Posts filed under Career

Making College Count Toward A Successful Career

accomplishment-celebrate-ceremony-267885.jpg

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.


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.

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.

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 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.

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.

Spring Cleaning Your Career Assets

Spring Cleaning Career Assets

We’re a few weeks into Spring - have you tackled your Spring Cleaning yet? Washing windows, cleaning under the couch, scrubbing behind the toilet...these aren’t the most fun tasks in the world. Understandably, most people procrastinate to the point where they might as well just leave the tasks for the following Spring.

While it’s OK to put off your household Spring Cleaning chores, don’t delay Spring Cleaning your career assets, including your:

Why Your Career Assets Need Spring Cleaning

If you are planning to look for a new job in the near future, it’s imperative that your information and resources are up-to-date. But even if you aren’t actively looking for a job, it’s important to regularly update your career assets. In our digital world, you never know who is looking at your online presence!

If you manage a website for your work, ensure that the most recent projects and new skills are added. If you don’t have your own website, check to see if the company you work for has an online bio or other digital resources where your name and information is listed to ensure it’s up-to-date. No matter who is reviewing your information, you want to put your best foot forward.

Networking should happen even when you aren’t looking for a new position. When looking for connections, whether it’s for project collaboration, mentorship, or just professional friendship, having all of your most current information and skills available to share is key to strengthening those relationships. Almost everyone looks up connections on LinkedIn after they first meet, so keeping your profile strong and up-to-date is important.

Your resume and CV will be much easier to update when you need it if you are keeping it current. Instead of scrambling to pull together an amazing resume in a pinch, you’ll only need a few minutes to look it over and make slight adjustments.

Finally, how is your skill set these days? Now is the time to update your list of skills on your resume/CV, LinkedIn profile, etc. But it may also be time to learn more new skills or update certification on those you already have. Time moves quickly and many skills become out of date even after only a year. Keeping up with industry trends and the skills needed to keep pace with your colleagues are critical for career success.

Set a recurring reminder in your calendar to Spring Clean your career assets every year. The time it takes to keep these resources current are well worth the investment for a successful long-term career strategy.

Posted on April 11, 2018 and filed under Career.

What Is Your Body Language Saying During An Interview?

Body Language

Imagine you are at an interview and are sitting in a very comfortable office chair across from your interviewer.

You are probably imagining what the interviewer and the room look like. Forget about them. Imagine what YOU are doing in this scenario.

Are you shifting your weight in your chair? How is your posture? What are your hands doing? Where are your eyes looking?

Your body is always communicating to others. At home, at work, at the grocery store. The way you stand, your posture, your facial expressions, eye contact (or lack thereof), and personal “quirks” are all speaking something to those around you. Not with verbal words, but with body language.

If you’ve never thought about these things as they pertain to the job search, now is a great time to start. Your body language says just as much, if not more about yourself and your interest in a position than your words.

Posture

How you sit speaks loudly about your current mood and thoughts. Look down and observe how you are sitting right now. Are you laying on the couch with your laptop (casual)? Are you reading this on your phone while you pace the floor at the doctor’s office(impatient)? Are you sitting at your desk with your feet flat on the floor and back straight (productive)? Are you slouching (discouraged)?

Several years ago, I was interviewing a young woman who was sitting with one arm draped over the chair beside her and her legs spread widely - like a baseball player sitting on the bench. She was also chewing gum. I remember this particular interview well because her body language suggested she was not taking the interview very seriously and didn’t care one iota about what I thought of her.

Another interviewee’s brow was furrowed and his arms were crossed across his chest the entire duration of our time together. He didn’t seem happy to be at the interview, and exuded an arrogant demeanor by his stance.

Over the next several days, notice what your body is saying in different circumstances, personally and professionally. Ask the person you are with about what your body language is suggesting your mood or thoughts are. You might be surprised at how clearly your body language speaks!

Eye Contact

You should always look your interviewer directly in the eyes. It can be uncomfortable if you aren’t used to doing it. Practice looking directly at your own eyes in a mirror to adjust to the new habit. Try to match a pleasant facial expression with your eye contact. Once you feel you are ready, try practicing with others. When you are checking out at the grocery store, look the clerk in the eyes as you interact. You can practice this skill every time you speak with someone, making it a quick habit to strengthen.

During yet another interview I was conducting, one particular woman checked her watch every five minutes and kept looking behind me at the door. I cut the interview short as it was crystal clear that she was anxious to be done with our time together.

Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes, by thinking of a real-world example. Have you ever been talking with a colleague or friend and he or she never looks at your eyes, but instead looks at their computer or phone? In that moment, their eyes told you that whatever was on that screen was more important to them than you and what you had to say. Eye contact reveals distraction and priority, and that’s especially true in an interview setting.

You can see how body language and eye contact are important. Don’t dismiss the powerful language your body and eyes speak. Pay attention in every aspect of your life and you might be surprised to find you are often sending messages that you thought you were keeping internally.

Posted on March 13, 2018 and filed under Interviewing, Career.

Should you work with your significant other?

Working with your significant other

Some significant others work really well together. Take the powerhouse design couple, Chip and Joanna Gaines. Not only do they work together, they live out their professional and personal lives on television! From the public’s point of view, they seem to have it all together.

Then there are other couples who separate because of a falling out that started over a workplace conflict. Many celebrities split after working together, but it’s a common occurrence in any industry.  It’s a fine line to balance between work and romance. Regardless of if a romantic relationship works or not, workplace romances can make for tricky situations.

In many corporations, it is against the rules to have a romantic relationship with a coworker. Similarly, many places of employment won’t even consider hiring a candidate if their spouse is already employed. From a human resources perspective, romance makes professional relationships messy, can affect project integrity, and plummet productivity for many reasons.

Even when relationships aren’t against the rules, a romance can make the workplace environment difficult for you. If you are considering applying or accepting a position at your significant other’s place of employment, there are many questions to ask and topics to discuss. You’ll want to be 100% open and honest with your significant other, and likewise allow him or her to be 100% open and honest with you. You’ll also want to be just as transparent with the hiring manager/supervisor. Hidden secrets or ignored areas of tension will only cause problems for everyone in the future.

Here are a list of questions to consider before working with your significant other:

  • What is your motivation for working together?

  • What is the biggest benefit of working together? What is the biggest negative of working together?

  • Will you receive special treatment that is dividing you and your peers unfairly? How can avoid receiving special treatment?

  • Will you have higher (or lower) expectations put on you because of your relationship?

  • Will you be working together directly? How will that affect your work? Your relationship?

  • How will seeing your significant other daily affect your relationship?

  • Will your peers be affected by working with a couple on the team?

  • How will you handle conflict at work? How will handle conflict at home?

  • Will taking time off from work at the same time cause problems with staffing?

Here are more tips and resources for working with a significant other:

The Pros and Cons of Working With Your Spouse from Entrepreneur

The Pros and Cons of Working With Your Spouse from US News

The Pros and Cons of Working With Your Significant Other from Fast Company

Posted on February 14, 2018 and filed under Career.

Leveraging LinkedIn to Secure Your Dream Job

If you’re looking for a new position this year, leveraging LinkedIn is a must! We recently published Getting Your LinkedIn Profile Ready for the New Year which includes tips to create or update your profile to stand out among hundreds of others. While your profile is important, there are a few more steps you can take to achieve the best results when finding and securing your dream job.

Tips For Using LinkedIn To Find Your Dream Job

  • Check your account regularly. It’s important that you respond to messages and other notifications quickly. You may miss an opportunity if you aren’t checking LinkedIn at least once a day.

  • Post industry relevant content on the news feed. Adding useful content to the news feed puts your name in front of your connections on a regular basis. Ensure what you’re posting is professional, relevant, and non-controversial to put your best foot forward.

  • Connect with everyone you know. The more networking you do, the more opportunities will come your way!

  • Update your career interests. This will automatically funnel the right opportunities into your “jobs” section of LinkedIn. It will also clearly show recruiters what you are looking for.

  • Join relevant, professional groups. Groups provide a platform to discuss industry topics while networking with others in your field. Participate in discussions by adding well thought out responses or even adding your own conversation starters!

LinkedIn Premium Services

On top of the steps listed above, LinkedIn also offers four premium services plans: career, business, sales, and hiring. Here’s a bit about the career and hiring plans, taken from the LinkedIn Premium Services website:

Career Plan

  • Get hired 2x faster!

  • Stand out and get in touch with hiring managers

  • See how you compare to other applicants

  • Learn new skills to advance your career

This plan allows you to directly message recruiters, see who has viewed your profile, be a featured applicant when you apply for a position, online video courses, and more.

Premium is available for a fee, but you can get your first month free with a trial. We recommend clients upgrade to premium for the duration of their job search. Once you secure a new position, you can switch back to the free version if you no longer desire the benefits of Premium membership.

Will you use LinkedIn this year to find your dream job? If you’d like expert assistance to increase your success rate, contact one of our career coaches today!

Posted on January 10, 2018 and filed under Search Strategy, Career, Leadership.

Setting Professional New Year’s Resolutions

new-year-3012990_1920.jpg

Losing weight and dieting takes up most of the New Year’s resolutions made every year. Physical health and a positive body image is important of course, but have you ever considered making professional New Year’s resolutions? When your mind is motivated to start making healthy changes in your personal life, it’s a great time to channel that productive energy into your work life too.

Over this past year, we’ve been providing you with free resources and career advice on our blog. That was a goal that our team set to regularly help you in your job search and throughout your career. We’ve compiled some of the best resources below to help build out professional New Year’s resolutions that will make an impact.

Resources to Build Professional New Year’s Resolutions

  • If you aren’t happy in your current job, here are a few tips to rethink and refocus to get into a position better suited for your dreams and career goals.

  • If you enjoy your job, but aren’t happy in your current workplace culture, make a resolution to either come up with solutions to fix the problem or find a place of employment that matches your work culture aims. Learn more about how to determine the best work culture environment for you.

  • One often overlooked professional characteristic that would make a perfect New Year’s resolution is to become a lifelong learner. Building your skillset should be a part of your ongoing routine. Start the habit this year by kicking it off with a New Year’s resolution!

  • Don’t have career goals? Make it a New Year’s resolution to make a career game plan using both short and long term strategies. This guide will help you reflect and brainstorm the perfect goals for your current career aspirations.

Writing and settling on the most effective professional New Year’s resolutions shouldn’t be done quickly. Take a few days to brainstorm what you really want, the best steps to take to get you where you want to go, and decide your timeline for achieving your goals.

If you’d like help, we’re here for you. Contact us and we’ll gladly partner with you to build the perfect career path and achieve your goals!

Posted on December 27, 2017 and filed under Search Strategy, Resume, Career.

Getting your LinkedIn Profile ready for the New Year

linkedin-911794_1920.jpg

LinkedIn is the top social network for working professionals. In fact, this recent LinkedIn article published the following statistics:

  • There are 467 million users on LinkedIn across the globe

  • There are 3 million active job listings on LinkedIn

Which means...

...If you are looking for a job, it’s essential to have a LinkedIn profile.

...If you are a working professional, it’s smart to have an updated LinkedIn profile.

...If you are looking to switch careers, it’s critical  to have a strategically built LinkedIn profile.

Resume and cover letter still reign supreme in the job search world, but a LinkedIn profile comes in at a very, very close third. The network provides an interactive, more visual way to show your skills and experience while allowing others to weigh in through on-profile reference recommendations and skill endorsement. It also provides amazing networking opportunities that were impossible before its existence.

With the New Year comes a refresh of many projects and budgets, opening doors for many companies to hire and shake things up a bit with lateral moves and promotions. This is the perfect time of year to give your profile a facelift. If you don’t have an account, sign up at www.linkedin.com.

Here are a few basic tips for updating your profile:

  1. Make sure your profile picture is professional and taken with good lighting.

  2. Update your current position description to be accurate. Include any of the new skills and projects you are currently working on!

  3. Eliminate generic descriptor words and instead opt for words that are dynamic and not over used (like motivate, help, work with, etc.)

  4. If you have new references, send a request asking if they can write up a recommendation to include on your profile.

  5. Look at other professionals in your industry to see if they have included something on their profile that you are currently lacking. Determine if adding a similar element to your profile would help your profile stand out.

Want to dig deeper? We are so passionate and about helping our clients build the perfect LinkedIn profile, we offer 3 different service packages, but our most popular service is Level 3:

Level 3 (the most popular LinkedIn service) - all Level 1 & 2 services plus:

  • After the initial consultation, we conduct keyword research for appropriate industry-specific and position-relevant keywords to include for optimal search visibility.

  • Following keyword approval, we complete a full draft of your tailored LinkedIn profile.

  • The same procedure is then followed as with Level 2 service, with emphasis on the industry-specific and position-relevant customization of your profile.

Contact us to build the perfect LinkedIn profile today!

Posted on December 15, 2017 and filed under Search Strategy, Career.

What’s The Difference Between Agency, Corporate, And Contract?

When you first enter the workforce after graduation, it’s difficult to know what type of work environment will best serve your working style and cultivate professional growth towards achieving your career goals. You might not even know what your career goals are, let alone how to pursue them.

Will you thrive in a corporate environment, or are you better suited for agency life?

Or perhaps you’d be better off doing contract work given your entrepreneurial aspirations?

Where do you want to be in 5 years? Management? Own your own business? Leading your own projects?

These self-reflection questions are important to finding a position that you enjoy and will be an intentional step in your career path. But how do you answer these questions if you don’t know where you want your path to lead? The absolute best way to explore different work environments is to intern at a variety of places within your field. To help you get started, here’s a brief overview of the similarities and differences between agency, corporate, and contract work.

Agency

An agency is typically business-to-business (known as B2B) and is not directly customer facing. Agencies are small with anywhere from 25 to a couple hundred employees and are often privately-owned by a family or a small group of investors. Despite their size, they are full service and require a wide variety of positions - human resources, accounting, graphic design, information technology, communications, sales, etc. Agencies often have many different clients and have designated teams that serve each client.

Advertising and marketing agencies are common types of agencies. They don’t serve customers directly, but are hired by other businesses to manage and create their advertising and marketing needs. For example, a large automotive manufacturing company (corporate) will hire an agency to manage all of its advertisements, a different agency to create it’s training for employees, and yet another agency to handle all employee travel.

Corporate

The corporate world is maybe a little more familiar, as it’s often portrayed in movies and TV shows like “The Office.” Ultimately, a corporation is a large group that can legally act as a single entity. They typically have one goal - to sell its good or service. Gas and electric companies, TV broadcasting networks, and regional and national retail stores are just a few examples of corporations. Governments are structured similarly to corporations, although their processes, income stream, and legal rights are much different.

As mentioned in the agency section, corporations hire agencies to conduct work they feel are “experts’ in an area. Let’s use the automotive manufacturer example again. The goal for that company is to sell cars. They will hire a marketing agency to develop their marketing campaigns because the agency is the expert in marketing, not the automotive company. The marketing agency will produce better marketing materials for the corporate team than they could ever do themselves. It’s just not their expertise.

Contract

Contract work can be found in both agency and corporate environments, but also in work-from-home situations. If you are looking to work part-time or in a temporary position while you determine the best place for you, contract work is a great option.

The situation will be different at every company, and there are pros and cons with each arrangement.

The pros: it’s flexible yet steady income as long as you are in contract. It builds your resume and can be a great way to get your foot in the door. Many contract positions are contract-to-hire, which means if they like you and you do great work, they will extend a full-time offer.

The cons: you may not be eligible to draw benefits or have taxes withheld. And once your contract is done, you’ll be on the job hunt again.

Need help determining where you fit best? We would love to partner with you to craft a tailored career plan that maximizes your potential. Contact us today to set up a consultation!

 

Posted on December 6, 2017 and filed under Career.