Category Archives: Job Preparation

Don’t be afraid to change your career

DSC_0003Satisfied with your career?  Do you find it hard to get up in the morning with a positive attitude?  Are you considering a career change?  You’ve spent half your life, countless hours and tons of money mastering skills to further enhance the career you always wanted, but are you happy?

CC Connection Knowledge Bite:  According to Gallup’s 2013 ongoing study of the American workplace, out of approximately 100 million people in America who hold full time jobs, 50% of workers are NOT content.  (www.gallup.com)  Are you one of the lucky few?

If you are not one of the happy ones, do you start all over?  Beginning anew may require a lot more time, money, and energy.  Who’s to say you will even be successful at what you attempt to do or satisfied with the new career?  Perhaps you are thinking twice as you have an established job where you are prosperous.  If this is the case, what do you do?  If you re-boot, no doubt some will feel you lost your mind while others may commend you for your valiant endeavor.

If something is getting in the way to your career satisfaction, recognize there are many opportunities in today’s society to make just about anything possible. Why not go for it?  Truth is the main reason we don’t initiate change is fear.

Fear can be defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.

As the survey clearly infers, many individuals go through life repeating the same task day in and day out wishing they had the opportunity to do something else.  Whether the reason is because of debt, children, health, failure, vanity, etc., they find an excuse instead.  People are afraid to make sacrifices and break out of their comfort zones.  Several people I know sit around discussing what they would enjoy doing while making more money, but never act on it.

Good news: There are ways you can control your fears when it comes to drastic changes.

  • One way is to change your daily routine in small increments. For instance, try waking up thirty-minutes earlier than you normally would.
  • Influence your mind by reading an inspirational quote or listening to a motivational speaker, enhancing relaxion.
  • Venture to new places alone each week; go to a movie, have a meal, or take a brisk walk in a park.

These three simple ways can help you resolve fears by building self-esteem while keeping a positive attitude to whatever may come.

If you are truly unhappy with what you are doing in your career and want a change, don’t let fear stop you.  The only one you really hurt is yourself.  If you continue to procrastinate because you are fearful, it will take you that much longer to achieve what you really want.  Don’t go through life regretting what may have been because it will pass by a lot faster than you can imagine.

Penned by
Caroline Kika-Smithwich
Your CC Connection

Body Language: Why what you’re NOT saying may cost or land you that job

Did you know that 55% of communication is nonverbal?  That means that without saying a word we are having conversations that we may not even be aware of.  Statistically the moment we see someone we decide if we like that person or if we want to do business with them.

Body language and first impressions go hand in hand… which might be to your advantage.

You may have said when you met someone you really liked or really didn’t like, that it was just something about them.  Maybe that “vibe” you were sensing was just the non-verbal conversation you were not aware that you were having.

Harris pieBased on the enclosed pie chart, only 7% of what you say is actually communicated.  This brings me to another old saying: “Actions speak louder then words?”  In other words: your body language is speaking for you all of the time, whether you know it or not.

Body language expert Janine Driver claims that body communication is different for everyone, but there are similarities when it comes to perception.  When it comes to communication, consider the following three steps:

  • You feel it,
  • you show it (body language),
  • and then you say it.

CC Tip of the Day: How you sit, dress, and walk tells more about who you are than you know.

With your career success in mind, consider the following helpful hints to help you say “HIRE ME!”

First of all, be well groomed and prepared.  Choice of clothing color, style of dress and hairstyle is the very first form of communication.  You must communicate a professional and competent appearance.

Secondly, your body has to speak the language that interviewer wants to see and this begins with, you guessed it, your Smile.  Something as simple as a universal, honest-to-goodness friendly smile can break the ice and generate feelings of wellbeing and confidence.  Make sure that your smile is genuine.

Next is the hand-shake.  The technical term is called Haptic or communicating by touch.  The hand-shake can make or break you.  This form of communication must also be a form of emulation or imitating what the interviewer is doing.  Hold your palm straight and use the same hand pressure and firmness. Let the interviewer decide when it should end.

The eyes have it: How do you feel when someone avoids looking directly at you or doesn’t look you in the eye?  One message may be one of mistrust.  We wonder what is it that they don’t want us to see.  Look your interviewer squarely and calmly in the eye, but not with a stalker or psychotic manner.  The look in your eyes should not show panic or worry, but rather interest and curiosity.

harrisFinally, be aware of your body posture.  Your mother and Grandmother may have told you to sit up straight for many years and maybe you thought they were trying to prevent you from getting scoliosis or having a hunched back.  I’m persuaded that they were preparing you for the moment you go to sit among the great ones.  The ones whose seat YOU may sit in one day. Sitting or standing with your face, head, and shoulders aligned display integrity.  Having your back straight with a slight lean forward denotes interest and that you are listening.

Your paralinguistics or verbal communication is also critical.  Modulate your tone with a steady cadence and a pleasant voice.  Speak clearly and intelligently.  Don’t talk too fast or too loudly, here again you want to match the interviewers pace.

Can you say “semantics?”  Remember: What you say and how you say it definitely matters so use your voice to your advantage.  Is your voice high and squeaky or does it infer confidence?  This is the time to talk about what you can bring to this company and why you are the BEST candidate.

How will I remember to do all of this?  This may seem like a lot to be aware of but trust me, a lot of these actions come naturally, just convey the right message at all times. Remember, more than half of what we communicate is the look on our face and the gestures we make.

So are you still wondering how this can help you get that job? Picture this:

You wake up early and jump out of the bed, today is the day you think. You eat a good breakfast, and take care with your hygiene. You smile at yourself in the mirror. All of your hard work is finally going to pay off!

You’ve got your shoes shined and your favorite shirt and tie. Your suit is fresh from the drycleaners. Today is the day of the interview for your dream job.  Keys?  Check. Wallet?  Check. Briefcase?  Checkmate!  You make sure to leave home an hour and a half early so that you can give yourself time to get a cup of coffee and breathe mints.  You went to school so that you could ride the golden ticket of your degree to the chocolate factory of employment success.

Feeling empowered and excited, you get to the interview early and give your name to the receptionist.  She directs you to the seating area to wait for the interviewer.  You stand so that you can meet the interviewer from a power position.  The interviewer sees you and says your name, you smile and walk forward confidently.

She extends her hand toward you and you grasp her hand in a warm, firm shake.  “Follow me” she says.  You get to her office and there are two chairs in front of her desk she directs you to take one, you move your chair directly in front of her so that she knows she has your full attention.  What you don’t know is your interviewer is impressed because she has to study body-language and psychology in order to hire the best candidate.  The interview goes smoothly.

All of your preparation and hard work is going to pay off. As you prepare to leave you stand to your feet calmly and thank her for the interview.  You shake her hand and reposition your chair back where you found it.  You reach the door you turn the knob and pull the door open.  As you go out the door your turn and look her in the eyes and you smile again and close the door behind you. Why wouldn’t you get the Job? You have practiced and worked hard.

Everything about you has communicated verbally confidence, skill and integrity and non-verbally your actions have backed it up. So go home and get that thank you note sent, then envision yourself doing what you were born to do….YOUR JOB!

Written and shared by:
Salima Harris
Your CC Connection

Semantics: What you say and how you say it matters

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI’m sure you’re wondering why you need to know anything about semantics and how this can help you get the job you want. Semantics is the study of the meaning of language. It also deals with varieties and changes in the meaning of words, phrases, sentences, and text. Just in case you’re still not sure what it means, semantics is what you say and how you say it.

Let’s look at an example of how meaning can change by reviewing the word “create.” Create can mean build, make, construct, erect, compose, or imagine. Another example is how the simple word “on” can have many meanings: on call, on the roof, on cloud nine, on edge, on fire, on purpose, on demand, on top, or on the phone. Semantics helps you choose the most effective words for your cover letter and your resume. You can choose from a list of words to communicate how you are the most qualified candidate for the job. This is why it is imperative that we learn to communicate effectively with those we want to do business with and those who may want to do business with us.

Semantics is communication. It uses different words to imply a desired meaning. Business semantics are what you use to answer the question “What is your greatest weakness?” We wonder why they are asking us this. Did I say something wrong? How do I respond? Your use of semantics can make you seem even more polished and professional when you are able to answer the tough questions that everyone dreads.

Here are some potential responses you might give “My greatest weakness is completing tasks in a timely matter because I’m a perfectionist.” Or you can say “I’m just not that good at finishing stuff.” Dear future employee, please choose door number one! You may also say “I have had issues with project completion.” Do you say that to an interviewer? No! You just may be able to get away with saying “I’ve had some pretty close calls with project completion quite some time ago. Since then I have designed a flow chart that had a timeline for my project completions, and I am able to finish my projects with time to spare.” To add support to your claim, give an example of said project or show them the flow chart.

How can I use semantics to my advantage and why do semantics work? Semantics is the combination of verbal communication, non-verbal communication, and self-confidence. Let’s say you don’t have enough experience for the job you want but are confident that with your previous job history, you can do the job. The verbiage on your resume should highlight your strengths that apply to the position you are applying for.

Let’s take the word “strength” as an example. Instead you can use fortitude, tenacity, stableness, energy, steadiness, or courage. A thesaurus is an excellent resource to help you find other words to add you your vocabulary. In the book Semantics in Business Systems, David McComb states “New words aren’t usually invented; rather new meanings are imposed on the words and phrases already being used.Your use of Semantics is your power and how well you wield it can change that interview into your dream career.

Semantics is always in action, even if you don’t realize it. You may use semantics as a play on words or as an intentional pun. Puns use multiple meanings of words and homophones (where the pronunciation is the same but the spelling and meaning are different). You can say almost anything you want!  If you want to go far in business or anywhere in your life, you must be able to communicate effectively. Semantics is an important portion of the communication process. With your expert use of it you will be a dream to any interviewer and practically any job you apply for will be at your fingertips.

Stay focused, take your time and choose your words carefully. Your future is in your hands.

Hello??? That was semantics!

Penned by Salima Harris
Your CC Connection

Hiring Seasoned Veteran’s: An Employers Advantage

 

Navy Marine Corps FA-18
Navy Marine Corps FA-18

When it comes to seeking employment, those above the age of 50 bring far more than just experience, especially if they are Veterans. They bring traits such as leadership, problem solving skills, and a determination to get the job done right, the first time.

Seasoned Veterans understand the value of things that are vital to any unit, military or civilian, such as dependability, honesty, and integrity. Additionally, being seasoned gives them the added benefit of having the outlook and wisdom that only time and experience can give.

Leadership

On two separate occasions, while serving in the United States Air Force, I was promoted, as a Staff Sergeant, to the position of Non Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) of the Mid Shift Avionics Shop for the F-111 aircraft; once at Cannon Air Force Base, Clovis, New Mexico, and the other at Royal Air Force (RAF) Lakenheath, England. In this position, I oversaw the entire shop and all of its functions.

Lifetime civilian and military benefit: I encountered many types of situations requiring me to make major decisions, set schedules, assign duties, and coordinate with other shops in order to accomplish the mission.

During my tour at RAF Lakenheath, I coordinated remote support for our Deployed Avionics Shop at Tiaf, Saudi Arabia, during Operation Desert Storm. Here too, many challenges were faced and met during an actual war-time situation.

Problem Solving Skills

At RAF Lakenheath, our shop was located in an underground facility, with very limited floor space. During Operation Desert Storm, I developed, implemented, and supervised a suitable floor plan and change-over for the new incoming F-15 test equipment and crew while simultaneously removing the F-111 test equipment and crew; no small task, especially during an ongoing war.

Normal daily routines are one thing, but being in the military during war is something else again. Many times I saw the effects of the strain of the enormous pressures that the Airmen were under to fulfill the mission requirements, and how each reacted to it. Sometimes a quick response was required, sometimes filling in for them while they got a much-needed break. Being able to tell when discipline was needed and when it was not, solved many problems and eased the fears of getting into trouble for some minor thing.

Being seasoned presented than a “father figure” many of these young Airmen needed to feel. Resolving mental fatigue, through psychological empowerment, we increased morale. Taking advantage of direct and indirect influence, seasoned veterans helped our unit to achieve and maintain a Fully Mission Capable status and ultimately helped our military win the war.

Commitment 

As a Non Commissioned Officer (NCO), one is not only a Supervisor, but a trainer, manager, scheduler, and counselor. In the Air Force, the normal duty day is 8 hours, but during an exercise, or even in wartime, you train like you fight: whatever it takes. The shifts could be from 8, 16, 24, or even 36 hours, whatever was required to accomplish the mission. Being seasoned, one understands commitment to goal attainment, this is our way.

Many times I slept at the shop because the job required that I be there around the clock. And many times I worked triple shifts so that some of the younger, less experienced troops could get food, catch a quick nap, or write a letter home; all things that greatly contributed to the overall success of the mission. Also, times like these presented the perfect opportunity to give additional training under circumstances and conditions that would otherwise be extremely difficult to reproduce, so the training was doubly valuable.

Employer’s Value

For the seasoned Veterans 50 and above, everything begins with attitude.

Being a Veteran means that a person has been both military and civilian. As such, the Vet has seen and experienced things most other people will never experience. There are however, some things that are just common to life, either military or civilian.

Stress is a big factor in both kinds of life, and the Veteran has seen his or her share and knows first-hand how to handle it. By rule of thumb, first, take a deep breath, analyze the situation, choose the best course of action, and go for it! There is no “I” in the word “TEAM”, and more often than not, it is a team effort that makes the difference.

Another factor is recognition. The Vet knows the importance of recognizing when a job is well done, and just how good it makes the junior person feel to be recognized for their performance. And lastly, morale. This is one factor that can make or break any team or civilian organization, and the Vet is all too aware of this.

Morale is the glue that holds a unit together, and the unit is only as strong as its morale. Find a unit with good morale, and you will find a good leader there as well. Veterans are not better than anyone else, but they do have more experience in more areas than most others, and they have also been tested under fire, so, hire a Vet!

Penned and contributed by:
Robin Cline
Your CC Connection

What’s Your Brand?

DSC_0015Over the past three years the Career Thought Leaders Consortium gathered to discuss employment trends for the now, the new, and the next. For those seeking professional guidance, visiting www.careerthoughleaders.com may be your smartest move as the contributors are recognized leaders within career management.

For now, let’s do a quick review, followed by a worthy analysis and recommendation.

When it comes to branding, here’s the latest scoop according to findings published March 1, 2014, by the Career Thought Leaders Consortium:

The NOW:

     * Branding is a particular problem for those just entering the workforce. Because they have little experience, they don’t know how to assess their value. Even if they have a sense of their value, they don’t know how to translate it well.

The NEW:

     * Branding and social media searches are having an increased impact on the job search. Job seekers should use video and evolving social media tools to create on-brand online images.

The NEXT:

     * Branding will continue to grow in importance as contract and portfolio careers increase. In a rapidly shifting job market, applicants without a clear and compelling brand will be at a serious disadvantage. Whether you are a seasoned executive or a newbie in the job market, developing a strong professional brand is not an option… it is a requirement. Stop the squirming as we delve into the basic “how to create an effective professional brand” session.

By way of priority, professional brands should be that: professional.

  • Leave out personal information NOT related to employment or information which could be used in a discriminatory manner. Things such as religious affiliations, children/family life, political agendas, things you’ve done over the weekend, and/or medical issues.
  • Information to include in your professional brand: accomplishment stories and details, relevant knowledge, skills, and abilities, unique/value added benefits, and assets you bring to organizations.
    • Consider what you believe to be your greatest strength. If you decide to go with one strength, have an actual employment story supporting it. For example, don’t claim in your brand that you specialize in logistics if you have never examined and improved back-end operations.
  • Much like an elevator speech, your professional brand should not bore the reader or be excessive in length.
    • Keep your brand down to three or four sentences (75 – 100 words)

Think about a potential hiring manager and what she most likely would be interested in knowing about you. The secret is in keeping it short, powerful, and packed with value (from the employer’s perspective). If you have any questions or if you would like one of our certified writers evaluate your brand statement (even throw in a few suggestions along the way), don’t hesitate to share.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a disadvantage, take control of your career by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions).

Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com

Bridges Better Unburnt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are reasons that doctors put “Changing Jobs” in the highest category of stressors. There are reasons you get funny looks if you’re all smiles but wondering why you’re having headaches and/or stomach aches and you say you’re changing jobs. It is a very big deal. And it starts in that one moment of realization when you know…It’s time to move on.

It can happen quickly, or over several months. It could be your decision or forced upon you. But at some point in everyone’s career, a change is going to come and you are going to leave. The stress, anxiety, and questions that come along with this realization can be overwhelming, and these can mount deeply even if on the surface you think it’s no big deal.

The first thing that you have to come to terms with is that no job is permanent. I think a lot of people mistake a professional relationship and the commitment thereto for something more like a marital relationship, where any thought of severing the bond brings anxiety. The point is, if it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on. You need to understand that as much as your coworkers and employer(s) do.

No need to complicate it with emotions, either in your own mind or in your resignation. All that you have to do is take your leave in a way that opens rather than closes doors. Here are a couple of thoughts on how to make that happen:

Respect

The first and most obvious of this is respect. Not only to give it, but to earn it. No matter what position you are in or how you are leaving this job, this is the single most important part, and it bleeds into everything that you will do in your transition period (if you have one). Show your employer and coworkers respect by acknowledging their position. Gain respect by abstaining from negative talk at work. Just because you’re leaving doesn’t mean you’re suddenly allowed to gossip and talk about people behind their back. Continue your work with pride until you are gone. Remain courteous and amiable with your coworkers and employer. Be helpful and genuine. You’d be surprised how simple acts like positive body language, eye contact, and handshakes will set people at ease and earn you respect.

Honesty

By this I don’t mean full transparency necessarily, but do be honest. There is no need to bring your personal feelings and daydreams into this in any way that is not related to your position or your time working with them. So, if it is not a medical issue, you don’t have to tell them every aspect that went into your decision and you don’t have to tell them every reaction you’re having. Hopefully this goes without saying, but some people get nervous and start rattling off things they didn’t originally intend to say. However, you should be honest. Honesty will, in turn, gain you respect. Tact and diplomacy will be paramount (no huffing and puffing about old scores or anything), but telling them that you are looking to advance or focus on a particular area in your career is not going to be met with hostility. And, if it is, smile your most professional smile and hold up your end of the previous paragraph until you are out of the door. Stay above reproach, no matter what.

Be honest with yourself in this transition. Do your research on where you’re going, and be sure of what you’re leaving behind. In the end, most people want what’s best for everyone involved. Be one of those people. At every step, forget anxiety and focus on doing the next right thing, and one day you’ll look back and see a landscape of bridges and not piles of ash.

If you’re in a transition, or preparing for one, feel free to share your thoughts, stories, and questions. As always, I’d love to hear from you!

Stay tuned: Next time we will examine the flipside of job loss… being asked to leave and the common stages defining downsizing.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Writing a Meaningful Self-Assessment

The annual review cycle begins with the self-assessment of your performance.

DSC_0045While it may be easy to get caught up in the details of writing the assessment and meeting deadlines, remember, it is important to focus on content. Don’t take this opening for granted, now is the ripe time to inform your manager of your achievements while discussing challenges, opportunities, and goals.

ONE THING TO KEEP IN MIND — How you perceive your job performance may be quite different from the evaluation by your supervisor.

You may be feeling confident in believing you’ve gone above and beyond job requirements until reality creeps in with a sucker-punch. The other side of truth does not always match. Truth is, your supervisor’s perspective may view your performance as being “average.”

For those not believing average can define them, average can be the product of many factors and not just the one or two you thought of. Unfortunately, factors include misunderstanding of expectations, a need for additional training, communication issues, or as simple as your manager not being aware of your day-to-day interactions.

Positive Shift: This is your chance to take control of your career by giving feedback and informing your manager of any training or resources necessary to future success. In order to do such a thing effectively, there’s no time like the present to take an objective self-assessment and then get with your manager for a realignment of sorts.

Is this a lot of work? Sure it is. Is this worth the effort… you bet’cha.

A clear and well-written self-assessment has the following attributes:

  • Restates objectives. Paraphrasing job objectives gives the manager a clear picture of how well an employee understands job performance expectations.
  • Highlights most significant achievements. The assessment doesn’t need to be lengthy; however it should highlight major achievements during the review period. Don’t forget about achievements made early on in the performance review period. (This is where keeping a journal can be your career advantage—you don’t want to forget accomplishments) States why the achievement matters. Show a cause and effect of the contribution. Describe how the achievement has profited the company. This information should paint a clear picture of how important your job is to the company.
  • Emphasizes when your actions were an important factor in success. Employee conduct or behavior is commonly taken into account in the performance rating. Be sure to bring up specific instances where behavior made a positive difference in the outcome of an objective. Acknowledges challenges. The word “challenges” has a negative connotation. However, overcoming a challenge shows you are able to achieve goals despite setbacks or obstacles. These obstacles may be technical, personal, or even limited resources available that an employee may need to rise above.
  • Offer specifics to improve performance in the future. Be detailed when writing the self-assessment. Tell/Show how your performance will improve and give a timeframe for the progression.

Following these simple instructions increases your chance of getting eyebrows raised from your manager and entices them to see the added value brought to the company by your exceptional work performance.

The key here is how well you organize. Keep detailed notes with numbers when applicable. Truth is, most managers want you to succeed and wants you to show how you completed the task. Throw in positive bottom-line results and you may be the winner the company is looking to promote.

Hope to see you at the finish line,

Your CC Connection
Tammisha Willis

The Promotion WAS Mine!

DSC_0169So… you were so sure you were the next one in line for that promotion. Feeling confident, you began dreaming of a new life until you sense pinching fingers. Upon waking up you were told the chosen one was NOT you. Difficult to digest, to say the least.

The good news is that you CAN get through this. Let’s take a look at “twenty tips” to get you through a promotional disappointment:

  1. The first day you find out. Calm down to begin with, you CANNOT change what happened.
  2. Abstain from speaking to anyone right away or at least think twice about what you are going to say… who you are kidding!!! Think five times before you speak to anyone at your workplace.
  3. Go to the restroom and wash your face with cold water, time to get the bad mood off your face.
  4. Don’t behave resentfully.
  5. Don’t shelter or focus on negative thoughts. This may be the perfect time to take a quick break, walking off the negativity.
  6. It is expected your co-workers will ask and it is ok to say “This is disappointing” “I really wanted it.”
  7. Remember people won’t mind knowing you are disappointed. What everyone will mind is the endless whining about the rejected promotion. This makes you look BAD.
  8. GO HOME and scream to the top of your lungs how much you wanted this, or speak to your other half or whomever you tell your things too (preferably no one from your workplace) and spill it out, talk about till you can talk no more.
  9. Truth is, you will not be able to focus on an action plan YET, therefore DISTRACT yourself with a positive outlet.
  10. Go to the gym and run, run, run till you drop for the next few weeks to clear your mind.
  11. Ok… a few weeks have passed and everyone forgot about it and you should feel a bit better about it. LET’S MAKE AN ACTION PLAN!
  12. Do a vision board! It’s fun and can re-ignite focus by placing yourself in the future. Career roadmaps are a proven method of getting back on track.
  13. Ask yourself why do you want a promotion? Take for example, more pay, different responsibilities (more challenge), or a new career
  14. Learn the goals of those who have a decision making role in your career.
  15. Ask questions about the goals of the company but DON’T ask questions on “what are you doing for me.”
  16. Focus in the future and PLAN on making things better.
  17. See any career stumbling blocks as a learning opportunity.
  18. Request a meeting with your manager and ask for a review. What can you improve on? Learn your weakness and strength on the job.
  19. Start focusing on the things you need to improve on and TAKE ACTION.
  20. “The brick wall is not there for you, is there for the ones who don’t want it” (Pausch, Randly 2007)

Believe in yourself! Good luck… I am confident the next one is yours.

Career disappointments are never easy. Unfortunately we have all experienced the wrong side of either not getting that promotion or not given the opportunity to prove ourselves. You are not alone… so get over it and get on with life.

Truth is, now is the time to refocus and walk with confidence. With a professional plan in hand, the road to success may be just one or two steps away.

Azalia C. Arias
Your CC Connection

Career Boost: What Inspires You?

inspirationInspiration is one of the most amazing things in the world because it is absolutely unpredictable. It can come anytime, from anything, to anyone, anywhere. Paul Smith claims inspiration can be found in everything. If not, he says, look again.

I love this because it shifts responsibility to the beholder. In other words: you can’t blame your surroundings for your attitude, feelings, or standing in life. There is inspiration in everything. All you have to do is find it.

When I need to feel inspired, I go for a walk or a drive. Just seeing the living picture of the world in motion gives me a plethora of inspirational options. I find people inspiring, in different ways at different times. Sometimes it’s buildings, sometimes nature.

If you find yourself stalled out in your job-search, your education, or your career, you may seek inspiration to get things moving again. But where do you find it? Sometimes, the more you need it and the harder you look, the more elusive it becomes.

So the question is… What inspires you? Where do you look when your momentum is gone and your Muse is nowhere to be found? Keep in mind that while inspiration can (and ideally should) be found in everything, different kinds of people access it in different ways.

Take a moment and assess which of the following fit you best:

External

This doesn’t necessarily mean that you go running outside for inspiration, but you do seek it outside of yourself. The words or works of others speak to you and you trust them. It’s important to you to find something bigger or smarter than yourself to follow even if just for the moment where you feel lost and dry. You’re likely to turn to your parents or close friends or a respected colleague to get advice before you weigh your options personally, and their say will have a sizeable impact on your decision. You let these people or circumstances bring you the inspiration you need.

Internal

Are you highly sensitive or extremely shy?

You may retreat deeply into the woods not unlike Thoreau, bury yourself in books or music, or simply not leave your house for days. You dig and dig at your inner self to see where it has all gone – the motivation, inspiration, ambition that fueled you to get to where you are. You ask yourself deep and difficult questions, some of which may not even be necessary, and you may find yourself quite somber at times. This can feel like scratching the surface of a frozen lake with a toothpick to get to the waters below. But as you write, or clean, or cook, or exercise, or whichever solitary activity wakens your Muse, you will slowly find yourself coming out of the tunnel with a gem of inspiration that could very well be priceless.

Now, whether you find yourself more extroverted or more introverted in your approach, there is always something you can do. If walking doesn’t do it, try meditating. Find a movie that is a filmed adaptation of an inspirational true story. Bonus points if it’s a story about your chosen career field. Take a break for a few hours one night and really give in to a good book. So often, just giving your brain some rest will give it a chance to tap into everything that’s waiting below the surface.

Career Reality: You don’t have to get burned out.

Remember the feeling that got you going? Remember why you chose the path you’re on? Hold on to that, open your eyes, and look around.

There’s inspiration waiting in everything.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer
Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com
Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs
Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Why were you fired?

“You’re fired!”

DSC_0085These two words are probably the most dreaded and hardest of things to hear or experience during your career.  (Unless you have been lucky enough to never have been, then congratulations and well done Saint Whoever).

Good news: Being fired doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it just means that circumstance, or not so good choices were made and you had to face the consequences of such.

Unfortunately though, if you have been fired, you know full well that it can be quite devastating and such a knock to ones self-esteem, no matter the reason.  True enough, being fired can make one feel as if you committed a major felony no matter how trivial the reason.  Even harder yet is explaining the reason to a future employer, whether on an application or during an interview. On this note, getting fired can happen to ANYONE, as a friend of recently learned.

Sarah worked for a large corporation for a few years.  Hard worker, loyal and dependable, wore many hats and was able to take on any task given to her.  During a time of enormous downsizing, something awful happened.  One day Sarah forgot to clock out from lunch. On the following day she was called into the human resources manager’s office; in a matter of minutes, she was terminated.  Sarah was told that she “stole time” from the company.  This was what one could say, a definite “wow” moment for her.

Feeling stunned, devastated and hurt, she couldn’t believe that after all she had done for the employer they would do such a thing for something so petty.  Had she been a repeat offender then it would be understandable for their reasoning but this was not the case as the consequence of her action seemed quite harsh.

Reality check: It DOES happen, proving once again that we are all expendable.

After this incident she brushed herself off and searched for another job.  In the following interviews Sarah explained briefly what had happened to her, was honest and remained pleasant and upbeat.

Silver Lining: Sarah remained positive and was employed quite quickly and is happier now than she was before.

If fired, how does one go about tackling this dreaded question?  Of course like my dear friend, be honest but be tactful.  Everyone makes mistakes, even the best of the best have faltered along the way, knocking their halo a little off kilter.

One of the best ways to handle this question during an interview is to not be too detailed or defensive.  Keep your response to the point, positive, and then move on with the rest of the interview.  Though it may be difficult, do not be negative.  More often than not, the interviewer is looking at how you answer the question as opposed to why it happened, meaning your tone and attitude about the situation.  If there is a brief moment of silence, take the lead and subtly segue by asking a question of your own at this point.

To help you along the way, prepare yourself now by answering the following questions:

  • How…did you handle the situation after being fired?
  • How have you learned from it so as to not make the same mistake again?
  • How can you persuade your future employer to trust that you won’t make the same mistake again?
  • Did the experience prompt you into changing your career entirely?

No matter how hurtful the experience is to ones ego, often it is an opportunity presented to us that a career change may be for the best and more advantageous in the long run.  Looking back, think to yourself, were you really truly happy in that position?  As the saying goes, “One door closes, another door opens.”

One more thing, there are many other ways of saying you were “fired” without saying the dreaded “fired” word.  For example, “let go” or there was economic downsizing in the company and you were one of the ones downsized.  Or that you were laid off and then pursued other opportunities.

Don’t beat yourself up because of what has happened no matter how angry or upset you are.  Take this opportunity to start looking for another job, one that is more than likely going to be everything that you ever wanted, never stop striving for what you want in a job.

The sky’s the limit, so reach for the stars and shine on.

Wishing you nothing but the best,

Yolande Kennedy-Clark