Finding Time To Vote During The Work Day

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Voting is important and should be made a priority by all eligible citizens, even on a work day!

Without citizen participation in elections, our government will not reflect the values of its people. As working professionals, the challenge of finding time to vote with your busy schedule is very real. Many employers value the power of voting and allow their employees to push away from their desks and vote on company time. Check in your employee handbook or ask your manager if your workplace has this policy.

If you can’t vote on company time, there are other opportunities for your voice to be heard on the November 6th mid-term election.

Wake Up Early

Are you a morning person? Do your other commitments leave you strapped for time throughout the day? Consider voting first thing in the morning. Most state’s polls open at 7 am, leaving you with enough time to cast your vote and arrive at the office on time.

Take a Mid-morning Coffee Break

Is your office located near a polling station? Take advantage of the convenient location and cast your ballot during the workday – with your employers' approval, of course. Mid-morning voting may lead to shortened wait times.

Lunch Break

If you work in an industry that needs you on-site all day, utilize your lunch break to head the polls. Pro tip: make sure you pack a lunch!

Afternoon Break

Beat afternoon mental fog with a visit to the closest polling station. Breaking up the afternoon may boost productivity and will certainly help your voice be heard in this election.

After Work

If you have a jam-packed work schedule, consider voting after work. Poll hours vary by state and some by county. Research the hours of your local polls and commit to a time that best suits your schedule.

A large factor for finding time to vote on Tuesday, November 6 is to understand where the closest polling locations are to you. Use this website to locate nearby places. Do you pass a polling location on your way to work? It may make sense to wake up early and vote. Is the location the opposite way of afternoon traffic? Consider skipping the traffic and vote after work.

We hope you find time in your schedules to let your voice be heard this election!


Posted on November 6, 2018 and filed under Community.

Email Etiquette For Career Success

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Email is a big part of business and career success. It’s also a very common communication medium that’s used for business opportunities, friends, and family. However, in the business world, it’s best to keep it professional.

There are simple guidelines to follow professional email etiquette. Do you break any of these rules?

Have a Clear Subject Line

Always include a subject line and make it identifiable at a glance. In a world of overflowing inboxes, it helps to have a clear, yet a professional subject line.

Here are some examples:

  • For Review: 2019 Planning Calendar

  • RSVP Required: Friday’s Lunch & Learn

  • Ideas for Next Month’s Project

Warm Up & Introduction

Your professional emails should address the person you’re emailing, include an introduction and a wrap up.

Start your emails with, “Hello [name],” or “Dear [name],”

Also, consider including an introduction to soften the tone of the email and keep things professionally cordial.

“Happy [day of the week],” or “Hope you had a great weekend,” are two great examples.

It’s a professional and friendly way to start the email conversation.

Get to the Point

Long emails are not necessary. Get straight to the point using concise language, and break up your thoughts with white space and bullets. You can also bold action item language to call attention to it.

The recipient should not need to sift through paragraphs of text to find the main points. State them up front with 1-2 sentences to explain.

Wrap Up

At the end of your email, include a brief summary of deliverables needed or restate next steps.

For example, “See you at the meeting on Thursday.” Or, “Please let me know if you need assistance with [xyz deliverable].”

Similarly, be sure to sign off appropriately using, “Thanks,” “ Best Regards,” or “Sincerely.”

Proofread

Grammar and spelling are important in presenting yourself in a professional way. It’s especially important when it’s the primary communication method you have with a prospective employer or business opportunity. Proofread your emails and pay special attention to spelling and grammar.

Help catch typos as you type with the Google Chrome extension, Grammarly. You don’t want the hiring manager to be distracted by the wrong use of “their” instead of focusing on the value you would bring the company.

Add the Email Address Last

As a precaution, add the email address in the “to” field of your email program after writing the email. This helps avoid sending an unfinished email to the recipient.

Need more professional presence tips? Our team of career coaches can help prime your online communication to put your best foot forward in the workforce. Learn more about our services and how we can help you gain the competitive edge.

Posted on October 30, 2018 and filed under Career.

How To Juggle More Than One Job

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In today’s evolving workforce, it’s common to have a more than one job. Maybe a full-time job and a “side hustle,” or perhaps a full-time schedule that is made up of several side jobs. Does this describe your work life?

This multi-job work situation is especially common when changing career paths. Experience gained from a side job can help you transition to a different career path. But you have to be able to balance the extra work and sometimes conflicting schedule for it to really be worth it.

If you’re juggling more than one job or thinking about it, here are some tips to stay on track.

1. Be Organized

This is the single most important aspect when juggling more than one job. Staying organized with different projects and various due dates is crucial to delivering great work and maintaining peace of mind. Find an organization method that works best for you – whether that be a spreadsheet, calendar reminders, or writing things down. Keep your work and deadlines in one place that you can see and reference every day. That way, deadlines won’t creep up on you!

2. Master Your Schedule

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed when juggling different deliverables and timelines. By setting and mastering your schedule, you can block off time dedicated for certain projects. Another aspect of mastering your schedule is planning your schedule ahead of time. Take time to write down major task due dates and then make sub-tasks and mini due dates to hit the big ones. This will help to prioritize your schedule and give you pockets of free time where you can relax or consider taking on more work.

3. Know Your Limits

Make sure you don’t commit to more than you can deliver. Know your time limitations and be upfront about this to yourself and your employer. You don’t want your jobs to be so time-consuming that you don’t give yourself time to breathe. Establish the time commitment you can take on and stick to it. Once you master your schedule and find extra pockets of time, then you can take on more, if you choose.

4. Give Yourself Time To Rest

Resting and recharging is vital to success. Juggling different jobs isn’t easy. You need to give yourself time away from the desk to mentally and physically rest and recharge. Try to give yourself a day off each week. If your workload is too heavy, make the most of your free hours. Bake cookies, take a yoga class, or walk around the block, whatever de-stresses you. By giving yourself these outlets away from work, you’ll be able to return to your responsibilities fresh and motivated.

Are you interested in exploring different career paths? We can help you create an action plan for the career of your dreams.


Posted on October 23, 2018 and filed under Career.

Is It OK To Lie On Your Resume?

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Job hunters know the weight a resume has to help land your dream job. Your resume is the first impression interviewers have of you – it can make or break your chance with a company. With increasing competition on the job market, it’s tempting to stretch the truth or lie on your resume to make your experience or skill set seem more impressive than it actually is. But is that ever ok?

Honesty is the Best Policy

Our team of career coaching experts insists honesty is ALWAYS the best policy, especially on your resume. Your resume may land you the job interview but if you fibbed about your skill set or experience, it won’t take long for the hiring manager to see the truth. Broken trust dooms the relationship from the start.

Let’s say your resume says you’re proficient in Microsoft Excel – great, that’s a skillset a prospective company really needs. You’re hired and your first assignment is to create an automated Excel sheet for reporting purposes. You don’t know where to begin because you fibbed on your resume – you are more of an Excel novice. What do you do? That’s not how you want to start a new job!

What To Do Instead of Lying On Your Resume

Exaggerating on your resume may seem attractive, especially when changing careers in a competitive job market. But it’s just not worth it. Be upfront and honest with the hiring manager about all aspects of your resume and your career goals. Aim for a strong resume that brings out your strengths and aligns with what the employer is looking for.

Leveraging A Career Coach To Showcase Your Value

At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we work with individuals who are changing careers, have employment gaps, and other tricky situations to approach from a resume perspective. We can position your resume to bring out not only your best experiences but also the soft skills you’d like to develop further. If you need guidance on navigating the resume road, we are here to connect.

Posted on October 17, 2018 and filed under Resume.

5 Negative Habits You Need To Break Before Landing Your Next Job

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Negative habits in the workplace not only reflect badly on you, but they can also contribute to a toxic work environment. Identifying your negative habits is the first step to breaking them. Thankfully with a positive attitude and shift in mentality, you can overcome your negative patterns and instead create productive actions.

1. Gossip

While workplaces have become increasingly casual, that doesn’t mean you can chat with your coworkers the same way you do with your best friends at happy hour. Gossip in the office breeds a toxic workplace. Remain self-aware of how you appear to others. While it may be tempting, avoid speaking poorly about others behind their backs. And if there is an issue, remain professional and approach the individual or their manager and give them feedback.

2. Solo-Mentality

You weren’t hired to do it all by yourself. While it may make you feel satisfied not asking for help, the solo-mentality can make you seem like you aren’t a team player. Working with a team helps you grow professionally and makes your job more enjoyable. Of course, there will be times when you need to put your head down and get work done. Aim to create a balance between working solo and working with a team. If you struggle to find this balance, ask your manager for feedback. They will likely be happy you asked.

3. Not Taking Responsibility For Your Actions

Whether you’re in a leadership role or not, you must take responsibility for your words and actions. If you make a mistake, own up to it and take it as a learning lesson. Mistakes happen to everyone; it’s how you bounce back that makes the difference. Instead, take ownership of your words and align them with your actions. This will build trust in your integrity. When others have trust in you, they tend to place more value in you, which will help contribute to a pleasant work environment and maybe even a promotion!

4. Disrespecting Common Areas

It can be easy to forget to put the cup in the dishwasher or wipe up the spilled water on the counter. If you tend to overlook things like this, remember the rule to leave things better than how you found them. In the workplace, you aren’t there to clean up after each other, you’re there to collaborate and do great work. Take pride in the common areas and lead by example when cleaning up after yourself.

5. Making Excuses

Excuses are easy and can be made for almost anything. Avoid finding excuses and instead identify the root of what’s causing the problem in the first place. If you’re always late and make an excuse every morning, set your alarm 20 minutes early and aim to be at work 5-10 minutes before your scheduled time. Doing this will help you feel less stressed and kick off your day on a positive note. Establish this self-awareness and make the change instead of making the excuse.

If you’re a culprit to these behaviors, don’t worry! With effort and consistency, you can eliminate these habits.

Are you looking for a new start in your career? Our team at Wilbanks Consulting can help you with career exploration and coaching to provide you with the tools and skills that will give you the competitive edge over other applicants. Breaking these habits is a great first start. Contact us to learn more about how our career coaching can help.

Making College Count Toward A Successful Career

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When starting college, you’re likely thinking more about how you’ll manage your class schedule and meet friends rather than your career post-grad. After all, college is a great time for exploring different interests. However, the sooner you map out your interests, the closer you will be toward a successful career. Our team of career coaches composed a list of top tips to make the most of your college education and help you land the job you want.

Create a Linkedin Account

You likely already have a collection of social media accounts. As you grow professionally, it’s important to develop a more professional presence on social media. Create a Linkedin account and—as you go— add your education, extracurriculars, relevant work experience, and even coursework as it pertains to your major. As your professional experience expands, you can remove early work experience and education extracurriculars. Don’t forget to use the network to connect with your classmates and professors.

Utilize Office Hours

Have a question about an upcoming exam? Need clarification on a key point your professor made during class? Did your professor make a point that resonated with you and you want to “pick their brain” a bit more? These are all great reasons to visit your professor during their office hours*. If you ask recent college grads what they wish they did more of in college, a top answer is, “go to office hours”. It not only helps clarify questions you have on the course material, but you’re also building rapport with your professor. This can be invaluable when applying for jobs. Professors make excellent references!

Bonus tip: Don’t forget to read the syllabus! Impress your professor by coming prepared for office hours.

Get Tangible Experience

The classroom can only teach you so much. In order to truly immerse yourself in a potential career path, you must gain experience. Check with your career services center for internship opportunities. You can also find opportunities on job listing sites.

When exploring internships, try to avoid companies that offer interns busy work. Do your due diligence and research companies beforehand on sites like Indeed and Glassdoor to see if they offer hands-on experience and opportunities to grow within the company.

Consider Your Personality & Strengths

You may go into college knowing you want to be a doctor but when you finish your first year of courses, you realize you enjoy marketing more than science. Don’t worry! It was worth the time to explore the pre-med path prior to committing many more years of schooling and resources. As you explore different paths, consider your personality type and current strengths. Because let’s face it, not all college students know exactly what they want to do. By being aware of your personality type, you can narrow down career paths that build off your strengths.

If you want to learn more about career exploration and setting yourself up for a successful career, post-college, contact our team. We would love to discuss options and create a personalized action plan to help you achieve your goals.


Tips For Handling A Lunch Interview

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Lunch interviews, while a routine part of the hiring process in many organizations, can be quite nerve-wracking. But remember, lunch interviews are a good thing – it means the interviewer wants to spend more time with you and get a better sense of your personality. However, it’s incredibly important to remain professional and avoid handling this interaction like it’s a casual lunch. It’s still an interview and your overall behavior will be considered when it comes to a hiring decision.

If you have a lunch interview coming up, don’t stress! Here’s a list of the top tips for handling a lunch interview like a pro.

Arrive Early & Prepared

Before the day of the interview, research the restaurant and its location. Is parking nearby? Will there be traffic? What type of food is on the menu? If it’s feasible, drive there beforehand so you know exactly where it is. Ease your interview jitters by knowing exactly what to expect. Aim to be at the restaurant about 5 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Come prepared with everything you would bring to an office interview including your resume, work samples, references, and recommendations. You may not have the chance to present them, but you can hand them to the interviewer after the lunch.

Mind Your Manners

Your interviewer will take note of the way you treat and interact with everyone at the restaurant. After all, they brought you on a lunch interview to get a better sense of your personality. Be kind, courteous, and respectful to all restaurant staff including the hostesses, servers, and bussers. If you’re interviewing for a customer service or client-facing role, this is especially crucial.

Order Your Meal Strategically

Yes, you are meeting over lunch, but we suggest eating beforehand and ordering a small dish during the interview. You’ll be talking a lot and don’t want to be distracted by an empty stomach. Avoid finger foods and anything that’s hard to eat. Even fish can sometimes have small bones in it – you don’t want to be picking food out of your teeth while you’re explaining why you’re great for the job!

Pro Tip: let the interviewer order first and choose something similar.

Offer to Pay

If your lunch interview is one-on-one, offer to pick up the check. This shows politeness and courtesy. If this isn’t feasible for you, do not worry, the interviewer will likely insist on paying since they invited you. But if you offer to pay, you must be ready and willing to pay. It would look even worse if you offered and then backed out.

Bottom line: While not required, offering to pay is a polite gesture and will go a long way to making a great impression.

Do you want more interview guidance? Our team at Wilbanks Consulting Group offers a variety of professional services to highlight your individual strengths and help you shine in interviews. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Posted on September 25, 2018 and filed under Interviewing.

Five Books That Will Inspire, Motivate, & Equip For Success

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Summer is coming to a close, the weather is cooling off, and we’re spending more time indoors. As the season ends, it marks a time to reflect on where you are in your career and where you aspire to be.

Are you hoping for a promotion?

A career change?

Perhaps you’re wrapping up school and looking for a competitive edge over other applicants?

Whatever your goals may be, our team put together a list of five great reads that will inspire, encourage, and equip you to succeed. We hope you enjoy these books as much as we have!

Check out these books if you want to be...

1. If You Want To Be A Better Leader

Work is more meaningful when we know the reason behind what we’re doing. However, most of our lives we’re told what to do, but not why we should do it. Simon Sinek’s Start With Why dives into the principal of leading with the “why” and how to use it to become great leaders.

2. If You Want To Be Fearless

Mistakes happen no matter who you are. It’s how you overcome the mistakes that help you learn and grow. In Permission To Screw Up by Kristen Hadeed, Kristen shares her experience (and mistakes) she’s had with her company, Student Maid. In the book, she dismisses the idea that leaders and organizations need to be perfect. Instead, she encourages learning by taking action and embracing failures, rather than waiting and thinking.

3. If You Want To Inspire Others

Servant leadership is the concept that managers and company leaders should aspire to serve their employees. This goes against the traditional company structure where managers expect their employees to serve them. The Serving Leader by Ken Jennings dives into this principle and gives ways to implement servant leadership tactics within your organizations.

4. If You Want To Help Grow The Company

Is your company growing? Are processes in place to sustain the growth? If not, give Jim Collin’s bestselling book, Good To Great a read. Jim describes the framework for how companies can make the step from good to great, and how and why some companies fail to make the transition.

5.  If You Want To Improve Company Culture

Former President of Starbucks, Howard Behar helped establish Starbucks’ company culture. His book, It’s Not About The Coffee, reveals critical leadership principles that helped shape Starbucks “people over profits” mentality.  

Want more resources to help you succeed in your career? Our team of experts can help you understand what YOU need for career success. We use proven assessments of personality type, interests, and strengths to create a strategy for your future growth and development. Contact us for more information.

Posted on September 18, 2018 and filed under Leadership.

Back To High School & Your Career: It’s Not Too Early To Start Planning

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It’s never too early to start planning for your future. A big part of planning for your life after high school has to do with what career path you want to be on. Are you interested in business? There are colleges known for strong business programs and alumni networks that can help propel your career after college. Or is your passion is science and medicine? Explore colleges with great science and research programs to foster your learning and grow your passions.

On the other hand, maybe you don’t quite know what you want to do. If that’s the case for you, this time is vital to really prepare for your future and explore lots of options!

Act on these tips to help you prepare for your life after learning, even if your path is still undecided:

Explore Your Interests

All your life you’ve been asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  High school marks the perfect time to explore those interests and see if you could picture yourself doing it as a career. If you aren’t sure what you want to be, brainstorm about what you love. Write down what you enjoy, what you could do everyday, what you don’t like, what you don’t like but would be OK with doing. All of these questions will help you narrow down the path to your future career.

Gain Experience

After you identify your interests, next find ways to gain experience. Experience comes in many forms – internships, jobs, clubs, volunteering, and shadowing are a few examples.

Finding these sources for experience can help you learn valuable skills about the job and gain confidence with firsthand experience. It’s also a great way to clarify whether it’s something you could see yourself doing long term. As you gain experience, you may find you like different aspects of your interests. For example, if you take an internship at a dentist office and you realize the techniques the dentists use to achieve patient's goals inspires you but you find the administrative tasks redundant. Keep pursuing the parts of the job that interest you.

Earn Certificates Beyond the Classroom

Certificates and courses help you stand out from the competition. Colleges and employers often look beyond the classes and the grades as a measure of aptitude. There are many in-demand skills employers desire that new graduates seldom have. Among those are critical thinking, project management, and problem-solving. They go beyond what can be taught in a classroom but are crucial for career success.

Find A Mentor

There is no substitute for wise advice. As a student, there is so much about college and the working world that you will do well to explore alongside a mentor. The perfect mentor for you will be someone you trust, admire, respect, and will be honest with about your strengths and weaknesses as you step into the world beyond high school. Think about who a great mentor will be for you and ask them if they would be willing to mentor you. Chances are, they’ll be thrilled you asked.

Invest in yourself and your future and learn skills today that will help you grow toward the career of your dreams. Contact us for more information on our personalized career coaching services.

Posted on September 12, 2018 and filed under Search Strategy.

Fall Recruitment Ramps Up - Are You Ready?

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Once summer ends and vacation season is over, recruitment and hiring picks up to fill any vacant roles before the holidays roll around (and to use up budgets before they run out).

This is a great time of year to apply for jobs! Applying to the right place at the right time can boost your chances of getting hired.

Fall Recruiting Ramp Up

In many industries, Fall is a big recruiting time. Why?

  • Winter is when many hiring managers have fresh, new budgets. Industries often use that season for executive-level hires.

  • By Spring, companies look for recent graduates and entry-level applicants looking for their very first job.

  • Once summer arrives, the recruiting cycle begins to slow down due to travel and flexible summer hours.

  • As Fall approaches, hiring managers take a closer look at their budgets and hiring needs before the holidays. During the fall, companies with needs and surplus funds want to snatch up the qualified candidates at all levels before their budgets run out and the holidays commence.

Prep Now, Stress Less

There are several things you can do to mitigate stress and put yourself in the best situation during the peak recruitment season:

1. Refresh your Linkedin Presence

Linkedin can be a fantastic way for employers to find you. Make sure your job is current, your education and certifications reflect reality, and your skills are up to date. It also doesn’t hurt to have a recommendation or two. Linkedin has a tool that lets hiring managers know you’re open to new opportunities. Make sure that tool is set to the “on” mode. Also, spend time engaging with your connections on the platform. This impacts the algorithm and helps your profile surface within search results more often.

2. Update your Resume

What if a hiring manager from your dream job found you on Linkedin and invited you to the office for an interview? Great, right? Absolutely! The catch: it’s tomorrow. Would your resume be ready? Save yourself the hassle and keep your resume current as you look for opportunities.

3. Attend Networking Events

Networking events provide an excellent setting to meet other professionals. It can also be a great place to let others know you’re looking for new opportunities. Most people will jump at the chance to help you find something great. If you share with others that you’re job hunting, they will likely do what they can to help you. Keep a couple resumes handy when you attend these events!

4. Brush up on your Interview Skills

The day has come and you’re brought in for an interview. You may know you’ll excel at the role, but without a great interview, you could appear as a “bad fit.” Brush up on your non-verbal language, remain professional, listen, and position your answers so the interviewer feels assured you know what you’re talking about.

Need some help preparing for the upcoming recruitment season? Our team at The Wilbanks Consulting Group can help you gain the skills and confidence you need to land your dream job. Contact us for more information.

Posted on September 5, 2018 and filed under Search Strategy.

5 Ways To Lead by Serving

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Traditionally in the workplace, teams are structured for the employees to serve their leaders. With servant leadership, this structure is flipped so the leader is serving the employees. The idea behind servant leadership is that if leaders serve their employees, their employees will feel empowered to do great work and achieve career satisfaction. Industry leaders are increasingly recognizing the power of servant leadership to increase performance and engagement.

Chick-fil-A founder, Truett Cathy’s leadership style demonstrates how to lead others by serving them. Despite a childhood of poverty during the Great Depression, Cathy prevailed with good work habits and attitude. Here are a few of his most well-known leadership decisions:

  • Cathy mandated that all Chick-fil-A stores close on Sundays to give his employees a day with their families.

  • He also launched a college scholarship program where he awards young employees financial support during college.

  • Cathy intentionally didn’t take the company public to ensure decisions remain aligned with his values rather than changing at the whim of investors.

Cathy's servant leadership decisions not only made him extremely well-liked and respected by customers and employees, but Chick-fil-A’s success highlights the benefits of the leadership style.

Would you like to see how servant leadership can boost team morale and performance? Let’s review 5 ways you can lead your team by serving them.

5 Ways To Lead By Serving

1. Demonstrate Through Words and Actions

When practicing servant leadership, show consistency in your actions and morality. It’s important for your team to observe actions that backup your words. This builds credibility and respect between leaders and employees.

2. Trust and Respect Employees

Show your employees that you care and respect them! Being knowledgeable alone does not make you a great leader. Being trusting, caring, and respectful makes you a great leader. Depending on the type of team you’re leading, you can demonstrate trust and respect through active listening, relationship building and acknowledging their ideas and opinions.

3. Active Listening

“A true natural servant automatically responds to any problem by listening first," states Robert Greenleaf, founder of the modern servant leadership movement in 1971. We are built to react. However, when it comes to servant leadership, it’s crucial to put reactions aside and focus on actively listening to your employees and reflecting on their responses. Listening brings insight. Once we focus on listening, we can begin to understand what motivates our employees and how to serve them to excel.

4. Empower your Team

If you expect your team to achieve more, they will. On the other hand, if you expect your team will fail in certain aspects, they likely will. Focus on inspiring and empowering your team. The more you do, the greater impact it will have on their job performance and, ultimately, you as their leader.

5. Practice Humility

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes. But it’s how we handle the aftermath of our mistakes that set the stage for growth. As you lead by serving, practice humility when you make mistakes and when you achieve your goals. Don’t let your ego get in the way of building credibility and respect with your team.

We shared 5 ways to lead by serving, and plenty more tactics can be applied! Do you have other ways to demonstrate servant leadership?

Posted on August 22, 2018 and filed under Career.

Why You Should Create A Personal Brand

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“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”

When you hear the phrase “personal brand”, celebrities or social media influencers probably first come to mind. But in today’s always “on” world, people have a personal brand online, whether they know it or not.

A personal brand is simply the image you project to the public that differentiates you from others. And personal branding is becoming increasingly important during the hiring process. When recruiters and hiring managers vet top candidates, they often search your name on Google and popular social media sites to see if you’d be a good fit for the role and company. Having a strong personal brand will help you favorably stand out to future employers.

It takes dedication and consistency to produce a personal brand that yields influence and attracts employers. You can – and should – do certain things to maximize your personal brand and establish it as a true reflection of yourself and your professional aptitude.

4 Reasons Why You Should Create A Personal Brand

1. Personal Branding is Content You Can Control

While you can’t necessarily control what others say about you, you can control the content you post. Best-selling author, Krista Neher states, “start by knowing what you want and who you are, build credibility around it and deliver it online in a compelling way.”

Employers want to know what makes you different than other job candidates. What skills and qualities can you bring to the role and the company? Incorporate your unique qualities into your personal brand.

2. Audience Equals Influence

When you have a strong personal brand, you have an audience of people who look forward to what you’re going to say next. It’s human nature to want other’s attention and this is exactly what a strong personal brand does: it grabs attention. This attention gives you influence within your niche.

As a professional, having an audience can help propel your personal brand to the next level. For example, if you publish an article on Linkedin that resonates with your audience, your audience is likely to share and engage with it. The engagement will trigger the algorithm to surface the article into more people’s newsfeeds. Perhaps it’s surfaced on your dream employer’s newsfeed, they read it, and contact you for a job opening.

3. Networking Becomes Simpler

Whether you’re job searching or changing career paths, networking is a big part of elevating your career. And by putting yourself out there with a carefully curated personal brand, people will take note of the content you produce and your areas of expertise. This can help expand your network and open opportunities for networking events.

4. Opportunities Arise

Presenting your thoughts, beliefs, and personality online in a unique and compelling way opens up opportunities to become a thought leader in your niche. With hard work, consistency, and an audience, this gives you leverage when you’re looking to find your dream job or ascend higher in your career. An effective personal brand opens opportunities with influential people who can help you achieve the next step in your career

Branding is an art that takes time, consistency, and dedication. Success won’t happen overnight. Clean up your profiles and update your information regularly. Clearly define what “your brand” brings to the table and focus on the platforms that best showcase it best.

What are you currently doing to establish your personal brand?

Posted on August 14, 2018 and filed under Search Strategy, Career.

Choosing the Right Mentor

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Choosing the right mentor is one of the most important career decisions. The right mentor can expand your professional network, open doors to new opportunities, and provide strategic guidance. Because of its importance,  choosing the right mentor shouldn’t be taken lightly. This person will likely introduce you to people who will help you grow your career – however, if you’re introduced to people who don’t align with your career path, it likely won’t be a fruitful working relationship. Finding the right mentor will take time, patience, self-reflection, and a bit of creativity. Let’s go over a few tactics to help you choose the right mentor.

4 Tips For Choosing The Right Mentor

1. Define What You’re Looking For

What is your skillset now and what skills do you need in order to reach your goals? Your mentor should help bridge the gap between where you are currently in your career versus where you want to be. Before vetting mentors, define exactly what you need from the relationship.

2. Look at Professional Experience

Professional experience is arguably the most critical component of the right mentor. You want to make sure they walk the walk, not just talk the talk. For example, if you work in finance and want to develop the skills and expertise to progress to a CFO role, you shouldn’t choose someone in technology or marketing as your mentor. While they may provide valuable information, they may not be able to give you guidance on the career moves needed to reach your goals.

3. Make Sure Your Business Styles Compliment

Do you both have a similar outlook on life and business? Do you value similar things? While you don’t have to be exactly the same, you should have complimentary styles and values. This will help you understand each other better. You may know an incredibly intelligent person but if your values and outlook don’t align, the person may not be suitable as a partner. We recommend getting to know a potential mentor well enough to answer these questions before you invite them to enter a mentoring relationship with you.

4. Don’t Overlook Virtual Mentors

Today we have access to more information than ever before. Technology is breaking down boundaries for finding valuable mentors. This allows you to be strategic when choosing your mentor. Make finding the best fit the priority, regardless of location. If you’ve exhausted your local network, consider virtual mentors.

Still Need To Find A Mentor? We Can Help.

The Wilbanks Consulting Group can help you craft the perfect strategy to achieve career success. We align the results with your goals to create a strategy for future growth and development through your current position or toward a new one. If you’re interested in propelling your career to the next level, contact us for a complimentary consultation.

Posted on August 7, 2018 and filed under Search Strategy, Career.

How Words Affect Your Chances Of Getting A Job

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Imagine that you are sitting in a job interview and they ask you “why do you want this job?” You can say one of three things in response:

A. Your company sounds really cool and I am looking for a change.

B. Your company has values I appreciate and I want to move into a position like what you have described.

C. I have admired your company and how you successfully execute your mission. Your emphasis to ______ aligns with my career goals and qualifications.

Which do you think is the best response to that interview question?

Hopefully, you chose “C” as your answer. If you didn’t, that’s OK. Let’s dive into why the other phrases are not optimal responses:

A. Your company sounds really cool and I am looking for a change.

This is a great example of a bad response. Saying their company “sounds cool” makes the interviewer feel like you are looking for a buddy and not a future coworker. Your goal is to put your best foot forward, so aim to keep your language formal and professional. It’s may be OK to use that language within the company culture, but during an interview, you want to present yourself in the best, most professional light.

B. Your company has values I appreciate and I want to move into a position like what you have listed.

This is response is OK, but just OK. It shows that you have knowledge of the company and the position. The issue is that you aren’t selling yourself in this response. Instead, you are just stating that would you like the job. Of course you do! That’s why you applied.

C. I have admired your company and how you successfully execute your mission. Your emphasis to ______ aligns with my career goals and qualifications.

Not only does answer C the question using professional, formal language, it clearly identifies why you want the position by connecting their specific company mission to your career goals. You are selling yourself and painting the picture for the interviewer of how and why you are a great fit. The interviewer will remember the personal and professional connection you made to their company.

Real Life Case Study: Chick-Fil-A

A great real life example of using formal, professional language is Chick-Fil-A. They are known for responding to “thank you” with “my pleasure.” According to a Taste of Home article, Chick-Fil-A’s employees are instructed to use elevated language in order to send a unique message to the customer that they are taking extra care. Even though it’s a fast food restaurant, the customer experience is leagues above their competition. They even close one day a week and are still have a strong market share for their industry.

How does this apply to your interview? Using their philosophy of sending a unique message to who you are communicating with will put you leagues above the competition, just as it does for Chick-Fil-A. In your interview, send a message that you are professional and care about the position in a personal way.

Mock Interview

Are you nervous about an upcoming interview? We’d love to help you with prepare so you walk in with confidence and leave with a job offer! The Wilbanks Consulting Group has a Mock Interview Package to help you elevate your language and land your dream job. Contact us to learn more!

Posted on July 24, 2018 and filed under Search Strategy.

4 Tips For Accepting Professional Feedback With Grace

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A client once told me that her journalism professor graded their articles in green, because green connects with growth. That green pen removed the dread of receiving feedback on her work, and she was instead able to view feedback as a way to grow personally and professionally.

Depending on where you work, the type of feedback you receive may take different forms. Some companies do 360 degree reviews, where the opportunity is given to employees to evaluate their bosses and vice versa. Other companies do a simple written evaluation once a year with little input from the receiving party. The most distinguishing factor between feedback experiences depends on who is giving it. Using MBTI®, we see that each personality style has a different way of giving and receiving feedback. Some people will be direct and to the point, others will try to soften the feedback, while others may try to beat around the bush in an effort to avoid hurt feelings. It’s a great idea to learn where you fall on the MBTI® scale to improve your communication with others.

The purpose of feedback is to thoughtfully help you grow personally and professionally by providing good elements of your performance you can strengthen, identifying areas that need extra attention, and outlining a plan to improve moving forward. But, that doesn’t mean it’s always easy to hear.

4 Tips For Accepting Professional Feedback With Grace

When receiving feedback...

1. Pause, don’t react, and breathe

Our natural response to any criticism is to immediately become defensive (especially when it’s about a project you worked hard on). This gut reaction will not be productive for you or the project. Instead, pause, don’t react, and take a deep breath. Then move on to...

2. Listen and ask questions

Active listening and asking clarifying questions shows that you are engaged in the conversation. It’s possible to misunderstand what’s being said, and asking questions allows you time to process the information without reacting negatively.

3. Summarize and reflect

After your meeting, handle your emotions away from the office. Ask a coworker you trust to go out to lunch and debrief with them. Be open to hear their take on the feedback and be open to what they have to say, whether they agree with the feedback you received or not.

4. Set-up an appointment to follow-up

Once you’ve had time to process the feedback, ask for a follow-up appointment. Go over items you are trying to improve and ask for support with goal-setting and resources you may need.

MBTI® Training

If you’d like to take the MBTI® assessment and learn how to apply the results to your interactions with other regarding feedback (or other interactions), the Wilbanks Consulting Group provides tailored workshops to groups and career coaching to individuals, allowing teams and individuals to move forward quickly with the clarity and agility required to excel. The MBTI® is cost effective and simple to apply. It benefits organizations at the individual, team, and institutional levels. Our team of Certified MBTI® Practitioners is available to assist with individual and team assessments and coaching. Both onsite and virtual options are available in Houston and worldwide.

Posted on July 18, 2018 and filed under Career.

Should You Take A Job That Isn’t Your Dream?

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How do you know if you should accept a job offer if it isn’t your dream job?

The job hunt can be a very challenging experience. If you don’t have a strategy in place for your job search, it’s tempting to say ‘yes’ to the first offer simply because you are tired of searching. 

If you don’t have a strategy in place, create a career strategy now. This will help you stay focused on your short and long-term goals. Once you have your strategy set, it’s time to evaluate the job offer itself. 


Should You Accept The Job Offer?
This article from Business Insider offers great advice on whether or not accepting a job offer is the best decision for you. If you accept a position, it should help you achieve your future career goals, even if it isn’t your dream job. 

Here are a few pointers from the article to help you decide if the job is right for you:

Yes if: It will help you achieve big goals down the line
No if: You’re delaying important goals by taking it

Sometimes you need to pay your dues, but if it’s not part of the larger plan it will not benefit you in the long-run.

Yes if: You’re going to get career-building experience
No if: It’s a lateral move

Beefing up your resume is always a great way to reach your end goals. Just make sure it’s not from a similar to your current job or there will be no valuable experience gained.

Yes if: You’re unemployed and have been applying with no success
No if: You’re gainfully employed and don’t think this will make you any happier

Taking in the logistics of your current situation is an important consideration. If you have been unemployed for a while, taking the position could be your best bet. If you already have a job, think about passing on this opportunity.

Career Coaching Can Help
Need more help? Our team of career consultants can help you create a strategy for future growth and development through your current position or a future one. We help you evaluate your options and tackle your search with an arsenal of materials and resources that communicate your value. Contact us today.
 

Posted on July 11, 2018 and filed under Search Strategy.

Why You Should Celebrate Independence Day (Instead of Working)

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Happy Independence Day! On July 4, 1776 the Continental Congress officially adopted the Declaration of Independence. We celebrate the Fourth because it is the official birth of the United States of America. Since 1776, we have been celebrating our freedom and all the reasons that makes our country so great.

Throughout the years, our celebration has evolved into spending time with family and friends. We spend our day at the pool, grilling hot dogs, and watching fireworks. It’s also important that we remember how privileged we are to be able to have choices, personally and professionally, that others do not.

This year's holiday lands mid-week, which is... frustrating. But, it is so important to take time off to celebrate with family. Even if it’s just one day away from the office, time spent with your family and friends helps you gain perspective, prevents burnout, and increases your happiness. You’ll head back to work for the remaining short work week feeling rejuvenated. Who knows, time away from your desk may help you solve a problem at work you’ve been thinking about and you can tackle with fresh eyes!

At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we’re celebrating today because we have the ability to help others achieve their “American Dream.” We feel so honored that our clients have chosen us to be part of their career journey.

How are you celebrating July 4th?

Posted on July 4, 2018 and filed under Community, Career.

Practical Tips To Improve Your Focus At Work

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Any given time of year has distractions, but the summer months make it especially difficult to keep your mind from straying to blue sky, green grass, and poolside lounging. Warmer weather is inviting us away from our work, and if we aren’t careful, a lack of focus can greatly hinder our work/life balance.

Keep work at work. One of the greatest bits of advice is to discipline yourself to keep work at work. If you let work bleed into your time at home, you’re more likely to never be fully focused at either place. While at work, don’t book your vacation travel and don’t browse photos of your friend’s recent trip to the beach. Aim for maximum productivity so that when you are at home, you can leave it all behind and enjoy doing whatever it is that helps you relax.

Practical Focus Techniques You Can Implement Today

Saying it is one thing, doing it is another. Here is a summary of practical focus techniques from LifeHacker:

  • Find fun in what you are doing at work.

  • Choose a great desk/chair combo. Be comfortable!

  • Organize your workspace. Cluttered desk = cluttered mind.

  • Make your computer distraction free. Only have your current projects on your desktop. And don’t have shortcuts to social media sites!

  • Have water and food nearby so you don’t have to get up frequently.

  • Make a to-do list and stick to it.

  • Prioritize your tasks and complete them accordingly.

  • Set up a personal work structure/flow and let others know about it.

  • Put in headphones (if you’re allowed).

  • Set your messaging systems to “away, busy, or invisible” for chunks of productive time. Mute your email notifications during these times also.

  • Stay away from social media during work hours!

  • Organize your emails.

  • Redesign your phone use. Every call or text doesn’t have to be answered immediately.

  • Choose suitable music. Instrumental is great!

Once you’ve mastered the art of truly focusing, you’ll be efficient, productive at work, leaving plenty of time to take that vacation you’re dreaming about!

Would you add anything to the list of practical ways to improve focus at work? Let us know by commenting below!

Posted on June 26, 2018 and filed under Career.

How To Recognize The Best Career Search Advice

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Everyone has advice to give. When it comes to your career, it’s incredibly important that you seek out and listen to the right people. The “right” people will be successful professionals who have learned from their experiences, both wins and failures. They might be people you know, but can also be those who have risen in leadership nationally or globally. The “right” people will also be those who genuinely want to see you succeed. And they will support you in making the right decision for you, even if they suggest something a little different. You are the planner of your career path. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for you!

Below you’ll find our favorite quotes from some highly influential people in the world. As you read, decide what you love and run with it!

Excellent Advice For The Powerful Leaders

My paternal grandmother, Mrs. Annie Henderson, gave me advice that I have used for 65 years. She said, ‘If the world puts you on a road you do not like, if you look ahead and do not want that destination which is being offered and you look behind and you do not want to return to you place of departure, step off the road. Build yourself a new path.’
— Maya Angelou (As recorded in The Best Advice I Ever Got by Katie Couric)
I don’t think we talk about failure enough. It would’ve really helped to have someone who had had a measure of success come say to me, ‘You will fail. That’s inevitable. It’s what you do with it.’
— J.K. Rowling to Matt Lauer on NBC's Today.
Yeah, we’re always talking about following your passion, but we’re all part of the flow of history … you’ve got to put something back into the flow of history that’s going to help your community, help other people … so that 20, 30, 40 years from now … people will say, this person didn’t just have a passion, he cared about making something that other people could benefit from.
— Steve Jobs, as told by biographer Walter Isaacson
I encourage taking risks. What is the worst thing that can happen? You can go back and do what you were doing before.
— Cynthia Tidwell in an interview with Business Insider

Let Us Help You Maximize Your Career Search Strategy
Our team of experts can help you understand what YOU need for college and career success. We use proven assessments to examine your unique personality type, interests, and strengths. We align the results with your goals to create a strategy for your future growth and development through your college experience and career outlook. Our coaching empowers you to make decisions about which college institution, major, minor, courses, internships, work study opportunities, career industries, jobs, and more will give you the greatest enjoyment, while preparing you for your career.
 

Posted on June 19, 2018 and filed under Career.

Decorating Your Office Space Professionally

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About 8 hours of your day is spent in your office space. Whether you have your own office, share an office, work in a cubicle, or work in an open-concept office, adding personal touches gives you a feeling of ownership and a chance to share your personal style with your colleagues. A work space that reflects your personality can positively affect your mood because it brings what you love to your desk.

So, what are some easy ways to customize your work space? Start by writing down things that you really love. Here are a few ideas:

  • If you love traveling: Bring in photos from your favorite trips or bring a souvenir from your adventures.

  • If you love spending time with your family: Bring in a drawing from a child,  mementos from a recent family event, or pictures of your family.

  • If you love a specific color: Choose office supplies like a stapler, tape dispenser, or trash can to match your favorite color.

Whatever you bring in, make sure that it adds a sense of joy to your workspace. Adding joy where you work does wonders for morale.

The trick to successfully decorating your office space is to not make your co-workers cringe. How can you ensure your office decor is professional and respectful? Start by evaluating your work space with the following questions...

  • Are you in your own office, cubicle, or shared space?

  • Do you host clients in your space?

  • Do you frequently have team meetings in your office?

If you share a space with someone that cringes at the color orange, then painting an entire wall orange is probably a no-go. If you host clients or have meetings in your space, don’t decorate with a cool modern chair that looks great but is uncomfortable to sit in. And while you may love scented candles or your essential oil diffuser, those should be left at home. Some people are allergic or may be repelled by a strong scent.

Ultimately, decorating your office space professionally comes down to expressing your personal style within the boundaries of respecting the other people who will be using your space.

Have you decorated your office space? If so, how would you describe your style?

Posted on June 12, 2018 and filed under Career.