Friday, June 28, 2013

How to Create and Maintain a Positive First Impression - Part 2 of 2

In Tuesday's post, we discussed the power of a positive first impression. Today, I want to evaluate how to make a positive last impression. When the interview comes to a close, you have answered all the interviewer's questions and you have asked a few intelligent questions. However, it is not quite time to relax yet.
There are still two steps to go in order to ensure you continue the positive impression you made when you entered the interview with a power closing and effective post-interview follow-up. 
Similar to the "power opening" we discussed in the earlier post, the power closing is a 3-step process:
Step 1 - Use the interviewer's name
By this time, you know whether or not to address them by their first or last name. However, it is important that you use their name throughout the interview - especially at the end - to build the rapport that makes them feel comfortable about working with you. 
Step 2 - Thank them for their time and shake their hand  
It is simply good manners and very professional to acknowledge the time they spent with you considering you as a candidate for job. A person can convey confidence, enthusiasm, and professionalism with a good, solid handshake. Make sure yours is strong and sends the right message before you leave.
Step 3 - Let them know you are interested in the job Many employers say that one of the reasons they don't make a job offer is because they are unsure whether or not the candidate will accept. For some companies, it is quite an arduous and lengthy process to put together an offer package. Alleviate their concerns by ensuring them, right before you walk out of the interview, that you are interested in the job.
This is a great time to reiterate the key theme of your selling points. For example, you might say "I really look forward to the opportunity to bring my time management and budget oversight skills to your company in this project management role with the ABC Company."
Very few candidates go the extra mile to follow up after an interview. Although a post-interview thank you will not make or break your job search success, it can help you to cement the professional and positive impression you started to form from the very beginning of the interview.
You can send an email, write or type a thank you note, or follow up by phone. Keep in mind, as you will see in this earlier blog post, there are several keys to perform post-interview follow-up but it is always most definitely a must!


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

How to Create and Maintain a Positive Interview Impression - Part 1 of 2

As the old adage goes, you never get a second chance to make a great first impression. This could never be more true than in a job interview. Studies show that if you make a bad first impression, you have to meet that same person as many as seven times to overcome that negative opinion. Since you are most likely not going to get seven more interviews, that first impression is critical.

First let's look at the science of making a positive first impression when you meet the interviewer. This can be  called the "power opening" because it is a strategic 3-step method to making a positive first impression.

Step 1 - Enter the Interview with Confidence
In an interviewer's eyes, confidence is equal to competence. In other words, if you create an impression of self-confidence, they automatically assume you are good at what you do. Of course, you have to be able to back that up with facts and examples, but crossing that initial hurdle is key to interview success. In order to appear confident, hold your head up and put your shoulders back, make direct eye contact, smile, and shake their hand with enthusiasm and strength.

Step 2 - Use the Interviewer's Name
When you get the call for the interview, start gathering data about the interviewer. Get their first and last name and ensure you write out the pronunciation phonetically, especially if it is a difficult name or they pronounce their name in a non-traditional way. Address them by their last name, using Ms. for all female interviewers no matter their age or marital status, until they invite you to call them by their first name. If you can't get the interviewer's name before the interview, make sure you learn it, repeat it, and use it throughout the interview.

Step 3 - Introduce Yourself and Offer a Copy of Your Resume
Be sure to introduce yourself, with first and last name, at the start of the interview. You want to ensure your name stands out from the crowd. Once you introduce yourself, you want to give them your resume. Even though they invited you to the interview on the basis of your resume, take a copy with you on quality resume paper so they can refer to the document as they conduct the interview.

On Thursday, check back and we will look at how to maintain the benefits of that positive first impression by leaving them with a power close at the end of the interview.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Four questions to make the most of conference education sessions

If you are a professional serious about your career, you are more than likely going to attend a conference organized by a professional organization associated with your industry. There are numerous ways to benefit from a conference, but the educational sessions are really special. You are not only possibly attaining continuing education credits by attending these sessions, but deepening your knowledge and understanding of your field.

After you check in at the conference and get your program booklet, take a look at what educational sessions are being offered and ask yourself these questions to guide your experience:

Where am I looking to grow? This question should be at the forefront of your mind. You may be looking to  build upon a strength that you currently possess, or possibly to grow in an area in which you are deficient. Be direct and intentional about your professional growth.

What is the expertise of the speaker? Not only should you read the description of the speaker, but visit her website to learn more about her expertise on the subject matter. Determine whether or not you feel this speaker will add to what you already know, or provide an experience that will deepen it.

What do I want to get out of the session? Be very clear with yourself about what you want to get out of the session. Think about your expectations given the description of the content and create some points for yourself to have in the back of your mind as you are in the session.

How will I be in the session? Make a decision about how you are you going to be in the session. Make a decision if you be distracted by your cell phone or other "important" concerns of the moment that you have or if you will be present and engaged.

Enjoy your conference education sessions! Who year you may want to plan some out yourself.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

High 5 Weekly Career Transitions Roundup: Mentors, Communication Skills, and More

This is our weekly roundup of some of the best career-related articles, interviews, blogs, etc., we've read during the week. We share these every weekend so you have some great resources to prepare you for the coming week. Enjoy!

© Bellemedia | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

  • Want the Best Mentor? One Thing to Know"The best mentors have no answers. They have only questions, frameworks, multiple open choices, a light to shine and an open mind. They are listeners first and foremost and they bring encouragement, compassion and a soft voice."
  • Why Well-Thought-Out Career Choices Still Sometimes Don't Work"A very common complaint I hear from my clients is that they accepted a job believing it was one thing but it turned out to be another. You have to do your due diligence in the interview process and be skeptical."                                                      
  • 6 Tips to Become a Master Communicator at Work"Be mindful of how you communicate and how your body language and persona either invite or push away people at work. Ultimately, the better your communication skills, the more likely you are to succeed in any workplace, so don't underestimate their importance."

  • 8 Crippling Mistakes Job Seekers Make"A mass email announcing your unfortunate layoff or asking to keep an eye out for a job opportunity will almost guarantee you won't get a response."

  • The Most Effective Ways to Make It Right When You Screw Up"In the modern workplace, we often operate as teams. So when you fail to meet an important deadline, chances are it's not just your boss that's affected—it's your whole team, and possibly your whole organization.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Do You Have Goals or Do You Have Dreams?

Many people think that goals and dreams are synonymous, that the words can be used interchangeably to discuss how we see our future. However, they really are two very different concepts. Dreams are not based in reality, they are imaginary and they are fantasy. On the other hand, goals are about strategy, they are about planning, and they are about taking appropriate action based in reality.

In an earlier blog post, I explored how to create effective goals using the SMART goal setting system. I would like to use this same system to evaluate whether you are chasing dreams or working toward achieving goals.

SPECIFIC AND MEASURABLE - "Goals are dreams with deadlines." Diana Scharf Hunt
Goals answer the who, what, why, where, and when questions. Dreams don't have to have an ending, but goals must have a finish line or an ending. By nature, goals must have a specific outcome. Having a deadline or and ending in sight for your goal will give you that sense of urgency to take action.

Dream: I want to be rich and have all the money I ever need for retirement when I am older.

Goal: By the time I am 50, I want to have $1.5 million dollars in the bank. I will accomplish this by obtaining my Juris Doctorate degree and becoming a lawyer that earns $150,000 or more by the time I am 28. I will save a minimum of 30% of my salary every year and will invest my money so that it will continue to grow.

ADAPTABLE - "When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps." Confucius
It has been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing but expecting different results. It is imperative that you build milestones into your goal's plan. You must be able to stop along the way, evaluate your efforts and progress, and identify what is and is not working. Use this constant analysis to keep yourself on track for achieving your goals.

In our earlier example, by the time you are 35 your life situation may have changed (marriage, divorce, children, etc.) that may make saving 30% unrealistic. Also, you may have tried some investments that caused you to lose money. Constantly evaluate your progress and determine whether or not you need to adjust your approach.

REALISTIC - "I always like to look on the optimistic side of life, but I am realistic enough to know that life is a complex matter." Walt Disney
Remember, the goal must be something that can be achieved within the time constraints you have established. Never forget that goals require hard work, effort, and even struggle. However dreams are so easy, you can even do it in your sleep! However, no matter how hard you are willing to work, don't set yourself up for failure by creating an unrealistic goal for yourself.

Unrealistic Dream: I want to lose 30 pound by the end of this week. 

Realistic Goal: Within 6 weeks, I am going to lose 14 pounds and 2% body fat. 

TRACKABLE - "We all have dreams. But in order to make dreams come into reality, it takes an awful lot of determination, dedication, self-discipline, and effort." Jesse Owens
To keep yourself on the right road to success, you must have a system of checks and balances to which you can hold yourself accountable. Keep track of your milestones along the way to achieving your goals. These mini success stories will not only keep you on the right path, they will keep you motivated toward the "end game."

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Daily Leap Career Video of the Week: Increasing Productivity

Each week we present our Daily Leap Career Video of the Week. The video we share presents news or advice related to career development, searching for a job, the economy and employment, and other career-related topics.

In this video from Fast Company, entrepreneur Sarah Kauss suggests that journaling for 5 minutes a day can help you to be more productive.

Learn more in the video below:

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Should You Take a "Filler" Job While You Wait to Land Something Better?

This week I have talked to two people who accepted what they referred to as filler jobs while they looked for a solid job in their career field. It just so happens that both of these people expressed regret at their decision.

You have probably heard people say that it is easier to find a job when you have a job. This may just be more than a cliche. Let's evaluate the positives and negatives of taking a filler job.


  • Of course, the biggest positive is the regular paycheck that comes your way. Only you know how much money you need to pay the bills. If the filler job helps you do that, it will alleviate some of your desperation that is certain to come across in your interviews.
  • When you are employed, you are naturally out talking to professionals. You can network with vendors, suppliers, customers, clients, and possibly even competitors. This will increase your referral network and may just lead to other opportunities.
  • Having a job - no matter the job - will help boost your confidence that may be waning during unemployment. You will gain the confidence in knowing how to be successful in landing a job and can carry yourself with pride knowing that an employer valued you enough to make you an offer.
  • You may find an opportunity to move forward with that filler company. By nature, filler jobs are jobs for which we are overqualified. Your employer may see you excelling and offer you additional opportunities within the company.


  • You will have less time to dedicate to active job searching. Be sure to plan and prioritize your job search efforts so that you can continue to pursue your goal of landing a job in your career field.
  • You may get comfortable and get stuck in a rut. One of the people I mentioned took a filler job and found herself in the same place 9 years later. Don't lose sight of your end goal.
  • Those filler jobs may just cost you more money than being unemployed. Another job seeker took a job in outside sales and was paying more in gas and car maintenance than he was making in the sales position. Do the math before accepting the job and make sure it is the right move for you.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Five Reasons Why You Need a Vacation

I recently returned from an incredible vacation in Alaska, where I experienced a thrilling dog sled ride on top of a glacier, delectable cuisine and drinks, a boat tour and bus tour of pristine national parks, relaxing salmon fishing, seeing breathtaking animals in the wild, and - of course - many stunning mountain views. 

When you are in Alaska - where internet and cell reception is spotty, I had no choice but to separate myself from the everyday pressures of work. When I returned home - albeit a little jet-lagged - I felt refreshed...and eager to get back to my job with a newfound perspective.

You may be telling yourself that you are too busy for a vacation. However, it's more than likely that a vacation is exactly what you need to be even more productive and happier at work. Here are five reasons why you should pack up the car and spend some time away from your job.

Vacations provide perspective: Distancing yourself from your work-related problems will enable you to approach them in a different way, as studies have shown that psychological distance can benefit problem-solving skills.

Vacations decrease burnout: While no vacation can defeat burnout entirely, vacations have been shown to decrease feelings of burnout, at least temporarily.

Vacations increase creativity: Not only do vacations provide perspective, but they can produce new, creative ways to solve problems...particularly if you vacation abroad.

Vacations allow us to connect: Research has shown that families develop stronger bonds when they vacation with each other. 

Vacations benefit our overall health: Numerous studies have discussed the overall health benefits of taking a vacation.

If you are feeling the pressures and demands of your work are keeping you from spending time away, reconsider that notion and take some time for yourself. You and your career will benefit.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

High 5 Weekly Career Transitions Roundup: Career Lessons from Dad

This is our weekly roundup of some of the best career-related articles, interviews, blogs, etc., we've read during the week. We share these every weekend so you have some great resources to prepare you for the coming week. Enjoy!

© Bellemedia | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

  • Do You Know What Signals You're Sending at Work?"If you watch the clock and leave every day at 5 p.m. on the dot, prepare to be seen as someone not especially committed to work, and only putting in what's absolutely required."                                                      
  • Don't Waste Your Time Applying to Job Postings"Jobs in the hidden market are filled based on internal promotions, referrals and recommendations, with candidates being assessed on their past performance and future potential. For job-seekers who aren’t perfect matches on skills and experience this is great news, but to get the chance to be evaluated this way you need to be recommended by someone in your network."

  • The Smartest Leaders Make Their Own Opportunities"If there's an initiative you'd like to see at your company, offer to head it up. And if there's a skill set you'd like to cultivate, don't be afraid to make a lateral move ... if you know it will serve the long-term interests of your career."

  • Career Lessons from Dad"When you let fear stop you, you open the door to regret. You have to trust and believe in your own capabilities. That doesn’t mean taking stupid risks, of course. But recognize that fear is an inevitable consequence of learning and growth, and without it, you’re doomed to stand still.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Using Technology to Stay Organized

Sometimes the technology that is supposed to make our lives easier both professionally and personally, while keeping us better organized and more productive, seems to do just the opposite. Take time to set up systems to work in your favor, including performing some regular maintenance. These actions are critical for using technology to successfully schedule meetings, control paper clutter, and organize e-mail.

Google Calendar is one of the best tools available for keeping all of your meetings straight. Set up your calendar to color code certain types of project activities. For example, company meetings can be blue, client appointments yellow and a key project's commitments green. Synch this information with all of your devices so it’s easier to make additions and changes at any time. Another great time-saving option is sharing select information, such as available meeting times, with colleagues and clients.

To control paper clutter, make digital copies of paperwork. A scanner such as NeatDesk takes an entire stack of paper and feeds it through without assistance. It’s useful for keeping paperwork, receipts, and business cards organized in one place, clutter-free.

Use electronic tools to keep your email organized; for example, flags can be used to identify important items and archiving is helpful for saving messages you may need to refer to later. And if you do archive, consider organizing archive folders by client or project.

These are just a few examples of how to capitalize on technology that has been designed to make our lives easier. For more organizing ideas, search for How To videos and tips available on the Internet.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Positive and Negative Aspect of the Three Main Resume Types

Resume writing is one of life's big mysteries. We all need one, but very few of us enjoy putting one together, and even fewer of us are any good at it. Before you even start writing your resume, you must first decide which style is best for you. There are specialty resumes such as CVs for doctors, lawyers, and professors and federal resumes for gaining employment with the federal government.

However, when looking for work in the private sector, your resume is most likely going to fall into one of three categories. Let's look at the three categories and examine when they work and when they don't. Hopefully, the next time you sit down to write your resume, this will help you decide which style to use.

POSITIVE: This is the most widely used and positively accepted resume format. It focuses on the chronology of your work history from most recent back as far as 10 to 15 years. It follows a logical flow and is easy to read. If you career has taken a linear path, this is a great showcase for your growth in skills and responsibility.

NEGATIVE: The chronological resume does not always work. This style of resume points out large gaps in employment. The chronological style does not work well for career changers, as the employer will have a hard time quickly seeing the transferability of the candidate's skills. Someone who has held the same job for more than ten years may also have trouble with the chronological resume as most people do not want to see a list of 20 bullet points in a row.

POSITIVE: The functional format focuses on skills versus work experience. This style enables you to highlight transferable skills, even when your work experience does not initially appear relevant. The functional resume does not include dates and can be used to disguise gaps or long periods of unemployment or frequent job or career changes.

NEGATIVE: This resume is viewed with suspicion by employers and is not often recommended for use by employees. The lack of dates immediately waves the red flag that you are trying to hide something.

POSITIVE: The combination style is a resume that is just like the functional, it highlights skills versus experience. Where it differs is that it contains dates of employment. Including the dates can erase the suspicion and doubts from an employers mind while focusing positively on transferable skills.

NEGATIVE:  Most people think - and view resumes - in a very linear fashion. It is important to clearly relate  accomplishments and skills to employers and time frames so employers are not confused. The combination resume does require more effort and creativity to prepare to overcome these obstacles.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Daily Leap Career Video of the Week: Best Money Advice

Each week we present our Daily Leap Career Video of the Week. The video we share presents news or advice related to career development, searching for a job, the economy and employment, and other career-related topics.

In this Forbes video several financial and career experts discuss the best money advice they ever received, including "you can't make money if you owe money." 

Hear more advice in the video below:

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why Should I Hire You? How to Answer One of the Most Important Interview Questions

This popular interview question is often one of the last questions asked by your interviewer. It is often your last chance to make your sales pitch and to the employer. It is you opportunity to demonstrate that you have done your research, you know the company's need and goals, and that you have a solid idea of how you can be of assistance to the organization.

There is really no one right way to answer this question. However, I would like to give you some do's and don'ts as you prepare yourself for what just may be one of the most important questions you will face.

  • DON'T ever try to be flippant or funny with your answer. By saying something to the effect of "Because I am the best chocolate chip cookie baker you will meet, so potlucks will be amazing." is not how you will best take advantage of this opportunity to sell yourself.
  • DO your research in advance. Find out what the company needs, what is going on in their "world," and discover the reasons or motivation behind why they are hiring for this position. Formulate your answer based on this research to give one final pitch that you are the solution to their problems.
  • DON'T sound desperate. Probably the worst answer to this question is "Because I need a job!" The employer is not looking for the employee with the greatest need. Instead they are looking for the one who brings the most value.
  • DO have a solid idea of what skills and abilities make you a cost-effective employee. Sell the benefits you can bring to the employer and offer a few solid examples in your answer.
  • DON'T be vague or speak using platitudes or generalities. You will not stand out from the crowd by offering the employer the same generic answer as most people: "I am a hard worker and a team player." Set yourself apart from the crowd by stating your skills and clarifying how those skills will benefit your potential employer.
  • DO tie together your entire interview with your response to this question. Refer back to previous answers where you offered examples and told stories that demonstrated how you have used these skills to benefit previous employers. Telling stores and offering evidence makes the statements much more believable. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

Three questions to become a self-actualized professional

Maslow's hierarchy of needs has had a strong effect on our culture, allowing us to understand our motivations and actions. According to his theory, unless we are able to reconcile our lower-level needs, we are not able to progress toward our higher-level ones.

While Maslow's hierarchy is not without its flaws and critics, it serves as a gateway to understanding how to live a happier and more productive life...including a professional life. Are you interested in learning how to become a self-actualized professional? Consider these questions and use them as guides as you strive to attain the level of engagement in your work to which you aspire.

Do I operate independently of the good opinion of other people? When you operate independently of the good opinion of other people, you separate yourself and your work from the praise and accolades   that others at a lower-level need to stay motivated. While it might be nice to be praised, the work that you do - the mission that you are on - is more important than flattery or recognition. It doesn't matter to you if you are being carried on the shoulders of your admirers: what you create is motivation enough to continue. In fact, the good and the poor opinions of other people have little affect on you. You commit yourself to the passion of what you do.

Am I detached from the outcome? If you are nervous about giving a talk in front of others - nervous about making mistakes, nervous about what others will think about you, etc. - you are focusing on the outcome. When you are detached from the outcome, your attention turns toward your purpose: what you have set out to do. To be a self-actualized professional, you separate yourself from any kind of worry about what the outcome might be. If you take care of your purpose, the outcome will take care of itself. And, honestly, you have absolutely no control over the what's the point in worrying about it?

Do I desire to have power over others? While you may believe that you have power over others, you really do not (ask the parents of a small child about how power dynamics work!). To be a self-actualized professional you surrender your need for power as you recognize that true power over others does not exist. Instead, you seek to influence using love and understanding. This doesn't mean that you do not hold others accountable or let them conduct themselves however they choose; you simply no longer become anxious about the choices they make and how those choices affect you. When you can master this, you no longer take things personally and you are able to improve your professional relationships.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

High 5 Weekly Career Transitions Roundup

This is our weekly roundup of some of the best career-related articles, interviews, blogs, etc., we've read during the week. We share these every weekend so you have some great resources to prepare you for the coming week. Enjoy!

© Bellemedia | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

  • 5 Things You Didn't Know Could Hurt Your Career"You might think that loyalty to an employer would be valued, and it is, but there's also a point where staying too long at one company can raise questions for future prospective employers about how you'll adapt to new environments."
  • The 1 Thing You Must Do In Every Job Interview"The most important thing you must do in every interview is to ask great questions."                                                       
  • Internships Are Increasingly the Route to Winning a Job"Companies report that 69% of summer interns who applied for full-time positions received offers, according to a recent survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council."

  • Work-Life "Balance" Isn't the Point"Even in the busiest of schedules, the most practical and effective way we can live is by aligning our personal priorities of work, family, health, and well-being. Such realignment can bring huge gains in emotional and physical energy, not to mention greater clarity and focus at work."

  • 12 Things You Should Do If You Hate Your Summer Job"Keep in mind that the two main goals of having a summer job or internship are getting valuable work experience and getting a great recommendation from your supervisor.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Posting a Resume on Twitter

It’s true that a 140-character resume (sometimes called a “Twesume”) can’t replace a full resume for conveying all of your experience and attributes. But, if they’re well thought out, 140 characters can grab the attention of an employer or help with networking. Some companies are using Twesumes, and social networking in general, to get a sense for a prospective employee’s character, friends, sense of humor, and ability to interact with others. And, creating such a concise communication is a great exercise for keeping your most important message top of mind.

If you want to give it a shot, the first step is to get your Twitter account set up. Include a professional-looking picture and make sure to have at least a few followers.  Include as much information in your tweet as possible, within the 140-character limit. Try to include a career goal, one accomplishment and/or skill, and a limited bio. Provide a link to your actual resume so those interested will be able to get more information.

Becoming familiar with Twitter language will help you condense your message. Here are some of the more commonly used abbreviations:

·         DM – Direct Message (a private message to someone you follow)
·         RT – Retweet (posting a message written by someone else)
·         CC – Carbon Copy
·         B4 – Before
·         BC – Because
·         EM – Email
·         LI – LinkedIn
·         TY – Thank You

Using a hashtag (#) provides a way of grouping similar messages together and could increase the likelihood of your Twesume being found by recruiters. Visit to learn more about how to create and most effectively use them.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

The Symptoms of Stress and How to Deal With Them

In Tuesday's blog post, I explored the inevitable changes that transitioning veterans face. However, change - and the stress that comes along with it - are not isolated to just veterans. It is important to recognize all the symptoms of stress. In order to manage stress, you need to first be able to recognize its cause and identify its signals - both in yourself and in others around you. There are four main symptoms of stress:

Cognitive Symptoms:
These symptoms are all related to the function of our brain. When experiencing cognitive symptoms you may have these issues:

  • Trouble remembering things
  • Challenges trying to remain focused
  • Making decisions with poor judgment
  • Constant worry, anxiousness or racing thoughts
  • Pessimistic approach or outlook

Emotional Symptoms:
Emotional symptoms affect how we feel and react to the world around us. A few examples of emotional symptoms:

  • Moodiness
  • Irritability or short-tempered
  • Trouble relaxing due to constant agitation
  • Feeling lonely, isolated or overwhelmed
  • Depression or overall unhappiness

Physical Symptoms:
Stress can manifest itself in so many ways, including within our bodies. Check to see if you are experiencing any of these physical symptoms:
  • Aches, pains and tension headaches
  • Intestinal issues 
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Chest pain, rapid heartbeat
  • Frequent illness
  • Extreme temperature changes in the body

Behavioral Symptoms
These symptoms are observable actions or demeanor that we can observe when the stimuli of stress becomes overwhelming. Here are some key symptoms:
  • Eating more or less
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Isolating yourself from friends and family
  • Procrastinating
  • Neglecting important tasks
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to escape
  • Nervous habits (nail biting, fidgeting, grinding teeth, etc.)

I would wager that most of us have experienced at least one of these symptoms. If you are like me, you have experienced one or more from each category! The question now is, what are you going to do about it? It is very important to have a stress management plan in place. Here are some ideas of how you can manage and control your stress levels:
  • Take the time to identify the cause of your stress. Determine if it is something you can change or modify and put a plan in place to deal with the issue.
  • Identify your support group and maintain relationships, no matter how much stress you experience.
  • Take good care of your body by eating healthy, getting enough sleep, exercising and minimizing caffeine and alcohol.
  • Don't let go of the things that bring you joy. Even in the midst of a very stressful job search you should still take time for yourself to enjoy your passions, hobbies, and recreational activities.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Daily Leap Career Video of the Week: 4 Principles of Career Distinction

Each week we present our Daily Leap Career Video of the Week. The video we share presents news or advice related to career development, searching for a job, the economy and employment, and other career-related topics.

In this video writer William Arruda presents four principles of career distinction and discusses the importance of managing your own career.

Learn more in the video below:

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Inevitable Changes Transitioning Veterans Will Experience

All veterans, whether you have served 2 years or 22 years, will experience extensive changes as you make the transition into working in the private sector. Of course military life is full of changes - changes in duty locations, being ready to deploy at a moment's notice if necessary, and changing assignments. However, there is security and a sense of constancy in the military that will be disrupted with your transition.

For many people, to varying degrees, change can be a major producer of stress. There are all sorts of uncertainties that lie ahead. Let's look at a few of the most common changes that veterans face.

  • Job security. Although there has been some downsizing - or force shaping - happening in the military, for the most part service members don't have to worry about their employer doing massive layoffs or closing their doors unexpectedly.
  • Friends and coworkers. Service members move wherever the military chooses to send them. When transitioning, many veterans choose to move across the country, thus leaving behind their close friends and the coworkers they are used to.
  • Structure. Although you must be flexible in the military, you often know what to expect. No matter what is thrown your way, there is a very strict, rigid structure in place that you can count on. The fear of the "unknown" civilian world causes stress for many veterans.
  • Freedom. You can't dress as you want, style your hair any way you want, get tattoos and body piercings where you want, or quit whenever you want in the military. The freedom that veterans face when they transition can be both freeing and daunting all at the same time. 
  • Management Style. Military leaders take a "holistic" approach to managing their team. They get involved in their team's personal lives and their financial stability. In the military, it is as though you are a member of a very large family. Like most families, the military encourages mangers to stay current in what is happening in the members of their team's personal business. This approach does not happen in the private sector, in fact it is frowned upon. This change in leadership style can be difficult for service members to overcome.
Check back on Thursday and we will explore the different symptoms of stress and what you can do about it.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Four questions toward a legit internship

Internships have become something of a rite of professional passage for college students. In order to gain that "real world" experience desperately needed in the workplace, they work at companies - most of the time without pay - with the hope that they will land them some kind of permanent position either inside or outside that company. 

Recently, however, internships have come under fire for the socioeconomic disparities that persist in the intern culture as well as the overwhelming abuse of the system that results in violations of the U.S. Department of Labor's internship guidelines. Students - it turns out - are becoming frustrated with feeling like indentured servants and having their situations taken for granted by unscrupulous employers. 

If you are considering an internship, ask yourself these questions to determine if the experience will be right for you:

What career goals is this internship serving? Get clear - very clear - about how the internship serves your career goals. Think about what you would like to see after the internship is over: what relationships have you formed, what skills have you acquired, and what industry knowledge do you possess?

What reputation does the internship have? Conduct research to go deeper into how others have viewed the internship experience you are considering and whether or not they felt the experience was worthwhile. You can obviously use Google to find these individuals, but I recommend using LinkedIn as a place to start. Another strong resource could be your college/university's career development office,  which likely has information on students who have taken part in the internship that you are interested in.

What about the internship makes it an educational environment? Many interns don't realize that their work is supposed to inhibit the normal functioning of the work environment...because an internship is designed for learning, not necessarily for accomplishing work. Through your research on internships, ask questions around how the internship creates a place for learning to occur.

What kind of social capital does this internship give? Internships are not just about acquiring new skills and gaining industry knowledge, but also being exposed to people and experiences that will raise your profile with key people in your industry. A well-established company can do this, but so can a young start-up. Use the research you have done to determine how the internship experience will reflect upon you.

Regard an internship as an investment - a serious investment - of your time and resources. Whether you find a paid internship or not, use these questions to get the most out of your experience.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Improve Your Interview Performance with Post-interview Analysis

Every time you go on an interview - whether you are right for the job or the job is right for you - you have an opportunity to learn, to grow, and further develop your interviewing skills. There are several areas you should evaluate immediately following each interview. Here are the key factors to evaluate and some critical questions you should ask yourself.

The Employer's Overall Impression of You
When thinking about your performance in this area you are evaluating how well you made your first impression with everyone at the company. Keep in mind that your professional impression starts long before the first interview. In order to evaluate your performance here, ask yourself:

  • Did you arrive too early or late?
  • Were you polite and professional with everyone at the company (receptionist, parking attendant, etc.)?
  • Did the employer provide any feedback - positive or negative - about your resume?
  • Were you dressed appropriately for the company's culture?
  • Did  you have adequate knowledge of the company's culture, mission, products, competition, etc. to answer why you want to work for them?
  • Should you have brought additional information (samples, letters, resume copies, etc.)?

Questions They Ask You
It is very important to evaluate how well you answered the questions you were asked in the interview. One of the key concerns of interviewees is that you don't know what questions will be asked. Analyzing the questions, and your responses, directly after each interview will help you feel prepared for any question. Evaluate the following:

  • Did you use the STAR method when answering the questions that required an example?
  • What questions were the most difficult for you to answer?
  • What questions did you answer most effectively?
  • Did you come across as unsure of yourself, confident, or arrogant?
  • What non-verbal feedback did you receive from the interviewer?

Questions You Ask
Often, employers hesitate to offer a position to a candidate that they think may be uninterested. Therefore, it is always important to prepare yourself to ask questions in the interview so you appear to be interested in the company and the position and so that you demonstrate that you came prepared.

  • Did you gain any additional information about the job or the company that you can use in future interviews?
  • What research could you have done to prepare better questions?
  • Did you effectively communicate your interest in the position?

Saturday, June 1, 2013

High 5 Weekly Career Transitions Roundup: Idea Entrepreneurs and Words to Transform Your Career

This is our weekly roundup of some of the best career-related articles, interviews, blogs, etc., we've read during the week. We share these every weekend so you have some great resources to prepare you for the coming week. Enjoy!

© Bellemedia | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

  • 3 Words That Will Transform Your Career"Every time you encounter another person, think: help this person. It's not altruistic. Nothing else can so quickly supercharge your career and improve the quality of your life."
  • 6 Steps to Networking Nirvana"Effective networking requires focused one-to-one communication, rather than blasting out cries for help to all within email reach. It is about building relationships, not exploiting them."                                                        
  • Idea Entrepreneur--The New 21st Century Career"It is all too common that people with an idea for an improvement or a change to the world are satisfied to point out a problem, propose a solution, and then expect others to execute. The idea entrepreneur, however, sees the expression of the idea as the beginning of the effort — and it can be a lifelong one — in which they will continue to build the idea, reach new audiences, and offer practices that lead to change."

  • The Key to Success After Graduation"Learning early in life to persist in an effort ridiculed by others is of great value. Whether a blessing or a curse, most of what I have accomplished in my career was initially deemed doomed to fail."

  • 4 Tips for an Effective Cover Letter"Your cover letter has one purpose—and one purpose only: To get the hiring manager’s attention so he reads your resume!