Brazen Life http://blog.brazencareerist.com Personal development meets professional aspiration Tue, 27 Jan 2015 01:28:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1 Copyright © Brazen Life 2011 alexis@brazencareerist.com (Jaclyn Schiff, Managing Editor of Brazen Life) alexis@brazencareerist.com (Jaclyn Schiff, Managing Editor of Brazen Life) 1440 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Brazen-Podcast-Art-144x144.jpg Brazen Life http://blog.brazencareerist.com 144 144 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/feed/podcast/ Personal development meets professional aspiration. Personal development meets professional aspiration. So there’s this awesome job, the sort of job you’d just die to land (and tell your friends about)! But the awesome job isn’t nearly like the job you have now. So how do you make it from current job to awesome job? In our podcast series, we’re hoping to provide insights and answers to that very question. We talk to young people who have amazing jobs or are doing something really cool and interesting and ask them how they did it. So listen along for good information and some inspiration, too. job, search, jobs, career, advice, job, hunt, networking, Gen, Y, interviews, millennials Jaclyn Schiff, Managing Editor of Brazen Life Jaclyn Schiff, Managing Editor of Brazen Life alexis@brazencareerist.com no no Here’s How Long It Really Takes Employers to Fill Open Positions http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/26/heres-long-really-takes-employers-fill-open-positions/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/26/heres-long-really-takes-employers-fill-open-positions/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 18:00:34 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18250 Feel like you’re waiting forever for a call-back from your dream job? Here's how long most companies take to fill open positions.

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Whatever industry you’re in, the experience of applying for a job makes us all bite our nails. You fill out endless online fields, hope you don’t lose the formatting when you upload your resume, and then wait. And wait. And try not to hyperventilate when you haven’t received a response from your dream employer.

It’s difficult to know, when you’re in the job-search seat, how long to wait. Should you send one more follow-up email? Look for ways to network your way into the job? (That’s a YES!) Or give up and assume they’ve passed you up for someone else?

Now we have some cold, hard data that shows how long it really takes most employers to fill positions. About 43 percent of job openings are filled within the first 30 days, according to a new report from Indeed and the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR). (Click here to tweet this statistic.) And the 57 percent of job openings that aren’t filled during that first month will likely remain unfilled for three months or more.

“Employers must keep a close eye on the time that it’s taking to fill positions,” Paul D’Arcy, senior vice president of Indeed said, noting that the company’s research identified a tipping point of 30 days. “If a position remains unfilled after the first month, it is highly likely that the employer will struggle to fill this role within three months.”

So which jobs are filled quickly?

What does this mean for job seekers? It means you should do all you can in those first few weeks after the job opening goes live to snag the position. But it also sheds light on the types of jobs employers are struggling to fill: positions that present huge opportunities for job seekers who are willing to go the extra step to gain the skills required.

The hospitality sector has the hardest time finding the right people, Indeed’s research revealed, with 43 percent of job openings unfilled after three months. Manufacturing positions were open for at least three months 38 percent of the time. Also worth noting: both sectors saw moderate rises in employment rates.

Sectors that saw stronger employment increases lately, such as professional services and arts/entertainment, have been able to fill job openings more quickly, according to the study. Even the information technology sector, where growth has been steady, but not remarkable, tends to fill jobs quickly.

Beyond industry, management and supervisory positions seem to take the longest to fill. It makes sense: those just entering the workforce usually have less-specialized skills than experienced applicants. As your resume grows, it can take longer to find an ideal match.

If you’re experienced in the hospitality or manufacturing sectors that have some of the longest hiring timelines, it’s time to brush up your resume and cover letter. Try to highlight skills that can cross over between industries. For instance: you may be a whiz when it comes to managing a hectic shift at a restaurant, but can you also be trusted to compose concise and appealing social media posts on the fly? Play up those strengths.

Once you’ve submitted a job application, take other secondary measures where applicable to put yourself in front of the hiring manager.

“Today, interviews really only exist to confirm that someone I already believe to be awesome (based on my own research) really is that awesome,” Ambra Benjamin, engineering recruiter at Facebook, explained in a Mashable post last week.

A strong resume is essential, but reaching out over social media can help; make sure that you’re easy to find through LinkedIn or a personal website or portfolio. Hiring managers only spend a few seconds on each application, so you’ll want to make it easy for your profile to rise to the top.

Where the jobs are

Beyond your application, there may be other factors — like geography — at play. Indeed noted that businesses in Western states tended to to fill open positions more quickly, while states in the East and Midwest seemed to have greater difficulty. The skillsets of the available workforce sometimes don’t match perfectly with the needs of employers, which can slow the hiring process to a crawl.

And if you think you’re stressed out about finding a job, take solace: businesses are just as anxious about finding the perfect employee.

“Followers of the old-school hiring process tend to ‘post and pray’ and believe that success is dependent upon a job posting being broadcast to as large an audience as possible,” Benjamin explained. “You post a job and pray the right person applies.”

How many working hours are U.S. businesses and wannabe employees missing out on every month because it takes so long to hire? About 330 million hours, the report says. When positions go unfilled, those hours are either covered by employees who are already stretched thin, or lost completely with work going unfinished. Now isn’t that good motivation for businesses to figure out how to hire more efficiently?

Lisa Rowan is a writer and editor in Washington, D.C. A frequent visitor to Boston, her favorite way to network is over cannolis in the North End.

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Looking For a Job? 5 Things You Need To Know About Yourself First http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/26/looking-for-a-job-5-things-you-need-to-know-about-yourself-first/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/26/looking-for-a-job-5-things-you-need-to-know-about-yourself-first/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18212 How much do you know about your personality? What you know about who you are and how you operate affects your job search -- here’s how.

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Our personalities color everything we do, including how we search for a new job.

Do you know how interviewers, hiring managers and key contacts perceive you? Are you aware of what personality traits might be helping or hindering your search? And most importantly, do you know what to do about it?

Understanding your personality can help you make the most out of every opportunity.

The Big Five personality factors

The key to understanding your personality is knowing how you rate on the “Big Five” personality factors. The Big Five — extraversion, openness, agreeableness, conscientiousness and neuroticism — provide a framework for understanding the most important things about yourself: how you make decisions, how you interact with others and how you manage their time and expectations.

Here are five ways understanding your personality can help make you a more effective job seeker: (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Learn your networking tendencies

Recent Jobvite research shows that 64 percent of recruiters rate referrals as their highest quality source of candidates, which suggests that networking is a key component of any job search.

Networking can be intimidating for anyone, but understanding your tendency to extraversion can make it less painful. Highly extroverted job seekers may feel more comfortable cold-calling contacts and going to large networking events.

If you’re more introverted, don’t try to force yourself to network like an extrovert. Focus on developing a few targeted connections in the field and give yourself permission to approach people by email or social media.

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare

Conscientiousness describes your tendency to plan ahead and can have a huge impact on the success of your job search. While highly conscientious people tend to make to-do lists, schedules and deadlines, people lower in conscientiousness may have a more lax attitude toward the process. But unless you have skills in high demand, the wait-and-see approach probably won’t get results.

If you’re naturally high in conscientiousness, you’ll tend to keep your search organized without much effort. But if you’re not typically the organized type, now’s the time to suck it up and get out of your comfort zone. Here’s what you’ll need, at a minimum:

  • A rough schedule of what you’ll be doing each week, to move your search forward
  • A checklist of must-dos to prepare for each of your networking events and interviews
  • A list of questions you expect to get during interviews and your (practiced) answers
  • A central place to organize contact information, for key people in your job search

If you’re groaning at the prospect of making a list and following a schedule, remember — the better you are at organizing your job search, the shorter it’ll be!

3. Polish your interview performance

Interviews can be tough, but understanding your approach to building rapport with an interviewer can make them a lot easier.

You and your interviewer will both have expectations and desires for how you’ll interact. Knowing your own style, and understanding how it matches with that of your interviewer, will help you to better meet his or her expectations.

If you’re more extroverted, you probably won’t struggle with thinking quickly and expressing yourself in an interview. But watch out for a tendency to talk too much, and never interrupt. Hiring managers want to know you can listen as well.

If you’re introverted, you might find it difficult to answer unexpected questions. Don’t pressure yourself; let your interviewer know that you need a minute to think about your answer. They’ll respect your thoughtfulness and that you’re taking the question seriously.

Agreeableness, or your tendency to seek cooperation and harmony in relationships, is also key in an interview. If you’re high in agreeableness, you may be most concerned about whether your interviewer likes you. If you’re lower in this trait, you’ll probably be thinking more about whether you appear competent and intelligent.

Both styles are valid, but it’s important to also think about what the interviewer wants from you. Matching their style of communicating will be more effective that just going with your own default mode.

4. Broaden your job search options

Openness can be key to finding a job in today’s job market. Most recruiters use social media to recruit candidates. People who are more open — that is, willing to explore and adopt new approaches to the job search — will have an advantage in unlocking new opportunitIes.

If your job search consists of searching the classifieds, job boards and attending career fairs, your approach is too traditional for the modern job market. Your competition is tapping into more innovative ways to look for work and you need to be too.

Make a commitment to try at least two or three new methods of job seeking, whether it’s joining LinkedIn or attending a networking event in a new industry. If it sounds intimidating to learn a new website or tool, ask a savvy friend to help walk you through it.

5. Create healthy job search habits

Job searches can be long and daunting, and often take a toll on the body. Understanding how you respond to such stress can help keep you healthy through the process.

Are you the type of person who easily weathers emotional storms, or are you more prone to stress, anxiety and depression? If it’s the latter, you’re probably higher in neuroticism, and you’ll need to pay special attention to taking care of yourself during this time.

Remember that searching for a new job is considered one of the most stressful events a person can go through — right up there with death and divorce — so care for yourself accordingly. Eat well, exercise, spend time with friends or doing hobbies that you love. Keep close tabs on your mental health so you can be aware if you’re heading towards burnout.

Creating healthy job search habits, like taking time to recharge your batteries now and then, is an important part of keeping your body and mind healthy — and a healthy body and mind makes for a better job seeker.

Molly Owens is the CEO of Truity Psychometrics LLC, a California-based provider of online personality and career assessments and developer of the TypeFinder® personality type assessment. Connect with Molly and Truity on Twitter and Facebook.

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Need a New Career? Ditch the Office and Become a Taxi Driver http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/23/need-a-new-career-ditch-the-office-and-become-a-taxi-driver/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/23/need-a-new-career-ditch-the-office-and-become-a-taxi-driver/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18162 Tired of the 9-to-5 routine in an office? Get out and experience your city: a taxi driving career might be right for you. Sound crazy? Here’s why it might not be.

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We all know the drill when it comes to what taxi drivers do: they’re the nice guys who pick you up, help with your luggage and drop you where you want to go. But have you thought about what they do in a little more detail — the skills they require, the income they earn, the hours they work?

If not, read on to find out more about taxi driving jobs around the world. You never know — taxi driving could be the ideal career choice for you. (Click here to tweet this surprising fact.)

What skills and qualifications do you need?

Taxi driving can be a great career choice for those without sparkling qualifications or the right sort of attitude to work in a 9-to-5 office.

So what exactly do you need to qualify? That can vary widely depending on where you live. Licensing requirements vary by countries and even between different cities in the same country.

In North America, the process is usually quicker and simpler than in the United Kingdom, for example, where more extensive training is required. Wherever you live, however, you’ll usually find that a permit apart from an ordinary driver’s licence is needed.

An in-depth knowledge of your local area comes in handy too. The job is about getting from A to B as quickly as possible, so you need to know how to get your passengers where they want to be.

You might also find that those not local to the area turn to you as a font of knowledge, so being able to wow them with what you know is always a plus point. In some places, you’ll need more than a working understanding — in London, for example, black cab drivers are required to pass The Knowledge.

Of course, if you’re driving the mean streets of your local city, it helps to be able to get from place to place in one piece, too, so faults on your licence are less than ideal.

People skills are also greatly coveted. As a taxi driver, you’ll meet tons of people every day and thousands each year. Each of these will have their own story to tell, and some of them will want to share this with you.

If you’re friendly and approachable, you’ll have an absolute ball. The right attitude also increases your likelihood of receiving tips, and these can add a considerable amount to your base income.

On a more practical note, it’s usually necessary to be physically fit to help your passengers with their luggage and have basic money handling skills for collecting and calculating fares.

Hours

When you’re choosing a career, you’ll want to know what your hours are likely to be and a taxi driver’s aren’t always attractive. The average cabbie will work 40 (relatively normal) to 60 (rather unpleasant) hours, with jobs often falling over the weekend and at night.

On the bright side,you do have the flexibility to choose when you want to work, so it may be that you can come to a compromise between finding the most profitable hours and the ones that suit you best.

Income

As with any job, the amount of money you’ll make will vary. Most taxi drivers are independent contractors, so it pays to be productive since your salary will be based on the fares you get. This means that the better you are at identifying the times and places people require a taxi, the more money you’re likely to make.

So how much on average? That depends on where you work. In America, the average driver makes around $25,000 per year, made up of the fares and tips collected from passengers. But this figure depends on where you’re based.

In the District of Columbia, for example, the mean wage is around $35,000 per annum, and drivers in New York and Nevada also average over $30,000. In North Dakota, on the other hand, the figure is closer to $20,000.

Salaries in other developed countries, such as England, are not all that dissimilar. In major cities there, £12,000 to £20,000 is common, with amounts of up to £30,000 not unheard of.

In poorer countries, average salaries are much lower. In India, for example, the typical driver will earn Rs. 6,000 to Rs. 7,000 each month ($94.80 to $110.60).

These figures are based on an average working week of 40 hours, and they’ll vary from week to week based on the fares you pick up, the number of journeys you make and the hours you work.

Entry requirements

Although becoming a taxi driver doesn’t require any particular qualifications, you’ll need to get your hands on an operator’s licence. The conditions for gaining one of these vary from place to place.

In England, different councils have different requirements. As a rule, though, you’ll need to meet these criteria:

  • Be in possession of a full UK or EEA driving licence which is at least 12 months old
  • Have a clean criminal record
  • Be fit enough to pass a medical
  • Be older than 18 (in some areas you’ll need to be 21)
  • Pass a geographical test (the infamous “Knowledge” for those who want to work in London)
  • Complete and pass a driving skills assessment
  • Have the right to work in the UK.

In America, these requirements are usually a little less stringent. Although a special permit must be obtained through a local body, the process of qualifying is a lot simpler. Even in New York, a few days’ worth of classes in defensive driving and coverage of routes, bridges and the different neighborhoods within the five separate areas is required; a walk in the park compared to the two years’ that a London cab driver must spend studying for The Knowledge.

Could taxi driving be for you?

It can be an ideal career choice for those who haven’t really found anything that seems to fit, as it’s flexible, varied and accessible to almost everyone, irrespective of their level of education or experience in the sector.

In terms of finding jobs, too, it can be ideal. With the current economic climate as it is, finding job security, especially if you’re self-employed, can be a nightmare, but people always need taxis — how else would they get home after a hectic Saturday night?

It’s not just about opportunities being open, but also being able to seize them and take your fate into your own hands. Gaining a hackney carriage licence can be hard, and there’s often a waiting list, but as a driver, you don’t have to sit around and wait for something to fall into your lap.

Instead, you can look for the taxi driving equivalent to freelancing in the meantime — working for an operating company. This isn’t only an option for those who have the funds to purchase their own vehicle from a company like Cab Direct, but also those who lack their own car, as these can easily be rented from employers.

If you like working with people, managing your own time and having control over your earnings, consider a career in taxi driving today — it could be the best thing you ever do.

Sam Green is a British Journalism graduate working in the digital marketing industry for over four years and specializing in content marketing strategy development. In his spare time, he enjoys travel and photography.

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Want a Work-From-Home Job? These 100 Companies Let You Work Remotely http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/22/want-work-home-job-100-companies-let-work-remotely/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/22/want-work-home-job-100-companies-let-work-remotely/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 18:00:16 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18205 Is this the year you’re determined to find a job that lets you work from home? These 100 companies offer remote positions -- so you can find the flexibility you crave.

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Do your career goals for this year involve landing a job that lets you work from home?

While finding a new job is never easy, we’ve got a list that will help you figure out which companies to target in your search for remote work.

FlexJobs, an online service for professionals seeking telecommuting, flexible schedule, part-time and freelance jobs, has put together a list of the top 100 telecommute-friendly employers. Which means that if your New Year’s resolutions included finding a job you can do in your pajamas, you’ve now got more places than ever to look.

You’re not the only one who covets these types of positions. Remote work in the U.S. has increased 80 percent since 2005, with 34 million workers performing some kind of telecommuting work across the nation, Global Workplace Analytics reports. The number of remote jobs posted over the last year alone has risen 27 percent, according to FlexJobs.

Here’s a peek at who made the list, and what it means for you as a job-seeker. (Click here to tweet this list.)

Who made the list of top 100 employees for flexible work?

FlexJobs compiled their second annual list of 100 Top Companies with Remote Jobs in 2015 by analyzing job posting histories on their site in the year 2014. Of the more than 30,000 companies posting jobs, the chosen 100 are those companies whose postings offered the largest amount of remote work options, which includes telecommuting, working from home, and virtual jobs.

The purpose of their list? To “guide job seekers in their quest to find legitimate work with trusted companies that have a successful track record recruiting and hiring telecommuters,” says FlexJobs’ CEO, Sara Sutton Fell.

The compilation includes companies of all sizes across all industries. The most-represented fields were:

  1. Medical and health (i.e. UnitedHealth Group, Aetna, Humana, etc.)
  2. Customer service (i.e. Amazon, Teletech, Convergys, Language Line Solutions, etc.)
  3. Sales (i.e. Appen, VMWare, Overland Solutions, etc.)
  4. Computer and IT (i.e. Xerox, Apple, Intuit, IBM, etc.)
  5. Administrative (i.e. FlexProfessionals, Healthfirst, McKesson, etc.)
  6. Education and training (i.e. K12, Kaplan, etc.)
  7. Marketing (i.e. ADP, HD Supply, Teradata, etc.)

Other big names you may recognize include American Express, the American Heart Association, 3M and the U.S. Department of Transportation. While freelancers and IT workers still tend to lead the pack for remote work, the playing field is widening; whatever your career field or specialty, there’s a good chance you can find an employer who’s open to the idea of a flexible working arrangement.

How to tell if you’re right for the (remote) job

There’s plenty to love about working from home. Alicia Courtney, who left a corporate job and now works remotely as an account manager for a digital marketing company, says she has “no intentions of going back” to a corporate world because of the freedom remote work allows her:

I can work really hard and deliver results for my clients, but if I need to run to the grocery store at lunch time, I don’t have a boss watching the clock for my return. I am in control of my career being successful. It has helped me also be the kind of wife and mom I have always wanted to be. I am close by if my family needs me but also able to work a job I love.

But bear in mind that, just like any position, remote jobs come with their own unique challenges. Courtney warns that:

In corporate, your days are pretty much laid out in terms of expectations. Working remotely, you are in control of how, when and where you complete your job. It may sound wonderful, but it can be a challenge finding your own personal groove that works with the client/employer expectations.

Another challenge is that when you are working on a project, just because 5 p.m. rolls around, that doesn’t mean you can walk out on the task. I’ve found myself working late into the night some nights. You have to be flexible and willing to do whatever it takes to meet your employer’s or client’s expectations. The good and the bad.

It takes the right type of personality to make a remote job work for you. Courtney’s advice:

To thrive in a remote job, you have to be self-disciplined, extremely flexible and pretty tech savvy. There are a million tools to help make you work efficiently with others across the country and even the world. But you need to be able to troubleshoot on your own, have backup plans for any electrical outages and come up with working solutions to any challenge. I think creative and motivated individuals are the most successful at remote positions. It’s a common misconception that “work at home” jobs aren’t real careers.  But the people who hold these positions increase revenue and provide high quality work and are invaluable to any company or organization.

Think you’ve got what it takes? Then head on over to FlexJobs’ blog to view the full list of 100 companies.

Who knows, your next dream job might be with one of them. (You’ll have to check the company policy when it comes to pajamas, though. If you’ve got a Skype call with a client, you may need to compromise and put a button-down on over those PJ pants.)

Do you have a job that allows you to work remotely? What do you like or dislike about it? Would you ever consider going back to a more traditional arrangement?

Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

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How Freelancing Can Easily Improve Your Resume http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/22/how-freelancing-can-easily-improve-your-resume/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/22/how-freelancing-can-easily-improve-your-resume/#comments Thu, 22 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18152 Does your resume have room for improvement? Here’s how you can stand out when applying for internships and jobs -- and make a little cash.

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Chances are, if you’re young, your resume sucks — or at least has room for improvement. When working with clients at Students4Students College Advisory, I saw weak activity sheets that look like everyone else’s.

But when we look further into the issue, it makes sense. Between class, studying, extracurriculars and the attempt at enjoying our youth, it’s hard to squeeze in resume-building time. Nevertheless, you must have differentiated and impressive resumes when applying to college and for internships and jobs.

Look to freelance work to boost your resume.

Stick to what you know

When I talk to Forbes 30U30s or Thiel Foundation 20U20s I hear similar undertones — “When I was in high school / college, I started my first company.” And it’s always the same field.

How do most young adults make money without documentable skills? They use the abilities they do have. They babysit, walk dogs and tutor. But recruiters aren’t wowed by peer tutoring on the 45th resume in a row.

So how do these elite young adults make it stand out? Ah, because they don’t just tutor, but start educational firms.

Let’s first look at Brian Sheng, who at age 18 was possibly the youngest-ever managing partner at a venture capital firm. At 20, Sheng’s on the phone with millionaire investors and the hottest startups in the Bay area. But Sheng started with what he knew most about — standardized testing. Sheng founded an SAT prep company in high school and leveraged social media to grow it.

Dan Fine, recently covered by the NYT, is the creator of Glass-U, a popular sunglass firm with licensing deals from colleges, fraternities and FIFA. Dan sells thousands of units and is working on yet another startup Dosed, a mobile solution for diabetes patients. Dan traces his start to the humble creation of NexTutors, a tutoring service that aligns students and clients based upon personality.

Rule number one is stick to what you know. If you’re good with kids, then babysit. But as opposed to just watching your neighbor’s daughter on Saturday nights, spend the $50, incorporate a business and begin your adventure running a childcare service by young people for young people — now that’s a resume boost.

Take your part-time gig seriously

Students are always looking for ways to make money, and freelance sites like Fiverr and Elance make that possible — even easy. But don’t think that because your work isn’t full time it isn’t worth your full energy. Part-time gigs can provide big value to resumes, and investing emotional energy into the project is worth it.

Chirag Kulkarni was a competitive tennis player outraged by the high prices of stringing racquets. He tinkered with stringing them a little differently and started doing it on the side. But if Chirag dismissed the work as just another few hours to his week, it would’ve ended there.

Instead, Chirag took the job seriously, and (taking the advice in the previous section) incorporated his company. STR grew fast with ultra low-cost, high-efficiency mechanisms, and with huge contracts from the likes of Dicks and Golfsmith, and VC interest, STR was sold. Chirag is onto his next project and taking it just as seriously.

Tayo Rockson was the kid who wouldn’t shut-up  — all he wanted to do was talk about being different. He started to blog and tweet, and his side-work became meaningful. He didn’t get caught up in the stress of his MBA classes, and was personally invested in the gig.

Tayo turned his passion into a brilliant magazine, and Entrepreneur Magazine recently ranked his business podcast number 2. Tayo has turned UYD Mag into a multimedia machine, and it all started with a part-time gig.

Create opportunities that don’t exist

Too often, high school students want to get involved at a young age in the political campaign process, but can’t find positions available for their group. A college freshman wants to delve into neurology, but can’t find a position online. The college sophomore loves accounting, but can’t commit to a 9-to-5.

You must learn to create your own opportunities if the ones you seek don’t exist.

  • Want to work in policy? Call your local congressman and volunteer to run his social media accounts page.
  • Interested in neurology? Find a doctor, and plead with him to allow shadowing on weekends.
  • Eager to immerse yourself in accounting? Go to a local firm, and tell them you’d like to work Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3-6.

Stop accepting the status quo and create opportunities.

Napoleon Hill tells, in the classic Think and Grow Rich, the story of Edwin C. Barnes, who wanted nothing more than to be Thomas Edison’s assistant. He traveled the distance, sought out Edison and insisted on a job. Edison eventually acquiesced, and Barnes was along for the ride of his life.

Austin Ogden is a college student who enjoyed marketing. He wanted bigger contracts and better clients, used lumpy mail to attract the attention of executives and grew his sales-funnel marketing group fast. These higher profiles wouldn’t have given a young person the time of a day, but Ogden found a way to create his own opportunity and grab clientele.

Being young is great. Eat whatever, say whatever, do whatever. But your resume suffers. By monetizing comfortable skills, committing to part-time work and exploring opportunities not often afforded to younger folk, under 30s can leverage freelance to truly boost their resume. (Click here to tweet this advice.)

There are resources trying to bridge the gap and give young people the flexible work experience necessary — one of the best is OpenCampus. As young people, we need to keep finding ways to compete, and freelance work can take us one step closer.

At 18, Justin Lafazan is an author, entrepreneur, consultant and innovator. He dedicates his time to helping young people leverage their age and energy to compete in the 21st Century. Visit his website at JustinLafazan.com, and follow him on Twitter at @JustinLafazan.

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3 Simple Tips to Reduce Stress and Boost Productivity http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/21/3-simple-tips-to-reduce-stress-and-boost-productivity/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/21/3-simple-tips-to-reduce-stress-and-boost-productivity/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18158 Struggling to stay productive? If your first instinct is to push harder and crank up your input, read this. You might be working against yourself.

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When you’re falling behind, your biggest temptation is often to crank up your output — but how many times has stress caused you to shut down completely? Rather than increasing your self-imposed pressure, learn to step back with ways that don’t kill your workflow or your creativity.

Take an actual break

Yeah, you’ve heard it before: taking a break recharges your brain and resets you for the next wave of productivity. But maybe you’re a bad break-taker — your intended 15 minutes off turned into socializing hour, checking Twitter and otherwise avoiding your desk. Or you might be the super-hardworking type who’s always been skeptical of breaks.

What exactly are the benefits of breaking up your workday?

Your boss may not be as aware of the benefits of break time as you’d like. If you notice displeasure in your breaks, respectfully explain to your boss the benefits of the 52/17 cycle.

Invite your managers to monitor your current productivity, knowing that they’ll see an improvement. If they remain unconvinced, lengthen your work time and shorten your breaks. A 90-minute/20-minute rhythm has similar benefits to the much-lauded 52/17.

Brainstorming

One of the most important traits you can have as an employee is creativity. Managers appreciate team members who offer diverse visions. With frequent brainstorming, you can boost creativity and productivity, in both yourself and the company.

To maximize success, the company needs to be a safe space for brainstorming. Spontaneity, wackiness, physical movement, encouragement and openness are all crucial parts of a successful idea-generating session. While there needs to be a specific reason why you’re meeting, don’t automatically rule out all rough ideas — build off of them instead.

To widen group participation, have everyone free-write ideas and pool them before the discussion, ensuring that the loudest personalities don’t immediately take over. Make it fun — have people act out their ideas or compare them to fictional situations. (“It would be like Star Wars when they hid their ship on the back of a bigger one!”)

If your office climate isn’t good for unfettered brainstorming, consider establishing your own work area as a safe space for ideas whenever you’re part of a group project.

Maybe you don’t work in an office; instead, you’re your own boss. Working from home can deprive you of the immediate benefit of other viewpoints, so make extra efforts to discuss your generated ideas with friends and record your thought process visually as you brainstorm.

Since it can be hard to get back to regular work when there’s no group to dismiss, curtail your brainstorming session at a set time — and keep a notepad nearby in case other ideas pop up later.

Stick with a routine

After all that talk about creativity, we’re going to bring up routine? How much more opposite could they be?

Routine is actually one of the hotbeds of productive creativity. Discipline helps you keep work at work, rest when you should rest and take the best care of yourself that you can. All of these habits boost your energy and keep your brain at peak performance. It may not seem like it, but if you have a job, you already have a semi-routine. The key is toning it.

Here are some of the top things you should put into (and cut out of) your routine for best results.

  • Don’t force yourself to get everything done today or to stick with nonessential tasks.
  • Don’t touch your emails until after lunch. Save the morning for work.
  • Do the hardest project first. You’ll thank yourself for not procrastinating if unexpected tasks arise later.
  • Get up early every day. You don’t need to binge-watch “The Walking Dead” and wake up feeling like a zombie the next morning. Save time-consuming fun for the weekend.
  • Physically de-clutter. Having too many things to look at will distract you — and stress you out.
  • Use a paper list or a to-do app to keep track of your responsibilities. Don’t assume that you’ll remember everything.
  • Install Web-surfing restrictions like StayFocusd or SafariBlock to eliminate the temptation of casual browsing.
  • Consult your calendar before you take on any new projects. If you can’t squeeze in a new one, and you have the option to say no, say it and don’t feel bad.
  • Instead of sleeping in, schedule a 20-minute power nap right before your mid-afternoon slump typically hits.
  • For occasions like Christmas or a long vacation, don’t let yourself go completely, but still let the holiday be a holiday.

Do you have any self-discipline or productivity tips that we forgot? Let us know!

Katherine Halek is the lead advertising and print strategy advisor at Signazon and Easybanners.com, leading online printers that provide marketing collateral for thousands of small businesses around the United States. Connect with her on Twitter and Google+.

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How to Avoid Blogging Mistakes That Could Cost You a Job http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/21/avoid-blogging-mistakes-cost-job/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/21/avoid-blogging-mistakes-cost-job/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2015 11:00:38 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18147 If you’ve got a blog to show off your expertise and help you land a job, make sure it doesn’t misrepresent you -- and cost you a job offer.

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You’re probably aware how your social media activity can hurt your chances of landing a job. Since a blog is similar to social media, the same problems befall employees who mismanage their blogs and carelessly publish content (e.g., stories, images, videos) that may potentially damage their professional careers.

If you have a public blog and want to safeguard your career, be sure to follow these five tips below. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Have a clear objective with your blog

When learning how to blog, you’ll find yourself writing just about anything, either as a means of getting traffic or releasing your frustration with the world. As a result, your blog may come off as unfocused and confusing. If and when employers or recruiters come across your blog, they may not see the side of you that demonstrates you’re the ideal candidate for their job opening.

If you want to maintain a personal blog, have a clear objective and address why you want to set up a blog in the first place. Whether that objective is to build an online portfolio, become a better writer, share your personal experiences or positively influence others, this exercise will enable you to determine what you write on your blog.

2. Write blog posts related to your niche or industry

As an extension of the first point, if you choose to blog to further your professional career, focus your website on the industry or job opportunity you’re interested in. This is especially critical for recent graduates or young professionals eager to get work in a specific industry unintentionally sending mixed messages by publishing content not in tune with expectations.

By highlighting your knowledge base in the niche or industry you’re interested in, you can demonstrate a higher level understanding of the dynamics within your intended career. Similarly, an experienced individual can be promoted to expert status, leading to greater recruitment and job opportunities.

It also doesn’t hurt if you know how to write killer posts that people will read and build a brand through your blog.

3. Avoid ranting about your current job

It’s normal to feel overworked, unappreciated and undercompensated. Consistently feeling this way about your employer can result in deep resentment, causing you to vent and relieve your pent up frustration from the workday. While expressing yourself is a completely natural reaction, these negative emotions can be damaging if they end up on your blog.

If this happens, do everything possible to delete or hide these specific posts from the public. Once potential clients or employers see those posts on your blog, they may see them as a sign of instability and how you can’t handle stressful situations in the workplace.

Don’t wait for a job interview to remind you (if you remember) to go back and delete past posts. Be proactive, not reactive, because you never know when someone may be viewing your blog to scout you as a candidate.

4. Optimize your content for search engines

Search engine optimization (SEO) plays an important role in driving traffic to your blog. Without observing the best SEO practices, you lose out on visitors that may be potential clients. Even if you have been producing high-quality blog content for six months, it doesn’t guarantee people will find and read it.

Aside from learning how to share your blog posts on social media, learn how to do SEO the right way. Otherwise, what’s the point of investing time sharing great information if there isn’t anyone to appreciate it?

5. Get a good layout and design

Layout and design are fundamental. Just as humans judge each other on how we dress, your blog’s design is a reflection of you. If your blog loads slowly or makes use of hideous colors, fonts or other design elements, expect visitors to leave the page immediately, regardless of whether or not the blog provides good information.

If you plan on hiring a web designer, keep these tips in mind; otherwise, this is a great beginner’s guide.

Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer and content marketer who loves listening to shoegaze music, is a die-hard fan of the Orlando Magic and believes that CM Punk signing to UFC is a mistake.

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6 Insightful Interview Questions Recruiters Should Always Ask http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/20/6-insightful-interview-questions-recruiters-always-ask/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/20/6-insightful-interview-questions-recruiters-always-ask/#comments Tue, 20 Jan 2015 11:00:18 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18132 When it comes to the hiring process, interviews are usually the most important part. But are you really asking the right questions to make sure you actually get to know the candidate?

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The interview aspect of the hiring process is important for any business, but especially for small businesses where all hires need to be superstars. Regardless of whether you consider yourself a great judge of character, it’s critical to invest time and energy into the interview questions before the candidate arrives. That way, you can accurately measure one potential hire against another.

When it’s time to schedule interviews, you’ll need to consider what you want the interviews to achieve — and then produce questions that will help you get there. Below are six interview questions that you should really be asking your prospective employees.

1. “Why do you want to do this role and what can you bring to it?”

This is a fairly standard interview question that’s designed to get the candidates to tell you whether they really understand what the role involves and how well their skill set is matched for it. You’ll be able to see how much preparation has gone into their interview process and whether they have researched your company.

The best candidates should be able to identify the key elements of the role, as well as matching these to their skills and experience to the job.

2. “What kind of work environment do you thrive in and what workplace culture suits your approach best?”

This is an important question to ask as it will illustrate whether the person sitting in front of you is going to fit the culture of your company. If you need a team player and the candidate would rather work independently and is uncomfortable unless in a leadership role, then it will most likely be a bad fit.

Remember that everyone has a preferred working environment and candidates who tell you that they can fit in anywhere are probably not being honest.

3. “Please describe your relationships with previous colleagues, clients and managers.”

Again, you can use this question to drill deeper into whether this person would be a good asset for the team. You’ll be able to see the kinds of interactions they are good at and those that they find difficult, as well as the way of working that suits them best.

It’s always difficult for candidates to deal with a question about the worst working relationships so it will be interesting for you to see whether they use it as an opportunity to complain or look at situations in a constructive light.

4. “Describe a serious obstacle that you had to overcome that was standing in the way of you achieving your dreams.”

This question will show you a candidate’s goals, as well as the way that they deal with problems. The answer will give you an idea of the type of approach the candidate took to solving a problem, as well as the way that they handle problematic people in a professional environment.

You might also draw some insight into what a candidate considers to be a problem and where they draw the line in terms of acceptable and unacceptable interactions with co-workers.

5. “Tell me about one of your proudest professional achievements. Please describe it in a way that someone inside or outside of the industry could understand.”

If you’re interviewing for a technical job, this question will show you the candidate’s ability to communicate outside of their own immediate sphere. Can they only speak in jargon? Are they unable to communicate other than with those in the same department?

You can use this question to determine whether the applicant is going to be able to work in a versatile way with others in different departments/industries/locations or whether you’re dealing with someone who is limited to those who speak their language.

6. “Please describe a professional situation in which you didn’t do well.”

In most cases, a well prepared candidate will already have thought of something for a question like this, so if their response is flustered, you’ll know that that candidate put limited time into preparing for the interview.

Remember: What you’re looking for is a candidate who is able to admit to a mistake and to then take responsibility for a failure. (Click here to tweet this bit of recruiting wisdom.) We are all human and so error is normal — it’s what happens next that counts and that’s what this question is designed to reveal. Is the candidate still angry about it? Do they blame others for their own mistake? Or have they drawn something constructive from the situation and able to learn from it?

These six questions will help you gain valuable insight into the mind and behaviours of the person sitting opposite you so that you can ensure all your hires are a great fit.

James Gouge is chief executive officer at Unity Recruitment, a recruitment agency serving candidates & businesses across London.

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Is Happiness is More Important Than Money In Your Career? http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/19/is-happiness-is-more-important-than-money-in-your-career/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/19/is-happiness-is-more-important-than-money-in-your-career/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18137 Chasing after millions? It’s cliche but true: money can’t buy happiness. Here’s why you should give your happiness more weight in job decisions.

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Money can buy everything else, but it can’t buy happiness. You might’ve heard this phrase once, but there’s a lot of truth behind it.

In a 2013 Philips/Work Life Survey, 96 percent of working Americans believe they’d be happier if their job incorporated more of their personal interests. That means a majority of working Americans aren’t already in a job with their interests.

We often take the mundane job for one purpose: it pays well. But money shouldn’t be the most important thing in the world. Here are three reasons why happiness should take precedence over money. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Happiness has long-term effects

Buying the new pair of shoes or television you’ve wanted makes you happy — at first. It might even make you happy each time you wear those shoes or turn on the television after a long day.

But what happens when those shoes wear thin? Or when you turn off the television? They can’t make you happy forever. Eventually they’ll break or wear out until you buy something else, and it begins an endless task of finding what money can do to please you.

The truth is, all these material possessions are temporary. Long-term happiness comes from the things money can’t buy, like a night with your best friends, time with a romantic partner or a good morning run. Those activities don’t wear out, and they fill you with good memories by creating much deeper feelings like love.

2. Happiness improves your physical well-being

Think about the daily struggles from working hard in a 9-to-5 job just to produce a paycheck. If we don’t get our work done, we can’t get paid, and if we don’t get paid, we can’t pay our bills, and if we don’t pay our bills, we can’t have a nice house, car and other fine things. The cycle goes on.

That cycle is bound to create mounds of stress, and it’s difficult to cope with because we’re trapped in a place we don’t enjoy. Stress drains positive energy, creates anxiety and even causes physical problems like back pain and weight gain. It can make us turn to unhealthy substances for relief.

Working at something you love removes almost all this stress. When you put happiness before a job that pays the bills, you enjoy putting in the hours and don’t experience anxiety. You turn to work instead of harmful substances for pleasure. Pursuing your passions helps you lead an overall healthy and mentally rewarding life.

3. Happiness makes you a better person

If you had to pick something to live for in this world, what would it be? Hopefully the first choice isn’t money. Hopefully it’s something like love, family or happiness.

We only have a short time to make the most of this world. Devoting an entire lifetime to making a million dollars might be one way to spend it, but at what personal cost? To live only for money when it becomes useless in the end or could disappear in one day is a risky investment.

To live for the best parts of life — like love, family or happiness — takes full advantage of what limited time we have.

Putting happiness before money transforms you into a better person and keeps you from succumbing to greed or selfishness. You’ll feel more accomplished for pursuing the best parts of life rather than following the humdrum of the daily grind.

How do you get there?

True happiness shouldn’t come from things you can buy. If you’re searching for long-lasting happiness, consider what you’re most passionate about and try including them in your schedule, or spend time with friends and family. These are the meaningful parts of life that give you a more deeply rooted sense of happiness.

Briana North is a PR manager by day/blogger by night that enjoys sharing her opinions and advice on careers, feminism, young adult literature and life itself. While she doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring, she hopes it includes writing.

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7 Quick Social Media Tips to Boost Your Job Search http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/19/7-quick-social-media-tips-to-boost-your-job-search/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/19/7-quick-social-media-tips-to-boost-your-job-search/#comments Mon, 19 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18142 Looking for a job? Take a moment to explore your online profiles and optimize your presence so your digital footprint works for you, not against you.

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Every person embarking on a job search thinks they have all the bases covered: resume, cover letter and good references. But many forget about one important concern: their digital footprint.

In today’s connected world, your online activities are only one small search away. Everything you do online has the possibility of being seen by a potential employer.

Not only can employers see what you get up to in your free time (and however scandalous that may be), they can also find out about the your work attitudes and consider how suitable for the job you are.

As more companies turn to researching their candidates online, it’s more important for job seekers to understand their online presence as well as how to improve it.

Here are seven tips for optimizing your digital footprint. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Search for yourself

The first step to evaluating and improving your online presence is to learn what other people see when they look for you online. Go to the most popular search engines and search your name — preferably the name you list on your resume or job applications.

What results are returned? Are they positive? Is there anything that needs to be remedied?

2. Change your privacy settings

Many social networks’ default privacy settings are set to public. The settings you choose will most likely be on a case-to-case basis. Maybe you want to fully protect your personal Facebook page while keeping your professional Twitter account available publicly, for example.

Go through each of your profiles and adjust the privacy settings accordingly.

3. Write compelling bios

Most social network sites have a space to write a short bio of yourself. Make these as professional as possible and include keywords relevant to your industry or the types of jobs you’re looking for. Keep it short, sweet, professional and interesting.

4. Look through your photos

Don’t forget to do an image search of yourself during step one. You’ll want to look closely at any public photos of you. Do they accurately represent how you want to be seen by potential employers? Your digital footprint is more than just words.

Either delete questionable photos or hide them with strict privacy settings. You may also need to ask friends to delete or un-tag photos of you they have on their profiles.

5. Make regular updates

Be an active user of any platform you’re on. You shouldn’t “set and forget” your profiles. Remember to regularly check that all your information is up-to-date and gives the most authentic impression of you as possible.

6. Share your portfolio online

Showcasing your portfolio and past works online can be a great way to impress potential employers. Think of your online presence and portfolio as a supplement to your resume. Show employers what you’re capable of and what you can bring to their team.

To further optimize your digital footprint, register your name as a domain or get your own website to host your profile on. Having your own website means you’ll have at least one property online you have complete and total control over.

7. Stay professional

Don’t forget — a prospective employer can potentially see everything you post online. (Click here to tweet this reminder.) Maintain a professional, level-headed demeanor on social networks and always keep your potential audience in mind. When in doubt, don’t post it.

Building and optimizing your digital footprint is an important part of any job search today. After all, your online presence could be the difference between landing a job and losing it.

Carrie Nebens co-founded Equis Staffing in 2006, bringing 25 years of business operations experience in the staffing and healthcare industries with her. Under her leadership, Equis has experienced unprecedented growth, making Inc. magazine’s Inc. 500|5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in America for the last three years.

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Leaving Your Job? How to Decide Who Owns Your Business Contacts http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/16/leaving-your-job-how-to-decide-who-owns-your-business-contacts/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/16/leaving-your-job-how-to-decide-who-owns-your-business-contacts/#comments Fri, 16 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18105 Your contact list is a big part of business. But when you leave your job, who owns the list: you or the company? It’s not as clear cut as you may think.

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When you’re preparing for the last time you’ll leave your job, you find yourself in a bit of a quandary: Who owns the contact lists you’ve developed during your employment? The vendors you’ve talked with day in and day out, the thought leaders you’ve befriended on social media…

Are they your business contacts or do they belong to the company?

Unfortunately, the answer isn’t clear legally. Prior rulings around the United States suggest the three most important variables in determining ownership are:

  1. Whether the device holding the contacts belongs to you or the company
  2. What was stipulated regarding contact information in your initial contract
  3. Whether the contacts were given to you (like sales leads) or generated by you (like strategic alignments with thought-leaders)

If the device belongs to the company, your contract has specific language about data-custody, and if the contacts you’re interested in are sales leads, it’s safe to infer the data doesn’t belong to you.

But if all you have is a non-compete clause and the contacts in question either came from your previous life or were generated through your own legwork, the answers are less clear.

Businesses are generally protected by non-compete clauses and trade-secret sharing provisions, but since contact information doesn’t fall under the domain of trade secrets — per the Faccenda Chicken Ltd v. Fowler ruling of 1987 — what recourse does a business have if you don’t break contract?

The real problem with this question — who owns business contacts — is that a failure of analysis is taking place, a failure to identify the way both the corporate and social landscapes of communication have changed with technological innovation.

Why social media matters in who owns business contacts

The question of who owns contacts transforms from a legal one to a philosophical one, answered only by attempting to understand how technology and social media have changed the nature of connectedness.

It’s argued that social media is a new extension of public space, that Facebook and Twitter — and, to some extent, data about user behaviors all over the web — are a public facing, virtual town square where people interact, are recognized and are identifiable by others as themselves.

We may not be able to see everything about someone we don’t know, but names, faces, basic modes of contact information… it’s like the phone book, except active.

When we begin to consider digital information this way, business contacts take on a new life. They no longer live on corporate databases, residing instead in identifiable public spaces like LinkedIn, and in address books and emails, which are proprietary only in the sense that they’re records of communications you’ve engaged in, either through initiating conversation or responding to it.

In that sense, you do personally own your business contacts. They’re nothing more than records that you’ve interacted with someone and allow for interaction with them again.

But because they’re digital histories of interactions occurring in a space owned by a business, they can also be considered property of the business. After all, it was company bandwidth, possibly a company machine, and occurring on company time. The answer to the question is that both you and your company own the contact information.

An example to show the business contact quandary

Imagine if we were to literalize this scenario: If you have a conversation in a coffee shop with an employee, does the shop own the conversation? The fact that the two of you now know each others’ names? Probably not.

But taken a step further can you own other people’s names, numbers, or necessary knowledge to make future interactions occur?

When we strip contacts of the values we apply to them — business potential, social capital — contacts become units of knowledge that inform us how to recreate interactions. (Click here to tweet this quote.)

They belong to us in the sense that they’re records of our personal interactions; they belong to a business in the sense that the business provided the resources for their acquisition. Fundamentally, they don’t belong to anyone any more than your conversation with the barista does.

Contact information is real in the same way that history is; it happened but can’t be owned. It doesn’t belong to anyone, but it also belongs to everyone. As we continue to globalize, we mustn’t shy away from the realities that the digital world forces us to confront, realities that we didn’t have to contend with before.

It’s a frightening lesson to see more of what we thought of as private revealed to be public and accessible to all. But success is as much about adapting to new paradigms as it is creating them, and the opportunities that arise — more efficient commerce, a greater ease of interaction and connection — will surely be worth any conceptual discomfort.

Rory Channer is Chief Business Officer of CircleBack Inc..Rory has spent over 15 years in sales and marketing leadership positions predominantly in the information services, software and consulting sectors. His career has spanned leading sales and marketing departments for small startups to large multi-billion dollar corporations.

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How Men Can Help Women Lean In http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/15/how-men-can-help-women-lean-in/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/15/how-men-can-help-women-lean-in/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18117 If you are a man, you probably aren’t sure how best to treat and support the women at your office. Here are a few tips to help work with them better.

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Whether you’re a man or woman, you’ve probably heard of Lean In. You can probably even name a female networking group or female career website. There’s no shortage of career support for women.

Still, however, the percentage of women at the top remains paltry.

What if it’s not that women need more advice — but rather the men?

That’s what Joanne Lipman thinks. And that’s why she wrote an essay for the Wall Street Journal entitled Women at Work: A Guide for Men.

Lipman says male managers “are often clueless about the myriad ways in which they misread women in the workplace every day. Not intentionally. But wow. They misunderstand us, they unwittingly belittle us, they do something that they think is nice that instead just makes us mad. And those are the good ones.”

In the article, she explores “what frustrates and perplexes professional men about the women they work with.” Lipman then offers solutions, which are based on interviews with male executives who are “getting it right,” as well as her 20+ years of experience in a male-dominated workforce.

How to treat women at work

From the article, here are our favorite pieces of advice:

1. She’s not “sorry,” she’s not “lucky” — and she’s not asking you a question.

Men are often confused by female patterns of speech, which include “qualifiers (“I’m not sure, but…”)” as well as “apologies (“I’m sorry to interrupt, but…”)” and downplaying their accomplishments (“I’m lucky”). But Lipman is quick to point out: “She’s not sorry or lucky. She just has a different way of giving direction.”

Men can ameliorate this issue by deliberately involving women in their conversations, using tactics like asking for their opinions or encouraging a woman to elaborate on her point or question.

2. She deserves a raise.

We’ll let the stats do the talking here: according to the article, “Men are four times more likely than women to ask for a raise.” So remember: Just because a woman doesn’t ask for a raise doesn’t mean she doesn’t want or deserve one.

3. Don’t be afraid of tears.

Some male executives don’t want to give women critical feedback for fear the woman will feel bad — or worse, cry. Some may even “let women run astray and off course and be fired before they’ll take the chance to give them feedback.” Instead, she suggests that men be honest and direct with female co-workers and employees; you’re not doing women any favors by going easy on them.

Do you think this advice is helpful? Do you think men need more help figuring out women at work?

Susan Shain (@TravlJunkette) is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.

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8 Ways to Escape a Boring Career to Find Your Dream Job http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/15/8-ways-to-escape-a-boring-career-to-find-your-dream-job/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/15/8-ways-to-escape-a-boring-career-to-find-your-dream-job/#comments Thu, 15 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18099 When you’re feeling completely burned out on your career and want something more, this is what you need to do.

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Tired of your ho-hum career?

Unable to see anything exciting in front of you other than that photo of a black-sand beach pinned on your cubicle wall?

When you’ve fallen into a career slump, it’s likely you’re also caught in that endless loop of “woe is me” self-victimization. It’s time to take the bull by the horns and do something about it.

Whether the answer to escaping your career slump means seeking a promotion, widening the scope of your responsibilities or switching careers altogether, it’s time to make change a reality.

Here are eight ways to kick your own ass into action to escape your career slump. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1.  Feel your way around your space

Corporate politics are a part of corporate culture. Anyone who says otherwise is lying or in denial. It takes just one jealous, bitter person to ruin your success party. Feel it out to see if you can achieve the opportunity you desire without losing the favor of your colleagues.

If your career goal is worth it, know that doing work you love will overpower the need to win the popularity game.

2.  Learn a new skill

An investment in yourself will always bring the best returns. Expanding your skill set will help you survive the war against mediocrity.

This is your opportunity to stand out like a zebra among the herd of one-trick ponies. You’ll not only have more skills to offer, but also more knowledge and confidence.

3.  Connect beyond your friend circle

Join groups on social media related to your interests. Making the right connections is often all you need to get where you want to go.

If you’re lucky, your social friends overlap with your “business” friends. But often they don’t — and that’s a good thing. You can stay focused on your career goal instead of yapping about the “Walking Dead” episode you just watched.

4.  Don’t take “no” for an answer

It’s perfectly reasonable to be afraid you might hear “no” when you ask for that promotion or job interview. It sucks when someone tells you “no” or “sorry, maybe next time.” These are all punches in the gut.

But when someone says “no,” they’re often weeding out the truly invested versus the uncommitted. Look at this opportunity to prove how much want something. Try to see “no” as a test — not a “do not pass go.

Don’t be pushy; there’s a finesse to finally hearing that “yes,” but it takes time and patience. Maybe hearing “no” means you need to examine another way to get where you want to go. But by all means, don’t let “no” stop you from your goal.

5.  Give yourself time to think

Moments of clarity won’t happen if you endlessly wallow in self-pity about your soul-sucking position. So many people can’t turn work off (I used to be one of them).

Work the hours necessary to do your job. But learn how to leave work at work and get out of your office mentally. Know when to say “No,” and make the lines clear so you can have the personal thinking time you need.

6.  Get comfortable with being uncomfortable

A new career path is scary. You could take a big pay cut or lose your benefits. But you’ll never experience any progress when you’re comfortable. The discomfort of learning new things, sacrificing luxuries and challenging yourself is where the magic happens.

7.  Make decisions as if you couldn’t fail

Commit yourself to thinking the opportunity you want is already yours. When you start any endeavor with this attitude, your confidence will solidify. Have that mental mindset and shut down that annoying “Why bother?” loop for good.

8. Stop waiting for the “right time”

If you wait for the best time to make a move, it will never come. Whether you’re ready or not to catch that bus out of your Middle-of-Nowhere town to explore what lies ahead, the bus is leaving — with or without you.

Get on it when you feel the twinge of the “I need to further my career” feeling. Just make it happen. There is no best time.

So get to it. What are you waiting for?

Corporate worker by day and blogger by night, Melissa Lopez wants to help everyone stomp out their self-limiting beliefs with her personal development blog Bold Steps for a Big Life, so start with your free resource, The 5 Books That Will Help You Step Out of Your Comfort Zone.

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Have a Bad Boss? How to Use Conflict at Work to Get What You Want http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/14/have-a-bad-boss-how-to-use-conflict-at-work-to-get-what-you-want/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/14/have-a-bad-boss-how-to-use-conflict-at-work-to-get-what-you-want/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18060 These tactics are the smartest way to manage up and get what you want at work.

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If you’re stuck working under a bad boss, you’ve likely been told to learn how manage up. Articles on this topic praise effective communication. They advise you to make sure you understand your boss’s expectations so you can keep them informed, avoid surprises and provide solutions when problems arise. This is fairly good advice if your boss is always sane and cooperative.

But what if you work for a dictator? What if your boss is a control freak who’s overly competitive and often moody? Every effort to communicate does nothing to help achieve your goals — or worse, creates obstacles.

Strong communication skills are not enough to manage up. Traditional advice on managing up usually underestimates two realities: power and conflict.

The “up” in “managing up” refers to power. Power is not a simple, up/down, one-dimensional force. And since you’re the one looking “up,” you have less power. But having less power does not render you powerless. You have more opportunities to influence a dictator than you may think.

And then there are those understated references to conflict. You and your boss don’t see “eye to eye” or you’re not always “on the same page.” Often the situation is much worse. Your boss yells at you, places impossible demands on your time, or tells you not only what to do, but how to do it. This minute-by-minute conflict erodes your soul over time.

To effectively “manage up” –– or to say it bluntly, influence the dictators who would run your life 24/7 if you let them, you need to take matters into your own hands. Here are a few tips to manage up to difficult boss to get what you want. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Get strategic in your conflicts

Conflict is pointless unless you have something to gain. You have to want something. Maybe your goal is a promotion or to simply keep your job until you find a better one. Your goal may be to outlast this boss or to get transferred to another part of the company. Without goals, conflict is an exhausting treadmill. Once you’ve defined exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, then you can develop a strategic plan to get there.

2. Tackle each conflict differently

If you treat all conflicts similarly, you’ll fail most of the time. With each situation, manager or project, identify what type of conflict you’re dealing with. Use these three questions to diagnose the conflict:

  • Is the other party cooperative or competitive? (In other words, to what extent do your goals overlap?)
  • Who has more power? (For managing up, what sources of power do you have that do not show up on the organizational chart?)
  • How much do you need the other party to achieve my goals? (Or, what can you get done without my boss?)

Diagnosing situations correctly will help you be more effective in your managing up strategy. A better understanding of power and conflict reveals hidden opportunities to “borrow” power from others and reach your goals.

3. Get used to appeasing your boss

Appeasement is an awful word. It connotes weak and surrendering. Over time, appeasement is stressful, even depressing.

But when used strategically, this tactic can help you get what you want. In includes tactics such as temporarily placating the oppressor, turning invisible to avoid scrutiny, increasing the dependence of the dictator and squeezing the boss by working your networks. In short, it involves laying low and buying time while increasing your boss’s dependence on you. You’re simply finding ways to quietly increase your power. Nothing weak about that. And forget surrendering –– you’re going after what you want in life, albeit indirectly.

4. Cut out your boss completely (sometimes)

“You’re not a team player,” is one of the worst things a bad boss can tell you – even if they have no concept of what teamwork actually is. Yet sometimes, the path of least resistance to get something accomplished is to go over your boss’s head. While you know you’re doing all parties involved a favor, your boss likely will not agree.

Anytime you bypass a conflict with your boss or pursue your goals with independence, maintain plausible deniability. (“Oh, I didn’t realize you wanted to visit the client together. She already signed the contract and is excited to do business. Next time I’ll ask if you want to go with me.”)

Used selectively, this can cut right through a potential conflict by skipping it. Don’t mistake this for fear-based conflict avoidance. This is goal-oriented. It simply means you’ve found a way to accomplish a specific goal without needing your boss.

While these these strategies lack the idealistic ring of “win-win,” you need to be savvy and adaptive to manage up to a bad boss and still advance your career. And they can be used with complete integrity as long as you don’t use them to exploit your colleague or to sabotage your organization. If you want to manage up effectively in any situation –– and you want to achieve your professional goals –– you need these in your toolbox.

Peter T. Coleman and Robert Ferguson are the authors of Making Conflict Work: Harnessing the Power of Disagreement. This blog post is adapted from the book.

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Ready for a New Job This Year? 4 Ways to Start Switching Careers http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/14/ready-for-a-new-job-this-year-4-ways-to-start-switching-careers/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/14/ready-for-a-new-job-this-year-4-ways-to-start-switching-careers/#comments Wed, 14 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18089 Are you ready to switch careers, but don’t know how to — or what comes next? These tips will help you navigate you down right path.

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“If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” - Yogi Berra

Sometimes you career doesn’t take the trajectory you think it will. You get that dream job, only to realize after a few months that it’s not at all what you thought it would be. You work hard to establish yourself in a field or industry, only to find after a few years that you feel bored and listless.

Change is a part of life, and a fork in your career road doesn’t mean you’ve gone off course or done anything wrong; it just means it’s time for the next leg of your journey. But when you find yourself at this critical juncture, your next steps can feel about as uncertain as Mr. Berra’s enigmatic advice above.

You know things need to change, but what are you actually supposed to do?

When it’s hard to make a decision (choose this job over that job, take an internship or go back to school), keep these tips in mind to help yourself get clarity, get unstuck and navigate the next steps down your career path. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Look back at where you’ve been

When you’re trying to figure out where to go next, it can help to look back at what has and hasn’t worked for you up to this point. By identifying the aspects of your current career you love — and those you definitely do not love — you can get better insight into what to look for from your next career.

Maybe you went into law because you were passionate about helping people, but you’ve since learned that most of your time is spent clogging the system with counter-replies and sur-replies that make your head spin and your soul hurt. That’s helpful information — you know you want something that will put you near the heart of the action of helping people in the here and now. You might enjoy channeling your skills to work for a nonprofit or overseeing charitable outreach for a major corporation.

Maybe you’ve decided the fast pace and constant stress of your journalism career isn’t really your cup of tea, but you’ve discovered you love finding creative ways to put a new spin on whatever assignment you’ve been given. You might want to look at a field like copywriting, where you can focus on wordsmithing without having such a white-knuckle deadline looming over your head.

2. Identify your transferable skills

Changing careers doesn’t necessarily mean you need to run back to school and get a new degree. While an MBA or other advanced degree may be helpful, it all depends on the field you’re looking at going into and the certifications you currently have.

In addition to knowing the criteria you’re looking for in a new career (less stress, more freedom, more personal interaction, etc.), you also want to find something that will be a good match for your natural talents and inclinations. This includes both your official experience and skills and those ever-important “soft skills” employers are always looking for.

Sit down and list out everything you currently do in your career — both concrete tasks and the personal skills these tasks require. You may be surprised to learn how many of your abilities translate quite well to a new career path.

Your experience as a PR rep may not seem directly related to your new goal of becoming a social worker, but when you really think about it, they both involve the ability to understand how others are thinking and to communicate effectively with a wide range of people.

3. Talk to people who’ve been there

Your network exists precisely for times like this. Reach out to them and use their years of experience and wisdom to help you answer your questions, explore your options and generally talk through some of the things you’ve been struggling with as you make this change.

Maybe your mentor went through a career shift of her own; ask her if you can have coffee and talk about how she got through it. Maybe that contact you met at a networking meetup is in the field you’re thinking of going into; ask him if you can take him to lunch and conduct an informational interview to learn more about the industry.

Your network isn’t useful only for job searches; they’re a priceless resource you can tap into for all aspects of your career development. So don’t be afraid to tap into them.

4. Be okay with discomfort

A career change is a big transition, and there will naturally be some parts of it that feel uncertain, scary and a plethora of other icky emotions. Be prepared to embrace the ick. It isn’t a sign that things have gone awry; it’s just part and parcel of making a big shift in your life.

You will find clarity. Things will get easier. Learn to be okay with a little mess and weirdness right now; every big transition has its growing pains, but they will pass.

If it makes you feel any better, remember that even the big guys (and gals) go through the discomfort of transition periods — just ask James Altucher, who’s rebooted his career path lots of times over the past 20 years.

You can do this. You’ve gotten through much worse.

Have you switched careers, or are you currently in the process? What advice would you share?

Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

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Having Trouble Recruiting Candidates? This Technology Can Help http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/13/having-trouble-recruiting-candidates-this-technology-can-help/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/13/having-trouble-recruiting-candidates-this-technology-can-help/#comments Tue, 13 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18075 Do you find it difficult to recruit the right candidate for open jobs at your company? The problem may not be you, but the technology you’re using.

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When you think of the biggest issues facing the hiring and recruitment process, what comes to mind? Is it the overwhelming number of applications that recruiters have to deal with, the low levels of engagement with candidates through the entire process or the lack of certainty employers face that they’re actually hiring the right candidate?

Most likely, it’s all of the above and then some. The hiring process is taking longer and costing more than ever before, but bad hires are still costing companies an obscene amount of money.

If there is going to be a solution to all of these problems, it will be with the evolution of recruitment technology. In fact, there are three companies already using innovative new software and algorithms in their hiring process. Through them, we have a possible glimpse into the coming future of recruitment tech.

Zappos’ social network

Zappos’ solution was to completely ditch traditional job postings. In its place they launched the Zappos Insider Program, which was designed to allow the company to quickly and effectively engage and cultivate relationships with candidates long before a job opening exists. This allows recruiters more time to get a better idea of candidates’ skills, values, and cultural fit. The company uses Q&A’s, contests and targeted outreach to thoroughly analyze each candidate — and they have them interact directly with current employees.

It is a far more proactive approach, and it is already paying dividends. Zappos is reporting more unique applicants yet fewer applications, as well as a higher quality of candidates with much better engagement levels with all Insider members.

The truth is that the social network technology they use already exists. Companies that want to increase engagement during the hiring process can follow Zappos’ lead and reach out to candidates through recruiter and employee blogging, Twitter chats, Google+ hangouts, newsletters, webinar and in-person social networking events.

Bright’s matching algorithm

Bright Technologies used a different approach, and took existing concepts and technologies to greatly improve the traditional recruitment model. They created a comprehensive algorithm that rates how closely a candidate’s resume “matches” a job description.

The twist is the user interface they built which allows the matching score to be visible for both recruiters and candidates. Whenever a candidate loads their resume, the candidate is automatically notified of the jobs for which they meet the minimum matching score. Bright’s program was so successful, LinkedIn spent $120 million to acquire Bright and its matching algorithm.

This type of matching algorithm has been used by retail sites like Amazon, dating sites like Zoosk, and search engines like Google to anticipate the behaviors and desires of people and make recommendations to them accordingly. Businesses today should be investing in up-to-date algorithmic technology, as the fact of the matter is that traditional ATS software just doesn’t cut it.

Knack’s micro-behavioral video games

Knack’s solution involves creating video games to analyze a candidate’s behavior using cutting-edge cognitive neuroscience. The games are designed to test how the player thinks, reacts, problem solves and adjusts to various situations at a micro-level.

Their program allows employers to gain a greater insight to a candidate’s mindset, decision making, behavioral patterns, and cultural fit. Companies that have run a pilot program using Knack’s games have a 95% accuracy rate in digging up information about candidates and employees that resumes and interviews could not.

The sad fact is that data-centric technology could already be in mainstream use for recruiting, but there are many companies who don’t trust it. To get the best results out of your recruitment process, you need to put the time and effort to find an analytical program that you can trust which complements and improves your hiring process. For some people, this means getting out of your own way.

Different routes to the same future?

Looking at the common elements in each of these solutions allows us a glimpse into the future of recruitment technology. They all seek to deal with the overwhelming number of applications, improve the levels of engagement with candidates and gain a greater insight into the quality of the candidate’s potential fit. They’re also far more proactive than traditional models, seeking to learn more about candidates far ahead of the usual process.

Those are all principles that companies should be focusing on now for their recruitment process, as it will be the main focus of the future. (Click here to tweet this advice.)

How long might it be until the mainstream hiring process consists of pre-emptive social engagement with candidates, who are accurately matched with companies or job openings ahead of time according to their skills and experience, and pre-tested for their behavioral and cultural fit?

The truth is that this future might not be as far away as you think.

Brian Stewart is a career content writer at ResumeTarget.com. They are the only resume writing company that offers a professionally written resume coupled with the guidance of recruiters to guarantee that your resume will get results.

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14 Must-Attend Phoenix Networking Events to Accelerate Your Career http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/12/14-must-attend-phoenix-networking-events-to-accelerate-your-career/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/12/14-must-attend-phoenix-networking-events-to-accelerate-your-career/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18086 Living and working in Phoenix? Add these networking events to your calendar to get further in your career.

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Phoenix is a great place to live and work for young professionals. But don’t take our word for it — take the word of the many roundups who’ve ranked it among American cities.

It was named one of the 10 Happiest Cities for Young Professionals by Forbes, one of the Top 50 Bicycle-Friendly Cities in the U.S. by Bicycling.com and one of the Top 50 Cities for Singles Looking for Love by The Wall Street Journal.

If you’re a Phoenix resident looking to rank high in the networking scene, you’re in the right place for that, too. There are plenty of great events geared towards young professionals of all industries.

Check out these 14 great groups and events, which represent a mix of established, large-member groups and some fun and quirky up-and-comers. Whatever your career and social style, you’re sure to find an event that calls to you.

1. Phoenix After Work

If you hate the pressure of formal networking events, you’ll enjoy the more relaxed atmosphere of the Phoenix chapter of Network After Work. Events are held on weeknights in fun locales like the Blue Martini lounge. Grab a cocktail, unwind and mingle at your leisure.

2. GET Phoenix Young Professionals

This group is all about fostering and cultivating a sense of community. GET (which stands for “growing / emerging / talent”) has three main focuses: connection to others, connection to community and connection to resources. If you’d like to be more involved in the Phoenix metropolitan scene, this is a great place to start.

3. Arizona Young Professional’s Social Group

The largest and most popular young professional’s Meetup group in Phoenix (with 2,400+ members), this group recognizes that your 20s and 30s can be one of the toughest times to make friends.

You’re working all the time, your old friends have scattered, you yourself may have moved to a new city. Meet new people and make new friends at one of the many events this group hosts, from hiking to concerts to game nights.

4. NetParty

This group hosts a variety of events targeted towards those who prefer the social aspect of networking. NetParty Connect events combine cocktail hour, mingling and music in a low-pressure atmosphere.

Tech Night 2000 is geared towards startup workers. NetParty Social is a strictly fun event, and NetParty Turbo offers “speed dating for business contacts.”

5. Networking Lunch for Positive Professionals

Sick of the schmoozy, salesy types traditional networking events can attract? Then check out this group’s twice-monthly lunches, which “take the work out of networking.” Members come from a wide range of industries and include entrepreneurs, small business owners and 9-to-5ers.

6. The Women’s Networking League

Network with a wide range of businesswomen representing all industries and ages at this group’s events. Each month offers both a dinner and a lunch meeting to suit different schedules, and there’s a 14-day free trial so you can test it out and decide if membership is right for you.

7. Young Social Professionals of Phoenix

If you’re in that middle ground between college and “settling down,” this group is a great place to find fun-loving young professionals in the same place in their lives. Members are singles and couples between the ages of 22 and 39 who don’t yet have children and are interested in making friends as well as business contacts. Events run the gamut from potlucks to happy hours to sporting events.

8. Valley Young Professionals

Run by the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce, this group caters to “up-and-coming professionals” between the ages of 25 and 39. With networking events, educational programs and volunteer projects, it aims to foster the next generation of Phoenix leaders.

9. Startup Grind Phoenix

Share your successes, struggles and stories with fellow startup founders and entrepreneurs. Learn from others and find inspiration from monthly special speakers — and have the chance to connect with your fellow movers and shakers.

10. TiE Arizona

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road. Connect with others along all points of that road at TiE Arizona, a chapter of the global TiE International network that boasts 15,000 members across 14 countries.

TiE members are students, startup founders and large and small business owners. Events include lectures, workshops, career development opportunities and round-robin mentor chats that allow you to connect with fellow entrepreneurs and learn from those who’ve gone before you.

11. Creative Mornings Phoenix

Whether you’re a graphic designer, photographer or Web developer, you’ll enjoy this group’s monthly breakfast lectures on topics ranging from freedom to the importance of play to shifting your money mindset. Enjoy a coffee and a pastry, take in a thought-provoking talk and spend some time connecting with your fellow creatives.

12. YNPN Phoenix

If you’re into volunteer work and community service, Young Nonprofit Professionals (or YNPN) Phoenix is for you. Its members are nonprofit, government and community service workers and students who gather to learn more about how the nonprofit sector works and what they can do to support it.

13. Arizona Open Coffee (Weekly Tech Startup Networking)

Learn from business leaders and connect with other ambitious young professionals at these regular coffee Meetups “for executives and people who hope to be executives some day in high growth startups.” There’s no fee and no agenda, just the chance to trade ideas and advice.

14. Grow Your Business with Networking & Referrals

If you’re sick of delivering your elevator pitch ad nauseum at networking events, this group’s unique format might be for you. At each monthly event, attendees have a 30-60 second opportunity to deliver a “commercial” for their business or practice.

This is followed by a round of speed networking, where you can do a brief (60-second) personal introduction to other members. There’s no fee and no category restrictions, so it’s definitely worth checking out.

Kelly Gurnett is a freelance blogger, writer and editor who runs the blog Cordelia Calls It Quits, where she documents her attempts to rid her life of the things that don’t matter and focus more on the things that do. Follow her on Twitter @CordeliaCallsIt.

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How to Learn to Code Without Going Back to School http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/12/how-to-learn-to-code-without-going-back-to-school/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/12/how-to-learn-to-code-without-going-back-to-school/#comments Mon, 12 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18081 The tools you need to hone web development skills are right at your fingertips.

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Learning how to code is a smart career move. As the number of people and devices connected to the Internet has skyrocketed in the past decade, so too has the demand for people who have programming and web design skills.

You may assume that to understand something as complex as web development, you need to go back to school or enroll in expensive classes. Think again.

Believe it or not, many web developers don’t have a formal education in the trade. There are plenty of free and inexpensive tools to help you learn web development skills without investing much more than your own time and brainpower.

Here are three of the best ways to learn the basics of web development without going back to school for a four-year degree. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Online courses

There are literally hundreds of courses and tutorials online that can help you get your feet wet as a web developer. Online classes are a good place to start, but you’ll need more as you progress through the basics. Good web developers also have a network of mentors and peers with whom they can trade ideas and get feedback.

If all your education is online, you may struggle when faced with more difficult problems. That’s where having other people to turn to becomes valuable. In addition to taking online courses, attend web developer Meetups to get plugged into your local community.

2. Developer bootcamps

Programming bootcamps have taken off over the past five years. In San Francisco alone, you’ll find dozens of courses offered by at least 20 schools. These programs set out to teach their students the basics of code in just a few short weeks. They can be an effective way to learn a lot of information quickly.

Still, these programs have limitations. You shouldn’t expect to master web development – or any skill for that matter – in just 12 weeks, so keep up with your training to prove to employers that you can produce quality code.

Take advantage of the networking opportunities these bootcamp programs offer — the connections you make alone may be worth the price.

3. Two-year college

Trade schools or community colleges are another viable option when you want to learn to code but don’t have the time or resources to invest in a full-time education. Don’t discount the financial value of a two-year degree either. Many community college grads make more money than bachelor degree holders right out of the gate.

Community college isn’t right for everyone. Some people who transfer into larger four-year colleges struggle without the individualized attention, and two-year colleges usually offer a smaller selection of classes than most major institutions. Look for a program that specializes in web development and has qualified faculty to teach their courses.

Most of all, keep your expectations realistic. Keep in mind that while taking a few courses will help you start to understand programming, you’ll still need years of practice to be a professional software craftsman. No amount of book learning can replace time in the trenches solving problems with a team.

What tips do you have for learning web development skills? What courses or training programs do you recommend? Let us know in the comments below.

Karl Hughes is a startup fanatic and engineer with experience leading offshore and in-office teams. He’s currently the Engineering Manager at Packback Books and Blogger in Chief at JobBrander.

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How to Cope When Your Coworker Leaves the Company http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/09/how-to-cope-when-your-coworker-leaves-the-company/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/09/how-to-cope-when-your-coworker-leaves-the-company/#comments Fri, 09 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18071 Is one of your team leaving the company? It can be frustrating, but here’s why you should support them, not turn your back.

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When people decide to leave their jobs, it can affect the people around them. Sometimes, those who are being left behind get annoyed, resentful and angry about the departure.

Why people resent the leavers

There are a few reasons that people get upset when their coworkers leave: (Click here to tweet this list.)

“I thought we were in this together!”

Often people cite loyalty as the reason for being upset, as the person leaving has gone their own way. Just because these people choose to remain in their job doesn’t mean the leaver has the same (or even similar) aspirations.

It also pays to remember that everybody has different lives and commitments, so the loyalty argument doesn’t hold with different personal situations at play — others may require more money, greater job satisfaction or work-life balance than you do.

“How am I going to do all this work?”

A knee-jerk reaction might be to feel overwhelmed and angry because there’s suddenly a gap in your team and nobody coming in who understands the work as well. Some people lash out in frustration, but this isn’t really the leaver’s problem — it’s the responsibility of the leadership to fill any gaps and recruit suitable people.

“After all I’ve done for you.”

Sometimes leaders may feel they’ve helped an employee achieve their goals in their position and the employee owes them something. This situation can rear its head when an employee is leaving a good boss, as they can fall into the trap of thinking that their employee should be happy with their lot.

But if your employee is leaving, remember that you’ve either taught them well enough to get another opportunity, or the situation isn’t as rosy for them as you think. This is where you might need to re-evaluate how you’re running your team to see whether you’re assessing the situation correctly.

The leaver found the courage they wish they had

Fear is one of the strongest emotions stopping people from making change — sometimes colleagues would like to find a new opportunity, but they’re too scared to take the leap and feel safer keeping the status quo. This can manifest itself in resentment for the leaver.

Why you should support colleagues who choose to leave

Instead of fighting against the employee in their desire to leave, colleagues and leaders should provide support where possible. There are several good reasons for this:

The employee knows best

If the leaver thinks better opportunities are somewhere else, or is unhappy with their current situation, who are you to tell them they’re mistaken? Even if they are mistaken, they’re unlikely to realize it until months later.

What you think is a “good” opportunity or career move may be completely different to your leaving colleague — we’re all different and don’t have the same goals and aspirations.

Take an employee leaving as a time to re-evaluate

As a leader, when you hear your team member is leaving, take the opportunity to discuss the reasons for their change and gauge whether it’s a negative factor with their situation or a positive factor with their new situation.

Being open and asking for honest feedback from the leaver can be helpful, but all too often, managers put the blinders on and ignore feedback from the “bitter and twisted” soon to be ex-employee.

Take the compliment

If you’re a leader and it turns out that your team member is going to a better opportunity with more pay, benefits or closer alignment with their goals, you could frame that as a positive outcome.

As part of your team, they’ve improved themselves and learned new skills that have made them employable at the next level. Great managers realize that jobs are temporary and look to prepare their employees for the next opportunity. Framed in this way, an employee leaving can be a happy event, worthy of celebration.

Play the long game

Short-term thinking when a colleague leaves is likely to result in anger and feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work remaining.

But leaders should make the effort to think longer term — if they leave their employees with a positive experience as they leave the company, they may come back and work with them in the future, because they were somebody who gave them support at a time when they had made the tough decision to leave.

The crux of this issue is it’s not all about you. It’s about your employee or coworker who decided to make a change and pursue another opportunity. Leave behind the feelings of hurt and abandonment and focus on making them feel good about the change they are about to undertake. Good luck!

Ben Brearley is a career blogger, speaker, coach and consultant passionate about helping people get the careers they deserve and making positive change. Read his blog or follow @ucareerstrategy on Twitter.

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Want to Change Careers? This Data Could Help You Decide Your Next Move http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/08/want-to-change-careers-this-data-could-help-you-decide-your-next-move/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/08/want-to-change-careers-this-data-could-help-you-decide-your-next-move/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18112 With a new year comes new beginnings. If you’re interested in changing careers in 2015 — but aren’t sure where to start — this post will help.

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Are you looking for a fresh start in 2015? Perhaps a career change?

If you know you want to change careers, but aren’t sure what options are available to you, a new chart from LinkedIn may give you some ideas.

LinkedIn mined millions of profiles, noting when people hopped from one industry into another. With this data, they created a career change chart. Using it, you can easily see which careers people from your industry have switched into.

Which career is calling your name?

Here are some examples of careers people transitioned from and into:

  • Journalist to Marketing specialist, public relations specialist, author/publisher
  • Mechanical engineer to Salesperson, project manager, software developer, civil or product development engineer
  • Medical assistant to Clinical research specialist, nurse, administrative employee, salesperson, physician/surgeon, medical administrator

Though some of the results aren’t surprising, one thing did stand out to us: sales is the most common career transition.

Sohan Murthy, author of LinkedIn’s blog about this data, explains: “Because nearly every business requires a sales function, there are many instances of members transitioning into sales from a wide variety of careers. As such, ‘salesperson’ is the largest dot on our graph. The same is true for careers like project managers and marketing specialists.”

No matter what career you want to transition into, be sure to do your research beforehand. These posts from the Brazen archives are a good place to start:

Are you interested in changing careers? Do you know what field you’d like to go into?

Susan Shain (@TravlJunkette) is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.

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Top 10 Networking Events in St. Louis to Help Boost Your Career http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/08/top-10-networking-events-in-st-louis-to-help-boost-your-career/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/08/top-10-networking-events-in-st-louis-to-help-boost-your-career/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18065 Connect with professionals just like you in St. Louis – or venture out and try networking with a completely different group!

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Variety may be the spice of life, but when it comes to networking, it’s also the secret to success. Getting involved with a variety of networking groups offers you the chance to develop your sales pitch, strengthen your support network and keep up-to-date with the ever-changing local market.

St. Louis is teeming with great networking groups. Whether you’re new to the city or a life-long resident, just starting out or at the top of your game, check out these ten St. Louis networking events and find the group — or groups — that will help spice up your career.

1. Self-Employed St. Louis

For freelancers, solopreneurs and small business owners, this is a group that gets you. Lunch meetings are held monthly on the first Friday of the month, with an informational speaker and guided questions to help newcomers and networking veterans alike get the conversation going at their table.

2. St. Louis Networking Geniuses

As the name implies, this group takes networking seriously — but not so seriously they can’t have fun with it. The lunch meetings are held at Duffy’s Bar and Restaurant on the first Tuesday of each month. Organizer Sam Naes promises “as much networking as the law allows!” The St. Louis Networking Group is a great place to start if you’re new to the networking scene.

3. St. Louis Tapestry

If you’re looking for a group that offers faith-based support alongside networking opportunities, St. Louis Tapestry may the right fit. This women’s business group meets weekly, with meetings in the morning, afternoon or evening.

In addition to their business-focused mastermind events, the group also holds a monthly social gathering and a Bible study book club.

4. StartLouis

StartLouis is dedicated to bringing together St. Louis startups, entrepreneurs, investors and anyone interested in the St. Louis startup scene. Their monthly meetings boast big numbers, regularly drawing 70+ attendees. Each meeting features two speakers, ample networking time and “Pitch Practice” for startups in attendance to tell the group who they are and what they need. The free meetings are are held at T-Rex on the second Tuesday of the month.

5. Fore Business

Love to golf? Then you know there’s no better way to develop a new business relationship that bonding over a birdie. Fore Business is all about taking the time to build relationships in the best possible way: over a round of golf. Their monthly networking meeting consists of lunch, mentoring and golf lessons from a PGA pro, followed by nine holes on the course at The Highlands in Forest Park. Meetings cost $39, which includes the cost of lunch and golf lessons.

6. Women’s Power Networking: Coffee and Contacts

If you prefer to focus your networking efforts with a tight-knit group of women hailing from a variety of industries, Women’s Power Networking may be the right group for you. Membership costs $200 annually and is by invitation only, but guests can attend up to three meetings for free before joining.

Each group accepts only one member per profession, bringing in new members mostly through referrals. There are several chapters in the St. Louis area, including Chesterfield, Kirkwood, South County, Fenton and St. Charles.

7. Association for Corporate Growth

Unlike many groups that emphasize networking for sales people and small business owners, the Association for Corporate Growth is a place for top executives and high-level service professionals who specialize in corporate mergers and acquisitions. Fees for the monthly networking breakfasts reflect this focus, with a three-tiered pricing structure that has members and top-level executive guests getting in free, members from another chapter paying $35 and service provider guests (attorneys, accountants, consultants, etc.) paying $50.

8. St. Louis Young Professionals

Looking for a group of people who love doing business, but love having fun, too? The St. Louis Young Professionals don’t limit themselves to networking at a breakfast meeting or lunch and learn, preferring to develop relationships through engaging activities. Recent events have included bar crawls, hiking and darts competitions. This group is open to anyone who wants to make friends, have fun and get business done.

9. St. Louis Entrepreneur Meetup Group

St. Louis loves small business. Whether you own a small business, work for one, or hope to start one soon, the St. Louis Entrepreneur Meetup Group is a great place to gather support and get ideas. The monthly presentation-style lunch meetings at Ami’s in Rock Hill cover business-related topics like Internet marketing, real estate investing and public speaking. If you aren’t can’t make a lunchtime networking event or prefer a more relaxed meeting format, the group occasionally hosts evening open networking events.

10. Yellow Tie

The Yellow Tie philosophy is all about giving. Members can participate in a number of different groups, focusing on everything from lead sharing to business building to skills enhancement. Annual memberships are $240, but Yellow Tie also offers free monthly events that are open to the public and support their mission to help entrepreneurs at all levels build their business.

Bonus: Networking over the river

The Metro East is doing big business these days, just a couple of miles from downtown St. Louis. If you’re looking to expand your network across the river, check out these options:

People in Business

The People in Business networking group is devoted to building a community of business owners. Members are encouraged to attend meetings in several locations and develop relationships throughout the group. PIB offers morning meetings in O’Fallon, Highland and Collinsville, Ill. Lunch meetings are held in Edwardsville, Belleville, and Marion, Ill.

Women Empowering Women

The rapid growth the Women Empowering Women group has seen is emblematic of the way business gets done in the Metro East. Meetings offer businesswomen the opportunity to get connected, spread the word about what they do and develop their networking skills. WEW has five Illinois chapters (O’Fallon, Godfrey, Troy, Edwardsville and Clinton County), and is opening their first Missouri chapter in Arnold.

Shelby Blanchard Stogner is a freelance copywriter and blogger who helps businesses get the word out about the great work they’re doing. Visit her on the web at www.sbscopywriting.com for marketing tips and advice on how your business can benefit from zombies.

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Looking for a Professional New Year’s Resolution? Try Learning Something New http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/07/looking-for-a-professional-new-years-resolution-try-learning-something-new/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/07/looking-for-a-professional-new-years-resolution-try-learning-something-new/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18094 Want to take the new year by storm? Make it your best year yet by learning a new skill and achieving your goals.

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It’s that time of year again – the year has ended and our thoughts are turning to what we achieved in the last year.

Have you learned the language you promised to learn at the beginning of the year? Have you been promoted in your job like you hoped? Are you earning more money than last December or are you still struggling to make ends meet?

Now, more than ever, we think about what we want to be different next year. But as we’ve seen from the past, change doesn’t happen overnight and it doesn’t happen if we don’t take different actions.

If you’re sick and tired of your job or want something new, training up in tech skills allows you to take advantage of opportunities in the new year. Isn’t it time you thought about skilling up and getting one of them?

Learn how to code

You may not want to become a web developer, but learning how to code gives you an advantage when looking for a job opportunity in the new year. Whether you’re in recruitment, copywriting, design or management, anyone who can learn how to code has a significant advantage over those who can’t.

And not just in startups. These days every industry, from retail to finance, from science to the arts needs people with programming knowledge. If you’re in a position to hire people, you need to be able to judge their portfolio and identify if the web developers you’re interviewing have the right skills, not to mention know the right questions to ask.

As a writer with tech knowledge, you’ll be in a sought-after position because you can market yourself as an expert available for blog writing, website copy, newsletters and content marketing with your combined writing skills and tech knowledge.

Upgrade your current skill set

Technology is outpacing every other industry in the world, and the truth is, if we don’t skill up to meet the need, we’re going to be left out in the cold. A good example of this is print designers.

Print design is a dying industry. But designers here have a choice. They can upgrade their skill set and get online, or they can watch as their industry becomes redundant. For a print designer, learning UX design would be a natural progression. Learning about user experience would tie-in nicely with their previous experience and still be relevant.

If you’re a back-end web developer, how about learning front-end? If you’re only comfortable with a few coding languages, how about expanding your toolkit and learning some more? Ruby on Rails, Swift .. the list of new languages is growing every day.

The more tech skills you can add to your resume, the more doors you open for yourself for next year’s new career. (Click here to tweet this advice.)

What do you do now? Pimp your personal brand

That new job isn’t going to come calling for you. Once you’ve upgraded your current skill set and found a niche, it’s time to pimp your personal brand. Get online and talk about what you do, start conversations with experts in the field, guest post on relevant blogs and make sure your social media reflects what you’re doing.

Your LinkedIn profile should be up-to-date and optimized. This is your online resume: use it. If you optimize your LinkedIn profile, when you do apply for a job and your prospective employer types your name into a search engine (and they will), they’ll find everything attached to your name is linked to your interest in the field.

Remember, you are who Google says you are. Make it great.

Rosie Allabarton is a writer who lives in Berlin and specializes in technology, education, employment and women in technology. She works as a tech writer and content manager for CareerFoundry, an online educational platform that provides training in web development and UX & UI design, providing career changers with the skills they need to launch themselves onto the tech scene. 

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6 Ways to Build a Personal Brand and Get Hired for Your Dream Job http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/07/6-ways-to-build-a-personal-brand-and-get-hired-for-your-dream-job/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/07/6-ways-to-build-a-personal-brand-and-get-hired-for-your-dream-job/#comments Wed, 07 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18050 Want to stand out from all the noise? The key is your personal brand. Here’s how you can build your brand -- and get hired at the job of your dreams.

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Our careers aren’t paths so much as landscapes that are navigated. We’re free agents, entrepreneurs, and intrapraneurs — each with our own unique brand. — Keith Ferazzi, Never Eat Alone

Everyone is a brand. And with social media, LinkedIn and online business, standing out above the noise is a key attribute to any potential employee. Whether you’re a college student, entry-level careerist or someone looking for a change, defining your brand is the most important aspect of standing out and getting hired.

Understanding that you’re a brand — and actively building it — empowers you to stand out and get the job you both love and deserve. Here are six surefire ways to define your brand, stand out and get hired:

1. Think of yourself as a company

This is the overarching theme of standing out and getting hired. In today’s working world, it’s more common to work for many companies. When you view yourself as a company, you’re able to successfully stand out as a professional who sees each employer as a meaningful client rather than an employee hopping from job to job.

Conducting yourself as the CEO of “You” forces you to act professionally, build positive relationships and market your skills effectively. How can you best steer your company toward success?

2. Dress for the job you want

Dress to impress. Always. This doesn’t mean you have to wear a suit to work, but it means that what you wear reflects who you are. This provides a great opportunity to brand yourself with style, intelligence and flair.

What you wear says a lot about the type of person you are. Celebrate this by being unique while still dressing in a manner that shows respect to your coworkers and your career path.

How would the CEO of company “You” dress?

3. Build an online persona

In a social media driven society, having an online brand is integral to standing out. Whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter or another medium, your social profiles should reflect how you want to be viewed.

Show people that you’re professional and that you have a passion for life and fun; your online persona should balance both sides. Start your own website. Managing a WordPress blog that showcases your interests, thought processes, values and unique flair is mandatory if you want to stand out and get ahead in the 21st century.

Any company you apply to will Google you. Even Google.

4. Expand your network

Networking is the single most important activity you can do to stand out and get hired. The majority of young professionals get jobs from their professional network. Open doors for yourself by strengthening your network with powerful connections.

Word of mouth travels a long way. A great way to stand out is to be vouched for by an influential connection. As the CEO of company “You,” schedule coffee chats or lunches with people who inspire you. Chances are, your uniqueness and professionalism will inspire them to help you in your career.

5. Love your projects

At the end of the day, your working life is a mosaic of the projects you’ve worked on. Employers are happy to hire those who have taken on eclectic and challenging projects, and are even happier to pass over those who haven’t.

Stand out by expanding your skill set and stretching your comfort zone with work or school projects. Employers love dynamic employees with unique experiences. Make sure you take note of the projects you complete so you can showcase examples of your abilities.

6. Be yourself

The bottom line? Be human, and be yourself. Too many young professionals try to conform to the conservative work persona they think employers want. Not true today. Employers are looking for employees who work hard, challenge themselves, take risks and enjoy life. (Click here to tweet this bit of advice.)

Cultural fit is the ultimate qualifier for an amazing job. The only way either you or your employer will know if you’re a fit is if you be yourself. Laugh a little, crack a joke, tell a meaningful story about your life and talk about your ambitions and past projects. As an employer myself, I know they’ll appreciate the humanism.

The business landscape has changed over the last decade. We’re in the midst of a business revolution, both culturally and operationally. Conducting yourself as the CEO of “You” and following these steps to stand out will let you maximize your value in this new environment.

Don’t fret. By focusing on defining your brand and standing out, you’ll not only get hired, you’ll find a job you love.

Evan Tarver is a business development specialist with dynamic experience in the technology industry. Connect with him to read his weekly articles on self improvement through professional excellence and receive your free e-book: 52 Quotes to the Life You Love!

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How to Use Video Interviews to Hire the Right Candidate http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/06/how-to-use-video-interviews-to-hire-the-right-candidate/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/06/how-to-use-video-interviews-to-hire-the-right-candidate/#comments Tue, 06 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18055 When you use video interviewing to hire talent, your candidates will show their true colors -- here’s how you can tell the difference to hire the right person.

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Remember Goofus and Gallant? The two opposing boys were the stars of a children’s comic strip that debuted in Highlights Magazine in 1948. Goofus was always getting into trouble, while Gallant seemed to have it all figured out.

When hiring talent for your organization, you’ve probably come across your share of both Goofus and Gallant-type candidates.

The candidate who shows up late is a Goofus; the candidate with an actionable plan for improving your company’s next quarter is a Gallant. But what if you’re not meeting candidates in-person? What if you, like six out of 10 companies, are using video interviewing tools?

Like any new technology, you have different waters to navigate to find a great candidate and avoid a bad hire. You need to quickly be able to determine the qualifications and potential fit of your candidate, so you can move on or move forward. Below are some tips on how to tell if your candidate is a Goofus or a Gallant during the video interview:

Technology

Goofus hasn’t checked his technology before the video interview. He appears on-screen as a wobbly blob in a vague human shape. His voice sounds like the teacher from the Peanuts cartoon and after two minutes the feed cuts out. Goofus clearly hasn’t done any interview preparation.

Gallant checked all his technology before the interview. He chatted with a friend to ensure his webcam was working, his Wi-Fi was functioning, and everything he said could be heard. Gallant’s picture is crystal clear, allowing you to see what a great fit he could be for your organization.

Research

Goofus decided to research your company, pulled up Google and ended up watching cat videos instead. Goofus clearly doesn’t know anything about your company. He doesn’t even seem to know what your company does. When you ask for questions, Goofus asks questions that could be answered with a five-second skim of your company webpage.

Gallant spent days before the interview researching every aspect of your company. He’s looked up news alerts, read your company blog and has big ideas about the value he can bring to the company. When you ask for questions, Gallant asks insightful questions you’ve never considered.

Dress

Goofus thinks connecting in a video interview is awesome, because he imagines it means he doesn’t have to change out of his sweatpants. In fact, it looks to you as if Goofus didn’t even bother to change out of his pajamas. Also, you’re pretty sure Goofus hasn’t combed his hair in days.

Gallant understands that the same rules apply for video interviews as for in-person meetings. He puts on his best suit and doesn’t forget to wear pants just because you might not be able to see them on-screen. He looks professional, allowing you to imagine him as an asset in your office.

Staging

Goofus hasn’t done laundry in what looks like six months to a year. You know this, because right behind Goofus is a giant pile of laundry. In fact, Goofus has put so little effort into staging you can barely see his face because the lighting is so bad.

Goofus seems like he might need a Hoarders intervention, but you can’t imagine his “superior organization skills” are as good as he says.

Gallant knows everything you can see in a video interview gives the employer information about your candidacy. He’s chosen to connect with you in a bright, clean room without any distractions to take away from his message. Behind Gallant is a bookshelf containing a few awards he’s won for great work; no laundry in sight.

Distractions

Goofus is a popular guy. For some reason, there are beeps from his email and buzzes from his text messages throughout the interview. At one point, you see Goofus looking off-screen and realize he’s trying to subtly text one of his bros. If he can’t even pay attention for a short interview, what will his attention span be like on the job?

Gallant has silenced all his devices and informed family and friends of his interview so there will be no distractions. His television is off, his phone is on silent, and he’s ready to have a serious conversation about his qualifications without any interruptions.

The video interview can be a great way to connect personally faster than in the traditional hiring process, and is an easy way to schedule around even the most packed schedule. (Click here to tweet this quote.) Just like every other aspect of the hiring process, however, video interviews have their own etiquette rules to follow.

A great candidate, like Gallant, will make sure to take advantage of the medium to show off skills and fit. A terrible candidate, like Goofus, will take advantage of the video interview to show off all the reasons not to hire him.

Don’t waste your time on a Goofus. Instead, focus your energy on the Gallants in your talent pool to ensure you hire the right person.

What do you think? What are the most “Goofus” things a candidate has done during your interview process? Share in the comments.

Josh Tolan is the CEO of Spark Hire, a video interview solution used by more than 2,000 companies across the globe. Learn more about finding the best and avoiding the worst in a video interview and connect with Spark Hire on Facebook and Twitter.

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Need a Career Break? Try a Working Sabbatical http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/05/need-a-career-break-try-a-working-sabbatical/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/05/need-a-career-break-try-a-working-sabbatical/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18045 Desperate for time off from work? A working sabbatical might be exactly what you need to revitalize your career.

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If the idea of a sabbatical conjures up images of academic gentlemen in tweeds taking time away from lectures to catalogue the mating habits of newts or participate in an archaeological dig in Patagonia, you need to rethink.

Sabbaticals are moving into the mainstream of employee benefits — and you may be surprised to learn that many people considering them would prefer to take the time to jump into an exciting and enriching working sabbatical than lay on the beach.

Sabbatical or jobbatical?

A new Baltic startup, named Jobbatical, has caught this trend early and is paving the way for working sabbaticals to become a more common practice. The Estonian team has created a marketplace where those seeking short-term work are matched to companies looking for creative talent to take on a challenge or springboard a team to the next level before returning to their regular work.

The site, still in beta, has proved to be popular, especially with Millennial professionals signing up for a shot at one of the gigs in the creative and tech spheres.

The appeal is simple. Those taking jobbaticals get the best of both worlds — a chance to travel and see somewhere new, meet interesting and inspiring people, learn new skills, then return refreshed to the normal business of work — without the risks involved in resigning.

But until the inception of Jobbatical, sabbatical jobs tended to be aimed at either teenage gap year travelers or new graduates seeking internships — with little available for a mid-career professional seeking a different experience.

Travel and work combined

Sabbatical or career break policies aren’t uncommon employee benefits, but taking unpaid time away from work might seem unfeasible to many, despite the desire to travel.

The drain on resources caused by months of travel can be too much, especially for mid-career professionals who might have competing financial demands. This is why the idea of a working sabbatical can be a game changer.

The truth is, traveling exclusively doesn’t suit many career-minded people used to stretch and challenge, and being busy all day. A working sabbatical away from home can be a great alternative, as it combines an opportunity to get to know new people and places in a more meaningful way than as a tourist.

Why take a break?

Sabbaticals in all their forms have crossed over from academia to other sectors gradually in the past 20 years or so. But with GenY — who value experience and connection over status and remuneration — coming into more senior management positions, the value of sabbaticals has become more of a talking point.

Sabbaticals can be a great chance for employees to recharge their batteries, especially as the pace of working life continues to speed up.  (Click here to tweet this quote.) Taking a break can enable longer serving employees to return with renewed vigor, focus and fresh eyes.

What’s in it for the employers?

The concept of jobbaticals works only when employers are on board and willing to allow their employees to take short, planned breaks from work to pursue other interests. For smart employers, offering sabbaticals is a simple choice.

Holding onto talented employees in a difficult market is crucial, and allowing high potential team members to take a short time off work is a better choice than forcing them to choose all or nothing. Add in the appeal of the new skills employees could return with and experience in a new and cross cultural environment, it seems like a win-win situation.

Sabbatical policies can also be used to support talent planning and development more broadly, with employees stepping up to fill the gap, as well as progressive policies on sabbatical leave being a useful tool in attracting and retaining top talent.

With potential benefits to all involved, it’s easy to see why the idea is gaining popularity. Perhaps in the next few years, a working sabbatical will become a popular way to refresh, relax and revitalize your longer term career prospects.

Claire Millard is a freelance writer and coach, currently taking a working sabbatical in Tallinn, Estonia, after ten years in senior leadership roles in retail and HR. When she’s not coaching or writing at Jobbatical and Careeraddict, you might find her bonding with her Estonian friends by murdering their native tongue and moaning about the weather.

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4 Important Things to Do If You Don’t Get the Job You Want http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/05/4-important-things-to-do-if-you-dont-get-the-job-you-want/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/05/4-important-things-to-do-if-you-dont-get-the-job-you-want/#comments Mon, 05 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18040 Being rejected for a job or promotion can hurt - literally. Here’s how to overcome it and move on with your career.

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Have you ever been floored by a professional rejection? Perhaps your company terminated your contract out of the blue, you thought that promotion was a sure bet, or it’s the latest and greatest in a long line of unsuccessful job applications.

Of course, you know better than to play it safe and deliberately avoid rejection in your professional life completely, but this doesn’t lessen the sting when it happens. Here are four ways you can move past your latest rejection ASAP and get back to doing what you do best: (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Create a mourning window

Rejection hurts—literally. As Dr Guy Winch explains in his book Emotional First Aid: Healing Rejection, Guilt, Failure, and Other Everyday Hurts, rejection lights up the same areas of your brain as physical pain.

Being passed over for a promotion, turned down for your dream role, or rejected for that big contract will feel painful. Pretending it doesn’t won’t help you, but neither will rumination. Give yourself a set window to cry, swear, and beat up your sofa cushions — then decide what you’re going to do next. Is there another application you can send out? Another pitch you can start working on? Another contact in your network you can connect with?

Whether you’ve given yourself a mourning window of two hours or two days, use it, do what you need to do, then move on.

2. Don’t bounce back, bounce forward

This phrase comes from The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by psychologist Shawn Achor. We tend to think about overcoming professional rejection in terms of bouncing back and returning to where we were before the rejection happened. When you bounce forward, however, you give yourself the best chance to learn and gain something positive from the situation.

Rejection is rarely as personal as it feels, especially in the workplace, and most rejections contain useful data. To get the most out of your experience, ask yourself: what is your biggest takeaway from this experience? What could you do or prepare differently next time?

In some situations, you can also ask for feedback from the decision-maker. Not everyone will be willing to offer this, but getting clarity around areas for improvement will set you up for success in the future.

3. Get back in the field

Although you might feel tempted to shy away from further job applications, promotion opportunities, or pitches in the wake of a rejection, the kindest action you can take is to get back out there ASAP. The longer you wait to start reaching out to prospects, applying for that dream job, or creating the case for a promotion after your first rejection, the harder taking action will feel.

Although rejection hurts, your anticipation of rejection is often far more uncomfortable than the event itself. If you’ve been rejected, commit to returning to your goal as soon as you can: designate your mourning window, choose one action you’re going to take afterwards, and then stick to it.

4. Play the “no” game

Whatever professional goal you’re working towards, your focus is probably on the outcome and the “yes” you’ll hear at the finish line. This mindset works until you run into rejection. When you focus on the “yes,” rejection becomes a setback along the way, something to be avoided, and harder to stomach when it happens.

What would change if you started thinking of each “no” as part of your journey towards “yes?”

As you get back in the field, play the “no” game: rather than chasing a “yes,” set a goal to collect as many “no”s as possible. Is this comfortable? No. Is it effective? Yes. The more you put yourself in the path of rejection and seek opportunities to hear the word “no,” the less scary it becomes.

The “no” game doesn’t just work because it helps you adjust to rejection. It also reinforces the truth: getting what you want is usually a numbers game. Time, patience, and tenacity are the three traits that separate successful professionals from those who finish up their careers with unfulfilled goals and never-realized potential.

The more you’re willing to put yourself out there and the more often you’re willing to hear “no,” the closer you’ll get to hearing “yes” when the time is right.

How do you overcome professional rejection? Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

Hannah Braime helps people live a life where what they do on the outside reflects who they are on the inside. You can find her at Becoming Who You Are and connect on Twitter.

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Hate Your Job? Maybe You’re Meant to Be an Entrepreneur http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/02/hate-your-job-maybe-youre-meant-to-be-an-entrepreneur/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/02/hate-your-job-maybe-youre-meant-to-be-an-entrepreneur/#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18003 If you’re unsatisfied no matter what job you have, it might not be the jobs -- it might be that you’re not made to be an employee.

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Do you dread going to work in the morning? Have you held a variety of jobs and never been satisfied with any of them?

Perhaps it’s because you’re not meant to be an employee.

That’s how Farnoosh Brock felt — but, to her, the thought of striking out on her own was absurd. Only after more than a decade in the corporate world did she finally realize she was an entrepreneur at heart.

Could the same be true for you?

How to tell if you’re meant to be an entrepreneur

In a recent article for CareerMeh, Brock says:

“If you’re miserable at your corporate job, and the best of rewards -– the promotion, the raise, the shiny office, the great boss, the perks -– haven’t filled the hole in your soul that screams, “There’s got to be more to work and career! God Almighty, won’t you please show me the way before I go mad?” (or your own, calmer version of that statement), then chances are you’re an entrepreneur trapped in the 9-to-5.”

Not sure that’s you? Keep reading. In the article, Brock shares seven not-so-obvious signs you’re an entrepreneur. Here are our favorites:

  • You crave freedom: “An entrepreneur is a freedom seeker.”
  • You’re self-directed: “You don’t need a boss — in fact, you were never meant to have one.”
  • You’re a dreamer: “You trust that fire in your belly and know in your heart that you need be outside of the standard job zone to make stuff happen.”

Does this article describe you? Then it’s probably time to start paying attention to your inner entrepreneur — and figure out a way you can leave the corporate world for good.

Do you think you’re an entrepreneur at heart?

Susan Shain (@TravlJunkette) is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.

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Want a Promotion? Why You Should Start a Blog Now http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/02/want-a-promotion-why-you-should-start-a-blog-now/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2015/01/02/want-a-promotion-why-you-should-start-a-blog-now/#comments Fri, 02 Jan 2015 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18027 Gaining an edge in the job market doesn’t always mean going back to school. If you’re looking for a promotion or a new job, starting a blog can show you know more than what’s on your resume.

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In the ever-competitive job market, you need to go beyond the call of duty if you want to get ahead and land a profitable job. Some go back to school to complete their Master’s Degree or Doctorate. Others opt to completing short courses online or in academic institutions to complement their current skill sets.

If the suggestions above don’t work for you, there’s one other thing you can do: start a blog.

While blogging won’t boost your academic credentials, it has the power to help build your brand within your niche. If done correctly, you can increase the probability of getting hired by a high-paying client or company because of the good work you’re doing with your blog!

This is done by turning your visitors into your blog subscribers and, ultimately, clients!

Here’s how this process works:

Create strong content related to your niche on a consistent basis

Your ability to publish content online on your blog – whether articles, images, videos, or audio – that resonates with your target market is your biggest asset. Not only will your blog posts be found on Google, which will benefit you if potential clients Google your name and find your blog posts, but also has the ability to get you hired.

The secret to crafting these kind of posts is by being helpful to your audience. This can only be done by refining your blog niche.

When starting out with a blog post, ask yourself these questions:

  • What niche do I have lots of knowledge about and want to become an authority in?
  • Who is the target demographic for this niche?
  • What questions are my audience looking answers for?
  • What blog topics within my niche that have not been discussed online?

Once you’ve answered the questions above, you will be able to narrow down your niche and create focused and highly concentrated posts on your blog. This way you can impose your knowledge about a topic and create content that’s interesting to your readers.

Another key to a successful blog is to publish content regularly. To remain consistent with the number of posts you publish within a week or month, you need to create an editorial calendar so you can keep track of the posts you have to create and publish in the future. This will ensure that you will serve up blog posts to your readers on a long-term basis.

Build an e-mail list

The endgame for your blog is to make profound connections with people online. Using the high-quality content that you’ve created for your audience, which is used to attract traffic and interest to your expertise, you need to give them a reason to take their relationship with you (as avid readers to your blog) to another level.

One way of doing this is by building an e-mail list. Through your list, you can send subscribers blog updates, special offers, and exclusive content straight to their e-mails.

Building a list is primarily done using email marketing tools (such as GetResponse) the help you create beautiful landing pages and sign-up forms to acquire your readers’ information. Once they are signed up, continue cultivating your relationship with them by sending out autoresponders with content that you want to share only to them.

The great thing about an e-mail list is that people who signed up are most likely to convert into customers or clients, since they already took the first step by subscribing to you!

The power of building an e-mail list as a way to land your dream job can be harnessed by following the tips below: (Click here to tweet this list.)

  • Offer your consultation services: Send out an autoresponder informing them that professional services are for hire. Sweeten the deal by offering discounted prices for those who hire you first.
  • Sell products: If you are selling e-books or video series about your topic of expertise, you can forward the details to your subscribers in the hopes of making a sale from them.
  • Send out free exclusive content: Reward subscribers by giving them white papers and insider info to help them regarding your niche. You can also run a sweepstakes and give away free stuff to them.

By building relationships with your subscribers, you not only increase your online brand within your industry, but it also gives you more job opportunities in the free market!

How else can your blog can increase your chances of landing your dream job?

Christopher Jan Benitez is a freelance writer for hire who started out by peddling $5 per article until finally landing more profitable writing gigs. He also has an unquenchable passion for all things content marketing and social media.

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Want to Become a Web Developer? What You Need to Know About This Booming Career http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/31/want-to-become-a-web-developer-what-you-need-to-know-about-this-booming-career/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/31/want-to-become-a-web-developer-what-you-need-to-know-about-this-booming-career/#comments Wed, 31 Dec 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18032 Web developers are one of the fastest growing careers. But what does this job really look like -- and how does one even get hired? Read more to find out.

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The Internet is one of the fastest-evolving technologies ever invented. Think about all of the websites you visit each day and how they’ve changed over the past five years: Facebook’s News Feed, Tumblr’s infinite dashboard, even something as straightforward as the Los Angeles Times, which has transformed from a replica of a foldable newspaper to a multimedia news site that includes embedded video and social-media friendly “sharelines” to help users understand and spread important news stories.

Today’s web developers need to be able to easily navigate the web of today as well as prepare for the web of tomorrow — which is coming faster than we think! The Bureau of Labor Statistics cites the median web developer salary as $62,500 per year, and indicates that this career is expected to have faster than average growth over the next decade.

As it looks like there will be many web developer jobs in the near future, what should today’s students do to prepare for those careers? I talked to two web experts to see what advice they had to give.

Changes in the industry

Sven Aas, Vice President of the HighEdWeb Association and Lead Web Applications Developer at Mount Holyoke College, explained that the past decade has been marked by forward-thinking web developers who have driven innovation beyond the initial limitations of the web browser.

“Ten years ago—there’s an important book in our profession called Designing With Web Standards by Jeffrey Zeldman, and that book came out in 2003. There were people working with the concept of web standards, but it really got moving in the next few years after the publication of that book. What that meant is that those people who were creating content on the web and creating tools for the web were beginning to focus less on what the browser makers wanted to support and more on how the web was intended to work,” explained Aas.

Social media, dynamic web pages, streaming video, the writeable web — all of these concepts developed in the past decade and are now an integrated part of contemporary life. Because of this, and because the web is now such a fundamental user experience in all of our lives, people who can design and innovate these experiences are becoming more and more valued.

“It seems like there’s becoming more of a dichotomy between back-end and front-end developers,” Joel Meyers, Web Director for AIGA Seattle and Partner and Director of Business Development of Fuse IQ, told me. He explained that the back-end developers are “real engineers that can go in and write script from scratch and know different libraries,” while the front-end developers are people who “come from a design background and have worked with CSS and HTML.”

In short: the back-end developers provide the structure that supports everything else, and the front-end developers create the user experience.

“The really hot careers are the ones who can really understand UI/UX and also code it,” Meyers said.

Where might web careers develop in the future? “That’s a little hard to predict,” Aas said, “because you’ve seen the amount of change in the last decade.” Aas suggests that content strategy might be an area of future growth, while Meyers notes that another emerging area involves developers who are able to create experiences across multiple devices, such as tablets, wearables and laptops.

Most of all, people who want careers in web development have to be ready to shift along with constant changes and new trends. “They have to be an open cup and be able to sense where the market is going,” Meyers said.

How today’s students can prepare

“People who are interested in designing [should] learn something about programming,” Aas said. “People who are into programming [should] learn more about designing.”

“The main thing is diversify,” Meyers echoed. “It’s great to be a designer and know CSS and HTML, but be open to technologies for enhancing that experience. Javascript libraries are very popular, there are certain development platforms that are really accessible to emerging developers, and with these frameworks people can build sites that are much more sophisticated.”

Understanding current web languages and libraries and combining them with a strong sense of design helps people prepare for web development careers that will be increasingly focused on optimizing user experiences.

“The most important thing college students can do is to get involved somehow,” Aas said. “Look for the folks in their institution that are working on the web now, people in IT or communications offices, or a student organization that needs someone to run their website.”

Building your own websites while you’re still in college is an essential way to prepare for a web development career. “Sometimes that might mean knocking on doors and asking people to let you get involved in something that maybe they weren’t already including students in,” Aas said.

Why is it so important to get hands-on work in web development while still in college? Consider it a way of building a tangible, real-world resume.

“People can see, ‘oh, you’ve actually done this,’” Meyers said. “You’ve created a front end, this really nice-looking fresh design, because you’re a fresh designer and developer, but also you’re using the latest technologies [and] the latest libraries that are coming out.”

How to get hired as a web developer

“A lot of big companies are starting to snatch people out of college,” Meyers said. “Even some of the larger associations and non-profits are needing the heavier-duty developers to implement these ideas that they have for greater impact and social purpose.”

Meyers says students should ask themselves:

“What is the niche that I want to get into? Do I want to specialize, and become that Android developer, or do I want to diversify, and be a jack of all trades and be able to pull in partners to supplement development in other areas?”

Meyers stresses that the more students know about particular industry fields, the more they’ll be able to understand how to enter the field and get a good job. Mobile development, for example, is different from business-to-business web development. Understanding how industries differ can help students prepare to focus on a specific industry or to navigate between industries as they transition from job to job.

Today’s students should also be prepared to continue to adapt and diversify throughout their careers.

“Constant change is here to stay,” Meyers said.

Or, as Aas put it:

“The key thing, as a web professional, is to never stop learning. Personally, I’m attracted to this profession because it never gets boring. I don’t know what my tools are going to look like in three years, or in 10 years.”

I think we’ll all be excited to see what happens in web development in the next decade, and what new career opportunities emerge.

Nicole Dieker is a freelance copywriter and essayist. She writes regularly for The Billfold on the intersection of freelance writing and personal finance, and her work has also appeared in The Toast, Yearbook Office, and Boing Boing.

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3 Reasons to Skip Graduate School and Travel Instead http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/31/3-reasons-to-skip-graduate-school-and-travel-instead/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/31/3-reasons-to-skip-graduate-school-and-travel-instead/#comments Wed, 31 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17958 Thinking of going to grad school? There’s good reason why traveling abroad instead may make you a better job candidate. Read this to find out why.

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“How Do You Gain an Edge in the World? By Navigating Around It.”

That’s an ad for a George Washington University graduate program. But rather than sitting in a downtown D.C. classroom, wouldn’t this so-called “edge” be better gained by actually navigating around the world?

And if this edge is true, then why do so many people pursue graduate degrees instead of taking the time to travel around the world? Does two years and $100,000 in student debt really yield an ROI that’s 5-10 times higher than a one-year around-the-world trip that typically costs $20,000?

Before the tourism industry took over travel, it used to be viewed as a form of study. Mark Twain believed “one must travel, to learn,” and even the Koran states that Mohammed told his followers: “don’t tell me how educated you are, tell me how much you traveled.” For some reason, this perspective has been lost in the minds of aspiring students.

We must shift from viewing travel as vacation or something we wait to do in retirement. Intentional and frequent travel should be viewed as a form of education and an investment in oneself. It’s an investment that will pay dividends and compound in your personal and professional development.

After all, the three most common benefits of graduate school are: 1) learning information necessary to advance your career, 2) figuring out what you really want to do in life, and 3) building your network.

Here are a few thoughts on why travel helps you achieve each of these benefits more so than grad school.

1. Learn information necessary to advance your career

We live in an increasingly diverse and interconnected world. In our knowledge-based economy, successful careers are no longer based on specific skills, but rather the ability to find new opportunities, think creatively, adapt, and connect with others.

Long-term travel will teach you far more about the world and factors impacting it than sitting in a classroom. Find ways to meet with locals, volunteer, consult, or conduct a research project within your desired career path. These hands-on experiences will serve as the ultimate course in people, culture, economics, development, international relations and world history.

After all, if you were hiring a manager for a multinational corporation, wouldn’t working on projects all over the world be a more attractive bullet on a resume than a degree in international business?

2. Figure out what you really want to do in life

Long-term travel takes you out of your comfort zone, routine and traditional influences. This environment provides ample time for self-reflection and helps you solidify your goals and priorities.

Your newfound time flexibility will force you to answer the tough question: “what do I actually want to do with my day, week and month?” I have never returned from a long trip without a major life epiphany. One study conducted by business school professors concluded that that those who spend time abroad have “both a clearer and more complex sense of self.” This clarity of purpose — and ability to articulate it — provides substantial psychological and career benefits.

3. Build your network

Long-term travel enables you to build a global network of people doing remarkable things around the world. It also enhances your ability to build your professional network at home when you return. You build a valuable skillset of quickly making friends with anyone after being placed in many new environments and cultures.

Your travel adventures also make you a more interesting person to talk with. Many professional opportunities arose for me simply because people wanted to hear about my travels.

When pursuing a new career, you can and should put your overseas experiences on your resume and discuss it during job interviews. This will help you stand out among the hundreds of people who all had similar degrees and work experiences. Of course, this doesn’t work if you only drank Piña Coladas on the beach during your travels, but it could go a long way if you maintained a blog, consulted, volunteered, learned a language, conducted research, or visited some off the beaten path destinations.

Oh, and did I mention that you will probably have a lot more fun and cross off a bucket list experience you will never regret? Well, that too.

This guest post is by Konrad Waliszewski. You can find more tips on how to travel more and travel better, even with a career, on his World Venture Project travel blog and on Twitter at @goKonrad.

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This One Word Will Help You Discover Your Dream Job http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/30/this-one-word-will-help-you-discover-your-dream-job/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/30/this-one-word-will-help-you-discover-your-dream-job/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18022 Still looking for your dream job? Learn how to shift your mindset and find the job you want - right where you are.

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I used to believe that the job I could love and the path to the corner office were out there waiting if I just kept searching.

Under this false pretense, I propelled myself through four companies in four cities, making each move because the next best thing was too good to pass up. However, after sitting in the ER fearing I just had a heart attack, I realized the stress of this never-ending search was taking a toll.

After quite a bit of introspection and a few great mentors, I discovered one word allowed me to transform my work day into something much more positive; no more quitting, searching, moving, stalling, stopping, etc.

The Powerful One Word for Your Career

Not only will one word ignite your career, it can completely transform your life. (Click here to tweet this quote.)

This occurs when you shift your professional quest from “finding the job you love” to “creating the job you love.”

Simply substitute “create” for “find.”

Easy, right?

Many people never adopt this perspective, though. How many times have you heard someone talk about “finding a job?”

Maybe they continue the search to find the perfect job for an entire lifetime, or somewhere along the line they give up altogether.

“Finding” becomes an enigmatic and tiresome distraction.

It’s an anemic perspective.  The roots of its weakness come from the very definition of the word “Find,” which means “to discover or perceive by chance or unexpectedly.”

By changing this word to “create,” you shift perspective.

“Creating” is far more powerful and is defined as “to bring something into existence.” In ancient times, the word frequently appears in conjunction with the concept creatio ex nihilo, meaning “creation out of nothing.”

Would you prefer to leave the job you love up to chance? Or bring something you love and desire into existence with intention?

If this idea of intentionally creating something powerful for yourself piques your interest, then you’re in the right place. You can easily apply it even if jobs are scarce.

Here are five steps to immediately start creating the job you love:

1. Get on a mission to create

Embrace the idea that your real quest isn’t to get or find a job. It’s to create the job you love.  This shifts your approach to your work day entirely.

Finding a job requires you to fit yourself into a job that someone else has created. The common perspective is that you should fit yourself into that dream job, whether or not it’s a good fit. Not succeeding in that endeavor could mean unemployment or even worse, humiliation.

As a result, most people master the skills of interviewing, selling themselves, and networking to ensure that won’t happen.

Sure, these are helpful skills, but they leave a massive gap that most never fill. I’m suggesting shifting your focus to free up your capacity and energy to create right where you are.

This leads to the next step.

2. Use your job description at the “clay on the wheel”

Job descriptions are like “clay on the wheel” that we each mold to our own capabilities and the organization’s needs.

For proof, go ahead and pull out the job description from your hiring interview (most people can’t even find it). Does this describe the job you do? In most cases, you’ll probably recognize it doesn’t. You’ve been performing a slightly or very different job the entire time.

The real job is probably a dynamic mix that reflects the needs of your boss, organization, and customers— and perhaps some of you mixed in there, too. Jobs are a lot more fluid than we assume, and their descriptions are like “clay on the wheel” that we each mold to our own capabilities and the organization’s needs.

This means you have much more latitude than you realize to start incorporating work you love into your current job.

Start there.

3. Discover the work that motivates you

The foundation of creating the job you love is understanding which work motivates you and what leaves you drained.  When your day consists of work that you are motivated to do, it doesn’t feel like work.

Pay attention. Make a separate list for the daily activities that energize and those that leave you feeling depleted, and then use this list for your next step.

4. Campaign for work that inspires you

Once you’ve completed Step 3, it’s time to start highlighting those activities to your boss and coworkers who motivate and energize you. Give the most real estate on your Linkedin profile, internal company skill profile, annual review, and conversations with your boss to the work activities you want more of in the future. Consider formally requesting more work activities you’re motivated to do. Seek to delegate or collaborate on activities that leave you exhausted.

5. Inspire your coworkers

Once you’ve started to campaign for the work that inspires, share this process with others.  Notice that when you start to create the job you love, it can lift your coworkers and make a positive impact on the entire office.

Go through these steps and see how they can positively impact the job you have. It’s time to start creating the job you love right where you are today.

Ben Fanning Chief Burnout Officer and still works for a Fortune 50 company. Get inspired by checking out his new book —The QUIT Alternative: The Blueprint for Creating the job You Love WITHOUT Quitting.

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5 Easy Ways to Accomplish All of Your Goals http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/30/5-easy-ways-to-accomplish-all-of-your-goals/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/30/5-easy-ways-to-accomplish-all-of-your-goals/#comments Tue, 30 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18016 Overwhelmed with too many things you want to achieve? Take a step back and approach your big ideas with a practical mindset - and you just might be able to do it all.

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Today’s millennials are driven by such a frenzy of high-intensity mantras like “work hard, play hard” and “YOLO!” that our most common career dilemma should come as no surprise: many have so much opportunity and ideas that they become completely overwhelmed. How many times have you heard yourself say, “I just want to do so many things!” or “Everything I want to do conflicts with everything else I want to do”?

Millennials facing this “crisis” should first realize just how fortunate they are to have the freedom, education, and internal drive to arrive at such a dilemma in the first place. Take a minute to think of those born with mental or physical handicaps, those stricken by disease or poverty, those born into societies with no political freedom, those who are denied education or opportunity because of the color of their skin, their gender, or their social class.

Now that you’ve taken a step back to evaluate your overwhelming situation with a sense of gratitude, we can then address this “crisis of opportunity” with proper level-headedness.

Here are five practical keys to take your life from pressing the panic button to achieving ALL of your wildest dreams. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Write it all down

Simply putting your seemingly conflicting goals down on paper can provide a tremendous amount of clarity. By doing so, your dreams turn into tangible to-do items and your mental clutter becomes far more organized. You also have a documented reference point, so when you feel like you’re getting lost, you can pull out your “dream map” and make sure your day-to-day life is setting you up for achieving of one or more of those items.

If it’s not, change your life…  or change your list.

2. Look at the “why” – and let your values be your compass

Now that you have it all down on paper, take each and every one of your dream items and ask yourself, “Why do I want to do this?” Then write down your answer next to each item. Without being able to clearly understand and articulate your core motivations for doing everything you say you want to do, life will continue to be confusing as more opportunities pop up that all seem like good ideas.

During your process of self-reflection, you might even decide to add or remove items from your initial list. You will also see natural priorities emerge, which helps inform which goals to focus on first.

3. Identify conflicts and synergies

With everything written down and reflected upon, look for relationships between items on your list. Some things will wind up complementing one another, allowing you to work towards more than one dream at a time. Focus on those synergies because they keep you calm, productive, and thinking positively.

But other things may be irreconcilable conflicts. Use the “why” exercise to determine which item gets put on the back-burner in favor of the one with deeper meaning and greater synergy.

4. Focus on making time

Ninety percent of our panic about achieving everything is self-inflicted; we tell ourselves there is not enough time. Time is limited, this is true, but the best thing we can do in the face of the finite nature of our lives is to purposefully change our attitudes towards time. Start thinking of time as being a plentiful resource, and declare it something within your control. Stop saying “have time” and replace it with “make time.”

For example, “I don’t have time to become a doctor” would become the more accurate and self-aware: “I am not making time to become a doctor.” Use the “why” exercise to prioritize what you are currently choosing to make time for and make sure that is in line with at least one – or more (synergies!) – of the items on your list.

5. Don’t over-plan

Don’t try to make a timeline of all your dreams. Don’t make brackets with “two years” or “10 months” next to each item on your list, trying to calculate how much time you think you need to achieve it — you will drive yourself crazy! Undoubtedly, life will run its course, and being open to its serendipity, instead of micromanaging it, will make you much happier in the long-run.

Above all, the most important thing is the inner dialogue you use when you find yourself wanting so many different things and having so many compelling dreams. It may sound crazy, but every time you begin to panic about not being able to do everything you want to do, pull out the list you made and reaffirm yourself and reaffirm those dreams. Tell yourself these are all still very important to you and you will achieve them in due time. As long as you do not stop checking up on your dreams, you stay in control.

Dreams slip away when we let them, when we stop having a clear picture of what they look like. They slip away when we stop understanding why they are important to us, and they die entirely when we tell ourselves it’s not all possible. It is all possible. We simply have to take a deep breath, exercise the right mindset, and employ these few practical strategies.

Elaina is a former NYC management consultant turned legal nomad who writes about the intersection of career, life, and travel for today’s 20-somethings. Check her out at Life Before 30 and Beyond Borders Travel Photography.

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Is Your New Year’s Resolution a New Job? Consider a Career in Quality Management http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/29/is-your-new-years-resolution-a-new-job-consider-a-career-in-quality-management/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/29/is-your-new-years-resolution-a-new-job-consider-a-career-in-quality-management/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18011 Several industries -- from transportation and energy to the food, health and retail industries -- have job security for these professionals.

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Frustrated by your lack of career growth opportunities? Have you ever considered a career in quality management?

Quality management — not to be confused with quality managers — includes everything from quality planning and assurance to quality control and quality improvement. A career in this field involves streamlining processes so an organization can be more effective in the products they create or services they offer.

What comes to mind when you think of a career in quality management? Do you picture someone in a white collared shirt and clipboard standing on an assembly line, robotically inspecting toasters as they make their way through some nondescript manufacturing facility?

Maybe you think of that pesky auditor who comes around once a year lecturing about industry code, regulation and procedure — with seemingly no regard for the work that has to be completed on a timely schedule.

While some types of quality management roles might adhere to the above scenarios, there’s more to this field for your career than meets the eye. Here are a few reasons you might consider a career in this field and how you can use your transferable skills to get your foot in the door. (Click here to tweet this link.)

Job security in quality management

There’s more to quality management than random sample generation and statistical process control. Process and inspection are vital to producing a safe working environment and quality product or service.

Procedural auditing for example, just one aspect of quality management, can be a beneficial and productive exercise if performed with an open mind and the right approach. The first-hand experience you might gain while performing a procedural audit — or assessment if you prefer the term — would rival any classroom curriculum on the general mechanics of business management.

What industries need quality management expertise

Long-term demand for quality management professionals is growing across all industry sectors. Aviation and oil and gas, for example, have some of the most stringent regulatory mandates. This demand is not limited only to the transportation and energy sectors, but also industries such as food, health and retail.

Along with regulatory requirements, client organizations are reluctant to award contracts unless a robust quality management structure is in place. Low-quality services or products can bring loss of revenue and poorly impact an organization’s reputation.

These quality systems are not isolated to product sampling or technical inspection. Quality management processes are now intertwined within the whole corporate organizational structure. Demonstrated quality processes and procedures are recommended for executive and project management, finance and human resources, just to name a few.

In fact ISO 9001:2008, one of the most widely used quality management standards in the world today, is implemented by over one million companies and organizations in over 170 countries.

This translates into growing career opportunities for professionals like you. The time is ripe to take advantage of this trend and transition into a quality management role.

How you can translate your skills into project management

Now for the best part!

As an experienced professional, you likely have most of the tranksferable skills required for a successful career in quality management. It’s just a matter of building on that foundation. And because the necessity for quality representation spans all industries, your skill set is not only relevant and transferable, but also essential to your success.

How many times have you followed a procedure at work, mentally noting how redundant or impractical the process was? Or perhaps you have disregarded the procedure altogether because you developed a more efficient way to complete the task?

Your knowledge and experience provide you the ability to recognize and identify these costly inefficiencies and help you improve or refine processes instead of brushing them aside. This would make for a valuable member of any management team.

How to transition into quality management

If you want to transition into a quality management role, here are a few tips that could get you started on the road to success:

  • Enroll in quality related coursework or training. Take it on personal time or make a case to your employer of the benefits this training will bring and have it reimbursed. Again, the ISO 9000 Standard would be a great starting point.
  • Network with other people in the quality field both local and online. The American Society for Quality – ASQ has a local branch in most major cities in North America. LinkedIn is a great source for connecting with people internationally and can be a powerful career tool.
  • Take targeted management courses through your local university or college. Online or continuing education programs are a great option.
  • Volunteer to observe on audits both with your employer or with people you meet through your local networks. This is a strategy most people don’t do but should.

These few strategies, when combined with your knowledge and expertise, could open up doors that might have otherwise been inaccessible. Quality management may not have been on your career radar in the past, but it’s a hidden gem that should not be overlooked.

How could your expertise be adapted to a career in quality management?

Greg Peckford (@gregpeckford) is a corporate quality management professional with over 18 years of experience in areas of aviation, oil and energy, and construction management. He is also founder of Quality Career Advancement, a blog dedicated to helping technical professionals use quality management to elevate their careers.

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5 Simple Tips to Make the Most of a Bad Job Interview http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/29/5-simple-tips-to-make-the-most-of-a-bad-job-interview/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/29/5-simple-tips-to-make-the-most-of-a-bad-job-interview/#comments Mon, 29 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=18007 What if you get stuck with a bad interviewer? Here’s how salvage a bad interview so you can still shine.

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When preparing for a job interview, you’ve got a lot on your plate. Being ready for tough interview questions is only part of it. You’ll also need to pick out sharp outfit, have your not-too-weak but not-too-firm handshake nailed, and figure out how to stop your hands from getting clammy.

It’s best not to spend all your pre-interview time thinking about yourself. Why? Because the biggest hurdle to clear in an interview can sometimes be the interviewers themselves.

Interviewing candidates requires particular skills and knowledge that not everyone in the organization will possess. Smaller companies in particular might not have the experience interviewing candidates or resources structure the interview process in a way that provides the best chance to sell yourself.

And that’s why you need to know how to stop interviewers’ mistakes from costing you a job. If you get stuck with a bad interviewer, here’s how you can steer the conversation in the right direction to show off your greatest qualities. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Don’t let them do all the talking

In between talking at length about the company, the role, the rest of the team and where you’ll fit in, you can start to feel like you’re listening to a speech rather than participating in an interview.

Make subtle signs you want to change the pace of the conversation. By uncrossing your legs and leaning in slightly, you can prompt the interviewer to give you your moment. If this doesn’t work, be prepared to chime in even if you aren’t explicitly asked a question. When the interviewer makes an interesting point about the company’s work, culture or goals, express interest and chime in how your own experience relates.

If you still can’t get a word in, you may have to become more forceful. While you’ve been told not to interrupt the interviewer, exceptional circumstances may call for exceptions to the rule – it’s better to be remembered for being assertive than forgotten completely.

2. Be ready for generic questions

During an interview you should be looking for opportunities. Opportunities to demonstrate you possess the experience required by the role, the key skills needed to work efficiently, and the drive to continue learning and improving on the job.

A list of generic questions printed from the Internet on the morning of the interview won’t provide the same obvious opportunities as carefully considered questions composed by a capable and motivated hiring manager. But that doesn’t mean the opportunities aren’t there – you just have to look a little harder for them.

If you’re ask to answer dull, generic questions, dig deeper with your answers to give the interviewer a better understanding of your skill set and personality

3. Don’t get flustered by riddles

Then there are the interviewers who ask riddles in the place of questions, such as how many ping pong balls fit into a 747. While most recruiters agree these kinds of questions are useless at finding the best candidate for the job, play along and answer the question as best you can.

Don’t let these questions faze you – just apply logic and return to why you’re a perfect fit for the role.

4. Don’t assume they’ll ask you for questions

Asking your own questions gives you a better understanding of the company, allowing you to assess whether you’re a good fit for the role. Just as importantly, it shows you’ve prepared for the interview and are interested in the company.

Asking a candidate if they have any questions is a natural way to end an interview, but your interviewer might forget. If you aren’t given the opportunity to ask questions, then simply bring it up yourself.

5. Don’t let them undersell their organization

Any job seeker knows selling yourself is essential. The same is true of companies, but some employers won’t talk up their organization. At best, their lack of enthusiasm about the role and your place within the company will fail to inspire you. At worst, they may let on that the perks are non-existent, most of the clients are a complete nightmare, and last year several involuntary redundancies were made.

If the hirer makes the job or workplace sound unattractive, don’t immediately dismiss the position. The interviewer might have had a bad day or could simply be making heavy work out of trying to manage new employees’ expectations.

To find out what the role is really like connect with other employees through Twitter or LinkedIn. If offered the position, ask your employer if you can speak to would-be colleagues before making your decision.

The advice hasn’t changed: Be prepared

Ultimately the advice to job seekers hasn’t changed: Be prepared. But don’t just be prepared for interviewers who can guide you through a successful interview; be prepared for those who may be thwarting your chances without even realizing it. Remember, it’s up to you to make the most of the interview to sell yourself — even if that means taking matters into your own hands.

Shawn Hunt is the owner of Satellite Broadband UK. This post was inspired by those that have helped him become a better interviewer.

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5 Smart Tips to Turn Your Internship Into a Full-Time Job http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/26/5-smart-tips-to-turn-your-internship-into-a-full-time-job/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/26/5-smart-tips-to-turn-your-internship-into-a-full-time-job/#comments Fri, 26 Dec 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17968 Love your internship? Use it to launch a career you love, too. These tips will help you go from intern to full-time employee.

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In today’s overcrowded job market, an internship can easily become a passport to a job. Choosing the right internship is the first step in securing a rewarding full-time job at the company of your dream.

The truth is, not every internship ends with the prospect of a job, and competition is strong when companies hire more than one intern. (Click here to tweet this truth.)

If your internship is going great and you’re passionate about what you do, it’s time to think about how to turn it into a serious, full-time job. Here are top industry tips to help you launch your career.

Become part of the company

To impress your managers, blend in with other full-time employees. Make sure your outfits match the company’s dress code and that you come and go within office hours. Ditch your college habits — don’t talk about your colleagues behind their backs or act emotional. Project a professional attitude at all times.

By hiring you as an intern, the company can see whether you fit into its culture. Between the complexities of corporate organization and the lures of employer branding, it’s sometimes hard to have a clear idea about a company’s culture. To understand it better, observe and ask around. Don’t be afraid to ask your supervisors and colleagues questions; they’ll expect it from you.

Don’t be overly confident

To make the cut, learn how to balance confidence and humility. If you’re a young professional entering the job market, be aware that recruiters and managers will immediately slot you in the Millennial category, which basically stands for entitled and lazy — definitely not your dream employee.

Prove them wrong. Be curious and engaged. Ask questions about what you’ve learned and never pretend to know something you don’t. Be alert and energetic, with a notebook in your hands and ready to jot down practical tips and your own insights, which can be easily reviewed later.

Consider your learning opportunity as fun and don’t label something as boring before knowing what it is. Most importantly, keep your mind open and be prepared to change your habits. An internship can be a life-changing experience — be ready to embrace all the possibilities it’ll open for you.

Be proactive

Once you’ve finished your tasks, ask for more projects or suggest ways you could be useful to the organization. Offer your own perspective, but don’t go overboard — criticizing the company is never a good thing. Always do more than expected and let people recognize you for your work, not the amount of time you spend on social media.

If you contribute and create something of value or spot a previously overlooked issue, you’ll make a real impact and impress your supervisors. If your presence makes a difference, you’re on your way to becoming a potential full-time employee.

What to do? Identify your talents and think how they could be used at work. To be engaged and show your true potential, integrate your career goals and unique skills into your everyday activities — it’s hard, but will pay off.

Network, then network more

Entering any kind of working environment provides a great opportunity for creating and cultivating professional relationships that might prove crucial later in your career. Don’t be shy and join your coworkers for lunch, company events and other social gatherings.

Forming professional relationships with colleagues will help you assess the company’s culture and help you decide whether you want to join it. Don’t pick and choose people to network with — keep in touch with both senior employees and your fellow interns. Give everyone the same amount of attention. You won’t regret it.

Expand your professional circle of acquaintances by attending local meetups and other events, such as seminars, workshops or conferences, organized by people working in your industry or sector.

Say goodbye with a bang

When you’ve got a month of work left, schedule an appointment with your supervisor to discuss your career goals. If you haven’t indicated your interest in a full-time position yet, do it now.

This is also the moment to leave a good impression — express your appreciation for the opportunity, send handwritten thank-you cards or emails and check in with your colleagues once in a while.

What should you do if no job is offered after your internship? Stay calm and maintain contact with your supervisor, HR personnel and other important people at the company and reiterate your interest in the position occasionally. If a spot opens, you’ll be the first they think of.

Nicole Davies works at ShortCourseFinder, a website providing a simple way to find and sign up for online short courses from Australia’s top providers. Main areas of her interest are social media and the use of new technologies in classroom.

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Stop Writing Resume Objectives and Start Writing These Instead http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/26/stop-writing-resume-objectives-and-start-writing-these-instead/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/26/stop-writing-resume-objectives-and-start-writing-these-instead/#comments Fri, 26 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17982 Ditch the dreaded resume objective and craft a personal branding statement that will grab attention and help you land the job.

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The dreaded resume objective — no one likes to write them and hiring managers don’t like to read them.

The resume objective is intended to show potential employers your qualifications for the job and your knowledge level within the field. What was once seen as a strategic way to stand out in a crowd of candidates is now seen as outdated and overused.

Instead, sought-after candidates are crafting and customizing personal branding statements to tell recruiters “These are the values I offer to your company” rather than “This is what I want in a position at your company.”

The personal branding statement is short and attention-grabbing, and highlights your values, uniqueness and expertise level. Forbes puts it plainly: “Your personal brand is all about who you are and what you want to be known for.”

Let’s look at the three key elements to crafting your personal branding statement.

1. Your values

Your values are core principles you live by. These are a set of rules that govern your choices, attitude and actions in life. It’s the promise of your values that sets you apart from your competitors. It’s also a promise to your prospective employer that you’ll deliver what’s expected.

To help you with defining your set of values, consider answering these questions.

  1. What makes you different from others?
  2. What’s your best personal trait?
  3. How do others describe you?
  4. What personal qualities do you value the most?

2. Your expertise level

The next component to your personal branding statement is your expertise in your field of work. This is where you can showcase your skill set, knowledge and strengths.

When describing your expertise level, use simple but powerful words. (Click here to tweet this quote.) For example, if your skill is writing up sales training manuals for companies, don’t state:

“Wrote sales training manuals that incorporated multimedia, group exercises and personality questionnaires.”

Use action-oriented verbs that’ll impact and persuade a potential employer. Also incorporate quantifiable information as it shows your expertise in generating growth. A better approach to the above statement:

“Designed and implemented sales training manuals for corporations that resulted in 43 percent new business.”

In this final sentence, you don’t mention how the training information was presented, as that doesn’t showcase your strengths. Stating a statistic of business growth shows the potential employer what you have to offer and what you’re capable of offering.

Try using these action-oriented verbs when designing your personal branding statement.

  • Conceptualized
  • Pioneered
  • Reduced
  • Increased
  • Collaborated
  • Targeted
  • Managed
  • Achieved
  • Maximized
  • Generated

For more action verbs, check out Great Resumes Fast’s and Career Realism’s posts.

3. Your unique selling points

Your personal branding statement must exemplify the qualities that make you suitable for a position in a company. Why should they hire you?

Consider any awards you received in the past that might be applicable to your brand. You might also want to consider previous compliments you’ve received at work and any other exceptional career moments. Was there something you were able to solve at work that others couldn’t?

Look for specific career moments and use them in your personal branding statement. For example, if you were able to solve a technical problem others had trouble with, you could say:

Foundation in innovative troubleshooting

Let’s put the personal branding statement together

Now that you have the key elements to writing a winning personal branding statement, the next thing is to make sense out of it. Here’s a basic template you can use.

[One or two words describing your strengths] [who you are] with experience in [your expertise]. [Showcase your unique selling points].

Here’s an example for an IT specialist.

I’m a technically savvy troubleshooter in the field of IT with eight years experience in pioneering the latest wireless network security software and saving companies thousands of dollars with my latest software development. I’m recognized as a leader in configuring and implementing secure wireless solutions for businesses in downtown Chicago.

This is one of many basic templates you can use. Feel free to explore other personal branding statements and tailor it to your liking.

Elna Cain (@ecainwrites) is a freelance writer for hire who specializes in career, health and parenting advice. You can find more about Elna and her services at Innovative Ink, where you can grab your free info guide to “8 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Email When Pitching to Clients.”

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How to Find a Career You Love – Without Quitting Your Job http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/24/how-to-find-a-career-you-love-without-quitting-your-job/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/24/how-to-find-a-career-you-love-without-quitting-your-job/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17987 If you’re unhappy with your current job, don’t quit -- yet. Start looking at other options that you’ll enjoy while still pulling in a paycheck.

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It happens to all of us. It’s Monday morning and we’re commuting to work. Our mind drifts to thinking: “I’m ready for a career change… what will happen if I start over?” Many of us ask ourselves these questions as the 21st century job market shifts away from “one job for life.” But why do we have that desire to walk away from the career plan that we’ve worked so hard to make a reality? Take one quick trip down memory lane, and you’ll be reminded why so many of us are considering career change.

At 19 years old, you were programmed to pick a college major after “thoroughly” evaluating the careers associated with that field of study. You thought you were choosing a career for the rest of your life, but you lacked the experience of the real world to understand how that choice aligned with your personality and skill set.

Fast-forward to your 30-year-old self. Maybe your career flourished and you achieved success. Yet you evolved. Your priorities changed and new passions were born. It’s no wonder that 20 percent of Americans are unhappy at work, while nearly 60 percent are unfulfilled and have considered quitting their jobs.

For those of you who have identified the desire to make a change – you’ve taken the first step. In some cases though, by the time you realize you have grown out of your position, you have also mentally checked out. This can lead to a frustrating next few months as you trudge through your days unmotivated and confused about what’s next. With so many choices, it’s easy to end up doing nothing at all. Psychologist Barry Schwartz calls this the paradox of choice.

Job Experimentation

So what should you do when you are starting from scratch and aren’t sure which direction to take? The answer is simple: job experimentation. This concept is about conducting research through action. British author Roman Krznaric writes and theorizes about finding meaningful work. He believes that you have to try several different occupations before finding the one that clicks. Meticulously planning will only slow you down, so once you’ve decided to make that career change, Krznaric says to act first and reflect later.

This method is also for the risk averse. Through job experimentation, you can investigate new careers while holding onto your day job. In the end, your research through action will have eliminated a lot of the risk associated with plunging head first into a brand new career.

Here are four sequential steps to practice job experimentation before changing careers: (Click here to tweet this list.)

  1. Be honest. It all starts with who you are. As you prepare to talk to other professionals, think of the genuine reasons why you are making this change and be ready to explain your intentions. They will be receptive if you are authentic.
  2. Use informational interviewing and job shadowing. The next step does not involve perusing the self-help aisle at your local Barnes & Noble. It involves actual conversations with people. Remember learning about the informational interview from your college advisor? Professionals don’t use this method enough. Once you’ve narrowed down your list of preferred job characteristics and industries, call someone in your desired position. Ask specific questions about company culture, management style and growth opportunities. If there is a chance to job shadow, take a vacation day to experience the job for yourself.
  3. Take an internship. They’re not just for college students. As professionals, we don’t typically consider unpaid positions, but think of the experience you’ll get in a new industry for an extra 10 hours a week. Spending your free hours, nights or weekends honing your skills will be invaluable as you build your credentials and portfolio.
  4. Network. The concept of “networking” becomes more meaningful when you’re in a career transition. Attending events tailored to your field of interest is incredibly valuable to your reinvention. Use networking as a channel to rebrand yourself, discuss your informational interview/internship experience, and prove that you’re serious about a career change. People will respect your initiative.

American poet and author Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make, the better.” After a few months of taking action, you will overcome the fear of change. Answers to your career questions will start to become clear and you will have learned so much about yourself along the way.

Why not try it now? This year, whether you are happy or unhappy in your current job, try job experimentation as a way to prepare yourself for the future. It can’t hurt. And it could be the best New Year’s Resolution you’ve ever kept.

Samantha Un is an award winning communications professional, freelance consultant and writer. She likes to ask big questions like, “How should we define happiness,” and “What does life success look like?” So she founded a blog called Her Savory Life, where she is refining the art of living based on the principles of authenticity, inspiration and respect for life’s journey.

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Why You Should Hire Someone Who Makes Typos http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/24/hire-someone-makes-typos/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/24/hire-someone-makes-typos/#comments Wed, 24 Dec 2014 11:00:19 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17999 Most recruiters automatically dismiss candidates who submit applications with typos. But psychology research says this might be the wrong approach.

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Would you ever hire someone who submitted a resume or cover letter with a typo? If you’re like most recruiters, probably not. Instead, when you’re overwhelmed with applications, you’re looking for any excuse to move a candidate to the “no” pile.

But this may be the wrong approach.

In a recent article in Inc, Suzanne Lucas argues that — unless you’re hiring a proofreader or copy editor — typos aren’t a big deal.

Why typos mihgt be a good tihng

To back up her claims, Lucas shares a psychologist’s explanation of what makes us overlook our own typos: “When we’re proofreading our own work, we know the meaning we want to convey. Because we expect that meaning to be there, it’s easier for us to miss when parts (or all) of it are absent.”

So, Lucas says that typos “in no way indicate a lack of intelligence or even attention to detail.” Rather, they might “indicate a person who is very interested in getting concepts and ideas down on paper.”

And a person who is very interested in getting their concepts down on paper is probably a person who is very excited about the position they’re applying for. It’s a valid point: If you’re hiring a new salesperson, wouldn’t you prefer to hire someone passionate about their work — even if they include an incorrect “your/you’re” in their application?

To sum up, Lucas says:

“When we’re hiring, we should be focused on the meaning conveyed in the résumé, and not on how we can reject as many people as possible. A typo doesn’t mean someone is going to be a bad employee. In fact, it can mean that he or she is so focused on conveying meaning that you should bring that person on board as soon as possible.”

What do you think? Would you ever hire someone who made a typo?

Susan Shain (@TravlJunkette) is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.

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3 Tips for Dealing with a Toxic Workplace http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/23/3-tips-for-dealing-with-a-toxic-workplace/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/23/3-tips-for-dealing-with-a-toxic-workplace/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17956 If a toxic workplace is affecting your health and well-being, try these strategies to stay sane and deal with difficult coworkers.

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There’s a difference between a dead-end job and one that is purely toxic. A toxic work environment can seriously affect your physical and mental health, even becoming dangerous to your well-being.

When you work in a toxic environment, you face a slew of discouraging and challenging situations on a daily — or even hourly — basis. If only you had to deal with one inappropriate coworker or a bad boss, your days might be easier to manage. But when you’re facing a soul-sucking, constantly stressful and degrading situation at work, it’s time to take action.

Below are three signs of a toxic workplace and what you can do to improve your happiness and productivity to make the best of a bad situation. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Unclear policies and procedures

Unhealthy companies don’t prioritize policies and procedures. Either processes don’t exist, the ones that do are poorly documented or they simply aren’t followed. Does your workplace have one of the following symptoms?

  • Communication between departments is sporadic and incomplete (or non-existent)
  • You company lacks written, standardized procedures of how things are supposed to get done
  • The procedures you’re supposed to follow are so ancient, they’re no longer applicable
  • Your company has policies or procedures, but you’ve never seen anyone actually follow them

A toxic workplace with sick systems can feel like some combination of chaos, incompetence or anarchy. How anything ever gets done can seem to be a mystery.

What to do: Remember that if you don’t take care of yourself, no one else will. The organization won’t, nor will its policies.

When you work in a toxic environment, you put yourself at risk for physical problems (loss of sleep, weight gain, high blood pressure, medical problems), emotional problems (depression, anxiety, anger), and relational difficulties (withdrawal, irritability, loss of friendships).

So prioritize important activities that renew you such as exercise, sleep, friendships and hobbies. Take as much control of your life as you can to improve your health.

2. Dysfunctional coworkers

“Dys” means problem, and dysfunctional people have serious difficulties functioning in daily life. Dysfunctional colleagues wind up creating more work for you. They often need to be “rescued” because they didn’t get their work done, or the quality was so poor, their work had to be redone — by you.

Do you work alongside colleagues who do the following?

  • They blame others and make excuses, rarely accepting responsibility for their actions
  • They withhold or distort information and communicate indirectly through others
  • They have a sense of entitlement, believing they should receive raises and promotion in spite of their inconsistent performance
  • They’re masters of creating conflict and tension within the workplace

What to do: You can’t control who you work with, so surround yourself with supportive friends and family outside of work. They can also give you objective feedback on your work circumstances.

We need others who can help us cope with the stress from work and who can honestly tell us when we need to consider looking for another job.

3. Toxic leaders

Toxic leaders have several common characteristics. Does this sound like your boss or management team?

  • While they may be totally competent (in a technical sense), their motives are impure
  • They’re totally focused on their interests and achievements and use others to get what they want
  • They manipulate others, often using shame or anger
  • They take credit for others’ work
  • They rarely, if ever, accept responsibility when something goes wrong

A toxic leader can occur at a department level or as a front-line supervisor — not necessarily at the top tier of the organization. Regardless of their position, they make life hell for those who work for them.

What to do: You can’t change who your manager is or how they manage. When you have a toxic leader, it might be time to determine how much longer you want to work in this setting and begin to explore other options.

If a toxic workplace becomes too much to handle, it might be in your best interest to start looking for a new job and get out as quickly as possible. Or, this could be the perfect opportunity to switch careers or even become an entrepreneur and work for yourself.

How have you coped with toxic colleagues or a toxic work environment?

Paul White, Ph.D., is a psychologist, speaker and consultant who makes work relationships work. He’s the co-author of “Rising Above a Toxic Workplace and The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace.” Go to www.appreciationatwork.com for more information.

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How You Can Skip College and Still Land an Awesome Job http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/23/how-you-can-skip-college-and-still-land-an-awesome-job/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/23/how-you-can-skip-college-and-still-land-an-awesome-job/#comments Tue, 23 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17978 A college diploma is not necessarily your ticket to professional nirvana. What if you could skip college and still earn top dollar?

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You may have been raised to believe that a college degree was your ticket to professional nirvana. But millions of recent graduates across the United States are discovering that’s simply not the case.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, around 8.5 percent of college graduates aged 21 to 24 were unemployed in the 12-month period between April 2013 and March 2014. Unfortunately, acquiring mountains of student debt has not proved to be their secret to career success.

Even more worrisome was the finding that 16.8 percent of new college grads were underemployed — meaning they were either jobless or hunting for work; working part-time, or working jobs for which they were overeducated and over-qualified.

What’s the solution? Ditch your college dreams and find a get-rich scheme instead? Not entirely. Instead, take a look at trade schools. Getting hands-on training could be the fastest and most affordable way to land a high-paying job in an industry you love.

If you’re still not sold on the idea, here are a few reasons you might consider attending a trade school instead of a traditional university.

Ask yourself: Do you really need a college degree?

College has an almost reverential status in the United States. While a college education is absolutely necessary for some professions, ask yourself if that college degree ties in with your life goals. If more young Americans asked themselves this question, fewer students would blindly walk towards an expensive degree they may never put to use.

Take a lesson or two from our friends in Europe. In Switzerland, even though university education is free, a vast majority of students pursue vocational or career training instead. The country’s vocational education training (VET) system, which churns out skilled workers year after year, attracts almost two-thirds of students who’ve completed nine years of mandatory schooling.

Germany is another country that can teach us how to treat students whose personalities are not suited for traditional academics. Germans consider these students to be potential assets and have put a system in place with a complex partnership between the government, trade unions and employers. The goal is to help everyone find the right vocation for them and provide the necessary training to help them get there.

How to train for a career — not a degree

Contrary to popular belief, trade schools aren’t just for beauticians, plumbers, electricians, mechanics and carpenters. It’s possible to receive career training in a host of careers — ranging from nursing and architectural design to culinary arts and even business administration.

These career training programs work because they’re short-term, focused, hands-on and are much more economical than traditional four-year degrees. A training program can prepare you for a specific career and provide a link between the academic and professional world.

Thanks to real-life experience, career training students are often more aware of the demands of their profession and are less likely to feel thrown in the deep end of the water at the end of their education.

More reasons to attend trade school

Put yourself in the shoes of an employer down the line. In front of them sits a young professional who chose a career — and stuck to it — in their teenage years. While your peers sat in classrooms taking notes or filling in bubbles on exams, you practiced and fine-tuned your craft.

Employers are bound to respect that you had the focus and clarity to go after a specific vocation instead of dragging your feet through a sea of courses trying to find their calling. (Click here to tweet this thought.)

Plus, short-term career training programs can be the fastest and cheapest way to get a job that pays, this “USA Today” article found. The study the article covers found that some vocational certificate holders actually earned more than their bachelor degree-holding counterparts.

There are several routes to your dream job that bypass traditional college. Career training is one of them. If you have the conviction, you can make it work!

Resources:

Ray Holder is an independent career counselor. Connect with him on Twitter.

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5 Surprising Ways a Bad Job Can Be Good for Your Career http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/22/5-surprising-ways-a-bad-job-can-be-good-for-your-career/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/22/5-surprising-ways-a-bad-job-can-be-good-for-your-career/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17963 Does your job drag you down and make you dread heading into the office? Keep these positives in mind until you find something better.

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Bad jobs come in many classifications. Perhaps your manager is unprofessional or you’re grossly underpaid or you’re surrounded by catty coworkers. A bad job can make it difficult to keep a smile on your face when you head into the office each morning, but take heart: Something positive can come from your negative experience.

Keep these things in mind when you’re feeling defeated, and stay strong until you find something better. (Click here to tweet this bit of inspiration.)

Your resume will thank you for it

Future employers won’t see all of the dirty details of your bad job — nor will they want to. They’ll see the name of the company, your title and your list of responsibilities. By achieving as much as you can in the position under the circumstances, you’ll be rewarded with an impressive entry on your resume.

Tempted to talk smack in future interviews? Bite your tongue and focus on the positive aspects of the position. You have the power to make that bad job look good.

You’ll learn about leadership

In many cases, a bad job comes down to the boss. Whether they’re disorganized, disconnected or unpleasant, a bad boss can have a negative impact on every level of the company. Rather than relegating yourself to cursing management under your breath, watch them closely and recognize what makes them so ineffectual and how their bad behavior impacts those around them.

If you find yourself in a leadership position in the future, you’ll have a clear idea of the kind of boss you want to be — and the kind you don’t want to be.

You’ll clarify your career goals

Bad jobs can have the unexpected result of giving clarity to your career path — but only if you don’t get so mired in the negativity that all you can think about is getting out. Having a job that makes you unhappy will cause you to consider the kind of job you really want. This is something you may not think about as much in a job where you’re merely satisfied.

Define what you want in a job, then keep those characteristics in mind as you work toward your next step.

You’ll get better at confrontations

No one likes confrontations, but in a bad job, you may have to stand up to coworkers or your boss if you strongly disagree with how a situation is being handled. This might cause anxiety and unhappiness, but look at it this way: You’re learning to handle disagreements in a calm, professional and democratic way.

If you’re sparring with someone who can’t be reasoned with, keep your cool and refuse to stoop to their level. Knowing how to remain calm and collected under pressure is a great skill to have.

You’ll build your network

No matter how bad the job, you’re bound to cross paths with the people you work with in the future. You may bond with coworkers who share your frustration with the company, and that’s a strong connection you’ll always have — even years later when you’ve all moved on to better positions.

And the employees who gave you the most grief? They could be useful contacts to have in the future, so be sure to leave in a polite, professional way — no dramatic exit required.

The key to any bad job is to stay optimistic no matter how difficult it gets. By keeping the positive aspects of the position in mind, you refuse to allow a company’s negativity to influence you, and you’ll move on — and you will move on eventually — unscathed.

Know this: As soon as you walk out that door on your way to something better, that bad job will be nothing more than a memory. Who knows — you may even be able to laugh about it one day.

Michelle Kruse has more than 10 years of hiring and recruiting experience and a background in coaching and leadership development. At ResumeEdge, Michelle recruits and hires resume writers, provides training and ongoing support, manages strategic partnerships and serves as a subject matter expert on the job search process.

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Be More Productive at Work by Avoiding These Common Distractions http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/22/be-more-productive-at-work-by-avoiding-these-common-distractions/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/22/be-more-productive-at-work-by-avoiding-these-common-distractions/#comments Mon, 22 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17973 Getting distracted a million times a day? Your inefficiency is costing both you and your company. Here’s how to curb distractions and stay focused.

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You arrive to work bright and early at 8:45 a.m., coffee in hand, ready to tackle your to-do list. First, you need to get through your email inbox. Then a coworker swings by to chat. Next it’s time for lunch. By the time you sit back down after eating out with coworkers, more emails demand your attention. Suddenly it’s 5 p.m.

Where did your whole day go? Even though you’ve been at work all day, you haven’t actually been able to get work done.

The average worker deals with distractions that equate to around 2.1 hours per day, according to a study by Basex. Once you’re distracted, it takes approximately 25 minutes to get into a good workflow again. When you total all these little distractions, they cost the U.S. economy almost $588 billion a year.

You may welcome some distractions as a break from your terrifying pile of work. Other distractions may cause frustration. In either case, distractions cause workplace inefficiency and can end up costing your company money. Those who experience frequent interruptions while at work report nine percent higher rates of exhaustion, according to a survey by the “International Journal of Stress Management.” That’s shockingly close to the 12 percent increase in fatigue reportedly due to oversized workloads.

These inefficiencies are not only costing the company; they’re causing you unnecessary stress. So what can you do to combat interruptions at work? Read on for some common distractions and learn how you can manage them — instead of letting them manage you. (Click here to tweet this list).

1. PC load letter

Apps In Real Life by Solarwinds

It’s unbelievably frustrating when your computer explodes with incomprehensible errors when you’ve already got a heavy load for the day.

Solution: Your company likely has a few laptops on hand that aren’t being used. Ask if you can borrow a loaner laptop while the IT department takes a look at your computer. If that’s not possible, try to be productive with your time while you wait on those repairs: Organize your office, follow up with a colleague about next steps for a project (in-person instead of via email) or run out and grab lunch.

These tasks may not make you as productive as you would have been doing other projects, but at least you won’t have to twiddle your fingers while you wait for IT to fix your computer.

2. Chatty coworkers or clients

From Giphy

It’s great to get to know your coworkers and develop a positive interest in their well-being. But sometimes, chats with coworkers can get lengthy, and unfortunately, bite into time that could be spent working on more necessary tasks.

Solution: Make time for chatting with coworkers or playing a quick game of ping pong. But limit it to a certain amount of time.

If people around you are being loud and interrupting your workflow, plug into your headphones and listen to music while you work. In fact, studies have shown that music can affect mood, so listening to music that enhances your mood may help you be more productive. Some say listening to classical music helps improve visual attention.

Whatever the case may be for you, choose soothing music instead of something catchy you might want to sing along to. Remember you’re trying to be more — not less — productive!

3. Emails on emails on emails

From Giphy

Do you have an alert on your phone or computer every time you receive a new email? These notifications create unneeded urgency. They can both be distracting and cause stress. Think about it. Did you really need to be instantly notified the moment the office manager sends an email about cleaning out the office fridge?

Solution: Turn off email notifications and close your email when you’re trying to work. Instead, set aside a time each day to check your emails. Reply only to the important ones; remember the more emails you send and reply to, the more emails you get.

4. Extended lunch breaks with coworkers

Boys Will Be Girls by Harvard Sailing Team

While it’s important to build friendships with your coworkers and eat lunch with them regularly, going out to lunch with the clan every day can become an overcompensating distraction from work. These lunch dates can end up taking you away from work for a much longer time than snatching a quick lunch on your own would.

Solution: You don’t need to stop eating lunch with your friends. But switch up your pattern a bit. Eat out with coworkers once a week instead of every day. Try setting an alarm on your phone to remind you when it’s time to head back to the office and get back to work.

Being an efficient worker not only helps advance your career, but also helps the company and those around you. By staying focused and finishing tasks, you can better manage your workload and reduce work-related stress. Your manager will also appreciate that you’re helping the company be more successful. And lastly, by staying focused, you can develop healthy friendships while boosting the efficiency of your colleagues. But don’t take my word for it! Test out a few of these tips and see what works for you.

Nicole Hillstead works for Wallaroo Media. She loves to write, run and take pictures. Feel free to check out her blog or follow her on Twitter at @snicks222.

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How to Become a Financial Advisor: 6 Tips for Mastering This Career http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/19/how-to-become-a-financial-advisor-6-tips-for-mastering-this-career/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/19/how-to-become-a-financial-advisor-6-tips-for-mastering-this-career/#comments Fri, 19 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17918 Dreaming of a career as a financial planner? Follow these steps for a successful and lucrative future.

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Are you thinking of becoming a financial planner? Do you love helping people reach their financial goals and realize their dreams?

During the next 30 years, over 30 trillion dollars in wealth is expected to transfer from baby boomers to Millennials — and you could be the one helping them manage it. The financial industry is growing and constantly changing. If this is an area you’re passionate about, here are six tips for developing a career as a financial planner or advisor. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Understand What a Career as a financial planner Involves

When deciding whether you want to become a financial advisor, the first step is to understand today’s industry and what being a financial planner entails.

“We aren’t all a bunch of old guys in suits and ties sitting across mahogany tables,” says Alan Moore, founder of XY Planning Network. “While those firms certainly still exist, an entirely new crop of financial planners are emerging that bring a new way of financial planning.”

Nowadays, financial planning isn’t just about selling insurance or cold calling. In fact, Moore says that “many of us are fee-only advisors, which means we only get paid to provide financial planning services — no more commission-based sales. We help our clients live their great life by helping them figure out what they want, and use their finances to support those goals and dreams. In turn, we can live our own great life, because this is an incredibly rewarding and flexible career path.”

Jason Hull of Hull Financial Planning also enjoys the “privilege of helping people alleviate a lot of the anxieties around the financial unknowns of life. If you take that approach to financial planning, rather than the approach that being a wealth manager can make you wealthy, you have the opportunity to be successful and influence a lot of lives.”

2. Get the Right Education Credentials

Starting a financial planning business doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. In fact, you can set one up on less than $10,000. But you do need the right education and credentials to back you up.

“I highly recommend getting the CFP certification, since it’s the gold standard in our profession,” says Moore. “You can keep your day job while taking the courses online, or you can start looking for a job in financial planning.”

While working to gain your certifications, Hull also agrees that the CFP title shows you have the baseline of knowledge necessary to competently do the job. He recommends you “get into a large wealth management firm where you can work alongside someone who has the experience, and can validate your experience when you apply to the CFP Board for certification. If you work directly for a CFP, you can choose the two-year apprenticeship option rather than requiring three years of financial planning or equivalent experience.”

3. Network With Other Young Financial Planners

The average age of financial planners is 50 years old and just over 40 percent of all the advisors in the industry are 55 years or older, so finding a cohort of other young planners can be challenging. Moore suggests for younger financial planners to join groups like FPA NexGen (who also offers a helpful job board) and NAPFA Genesis.

Consider getting involved with local events and networks in your city, through Meetup.com (or hosting your own). Also reach out to a mentor, or collaborate on webinars, and attend conferences in your industry.

4. View Yourself, and Your Practice, as a Brand

A few decades ago you had to network the old-fashioned way, through direct mail or in person. But today, aspiring financial planners and advisors can use social media to effectively market themselves in so many different ways.

“If you have an interest in being a financial advisor, you should think of yourself as a brand”, suggests Jeff Rose, of Alliance Wealth Management. “Share relevant articles having to do with investing, financial planning or any topics you feel would be of interest to your community on social media. This will program how potential clients perceive you, especially if you can add your own commentary to any of the sources that you share.”

“Why is someone coming to you for financial planning when they can walk into the door of a well-known wealth management firm?” asks Hull. “If you can’t clearly articulate a convincing value proposition, and make your brand stand out, then you shouldn’t be in the business.”

5. Unconventionally Build Your Client Base

“Every financial planning firm does things differently and it takes time to find one that’s the right fit for you,” explains Sophia Bera, from Gen Y Planning. Her suggestion to start building your client base is to do as many informational interviews as you can, whether they are in the form of podcasts, written interviews or video chats. Then watch as these lead to future mentorships or job opportunities.

Linda P. Jones, America’s Wealth Mentor, encourages young financial advisors to “establish three specific target markets you have connections with, and then ask your clients how they prefer to hear from you.”

Since you’re targeting a younger market, you should not only connect with them on social media, but through your blog, newsletters and online workshops. You want to connect with your ideal client on their level and talk the same language.

In Jones’ experience, the number one reason clients leave their current financial advisor is because they don’t communicate well. “Establish how your client want to be communicated with and then follow through,” she warns.

Jason Hull also suggests to “learn how to be concise and effective in both written and verbal communication. Consider joining a Toastmasters society to practice speaking and to get over your fear of presentations. The better a communicator you are, the more likely your clients are to implement the plans you recommend and the more likely you are to be better at sales.”

6. Aim to Launch Your Own Firm

Your ultimate goal might be to launch your own firm, one you can run virtually from anywhere in the world. In Moore’s experience, few firms will work with clients under 50 (unless they are particularly wealthy). So if you plan to work with younger clients, you’ll likely end up starting your own firm in the future.

Bera also highly recommends launching your own firm as soon as possible, especially if you get to the point where you want to work with your own clients. “My only regret is not launching my own firm sooner,” says Bera.

But don’t expect to get rich or be in it for the money. “My first couple of years of being a financial advisor, my income was something that I could never brag about because I made hardly anything,” explains Rose. “What kept me going was a true desire to help others.”

Before getting started in this industry, it’s important to truly understand it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Financial planning is ever-evolving, and it takes time to stay up-to-speed on new rules and strategies.

Carrie Smith (@carefulcents) is a blogger and editor who recently quit her accounting job to pursue full-time writing and entrepreneurship.

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What Homewreckers Can Teach You About Recruiting http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/18/homewreckers-can-teach-recruiting/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/18/homewreckers-can-teach-recruiting/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 18:00:30 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17945 Recruiters, would you be surprised if we said you could learn something about your job from homewreckers? Read on to see what we mean.

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More than likely you’ve heard one of your single friends lament, “All the best men are taken.” Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself.

But have you ever thought the same might be true for recruiting? As Noah Kagan of AppSumo points out: “All the best employees are already working somewhere.”

Kagan is currently on a mission to hire the best people in the world, because he knows “that the best people output significantly more and can grow a business 100x more than a just-okay person.”

That’s not news to any of you, though; you know you want to hire the best people in the world. The big question is: How are you going to do it?

How to attract the best people in the world

Kagan, who worked at Facebook and Mint before founding AppSumo, has an interesting approach. He compares luring an outstanding employee away from a satisfying job to seducing someone into leaving a committed marriage.

If you want to attract the world’s best people, he says you need to ask: “How do you make yourself sexy enough that the best people are attracted to you? Or in terms of relationships, how would you break up a happy marriage?”

With this in mind, Kagan offers four simple — yet smart — tips you can implement today to find your dream hire:

  1. Look for people you already like: In other words, think about people you’ve enjoyed working with from other companies, and start a relationship with them now. As Kagan advises, “Ultimately the best people are working and aren’t going to quit immediately so you have to plant seeds today.”
  2. Look for people that already like you: Reach out to everyone, including your friends and family, current customers, Twitter followers, and email subscribers. In the full article, he offers tips for figuring out which members of your community would be a good fit.
  3. Ask the best people you know for referrals: Kagan explains this perfectly: “Great people tend to associate with great people. Also, there’s a trusted implication when someone refers someone they’ve worked with already.”
  4. Make a sexy (jobs and about) page: The best people aren’t looking at jobs pages, because as we reviewed earlier, they’re already in jobs they like. So make your jobs and about pages shareable; according to Kagan, the best ones “sell a story” and are “genuinely you.”

And just so you know, no one is endorsing homewrecking here. What we are endorsing? A creative approach to recruiting the best employees for your business.

Which one of these tips is your favorite? Any you haven’t tried?

Susan Shain (@TravlJunkette) is a travel blogger who loves helping people discover adventure through international travel or alternative careers.

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Fast-Track Your Path to Becoming a CEO in 6 Easy Steps http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/18/fast-track-your-path-to-becoming-a-ceo-in-6-easy-steps/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/18/fast-track-your-path-to-becoming-a-ceo-in-6-easy-steps/#comments Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17926 Think you could be head honcho one day? Start doing these things now, and you’ll land that corner office in no time.

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If you’d eventually like to land a C-Level job, you can’t take your gaze off your goal. You’ve got lots of learning to do before you get there. To build up the expertise, insight and finesse that executive-level jobs require, you’ll first need to spend lots of time gaining hands-on experience leading, managing and empowering teams and organizations.

Throughout your professional years, you need to methodically build up an enviable arsenal of both technical and business skills suitable to your ultimate career goal. Without these essential skills and capabilities, you simply won’t be qualified for that ultimate, rewarding and challenging experience of a truly executive role.

If you hope to move into the C-Suite one day, here’s what you need to do now.

1. Network, network, network

Who you know and what you know plays an important role in opening the right doors. Since most senior-level positions are selectively advertised, you need the right contacts in the right places to sniff out opportunities.

Your path to the c-suite not only requires improving your technical and business skills, but also enhancing your networking skills. You never know what a chance meeting at the golf course or a leadership conference can do for you. So be open to getting out there and get used to schmoozing.

2. Learn about everything and anything

C-Level jobs require vision, clarity of mission, interaction with investors and mapping out growth initiatives of the company. Acquiring these skills isn’t easy. You need to consistently work to improve your knowledge and learning. Keep these few things in mind:

  • Developing a deep knowledge of an organization and an industry sector – its various verticals, challenges, competitors and prospects – while enhancing interpersonal skills is the key to advancing into senior leadership and executive leadership roles.
  • As you climb the corporate ladder, research and familiarize yourself with your desired “ultimate” job, learning as much as you can about challenges at hand. Get busy sharpening the tools already in your tool kit while adding brand new ones.
  • As you advance incrementally to the higher echelons of an organization, you’ll notice your hard work paying off; you’ll begin to share just as much in common with your executive peers as you did with those you with in the trenches.

3. Surround yourself with top dogs

Mentors are invaluable. Proximity to well-respected CEOs and working with them will help you pick up valuable lessons and habits.

Startups and entrepreneurial business units also provide stellar growth opportunities to a C-Suite hopeful. When you work with top-notch leaders, you get a ringside view of how things work at that level. That experience will mentally prepare you for the hot seat.

Learn, learn, learn. Being the CEO is not just about bossing people around. Here are just a few skills that great leaders need: own a Profit and Loss Statement, be flexible, communicate clearly and succinctly, lead and motivate others, make smart hiring decisions, meet and exceed deadlines, handle marketing challenges, pitch a product or service’s value proposition, develop client relationships, solve personnel issues, streamline operations, manage finances, handle investors, learn from failure and push through rejection.

An advantage of being associated with big names is that your resume gets a killer punch line. Who wouldn’t hire an ambitious person who honed their skills working with one of the best brains in business?

4. Move internationally

This does not mean you need pack your bags and relocate to an offshore site in some remote part of the globe (though that could help, depending on your industry).

Even if you may already have experience dealing with multi-national businesses, if you’re eyeing a plump posting in the next couple of years, consider going international with vigor. Overseas industry experience should give you plenty to discuss with business leaders during lunch meetings, networking events and interviews.

You build your value proposition and might also have some fun while soaking up the sun in Rio!

5. Take calculated risks

In some instances an uneventful, safe and predictable career path is seen as one where no hard lessons have been learned, risk taking is minimized, no sweat or tears are shed, and confidence lacks in one’s abilities to try something new.

Think about going with the spirit of the times. Start a business of your own or join a startup. If you can bet your dollars on yourself, there is no better PR.

As the gurus say, fail fast and fail early. This’ll help you build up an adrenaline-pumping resume.

6. Develop and maintain your contacts

The world of C-Level hiring is quite small. Make sure you maintain good relations with reputable leaders and recruiters in your sector. Keep your network alive with occasional calls, messages or meetings.

Put in the effort and always keep your relationship with the headhunters warm and friendly. Even when they’re not directly involved in the recruitment process, reputed headhunters will often be able to tell you if a Fortune 500 company is scouting for talent or where a possible vacancy might open in the near future. Being on the top of recruiters’ minds will make it easy for you to get interviews.

Getting to the top of the pile in the best companies in the world is not easy. Nailing the job is even tougher. The C-Suite is selective. Ensure you have everything going for you beforehand as you plan and prepare, so when the time is right, you can finally land the job of your dreams.

Joshua Geary is a writer and experienced blogger and regularly writes for CSI Executive Search LLC. When he’s not writing about HR and hiring process about executives, Joshua enjoys reading, CrossFit and swimming in his leisure time.  

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How Social Media Management Tools Can Boost Your Job Search http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/17/how-social-media-management-tools-can-boost-your-job-search/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/17/how-social-media-management-tools-can-boost-your-job-search/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17921 Your resume and cover letter aren’t the only ways to stand out in your job search. Leverage your personal brand and social media to land your dream job.

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Distinguishing yourself from other careerists with equally well-presented resumes is no easy feat. In today’s digital world, outlandish marketing tactics such as billboards and t-shirts asking for a job aren’t the only ways to get noticed.

With the majority of recruiters looking at social profiles, creating an online personal brand and optimizing social media could be the way to clinch that dream job you’ve always wanted — and look awesome doing it.

Know your worth

You might know your strengths, but do those strengths come across when employers look at your social media channels? The first step to having a stellar social media brand is to know what you’re really worth.

Klout is a popular way to find out how influential and engaged you are across online social media platforms. The site will give you a “Klout score” — but remember, this can go up and down at any time.

If your Klout score isn’t as high as you’d like, don’t despair. A number of tools are available to help you manage and get the most from your social media profiles.

How to share social media posts like a pro

You can use social media tools to manage your personal brand. Building a personal brand may be straightforward for social media savvy grads, but maintaining it requires time managements skills and an overall strategy.

Posting insightful opinions and sharing valuable content is an essential way to encourage engagement on social media, but it’s time consuming, too.

One great example of social media management software is Commun.it. This tool allows you to manage, organize and increase followers across multiple social media profiles. They’ll also give you advice on the most influential and relevant social media accounts to follow.

How about LikeAlyzer? Enter your Facebook page address and this nifty tool analyzes it and recommends changes you could make to improve your engagement and outreach.

If you’re struggling to find content you want to share, Swayy is an ideal solution. The app connects to Facebook and Twitter, checks out who your audience is and suggests content you could share. It’s as easy as that.

How to make your mark and network

No doubt you’re already networking, connecting with friends of friends and using key hashtags (such as #marketingjobs) to find the most influential people in your field. But there’s another way to enhance your “it’s who you know, not what you know” strategy.

Wefollow.com is a Twitter directory organized by shared interests. Sign up, plug in your interests and the app helps you discover prominent people in your area of interest.

Take advantage of Twitter chats too. These Q&A sessions hosted by industry brands offer everyone who knows anything about the field a chance to participate and share their knowledge.

Whether you want to discuss healthcare communication and social media (#hscm) or human resources (#hrtrends), you can find a relevant chat.  If you add a comment of real value, you’ll get a retweet, which can boost your exposure. Use Gnosisarts or Tweet Reports to find relevant chats.

If you want to make your mark, create your own Twitter hashtag. Twitter hashtags are ideal if you want to provoke conversation or network with a certain crowd.

But a hashtag like #marketing isn’t going to cut it. You need to be unique, specific and purposeful.

Want to get your dream job?

Be bold and be brazen. Getting your dream job means proving your worth. (Click here to tweet this bit of inspiration.) Once you’ve designed your own personal brand, don’t give up. Focus your energies on upping your Klout score, effectively managing your content sharing and using creative strategies to meet people in high places.

Ron Stewart has worked in the recruitment industry for 30 years, having owned companies in the IT, construction and medical sectors. He runs the Jobs4Group and is CEO of Jobs4Medical. Ron is a regular contributor to Brazen Careerist, Talent Culture and Jobs and Careers Magazine.

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5 Secrets for Effective Networking at Your Next Conference http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/17/5-secrets-for-effective-networking-at-your-next-conference/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/17/5-secrets-for-effective-networking-at-your-next-conference/#comments Wed, 17 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17913 How to make the most of an industry conference for your career and your company in five easy steps.

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Your boss just told you she wants you — yes, you — to attend an industry conference to meet with potential partners and source new prospects. You pump your fist as you leave her office. You’re the chosen one!

Seconds later, you suddenly break into a cold sweat. You don’t have a clue what to do next and how you’ll be able to meet your supervisor’s expectations. She’s expecting you to make connections and bring back a stack of promising business cards. But networking terrifies you. Making small talk with strangers is not your idea of a good time. You’re starting to think twice about this conference. Can they just send someone else instead?

Before you get cold feet and give up your conference spot, think about what this opportunity could mean for your career. Then, build your game plan so you can go and crush that conference!

Why you should attend industry conferences

Do you want to develop new connections that can help you land a great new job, a big client or a promising partnership? Do you see value in being the person to present fresh strategic ideas that can boost your company’s bottom line? These are just a few benefits of attending industry conferences: (Click here to tweet this list.)

  • Build key relationships that can help you now in your career… and when you’re looking for that next opportunity or dream job.
  • Develop strategic partnerships or make sales either directly with the people you meet or indirectly through their contacts.
  • Learn valuable info from industry contacts who face similar issues as you or your organization.

While conferences are an opportunity to take your career to the next level, they can intimidating and confusing. What are you supposed to do when you get there? This fear and uncertainty explains why most people fail to maximize their conference time and investment.

Unfortunately, most conferences attendees don’t leverage the massive opportunities in front of them because they don’t know how to act (i.e. that annoying conference person.) They end up leaving the conference feeling like they could have done more.

How you can crush your next conference

But what about those people who make friends effortlessly and walk away from conferences with deals or partnerships in their palm of their hands? How can you be more like them? Here are five strategies that can give you a leg up on your fellow conference attendees. Put these tactics into action before you go so you can stand out and make a great impression.

1. Figure out who’s worth meeting

You paid money for this conference (or your company did). So figure out measurable outcomes and what will define success for you and your company. Set goals for who you’d like to meet. Then create an action plan so you’re prepared for even the most serendipitous of moments. You never know who you might run into while waiting in the bathroom line.

In the first column of a spreadsheet, list of all the people you’d like to meet. Start with the speakers, but don’t stop there. Don’t forget about your fellow attendees. One the conference site, you may be able to find a list of confirmed attendees and where they work. Even if that list is hundreds of people deep, review it and see if anyone might be worth meeting.

The next five columns on your spreadsheet should contain:

  • Why you want to meet them
  • Three bulleted speaking points for each person
  • What value you can deliver to them
  • When they speak (if applicable)
  • Your post-conference follow-up and next steps

Research each person and try to learn more about their passions, charities they’re involved in, industry challenges they may have, and people you have in common (use Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.) This information will be important in your initial conversation.

Share the list with your manager to see if there is anyone he or she wants you to connect with. This way, you’re being a strategist for the company and not just for yourself.

Then, carry this list with you at all times. Keep track of whom you’ve spoken with, and whom you haven’t. After the conference, report back on the true return-on-investment, not only from potential deals, but the new relationships you’ve created that can help your company.

2. Get your colleagues on board

Coordinate with colleagues who are also attending the conference and synchronize your lists. Plan times to walk around together and meet with people or tag team for dinners or lunches. Going off-site for meals can be great because there are fewer distractions and fewer opportunities for someone to potentially hijack the meeting.

3. Schedule meetings in advance

Before you go, contact those target attendees and speakers and try to coordinate meetings. This way you don’t leave anything to chance.

4. Hit up speakers before their presentation

Instead of waiting in the long lines after a speaker’s presentation, try to catch them before they go on stage. You’ll get more time with less effort, and you can wish them good luck. When you see them afterwards, you can compliment them on their presentation and mention one of the points they made to keep the conversation going.

5. Work the conference like a VIP

The best way to get VIP status at the conference? Contact the organizer and offer to help out. Putting together a well-run conference is no small feat. If you volunteer to help keep things running smoothly, you may get free passes to events and invites to VIP receptions. Plus, you immediately stand out as helpful. Remember, your success is proportionate to the value you provide other people. When you help others, you’re helping yourself.  Switch your mindset from “getting” to “giving.”

By following these five tips, you’ll no longer be that person who walks into a conference with just a pocketful of business cards. You’ll be the networking machine with a strategic plan and the right mindset. You now have all the tools you need to leave that conference feeling empowered and successful instead of unsatisfied. Now get out there and start working the conference floor!

Jason is a life mastery coach helping men and women to create the business, relationships, and life they love. His new book, Social Wealth, was a #1 bestseller on Amazon, and you can reach him at BeExtraordinary.tv

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Want More Job Interviews? Start Thinking Like a Recruiter http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/16/want-more-job-interviews-start-thinking-like-a-recruiter/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/16/want-more-job-interviews-start-thinking-like-a-recruiter/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17909 When you learn to think like a recruiter, you’ll be much closer to landing that interview -- and the job.

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Wouldn’t it be great if you could guarantee you’d receive more calls from recruiters after you submit your resume? Well, you can. All you have to do is think like a recruiter.

Most recruiters receive tons of applications for every job opening. They look for any reason to reject an applicant for not being a good fit. Most of the early rounds of elimination have to do with the qualifications of the job. But the further your application gets, the more all applications look alike. Recruiters have to turn down qualified applicants in favor of those who stand out from the rest.

The applications that stand out are the ones that answer these three questions all recruiters ask. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Why do you want this job?

Recruiters want to know what’s in it for you. Why you want a job tells a recruiter about your long-term goals and what you hope to gain with your employment. Are you looking for a job out of desperation? Or do you have a personal interest in this particular position and company?

Recruiters look for candidates who actually want to work for their company. They want to find an employee who will be excited and passionate both about the work and about long-term career opportunities. 

Make sure your cover letter and application give a solid reason for why you want this job. Is it because you have a great personal connection to the business? Maybe you love the company’s reputation. Maybe you know this job would be a great starting point for career development.

No matter what your reason, be genuine and make it clear to the recruiter you’re applying not just to pay the bills, but because you really want this job. You’ll automatically stand out from the others in the pile.

2. What do we gain by hiring you?

Meeting the requirements for a job isn’t enough to get a call back. Recruiters want applicants who provide additional value. In other words, what can you bring to the job that no one else can?

This may be extra certifications, education or work experience in the field. Even unique attributes, such as travel experience, are effective when presented in the right way.

The key is to explain how your experiences fix a problem for the company or relate to the job in unconventional ways. Do that, and your value will skyrocket. 

Identifying the company’s problems may take some research, but it’s worth it. For example, if you learn that the company is expanding to Brazil, your study abroad experience will be a huge benefit. Maybe the company needs to expand its community outreach, and you have connections with local media resources from a communications internship.

Drawing connections between how something unique about you benefits the business can make a huge difference in your application. Just make sure to explicitly connect your experience and the job, since recruiters likely won’t make the connection themselves.

You should also be as specific as possible by including examples, statistics and figures that prove your unique qualities can be an asset to the company. If you do it right, you’ll get bonus points for proving you can think creatively about how to fix the company’s needs.

3. How do I know you’ll be a good fit?

Turnover is a huge concern for human resources. HR teams want happy workplaces, and recruiters know the first step is to hire the people who fit the company culture. The candidates who fit the company’s culture are the ones recruiters want to talk to, so try to demonstrate that your personality is a match.

A simple way to show your personality aligns with the culture is to do your research. Look for hints that offer insight into what it’s like to work at this particular company. For example, if you see words like “team” or “partnership” on their website and corporate communications, stress your ability to collaborate with others. If you see phrases like “high-energy” or “highly motivated,” try to give off a peppy vibe. 

Getting a call back for an interview is as easy as looking at your application through the lens of a hiring manager. Ask yourself the same questions recruiters will ask when they see your application materials. Try it for yourself, and you’ll be surprised by how many positive responses you’ll get — and how quickly you get hired.

Peggy Carouthers is a freelance writer and blogger with previous experience as an HR manager. You can connect with her on Twitter.

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Applying for a New Job? 4 Ways to Prove You Really Want It http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/15/applying-for-a-new-job-4-ways-to-prove-you-really-want-it/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/15/applying-for-a-new-job-4-ways-to-prove-you-really-want-it/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 18:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17905 If you’re looking for a new job, you’ll want to use the application process to stand out from the crowd. Here are four ways to help you gain an edge and land an interview.

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With so many pieces of conflicting pieces of advice coming from blogs, magazines, newspapers and other experts, the job hunt has become a bit of a puzzle these days. But there is one thing everyone agrees on: showing employers you’re truly interested in this job — as opposed to just any job — is the best way to secure an interview.

So how do you demonstrate your interest during the application process?

Tailoring your cover letter to each job and openly stating your interest are good ways to go of course, but according to a new study led by psychological scientist James A. Breaugh from the University of Missouri, the information on your application may be telling employers a lot more than you think.

The researchers compared the job turnover rate of 414 recently hired employees to their job application information and found that four particular pieces of information can tell employers whether you’re genuinely interested in working for their company, and can even predict how likely you are to quit.

“For job applicants, the results of this study show the importance of demonstrating that one is serious about working for the employer,” notes Breaugh. Additionally, he added that “Applying more than one time for a position and doing more than necessary in completing the job application are two ways to show a high level of interest in a position.”

So before you send off your next application, know that employers will likely be paying close attention to these four pieces of information, even if you aren’t. (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Reapplications

Employers often try to gauge an applicant’s interest in their specific company by using direct questions like, “Why do you want to work for us?”

But since the answers to such questions aren’t always equally sincere, they also look for other ways to measure a person’s level of interest. Reapplications can speak volumes about whether someone is really as motivated as they claim to be.

In Breaugh’s study, only 19 percent of re-appliers quit after 240 days compared to 51 percent of first-time applicants.

Tip: Even if you don’t get an interview the first time you apply for a job, you should try to get some feedback if you think your qualifications and experience make you a good fit for the position or company. Be sure you understand the requirements, and then reapply.

2. Employee referrals

Applicants referred by current employees are significantly less likely to quit, and Breaugh’s research found that more than 50 percent of non-referrals quit after 240 days compared to only about 30 percent of referred applicants.

Employers know this and are increasingly relying on internal referrals. A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York showed referred candidates are twice as likely to land an interview as other applicants.

Tip: Even if you don’t know anyone at the company you want to work for, you may still be able to get an employee referral if you’re prepared to do a bit of extra legwork. Use sites like LinkedIn to find current employees and try to establish a connection, or find out if any of your own connections know people there who could make introductions.

You may also be able to join LinkedIn groups made up of employees, former employees or others who are affiliated with the company you’re interested in working for.

3. Submitting optional information

The amount of time and effort you’re willing to put into an application is another indicator of how much you want the job, which is why many employers give applicants the opportunity to submit optional information.

Taking the time to answer additional questions or submit personal statements signals a higher level of interest, and Breaugh’s research confirms this by showing that applicants who submitted optional information had a 10 percent lower turnover rate.

Tip: As tedious as it may be, you should always take the time to fill out any extra forms, write a few lines about how your previous experience has prepared you for the job, or whatever else you may be asked to do that is considered optional. It’s this extra little step that could put you well ahead of the competition.

4. Employment status

Employers tend to view applicants who have done several short stints with different companies as riskier hires than those who have been with the same company for five or more years.

But since it’s not always possible to gauge person’s motivation based on their work history alone, employers also look at an applicant’s current employment status, as someone who is already employed will be more selective about the jobs they apply to.

Breaugh’s research shows that 66.7 percent of unemployed applicants quit after 240 days, while only 33.3 percent of employed applicants did the same.

Tip: Unfortunately there’s not much you can do about it if you are unemployed when you begin your job hunt, but it does emphasize the importance of not quitting your job prematurely. As much as you may hate your current job, having it will ultimately make it easier for you to find the right one — so if at all possible, try to begin your job search while you’re still employed.

Marianne Stenger is a writer with Open Colleges, one of Australia’s leading online education providers. She covers everything from lifehacks and career development to learning tips and the latest research in education. You can connect with her on Google+ and Twitter, or find her latest articles here.

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The post Applying for a New Job? 4 Ways to Prove You Really Want It appeared first on Brazen Life.

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How to Convince Your Boss to Pay for Your MBA http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/15/how-to-convince-your-boss-to-pay-for-your-mba/ http://blog.brazencareerist.com/2014/12/15/how-to-convince-your-boss-to-pay-for-your-mba/#comments Mon, 15 Dec 2014 11:00:00 +0000 http://blog.brazencareerist.com/?p=17902 Want to get your MBA - but don’t want to pay for it yourself? Here’s how to persuade your boss to pay for it instead.

The post How to Convince Your Boss to Pay for Your MBA appeared first on Brazen Life.

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So, you’re ready to get your MBA. You’ve done your research, you’ve found a great program and you’re prepared to commit. Now, the hard part: paying for it.

It’s no secret that the cost of an MBA can run upwards of $100,000, so getting some outside financial help can be both smart and mandatory. One place to look is your current employer. Many fortune 500 companies — along with a few smaller organizations — have tuition reimbursement programs, fellowships, or other programs to help finance your education (here’s a list of 33 examples). But you can’t just walk in and demand the cash. You’ve got to have a strategic plan.

When you make your case, it all comes down to answering one big question: How will your shiny new MBA boost your company’s bottom line? So put your employer’s needs at the root of every argument. This is one of those times that it’s really not about you — it’s about them.

Using this employer-focused mindset as your basic framework, here are eight more tactics to get your employer to fund your MBA aspirations: (Click here to tweet this list.)

1. Take the Company Temperature

First, find out if your company will even consider paying for your education. Was this ever brought up during hiring? Is this benefit listed in your employee handbook? Do you know of other colleagues who have taken advantage of a program?

Second, figure out if your company can actually afford to fund your MBA. What’s the company climate like right now? Are departments hacking back costs or passing out bonuses? You don’t want to be tone deaf to company situation if the finances are tight.

2. Figure Out You’re Asking For

Once you’ve decided to ask your employer for funds, it’s time to get more specific. Do you want your employer to pay for your entire tuition or just some of it? What about non-tuition fees, like textbooks or technology? Do you want to take time off to go to school full-time or continue working part-time? What specific program are you looking at? Put together a full outline of the specific request you want to make.

3. Take a Big Picture View

Take a step back… do you really need an MBA? As Ask A Manager’s Allison Green writes: “Grad school generally will not make you more marketable unless you’re going into a field that specifically requires a graduate degree. In fact, it can make you less competitive, by keeping you from getting work experience for that much longer and requiring you to find a higher-paying job than you might otherwise need because you need to pay back school loans—and even worse, if you apply for jobs that have nothing to do with your graduate degree, many employers will think you don’t really want the job you’re applying for, since it’s not in ‘your field.’”

If your heart is still set on an MBA after reading that, great! You just need to be able to clearly articulate why you’re committed to the decision to your employer. Confidently assert your goals — nobody’s going to pay for someone who vaguely wants to go to grad school.

4. Research Tax Breaks

The IRS allows employers to deduct tuition reimbursement for up to $5,250 a year for each employee. You can check out the IRS page on Employer-Provided Educational Expenses to find out more.

5. Articulate Your Value

As part of your pitch, you need to make the case that you bring value to the company. Roderick Lewis, author of The Corporate Recruitment Game, suggests focusing on analytics. Evaluate projects you’ve completed and show — using hard data — how your work positively impacted the company, whether by generating revenue or cutting costs.

“Basically, if you can’t prove that you have sales, you can prove that you saved the company money by reducing marketing expenses,” Lewis says. “You need to keep working your argument back to your numbers to get the result you want.”

Next, connect the dots between how getting your MBA will make your impact even bigger. Will you learn skills that you can apply at your job, so work won’t have to be fielded out to an external consultant? Will you be able to better access clients because of the connections you’ll gain? Be as specific as possible.

6. Come up with a (Realistic) Schedule

If you’re hoping to work and pursue an MBA at the same time, a major concern for your employer will be how on earth you’re going to juggle it all.

“You’re probably better about managing your time now than you were the first time you were in school, but recognize that transitions are often stressful,” says Laura Vanderkam, author of What the Most Successful People Do at Work. She suggests creating a time budget to concretely show how you plan to achieve a balance between work and school.

Another choice piece of advice? “Plan on not sleeping in for a while.”

7. Show Your Loyalty

Many companies that pay for MBAs require employees to sign loyalty contracts. For example, you might be asked to commit to staying with the company for five years after you complete your degree. This makes sense — your boss doesn’t want to invest in you, if you’re going to immediately join a competitor’s firm. But this type of deal can land you in hot water if you’re not careful.

“Because sponsorship often comes with an obligation to return to the company after you complete your MBA, take a step back and assess whether you’re absolutely confident you want to return,” suggests Stacy Blackman, an MBA admissions consultant. “Breaking such an agreement after your earn the degree can lead to not only strained relationships with former colleagues, but also a mountain of unforeseen debt.”

8. Have a Plan B

If it doesn’t look like your appeal is hitting home — or if your company simply can’t contribute cash toward your education — you can always angel for an alternative. Try to negotiate non-cash benefits like time off, compensation for hours spent in class, or a more flexible schedule.

Annie Rose Favreau is a Seattle-based digital marketer and startup problem solver. You can find her Twittering away at @A_Favreau.

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