Interview with Entrepreneurs – Meet April M. Williams: Speaker, Author, Coach

Interview with Entrepreneurs – Meet April M. Williams: Speaker, Author, and Coach

April M. Williams is the President of CyberLife Tutors. She has successfully transformed her career from being employed as an Information Technology Manager to a self-employed Speaker, Author and Coach. She leverages the power of Social Networking Technologies to help people in career transition. April has a Masters Degree in Information Systems and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

Below is her exclusive interview with CHICAGO MENTORS.

Arora: What made you become a career coach?

Williams: I have reinvented myself more than once. Although much of my experience has been working with Fortune 50 companies, I started in merchandising, and then moved to information technology (IT) roles before becoming an entrepreneur in career coaching. After years implementing and managing large IT projects I was stressed out by a long commute, family demands and long working hours. I then decided to work for myself and became an entrepreneur. While I was out of work friends asked me to help them with social networking. That incident made it easier for me find my current passion and it sort of evolved after that. I still work very hard however I have more flexibility. There was definitely a financial impact when I went from a senior level position to starting my own company however I have built my business and I am very happy. It’s the best career move I have ever made.

Arora: Give us some examples of how you have helped people?

Williams: As a professional speaker, I motivate and provide tactical advice in Chicago Metro area at Harper College, McHenry County College, Barrington Career Center, various Chambers of Commerce, etc. Some of my engagements are motivational in nature; others are more career focused for example how to use LinkedIn as a job search tool. I am publisher and co-author of the book – “Ignite your Passion”. It’s an inspirational book and includes real stories of how people found their jobs and passion. I also provide networking and career tips though my blog. The “Networking For Results” DVD and companion book are helping job seekers land jobs faster. It is so rewarding for me to give them direction, new ideas, an independent perspective, and watch the transformation.

Arora: What can a person expect from a career coach like you?

Williams: Coaches don’t have jobs to give, they give tools and guidance to find the job. People usually come to me after they have already tried on their own, and are frustrated by the lack of results. Job searching and the current market are now very different from the last economic downturn. People are really struggling and lost. I give them encouragement, positive accountability, and hope. I help them expand their networks so their phone starts ringing and they are happier. My approach and solution includes several aspects of job search such as social networking technologies, in-person networking, resume review, motivation, reduce stress, elevator pitch and more. I use the expertise gained from my days as a Project Manager to build career transition plans and make adjustments to those plans as needed.

Arora: Is career management different these days than it used to be?

Williams: YES. It’s very different from even 5-10 years ago. There is much more responsibility on an employee to find a job, and there is more competition. Since there are so many good people available, employers are not willing to hang on to marginal staff. It is in your best interest to show off what you bring to the table. Also, tenure is now much shorter. It should be an expectation you will start another job search every 2-3 years. I see people stop networking when they find a job so they have to start all over again every time layoffs happen.

Arora: What is your recommendation for career search during the holidays?

Williams: Everyone should definitely enjoy holidays and the time with family. However they should pump up their job search as well. There are less job seekers competing during the holidays and many companies are looking for people now to start work in January. I was myself once hired during Christmas to start a job in January. Businesses are expecting growth and expand in January. Holiday gatherings and parties are an excellent opportunity network.

Arora: What are your plans for 2010?

Williams: I am introducing new classes for career coaching. I expect to work more with Small Business Development Centers (SBDC). I will be releasing a printed version of “Ignite your passion” book. I also have more DVDs coming down the path and I am looking forward to additional speaking engagements outside of Chicago area.

Arora: If there was one advice that you were to give, what would it be?

Williams: Networking is my biggest advice. It’s not just exchanging a business card but developing relationship by getting to know people. Too many people focus how they are different from another person; instead strive to find something you have in common.

1 Comment

Randy NicholsDecember 10th, 2009 at 3:29 pm

I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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