New Career Blog

I’m so pleased to announce that the A Vita Career Management blog has moved. Check us out at http://www.avitacareermanagement.com/blog/

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Self Confidence At Work Need A Boost?

Whether you’re an artist or a surgeon, self confidence is essential to your success. This is especially true at work.

Do you always feel self-confident while at work? Every once in a while you might experience some feelings of self-doubt, it isn’t always obvious. But if you’re passing on assignments, doubting your ability to take on tricky assignments, or coming up with reasons that you can’t take on new challenges, that’s a red flag. You might even be procrastinating until you’re nearly out of time to complete a new project.

It doesn’t mean all work related problems are caused by or are a lack of self-confidence issue. But self-confidence (or lack of) could be at the center of larger problems. You might actually sabotage yourself by not taking the necessary steps because you don’t believe you’re capable.

If you lack self-confidence, your low self-esteem could be apparent to others. It’s pretty obvious that if you don’t believe in your own abilities, your boss and peers might not either. If you’re not sure of your confidence level or how you are perceived by your peers at work, talk to a close trusted friend. He or she might be able to give you some insights.

The problem is that if others take note of your lack of self-confidence, it can become a vicious cycle. Your boss senses your lack of self-confidence. He or she notices your lack of progress, which stems from procrastination and other symptoms. Now you’re trusted less and less important assignments come your way. You then notice the lack of trust others have in you and your self-confidence level sinks even lower.

Well, the good news (yup there’s good news) is that it does not have to end this way. Once it dawns on you that you have some self-confidence issues at work, you can actually take some action and make change.

Here are some tips:

  • Be prepared. If you know a new procedure is coming up, start studying the procedure right away. This takes away the mystery, the uncertainty, and the stress away.
  • Don’t procrastinate. By waiting until the last minute on a project, you’re not putting in your best effort. If you’re rushed to complete your project, it is more likely that your confidence in that undertaking, and by extension your personal output will be low.
  • Admit you’re having self-confidence issues. If you don’t admit you have self-confidence issues, you’ll never learn let alone grow.
  • Volunteer to take on new tasks. Start with small tasks to build up your esteem. Focus on something that you feel you could master eventually. Clearly now is not the time to take on the firm’s most high profile client. Instead, if you’re an artist, create a new business card or write article for the company newsletter.

The key is to build your self-confidence by doing things you’re good at. From there you build your way up to difficult tasks that you previously avoided. Having self-confidence is a pretty essential part of your success at work. It pays to be aware of your self-confidence levels and to take steps to develop them whenever necessary. Challenge yourself – you can do it.

Other articles of interest:

Career Management: Are You Making A Great Impression?

Top Tips From An Executive Career Coach

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Job Interview Tips: 20 MUST Ask Questions

Are you nervous about asking questions during interviews? Fear no more! Here are 20 quick questions you can ask conversationally. Obviously you don’t need to ask all of them – just the ones that are relevant to you and your situation.

Do you engage your interviewer by asking questions during your interview? By asking questions during the interview, you’re showing interest in the job but you’re also showing how well you are able to communicate.

Think about it. What if the only thing between you and getting hired was whether or not you asked questions? Engage with your interviewer to be sure you’re not eliminated from the applicant pool. Be sure to ask questions so you’ll be perceived as vibrant, self-confident, and interested – clearly you’ll be taken much more seriously.

Here is a quick list of MUST ask interview questions. Select a couple of questions for your interview. Obviously you don’t want to inundate your interviewer with questions. Just have a couple ready to go.

1. In your opinion, how does your company compare to its competition?

2. What are the company’s greatest strengths? Weaknesses? Threats?

3. What was the greatest challenge for your company last year? Was it something that you were able to overcome? How? Why/why not?

4. What are your company’s long term business goals?

5. How do your department’s operations fit into the company’s long term goals?

6. How would you describe the company’s management philosophy?

7. What is the company’s corporate culture?

8. What first attracted you to this company? What keeps you here now?

9. Does the company promote outside/additional training?

10. How would you describe your management style?

11. What is the culture in your department?

12. How many employees work within your department?

13. Would I be expected to travel? If so, how much?

14. Could you describe a typical day for an employee in this position?

15. What are the daily goals for the person who accepts this position? And, the top priorities?

16. How is performance in this role evaluated and measured? When is performance reviewed? Who conducts performance evaluations?

17. Why is the position for which I am applying open? What created the need for the opening?

18. What do you envision for the first 90 days in this position? What about the first six months?

19. How does this position contribute to meeting the department’s objectives? What about the company’s objectives?

20. Could you tell me what skills and abilities are possessed by the most successful individuals in the company?

Preparing for a job interview is easy. It just takes practice. Practice asking questions and you’ll gain the confidence and job interview skills you need to ensure success. Role play with a buddy. Keep this up until you’re no longer uncomfortable asking questions. Engage your interviewer. You’ll demonstrate your interest and self-confidence level along with just how well you’re able to communicate.

Other items of interest:

Fr*ee Career Assessment

Fr*ee Career Projections Report

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Making A Career Change?

Are you looking to make a career change? If you’re not planning on going into business on your own, you will definitely want to take steps to recession-proof your career going forward. The best way to do that is to assess what you want to do, determine what position/industry is a fit for you, make a career development plan, and implement.

Career Assessment Tools

Using a career assessment tool is a good idea for career changers. It’s a good stepping off point – you get insights into yourself and your goals. Career assessment tools allow you to look at yourself and your aspirations differently.

Career assessment tools are not meant to be the deciding factor in making your next career move. That decision comes after doing some soul searching and some research. You want to make sure that your career change is a good fit for you personally, fulfills your purpose, and meets your financial needs.

Happiness – Why Not?

If you can find happiness, a job you love, and the lifestyle you want, why not? There is no need to stay in a job you hate or be without career goals. Anyone can make a career change, but remember it is not an overnight fix. It actually takes planning and some work to make a career move, and you’ll probably want to get some career change advice. Isn’t it worth it in the end?

Career Projections

If the above sounds like what you have in mind, then take a look at this report entitled “Career Projections for 2010.” The report gives career changers some idea of what industries and jobs are going to experience growth in the near future and beyond.

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Back To The Basics: Is Your Resume Crazy With Graphics?

Is your resume appealing? You’ve done a good job of writing a resume. You’ve used powerful verbiage, showcased your accomplishments, and highlighted your expertise – it’s great, right? It is if you’re getting interviews!

If you’re not getting interviews, take a look at your graphics usage. Is the resume easy to read? In a stack of 50 or 100 resumes, is your resume still easy to read or does it cause visual fatigue. In other words by the time the HR Rep has finished reading your resume, are his/her eyes bleeding?

I actually commented on a blog http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/2009/05/30-artistic-and-creative-resumes recently about creative/graphically styled resumes. My comment was: ” I would love to hear if these resumes generated interviews or not. Wonder how many HR reps actually took the time to read them.”

The resume designs posted in the above mentioned blog were beautiful but were they effective? Would you be able to read 50 or 100 graphically designed resumes or would you start pitching them?

I write and design resumes that are on the conservative side. It has been my practice and it has been successful. Even if a client is a fashion designer, a graphic artist, or another creative type, I generally write and design resumes that are conservative. These resumes don’t have to be complete duds – I simply err on the side of caution.

There is no right or wrong here. It is really about what is effective and what generates interviews. A great work around might be to simply send both the graphically designed resume and the more traditional resume. The HR Rep will be able to read the document of choice, maintain 20/20 vision, and still get a sense of the applicant’s creative abilities. It is a more cautious approach but I like that idea better than sending out just the graphic resume.

Again, there are no hard-fast rules on this. I like the idea that the essence of the applicant shines through in the resume, and a graphic resume would certainly do that. However, it is important for the applicant to remain in contention and not get eliminated from the applicant pool.

What do you think?

You might like these articles:

Tips for Writing a Resume

Professional Resume Writing

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Taming The Job Search Monster

Is your job search taking over? Is it getting in the way of your success? If you don’t have a job search strategy mapped out, that might be the problem. Hey, no one is suggesting you write a three page job search plan – simply write down who you want to connect with, how you’re connecting, and what you’re planning on sending. And, going forward track what resume you’re sending and note what job it’s for and to whom.

Once you take control of the process you’ll be able to advance through your job search a bit more quickly. By taking action and seeing progress, you’ll feel much more productive and far less stuck.

Here are some tips to tame the job search monster:

  • Mix up your search – don’t rely on job search sites alone. You can better use the internet by searching for associations, trade journals, and websites affiliated with your particular field.  They might have job openings that are not published on national job search sites. Because it is easy, most job seekers are going to Monster and CareerBuilder – you gain an advantage by looking down the road less traveled.
  • Let your network know you’re looking for a job – this is a biggy. Most job openings are never announced publicly or advertised. Job seekers find out about open positions through a hidden job market. The #1 way to find out about these unadvertised openings is through your network. Put your network to work and you’ll be surprised what you hear about.
  • Don’t limit your network to your field exclusively. Connect with people inside and outside of your field of expertise to stay well informed. Even if you are not working right now remain connected with your network – e-mail relevant news or hot articles as a way to stay in touch.
  • Tailor your resume to each job for which you apply. Give yourself permission to apply for positions even if you don’t meet all of the qualifications. It is standard practice to send out your resume if you meet approximately 70% of the qualifications. Something on your resume could resonate with the employer and you could be considered a contender, so send it out.
  • Be very proactive in your search. Bang on doors, make calls, and approach hiring managers for informational interviews. Send out resumes to local companies who are in a growth mode.
  • Record of your search activities. Do this manually, via Excel, SmartJOB Tracker, or some other means.

These tips should help you to tame the job search monster and keep you from getting stuck. Make a plan, take action, and you will move forward. If you need help, ASK so you can get back in business quickly!

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Are Americans Lazy Job Seekers? Cast Your Vote.

Just recently I was on the Jobmob blog and read a post that stated the average American job seeker spent less than 20 minutes per day looking for a job. Jobmob’s post addressed a Diggings’ blog post based on statistics from Harper’s Index and the Department of Labor.

Nonetheless, I was compelled to comment about the Americans not mentioned in the post. As far as I am concerned there are many job seekers who want nothing more than to find a job and fast! My reply was as follows: “Hmmm. Lazy? I work with many clients from across the US and they’re certainly not lazy. They have a lifestyle that they must be able support and are doing everything to find a job.

There are some job seekers who simply do not have a good job search strategy. And, if they’re just posting their resume to online job sites, they are missing plenty of opportunities.

I wonder how many job seekers realize that if they have no job, their top priority is to find a job. In essence, their job is to find a job.”

Obviously there are people who are willing to take advantage of the system. I get that. But, I am not in contact with job seekers who have decided to live on unemployment or take a government-funded paid vacation.

So I am wondering, as a job seeker, what have you done lately? I have added a poll on my website to get an idea of how much time individuals are spending searching for work. Cast your vote at avitacareermanagement.

If you are a job seeker who is having difficulty with your search or in need of help, please do not hesitate to contact me via e-mail. No one should have to go it alone!

Related Articles:

Job Hunting Strategies

Job Hunting Tips

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