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Category: Best Advice

First Week on the Job

Filed under: Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Best Advice, Career Advice, Communication, Success

You walk through the revolving door of the lobby toward the elevator, soaking in your surroundings—there’s not a familiar face in the building. You straighten out your suit, press #12, and take a deep breath: Once those doors re-open, your first week of work will officially begin.

Whether it’s your first position or your fifth, those first few days on the job can be more than a little intimidating. But with these key rules, you can get comfortable in your new surroundings, get up to speed quickly, and get off on the right foot with your new boss and co-workers

Do: Be a Sponge

One of your most important duties your first week is absorbing everything. Getting to know your company’s culture, the working and communication styles of your teammates, the problem projects, office politics, and department or company-wide goals means that you’ll be able to start your real work sooner (and be more effective when you do).

So, go to the new hire orientation, sign up for professional development classes, and attend all the team and office meetings you can, even if you’re not yet sure what’s going on or they don’t 100% pertain to your work.

Also join in on the informal events. If you get asked to lunch, happy hour, or the office softball league (either as a participant or onlooker), say yes. It’s a great way to meet people, and it shows that you’re excited to be part of the team.

Don’t: Overcommit Yourself

Do be careful, though, to balance your schedule—you want to have plenty of time to learn the ropes from your desk. The last thing you want is to look like you have too much to juggle, seem overwhelmed, or show up late to a commitment because you’re stuck somewhere else.

Do: Ask Questions

As you learn about new processes, projects, and people, don’t be afraid to ask questions. You need to get up to speed, and people will expect it from the new person on the team. Also take down detailed notes about everything you learn, even if it seems simple. Your brain is going to be on overload this week, and writing everything down will make sure you don’t have to ask the same question twice.

Don’t: Be Afraid to Speak Up

At the same time, don’t be afraid to contribute and add value—you do want to reinforce that you’re the right person for the job! No, you won’t know everything (nor should you act like you do!), but you can make suggestions in team meetings or brainstorming sessions, or ask questions like, “Has this been tried before?” And if you have a skill or ability that you’ve been hired to bring to the team, pipe up and share that knowledge. But be careful to read your audience. You don’t want to come on like gangbusters or step on someone’s toes.

Do: Offer to Help

There may be some down time during your first few days on the job as your boss and team adjust to having you there. But don’t sit around waiting for others to figure out tasks for you—volunteer to help your new teammates on a project. You’ll show initiative, you’ll build rapport with your boss and co-workers, and you’ll learn about expectations, procedures, and how things are done.

Continue reading this article by Laura Katen on The Muse.

Career Advice for College Graduates

Filed under: accountability, ambition, Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Best Advice, Career & Money, Career Advice, Communication, Decision Making, Goals, Good Habits, Quick Tips, Skills, Success

Most of the best career advice isn’t learned in school or discussed during formal annual reviews. They’re the priceless nuggets of wisdom you tend to learn through the school of hard knocks instead – sometimes too late. One of the best gifts that seasoned leaders can give to college graduates is practical, candid feedback on what they really need to know to succeed in the “corporate jungle.”

In classic David Letterman style, here are my top 10 career advice tips for college graduates and early career professionals:

#10 Build relationships before you need them

Don’t wait until you need something to have a substantial discussion with your team leader or other key executives. A crisis is a real buzz kill for relationship building so avoid building relationships in the midst of a crisis and instead build them before you need them. Director of Columbia University’s Negotiation and Conflict Resolution Programs, Beth Fisher-Yoshida discusses the importance of relationship building in 5 Ways to Develop More Meaningful Relationships at Work.

#9 Learn your boss’ communications preferences early and adapt to them

When you adjust your style to better fit your manager’s communication/work style preferences, you become easier to manage – and that’s a good thing! This becomes even more important when you encounter that unavoidable “difficult boss” which research shows will likely happen at some point. Learning effective managing up techniques can mean the difference between success and failure when faced with a challenging boss personality.

#8 Don’t hide your awesome

Inexperience can be an asset so use it! Don’t hold back on sharing a completely different idea or approach, or questioning if there might be a better way. Your lack of “experience” could be the key to innovation so leverage that. If you’ve developed a template for tracking incoming orders or have used an amazing app for researching vendors, share that with your team. If there’s momentum around an area where you have expertise, don’t be afraid to volunteer to lead the effort. Remember that you don’t have to know everything to take lead on a project or task.

#7 Become the go-to person for something valuable

I like to say it’s not just “what you know and who you know” but also “who knows you and what you’re known for.” Becoming known as the Prezi, Slack or Sharepoint expert not only builds your organizational credibility, but it also creates demand for your participation in a wide range of projects that you may not have otherwise had exposure to. Stay attuned to the high demand skill sets in your industry or organization and develop deep skills in an area that is highly valued. If you become known as the resident Prezi expert in the company, you might find yourself working directly with the EVP on her upcoming board presentation and that one on one face time can prove invaluable. Over time you’ll want to be careful not to become pigeon-holed into one particular skill set, but building extreme competency in a few areas early is virtually always a smart move.

#6 Fiercely manage your personal brand

Just as the brands Tiffany, Coke and McDonalds evoke very specific sentiments as you think about them, your name has the same impact when others hear it. Decide what you want people to think about when your name is mentioned, then get about the business of building and managing your personal brand. Whether it’s your dress, lunch buddies, cell phone ring or email syntax, remember that with every choice you’re reinforcing your personal brand. Joseph Liu’s 5 Ways to Build Your Personal Brand At Work insists that brand building isn’t just for executives; it’s for everyone.

To read the full article by Dana Brownlee, visit it here at Forbes.com.

Finding Happiness Within Each Work Day

Filed under: ambition, Attitude, Behavior in the Workplace, Best Advice, Career Advice, Happiness, motivation, Professional Development

One of my mom’s favorite stories to tell us as children was the tale of the traveler and the three bricklayers.

In the story, the traveler meets the bricklayers, who are hard at work, and asks them what they’re doing.

The first man responds, “I’m laying bricks.”

The second man responds, “I’m building a church.”

The third man responds, enthusiastically, “I’m building a cathedral!”

Despite each of the bricklayers having the exact same job, their subjective experience varied significantly.

There’s a great takeaway from this parable. When we can see how what we’re doing fits into the whole—when we’re aware that each metaphorical “brick” we’re laying is contributing to something greater—we feel happiness and fulfillment.

And just like that enthusiastic bricklayer, we too can actively seek to find meaning in our work. The “why” behind what we’re doing isn’t always obvious or inherent, but it’s there, trust me.

A recent survey of over 2,000 American professionals across 26 industries found that employees experience more satisfaction at work when their jobs feel meaningful. The same survey found that raises and promotions are more common among employees who find their work meaningful; these workers also tend to be harder working and more productive.

These findings leave little room for doubt that actively finding purpose in our work every day is the single best thing we can do for our careers. But knowing this and actually applying it are two different things. That’s why we need to learn to exercise a little something I like to call the “meaningfulness habit.”

How to Embrace the Meaningfulness Habit at Work

It works like this: Any time you’re starting a new task, take a moment to ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? What meaning can I give to this task?”

In High Performance Habits: How Extraordinary People Become That Way, author Brendon Burchard shares a similar practice called “Release Tension, Set Intention.” This involves embracing the transitions we experience throughout the day—going from eating to working, writing to attending a meeting, making a phone call to sending emails—as opportunities to release any tension we may be harboring and set an intention before going into a new task or environment.

Building on this habit, if we take a moment at each transition throughout the day to ask ourselves why we’re doing something before we do it, we can inject more meaning into the task at hand and make ourselves more motivated to complete it. This meaning could be something significant, such as furthering a cause you believe in or helping others in some way, or it could be something small, such as peace of mind or development toward a personal goal.

Not every task needs to be connected to world peace—it just needs to give you some positive feeling, identifiable with perhaps a slight smile, a sense of satisfaction, or a heightened ability to focus.

In some cases, like when you’re working on a particularly dull, repetitive task, the meaning you find may just be to keep your boss happy so you can keep your job and continue to support your partner or kids. And that’s OK!

Here are some other examples:

  • Why am I going to give this presentation? To help get more support for this project I believe in.
  • Why am I going to clean up my inbox? To reduce my stress levels and feel lighter before I go home.
  • Why am I going to fill out this spreadsheet? To keep track of our records so our team functions efficiently.
  • Why am going to attend this meeting? To support the people I work with and offer help where I can.

Even if we’re not tangibly building something—like the bricklayers—there can still be meaning behind it. It may be a stepping stone to something greater; it may be an opportunity to be an example to others; it may be a creative outlet; it may be a way to support our retirement. No reason is a bad one.

(If you’re still struggling, try reading this article on finding meaning in a meaningless job and this one on caring about more than just your title.)

Ultimately, whatever we’re doing, there’s a reason why (otherwise we wouldn’t be doing it). Which is good news because that means there’s always meaning (and happiness) to be found.

For the original article: The Muse.

How to Ace Your Phone Interview

Filed under: ambition, Best Advice, Career Advice, Communication, Confidence, Efficiency, Focus, Goals, Good Habits, Hiring, How To, Interviews, Job Market, Persistence, Personality, Productivity, Professional Development, Quick Tips, Success, Thought Leadership, Your Career

Hiring managers are more often opting to start the interview process over the phone in interest of saving time and resources. Some even choose to hire a candidate based solely on a phone screen. Although efficient, these interviews can sometimes put a candidate at a disadvantage because they don’t have the opportunity to impress the hiring manager with a face-to-face interaction. Gregg Gavioli, Managing Director of the Accounting & Finance division of Solomon Page, offers the following tips on how to improve your phone interviewing skills and increase the probability of being called back for an in-person follow up.

Be Prepared

Most individuals often underestimate the significance of a phone interview in the hiring process and therefore do not prepare adequately. This mistake can lead the hiring manager to believe you are indifferent or uninterested in the position. To avoid missing out on a job opportunity because of this, try out the following tactics:

  • Research the company: Be sure to learn everything you can about the organization and be prepared to talk about it.
  • Research the person you are speaking with: Always look up the person you are scheduled to speak with on LinkedIn, Google, and the company website, if applicable. Look for common interests that may be useful to bring up if the timing is appropriate.
  • Find a quiet place: Make sure you are in a quiet place where you will not be disturbed for the duration of the interview. If you cannot do the phone screen at your home, check with your local library to reserve a private room.
  • Confirm logistics of the call: Make sure you know the exact time of the call and who is calling who. If you plan to take the call from your cell phone, make sure you are in a place with good reception that won’t cut out during the interview. Test the location for the quality of the reception prior to the interview.
  • Reference your résumé: Be sure to have a copy of your résumé printed out or on screen in front of you to reference during your conversation.
  • Take notes: Keep a paper and pen nearby and jot down notes when the hiring manager is talking—refer back to them when it is your turn to ask questions.

Be Awake, Alert, and Enthusiastic

The downside to phone interviews is the interviewer cannot see your face and therefore your facial expressions. This can hinder them from getting an accurate gage of your interest in the position. To help, try the following:

  • Stand up: It is easier to project with our voices when we are standing. Standing will help you sound more engaged and articulate.
  • Smile: Your voice will sound more enthusiastic if you simply smile while you’re talking.
  • Wake yourself up: This is most relevant in early morning interviews, especially if you are not a morning person. Make sure to give yourself ample time to wake up and try drinking coffee, taking a shower, or exercising before your interview.

A phone interview is one of the initial stages in obtaining a new position, and can also be one of the most important. To ultimately stand out to employers be sure you are prepared and engaged—because what was once a job opportunity, can soon be a job.

By: Gregg Gavioli, Managing Director, Accounting & Finance division of Solomon Page

6 Ways to Use Your Fear of Failure to Succeed

Filed under: Best Advice, Confidence, motivation

Whenever you start striving to reach your goals or chase your dreams, that little voice turns up. The one that tells you you’re not good enough, or smart enough, or strong enough.

It’s your fear of failure and those lies it whispers can become truths if you listen long enough. No matter how hard you try and ignore it, it can stop you powering forward. The bad news is that it never really goes away. The good news is that according to Tony Robbins, some of the most successful people leverage fear in their lives.

Here are 6 strategies to help you stop your fear of failure sucking the life out of you, and use it to succeed:

1. Accept yourself

When you fight something you give it power, and trying to control your fear will make it stronger. Instead, when you feel it, close your eyes and look inwards. Use a little acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT). Stop judging and start feeling and observing what’s happening in your body.

Click here to read the rest on Addicted 2 Success >>

Career Tip For Millennials: Be Clear, Concise And Compelling

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Millennials

It is hard to be clear. It is hard to be concise. It is hard to be compelling. It is really hard to be all three at the same time! For that important presentation, however, mastering the art of being all three is essential to creating passionate support from your audience. It is the difference between “that sounds good; let’s review it and get back together” and “Wow, we need to do this now!

Be Clear. It is human nature to be vague, even when we try to be clear. Language is imprecise and often the words we use cannot completely describe the thought. And then there is our unspoken body language, which often confuses or distracts from our words. To further complicate matters, we often start with only a “rough idea” of what we want to say. Being clear starts with taking the time to fully think through exactly what we are proposing and why.

Click here to read the rest on Forbes >> 

Interviewing 101: Attire & Hygiene Checklist

Filed under: Best Advice, Good Habits, Interviews, Job Search

When interviewing, it’s important to present yourself in the best light possible. Appearing disheveled, unorganized, or unprofessional may hinder you in your job search. The following list highlights some general good practices for interview attire and hygiene. Every situation is unique; so use your best judgement to decide what makes sense for your situation.

Clothing + Accessories

  • Wear a clean, pressed, properly fitted (not too tight, short, or loose), neutral-colored suit. (TIP: Carry a stain removing stick if you plan on eating or drinking prior to your interview).
  • Check that your shirt is tucked in, buttoned, and clean. Ensure your tie is properly tied and your shirt is fully buttoned.
  • Avoid wearing anything overly revealing.
  • Wear clean, polished, and comfortable shoes. You may be invited on a tour of the office, be sure to choose shoes you can walk in with confidence.
  • Refrain from carrying too many bags with you; a purse or messenger bag is acceptable.
  • Avoid costume jewelry or anything overly flashy, as this could be distracting to an interviewer.
  • Consider covering tattoos and removing facial piercings, if possible. While tattoos are generally accepted, there is no way of telling how a hiring manager may feel about them. Avoid the risk of offending anyone by covering them for the interview.
  • Refrain from bringing coffee cups or any other beverage with you. Keep your hands free to shake hands with your interviewer.
  • Leave personal items, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones in your bag. Do not take them out at any point, even if you are waiting in a room for the interviewer to arrive.

Personal Hygiene

  • Brush, floss, and use mouthwash prior to your interview. (TIP: If you are concerned about bad breath, carry a small bottle of mouthwash and use it in a coffee shop bathroom immediately before your interview).
  • Comb or style your hair in a professional manner; avoid dying your hair bright colors (blue, purple, pink, etc.) prior to starting a job search.
  • Clean and manicure your nails. If you choose to wear to nail polish, choose a neutral or clear color.
  • Keep your makeup natural.
  • Avoid wearing perfume or cologne. Your hiring manager may not like the scent you have chosen, have a previous association with that scent, or be allergic to it.
  • Wear deodorant. If you sweat when nervous, you may want to choose a clinical strength brand.
  • If traveling on a hot day, give yourself enough time to freshen up in a restroom prior to your interview.
  • Do your best not smoke prior to an interview. If you do, give yourself a few minutes after your cigarette before entering the building, then wash your hands and use mouthwash.
  • If you are chewing gum, dispose of it prior to your interview.

Ready to start your job search and gain more insight into acing your next interview? Join Solomon Page’s Talent Network and let us find you the BEST opportunities!

27 Highly Successful People Share the Best Career Advice for New Grads

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Millennials, Success

If clichés like “Follow your passion,” “Give 110%,” and “Be true to yourself” just aren’t cutting it for you, then we’ve got some fresh takes on how to get a head start on your career.

From “Don’t work too hard” to “Relax,” here’s some of the best — and often unconventional — advice for you from some really successful people:

Richard Branson: Never look back in regret — move on to the next thing

Richard Branson’s mother taught him that.

“The amount of time people waste dwelling on failures, rather than putting that energy into another project, always amazes me,” the Virgin Group founder and chairman told The Good Entrepreneur. “I have fun running ALL the Virgin businesses — so a setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.”

Click here to read the rest on Business Insider >>

Your Comfort Zone Is Killing Your Success

Filed under: Best Advice, Insights, Success, Your Career

Applying for jobs just out of college or grad school, comfort may have seemed like the ultimate goal: to find the perfect job that was a natural fit and have a long, fulfilling career there.

Forget all of that: comfort is the enemy. If things are easy, it’s time to shake up your career.

Remember when you were young, and you first attempted to write a bicycle? Were you scared at first? Absolutely. Was the end result worth it? I’m betting it was.

Hopping into a new job or career path is indeed a lot like that first ride on a bike: a heart-pumping, adrenaline-inducing risk– and the payoffs can be as meaningful as the life-changing freedom of mastering two wheels.

Getting out of your comfort zone is a must if you want to achieve extraordinary success. I like to think of it as a shift into your “strength zone”: identify, highlight and hone in on what makes you unique and lean into it so you stand out.

Click here to read the rest on Entrepreneur >> 

10 Tips For Adding Value By Showing Initiative

Filed under: Best Advice, Career Advice, Quick Tips, Your Career

In these tough times, it is absolutely critical you continue to demonstrate your value to your employer, clients, and colleagues on a daily basis. Adding value is THE buzzword for “safe-guarding” your career and propelling yourself to the top of your profession.

Showing initiative is a must-do in demonstrating your value at work. Initiative correlates strongly with personal achievement and professional development. It is the act of taking personal responsibility for your growth, and it is a clear sign of your capacity to develop as a leader.

So, what are you waiting for? Take action today; don’t wait to be asked – be proactive. Consider the following ideas for lighting the fire of initiative in your daily work life:

  • Always be alert for ways to make something work better. Make the suggestion.Volunteer to take ownership for getting it done.
  • Take it upon yourself be the first to adopt and implement the newest company policy.

Click here to read the rest on Careerealism >>