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Get the Most Out of Your Career

Get the Most Out of Your Career

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2017

 

Do you enjoy your job? Are you living up to your potential? Can you answer yes to these questions on most days? You’re going to have good days and bad days at work. Every job has some elements that are less pleasing than others; the goal is to have many more enjoyable than disagreeable days. Here are 8 steps you can take to maximize your career potential.

  1. Make sure you are in the right job. Do you enjoy what you do? If yes, great, if no, then determine what you’d rather be doing and what it takes to get that job. Perhaps you took this job under financial pressures or as a stop gap. Then don’t lose sight of your dreams and values. Get back on track and go for your dreams.
  2. Always have an up-to-date resume and an exit strategy. Be prepared to make a move when an opportunity presents itself or if a change in business jeopardizes or eliminates your job.
  3. Continue to learn new skills and technologies. Explore educational opportunities that will make you more valuable and attractive to employers.
  4. Take on new challenges. Volunteer for the projects that your peers avoid.
  5. Become a valuable resource. Be the subject matter expert that everyone goes to. Mentor and coach new hires and struggling associates in your career field.
  6. Continue to challenge yourself. Always have a goal you are striving for and a plan to achieve it. Once you achieve that goal, set another goal and begin working toward it.
  7. Invest in yourself. Attend conferences. Meet new people. Expand your influence.
  8. Always give a little more than what’s expected. Go the extra mile in all that you do.

How to Write Your First Resume

How to Write Your First Resume

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2017

Hot Not to Lose the Job

Congratulations Graduate!  You’ve earned that degree; now is the time to put it to work and land your first job. You’re going to need a resume!

Sounds intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. The goal of a resume is to generate interest and interviews, so your resume must position you as a valuable candidate. As a new grad, you may feel you lack the experience necessary to do that, but you have more experience than you think.

Resume writing must start with a goal and that goal is to land a desirable job with a desirable employer, not just any job with any employer. Make a list of companies and positions that are of interest. Then look for job postings that align with your choices. Carefully examine those postings and look for keywords. Keywords are the words applicant tracking systems are going to use to filter online applicants; they are industry buzzwords and terminology, the names of applications and tools you use in performing the job, action verbs, and hard skills you need to perform the job. Job postings are loaded with keywords and your resume needs to contain about 70% of the keywords the hiring manager selected to pass the filter. Now that you have your targeted employers and positions, you can work on your resume content strategy. Resumes are future-focused marketing documents intended to position you as the best candidate for the job. They must contain content that is meaningful and relevant to the hiring manager and demonstrate your potential to learn and perform. To gather content, take a fresh look at your classes and class projects, extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences, and jobs, even the menial jobs you’ve held. There’s a lot more there than you think.

There are 3 resume sections that are a must for new grads: Education and Relevant Coursework, Work Experience (paid and unpaid), and Extracurricular Activities.

Education and Relevant Coursework

  • Course work and projects often simulate real world work and can add valuable experience to the resume just like internships and fellowships.
  • Academic or project competitions can highlight your contributions, teamwork, and accomplishments.
  • Participation in special academic programs and international studies speak highly of you.

Work Experience

  • Summer jobs demonstrate dependability, trustworthiness, accomplishment, and growth in responsibility.
  • On-campus and off-campus jobs while attending classes demonstrate time management, organization, and prioritization skills while revealing your motivation and determination.
  • Internships

Extracurricular Activities

  • Volunteer roles, working with community charities and fundraisers can show everything from leadership, commitment, and problem solving skills to passion and kindness.
  • Roles and responsibilities in fraternities, sororities, as well as student clubs and organizations show your commitment, initiative, and often teamwork and/or leadership qualities. If you’ve planned and led a special event, you have experience in project planning, logistics, leadership, and fiscal management.

Be sure to write powerfully and concisely; use active tense. Allow sufficient time for this part of the process. It takes much more time to write tight, concise, and targeted content. Be prepared to write and rewrite a few iterations of your resume. Remember format is equally as important as content. You must make it easy for the reader to consume this content, so forget gimmicks, slick fonts, and brightly colored paper unless you are a graphic artist. Stick to tried and true, common fonts and use plenty of white space and bold judiciously. Don’t use templates unless you want to look like everyone else. Most importantly, never determine length before you have your content. You resume may fit on one page, but don’t try to cram it onto one page. If your content demands more than one page, go to two pages. Just be sure all content is meaningful and relevant to the position you seek.

Networking for Students

Networking for Students

Have you ever heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, but who you know?” The saying is true. Ask any senior executive, politician or community leader which single skill or habit helped them excel in their career. An overwhelming majority will respond with one word: Networking.

Developing relationships with a network of other people provides you with professional and personal opportunities—and connects you to people who need what you have to offer. Students who take the time to create a network of connections during college can jump start their careers, finding opportunities for development through recruiters linked to their personal network.

What is Networking?

Networking is all about making personal connections; creating long lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with individuals in a web of interconnected people. Your network might include friends, professors or students in your classes, co-workers or professional mentors. You can network anywhere, anytime—in your personal or professional life, on the ski slopes or golf course, at school or cocktail parties. Your network will provide references for you, and points of reference for you as you grow, learn and develop your career.

Why Network?

Networking might be initially daunting, but you will find compatible personalities in your networking whether you are shy or outgoing. Consider a few good reasons for networking:

  • Personal relationships enable you/your organization to stand out, rise above the noise and remain at the forefront of others’ minds
  • Relationships are a catalyst for success
  • People do business with (or hire) those they like and trust
  • If you offer others your experience, knowledge and connections, you can help them succeed
  • Networking is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization
  • Networking will undoubtedly provide you with opportunities to learn, share and grow
  • Networking could quite possibly open the door to your next career move
  • Networking goes hand in hand with recruiting. When it’s time to find a job, your network can help you find opportunities you’re well-suited to
  • Networking with accounting societies provides many opportunities for recruiting, including the opportunity to intern during your college years.
  • Every year companies send their top recruiters to colleges to start identifying future employees to court for positions within their company. If you have built strong connections, odds will be good that a member of your network (who is connected to the recruiter’s network) will speak up for you when recruiters ask for recommendations.

Networking: A True Story

A senior-level accountant lost his position during a corporate restructuring and did not want to relocate. He received company-paid outplacement counseling and spent the next few months following the standard process of researching opportunities, making calls, scheduling interviews, tracking listings on online job boards, and sending resumes to employers. This process led to a few new leads every week, but none that were such a perfect match that his interviews brought job offers.

On his way home one Friday afternoon (after another unsuccessful interview) the accountant pulled into his local gas station. The station owner struck up a conversation with the accountant and asked, “How are things going?” Instead of giving a thoughtless reply like, “I’m fine”, the accountant answered honestly. He explained that he had lost his job a few months before and was not having any luck finding a new position close enough to home. The station owner asked what he did, and when the owner learned that this customer was an accountant said, “My sister was telling me last weekend that her company is having a hard time finding a new accountant, and she’s just a few miles from here.”

The accountant had a job interview a few days later. An offer followed within a week. He accepted.

Where Can I Go to Network?

Many professional associations offer networking events, which connect you with a circle of contacts in a particular field or area of interest.

  • You can get information on local networking events from various industry organizations. The accounting organizations below provide networking forums:
    • The Colorado Society of CPA’s: cocpa.org
    • The local chapters of Institute of Internal Auditors iia.org
    • The Institute of Management Accountants: imanet.org
  • Look into student accounting societies such as Beta Alpha Psi
  • Talk to your professors; they can help you make connections with people in varying circles of influence
  • Try a student membership for the Colorado Society of CPA’s: cocpa.org. They can connect you with a mentor that can help you chart your career path and recommend networking opportunities

Tips for Networking Events

When you attend networking events, you are opening the door to making many acquaintances that could grow to become part of your network. It can be a little intimidating to attend social events focused on making personal connections, but you can set yourself up for success by considering the ideas below:

  • The purpose of a networking event is solely to meet potential business contacts and to have them meet you. Go in with an open mindset and be willing to share yourself in a professional, authentic way.
  • Hold your drink in your left hand, because the right hand is the one you will be using to shake hands. A cold and clammy hand does not make a good impression!
  • Put your nametag on your right shoulder. This way, while you are shaking hands, your contact can focus on your name.
  • Do not be afraid to mingle, introduce yourself to strangers and shake hands. That is how people strike up new connections!
  • Searching for conversation ideas?
    • Offer to introduce people, and share a few details about each person during the introduction: “Edgar, this is Mary. Mary is an auditor at CompanyX and a chess champion. Mary, this is Edgar. Edgar is a CFO at CompanyY and a great golfer.”
    • Share your opinions about a great book you have just read or movie you have seen.
    • Ask people to tell you about themselves. Many people like to have an open invitation to choose what they will tell you about their life and experience. They may give you an answer to a question you did not think of asking!
  • Remember to have fun! Networking isn’t just about finding a job, promoting your company or keeping your name “out there.” At the core, it’s really about making personal connections.
  • Don’t forget to stay connected! In a world of text messaging and e-mails it’s easier than ever for people to stay in touch. Distance breaks networks down, so be sure to reach out to your contacts frequently to let them know you are there.

Networking is an important skill in every stage of your career. You can benefit from connections made through your network, and you can help others by making connections for them. Next time you’re looking for new opportunity, put your (or our!) network to work!

Do you want help learning the art of networking?  We offer candidate coaching!

Call us! We’re here to help!

Never Look for a Job Again

Never Look for a Job Again

Wouldn’t it be nice to never look for a job again? We’ve all known people who seem to get all the breaks. They often get offers for highly coveted positions the rest of us didn’t even know about. Ever wonder how they do it? Why is it that recruiters call them first?

The answer is simple, these people have become very attractive passive candidates, the recognized experts in their field, the people you go to for the answers, the ones you believe can solve your problems. These are the people companies want to hire and recruiters want in their prized database.

So how did they become so attractive? They capitalize on their strengths, are always authentic, outperform their job descriptions and peers, and build strong networks and enduring relationships they can call when needed. They provide extra value to the company; they plan and manage their business and career and don’t waste time, energy, or resources. They become so good at what they do that they don’t have to look for jobs, jobs find them. They may not be looking for work, but are open to the right opportunity when presented with it.

If you start with these 5 steps and continue them throughout your career, opportunities will come your way.

  1. Know your strengths and drivers and use them. If you match your abilities, natural aptitudes, and values with the right work environment, the result will be workplace success and satisfaction. When you work outside your strengths, you dread going to work. You are going to have more negative encounters at work and you will probably treat customers or co-workers poorly. You’re likely to complain about the company, achieve less, and have fewer creative ideas. When you work within your strengths, you’ll build energy and excitement, increase your productivity, and feel good about your work and yourself. You will do good work; success and satisfaction will naturally follow.
  2. Exhibit leadership qualities: initiative, influence, collaboration, and communication. Leaders volunteer and show initiative; they formulate and implement strategies; solve problems; respond to threats and adapt to change. Leaders support innovation and collaborate across boundaries. They engage and inspire employees, co-workers, and even customers. Leaders set or influence goals and readily accept responsibility for outcomes, good or bad.
  3. Find meaningful work that builds career value. Meaningful work is the intersection of your strengths, drivers, and values with company goals. When these things come together, there will be no stopping you. If you’re not experiencing career value, ask yourself why. Are you in the right position? Is something stopping you? Can you negotiate it into your job or do you need to find another job?
  4. Commit to lifelong learning and invest in your career. Change is the one constant we face. What is the minimum investment required to stay meaningful and relevant in your field? What is required to make you a thought leader? Join professional associations, read trade publications, attend conferences and online training. Find a mentor or adviser. If your employer doesn’t invest in your development, don’t let that stop you. It is your career; your investment will ultimately pay off in a better job with a better employer.
  5. Build powerful connections and communicate frequently with stakeholders who have a vested interest in your efforts. Having a robust network and connections builds professional credibility, keeps you relevant, can eliminate obstacles, and create opportunities. Make yourself visible, but not annoying. Communicate business benefits and results; be sure to share the spotlight and credit contributors.

Highly attractive passive candidates always practice these 5 steps; they are second nature to them. With a little practice, you can become an attractive passive candidate that hiring managers and recruiters seek out for their opportunities. Wouldn’t it be nice to never look for a job again?

Roberta Gamza, Career Ink (www.careerink.com) | © 2016
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