Tag Archives: career

Five Tips for Your Career Future

habits_better_leader_webIn his 2010 New York Times Bestseller, “Linchpin,” Seth Godin proposes that the future of work will look dramatically different. He uses the term linchpin to describe the type of workers who will be needed and thrive as the workforce and businesses adjust to new technologies and trends.

“Linchpins are the essential building blocks of tomorrow’s high-value organizations. They don’t bring capital or expensive machinery, nor do they blindly follow instructions and merely contribute labor,” Godin says. “Linchpins are indispensable, the driving force of our future.”

With that in mind, it’s important that every worker consider the goals they want for their career.

Think About What You Want

As you sit down and begin to think about your future, what is the first thought that comes to mind? Is it owning your own business or becoming a leader in the company where you work right now? Maybe it involves making a hobby your full-time job.

All of these are great starting points for picking out the place you want to be, and taking the steps to get there. Don’t let questions about how you’ll get there enter your thought process just yet. Think big and audaciously right now, then you can move on to the next step.

Research

Now that you have an idea for where you want to be in your career, it’s time to do your due diligence and research what it will take for you to reach your goal.

If the future you see for your career involves a leadership role, find out the steps you need to take to make yourself a candidate for that position. Are there projects or tasks that you can take the lead on right now that will demonstrate your ability to lead? Spend time reading leadership books from authors like John Maxwell, Ken Blanchard, and the previously mentioned Seth Godin.

Research will be the solid foundation upon which you build the career you envision for yourself.

Ask Around

While in your research phase, it’s important to spend time talking with friends, mentors, and anyone else you think can offer insight and advice as you work toward your future goal. Ask them to be honest about the struggles you may face so you will be prepared to take the next steps.

If your future career is going to take you into business ownership or a new industry, seek out people who have experience as an entrepreneur or who are currently in the field where you want to work. Their value to your success is beyond measure, so be patient with their schedules, but persistent and learn what they have to share.

Keep Learning

You’ve done the research and spent time with people who can offer wisdom and insight into the career future you want to achieve, now it’s time to keep learning. The saying “knowledge is power” is absolutely true, so now is not the time to stop learning everything you can to set yourself up for success.

This could involve more reading and discussions with experts, but it could also mean more education like taking classes or earning certifications.

If you’re thinking about transitioning into a new industry or advancing in your current profession, then courses and certifications are a great resource. Plus, many can be done completely online and at a relatively low cost.

The website Coursera.org offers online classes from top universities in a variety of topics, from business to computer science to learning a new language. Maybe you’d like to learn about coding, a skill that is becoming more and more valuable as businesses look for people with advanced computer skills. Sites like CodeAcademy, Udemy and Code Avengers offer free classes to learn how to code and build websites and apps.

Take the Step

Something you may not realize when you get to this point in the process is that you’ve already taken several steps in the right direction.

You may feel nervous or anxious about fully committing to the future you see for your career, but if you follow these steps, you’ll be 80% of the way complete. You’ve identified your goal, done your research, reached out to those who have the knowledge and insight you need, and continued or began learning the skills to be successful.

The next step is to fully commit to your future, to believe you have what it takes to achieve your goal.

What other tips would you offer to someone who’s thinking about their career’s future? Share them in the comments section below.

3 Things That Could Hold Your Career Back

Professional CrossroadsAt some point in time, you may feel stuck in your career or job search, and you’re not alone. While many experience this in their professional lives, knowing what’s holding your career back is key to helping you move forward on your desired career path. Below, you’ll find three common things that could be holding your career back and how to work through them.

1. Out-of-date skills
One thing that may be holding back your career is your skills—or lack thereof. If you’ve been stuck in the same position for too long, it might be time to evaluate your skill set and see if there’s room for improvement. Ask your employer if they know of any training or professional development opportunities. When your skills are up to date, your chances of landing a new or different job increase.

2. Fear of change
The thought of a new job can cause anyone anxiety, but it shouldn’t keep you from advancing your career. Remember the words of hockey great, Wayne Gretzky, who once said, “You’ll miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Getting out of your comfort zone can open new doors, allow you to see new opportunities, and help you move forward when you feel stuck. A fear of change can hold your career back, but often, change can be positive if you only take the chance. It’s all about perspective.

3. Waiting for your dream job
According to an article on TheMuse.com, “studies have shown that in the realm of jobs, people who spent too much time imagining their dream jobs were actually shooting themselves in the foot.” The thought behind this is that these people focused too much of their time imagining the big picture of their future without focusing on what it would take to get there. And, while you shouldn’t give up on your dream job, it’s important to have a real-world plan to achieve it.

How do you make sure you don’t get stuck in a career rut? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

The Results Are In: How Do You Beat the Career Competition?

statistics 3When it comes to finding work, you’re most likely not the only one trying to land the job you have your eyes on. In fact, the career competition can be pretty tough. Since there are many ways you can set yourself apart from other job seekers, we recently asked what steps you take to beat the competition.

The Results
The overwhelming majority of respondents (35%) selected the option “research the company,” followed by 17% who chose “follow-up after interview.” Another 15% of readers “keep an updated resume,” 14% “possess a strong set of references,” and 14% “rehearse interview scenarios.”

An additional 8% of respondents selected the “Other” option and provided the following answers:

  • Eye contact during the interview
  • Project a sense of teamwork
  • Maintain active communication
  • Target the cover letter
  • Build comradery and show interest
  • Talk about how you will add to their return on investment

Adjust Your Game Plan
If you’re one of the 35% of job seekers who research the company before an interview, that’s great. But, what about that other 14% who rehearse interview scenarios? They may be one step ahead of you, and it could cost you the job. Consider taking additional steps, like sending a thank-you note or updating your resume, to ensure you’re doing all you can to stay ahead of the career competition.

What other ways do you beat the competition? Share your tips in the comments section below!

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

Poll: What’s Holding Your Career Back?

MOV_POLL-ICONAt some point in your professional life, you may feel like you’re stuck in a rut, held back by something that keeps you from advancing or moving on to a new role. While many people experience this, these career path obstacles are different for everyone, and we want to know your thoughts! Tell us what’s holding your career back by voting in our poll.

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

Making a Career Out of Giving Back

giving_back_makes_you_more_employable_webHow great would it be to blend your work life with a purpose you’re passionate about? The good news is, you can when you make a career out of giving back by joining the nonprofit workforce. Still, it takes more than good intentions to make a career, so we’ve laid out a few tips to help you get started on your nonprofit career hunt.

Lay out your career roadmap
Start with causes you’re passionate about, and think specifically about how you could fit into a role in that world. Like any job, you still have to be qualified to perform the tasks at hand. So, be sure to do a self-assessment to better understand how your skills and qualifications line up with the job you’re seeking. Once you know the areas you need to improve in, start working on those through volunteer work, online training, etc.

Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer
The best way to get moving on a career path toward nonprofit work is to volunteer with a nonprofit in a field you’re passionate about. This is a great way to establish your presence, network, and get to know potential employers. It’s also a great way to build experience in the sector you’re interested in while getting to know the organization better.

The job hunt
As you prepare your resume for potential nonprofit employers, be sure to highlight the volunteer experience you have. Then, start your search! If you aren’t sure where to begin, try one (or all) of the job search sites below. All are free to use.

What are some nonprofit causes you’re interested in? Let us know in the comment section below!

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

What Giving Back Can Do for Your Career

Colors hands upVolunteering is a rewarding way to make a positive difference in the lives of others. And, the benefits of giving back are countless. The fact is giving back not only affects your community, but your professional life, as well. From enhancing your resume to establishing new connections to growing leadership skills and more, take a look at what giving back can do for your career.

Networking Opportunities
Volunteering brings you into contact with people you may have never crossed paths with otherwise. Thus, the opportunity to build your professional network is an important benefit of giving back. You will be working with people who are interested in the same causes as you. When you make connections like that, the relationships you build are likely to last longer and lead to job opportunities. Someone you meet volunteering could become your co-worker, boss, or mentor.

Leadership and Other Skills
You can gain invaluable experience through volunteering. First and foremost, you can develop leadership skills if you give your talents to the board of an organization. You can also become a better leader by heading up one of the volunteer projects in your community. Finding an opportunity to lead in these instances is a great transferable skill for the workplace.
Additionally, giving back to your community can help you work on skills like time management, communication, confidence, and teamwork, to name a few.

Better Job Performance
Experts at Glassdoor.com suggest that employees who spend time giving back to their communities often feel more fulfilled. Making a positive difference in someone’s life can help you feel content and translate into your work life, where you’re bound to also be more productive. Just be sure to choose a cause that you’re passionate about.

Resume Building
Aside from the skills you’ll get from volunteering, you can build your resume through giving back. One way to do that is to find a skills-based volunteer opportunity where you can use your expertise to make a difference. You can then include that experience on your resume, highlighting how it’s relevant to your career goals. Check out sites like Catchafire.com to get started.

More Attractive to Employers
All things considered, volunteering simply makes you more attractive to employers. Be sure to include it on your social networking sites, resume, or anywhere else a potential hiring manager might come across it. According to Forbes.com, “Employers like to hire people who can demonstrate they’re motivated and hard-working, even if they haven’t been getting paid for their efforts.”

How do you give back to your community? Let us know in the comment section below.

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

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.