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

brooke-lark-194253-unsplash.jpg

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.

How To Make A Hiring Manager Fall In Love Your Resume

bram-naus-200967-unsplash.jpg

You’re sitting across from each other, making eye contact, and answering questions about yourself and your background. Is this a date? No, it’s a job interview. Similar to a first date, hiring managers use job interviews to see if you’d be a good fit, long term.

The interview process starts the moment the hiring manager reads your resume. Are you putting your best foot forward?  Make sure your resume follows these guidelines to land the opportunity for an interview.

1. Tailor Your Resume for the Job

Sure, this will take more time than sending the same resume to every potential employer, but it’s worth it! If you tie in job duties or achievements from your work experience to the job you’re applying to, it assures the hiring manager you’re qualified. Hiring managers likely see hundreds of resumes before deciding on the top candidates. By adding keywords from the job description to your resume, you’ll stand out among the competition.

2. Don’t Fib

As tempting as it may be, just don’t do it. Lying on your resume is a big no-no. It’s not a matter of if your lie will come out, it’s a matter of when. And when it does, you’ll suffer major consequences and could lose your job. If you’re insecure about your background, get in touch with us. We can help you articulate your experiences to make sure you have a fair chance, without stretching the truth.

3. Include a Summary of Qualifications

This section should be a couple of sentences below the header. Tailor it to the job your applying for and explain why you’re qualified. Be clear and concise.

4. Make Your Resume Skimmable

If your resume isn’t easy to skim, it will be disregarded immediately. Hiring managers have a tough job of screening countless candidates and if they can’t get the gist of your resume in the first couple seconds, they’ll move on. Some components of an easy-to-skim resume include a header, subheaders, easy to read fonts, good use of bolding and italicizing, and a place to easily locate your contact information.

5. Consider Adding Coursework Experience

Coursework and major projects are huge learning experiences, so add them! This also assures the interviewer you’re qualified for the job. However, there are some limitations. Only add this section if you recently graduated or if you’re making a major career change to a different industry. And once you have a couple years of work experience under your belt, loose this section.

6. Finesse the Resume Order

If you’re a recent grad, put your education summary before your work or volunteer experience, unless it’s extensive and relevant. Also consider adding clubs, organizations, and GPA to this section. This will create a more robust resume when you don’t have work experience. On the other hand, if you’ve been in the workforce for years, your experience on the job is more pertinent than the college you graduated from 10 plus years ago. Move this section below your work experience.

You can create a resume a hiring manager will fall in love with. If you want tailored tips for success, contact our team. We work with recent grads, those who want a complete career change, and professionals ready to level up their career with a stellar resume. We’d love to connect!

Posted on February 12, 2019 and filed under Resume.

Does work make you all warm and fuzzy?

rawpixel-745949-unsplash.jpg

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

growth-hanging-island-1008164.jpg

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

tim-collins-725092-unsplash.jpg

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.

Bringing The Spirit of MLK Into The Workplace

beverage-coffee-computer-877695.jpg

Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Everyone has the power for greatness, not for fame but greatness, because greatness is determined by service.”

MLK’s commitment to servitude inspired people around to globe to work for every person’s freedom, by any means necessary. His selfless acts of service to the country live on well past his death. Each January we reflect and remember the lessons he instilled. While Martin Luther King, Jr. primarily spoke on civil rights, his strong leadership can be incorporated into our work lives to inspire us to give back.

As we remember the great civil rights work of Martin Luther King, Jr., let’s consider how we can give back in the workplace.

Here are 4 ways you can give back at work and make a difference in the lives of your coworkers:

  1. Become a Mentor -  Use your unique experience to mentor a junior employee. Reflect on how you felt at the same stage of their career and empathize with their challenges, offering solutions to consider. If you don’t have years of work experience under your belt, consider reaching out to your alma mater and mentoring someone who shares the same major as you. Be a helping voice to others on a similar path.

  2. Give a Shoutout - Workplaces are often a thankless place. But a little thanks goes a long way! Did a team member step up and help you complete a project? Let them know! Did a client love the work your production team did on the latest project? Give the production team a shoutout and thank them for their hard work. By encouraging your coworkers on their “wins,” you’re contributing to a healthy and productive work environment.

  3. Champion Volunteer Efforts - There’s no doubt volunteering can help others, but it can also boost your overall well-being. For most of us, it’s not a part of the regular routine. Why not lead the charge and put together volunteering efforts for your company or team? Start by scoping out volunteer groups in your area, then ask your team which they would want to work with. You’ll be giving back to the community while also adding value and confidence in your workplace.

  4. Empower Team Members -  No matter your place on the organizational chart, you can give back by empowering others. Here are some ways to empower others, no matter your job title:

    1. Invite coworkers to share their ideas on a new project or client task. They may add a fresh perspective and feel empowered by learning more aspects of the job.

    2. Help your team members grow by giving direct, constructive feedback. Feedback is often viewed as uncomfortable, but most people want more of it. Structure the feedback in an empowering and constructive way. Don’t tear down but build up!

    3. Work with others to identify and develop skills they want to learn. Empowering them to explore new skills will help them gain confidence and become a more dynamic coworker.

    4. Demonstrate trust by not micromanaging. Instead, establish regular check-ins. This trust empowers your team members to do their job with feeling like you’re looking over their shoulder.

A team that empowers each other to do more, be better, and grow is a true testament to a strong culture. Give back and contribute to a positive culture by empowering those around you.

Interested in more ways to give back? Thank you notes go a long way in showing gratitude. Learn more about how to lead by serving.


Posted on January 15, 2019 and filed under Leadership.

Do You Have A Career Binder?

rawpixel-760027-unsplash.jpg

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.

How To Give Back At Work

arms-cheerful-coffee-1573862.jpg

The holiday season signifies a time to slow down, reflect on the good and bad, and appreciate the joys of life. Why not do the same at your workplace? Showing professional gratitude and giving back at work will leave you feeling more fulfilled and encouraging a pleasant work environment. However, giving back at work doesn’t necessarily mean gifts – it can come in many different packages. Show your gratitude at work without spending any money, here’s how!

7 Ways To Show Gratitude At Work

  1. Lend a hand - ‘Tis the season for holiday travel and fast approaching deadlines. If time permits, help your co-workers with projects that may be adding stress. You could also share your expertise by mentoring a junior employee.

  2. Slow down - Our lives can be fast-paced and a bit self-centered, especially around the holidays. Taking the extra minute to ask about your co-worker’s day is a small but mighty gesture. You never know what they have on their plate – both personally and professionally – until you ask. By slowing down and simply listening, you can gain perspective and have a friendly conversation. If you have an extra 30 minutes in your day, ask a colleague to grab a coffee mid-afternoon and practice active listening.

  3. Encourage others - Sure, you’re at work to do work, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take the time to appreciate and encourage others. Did your direct report have a great client call they were nervous about? Encourage them by expressing a job well done in a way that you know they would appreciate. That may mean a simple pat on the back or a quick announcement at the next team meeting. A little encouragement goes a long way.

  4. Say thanks - Who are the unrecognized heroes of the office for whom you’re thankful? Perhaps it’s the receptionist, mailroom clerk, or your manager. Take the time to write individual thank you notes to the people who make your workday better.

  5. Reflect on the positive - Maybe you accomplished a challenging project, connected with your co-workers outside of work, or achieved a promotion. Keeping a big picture perspective and reflecting on the good things that happen at work can motivate and inspire you during the day-to-day. Plus, it will make you much more pleasant to work with, which your colleagues will definitely appreciate!

  6. Volunteer - Organize a community volunteer day with your co-workers. Not only will you give back to the local community but it also doubles as a team-building opportunity.

  7. Rest and recharge - While you’re giving back to others, don’t forget to give back to yourself! Take time to unplug, get fresh air, and reconnect with family and friends. Giving time to yourself time to recharge will feed into your work performance and happiness.

We hope you enjoy the holiday season with friends and family. If you find some downtime in between family time, check out these five books that will inspire, motivate, and equip you for success.

Posted on December 18, 2018 and filed under Community, Leadership.

Using The STAR Method To Ace An Interview

desk-discussing-discussion-1311518.jpg

Open-ended interview questions such as, “Tell me about yourself,” or “Have you ever worked with a stubborn teammate” are stressful! It’s hard to prepare in advance for situational or behavioral questions that sometimes come out of left field.

If you struggle with these types of questions, the STAR method is a great way to lower your stress level and answer in a way that will satisfy the interviewer.

The STAR Method

STAR stands for Situation, Task, Action, Result. This method helps formulate your answers in a clear and specific way. Since past performance is a good indicator for your future performance, interviewers will be listening closely to the way you answer questions such as:

“Give me an example of…,”

“Describe a situation in which you were able to use…,”

“Describe a time…”

Situation - Start by describing the situation that required you to solve a problem, use a skill, or come up with a new idea. Be specific and give enough information for the interviewers to understand.

Task - What goal were you working toward? Explain what your job required in the situation. Make sure to include any specific challenges you faced.

Action - This is where you describe exactly what you did to overcome the challenge. What specific steps did you take and what was your particular contribution?

Pro Tip: Focus on qualities and soft skills the hiring manager is looking for (i.e., initiative, leadership, attention to detail, teamwork). You will know this from the job description.

Results - Finally, describe the outcome of the situation. Don’t be shy in  emphasizing your contribution. Also, incorporate what you learned through the process.

Tips for Using The STAR Method

  1. Be prepared. You won’t know the questions your interviewer will ask, so think through several STAR situations from your experiences that highlight your best traits. Practicing the method will help when you are put on the spot in an interview.

  2. Be specific. Make sure your situations are targeted and specific. Identify qualities the hiring manager is looking for in the role before the interview and incorporate those words into your responses.

  3. Be quantitative. If you were responsible for growth in your department or project, know growth percentage and share those numbers in your interview. When you incorporate numbers, you're not just voicing your ability, you’re proving it. Numbers don’t lie!

  4. Be honest. Avoid inflating your story or success in hopes of impressing your interviewer. Not only is this lying, but when they find out you fibbed, workplace trust will be compromised.

Want to practice the STAR method and other interview tips to help land your dream career? Through our Interview Preparation service, our team of career consulting experts can equip you with the tools and guidance to succeed. Contact us today!

Posted on December 11, 2018 and filed under Interviewing.

End of Year Planning

action-plan-brainstorming-complex-212286.jpg

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.

Celebrating Holidays Professionally At Work

ibrahim-boran-575994-unsplash.jpg

The holidays can be an exciting yet tricky time in the workplace. Between juggling office potlucks, gift exchanges, and holiday parties, it’s important to remember not everyone celebrates the same holidays. And some celebration activities may make a diverse workforce feel uncomfortable. Here are some tips to keep in mind as your company navigates the holiday season in the workplace.

Respect Different Celebrations

Some colleagues may observe different holidays from one another, while others may celebrate the same holidays in different ways. Neither is better or worse. However, when planning and attending office holiday celebrations, keep in mind the unique diversity of the workforce.

To get an idea of what’s important to your colleagues, encourage them to share what they love doing this time of year – including traditions, food, and decorations. Encourage each person to contribute something special to the holiday celebrations. Also, consider providing flexibility with events, even if they’re during work hours. Certain celebrations may be against people’s beliefs. Be mindful, respectful, and inclusive during this time.

Holiday Party Etiquette

With casual work environments on the rise, it can be easy to feel too comfortable with your co-workers. While taking that extra drink or exchanging flirtatious comments with a coworker might seem like a good idea at the time, it’s not. Simply put, avoid these temptations. Limit your alcohol intake and drink plenty of water throughout the event.

Holiday parties are work events and should be treated professionally. Don’t say or do anything you wouldn’t do in the office. Refrain from gossiping about your boss or acting like you’re back at a college party. At the same time, holiday parties are a great opportunity to have fun, get to know your co-workers, and reflect on a great year. Go into the celebrations with the mentality you’re at a work event and you’ll have a great time, within limits.

Some companies will reimburse employees for safe transportation home. If yours doesn’t, transportation home is best planned ahead of time. If you don’t have the convenience of ride-sharing services or taxis, consider public transportation, or coordinate designated drivers with coworkers to make sure each person has a safe ride home.

Don’t Lose Focus of Work

While it’s an exciting time of the year and celebrations certainly are in order, remember to wrap up the year on a strong note with your work. Stay focused and mindful of deadlines or quotas you need to reach. Don’t miss them!

The end of the year marks a great time to assess your current career path and decide if it’s the path for you. If you’re interested in exploring different options but don’t know where to start, our team of career coaching experts is here to connect.

Posted on November 27, 2018 and filed under Community.

Professional Gratitude

rawpixel-698599-unsplash.jpg

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.

Finding Time To Vote During The Work Day

brandon-day-62137-unsplash.jpg

Voting is important and should be made a priority by all eligible citizens, even on a work day!

Without citizen participation in elections, our government will not reflect the values of its people. As working professionals, the challenge of finding time to vote with your busy schedule is very real. Many employers value the power of voting and allow their employees to push away from their desks and vote on company time. Check in your employee handbook or ask your manager if your workplace has this policy.

If you can’t vote on company time, there are other opportunities for your voice to be heard on the November 6th mid-term election.

Wake Up Early

Are you a morning person? Do your other commitments leave you strapped for time throughout the day? Consider voting first thing in the morning. Most state’s polls open at 7 am, leaving you with enough time to cast your vote and arrive at the office on time.

Take a Mid-morning Coffee Break

Is your office located near a polling station? Take advantage of the convenient location and cast your ballot during the workday – with your employers' approval, of course. Mid-morning voting may lead to shortened wait times.

Lunch Break

If you work in an industry that needs you on-site all day, utilize your lunch break to head the polls. Pro tip: make sure you pack a lunch!

Afternoon Break

Beat afternoon mental fog with a visit to the closest polling station. Breaking up the afternoon may boost productivity and will certainly help your voice be heard in this election.

After Work

If you have a jam-packed work schedule, consider voting after work. Poll hours vary by state and some by county. Research the hours of your local polls and commit to a time that best suits your schedule.

A large factor for finding time to vote on Tuesday, November 6 is to understand where the closest polling locations are to you. Use this website to locate nearby places. Do you pass a polling location on your way to work? It may make sense to wake up early and vote. Is the location the opposite way of afternoon traffic? Consider skipping the traffic and vote after work.

We hope you find time in your schedules to let your voice be heard this election!


Posted on November 6, 2018 and filed under Community.

Email Etiquette For Career Success

adult-business-businessman-1061588.jpg

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

access-blond-hair-desk-1251824.jpg

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.

Is It OK To Lie On Your Resume?

adult-brainstorming-business-935977.jpg

Job hunters know the weight a resume has to help land your dream job. Your resume is the first impression interviewers have of you – it can make or break your chance with a company. With increasing competition on the job market, it’s tempting to stretch the truth or lie on your resume to make your experience or skill set seem more impressive than it actually is. But is that ever ok?

Honesty is the Best Policy

Our team of career coaching experts insists honesty is ALWAYS the best policy, especially on your resume. Your resume may land you the job interview but if you fibbed about your skill set or experience, it won’t take long for the hiring manager to see the truth. Broken trust dooms the relationship from the start.

Let’s say your resume says you’re proficient in Microsoft Excel – great, that’s a skillset a prospective company really needs. You’re hired and your first assignment is to create an automated Excel sheet for reporting purposes. You don’t know where to begin because you fibbed on your resume – you are more of an Excel novice. What do you do? That’s not how you want to start a new job!

What To Do Instead of Lying On Your Resume

Exaggerating on your resume may seem attractive, especially when changing careers in a competitive job market. But it’s just not worth it. Be upfront and honest with the hiring manager about all aspects of your resume and your career goals. Aim for a strong resume that brings out your strengths and aligns with what the employer is looking for.

Leveraging A Career Coach To Showcase Your Value

At The Wilbanks Consulting Group, we work with individuals who are changing careers, have employment gaps, and other tricky situations to approach from a resume perspective. We can position your resume to bring out not only your best experiences but also the soft skills you’d like to develop further. If you need guidance on navigating the resume road, we are here to connect.

Posted on October 17, 2018 and filed under Resume.

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

design-desk-display-313690.jpg

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

accomplishment-celebrate-ceremony-267885.jpg

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

Create a Linkedin Account

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

Utilize Office Hours

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

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

Get Tangible Experience

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

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

Consider Your Personality & Strengths

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

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


Tips For Handling A Lunch Interview

adult-beard-blur-573562.jpg

Lunch interviews, while a routine part of the hiring process in many organizations, can be quite nerve-wracking. But remember, lunch interviews are a good thing – it means the interviewer wants to spend more time with you and get a better sense of your personality. However, it’s incredibly important to remain professional and avoid handling this interaction like it’s a casual lunch. It’s still an interview and your overall behavior will be considered when it comes to a hiring decision.

If you have a lunch interview coming up, don’t stress! Here’s a list of the top tips for handling a lunch interview like a pro.

Arrive Early & Prepared

Before the day of the interview, research the restaurant and its location. Is parking nearby? Will there be traffic? What type of food is on the menu? If it’s feasible, drive there beforehand so you know exactly where it is. Ease your interview jitters by knowing exactly what to expect. Aim to be at the restaurant about 5 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Come prepared with everything you would bring to an office interview including your resume, work samples, references, and recommendations. You may not have the chance to present them, but you can hand them to the interviewer after the lunch.

Mind Your Manners

Your interviewer will take note of the way you treat and interact with everyone at the restaurant. After all, they brought you on a lunch interview to get a better sense of your personality. Be kind, courteous, and respectful to all restaurant staff including the hostesses, servers, and bussers. If you’re interviewing for a customer service or client-facing role, this is especially crucial.

Order Your Meal Strategically

Yes, you are meeting over lunch, but we suggest eating beforehand and ordering a small dish during the interview. You’ll be talking a lot and don’t want to be distracted by an empty stomach. Avoid finger foods and anything that’s hard to eat. Even fish can sometimes have small bones in it – you don’t want to be picking food out of your teeth while you’re explaining why you’re great for the job!

Pro Tip: let the interviewer order first and choose something similar.

Offer to Pay

If your lunch interview is one-on-one, offer to pick up the check. This shows politeness and courtesy. If this isn’t feasible for you, do not worry, the interviewer will likely insist on paying since they invited you. But if you offer to pay, you must be ready and willing to pay. It would look even worse if you offered and then backed out.

Bottom line: While not required, offering to pay is a polite gesture and will go a long way to making a great impression.

Do you want more interview guidance? Our team at Wilbanks Consulting Group offers a variety of professional services to highlight your individual strengths and help you shine in interviews. Get in touch with us to learn more.

Posted on September 25, 2018 and filed under Interviewing.