Establish Back-to-School Routines to End the Year Strong

colorful-wallpaper-colors-of-autumn-computer-wallpaper-1563356.jpg

Summer is coming to a bittersweet close, and it’s time to think about your game plan for a strong end of the year. Back to school doesn’t have to be just for kids – it can be a time to reestablish good habits and routines to set yourself up for success.

In general, fall is a transformative time – school is back in session, the seasons are changing, and the workplace is buzzing with Q3 and Q4 plans to wrap up the year. With a little planning and preparation, you can close out the last few months of the year with success.

  1. Establish a Routine

    Summer can be anything but regular. Between vacations, preparing your workload for time off, and all the fun-in-the-sun summer activities, our usual productive routines can suffer. Take time to re-establish your day-to-day habits and schedule. Plan your daily and weekly schedule, sharpen your time management skills, and rediscover whatever makes you feel refreshed and ready to take on the workweek.

  2. Learn a New Skill

    The fall marks a great time to explore something new. If you’re interested in learning a new language or want to get an industry-specific certification, go for it! Learning something new may make you feel more satisfied and could give you a leg up for a promotion. Remember, back-to-school isn’t just for kids!

  3. Update Your Career Binder & Polish Your Resume

    A career binder makes your professional development easier because it’s comprised of key projects and accomplishments that build value in you. When in evaluation and promotion talks with your boss—or a hiring manager asks about your experience—you can easily pull an example straight from your career binder. If you don’t have one, build it! If you already have one, make sure it’s up-to-date, along with your resume.

Let the change in seasons invigorate you to push towards your career goals. Find a functional new routine and stick to it. After all, consistency is key to achieving your career aspirations. Aim to make small changes that add up over time and you’ll be where you want to be.

If you need help establishing a back-to-school or fall routine, we’re here to help. At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we provide career coaching for professionals at all experience levels. From career exploration to interview preparation and offer negotiation, we have the tools and expertise to guide you toward your dream career.

Posted on August 27, 2019 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.

Celebrating Women’s Equality Day in the Workplace

adult-communication-conference-room-1367271 (1).jpg

August 26, 2019, Women’s Equality Day, marks 99 years since women were given the right to vote. Now women rank among some of the best CEOs, scientists, astronauts, and change-makers in our world.

While progress has been made, there is still more to accomplish when it comes to equality in the workplace. As you reflect on Women’s Equality Day, consider women’s rights and opportunities while interviewing at companies for potential new positions.

Equality = Progress

Studies show that women make up a small fraction of high-ranking roles compared to men, despite the progress of the last 99 years. It’s also statistically more difficult for women to gain a promotion in a male-dominated workplace. In women-led companies, this obstacle is lessened, providing a level playing field for both men and women.

Diversity should be a business priority. As job-seeking individuals, you should ask questions about women in leadership roles in the company. Doing so will give you insight into the company’s commitment to diversity and equality.

Some questions to consider asking during an interview are:

  • How many women are in leadership positions at your company?

  • What policies are in place to ensure equality in promotions and filling leadership positions from within?

  • Does HR have a weighted pay scale to ensure equality between individuals with comparable experience?

If the interviewer doesn’t know the answer to these questions, ask to have an HR representative follow up with you. If the interviewer doesn’t place importance on these topics, you’ll have a clue about the culture in the workplace regarding equality.

Change Is What You Make It

Change can’t happen without people voicing their opinions. Regardless of your gender, stand up for equal rights in the workplace.

Another way for women in the workplace to stand out is to position themselves appropriately, starting with the interview process. At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help individuals find their ideal career, land their dream job, and help with all the details along the way. Learn more by contacting us today!

Posted on August 20, 2019 and filed under Career.

The Three Best Professional Development Trends in 2019

adult-asian-banking-733856.jpg

Professional trends come and go. Some we are happy to kick to the curb, others we hope are here to stay! This year we’ve seen a few shifts that make the workplace more progressive and competitive. These trends are geared toward improving the employee and, in turn, improving the business.

Here are three trends in workplace professional development that you should take full advantage of to end the year strong.

  1. Learning in the Workplace. From peer-to-peer lunch and learns to employer education credits, it’s clear companies are interested in giving their employees the opportunity to learn new things and put them into practice at the workplace.

    Businesses and industries are constantly evolving, and companies must invest in education for their people to maintain a competitive edge. Think about how quickly the internet has changed how we operate. It’s changed everything from the way we look for jobs to the ways we communicate with team members. New standards evolve all the time, and your company needs you to be the best of the best.

  2. Flipped Decision Making: Bottom-Up Approach. When organizations function top-down, the decision making happens at the top and gets relayed from director to manager, and manager to the team. We’ve seen this flip to a bottom-up approach. Employees lowest on the corporate ladder are empowered to voice their opinions and suggestions on company matters, essentially shifting decision making to the bottom instead of from the top. This works well because those with the most up-to-date information can make quick decisions without the delay that bureaucracy often entails.

  3. Coach for Leadership, Not Management. There’s a push to train employees to lead rather than manage, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Why? Because managers assign—leaders inspire. Leaders raise others up to put the best people in the right seats of the company. That’s good news for anyone looking for a job. It’s not about completing a to-do list, it’s about doing a great job.

Staying on top of trends while navigating a job hunt can be challenging. If you’re looking to make a career change, we’d love to connect.

Our team at The Wilbanks Consulting Group helps everyone from high schoolers to seasoned professionals identify and achieve their career goals.

Posted on August 13, 2019 and filed under Career, Leadership.

Summer’s Hottest Job Search Trends

architectural-design-architecture-buildings-830891.jpg

Summer may be synonymous with vacations and time off from work. But if you’re job hunting, it may be the perfect time to make a move toward your dream job. Why? With jobs still available and many employees out of the office, employers are motivated to find top talent. Plus there’s less hiring pressure, so they’ll take more time to review your cover letter, resume, and portfolio. That gives you more time to prove your value when a hiring manager is reviewing your application.

Here are the hottest job search trends to keep your eye on in 2019:

  1. Be Ready for Passive Hiring. Now more than ever, companies or recruiters reach out to potential recruits directly for a job, instead of waiting for you apply. With the rise of professional networking sites like LinkedIn, it’s important to keep your digital presence top-notch and up-to-date. Is your LinkedIn profile polished? Is it optimized for relevant search terms? If not, it’s time to update!

    And it doesn’t hurt to keep your resume up to date too – you’ll want to be ready if a recruiter calls!

  2. Experience > Education. Having a degree helps open doors for you initially, but it’s often not enough to secure the job. Employers are more interested in what you can do, not necessarily where you earned your degree. If there’s a job you have your eye on, take the summer to gain any new skills or experience missing from your resume.

  3. Keep an Eye on Unique Benefits. Unemployment rates are low, and for some positions, competition is fierce for hiring managers to land the best talent. That means you may have the upper hand when it comes to negotiation. Companies are getting creative with their benefits packages, offering more than the standard health insurance, PTO, and 401k. Some other benefits we’ve seen include returnships, childcare resources, gym memberships, and vacation stipends. Don’t be afraid to talk about these items when considering an offer package.

  4. Don’t Underestimate Face-to-Face Connections. While using a computer may be the normal way to find and apply to jobs, many of our clients are most successful when they make their first impressions in person. Conferences provide a great opportunity to meet people in specific industries and many are hosted during the summer. Want to get involved? Research industry-specific conferences in your area and find a couple to you want to attend. Then network, network, network!

Don’t let summer fool you into thinking it’s the slow season. The job market is heating up! If you need guidance on striking your dream job while the iron is hot, we would love to hear from you.

At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help professionals achieve their career goals, whether it’s career exploration, resume writing, or offer negotiation.

Posted on August 6, 2019 and filed under Search Strategy.

Why You Need Help from a Mentor

adult-communication-diversity-1181722.jpg

No matter where you are in your career, it’s helpful to have a mentor. Mentors provide valuable insights that can help shape you as a professional and a person. They coach you and prepare you for the career journey ahead.

Here are the top reasons why you should have a mentor:

  1. Mentors Jumpstart Your Career

    Developing a relationship with a mentor can give you a leg up in your career. Why? They have the connections, experience, and knowledge to give you a professional advantage. They can also act as a soundboard for your ideas, helping you think through your career strategy.

  2. Mentors Stimulate Growth

    A good mentor will push you both professionally and personally. They will identify your strengths and work on ways you can improve upon your weaknesses. By tapping into their experiences and helpful feedback, you can learn and grow faster, becoming a more well-rounded professional.

    Sometimes it can be challenging to be self-aware enough to make the change needed for healthy growth and progress. With the help of a mentor you trust, those discreet signs can be identified and used as a learning experience.

  3. Mentors Provide Encouragement and Redirection

    On a similar note, a mentor can pump you up when you need the energy boost. Who doesn’t appreciate encouragement after an achievement? Or they could give you the boost of support to complete that project that will help your career growth.

    Mentors can also provide redirection when needed. Let’s face it, we’ll all make mistakes throughout our careers. But if you have someone who can see the situation from an outside perspective, you have a better chance to make it an opportunity to improve next time.

If you want the help of a mentor but don’t know where to start, our team at The Wilbanks Consulting Group can help you position yourself in a way that communicates your path.

Posted on July 30, 2019 .

Knowing When to Ask for Help with Your Job Search

asking-beautiful-brainstorming-601170.jpg

Job hunting isn’t easy. Whether you’re fine-tuning your resume, updating your LinkedIn profile, or filling our applications, searching for a job can feel a lot like a job in itself.

So, when is it time to ask for help? Our team of expert career coaches compiled four career situations that often need a professional’s help to navigate successfully.

Do any of these situations fit your experience?

You’ve Been Out of the Workforce

Consulting with a career coach when you have a gap in your career is a great idea. Hiring managers often take gaps to be a red flag, as they are “time off” that may mean you’re a bit rusty. But we know that’s not the case! We can highlight your value in your experience—and your time off—that positions you to be the perfect candidate. Work with a professional to prep and polish your resume, cover letter, practice interviewing, and even build your confidence for compensation negotiation.

You Want to Change Industries

Sometimes you’re ready for a change, but it’s hard to justify to others why your experience fits with this new path. It can also feel daunting to potentially abandon the skills that you spent years developing. Working with the expert career coaches at The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we can help find transferable skills to apply to your new industry. Oftentimes, there’s overlap, but it takes careful positioning and preparation to navigate the waters between careers. By working with a career coaching professional, you can be certain you’re set up for success.

You’re Graduating

Graduation is an exciting time! After all, it’s been a long haul. But what’s next? You may be nervous about the future, but that’s completely normal. A career coach can help you identify the areas of your personality and your educational and personal experiences that translate to job skills and career success.

You Want to Gain a Professional Advantage

Investing in help from a professional help before and during your job search can equip you with the skills needed to nail the interview, land the job, and negotiate a compensation package you’re happy with.

Posted on July 23, 2019 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.

When is a Cover Letter Make or Break?

thought-catalog-505eectW54k-unsplash.jpg

Switching career paths can be a tricky road to navigate. Cover letters are a great tool to lead the way.

If your resume is filled with biological research experience but you want a role in sales, how do you portray your interest and value on paper? An effective cover letter increases the chance that you’ll catch the hiring manager’s eye. Otherwise, they may assume your resume landed on their desk by mistake.

Your diverse experience could be exactly what they are looking for, but you need to be creative to get them to see it.

What to Include in a Cover Letter

A great cover letter allows you to display your professionalism, and your unique career path goals more than a resume. Keep things in mind while building your cover letter to tell your story and catch the hiring managers attention:

  1. The Details Matter – Make It Perfect

    Is the date correct? Are you addressing the appropriate person? Do you use proper grammar and write in active voice? Are typos nonexistent? These small details matter when you have a few seconds of the hiring manager’s attention. Also, make sure to note which role you’re applying for. When in doubt, put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and think about what they would benefit from reading.

  2. A Short & Sweet Introduction

    Your introduction should be short and succinct. Briefly introduce yourself as a professional and how you fit the posted position. For example, if you’re applying for a career in sales but your experience is in research, your introduction may be, “I’m an experienced biological researcher looking to utilize my background and communication skills as a biomedical equipment sales director.”

  3. Keep it Skimmable

    The hiring manager likely won’t read through your entire cover letter. According to a research study, 33 percent of employers look for mention of the skills they asked for in the job description. Call this out clearly in your cover letter by pulling exact requirements from the job description into the letter and stating your qualifications.

  4. Translate Your Current Experience

    Regardless of whether you’re new to an industry or have been in it for 20 years, you want to translate your experience into value for the new role. Find the transferable skills that set you apart and qualify you for the role ­– then creatively and concisely list them in the cover letter.

Cover letters can be challenging to write, and our team of professional career coaches would love to help!

At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help professionals and students achieve their goals through job search execution services.

Posted on July 16, 2019 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.

Interviews: Balancing Independence & Working as a Team

you-x-ventures-vbxyFxlgpjM-unsplash.jpg

Most companies desire candidates who are comfortable working alone and with a team. After all, there will be times that you need to do both. This is why one of the most asked interview questions is, “Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?” This question is meant to unveil your personality and to get a glimpse into how you would fit in with their team.

Why Balance is Important

There are times when you must work as a team – let’s say you have a deadline and there’s no way to complete it solo. Or perhaps your work involves other departments at the company. You must feel comfortable communicating with other team members to effectively complete the task.

On the other hand, there will be times when you just need to put your head down and complete your responsibilities for an impending deadline.

Since both will be required at the job, hiring managers want to make sure you’re equally able to tackle work this way on their team.

So, do you prefer to work independently or with a team?

How to Approach the Interview

Regardless of your preferred method, you must be able to gracefully answer this very pointed question. Here are a few ways to answer this question effectively:

“I tend to be more productive when working independently. However, when tasks require more collaboration and different perspectives, I prefer working with a team.”

“I’m comfortable working alone and with a team depending on the situation and type of work.”

“I have experience working in both ways and I find productivity with each.”

These are great lead-ins. Be ready to back up these statements with an example of when you successfully worked solo and with a team. “Give me an example” is an inevitable follow-up question.

Practice answering, “Do you prefer to work independently or with a team?” using these above responses or whatever feels genuine to you. Then, briefly provide examples. Practice makes perfect so you can nail the interview!

If you’re actively job searching and want to perfect your interview skills, resume, or want to overhaul your job search strategy completely, we’re here to help.

At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help professionals in all stages of their careers find their dream job, land their dream job, and continue to thrive in their career.

Posted on July 9, 2019 and filed under Career, Interviewing.