Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Can You Compete With Recent College Grads?

About a year after the class of 2017 turned their tassels and graduated into the real world, LinkedIn did some research to see where these graduates are now. After doing some research, they made a list of the top ten skills most popular skills of graduates who found employment.
Here are the top ten skills of the graduates that got hired. Do you have what it takes to compete against them?

1.      Microsoft Office- Today, being fluent in Microsoft programs is a requirement for most jobs. To stay competitive, it’s important to set yourself apart. Anyone can create a document in Word or a PowerPoint presentation, but not everyone can do so effectively. Master Word and PowerPoint and learn how to manipulate data in Excel to really give yourself an edge against the class that grew up with computers.

2.      Customer Service- Creative problem solving will get you a long way with companies who are looking for ways to increase their customer service ratings. If you have success stories from your past, don’t be shy about sharing them in interviews. Show companies that you have the knowledge and skills to be one step ahead when it comes to keeping customers happy.

3.      Leadership- There’s a big difference between managers and strong leaders. If you can motivate your team to enthusiastically complete their work while gaining their respect, you should brag about your leadership abilities.

4.      Public Speaking- One of the most common fears of the workforce but also one of the most desirable traits, public speaking is pertinent in almost every industry. Learn how to keep calm and still communicate clearly when all the pressure is on.

5.      Social Media- Because the class of 2018 grew up with social media, competing with them here might take some extra work. Try starting with your own social media accounts to see if you can set and obtain goals such as increased followers or more interaction. You can also read up on social media or even take classes online to catch up.

6.      Teamwork- It almost goes without saying that being able to productively collaborate with colleagues to reach a joint goal is a highly desirable quality in an employee. Practice communicating with your coworkers and ask your boss to put you on more team projects if you don’t think you’ve had enough experience.

7.      Time Management- Be honest, how productive are you with your time? Take away distractions and train yourself to accomplish tasks on a timetable that will impress future employers.

8.      Research- No matter what your job title is, chances are research will be part of it. Whether you are finding information for a project or looking for self-improvement, it’s important to find reliable sources and be able to learn from them.

9.      Management- Good managers can gain the respect of subordinates without ever making them feel below them. Is your team motivated to succeed? If not, step back and reflect on how you can improve.

10.   Event Planning- Workshops, office parties, client luncheons… can you handle the stress of putting together an event for a large group? Are you detail oriented enough to make a small gathering useful and memorable? This is another skill you can practice in your personal life to perfect it in your professional life.

Monday, May 21, 2018

What Not to Ask in Your First Interview

       There are a lot of articles on the internet filled with interview tips, detailing everything from what to wear to following up after. Just as important as knowing what to do is knowing what not to say. At the end of your interviewer when asked if you have any questions, your potential employers will be on the watch for certain red flags. Here’s what Forbes recommends you should be careful to avoid when asking questions during an interview:

When would I be considered for a raise and a promotion?
Reason to avoid: You want to reflect interest in supporting the organization through this role they’re trying to fill, not focusing on how you can immediately get beyond this role.
What’s the vacation and flextime policy?
Reason to avoid: Again, you want to reflect a sincere interest in working for this organization in the role they have open, and not evaluate the appeal of the job by the amount of time you have off. In my view, asking all about benefits, vacation/leave, flextime, etc. is for after you get the job offer and before you decide to accept it.
What would I be doing every day?
Reason to avoid: You should ask about the nature and scope of the role, but not “what will I be doing?” because that question sounds like you may not know as much as you should about your stated area of expertise.  Most often, "what will I be doing?" is answered in the job description that got you interested in the role. If you’re still unclear after discussing the job, you can ask something like, “What types of projects would this role be actively engaged in and what are the most important goals of this role?”
Why is this role open now?
Reason to avoid: This might be something you want to ask later with a question like, “What is the history of this position in the organization?" but not initially, because it suggests you’re digging to find out if the predecessor was fired or laid off, etc.
Do you check references?
Reason to avoid: This question gives the impression that your references are not what they need to be, and you’re worried about it. Do everything you can secure good references, but if you have an issue with that, wait until the interviewer knows you better and you’ve advanced to the stage where they ask for references, for you to share any more about the situation.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Three Tips to Take Your Network to the Next Level

Network, network, network- you’ve heard it in school, all over LinkedIn, and through your colleagues. But just how important is networking? According to a survey conducted by Lou Adler, 85% of jobs are filled by networking. Even the most active candidates in his survey found their jobs via networking. Don’t know where to start? We’ve compiled a list of the three networking tips you need to take your professional network to the next level.

1.      Help Your Network- Remember the golden rule when it comes to professional connections! If you want their help, you must be able to assist them too. When relationships are one sided, people will be far less open to helping you out when the time comes. Create mutually beneficial relationships by staying up to date with the people in your network and always being ready to lend a helping hand.

2.      Be Straightforward- When you need help from your colleagues, don’t be afraid to ask. Rather than beating around the bush and hoping the other party picks up on what you want, be direct and tell them what you need from them. It will save time for both of you and keep the relationship open.

3.      Keep in Touch­- Don’t only reach out to your network when you need something- tell them when things are going well too! No one wants to be an afterthought who is only called to help others. Plus, the people in your network probably care about you and would want to hear about your success.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Using Bad Days to Your Advantage

Bad days are a part of life. Even those of us who love our jobs are bound to experience a day when everything seems to go wrong. The best way to keep the same bad days from happening over and over again is how you react when you leave the office. Resist the urge to go home, throw yourself a pity party, and try to forget it ever happened. Instead, take the time for self- reflection and ask yourself the following questions from Kat Boogaard to stop making the same mistakes:

"1. Will This Day Have a Lasting Impact?
When your day was nothing but awful, it's easy to send yourself into a downward spiral of despair. You make mountains out of molehills and become convinced that this one brief rough patch will be the demise of your entire career and reputation. Rest assured, that's hardly ever the case- and this question will help you step back and get some much-needed perspective. 
2.  What Would You Do Differently? 
Are you the eternal winner of the blame game? I can relate. When things don't work out as planned it's easy to place all of the responsibility on your shoulders- regardless of whether you had any control over those circumstances or not. This is why it can be so helpful to identify what-  if anything- you'd do differently if you magically had a do-over of your day. 
3. What Went Well Today?
Alright, you're so wrapped in everything that went wrong that you're convinced that today was so terrible it's worthy of being the plot of a horror film. However, even the worst days have a few bright spots. Obsessing over the bad things is probably only going to send your mood into more of a nosedive. So, ask yourself this question to pull out a few of the positives."