The end of any year is typically a time for reflection, and not just personal reflection, either, but professional reflection.
Specifically, you should take time to reflect upon what you’ve accomplished during 2014, and more importantly, why you should allow yourself to enjoy it.
If you fail to make a concerted effort to recognize your achievements, you might become too immersed in what you’re currently doing to properly reflect on what you’ve already done. Not only will reflection make you proud of what you’ve accomplished, but it will also help inspire you to do great things in the coming year.
There’s also an added benefit to doing this, a more practical one. As you’re looking back on the year and all that you’ve accomplished, this is the perfect time to update your resume to properly reflect those accomplishments. In this way, you can prepare yourself, so that if a new employment opportunity should knock on your door in 2015, you’ll be ready.
While you’re engaging in reflection, below are five ways you should be updating your resume at the end of this year:
#1—Things you achieved in your job capacity (defined in quantifiable terms)
#2—Any training or continuing education classes that you took
#3—Certifications you earned as a result of that training
#4—Additional responsibilities you have been given
#5—Awards or recognition for performance
Of course, you don’t have to wait until the end of any given year to reflect and update your resume. You can do both on a monthly basis, and once you get into the habit of doing so, it can take relatively little time and effort.
The key is to use the same criteria for your monthly reflection as you used for your yearly reflection. (This would include the same five points listed above, as well as any others that you’d like to add.)
If possible, on the last day of each month, keep a log of your achievements during that month. You probably won’t have something for each category every month, and sometimes you won’t have anything, but in the case of the latter, you can use that as motivation to achieve more in the weeks ahead.
Here’s to a great 2015!
The face-to-face interview can be difficult to navigate successfully. That’s why so much has been written about the face-to-face interview: countless newsletter articles and blog posts detailing everything from what you should wear to what you should bring to how often you should smile.
In fact, this very blog has published several posts about the face-to-face interview.
However, this blog post takes a decidedly different approach to the interview. Many articles discuss the questions you’ll most likely be asked, but not many address your strategy in answering those questions—regardless of what the questions are about.
And yes, you should have a strategy when it comes to answering interview questions. You should be thinking not just about your answers, but also about how you present your answers. It’s every bit as important.
The strategic way to do so is with the short version-long version method.
The reason you need such a method is because there are different types of questions, and not just based on their content. Some questions are more open-ended, while others are quite specific. As a result, it makes sense that they’re approached and answered in a different fashion.
The trick is to identify which questions need to be answered in which fashion, and that is NOT always an easy thing to do.
For example, if a question appears to be open-ended, but you don’t know for sure, you could say the following: “Allow me to give you the short version of my answer. Then, if you’d like me to answer more fully, I’d be happy to do so.”
Doing this has two main benefits:
In addition, using the short version-long version method communicates to the interviewer that you want to organize your thoughts and frame your response correctly. It sets the proper tone for the interview and ultimately paves the way for a discussion that is more productive and will brand you in the most positive way possible.
Provided, of course, that the content of your answers is just as astute as the manner in which you supply them.
Since an employee’s average stay at a company continues to drop, onboarding is becoming more and more of an important subject for companies and one that they can’t afford to ignore.
This brings up a series of questions, starting with this one: “Does onboarding really work?” A number of studies conducted down through the years suggest that it does.
The next question is, “WHY does onboarding work?”
Think back to a time when you had difficulty adjusting to a new job. If the company had made you feel more welcome, if they had done simple things such as made certain you had a desk and computer, given you a parking pass prior to your first day, and/or taken you to lunch with your future co-workers, would it have helped?
Of course it would have. (Now, the possibility exists that every company at which you’ve worked did ALL of those things . . . but the chances of that being the case are statistically low.)
And now for the final question: “Is an onboarding program ultimately worth the investment of time, energy, and effort that must be made?”
As you might have already guessed, the answer to that question is, “Yes!” In fact, below are eight reasons why an onboarding program is worthwhile for any company.
Specifically, it helps:
All companies want new employees that adjust well and reach peak productivity levels in the shortest amount of time possible. An onboarding program can do just that.
In the big picture, though, it can accomplish even more than that. It’s the first step in the assembly of a comprehensive and ultimately effective retention program that decreases turnover rate and increases employee satisfaction and productivity.
In our previous blog post, we identified “6 Ways to Stand Out During Your First 30 Days on the Job.” While that post should help you “get off on the right foot,” so to speak, a good start is only the beginning of successful employment at a company.
Ideally, you want to sustain any success you enjoy at the beginning of your employment throughout the duration of that employment—no matter how long you’re with the company. After all, there might be greener pastures on the horizon.
Millions of people change jobs every year, and with a New Year just around the corner, this is a great opportunity to prepare for such a move. (Especially if you’re already in the process of making that move.)
With that in mind, below are four questions you should ask your boss or immediate supervisor when you’re hired:
#1—“What things do you absolutely need me to do right away?”
When a company hires a new employee, that’s because they have an immediate need to do so. That need, in turn, brings with it duties that need to be carried out immediately. Sure, you should take time to become acclimated to your new job, but the company would like you to do so quickly, so that you can carry out those duties and begin paying dividends.
#2—“What are your top goals for me during the next three months?”
Once immediate concerns have been addressed, more long-term goals and objectives can then be tackled. By asking this question, you’re showing that you’re already looking ahead and that you want to “hit the ground running” in your quest for continued success as an employee.
#3—“Can you describe what I have to do to be considered a superstar employee?”
This is the next logical progression once you’ve moved beyond immediate concerns and more long-range goals. This question helps you get a better grasp on what your boss considers to be exemplary performance, thereby giving you a prime opportunity to reach that level of performance in a shorter amount of time.
#4—“Do you have a mentoring program?”
You might have asked this question during the interview process, and kudos to you if you did. However, if you didn’t, this is information that you absolutely need to know as soon as possible. It will not only impress your boss, but it will also help you become the type of employee you want to become . . . and enjoy the type of success you want to enjoy.
The questions don’t stop when the interview is over. In fact, if you get the job, they’re just beginning. Make sure you’re asking the right ones.
There’s no question that your first few months can be the most important period of time on any job. What you do—or don’t do—during that time might ultimately determine your long-term employment with the company.
So what’s the best way to approach the situation? What should you be doing to ensure that you enjoy as much success as possible?
First and foremost, there are the widely accepted things you should be doing, including showing enthusiasm, displaying a positive attitude, and bringing a lot of energy to work every day. However, that is just the beginning.
Below are six additional ways that you can stand out during your first 30 days on the job:
#1—Communicate often and well.
Most problems between human beings can be boiled down to a lack of communication or miscommunication. That’s why you have to take it upon yourself to be crystal clear on everything, especially as it pertains to your duties and responsibilities.
#2—Set and manage expectations.
Don’t pretend to know more than you actually know. However, express your desire to learn as much as you can as quickly as you can and then communicate your progress to your boss and other supervisors (see #1) as often as possible.
#3—Accept all invitations to lunch.
This is a good idea on two levels. First, it allows you to network and interact with your new co-workers on a social level. Second, it presents the opportunity for you to learn more about your job and the company in an informal setting.
#4—Identify and integrate with the company culture.
Observe the way things typically operate, the ebb and flow of the environment, and the way tasks are completed. Is it fast-tempo? Slow-paced? Straight-laced? What’s most important and what’s not as important? Accepting all lunch invitations can certainly help you to figure all of this out in the shortest amount of time.
#5—Update your LinkedIn profile.
It seems like a trivial matter, but it isn’t. Updating your profile to reflect your job change further signals that you’re excited about the change and the opportunity that the position presents. Your new co-workers (and new connections) will see this.
#6—Know where everything is.
If you really want to make a good first impression, become familiar with the physical location of everything in the office (and in the office building) by the end of your first day of work. This includes everything from the bathrooms to other key departments and personnel.
Time Staffing Inc.