Thursday, August 6, 2009

Best Last Minute Prep Tip for that "Big" Meeting (or Anything Really)

Times are stressful. People are still losing jobs, and even for those employed, few have a sense of stability and joy in their workplace. Most people I speak with are doing even more - cramming something into every last second of the day to make sure they're doing everything as best they can. Does that work though? Is there another - maybe even a better - way?

What can you really do to be the best and happiest at work, and in life for that matter?...

Here's one simple idea: Go for a walk. Every day. Go for a walk - just 10 minutes without a destination will make a huge difference. People sometimes say it's to "clear your head." A walk just to walk can do so much more.

Giving yourself permission to spend 10 minutes "just walking" tricks your mind in wonderful ways. If you focus on your body - how you move through space, allowing yourself the time for this "luxury," your mind will believe you have all the time in the world. It will shift your subconscious mindset to one of abundance, a powerful place to be.

By taking the time for a walk instead of preparing up until you race in the door for your next big presentation - or picking up your kids from school - you're telling yourself that you know you're ready. You're being confident and believing in yourself by taking the walk, and your presentation (or time with your kids) will benefit.

Whether you're working or looking for a job, before that next big meeting, take 10-20 minutes to walk - without purpose or destination. Certainly prepare before hand, and then make sure your body and mind know you're prepared by allowing yourself the brief time out.

Sometimes it's the simple things that can make the biggest difference. Enjoy your stroll!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Make the Most of Job Postings

In today's tough job market, there are still lots of open positions. That said, as we all know, there are a lot of people looking for jobs too. Submitting online applications is not enough. Even if you're the "perfect" candidate, you're likely to be overlooked. Why? There are people marketing themselves better than you are.

If you are responding to postings, apply for the positions however requested in those postings. Don't stop there though - reach out to your network (alumni groups, neighbors, community organizations) to connect with people at the companies - Use LinkedIn and your alumni directories (undergrad, graduate, high school - any you can access) to identify people to speak with. Let them know that you're applying for position xyz and ask them for a few minutes to hear their perspective and experience at the company. Remember - you are making an impression too! It's never "just informational". Be clear what you have to offer, and when appropriate, ask to speak with someone in the hiring department to learn more.

Keep building relationships and speaking with colleagues demonstrating what you have to offer - the more you show (and the less you tell), the better!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Should I Lie?

No!  Obviously the answer is no.  Well, at least I thought it was obvious...  

A number of people have asked me variations of this question in the past few months.  For some, it's a more subtle version, "how should I hide the fact that I've been unemployed for two years?"  

The simple answer is don't.

Focus on what you want the prospective employer to focus on.  Why should someone hire you?  What do you have to offer?  What experiences and expertise do you bring to the table?

And... it's also good to be prepared to address the break in your professional experience.  Get involved - volunteer and stay up to date with industry groups and publications (great ways to network and uncover job opportunities too).  Demonstrate that you can take initiative and add value.

It's important to focus on your value as you prepare as well.  If I tell you "don't think about bananas," what immediately comes to mind?  Bananas!  That's what will happen to you too, and it will shift your focus to "making up for" instead of all the skills and experiences you bring and ways the prospective employer can benefit by hiring you.

Most of all, be honest.  It takes seconds for someone to verify your history, and people are looking for reasons to eliminate candidates.  Don't make their job so easy.  Make use of your "free" time, leverage what you have, and be confident.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Why some people get all the breaks...

Do know people who find a job within weeks (or days!) every time they start looking?  Those people who seem to jump easily from one position to the next, regardless of the current job market or what field they're in?  You know some.  We all do.  What makes those people so different?  So "lucky?"

One simple answer:  they manage their careers all the time, whether or not they realize it.  

Their "luck" is no accident.  They build relationships all the time, focusing on them more when they "don't need them" than when they do.  Who can you contribute to today?  Start with one act each day and pretty soon you'll be one of "those people" too.

Simple ideas to get started:
  • Read your favorite newspaper and forward at least one article each day to someone it reminds you of
  • Recommend someone on LinkedIn
  • Call a colleague you haven't spoken to in awhile - just to check in and say hello
  • Ask the person "down the hall" at work (or home) to go to coffee or lunch and ask about what s/he does
  • Refer experts - respond to people asking for any kind of referral, personal or business (even if it's to acknowledge you don't have anyone to recommend this time)