10 Habits That Will Ensure Career Success

Whether we like it or not, we spend much of our time working.  Most of us spend over 2,000 hours a year at work. So if you aren’t happy with your present career or if you are trying to break into a new field, here are 10 essential habits for getting the job you want:

1. Know your career mission statement

Make sure you are clear about what you want to accomplish with your career.  Say it out loud and claim it. Write down exactly what your mission statement is and post it where you can see it every day.

2. Audit your time

If you go to work every day, write down how you spend your time. Look for things that distract you or keep you from meeting your goals. Take out things that aren’t productive. If you are looking for employment, take a serious look at how you spend your time. How much time do you want to spend each day going to appointments or on the phone? How much do you need to devote to research for job interviews? Being accountable for your time helps you get the most from each minute.

3. Make sure your online brand is accurate

In today’s world, prospective employers, as well as current management, use the internet and social media to track you. So make sure you do the work first. Google your name, make sure your profile and your brand are on point. Delete anything that doesn’t represent who you are in the best possible light.

4. Daily gratitude

Whether you are struggling with a “not so great” job or are looking for that career break, take time for daily gratitude. You can find things that you are thankful for, no matter what the circumstances. This habit will change your attitude about yourself and your career. It is humbling to acknowledge all that you do have.

5. Be flexible

Employers are always looking for team members who will go with the flow and not complain when schedules or duties change. These types of employees are soon on the boss’s radar because they make him or her look good. People who accept changes cheerfully often find they are asked to work more projects and move up faster in the workplace.

6. Do not just seek approval

It is easy to adjust our actions or beliefs as employees if we are looking for the support of management. You may find yourself tempted to give in to particular demands of a prospective employer just to get the job. However, instead of seeking approval, you should focus on the impact your actions make. Will it enhance service for the customer? Do you go the extra mile to meet requirements? Approval is fleeting, but impact shapes policy. So, instead of asking yourself if the boss liked your performance, ask yourself if you did your best. Did you make a lasting impact on some part of the job? If you can say that, you are successful.

7. Arrive 30 minutes early 

Like many employees, you may slide into the office just in time, with a minute to spare. Or maybe you plan your commute so that you just make it into your office before the boss. Here’s an easy habit to form: Get to the office 30 minutes before you begin your day. Have time to sit and reflect on your goals for the day. Take inventory of what you need to accomplish and prioritize. You will find that your day will be less chaotic, and employers see this as you taking initiative, to be ready on time and prepared.

8. Reach out often

Even if you already have a job, never stop networking with business friends and contacts. New opportunities are found quicker through word of mouth than any search engine. Keep an accurate, current list of contacts and use all of the social media to reach out and network.

9. Don’t underestimate the benefits of a mentor  

You can never go wrong by seeking guidance from someone who has been working in the field longer than you. Finding someone who can counsel you through challenging aspects of your career is invaluable. Don’t reinvent the wheel, just find out how others in your position have handled situations.

10. You will never finish

There is no perfect pinnacle to any career. There is always room to grow and expand. A career is about a journey,not reaching a certain destination. There will be another opportunity on the horizon. Always remain a student of your chosen field and be ready to grow.

What are you doing to help your career? Are you doing what you love?

 

Be the best Networker you can be! – May 8th 2016

True life: I am not a big fan of traditional networking. I’m introverted and generally overwhelmed by new social situations – especially with large groups of people that I don’t really know. I used to dread going to events but personally, I don’t think that networking is optional if you’re trying to grow a business. So like it or not, I’ve developed a system for networking that makes it WAYYY easier for me to feel comfortable connecting with new people!

So figure out why you want to network in the first place. Are you trying to find potential clients? People you want to collaborate with? Influencers in your industry? All of the above? Great! Make a list of these people because you’ll want to keep track of them. (pssst: you can also get my template at the end of this post!)

Step 1: Step Up Your Social

  • FACT: Connecting with people on social media is less scary than in real life. Also, a lot of other introverts are on social media and they want to connect with you as much as you want to connect with them! Someone just has to take the first step…
  • Assuming you’ve identified some of the people you’d like to connect with, start following them on social media. For my businesses, I find that instagram and twitter are the 2 platforms that are easiest to connect with people in my target audience, but it could be that your potential clients are on other networks.
  • Once you’ve figured out what networks they are active on, ENGAGE with them! On instagram, engaging with people means liking their photos, leaving thoughtful comments (not mindless “love this!” or spammy “follow me!” comments – genuine comments that show you are actually interested in the content they are posting). On twitter, linking to other people’s content (if they have a blog or website) or sharing their tweets using the “quote” option with a related comment are easy, non-scary ways to start interacting. Pick one or two networks that you are really going to be active on and be consistent.
  • PRO TIP: Optimize your social profiles to appeal to your target audience. If you are effectively interacting with new people, they will want to check out you out! Make sure your bio clearly states who you are, what you do, and why they should follow you!

Step 2: Connect In Person

  • FACT: It is easier to introduce yourself to a person in real life if you have already “met” them on social media.
  • Let’s pretend you are attending an event and some of the people you have been connecting with on social will be there. For most introverts, the hardest part is actually walking up to someone and saying hello, so try to change your mindset and think about the encounter not as “meeting someone for the first time,” but as “continuing the conversation you already started.”
  • Lead with a simple introduction followed by a genuine compliment of their work.  A flattering comment will set the tone and is an easy segue into further conversation!
  • If you’re anxious about going to an event alone, ask a more extroverted friend to come along as your wingman/woman!
  • PRO TIP: Before an event, think of three topics you can chat about with anyone that you aren’t “prepared” to talk to – 1 personal (gone on any trips lately?), 1 professional (any fun projects in the works?), and 1 topical (what brings you to the event?).

STEP 3: Follow Up

  • FACT: Meeting people is not networking without followup. 
  • People are busy. Even if you meet someone and have a great conversation with them, don’t assume they will keep in touch!
  • My general rule is: within 24 hours of meeting someone, send a followup email that offers something of value to them, THEN has a specific “ask.”
  • PRO TIP: Make sure your “ask” is time sensitive. Even better if it is specific AND time sensitive. “I’d love to collaborate” is meh but “I’d love to collaborate on a webinar that I am planning to launch in September” is much better.

Ultimately, steps 1-3 don’t work unless you’ve done some homework and identified the people who you want to network with!  As an introvert, I hate the idea of trying to start conversations with just anyone, so doing some advanced stalking research is the key to getting started.

Keep going and be positive! Show you care and you will be set. Thanks for reading!

HRMA Advice

We had a great opportunity to attend the HRMA 2016 Conference the past week. As recruiters, we love to listen to speakers sharing their advice and experiences on how to expand teams and business in different and creative ways. In our field we believe that learning and growing as a person in a business is important. Here are some three takeaways we learned!

  1. Show interest.

Your employer and team members will want to know you want to be there. No one wants to work with someone negative. Becoming part of the office isn’t just about doing a job. It’s also important to join in the culture and camaraderie of your new workplace in order to give a positive impression and form relationships with the people there.

  1. The most important characteristics of staff of 2016 are Optimism and Empathy.

Employers are looking for those qualities on resumes, networking events and in you. These are important for relationship building, creativity, cultural sensitivity and the ability to manage diverse employees. As an employee, your office relationships are in a state of flux, and you don’t want to end up alienating anyone or gaining a reputation for being untrustworthy. Stay focused on work and some harmless personal sharing. If it might come back to haunt you, avoid it – showing empathy is the best way.

  1. With the expansion of technology, don’t forget that personality always win.

Between the networking, the cover letters, and the interviews, it can feel like nothing is tougher than getting to know your new team members and bosses. You want to be remembered for your strengths and your personality. Don’t be a robot. Be yourself and be confident.

Being a new hire or even wanting to change in your new role puts you on the spot to prove your worth. Show up ready to go above and beyond, and you’ll make a valuable place for yourself in no time! Call us if you need any advice. We love helping people achieve their goals and dreams.

Thanks for reading!

In a Perfect World

At the risk of being redundant, I am compelled to address an issue that many people have been concerned with.  The other day, I had a conversation with a client and a good friend.  We had not spoken in a few months, so I gave her a call to catch up.  She sounded aloof and down, which is not her normal ‘spit fire’ disposition.  ‘What’s going on, my friend, you do not sound like your normal ball of energy self’, I inquired.  She responded with a big, heavy heart sigh, and then shared with me that she is really struggling to stay motivated, and this is effecting her ability to keep her team motivated and positive.  She then shared that within the last month they had a reduction of force and she had to lay off 40 employees.  ‘Perhaps you should start searching for a new position for me’, she said.

‘Nonsense’, I said.  ‘You are a loyal, tenured employee that has true passion for both your job and the company’.  And to quote how Cher so eloquently stated in Moonstruck, ‘Snap out of it!’   She laughed and brightened up, and replied, ‘What doesn’t kill us will make us stronger.’

I realize that these are hard times.  Are they tumultuous times, I think not.  Are they uncertain, when aren’t they.  I spoke with a candidate a few weeks ago, a stellar guy that for years has been my ‘go to’ person for when I am seeking referrals.  He told me that his company just laid off 108 employees, and he was one of them.  We have all been in this playing field before, either a survivor of a layoff, or a product of reduction of force.

Being laid off is everyone’s fear. You can not let it run your life! I had a friend laid off and I went to check in on her.  She was still in my pajamas at 4 in the afternoon.  ‘What in the h#@% are you doing?’ I asked.  She just shrugged it off.  ‘If I were you I would take this time to ramp yourself up, sharpen your mind, recreate yourself.’  After I left, she thought about it long and hard.  I got off the pity pot, and went to work.  She started exercising 4 hours a day, she pulled out her paints and canvas, and joined a book club.  Most importantly, she made a business plan.  She treated unemployment like a full time job, and created a structure for herself.   Not long afterward, she embraced ‘outside the box’ thinking, and had several interviews set up in industries she would not have thought compatible with her experience.  A direction that inevitably lead her to her dream job.  This was all due to the miracle of positive thinking.

With that said, and to repeat again, we have all been on one side of the fence or the other at one time.  A survivor of layoffs, or a product of reduction of force.

One day I would like to share my journey of ‘out of the box’ thinking that brought me to where I am today.

Thanks for reading!

Fear of the COLD email

As a recruiter, we have to do many “awkward” things. Such as; sending cold emails. We do still do the “cold calling” but with the world hiding behind screens nowadays….it is easier to follow the trend.

Anyone looking to make connections in their career or life should take advantage of cold emailing, a largely untapped resource that can help you find direction and even a fulfilling career. Here are just a few tips to help you shake off the nerves and send a cold email that’s sure to impress any recipient.

WHY SEND A COLD EMAIL

If you’re looking to connect with a potential client, network in a new city, or even make friends with someone in your industry, sending a cold email can be a great way to get the ball rolling. Setting up informational interviews or casual coffee meetings with someone you want to learn more from can be super beneficial to your personal and professional life.

Reaching out to someone that you want to get to know is flattering for them, so don’t let your worries about getting in contact with a stranger deter you from sending a cold email. You just have to make sure that you send the right message to the right person. If you’re thinking of applying for a new job at a public relations firm, email someone in the same or a similar position that you’re applying for. If you want to increase your blog quality and engagement, find a blogger in a similar genre to what you’re looking to create.

CRAFTING YOUR MESSAGE

When crafting your cold email, keep things concise, professional and easy. The goal is to reach your goal with as little back-and-forth as possible. You don’t want to waste any of their limited time since they’re already giving you some of it by opening your email.

What you write depends on what you want. Be direct about your intentions.

Before you sit down to write, you should start by asking yourself these questions:

  1. What do I hope to gain from this interaction?

What you write depends on what you want. Maybe you’re looking to change industries and want to meet up with someone to see what the work is really like. Or you’re looking to get involved with an organization in your community, but would like to know more first. Be direct about your intentions.

  1. What do I have in common with this person?

Did you both attend the same university for undergrad? Do you have a friend or a previous employer in common? Mention it in your email. The person you’re reaching out to will be more likely to help you out if you share common interests or experiences.

Once you figure out who you want to email and what you need from them, format your email like this:

  • Start by introducing yourself, telling the person what you do
  • Note your common acquaintance(s) or shared interest
  • Clearly outline how you think they can help you
  • Include a direct ask, specifically a call-to-action. Do you just want to send them some questions about their job? Do you want to meet up and and potentially gain a new mentor? Include the specifics so they know how to respond
  • If you’re looking to schedule a time to talk to them, make sure to include your availability so booking a meeting requires as few emails as possibleOnce you’ve sent your email, it’s time to be patient and wait it out. Don’t hound the person until they respond to you. Give them a two-week window to respond before you follow up. If you haven’t heard from them in that span of time, follow up in a reply to your previous email so that they see both messages in the same thread. If they don’t respond after your follow-up, you may want to move on to someone in a similar position and see if they’d be interested in helping you out.FOLLOW THROUGH AND FOLLOW UP
  • If the person agrees to meet up with you or answer some questions via email, be courteous, punctual, and respectful of their time. There’s no shame in getting right down to business when you finally meet. You should treat it the same as you would a job interview, whether the purpose of the conversation is personal or professional. And be sure to follow up within 24 hours to thank them for taking the time to make your career journey a little easier.
  • If you do meet with them to talk about their employer or industry, don’t show up expecting to hear that it’s an amazing place to work or thinking that this meeting is going to get you a job. Be honest with them and yourself about your expectations. If you really want to get the inside scoop on PR and marketing for a non-profit, then show up only expecting to have a conversation and learn something. If anything more comes out of it, that’ll just be a bonus.
  • KEEP YOUR EXPECTATIONS REALISTIC