Monthly Archives: February 2008

Are You On Your Way to Your Dream Job?

Whether or not you’re happy in your current job, you might not be working in your dream job. Are you ready to make a change and head toward your ideal career? If you’re longing for your dream job but need some help getting there, here are a few tips to help you reach your goals and realize your dreams.

Write down your goals. People often lose sight of their goals because they get so busy with life. But, if you write down your goals and place them in a spot where you can easily view them, you’re more likely to remember what you are working toward. Think about where you want to be in five, 10 and 20 years, and set goals to get you there. From time to time, you can look back at your goals and adjust them to fit any new dreams you may have.

Create a plan. Now that you have your goals in mind, it’s time to devise a plan of how you are going to get there. Look at your current position and what it’s providing for you. It may be the first stepping stone in a long line of jobs that will lead to your dream job. Or, it may just be paying the bills and offer no opportunities for advancement within the company. After you’ve created your road map, decide if your current job fits into your plan or if it’s time for a change.

Take action. You know your goals, you’ve established a plan, so now’s the time to make it happen. Decide you’ll do what it takes, no matter what. You may have to choose between taking a new job that gets you closer to your dream job but for less pay, or staying with your current job that isn’t helping you reach your dream job. If you stay with your current job, you’ll also have to decide how long you’re willing to forgo your dreams before moving on. Sacrificing one job for another is one of the hardest decisions you’ll face if you find yourself off track. Even if you think you’re on the right path, always check your plan because it might be time to take the next step toward reaching your goal.

If simply changing jobs won’t put you on the right career path, or you feel it’s out of your reach, consider some of these options before starting the job search. If your skills are lacking or outdated, take an educational course or two that will give you and your résumé an added boost. Look into training courses that can provide you with the experience you need to progress in your field. Also, join local organizations that will provide you with the opportunity to network with others. And last but not least, consider relocating to another city or state. A different location with different businesses just might offer you the career you’ve been waiting for.

Once you’ve envisioned your ideal career, you’re one step closer to achieving it. You can make your dream job a reality if you have your goals in mind, create a plan and take the appropriate steps to follow your dreams. So dream big and make it happen!

Are you working at your dream job? If not, what are your plans to get there?

What’s Most Important to You in a Job?

People’s priorities change over time. For example, what was most important to you five years ago probably isn’t quite as essential as it once was. The same applies for your professional life. What you want from your work evolves as you change and grow as a person. Have you found that what you’re looking for in a career is different than it once was?

Share your feedback in the comments section, or take our poll.

You’ve Got the Job, Now It’s Time to Dress the Part

Every office and company differs in their dress code. Some require professional dress Monday through Friday, others offer business casual with casual Fridays. But do you know what the expectations are for these recommendations? Will you be able to dress the part and fit in at your new job? Here are a few basic guidelines for common dress code types to help you dress for success.

Professional – This dress code consists of suits, button down shirts and dress shoes. It can also include ties and vests for men, and pantsuits or skirts with nylons for women. Professional attire is the most formal in a business environment. Full suits are appropriate for everyday wear in certain professions, as well as special presentations and meetings in more casual atmospheres. Professional dress is also the most appropriate interview attire.

Business Casual – Saved for relaxed but professional atmospheres, business casual attire is made up of button-down shirts and slacks for men, and a skirt or slacks with a blouse for women. Wearing a coordinating sport coat or blazer is a nice touch but isn’t usually required. Khakis and a polo shirt that bears the corporate logo is usually acceptable as well.

Casual – This type of attire is reserved for the most casual work environments. In some offices, it’s only allowed on casual Fridays. Casual wear can include jeans, sneakers, polos or even Hawaiian print shirts. If your company allows you to wear casual attire, avoid wearing jogging suits, T-shirts, sandals or revealing clothing. If you aren’t sure how to dress on casual Fridays, khakis and a polo are a safe bet. It’s better to dress one step up than one step down from the dress code.

Make sure you check the company’s dress code before you start your first day at a new job and plan accordingly to make a great impression. If you aren’t sure what dress code should be followed once you’re on the job, ask a supervisor or manager. You can also take clues by observing what others wear to the office, especially those in leadership positions.

Flu Hits Workplaces Hard – 5 Tricks for Staying Healthy

Flu At WorkFever, muscle aches and the chills aren’t a recipe for a fun time away from the office. But, if your workplace is like mine, you’ve probably had a lot of co-workers out sick over the last few weeks. On top of feeling miserable, getting sick can cause you to fall behind at work or use up all your time off.

If it seems like more people are under the weather at your workplace than usual, there may be a reason. This year’s flu vaccine is a poor match against the virus, which means the shot provided less protection against getting sick. According to officials from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every part of the country is experiencing lots of people sick with the flu.

While it’s not possible to eliminate all risks of catching the flu, you can improve your chances of staying healthy by following a few tips.

1. Take a daily vitamin. Studies have shown that vitamin E, as well as other vitamins and antioxidants, can help boost your immune system. Try a multivitamin to get all the nutrients you need to stay well.

2. Get enough sleep. When your body is worn down, you’re less able to fight off infections. Make an extra effort to get about eight hours of sleep each night when the flu is rampant.

3. Wash your hands often. Practicing excellent hygiene is one of the best ways to reduce your chances of catching the flu. Keep instant hand sanitizer handy for times you don’t have easy access to a sink.

4. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. Give those who are ill plenty of space. Don’t touch co-workers’ personal items, and never share dishes or eating utensils.

5. Don’t smoke. Smoke paralyzes the cells that protect you from incoming viruses – making smokers much more prone to catching the flu. Even if you don’t kick the habit permanently, consider temporarily quitting or cutting back while trying to ward off illness.

Tips to Improve Your Attitude – Even When You’re Having a Bad Day

I recently attended a conference in Nashville and had the privilege to listen to an exceptional speaker, Christine Cashen. One of the things she spoke about was having a positive attitude, not only at work, but everywhere – even on bad days. It got me thinking about how often our attitudes determine the outcome of our days. Think about it –  if you’re already in a bad mood, chances are, anything else that doesn’t work in your favor will make your mood even worse.

To help you start out each day on a positive note, try following some of these tips.

Pretend you’re happy. According to Abraham Lincoln, “most people are about as happy as they decide to be.” So if you wake up in the morning and you know it’s going to be one of those days – choose not to let that ruin your attitude. Tell yourself that you’re in a great mood and thankful to be alive. Look yourself in the mirror and say, “This is going to be a great day.” Say it all day until you actually believe it. Be enthusiastic about it – after all, every day you wake up is a gift! Eventually, all that enthusiasm – even if it starts out forced – will turn your negative attitude into a positive one.

Add humor to your day. Laughter is truly the best medicine, and people who can find humor in any situation are usually pretty positive individuals. If someone cuts you off on your drive into work, imagine them driving the Oscar Mayer Wiener mobile and wearing one of those funny hats instead. Trying to find humor in things will help relieve stress and turn your frown into a smile. 

Prioritize your worries. Many people spend hours worrying about things that can’t be changed or aren’t really that important. If a mistake has been made that can’t be reversed, accept it, and move on. Make sure you spend your time and energy on things you can control. This will not only help eliminate unnecessary stress in your life, but it will also make you feel better about the things you can accomplish. 

Take a break. If you find yourself spiraling downwards into despair, take a break. Whether it’s 10 minutes or an hour, do whatever you need to do to remove yourself from the situation that’s causing you to have a bad attitude. Once you take a step back from the situation, you might just find the solution to the problem that was causing you such turmoil in the first place.

Remind yourself of positive things. Everyone should have a little box on their desk with nice thoughts or sweet comments written by friends or family. When you start feeling low, simply pull out a piece of paper and read its contents. A nice comment or a happy thought will put a smile on your face and remind you what really matters.

Remember, you’re the only person that can control your attitude; you can’t depend on someone else to make things better. So stay positive, and when you feel yourself getting down, try using these tips.

Does Your Company’s Conscience Matter to You?

conpany conscienceHow much does a potential employer’s community involvement or world outreach matter to you? Today’s businesses are active in programs that range from global hunger relief, children’s causes and cancer research to environmentalism, domestic abuse awareness and elderly care.

In the past few years, these kinds of social issues have become more important to a growing number of employees. In fact, research shows that some employees will accept lower pay in order to work for an organization that’s making a difference for the causes they’re concerned with.

What about you – how important is it for your employer to be involved in social causes you care about? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section, or vote in the poll below.

Revive Your Job Search: Find New Sources for Job Leads

Be sure to check out the previous tips in this series on making a great impression with your appearance and keeping your skills up-to-date.

Expand your job search.
Where are you looking for jobs? If you’ve been using the same two or three resources to research job opportunities, you need to broaden your search. Employers use different methods for getting the word out about their openings. That’s why, if you’re serious about landing a job, you need to try several different approaches.

Some employers only list their openings with staffing companies. Have you registered with your local Express office? Staffing companies are a great way to get an “in” for a job opportunity you normally wouldn’t hear about.

You should also work on networking within your profession.
Many job opportunities are spread through word of mouth. When you’re in the inner circle in your industry, you’ll have a much better chance to learn about these opportunities. To get more involved in your field, consider joining your local trade or professional organization. Subscribing to industry publications or visiting trade websites is another way to get the inside scoop. 

The job search can be a full-time job in itself. Improve your chances of scoring a great opportunity by concentrating on making a positive first impression, keeping your skills competitive and expanding your job search.