Tag: career

 

A 12-Step Plan for a Better Career in the New Year

There are two types of people: the ones who make New Year’s resolutions and the ones who don’t. I’m firmly on the don’t side — I like to set goals instead, like fattening up my savings account.

If one of your goals for 2019 is kicking your career into high gear, you’ll need a plan to make it happen. And, breaking your career-boosting strategy down into monthly tasks can help you make big strides by year’s end.

To help you get going, take a look at this month-to-month guide.

January: Set career goals

As you start a new year, think about where you want to end it, career-wise, and plan it as a whole process, says Piotr Sosnowski, vice president and co-founder of career site Zety.

“Imagine yourself in a gym on the first week of January, packed with hyper-optimistic sports newbies that made going to the gym a New Year’s resolution,” he says.

“Two weeks in and the gym is nice and quiet again. It’s because some people tend to approach their goals in a very ambitious way, focusing on a goal itself and forgetting that getting into shape is a whole, sometimes even hard process.”

To stay motivated in your career pursuits for the long-haul, try SMART goals  This means you’ll make your goals specific, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound, while still keeping the big picture in sight.

February: Know your worth

Be ready to prove your value as an employee in the New Year.

“Hiring managers want to see upward mobility, awards and accomplishments on your resume and LinkedIn profile,” says executive career coach Jaime Chapman.

“On paper, it’s easy to distinguish a rising star from a clock puncher,” she says.

Make a detailed list of your career achievements, such as:

  • Major projects you’ve spearheaded
  • Ways you’ve saved your company time and increased efficiency
  • Monthly and annual sales numbers if you’re in a sales-based position
  • How much money you’ve helped the company save or how much you’ve helped to increase profits

Be specific, using hard numbers whenever possible so you can explain your value concisely.

“Create an elevator pitch and a punch line to quickly and clearly articulate what you do and why you’re good at it. At networking events and in casual introductions, the elevator pitch and punch line are a secret weapon—quickly weeding out irrelevant connections and engaging the right audience,” Chapman says.

March: Network

Speaking of networking, spend some time working on fostering connections.

“The best method to get a better job is using your number one asset – people,” Chapman says.

Some simple, but powerful ways to grow your network in 2019 include:

  • Attending industry-specific conferences or meet-ups in your area
  • Reaching out to hiring managers and influencers on LinkedIn
  • Regularly sending out notes to stay in touch with existing connections

“The goal is to be the first person that pops into the mind of your immediate circle of influence,” Chapman says.

April: Learn something new

If you want to get ahead at work, commit to becoming a lifelong learner.

“One of the best ways you can improve your career is to invest in your own learning,” says Jessica Hernandez, president of Great Resumes Fast, an executive resume writing service.

“If there’s something you want to learn about, resolve to invest in reading about it, studying it, taking an online course or earning a certification,” she says.

Don’t limit yourself to skills or knowledge that apply to your current job either. Learning how to code or master Photoshop, for example, are skills you can parlay into a lucrative side hustle or even a full-time business.

May: Refresh your resume

While you’re doing your spring cleaning, don’t forget to give your resume a thorough once-over.

“One of the best ways to improve your career is to have a great resume ready before you need it,” Hernandez says.

“Make it a point to update your resume at least every six months or sooner if there’s a major change in your position, responsibilities or accomplishments, and keep a master resume on file that you can add things to as they happen.”

Think outside the box in terms of formatting. Consider swapping out the standard vanilla format for an infographic, slideshow or video resume to show off your skills and your personality.

June: Build mentoring relationships

Jonathan H. Phillips, co-author of Living Your Best Career, says having a personal board of directors is essential for career advancement.

“The truth is, your career doesn’t live in a vacuum. It’s intimately tied to other personal and professional stakeholders,” Phillips says.

He recommends looking to your network and choosing a shortlist of influential contacts. Ideally, your mentors should help guide you through large and small career decisions.

July: Become an expert

If you’re not yet an expert or influencer in your field, consider making that a priority for 2019.

“Speak at conferences, publish articles or a book, teach a webinar or appear as a guest on a podcast. The opportunities are limitless to put yourself out there so don’t be afraid to brag a little bit,” Chapman says.

If you’ve got a sizable LinkedIn network, consider publishing a short article weekly on topics related to your industry. Or, you can try your hand at blogging if you have a lot to say about a particular topic.

“Building your expertise will create a demand for you,” Chapman says.

August: Improve your interview skills

Job-hopping can be rewarding if it leads to a better position or pay. But you’ll have to get through the interview process first.

“Interviewing is an art form and requires a lot of preparation,” Chapman says.

Try these tips for nailing interviews every time:

  • Get to know the company you’re interviewing for
  • Research the most commonly asked interview questions
  • Tell stories with your answers
  • Use concrete examples to showcase your skills and experience
  • Ask insightful questions
  • Let your “you” shine through

Most importantly, remember to follow up. In a Robert Half survey, 100% of hiring managers said they want to hear from job candidates after the initial interview is over.

September: Negotiate a better salary

Chapman raises a good point about getting ahead in 2019: “What’s the point of all this work if you don’t increase your salary as a result?”

To get paid what you’re worth, start by researching average salaries for someone with your experience and in your field. PayScale and Glassdoor are a couple of helpful resources to check out.

Hone in on your preferred salary number, then commit to broaching the subject of a pay raise with your employer.

“Have a conversation about total compensation, including salary, time off, insurance and retirement benefits,” Chapman says.

“Get them talking, try not to reveal your numbers first and be prepared to walk away if you don’t receive the salary you feel you deserve.”

October: Stay engaged

Career coach Mark Anthony Dyson says it’s critical to stay in career advancement mode and avoid developing tunnel vision in your current role.

“It takes so long to get traction in a job search when you’ve disengaged from your network, industry trends and being active in your industry’s organizations,” says Dyson.

So, remember to stay in touch with your network regularly. You can do that by:

  • Subscribing to trade magazines for your industry
  • Reading industry-specific blogs
  • Following industry bigwigs on social media

November: Ask for feedback

Rather than cringing away from criticism, use it to your advantage.

“One thing that’s often underrated but can have serious consequences for professional and personal development is learning how to take genuine feedback graciously,” says Ketan Kapoor, CEO and co-founder of online performance software provider Mettl.

“When someone gives you feedback in their capacity as your colleague, friend, peer, manager, boss or associate, appreciate it, take in stride and filter it to get to the crux of what you need to improve — skills, attitude or personality,” says Kapoor.

December: Show your gratitude

As another year winds down, celebrate your wins and use career setbacks as learning tools. And remember to show your appreciation to the people who have helped you along your career path so far.

You don’t necessarily need to buy pricey gifts but sending out holiday cards or a personalized notes can close out the year on a positive note.

 

5 Job Interview No-Nos from the Experts

You’ve scored an interview for your ideal job with the dream salary you want to get paid. Yes! “I can’t mess this up,” you think. So you start preparing and figuring out how you can ace the interview and make it to the next step.

But before you let your nerves get the best of you, it’s important to understand that interviewing for a job is more of an art than a science. And, there are some definite no-nos to avoid at all costs. To help you out, we talked to human resources experts and hiring managers to learn more about what you absolutely should not do. Take a look at these 5 things to avoid in a job interview:

1. Don’t talk trash about your current employer

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, it’s likely that your job interviewer will ask about your current employer. But, even if you’re itching to leave your job because you hate it, you don’t have to dis your boss or the company you currently work for.

“There is nothing worse than hearing an employee bad mouth a current employer during an interview; not only is it awkward, but it also instantly makes a bad impression,” says Matt Dunne, hiring manager at Africa Travel.

Also, talking trash about your current employer is unprofessional, and this won’t win you any bonus points.

“Slandering your current employer to prove you’re ready to move onto the next step in your career may sound great in your head, but that’s where it should stay. After all, an employer expects you to speak highly of their company, no matter what the circumstance,” says Dunne.

2.  Not having questions ready

After any interview, a standard question is, “Do you have any questions for me?”

You might think you covered everything and you’re good to go. Nope. You should always come up with some good questions to either ask in the interview or afterwards. This proves you are truly interested in learning as much as you can about the employer and prospective job.

“When an employer ends an interview with “do you have any questions for me?” try not to make up questions on the fly. This shows a lack of preparation and often the answers could easily be found with a quick search,” says Alex Robinson, hiring manager at Team Building Hero.

“Instead, say ‘I do have some questions, and I’d like to spend a little more time thinking about them. Would it be okay if I follow-up by email?’ This approach shows strong critical thinking skills and gives you an opportunity to connect with the interviewer again.”

3. Lacking passion and interest

Have you ever been around someone who is so passionate about a particular topic that you can’t help but get drawn into her magnetism? It’s infectious and makes you listen, right? In a job interview, you want to be this person.

“If you’re a job candidate, I recommend you tell the person interviewing you specifically why you want to work at that company. Do you use their products or services yourself? Do you know someone who works there and loves it? What is it about the company that gets you excited?” says Richard Blazevich, author of Interview Prep Playbook.

Sharing your passion for the job and/or company can win you a lot of points, especially if your resume may need a little padding in the skills department. Many skills can be taught but passion can’t be bought. Having a genuine passion and illustrating that in an interview may help you get to the next round.

4. Not following-up with a thank you

Should you or shouldn’t you follow-up after a job interview? Trick question.

You should always follow-up after an interview. Yes, always.

“Send thank you notes. Email a different/unique thank you note to every person you met within 24 hours. You will need their email address, so be sure to get business cards from everyone. And don’t be lazy and copy/paste the same message to everyone, they might chat and share your note. Tweak each one to be a little different,” says David B. Nast, CEO and managing partner of Nast Partners, a human capital management and talent optimization firm.

If you want, you can go to the next level and send a handwritten note. Be sure to mail it that day so it can get to your interviewers ASAP.

5. Being late

There’s a huge cardinal sin when it comes to interviews: being late. Arriving late for an appointment is disrespectful to everyone and doesn’t give off a great first impression. So, avoid this at all costs by preparing ahead.

“Scout the location a few days before the interview and plan to arrive 15-30 mins early.  Program the main number or the admin’s number into your phone, so that if you are running late, you can call ahead and let them know you are running late and why you are late,” says Nast.

On the day of the interview leave extra early. Being early is always better than being late. And besides, if you arrive early, you can relax a bit. Maybe you can even grab a cup of coffee or a snack and make notes before heading into your interview.

Final word

Nailing a job interview is just one step in the hiring process. But it’s a necessary one and a step that you must pass in order to move on in the process.

In order to boost your chances of landing that job you’ve had your eye on, avoid these 5 interview no-nos at all costs. This will help you achieve both career and financial success in the new year.

 

4 Career Moves You Should Make This Year

New year. New career moves.

Think of this year as a new opportunity to take your career to the next level. Yup, there’s no time like the present to make sure you’re happy with your job and career path. It’s also the perfect time to learn new skills or consider a career move.

Leveling up in your career often goes hand-in-hand with your financial goals. This may mean increasing your savings, paying down your debt, and earning more money. If you’re looking to take your professional life to the next level, here are the best career moves you can make this year.

Learn a New Skill

How often do you learn new skills? Well, it’s time to do this. Why? Learning new skills will help you evolve with your career and make you more marketable in your industry.

When I worked at a web design company as a content writer, I made it a point to learn new skills. The industry was often changing and I had to keep up. Plus, I knew that I could make more money by advancing my skills. So, I learned how to do light website coding and SEO (search engine optimization). I wasn’t the only one. One of my coworkers got certified in SEO and in turn, he created a whole new position for himself. Mind you, this company was a start-up so things were flexible. But, you can advance your skills regardless of where you work.

There are plenty of courses available and you don’t have to go back to school for a degree. You can use sites like Udemy and Coursera to search for online courses that interest you. For example, perhaps you can take an affordable social media course online during your spare time. And just think: the courses you take can help you at your current job, or maybe even lead you to start a new side hustle to make extra money. The opportunities are endless.

Ask For a Raise

This is one of the best times of the year to ask your employer for a raise. Companies usually have new budgets set in January and are already considering things like wages, expenses, and goals for the year.

If you haven’t done so already, schedule a sit down with your employer so you can discuss your role over the past year and then broach the subject of getting a raise or promotion. If you have focused on gaining new skills, discuss this with your boss as you can now bring more to the table.

Sometimes it can be intimidating to ask for a raise but it’s worth it. And just think: Most people don’t get raises simply because they don’t ask for them.

Remember: Earning more money each year is a crucial part of advancing your career – not to mention that it helps you keep up with cost of living increases and pay your bills.

Look For a Full-Time Job With Benefits

When looking for a new job, most people focus on the salary as the top factor. While it’s important to make sure you’re getting paid well and on time, it’s also important to consider the benefits package. If your current job doesn’t offer a benefits package, it may be time to start looking for a new job.

Vacation days, medical insurance, and a 401(k) plan can help you get ahead financially. If your employer offers a great health plan, that’s a major win. The same goes with an employer-sponsored retirement plan.

So, if you’re working part-time or don’t have benefits at your current job, consider seeking a full-time job and negotiating for a benefits package that will help support your lifestyle and protect your family.

Establish an Extra Income Stream

How many income streams do you have? The average self-made millionaire has seven.

Think about it: If you’re looking to make extra money during your spare time, you can monetize one of your hobbies and earn money doing something you enjoy. Or, perhaps you can leverage a skill to create a new side hustle and generate an entirely new income stream.

For example, consider writing e-books, selling items online, walking dogs, investing in real estate, selling homemade products on Etsy, or even running errands. If you don’t want to start a business from scratch, you can even take advantage of the gig economy and drive for Uber or Lyft on the side. The extra money you earn can be added back into your budget or used to accelerate debt payoff. You can also earmark your extra cash toward a large purchase or upcoming vacation.

Who knows, you may even launch a side business that will eventually replace your main job!

Take Your Career to the Next Level

Whether you’re gunning for a promotion or want to start a side hustle, make 2019 the year that you take your career to the next level.

Start by determining what you want your career to look like in one year, five years or 10 years. Then, focus on learning at least one new skill and exploring other options to make extra money. This may lead to a lucrative side hustle, a new job, or a raise or promotion at your current job.

One final tip: The more secure you make your career, the more secure your finances will be over time.

 

The 3 Worst Career Moves You Can Make for Your Money

Just because you’re a working professional doesn’t mean you’re earning at your full potential. One career mistake can compromise your finances. Unfortunately, poor financial decisions abound in the modern workplace.

Don’t jeopardize your future by making the wrong move. Here are three of the worst career moves you can make for your money.

1. Not negotiating your salary

Negotiating a higher salary during the hiring or performance review process is the best way to maximize your earnings. Not only will a higher salary equal a bigger paycheck, but also bigger future percentage-based raises, which will build on that amount. Whether you’re about to start a job or ask for a raise, it’s in your best interest to negotiate.

But many people never attempt to negotiate their salary. According to Jobvite, only 29% of job seekers negotiated their salary at their current or most recent job and 47% don’t feel comfortable negotiating at all. While negotiation is tricky and you shouldn’t overplay your hand, it can mean the difference between an acceptable salary and an exceptional one.

“The biggest mistake you can make is not negotiating. This has implications that can last for the entire duration of your career. If you’re underpaid from the start, you’ll continue to be underpaid — even when you’re given a raise or a promotion,” said Ashira Prossack, founder and CEO of The Generational Factor, a company dedicated to bridging the generation gap and helping businesses prepare for the future of work.

“This is especially detrimental to your finances if you plan to stay with a company long term, as it’s harder to re-negotiate and get a substantial salary increase internally,” Prossack said. “You don’t want to be forced to leave a company that you love just to get a higher salary.”

2. Not saving for retirement

Retirement savings should be a priority for all working Americans, Social Security and Medicare face a funding crisis. But Americans aren’t saving for their retirement aggressively, or in some cases at all. Retirement plan participation is particularly low among working millennials — the generation born between 1981 and 1991 — 66% of whom have nothing saved for their golden years.

The reasons for low retirement savings may include stagnant wages and a lack of employee awareness. But retirement savings are essential for everyone, and in some cases your employer may help you save.

“Many employers that offer a retirement savings plan, such as a 401(k), will match the employee’s contributions up to a specific percentage of the employee’s salary, which is usually around 3%,” said Ryan Firth, a certified public accountant and president at Mercer Street, a financial and tax services firm.

“Essentially, the employer is giving the employee a form of bonus compensation by matching a percentage of the employee’s contributions to her retirement savings plan,” Firth said. “From the employee’s perspective, it’s like free money! So if the employee isn’t contributing up to at least the employer’s match, then she’s losing out on ‘free money.’”

3. Choosing a career for the money only

Choosing your career based on salary might be one of the worst money moves you can make. If you’re only seeing dollar signs when you accept your job offer, you may end up in a career you hate. In that scenario, you might be looking for an exit strategy sooner than you think.

“It’s important to do your due diligence before moving forward with any job offer because the money may be good, but you may not be happy in the long term,” said Firth. “Conversely, the money may be less than you’d like, but if the job is a good fit, you’re more likely to enjoy your work, which usually predicts higher job performance (and hopefully a commensurate increase in pay).”

Salary is only one part of the picture. Compensation also includes benefits that directly impact your wallet.

“Not taking into account the value of company benefits such as health care insurance, disability insurance, life insurance, etc. when considering a job offer,” is a big mistake, said Firth.


This article originally appeared on Policygenius.com.

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