Tag Archives: mentor

Poll: Do You Have a Mentor?

Job Seeking and Career Advice PollMentors are people who can help you in your career, professional network, and personal growth. The Huffington Post defines mentorship as a “partnership where a ‘mentee’ is assigned to a more experienced ‘mentor,’ who passes on valuable aspects of their own accumulated experience and wisdom for the benefit of the mentee’s personal and professional development.”

In short, it’s an invaluable relationship. And mentors can be of any age, profession, or education level. Since mentorships are so important, we want to know what kind of mentor relationship you have. Let us know by voting in our poll!

Do you think mentorships are important? How do you benefit from your mentor? Let us know in the comments section below.

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

Make Your Move: Life After Graduation

make_your_move_life_after_graduation_webFor many, graduation day is around the corner. While graduating from college or high school can be an intimidating time, there’s hope for recent graduates in the job search. According to a survey by Michigan State University, 97% of employers plan to hire at least one new college graduate this year. While the odds are in your favor, you have to put in the effort to land the job of your dreams. To help you join the workforce, check out these five tips for making your move after graduation.

Know what employers are looking for.
A recent Movin’ On Up article compiled survey results from a variety of institutions who conducted research on the 2015 job outlook for recent college graduates. These results included a look at the job forecast, which revealed that employers plan to hire 9.6% more graduates in the United States than they did in 2014, and lists of the most in-demand college degrees and skills for new hires. Before you start your post-graduation job search, check out the statistics to better understand what employers want.

Use the power of social media.
Whether you’re graduating from high school or college, it’s never too early to create a LinkedIn profile. Even if you don’t have much to add to your profile yet, go ahead and get started on your account so you can use it to network with potential employers and get noticed. Forbes states that only one-third of college students have a LinkedIn profile, so creating one of your own is a quick and easy way to stand out from the competition.

Include any jobs you’ve had, from babysitting to retail, and list the skills you gained from those jobs. Make sure you also list your educational achievements, including any degrees, diplomas, and extra-curricular activities like newspaper or debate club. If you received any awards in school or your community, like volunteer or academic honors, list those too.

It’s important to remember that while employers are primarily searching LinkedIn for potential candidates, they can also find your other social media accounts too. So, keep your Facebook, Twitter, and other public profiles clean and professional at all times.

Get an internship, or volunteer in your community.
According to a study by Millennial Branding, a research firm, 85% of college students believe having an internship is either important or very important for their career. Furthermore, 52% said they hope to have had three or more internships before graduating, and 40% have already completed one internship. Since so many college graduates are looking to internships to gain experience, skills, and networking opportunities, you want to make sure you’re one of them. Try to find companies that are easily recognizable, either in the community or nationally, to help your resume stand out.

In addition to internships, you can also get ahead of the competition by actively volunteering in your community. There are numerous volunteer opportunities to consider, from working at a food pantry to helping build houses for the needy. By volunteering, you not only add valuable skills to your resume, but you also have the opportunity to network with others and do something charitable in the process.

Find a mentor.
We’ve talked about the importance of having a mentor, and the results of Millennial Branding’s survey support our stance. In fact, the survey revealed that 70% of college students have at least one mentor. Among the mentors listed were parents, professors, family, friends, and employers. Having a mentor can help you grow both professionally and personally, and can even help you on your job search. But, finding the right mentor is important to making sure you’re learning all you can. When you’re ready to pick a mentor, check out these five traits of a great mentor first.

Call on your school for help.
If you’re a college student, your school’s career services office can help you with the next step in your job search. Career offices can assist with resumes, cover letters, job interviewers, and more, but Millennial Branding reveals that only 29% of students use these offices. Be part of that group by visiting your school’s office and asking about what resources they can offer. In addition to workforce preparation, many offices also have an alumni database, which can help put you in contact with recent graduates in your field of study. Those graduates have already been in the workforce for a few years and may have tips of the trade you could learn, so take advantage of those resources.

Congratulations to the class of 2015, and good luck with your job search! Remember, even if you’re not a recent graduate, these tips can help you with your job search goals. It’s never too early to get started!

How do you plan to make your move after graduation? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

March Madness: How to Beat the Competition

march_madness_webIf you’re a basketball fan, March is the month for you. March Madness is filled with all your favorite college basketball teams competing to win top bragging rights. It’s a fun time of year, but these teams have put in a lot of hard work to make it to this point. In many ways, March Madness can apply to your job search. Check out these top tips to score a three pointer before the buzzer and beat the competition during your next interview.

1. Have a vision.
What do you want to do in your career? What are your skills and talents? What excites you most about getting up in the morning? Without having a vision for your job search, you won’t know where you are going. Instead of taking a broad approach when it comes to applying for jobs, narrow your search to just those industries and opportunities where you really want to work. Doing so will energize you, make you more productive in the application process, and allow you to speak more directly to why you’re the best for the job.

2. Do your homework.
Before your next interview, make sure you take time to research the company, the position you’ve applied for, and those who will be interviewing you. When you take the time to prepare, you have a wealth of knowledge to use to your advantage. Sadly, job candidates often don’t take the time to do their homework in advance and are ill prepared to answer some of the questions they’re presented, such as talking about what the company does or the duties associated with the job opportunity. Doing a little prep work beforehand automatically gives you an advantage.

3. Condition yourself.
Just like a great athlete, you’ve got to work on your own skills and abilities. In the job search game, your resume is what gets you in the door for an interview. What does your resume currently look like? What does it reflect about you? Before you apply for that next job, update your resume so it’s more targeted to the job. Make sure it shows how your talents match the job. Also, update your cover letter and make sure you always include it with an application. Again, customize this to the job, speaking directly to how you can perform the duties listed in the job description.

4. Find a coach you trust.
In March Madness, coaching is everything. A coach provides direction and leadership to the players, helping them learn where they need to make improvements, make a change, or understand they’ve done a great job. It’s important for you to find a mentor who can do this for you too. Find someone who has experience in your industry of interest and allow them to review your resume and cover letter, conduct a mock interview for you, offer tips and suggestions to ace your big day, etc. No matter what stage you’re at in your career, it’s always important to have a mentor.

5. Be selfless.
It’s not a bad thing to pursue a job opportunity for the impact it can have on your career, income, and overall happiness. But, it’s important those desires don’t overshadow what you can do for a company. Potential employers want to know what you can do for them, not necessarily what they can do for you. They want to ensure you’re not going to be a flight risk, can complete your tasks on time, be a team player, and help advance their business in new ways while finding ways to save money. At your next interview, if you really want to impress the interviewer, let them know how you can add to their team.

These are just a few lessons from March Madness that can help you get a slam dunk in your professional life. Do you have any other suggestions? Let us know in the comments section below!

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

What to Expect From Your Mentorship

what_to_expect_mentorship_webSo, you have a mentor. Whether they’re a personal, business, or school mentor, you’re lucky to now be in a relationship that can help you grow and succeed in your professional and personal life.

Like all relationships, both sides have responsibilities. It’s important to remember that the mentor doesn’t do all the work – you have to put in your own level of effort and time too. Your mentor takes an active role in guiding and helping you, but you also have to let them know about what you want to learn, your challenges, your hopes, and more.

What To Expect From Your Mentor
Let’s talk about what a mentor actually does. A mentor will:

  • Offer encouragement and ongoing support
  • Listen to things that are worrying you and give constructive, unbiased support
  • Share stories and examples of their own failures and victories
  • Provide honest feedback and suggestions
  • Act as a sounding board for ideas and dreams
  • Help with making decisions by offering alternative views based on experience
  • Introduce you to contacts to further your personal and business development

So, that’s what a mentor does. Now, let’s take a look at what a mentor does not do. Your mentor will not:

  • Be your own private counselor or therapist
  • Give you specific business advice, like tax or legal help
  • Provide a free training course
  • Be responsible for the success of your business, schoolwork, etc.
  • Be expected to support you financially

What is Your Role in the Relationship?
Recently, we’ve talked a lot about mentors and how valuable they are. In this type of relationship, you have a role to play as well. So, what is expected from you as a mentee?

A mentee is expected to:

  • Be organized and proactive about asking for advice and sharing needs
  • Come prepared to meetings and arrive on time
  • Follow up with assignments or tasks related to the mentorship
  • Discuss how the mentor can challenge him or her to grow and develop strengths
  • Take constructive criticism in the spirit in which it is given
  • Demonstrate listening skills

Think of mentorships as a friendship. Mentors should genuinely care about how to help you reach your goals or be successful. In turn, your role as a mentee means you make an effort to appreciate the time and care your mentor gives to you.

What are some other responsibilities a mentee has to his or her mentor? Share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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

Be a Mentor at Any Age

be_a_mentor_at_any_age_webDid you ever have a teacher or a friend who – no matter what happened – believed in you and wanted you to succeed?

Did that person give you advice, encouragement, and guidance? Did you look up to that person and become better thanks to the attention they gave you?

If so, you are probably one of many people who had a mentor!

Mentors are invaluable, and many people have had one at some time in their life. The best part is that you’re never too young to be a mentor. High school students, middle-school students, college-aged youth, and young professionals can be a mentor to someone else.

What is a Mentor?
A mentor is usually someone older than the person being mentored, who takes a personal interest in the success and well-being of another. They not only share knowledge, skills, and experience, but also discuss new ideas and help the mentee work out solutions on their own and with guidance.

A mentor challenges, protects, offers support, shows patience, and is enthusiastic about helping their mentee grow and be successful.

While those qualities may seem a bit overwhelming, it’s important to know that anybody can be a mentor, no matter what the age. Even students still in high school can start mentoring by reaching out to someone younger. The mentor should ask questions about what is important to the mentee, and above all, should be a cheerleader for that person by boosting their confidence and leading them to success.

What Does a Mentor Do?
Some examples of what a mentor does include:

  • Provides the same type of help that you do in everyday life. If you naturally “help others,” you can use those same practices in a mentorship role.
  • Provides information and advice based on your own ideas, successes, and experience.
  • Encourages others to take positive risks and have a positive and healthy outlook.
  • Offers honest and constructive feedback.
  • Helps with planning or thinking through a problem or challenge.
  • Listens to the concerns, points of view, and dreams of the mentee.
  • Shares different views and ways of thinking.
  • Introduces that person to others who can help and advocate on their behalf.

Why Be a Mentor?
Being a mentor doesn’t just help the mentee. It is also a chance to look at yourself more closely and explore your own opportunities.

You have the chance to become more successful and confident as you instill those qualities in another person. You’ll also become more open to reaching out to your own mentors who can help you succeed in school, college, or your career.

By mentoring, you improve your personal and professional responsibilities as you learn, grow and become more accountable to others. As you model the professional and personal values that others admire, you will teach them how to live up to those values.

In terms of leadership, you can’t go wrong with becoming a mentor. Talk to your school’s counselor or company’s HR department about how to become a mentor. It’s a move that can help you – and someone else – succeed!

Have you ever been a mentor? Did you have someone special who helped you? Share your stories in the comments section below.

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

5 Traits of a Great Mentor

5_traits_of_a_good_mentor_webThe concept of having a mentor to help you in your career and professional growth is nothing new. In fact, it’s common to hear of everyone from doctors and lawyers to teachers and entrepreneurs having a mentor. But, the mentorships of today may look different from what you anticipated or remembered.

A Huffington Post article defines mentoring as a “partnership where a ‘mentee’ is assigned to a more experienced ‘mentor’, who passes on valuable aspects of their own accumulated experience and wisdom for the benefit of the mentee’s personal and professional development.” However, as the same article explains, mentoring has evolved and often both individuals play the roles of mentor and mentee. For instance, now “mentors gain an understanding of the world view of another generation and equally, mentees can help senior colleagues to see new perspectives and shifts in societal behavior, for instance, the growing importance of social networks.”

So if you’re on a quest to find the right mentor, you need to sit up and pay attention. This shake-up in the roles and expectations associated with mentoring affects what you should look for in a mentor. Not only do you need to consider if someone will be a good mentor in the traditional sense, you also need to contemplate if the person will be a good “student.” To help you sift through your options, here are five traits that set a great mentor apart.

Listener
A mentoring relationship is based on communication, and the most important aspect of communication is listening. You want a mentor who understands the difference between hearing and listening – someone who strives to understand what you’re trying to say. This is crucial when you’re trying to describe a situation in order to get their input, as well as when you’re trying to explain a new concept, such as social media.

Young At Heart
There are some people who have always been old at heart, while there are others who will always be young at heart. When you’re looking for a mentor, find someone who is the latter. Certainly, if you’re helping your mentor understand the differences in work culture or between the generations, it will make your job easier. But, it will also help mentors relate to you and give better advice if they remember what it was like to be young.

Courageous
It takes a courageous person to open up and be honest at the level required for a truly successful mentorship. But even beyond that, you need to find a mentor who has had some major career failures and yet still had the courage to keep trying. The more mistakes someone has bounced back from, the more experience they’ll have to share and the more helpful they’ll be as a mentor. Plus, this will be the kind of mentor who isn’t afraid to ask questions and learn new things from you.

Teachable
If you want to get the most out of a mentoring relationship – with both of you giving and taking – you want a mentor who is teachable. While a know-it-all advisor might be helpful for a while, you’ll soon get tired of the attitude and start wishing for someone more open minded. This is something you really want to pinpoint because it ultimately goes back to expectations. Does your mentor just want to give you advice and tell you what to do? Or does your mentor want a reciprocal relationship so he or she can learn new things from you too?

Curious
Inquisitive people are generally successful people, which is exactly what you want in a mentor. You need someone who is curious about your life and wants to know how to help. A naturally curious person will encourage your own curiosity and push you to never stop learning. That need-to-know drive will also ensure the mentorship is a two-way relationship, with your mentor learning from you as well.

Mentoring is no longer the one-way street it once was. An article from Forbes echoes the same sentiment and explains that, “Effective mentorship relationships enrich both people.” So make sure you keep that in mind as you seek out a mentor. A great mentor will also make a great mentee.

Do you have a trusted mentor you go to for advice? What do you find valuable about that relationship? Share with us in the comments section below!

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

Safety Month 2014: Two Communication Tools

SafetyMonth_June2014_webJune is National Safety Month, and this year the theme from The National Safety Council is “Safety: it takes all of us.” The message is focused on continuous risk reduction.  With that in mind, this is a good time to focus on working as a team to improve safety.

How do our actions impact our co-workers’ safety? How can we inspire or inform our co-workers in working safely? A commitment to continuous risk reduction means asking these questions, speaking up, and working together to take care of safety issues in the workplace. Here are two communication opportunities you can participate in to promote a safe workplace.

  1. Communicating About Near Miss Incidents
    Near miss reporting is a way to recognize hazards before they lead to an injury. A near miss is something that could have led to an accident, but the person was “lucky” not to have been in the wrong place. By reporting near misses and communicating with your co-workers, you can begin to eliminate risks. If everyone understands the preventative goal behind discussing these incidents with one another, this communication strategy can be a good way to prevent future accidents.
  2. Mentor Others
    Another way to continue this year’s theme of “Safety: it takes all of us” in the workplace is by being a mentor.  If you have a group who has learned to look at near misses and take care of risks, have an ongoing plan to share what that group has learned with the team and new employees.  Assign mentor employees to watch new employees perform risky activities, and explain the history of safe practices. Promote everyone’s participation in the group’s safety culture. In the end, the development of this culture of recognizing and eliminating hazards together is the strongest way to continuously reduce the risks associated with the workplace.

Safety Month is every June in the U.S., and serves as an annual reminder to focus on safety prevention and best practices. For more tips on staying safe at work, check out our special section of the Movin’ On Up Blog.

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