Archive for July, 2008

New Job – Longer-Term Strategies

This week’s posts have offered tips for starting a new job. From first-day jitters to adjusting to company culture – how you manage your transition will shape your impact at your new job.

To top off the week, here are a few more tips to focus on for the longer term.

These are things to consider to help ensure your success in a new company down the road:

Start trying to figure out who is in charge. You may be surprised where the real power is in your new workplace. Maybe the receptionist holds a lot of authority. Who seems to make the decisions? The quicker you learn, the better off you’ll be.

Ask questions, but keep your opinions to yourself. No one expects you to reinvent the wheel in your first week (or month!)

Volunteer to help. Be a hero – offer to do a job no one else wants to do. There’s no better way to win friends and influence people than by stepping up to the plate. An added benefit? If you wind up solving a big problem, your ability to influence the workplace goes way up!

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Even if there are a lot of expectations riding on you, don’t start a new job expecting to make a lot of changes right away. Learn how things are done and why before you start implementing new policies. Demonstrate that you value what has been done before you got there, even if you plan to change everything! You’ll win a lot more friends with honey than with vinegar!

What tips have worked for you in starting a new job successfully?

Wish you were facing new job jitters? Take the plunge and look for a job! Still need a great resume? Some help to write the perfect cover letter? I’m here to help! Write to me.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

photo by decor8

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Starting a New Job? Evaluate and Acclimate Before You Try to Revolutionize Your Work Culture

Yesterday, I blogged about tips to help you in your first day (or week) of a new job. Today, I’d like to share some of my own experiences starting a new job right out of school. Getting started in a new job is always a transition – no matter how many jobs you’ve had. This is the article I contributed to Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Magazine, a publication I help edit…

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My first job out of college was as an analyst on Wall Street. As I recall, from my perspective, our group needed help to become more efficient and comfortable.

Initially, my only suggestion that met with results pertained to our comfort. Our desk chairs looked like they could be props in a 1950s movie. Our boss ordered new ones when she realized that I was scavenging around the building to find a chair more suitable to a 14-hour day! (This demonstrates that suggesting a change that clearly benefits everyone can be a good starting point.)

I quickly noticed that my other suggestions met resistance. I was too new, inexperienced and unaware of corporate culture to expect changes at my request. Ill never forget the day my colleague told me that I asked too many questions.

Luckily, I realized before it was too late that I needed to slow down, re-evaluate and acclimate before I tried to revolutionize my group.

It is important to learn a thing or two before you can become an effective change agent in an organization not accustomed to transformations.

Make a good first impression. You know that you dont get a second chance to make a first impression. Work hard! Get there early. Stay late. Dont complain. Ever. Demonstrate that you care about a job well done. Offer to help your colleagues when appropriate. Volunteer to take on projects that no one else wants to do. You could wind up a hero by solving an unsolvable problem. Bonus: a heros ideas are usually well received!

Develop relationships. Youve heard it a thousand times relationships are key to career success. Before you try to convince your colleagues that you have a great idea, get to know them. Understanding what makes them tick will make it easier for you to persuade them to your way of thinking down the road.

Stop. Listen. Learn. Take it all in. Ask questions (but not too many!) Avoid jumping to conclusions. Learn about the decision makers and what they value. Try to determine why things are done the way they are. Whats the back-story?

Drink company Kool-Aid. Adapt to the corporate culture. Show youre a team player and that you appreciate what everyone has done before you came on board. Dont arrogantly expect to change something before youre invested in it. Demonstrate that you value the work, the people and the organization. Once youre fully on board, know the issues, the whys and the hows, you may be surprised by how easy it is to convince your colleagues to consider changes.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more tips to focus on to build good long-term rapport at a new job!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Wish you had a new job to start? Get your resume in gear and start searching in a way that will yield results! I can help: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by Amber Rhea

New Job Nerves – Starting a New Job Scares You to Death?

Last week, I had lunch with a friend who is about to start a new job. Wow, you’re thinking – lucky duck. A new job. New pens and a clean desk – what could be better?

Think again. My friend, who hasn’t had a new job in 18 years (!) is terrified! She doubts herself…She wonders if she can really do the job. There are parts of the new job description that she hasn’t actually done before. She wonders if she can really do it. What if she fails?

As exciting as a new job may be, this sentiment isn’t unusual. It’s stressful starting a new job. First-day (first-week!) nerves are common.

Here are some ideas to help you get through your first few days:

Think good thoughts. Many swear by visualization and meditation. Try it out…Close your eyes and visualize yourself as confident and prepared on your first day. Calm negative thoughts. Picture yourself going through the day, enjoying the people and taking it all in.

Now, do the following to help ensure that positive visual image becomes reality!

Plan for the day. Set out your clothing, paperwork, wallet, etc. in advance. Don’t wait to the last minute to decide what your first-day outfit will be…What if your favorite suit needs dry cleaning or your “go to” blouse is too small or missing a button?

Make sure you know how to get where you’re going…In this case, literally, not figuratively. You need to be on time! Do you know the traffic patterns, construction issues and parking dilemmas you may face? There is nothing like being late on your first day to start things off badly.

Get a good night’s sleep. This no-brainer may be more easily said than done. If you’re starting on a Monday, consider doing a lot of physical activity on Sunday that will tire you out.

Make a good impression. You look sharp, you’re on time, you’re pushing open the door and let it slam behind you, ignoring the fact that a man with his hands full is trying to catch the door behind you. “Whatever, he can fend for himself, I’m in a hurry,” you think as you rush to the elevator. Turns out, that man is your new boss. So much for good impressions. Even if you are nervous and jittery, make an effort to be extra polite and thoughtful. It will go a long way to easing your first-week transition.

Smile and be pleasant to everyone you meet. Offer a firm handshake. Appear interested in what they say, even if it bores you or you are tired. If you need a break (maybe you’re an introvert and need to re-energize alone), excuse yourself to the restroom for a quick breather.

Observe office culture. Does everyone go to lunch at the same time? Do they eat together? Don’t be the odd person out. If everyone’s going out to eat pizza, and you don’t like pizza, just quietly get a salad and don’t make an issue of it. You don’t want to appear to be picky or difficult. There will be plenty of time for you to choose the lunch spot later!

Pay attention to names. I’ve written about tips to help you remember names here.

NEVER bad mouth anyone, don’t complain and don’t start taking sides in office politics and gossip. You’re a sponge – just take it all in. If Joe starts trash talking Sue, you remain neutral and make mental notes to help you later.

Stay tuned for tips to help in the longer term!

Wish you were facing new job jitters? Take the plunge and look for a job! Still need a great resume? Some help to write the perfect cover letter? I’m here to help! Write to me.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

photo by susiepie

New Issue of Personal Branding Magazine Available!

Anyone with an interest in managing his or her own career should keep an eye on the field of personal branding. Dan Schawbel is one of the authorities on the topic, particularly for the Millennial generation. I was happy to join Dan’s leadership team as a co-editor of his Personal Branding Magazine.

The second volume, “Millennials: Changing the Way we Do Business,” launches today. The issue focuses on how Gen-Y is changing and impacting the work place, and features interviews with several Gen-Y entrepreneurs.

It will be of interest to both Gen Y audiences and those who work with them! (In other words, there is something in this magazine for everyone!)

To pick up your free sample:
http://www.PersonalBrandingSample.com

To subscribe to the magazine please go to:
http://www.PersonalBrandingMag.com

Stay tuned for my article in this issue: Starting a New Job? Evaluate and Acclimate Before You Try to Revolutionize!

Have no idea how to “brand” yourself? You aren’t comfortable self-promoting? I can help! From writing a great resume to showing you how to move your career forward – Keppie Careers is here for you.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Review: Getting from College to Career by Lindsey Pollak: Career Advice that Transcends Generations!

To top off my “getting organized for your job hunt” blogs, I thought this would be a perfect time to review and recommend Lindsey Pollak’s book, Getting from College to Career.

Lindsey is an author, speaker and consultant specializing in career development for college students and young professionals. In Getting from College to Career, she warmly and generously shares personal experiences and stories from all types of professionals covering topics such as: figuring out what you want to do, how to market yourself, where to look for opportunities (including entrepreneurship) and how to prepare for interviews.

While the book targets college students and recent grads, the advice transcends generations! Lindsey acknowledges her “obsession with taking action, trying new things, meeting new people and having a wide variety of experiences” to enhance a job hunt. She notes (and I agree) that you can’t plan your career by sitting around and “thinking really hard.”

Her first tip – “Start Wherever You Are” – is a perfect opening for the job seeker who thinks he or she needs more – more information, more advice, more research, before REALLY starting a successful search. My first boss on Wall Street always said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” In other words, if you wait for all of the stars to align before starting something, you’ll never get off the ground. If you want to drive your own career bus, you first need to put the key in the ignition and turn it – no matter where you are parked!

Lindsey reminds her readers that “Action always yields rewards” and emphasizes the importance of taking action on behalf of your career every day. Make a call, write a note, send a follow-up email, attend a networking event…You can’t underestimate the value of every action you take to move your search forward.

How does Lindsey suggest you get organized for a job search?

  • Buy a notebook (with a cool cover) to record ideas and information.
  • Develop a filing system to keep all of the key paperwork that will pass through your hands.
  • Keep a calendar with ALL of your appointments to avoid double-booking.
  • Start a log or spreadsheet for all of your interactions with employers and networking contacts.
  • Create a database system to track everyone you meet along the way!

One of my favorite tips? #27 Relax. A Job Is Not a Soul Mate. The fact is, with workers expected to have 9 careers in a lifetime and an average of 3 jobs in each one (with 50% of those careers not even discovered yet), don’t think of a job as a marriage. If you make a mistake, you can take your transferable skills and move to another opportunity.

Getting from College to Career is a terrific resource, full of tips to guide job seekers along a successful path. I highly recommend it to anyone getting ready for a job hunt!

Ready to take the plunge and look for a job? Still need a great resume? Some help to write the perfect cover letter? I’m here to help! Write to me.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Intimidated by Your Job Hunt? Enter the Career Search Organizer

Do you ever feel that even resources that should be the most useful for your job hunt may actually make the job of looking for a job seem overwhelming? For example, the vast amount of information available online is both amazing and intimidating. If you are lucky enough to be faced with an array of jobs to consider, it can be a blessing (Wow – so many great jobs!) and a curse (Do I really need to target a resume for each of these jobs?)

Sometimes, you just need a great checklist and a method to organize the myriad of information and paperwork that you’ll need to plow through for a successful search.

Enter Lauren Hasson, who calls herself The Resume Girl. Lauren specializes in working with college students and recent graduates, but her new product, The Career Search Organizer is full of useful information for any job seeker hoping to help keep track of everything needed for a successful search. With checklists, tips and a place to keep track of resources, contacts, follow-up, research and more, the Career Search Organizer is a great tool for any job hunter.

I particularly love the level of detail offered right from the start. The “Getting Started” checklist goes so far as to suggest that job seekers identify a same-day dry cleaner (in the case of a fashion accident as you are preparing for an interview) and notes that it is a good idea to locate the nearest overnight mail service in case you need to send something urgent at the last minute.

When I coach job seekers, one of the first things we discuss is how important it is to manage the process and not to let it manage you! The Organizer is one-stop shopping for anyone looking for a method to track what can become job hunting madness. With each job requiring targeted materials and research, job seekers can easily lose direction. Think of the Career Search Organizer as job search GPS for anyone who plans to drive his or her own career bus!

So, after reading all of my blog posts about goal setting and getting organized, you have a clean desk, all the right tools and you’re ready to go? Still need a great resume? Some help to write the perfect cover letter? I’m here to help! Write to me.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

More On Organizing for Your Job Search – Your Desk is Prime Real Estate!

Did you know that you own prime real estate? If you’re in a job hunt, it could be more valuable than beach front property in, say Maui! Didn’t know you were such a high roller? Your desk is your prime real estate. Being organized and productive are key goals for anyone involved in a job hunt. How it is organized may mean the difference between getting a job and not even remembering to follow up with an employer!
I know from personal experience how important an organized work space can be. Even the little things make a big difference in your day. I always seem to be looking for the same desk reference. Every time I look for it, it is somewhere else. Inevitably, I get annoyed that 1) I can’t find it and 2) I’m wasting my valuable time looking for it. Especially when it is a really busy day, I’ll start getting stressed and annoyed with myself that I can’t keep my reference handy!
I finally decided to ALWAYS keep it in the same spot – close by, but not in my way. It’s not rocket science, but I’ve already saved myself time (and sanity) by being able to just reach for it at a moment’s notice – no stress!

Yesterday’s post reminded us that a clean desk is NOT the sign of a deranged mind! If you are in the midst of a search or want to appear productive and valuable at your current place of employment, you’ll want to get your desk together. Here are some tips from Atlanta based professional organizer, Lauren Davidson, owner of Around Tuit Organizing & Productivity:

Sure-fire Ways to Organize Your Office for Job Hunting:

· Be a real estate magnate: Surfaces and storage within arm’s reach are prime real estate! Frequently used items “live” there: very active files, phone/PDA, a note pad, favorite pen. Floaters get lost, while items with a home are predictably found (think: always know where my___ is). Make the home convenient, and you have a winner.

· Keep your thoughts in one place: A job seeker’s best friend is a notebook that stays on the desk, to jot down anything from brainstorming to your daily to-do list. Not a pad, definitely not sticky notes. Just a plain, spiral notebook – you choose the color.

· Keep priorities in plain sight: In a standing file on the desktop, each job for which you are interviewing has a separate, labeled file. Applications awaiting a response are together in their own file. No-go’s in another file (those can go in a drawer if the visual bothers you).

· Take paper by the horns: Paper clutter is distracting and can be a source of anxiety. As a professional organizer, much of the paper clutter I see is caused by over-printing. Print out items you need to take with you, or that will no longer be readily available. Print out essential information you would not otherwise remember. Less printing leaves more room on your desk, in your file drawer and, dare I say, in your head.

Lauren says, “Getting rid of clutter makes room for life!” I agree!

Don’t underestimate the fact that being organized can impact your thought process and bring more calm to your hectic job searching existence! Spend some time getting yourself together. If the thought of making your workspace productive is overwhelming, hire someone to do it! You will not regret the effort.

Stay tuned for more ideas and products to help you stay organized for your job hunt!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Keppie Careers will get you organized for your job hunt and help you every step of the way! From a great resume to step-by-step job hunting assistance – Keppie Careers is here for you! www.keppiecareers.com.

Photo by taminsea


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