If you feel as though you’re in a work-related slump or just want to give yourself a little professional oomph, we’ve pulled together a list of some easy but effective career-boosting strategies that you can implement today. From connecting with a past colleague to putting a few more minutes of thought into today’s office attire, keep scrolling for some straightforward and sage advice.
Reconnect with someone in your network
A simple email saying hello to an old colleague will not only keep you on their mind, it’s also a way for you to stay updated on what your old coworkers are currently working on. It’s also a good idea to connect with business contacts on LinkedIn, so no one falls off the map.
Dress the part
Regardless of how laid-back your office vibe is, look sharp. It is always better to be overdressed than under dressed. Fashion can be an effective form of non-verbal communication—just make sure your ensemble is not diverting attention away from the primary focus: your abilities.
Get your most important work done in the morning
The majority of us only have a window of two or three hours during which we’re very focused and capable of the sharpest thinking and planning. Usually, this is first thing in the morning. Spend this time working on your most important tasks of the day to ensure you are performing at your peak.
Update your resume
Regardless of whether you’re looking for a new job or not, it’s important to keep your résumé updated with new experience, skills and projects. You never know when that next opportunity is going to come knocking, and you want to be prepared when it does.
Limit your time on social media
The ubiquity of social media is an easy distraction and major time suck. Even small breaks to check your smartphone can add up. Don’t fall down the rabbit hole. Get off your devices. Power down, go off the grid, and stay focused so you can devote all of your resources to the work-related tasks at hand. source
Career management is essential to reaching your full potential at work. While you may currently be in a position where your job feels stable and your next steps are clear, anything can change – and quickly. Taking the right steps to guide your career forward and avoid common pitfalls can mean the difference between success and failure.
No matter how well you do your job, you’d be wise to avoid these six career missteps that can derail even top employees:
1. They stop networking. It’s easy to grow complacent about networking when you’ve worked with one employer for a while. But knowing who you need to know within the four walls of your company isn’t enough – as you may quickly discover when you lose your job or need to seek opportunities outside your firm for other reasons.
“Failure to network can be detrimental when the time comes for an employee to find a new job,” says Jennifer Brown, founder of PeopleTactics, a human resources firm that helps small businesses. “Employees need to ensure they continue to network throughout their careers so that they can stay in contact and connected with people who are able to help them, should they want or need to switch jobs.”
2. They assume good work will be recognized. If you’re a talented worker who goes the extra mile, you’ll be rewarded when your boss sees what you’ve done to help the company, right? Not necessarily.
Corrie Shanahan, owner of The Beara Group LLC, notes that doing your job really well and expecting that you will be automatically noticed and promoted because of it can be disastrous. “This is particularly common with women but affects men, too,” she says. “Many smart and talented people have watched less talented colleagues progress, because they are better at letting superiors know about their accomplishments.”
3. They don’t know their worth. Research shows that women are less likely than men to request a raise. Failing to ask for the level of pay you’re worth can keep you in a vicious cycle of salary depression that carries over from employer to employer.
While the discrepancy may not seem dramatic in any one position, economist Linda Babcock noted in an NPR article that not effectively negotiating salary at the start of your career can amount to as much as $1.5 million in lost lifetime earnings.
Author and speaker Elizabeth Lions suggests that female candidates in particular should know their market worth. “Ask for a 10- to 15-percent raise when you make a job change,” she adds.
4. They stay invisible. In the hours available each day, it’s often difficult just to get the job done that you’re paid to do, much less take on career-related extracurriculars.
However, according to Cheryl Palmer, founder of the career coaching firm Call to Career, you should get involved in committees to increase your visibility in the organization and make a contribution outside your department. “Many large companies have committees to review processes or improve employee retention,” she says. “Joining such a committee can expose you to other people in a large organization that you might not otherwise meet and can open the door for future job opportunities.”
5. They overshare. When you get along with your boss, it’s easy to slip into a comfort zone in your communications. But don’t let that sharing morph into indiscretion that could come back to haunt you.
“One mistake I have seen people make in their careers is sharing too much about their personal lives with their manager,” says career and business coach Jason Dukes. “It is easy to slip into the comfort zone of having buddy-buddy casual conversations with a manager, especially if there is not a huge age gap. However, if you share too much about your passions outside of work and say, for instance, something goes wrong on the job, your boss has immediate reasons for your lackluster performance.”
Dukes adds that the best way to avoid oversharing is to keep conversations with your manager focused on work. “When your manager digresses to personal stories, smile and be engaging, but don’t add too much to the conversation,” he says.
6. They’re too negative. No one’s arguing that there isn’t plenty to complain about in almost any office setting. But venting about this to those around you can signal a red flag to your boss or employer that you’re not right for the company.
Dave Conrad, associate professor at the Augsburg MBA program in Rochester, Minnesota, notes that even associating with negative people in your workplace can hurt your career.
“Employees must set boundaries and standards and not lower their standards to connect with negative people,” he says. “Even in the face of an argument, employees must not lose their head and sink down into the negativity that surrounds them. Being critical is one thing, but being overtly and harshly negative is a career destroyer. source
Youre the director of your second act make sure its a success.
At the end of 2008, the pulp and paper plant where Tina Wixon worked was bought out, and the new owners brought with them a series of temporary layoffs. Wixon, now 52, says that was the push she needed to finally follow her dream of becoming a nurse.
The Kelso, Washington resident spent two years at Lower Columbia College to complete prerequisite work, before earning her bachelors degree through Western Governors University in Utah. She enjoys her new career so much that shes considering a masters degree in nursing informatics.
Known as encore careers or recareering, second careers may be particularly appealing to older workers who are either ready for a change or find themselves unemployed and with few options in their current field. About 4.5 million workers between ages 50 and 70 have second careers and another 21 million are expected to join them within the next five years, according to Encore.org.
If you, too, are ready for a change of pace, here are seven tips to get started.
1. Decide whether to get a job or a business.
A second career may take one of two forms. Some, like Wixons, involve changing fields and finding a new job. Others choose to start a business as their second career.
Joni Petty, owner and president of Jepco Recycling Resources in Phoenix, chose the second route. A former human resources professional, Petty was looking for something more meaningful in her life. Thanks to a connection through her local chamber of commerce, she discovered businesses had a need for recycling consulting services.
It was an unmet need, Petty says. You cant imagine the waste that goes on.
It was also a business that dovetailed with her passion for the environment. At age 50, she started Jepco in 2012, and it is now a full-service recycling resource for large and small industries.
The decision to pursue a new job or start a business is highly personal. It may be quicker to land a new job, but once established, a business could provide more stability. Consider your personal goals, skills and preferences when deciding which option is right for you.
Whether you decide to go with a job or a business, career and finance experts say workers need to do their homework before jumping into a new field.
The most important thing is to talk to people in that career, says Jean Wilczynski, a financial advisor with Exencial Wealth Advisors in Old Lyme, Connecticut. Do some volunteer work. See if its what you think it is.
Understanding a career from the inside can also be beneficial when it comes time to apply for a job, says John Krautzel, vice president of marketing and member experience for career network Beyond.com.
Read what the professionals in your prospective field are reading, and learn to talk the talk, he says. More familiarity will better prepare you to speak confidently and reassure an employer that youre the right candidate for the job. source
One in two Canadians who have not had career counseling say they would have sought professional career planning or employment advice if they could do it over again, a new survey has found.
“There is recognition that just like you need a financial planner and other professionals in your life, you also need professional advice to successfully manage your career,” said Jan Basso, chair of the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counseling (CERIC), which commissioned the survey along with The Counseling Foundation of Canada.
Basso, who is also director of co-operative education and career development at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., said the need for career guidance is particularly acute with ongoing skills and experience mismatches, and with rapid changes in the Canadian employment landscape, citing the oil and gas and retail sectors as examples.
The survey of 1,500 adult Canadians looks at how they use career and employment counseling services. Three groups emerge from the findings – those who define themselves as having a “career,” those who define themselves as having a “job” and students. Those with careers say their careers fit with their post-secondary background or required a degree, diploma or specific training. Those with jobs say no specific education was required or it was the best job they could find. At 55%, those working in careers make up the largest category of respondents.
More than half of those with a career (53%) said they had sought advice from a career professional. Those with a job accessed counseling services less than those with a career at just under four in 10 (38%). Among both those with careers and jobs who did not seek career or employment counseling, half agreed that they should have obtained more professional advice (47% and 50% respectively).
Canadians reported that when they were considering career options, they were most likely to have met with a:
High school guidance counselor (55%)
Career counselor at a post-secondary institution (40%)
Person involved in human resources or career management at their place of work (27%)
Specialist at a community-based employment center (26%)
Recruiter or headhunter (21%)
Barriers to accessing career services mentioned in the survey include Canadians not believing they need career counseling since they already know their career goals and a lack of familiarity with the different career services available.
“Career professionals come in a variety of forms, from high school guidance counselors to private career coaches,” said Riz Ibrahim, CERIC’s executive director. “Some can be accessed for free and for some, there is a cost. It’s understandable that people might need assistance to determine the right type of services for their needs.”
Canadians can access career professionals for far more than writing resumes, Ibrahim said. Career professionals provide guidance on career planning, advancing one’s career or making a career transition whether a student, mid-career changer or retiree. They also help people identify their interests and skills and to understand the job market as well as education or training opportunities. Career professionals also work with organizations to ensure they have the right people with the right skills through a range of human resources practices.
Students in the survey list parents, other family members and friends as individuals they have consulted about their career and employment ambitions. Teachers and professors also appear as important sources of advice around career options. A majority of current students (58%) report that they are likely to seek advice from career or employment counselors.
Survey findings show that as age rises, the number of Canadians with careers seeking career counseling declines. Those 18–24 years of age are most likely to report that they have used career counseling services at 76%. More women (57%) than men (50%) report having accessed career services. In terms of location, more residents of Ontario (61%) sought advice from a career professional compared with residents of Quebec (49%), Atlantic Canada (46%) and BC (45%). source