Tag Archives: Express

Is Your Job Search Too Broad?

Looking for a new job can be a time-consuming task, full of twists and turns along the way. To better help you search for a job, some advice is to focus on niches that interest you. This will help you narrow your search and dedicate more time to finding the right job for your skills.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, many industries have seen an increase in employment. So, you might want to see if any of these areas are of interest to you!

  • Employment in computer systems and related services increased by 8,000 in October. Overall since June of 2009, this niche has seen an employment increase by 53,000
  • Professions in health care increased by 24,000 jobs in October.
  • Employment in retail saw an October increase of 28,000, particularly among automobile dealers, which increased by more than 6,000 and electronics and appliance stores which increased by over 5,000.
  • Employment in manufacturing and construction is holding steady. 

As you continue with your job search or begin to embark on a job hop, be sure you have a focus. Here a few tips to help you make yourself more marketable to the industry you’re wanting to work in.

  • Tailor your résumé to the industry. If there are specific skills you have that would be a great fit for a niche job, list them on your résumé.
  • Get to know people. Sometimes getting a job depends not on what you know, but who you know. Try to get plugged into networking meetings where you could make new contacts to help get your foot in the door.
  • Utilize the internet. In addition to sites like Monster and CareerBuilder, also check out online niche job boards to locate jobs through specific search criteria. Here is an example of a website to check out for identifying niche markets.

Knowing which job industries are hiring and what you have a passion for doing can have a great impact on your job search success. When you narrow down what you’re looking for, your job hunt tactics can become more direct, helping you to better hit the bull’s-eye and find the right job for you. 

I Got a Promotion! Now What Should I Do?

EntryLevelLifeButton_C All your hard work has paid off. Your manager has noticed your attention to details, skills, and abilities. You are being promoted and will receive a pay raise and a new job title. Sounds good, right? Congratulations are in order, but if you are concerned about what your new promotion entails, here is some advice to help ease into the transition of your new job role.

Maintain open communication. Anytime you take on more work responsibilities, it’s natural to have some questions about your new role or need some guidance. In most situations, managers will give you time to get adjusted to the changes. To help ensure that you don’t fall behind on tasks, be sure to talk with your manager about things you don’t understand, prioritizing tasks, how you’re feeling about your new advancement, and the progress you’re making. Keeping the lines of communication open is important.

Set goals. In order to get where you want to go, you first have to know how to get there. This applies to your daily workload. When you take on more responsibility, more work naturally follows. Make an outline of your goals for the year, quarter, or month. What do you want to achieve in your new role? Talk with your manager regarding what your objectives are and what it is you want and need to accomplish. This is a way for you to track your success over time. It also allows you to quickly report on your progress to your team and managers. And, don’t forget to outline your goals for the week to help give you direction and manage your time.

Develop your skills. Although you have received a promotion, this doesn’t mean your career stops here – unless you want it to. When you get a promotion, it’s usually because a manager has recognized your outstanding work ethic. Continue this momentum after your promotion. Seek out new training and learning opportunities to grow your skills and gain more knowledge. Remember, “Knowledge is power – the more you learn, the farther you go!”  Some examples of ways to develop your skills include: reading blogs about your field of interest, subscribing to newsletters, attending monthly networking meetings or training seminars, or taking a class at a local vo-tech or college. Just be sure to discuss your training plan with your manager first. By staying motivated and driven, more opportunities are likely to come your way in the future.

These are some basic tips to help you continue to climb the career ladder. A promotion is usually a great sign that your employer respects and values your work and abilities. Whether you just received a promotion or one is in the future, use this information to help you reach the top.

What’s the Worst that Can Happen? Saying No to Projects

EntryLevelLifeButton_C You agreed to lead staff meeting this morning. It’s your day to go on a lunch run for everyone. You have a conference call with a client right after lunch. You have three back-to-back meetings from 2:30 to 4 p.m. You agreed to help distribute the office mail. And, to top it all off, you’re working the weekend shift to help out a co-worker who’s sick. Just the thought of all you have to do is overwhelming. It’s not a bad thing to want to be a “super employee,” but when you try to take on everything by yourself, you quickly start to feel like you have too much to do and not enough time to get it all done.  If this sounds familiar, you could be overcommitted at work.

Juggling tasks and demands is a big part of any job in any workplace, and the art of time management is an important skill to have as an employee. But, when you get bombarded with projects, how many times do you agree to do something else when you’re already maxed for time? To effectively manage your workday, you have to learn the art of saying one little word: “no.” Although “no” can be a scary word to say, it’s much worse to over promise and under deliver. The art of saying “no” is all about how you approach it and how you say it. Here are some tips on how to make your “no” effective when you can’t say “yes” to everything.

Track your project workload. Always know what projects you’re working on, when they’re due, and how much time you’re spending on them. This keeps you aware of what projects you have already said yes to and whether or not you can take on anything else. If your boss wants to assign you four new projects with an immediate deadline by maintaining a project list you can show him whether or not that can be accomplished with your current workload. If it’s not, ask if you can work out a new project deadline so you can have the necessary time to make the project the best it can be, rather than doing something quickly and filled with errors.

Know your job priorities. What key tasks are you responsible for in your current job? In your job description, what goals were outlined for your career? Those goals and projects are usually your main focus. But, you will have times where you do need to help out a co-worker with some of their tasks or take on a special project that has nothing to do with your job. It’s never OK to use the excuse of “that’s not part of my job.” A team does have to give and take, but if special projects are taking over your work schedule and you’re not able to complete your core tasks, something needs to give. For instance, if a manager asks you to pick up their dry cleaning, it might be time to have a chat with your boss about what projects you can gracefully decline. If someone other than your manager asks you to take on a project, tell them, “thank you, but I will have to check with my manager before I know whether or not I can do this project.” If you don't know what the priorities are for your job, check out the Tough Conversations podcast series to learn how to approach your manager.  

Maintain your ethics. In the workplace, not everything you do is going to get you ahead of the game. Never under any circumstances should you do anything that compromises your integrity. For example, if a co-worker asks you to lie to your manager to cover up a mistake she made, that definitely justifies saying “no.” Sometimes saying “no” may make you the unpopular person, but it’s better than jeopardizing your values and losing your job. Don’t let individuals bully you into saying “yes” to something that’s against company policy or makes you feel uncomfortable. If someone asks you to do something questionable or illegal, tell them “no” and explain that you feel uncomfortable with that. If you continue to be asked to perform that task, contact your HR department.

Keep things relevant. Obviously if you don’t know how to do something, don’t just agree to take it on. If you find yourself in the situation of not knowing how to complete a project because you don’t have the skills, let your manager know your concerns. It’s better to decline the project rather than try to take it on and hurt your career in the process. Most managers and co-workers would be appreciative and understanding of what you can and cannot do. Instead, they should look at that as a learning process for you under the guidance of someone more experienced. In the event that this happens to you, explain that you would like to take on the project, but do not have the necessary skills to complete it. You could also let them know you’re interested in learning how to do that particular job, but you would feel comfortable with some training or supervision first. 

“No” doesn’t have to be a bad word, as long as you can logically show why that is the best answer in a situation. Just keep in mind that as you continue to grow and develop in your profession, you will be expected to take on more duties. As your schedule gets busier and your projects increase, be sure you’re in control of your projects and your workday so they don’t control you. Follow these basic tips to empower you to say “no” when necessary.

Getting to Know the C Suite – Advice for Dealing with Upper Management and Executives

EntryLevelLifeButton_E When you think of working with upper management or executives in your company, does it make you feel slightly nervous or make your heart start to beat fast because they hold so much power over your career? When you get into the work world, there will be times when you have to interact with executives on projects. So, make the most of the opportunities to impress your company’s management with these tips.

Be respectful of executives and their time.
When it’s time for you to meet with the vice president of marketing or the director of operations, be sure you are prepared for the meeting. People who work in upper level positions have a lot to focus on and a lot of meetings to attend. So, don’t waste their time. If the leader requests the meeting, ask in advance about what you need to bring. Be sure to research your topic of discussion, identify key talking points, and prepare a PowerPoint, Excel spreadsheet, graph, or document for the meeting as needed. Prepare questions you need answers to. Make it a point to be over prepared and have more knowledge about the meeting than you plan to use. And, always thank them for their time at the beginning and end of each meeting.

Reserve time on their schedule.
As mentioned above, managers and executives are busy. Be sure to reserve the appropriate amount of time on their calendar for your meeting with them. You may need to coordinate with an administrative assistant. If so, be sure to go through the right channels to book the correct time and space needed to meet. You can’t just walk into an executive’s office whenever you want to meet. To get their full attention and ensure uninterrupted time, be sure they receive and accept a meeting request. You may also want to follow-up with their assistant on the day of the meeting to make sure they are on schedule. Be flexible with your time when dealing with executives because something might happen prior to your meeting that requires you to reschedule with them for a later time.

Know how to address them. 
Do you address executives formally as Mr., Mrs., or Miss, or do you call them by their first name? This is something that may differ across the board depending on your company’s culture. At times, you might have an executive who is really personable and likes to joke around with everyone. But, if you address them informally, it could be offensive to them. You might have a Generation X manager who is more laid back and wouldn’t ever dream of anyone addressing them with a formal title. To be on the safe side, always address executives formally on the first meeting. From there, they can let you know a little more about their personality and specifically how to approach them in the future. After your meeting with them, if you’re still not sure how to address them, follow the lead of those around you, and when in doubt, be more formal. 

Always be honest and act with integrity.
When you’re in a meeting with upper management or executives, always be honest about what you know and don’t know. If, for example, someone unexpectedly asks you to report on the specifics of a project or how much something will cost and you don’t know the answer, don’t try to make something up to look good. Be up front and honest and let them know you don’t have the answer for them, but that you will research it and get back to them quickly. In most cases, they will respect you for your candor. Either way, it’s better to be honest than to fudge the truth and get found out later. 

Know your next plan of action when you leave the meeting.
Before the meeting is over, make sure you are aware of the next steps you need to take to complete a project. Know your key action items and any upcoming deadlines. If you are not clear about something, ask for clarification before the meeting is over. If you have any questions, be sure to ask. Sometimes you might be fearful of asking an executive a question because you’re afraid of what they will think of you. But, by speaking up and asking thoughtful questions, you’re letting them know you want to do a good job.

It’s important to realize that although those in upper management and executive positions hold some significant power within the company, they are still people too. There’s no reason to get worried about interacting with them. If you do get the opportunity, it is a sign that your employer trusts you and respects your work, and it’s an opportunity to learn from the very best in your organization.

Meeting Myths Revealed: Common Mistakes to Avoid

EntryLevelLifeButton_C Meetings are a common occurrence in the workplace. And, they are usually looked upon with the same excitement as a visit to the dentist. If the mention of a meeting makes you cringe or scream out of boredom, you’re not alone. Whatever your thoughts are about meetings, throughout your working career you will definitely sit in or lead your fair share of meetings. But, meetings don’t have to be boring or unproductive. When it’s your turn to lead your next department or team meeting, keep these common mistakes in mind and make sure you do the opposite to save your co-workers from another painfully bad and unproductive meeting wasting their time.  

I don’t need an agenda for every meeting. Don’t bother with an agenda if you want to have an infective meeting that doesn’t stay on track. But, if you want a good meeting, having an agenda is a must. In order to get where you want to go, you have to know where you’re going. Come to the meeting prepared with how it’s going to flow and what topics need to be discussed by the team. This will help keep the meeting focused, give it direction, and help it begin and end on time.

It’s not necessary to schedule a meeting on the calendar. Your co-workers will just remember that you want to meet with them in two weeks, won’t they? Wrong. It’s important that you use Outlook or software your company uses to book your next meeting on every attendee’s calendar. If you just send attendees an e-mail alerting them of the meeting, there’s a good chance it will get lost in their inbox and never added to a calendar. This means you might have co-workers forget to attend the meeting. Always be sure to get the meeting on their calendar so that they can be reminded of it. 

The meeting room is always available. Don’t assume there will be a space available for you and your team when it comes time to meet. When you’re creating the meeting and inviting attendees, be sure to check for conference room availability. Go ahead and reserve that room for the correct day and time. Include yourself as the contact person in case any questions or conflicts arise.

The attendees know what the meeting topic’s about. It’s important to remember that people can’t read your mind, so they don’t know what you’re thinking. No one likes to attend a meeting where they don’t know what will be discussed. When scheduling your meeting and creating the invitation for your co-workers, let them know in advance what the focus of the meeting will be. Also, let them know if they need to bring anything specific to the meeting or if they have a specific task to perform at the meeting or beforehand.

Everyone has to be in attendance. You’ve probably heard the phrase, “the more the merrier,” but in meeting situations this is not always true. When you have too many people attending a meeting it can turn into a nightmare to manage. When you schedule a meeting, keep in mind that not everyone has to or needs to attend. Only invite those individuals who absolutely need to be involved in the discussion. This will help you get the greatest outcome out of your meeting time and your co-workers will appreciate you for valuing their time.

It’s OK to start the meeting a few minutes late. What’s just a few minutes going to matter? Just know that those minutes are valuable. When you’re leading a meeting, always start on time. When someone sets a meeting, it’s important to show up and start on time – not five or 10 minutes late. When meetings don’t start when they’re supposed to, they usually don’t end when they should either. Time is a precious tool for many these days, and there is usually not a lot to spare for late meetings.

Meetings don’t have to be horrible. You can break the “awful meeting” mentality by being great at leading your meetings. Remember, you don’t have to lead a meeting because your boss has always led them a certain way. Everyone leads differently, but follow these tips along with the 5 Ws of Successful Meeting Management to showcase your great leadership abilities and be the meeting manager your workplace can’t live without.