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Make the most of your summer

If you have finished your summer travel you should be taking advantage of this season to boost your resume content.  Whether you are planning a transition to a new field or a move in your existing company, the downtime of summer offers the opportunity to build skills, learn new ones, or expand your repertoire of abilities for the next job.

  • Let your hobby teach you something. If you take time during the summer to head to the lake, garden, or another hobby, identify what skills you can get from the activity. Can you build your planning, organization or communication abilities while having fun?
  • Technology is your friend. Between summer workshops and classes at the One Stop Centers, there are multiple places to update your technological skills. Look ahead to the next job you want to have and figure out what technical gaps you have to fill to get it.
  • Helping someone can help you too. Taking time to volunteer at a local organization will not only show your next boss that you care about others, but also allow you to increase your own skills. Volunteer activities can also open up opportunities to learn new skills that could launch you into your next career step.
11:53 am          Comments

Social media is a valuable tool in career transition

Anyone in the job search process should consider if they are maximizing the use of social media in the process.  Sites that are tailored to your industry, networking sites, and informational sites can all be valuable in providing helpful tips and guidance on potential positions in companies.  Facebook®® is a good source for some basic information on the current ‘hot topics' a company is focused on and viewing the company's page before an interview can assist in giving you insight into what is important for their organization currently.  If you aren't maximizing LinkedIn®® as a resource, here are some things to put on your to do list:

  • Update your profile information to be current with volunteer work or paid work experience you are doing.
  • Request recommendations from previous supervisors and colleagues that can attest to the skills you need to make the transition - communication, organization, technical skills - whatever is most relevant to the industry or company you are pursuing.
  • Check out the new ‘jobs' function on the system - look on the right hand side to find positions that the search engine has found to match your past experience.
  • Follow and join groups that are aligned with your transition, either by company name or by industry.
  • In preparation for an interview, search for the company, department, and interviewer to formulate meaningful questions to ask at the end of the phone or face-to-face interview.
4:44 pm          Comments

Leveraging your mid-year review effectively

Some companies may make a mid-year review a formal process, while in others the employee needs to request this type of discussion.  Summer is a great time to carve out time with your manager to determine your current year's progress and establish a go forward plan for the balance of the year.  Employees who prepare for these meetings will have positive outcomes and also feel empowered to work on professional development.

Understand what your objectives are...  The first step in having meaningful performance discussions with you manager is to clearly outline your objectives.  These may be corporate goals, department goals, project specific goals, or independent goals.  It's important that you not only know what you will be measured on, but how each criteria is weighted in evaluating your performance and progress.

Document, document, document...  As the employee, you are responsible for consistently documenting your activities throughout the year.  This includes not only your successes, but also the obstacles that you have encountered and how you dealt with them and overcame them.  Don't rely on your manager to have kept track of everything you have done - their responsibilities are broader than noting your actions.

Be open to critique and adaptation...  When you are mentally preparing for these discussions, anticipate what feedback you may receive from your manager.  Be ready to take constructive input and make changes in your actions and behaviors.  Avoid appearing defensive by taking notes on the feedback and acknowledging that you are willing to continuously learn.  Bring your own recommendations on the areas that you want to develop in as well - cross-departmental training, external soft skills training, mentoring new employees, etc.  Planning ahead to share how you want to continue to professionally develop will show your manager that you are committed to the performance discussion process. 

For more information about how to manage various areas of your career development, check out this book:
1:49 pm          Comments

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