Career Options

3 Career Tips for New Professionals

startEntering the workplace for the first time is both exciting and a little scary. These mixed emotions are also often felt by experienced workers changing jobs. Whether it’s your first day of work or your first day in a new position, you’ll want to make a good impression and do your best work. Here a few tips to help make the first weeks and months at a new job go smoother.

Be humble. Even if you’re a quick study and your new job seems like a breeze, your new co-workers will like you much more if you come in with a humble attitude. Nothing bothers long-time employees more than being told how to do things by newbies. Wait until you’ve been at your new job a while before handing out advice. Not only will your suggestions be taken more seriously, your insights will most likely be improved by a little on-the-job experience.

Ask questions. As the new person, no one expects you to know everything – so ask as many questions as possible when you’re new. But, make sure you’re not asking the same questions over and over. This indicates you aren’t paying attention to the answers and is a bad move. Also, if you’ve been given training materials, review these first for answers to common questions. Then you may be able to formulate even more complex questions, which is a great way to demonstrate your desire to thoroughly understand your new responsibilities.

Learn from others. Your new co-workers are the best resource for learning the ropes at your new job – even better than supervisors. The reason is that your peers will tell you the unwritten expectations of the job. They also typically have more time and a better understanding of the specifics of your job duties. You can observe those around you to learn about the organization’s culture and values. Additionally, building relationships with your new co-workers will also serve as a foundation for continued success and teamwork.

At some point in your new career you’ll make a few mistakes, but as long as you keep a positive attitude, you’ll learn to fit in at your new job and impress those around you as you grow professionally.

Reinvent Yourself – Developing the New You

Now that you have started your reinvention process and repackaged yourself for your new career, you’re ready to start your journey.

Remember, changing your thought process takes time and practice, but if you can stick with it, the result can be a bright new career. Here are a few tips that will prepare you for some of the obstacles that can send individuals running back to the comfort of their old habits.

Take your time. Reinventing yourself doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to be successful in your transition, go slowly. Test the waters to see if a new career really suits you. For example, if you work in accounting but want to transfer to event planning, try taking a part-time job as an assistant to see if it’s really the exciting job you’ve always dreamed of.

Be prepared. Don’t expect to be an instant pro at your new job. Even if you’re staying in your current position and learning new skills, understand that it’s OK to make mistakes. And, don’t be afraid to ask questions, it is often encouraged. Also, be willing to take a pay cut. Often times, when you’re venturing out on a new career, it may be a lateral move or even a step down at first.

Enjoy the ride. Be proud of your transition. It takes hard work, dedication, strength and courage to get the best results and become the best you. If you want to see a difference in your career, you must change your behavior. Albert Einstein said the definition of insanity is: “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Reinventing yourself and trying something new just might take you on an adventure you never dreamed.

The world is constantly evolving – from the environment to our jobs. If you allow yourself to change with it, you’ll continue to grow and prosper. Focus on the positives of change and keep your goal in mind.

Reinvent Yourself – Repackage Yourself

Yesterday, I talked about starting the process of reinventing yourself for a new career, or rejuvenating yourself in your current job. Today, I want to talk about what to do after you have found your new direction – repackaging yourself.

Even after individuals find their true passion, they still sometimes find it difficult to shed the old image and be perceived by others in a new way. By following these tips, you can showcase the new you to employers, as well as to yourself.

Tweak your résumé. Rewrite your résumé to reflect your new image. Regardless of whether you are venturing out on a new direction or just reigniting your passion in your old job, refreshing your résumé will help you stay focused with who you want to be and the direction you want to go. When updating your résumé, use a functional résumé format. This type of résumé focuses on specific skills you possess, instead of the progression of jobs that a chronological résumé format focuses on. Write your résumé with an emphasis on your new career goal. The point is to make sure potential employers can see who you are now, not who you were.

Change inside and out. If you list on your résumé that you’re an outgoing and innovative salesperson, make sure your appearance reflects the attitude. Dress for the job you want, not the job you have. If you have an outdated hairstyle or are in need of a new wardrobe, search online, peruse through current magazines or contact an image consultant for what’s in style in your particular field of work and region. Improving your outward appearance will project confidence to employers.

Make the connection. You have pinpointed your new career goal. Your résumé is updated, and your looks reflect the inner you. Now, you’re ready to start making connections with prospective employers to boost your current career track. When searching for jobs in your market, try attending job fairs and networking with friends to find out what jobs are out there. This will help you test the waters and get the inside track on companies without having to make a commitment. Staying in your current position? Try scheduling a one-on-one meeting with your boss. You can use this time to inform your boss that you’d love to try some new projects or learn new skills.

Creating a new image can be a tough process, but by following these tips, you can make the transition a positive experience.

Tomorrow, I’ll offer tips that will help you sustain the new you.

Reinvent Yourself – Take the First Step

We recently received a question from a reader inquiring whether or not she wasted her time working in a specific industry for too long. She wants to get into a new field of work but feels as though future employers look at her past employment history and typecast her in to one role. Many workers seeking new direction face this issue. So what’s a job seeker to do? This series will highlight general strategies for reinventing your career self.

Whether you’re new to the workforce, considering a career change, or just trying to stay ahead of the competition, reinventing yourself just might help you land or keep your dream job. Reinvention is simply the process of re-examining yourself, taking what you’ve learned over time, evaluating who you are as a person and committing to a positive course of action. Over the next few days I’ll offer several tips on reinventing yourself and starting a new career!

Go back to the beginning. Take a moment to re-evaluate yourself and reconnect with what gets you excited. Assess yourself. Look at the things that you loved to do as a child. If you have a hard time figuring out your passions, ask your friends or colleagues what they think you excel at, or what they believe your strengths are.

Unite the old with the new. Once you have figured out your passions, match them to the skills and experience that you have gained throughout the years, whether during school, at work or through a hobby. This process will help you determine what jobs and careers will best utilize your strengths. Matching your skills and experience with your passions will show you what career choices are most suitable for you. Even if you want to stay on your current career track, this exercise will help you re-energize and focus on what you like best about your job.

Research your findings. Look at what you’ve learned so far in the process to discover the career path that complements your strengths. Ask questions of other individuals within that field. For example, ask those in your desired field about what they would change about their jobs, the pros and cons and tasks they perform on a day-to-day basis. Their answers will help you get a better understanding of what might be expected of you if you picked that career path. If you’re trying to rejuvenate yourself in your current job, ask yourself or someone in your field or company the same questions. This will help pinpoint what it is that you truly love about your job.

Tomorrow, I’ll discuss tips on how to repackage yourself from updating your résumé to putting yourself in the right position to move into a new career.

Exploring Your Options: 2 Tools for Choosing a Career

If you’ve ever attended college or vocational school, chances are, you had the opportunity to visit with a career or guidance counselor to help you choose the career path that fits your interests, skills, personality and ambition.


In this process, you discover that there are more career paths, opportunities and directions you can go than you’d ever imagined. Career advisers will tell you to look at your hobbies and interests for clues into what you should pursue as a career track. For example, maybe you like to write – you could be a teacher, a journalist, a public relations specialist. Within that career track, you can drill down further to specific jobs like a graduate professor in medieval literature, investigative reporter for an international news agency or a non-profit fundraising manager.


There are a lot of options out there, making it tricky to find the career path that’s right for you. Here are two tools you can use to explore your career options on your own.


1. Research online.
Whether or not you’ve had the opportunity for career counseling, websites like MyPlan.com are a great way to find information on different careers. Lindsey Pollak, author of Getting from College to Career, recommends this one as a great resource.

There, you can sign up for a free account and search over 900 job descriptions. You can also sign up to take a free career values assessment or purchase a full career assessment package. The site also offers salary data and descriptions of college majors along with related careers. They have resources for everyone from middle schoolers to adults looking for a career change.


2. Talk to an expert.

Another great idea when you want information about career options is to talk to someone you know who works in the area you are interested in. If you don’t know anyone, ask around. Chances are, your friends, parents, co-workers or classmates will know someone who works in your desired field. Make an appointment to visit them on the job, or meet someplace for lunch to chat with them openly about what they do, the pros and cons of the career, and what they would recommend for someone wanting to start out in that field. Not only will this give you insightful information, it will help you begin to build your network in the field.


When you’re considering your career options, you’ll make the best choices if you’re informed about all the possibilities. You’ll also increase your chance of finding a job you love by considering all your options.


What have you done to learn about different career options? Have you ever had anyone help you decide for or against a career path?

What Makes a Job Great?

Everyone is motivated by different things. That’s why the perfect job for your best friend or next door neighbor might not be the right job for you.

Have you ever sat down and really evaluated what makes you happiest (or unhappiest) at work? Many people just assume money is the only factor to consider when taking a new job, but in fact, good compensation alone will rarely make people love their jobs.

In order to find a job that’s a perfect fit for your strengths, personality and values, you must first know what you’re looking for. Take a moment to think about what would really provide you the most satisfaction at work.

Television Shapes Our Career Paths

TV and CareersWhen I was young I knew what my parents did for a living. My father was a petroleum geologist and my mother was a teacher. I never grew up thinking that I would follow in their career footsteps. It’s not that I wasn’t proud of what they did. I think a big part of not wanting to follow in their footsteps is that television shaped my future career aspirations. There weren’t any shows about people who found oil and gas reserves and “Welcome Back, Kotter” was my only teacher-influenced television program.

The world of TV got my wheels turning as I thought about my future career path. Through television, I was introduced to more than characters and storylines. I learned about different jobs and that, for the most part, my TV role models had jobs they loved and were passionate about. Here are the top eight TV shows that had a strong effect on my career path:

  • Bewitched – The world of advertising never looked better to me.
  • Happy Days – Mr. Cunningham ran a hardware store and Fonzie had an auto repair shop. I could relate to those jobs since my father took me to the hardware store in his car that was constantly in the shop in the early 1980s.
  • The Brady Bunch – Mike’s study (man cave) was huge, and he made architecture look exciting.
  • Adam-12 and Barney Miller – Law enforcement careers were presented in two very different formats. Regardless, I wanted nothing to do with potentially getting shot.
  • WKRP in Cincinnati – I learned all about the radio: sales, programming, on-air talent, weather and promotions.
  • Emergency! – I got a good look at what goes on in the daily lives of the fire department and hospital work, and everyday life-and-happenings.
  • The Love Boat – I discovered that I could be a captain, doctor, cruise director or bartender and never get sea sick.

That was 30 years ago. Today, children have a much more diverse group of television role models.

  • Bob the Builder introduces kids to the field of construction and teaches them important lessons along the way.
  • SpongeBob Squarepants is the world’s best food-service worker. His boss, Mr. Crabs is an entrepreneurial restaurateur.
  • Hannah Montana is a rock star, and her father is a songwriter and her manager.
    The father on Cory in the House is the personal chef to the president of the United States.
  • Kim Possible’s mom is a brain surgeon and her dad is a rocket scientist.
    Each episode of Higglytown Heroes educates kids on a different career.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody is a comedy about identical twins living at the Tipton Hotel with their single mother who is a lounge singer at the hotel.

Bewitched had the biggest influence on my future career – Darrin Stevens was in advertising. I’m a professional communicator, but my wife is definitely not a witch like Samantha.

Based on what my older daughter watches, she’ll never leave high school since she’s hooked on High School Musical.

I’m more concerned about my four-year old daughter. She has high expectations, and I hope reality sets in soon. When she grows up, she wants to be the yellow Power Ranger, and serve on the Justice League.

Did the TV you watched as a child impact your future career choice? Does it have an impact on your kids?