Posts filed under Career

Establish Back-to-School Routines to End the Year Strong


Summer is coming to a bittersweet close, and it’s time to think about your game plan for a strong end of the year. Back to school doesn’t have to be just for kids – it can be a time to reestablish good habits and routines to set yourself up for success.

In general, fall is a transformative time – school is back in session, the seasons are changing, and the workplace is buzzing with Q3 and Q4 plans to wrap up the year. With a little planning and preparation, you can close out the last few months of the year with success.

  1. Establish a Routine

    Summer can be anything but regular. Between vacations, preparing your workload for time off, and all the fun-in-the-sun summer activities, our usual productive routines can suffer. Take time to re-establish your day-to-day habits and schedule. Plan your daily and weekly schedule, sharpen your time management skills, and rediscover whatever makes you feel refreshed and ready to take on the workweek.

  2. Learn a New Skill

    The fall marks a great time to explore something new. If you’re interested in learning a new language or want to get an industry-specific certification, go for it! Learning something new may make you feel more satisfied and could give you a leg up for a promotion. Remember, back-to-school isn’t just for kids!

  3. Update Your Career Binder & Polish Your Resume

    A career binder makes your professional development easier because it’s comprised of key projects and accomplishments that build value in you. When in evaluation and promotion talks with your boss—or a hiring manager asks about your experience—you can easily pull an example straight from your career binder. If you don’t have one, build it! If you already have one, make sure it’s up-to-date, along with your resume.

Let the change in seasons invigorate you to push towards your career goals. Find a functional new routine and stick to it. After all, consistency is key to achieving your career aspirations. Aim to make small changes that add up over time and you’ll be where you want to be.

If you need help establishing a back-to-school or fall routine, we’re here to help. At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we provide career coaching for professionals at all experience levels. From career exploration to interview preparation and offer negotiation, we have the tools and expertise to guide you toward your dream career.

Posted on August 27, 2019 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.

Celebrating Women’s Equality Day in the Workplace

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August 26, 2019, Women’s Equality Day, marks 99 years since women were given the right to vote. Now women rank among some of the best CEOs, scientists, astronauts, and change-makers in our world.

While progress has been made, there is still more to accomplish when it comes to equality in the workplace. As you reflect on Women’s Equality Day, consider women’s rights and opportunities while interviewing at companies for potential new positions.

Equality = Progress

Studies show that women make up a small fraction of high-ranking roles compared to men, despite the progress of the last 99 years. It’s also statistically more difficult for women to gain a promotion in a male-dominated workplace. In women-led companies, this obstacle is lessened, providing a level playing field for both men and women.

Diversity should be a business priority. As job-seeking individuals, you should ask questions about women in leadership roles in the company. Doing so will give you insight into the company’s commitment to diversity and equality.

Some questions to consider asking during an interview are:

  • How many women are in leadership positions at your company?

  • What policies are in place to ensure equality in promotions and filling leadership positions from within?

  • Does HR have a weighted pay scale to ensure equality between individuals with comparable experience?

If the interviewer doesn’t know the answer to these questions, ask to have an HR representative follow up with you. If the interviewer doesn’t place importance on these topics, you’ll have a clue about the culture in the workplace regarding equality.

Change Is What You Make It

Change can’t happen without people voicing their opinions. Regardless of your gender, stand up for equal rights in the workplace.

Another way for women in the workplace to stand out is to position themselves appropriately, starting with the interview process. At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help individuals find their ideal career, land their dream job, and help with all the details along the way. Learn more by contacting us today!

Posted on August 20, 2019 and filed under Career.

The Three Best Professional Development Trends in 2019


Professional trends come and go. Some we are happy to kick to the curb, others we hope are here to stay! This year we’ve seen a few shifts that make the workplace more progressive and competitive. These trends are geared toward improving the employee and, in turn, improving the business.

Here are three trends in workplace professional development that you should take full advantage of to end the year strong.

  1. Learning in the Workplace. From peer-to-peer lunch and learns to employer education credits, it’s clear companies are interested in giving their employees the opportunity to learn new things and put them into practice at the workplace.

    Businesses and industries are constantly evolving, and companies must invest in education for their people to maintain a competitive edge. Think about how quickly the internet has changed how we operate. It’s changed everything from the way we look for jobs to the ways we communicate with team members. New standards evolve all the time, and your company needs you to be the best of the best.

  2. Flipped Decision Making: Bottom-Up Approach. When organizations function top-down, the decision making happens at the top and gets relayed from director to manager, and manager to the team. We’ve seen this flip to a bottom-up approach. Employees lowest on the corporate ladder are empowered to voice their opinions and suggestions on company matters, essentially shifting decision making to the bottom instead of from the top. This works well because those with the most up-to-date information can make quick decisions without the delay that bureaucracy often entails.

  3. Coach for Leadership, Not Management. There’s a push to train employees to lead rather than manage, and we couldn’t be happier about it. Why? Because managers assign—leaders inspire. Leaders raise others up to put the best people in the right seats of the company. That’s good news for anyone looking for a job. It’s not about completing a to-do list, it’s about doing a great job.

Staying on top of trends while navigating a job hunt can be challenging. If you’re looking to make a career change, we’d love to connect.

Our team at The Wilbanks Consulting Group helps everyone from high schoolers to seasoned professionals identify and achieve their career goals.

Posted on August 13, 2019 and filed under Career, Leadership.

Knowing When to Ask for Help with Your Job Search


Job hunting isn’t easy. Whether you’re fine-tuning your resume, updating your LinkedIn profile, or filling our applications, searching for a job can feel a lot like a job in itself.

So, when is it time to ask for help? Our team of expert career coaches compiled four career situations that often need a professional’s help to navigate successfully.

Do any of these situations fit your experience?

You’ve Been Out of the Workforce

Consulting with a career coach when you have a gap in your career is a great idea. Hiring managers often take gaps to be a red flag, as they are “time off” that may mean you’re a bit rusty. But we know that’s not the case! We can highlight your value in your experience—and your time off—that positions you to be the perfect candidate. Work with a professional to prep and polish your resume, cover letter, practice interviewing, and even build your confidence for compensation negotiation.

You Want to Change Industries

Sometimes you’re ready for a change, but it’s hard to justify to others why your experience fits with this new path. It can also feel daunting to potentially abandon the skills that you spent years developing. Working with the expert career coaches at The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we can help find transferable skills to apply to your new industry. Oftentimes, there’s overlap, but it takes careful positioning and preparation to navigate the waters between careers. By working with a career coaching professional, you can be certain you’re set up for success.

You’re Graduating

Graduation is an exciting time! After all, it’s been a long haul. But what’s next? You may be nervous about the future, but that’s completely normal. A career coach can help you identify the areas of your personality and your educational and personal experiences that translate to job skills and career success.

You Want to Gain a Professional Advantage

Investing in help from a professional help before and during your job search can equip you with the skills needed to nail the interview, land the job, and negotiate a compensation package you’re happy with.

Posted on July 23, 2019 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.

When is a Cover Letter Make or Break?


Switching career paths can be a tricky road to navigate. Cover letters are a great tool to lead the way.

If your resume is filled with biological research experience but you want a role in sales, how do you portray your interest and value on paper? An effective cover letter increases the chance that you’ll catch the hiring manager’s eye. Otherwise, they may assume your resume landed on their desk by mistake.

Your diverse experience could be exactly what they are looking for, but you need to be creative to get them to see it.

What to Include in a Cover Letter

A great cover letter allows you to display your professionalism, and your unique career path goals more than a resume. Keep things in mind while building your cover letter to tell your story and catch the hiring managers attention:

  1. The Details Matter – Make It Perfect

    Is the date correct? Are you addressing the appropriate person? Do you use proper grammar and write in active voice? Are typos nonexistent? These small details matter when you have a few seconds of the hiring manager’s attention. Also, make sure to note which role you’re applying for. When in doubt, put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes and think about what they would benefit from reading.

  2. A Short & Sweet Introduction

    Your introduction should be short and succinct. Briefly introduce yourself as a professional and how you fit the posted position. For example, if you’re applying for a career in sales but your experience is in research, your introduction may be, “I’m an experienced biological researcher looking to utilize my background and communication skills as a biomedical equipment sales director.”

  3. Keep it Skimmable

    The hiring manager likely won’t read through your entire cover letter. According to a research study, 33 percent of employers look for mention of the skills they asked for in the job description. Call this out clearly in your cover letter by pulling exact requirements from the job description into the letter and stating your qualifications.

  4. Translate Your Current Experience

    Regardless of whether you’re new to an industry or have been in it for 20 years, you want to translate your experience into value for the new role. Find the transferable skills that set you apart and qualify you for the role ­– then creatively and concisely list them in the cover letter.

Cover letters can be challenging to write, and our team of professional career coaches would love to help!

At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help professionals and students achieve their goals through job search execution services.

Posted on July 16, 2019 and filed under Career, Search Strategy.

Interviews: Balancing Independence & Working as a Team


Most companies desire candidates who are comfortable working alone and with a team. After all, there will be times that you need to do both. This is why one of the most asked interview questions is, “Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?” This question is meant to unveil your personality and to get a glimpse into how you would fit in with their team.

Why Balance is Important

There are times when you must work as a team – let’s say you have a deadline and there’s no way to complete it solo. Or perhaps your work involves other departments at the company. You must feel comfortable communicating with other team members to effectively complete the task.

On the other hand, there will be times when you just need to put your head down and complete your responsibilities for an impending deadline.

Since both will be required at the job, hiring managers want to make sure you’re equally able to tackle work this way on their team.

So, do you prefer to work independently or with a team?

How to Approach the Interview

Regardless of your preferred method, you must be able to gracefully answer this very pointed question. Here are a few ways to answer this question effectively:

“I tend to be more productive when working independently. However, when tasks require more collaboration and different perspectives, I prefer working with a team.”

“I’m comfortable working alone and with a team depending on the situation and type of work.”

“I have experience working in both ways and I find productivity with each.”

These are great lead-ins. Be ready to back up these statements with an example of when you successfully worked solo and with a team. “Give me an example” is an inevitable follow-up question.

Practice answering, “Do you prefer to work independently or with a team?” using these above responses or whatever feels genuine to you. Then, briefly provide examples. Practice makes perfect so you can nail the interview!

If you’re actively job searching and want to perfect your interview skills, resume, or want to overhaul your job search strategy completely, we’re here to help.

At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we help professionals in all stages of their careers find their dream job, land their dream job, and continue to thrive in their career.

Posted on July 9, 2019 and filed under Career, Interviewing.

Managing Changing Expectations At Work


Expectations determine what success looks like, and the communication of expectations ensures parties are on the same page. Without expectations, focus, productivity, and progress suffer because you’re working towards a cloudy goal. Setting and managing expectations can be a challenge for many reasons, especially because those set by your boss and colleagues may change over time. When expectations fluctuate, it can be hard to grasp the objective and deliver your best work.

As a colleague, team member, and employee, it’s your job to manage and adjust to change. Following these three steps is a great start to building your comfort level and success with adapting to changing expectations:

  1. Accept Change
    Step away from your comfort zone and embrace the change by diving into the “why”. What is the business reason that is driving this change? Be open to understanding the reasons why the change is happening. Then, be willing to learn what you need to succeed with the new set of expectations. Don’t be afraid to try new things at work, you may be surprised and find a new skill or passion!

  2. Communicate Clearly
    Clear communication is crucial when setting expectations and especially when they change. If you feel left in the dark and aren’t sure what’s expected of you with changes happening on your team, ask your boss directly. Without clarifying, you won’t be able to move forward in the right direction and succeed in your role. Spelling out the new expectations is a win-win for both you and your manager.

  3. Attitude is Everything
    Remain positive regardless of the circumstances. Get comfortable with the fact that not everything is within your control. How you choose to think and talk about your situation directly impacts your career and growth. Consider how you can leverage your skills and experience to succeed in your role. Attitude is everything.

Demonstrating agility with change will help not only help you grow as a person but it will also help you become a more valuable employee.

Looking for a career coach? We help individuals with everything from managing your current role to interviewing to negotiating salary packages.

Posted on May 21, 2019 and filed under Career.

Strategies for Changing Seasons of Life & Career


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!