Category: Career Wise

50% of All Workers Are Part of The Gig Economy. Should You Be, Too?

The gig economy, also known as  portfolio work, is the way many people are earring a great living.  They work for themselves, lining up sequential jobs or multiple small jobs at the same time.

Many workers want full time gig work to create a balance between work and other aspects of their lives and many more earn extra money doing something they love.

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Make Your Own Schedule

Here are 10 ways that young workers can benefit from this lucrative segment of the economy.

  1. Your work hours can be flexible.  If you’re a night owl you can shift your work hours to match your biorhythms or use time off for interviews.
  2. You may be able to work from anywhere.
  3. The jobs you take on can be different from each other, allowing you to gain experience in a variety of aspects of your trade.
  4. Many jobs are short term or could be one project long.  If you don’t like an employer or a task, you know that there is a defined end to the job.
  5. Gig work is an opportunity to try out a career that you’re not certain is the one for you.
  6. Within industry standards, you get to set your own fees.  As you gain experience your income can rise rapidly.
  7. Think of  gigs as a paid internship.
  8. You can vary the kind of job you look for to round out your portfolio and create great resume material.
  9. Gigging builds a network. Each contact and person hiring you is a potential recommender and reference.
  10. Portfolio work forces you to learn how to promote yourself and sell your skills to anyone hiring.  You need  to understand how to do this even more when ready to work full time for one company or individual.


Questions?
 Call or text 610-212-6679; stephanie@accessguidance.com

Study Abroad: Make The Most Of Your Experience

Greek Orthodox Church
Greek Orthodox Church

You can learn a lot about the world by living for a time in another country.  Employers like to see cultural experience on a resume, especially if they do business with executives who were raised and educated abroad or have contracts with companies in other countries.

When you interview for an internship or job, talk about your time abroad in terms that highlight the value you bring to the position.

Academics: Plan ahead so that you will be able to take courses that meet your graduation requirements.  That might mean saving your electives and completing most of the courses in your major before you leave.  A little investigation may yield study abroad programs that will enhance your major field of study better than others.  When you return, find intersections between your studies and living abroad.

Cultural Exposure: Don’t spend your time with your room- or housemates.  Explore the town or city.  Get to know some of the locals by greeting and beginning conversations however limited your grasp of the language.  Unless advised otherwise, take public transportation or walk.  Make adults your target because they will have a broader perspective and a wider range or experience.  Take note of particular people or events that you will want to share with employers.

Just spending time outside the US isn’t enough to qualify for cultural literacy.  It’s necessary to actually experience the other culture as though it was going to become your own.

Here are some ways to make use of time spent living and learning to “Walk like an Egyptian“.

  1. Visit museums and locally important placesPunakha, Bhutan
  2. Attend festivals, services at the place of worship you favor, public events
  3. If its the custom in the country where you will be studying, learn to haggle and bargain
  4. Speak the language as often as possible.  It makes you look smart and friendly.
  5. Become familiar with customs and laws

Playing it Safe: The laws and customs vary from country to country.  Be respectful of the dress codes for work, school, and casual occasions so that you don’t embarrass yourself or you hosts.  In many places the short shorts and midriff baring tops worn at home are considered inappropriate.

Likewise, the law and customs regarding alcohol, pot and other drugs are different.  As a non-resident you may be judged harshly if you break a law that would earn you a warning if done at home.  Assume that you will not be able to get away with violations that a “townie” (local resident) teenager can slip under the radar.  In most countries you do not have the same rights-an attorney, presumption of innocence, lenience toward young adults- that Americans at home have.  The embassy may not be able to assist you if you get into legal trouble.

In Europe, teenagers may be permitted to drink beer and wine in public establishments.  Being 7 or 8 hours from home will not increase your tolerance for alcohol,  or reduce the likelihood of doing something you wouldn’t do sober.

Bottom Line:  Bring your most mature behavior with you.  Have a good time, meet lots of great people, prepare to use what you experience to help you in the job market.

elephant-241624_640If you are looking for a Gap Year experience outside the US or want to lean how to turn you Study Abroad into a job attracting tool, text or call Stephanie 610-212-6679; the email is stephaine@accessguidance.com.

When Should Your Resume Be Longer Than One Page?

As you undoubtedly already know, a resume gets 5-6 seconds of attention while the reader decides to pursue the candidate.  Or not.   Your resume needs to make the most of that brief time so make your document easy to read and easy to scan for important information.

When you have enough experience that the only way to cover the relevant details is to reduce the font or squeeze, squeeze, squeeze, its time to add a second page.  This may take 10 years of  relevant work.

To make the most of your resume real estate, check the list of your accomplishments to be certain that you’ve eliminated all but those that are needed for the position.  Choose your format: chronological or functional.  You may find that one allows you to include more data than the other.

Choose a basic font like Verdana or Times New Roman in 10-12 point.  Bullets will make the document more readable and scanable.

For those with a short employment history, internship experiences can highlight skills as effectively as those gained through pay-check.  Add projects or research done for college course work if it relates to the job you’re going for.  For instance, if you were a business major and took the marketing role on team projects, show what you did and the outcome.

Sometimes you have more than enough data to fill one page but not much for the second page.  Unless you have about 1/3 of the second page covered, try reworking your entries.  You might be able to expand on one or two to fill more space on page 2.

Perhaps you have a longer work history or your experience is with the government or higher education.  Instead of a resume you may be expected to produce a Curriculum Vitae, or CV.  You will include your publications and presentations, and projects along with work experience.

Length is less important than clarity and the ability of the reader to identify the details that match up with the requirements of the role on offer.

When you’re ready for a resume or CV, let me help you put your best foot forward.  Once you learn how to create the document, you’ll be able to update and make new resumes as needed.  stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.

Practice These Behaviors To Be Ready For A Promotion

Nine Behaviors of Highly Promotable People

Gloria was a thirty-something member of the wait staff at a local restaurant.  She had experience gained while in college and was now picking up extra money on the early morning shift.

It wasn’t long before she was asked to become shift manager which was timely when her “day job” had been eliminated.  Within six months Gloria was working the busiest shifts, managing the other wait staff and substituting for the general manager as needed.

Here are the behaviors that made Gloria valuable.

She treated the restaurant as her own business, paying attention to the bottom line and her opportunities to add to it. She didn’t wait to be asked to do something but jumped in when she saw a job that needed doing; she also offered to help others when they were slammed with customers.

Gloria also listened to the customers, getting feed back on service, menu items and preferences.  By watching food production and service, Gloria learned to identify when a miscue was about to produce a delay in prep or timely service.  She was able to divert difficulties before they became bigger snafus.

Gloria’s flexibility led directly to the smooth running of the front of the house in harmony with the rhythms of the kitchen.

Solid employees bring positive energy to the job.  Their commitment to the success of the business distinguishes them from clock-in-and-get-a-paycheck Janes and Joes and elevates them to highly-promotable status.

 

Looking For A Job? Low GPA? Try This

From the National Association of Colleges and Employers

Emmit from ITESM asked:

“At the beginning of my studies I had some personal problems that affected my performance, at the end I did very good on my courses but I have a bad GPA. How should I handle this situation on an interview?”

Hello Emmit. I am sure many other students can relate to your challenge of having a personal issue that affected their grades in college. You may be surprised to know that you are not alone and also relieved to hear that having a low GPA is not the end of the world for your job search.

According to a Fall 2016 National College Health Assessment, 50% of undergraduate students and close to 40% of graduate students in U.S. colleges found it traumatic or very difficult to handle academics in the past year. Many students have difficulty adjusting to college academic work and sometimes have added personal stresses

How Do I Find Employers that Don’t Screen for GPA When Hiring?

Although 70% of larger companies often screen for GPA when hiring (according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers Job Outlook 2017 Report) the good news is that many smaller employers do not screen for GPA when hiring. How do you find thITESM, ese employers?

  • Look at job postings to see what the application requires. If the application form requires a GPA or transcripts, that may be an indication that GPA matters (not necessarily in all cases).
  • Create a list of employers of interest and check in with your career service office at Instituto Tecnologico y de Estudios Superiores (ITESM) to see which ones may not require a high GPA. Having worked in a college career service office for over 10 years, I had close relationships with many of the employers and their hiring requirements.
  • Conduct informational interviews (brief 20-30 minute conversations with people who work at companies that interest you) and ask them how important was GPA in the application and interview process.

If I am Required to Disclose My GPA in My Application, What Can I Do to Offset This?

Show that you were balancing multiple activities outside of coursework. If you worked in addition to taking classes, specify how many hours/ week you were working. If you served as a leader of a student organization, be sure to include these additional activities and highlight any achievements on your resume. Relevant experience in your field can often be more important than a high GPA. Be sure to highlight any internships, relevant coursework, academic projects and volunteer work that may demonstrate relevant skills in your field.

If I Do Get Asked About My GPA During an Interview, What Should I Say?

While it is unlikely that you will get asked to explain your GPA in an interview (especially if your GPA is not required for your application), it could happen. Think about what happened and how you can frame it into a positive story. Leave out any deeply personal issues that may be awkward and hard to explain or that might raise a red flag.

As a hypothetical example, you might say that your family’s financial circumstances changed and you ended up having to work two jobs while taking a full load of classes to help cover your tuition and that your grades suffered. Be sure to add that you were able to work hard and pick your grades back up in your final year. Employers like to hear that you can bounce back from adversity.

Best of luck to you with your job search Emmit!

Lisa

There are many problems that we can solve together!   stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679

 

Leaders, Here Is How To Promote From Within

When Jerry was made head of his sales team at a pharmaceutical company, there were groans and comments questioning his promotion.  What Jerry did proved that the head of sales knew a good thing when he saw it.

First, Jerry met with everyone on the team individually to better understand their strengths, preferences, style, unique qualifications and hopes.  A bit of reorganization allowed members to function more freely. Next, Jerry was able to support each of his team as they advanced their qualifications.

Sheila was a wiz a developing new customers from casual contacts.  Her can-do cheeriness brought positive attention to the company.  Jerry began to take her to local events, industry meetings and in-house gatherings where she could be introduced to other department heads.   Not long after, Sheila was promoted to an opening in the public relations department.

Jerry’s  habit of highlighting each individual’s talents and successes, especially in settings where decision makers were present, launched team players toward their own goals.  When a team member was promoted, everyone shared the success.  Jerry offered enlightening stories  that illustrated why the decision to promote was made.  Knowing that the change wasn’t random or based on favoritism helped everyone buy in.

When the culture of a department or a company is based on advocacy of the ambitions and objectives of individuals by the people who wield power, productivity goes up; engagement rises; job satisfaction increases.

Leaders understand that no one wants to be seen as a cog in the wheel that is their job.  Encouraging individual aspirations and making it possible for them to be fulfilled is the distinguishing feature that separates a manager from a leader.

Want to know more about entrepreneurship or career success?  I have resources to share with you! stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.

 

3 Best Lessons From Saying Yes

The 3 Best Lessons I Learned From Saying “Yes” to Something I Had No Idea How to Do  Muse 8/8/17

Recently I was asked to lead a project that would have a positive impact on not just my team, but on other teams across my company. Because I have a hard time turning things down at work, I accepted the challenge without a second thought.

But there was one catch: I’d never led a project like this before. And frankly, it’d been a long time since I led a group of people toward a shared goal—and the last time I tried, it didn’t go particularly well.

I struggled throughout and as we made our way through the process, I thought I’d made a mistake in accepting the challenge. I kept thinking it would have been better for everyone if I had said, “Maybe next time.”

But then a funny thing happened—the project got done and I became an authority on something I previously knew nothing about. Even though it’s easy to believe you’ll fail when you say yes to doing something new, it’s just as easy to believe in yourself. (OK, almost as easy.)

If you need encouragement in the right direction, here are a few things I learned from taking a leap and saying “yes.”

1. You’ll Find Out That You Were More Qualified Than You Realized

Here’s the thing: Unless your boss is trying to get herself fired, she’s also under a lot of pressure to get things done. She has goals she has to hit and she can’t do it herself. As tempting as it would be to assume that she’s given you this assignment because there’s nobody else to do it, the truth is that your manager wouldn’t have trusted you with it if she didn’t actually think you could get it done.

I know that your impostor syndrome is making you say, “You’re not up for this and you don’t know anything.” But here’s the thing—the only person telling you that you’re unqualified is you. After all, your boss asked you because she thinks the exact opposite. It took me a few days to realize this, but when I did, I knew that the only person who was skeptical of my abilities was me.

2. You’ll Learn That Asking for Help Really Doesn’t Make You Look Dumb

The natural conclusion to taking an assignment you’re unfamiliar with is to keep all your questions to yourself. You want to prove that you can crush it, so you take it upon yourself to find every relevant resource out there that’ll help you become a subject matter expert in no time.

But what I ended up learning is that approach can actually make you look less qualified than simply asking for help.

It’s OK you don’t have all the answers. Your boss probably knows that’s the case. But he also trusts you to figure out the right people you should be leaning on for help. So don’t rely too heavily on your own skills (or Google), especially since you know you’re lacking some of the necessary experience to get this task done—and done well.

3. You’ll Realize It’s OK That the End Result’s Not Perfect

In terms of the project I was leading, I didn’t maintain the process we established at the onset perfectly. At times, I ran around like a madman because I had no idea how to resolve certain issues. And ultimately, while we completed it, there were plenty of things I wished had gone differently.

But the good news for me? Most of my “I wish I’d done this differently” thoughts didn’t matter to the end product. I turned in what was asked, even if it wasn’t exactly what I would’ve liked to submit.

In the likely scenario that your final result isn’t exactly what you hoped it would be, focus more on the lessons you’ve learned throughout the experience. Were there breakdowns in communication that you can resolve for the next time? Were there knowledge gaps that you currently have the answers to for future attempts?

Even if the project wasn’t executed perfectly, you’ll learn plenty of valuable lessons from the experience. In my case, I learned so much about a completely new area of the company’s business that I’ve now become the subject matter expert on it.

Hey, I get it. It’s easy for me to sit behind my computer and tell you to accept more assignments at work, even if your previous experience would suggest that you’ll fall on your face. But I’m a total scaredy cat about new challenges. And not only did the project get done, I learned a few things that will impact the rest of my career. So, if someone like me can survive this harrowing experience, I’m totally confident that you can too.

 

Be Your Own Career Sherpa: No One Else Will!

In today’s workplace, its uncommon for companies to be concerned about keeping employees’ skills current or in preparing them to take on new responsibilities.  Frequently, when a new competence is needed, Jane Doe will be out and John Shmoe will be in.

Here are 5  ways to protect and advance your career.

1. Understand what is expected of the person in your role.  Be certain that you know what you will be evaluated on and the benchmarks of success.  A good time to do this is at your next performance review.  If your next review won’t take place for a while, type and print what you think the expectations are and have a sit-down with your supervisor to go over them.  Ask for frequent feedback on what is going well and where you can improve.  This is how you make sure you are on the right track now.

2. To advance you have to grow.  Grow in the knowledge you need for what you are doing.  Fill in the gaps, and everyone has them.  Find out how your work affects your department, the bottom line, and the company goals.  The more you know, the better you will be able to choose a direction, see the holes in your resume and prepare for the next step in this company or prep for your next move.

3. Be the person who sees where your product (that could be dental hygiene or AI and everything in between) is going.  Find new uses and discover what might becom obsolete.  READ widely and go deep on a couple of topics!

4. Remember your high school Brag Sheet?  Keep one at work.  Keep track of in-servicing, outside training, new tasks you’ve taken on, certifications and new skills you’ve developed.  Regularly rate your performance on key tasks and others skills you’ve identified as helpful in fulfilling your role.

5. Ramp up your visibility with decision makers.  Attend events sponsored by your company, take on new responsibilities, cross over to assist other departments.  Offer help. Think of this as networking within the company.

Here’s what Carter Cast from Harvard Business Review says: It’s not always possible to get noticed by senior leaders through your direct work, so you might try volunteering for initiatives, such as charity work, company events, or on-campus recruiting. This is an easy but often overlooked way to rub elbows with senior people who will see you in action and ideally take notice of your contributions.

Invest in yourself!  Let me help you draw up a plan to secure your current position and prepare for your next one.  Don’t wait for your future to come looking for you. stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679.

Difference Between The Best Candidate and Best Hire

If you’ve read my posts in the past, you will be familiar with my advice on being the candidate who is hired: It is the one who is most knowledgeable about the job, company and industry, the candidate who matches the company culture and the one with the deepest success rate in the area that the company needs the most help.

Below is a link to an article by Lou Adler that backs up my advice with a stats and a great graphic.  Interestingly, Adler’s target audience is hiring managers.  He points out that the typical sequence in an interview identifies the best candidate, not the best hire.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/bias-prevents-best-candidates-from-being-hired-lou-adler/

For those of us on the other side of the interview desk, Adler shows an opening for proving our value by answering questions that go beyond the basic benchmarks.  We must show that we can collaborate, lead a team, mentor, prioritize, manage time and money as well as having a pretty face.

When asked about our track record, we must include the how as well as the stats.  If we show that we succeeded by performing specific team-building functions or  by co-incidentally reducing both time on task and costs, we show the qualities that make us the best hire as well as the best-performing candidate.

The difference between a manager and a leader is the ability leaders have for helping others move forward, promoting the whole team, while accomplishing goals.  Employers want managers but also need leaders.  Lets show the hiring manager that we are both!

Strut your stuff!  Lets work on you profile so that you are ready when opportunity knocks! 610-212-6679 stephanie@accessguidance.com

 

 

5 Tips For Interview Prep

The best way to have calm nerves when facing an interview is to begin preparing before you get the call.  These 5 are proven and professional.

1. Like a politician, have your talking points ready.  Know your strengths as they relate to the position and your ability to do the job.  Have anecdotes  prepared that show your past performance at these tasks.

2. Your talking points are stories and anecdotes that show your past successes and ability to meet the needs of the role you are interviewing for.  At a college interview  you will show how you will add to the campus culture through your interests and high school experiences.

3, Know who the interviewers will be.  Google them to find commonalities that will make them more familiar and give you points for small talk at the beginning of the interview.  For students, learn if the interviewer is a graduate of the college and prepare a couple of questions to ask about that experience.

4. Know before you go.  The more you know about the role, company and industry the better prepared you will be and the more confident you will feel.  The job-and the college admission-go to the one who can demonstrate their fit.  The only way to do that is to know more than the other candidates!

5. Follow your answer with questions that give the interviewer the opportunity to explain more about the job or company.  Good questions are “What are your top priorities for the person you hire?” or “What do you think first year students should prioritize during the first few weeks on campus?”  You will appear savvy and make the interview more conversational.  A definite stress-buster!

It doesn’t hurt to write down some of the questions you think the interviewer will ask and practice with someone asking them.  Practice getting the information you want the interviewer to know into your conversation to avoid the head-slapping realization that you missed opportunities to sell your best qualities.

I’m ready to practice with you and have dozens of questions we can prep.  Stephanie@accessguidance.com or 610-212-6679