Tag Archives: Career Development

What is your greatest weakness?

DSC_0143Whether you are new to the job seeking field or are a seasoned professional, one interview question will always throw you a curve ball.  The dreaded “what is your greatest weakness?”  This sounds like an easy question, yet most interviewees freeze up as soon as it is asked.  As a general rule, the question is typically asked toward the end of an interview, after you think you’ve nailed it.  Employers do this to see how quick you think on your feet when posed with a question you do not have a ready answer for.

When asked, what is the most effective response?  Below are helpful tips to help you prepare before the interview.

First, research at the company and evaluate their needs.  Using websites such as ONET.Org or TagCrowd.com to gather and prioritize information places you above the competition.  Another great spot to research is the company.  Check the BBB website as well, detailing any complaints.  If there are a few, take a look at the outcomes and how you could cut back on complaints or eliminate them completely.

Additionally, go to your favorite search engine, such as Google, and enter the company name. No doubt you will discover a trove of information about the company.  You can even call the company itself and do an employee survey.  Be careful what you ask, you want facts, not gossip.

Equipped with company research, compile a list of company issues and how you can resolve them.  IF possible, incorporate an issue or two into the greatest weakness question.  True enough, the questions you have may not help you answer the question: “What is your greatest weakness?” but it will give you an advantage when the interviewer asks you if you have any questions.

Then sit and write down what you consider a weakness in the workplace.  Do not look at weakness in your personal life.  Future employers do not want to hear about personal weaknesses.  Keep your personal life separate as much as possible from you professional life.  This will show the employer that you are focused on work, not problems at home.

Think about jobs you have had in the past, what you struggled with and how you coped.  Once you’ve done this, pick the one you think would most benefit the employer (this is where previous company research comes in handy).  Then state it in such a way that your weakness is seen as strength for the company.

For example, one of my biggest weaknesses is that I get too involved in the companies I work for.  I get caught up in the day to day activities and find myself putting in more hours than intended and skipping lunch to keep working.  I take it personal if the company takes a hit for whatever reason, and I look back through my work and those around me and blame myself for missing something.  I have no problem being accountable for work that I’ve done incorrectly, or someone else who may have done something incorrectly as I feel I should have caught any errors before they turned into problems.

Notice in the above example how what I considered a weakness can be turned around to become an employer’s benefit.  The interviewer will be thinking that I am very involved with work, care about the company, and be willing to do what needs to be done, even making sacrifices in my personal life to be there for the team.  This would not be an erroneous assumption, it would be true and that is the key to comfortably answering the question.

CC Connection Tip of the Day: Stick to the truth, you won’t trip yourself up trying to lie; lying is not the way to get yourself employed.

Once you have determined how best to answer this question, you need to practice.  Practice with a friend, relative, or in front of a mirror and edit to best reflect the value you offer.  Watch facial expressions while practicing in the mirror; do you look scared or confident?  Do you have no expression at all?  How is your posture; slumped or straight and tall?  It is not just the words that have an impact on your answers; your body language speaks much louder than words.

Reword the answer so that if you do have a sudden attack of the “uuummms,” you can fall back on an abbreviated answer.  Ask for honest feedback if you practice with someone, and record yourself while practicing.  Play back the first recording to yourself and do an objective self-evaluation by asking yourself three questions:

  • Did your voice shake or vibrate when answering?
  • Did you have good tone and inflection?
  • Does it sound as if you’ve been rehearsing?

If you answer yes or no as appropriate to these questions, keep practicing.  Also have someone else listen to your response.  Be sure it is someone who is going to be honest and not afraid to hurt your feelings.  Have them evaluate you based on the same three questions.  It is best to have a second opinion, one that won’t be biased.  Truth is, we are always more critical of ourselves then others.  “Practice makes perfect,” as the expression goes. In this case, it is all too true.

Here’s a warning: You do not want your answer to sound practiced, so practice until you are comfortable with the answer, confident and contemplative.

When asked, don’t panic. Instead, take 2-3 seconds before answering. A slight pause gives the employer the impression you are seriously thinking about how to answer.

The best advice is to do your research.  I sound repetitive but I cannot stress enough how proper research helps you prepare for an interview even if questions are asked that you didn’t prepare for.

When it comes to the interview process, knowledge is everything. The more you know about the company, the better armed you are for the interview.

If you have any questions or comments, let us know.

Sharon Parker
Your CC Connection

Career Advantage Spotlight: LinkedIn

DSC_0010There are many ways to display your life to the world. You can showcase your talents on YouTube, every random thoughts on Twitter, and those entertaining social engagements and life progressions on Facebook. But there is one digital space where you can make professional connections that can positively impact your career, and that’s LinkedIn.

A few things make LinkedIn different than the others. The most obvious is, of course, the professional platform it offers. While on Facebook you can put people into categories and say that you know them from school or church or that park up the street, LinkedIn’s main priority is your professional relationship with your contacts.

Not interested in what you ate for dinner or who you partied with over the weekend, LinkedIn concentrates attention to your professional side by incorporating interactive tools which can be used for your advantage. Through the use of recommendations, your electronic tattoo is bolstered by those who have worked with you. Along those lines, you are able to endorse each other in professional accomplishments and skills.

This revolutionary site has been around for a while, and if you don’t have a profile on LinkedIn, you are missing out. Current hiring trends are clear: most potential employers research your digital presence before scheduling interviews. For those with a strong electronic presence, this is a perfect way to back up your resume and get ahead of the competition.

Don’t lose your edge – use it. Update your profile often, and build your network wisely. Make sure to endorse other people for their skills; they’ll be more likely to endorse you for yours. If you think you don’t know where to start, think again.

Here’s an easy tip to get started: Pick any job you’ve ever had. Think of someone you worked with that you respected, and search for them. Once found, send a formal request to connect. When selecting digital professional networks, don’t sell yourself short.

As for your online profile, broadcast anything that would be valuable for an employer. You never know what can happen. Remember to keep it professional… always. While on this note, never get involved with controversial topics, including religion, politics, etc.

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

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

Terminated… What now?

DSC_0379With employment tenure averaging two – three years, goodbyes are something we all will end up doing more than once. Though professional and personal relationships vary in depth and degree, both do have much in common. For example, in personal relationships, one is likely to run across the “other” now and then, be it in restaurants or social networking. In a professional setting, revisiting previous job positions and experience gained will also be common for years to come.

Given similarities between personal and professional, truth is, there are differences. I need not delve into the obvious and will concentrate on the professional side of reality: moving from one job to the other. When it’s time to continue your journey, two typical scenarios come to mind: voluntarily and not-so voluntarily. As we recently reviewed the voluntary side of leaving, this time we’ll concentrate on the not-so-voluntary side by examining common stages and how to react as destroying bridges is rarely in our best interest.

Being asked to leave a position is never easy, but, for many, an experience to be encountered. For those who have not had the displeasure, the initial shock of being asked to clear out personal items can suffocate reason while, at the same time, unleash irrational behavior and/or words (typically stated for the world to hear). Recognizing the temptation to lash out may be great, it is strongly recommended you keep calm about the situation, remain professional in all areas, and respect the decision (even if you do not understand the reason).

Feeling vulnerable under stressful situations lends itself to denial. “How can this be?” “I’ve given you five years of dedicated service!” “I’m the best worker here.” “This company can’t operate without me.” These words are often expressed by the one asked to leave at the onset… once denial no longer rules and reality barges in, the next common reaction, anger, shows in various forms.

Consistent to the loss process, the initial reaction of denial typically morphs into anger. Again, this is not the time to display anger… come to think of it, NEVER is the time to act out anger. For those giving into anger temptation, the negative effects of a shouting or shoving match is rarely rewarded. Truth is, bridges tumble quickly if anger is not controlled.

For the easy-anger triggered, hold off for a better time and place. Though hard to resist, keep self-talk from burning future references. If you are at the point of boiling over, do whatever possible to take the high ground, leaving the work environment peacefully and safely go to a place where calm can be restored. For many, this would be home, a park, a long drive, a movie, or even just a walk in the mall. Diffusing potential conflict is ALWAYS the first and safest choice.

Measured by a change in attitude, anger often dissolves into a feeling of hopelessness or depression. If you find yourself at this stage, time to recognize you are not alone as most people have worn those very shoes. How you react during this stage can create a powerful new and progressive you or it can diminish personal as well as professional attitudes. Ultimately, this is the time to accept the past as what it is…the past and begin developing a new you. Concepts such as positive daily affirmations and visualizations can help you along the way. On the other side of the coin, holding anger can destroy many tomorrow’s.

Knowing tomorrow is going to be a great day begins with attitude and action. Positive affirmations should be a part of the daily routine (this goes for everyone) as you make a career and life transition. Instead of beginning the day with a “this day is going to suck” attitude, begin the day with a “nothing is going to stop me from succeeding” attitude. Naturally you will devise personal affirmations fitting your situation. The thing is, by telling yourself “today is going to be a great day,” actions will begin to make this into a reality; even if you have to fake it until you make it.

Visualizations refer to “pictures” of how tomorrow will become. Keep your pictures of the future real while developing images of what you want and, at the same time, create a plan to secure each image. Knowing where you want to go is half the journey. The second have involves the plan (we’ll get to the “how” in later blogs).

Partnering with positive affirmations and visualizations, feelings of hopelessness and/or depression will transition into an attitude of acceptance. Here’s another truth, once you accept a job loss, positive growth can come about.

Being on the wrong side of downsizing is never easy while burning bridges can be as simple as saying the wrong thing during an irrational moment.

If approached and asked to pack your bags, think (more than twice) before speaking or lashing out. I know it’s quite tempting to “give’em a piece of your mind” but hold off a few days to consider alternative options and their consequences.

By recognizing the probable psychological stages to be encountered, you can better prepare for the “just in case” situation.

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
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

HSP Career Advantage Summarized

I appreciate all the comments and e-mails on our series of blogs about Highly Sensitive People in the workplace. Many reached out to say, “this is me, I never knew, where can I turn now?”

DSC_0062Your comments are inspiring and wonderful. I want you to know that you’re not alone. You should see this outpour of response and recognize that you’re not the only one sitting at a desk or standing behind a counter with a fake facial expression, a bleeding heart, and a passion for something outside of your current job. You’re not the only one affected by sounds and atmosphere in a way that makes others doubt your abilities. And none of this makes you a lesser person.

I received explicit questions about specific career moves for the Highly Sensitive. In light of them, I’ve decided to do a recap for those who missed the discussion last year.

For the Creative:

The Creative HSP is the one who can take their sensitivity to their environment and translate it into amazing art. This can come in so many forms that you need to look deep down, explore online, and find the option that will fit you. If you can find writing positions that fit your life, go for it. Get into graphic design, filming and editing videos (even if you just start with small parties or weddings), or even marketing, which could showcase a remarkable amount of creativity for the right HSP.

For the Empathetic:

This is the kind of Highly Sensitive Person that works best with people, giving off warmth and compassion in a way that creates trust between the consumer and the business. Empathetic HSPs make amazing teachers, nurses, counselors, and even customer service representatives in the right atmosphere.

For the Precise:

The Highly Sensitive Person that is drawn to detail, flourishes in quiet independence, and excels in numbers, figures, and linguistics, genuinely should find a good home in programming, accounting, fact-checking, and researching, just to name a few. Working in a library might suit you incredibly. With your skills and determination to justify them, any employer would be lucky to have someone trustworthy, accurate, and talented like you sitting somewhere undisturbed to verify, catalog, or calculate.

The point is, you can’t sell yourself short. You don’t have to pretend to be someone you’re not. Employers need people just like you to balance the workplace and to offer the natural gifts that you have. No matter how old you are, or what level of experience you have, it’s never too late to start offering those gifts now. Begin with volunteer work, and share your talents with those who need them. You’ll find your way. Somehow, we always do.

Take care, and keep the e-mails coming!

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

Your Dream Job: Go Get It!

Hold on, sit down.

DSC_0049Don’t quit your job today. I’m not trying to get you to Jerry Maguire your way out of your current paycheck. We’ve been talking about Highly Sensitive People in the workplace for some time now, and if it’s brought something to light for you, that’s great.

If you read the descriptions of jobs in our last HSP blog, and you suddenly realized that you’ve always felt like you’re dragging yourself around just trying to stay afloat, don’t panic. As we already know, in life there are plenty of things we have to do to maintain the life that we choose.

Truth is, if you choose a life with a house, and food, a car, or anything that requires money, you need to work. Unfortunately, you may not always enjoy your job.

As we said before, plenty of people find themselves in jobs they dislike but they are able to handle it because of the money it brings in. Granted, most of those people have a sensitivity level different that is either normalized or relatively low. – No offense.

But for the Highly Sensitive: The person who hears sounds others don’t, smells and sees things that most people either ignore or never notice, for the person so drained by feigned human interaction that you can’t see straight after five minutes, this is for you.

This is for you to make a plan, stick to it, and find the job that not only brings out the best in you but contributes the most to the world. This is possible using the right steps.

Network

Networking cannot be stressed enough. This doesn’t mean you have to go to big, bustling meetings and be surrounded by people for hours on end. It does not have to be that exhausting. Just start looking for people that are doing what you dream of doing. Have you ever heard of Meetup.com? If you’re squeamish about networking, this is a great place to start because you can browse the entire website for your interests. You can see groups, read facts about them, and find out when and where they meet to work together on projects that you’re interested in. Once you get there, you never know the connections you might make or the doors they might open for you.

Training

Find any research, any free course, any way to gain experience in the area of your interest. If you already have limited experience, then pick up where you left off. Maybe it’s time to pay for a certification. Maybe it’s time to look into evening classes and get a degree. Just dive in and learn everything you can that could put you in the position to leverage your knowledge for a position on any rung of the ladder in that world.

Foot in the Door

Whether this is volunteer work, an informational interview, or a bottom-rung position, a foot in the door is a big deal. USE IT. Consistently making the best impression on your contact(s) can and will pay off. This doesn’t mean you have to beg for attention, be fake, or buy them coffee every day. Be genuine, be yourself, and take every opportunity to humbly and graciously showcase your knowledge of the industry. Stand out, be confident, and make your way through that door.

The point is, of course, growth and career satisfaction is possible. You can have a job that feels less like work and more like contributing your unique skills and purpose with the world. You simply have to believe it, work for it, and treat it well when you get it.

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 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

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

Career FEAR

Fear image

I want you to look very carefully at the picture above. Read the big word, feel its effect on you. The thoughts and pictures that fill your mind when the element of fear is introduced; let them flow. Then look again. Read the small words. Play it against everything that ran through your mind at the thought of fear, and try to find one instance where it isn’t true.

I charge you to find one fear in your mind that does not meet the requirement above. One fear that is logical. One fear that has a rightful place between you and your destiny. One fear that is true evidence proving your failures, inadequacies, and flaws to be real without a shadow of a doubt.

You can’t. If you say you can, you are not being fully honest with yourself.

One thing we have all got to let go of is our fear. It’s one thing to recognize danger or an uncertain situation. It’s an entirely different thing to change your course of action because you fear what is in front of you. Especially if your goal is on the other side of that fear. This is when you are charged to move ahead, regardless of what may seem to be blocking your way.

How many people stay in jobs they hate because they fear the unknown?

How many people keep their head under the radar despite excellent qualifications for a better job due to a fear of failure? Shirking the responsibility because they’re scared they don’t deserve it… Is that you?

Career Reality: You don’t have time to be scared. You don’t even actually have a reason. Behind every worst case scenario, there is another option. Another challenge, another opportunity to learn just what it is you are truly made of.

When you have a daunting decision to make, anxiety or fear is only going to cloud your mind. This will only make it harder to make a good decision. Here are some ways to beat the fear and keep your head in the right place to decide what’s really best for you:

The “5” Perspective

Ask yourself how this is going to affect your life in the next 5 minutes. Let that sink in. Now ask what it will matter in 5 weeks. How much is this, right here and now, going to affect your life in the next 5 months? And finally, ask yourself how much this is going to matter in 5 years. Be honest with yourself during this, and listen to the reactions in your mind. If tension pops up, hear it out, rationalize it, and move on. If you start to relax, relax. Don’t fight it. Changing perspective is often enough to quell uneasiness.

Write it Out

Of course this is my favorite. Write out the worst thing that could happen, write out any reaction you may have to that scenario. Then, even if it’s fiction, write a new ending. Write how you would want to react, what you would want to see happen next, what you would want to gain from it. As we’ve discovered recently, the power of visualization is not to be taken lightly. Therefore, make use of it. Use it to counter your fears and create the courage you need to move on.

Talk it Out

Never underestimate the positive influence of an outside perspective. As sure as there are people in your life that you admire, they are sure to want to help you come to a better understanding of the dilemma you face. Truth is, your fears could be entirely fabricated, and it just might take the advice of a good friend or well-respected colleague to point that out to you. Listen to them. If you go to someone that will only want the best for you, then you need to take the next step and put as much trust in them as possible. Line it all up with your values, and go from there.

Just Go For It.

It’s the career of your dreams! Maybe you’ve been comfortable long enough, just working the job that pays the bills, regardless of the strain it puts on you and/or your family. If you’ve worked out everything you can, it might be time to simply take the leap. Find what gives you the deepest peace, regardless of surface-treading fear, set yourself free, and go for it. You’ll be so glad you did.

In no way am I suggesting you give into reckless spontaneity that will damage your current standing and promise you no future. This is about finding your destiny and removing fear to listen to the inner voice that guides you. Follow that, not just superficial desires that will lead you nowhere. Don’t compromise your future, and that goes both ways.

If you’d like to discuss more, I’m always here. Write me anytime at rpayne@edu-cs.com. I’d love to hear from you!

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

2014: If Nothing Changes… Nothing Changes

DSC_0176Suddenly, a new year is upon us. 2013 slipped by like a brief nap, and now 2014’s alarm clock is missing the proverbial snooze button. For some, the New Year remains tingling with excitement while making New Year resolutions as they put away holiday trimmings, dreaming of embracing opportunities and progressions to come.

For many, the New Year means taking an active role in career/professional progression. Notice the underlined word: active.

You heard it here first: career progression requires you to be an active participant while career stagnation requires nothing at all. In other words, if nothing changes… nothing changes.

Unfortunately, some greet the New Year without developing a plan (strategy) and decide to go on day by day the same as last year, giving the New Year no special shine or commitment.

My question for those sitting back passively: Do you complain when opportunities go to the other guy? Do you blame others when you don’t get the interview or promotion?

Not all people have the same attitude about the New Year. What’s your approach for the New Year? Will you sit back or will you take control of your destiny?

For those choosing career stagnation and complacency, don’t read any further… why should you?
For those choosing to take an active role, where excuses are not an option, please continue…

The New Year can be your new start. NOW is the time to revive your entire life. Whether you’ve been in your career for some time or are still searching, this is your time. Here are several steps to get you going in the right direction:

Step One: Visualize. For the next 24 hours, concentrate on where you want to be (professionally). The first steps are simple yet powerful ones… after all, if you don’t know where you are going (or want to go), you probably won’t get there. During this 24 hour period, brainstorm professional destinies, promotions, and/or job positions. This is a time for your creative juices to run amuck. While brainstorming, jot those dreams down. Place your list away for an additional 24 – 48 hours… no peeking.

Step Two: Reflection. After a day or two take stock of what was written during your brainstorm session. Take mental notes and prioritize while reviewing. In other words, think about what is most important to you, ranking the top three by preference. Hopefully you have at least six professional or career destinies. With the top three in hand, time to go to step three.

Step Three: T-Chart Action. With the top three (if you have only one or two, not a problem) professional destinies in hand, time to create a t-chart and a plan to morph vision into reality. Fold a clean sheet of paper vertically, creating a natural border between the two sides. On top of the page, list one (repeat and list each career goal/destiny on a separate sheet of paper) of your professional goals. On the left hand column, write essential requirements and on the other side, write what you will be doing to increase your chances to reach the desired goal.

For instance, let’s say your number one goal this year is to “get a job.” Place “get a job” on the top center of the page. The left half of the page (essential requirements) may include professional development courses, attaining a diploma, or learning an industry-specific software or platform (this list is by no means all-inclusive and depends upon your knowledge, skills, abilities, and background). On the right side of the paper detail the plan to meet each requirement on the left. For example, you may need to revise your cover letter and resume reflecting relevant transferrable skills (lucky for you, these topics will be covered soon). If you need to learn a new software program, write down the steps to gain such knowledge. Once your list is detailed, time for action.

Step Four: Accountability. One can list and dream all they want but when it comes to professional goals, vision without action/accountability turn to mist and disappointment quickly. Take your three t-charts (one for each goal), selecting the ONE goal most likely to be achieved. The reason for taking the most likely approach is to enhance confidence, paving the way for bolder accomplishments. At this time, take another day to visualize potential obstacles, forming a strategy to overcome and persevere.

Side note: There always will be set-backs and challenges… recognizing and taking a proactive approach BEFORE obstacles get in the way is a proven method toward goal attainment and empowerment.

You have the power of choice. Your thoughts, your decisions, and your actions about who you are and where you’re going are what shape you.

This year, this bright and shining New Year, you are going to progress and succeed!

So, what’s it going to be? If you’re not where you want to be, or if you recognize that things can improve (and they ALWAYS can), then choose 2014 to be the year of Professional Empowerment. To help you along the way, for the next couple of weeks, we’ll go over proven tools enabling you to find the best path for 2014.

Until then, now is the time to visualize. You will be amazed at the difference it will make in your relationships at work, at home, and at school, and it will make your next steps much clearer, which we’ll talk about next week.

Make this year different. Make it better. Make it count, and start now.

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
Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
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