Posts filed under Career

Strategies for Changing Seasons of Life & Career

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Whether it’s personal or professional, change is a constant that we can count on. When we understand that change—like the seasons—follows certain patterns, we can work through the stormy days change with confidence that sunshine is right around the corner.

If you find yourself in a season of career change, you can make the transition more successful by navigating the path forward with a few simple strategies.

Navigating a Seasons of Career Change

Focus – Reflect on your current career. Do you want to make a change? Identify your big picture career goal – where you want to see yourself – and focus on that goal. With a clear focus, you can silence the job search “noise” and stay focused and committed to your goal. You’ll also want to spend time visualizing yourself in your new career. Is the lifestyle a good fit?

Prepare – Does your goal require a new skill or education level? Take strategic steps to prepare yourself for your dream career. Research and identify what’s needed to advance through your new path. Work on building your resume to help it stand out. Gain knowledge by taking a course or earning a certification. Engage with other professionals in the field and work toward bridging the gap between where you are in your career and where you want to be.

Search – A good career search starts with a strong foundation.This is the time to update your job search materials like your resume, references, LinkedIn, and career binder.

Fine-tune a new networking introduction. What’s your 60-second elevator speech? Spending time preparing can be the difference between getting your foot in the door or not.

Take Action – Once you’ve prepared your search, it’s time to take action. Apply to your targeted companies. Leverage your network for more opportunities. Keep your eye on the end-goal and work relentlessly.

Manage & Evolve – Once you’ve landed your dream job and negotiated salary and benefits, it’s time to kick off your new career! But things will continue to change and you must adapt. Make it a habit to check in with yourself and your goals to ensure you haven’t strayed from the path.

Need help navigating the seasons of career change? Contact our team for help you focus, prepare, search, take action, and evolve!


How Much Personality Should You Bring To An Interview?

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During the interview process, there can be a fine line between showing your personality and showing a little too much. Sure, you want to show the hiring manager you’re a good cultural fit but you don’t want to appear like you’re catching up with friends at a party. So, where is that line and how do you know where you stand? Here are some guidelines to help you be yourself within professional boundaries.

Consider the Company and Industry

Context is everything. When you research the company, see what type of culture they have. Is it a casual start-up with ping pong tables and dogs in the office? Or is it a large corporate company where everyone wears suits and blazers every day? Based on this, you can determine how much of your personality to reveal. Startups often mean working long hours and possibly weekends to meet the demands of a new business, so the hiring manager will want to ensure you’d fit in with the team during long work weeks. On the other hand, an established corporation may need you to portray a sophisticated demeanor at all times because of frequent client visits.

Be Aware of Body Language

During the interview, the hiring manager will be looking for subtleties that make you stand out. If you approach them with a smile and handshake, you appear confident and professional. On the other hand, if you look down with your arms crossed, you appear disinterested and unapproachable. Mind your body language during interviews: sit tall, speak confidently and avoid nervous habits like biting your nails, tapping your foot, and using excessive filler words.

Avoid Controversial Topics

Regardless of how casual the interview is, don’t bring up controversial topics like religion, political views, or social issues.

Above All, Be Professional

Always act with the utmost professionalism. Be polite, courteous and humble. If you have to consider whether something is professional or not, it’s probably not.

Interviewing is an art that can be learned. If you’re considering changing careers and need guidance in the best responses to interview questions, we’d love to hear from you. Our team at The Wilbanks Consulting Group helps individuals with everything from search strategy and resumes to interview preparation and offer negotiation. Contact us to learn more.

Posted on April 30, 2019 and filed under Interviewing, Career.

Spring Cleaning At Work

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Rebirth, regrowth and cleaning, all words synonymous with springtime. Are you on a Marie Kondo kick at home? Bring that cleaning attitude to work. Getting rid of those loose papers in your desk can really help clear the mind and adjust your focus on your goals.

There’s a reason why spring cleaning is so popular, it allows you to cleanse the excess you accumulated during the winter and get back to what’s really important. Here are some ways to spring clean at work, and prepare for a productive and efficient summer.

Go Digital

Use technology to help you stay organized. If you have performance reviews, old training materials, or other important documents you want to keep for reference, scan them and keep them on your computer or put them on a USB drive. Cutting down the paper clutter around your desk will help you stay organized and focused.

Use Organizers

Are you the type of person to keep a little bit of everything in your desk because who knows when you’ll need chapstick or breath mints? Invest in desk organizers. They help you locate items quickly and allow you to group similar items together.

Throw Things Away

After you’ve taken the steps above, throw out/recycle/shred papers that you don’t need and that extra stapler you’ve been hoarding. If you haven’t looked at or used something in a month, toss it.

Go Through Digital Documents

The documents, spreadsheets, and papers you have on your computer need attention too. Spend some time taking inventory of digital documents. If they’re important, create a folder on your computer and compile similar documents with it. If not, trash them!

If you use your desktop as your digital catch-all, create a few key folders that you know you will access regularly. A busy desktop is the same as a cluttered desk. Plus, it slows down your computer’s performance!

Refresh your Career Binder

Did you give a stellar presentation or receive impressive praise from your boss? Keep those items in your career binder. It’s easier to refresh your digital portfolio regularly than it is to do it while you’re on the job hunt. What better way to celebrate Spring than to acknowledge your own accomplishments by updating your career binder!

Want to learn more about putting together a career binder? Here’s a blog on how to put one together and what should go in it.

Don’t let spring cleaning overwhelm you. Make small goals and tackle one or two small things a day. You’ll be surprised at how great you’ll feel to see the progress!

What will you be spring cleaning this month?

Posted on April 9, 2019 and filed under Career.

How To Build Your Career Without Regrets

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No one wants to live a life full of regrets. Professionally, the fear of regret can stall success by delaying big decisions. Maybe you’re on the job hunt and you aren’t taking a chance on the dream job that’s open. Or maybe you are established in your career but not progressing how you’d like for fear of making a mistake.

How can you build your career without regrets? Follow these four strategies to seize the moment – and your career.

Define your Passion & Find a Career that Fulfills It

It’s important to find a career you’re passionate about. After all, you spend a good chunk of time at your job and with your colleagues. Start with a personality assessment to discover which career you’re most suited for based on your key traits. Putting time upfront to discover more about yourself and your passions will leave fewer chances for regret down the line.

Once you’ve identified your passions, start searching for career paths that fulfill that. Let’s say you’re passionate about helping people. Career paths that align with that include healthcare, client services, or real estate. A possible next step is to shadow or intern in the career paths you’re interested in. Once you’ve learned a bit more, determine if the field requires additional education or certifications. If you need more insight on career exploration, we’d love to hear from you.

Set Goals & Establish Check-ins

Whether you’re at your dream job or looking for your dream job, you need goals! Define them, write them down, and refer to them often. If you already have your dream job but need to take the next step, one goal could be to gain more experience so you qualify to be promoted. Hold yourself accountable to your goals by establishing regular check-ins. The best goals are SMART - Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

When you have clear goals that you set and reach regularly, regret doesn’t have much room to work.

Balance Your Time

As you progress in your career, don’t neglect to make time for friends, family, and yourself. Your profession should be a part of you, not all of you. Schedule time for rest and relaxation – things that make you happy. Make time for yourself a priority, even if it’s something small like taking a nap on the weekends or snuggling up with a great book. Striking the balance between work life and personal life is so important to remain guilt- and regret-free.

No Regrets, Just Readjustments

“I wish I had more time for ___.” “I regret not doing ___.” “Time flew by and I never ___.”

Life is all about choices. You can choose to have regrets or you can reflect, make readjustments, and move forward.

If you feel like your career path isn’t aligning with your purpose, get in touch with us. We work with individuals who are ready to make a change in their lives and discover a passionate career path.

Posted on April 2, 2019 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.

Creating A Clean Personal Brand

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Personal branding is how others view what you do and who you are online.

A personal brand in 2019 is a necessity, as so many business and networking opportunities start digitally. An effective personal brand needs to be unique, relevant and appealing. It’s worth spending some time investing in your brand and making it worthwhile.

You may have a personal brand whether you know it or not. When job hunting, it’s even more critical. It’s estimated 93% of hiring managers will review a candidate’s social profile before making a hiring decision. Is your profile helping or hurting you? Here are some ways to build and maintain a clean personal brand for 2019.

  1. Polish Your Online Profiles - Clean up your photos (including tagged photos), make sure your bios are up-to-date and reflect your most recent experiences and goals.

  2. Google Yourself - Make sure the results link to profiles you’d be proud for employers to see. If not, make changes. Deactivate the social sites you’re no longer active on and refresh the profiles you still use as a great starting place.

  3. Highlight Your Uniqueness - What makes you different from everyone else? Is it your experience in a certain field or perhaps it’s your cross-channel expertise. Make sure your unique skills are showcased within your personal brand.

  4. Be Authentic - Your social media accounts are important but your personal brand extends beyond them. The way you hold yourself, your interactions, and the values you portray in real life (both inside and outside work) set the stage for your personal brand. Online profiles are important but don’t get too caught up in the online portion of building a personal brand and overlook authentic, true interactions.

There’s no doubt a poorly defined personal brand can be detrimental to your professional image. If you don’t define an image for yourself, others will define one for you. And it won’t necessarily show your best side. At the Wilbanks Consulting Group, our team can help you portray a polished personal brand that speaks to your goals and depicts your experiences. Get in touch with our team to learn more.

Posted on March 26, 2019 and filed under Search Strategy, Career.

Managing Madness At Work (Tips For Stress Relief & Organization)

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Sometimes work can feel like the last game of the NCAA March Madness – stressful, frantic, and anxiety-filled. You’re on the edge of your seat hoping to achieve your objectives for the day before the buzzer goes off. We’ve all been there, and while some workplace stress is inevitable, there are ways to manage the madness and excel in your career with minimal stress and organization.

Track Your Stressors And Develop Healthy Responses

What heightens your stress levels and how do you respond? These are completely different from person to person, but it’s important to identify what puts you on edge and how you naturally respond to it. Once you identify this, develop healthy coping methods. Relaxing with a good book, spending time with friends or family, doing yoga, or exercising are a few great ways many people cut stress.

Also make sure to get enough sleep so you’re refreshed and mentally prepared in the office. Sleep may be the first thing to slip when work gets tough, but that’s the time you need to make sleep a priority. If you're holding onto office stress at home, consider setting an alarm to get ready for bed. Brush your teeth, shower, play relaxing music, to clear your mind and prepare for sleep.

Prioritize Organization

Planning ahead and staying organized can greatly reduce stress. Manage your time and tasks more efficiently with a method that works for you. Whether using calendar reminders, time tracking tools, or traditional pen and paper, make sure you’re prioritizing organization.

Ditch Multitasking

While multitasking seems like a great way to get more done at once, studies show it actually decreases your productivity by 40%. When you have a long to-do list productivity needs to be on your side. Say no to multitasking and focus on completing one task at a time.

Has the workplace stress become too much to handle? If you’re considering a job change or big career move, we’re here to help you find your dream job. Our team of career coaches can help you identify your unique talents based on your personality traits and help you find the career that’s best suited for you. Contact us to get in touch with our team.

Posted on March 19, 2019 and filed under Career.

Helpful Career Habits For When The Time Changes

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Spring is in the air! The weather is taking a warm turn and daylight saving time is among us. That means we’re rapidly approaching the second quarter of the year. How are you doing on your 2019 goals? What changes need to be made to help you stay on track?

While good career habits should be practiced year-round, daylight saving time is a great time to re-energize your productivity at work.

Stay (Pro)Active

Springtime means we can get active and spend more time outside. Carry this momentum into work and be proactive with your projects. Jump on opportunities for responsibility even if they’re outside your job description. Check passivity at the door and take the driver's seat in your career. Not only will this help you learn, but your boss will likely take note the next time performance reviews come around. If you are eyeing a promotion, this is an amazing way to get a foot in.

Practice Time Management

Do you have an important project with a looming due date but you can’t get past your email? Activities like checking your inbox, rewriting to-do lists, and unnecessary meetings can derail your productivity.

Take control of your days by employing effective time management practices. Aim to complete the most important task first thing in the morning. Not all tasks are created equal, so organize your tasks based on importance and urgency using the Eisenhower Principal.This will help you identify the “fires” among the flames.

Another great time management tool is the Pomodoro Technique. For this method, you eliminate all distractions and interruptions during a timed 25-minute period. At the end of the 25 minutes, take a 5-minute break. Repeat this four times, then take a longer break. You’ll be surprised how much you can get accomplished with laser focus on one task per Pomodoro.

Cut Bad Work Habits

Bad habits are just those, habits. And habits are hard to break. Start by identifying them, then work on correcting them. Do you give into office gossip? Or maybe you procrastinate on your projects? We all have bad habits, and it’s how you overcome them that makes the difference. With proactive behavior and a positive mindset, you can overcome your negative patterns and instead create productive actions. Need more help eliminating bad habits? Here are some more tips.

Build On Good Habits

Many thought leaders of our generation have certain habits that boosts their productivity and creativity. Try these examples and see if they work for you. Who knows, maybe waking up at 5 am to workout before heading to the office is exactly the habit you need to start work refreshed and productive.

What work habits do you want to work on this season? At the Wilbanks Consulting Group, we’re committed to helping you achieve your career goals. Our blog is one way we do that! It’s full of helpful articles post to peruse to keep your career on track.


Posted on March 12, 2019 and filed under Career.

Do You Have a Bracket For Your Job Search?

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March Madness brackets are due March 17. It’s that time of year where we “bet” on top college basketball teams in hopes of a promising end to the season. If you pick a March Madness bracket – what’s your strategy? Do you choose your favorite team no matter how well they performed during the season? Or do you research the best teams and make your best bracket based on that? It can feel overwhelming to narrow down the teams based on their performance.

In many ways, you can set up a bracket for your job search. Start with a wide net of job prospects and narrow them down based on fit and secured interviews. Think of yourself as the NCAA championship trophy and the potential employers as the teams. When you match the trophy with the best-suited team – YOU with the best potential employer – you have a winning pair.

Here are a few ways to set your job search up with a bracket:

  1. Get Organized - Whether you’re planning your March Madness bracket or your job search bracket, the first step is to get organized. Research and list all the relevant potential employers and job openings in your region. If you’re open to relocation, list employers in those regions too. Use spreadsheets to stay on top of your communication, status, and next steps. Housing all this information in one spreadsheet will put you in scoring position for your next job.

  2. Start Broad - Cast a wide net and start narrowing it down based on your experiences with the employer. You won’t win every interview, but play the long game and stick it out. Not every job will match your skill set perfectly. If you’re really interested in a company, keep them in your bracket. While it may not be a slam dunk, at least you gave it a shot.

  3. Invest the Time - The job search, like March Madness, is a time-intensive process. But it’s worth it to find your dream job, so stick with it! Invest the time upfront selecting the teams and roles you could see yourself fitting in with best. Tweak each resume and cover letter personally to the employer and role.

  4. Find Takeaways - Job hunting and interviewing is a tough process, but aim to focus on the positives each step of the way. You may discover new must-haves for a job, or things you can do without. Every interview is a learning experience where you can reflect and improve for the next one.

  5. Play Until The Buzzer Rings - Don’t stop pursuing other opportunities simply because you found your ideal job at the ideal company. You never know how things will play out until the offer letter is signed. You may find out your dream job has mediocre benefits or less than ideal salary. If you don’t play your best with the other employers in your bracket, you may lose your opportunity. Stay strong and play out each game.

Are you ready to get the ball rolling on your job search but don’t know where to start? We admit it can be overwhelming. At the Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help people identify their strengths, prep for the interview, and coach throughout the entire job search process – from the application all the way to negotiation. If you need help setting up your job search bracket, we’re here to help.


Posted on March 5, 2019 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.

Tips for getting along with difficult coworkers

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You won’t get along with everyone. That’s a fact. We’ve all had experiences with coworkers who we just seem to butt heads with over and over again. Since you’re likely spending more time with your coworkers than anyone else, it’s crucial to put personal differences aside and be cordial for the sake of your job, and your professional satisfaction.

Here are a few tips to get along with difficult coworkers:

1. Leave Emotions at the Door

No matter how much that coworker irks you, check your emotions at the door and start each day with a positive attitude. Positivity attracts positivity, so when you think and act this way, you may be surprised how even the most difficult people respond.

2. Be Kind

Showing kindness and “doing the right thing” will help you feel happier and more fulfilled at work. Professional kindness can come in many different forms, from grabbing an extra coffee for your coworker to lending a hand when bandwidth is tight. Giving back and showing your coworkers you care will always do more positive than negative for your professional relationship.

3. Respect

Every workplace relationship needs respect to be productive. You don’t have to like everyone you work with in order to show respect. Some ways to demonstrate this are cleaning up after yourself, listening to everyone’s ideas, and not taking the credit for others’ work.

4. Avoid Controversial Topics

Some colleagues are easier to get along with than others, likely because you have a lot (or nothing) in common. For those working relationships that are not so easy, stick to work-related or light topics. Avoid talking about things you know may spark an argument like religion or politics. Also, avoid topics relating to your personal life. As tempting as it may be, save those conversations for friends or family.

5. Avoid Gossip

Whether it’s true or false, it should not be spread in the workplace. Gossip does nothing but distract and contribute to a toxic work environment. How to avoid it? Refuse the temptation to talk about your coworkers behind their backs.

6. Limit Your Time

There’s no need to spend a lot of time with someone who is difficult. Keep your interactions focused and work related. Before going to them, plan your objective for the conversation and stick to the topic on hand. By limiting your time with difficult coworkers, you’re able to focus your efforts on productive, work-related conversations.  

Our team at Wilbanks Consulting Group can help you manage difficult career circumstances and identify an ideal career path for you based on your experience and personality. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Posted on February 26, 2019 and filed under Career.

Do you love your boss? (& Do they love you?)

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A good employee-boss relationship can be the difference between a miserable job and an enjoyable, fulfilling one. Your boss can be a lot of things to you – a coach, mentor, and maybe even friend. The relationship you have with your boss can open future career opportunities and have a big impact on your future professional life.

But what exactly does a good employee-boss relationship look like?

Mutual Respect

Even if you and your boss are friends outside of work, you need to show respect for them and their position at work. Treat them with kindness and be courteous of their time, privacy, and authority. In return, you should look for the same respect from them.

Friendly Professionalism

Being professional doesn’t mean you’re a robot. We’re humans working with humans, so aim to be positive in your communication and interactions while practicing active listening.

Be Open

Both you and your boss should be willing to accept feedback without getting defensive. Be open to listening to what your boss has to say about improving your performance and teamwork.

When providing or receiving feedback, pay attention to your body language. Being slumped over and closed off signifies low confidence and uncertainty. While standing tall and making eye contact asserts yourself as credible and capable.

How to Identify a Boss’s Management Style During the Interview Process

It can be hard to know if you and your potential boss will mesh well before spending a couple days in the office, and here are some tips to help predict if your personalities will align.

1. Ask About The Team Dynamic

Will you be working on a team? If so, ask about the team dynamic and how he or she, as the boss, fit into this dynamic. Listen for insights into the company culture and their management style.

2. Ask About Their Management Style

At the right time, ask your potential new boss about his or her management style. While it may seem like an uncomfortable question, it’s entirely appropriate to learn more about your potential employee-boss relationship. If their response is genuine, it will help you understand how to best work under his or her leadership. If it’s not...this boss may not be the best fit for you.

3. Be Aware of Their Email Communication

If you email your prospective boss during the interview process, pay attention to how they communicate. Is it short and to the point? Or does the email have a conversational tone and use exclamation points? Also, how quick are they to respond? Both tone and frequency can reveal a lot about their style and how well you’d get along with them.

If you’re considering changing jobs, we’d love to hear from you. We offer complete career coaching and exploration packages designed to help you discover your dream job.

Posted on February 19, 2019 and filed under Career.

Does work make you all warm and fuzzy?

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We all want a career that’s equally enjoyable and fulfilling. So what do you do when your career isn’t hitting the mark? It’s not always as simple as following your passion. For example, you may be passionate about baking, but pursuing a career as a pastry chef isn’t realistic for you. Instead, perhaps you pursue a career that allows you to use similar skills utilized when baking (i.e., precision in following a process with opportunity to apply creative elements throughout).

A fulfilling career allows you to help others by utilizing your passion.

Components of a Fulfilling Career

To discover what career gives you the warm fuzzies, you need to combine the work you’re good at with work that helps others. It’s easier said than done – most people don’t know what they’re good at, or don’t have the confidence to pursue it fully. Identifying your unique traits through career exploration can help in discovering your dream job.

Another critical component is finding the right workplace and right boss. A bad boss can ruin your dream job. That’s why it’s important to find a supportive work environment. To unveil this during an interview, ask questions about the company culture and team dynamics.

What To Do When Your Career Isn’t Fulfilling

If you’re stuck at a job that doesn’t bring you value and isn’t in a supportive environment, satisfaction will never come, no matter how much money you earn.

If you aren’t in a meaningful career, it may be time to step back and assess your future career plans and goals. Your goals might include finding another job, going back to school, or changing career paths completely. It’s never too late to discover the best career for you.

If you find yourself needing to switch gears, a good place to start is identifying what you like and dislike about your current role. If your dislikes relate more to the company than the job, it could be time to explore other opportunities. If you dislike the work you’re doing, perhaps a career change is the next step.

At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we know how challenging this process is. We’re here to help you discover the best career for you based on your unique strengths. We offer everything from career exploration to interview coaching and offer negotiation. Our team can help you find your dream job. Reach out to schedule a free initial consultation and learn more.  

Posted on February 5, 2019 and filed under Search Strategy, Career.

Plan Your Vacations Now For A Healthy Work/Life Balance

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Usually, planning for the new year includes goals and strategies for professional development. Land the job. Earn the promotion. Get a raise. Add a new skill to your resume. Finish your education.

We suggest tagging on an additional goal: plan out all of your vacations for the year right now. Every professional development plan should include scheduled vacations and rest for the next 12 months.

What Is A Real Vacation?

A vacation is time away from the office doing something you love. For some, that may include beach time, family time, art walks, theater outings, cooking classes – whatever makes you happy and helps you unwind.

A vacation is NOT time away from the office with your laptop and phone, checking emails frequently and answering texts and phone calls throughout the day. A real vacation is when you turn your brain off from the normal stress and responsibilities of your profession to rest and relax.

Why Vacation Needs To Be Scheduled Now

There are many reasons why you need to take a vacation this year:

  • Reduces stress

  • Good for your health

  • Improves productivity

  • Boosts creativity

  • Increases your happiness

  • Opens your mind to new perspectives

  • You need time for your family and yourself

You need to schedule your vacation now because if you don’t, you’ll find reasons not to take it.

“It’s such a busy time right now.”

“There is a big deadline coming up. I don’t want to do that to my team.”

“It’s just not a good time to take time off.”

If you schedule all of your vacation now, you can plan around your time off. When speaking with clients, let them know at the start of new projects that you have “blackout” dates. Put the time off in your team’s calendar so everyone knows and expects when you’ll be away.

Need help developing a career strategy (that includes vacations) this year? We’d love to help! Contact us today to set up a meeting with one of our career coaching experts.

Posted on January 29, 2019 and filed under Career.

The 3 Week Slump - What To Do When You Hit A Wall With Your Goals

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We’re three weeks into the new year. Many of you have set goals to land a new job, earn a promotion, switch careers, or improve your skill set.

How’s it going?

Are you on track to reach your goals? Or have you already started to derail?

Regardless of your answer, everyone experiences obstacles and internal resistance when implementing new habits and striving to reach challenging goals. While it’s to be expected, it can be very frustrating.

5 Ways To Get Through The Slump When You’ve Hit A Wall

If you feel you are hitting a wall when it comes to your new year’s goals, you’re in the right place. Let’s chat about 5 ways to get through the slump when you’ve hit a wall with your goals.

Be honest. Don’t pretend that you are on track with your goals if you aren’t. There are no heroes when you’re only limiting yourself. Most of your goals aren’t shared with anyone, so take the opportunity to really be honest with yourself and analyze how you’re doing.

Question yourself. What obstacles are getting in your way? Did you create these walls, or are they out of your control? Spend time brainstorming the issues the you’re facing, keeping in mind that some may be more obvious than others. Once you think you understand what is getting in your way, talk it out with a trusted mentor. Sometimes it’s easier to see problems from the outside.

Tap your creative side. Doing what you’ve always done is only going to yield similar results. How can you change what you’re doing to get back on track and reach your goals? Consider setting up an accountability partner, changing your routine, or even reframing your goals. The solution will be different for every person, and every goal. So be creative and figure out what will truly work for you!

Target smaller steps. It can be overwhelming to tackle your goals, especially if you’ve created challenging goals that are going to stretch you. Stretch goals are good (and healthy!), but if you find yourself hitting a wall, step back. Make smaller goals to reach your bigger goal and then focus on one step at a time. Set yourself up for success and target that first small step.

Keep going. Take a deep breath and release any guilt you feel over hitting the wall. Put one step in front of the other. Keep going. The first three weeks are always the hardest! Don’t let a detour or backstep deter you from reaching your goals.

If you need an extra boost, we’d love to coach you through the process. A career coach may be just what you need to keep going and make it over the three week slump. Contact us today!


Posted on January 22, 2019 and filed under Career.

Do You Have A Career Binder?

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We love tools that help make our professional development easier. One of our favorite tools is a career binder or portfolio.

What’s a career binder and why do I need one?

A career binder—also known as a brag book—contains the documents that back up the achievements on your resume. A comprehensive binder builds your confidence and can help you be prepared to impress your supervisor, hiring managers, and anyone else in leadership. It gathers the very best of who you are and what you’ve accomplished in one place, ready to share with anyone at a moments notice.

As you begin the new year, create a career binder now to help align your goal planning with the contents.

What Should Be in Your Career Binder?

You can use a career binder to prepare for an upcoming performance review, when discussing a promotion or raise with your supervisor, or when applying for a new position. Think of it as your emergency kit to always be ready to put your best foot forward to elevate your career.

Here’s a quick snapshot of what should be in your career binder:

  1. Introduction/Elevator Speech - Write a cover letter of sorts that introduces you, your personal brand, and your core competencies. Even if you never show this to anyone, it is helpful for you to have thought through these topics so you are ready to talk about them if the opportunities arise.

  2. Professional Background - An updated resume or CV highlighting your professional background should always be ready to go.

  3. STAR Behavioral Examples - Let your accomplishments shine! Most supervisors and interviewers will ask open-ended questions like, “Describe a time when…,” or “Tell me about…” Answer these questions using the STAR method which stands for Situation, Task, Action, Resolution. When composing your career binder, think of your best accomplishments and break them down using the STAR method. Having an overview in your binder for your supervisor or interviewer to review, will impress them. However, don’t write out word for word what happened, aim to keep the example in your binder concise. Use the interview to elaborate on the example.

  4. Recommendations and Awards - Add relevant recommendations or reviews from previous employers or professors. These don’t necessarily have to be formal recommendation letters or award certificates. If you receive an email with kudos for a job well done or a congratulations for completing training, print it and include it!

  5. Work-Related Documents - It can be helpful to include any supporting documentation that completes the picture of your work capabilities and achievements. This may include performance evaluations, publications you’ve authored, or other evidence of your skills.

Want even more career development tips and tricks? At the Wilbanks Consulting Group, we can help prepare you for your dream career – from creating your first career binder to negotiating your salary package. We have the tools and expertise to give you the competitive edge in your job search. Contact us to learn more.

Posted on January 1, 2019 and filed under Career.

End of Year Planning

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The final month of 2018 marks an opportune time to plan your end-of-year career push. Often during the year, we’re consumed with working toward our current goals and forget to reflect on how 2018 went and what we want to achieve the upcoming year.

Here are the very best 2019 career planning tips from our professional career coaches.

Take Inventory of Your Previous Goals

Grab your 2018 goals and take a brief inventory.

Which ones did you accomplish and where did you fall short? Be honest and realistic with yourself. Career planning is more than fixing what went wrong, it’s identifying what went right and repeating those actions.

For the goals you accomplished, recognize what went well. For goals you didn’t reach, determine the blocker. Did you need a new skill? Prioritization? Once you determine WHY you didn’t achieve it, you can work toward HOW you’ll fix it in the future.

Forecast Your New Goals

Picture yourself a year from now. What do you want to be doing? What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to explore different career opportunities? Do you want to explore different career paths completely? Visualizing this will help plan your 2019 goals.

As you plan for the year ahead, consider learning advancements. Is there a course you could take to boost your knowledge? Develop your long-term goals for the year and break down each one into actionable short-term goals.

Use this month to boost your career, not drag it along. The winter can be a great time to gain clarity on your past accomplishments and and professional goals.

Quick Wins To Plan For 2019

  1. Refresh Your Linkedin - Linkedin continues to rise in popularity as a professional social networking site. If you don’t update your profile regularly, pencil in a time to give it an refresh.

  2. Schedule a Performance Review - Many companies hold annual performance reviews at the end of the year. If your company doesn’t, ask your manager. This type of reflective meeting pulls insights that help you become a better employee and progress in your career.

  3. Ask for a Raise - Use the performance review to understand where you stand. Depending on your performance and other factors, it could be time to ask for a raise. If you’re unsure of how to ask for a raise, consider our Offer Negotiation service.   

We wish you the best of luck in the new year! If you’d like assistance with your 2019 career planning, our team of career consultants use proven assessments to examine your personality type, interests, and strengths. Then, we align the results with your goals to create a strategy for future growth and development through your current position or a new one. Get in touch with us today!

Posted on December 4, 2018 and filed under Career.

Professional Gratitude

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Unfortunately, there are workplaces out there with cut-throat, climb-the-corporate ladder no-matter-the-cost environments. Hopefully you aren’t a part of a toxic workplace. But even “normal” workplace environments are not often seen as a place to show gratitude. After all, most people expect others to do their best since they’re earning a paycheck. However, this “thankless” mentality can do more harm than good – it can hurt company morale, breed resentment, and encourage employees to only do the bare minimum. On the other hand, by incorporating gratitude into your daily work life, you can foster a more positive environment and help boost productivity and overall employee happiness.

Showing Gratitude to Higher-Ups

Those in management roles are responsible for the success of their entire team(s). If one player underperforms, it’s their responsibility to redirect the employee. Since your higher-ups are in a position of power, it can be tough to show your appreciation without coming across as disingenuous.

We find the best way to show your gratitude toward your higher-ups is to deliver great work and be a “step ahead” of them. This can be the best symbol of gratitude. You can also verbally give them positive feedback for a job well done and to show appreciation for their leadership.

Showing Gratitude to Colleagues

Show gratitude toward your colleagues by befriending them and taking an interest in getting to know a bit about them personally. Establishing a camaraderie will help improve teamwork and create a better work environment.

Did a colleague lend a helping hand when you needed it? Show your gratitude by thanking them and giving them praise in front of your manager. Better yet, provide the praise via email so that it can be used as part of a performance review.

Showing Gratitude to Direct Reports

Did someone go the extra mile on a project? Was there someone who picked up slack while another team member was PTO? Don’t let these go unnoticed. Thank these team members and let them know how much you appreciate them.

The key to showing appreciation to your direct reports is to praise them in a group setting and provide constructive feedback in a one-on-one setting. Praising in a group setting can boost the team member’s confidence and motivate other team members to match their job well done. Be genuine with your communication and be specific with praise. Also take the extra step to provide the gratitude in writing, which can be used later as part of a holistic performance review.

Showing Gratitude to Clients

While you can call your clients and thank them any time of the year, the holidays mark a great time to get creative with showing appreciation. Send them gifts like chocolates, a bundt cake, or a bottle of wine. If you don't want to send food, consider sending a stationery set, tumbler, a nice card or anything that matches their personality or business. Above all else, a hand-written thank you note will go a long way.


Be sure to check out this guide for writing proper thank you notes!

Posted on November 20, 2018 and filed under Community, Career.

Bullet Journaling for Peak Productivity

A paper planner can be a powerful tool in the digital age. The market for planners certainly offers a wide varieties to meet your individual needs. What works for me has been the infinitely flexible Bullet Journal. The system, created by Ryder Carroll, has transformed the lives of creatives, professionals, and overwhelmed multitaskers.

Why would I go back to paper when so much of my life is managed using my phone? For one thing, the act of writing helps me remember what I wrote. Research suggests that writing by hand engages the brain’s motor pathways, expanding the connections between what you intend to do and your working memory. Have you ever written a grocery list and then left the list at home, but you remembered what was on it? Writing it out helped you.

Bullet journal


Another reason I love planning on paper has to do with the picture superiority effect, which means that our memories have better recall with pictures than words. I don’t get too fancy with my layouts (check out Instagram and Pinterest for some super creative inspiration), but I do mix up my utilitarian style by changing colors schemes each week. The colors transform the week’s information into a mental picture, making it easier for me to remember the notes I’ve taken in my notebook.

So with science backing up the power of paper planning in recall and working memory, what is the Bullet Journal exactly? First, I recommend going directly to Ryder Carroll’s tutorial to see his process for “rapid journaling” to basically dump all of the thoughts from your brain onto the page, and then later track what’s been done. He has also just released a book on using his system that you can check out if so inclined.

The main features of the Bullet Journal system that attracted me:

  • A dot grid journal with numbered pages

  • Blank pages - no pre-printed pages that I won’t use taking up space

  • Index for tracking what goes where in the journal

The major reason my Bullet Journal works for me is that I keep everything together in one place: my to do lists, my meeting schedule, plus notes for personal and professional happenings. The pages are numbered and I keep track of what’s where by filling in the index as I go through the year. Because the pages aren’t pre-filled out, my meeting notes are adjacent to the current weekly planning layout.

Pro Tip: I have categories for my index, such as my list of months, meeting notes for the Wilbanks Consulting Group, meeting notes for another organization, and my personal-related notes. Keeping these together in my index makes it so much easier to find what I need!

With some experimentation, I’ve figured out that I am most productive when I use a Gantt-style task list that faces my weekly schedule on the next page:

Bullet Journal

Guess what I never use? The monthly calendar page. Since I don’t use this type of page, I don’t include it in my journal. The great thing about the blank dot grid pages is that whatever you need a page to be, it can serve that purpose.

In today’s world, I’ll never operate without my electronic devices. But the truth is that I’m so much more productive when I pair my digital life with the power of paper planning.

Posted on November 13, 2018 and filed under Career.

Email Etiquette For Career Success

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

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

Have a Clear Subject Line

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

Here are some examples:

  • For Review: 2019 Planning Calendar

  • RSVP Required: Friday’s Lunch & Learn

  • Ideas for Next Month’s Project

Warm Up & Introduction

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

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

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

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

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

Get to the Point

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

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

Wrap Up

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

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

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

Proofread

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

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

Add the Email Address Last

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

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

Posted on October 30, 2018 and filed under Career.

How To Juggle More Than One Job

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

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

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

1. Be Organized

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

2. Master Your Schedule

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

3. Know Your Limits

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

4. Give Yourself Time To Rest

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

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


Posted on October 23, 2018 and filed under Career.

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.