Tag Archives: advancement

Certifications to Boost Your Resume

Trying to get a leg up on the career ladder is challenging no matter your experience level, and with competition around every corner, making your resume stand out above the rest can prove difficult. One way to give your skill set a boost, as well as your resume, is to earn certifications relevant to your career field. To help determine what certifications might be right for you, here are a list of popular certifications organized by career field.

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Give Your Career a Makeover

CareerMakeoverThere may be times in your professional life that you become frustrated and feel like you aren’t quite getting where you’d like to be. If you ever reach that point, it may be time to give your career a makeover. From defining your personal vision to evaluating your strengths and weaknesses, check out these tips to help you revamp your career and keep pursuing the professional path you desire.

Identify your strengths and weaknesses.
When undergoing a career makeover, you must be able to pinpoint the areas where you excel and those in which you could improve. Ask yourself questions like, “What things do I avoid because I lack the confidence to do them?” or “What am I best at?” Defining these areas will help guide you toward job prospects that are appropriate for you, and give you the opportunity to hone those skills that aren’t quite top notch.

Define your vision statement.
Without knowing where you want to go, it’s hard to outline the steps it will take to get there. Be honest with yourself about what you desire from your career. Think about what you want in terms of job role and industry, work-life balance, etc. Where do you aspire to be in the next five to 10 years? Then, once you have a vision in your mind, get it down on paper. Check it often to make sure you’re staying on track toward your desired career.

Enlist a mentor.
Once you’ve identified where you want to go with your career, find an experienced professional in that field. A mentor will be able to give you positive guidance through your makeover process and beyond. Just remember, mentoring is a major commitment for everyone involved. Be respectful of your mentor’s time and come prepared with questions and topics to discuss when you meet. When your mentor understands your goals, they can better direct you through the process.  For tips on finding the right mentor, check out this article.

Reinforce your personal brand.
Another tip to consider is rebranding. Your audience—a potential employer—needs to know what you’re good at. Get started on this by updating your LinkedIn profile with applicable skills and follow relevant groups. Most importantly, make sure your online social media presence, whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, or some other site, is reflective of your recent career makeover.

Take it one step at a time.
A career makeover can sound overwhelming. Once you’ve identified where you want to be versus where you are now, you can establish goals to help you move along that path. Just remember that building your dream career won’t happen overnight and it’s best to take things one day at a time. Be intentional in getting things done, but don’t put so much on your plate that you become discouraged.

What other tips would you suggest for a career makeover? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Poll: What Is the Key Factor That Contributes to Your Job Satisfaction?

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollThe beginning of a new year is a great time to renew your focus on important goals, whether they are personal or professional. From losing weight to saving money, many people will create resolutions and develop plans to stick with them this year. Now that 2016 has begun, your job search efforts may be a renewed priority and you may find yourself applying to more jobs and landing more interviews.

If you plan to focus on your job search this year, it’s important to recognize and understand the factors that contribute to your job satisfaction so you know the job you’re trying to get is the right one for you. We want to know what those key factors are in your life.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Why Do People Reject Job Offers?

12-21 Job Offer2If you’ve been in a job search for a long time, it may seem incomprehensible that someone could reject a job offer. After perfecting your resume, crafting a cover letter, gathering your references, applying, preparing for an interview, interviewing, following up, and waiting to hear from your interviewer, it seems like a job offer would be a fantastic reward, right? Not always.

In fact, Express Employment Professionals recently released a new survey that reveals why applicants turn down job offers and why workers leave the jobs they have.

Respondents were asked, “What hurdles stop you from staying on a job?,” and the top answer was pay with 61% of votes. Also selected were schedule (42%), hours (41%), and advancement/opportunity (28%). Take a look at the graphic below for the full poll results.

chart

Would any of these factors stop you from taking a job? Have you turned down an offer due to one of these, or other, reasons? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

St. Patrick’s Day: Lucky Breaks in the Workplace

st_patricks_day_lucky_breaks_webDo you ever feel like some people are just lucky, especially when it comes to their professional life? Somehow they get all the attention and wind up getting promoted, all the while you faithfully show up every day, do what’s asked of you, and are still in the same position you started out in. It’s understandable why you may feel unlucky, but the reality is that the professional world doesn’t work that way. An article from the Huffington Post lays it out like this: “While many employees do fine work, exceeding expectations in one’s day-to-day activities is not enough to get ahead. Rather, those who capture promotions are driven internally to strive for more.”

However, when you’re in the trenches, it’s easy to assume that someone else’s promotion was for less admirable reasons. “She managed to land the hot projects and got all the glory.” “He only got his promotion because he’s friends with the boss.” “She was always given the leadership roles.”  But, there may be more to the story than these natural assumptions, and chances are the promotion probably had nothing to do with luck.

Landed the Hot Projects
Maybe she did get handed some of the high-profile projects, but you need to ask yourself “why?” Most likely she acted and worked in a way that caused her manager to trust her with bigger and bigger tasks. So, you need to do that too. A Chicago Tribune article recommends anyone desiring a future promotion to “Show initiative by volunteering for projects, either within your department, on a cross-functional team, or a temporary job detail. Project work will give you an opportunity to gain more experience, showcase your skills to a broader group, expand your network, and gain even greater name recognition.” Sometimes it really is as simple as asking for projects and showing you’re a dependable, solutions-focused, hard worker.

Buddies With The Boss
Having a close relationship with top-level executives and learning from your boss can legitimately play a role in getting promoted. Generally, people recommend people they like, even if it gets labeled as “office politics.” “Much of what is dismissed as ‘politics’ is simply part of the job description – being a good communicator,” Forbes explains. “Being visible. Being helpful. Building relationships. You can’t be a leader without doing those things.”  The Chicago Tribune suggests getting a mentor because that person “can also be instrumental in spreading positive press by championing your skills, talents, and abilities throughout the organization to the right people.”

Always The Team Leader
Once again, she was handed leadership roles in projects and within the team for a reason. Attitude, track record, dependability, passion, and drive all factor into whether or not a manager trusts you enough to give you a chance at leadership. And usually that leadership role will start out small, and then as you prove yourself the roles will grow. As the Forbes article states, “You don’t become a leader by being promoted. You get promoted because you are a leader.” It’s up to you to find a way to prove your leadership ability.

Getting a promotion rarely has anything to do with the luck and everything to do with hard work. “People who are recognized and promoted are those who make an effort and stand out in their organization,” affirms Huffington Post. “They are go-getters who are fearless in taking on a new challenge, and they constantly challenge the status quo.” So your best bet for landing that promotion is to stop wishing on a four-leaf clover and start hustling instead.

How have you worked hard to receive a promotion? Share your stories in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

Be a Leader in Any Role

be_a_leader_in_any_role_webYou don’t need a big corner office or a fancy title to be a leader. You just need the qualities that all leaders possess. Whether you’re a young intern or a top manager, you can hone your leadership skills now and make an impact on your company and your career.

Good leadership is not only vital to a company’s success, but to every individual employee as well. Explaining and understanding what leadership is can be easier said than done, but the good news is that everyone–from the youngest intern to the veteran manager–can learn the essential skills.

How to Develop Your Inner Leader
You don’t have to wait until you’re in the modern workforce to become an effective leader. In fact, the best time to start learning those modern management techniques is before you even go to your first job interview.

Don Betz is president of the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO), and its Leadership Central initiative is designed to provide, deliver, and support leadership enterprises on UCO’s campus. The leadership initiative enhances education through communication training, ethics, collaboration, and more. According to Don, there are some major factors that play into a new hire’s ability to sink or swim when it comes to leadership.

“The most important reason that new hires fail is that they do not listen, they don’t communicate, they aren’t ‘coachable,’ they can’t critically analyze, and they don’t ask the important questions,” said Betz. “Those are basic leadership qualities, and that’s what employers look for.”

Start Early
To learn how to lead even if you don’t hold an executive position at work, volunteer for a nonprofit organization or join a club. These groups, like churches and school organizations, are full of opportunities to lead on committees, projects, or events. They are great starting places for future leaders.

“There are hundreds of organizations on school campuses that can help hone those skills,” said Betz. “In an organization, especially if that organization has a large event, you have to learn to communicate, collaborate, and take on leadership roles. You will be absolutely astounded at what you can learn to do.”

Look for Opportunities
Train your brain to identify every opportunity to demonstrate your potential as a leader in both your professional and personal life.

“Lead by example. Be the first person in and last person out, and hustle harder than everyone else,” said Kyle Golding, CEO and chief strategic idealist for The Golding Group, a strategic planning and business development firm.

Remember not to get ahead of yourself. Don’t give up on big ambitions, but also focus on excelling in your current position, giving as much effort to the present as to the future.

Study Other Leaders
Find people in your office that you admire and study them. Ask them how they developed their leadership style, how they reached their current position, and any tips they can share.

If you are too shy to approach your co-workers or leaders, study the way they interact with others. Or, pick up one of the many books about leadership and give it a read.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re employed or not, you can find examples of great leaders,” Golding said. “Study the way they act, the way they think, and start implementing their ideas. It doesn’t matter if they are in your field or not. All leaders have a style that makes others want to follow them.”

Know Your Stuff
As an intern or a new hire, you can make an immediate impact as a leader by supporting your bosses and the company in reaching goals. The simplest way an intern or a new hire can flex the leadership muscle is by knowing as much about the company as possible.

“Never go in unprepared,” Betz said. “Know your skills, but also study the company and their ideals, values, and goals. Be approachable, be warm, ask the good questions, and demonstrate a good work ethic.”

Keep Learning
Leaders also take the initiative to grow and learn. A good leader has a curious and open mind, and so should you. Leaders think outside of the box, are open to new and exciting ideas, and listen to what others suggest.

You can share those qualities no matter what position you are in. If you want to move up, volunteer to learn something out of your current job description.

“Ask questions, but ask solid questions,” Golding said. “This shows you have an understanding of your role – no matter how small – in the big picture of the company.”

Offer to Help
Needless to say, offering your help is the quickest way to be noticed and appreciated. If your company is facing a challenge, ask how you can help. No matter your role in the company, you can make a real difference.

“Companies look for that special enthusiasm and spark that goes well beyond the resume,” Betz said.

Practicing important qualities of a leader like taking initiative, offering to help, or learning from your superiors will add value to your career and your company. So, take the time to learn these skills and you’ll shine when opportunities for advancement arise.

How do you display leadership skills in your life? Let us know in the comments section below.

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.

The Results Are In: What Is the Key Factor That Contributes to Your Job Satisfaction?

results_job_satisfaction_webNow that 2015 is well underway, many job seekers are focusing on their goal of finding a job this year. As job search efforts increase, it’s important to recognize and understand the key factors that contribute to job satisfaction so you know that the job you’re trying to get is the right one for you. To help determine the factors that go into job satisfaction, we recently polled Movin’ On Up readers and the results are in!

Keys to Job Satisfaction
The most important factor that contributes to job satisfaction, according to 32% of poll respondents, is “engaging or meaningful work.” “Feeling valued” was a close second with 29% of the votes. “Job security” was the most important factor for 11% of respondents, while “compensation” and “room for advancement” received 10% and 7% of the votes, respectively. Only 4% of people considered “company benefits” to be a key factor in their job satisfaction, along with 2% of those who chose “leadership.”

Additionally, 5% of respondents selected the “Other” option in our poll and left responses including:

  • Efficient communication
  • Pleasant atmosphere
  • Co-workers and managers who are nice to work with
  • Good planning, organization, and control
  • Flexibility
  • Acquiring new skills
  • All of the above

What Leaders Think
Interestingly, it seems there may be a disconnect between a company’s decision makers and those trying to secure a job there. On Refresh Leadership, the Express blog for business leaders, we asked the same question and the results were very different. While 26% of leaders agree with job seekers that “engaging or meaningful work” is the most important factor in job satisfaction, that’s where the similarities end. In fact, while only 2% of Movin’ On Up readers said “leadership” was a key factor, 14% of employers chose this answer. Additionally, 19% of employers chose “compensation,” while only 10% of Movin’ On Up readers agreed, and “company benefits” gained 11% of employer votes, but only 4% of job seeker votes.

Your Job Search
Though there does seem to be a divide between what business leaders and job seekers value most when it comes to job satisfaction, you should keep these results in mind when you’re looking for a job. Were you one of the majority of respondents who selected “engaging or meaningful work” as the key factor to your job satisfaction? If so, try to use this as a determining factor in your job search. For example, if you are interviewing with a company, ask the interviewer what he or she enjoys most about their job. Look for ways that the job can inspire you or help you give back to the community. If you chose “leadership” or “room for advancement,” you can inquire about these elements of the job during an interview by asking questions that show your interest in the position. You may even be able to determine some factors, such as compensation and company benefits, through the job posting. While getting a job is a nice start to the year, ensuring that you’ll be satisfied with your work is even better.

How do you plan to use these results to help with your job search? Let us know in the comments section below!

Movin’ On Up is brought to you by Express Employment Professionals.