Your 2012 Career Re-SOLUTION

27 12 2011

This post was originally written this time last year, but it’s still very relevant.  So, I’ve done a little tweaking and viola!  We have a new post to get everyone moving forward in 2012!  

By this time, I’m sure you’ve already read several articles about setting New Year’s resolutions and/or reflection posts about 2011.  This isn’t one of those posts.  It is inspired from the idea, but I’m going to take this in a different direction.  Instead of thinking of resolutions (only 8% of Americans actually are successful in keeping their resolutions according to this study), think more about the SOLUTION or “reSOLUTION”.  Yes, I realize that play on words is a little cheesy, but hey, it’s easy to remember, right?  Think about last year’s goals – why you achieved them, why you didn’t, and what you want to achieve in 2012.

Making a resolution doesn’t hold too much clout these days.  Everyone wants to lose weight, stop smoking, or save money, but how many actually do so?  Make your goals part of your SOLUTION.  A solution should help you achieve your end goals, so think about that as you set your goals.  Will they help you (physically, mentally, spiritually, financially, personally) in the long run?

Reflect. Look back over 2011 and the goals you set.  Which ones did you accomplish? Which ones weren’t accomplished?  Here’s a tip: Set quantifiable goals. For example: Instead of setting a goal “to lose weight,” set a goal to lose a certain amount by a certain date.  “Lose 15 pounds by June 1, 2012” has more clarity and will help you hold yourself accountable.  You’ll know if you’re on track, if you make it or if you miss it.  You won’t have the excuse of saying “well, I did lose weight…” (knowing well enough that you probably did lose some weight, but gained more overall).

Accept failure. You’re going to fail.  Know this.  Even the most successful people in history failed.  But that didn’t stop them from succeeding.  Jason Seiden reminds us all in his blog that we shouldn’t be afraid to fail spectacularly.  I like that phrase a lot.  If you’re going to fail, do it spectacularly.  Here’s the key: learn from failure and move on.  Remember this when you set goals.  It’s easy to set easily reachable goals because you don’t want to fail, but failure is good for growth.

Know your own potential. Set attainable goals for yourself, but don’t let that limit you.  It’s easy to accomplish easy goals and there are some that will be easier than others.  Set some goals that will challenge you to push yourself one step further, whether it’s further in your career, your personal life, etc.

Take it slow. When you set goals for yourself, envision the timeline for achieving those goals.  Set 30 day, 90 day, 6 month, and 1 year goals.  As I mentioned earlier, some goals will be easy to achieve quickly, while others could take years.  My suggestion would be to rank them in tiers by importance and timing.   Also, don’t be afraid to adjust goals as priorities change.  For example, purchasing a new sports car in 1 year could be a good idea now, but priorities could change with a new baby, unexpected financial challenges, etc.

Make goals visual. Post them on the fridge, bathroom mirror, over your desk, and anywhere else that would remind you regularly.  Visuals are extremely motivating!  From personal experience, I can tell you that this works.  Just by posting a fitness plan to my refrigerator, blackberry, and over my desk, I was able to lose over 50 pounds over the course of 1 year!  The posted goals along with a picture of me as I was when I started and a picture of my healthier days held me accountable and kept me motivated!  It also keeps me motivated.  🙂

One last recommendation: Start NOW. Don’t wait until January 1 or January 2 (after the headache is gone) to get started.  Start now and get in the routine to achieve your goals.  Get a jump-start on everyone else!

I hope that these suggestions and tips, along with past blog posts, have been helpful to you in your job search as you seek to find your true passion.  For more articles to help you succeed, check out the Job Search Success Guide by clicking the tab above.  Congratulations on your success in 2011 and best of luck to you as you work towards your SOLUTION in 2012!!

Update:  I had several personal successes (mostly due to awesome supporters like you) and a few failures (these are on me) in 2011.  Some of my proudest achievements were running not one, but TWO half marathons, losing over 30lbs, and becoming a healthier, happier person.  I finally found a way to release stress and reflect on the day’s challenges.  You can follow my running journey here at Run Because.

Failures?  Sure, I had a few.  I took risks.  Some paid off, while some didn’t.  One failure that comes to mind was my plan to incorporate video snippets into Campus to Career this year.  I’ll admit, 2011 got away from me.  I did learn from this failure, though.  I learned to be more realistic with myself and my goals that I set.  Goals should be inspirational, yet achievable.  Onward to 2012!

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[INFOGRAPHIC] How an Applicant Tracking System Reads Your Resume

13 12 2011

Have you ever wondered what happens to your resume when you apply online?  Well, today’s employers receive a steady stream of applications from job seekers for each open position.  Those employers can’t go through every resume they receive (imagine how many thousands of resumes are in the system); therefore, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) exist to manage, scan, and track candidate resumes.

What you need to know:  While an ATS will certainly save time for the employer, job candidates unaware of the ins and outs of this technology will likely experience difficulties.  It is important for applicants to understand how this technology works.  After all, if a resume isn’t properly optimized for an ATS, it might not make it to the employer’s desk.  You wouldn’t want that to happen, would you?

I love how technology continues to change how we share information and the use of infographic data has become all the rage in our ever-evolving digital landscape.  Check out the infographic below, compiled by Resunate, the world’s only search engine optimizing resume builder, offers a look into what happens to your resume after you hit send – and how you can work with the system.

Is your resume optimized for Applicant Tracking System success?





Holiday Networking – Navigate Like a Pro

6 12 2011

Photo credit: Holiday Anscers

The holiday season is here.  Regardless of what you observe or don’t observe, the season brings with it many opportunities for networking.  Whether it’s the company-wide party or a small gathering at a friend’s house, knowing what to do at a networking event can prove to be very beneficial!   I hope the tips below help you as you navigate through the eggnog, sugar cookies, and maybe even a little fruitcake this season.

  • It’s not about the food (or drink.)
  • You booze (too much), you lose.
  • Don’t forget the handshake. 
  • It’s not about you. 
  • Business Cards:  Don’t overload.

Now that I have your attention, read the full article below and learn how to network like a professional!

It’s not about the food (or drink.) You’re trying to land an interview, earn business, or make new connections, right? Try this: eat before you go to the event. It’s okay to nibble here and there, but how can you carry on a conversation with someone if you have 15 mini burgers piled on your plate? Another tip is to network first, and then eat. That way, you still get to enjoy the food. Win-win!

You booze (too much), you lose. Someone always ends up having too much fun at the networking event. You know, they’re dancing on the tables, talking to the coat rack, singing karaoke at the top of their lungs, etc. Don’t be that person. If you’re of legal drinking age, it’s okay to enjoy a drink or two within reason if you plan to imbibe, and then switch to soda, coffee or water. They’ll never know your Coca-Cola or Pepsi isn’t mixed with something else if you don’t tell them. The bonus: You’re still clear-headed and can carry on an intelligent conversation (handy for follow up and follow through) while the other person has a nasty hangover. You have the advantage! Like every major label says, “enjoy responsibly.”

Don’t forget the handshake. When you’re introducing yourself to someone at a networking event, shake their hand, look them in the eye and give a short (10 seconds or less) greeting. If you have a drink in your hand, try to carry it in your left hand so your right hand is warm and dry. There’s nothing more jarring than a cold, wet handshake!

It’s not about you. Wait…what? You read that correctly. Networking isn’t about you. When you’re networking, try to listen more than you talk. Ask people how you can help them. As a student, this seems odd, doesn’t it? Don’t worry – you still have a lot to offer! Offer a unique perspective on their line of business, share with them what you’re hearing on campus related to their company or product. Another tip: Use the networking experience to ask questions like “what do you like most about your job?” or “what tips would you suggest for me as a college student who is preparing for graduation and their first career?”

Business Cards:  Don’t overload. Networking events aren’t typically conducive for handing out your résumé. Instead, bring plenty of business cards that you can use as a follow up tactic. When you’re finished speaking with the individual, offer them your business card if it’s appropriate, ask for theirs and when/how you should follow up. When you do follow up, you can attach your résumé (remember, it’s still not all about you – bring up something you had in common and offer your assistance or insight) for their convenience.  Added bonus: Business cards are easy to create.  You can make your own by downloading a template and printing on card stock at home, or you can order from online sites such as VistaPrint or moocards.com.  Just remember to keep it professional.

I hope these tips are helpful to you as you head out for the holiday party or next networking function.  Have a tip that wasn’t covered?  I’d love you to add it to the list.  Leave a comment below and let me know!  As always, thanks for reading.

Want to learn more about networking?  Check out this NETWORKING BONUS TIP: 8 Rules for Networking from The Wall Street Journal.  Click here