All Articles Tagged "professional development"
You landed a major interview, and pulled out all of the stops — a snazzy new suit, trendy work pumps, a dynamic resume, and a strong introductory statement that sounds unrehearsed. The only thing left to do is to go into that office and put on an Oscar-worthy performance. But before rocking the audition, ask yourself, “Am I just playing a role?”
During interviews we put our best selves forward, and in doing so we often fudge the truth by exaggerating our skills and delivering the best answers to get the job. While this may be beneficial when merely looking for a means to pay the bills, it is not the best route when pursuing a long-term career.
You’re going to be asked questions that ask you to draw on your experience in a way that will be useful for your prospective new company. “Here at XMark we are all about teamwork. Tell me about a time you efficiently worked on a team, and how you found it rewarding.”
Now your first thought is “Uhhh…never!” but you smile, take a brief moment to think it over, and recite a fictional narrative that leaves your interviewer satisfied and impressed. You are one step closer to joining the cast. All you have to do is stick to the script. But how can you really perform at your best if you hate what you are doing?
By lying about your work preferences, you do yourself a major disservice. Maybe there is another open position for which you are better suited. But there’s always the option to walk away. When the human resources professional does not choose you for a job, they don’t consider it a failure. You should not consider yourself a failure when acknowledging a specific role or company is not for you. Both parties are looking for the best possible fit to ensure a productive, mutually beneficial relationship. But so often we sell ourselves without considering what we are buying.
Instead of approaching the interview for what it is — a meeting for both parties to get to know each other and gauge compatibility — we go in putting all of our energy into “performing.” We forget that our time is our most valuable asset, and 70 percent of our lives are spent at work. Just like a partner, it is important to decide whether or not a company or position is worth your time and energy. Will you enjoy it more than you dislike it? Will it help you grow?
It is important to see yourself as an asset. You have to truly believe that your gifts will make the company you work for more successful and efficient. If you do not believe that a specific role or company will allow you showcase your talents and personality, than why would you want to sacrifice years of your life there? Money could be a major incentive, and there is nothing wrong with that. The bills don’t stop because you are following your dreams. However, if you are looking to be fulfilled and leave the just-to-get-a-paycheck job, you must search for environments that are productive to your growth. If you do not know and believe in your worth, you will always be sold short.
Think you’re being a leader in your career and making the decisions that are moving you steadily toward your goals? Here are a few signs that your career trajectory may need some tweaking:
Micromanagement- If you find yourself overly — and anxiously — revising or overseeing every detail of every project (whether a solo project or one with a team) then this may be a sign that you lack confidence in you leadership ability and the abilities of those who are working to complete the project with you.
Playing it safe- Beware of being too cautious and settling for work that has lower payoffs but less likelihood of failure. To get major rewards and recognition by the higher-ups you will, at times, have to take on the riskier tasks. Just be sure and knock it out the park!
Use a lifeline- If you find yourself hiding in your office because you don’t know what you’re doing and are too afraid to let others know it then you are holding yourself and your career back. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it.
Negotiations- Be sure that you aren’t giving up important aspects of your career goals and not gaining anything as a reward. Pretty soon you’ll look up and discover you’ve negotiated your way right out of the game.
Teamwork- When working in a team remember to appreciate being surrounded by those you feel are more capable than you in certain areas. Avoid getting caught in the trap of hating someone brilliant because you don’t want them making you look bad. Keep in mind that the things you learn from them ultimately make you stronger and more efficient in your career in the long run.
We all want to remain motivated as we work toward a promising and progressive career. Creating a mission statement for your business life is an important part of creating passion and meaning for your future. A mission statement is an excellent tool to help you remember not only what you have to offer, but also why you are determined to offer it.
When creating your mission statement stay away from lofty or vague words that obscure the simple significance of what you are trying to say. What are the ultimate goals for your career? Where do you see yourself one, two, and five years from now? These questions are meant to help guide and prompt a vision for your work trajectory. Having a clear understanding of who you are and where you are looking to go in the future will help in keeping your eye on the big picture when the minutiae of the day-to-day 9-to-5 gets in the way.
You’re searching for a job, and like millions of American’s you may feel that you don’t have anything to do while you’re out of work. But, in fact, you do have full-time, high-pressure work before you. The task is answering the question: Would you hire you?
Your answer should be built on the foundation of two important factors: Having a unique selling proposition and cultivating a marketing plan.
A Unique Selling Point- Everyone is different. We’ve all heard this before. And everyone needs to leverage what they’re uniquely offering to gain the attention of a potential employer. Get clear about what you have to offer that can create a positive impact for the company you are looking to work for. List all of the specific values and innumerable assets that an employer would be a fool to miss out on. It is up to you to make your value easily identifiable and crystal clear to those searching for what you have can find you.
Cultivating A Marketing Plan- Landing a job requires a steady push toward the goal and your first step is letting people know you are available. When it comes to advertising yourself, remember it pays to get creative. Don’t fall into the same networking scenes and search engine rut that everyone else is in. Instead be willing to temp as a way of getting in the door or scan through your alumni records to see who is looking for someone who does what you do. Tell each and every friend the sort of work you are looking for, thereby expanding your reach by taping into their network.
Whatever you do, the last thing should be waiting for an employer to come knocking on your door. Get busy putting yourself in front of as many faces as you can in order to float to the top of the job searching pool.
New year, new look. As 2014 approaches it is the perfect time to give yourself a business style makeover. Your clothes say a lot about you now and about your professional future.
“Experts agree that your appearance plays a role in your professional advancement. Your clothing, grooming, hygiene and hairstyle all affect your personal brand,” reports The Ladders. The right outfit can help you land that job or get that promotion you’ve been waiting for. The old adage “dress the part” holds true when it comes to dressing for success.
First check out what the next level of management is wearing. “How does your boss and his peers dress for a regular work day? While you don’t want to look overdressed in your current your position, it’s important to start doing little things to step up your look so you appear polished and ready for the next challenge,” writes The Ladders.
Not only does the way you dress affect how other people view you but also how you view yourself. According to research published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology [via Citibank], what you wear also alters your own behavior. Hajo Adam, Ph.D., a visiting assistant professor of management at Rice University, and Adam Galinsky, Ph.D., tested whether a white lab coat—a garment usually associated with high-level, scientific thinking—could trigger certain behaviors. Study participants who wore the white lab coat consistently outperformed those who wore regular clothes. They only made about half the mistakes on attention-related tasks compared to those without the lab coats. “The participants who believed they were wearing a doctor’s coat performed better than the participants who thought they were wearing a painter’s coat,” reports Citibank.
Before hitting the stores, take a “before” picture. “The before picture will also allow you to access your makeover once it’s finished so you can ensure full satisfaction,” notes Wise Bread, a blog dedicated to “living large on a small budget.”
Then go through your closet and see what pieces will work well with your new look. Be ruthless in weeding out your wardrobe. Get rid of out-of-date clothes and outfits that are damaged or don’t fit, giving what’s suitable to charity or preparing them for resale at a consignment shop. Speaking of, consignment shops are a great places to find some unique outfits for less. If you take in clothes, you can even do a trade-in. There are some high-end consignments shops with barely warn designer outfits that will be perfect for work.
Another way to save money and still add different items to your wardrobe is to have a clothes swap with your friends. “If you like your friends’ clothes, and you’re all around the same size, host a clothing swap,” explains Wise Bread.
Don’t you know how fabulous you are? Whether on the job or just in life, there is something about us all that should be recognized and celebrated. Though it’s good practice to identify areas that could use some improvement (“Setback or Setup? How to Make Weaknesses Work for You“), it’s definitely worth a discussion to learn what you are good at and how to make the most with the cards you carry. Here are some tips on how to lead with your strengths.
Success won’t find you in your comfort zone. Risk and challenge are usually prerequisites of achieving a big reward. Sitting in the space that you feel most comfortable will only be responsible for keeping you in the space you feel most comfortable. To move anywhere on the Jungle Gym of your career it will be necessary to utilize a few comfort zone killers:
- Hone your ability to perform under pressure by playing games like Scrabble or chess. Not leisurely mind you. Play timed matches or place a wager on the outcome.
- Challenge yourself by searching out foods, music, activities and places you’ve never experienced before.
- Decrease your reliance on technology to answer questions (i.e. Google). Sharpen your mind by reading more and learning from conversation with other human beings.
- Remember, it’s normal to feel uncomfortable when the stakes are high. Don’t shut down, instead tap into your unease and use it as fuel to get the job done.
- Focusing on the goal can feel overwhelming at times. Instead break the journey down into tangible steps and find fun and excitement in what you are learning or achieving along the way.
You’ll be surprised at how much your internal dialogue can affect your success. Do you often find yourself saying the word, “can’t?”
That word alone will cause your career to stall. “I can’t try for that promotion.” “I can’t lead that team.” “I can’t bring up my idea in a meeting.” “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t…”
These are all upward mobility killers, to say the least of what they’ll do to your mood. If you’re always walking around in a can’t-induced funk not only will others not want to be around you but eventually you’ll realize you don’t either. Take the steps today to cut that word from your vocabulary.
I’ve often heard the idiom, “Can’t is the brother of Don’t Want To,” and have found it to frequently be true. Now it’s easier to determine exactly what is keeping me from wanting to do something. Fear of failure, embarrassment, not wanting to be vulnerable, self-sabotage… you name it, it’s possible. Confronting the internal issues keeping you stuck in place makes it easier to push through and take that first integral step on the journey of “Yes I Can.”
Looking for a great place to work? Business Insider lists the 15 most desirable companies in the world to work for, ranging from the tech giant Apple to the popular pharmaceutical company, Johnson & Johnson. At the top of the list is Google, which reigns as the most desirable company to work for in the world today. With over 71,000 people based all around the world, Google is changing the way we see the workplace.
Following Google’s footsteps on the list are Procter & Gamble and Unilever, both consumer goods companies that make various products, from personal items to ice cream. Chances are, you’ve got products made by these two companies somewhere at home.
No not everyone was born to be Obama or Anna Tibaijuka but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop your own personal magnetism. In this way you can begin to influence business conversations, meetings, events and more in a major way. Try these four things to help boost your leadership presence and never get lost in the room again:
1- Look inward and focus on authentic business principles you value. By knowing them inside and out when you communicate them to others, your words will have a powerful and lasting effect.
2- Set the standard for meetings: Be five minutes early as well as prepared and calm. Don’t be in a hurry to leave.
3- Ask questions showcasing your interest, curiosity, and insightfulness. Don’t be afraid to speak up.
4- Physical posture counts. When speaking to others stand tall and sit straight. Fight the need to squirm or fidget when in conversation and always maintain eye contact. And speak in a loud clear voice, taking your time to get your thoughts out. Let others know you are willing to be seen.