Work & Personality: You Don’t Have to Be Boring

28 02 2012

What is your workplace personality?  Do you let your true colors show?  As I was walking down rows and rows of cubicles the other day in a corporate office, I was impressed by the way each employee decorated their space, adding their own pieces of workplace flair.  Whether it was colorful posters, pictures of family, or an assortment of action figures (I’ll admit, I stayed a while to check this one closer), each person’s personality came through.  Even those that didn’t have all the bright colors and flair had a certain personalization to their workspace.  That’s when it donned on me.  You don’t have to be boring to be professional.

Think outside the box.  In fact, there is no box.  Seriously, stop thinking about the box.  You’re thinking about the box now, aren’t you?  Strive to come up with unique solutions to challenges that affect the workplace.  There are no dumb ideas.  Imagine where we’d be if the Wright brothers listened to their peers telling them that they’d never fly or if Thomas Edison stopped trying after his first attempt to invent the incandescent light bulb, telegraph, or Kinetoscope.  The Oscars wouldn’t be the same if Edison had thought within the confines of his “box.”

Keep your objectives in front of you.  Don’t lose sight of what you’re actually trying to accomplish.  Make sure what you’re doing contributes to the overall objective.  Wild ideas come to me all the time, but I always ask myself this question: “how does this align with my strategic objectives?”  If it doesn’t align, you might want to reconsider.

Be different and have a little fun.  It’s okay to be different.  That’s what diversity is – difference.  Whether it’s a different perspective (thought diversity) or a view from a different background (cultural diversity,) difference is good.  After all, great minds think differently, not alike.  The companies with the best workplace cultures get this.  Personality makes the world go ‘round.  Just remember that there’s a time and place for said personality.  Joking around too much at work can cause others to not take you seriously.  There’s a balance.  It’s okay to laugh and let others see a different side of you other than the Professional Paul persona.  Do you enjoy what you do?  Do others know this?  Feel free to share!

It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you let people see the “real you.”  You can let your personality shine, yet still maintain a professional image.  I’m sure there is more to it than what I’m thinking, but why overanalyze?  Let’s keep it simple.

What are your suggestions on how to inject personality into your work?  I’d love to know.  Please leave a comment below.  The dialogue is open.   It’s your move.  🙂

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Before You Start, Know Thyself

21 02 2012

“There are three things extremely hard, Steel, a Diamond, and to know one’s self.” – Benjamin Franklin as quoted in Poor Richard’s Almanac

A new reader recently reached out to me via LinkedIn and left a great comment.  She said, “I think there’s one thing that I need help with in my job hunt and that’s knowing myself. I am graduating soon and I still don’t know what I should do career wise. I am excessively curious about everything and don’t know what kind of job I should go for.”  I’m guessing she’s not the only one faced with this conundrum.  Why do I say that?  Well, you see I was in the very same position not too long ago.  Here are three tips to help you find that job that fits you perfectly:

Discover your values and beliefs.  What are they?  Beliefs are concepts that we hold to be true, determining our attitudes and opinions.  Values are ideas that we hold to be important, governing the way we behave, communicate and interact with others.  This is a time that you should spend on yourself.  Find time with your family learning the why of their core values.  Does this career opportunity and company align?  Research to find out!  The best technology is available to you via the internet.  Whether you use Google, Bing, or Yahoo, research the company, learn what the culture is like (network with people who work there) and determine if this is a fit for you.

Try new things.  We all don’t know what we want to do when we grow up.  Depending on when you asked me, my job interests have ranged from cowboy (age 4) to marine biologist (high school) to doing cartoon voices like the legend, Mel Blanc.  Ok…that might still be a job interest.  🙂  Find out what really interests you by seeing the full job in action.  Try job shadowing with someone who holds a position that interests you. You’ll find out what you don’t do well and don’t want to do at all very quickly.  Use job shadowing as a way to find what you really want to do, one day at a time.

Fail spectacularly.  We all make mistakes and fail from time to time.  The smartest people in business aren’t perfect.  They just know who to properly recalibrate when they do fail, so they’re prepared next time.  Failure can be a teacher or the Master, so don’t let it rule you.  Find something positive from your mistakes, adjust accordingly and move forward.  Don’t be afraid to fail, and when you do, do it spectacularly.  What does that mean?  It means that you don’t hold back – believe in what you’re doing!

These are simply three suggestions.  You’re the one to make it happen, so do what makes the most sense for you.  Have a recommendation?  Leave a comment and help add to this article.  I’ve learned a lot from my readers (thanks Jenny, for inspiration to write this article) over the past few years and continue to be inspired and amazed by the way good people help others in need.  So, thanks for reading.  Pay it forward.  You’ll be glad you did.





5 Things to Leave Off Your Resume

14 02 2012

It’s Valentine’s Day today, so in an effort to spend some well-deserved time with my sweetheart, this week’s post comes to you from a fan.   This blog, now in its fourth year of operation, has brought together some excellent job seeker tips and tools for you to use.  The best part?  They’re free.  If you’re interested in guest posting on Campus to Career, please email me your pitch at kirk.baumann@att.net.  All articles should be between 400-600 words in length, relate to the job search, social media, leadership or recruiting, and refrain from promoting links such as freeproducts[dot]com, etc.  Make sense?

Without further adieu, I give you this week’s guest post: 5 Things to Leave Off Your Resume:

Photo credit: Networkingnote

There are many career networking opportunities available for job seekers.  Networking opportunities prove useful however, at some point, you are going to be required to submit one of two documents.  The documents required will be a resume or Curriculum Vitae (A typed summary of your professional and educationalbackground).  Resumes and Curriculum Vitae are documents that should never be considered “finished.”  These two things should be continuously updated in order to properly display pertinent information about your professional and academic careers.  It is highly recommended that resumes contain no more than one page for sometimes, less is more and resume writing proves no exception.  There are certain things that you should leave off your resume.

The following are five suggestions for worthwhile exclusions:

Leave photos off your resume

Discrimination suits prove rampant in the field of Human Resources and employment services.  If someone presents a resume with a picture and that person is not hired, it leaves room to file a discrimination law suit claiming the person was not hired because their picture was not appealing.  Most company Human Resource departments will just throw resumes with pictures away or save them to avoid the discrimination issue altogether.

References Available on Request

This statement should NEVER appear on your resume. Hiring mangers know that you need reliable references during your job search.  Ensure that you have your “reference” list prepared upon request.  You want the list to be updated with the correct contact and professional information.  Do not forget to update your reference sheet before job hunting.  It could prove embarrassing if one of your professional references is contacted and they no longer work at the same company.  This can put uncertainty into the minds of hiring managers and could cause you to not get the job.

Unprofessional email address

Unprofessional email addresses should not be placed on resumes.  Email address such as notsodumbperson@gmail.com or likestoparT@yahoo.com will not impress a potential employer.  It is highly recommended before you start job searches that you create another email address. The address should include a basic first name [dot] last name. Yahoo and Gmail are popular email servers that offer free email accounts. These accounts allow for creating professional email addresses to use for job searches.

BONUS: Don’t forget about LinkedIn! Is your profile filled out? Click here for some great tips from career expert, Emily Bennington.

Posting every job you had since high school

All of us remember working at the local theatre or pizza shop during high school.  You should leave this point out of your resume.  It proves necessary to keep your job history accounted for, but you do not have to list every job you have held dating back to your high school years.  It is essential to determine what jobs in the past proves relevant to the job(s) you are applying for.   Re-read your resume and you should determine if the jobs listed fall into these two categories: Recent and relevant.  If a past-job does not qualify for these categories, leave it out.

Avoid boring and inadequate language

Phrases such as “detail-oriented” and “team player” are no longer phrases that can effectively promote you.  Instead, use terms that describe what makes you a team performer or how you pay attention to detail in making projects and company missions successful.  Keep in mind that the “verbiage” you place on your resume is what catches the attention of hiring managers.  Words do prove effective and can make the difference in obtaining an interview or a letter in the mail stating you are not qualified for the job.

BONUS: Click here for a great article from CareerBuilder regarding resume keywords.

About the author: Wilson Campbell is an HR expert, who specializes in team building and team building activities.  He is also an expert in troubleshooting the concerns and considerations of employees.





SHIFT_ Your Mindset

7 02 2012

“SHIFT_. A single word that captures the passion and commitment that has revived and drives our future. Everything we touch, we shift. And everything we shift, we try to make better and uniquely Nissan.

SHIFT_ thinking changes the way we look at things, the way we do things and the way we react to life around us.  It’s no longer about just doing, but doing for a purpose, doing effectively. It is change, but change driven for better, faster, higher performance. We are not afraid to take the lead at times or to stretch the boundaries in wider, better directions. When you change the way you look at reality, you will find that amazing things can happen.”

Why am I talking about an automotive company?  Look a little closer.  You see, shift happens.  Things change.  Life moves on.  What Nissan has discovered is that you’ve got to keep moving toward your goals, whatever they may be.  Curveballs will be thrown at you!  To help you catch some of those wild pitches (or better, yet – help you knock them out of the park,) here are a few examples of how my mindset has shifted regarding some of the social tools I use (yes, this still relates to your career):

Twitter:

  • Original mindset: This weird, new tool has no value. Why would anyone care what I think? And who really wants to know what I had for lunch?
  • Current mindset: This awesome tool keeps me connected to the world in real-time.  News, humor, relevant articles – you name it, Twitter has it!  It’s all about how you use the tools, not the tool itself.  Ever used a sugar packet to level a wobbly table?  It’s up to YOU to find the value!

LinkedIn:

  • Original mindset: It’s the professional space online. I should be using it for business, connecting only to people I know.  Oh, and I might as well copy what’s on my résumé into my profile.  It’s the same thing, right?
  • Current mindset: LinkedIn is valuable, but again, it’s all about how you use it.  I use the platform to connect with people (and continue to connect with them after the initial invitation) in my network, along with people I’ve never met.  WHAT?  Connect with someone you DON’T know on LinkedIn?  There’s value in doing this.  Expand your network.  We’re all connected by fewer links than you think!  LinkedIn is also great for group participation and to establish credibility.  Know the answer to someone’s question?  Build your reputation!  By the way, I still don’t link all my tweets to LinkedIn.  For me, it’s distracting.  Sure, I cross-post sometimes, but EVERYTHING isn’t worthy of LinkedIn.  Know your platform and purpose.

Facebook:

  • Original mindset:  Facebook isn’t for me.  Why?  Actually, Facebook wasn’t available to me when it first launched (I’m not THAT old) and I didn’t have an .edu email address, which was required for users at that time.  When the platform opened up its membership, I joined just see what everyone was talking about, connecting with long-lost friends and family members.  I posted pictures…some weren’t too flattering.  After all, who would use Facebook as a job seeking tool?
  • Current mindset:  Facebook is the future.  Most of us already know this.  Why do I say that it’s the future?  Apps like BranchOut and BeKnown are bringing a new side to Facebook that allows job seekers to build their professional profile, without it being linked to their general profile (you can still have a locked-down Facebook page, but the apps open the professional information up for outside viewers, like recruiters.)  Think of this:  Facebook has nearly 800 million active users.  It’s where people are spending their time – day and night.  I check my social profiles and email every morning before getting out of bed.  That’s a powerful sense of connectedness!  We all like to share things on Facebook.  What this does is give others a sense of our personality and culture fit.  It’s who we are at our core.  Think about that before you question recruiters using it as a research tool.  You have the power to work this in YOUR favor!  YOU control what YOU post (and who sees it, who tags you in photos, etc.)

Pinterest:

  • Original mindset: What is this and why are people posting pictures of food or their newest craft project on Facebook?  That feature can be turned off, by the way.  Hint, hint.  Why would I want to even entertain another social sharing tool?
  • Current mindset:  I joined.  To my surprise, it’s quite useful!  I use Pinterest for moments when I need some inspiration or motivation.  I use Pinterest to help spark creativity as well.  The next time you hit a wall trying to squeeze creativity out of your fried little brain, check out the site.  You’ll be surprised at how refreshed and inspired you are when you get back to work on the task at hand, including your job search. NOTE: Pinterest, like many other social sites, CAN BE A TIME SUCK!!  Again, you make the rules.  It’s up to you regarding how you use the tool.  PS. If you have any delicious recipes, I’m happy to serve as your taste-tester.  🙂

One platform I’m missing is Google+.  I’m still in the infant stages of discovery with this tool.  The original mindset is this: What makes it so special, so different than anything else out there?  That’s the million dollar question that a lot of people are asking.

You tell me – what do you think about Google+ or any of the other sites covered in this post?  How are YOU using them for your job search?  How has your mindset shifted?  Please leave a comment below.  I want to hear from you.

As always, thanks for reading!