience has revealed that most experienced recruiters are able to discern individuals who say they want the job from those who clearly display I WANT THIS PARTICULAR JOB BECAUSE IT MATCHES EXACTLY WHO I AM.

Nick Synko- Principal Partner at Synko Associates, LLC