Posts filed under Search Strategy

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

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

1. Gossip

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

2. Solo-Mentality

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

3. Not Taking Responsibility For Your Actions

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

4. Disrespecting Common Areas

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

5. Making Excuses

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

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

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

Making College Count Toward A Successful Career

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

Create a Linkedin Account

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

Utilize Office Hours

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

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

Get Tangible Experience

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

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

Consider Your Personality & Strengths

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

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


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

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

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

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

Explore Your Interests

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

Gain Experience

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

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

Earn Certificates Beyond the Classroom

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

Find A Mentor

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

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

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

Fall Recruitment Ramps Up - Are You Ready?

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

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

Fall Recruiting Ramp Up

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

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

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

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

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

Prep Now, Stress Less

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

1. Refresh your Linkedin Presence

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

2. Update your Resume

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

3. Attend Networking Events

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

4. Brush up on your Interview Skills

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

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

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

Why You Should Create A Personal Brand

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

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

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

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

4 Reasons Why You Should Create A Personal Brand

1. Personal Branding is Content You Can Control

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

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

2. Audience Equals Influence

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

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

3. Networking Becomes Simpler

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

4. Opportunities Arise

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

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

What are you currently doing to establish your personal brand?

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

Choosing the Right Mentor

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

4 Tips For Choosing The Right Mentor

1. Define What You’re Looking For

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

2. Look at Professional Experience

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

3. Make Sure Your Business Styles Compliment

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

4. Don’t Overlook Virtual Mentors

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

Still Need To Find A Mentor? We Can Help.

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

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

How Words Affect Your Chances Of Getting A Job

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Real Life Case Study: Chick-Fil-A

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

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

Mock Interview

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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.

Working with Different Personality Styles

Personality Types

Different personalities playing themselves out in the workplace can be very frustrating, comical, and entertaining. That’s why TV shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation are so popular. People can relate to these real-world characters. Either you are one of the characters or you know one!

There are so many personality tests out there, but the most widely used and most trusted is The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®) Assessment. Our team of Certified MBTI® Practitioners provide consultations, and we’ve seen incredible results for both individuals and teams. We typically work on identifying personality types, and then provide coaching on how to interact with other personality types.

Let’s think through some scenarios of how personality types play out in the workplace using the TV show “The Office” as our example. (If you’re interested, here is an entire conversation thread about each character’s MBTI® type. Below is a summary of one person’s opinion from that thread.)

The “Michael Scott”: Do you have a boss that is extraverted, craves attention, procrastinates and is impressively loud? This type of personality is a great leader but needs coworkers that can be “the voice of reason” as needed.

The “Dwight Schrute”: Do you work with someone who has an amazing attention to detail but lacks the social tact to go with it? Tasks are more important than people, and while the job will always get done, some hurt some feelings will be left in the wake of success.

The “Jim Halpert”: Introverted, but a goofball, this person doesn’t readily open up to those around him or her, which can cause relationships to take a long time to develop between coworkers. It can also cause feuds that may disrupt work efficiency.

The “Pam Beesly”: Very emotional and not the greatest leader, Pam isn’t incredibly productive but does bring good ideas to the table. She is loyal but easily gets bored with work.

Why Personality Types Matter

While the TV show characters are dramatic for entertainment purposes, we can all relate to working with many personality types. It’s difficult to work with people that clash with your standard way of operating. Even with these rifts, recent studies have shown that collaboration directly links to higher revenue. At the end of the day, we want our positions, our teams, and our companies to be profitable. The great news is that all personalities can learn to work together and form productive, profitable teams.

Successful collaboration within internal teams and alongside external partners requires effective communication, conflict management, stress management, and leadership skills. There are many tools, resources, and attainable skills that anyone can learn to collaborate with other personality types effectively. Hiring a career coach and MBTI® consultant is the best way to ensure success in this area.

Are you interested in taking a MBTI® Assessment or having your entire team do so? 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.  Learn more about MBTI® and schedule your assessment today!

Posted on March 27, 2018 and filed under Leadership, Search Strategy.

Tips for Handling Interview Nervousness

Interview

If you are taking the correct steps to showcase your value while applying for jobs, you will land an interview. Interviews are standard practice in the hiring process to ensure a candidate is not only qualified, but also the right fit for the company. It’s normal to be nervous for an interview - all eyes are on you!

One particular nerve-wracking interview that I had out of college was 3 hours long and involved me being shuttled from one office to another. I met with almost everyone in the small, family-owned company for “mini” interviews (over 10 of them!) and also had to take a three part skills test on a computer. Going in to a three hour interview, I was incredibly nervous. I was afraid that I would forget someone’s name, that I wouldn’t pass the skills test, or that the fast-paced interviews would damper my ability to showcase my value.

In that interview, and any interview you may face, the challenge is to think about it for what it really is: a meeting where both you and the interviewer are trying to figure out the best fit for the position.

Bottom Line: It’s not just you being interviewed, it’s you interviewing the company and your potential future colleagues. If you don’t think the workplace culture is a fit for you, then you don’t have to take the job if it’s offered. Keeping this mindset takes a lot of the pressure off of you and puts some on the interviewer.

Keeping that perspective, here are a few tips to manage nervousness and start your interview with confidence:

  • Research. Know as much about the company as you can before your interview. Most employers will casually ask, “What do you know about our company?” Stammering through a half-right answer won’t help your confidence or leave a good impression. Be prepared and know who it is your interviewing with.

  • Prepare your own questions. Remember, you are interviewing the company too! Come with a list of questions that you want to know as a potential employee. Here are some great examples:  

    • Can you explain a bit more about the company’s {insert project here}?

    • How are the company teams structured?

    • What opportunities for advancement come with this position?

    • What is your favorite thing about working here?

    • Do you feel that you have friends at work?

  • Put your best foot forward. This is an obvious one, but it’s so important. Dress professionally. Bring copies of your resume, just in case. Be on time. Act courteously and graciously. If you do these things, you can be confident you will make a great first impression.

  • Do a mock interview. It may sound or feel awkward, but practicing for an interview with a career coach is one of the best things you can do to prepare. This practice will empower you to answer questions with confidence and equip you with a plan for presenting your value.

Still feeling unsure of yourself? We’d love to help you build confidence and increase your chance for success. Contact your personal career coach today!

Active Listening

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There is a big difference between hearing and listening. Have you ever been talking with someone and just knew they weren’t listening? When you ask, “Are you listening?” the response is something like, “Yes, I heard you!”

Perceiving sounds is hearing.

Mentally processing and understanding what you’ve heard is listening.

What is Active listening?

Active listening is a strategy that provides tools to not only listen intently, but also proves to your conversation partner that you are engaged in the conversation. Active listening is a skill that takes practice and will immediately yield positive results in whatever conversations you have on a daily basis.

During an interview, it is imperative that you are an active listener. If you aren’t engaged, it will reflect poorly on your professionalism, your qualifications, and your ability to work with others.

Strategies to be an Active Listener

There are five basic steps to follow in order to be an active listener. They are straightforward and easy to implement, so you can start practicing immediately!

  • Eye contact - Direct eye contact makes is clear that the interviewer has your undivided attention. If you are wandering the room with your eyes, you seem disinterested or distracted.

  • Acknowledge - Acknowledge that you heard what the interviewer said.

    • “That’s a great point,” or “I understand” are great acknowledgement statements.

  • Clarify - Ensure you heard and understand what is being said by clarifying.

    • “If I am hearing you correctly, the number one skill you are looking for in this position is exceptional problem solving. Is that correct?”

  • Paraphrase - Repeating back what the interviewer has just said is a great way to be an active listener. Of course, it needs to be natural, so don’t repeat back like a parrot. Paraphrase instead.

    • “I agree 100%. One of the biggest problems in the workplace is lack of teamwork and miscommunication.”

  • Respond - When asked a question or given a statement or fact, respond appropriately. Even if you don’t understand, it’s better to respond than ignore.

    • “Thank you for laying out the responsibilities of the role. I’d love to share a bit about how my skills can help in these areas.” or “I’m not quite sure I understand. Do you mind going over this again with me?”

Some of these steps may seem unnatural at first if you aren’t used to them. For example, eye contact can be very uncomfortable to some! Practice with people you know and trust first and then gradually start utilizing your skills with others. It will get easier with time!

The great news is that active listening is a skill that will help you in interviews and in every life situation, personally and professionally. You can use active listening to improve interactions with your colleagues, significant other, children, friends, and even strangers!

Posted on February 28, 2018 and filed under Search Strategy, Leadership.

How to Present Yourself as a Team Player

Team player

One of the most common interview questions is, “In what ways are you a team player?”

It’s a tough question to answer, especially if this is an area of weakness for you. In every interview, you should expect and prepare for a variation of this question.

Why Do Interviewers Ask This Question?

There isn’t a job on the planet that doesn’t include working with other people. Even if you work from home, you still have to check in with someone to receive your instructions, or at the very least, to get paid! If you own your own business, you have clients or customers. If you are an author, you have an editor or publisher. If you work with computers, you have a supervisor. You will always have to work with people!

Hiring managers need to ensure that workplace disputes are minimized by hiring folks that are open to constructive criticism, direct feedback, and can adjust their working style based on the needs of the entire team. Employees that have strong team players are more satisfied in their positions. Happy employees result in higher project success rates and lower turnover. Thus, teamwork is important to companies, because it is all around better for business!

How To Present Yourself As A Team Player

Step 1: Find the truth. The first step to answering this question is to examine yourself in order to answer it truthfully. Take a few minutes to brainstorm how you’ve been a team player in the past, while on the job, at school, or while completing a community project. One variation of the team player question is, “Tell me how you’ve been a team player in the past,” so having this information in your back pocket is helpful.

Step 2: Write out your attributes. Once you’ve brainstormed some past examples, pull out the attributes you exemplified that made you such a great team player in those situations. For example, you might write “strong communication skills” or “ability to implement colleagues’ ideas for a positive solution.” Try to list 3-5 attributes.

Step 3: Prepare an answer using the position as the backdrop. Look at a job posting and envision how you could be a good team player in that specific role. Answer “How are you a team player?” by putting yourself in the role you are interviewing for. This is a great strategy to show you understand the position and its responsibilities, highlighting you as qualified and valuable. Here’s an example of what this might look like:

“I love working with others. In this role as account manager, I would brainstorm with others solutions to the client’s problem at hand, allowing everyone to provide their ideas and work with the entire team to process the best option. Some people are great idea-generators while others are effective “devils advocates.” Using everyone’s skills together will improve the quality of the solutions we propose to our clients.”

Pro tip: You can use this three step method to prepare for any interview question!

Prepare For Your Interview With A Career Coach

Our team of professional career coaches would love to help you prepare for your interview by tackling difficult questions like this one and strengthening your many other interview skills. Contact us to get matched with your career coach today!

 

Posted on February 21, 2018 and filed under Interviewing, Search Strategy.

5 Tips For Preparing For A Phone Interview

Phone Interview

Many companies conduct phone interviews before bringing in candidates for a face-to-face meeting. These “screen interviews” save time and money from the company's’ perspective, providing an opportunity to weed out candidates who aren’t a good match quickly without much investment.

Practice phone etiquette in every conversation you have so that it comes naturally. How you say hello, how you say goodbye, and your manners throughout the conversation speak volumes about your professionalism. Some questions a phone interviewer will be asking themselves are:

  • Are they courteous and polite or do they come across gruff and cold?

  • Do they talk over me or interrupt frequently?

  • Did they make the effort to make this call a priority by finding a quiet place to talk?

  • Did they miss the initial call? What does their voicemail portray about their professionalism?

To knock your upcoming phone interview out of the park, these five tips will set you up for success:

  1. Treat it just like a face-to-face interview. One of the biggest mistakes candidates make is to think they “just” have a phone interview. Even if the phone interview is an HR screening, the person on the other side of the line has the power to immediately take you out of the running for the position. Take a phone interview just as seriously as you would a face-to-face interview.

  2. Find a quiet space with no distractions. If possible, get out or range of your dog barking, your kids playing, turn off the TV, etc. If you aren’t able to be in a completely quiet space, give a heads up to the interviewer that there may be some background noise. It will be less distracting if they know to expect it.

  3. Make sure phone service is reliable. There are many places in buildings, and maybe even your home, where phone service may cut in and out. Don’t walk around during your interview to avoid static or dropped calls. A good way to test the best place to have the phone interview is to call a friend from the spot before hand and ask them how you sound.

  4. Check your email several times in the minutes leading up to your interview. You never know when something might come up or if someone is running behind. Any last minute updates will be sent to your email, keeping you in the loop.

  5. Be ready to take notes. Being on the phone is a bit more challenging than face-to-face because it’s easier to get distracted. Taking notes will help you to focus on what the interviewer is saying and provides something for you to reference afterwards.

Phone interviews are important and you can secure a face-to-face interview with the proper preparation. If you have specific questions about the interview process, we’d love to help!

Posted on January 31, 2018 and filed under Interviewing, Search Strategy.

How Technology Will Help (And Hurt) Your Job Search This Year

Technology

We live in an age where technology touches everything we do. There are smart refrigerators, thermostats, and cars. Medicine, entertainment, and business are touched by technology at every step. Technology makes our lives easier through speed and convenience, and the job search is no exception. Technology has transformed how we look for, apply, interview for, and secure our jobs. Overall, these transformations are positive, but there are a few ways that technology can hurt your chances of securing the perfect job. Here’s a quick look at the pros and cons of technology and your job search.

How Technology Helps Your Job Search

  • Updating your resume is as simple as a few clicks. Before technology, resumes and cover letters had to be physically printed. They mostly live online now, which means keeping your resume and cover letter up-to-date only takes a few minutes. Even if you aren’t actively looking for a job, it’s a good idea to make time each month to keep them updated. You never know when an opportunity might pop up!

  • Job postings are at your fingertips. We don’t have to physically walk into a business and ask if they are hiring. Online job search engines and company websites allow you to look for and find hundreds of jobs with just a few clicks.

  • Apps make managing the job search easy! Almost every job search platform has an app that allows you to see where your application is in the process. The guessing game has been greatly minimized thanks to mobile technology!

How Technology May Hurt Your Job Search

Your online digital footprint is difficult to erase. Depending on your age, your digital footprint may have started before you were even aware of the internet. Parents post pictures and stories online of their children. Teenagers add videos, photos, and publish content that they may regret as adults. Hiring managers and co-workers can find anything that has been posted, so be cautious of what you put online.

Here’s one great example of how this can hurt your job search: A young woman, we’ll call her Sue, was interviewing for project manager of a family-owned, small business. This position required a large amount of client interaction in which representing the values held by the company were vital. Sue made it to the final interview process and was one of two final candidates. Unfortunately, before her interview an intern Googled her name and uncovered a scandalous work history. News spread among employees quickly and even though this was behind her, Sue was eliminated as a potential candidate. What was searchable online did not represent the company’s values and had undermined her ability to work well with the team, as they distrusted her immediately.  

Too many options can be overwhelming. While we listed “job postings at your fingertips” as a helpful aspect of technology, it can also cause a lot of stress if you don’t have a game plan.

The applicant pool is deep. It’s not uncommon for a position to get as many as 500 applicants. If it’s a desired position or with a sought after company, the number may increase into the thousands. How do you stand out among such odds? It takes work and patience. Our best advice is to hire a career coach who can help you customize your resume, nail the interview, and build a reputable online presence.

All of these potentially negative aspects of looking for a career in a technology-driven world can be addressed with the expert assistance of a career coach. We would love to partner with you to ensure you have success after success. Contact us to learn more!

Posted on January 17, 2018 and filed under Search Strategy.

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.

Best Career Search Strategies for 2018

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Happy New Year!

If you are going into 2018 with the need to find a job, or to find a new job, don’t let it discourage you from having an amazing year. Start out on the right foot with effective search strategies and you’ll not only have a job soon, you’ll find a position that will make for an amazing 2018!

Best career search strategies for 2018

1. Partner with a Career Coach. Yes, you can peruse job search engines on your own, but your chances of finding your dream job and showcasing your talent in a way that lands you the job increases drastically if you have the assistance of a professional career coach.

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 dream position, which we will help you find and secure. Our career coaching empowers you to flawlessly execute your strategy in any situation. Learn more about our career coach packages and connect with your career coach here.

2. Set goals first. Whether you hire a career coach or not, you shouldn’t start looking for positions until you have establish short and long term career goals. Without them, you’ll be aimlessly looking for positions that won’t be the right fit for you, nor will you be satisfied in your career. Learn how to create and implement short and long term career goals here. You can also create professional New Year’s resolutions that help you get a jump start this year. Learn more here.

3. Perfect your resume and cover letter. You won’t get anywhere with job applications if your resume and cover letter are lackluster. We offer resume and cover letter packages as a part of our career coaching services.

You can also check out these recent blog posts that offer tons of FREE resume and cover letter advice and best practices:

4. Create a standout LinkedIn profile. Right behind resume and cover letter in order of importance is your LinkedIn profile. Not only is it a visual, interactive representation of your professional experience, it’s an effective platform for applying for jobs. There are also thousands of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find the perfect candidates for the job postings they need to fill. Be among the standout candidates that catches their eye. If you need help making your LinkedIn profile amazing, we offer three levels of coaching to choose from!

5. Network, network, network! Your chances of getting a job because of someone you know is much higher than landing a job through a blind application. Why? Because networking puts your face with your name and skyrockets you to the top of the list with the hiring manager. People trust the opinions of those they hold in high esteem. If you are recommended by someone who is trustworthy, you’ve already “proven” yourself to some degree. Learn more about what networking is and best practices in our blog articles Networking Etiquette and 5 Reasons Why Networking Isn’t Just Corporate Jargon.

6. Practice follow-up best practices. Following up is important. It shows you are serious about the position and provides an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism. But don’t be overbearing and pushy. Striking the right balance is a bit of an art, but an art that needs to be mastered to land a great job. Here’s a great guide for job search and interview follow up etiquette.

7. Be mindful of your social media activity. Don’t get caught looking unprofessional online. Even your personal profiles aren’t as private as you may think. Google yourself to see what’s out there and then take steps to clean up your online identity. Here’s a handy guide for Social Media Do’s and Don’ts When On The Job Hunt.

8. Keep a positive perspective. The process of finding a job can be frustrating to say the least.  Staying motivated while looking for your next position and don’t give up! Hard work and persistence will pay off with the perfect position for you.

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.

Being Thankful When Looking for Work

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It’s almost Thanksgiving! Lots of family, friends, good food, and entertainment are in the forecast for many of us. If you’re looking for a job, however, you might have a difficult time shaking the dark cloud that’s casting a shadow on your holiday festivities. It’s hard to be thankful when you don’t have a secure income and job you love.

But there is much to be thankful for, even when you are looking for work!  Here’s a list to help keep things in perspective:

5 Reasons To Be Thankful While Looking For A Job:

  1. Looking for a job can be fun! The sky's the limit with the new opportunities you have to explore. Securing a job is one way to make a positive change in your life by finding a position that will bring fulfillment, satisfaction, and good work/life balance. What better time to be “picky” about what you are looking for and find the perfect fit.

  2. You aren’t alone! Everyone has been in your shoes at one time or another. It’s rare to meet someone who was handed their job without having to search, create a resume, cover letter, apply, and interview for it. Take advantage of the wisdom and insight your friends and family can provide by asking for their thoughts and advice over turkey and pumpkin pie.

  3. There are FREE resources available to you! You can google virtually anything you need help with and someone will have posted about it online. Just make sure you are finding quality, professional resources and advice! This blog is a great, free resource to glean tips and best practices. In fact, here’s a few you might want to bookmark:

  1. You don’t have to pound the pavement like you would have 20 years ago. Before the internet was prevalent, job seekers had to print a copy of their resume and either mail it to an employer, or physically drive to their office and drop it off with a secretary. Now, you can apply for dozens of jobs a day from the comfort of your own home. You also don’t have to scour newspapers and circle job openings with a highlighter. Job search engines make it incredibly easy to find opportunities!

  2. Caring professionals at The Wilbanks Consulting Group want to help you! Our team would love to partner with you to make your job search result in a fun, fulfilling career for you. We offer one-on-one in-person and virtual career coaching and many other job search services. Contact us today and let us help you find your dream job.

Happy Thanksgiving!