Surviving a CareerApocalypse

apocalypse

This is a presentation I gave during our Spirit Week here at CC.

A career-apocalypse is coming soon for all of you! You will have to decide what you’re going to do to survive! You have 2 options- be a career zombie or a career robot. What does this mean? Today we will discuss how to succeed in the workforce by knowing yourself, your audience, using your strengths, talents, abilities, and goals, and networking. My goal is for all of you to be prepared to not only survive but thrive in the workforce.

Let’s discuss the characteristics of robots and zombies. Robots are engaged in their work, zombies not so much. Robots like Wall-E, Optimus Prime, and Rosie the Robot can be caring and express feelings. They are also task and detail oriented, good at manual labor, loyal, resourceful, and intelligent.  Zombies on the other hand unlike R from Warm Bodies are slow moving, not engaged in their work, are loners, non- communicative, can be aggressive, and are hard to get rid of.  In the world of work, you want to be seen as a robot and not a zombie.

To do this you must first know yourself and know your audience. Who are you? What do you feel your purpose is? What do you enjoy doing? What do you want to get out of your career?   You can also ask yourself what are your values or what do you value? Is it money, prestige, time with the ones you love, making a difference? Once you know these things you can move forward. You must also know your audience. What type of audience do you want to serve? Is it people, animals, a specific demographic such as the elderly or youth? You must be able to reach your audience at all times, remembering that the audience can change or remain the same. When you are applying for a job, the company or organization you are applying to is your audience.  If you are a doctor, your audience is your patients, if you’re a lawyer, it’s your clients, your audience is whoever you are serving.  In a work situation that can include supervisors, coworkers, and the public that come into your company. Knowing how to communicate with your audience is vital- you may learn that your supervisor prefers to communicate by email, while your coworkers prefer face to face contact.  Pay attention to your audience as well as listening to themIn his book, Blink, Malcolm Gladwell discusses a study about physicians and time spent with their patients. The study found that physicians who spent just 3 extra minutes listening to their patients were sued less for malpractice-just 3 minutes. Listen to your audience. I promise you that if you will pay attention and listen to your audience, you will win them over every time.

To be engaged at work, you need to be using your S.T.A.G.- strengths, talents, abilities, and goals. This will help you to be more productive and happy.   Think of your dream job, will you be using your S.T.A.G. or not? If you aren’t sure what you want to do, think of what you wrote down and brainstorm on some jobs that would be a good fit.

Although zombies travel in packs, they are still considered loners.  Being a loner won’t help you at work. This doesn’t mean you have to be  best friends with everyone at work, but you do have to interact with them.  You can be polite and professional. It’s important to know the company culture.  You need to learn how to network In and outside of work. You need people to help you survive this career-apocalypse. Think of T.V. shows like Under the Dome, Lost, The Walking Dead and movies such as Hunger Games and Divergent. All these movies have certain characters- the hero, the hero’s significant other, the villain, the frenemy, and the loose cannon.  The ironic thing is that they all serve a purpose. At some point, you will need them or vice versa. This is how networking is. In order to progress in your career or even change careers, you will need to have a rapport or relationship with others. It’s not difficult, you meet someone, ask them about themselves, listen, and respond. You have a conversation, it can be awkward but it can be done. You never know who you will meet and how they can help you or you can help them in the future. I’m not saying to talk to people simply to get something from them or to get used, but when you can genuinely help someone it feels good. What you really want from networking is to build relationships.

I  don’t if the robots or zombies will win at Ludy Bowl this weekend, but I know to win a work, you need to be a career robot and not a career zombie. You want to always be engaged in your work and not just going through the motions.  All of you can do great things if you will apply what we have discussed today in the workforce.

Why Resumes?

 

College Student said no one ever

Why do you need a resume? It’s what gets you an interview. It opens doors for you and gets you into places. Your resume has to stand out and be excellent! Think of your resume as your personal marketing tool-its sole purpose is to make you look good. Hiring managers see dozens of resumes a day, what will make them want to not only look at, but also read yours?

Today we will discuss what you need to know about resumes to be prepared for the workforce. To do this you need to use qualifiers and quantifiers, tailor your resume to each job you apply for, and the elements that are in all resumes. When you leave here today you will be able to put together a well-crafted resume that will help you land an internship or job.

      Let’s begin by discussing the three types of resumes there are. The chronological resume is the resume that highlights your work experience from most recent to least recent. The chronological resume is for people with extensive work experience and no work gaps. It shows a progressive work history and includes dates. It works well for those who are seeking work in a similar field that they are currently in.

A functional resume highlights your skills and accomplishments. It does not include dates and works best for people who have a wide variety of work experience. People who may have gaps in their work history may use this type of resume. The hybrid/combo resume is the most common. It’s a combo of the chronological and functional. It highlights your skills followed by your work experience and education. It works well for people with little formal work experience. 

     As discussed your resume is the first impression that employers make of you. It’s you on paper. The look or the layout is important.  You want your resume to be given not just a glance, but a long enough glance to be read and land you an interview. This means that the layout needs to be organized, consistent, and easy to read. The font needs to be no smaller than 10 point but no larger than 14 point. Make sure the font is consistent throughout. Your name needs to be the biggest item on your resume- it needs to stand out like the name of the movie on a marquee sign. Include bullet points to emphasize information. Most resumes are glanced at for 7-20 seconds and either trashed or kept in the keep pile for another look. Your goal is to get a second glance. 

      To get that second glance, you want to have the right type of information on your resume. You need to have your contact information at the top centered,  a profile summary discussing your skills and talents, your education experience, work experience, and volunteer activities. If you are a student, your education should be at the top, you can also discuss any extracurricular activities you are involved in. This can be included with your education or as a separate heading. The title of your headings don’t matter, but having the right information does. Keep it relevant and current! You will also need a separate reference sheet.

To tailor your resume to a specific job means that you read the job description and pick out keywords and use them in your resume. Many companies now use an applicant tracking system to see how many keywords in the job description are in your resume. To do this, you need to get past the company jargon at the top of a resume and get down to the nitty gritty of what the company is looking for.   I want you to understand that you have to look past the job title at what type of person the company is looking for- if you feel you fit that description then proceed. Don’t let a title intimidate you or make you think the job is no for you. The title doesn’t matter, it’s what you do within the title that does.

      The information in your resume needs to include quantifiers and qualifiers or put simply words and numbers. Action words like the one on the Prezi are words that you need to use. Begin every bullet point with an action word.  It’s important to be specific so that you are able to back up what you say and give yourself credibility. For example do not simply state Trained new employees, state trained over 15 new employees which resulted in customer satisfaction increasing by 20%. This shows that you are capable and good at training others, you are effective and get results. Numbers catch people’s eye, use as many numbers as you can. You are able to use numbers in any job whether you are talking about the number of students you teach or the number of news articles you wrote for a marketing internship- numbers count. You don’t always have to be exact you can give an estimation if you cannot have an exact number. Numbers help give you credibility.  Your qualifiers and quantifiers need to prove that you can do what you say you can.

No two resumes will ever be the same, but they all need the same type of information.   One last tip is to keep you resume updated and current. Continue to add any new skills, accomplishments, or degrees to it.

 Your resume is your first impression to a potential employee. It needs to be organized, concise, and updated. You are representing yourself. Your resume can open many doors for you. You may have many careers, and each time that you obtain a new job, it will be in part to your resume. You are now prepared to have a resume that will help you to be on your way in the world of work.

Leveraging Social Media for College, Scholarships and Jobs

This is from a social media presentation I gave at our Step Above camp this summer.

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What is your favorite social media site and why?

What is it used for? What is its purpose? How else can it be used?

            Today, we will look at how you can use social media to help with college, scholarship, and job searches, as well as some of the dos and don’ts of social media etiquette. 

How many of you have an idea or know where you want to attend college or branch in the military? What do you know about the college, or branch and what makes you want to attend or be a part of these organizations?  A good way to find out even more information about these places is through their social media sites. Look at the reviews and comments from students, faculty, and parents. Social media is also a place where you can ask questions and make possible connections with people.  Think about what a potential school’s social media says about them. Remember that colleges and military branches are looking at your social media pages too. They are googling you, your Facebook, twitter, Instagram, and everything else. A good rule of thumb is if you are embarrassed for your grandparents or college admissions rep to see, don’t post it.   In the world, we live in; people make snap judgments as you all know so be careful.

            You can also use social media to search for scholarships.  Scholarship America posts new scholarship info on their Facebook and twitter pages. 

            As you progress and prepare for college, military, and beyond you be utilizing social media for more than just posting statuses.  You will want to become marketable and build a brand for yourself. Think about what you want to be known for and if that is the image you are now projecting. (Break into groups and discuss what they want their brand to be based on their career goals and what they want to be known for.   When you are job searching let your contacts know because as we discussed previously, you never know who knows each other. In The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, he discusses 3 types of people, connectors, mavens, and salespeople. We are going to focus on connectors.  Connectors know a lot of people and they know lots of different types of people. Connectors help people find other people. They are really good networkers. When you can connect with a connector, you have just broadened your network.  Think about your group of friends you all know the same people but when you know more people, you have more opportunities. (*My story about Christy) This is where social media comes into play; you will begin making connections through other people. Think about camp this week, you have made new friends that you will add to your social media network, you’ve met people in the business world, and when you make one new connection, you then connect to all their connections. You may even find that you know people in common and didn’t realize it.  You also widen your circle this way. Think of the people that you know in your life that are connectors that are good at helping people find people. Maybe you are a connector and never realized it. 

How many of you are familiar with LinkedIn? LinkedIn needs to become your best friend! It’s a professional network that helps people connect with others and find jobs. It’s easy to create a profile with your work, school, or volunteer experience. You can post any type of presentations you’ve done or things you have written. You can join professional groups that interest you and connect with other professionals. (*Maria Art Story) LinkedIn has a job section just for students and once you begin attending a college, you can join that network and connect with alumni. LinkedIn is a great tool that you need to begin familiarizing yourself with.

            It’s important with all social media that you are engaged and active. This doesn’t mean that you need to be on social media 24/7 but it’s important to show interest.  There are small and simple things that you can do, if you are interested in helping the environment join groups that want to help the planet. Share articles or posts that are important to you to spread awareness to others. 

Social media is here to stay and is always changing so stay current! Your best bet is to use it to your advantage and allow it to be a positive tool in your life. You’re building a brand, what do you want it to say about you? What is your message to the world? What do you have to say? Use social media to help you with scholarships, college, and job search information. As long as you use social media etiquette you will thrive

What’s Your Calling?

Cell Phone

This blog is from a presentation that I gave at our Step Above Camp last week. 

What do we use our cell phones for?

To talk to people, to play games, to go on social media, to check the weather, to read

Our phone has many purposes. Let’s apply that to ourselves. What is our purpose? What is your calling? When the times come, will you be able to answer the calling you received?

Today we will discuss what having a calling means, people who have found their calling in life, the path you need to take to find your calling and what to do once you have found it.

 

All of you have a purpose; you have strengths, talents, abilities, and goals. There are many things that you can do.  The important thing is that you understand what having a calling means to you and for you. So let’s talk about it. What do you think it means to have a calling?

What should your calling give you? What should it give others?

Some people find their calling early in life, others later. Let’s talk about some of these people.

Michael Jordan began playing basketball as a child and practiced daily. His practice paid off, in 1984, he joined the NBA playing for the Chicago Bulls. He won MVP and became very successful. He was born to play. 

Mother Teresa served many people in many ways by dedicating her life to service. She founded the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, a Roman Catholic congregation of women dedicated to helping the poor.  Her organizations established hospice, centers for the blind and disabled. In 1979 she received the Nobel Peace Prize for her humanitarian work.

Jim Parsons who plays Sheldon Cooper on the Big Bang Theory made his acting debut in a school play at age 6. He went on to be in theater and do off Broadway plays in New York, finally landing his starring role as Sheldon Cooper in 2007, a role he was born to play.

J.K. Rowling came up with the idea of Harry Potter while riding on a train. She didn’t become a writer until then.  By the time she wrote Harry Potter, she had married, divorced, and was raising a daughter.  She became one of Britain’s wealthiest women even surpassing the Queen herself. J. K. Rowling has since gone on to write other novels as well, but she will remembered for writing Harry Potter.

Rachel Ray says that she was born into food and that everyone in her family cooks. She is best known for her 30 Minute Meals show on the Food Network.  Her background includes teaching cooking classes in Albany, New York.  Rachel Ray has two additional T.V. shows on the food network; she was clearly born to cook.

Known for bringing sexy back, Justin Timberlake got his start singing on Star Search and later starred on The Mickey Mouse Club with Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera.  Justin was a member of NSYNC, one of the biggest boy bands in the 90’s.  He later made a solo album in 2002, Justified followed up by Crazy Sexy Love in 2006. Justin writes and records his songs. He is multi-talented having made a clothing line, acted in movies while continuing to make music. Justin was made to entertain the world.

 Think about people in your own life that you feel have found their calling, maybe it’s a teacher, or a coach.  What makes you know that they found their calling? What sets them apart? What can you learn from them that can help you figure out their calling?

Everyone has a path to how they find their calling, but within the path are steps to take to get you where you want to go. 

Once you have found your calling, what do you do then? Is your journey over? No, it is just beginning. You have to keep learning and growing. Understand that your calling is not your title; it’s what you do within that title that matters.  Teachers do so much more than teach, doctors do more than heal, and singers do more than sing.  Jon Bon Jovi singer and songwriter said on Oprah that music was what he did, it wasn’t who he was and that the music was wonderful, but it was just a vehicle to go about this incredible journey.   Your calling maybe to do service like Mother Teresa which means that your calling comes from volunteering and not necessarily from your job.  This is okay as long as you feel that you are fulfilling your calling then you will be successful. Do all you can to be an expert at your calling.

            You will probably have many jobs in your lifetime as long as you are using your skills, talents, abilities, and goals you will be able to succeed in your calling.

 

 

What I Learned from Hercules

 

 

 

 

 Hercules 2

I went and saw Hercules last night. It was a decent movie but the whole movie I thought about how I could apply it to careers.

1) Have a good leader- Hercules was a great leader, he believed in his team and in himself. He encouraged them and gave them hope. Hercules really knew his team, he knew their strengths and weaknesses, their talents, and abilities. Get to know your team so you can know how to lead them.

2) Have a good team around you- Hercules realized that he couldn’t accomplish all he did without his team. He appreciated them and told them so. He knew they were important. Let your team know you value them, give them praise so they feel appreciated.

3) Use your strengths- Hercules knew that physical strength was his strength, his team also had strengths that he used to help their cause. His nephew was a great storyteller who told of the legend of Hercules which helped frighten their enemies. Recognize the strength of others and allow them to use them in their job.

4.) Learn who to trust- Hercules thought he could trust Lord Cotys, but he was really wicked. Hercules learned a little too late and caused misfortunes to come upon him and his team. You have to learn early who you can and cannot trust at work and who to be friends with. You can’t be everyone’s friends, but you can always be professional.

5) Recognize your weaknesses so you can overcome them- Hercules suffered great loss and faced demons that he had to overcome to truly become who he was. We all have weaknesses that we need to improve. Recognize what you can improve on and take steps to improve. This may mean asking for help, taking a class, or changing habits. Once you begin the process, you are on your way to becoming the best version of yourself that can make a difference. Hercules knew that he could be great and we need to know that too.

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What’s a Career Coach To Do?

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 All of you need to know: Career coaching is my dream job and I know I want to work in the area of careers for years to come. However, as I read more and more books or articles on Linkedin and Twitter I realize that career development is constantly changing! There is so much information out there and my job as a career coach is to decipher it which can be tedious at times!  It’s like being a kid in a toy store with a million choices and feeling overwhelmed by all the choices.There is a lot I want to share with my students that I feel and know that they need.  How do I do that? How do I share all this information that I know they need?

There is never enough time so I have to prioritize by listening to them and their needs. As I work with each student and groups of students I learn what their needs are and then I am able to put together the information to share. They are all college students but at different stages, so what the younger students need is not the same as what the older students need and vice versa. It is also helpful to receive feedback from professors who know their students so well. When I am able to work with them, it is very helpful and fulfilling.

I also try and stay current with career trends and what’s going on in the world- right now I am working on elevator pitches, data collection for a graduate panel, and research on double majors. I love all of it and I never, ever thought that I would love research! These are all topics that my students need to be aware of, how do I brand and sell myself? Is graduate school right for me? Should I double major to be more marketable? Students look to those of in higher ed for the answers and I am now one of those people who is supposed to have the answers. This is exciting because I love helping and connecting people, but can be daunting because my brain can only hold so much information.  I am very knowledgeable and competent in  my job, it is through learning and studying that I have become that way and receiving help from the man upstairs.  

This year has been a learning process and taught me that what my knowledgeable communications professor told us everyday in class is true: ALWAYS KNOW YOUR AUDIENCE!  To me this is listening to them and really knowing and understanding their needs and then doing all I can to fulfill those needs.  That is the best part of my job-  making connections, being able to make a difference and help my students with their career choices. Career development will be be ever changing and as long  as we are able to move with those changes, then we will succeed.

Don’t Apologize

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2014 is the year of women! Women are speaking out about equal pay, education, and being in control of their career. You are the next generation and you have a say in how things will be done.  Speaking up and being assertive is about finding and using your voice. You will learn that you are your best advocate. We as women are very good at advocating for others, but not for ourselves. This needs to stop.  I know what some of you may be thinking, if we speak up or we are assertive, people will think we’re bossy or other B words.  This is what we have been taught by society and culture, but that is wrong. Speaking up and being assertive is about saying what you want to say even when people don’t agree. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not about having to be right or being mean, or bringing others down.  It’s actually about empowerment, being a leader, and making a difference. During the next hour, we will discuss how to find our voice, how communication is key, and why all of this matters. When you leave this presentation, my hope is that you will leave here knowing that speaking up and being assertive is not something you need to apologize for.

To begin with let’s define being assertive vs. being aggressive.  Being assertive is being self-assured and confident, not cocky or arrogant.  Being aggressive is about attacking and confronting people.  Assertiveness has to do with how you conduct yourself and aggressiveness is how you conduct yourself with others.  We as women need to be able to speak up and be assertive for many reasons.  Everyone wants to be heard and listened to. It’s beyond frustrating when we don’t feel we are being listened to or understood

  Many girls find it difficult to be assertive and speak up because we are taught to not be that way. We receive mixed messages and it can be confusing So what do we do? A lot of that depends on our confidence level. Communication is a HUGE part of being able to speak up and be assertive.  How we talk about ourselves speaks volumes to others.  Peggy Klaus who wrote, BRAG… says that she learned early on in her career that if she wanted to succeed she would have to speak up and that she could be both warm and strong.  When we are confident in ourselves and know who we are, than we are able to succeed.  Let me give you an example. I am going to introduce myself in two ways and you tell me which one is more confident. We have discussed that we are taught not to brag, but there is a way for women to brag and not be seen as arrogant.  Remember, if it’s the truth, it’s not bragging.  Peggy Klaus created the term bragologue- this is where you share your story with others about your skills, abilities, and interests.  Some of the questions she has people answer to create their bragologue are what new skills have you learned this year? What are some of your hobbies?  In what ways are you making a difference in the lives of others?  All you are doing is sharing your story.  So now turn to your neighbors and tell them a skill, ability, and interest that you have.  Being able to communicate will help you with your family, friends, school, and a career. You speak up and are assertive every day and may not realize it.  You can all use your voice when something is important to you.  In her book Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg says it’s important to sit at the table. She means that when you are in a meeting or in class and something is important to you, to speak up and say so. Many women sit in silence for fear of rejection or being unsure of themselves. Don’t be like that, speak up.  Here are two strategies to help you do that: 1) Fake it til you make it. When you walk into a room and feel nervous pretend that for a few minutes you are someone else. I guarantee you it will make a difference. I’ve done it before!  A 2nd thing that you can do when you are introducing yourself is to pretend you are introducing your best friend. We would of course say wonderful things about our best friend.   The thing is the more you say positive things about yourself, the more you will start to believe it and then it will become natural to you.  No one is going to promote you or speak up for you but you. Let’s practice- Tell us about your best friend- Now tell us about yourself the same way you told us about your best friend

 There’s a quote on Pinterest that I am sure many of you have seen- it’s one of my favorites: Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Boss. This means that you are in your charge of your life and your career. It doesn’t mean that you can do whatever you want to all the time or break rules or hurt people. It means that you can behave like a lady but always be growing and learning and thinking about what’s my next step. I’ll graduate high school, then I’ll go to college, then I’ll get a job etc. It means that when you want a later curfew, you ask for it and explain why you deserve it, when you want to make All A’s you work hard to get there. You are responsible for you.  If you will use your strengths, talents, and abilities in school and in finding a career than you will be successful. My example   The reason that using your voice to speak up and be assertive is important is so that you can obtain what you want in life- if it’s to be a doctor, an artist, to have a family, or all of the above. You can do it if you will be confident, communicate, and know who you are.  

You have the power to change the world by speaking up and being assertive about the issues that matter to you. Be confident in who you are and like yourself first. Be willing to be different and stand out from the crowd. It’s not going to be easy to do these things but it’s worth it. You’re worth it, so stand up, speak up, and be heard.

             

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I Have a Job Now What?

I Have a Job, Now What?

I got a new job

            Imagine you went on a job interview and you know you aced it. You get that phone call that you are being offered the position. After thinking about it carefully, you say yes. You will begin in 2 weeks at your brand new job. How do you feel? Are you excited, nervous, happy, anxious, or the entire above all jumbled together? All of which is perfectly normal. Today we are going to discuss how to be prepared before you even begin a new job, what to do once you are on the job, and how to keep the job once you are no longer the new kid on the block. My hope is that after this presentation, you will feel prepared for the workforce so that you can succeed.

Let’s go back to our scenario. You have 2 weeks before your new job. You probably have many questions, one of them is probably, and what am I going to wear? You may already be wardrobe ready, but if you are not, let’s discuss what you can do. First of all don’t feel like you need to go out and buy an expensive new wardrobe. You can start off with a few basic pieces and go from there. These you can buy anywhere from Good Will to Target, Ross, TJ Maxx, Old Navy, or even Wal-Mart.  Here are a few basic pieces that you will always be in fashion.

  • White button down shirt
  • Black Trousers
  • Khaki Trousers
  • Black or Gray Suit
  • Cardigan- One in a neutral color and one in a bright color for spring
  • Pearl Earrings for ladies will go with anything
  • Nude Flat Shoes
  • Pencil Skirt
  • Pantyhose in all neutral colors- Gray, Brown, Black, Nude, and Navy

What else do you need to know about your first day? The basics- where to go when I get to work, where can I park my car, what time do I need to be at work, and what should I bring? Be sure to know all of this information ahead of time so you are well prepared on your first day. You may also want to ask your supervisor what tasks you will be working on once you arrive so you will feel up to speed.

On your first day, you will more than likely be busy meeting new people, getting settled into to your new workspace and taking lots of notes.  The first day and probably first week will be a blur. You will get your technology set up, meet with human resources, spell, write, and sign your name a lot for business cards, name plates, and paperwork. Up until this point, you have been making efforts to convince the organization to hire you and now, you can focus on what the company will do for you.  When you meet with human resources, they will explain your salary, sick and vacation days, the sexual harassment policy, benefits and insurance, and retirement plans. Be sure that you understand what you’re told and ask questions when you don’t. You will need to have your driver’s license and social security card when you visit with human resources. You will also have to make decisions about insurance policies, these are individual decisions that you will have to make based on your needs.

After taking care of paperwork, it will be time to work. Being successful at work will happen if you will utilize your soft skills.  It has been said that your hard or technical skills will help you get a job, but it is your soft skills that help you keep your job. Soft skills can be broken down into interpersonal such as communication and teamwork, intrapersonal such as problem solving, taking initiative, and integrity, and organizational like time management.  Many employers feel that millennial employees lack soft skills, you want to not be a statistic. Use your soft skills every day and you will flourish.

As you are working and doing all you can to keep your job, you need to notice and pick up on what the company culture is. The areas of company culture include:

  • wardrobe- Are jeans on Friday acceptable?
  • Adherence to time- do people come to work right on time or earlier, what about the time they leave? When you go in meetings- does the group get right down to business or do they make small talk for a minute or two? Are your hours flexible? If you work late for a company event, can you get compensated for it?

Communication styles- does your boss prefer email or face to face meetings? Do you just pop in if you have a question or do you schedule a meeting? If you receive an email, are you expected to respond right away or by the end of the day?

These are things that you need to begin noticing and observing from day one. When you have questions ask! The key to being able to adapt to company culture is to know your audience. In her book, The Hard Truth about Soft Skills, Peggy Klaus says to pay attention to people’s communication styles and use them. Peggy Klaus also discusses how office politics come into play.  She says to learn the unspoken rules of your workplace. This might mean that if you are extra nice to Sally, she brings you a doughnut and coffee on Fridays. If you want Charlie to look at your project, make sure that Linus approves it or it won’t happen. Avoid Lucy at all costs because she is always in a bad mood. When you need a minute to compose yourself go see Schroder, his music will calm your nerves. These may seem like minor things, but they can make a major difference.

As you are observing the company culture, also observe your coworkers. How friendly are they with one another? Do they go out to lunch or get together after work? Is it strictly a professional working relationship? There is nothing wrong with being friendly or friends with your co -workers, be sure to always be professional. Try and stay away from work gossip- this can backfire on you. Never send emails that can be questioned later or even things in text. Another surprising factor that can hurt you is being too nice. Yes too nice, you know what I mean those people that are too smiley too early in the morning. Being too nice can breed mistrust and can make you suspect.  Likeability is necessary in the workplace and the need to be liked is universal. Peggy Klaus says “You Don’t need to be Everyone’s best friend that is what Dogs are for” (The Hard Truth About Soft Skills pp. 80). You need to be able to be assertive and speak up for yourself and others when necessary. This is why it’s important to not be too nice. We as women can get caught up in wanting to be seen as being nice and it’s expected of us in the workforce. We aren’t supposed to speak up or be assertive, but it is necessary to get our job done and accomplish our goals.

Peggy Klaus suggests that you find a mentor to help you along the way. Some companies assign new people mentors to help them.  Here’s what to look for to find a mentor:

  • A person who has status in the company and has been there a while,
  • Be experienced with the department that you work in, proven to be an advocate for others or you,
  • Be someone others hold in high regard and have nice things to say about them, and have given you a reason to trust them. (The Hard Truth About Soft Skills,pp.97).

Adapting to the company culture will not happen overnight, it will take time. Being the new employee, you will need to prove yourself. One way to do this is to take on new challenges, step up, and go outside of your comfort zone. This can be done by doing small things like offering to work on a weekend when a project needs to get done, clean up an essential working area, offer to help organize a big project. It is also important that you listen. There is a fine line between helping and appearing to be a know it all. Yes, you may a billion great ideas, but take time to get acclimated at work before you go in on overcharge trying to make changes. Speaking from experience, it will not go over well. This doesn’t mean you should not show initiative or have ideas, but listen first.

Think of your job as a progression, not an ending. You will continue to learn and grow every day and before you know it, a full month will have gone by.  You be well adjusted after the first 6 months and feel good about your job. This doesn’t mean that there are not going to be challenges, but you should have a good handle on the organization and your specific job.

This means that you need to be setting goals and thinking ahead.  One of my favorite career quotes is “Think like a Lady Act Like a Boss”. Always conduct yourself properly no matter what happens, but always be thinking, learning, and progressing.  Always have a goal and a vision in mind. Be sure to always see the big picture and remember why you are at your job in the first place. Dream big, but be able to make your dreams a reality by setting SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time Bound.  Become a lifelong learner, this will help lead you to new opportunities and challenges

Having a job that you enjoy and love is one of the greatest things in the world. No job will be perfect, but when the good outweighs the bad, you have it made. As long as you do your part, you will be able to be an accomplished professional and make a difference in the world.

Hard Truth About Soft Skills Book Cover For more on The Hard Truth About Soft Skills visit www.peggyklaus.com

 

Do You Know Who You Are and Why That Matters.

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Orange is my favorite color so you can imagine that when I found out  that was the color of the rainbow I was according to an assessment I was very happy. It was an assessment I took on buzzfeed so it was just for fun. What if had been for a job or was deciding if I was going to jail? Would it have mattered then? Of Course!  

Personality assessments have been around since the early 1900’s.  Psychologists have been trying for quite some time to figure out human beings. They have made great strides. I recently read a book on the culture of personality assessments.  Personality assessments were first used on mental patients, but later used on non-mental patients.  They have been used by companies and organizations to determine if a person is a good fit for a company or organization, in custody battles with parents, and to determine if a person is sane or not. These tests can be very helpful and insightful. I use many career assessments each year to help my students with career decisions. I find the Myers Briggs and Holland Code to be quite helpful as do my students. They also enjoy the true colors assessment.  

My colors are blue and gold, my Holland code is SAC, and my Myers Briggs is ISFJ. What does all of that mean? Why  does it matter? 

It matters because in my job as a career coach, I am able to be social, artistic, and conventional. I am using my strengths in my job.

I have been able to be successful and enjoy my work. If my students can know and understand their strengths then they can be successful. This is how personality assessments  can be helpful. I believe that it’s not about getting the answer to the assessment that is important, it what’s you do with the answers that you get.  If one of my students takes the Holland Code and her code is Social, Enterprising, and conventional then we know that she would be good in an environment working with others, possibly working in a business environment where things are done in an orderly fashion. So we begin discussing what types of organizations and jobs will be good for her. She starts seeing options that maybe she hadn’t thought of before. We start taking steps to get her there. It’s about seeing the possibilities and that is the best part of my job!

It is not good to put all of your stock into one assessment. They aren’t 100%. Assessments aren’t the end all be all, but if used properly they can help you learn about yourselves and others. Knowing that I am a blue helps my supervisor understand that I need verbal feedback and am genuinely interested in their life. This helps us communicate better. Using personality assessments as an excuse for bad behavior is not acceptable and labeling others is not good either. People have different experiences that cause them to learn, grow, and change.  I am an introvert, but I can be extroverted at times. My desk at work is organized to a tee because my other true color is gold and I like order. 

My point is that assessments can be helpful  in many ways, but they shouldn’t be used as a permanent solution. There just one tool in the world of psychology and science. What matters is helping others to be their best.

When taking a personality assessment make sure it’s credible and valid.

I like the Myers Briggs, Holland Code, and True Colors. DISC is also a great assessment that is used in many organizations all over the world. Assessments can help us focus on our strengths and learn how to handle our weaknesses. When we can do this and also understand others that we work and live with, then we can be successful and who doesn’t want that?

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