Tag Archives: accomplishment

Take Inventory of Your Accomplishments

Good job written on a sticky noteThe holiday season is well underway. Decorations and lights are going up, Christmas tunes replace normal ringtones, and holiday e cards fill inboxes everywhere. Along with those greetings, you’re likely to get a few of the annual Christmas letters from family and friends detailing what an amazing year they had. Their vacation in Tuscany was fantastic. Mom got promoted to vice president at the firm. Dad won his age group in the Iron Man Triathlon. Junior graduated magna cum laude. It’s enough to make anyone feel just a little inadequate. So fight back against the humble-braggers. Now is the perfect time to take inventory of your accomplishments.

Why Take Inventory?
There are many reasons to take inventory of your accomplishments. It’s always a good idea to keep your resume up to date. Whether you’re a job seeker or have your sights set on a promotion in your current position, it’s wise to be ready when opportunity knocks. Aside from a professional standpoint, a personal assessment can help determine whether you’re on track to reach your goals for personal growth. Whether personal or professional, taking inventory of your accomplishments can be a huge confidence boost.

What Goes on Your List?
You may think that an accomplishment has to be an enormous, groundbreaking feat. But perhaps you should broaden your definition of an accomplishment. Obviously a promotion at work is a big deal. Of course that kind of achievement goes to the top of your list. But don’t limit yourself. You also want to list skills you acquired that will help advance your career. Did you learn a new software program, complete any workshops or training courses? Perhaps you were recognized for an achievement or received a glowing performance review. Or maybe you’ve been assigned new responsibilities under your current job description.

On the personal side, think of things that promote your personal growth. Remember to be generous, think big picture. Anything that helped your personal development or well-being is fair game. Any goals you reached or that are ongoing are worthy of note. Did you volunteer or give back to your community in any way? Are you on a regimen of healthy eating or exercise? Did you improve your organizational skills, begin a savings or retirement investment plan? Perhaps you set aside distractions and devoted more time to reading. Did you acquire a new skill or hobby like gardening or home improvement? Include any new undertaking that required effort and commitment and that you look upon with a bit of pride and a sense of accomplishment.

Now What?
If you’re taking a professional inventory, it’s likely time to update your resume. Find some great tips to dust off your resume here. Next, decide what you’d like to accomplish in the coming year. Then plan your next move. There are some great ideas to advance your career here.

On the personal side, consider whether any of the skills and activities you enjoy away from work could make you a more valuable employee. Next, take a moment to bask in the glow of your achievements. Any accomplishment, large or small is worth a little self-congratulation. If you feel you’re still a little short in the achievement department, don’t beat yourself up. Why not begin now? It’s never too late to set a goal. If you need a quick confidence boost, set your sights on an objective that’s easily attainable. The important thing is to make a plan and then take steps to make it a reality. And who knows? Before you know it, you may be sending out your own annual Christmas letter.

What were your accomplishments this year? Do you have any tips on setting goals and finding ways to reach them? Let us know in the comments section.

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

Jump Start Your Next Job Interview with These Top Five Questions

interview_questions_webYou’ve landed the job interview, but you have mixed emotions. You’re both excited that you made the cut and anxious about how to answer the interviewer’s questions.

While it’s normal to feel this way before an interview, being well prepared and confident in providing answers that position you as the best person for the job will help you get it. One way to appear confident and well prepared is by making sure you know how to answer those important questions.

While interviewers ask questions geared to specific positions, most also ask several general questions at nearly every interview. This means you can actually prepare for these questions early, and with some tweaking, tailor them to your current job interview. These broad questions help companies learn a little more about you, determine if you are a fit for their culture, and see if you are qualified for the job.

Tell me about yourself.

This is your elevator speech. Usually the first question, it is intended to break the ice. Provide a brief recap here of your work experience and any applicable education and make sure to highlight the experience that specifically pertains to the position. Wrap up by mentioning what you like to do outside of work. Be careful not to give too long of an answer and use up all your interview time with this one question. Three to four minutes is a good amount of time, so rehearse this one with a stopwatch.

What is your greatest strength?

This is one of the easier questions. Determine two or three of your strongest skills and draft some responses. During the interview, reply with the skill most appropriate for the job’s qualifications. Wrap up your answer with how that strength has helped you succeed in the past and how it will help you effectively perform this job.

What is your greatest weakness?

This usually follows “What is your greatest strength?” and can be harder to answer. There are a couple ways to answer this. Try turning a negative into a positive. For example, you might get frustrated when team members try to outshine each other and jeopardize an entire project. Explain how you work to improve upon this trait and what this has taught you about yourself. Another option is to answer by mentioning a skill that is not essential to the job. Again, follow up with what you’ve learned and how you have tried to improve. It’s important that employers know you are open to continually improving your job skills.

Why are you the right person for the job?

If “Tell me about yourself” was your elevator speech, then this one is more likely a sales presentation. Look over your resume and find the two or three skills or attributes that make you a perfect fit for the job at hand and compose an answer that directly links these attributes to the job requirements. Convince the interviewer that you have the right skills, that you would be a great fit for the company culture, and that you can succeed in the job.

What is your biggest professional accomplishment?

Draft one or more responses for the accomplishments you are most proud of and, again, link them to the job’s requirements. If you can provide evidence of how your employer benefited from your accomplishments, it could be your ace in the hole.

Hopefully you’re feeling a little more confident about those looming interview questions. Now it’s time to get to work and start preparing for your next interview. Good luck!

Is there a different question you are often asked during job interviews? Tell us what it is and how you answer in the comment section below.

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

Give Your Career a Boost With These Certifications

career boosting certificationsWhile you should always try to have specific examples of how you’ve been able to demonstrate and utilize your skills, sometimes it takes a certificate or recommendation from a credible organization to get the attention of a decision maker or hiring manager.

There are several industries and jobs that may not require a college degree, but do need a form of accreditation or certification. There are also certifications that, while not mandatory, can greatly improve your chances of getting a job, promotion, raise, or new responsibilities. Here are some in-demand certificate programs to consider that can help open doors in your career or job search.

Foreign Languages
If you work in a retail or customer service environment, having the ability to speak more than one language can make you a valuable asset to current or potential employers. It can be difficult to prove on your own, so having a certification in a language can be a significant boost. Contact your local community college, university, or distance learning center for relatively inexpensive programs in foreign languages that may result in a certificate, but not a degree.

Computer Support
Many large companies have their own IT department or specialists, but software is always changing and it can be beneficial for you to keep up with those trends through training like Microsoft’s learning and certification programs. IT workers could benefit from these programs.

Certified Clinical Medical Assistant
A great alternative to spending several years and lots of money getting a college degree in the medical industry, consider looking into a critical clinical medical assistant (CCMA) program that is offered by technical or vocational schools. A CCMA offers training in clinical and laboratory procedures, and administrative training that could help give you a boost in the medical industry.

Project Management Certification
If you have much experience in project management, earning a project management professional certification (PMP) is almost required. But if you are looking to move into management, earning a PMP from organizations like the Project Management Institute can not only get you ready, but also demonstrate to your manager that you are working toward management.

Sales! Sales! Sales!
It’s difficult to find college degrees specializing in sales, but there are several worthwhile certifications that can help you prepare and grow as a salesman. Since there are different fields and industries in sales, talk to a mentor or network with sales professionals to find out which industry-specific certification program you should consider if you’re new to the field, the National Association of Sales Professionals offers a general certification that can give you a starting point.

You don’t have to rely on yourself to gain extra knowledge and experience to stay on top of your industry and boost your career. There are several options that are cheaper and less time consuming than earning college degrees. What are some accreditations or certifications you have earned that helped your career?