Posts filed under Career

How To Spend Your First Summer After Graduation

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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

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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

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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

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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.

Do You Need A Sabbatical?

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Have you ever felt you needed a break from your career? Not just a vacation, but a get-away-from-it-all-for-months break?

That is the purpose of a sabbatical.

What is a Sabbatical?

A sabbatical is a paid leave from your career that is usually 6 weeks to one year in duration. Traditionally, a sabbatical has a specific purpose: to take a break from the norm to study a new skill, to travel to conduct field research, to complete a book, etc. More recently, “sabbatical leave” has been added by employers as an employee benefit - an extended period of time away solely for the employee’s benefit.

Usually, the sabbatical is offered on top of normal vacation days, which makes this benefit even more appealing! At many companies, it’s also encouraged (sometimes required) to take the full amount of leave at one time, meaning you can’t take a week here and there throughout the year. The whole point is to take a large, refreshing break to rejuvenate you after years of working hard.

Historically, the word sabbatical comes from a Biblical practice in which every seventh year the land was to be given a rest from being planted and tilled. Debts were also to be forgiven every seven years. The point was to rest, and to start again with a fresh slate.

Who Gets A Sabbatical?

The practice is most common in an academic environment (e.g. professors, researchers), although some agencies and corporations also offer this perk. Industries range from tech to restaurants to retail and the offering for each company is different. Some require a minimum of five years employment before you can take a sabbatical while others require 15 years of service. Some are paid, some are partially paid, others are unpaid.

You can find a well researched list of employers offering sabbaticals on yoursabbatical.com. It’s a site that not only provides comprehensive information on sabbaticals, but also arms employees (like you!) to campaign to get sabbaticals at your company.

Do You Get A Sabbatical?

If you don’t know, ask! And even if this benefit isn’t offered now, you can request that it be considered for the future. And if you’re looking for a job and benefits like a sabbatical are important to you, seek out employers who are competitive in their benefits offering. Not many employers are detailed on their websites about benefit packages. It’s helpful to network with employees within the company to uncover this information. You can also ask benefit questions during an interview.

Curious about how a sabbatical differs from vacation days, sick days, and personal leave? Read more here.

 

Posted on November 29, 2017 and filed under Career.

Why Don’t You Like Your Job?

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It’s not really work if you love what you do.

This phrase is said by the “luckiest” among us, who have a passion for their work and are content and happy in their profession. If this isn’t you...what if you found out that it isn’t luck that makes these people happy at work...it’s strategy.  

Dig Deep To Figure Out What You Love & What You Don’t

Spend time figuring out what it is about your current job that you don’t like. Don’t leave anything out - you are only holding yourself back if you aren’t honest with yourself. You need to also figure out what it is that you love about your job (or would love in a job).

Here are some reflection questions that will give your think-session a jump start:

  • What specific things make me dread going to work every day?

  • What do I do at work that makes me upset or angry?

  • What do I find really boring about my job?

  • Are the things I dislike correlated in some way? Are they are relational issues? Task-oriented? Related to workplace culture?

  • What do I like about my current job?

  • What would I like in a job that I’m currently not doing/receiving?

Put Together A Strategy

Once you have a good idea of the specific likes/dislikes of your job, it’s time to put together a strategy. You CAN find and secure a job that you love with a little motivation and effort.

Here are a few things to consider as you are putting together a strategy to find a great job:

  • Brainstorm a list of jobs with descriptions that leave out as many dislikes and include as many likes that you came up with in the above activity. Google is a good tool here - do some research!

  • Do you have the skills and experience to secure one of these positions? If not, make a plan to gain the requirements. If you are completely switching career fields, you may need more school, training, to learn a new skill, start volunteering, etc. Is the investment worth it to have a job that you love? (We say YES!)

  • Start networking in the industry or with specific people/companies that fit with what you are looking for.

  • Find a mentor that can provide trustworthy tips and advice in the field. There is nothing more valuable than wisdom from those who have gone before you!

Find Your Dream Job

Once you’ve done all of the above, finding your dream job is only a matter of time. You can get your dream job as long as you are willing to put in the work to get it.

If this seems daunting, we’d love to help you sort through it all. We offer career coaching services that will put you on the path to successfully landing your dream job!

Posted on November 8, 2017 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.

Career Planning - Short & Long Term Strategies

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You want your work to have meaning, to give you a purpose, and to continue to challenge you throughout your life. Experiencing growth, satisfaction, and fun while making an income is important. But how do you get all of that? You must have two things:

  1. A short term career planning strategy

  2. A long term career planning strategy

But here is where most people make a big mistake: You can’t make effective short term goals without first setting long term goals. Let’s break down each one.

Long Term Career Planning Strategy

Having a long term strategy to achieve your career aspirations will help you in many ways. You’ll be able to make career decisions more easily. You’ll work with more purpose and fulfillment knowing where you are headed. You also won’t get stuck in a job that isn’t a right fit, because your goals won’t align with what you’ll achieve in a “bad” position.

Sit down and think about big picture questions, such as:

  • Where do I want to be in 10 years?

  • What gives me purpose in my career?

  • What three to five goals would I like to achieve by retirement?

  • What is most important to me at work?

  • Do I want to manage a team or work solo?

Write a letter to yourself, describing exactly who you want to be and what it is you want to achieve in your career. This exercise might be awkward at first, but it will help you visualize your future and think through the direction you’d like to go.

Post this letter in a place where you can see it regularly. Read it every month. Adjust it as things change, which can, and maybe should, happen from time to time. Perhaps you start a family or your priorities change as you get older and it affects your long term goals. It’s good to be flexible. Having a long term strategy should guide you, not rule you.

Short Term Career Planning Strategy

With your long term strategy put in place, a short term strategy will be easier to implement. Do the same exercise for short term planning, but adjust the questions slightly. The questions you ask yourself might look something like these:

  • Where do I want to be this time next year?

  • What three to five goals do I want to achieve this year?

  • What small, attainable steps do I need to take this year to get closer to my long term goals?

Write a letter to yourself and place it where you can review it regularly. Since this is a short term strategy, update it every six months to one year. Hopefully you will achieve everything you wrote down, which will keep the momentum going for your long term strategy. If not, that’s OK! Adjust as needed and keep going. Again, this is meant to be a guide to help you reach your long term goals. It should guide you, not rule you!

Let WCG Partner With You!

We would love to come alongside you and help develop your short and long term career planning strategies. 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 career coaching empowers you to flawlessly execute your strategy in any situation! You can learn more about our services and packages available here.

Posted on November 1, 2017 and filed under Career, Leadership.

Finding The Right Fit: Workplace Culture

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Are you the type of person that thrives in open, community workspaces, or do you need your own quiet space to work?

Do you want ping-pong tournaments during lunch and a corporate cafeteria, or do you want to eat out most days?

Is wearing jeans at work important to you, or would you love to wear formal business attire every day?

Do you want a best friend at work, or do you prefer to keep your work and personal life separate?

These questions may seem silly to think about when you are searching for a job, but they are important. You are putting so much time and effort into finding a job, do you really want to leave after 6 months because you can’t stand the culture? It could easily happen if you don’t think through questions like those listed above before taking a job.

Workplace culture is different from company to company. Corporate vs. agency, government vs. private sector, small company vs. Fortune 500, locally owned vs. publicly owned. Each of these workplaces offer very different environments for their employees. There are a lot of options to consider as you search for a job that will be the perfect fit for you. Check out the company’s website and social media accounts to get a glimpse into what life would be like as an employee. If you have connections, ask a few people what they like and dislike about the workplace culture. If you have an interview, chat with the receptionist and other people you meet there.

Here are some great questions to ask if you want to find out more about a company’s culture (courtesy of The Muse’ “The Best Interview Questions to Ask if You Want the Truth About Company Culture

  1. What makes you proud to work at this company?

  2. How does the organization support your professional development and career growth?

  3. Is risk-taking encouraged, and what happens when people fail?

  4. What’s one thing you would change about the company if you could?

  5. What causes conflict, and how is conflict resolved?

  6. How would you describe “organizational politics” at the company?

  7. When and how do people like to give and receive feedback?

  8. What are some of the ways the company celebrates success?

  9. What kind of flexible work arrangements do people have?

  10. Do you have a matching gifts program or sponsor local volunteer events?

What you learn can help you make the decision to accept or refuse a job offer.

EMPLOYERS

If you are an employer, acquiring, integrating, engaging, and retaining the right talent is critical to your future success. Turnover is expensive and wastes a lot of time - so let The Wilbanks Consulting Group help! Contact us today to discuss your strategic talent management, and how we can make your organization the top choice for candidates.

 

Posted on October 25, 2017 and filed under Career.

How To Be A Life Long Learner: Building Your Skill Set

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One of the most exciting things when you finally have your diploma in hand is that you never have to do homework again! Right? Well, sort of.

Things change over time. Technology, best practices, the market, systems, people, expectations. Even in industries that don’t move as quickly, if you don’t learn anything new, your knowledge will be outdated in a decade.

Be a Life Long Learner

Even if you are fresh out of college, it’s best to have the mindset of a lifelong learner. That means you are continually seeking new knowledge and skills to improve yourself both personally and professionally. Keeping up with current events, self study to learn a new skill, getting a mentor, taking one-off classes, and reading books are all examples of habits of lifelong learners. In fact, highly successful people, like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates, read for hours every day according to this Observer article. The type of books matter - reading comic books may be entertaining, but likely won’t affect your skill set. Here’s a great list of books that are recommended for all business-minded professionals.

It might be daunting to think about your to do list as a lifelong learner. But keep in mind that the more you learn, the most successful you will be. Learning new skills can help land that promotion you’ve been wanting, or change careers to something more fulfilling. Bettering yourself will give you confidence in your responsibilities and workplace relationships. Not to mention that being a lifelong learner will keep your brain sharp as you age.

A recent study, published on the Association for Psychological Science website here, says:

“At the end of [the] three months [study], …[it was] found that the adults who were productively engaged in learning new skills showed improvements in memory compared to those who engaged in social activities or non-demanding mental activities at home.”

That alone should be motivation for us to keep challenging ourselves to learn more!

Put together a long term plan for yourself and your learning goals. What qualifications do you need to meet to take the next step in your career? What skills do you want to master?  What would be fun and fulfilling that you have yet to do or try? As you achieve your goals and add more skills, don’t forget to update your resume and LinkedIn!

Posted on September 27, 2017 and filed under Career.

Planning for Emergencies at Work

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It’s been an incredibly tough couple of weeks as Hurricane Harvey ripped through Houston, leaving so much destruction in its wake. Everything from homes to businesses to parks and roads have been destroyed or damaged. Some lost everything, others were fortunate to have gotten through with minor roof leaks and a few days without electricity. Holly’s family is among the fortunate - thank you to everyone who sent prayers, positive thoughts and support in various forms. It’s appreciated more than you know!

Emergencies can come in many forms: weather, natural disasters, family situations, health scares, and more. While family and friends’ safety is priority number one during emergencies, some workplaces must remain open. Hospitals, nursing homes, fire stations, police departments, and places of hospitality are a few examples. If you work at one of these establishments - thank you for your hard work in the midst of emergencies! The world would have a much harder time getting through the tough stuff without you to keep us afloat when things are dire.

Whether you work in a place like those mentioned above or somewhere else (corporate or research, for example), working through the emergency may be the best way for you to cope with the situation. For example, if a hurricane hits and you’re in no immediate danger but stuck in the house, working from home can help pass the time and provide a sense of normalcy. Depending on the type of emergency, you may or may not be able to continue work. But if you can, and want, to continue working, there are ways you can be prepared for when and if the time comes.

Here are a few ways you can plan for emergencies at work:

  • Keep all of your workplace website URLs in a handy spot to access away from work. Using a password manager, like Lastpass, is a great way to do this. It’s a cloud based system that securely saves URLs, usernames, and passwords.

  • Ask about the servers at your workplace. Are they compatible to work with hotspots? If so, you can work from your phone’s hotspot while stuck at home without wifi. Check with your phone company beforehand to determine any fees and charges that may apply.

  • Invest in a portable charging station. As long as your device has a cable that connects to a USB, they can charge without needing an outlet. Many charging stations have enough juice to charge multiple devices many times before being drained. These are great for use in hospitals, as many facilities don’t allow you to use their outlets. Of course, if your power is out, an outlet does you no good and these can keep you up and running for at least another day or two.

  • Save important work contacts in your phone. Your direct supervisor, clients, and closest co-workers are the best to be easily accessible. If something comes up and you need help (or they do), it will be easy to contact them.

  • What else is absolutely vital for you to be able to work away from the office? Determine what those items are and come up with a plan to access them when needed.

Of course, it’s always possible that an emergency can happen while you are AT work. Check with your HR department to learn what emergency preparedness plans are in place so you are aware.

No one thinks that an emergency is going to happen to them. It’s better to be safe than sorry, as the old saying goes. Make a plan and hope that you never have to use it.

Have anything else to add to the list above? We’d love to hear from you! Comment below with your additions.

Posted on September 20, 2017 and filed under Career.