Career Advancement

The Home Stretch: Six Quick Tips to Finish Strong in 2017

With three-quarters of the year behind us, we’ve officially entered the final stretch of 2017. With 2018 just around the corner, many are feeling the pressure to finish strong. So, whether you’re a jobseeker or a busy employee, it’s important to take an assessment of where you are and what you need to do to meet—and exceed—your end-of-the-year goals.

Whether you’re right on track or falling short of your performance expectations, these six quick tips may help ensure you head into the new year with some positive momentum.

Fine Tune Your Action Plan
Although it’s likely too late to overhaul your annual plan altogether, there are small adjustments that can be made to give an extra boost toward meeting your end of the year goals. Taking a moment to review and revise your strategies before making a final push toward 2018 will help focus your efforts on the activities that will get you there.

Clear the Path
Sometimes the best thing you can do to shed all the clutter that has accumulated throughout the year is to clear a path toward the finish line. From extra projects and conflicts with colleagues or family members to actual files and paper piling up on every available surface around the workplace or home, ridding yourself of distractions lets you think more clearly about reaching and exceeding your goals.

Up the Ante
If you’re lagging behind—or just barely meeting performance goals—sometimes upping the ante is necessary to get a final burst of productivity to finish the year. Whether it’s changing your goal structure or setting “reward milestones” (where you treat yourself to something after a certain goal is achieved), giving yourself an exciting new reward to aim for may be exactly what’s needed.

Take a Breather
If you’ve had a long and challenging year up to this point, it’s likely becoming more difficult to summon the energy needed to stay on track. Before you start the countdown to the final days of 2017, take an opportunity to catch your breath. Whether it’s taking a full vacation or just a long weekend, a little time to recharge the batteries is essential to staying focused and energized for closing out the fourth quarter.

Throw a Hail Mary
If you’ve had a difficult year and it’s clear you are going to fall short of your goals, at this point in the game what do you have to lose by tossing a Hail Mary? Think way outside the box and take a risk on a creative strategy or job application that, if successful, could completely change the momentum and put yourself back on track to squeak out a win.

No matter what your end of the year situation may be, the most important thing is to stay focused. And, even if you fall short of meeting your goals, don’t dwell on it. Instead, use it as an opportunity to learn what didn’t work so you will be better prepared to position yourself for success in the new year.

Poll: Why Can’t You Get a Promotion

Wondering why you can’t seem to get a promotion no matter what you do or achieve? Perhaps it’s a sneaky co-worker that sabotages your efforts, or a jealous boss that won’t let you ascend the professional ladder. Or it could just be that you aren’t yet ready or your company doesn’t have the funds or position available right now.

Whatever the reason, we want to hear about it. Let us know the reason you think you aren’t being promoted.

Let us know by voting in our poll!

 

How Has Work Changed Your Life?

Share your stories with us!

Many jobs provide a whole new work family, a new culture, and a new experience. Work can truly change our lives. We can learn new skills, meet new people, and go to exciting new places.

What about you? Has a job or any step on your career path ever changed your life? Maybe a degree or certification opened new doors, or perhaps you met a mentor in your first job that set you on an entirely different career path. It’s even possible you met your spouse on the job!

If you have a life-changing story to share about your career, let us know in the comments below. Or, if you’d prefer to let your social media friends know, use the hashtag #LifeChanging on Facebook or Twitter. We’re encouraging people across the nation to share their stories, and now we want to hear from you.

Has any step on your career path been #LifeChanging? Let us know in the comments below!

Poll Results: Will You Retire?

A few months ago we held a Movin’ On Up poll asking whether or not retirement was in your future. Only about 23% of those polled said that they planned to retire.

Twenty-nine percent said they can’t afford to retire, while 15% think retirement would be boring. Just fewer than 9% don’t see a reason to retire since they can travel and do what they want while working. Seven percent have heavy debt they have to pay off before retirement even becomes a consideration. Six percent wanted to keep working because they love their jobs, while 3% need to support their children financially. Two percent have to support their parents financially.

Six percent chose the “Other” option, with responses ranging from needing to work part-time or being a workaholic to the desire to start a second career.

So what does all of that data mean? We’re living in a changing employment environment. For a variety of reasons, baby boomers are working longer. This is the new normal. But it can be nice to see that you aren’t alone.

Any other reasons you won’t be retiring any time soon? Let us know in the comments below!

 

Mentoring 101: Finding the Right Fit is Key to Successful Relationships

Mentorships are a time-honored tradition in the workforce. From entry-level recent graduates to mid-career professionals making a move toward the C-suite, there’s an opportunity to take an employee’s training and development to the next level through mentorship relationships.

And the statistics show mentors can have a major impact on not just the mentee’s success, but also on the productivity of a business overall.

According to the 2016 Deloitte Millennial Survey, younger employees intending to stay with their organization more than five years are twice as likely to have a mentor. And, 71 percent of those likely to leave in the next two years are unhappy with how their leadership skills are being developed.

So, there’s little doubt that a strong culture of mentorship is important for building a productive and engaged workforce.

But before you jump headfirst into a mentor relationship with a bright, up-and-coming employee, there are a few considerations you should make to ensure the relationship is productive for everyone involved.

What can you offer vs. what does your mentee need?
First and foremost, is the relationship even a good fit? There’s much more to it than simply pairing a senior leader with a younger employee. Before any official relationship is established, there should be discussions about what the mentee’s goals are and what the mentor is willing and able to provide.

Forcing a poor fit will likely be a waste of time for both parties in the long run. Mentorships are first and foremost a relationship. And if either the mentor or the mentee are not getting what they need out of the arrangement, it’s best to be open and honest about the situation and to help each other find a better fit.

Is the mentee ready to learn?
There’s a saying that success is where preparation and opportunity meet. Even if you sense potential in a young employee, if they are not prepared to take the next step and make a commitment to a mentorship relationship, you shouldn’t try to rush it.

Again, this is where communication about what the mentor and mentee expect to gain out of the relationship plays a major role. If a mentor feels their potential mentee is not ready to fully engage in the process, it may be more beneficial to put the plan on hold until they are.

What can you learn from the mentee?
Mentorships aren’t a one-way street. No matter how experienced a mentor may be, there’s always something new to learn—and those lessons may very well come from their mentee. The best relationships are an exchange of knowledge where both parties benefit from the experience.

A millennial mentee, for example, may be able to teach a baby boomer mentor about the most current trends in social media or other communications technologies. Being blind to rank and open to learning new skills or taking advantage of each other’s unique expertise is key to a mutually beneficial relationship.

Mentorships take many forms and in the end, it’s up to the individuals involved to find the right fit for their development needs. Communication, setting expectations, and a willingness to learn are some of the most important characteristics of any great work relationship, and essential to successfully mentoring the next generation of leaders.

 

National Staffing Employee Week: What Was Your First Job?

All year long, American workers are doing incredible things. Whether you’re a builder, welder, construction worker, office worker, researcher, doctor, lawyer, healthcare worker, social worker, retail salesperson, cashier, receptionist, or any other of the wonderful types of workers in this country, you have the potential to do something great.

At this time every year, from Sept. 18 – 24, the American Staffing Association “celebrates the contributions of millions of individuals across the U.S. employed staffing firms.”  This celebration is known as National Staffing Employee Week.

Since Movin’ On Up is a blog focused on job seekers, we wanted to spotlight workers this week who have had incredible careers that started with one seemingly simple job. For some it was working in the fast food industry, for others it was in a busy office, and still others were construction workers or train operators. But those great jobs led them to the wonderful careers they have now.

We’ll kick things off with Kathy Hefton, Client Marketing Manager of Express Employment Professionals.

“I actually got my first job out of college from a temporary service.  I was placed at a local company as a data entry clerk. It was my first office job, so it built the foundation for the rest of my office career.

I learned the ins and outs of Microsoft Office because of my great supervisor. She encouraged me to seek out training, and made sure that I got it.

In the end, every job I had led to the next one, even though I didn’t always know what that next one was. I learned about computers and spreadsheets in that first office job and used those skills to get another office job. At that second job, I worked closely with hotels and decided that was where my future was. Fast forward 20 years or so, and now I’m at Express.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you don’t always know where your current job will take you. So make sure to excel and learn as much as possible. “

Have a first job story of your own to share? Let us know in the comments below or post on Facebook with the hashtag #MyFirstJob.

 

 

Tell Us About Your First Job!

Whether it was during or after high school, we want to hear about it.

Chances are your first job wasn’t exactly glamorous. You waited tables or sacked groceries. But humble beginnings are necessary for an epic adventure. What’s important is how those jobs led to your current career path. As noted by the Harvard Business Review, “no matter what [first] job you chose today, you build skills and create options for the long-term.”

What did you learn about the working world? About your preferred management style? About yourself?

Perhaps you don’t consider those early jobs as your true “first job.” You may think of your first “adult” job as your first career job—your first professional position or the first job you held in a particular industry.

We want to hear about those early days in your career. That’s why we’re using the hashtag #MyFirstJob on social media. Feel free to let us know about your first job on any social media platforms or right here on Movin’ On Up!

So what was your first job?  Let us know in the comments below!