Five Ways to Get Your Career Ducks in a Row

iStock_000020614872_LargeThere’s an old saying, “Have all your ducks in a row.” It means that you are completely prepared, right down to the last detail. You might ask how this applies to you and how you can make this work for you…

So, you’ve decided to look for a job… Are you prepared? You should ALWAYS be prepared, because you never know what the future holds. From great opportunities, to downsizing… ANYTHING can happen.

Let’s go over just a few ways you can get those ducks lined up:

  1. Documentation: Is your resume up to date? How long has it been since you last updated your resume? This is an area most wait until they need it and then end up in a panic because they are unprepared, when In fact it should always be current and ready to go. Whether you write it yourself or hire someone, get it together today. You’ll find that this makes the entire process much easier.
  1. Style: Attire and hairstyle, modern and professional? You don’t want anything dated, nor do you want something out in leftfield. Proper professional attire and hairstyle are necessary for interviews and believe it or not, it can be done affordably. This is another area that you shouldn’t wait until the last second for.
  1. Education/Training: Education information and skills current? We should always be a student in our chosen fields and in life, in general. It keeps the mind sharp and keeps you current within our fields. Skill sets: are you staying current in all of your skill sets? What many consider age discrimination is very simply put, outdated skills caused by complacency. It’s all too easy to sit back and get lazy with one’s skills when you’ve been at a job for a long period of time (even if you hate the job).
  1. Attitude: although age discrimination is a very real thing, often it is a mindset one creates. I’ve met many a person that are so young at heart that age has NEVER been an issue and they’re well into their 60’s and 70’s, but I’ve also met some in their 40’s that come off ancient. Don’t allow a bad attitude become your greatest hurdle to finding a new or better job.
  1. Contacts: your network shouldn’t be seen as simply a “network” you fall back on when you need it. These should be both personal and professional friends. I can’t stress this one enough… You can’t expect people to put their neck out for you, if they only hear from you, when you want something. Be a friend and friends will want to help, in a heartbeat.

These are just a few areas that can help you in finding a new job or even advancing within your present company. Don’t take them for granted.

Have a wonderful week!

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Ladies… Seven Deadly Sins of Professional Attire

iStock_000005892300XSmallRecently, I was at a dinner with a number of young people that were supposedly dressed professionally and the guys did it nicely, but the young women were almost entirely wrong. I hate to say it, but it seems many young women are clueless to professional attire. Because of this fact, I’m writing to enlighten those that need it to the seven deadly sins of professional dressing.

  1. If your tummy bulges are hanging over your pants or skirt for the world to see… You’re NOT dressed professionally.
  2. If you’re wearing a top that clings to all your tummy bulges for all to notice… You’re NOT dressed professionally.
  3. Flip flops and sandals… Not professional.
  4. Super short skirts… Nope!
  5. Tattoos uncovered… Do I need to say it?
  6. The “Goth” look… Really???
  7. And finally, if your bosom is exploding from your top…NOT PROFESSIONAL!!!

For most of us, this should be common sense, but WOW, I see it all the time! This isn’t acceptable; by just about any standard (The last few might work for a stripper, but let’s hope that isn’t where you’re going!).

It’s not that hard to find acceptable clothing at even Walmart or a thrift shop, so cost shouldn’t be the issue. Besides that, there are places that will assist you in finding proper attire. Clothes That Work is a great group for assisting women with clothing choices, if cost is an issue. Dressing appropriately can be the difference between a strong future and unemployment, so don’t risk it.

You can easily look online for clothing suggestions, examples are literally everywhere. If you must, do a little research before going shopping. Great, affordable looks are out there and easy to find… You won’t regret doing a little research.

Play it safe, so you don’t end up destroying a great opportunity.

Our Kids Should Have a Backup Plan…

iStock_000021337330LargeLately, I’ve seen a number of college students seeking degrees that are going to be difficult, if not impossible to find jobs with; building mounds of debt, with little hope of being able to pay off anytime soon. I’m seeing fields that experienced workers are struggling to find jobs and kids coming out of school, with hopes of finding the dream job. The worst part of what I’m seeing is that there’s no backup plan… No other options; besides minimum wage.

We need to make sure that our kids know that in this job market,  a degree is certainly no guarantee. We need them to be prepared, when it comes to their education. To do their research, so they know what jobs are out there in their chosen field. Our kids need to make the hard choices, knowing that their financial futures are at stake in this game.

Now, don’t get me wrong… I don’t want people to go after jobs that they’ll hate, but they have to understand that there’s more than one job that they could love. There are jobs that are rewarding and pay the rent, which is what they should be aiming for.

Yes, macramé may be a joy and an idea for a future business, but it’s not something they should want to go into some serious debt for, without any hope of recouping losses. They need a backup plan! Students can study business, with the goal of starting their own business in the future. Then there’s a degree that one can build on and one that will only help in the future.

There’s countless ways that goals and career hopes can blend, that have solid footing. We need to make sure that our kids know this fact and they think their goals through. Make choices that will build a solid base for their career goals, from the courses they take to the extracurricular activities they participate in and NEVER let them to forget about internships. They can make all the difference in the world!

There are so many people out there willing to assist our kids with these choices (because we all know that as parents, we don’t know ANYTHING). We need to have our kids seek these people out and ask the necessary questions. From people in the field, school counselors, and simply doing job searches online, these will all help make decisions.

Sit your kids down and have a talk with them, if they’re thinking of some questionable career goals and assist them in doing the research needed, not to have a useless degree (and YES, they exist!). This is especially important if you’re name is on those college loans, you don’t want your retirement to go to pay off that Masters in Macramé. 😉

Have a wonderful week and do great in your work and your life…

Are You Taking Care of Your Number One Asset???

workout girlYour number one asset… Do you know what it is? Do you know how to keep it in top working order? And do you know that this one item can make or break your career???

That item… You.

It’s easy to allow your health to slip away under the guise of “I’m too busy to take care of myself; I’m too busy taking care of everyone else.” Unfortunately, that excuse comes at a very high price.

I’m not perfect and have in the past couple years, put my own health on the back burner to care for family and build a business, but as a cancer survivor that was a bad decision and I’m trying to get back to making my health a priority. I’ve started walking/jogging again and have lost close to thirty pounds and with that, it’s helped my confidence and believe it or not, my business. It’s hard to have a career or any kind for long, if you refuse to take care of what does all the work.

I’m going to give you some suggestions to getting back in control of your health…

Now, understand, I’m not a doctor and if you’re starting a new diet or exercise regimen, you should see your doctor to make sure you are up for it.

  1. Get enough sleep. I can’t stress this one enough (to myself, as much as to anyone else) because it’s impossible to be at the top of your game if you’re only getting four hours of sleep a night. It WILL catch up with you and it WILL be ugly.
  2. Eat right. Again, I need to often remind myself of this fact because when you work on the go, it’s EXTREMELY easy to grab junk and munch, instead of grabbing something healthy. This nation is an obesity issue and it hurts us, as we try to do the jobs we’re given. I’ve been trying to pack a healthy snack for times when I can’t get somewhere to grab a decent lunch (that means NO to the fries and NO to supersizing).
  3. Get off the sofa. I know when you get home that you’re tired (I get up at 4 in the morning, so completely get it), but even if it’s only a twenty minute walk, it’s better than simply putting your feet up and eating chips. I’ve also been parking further away and squeezing in a little more walking that way (it does help). If you need to, get yourself a pedometer to simply track the steps you take during the day and build on that. Again, little things make a big difference.
  4. Visit your doctor if something is amiss. You know your body and in most cases, you know when something isn’t right. I knew something was off with my leg for two years before giving in and seeing a doctor, only to find that the huge mass on my knee was cancer (was lucky, but don’t be me).
  5. And finally, play… Yes, I said “play.” As adults we tend to build our entire lives around our jobs and families, becoming so adult that we forget what it’s like to play. Play keeps your mind sharp and improves your attitude on every level. Find something you enjoy doing and do it. It doesn’t have to be rocket science or somehow change the world to be important. Whether it’s bowling, jogging, riding a bike or even playing a sport… Just get up and do it. This is likely the best exercise you’ll do.

So… Get up from the sofa and turn off “Big Brother” (that in and of itself it good for you and saves runningcountless brain cells) and get out there and take care of that asset, so it will take care of you and your future.

Have a great week and enjoy the wonderful autumn days!

“Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” ~ Oliver Wendell Holmes

Track That Training!

confused clientRecently, I’ve worked with a couple of different clients that described their previous training/education as “numerous” and have no idea of the details. Sadly, that doesn’t fly in the real world.

I don’t care how many there are, or what they are, track them. Dates, titles, instructors and or institutions all need to be kept on file. You may not need them all at any one time, but have them. There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to develop a quality résumé without them. You deserve the best possible advantage against the competition; don’t become your biggest hindrance.

First things first:

1)      Create a file and keep it nearby, so it’s easily accessible for additions.

2)      Keep in chronological order (will make copying it over to your résumé easier, as well as easier to toss outdated information).

3)      Regularly look in this file… I know this sounds obvious, but so often this gets blown off until the individual is in a rush to create an effective document and then they’ve created more work for themselves.

4)      And finally, remember opportunity can come at ANY time, so be prepared… It doesn’t hurt to regularly update your résumé. Good things come to those that are prepared.

I hope that this little tip has helped open your eyes to the need to keep your training information current and ready to be used.

Until next time…

Remember that you create your own successes, in both career and life.

 

 

It’s Not Your Age… It’s That Boulder on Your Shoulder!

Unpleasant Senior manAfter years of working with seasoned job hunters, I’ve found that they tend to fall into two groups… The determined and the victims. Now, don’t get me wrong, everyone has challenges, but there are some that create their own challenges.

Have you ever noticed that some people never struggle finding a job, that even their age is never an issue? Yet there are other people that just assume that they’re going to be discriminated against and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I know you think that you’re different and that it doesn’t show during interviews or meetings, but it does. Whether you realize it or not, the victim mentality shows in every part of your being and that will always hurt. I can generally hear it in the phone conversation and if we meet face-to-face, I can often see it immediately.

If someone else can have that “go to” attitude, so can you! Age discrimination? Of course it’s real, but so is gender, race and any number of other forms of discrimination… Get over it! Adjust! Change your direction!

You can’t keep banging your head against the wall and think that there’s going to be different results. There are fields and organizations known for being age friendly, but it takes research in a new direction to have a chance at finding out. Get on it!

And one final note… A job search, especially a career changer, takes a full time commitment. A full time commitment takes time and that time is to be used wisely. We’re not talking two hours of a job search and research, with three hours of Angry Birds. Just wanted to clear that up.

A site that you might want to take a look at is http://www.retirementjobs.com/