Tag Archives: Career Development

Company Christmas Party: Go or No?

Now is the time of year for company Christmas parties. Whether you’re the kind of person to look forward to wearing funny red hats or if you are the type to avoid company gatherings like the plague, holiday jamborees mean a great deal more than eggnog. Truth is, what happens during holiday events could enhance your professional standing (or, on the other hand, not attending may leave a bad taste amongst your peers and supervisors by sending the wrong kind of message).

Tropical Air Gathering, 2013
Tropical Air Gathering, 2013

Dusting off holiday humbugs and attending Christmas parties and networking events would be beneficial to you personally and, most undoubtedly, professionally. Upon holiday event invitations, consider the following when making your decision as to “go or no.”

Networking

The Networking advantages during company Christmas parties should be enough to kick out uncertainty. Christmas parties are a priceless opportunity to network with individuals in your company that you may not work with on a daily basis. Maybe they are in the department that you wish to join, maybe they have the position you want, or maybe they’re even in charge of that department or position. This is your chance to build professional relationships outside of a normal work day, and most importantly, to let peers and supervisors get to know why you are a great employee looking for growth.

Added bonus: Taking advantage of Holiday Company networking by making a positive impression they won’t forget is your career advantage during promotions or transfer opportunities.

Camaraderie

This is another valuable aspect of these gatherings. While not everyone feels precisely the same way about the holidays, this is nevertheless a personable opportunity to showcase festivity and company buy-in. Building professional identity and company unity by taking take part in activities that are not necessarily work-related has been proven to enhance the working environment while also increasing output. Company owners and supervisors alike recognize the importance of camaraderie and the effects of a positive working atmosphere.

During the holiday party, it is not recommended to hang around the circle of peers  you hang out with outside of work all the time… this is the time to discover and expand your depth of professional relationships.

Camaraderie clue: Keep conversations positive and casual, benefiting not only you and your coworkers, but your company as a whole.

Self-Confidence

However you may feel about yourself now, there is so much to be said for stepping out of your comfort zone and into uncharted territories, especially in your place of work. Getting to know new people is often a psychological hurdle. However, it is one with rewards much greater than the risks. This is most true when it involves those that have the potential of advancing your career. If you can learn to work the room and mingle an appropriate amount, letting people view that winning side of you, you will see positive results.

Or you can politely decline and not attend the company Christmas party. By doing so, what messages are you sending? Here’s a clue or two: you are not a team player, you are more important than other employees, you don’t care about the company, your job, or the people around you.

Problem is Perception: Looking through the eyes of supervisor(s), co-workers, and owners, NOT attending provides a negative perception. When it comes to career success, nothing tops more than how one is viewed… professionally AND personally.

There are many reasons to attend your company Christmas party. You can walk away with new contacts, a renewed vision of your career, and possibly new goals as well. You may have even made an unlikely friend and gained a funny (hopefully harmless) story to tell later on. Whatever you do, don’t pass up this opportunity. Work hard to make the most of each opportunity and do not compromise your career by ignoring the rippling effects holiday parties produce. You’ll thank yourself later. And, of course, most importantly, have one very Merry Christmas!

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

Holiday Season Vacation or Vocation

Knits By Elaine
Knits By Elaine

As the holidays approach, it does NOT mean that your job search must come to a halt.

I get it, with vacations and holiday plans imminent, you may have other things to focus on, and you may even wonder whether anyone is hiring at all. Truth is, if you find yourself uncertain about taking career advantage during the holiday season, let me assure you: Employers are hiring.

As many successful career seekers can attest, that perfect position may be one jingle away. Whether a college student on break, unemployed, underemployed, or changing careers, this holiday break can be an invaluable time to refresh and recharge your job search. But there are a few rules of the trade…

Career rule of thumb: Don’t panic.

Remember that it is the holiday season and anxiety has a way of pulling away from the task at hand: gaining your career advantage. The best thing you can do is stay proactive even when it seems like there’s nothing to do. The more prepared you are, the more confident you will be, and the more attractive you will be to employers when the time comes.

Right now, there are four things you can do before New Year’s Day:

Goals
Now is the time to reassess realistic goals and to make career affirmations you will keep. If your job search has not been producing the results you want, take a moment to objectively analyze your goals and company contributions. Taking your goals and contributions to the next level does not mean you have to change your mind when you’re done. This simple exercise of “refreshing” or “rebooting” has the potential to energize a second wind that will carry you through any stale point. Feeling confident and motivated, you are now primed for the research stage.

Research
Whether you’re getting a much needed break from college or you’ve had plenty of time to yourself lately, now is THE time to research. Industry and company trends are readily available on the Internet, taking only an ounce or two of diligence. Specific research topics can include: How has the job market changed in the last few months in your area? What companies are most likely to be hiring in the New Year? What’s currently happening in the career field that you have chosen to follow? Another great place to research job-specific expectations is www.ONETOnline.org. I strongly encourage an hour of your time to this site BEFORE your next career move. Truth is, a little bit of research can go a long way, and it can help you to know what direction to go after the holidays.

Network
If you haven’t kept in touch with your network, look through your LinkedIn and your list of professional contacts. No matter how long it’s been since you were in touch with someone, wishing happy holidays is a great way to open that communication back up. During this revisit, don’t make the mistake by sounding self-absorbed by asking for a job. Many people may not take kindly to a year of silence and then, out of the blue, a job request. Instead of being overly aggressive, open up with holiday cheer and begin rebuilding that connection – it will benefit you in the long run.

Resume
When you last updated your resume, you probably made it shine the best you could and then put it away for another day. Here’s an idea, let’s make today that “another” day. Fast forward from last revision to now take advantage of the research you recently performed. By incorporating keywords from ONETOnline, industry research, and your professional development, you not only add depth to your selling swagger, you gain confidence.

Investing some time during this season will recharge more of your job search than you realize. Not only will it help you when it comes to making resolutions, but as the New Year approaches, you will be able to charge back into the job market more prepared than ever before.

If you have specific questions needing attention, email or submit comments and one of our professional career writers/coaches will handle with immediate care.

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

Hooray, You Failed! More Than the Bright Side

I don’t tend to be an advocate of not-great movies. However, if a mediocre (or bad) movie holds a true nugget of wisdom, I am certainly not above digging it out and sharing it when I believe it to be helpful.

DSC_0038The movie “Meet the Robinsons” is one such case. It was not great. All it truly offered was one part with the power to make one laugh every single view. This one little nugget of share-worthy wisdom, the one which genuinely moved me, created an “ah-ha” moment is the driving force illuminating the bright side.

The main character accidentally traveled to the future and has been taken in by a very eccentric family. The traveler tries to show the eccentric family an invention, and it goes disastrously wrong. As he awaits their fury and begins to retreat into humiliation, a strange thing happens. They cheer for him.

Are you thinking, “Okay, what’s the point of humiliation and how can retreating possibly progress career aspirations?” Thing is, we’ve all experienced humiliation… but how we react to humbleness often defines personal AND professional success or failure…

Getting back to the movie, they celebrate his mistake and bring him to an understanding that it is only by failing that you can ever succeed.

As one (of many, I’m sure) who had never considered this notion before, it hit me pretty hard. Not in a position to deny or confirm, this moment may or may not have brought a tear to my eye. My “ah-ha” moment forced me to ask: how long have I prolonged my success by not embracing my failures?

Of course, the idea of celebrating failure seems oxymoronic. It goes against everything we’ve been socially, culturally, and professionally trained, it goes against our instincts, and, worst of all, it threatens the ego. Truth is (?), we have an inherent need to feel in-control and accepted at all times, and we will protect that need at all costs… even if it means stagnation.

Tom Harford states that the ego is the enemy of improvement, and in so many ways he is right. Sometimes, the idea of being wrong, rejected, or otherwise humiliated is so overwhelming that we will avoid anything (even something great) that bears the potential (Can you say network avoidance due to fear of rejection—I certainly can).

Let’s look at a couple of the factors behind failure’s massive intimidation factor.

Past Experience – Embarrassing moments from the past can stick out in your mind like a bad scene in a movie. If you had a physical reaction when it happened, chances are it’s magnified when you look back on it. One way to get caught up in an avoidance quagmire is by repeating negative thoughts you had about yourself in that moment. “I’m so stupid,” “I’ll never live this down,” “this always happens to me.”

This may seem harmless; it may seem like something you can’t help. But it isn’t harmless by eroding self-esteem, which only makes it harder to make better decisions or handle situations better in the future. Good news is, self-doubt is entirely something you can do something about. Take time to affirm and visualize events in a positive light… to believe is the first step to becoming.

Future Implications – There is a big difference between planning for a negative outcome and expecting one. Often we take our bad experiences from the past and project them onto our futures, and we most often do this inaccurately.

Our brains are hard-wired to make short-term predictions based on past experiences. The front-polar cortex, the front-most part of your brain, is what tells you to expect a light to come on when you flip a switch and gives you three different scenarios in the event you run that stop sign.

Problems are encountered by allowing our overactive imaginations to do this job instead. No matter what statistics you may have heard, you can still fear lightning in the same place you were last time it struck.

I am not suggesting the disregard of caution. I am suggesting the disposal of irrational fears that hold us back from our true and great selves, and to understand the difference between the two.

Allowing the irrational fears of an overactive imagination to stop you from trying is failure at its worst.
* Does a bad breakup keep you from dating?
* Would a bad interview bring your job search to a halt?

Slipping does not mean your next step will find you sliding. Quite the opposite, slipping often allows great insight while bestowing greater resolve to take advantages of opportunities to the fullest. Can you think of anyone who has not slipped? Unfortunately we all know someone who has slipped and allowed that one misstep to take control of their personal and professional life.

Ultimately YOU have control. It is up to you to act on a failure and conquer self-induced fears. The key is to be honest with yourself about past mistakes, the risks involved in current decisions, and the line between your reputation and who you know yourself to actually be. This can free you to take calculated risks and act with the kind of confidence that allows you to claim your rightful place in this world.

Personally inviting you to share your stories, send questions and professional stories my way.

For those 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, rpayne@edu-cs.com
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 Vision Quest: In the door perspective

The wait is over. Your brain prepared plans and reactions for being accepted and rejected.
Sept 2012 yard 022
They called you back, you got the job. However much time passed, it seemed like forever. You fought to keep them equal, trying not to expect too much or fear the worst. No matter how your exterior appeared, you were stressed.

The fate of the next phase of your life was in the hands of a stranger – stress is only natural. But now, you have a job. Maybe even the job, maybe your lifelong career. Now you begin a journey down a new path, and you can most likely expect a mixture of feelings and reactions as the proverbial rubber hits the not-as-proverbial road. Your task will be to keep the following in perspective:

Relief

Breathing easy is quite welcome at the finish line of a job/career search. You have either successfully reached the goal you have been actively pursuing for the bulk of your life, or you are at a means to an end. Either way, you have taken a positive and productive step, and it is important to celebrate this victory. Building inner confidence, security, and peace can guide you through the stages of reality that follow.

Overwhelmed

Maybe the first day was easy but tedious, with little more than paperwork and introductions. Sometime in the first week, though, your work load most likely begins to flow a little heavier. As your peers and superiors begin to trust you more, your responsibility will grow, and you may find yourself struggling. You may even start to wonder why you wanted this job in the first place. If you find yourself thinking this way, it is important to remember the victory you celebrated when you were hired. Recognize that there will be challenges, and learn to see each challenge as an opportunity to grow and not as a setback to your success.

Culture Shock

You may find that your new job is next to nothing you expected it to be. Even if you studied the subject for years, preparing for a career in the field, learning the practical realities of a career in action can be startling. Maybe the expectations are higher than you think, or maybe they’re lower. There are a hundred ways life can look different behind the curtains when you hold something in high esteem for a time. What is important is to gauge your preconceptions about this job carefully. Try to combine them with all you’re learning now, and find a middle ground that helps you function as you grow into your position.

Perspective is everything, don’t forget that. Your perspective will get you places your expectations cannot. When your expectations fail, your perspective can turn everything around. By learning from the past, seeing things from other points of view, and staying optimistic about your future, you become adaptable to any situation.

Start small, and never stop. Congratulate yourself daily on a job well done. Repeat your new title to yourself, assigning it value and pride. Remind yourself where you came from and where you’re going, and above all, revel in every success.

And one more thing: Congratulations!

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
Bloge: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Avoid Bad Goodbye’s

Thought this job would be different.”
What did I get myself into and how do I get out?”
The company culture’s not what I thought it would be.”

DSC_0143Truth is: Great career matches don’t always happen.

The interview went well. The company appeared to be consistent with career goals. The culture felt comfortable…

. and then the honeymoon stage suddenly crashes to a screeching end as testified by new tossing, turning, and teeth grinding that not-so subtly replaced peaceful slumber.

Maybe this job and company isn’t the match I thought it would be.”

Coming to the realization that your job is not what you thought it would be, there are options when it’s time to part ways. As a career coach, I’ve heard and seen them all (well, almost all).

Let’s examine a few farewell options and potential consequence(s):

  • Remain silent: Don’t bother showing up the next day; becoming invisible by hiding your phone and not responding to any form of communication. Simply stated, this is not a positive way to say (or not say) goodbye.

    I know it can appear to be the path of least resistance but there are potential consequences you should be aware of. For example, as you move from company to company, so do others and, as a result, paths may cross once again. Imagine going to a final interview and the decision-maker happens to be the same lady you walked out on. Need I say more?

  • Saunter the alleyway of dishonesty: Placing the burden of departure on a third party or out of control circumstance may seem appealing but can also be lined with rusty edges. With social networking and transparency, deceit has a way of catching up with the most noblest of causes. In many industries, clubs, associations, and networking events more often than not bring out the truth.

    Take for example what happened to me not too long ago… after two months of working remotely, one of my employees kept delaying projects, blaming a destroyed hard drive, a broken engagement, a medical condition, and Internet issues as the reason(s) for not delivering material. Needless to say, I later found out this employee accepted a job from another publishing company and has been on the clock for both companies during a four-month period. Knowing the manager at the other publishing company, we engaged in a chat… the young lady who had two jobs at once suddenly had no job at all.

  • Broken promises: Trying to mitigate the situation by promising to continue  on a project or return equipment without actually delivering is not in your best interest. Employers recognize matches don’t always happen and are well-prepared to such break ups. With this said, a deceitful separation can be the most damaging of all.

    Over the past few months I had to let go one of my employees. During the exit interview, he stated he would complete a committed project and would return borrowed equipment. Great, I thought, only the weeks passed and nothing thus far.

  • Honesty: The best policy is to respectfully discuss the parting; calmly and professionally explain to your immediate supervisor the cause(s) of dissatisfaction. For the vast majority this may be the most difficult as emotions have a tendency to get in the way of rational thought; after all, you just want to get out and never look back… right?

    Truth be told, employers admire employees expressing confidence and the guts to come forward. Though difficult for some, benefits far outweigh a few anxious moments leading up to the discussion. Even if you’ve been working for a short period, character and doing the right thing is a lifting trait. Over the past ten years I’ve had numerous employees (some under the probationary period while many with over five years of experience working for me) openly and respectfully discuss their parting intent and the reasons behind their desire.

    The benefit of up-front honesty allowed me the opportunity to fix the issue(s) and retain a possibly great employee… making it right for all. Another reason (and perhaps the most compelling for the departing employee) is the potential reference and networking opportunity. Within the past few years I’ve sent several past employees job leads and made numerous professional introductions…

    . when it comes to character, nothing could be more valuable for most positions.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with you, to learn more about your company, and gain valuable insight. Unfortunately, I don’t believe the challenges and opportunities are something I can take advantage of right now…”

Saying goodbye can be a tricky proposition, filled with emotion, stress, anxiety, fear, and ultimate relief. Recognizing you are not the only party in the relationship, being open, respectful, and honest may be the best career move of your life. Hard to believe… but it’s true.

Career tip: Don’t have a bad goodbye. Do the right thing for all by controlling fear before fear controls your career.

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

LinkedIn: Are your students In or Out?

Office Back Area
Office Back Area

Registering and being an active part of the social digital media networking culture is to communicate with your connections. Otherwise, social media won’t have much of a point for you in the career networking world. Being active (or IN) is career critical when it comes to your LinkedIn profile. Being invisible (or OUT) automatically places you at a disadvantage as LinkedIn remains the #1 networking platform for professional networking.

If you are in the “out” group, take a few moments and reflect on the following tips to get you back on the track. For those within the “in” group, don’t skip a beat as new information could be as simple as tip #8.

1. Post regular updates
Be an active member of your networking community. To be part is to be part… in other words, don’t pretend to be active if you post once a month. When in doubt, a good rule of thumb to abide by is one post each day or two. Then again, don’t post just to post… make what you have to say industry specific and a benefit for your readers.

2. Visit your connections’ profiles.
Make an effort to visit your contacts’ profiles without relying on the “Anonymous LinkedIn User” feature so they can see your actual interest in them. Think about it, if someone was checking you out, wouldn’t you want to know who is interested? I thought so.

3. Utilize LinkedIn endorsements and recommendations.
Thoughtful recommendations will always trump a simple click of the mouse for an online endorsement.  Yet, Endorsements have a greater purpose than simply showing a contact you like their skills and expertise. At their basic root, they are another positive way to keep in contact with your connections, developing a sense of identity for all parties involved.

4. “Like” your contacts’ posts.
This is simple online etiquette, but don’t feel you have to go crazy about “liking” every single post you see from every single connection. Merely “liking” posts and status updates can get lazy too so don’t fall into a complacent consciousness.  Show your contacts you’re an expressive, thoughtful member of the LinkedIn community be leaving comments when you can to promote discussion.

5. Participate in regular discussions and comments.
Highlight in your unique (and relevant) “two cents” worth on any given contact’s discussion, or, better yet, initiate a conversation with a contact. This avenue can be a wonderful way to share ideas with established connections and potential connections.

6. Make time to read and comment on any connections’ blogs.
This is an effective way of creating synergy in the blogging community. Put in another way, if you were to post on a blog and get absolutely no readers, no comments, and no reactions, how would that affect your psychological state? Or, in the other situation, you notice a solid readership and dynamic discussions/comments, motivation becomes mountainous.

7. Further communicate through email use.
It doesn’t take a lot of time to send a contact a more personable private email but it could mean a great deal to the recipient. No longer is either party invisible… oh what a great feeling with potentially powerful results.

8. Congratulate your contacts on special occasions.
Go the extra mile and reach out to your connections when you see they hit a work-related anniversary, start a new job, or even just for celebrating a birthday. A little extra care goes a long way to keeping your contacts close and interested in your interests.

9. When convenient, meet in person.
The final step and goal of all this communication is to meet phone-to-phone or face-to-face. If your connection lives in a distant location, you may suggest getting together when you’ll be in their city or town. Plan to meet in a relaxed, social atmosphere such as a coffee shop, nice restaurant, or a personal networking event if your connection lives close by. Remember LinkedIn is not a hook-up site so keep all correspondence professional, courteous, and respectful.

LinkedIn: Are you in or out? Enough of the distractions, get out there and start communicating. Happy connections lead to happy careers!

Interested in securing cutting-edge career focused books, including how to write effective resume/cover letters, maximizing digital networking, and interview best practice approaches, visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available products and support.

If you have specific questions or career-related issues you would like responded to by our certified professional career coaches and writers, contact our staff directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com.

Article penned by Bret Hoveskeland
Writer/Editor with Education Career Services
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

Emotional Intelligence: Your BEST Career Move

Mo-Duck
Mo-Duck

Listen to Plato. He was a smart, crafty guy who said, “All learning has an emotional base.” He figured out an important skill, one gaining more and more traction in the modern career marketplace, ages before us fancy, savvy moderns dubbed it “Emotional Intelligence.”

In typical fashion, researchers suggest that emotional intelligence can be learned and strengthened, while others claim it is an inborn characteristic. Regardless of this conflicting data, students and young adults need to be aware of and embrace the growing importance of this ever more popular, sought after skill.

Ironing out semantic wrinkles, time to clipboard emotional intelligence:

1. Perceiving emotions.
Students and young adults new to the workforce need to exhibit this important skill. They must learn to understand the difference between colleagues’ emotions, such as anger, sarcasm, humor, seriousness, etc., in order to know how to respond appropriately. This is a critical skill for both the networking world, as well as the workplace. They must be able to read verbal and nonverbal language or queues. Mastering this factor makes it possible to accomplish the remaining three.

2. Reasoning with emotions.
This EI trait means being able to understand important skills like problem solving, creativity and analytical thinking. Candidates possessing this skill can adapt to situations that require said skills. Especially for students and young adults with a shortage of solid job-related skills, showing and putting these abilities to use is vital.

3. Understanding emotions.
This trait means being able to distinguish between what’s in your control and what’s out of your control. It involves possessing the ability to realize that people display a variety of emotions and for a variety of reasons. Students and young adults must be able to see the reality behind certain workplace situations. For example, a co-worker, boss, or friend may be acting angry because they’re upset with you for some reason, but they also may simply be having a bad day… or are perhaps upset because they forgot to record last night’s episode of The Voice.

4. Managing emotions.
This is the ability for simple self-control and controlling your emotional response in reaction to the emotions of others around you. A good example would be not reacting negatively to a colleague or a customer who is upset or not taking their complaints personally, rather simply dealing with the conflict. A student or young worker who can achieve this will always be a valuable part of the workforce by possessing a knack for getting people to join his or her team.

The above list may seem like obvious, common sense knowledge when one lists it all out like this. It may seem more like sense than skill, but then you have to stop and ask yourself: When was the last time you were in conflict with another human being, personal or professional, because you perhaps didn’t pay such close attention to one of those four skills?

Chances are you won’t have to search your memory much farther than within the past few days to get an answer to that question.

Do yourself a personal and professional favor and pay a little closer attention to yourself, looking for new opportunities at home or at work to brush up on and put some of your emotional intelligence skills to use.

Being able to better understand the people you most often connect with is such a personal, marketable skill that it will always be in demand. In any job. In any relationship.

Interested in securing cutting-edge career focused books, including how to write effective resume/cover letters, visit “Danny at ECS” on Amazon or go to www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available products and support. Contact our professional staff directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Article penned by Bret Hoveskeland
Writer/Editor with Education Career Services
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

Nope to Networking: Think Again

Let’s face it.  We’ve all been there.  We’ve all felt the same way.  At some point in our lives, be it recent or from a time that seems like another life we once called our own, we have all had to face the prospect of career networking.

DSC_0028Career networking defined: For those unfamiliar with the concept of career networking, that’s the magical life event that throws us all together into one huge mad stew of etiquette and self-promotion skills.  That intoxicating concoction created from the dual ingredients of a job or better career path and the basic human desire to want to help other people.

We’ve all had to face it.  But, what’s more, we’ve had to face the deeper unnerving truth underneath it.

Networking reality: Most of us don’t like to network.

Sure, some of us might have changed perspective about that by now, but the fact of the matter is:  networking and thoughts of it make most people uncomfortable, for many reasons.

If your motto is “Nope to Networking,” think again as you consider a few reasons why many fall prey to fear as well as a counter as to why fear should NOT conquer:

  1. I don’t want to be a bother.”
    This is perhaps the silliest reason of them all.  Especially when you stop to consider who you are bothering.  Everybody already has a network, whether they think they do or not.  Everyone you know is in your network, and everyone who knows who you know.  And… er, well, you get the point.  Since this is true, this also means your current friends are already part of your network.  And your friends, if they are your friends, would want to help you in a time of need.  They’d think the same is true if you’re a real friend to them.  You would want a mutual win-win.What you also have to consider is the simple fact that people generally like to talk about themselves and be praised.  Asking them for networking help and advice is an opportunity for them to do both at the same time.
  2. People in my network have no useful information about my desired field.”
    A relevant personal note on this that also ties into my first point above:  I wouldn’t have the job with Education Career Services I have right this minute if it wasn’t for that “friend network” mentioned above.  And there are job perks I’m enjoying at the moment that perhaps wouldn’t have crossed my path if not for the friends I’ve made in my network.  This particular friend, in the teaching field and also networking for a career job herself, happened to be perusing Craigslist one day.Though the “Writing/Editing” tab within Craigslist’s job board was not in her particular field, my friend clicked on it, searched within the confines of Orlando’s writing/editing jobs, and scrolled along searching.  After she clicked on one job in particular looking for a writer, she later told me she immediately thought of me after reading the description and requirements.  See that?

    It really is that easy.  Any close friend could be looking for his or her own self and in their search, due to our wonderfully altruistic human nature, could end up getting you a great job first.

  3. My personality isn’t right for networking.”
    You may be right.  Especially if, like myself, you consider yourself an introvert.  Research suggests that extroverted people are much likelier to utilize networking in general, and be more open to its possibilities.  On the flip side of that, however, is that sometimes extroverts also have a tendency to give the impression of not entirely caring what people have to say, but are more interested in hearing themselves talk.  Again… I say some extroverts.  That’s why a noble goal here is to shoot to be an ambivert.  Check out: Introvert or extravert? Maybe you’re an ambivert.While some researchers debunk this whole “ambivert” concept, I think it’s an idea worth giving some thought.  Be yourself but try to pay close attention to your specific networking situations.  A pinch of diplomacy and the ability to realize when it’s the right time to speak up, shut up, and not give up — while making use of the strengths tied to both introversion and extroversion, can only help your cause.

Besides, the magic happens outside of that comfort zone we like to live in, as we know all too well but sometimes tend to forget.

We’ll continue offering professional insight and review career marketing strategies so continue checking for the next submission. With this in mind, if you have career questions and would like a team of professionally certified writers and coaches input, don’t hesitate to ask.

For those interested in securing cutting-edge career focused books, including how to write effective resume/cover letters. Visit “Danny at ECS” on Amazon or go to www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available products and support. You may also contact our staff directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Penned by Bret Hoveskeland
Education Career Services
Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

This article references information found in http://thingscareerrelated.com/2013/03/31/why-we-hate-networking-for-jobs-confessions-of-a-networking-convert/ by Rebecca Fraser-Thill.

Career Etiquette: DOA?

Fact: Job postings are presented because hiring managers want YOU to be the right candidate for an open position.

DSC_0001Are you (or your student base) delivering or destroying on arrival? Before responding, take a look at what’s going on now… really… now.

Currently seeking a writer/office associate for our Longwood, Florida headquarters; for those interested in working with a team of professional writers and partnering with academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and individuals seeking career transitions, send cover letter and resume to dhuffman@edu-cs.com.

The above posting remains active, unfortunately.

Our management team is in the initial phasing-out stage and what is going on is rather disturbing: When it comes to candidates seeking employment, professionalism and career etiquette are an ignored strategy.

Let’s begin with a showing of several email responses in their uncut, uncensored form to the job posting mentioned a few moments ago:

1. “im interested.Evaluation: Grammar aside, responding to a job posting with two words is a slap in the face. By the way, no cover letter, resume, or sample was attached. Result: Not a chance to be part of our organization.

2. (No text at all) Evaluation: The prospective applicant submitted a dat. file which could not be viewed. No words were stated in the subject line; no words in the email at all. Our team replied with a Word of pdf format copy but a second dat. file was generously returned an hour later.  Result: Do I really need to say?

3. (No introduction or attachments—simply copied and pasted a resume to the open field) Evaluation: Without a cover letter or introduction, the resume lacked a reason to read… not to mention the disfigured display. Result: Another easy no even though this applicant did appear to offer a few positive attributes which may benefit ECS. Unfortunately the lack of professionalism forced a quick and negative reaction.

4. Four candidates did not submit a copy of their resume… is this really happening?

Our team could continue highlighting what not to do but I believe you know where this is going without further confirmation.

Over all, over 35 candidates responded to the writing position thus far. A slight majority (63%) did not supply a cover letter or formal introduction;
meaning most simply pasted their resume without forethought or intent to be called for an interview.

A total of one candidate appeared to perform research on our organization and the position (company name and contact was clearly stated within the posting). I say one because only one mentioned our company mission and/or products/services we offer.

Career etiquette means a brief introduction as to the value, contribution, and support as to why the candidate makes a good fit.

Career etiquette means designing a resume specific to the job posting, organization, and industry.

Career etiquette means letting the hiring manager know you really want the position… by way of following up.

5. Speaking of following up, NOT one of the 35 candidates submitted a follow up note, call, letter, telegraph, smoke signal, or message by pigeon.

Evaluation: Hiring managers know nothing about the candidate other than the job posting response. By not displaying professional courtesy (providing a tailored cover letter, resume, and follow up), you place yourself at a distinct disadvantage instantly.

With so much on the line, it would be a pity a few moments of diligence got in the way between an ideal/dream job and reality.

As a rule:
*
Compile a cover letter based upon the job posting and company research
* Send the resume as an attachment, Word or pdf
* Create the belief that you want the position by sending a follow up note, phone call, or both
* Professional courtesy will lift you above the many too busy on Twitter to show career etiquette

In regards to the open writing position, if you know of a writer in the Orlando area, send him or her my way. Before you do, make sure he or she follows proper career etiquette… or is that too much to ask?

Fact: Hiring managers desire the right information delivered in the right package and in the right way.

We’ll continue offering professional insight and review career marketing strategies so continue checking for the next submission. With this in mind, if you have career questions and would like a team of professionally certified writers and coaches input, don’t hesitate to ask.

For those interested in securing cutting-edge career focused books, including how to write effective resume/cover letters. Visit “Danny at ECS” on Amazon or go to www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available products and support. You may also contact our staff directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Danny Hufman, 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

Job Opportunities for Adults with Disabilities

Perfect Petroleum and other local businesses/community employers partner with Bishop Grady Villas to offer job opportunities for adults with disabilities, giving individuals with disabilities a chance to achieve their dreams.

DSC_0032Orlando, Fla. – May, 2013 – Bishop Grady Villas, a residential and employment services provider for individuals with disabilities, is proud to recognize the local businesses that have made an impact in the lives of their residents and clients. Over the past several years, the organization has had the privilege of partnering with dozens of local employers that have offered adults with disabilities invaluable employment opportunities to share their talents and achieve their goals.

At a time when Florida Governor Rick Scott is urging lawmakers to approve $36 million in much-needed funding to serve individuals on the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) waiver waiting list, as well as $2.5 million in employment services to individuals who will continue to wait for waiver services, Bishop Grady Villas programs are more important than ever.

Robert Halliburton and Lorene Schalow have been a part of the Perfect Petroleum team for several months. They love coming to work and our customers love seeing them, but above all, we love having them as a part of the Perfect Petroleum team,” said Ashish Kapadia, President of Perfect Petroleum, an Orlando-based CITGO Marketer. “My son has some disabilities, and so I know first-hand how much people like Robert and Lori can offer not just by the actual work they do, but with the inspiration and blessings they bring by their mere presence, smiles, and laughter. We consider ourselves blessed to be able to work with them. There are still so many individuals in our community that want the chance to make their own mark, and I hope that more local businesses will open themselves up to this incredible opportunity.”

Bishop Grady Villas’ mission is to support persons with disabilities and use their God-given gifts to achieve greater independence, physical and emotional well-being, and spiritual growth. “We are incredibly grateful to all of the businesses who have chosen to hire one or more of our residents,” said Desiree Robles, Employment Programs Manager at Bishop Grady Villas. “It is truly amazing to see the transformation that these opportunities have on our residents’ confidence, happiness, and overall quality of life. It is also a joy to hear how much our corporate partners feel they receive in return when they are able to work with these individuals first-hand as they discover and share their many talents.”

In 2012, Bishop Grady Villas Employment Services helped 116 men and women become permanently employed in Central Florida with the support of corporate partners
like the Walt Disney World Resort, Perfect Petroleum, School District of Osceola County, Publix, and many more. In addition, Bishop Grady Villas provided full-time residential support to 48 individuals through its residential programs.

Its partnership with Bishop Grady Villas is one of many ways Perfect Petroleum helps people with disabilities in the local community. The company also has a history of supporting the Muscular Dystrophy Association, The Smile Train, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, and many more.

To learn more about Perfect Petroleum, visit http://www.perfectpetroleum.com/index.php.

To learn more about Bishop Grady Villas, the services it provides, and how to get involved, visit www.bishopgradyvillas.org.

To learn more about the Agency for Persons with Disabilities, the services it provides, and how to get involved, visit http://apd.myflorida.com.

West Orlando News Online is proud to take an active role within our community. If your organization is helping to improve our community, let us know.

On a personal note, thank you Perfect Petroleum, Walt Disney World Resort, Publix, School District of Osceola County, Bishop Grady Villas, and all those individuals putting action behind intent. A special recognition goes out for Jennifer Monje, Senior Human Services Program Analyst for Area 7 Agency for Persons with Disabilities.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Follow Me on Twitter @dannyatecs
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com