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

adult-back-view-backpack-443417.jpg

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?

Screenshot 2018-08-27 17.19.56.png

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

stefan-stefancik-257625-unsplash.jpg

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

adult-busy-cellphone-1083622.jpg

“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

adult-blur-business-630839.jpg

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

alphabet-close-up-communication-278887.jpg

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

classic-glazed-gold-261710.jpg

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?

background-close-up-desk-958173.jpg

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)

2018-abstract-bay-534031.jpg

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

adult-beautiful-blur-935756.jpg

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

adult-agent-blur-684385.jpg

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

blur-bottle-bright-273238.jpg

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.

Searching For The Perfect Job With Long-Term Goals In Mind

blackboard-business-chalkboard-355988.jpg

You need job search goals to succeed. A lot of times we focus on the short-term goals and forget about the important long-term goals. If you are ready to find the perfect job, it’s time to step back, look at the bigger picture, and create long-term goals.

First, start by figuring out exactly what you love and hate about your current job. What makes you excited about going to work and what makes you dread going into work? Be completely honest with yourself. Write down both lists on one peice of paper so that you can see them side-by-side.

Once you have your list together, create a strategy for landing your perfect job. Start looking for job descriptions that match the “love” side of your list. As you read through job descriptions, keep an eye out for areas where you need to improve your skill set. Do you need a specific certification? Do you need additional experience in order to meet the minimum requirements requested of the job? Write the list of skills or experience you’ll need. Are you willing to pursue these experiences in order to land your dream job? If you are, you’ve got a great start to setting goals for your career search!

Depending on how involved the skills and experience you need to acquire are, these may or may not be long term goals. And that’s OK! Set those goals and then go back to the job descriptions. What advancement opportunities are available to you in the job you’re seeking? How would you like your position to evolve over the next three years? Five years? Set your sights and then write the goals needed to get you there.

Do you need help setting your career search goals? Let our team of experienced career coaches partner with you!

Our team of career consultants can help you craft the perfect strategy to achieve career success. We use proven assessments to examine your personality type, interests, and strengths. We align the results with your goals to create a strategy for future growth and development through your current position or a new one. Our tactical job search services prepare you to tackle your search with an arsenal of materials that communicate your value. Our career coaching empowers you to flawlessly execute your strategy in any situation. Contact us today.

Posted on June 5, 2018 and filed under Search Strategy, Career.

How To Build Your Leadership Skills

stefan-stefancik-257625-unsplash.jpg

At some point on your career journey, you will probably be handed a leadership role. Maybe you will be asked to lead a team project or give a presentation. Or maybe you will oversee an entire branch of the company. Maybe an Executive position is even in your future! For whatever role you may be handed, it’s important to continuously build on your leadership skills. This will ensure long-term career success and will build your confidence.

Here are a few ways to develop professional leadership skills:

1. Take a personality test. Taking a personality test can be helpful when trying to determine what your strengths and weaknesses are. While it is important to understand your strengths and use them to your advantage, it is also equally imperative to understand where you can improve. It’s important to remember that weaknesses are not your downfall but rather areas you need to develop and build. Understanding what those weaknesses will provide better perspective for how you function individually and with a team. Personality tests are a fun and interesting way to learn more about yourself and develop your leadership skills.

There are a lot of personality tests out there; the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) Assessment personally changed Holly’s life and early career trajectory, so it’s our go-to when working with clients.

“The MBTI® Assessment is the most trusted and widely-used personality assessment tool. Supported by over 50 years of scientific research, as many as 1.5 million assessments are administered annually to employees of Fortune 100 and 500 companies, students and alumni at leading colleges and universities, and individuals seeking personal and professional growth. The MBTI® assessment provides insight into how we interact with the world, take in information, make decisions, and structure our environment, providing a powerful framework through which we can understand our own and others' behavior.”

Learn more about how you can invest in the MBTI® assessment.

2. Become a better listener. A great leader knows when to listen and when to direct. Being able to listen to ideas and suggestions can be a challenging skill to master but can make all the difference. Improving your listening skills can not only be beneficial to you but to the entire organization. It builds trust, respect and shows that you care.

3. Take initiative by volunteering beyond your job. Most companies have important work that isn’t getting done. Ask your company if you can help in these areas. Volunteering for extra tasks can help you expand your skill set while simultaneously helping the company. It shows your boss and others that you are not afraid to get your
hands dirty and that you want to be a leader.

4. Be a critical thinker, not just a doer. It’s easy to get tasks done, but what about taking it one extra step beyond what is expected of you? Critical thinking can efficiently address problems with new ideas beyond conventional solutions. It can also can give you an opportunity to impact the future of the organization by taking a broad, long-range approach to solving specific problems and making key decisions. View your work through multiple frames using objective analysis, forward thinking and planning. It will make you a strategic leader and a valuable asset to your team.

5. Be a constant learner. The best leaders are the best learners! Continuous learning is the ability to constantly develop your skills in order to perform job related tasks effectively and efficiently. Be a lifelong learner and you will find yourself met with success, both for you and your organization.

Leadership skills are essential in the workplace because they show that you have good interpersonal skills, the ability to coordinate, motivate and shape others decisions.

Posted on May 30, 2018 and filed under Leadership.

The Most Important Person You Need To Impress During An Interview

brooke-lark-609911-unsplash.jpg

Do you know who the most important person to impress during an interview? While it is extremely important to impress your interviewer, impressing the secretary or assistant who is helping you is perhaps even more important.

Secretaries and assistants usually handle emails, scheduling, and are typically your first point of contact. Although it can be very easy to overlook them because they may seem unassuming behind their desk, they are the gatekeeper to the entire organization and are paid to weed you out. Leaving a good impression matters because secretaries and assistants can hold more responsibility and influence than most people assume. They absorb everything and filter out what’s important for their boss. Oftentimes, these are the positions that are most trusted in the company.

Showing that you are professional in all circumstances and to everyone, despite their job description, can be the key to getting hired. The following pointers can help ensure you leave a positive lasting impression with the most important person - the assistant or secretary!

  • Know and use their name (Ms. Smith, Mr. Johnson, etc.)
  • Arrive 10-15 minutes prior to the interview time.
  • While you wait, keep your phone out of sight.
  • Be polite and friendly.
  • Keep good posture and body language.
  • Be sure to thank them and say goodbye on your way out.

Remember, they have a relationship with the hiring manager and will reveal if you were rude or unprofessional. Make a positive and lasting influence on the receptionist and it might help your chances of success with the company; create a negative impression and there is a good chance your future with them has reached its end.

For more interview Dos and Don’ts, read this quick guide.

Posted on May 23, 2018 and filed under Interviewing.

How To Spend Your First Summer After Graduation

rawpixel-211022-unsplash.jpg

Summer is here at last! Congratulations on making it through sleepless nights, endless cold brews and hours of cramming for finals. Here are a few ways to make your summer as a graduate productive and enjoyable.

1. Take a trip! If you have just graduated, you have been through a very exciting yet stressful period of your life. From finals, graduation parties, and your actual commencement ceremony…odds are you are also exhausted! There is no better way to reward yourself for this huge accomplishment then to give yourself a break and take a vacation. Not only can traveling help you unwind from a hectic semester, it can also give you a global perspective which is essential in today’s highly connected world. Employers want seasoned candidates that have ventured out into new markets and cultures. Taking a trip abroad can help you jump into the workforce with a clear head and a fresh mindset.

2. Get an internship. If you’re not ready to jump in the workforce just yet, getting an internship can be a smart career move. Internships are a great way to build your network and gain experience without the long-term commitment. Internships can be paid or unpaid. Look for the paid internships, as this is a great way to gain entry level experience while earning extra cash this summer. Who knows… what may start off as an internship can turn into a full-time position.

3. Attend conferences and workshops. Summer is a perfect time to enhance your skill set by attending a local conference or workshop. Attending workshops and conferences can help you in more ways than one. Along with increasing your knowledge in a specific subject area, conferences and workshops simultaneously provide you with a space to network and meet like-minded individuals. If that is not reason enough, conferences/workshops can also help restore motivation and confidence while helping you build personal development skills.

While it is important to take a break to rejuvenate this summer, remember that your first summer as a graduate is the start of your career!

Posted on May 16, 2018 and filed under Career.

Career Tips for Graduates

md-duran-628456-unsplash.jpg

Attention all graduates! As we move towards summer we are also moving towards graduation. Have you begun planning the start of your career yet? There are many things you can do to give your career a kick start. Here are a few tips that will put you at the top of employer’s candidate list:

Tip 1: Polish up your resume and cover letter.

What have you accomplished in 2018? This is the perfect time to reflect on your achievements and projects. It’s also a great idea to get it reviewed and edited for typos and grammatical errors. Getting a fresh set of eyes on your resume will help you find areas of weakness you may have overlooked. If you need help, we offer resume and cover letter packages as a part of our career coaching services!

Tip 2: Start applying now!

It also takes time and research to find the perfect position, so expect this process to take a few months. Once you land an interview, the process at most companies is a long one, with multiple rounds of interviews. The sooner you start applying the closer you are to landing a position.

Tip 3: When sending in applications, expect a phone interview AND an in-person interview.

Many companies and recruiters will conduct a phone interview before asking you to come for an in-person interview. Make sure to research the company beforehand and be prepared to answer questions such as, “Why are you interested in joining the company?” and “What are your career goals?” Don’t forget to prepare your own questions to ask the interviewer - this is your chance to interview them too!

Tip 4: Polish up your social media profiles!

Social media plays a huge role in the search for a great candidate, so make sure you are abiding by social media best practices while on the job hunt. Do your social media profiles communicate who you are as a professional? If it does not, clean up any questionable content and redesign your profile to reflect your best self.

Tip 5: Know your worth!

Do you know how much you’re worth? If you don’t, websites like salary.com can help you determine what your fair market value is. Your fair market value is how much you are worth based on job description, location, education, industry and company size. It could also be beneficial to ask peers who are applying to positions in the same industry what they are expecting to earn. This can help you gain a better overall perspective and answer the question “What is your desired salary?” when it comes up.

Graduation is right around the corner so it’s essential to present yourself in the best light possible. Here are some additional tips on presenting yourself as a valuable asset to the team.

Posted on May 9, 2018 and filed under Career.

How To Follow Up When You Don’t Have Contact Information

kevin-xue-603417-unsplash.jpg

You just wrapped up an interview and hit it out of the park. Now what? Follow up with a thank you! But what if you don’t have the interviewer’s contact information? It’s a pretty common problem, but there are a few things that you can do to follow up:

1. Send a thank you note to the person who scheduled your interview. Although you may not have direct contact information for the interviewer, sending a follow up thank you email to the scheduler - Secretary, Assistant, or HR representative - with a note to pass along the message is acceptable. Here is a template email you can adapt for your own follow up:

(Add contact name),

I wanted to extend my thanks to you for scheduling my phone interview last week. I enjoyed speaking with (insert names of interviewers) and was thrilled to hear about the great work taking place at (insert company name). Would you please pass along my thanks to them as well?

If there is an update on the job process, I'd be honored if you would send me a brief note. I'm excited by the prospect of working with the team.

Thanks again for your time and assistance.

Sincerely,

(Add Your Name)

2. Do some research on LinkedIn or the company website. Check LinkedIn and the company websites to find the email address of the interviewer. Contact information on LinkedIn can be found on the right-hand side of an individual’s profile page.

3. Make an educated guess. Many times, if you have a company email from a secretary or assistant and your interviewer's full name, you can make an educated guess for their company email. For example, if the assistant’s name is Victor Gonzales and the email associated with him is vgonzales@company.com, it is likely that the email of the interviewer follows the same pattern.

Following up can be a difficult task especially when you don’t have the contact information you need. These tips and tricks can be helpful when trying to leave a good impression. For more tips and tricks, visit: Job Search and Interview Follow up Etiquette and I’ve Had an Interview. Now What?

Posted on May 2, 2018 and filed under Interviewing.

3 Reasons You Should Be A Mentor (Even If You’re A Newbie)

Mentor

Who is the person that has shaped and molded your professional career? This person will have given you advice, provided constructive criticism, and assisted in developing your skills - perhaps both interpersonal skills and “hard” skills. Whoever plays this role in your life is your mentor, even if you’ve never identified him or her as such.

Taking the step from being mentored to mentoring is a scary one for many professionals. You may feel that you lack experience or are underqualified to advise someone else in their career. Even if you are just a few months out of college, there is someone out there that will greatly benefit from being mentored by you.

Here’s Three Reasons Why You Should Be A Mentor

1. You are qualified to be a mentor. Sure, you might only be six months in to your very first job out of college or only a few weeks into your new position. But you are further along than someone. Maybe it’s the intern still in college or your new colleague that was hired last week. The bottom line: you are less experienced than some and more experienced than others. Model how you mentor on what worked for you and your mentor. You can even ask your mentor for help to get started.

If you want a structured mentorship experience, there are many mentor programs that can help guide you in the process of finding a mentee and how to effectively develop the relationship. Ask your company if they have a program and conduct research to find industry-specific programs you can join.

2. Mentoring a great way to develop your leadership skills. Getting your feet wet will always be the best way to learn to swim. Similarly, mentoring someone is the best way to learn how to be a mentor! Your leadership skills will be stretched and challenged, improving them in a very real and tangible way.

Asking for feedback from your mentee is an effective way to build your relationship and also to learn where you need to improve. You both can benefit and learn from each other, which takes the pressure off of you.

3. As a mentor, you can help others. Most job satisfaction comes from having a clear purpose and the knowledge that you are bettering the world in some way. Mentorship provides a way for you to invest in the life of someone who needs help in their career. Being a mentor provides an opportunity to see both short- and long-term results of the fruit of your labor. There is nothing quite like knowing you made a positive impact on the life of another human being!

Take some time to list the strengths and benefits you would boast as a mentor. Then, take steps to find someone to mentor!

Posted on April 25, 2018 and filed under Community.

Why You Need To Take A Vacation This Year

Vacation

When was the last time you went on a real vacation that didn’t involve home improvement projects, checking email from a hotel room, or meeting up with clients or colleagues?

Dreaming of sand between your toes, the view from a ski lodge, or the hustle and bustle of your favorite city aren’t enough to refresh and rejuvenate your mind.

If you are thinking of skipping your vacation this year, consider this list from LifeHack.org:  7 Reasons Why Everyone Should Take Vacations Even If You're Busy

Here’s the summary:

  1. Reduce Stress. Stress eventually leads to burnout and your work will suffer as a result. If you want to work at full capacity - take a vacation!

  2. It’s good for your health. Stress leads to physical and mental fatigue. Taking a vacation rejuvenates your body and mind back to optimal performance.

  3. Improve productivity. When there is an end in sight, you’ll be more productive. Allowing yourself to see a stopping point to refuel will improve your productivity dramatically.

  4. Boost creativity. Seeing and experiencing new things gives your mind a boost of creative juices to work with. If you are hitting a wall at work and just don’t know how to move forward, a vacation might be just the thing you need to conquer the issue.

  5. Increase your happiness. I think we can all agree that taking a vacation and doing the things we love most make us happy. For you, maybe it’s sleeping in. For others, maybe it’s waking up early to see the sunrise over the horizon. Whatever it is, do what makes you happy!

  6. Open your mind to new perspective. Vacations will always provide our minds will new perspectives. We meet new people, experience new things, learn new skills. When back at work, you could change how you view a difficult problem or project and illuminate the best way to move forward. A vacation provides a fresh set of eyes to see the problem at hand anew.

  7. You need time for your family and yourself. Last but not least, family-time and/or me-time is unmatched in both mental and physical health. You should be working to live, not living to work.

Take advantage of all of the vacation time your company allows by taking full weeks off at a time. Piecing together long weekends throughout the year is OK, but giving yourself a break for 5 workdays, plus 4 weekend days, equals nine full days of rest and relaxation. At the end of the year, you won’t regret taking the time off!

So where will you be going on vacation this year?

Posted on April 18, 2018 and filed under Career.