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Why Doing Nothing is Good For Your Productivity

October 20, 2016


6603096961_dbfa2a5401_zIf you suffer from chronic stress as so many people do, you likely feel like you always have to be “on.” During a typical Monday, you may go from work to the gym to the grocery store to home and before you know it, you’re falling into bed exhausted.

The worst part? You feel like you’ve done nothing because everything you did was a chore, a requirement, or an expectation. There was no time for you to just breathe. But maybe you’re okay with that — some people love being busy and can’t stand the thought of sitting idle.

Even if you’re not a workaholic, you’re used to having your mind occupied all the time. We turn the TV on before bed. We check our phones when we wait. We turn on music when we drive. We fill every minute with something. That’s just the world we live in these days!

But just as your muscles need recovery time between each workout session, your brain needs time to recharge before the next day. According to the Guardian, “doing nothing” also helps us process the day, consolidate our memory, and reinforce what we’ve learned.

It also allows us to think and reflect. It turns out that “solitude is crucial for the development of the self,” according to a Wall Street Journal article. While it may seem scary at first, sitting with your thoughts — and your thoughts alone — may force you to address life’s big questions about your personal happiness, your future, and your legacy.

So there you go. You know have more than one good reason to take a 15 minute break every day. Go for a walk, meditate, stare out the window. Doctor’s orders.

Image via Gustavo Devito/Flickr.

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How Visualizing Can Help Your Career

October 18, 2016


6225530793_5cee65a95c_zIf you send out a request to the world, sometimes, it will answer. Visualizing is simply positive thinking. It’s using your imagination to create a dream scenario in your head where everything goes perfectly and you get exactly what you want, deserve, and need. Here are a few ways you can incorporate visualization into your career.

  1. Before a big interview…
    Visualize yourself charming the interviewer, nailing all the interrogating questions, and walking out confidently and absolutely knowing that you landed the position.
  2. Before work each day…
    Visualize yourself confidently tackling all the days challenges and impressing both your coworkers and your bosses. Imagine what this could lead to in the long run: a promotion? A salary increase?
  3. Before each new year…
    Write down your career goals then visualize yourself courageously achieving each goal. What will it take? Don’t focus on the negative — only the positive.

When visualizing, imagine not only what these scenarios would look like but also how you would feel. Really get into the details: what are you wearing? What are you saying? What is the weather like on this day? What are you eating for lunch?

The more detailed you can be with your visualizations, the more real they will feel. And perhaps the laws of attraction will work in your favor! What have you got to lose?

Image via Moyan Brenn/Flickr.

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How to Get Rid of Digital Clutter and Boost Your Productivity

October 13, 2016


22505518317_7213372d62_zThere’s no ifs, ands, or buts about it: clutter causes us stress. These days, clutter is not just physical — it’s digital too. Your looming inbox, messy desktop, and overloaded podcast feed can make you feel anything but organized. Here are some of our favorite tips for streamlining our digital lives at work.

  1. At the end of the day, clean up your desktop. Remove all the files from your desktop. Everything should have a place, so put it there. Don’t save it for later because you’ll likely forget why it was there in the first place or what it is even for.
  2. Set constraints or limits–and stick to them. For example, don’t download a new podcast episode until you’ve listened to the old one. Or, only follow friends (not coworkers and acquaintances) on Facebook so your feed is delightful instead of stressful.
  3. Unsubscribe. Get rid of all those emails you never really actually read, and add a few favorites to a service like You’ll get one fun email per day instead of 10.
  4. Don’t check your email… unless you’re ready to deal with what may be there. Out of habit, we constantly check our email but then we dread what we see. So we procrastinate, which adds to our stress. (Keep a tally today of how many times you check your email — it’s shocking!)
  5. Shut off your email alerts. In order to stay focused on what you’re doing, you can’t be constantly interrupted. Don’t worry, those emails will still be there 45 minutes from now! If anything is incredibly urgent, you’ll get a phone call.

How do you deal with digital clutter? Share your tips below!

Image via Image Catalog/Flickr.

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3 Breathing Exercises That Will Help You Beat Stress

October 11, 2016


2065080648_6de4eba81f_zMeditation, yoga, and mindfulness might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but you can’t argue against some of their famous stress-busting results. At the core of many of these practices are two concepts: breathing and feeling present in the moment. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a moment to stop, think, and breathe. These exercises can help you relax, find focus, and perform at your best.

1. Abdominal Breathing
Good for:
Calming your mind before a busy day.
How to do it: Inhale slowly then exhale slowly with one hand on your stomach and one hand on your chest. Repeat.
Why it’s good for you: Helps you find focus.

2. Stimulating Breath
Good for:
When you need a boost of confidence before a big meeting or presentation.
How to do it: Using quick short breaths, inhale and exhale rapidly with your mouth lightly closed. Repeat for 10-15 seconds.
Why it’s good for you: Helps invigorate your body and mind.

3. Equal Breathing
Good for: Squashing stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed or
How to do it: Inhale slowly for four seconds. Exhale slowly for four seconds. Repeat.
Why it’s good for you: Helps you relax.

Image via Ben Mautner/Flickr.

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We Asked: What’s the Best Piece of Career Advice You’ve Received?

October 4, 2016


career-advice-1We polled the followers of our LinkedIn page and asked: what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve received? Here are a sampling of their great answers. Be sure to follow us on LinkedIn for more great conversations like this!

“It’s impossible to commit to maybe!” – Dave Lumley

“Never stop networking…not when you are employed, not when you are unemployed, not even when you are self-employed.” – Harry Joseph

“Give more than you get, then when you get more, give more than you get again.” – Marie Gonzalez

“You can do whatever you put your mind to!”  – Diane Miller

“Hope is not a strategy!” – Jose Romero

“If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never get it.” – Rick LeBlanc

“You can’t appreciate the sunshine without a little rain. Don’t let failures own you and keep moving forward.” – Engel Davila Vicos

“Never look back and wonder what should have been. Look ahead and plan for what will be.” – Marshall Blevins

“Actively find ways to directly contribute to your boss’s success.” – Ken Zeigler

“I learned this years ago from a great sales mentor, and have never forgotten it: ‘If some of you are not out there making the occasional mistake, you’re not trying hard enough and we don’t need you.'” – Brad Drew

“Never be ashamed of your mistakes. You learn more from failure then you do from success.” – Rebecca Merry

“Never look down. Walk with the confidence that you have and look the person in the eye as they pass you by.” – Donna Sada

“Your title doesn’t matter as long as you’re a productive member of the organization and you feel fulfilled in your role.” – Serena Hopson

“Never let your arrogance exceed your competence.” – Rob Rizzo

“Own what you do. If you make a mistake, own it and fix. If you do well, own it and be proud.” – Wesley House

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don’t want to. Remember your manage things and lead people.” – Kevin Madryga

“Spend your client’s money like it’s your own, give them good service, and keep your name in front of them.” – Corey Davidson

“The best leaders see through the eye of understanding.” – Chander Mohan

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How to Work Smarter, Not Harder

September 29, 2016


2104981032_f832e8842c_z“Working smarter, not harder” sounds great. But how do you do it? First thing’s first: you have to recognize the truth behind it. Just because you’re physically at work doesn’t mean you’re actually working. Think about how much time you likely waste in a day: gossiping to coworkers, getting caught up on your Facebook feed, taking a long walk to grab a coffee, watching some funny videos, or more. If you’re going to be at work, you might as well be working and working smart. That means productively, efficiently, and with purpose. Here are some tips that will help you get there.

  1. Take breaks.
    It may sound counterintuitive, but one of the best ways to get work done is to stop working. Even small breaks can help. Here are some ideas:

    • Take a lunch break away from your desk.
    • Go for a 15 minute walk outside.
    • Stand up and stretch once per hour.
    • Take a 5-minute break every 55 minutes.
    • Do a work “sprint” for a certain amount of time then reward yourself with a break.
  2. Make a to-do list.
    To-do lists are all about prioritizing and starting your day or week on the right foot. To do lists can also help you celebrate small successes–and help you feel less guilty if you leave work early during an especially productive day. (Hey, you deserve it!) Here are some ways to incorporate to-do lists into your life:

    • Write down your 3 most important tasks every morning.
    • On Friday afternoon, make a to-do list for the following week.
    • At the end of each day, write down a plan of attack for the following day.
  3. Know your goals.
    If you know what you’re working toward, you may be more motivated to get there. When there’s a purpose behind your work day, you’ll be less likely to waste your precious time. Here are some ways to incorporate goals into your work life:

    • Write down your “big picture” career goals: 1, 3, and 5 years down the line.
    • Think small: what is the best way to spend my time this week?
    • Create baby steps: how can I break down an important task or goal into achievable steps?

Image via Jennifer Strauss/Flickr.

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The Best Career Quotes About Chasing After Your Dreams

September 27, 2016


Having the courage to pursue our career ambitions is no easy feat. Here are some of our favorite quotes about chasing after your dreams. Feel free to pin them, print them, or share them so you can inspire yourself and others.













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50 of The Biggest Career Mistakes You Can Make

September 22, 2016



  1. Never saying yes.
  2. Being afraid to quit and move on.
  3. Shooting for ‘perfect’ instead of ‘done.’
  4. Working harder, not smarter.
  5. Not promoting yourself.
  6. Dreaming not doing.
  7. Taking work home constantly.
  8. Not using your vacation time.
  9. Forgoing networking.
  10. Gossiping.
  11. Being arrogant.
  12. Showing up late.
  13. Taking it personally.
  14. Not making any friends at work.
  15. Dressing unprofessionally.
  16. Eating lunch alone.
  17. Being afraid to fail.
  18. Being too hard on yourself.
  19. Not learning from your mistakes.
  20. Not being able to take feedback.
  21. Doing everything on your own.
  22. Complaining.
  23. Aiming for comfort not growth.
  24. Micromanaging.
  25. Sending emails with typos.
  26. Not listening.
  27. Doing the bare minimum.
  28. Not being passionate.
  29. Having no online presence.
  30. Not helping others.
  31. Feeling sorry for yourself.
  32. Waiting too long for a promotion.
  33. Not continuously learning.
  34. Leaving a job on a bad note.
  35. Not staying in touch with past coworkers and bosses.
  36. Thinking your position is secure.
  37. Not investing in yourself.
  38. Blaming others.
  39. Not negotiating for a higher salary.
  40. Feeling like the world owes you something.
  41. Not updating your resume.
  42. Having an ego problem.
  43. Not having any goals.
  44. Taking a position just for the money.
  45. Being too proud to apologize.
  46. Bragging.
  47. Making a bad first impression.
  48. Passing on a great opportunity.
  49. Not knowing what you want.
  50. Giving up.

Image via Flickr/Hometown Beauty.

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Why “Done” Is Better than “Perfect”

September 20, 2016


11964336525_cceb042100_zGood for you! You want to do your best work. No one can blame you for that. But whether it’s writing the perfect cover letter, finding the perfect interview attire, or going above and beyond on your first assignment in your new job… being done is better than being perfect. Here’s why:

  1. You need to be more productive.
    Working hard is respectable, but not all hard work is smart work. If your plight for perfection is causing you to miss deadlines or stress yourself out, then something is wrong. You need to find the most efficient way to get the job done. Try some of these creative productivity hacks.
  2. You need to learn how to prioritize.
    Have you ever thought your time may be better spent doing something else? Instead of perfecting the Power Point deck design for an extra hour, that last hour may have been better spent practicing your presentation. Think about what will give you the biggest results — a pretty looking slide or a rock solid speech?
  3. You can always go back and revise.
    In the writing world, some novelists spend months outlining a story from beginning to end. They won’t write the first sentence until every problem is figured out…but that day may never come. The “crappy first draft” mantra encourages writers to put pen to paper and get started. Once a draft is made, you can always go back and revise. This can apply to a cover letter, a big project, or a speech. We learn best by doing. So start doing!

Image via Sean MacEntee/Flickr.

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50 Pieces of Career Advice

September 15, 2016



  1. Push yourself.
  2. Say yes.
  3. Identify your strengths.
  4. Identify your weaknesses.
  5. Never miss a deadline.
  6. Try something new.
  7. Toot your own horn.
  8. Introduce yourself.
  9. Don’t complain.
  10. Listen.
  11. Face your fear.
  12. Ask for help.
  13. Help others.
  14. Find a mentor.
  15. Speak up.
  16. Stay positive.
  17. Make friends.
  18. Smile.
  19. Be consistent.
  20. Be productive.
  21. Say hi.
  22. Be reliable.
  23. Take risks.
  24. Fail.
  25. Dream bigger.
  26. Invest in yourself.
  27. Meet your deadlines.
  28. Don’t be afraid to quit.
  29. Don’t be late.
  30. Believe in yourself.
  31. Know your career goals.
  32. Address people by name.
  33. Take a break.
  34. Pick up the phone.
  35. Don’t apologize.
  36. Be confident, not arrogant.
  37. Write an elevator pitch.
  38. Update your LinkedIn profile.
  39. Volunteer.
  40. Ask for a raise.
  41. Iron and tailor your clothing.
  42. Accept rejection.
  43. Ask for feedback.
  44. Be persistent.
  45. Make a to-do list.
  46. Be passionate.
  47. Be compassionate.
  48. Be yourself.
  49. Work smarter, not harder.
  50. Know your worth.
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