Get Out of Your Chair – It’s KILLING You!

29 11 2012

A while back, I wrote a post titled Take a Vacation! that discussed why it’s good to get away from it all.  “All” includes electronics (having a panic attack yet?) and believe it or not, can have rejuvenating qualities that increase productivity, innovative thinking, and your overall happiness factor.  

But, what if you don’t take a break?  Could it actually be killing you?  Check out this great INFOGRAPHIC below from Kayla Evans.  You might be surprised at some of the findings!  Read the full article here. 

Take A Break

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The Web’s Best Career Advice – Weekly Roundup v.1

27 11 2012

This week, I’m trying something new.  Don’t worry – this will supplement each week’s posts that are released on Tuesdays.  Since this is the first post of its kind, I’m highlighting it now.  This is simply something I thought you’d appreciate.  After all, the whole point of Campus to Career is to pay it forward.  Here is some of the best career advice I found on the web this week.  Look for another original post on Thursday.  Next week, we’ll resume our regularly scheduled program.  Enjoy!

What’s the weirdest interview question you’ve ever been asked?  It’s all about being prepared, but some of these are pretty far out there.  Check out the 10 Terrifyingly Tricky Interview Questions from AT&T to Zappos! Click here to read the full article.

We all want to get promoted, right?  What do we need to do to make that happen?  Check out Forbes’ Top 6 Communication Skills That Will Get You Promoted for a few tips.  Also, don’t forget to find a mentor.  It can make all the difference!

Want to know what the “Must-Have Job Skills for 2013” are?  Click here to read a great article from The Wall Street Journal.  Will 2013 be your breakout year?

Working on your elevator pitch?  Click here to see the seven key components to help make yours pitch-perfect.

Heidi Klum knows a thing or two about the job search. Want to find out what she and other supermodels have discovered?  Read this.

Looking for a little happiness?  Check out Inc. Magazine’s 9 Daily Habits That Will Make You Happier.

That’s it!  I read dozens of articles a week, scouring the web for great pieces of advice to pass on here at Campus to Career.  I hope you enjoy this.  Please let me know!  I’m always looking to improve the quality of content and your user experience.  Leave a comment below or email me directly at kirk.baumann@att.net.  Have a great week!





7 Habits Great Managers Employ

20 11 2012

Special note: This week’s post is a little different from the basic job advice found here on Campus to Career.  You see, we’re all working to land that job, improve our performance or develop ourselves professionally.  At one point, there’s a good chance you’ll be ready for management.  Guest blogger Valerie Cecil has a great post for you this week that will outline the 7 habits great managers employ.  They’re simple and easy to remember, helping you become the ideal manager.  Let us know what you think – please leave a comment below and if you like this article, pay it forward with a tweet, share via Facebook, or post to LinkedIn so that your network may benefit from the information shared.  

7 Habits Great Managers Employ by Valerie Cecil

There are bad managers, good managers, and managers that are great to work for. Which one are you? Are you interested in seeing how you measure up and possibly improving your management skills? The secret to good management isn’t especially difficult to learn; it simply requires you to follow a set of common sense rules that you can quickly develop into regular habits, so that being a great manager comes with little effort or thought. Learn the 7 keys to good management and improve your chances for success.

1. Communication

When you’re a manager, strong communication skills are especially important. Your employees rely upon you to communicate to them what tasks they are required to do, how they are doing, and if there is anything they need to do to improve. If you cannot effectively communicate your instructions and observations to your employees, how do you expect the business to function in an efficient manner?

Communication also comes in handy when dealing with vendors, clients, colleagues, and in networking events. If your company is a machine, then your communication is the oil that greases the gears and keeps operations running smoothly.

2. Define Goals

In order to stay on the path to success, you must have clearly defined goals for the business, your employees, and yourself. If you aren’t working towards achieving short term and long term goals, then you have nothing to gage your success, and could just simply be floundering along. Setting goals for your employees also encourages motivation and increased productivity. If your employees don’t clearly know what they need to achieve, they are likely to do just to the minimum that is required.

3. Be Honest, Understanding, and Fair

Your employees are your assets, but they are also people, and need to be treated with the same respect you expect from them. They have feelings and circumstances in both their professional and personal lives that could affect their performance. By combining the above traits with good communication, you can foster respect and honesty from your employees, provide encouragement to improve morale and motivation, and improve your credibility and establish trust. Lead by example, and your employees are more likely to follow your lead and develop your good habits and traits.

4. Research Your Target Market

Being informed about your target market, their wants and needs, and important demographics that may determine purchasing habits will equip you with all the knowledge you need to effectively market your product or service. Customer service is key to establishing customer loyalty—do your best to appease the customer, and they will be more likely to choose you over a competitor.

5. Recognize and Reward Employee Efforts

Your employees want to know that they are doing a good job, so give credit where credit is due. Thank employees for their hard work, and show gratitude when goals are achieved or a project is completed. Offering incentives for employees who excel above and beyond is also a good way to encourage motivation and improve morale, as well as show you who isn’t really interested in performing above the minimum.

6. Utilize Your Resources Effectively

Your resources are comprised of everything from the data you’ve collected about consumers to your marketing budget to any particular skills individual employees may possess. Carefully analyze and plan how to best utilize your resources for the benefit of the company. A wasted resource is a wasted opportunity and less money generated for the business.

7. Stay Organized

Proper organization is key to keeping things running smoothly and using your time effectively. Organization goes hand in hand with time management. If you can master these two habits, you’ll greatly improve your chances for future success. Make sure you also instruct your employees on how they can stay organized as well, so that their own productivity can improve.

 

About the Author:
Valerie Cecil writes on career advancement for Outbounding.com. In her spare time she’s quite handy and is currently working on a confined space entry from Etraintoday.com.





Your Career: Some Assembly Required

13 11 2012

Have you ever purchased a piece of furniture such as a desk, book shelf or TV stand?  You know, the kind of furniture that comes in a very compact, very heavy box with a billion pieces, a 200-page instruction manual, and requires only a Phillips head screwdriver?  Some assembly required reads the box.  I’m laughing as I type this because I found myself in this very situation recently.  I finished the assembly in what seemed like fifteen hours (it might have been…I blacked out for a bit) and may or may not have had a few extra screws when I was done.

Some assembly required.  That got me thinking…

Those three words resonated with me as I thought about my career.  In fact, the concept can be applied to anyone.  Everyone’s career has some assembly required.  We have to make the choice to build something, work towards a goal.

To sum it up, here are a few observations:

Read the instructions.  Let’s admit it – we’re guilty of dumping out all the contents of the box, skipping past the instructions because assembly looks easy enough.  How many times has that actually worked out for you?  I have a jar of extra bolts and screws to prove my point.  In the job search, in your career, and in life, instructions are important.  Processes are in place for a reason.  Make sure you follow the instructions on how to apply for the job.  If the instructions ask you to submit additional documents along with your résumé, do it.  Also, in the real world, deadlines are deadlines.  Aim to do what you need to do before the deadline.  99.9% of the time, you won’t get an extension.

Bring the right tools.  The butter knife can only do so much as a flat-head screwdriver.  What happens when the screw is smaller than the knife tip?  It doesn’t work as well, does it?  Having the right tools in your toolbox can make all the difference.  In the job search, your tools could include knowledge of the company and their culture, your résumé, business card and elevator pitch to name a few.  Do you have the right tools?

Have a backup plan.  Have you noticed that on the last page of the instructions, there’s an 800-number just in case you have difficulty assembling the furniture?  Most will even include a website or phone number that will provide you with a service that sends someone to your home to complete the project.  In your job search and career, do you have a backup plan?  It’s important to know your options and what you could do if Plan A doesn’t work out.  This applies to everyday life, not just the job search.  Plan, plan, plan!

Never stop improving.  Sound familiar?  I borrowed that phrase from my friends at Lowe’s.  It’s very relevant to what we’re discussing here.  Never stop improving.  Keep moving forward and challenge yourself to do better every day.  Set the bar, jump over the bar, and then set the bar higher.

What are your thoughts on this topic?  I’d love to know.  Leave a comment below or share this via social media if you find this article to be of value.  As always, thanks for reading.  Have a great week!

PS. While we’re on the topic of assembly, here’s a great concept that IKEA started using to recruit qualified talent for their organization.  Check it out:





What Not to Do After College (aka What I Did)

6 11 2012

Guest post by Kristie Lewis

So you’ve seen a lot of great advice here about how to make the transition from pizza-eating dorm rat to productive member of society. Here’s a cautionary tale from my own experience.

I graduated from a prestigious private university in the South, at a time before the current economic freakout had set in. At that time, in the relatively sheltered and spoiled demimonde I was coming out of, everything seemed pretty much set up for us to succeed. I also, as a liberal arts major, had a certain philosophical insouciance toward material gain. This despite the fact that my parents were pretty broke throughout my childhood (as in, we all lived together in a single motel room for a couple months when we couldn’t find a house we could afford), and had persistently, even annoyingly, proclaimed the primacy of a good hard work ethic above all other values.

So, idiot that I was, I wasn’t particularly worried about getting a job. I had some friends moving to Boston and getting a house together, so I figured, who cares if I don’t have something lined up, I love that city, it’ll be a blast, why not?

Well, the rent in Boston, is why not. Having worked a bit in publishing, I interviewed for many jobs in that sector (which is pretty abundant in Boston, especially academic presses) but was coming up dry. Summer was fun, of course, but by the time the leaves began to change, any graduation gift money I had received had long been spent.

Full-time gigs were not forthcoming, but I tried a series of little jobs that never quite paid the bills. I worked for a time in a soon-to-be-closed video store, 10 hours a week (which was about as long as it seemed I spent on the bus to get there). I interned one day a week, and ushered nights, at an arthouse cinema in Cambridge. That place was absolutely fantastic, so much so that I would gladly hang out there for free…which in fact I did, because being an arts nonprofit, it was very tight on funds.

Similarly, I next fell in via Craigslist with a tech entrepreneur, who had a very innovative mobile gaming concept, but alas, the big round of venture capital never appeared, and it sort of wound down slowly while I hemorrhaged cash, working pro bono toward the end because the project I was working on was so cool, and I hoped having it on my résumé might take me somewhere interesting.

Toward the end, I began to put rent on promotional-rate checks sent to me by my friendly neighborhood credit-card company. [NOTE: this is a really bad idea.]

I thus took my place as one of the infamous “boomerang generation,” forced to move back into my parents’ house and regroup. After age 18, your mental health requires that you never spend more than two weeks at a time with your parents. It’s bad for your stress levels, your self-esteem, and above all your love life. It was good to reconnect with family, and we were all aware that we would never get quite that much quality time again, so there was a silver lining, but the importance of my genuine adult development required that I move on, sooner rather than later.

My saving grace was SAT tutoring, the best way for a bright college graduate to stack quick (and often tax-free) cash money. This finally gave me enough momentum to achieve escape velocity. A few “real” jobs later, I’m doing just fine, but I’m here to tell you: it’s probably easier to get it right the first time. That said, if things get rocky, don’t feel like you’ll end up living beneath an overpass. It’ll be OK.  Just be more cautious than me.

Byline:

This is a guest post by Kristie Lewis from construction management degree. You can reach her at: Kristie.Lewis81@gmail.com.