Expanding your network for career development
Whether you are back in person at work or staying at home for your job, this is a good time to expand your network.
If you aren't on LinkedIn®, there may be alternative ways to increase your contacts depending on your industry.
No matter what online platform you are using, here are tips to be effective when adding to your network.
Personalize your request message. Avoid using the default message on websites when requesting that people
connect with you or provide you their contact information. Be specific about why you are interested reaching out to them and
keep your message brief.
- Follow up once you are connected. Take the time to send a thank you message
to anyone who honors your request. If you would like to talk to them about a certain topic or get to know them beyond the
website (ie: send emails directly to them), this is a good time to get their information to communicate outside the site.
Be prepared to get more requests to connect. Once you start increasing your network, all of those people's
contacts will now see that you are connected. You may start to get requests from people who aren't necessarily relevant to
your career goals and network objectives. Quality is much more important than quantity for a valuable network, so don't just
add people to have a certain number on the website.
Effective preparation and execution for virtual career fairs
Employers may be changing the way they hire with our current social distancing, so as a candidate you need to be
sure you prepare for the new methods. Here are some best practices to help you present your skills effectively.
- Location is important. Find a place in your home that you can be completely undisturbed
with complete quiet. Since the interviewer will be able to see you, there should not be anything in the background that would
be distracting to the employer. Try to find a blank wall that will keep the person focused on what you are saying.
Prepare as if you were going to meet with the interviewer in person. A video interview is just like
an in person interview - dress for the interview by wearing a suit or equally appropriate attire for your industry and the
position you are applying for.
- Understand your technology. Identify what web platform
or program you will be using and if you need to download it a few days in advance so you can make sure you won't have buffering
issues for the interview. Determine how to position yourself for the best visual appearance on the webcam. Check your speaking
volume and get a separate microphone if necessary. Detachable microphones are very affordable and can make the most soft spoken
person sound confident and interview appropriate.
- Practice with a friend to improve your skills. Have
someone help you to establish what volume you should have on both your microphone and your speakers. Practice your speaking
level with a friend. Get online with someone you trust and practice your tone and level of speech. Deliver answers to commonly
asked questions, and questions you anticipate that are industry or position specific.
like Goodwill are helping job seekers find employers through virtual career fairs like this one - Goodwill Virtual Career Fair Event
How can an ATS change the way you job search?
Whether you know it or not, an ATS- Applicant Tracking System - may be looking at your resume long before any human
does at your next employer. These software programs search for the best candidates based on the resumes and/or online
applications they submit. After you submit your resume or application the system identifies words and /or phrases that
are a match for the position based on the job description. Here's what you need to do to keep your resume ‘in
play' for this type of screening:
- Be aware that this technology could be in play with
any size organization. Don't assume that a small company won't use this program to maximize their hiring process time.
Closely evaluate the job description and tailor your resume language to fit the wording in the posting. Use the same keywords
that are in the job description in your resume wherever possible. Don't overstate your skills just to ‘match' words
- employers will figure out that candidates have done that eventually and they will no longer be considered for the job.
Upload a document in the format the company is requesting. Candidates can stay best prepared by always having a Word document
that they can quickly update and then change into PDF if the company is requesting that format.
Three things you must do to start this decade
Now that a new decade has arrived, it's time to get ready for any career opportunities that may be headed your way.
Even if you aren't anticipating a job search, the start of a new year can help you dust off your documents, update your online
presence, and increase your chances to expand your network. So if you haven't already taken the time to do this - here
are the three things to do now:
1. Dig out your career documents and update
them... Find your most recent resume and cover letter and make sure all the dates are correct, the content is accurate,
and new information is added. Don't forget to remove outdated things too - expired licensure or certifications, professional
groups you don't participate in anymore, volunteering your haven't done for years, etc. If you keep a ‘brag book',
double check that you have added all of your 2019 documents so it's ready to go when you need it. This is also the perfect
time to start writing down information for a thorough and positive performance discussion with your boss.
Check your online presence... When did you update your profile pictures on LinkedIn, Facebook, and any other
career relevant platforms? Review your profile information to make it current with organizations, your work experience,
volunteering, training, technical skills, language skills, and any licensing or certifications you secured in 2019.
3. Plan your 2020 networking activities... Even if you have
500+ Connections in LinkedIn, you should have an annual plan on how you want to increase or modify your network. This
could include professional affiliations to join, specific groups you follow on Facebook or LinkedIn, continuing education
activities you attend, or internal cross-training you ask to participate in. The key is making a plan with multiple
steps and options so if one doesn't meet your goal you can select something different to build your network in the new decade.
Jump start your job search
Kids are back in school and for some parents it is also back into the hunt for a new job. This is actually
a good time of the year to look since companies are also planning for either the second or fourth quarter of their fiscal
year. So, if you are getting ready to put your skills on the market, there are some steps you need to take before you
click away on job search engines...
- Step One - dust off your last resume
version and get it ready to go. Before you start adding content, remove anything not relevant to this job search and update
ending dates on any organization involvement and work experience.
- Step Two - add any training or
technical or language skills that you may have learned or increased your level of expertise in since your last resume update.
This includes any certifications or licensure that is new as well.
- Step Three - double check your
social media presence - LinkedIN, Facebook, even Twitter and Instagram if those are platforms that apply to your industry
(graphic arts, entertainment, arts etc.) Make sure that you have a current/appropriate picture, and update anything that you
also updated on your resume.
- Step Four - communicate with your personal and professional network.
Let your friends and family know you are entering the job market. If you have past colleagues that would be helpful with connections
and/or introductions email them too.
- Step Five - get your interviewing skills up to speed. Analyze
the job descriptions you apply to and anticipate interview questions and then PRACTICE! There is no substitute for actually
having another person you trust ask you questions and then give you constructive feedback on your answers to make you better.
Ready for a transition?
If you are considering a career transition, it's important to evaluate what industries will be growing in the near
term. Some roles may be changing due to progress in technology so that should also be a factor to identify.
According to the Spring issue of HR Magazine, there are certain occupations that are in-demand worldwide. These professions
have been among the most difficult jobs to fill over the past ten years.
- Skilled trades
- Office support
- Manufacturing roles
Skills every manager should have (or get)
Whether you are currently a manager or want to create a plan to become one, there are some key skills that you need
to have for success in the workplace. Here are a few that are not industry specific and can be necessary regardless
of what level manager you are:
- Problem-solving...Being able to identify
solutions in project management and people management is crucial.
- Strategic thinking...Looking
beyond today's situations and planning for future goals not only helps develop a vision for your team, but it shows your long-term
commitment to the company.
- Negotiation...This is important in your team's collaboration and also
in your ability to work with other departments internally.
- Change management...We live in a global
economy that is diverse and ever-changing. Showing your employer that you are not afraid of change and can coach others through
those times increases your value to the organization.
What makes an internship valuable?
This question can be posed from both sides of the internship relationship - the employee and the employer.
The answer is the same for both - an internship is valuable when it's result is a win-win for both parties. As a student/employee
you will want to produce work that contributes to the company while learning new skills and/or building upon existing ones.
As the employer, you want to have results from the employee that help your projects and overall goals while also developing
a potential pipeline.
Here are some ways for employers to build internship programs that will result in the ultimate
- Offer paid and unpaid internships. Paid internships are important
for students to have during the summer and typically will be several hours a week since they aren't in school. Unpaid internships
can be effective during the school year and should have part-time hours because the students will also be juggling school
and extracurricular activities.
- Plan the intern's work and offer varied tasks. Having a student
show up without a plan for their day will result in frustration on both sides. Create a work plan with goals, timelines, and
check in meetings so everyone can stay on track and consistently communicate changes.
- Assign a mentor for
each intern. Even if you have multiple interns in one department, each person should have an employee that will be
their point of contact to ask questions, offer ideas, and get feedback from. There should be weekly communication with the
intern to assess progress on work and address any concerns.
- Determine strengths and potential long-term fit.
As the intern learns about the company culture and begins to produce work, employers should be identifying what their
pipeline needs are and how the intern could fill future positions.
Four skills entry-level hires need to have
A recent Wall Street Journal article addressed how the landscape has changed for both employers and entry-level new
hires. The expectations for skills will obviously vary based on industry, but there are some key categories of skills
that people moving into entry-level positions should be able to exhibit in order to secure a job.
Communication - Even if your comfort zone is minimal contact outside your workspace, employers are expecting
you to be able to interact. This can include communication with clients, internal contacts, and vendors.
- This should probably more accurately be phrased ‘active listening/problem solving'. Being able to hear what
issues are occurring internally or externally and then determine an action plan to move forward is an important skill in the
- Numeracy - You don't have to be an accountancy major or have a background in math to
show your abilities in this area. Knowledge of software programs using numerical information such as Excel will allow you
to analyze information effectively.
- Adaptability - Do you consider yourself a lifelong learner?
Are you willing to take on a project even if you need to learn a new process or method to achieve the goal? Employers want
to know that their team is going to learn new skills as their job changes and they move into greater areas of responsibility.
May graduates need to be strategic in interviews
It's that time of year - college graduates are finalizing their studying and determining what they will be doing
as a career starting this summer. New college graduates should understand that there are certain ways to increase your
competitive chances in the interview process. A recent SHRM article shared some tips straight from the hiring experts
that can help you beat the other candidates.
- Personal presence is important
and it includes assessing and modifying your social media. Be sure that the various ways an employer can ‘see' you all
show your enthusiasm, confidence, and professionalism to be successful in the workplace.
- Be a storyteller.
Interviewers want to thoroughly understand how you have used your skills in the past to produce results in school,
work, and extracurricular activities. Answer questions with specific examples that will make them feel like they were right
there with you and be sure to include the impact you had in each situation.
- Ask thoughtful questions.
At the end of every interview you are given an opportunity to ask questions so plan in advance and to research to make the
most of this chance. Think about questions that give you more information about the job responsibilities, opportunities to
use your skills, and ways you can contribute to the overall team success.
Highest growth jobs cross several industries
If you are considering a career transition, additional education or certifications, or a new path for your professional
life you should understand what the projected highest growth jobs are. According to the latest issue of HR Magazine
from SHRM, the jobs that are expected to have the greatest growth by 2026 have a wide range of education and/or certification
requirements. Here they are in order based on the greatest number of new jobs:
Home health and professional care aides
- Waiters, food service workers and cooks
- Registered nurses
- Janitors and cleaners
So before you determine next steps for your career,
check out these positions and whether they could be a fit for your future.
Management skills you need for future success
Whether you are currently a manager or aspire to be one, the World Economic Forum has done the research across a
wide range of industries to help you plan now for tomorrow's skills. Creating a plan now to identify your current abilities
in these areas will assist you in finding ways to build skills that are gaps you need to focus on filling.
- Emotional intelligence
- Strategic thinking
- Executive presentation
- Analytical skills
- Understanding the impact of AI
- Leadership ability
Do you have the skills needed in the future workplace?
Late last year the Future Workplace research group - heads of human resources and corporate learning departments
in Fortune 1000 companies identified the top skills workers will need to be successful for the future growth of their careers.
Not unlike the NACE Job Outlook Survey that is conducted each year - polling employers who recruit for entry-level careers
at the nation's colleges and universities - this list is top heavy with soft skills that will be important for employees to
have and develop. Here are the top ten:
1. Complex problem-solving
2. Critical thinking
4. People management
5. Coordination -
6. Emotional intelligence
Service orientation (commitment to community/volunteering)
10. Cognitive flexibility
Further down the list are higher level skills - typically
those necessary for successful paths in managing projects and/or people, and skills related directly to technology.
The best gifts for your manager during the holidays
Not sure what to get your manager this holiday season? Forget the shopping trip and give them a gift in the
workplace. These gifts will not only help the management, but they will also support your team.
Don't worry, be happy. Bring your positive attitude to work everyday this holiday season. This time of year
can be stressful and/or emotional for you and your co-workers, not to mention your boss. Showing up each day with a happy
face makes a great gift and improves the workplace environment.
- Lend a hand. The holiday season
is a time when people look to help others through volunteering or giving. Take this approach at your job. Ask your teammates
how you can assist them on projects or planning for the new year. You can also ask your boss what you can do for him.
Increase the communication. This could be internal or external communication. Find opportunities for the
new year to increase/improve your communication methods. Share these ideas with management to make the whole team more effective
Three things to do at work before the year ends
Before the chaos of the year-end holidays start, take time to clean up some things around your workplace. Not
only will these steps help you end the year on a positive note, but it will also put you in a great position to start off
the new year.
Leave no loose ends...Whether you have a firm deadline on a project or not,
see what you can get completely done so you can start new projects in January. Make sure you communicate with any co-workers
about collaborative items that you are trying to complete so their segments don't hold up your progress.
with the hold, in with the new... This is the perfect opportunity to grab a filing box and purge your 2018 work files
that you won't need for 2019. It's also a great time to start naming new files so you are ready to go for the new year.
And anything that is going to move forward from this year to the next, decide whether you want to re-name the current year
file or create a new one. Think about doing this exercise on your electronic files too.
Q1 goals... Once you have determined your objectives for the first quarter, review them with co-workers who will
be involved and also with your manager. Establish any timelines and identify what resources you will need to get as
soon as the year starts. Getting prepared now will not only help you hit the ground running week one, but it will also
show your boss that you are going to start the year on a positive note.
Communicating effectively during job search
Communication during the job search process is very important to successfully securing a position. As soon
as a hiring manager contacts you for an interview, your communication style and approach will be evaluated also. There
are two key components to consider when contacting anyone in the company you want to work for; method of communication and
content. Here are some tips for different situations:
- Scheduling the interview
- If you missed the call to schedule an interview, the best way to respond is to call the person back asap. If you
need to leave a message, be sure to request a call or email back to confirm the time/date for the interview. Give the hiring
manager a couple of options for the interview unless they only provided you one in their message.
appointments - The day before any interview - phone, video, or in person - it's crucial to call the person who scheduled
with you and confirm the time and method. This is especially important if you and the interviewer are in different time zones.
Don't do this via email - you want to speak with someone personally so there is no miscommunication.
up - After every interaction during the process, you need to follow up via email to the person. This includes any
administrative personnel who have assisted you in scheduling. Keep these communications brief and showing appreciation for
their time. In follow up to an interview, be sure to remind the hiring person what you discussed and the experience you have
that makes you the best candidate for the job.
Back to school for students means back to the job hunt
As students go back to school, some working parents may be moving back into the job hunt. Summertime is a slower
hiring time for most companies. As we move into the Fall, employers will be planning for first quarter 2019 and in certain
industries be hiring for the upcoming winter months.
- Consider industries that have historically more seasonal
hiring activities to get experience in skills that you need to progress. If customer service or sales is an area you want
to pursue but don't have significant previous work in that area, check for seasonal hospitality, restaurant, or special event
- Look for career fairs that specialize in hiring for your
industry. These could be posted through professional organizations and industry websites.
- Find new sources for information
on hiring trends and career planning through the public library or professional affiliations through LinkedIn.
Make the most of your summer
If you have finished your summer travel you should be taking advantage of this season to boost your resume content.
Whether you are planning a transition to a new field or a move in your existing company, the downtime of summer offers the
opportunity to build skills, learn new ones, or expand your repertoire of abilities for the next job.
Let your hobby teach you something. If you take time during the summer to head to the lake, garden, or another
hobby, identify what skills you can get from the activity. Can you build your planning, organization or communication abilities
while having fun?
- Technology is your friend. Between summer workshops and classes at the One Stop
Centers, there are multiple places to update your technological skills. Look ahead to the next job you want to have and figure
out what technical gaps you have to fill to get it.
- Helping someone can help you too. Taking time
to volunteer at a local organization will not only show your next boss that you care about others, but also allow you to increase
your own skills. Volunteer activities can also open up opportunities to learn new skills that could launch you into your next
Social media is a valuable tool in career transition
Anyone in the job search process should consider if they are maximizing the use of social media in the process.
Sites that are tailored to your industry, networking sites, and informational sites can all be valuable in providing helpful
tips and guidance on potential positions in companies. Facebook®® is a good source for some basic
information on the current ‘hot topics' a company is focused on and viewing the company's page before an interview can
assist in giving you insight into what is important for their organization currently. If you aren't maximizing LinkedIn®®
as a resource, here are some things to put on your to do list:
- Update your profile information
to be current with volunteer work or paid work experience you are doing.
- Request recommendations from previous supervisors
and colleagues that can attest to the skills you need to make the transition - communication, organization, technical skills
- whatever is most relevant to the industry or company you are pursuing.
- Check out the new ‘jobs' function
on the system - look on the right hand side to find positions that the search engine has found to match your past experience.
- Follow and join groups that are aligned with your transition, either by company name or by industry.
preparation for an interview, search for the company, department, and interviewer to formulate meaningful questions to ask
at the end of the phone or face-to-face interview.
Leveraging your mid-year review effectively
Some companies may make a mid-year review a formal process, while in others the employee needs to request this type
of discussion. Summer is a great time to carve out time with your manager to determine your current year's progress
and establish a go forward plan for the balance of the year. Employees who prepare for these meetings will have positive
outcomes and also feel empowered to work on professional development.
Understand what your objectives
are... The first step in having meaningful performance discussions with you manager is to clearly outline
your objectives. These may be corporate goals, department goals, project specific goals, or independent goals.
It's important that you not only know what you will be measured on, but how each criteria is weighted in evaluating your performance
Document, document, document... As the employee, you are responsible
for consistently documenting your activities throughout the year. This includes not only your successes, but also the
obstacles that you have encountered and how you dealt with them and overcame them. Don't rely on your manager to have
kept track of everything you have done - their responsibilities are broader than noting your actions.
open to critique and adaptation... When you are mentally preparing for these discussions, anticipate what
feedback you may receive from your manager. Be ready to take constructive input and make changes in your actions and
behaviors. Avoid appearing defensive by taking notes on the feedback and acknowledging that you are willing to continuously
learn. Bring your own recommendations on the areas that you want to develop in as well - cross-departmental training,
external soft skills training, mentoring new employees, etc. Planning ahead to share how you want to continue to professionally
develop will show your manager that you are committed to the performance discussion process.
For more information
about how to manage various areas of your career development, check out this book: https://www.amazon.com/deserve-raise-think-convince-boss-ebook/dp/B079RWXMZ6/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1530730085&sr=8-8&keywords=stacie+garlieb