It’s almost impossible to determine exactly which industry, which company, and which position will make you happy, keep you motivated, and inspire you for years to come. But doing a bit of soul searching can help and make you feel more in control of your career.
Take some time to answer the following five questions. Write down your answers, look for the connections, and discover a more clear vision about what you’re looking for in a career, in a company, and in the day-to-day activities of your job.
As you search and apply for positions, revisit this list. If it doesn’t meet your criteria, move on. Being clear about what you’re looking for can not only help you ensure happiness when you do land a job but it can also help you land a job in the first place. If you’re passionate and can clearly communicate your wants and needs, you’ll be able to better represent yourself as the perfect candidate.
1. What did I like about my past positions?
2. What did I dislike my about past positions?
3. What are my most unique skills?
4. What accomplishments made me most proud?
5. Where do I want to be career-wise in five years?
Entrepreneur recently wrote an article called, “3 Dirty Little Habits That Will Kill Your Entrepreneurial Dreams.” But we think these three bad habits will kill your chances of any kind of career success — they’re not restricted to entrepreneurs. Here are those three bad habits and how we think they apply to your future as a happy and successful employee.
Nobody wants to hear your excuses. If you can’t handle a project, say no right away or ask for help immediately. It’s important to be transparent in the workplace. Excuses will only make you enemies and will only hurt your reputation as a reliable and hardworking individual.
Unfortunately, there’s just no place for procrastination in the workplace. The projects you are working on affect other people and affect the bottom line of your company. Running behind schedule can set off a chain reaction of bad mojo that you don’t want to be a part of. Strive to be a part of the solution, not a part of the problem. And don’t let fear hold you back from starting on something new. Stay positive.
No one likes a whiner. You don’t want a reputation for being negative or gossip-y in the workplace. Not only will you bring morale down but your team will eventually avoid working with you on projects and it will negatively affect your chances for promotion or the likelihood that your boss will recommend you for future gigs. Remember that old saying, if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all!
Huffington Post recently wrote a piece called, “You Are Your Own Best Marketer.” It’s a good reminder that you — and only you — are in charge of your own career success, whether you like it or not. And we’re not just talking about the job search.
Every move you make at work is a chance to send a message about yourself to your coworkers and your boss. If you turn in a project a few hours late, you’ve delivered a message about yourself. If you deliver a project a few hours early, you’ve delivered a very different message. We’re only talking about a few hours difference here but it’s the difference between being perceived as going above and beyond and being perceived as not following through on your word.
It can be exhausting to think about your career this way but it’s true — every action you take during the work day paints a picture of the kind of worker you are. What message do you want to send to your coworkers and to your boss? And how will that message affect your career success?
Here are a couple tips from the article that will help you send the right message: First, think before you speak or act. Secondly, know that your actions matter not only before and after a project, but also during a project. Read the full article at Huffington Post.
The “real world” is a scary one, especially for recent graduates who came straight from the comforts of college. Schedules, grades, credits, and classes kept you on track but once you enter the workplace, things change. (And it’s not always bad — in fact, it’s good!) Here are the biggest differences we found when transitioning from college to the cube:
1. You’re always “on.”
Suddenly cramming for a test seems a lot easier. Because in the real “world,” there’s no single test. You’re always trying to prove — and improve — yourself day in and day out. That’s why work-life balance is so important. Otherwise you’ll burn out!
2. You won’t know everything, and that’s OK.
Don’t ever be afraid to ask a question simply because you think it will make you look incompetent. There is no way that a newbie entering the work force for the first time will have it all figured out. It’s better to set clear and realistic expectations.
3. It’s okay to say no.
As a student, you really didn’t have a choice when it came to homework assignments, tests, papers, and more. But now you can speak up if you’re feeling overworked or underpaid. Negotiate your salary. Negotiate your workload. Ask for help when you need it.
4. You pick your own path.
There’s no simple path to follow anymore and it’s okay to diverge from any traditional route that’s been laid out for you or seems easier to follow. Regardless of your career, you are in charge of your own success — and your own happiness.
Have you ever wondered why an employer wouldn’t want an overqualified candidate? What have they really go to lose? It turns out a lot — including you.
That’s right, many companies are scared to hire overqualified candidates because there’s a chance you’ll only stick around for a few months until something better comes along. And it takes a lot of time and money to hire a candidate.
There are a lot of other reasons why an overqualified candidate isn’t the right person to hire. Here are just a few things running through an employer’s mind when they turn you down for being overqualified:
- There’s a chance you’ll get bored in this position and leave when something more exciting comes your way.
- Although you say you want this position, on a day-to-day level you might get sick of doing tasks that are beneath your skill level, which could create conflict.
- Your potential new boss could be younger than you or equally as qualified as you, which could create conflict and internal competition.
- They may not be able to pay you fairly for your experience, and are concerned you’d leave when a better salary is offered to you elsewhere.
Read 4 other reasons why you didn’t get hired.
We’ve been talking a lot about the future of the resume
and it seems like everyone has a guess as to where it’s headed. Will the one-page document ever die? How does video, social media, and LinkedIn factor into its future? Here’s a roundup of some predictions from a recent Career Thought Leaders repor
t. Where do you think the resume is headed?
- Infographics and portfolios will be used more frequently on resumes and LinkedIn profiles making the whole job search process more visual.
- Companies are using LinkedIn more and more to find candidates and are even limiting their search to those who have the most connections. Having a built-in network is a bonus for any employer.
- YouTube will be integrated into LinkedIn and/or the interview process. Video allows recruiters to get a better sense of your personality, strengths, and professionalism.
- A one-page job proposal may replace the resume. At the very least, it shows how a candidate stands out from the other interviewees. Some employers are even asking for a 30, 60, or 90 day job plan to see how each candidate will approach the position.
- Job searching and hiring is going mobile from job searching apps for job seekers to mobile-friendly documents for recruiters.
We’ve already gone through the list of great questions you should be asking your potential employer
during an interview. But there’s also a list of questions you should be asking yourself, especially before you say “yes” to an offer. Before you get too excited, run through the following list to be sure that this job is a great fit for you.
1. Will I be comfortable working here for 8 hours each day?
Be sure to get a glimpse of the office environment during the interview process and ask for a tour if you don’t. You don’t want to find out that you’ll be sitting in a dark room with no windows on your first day on the job. Or that the cafeteria has been replaced by vending machines or that the gym has been closed for months.
2. Does this job fit within my budget?
When it comes to finances, there’s much more than salary. Commuting costs, lunch prices, gym costs, phone bills, and required corporate attire can all factor into your budget. A job may pay more but it may come with a higher “cost of living” — or maybe it pays a bit less but it means you’d be able to sell your car. Figure out what’s important to you and your budget.
3. Do the people and company share my values?
What you stand for is important and the people you surround yourself with and the work you dedicate yourself to should be in line with this. For example, if family and work-life balance is important to you, look for companies with flexible day-to-day work schedules, holiday breaks, and on-site gyms or daycare.
If you’re searching for a job, you’re likely doing it from home. Whether you’re unemployed, finishing up a degree, or looking to leave your current job, the couch is the prime spot for job search for many. It can be hard to work from home though especially without a deadline or a timeline. Here are some tips to help you stay dedicated during your job search.
1. Define a workspace.
I hate to tell you this, but the couch isn’t going to cut it. Work from a desk or table and preferably a room with a door that can be closed. Sitting properly — instead of lounging on the couch — will keep you focused and you’ll likely produce better work and search more productively.
2. Set a start and end time.
A deadline or time limit will keep you motivated and focused. You might dread writing a difficult cover letter or going through a tedious online application process, but you’re much more likely to get the work done and get it done efficiently with a self-imposed deadline.
3. Get rid of the distractions.
Turn off the TV, close the door, or notify your family members or roommates that you’ll be out of commission for the next two hours while you job search. The goal is to get rid of all distractions and interruptions for at least one solid hour of work time.
4. Walk away.
At the end of your pre-determined work period, turn off your computer and walk away. It’s easy to get job search burnout and you don’t want to send a less-than-stellar resume or cover letter. It’s better to take a break for the day and revisit it tomorrow.
Business casual is hard to define because every work environment is different even if they all subscribe to the “business casual” school of thought. There are two words in that phrase — “business” and “casual.” So which does your work environment lean more heavily toward? And if the dress code is “casual” on Fridays or all year round, is lazy Sunday casual the same as “work casual?”
When in doubt, it’s always better to overdress than underdress. But if you’re about to start a new job and would prefer not to stand out on your first day, Simply Hired put together a great list of definitions outlining the “business casual” expectations of many different kinds of work environments from start ups to conference attire. Here is a summary:
- Casual or Startup: For women, skinny jeans, a blouse, and flats. For men, dark wash jeans, tailored shirts, and clean shoes.
- Business Casual: For women, tailored pants, blouse, and flats. For men, tailored pants, button down shirt, and professional-looking shoes.
- Business Formal: For women, pencil skirt or dress pants, blouse, and blazer. For men, a tailored suit and tie.
- Conference professional: For women, tailored pants, blazer, flats, and statement necklace. For men, tailored pants, blazer, button-up shirt, and professional-looking shoes.
Read the full article, What Does Business Casual Mean? Build a Better Career with These Clothing Basics.
Hooray! It looks like the skies are clearing for college graduates.
There are 20 percent more opportunities for full-time employment this year than last, according to data from Simply Hired. April is the most common month for college students to get hired for full-time work but don’t despair if you don’t yet have a job. Hiring tends to peak again in July and yet again in October for new grads. That’s motivation to keep your job search game strong throughout the summer.
Check out this infographic with more statistics:
Infographic via Simply Hired.