CAREERS & the disABLED
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Career success begins by knowing what you want, and effectively conveying and accomplishing your goals.
With increasingly more employers in the federal government and corporate America recognizing that inclusion drives innovation and working to attract and retain employees with disabilities, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting an 11.5 million bump in employment through 2026, there’s never been a better time to focus your energy on figuring out what piques your interest, and making a clear occupational plan to nail your dream job and achieve the success you imagine.
With that in mind, this year’s Annual Career-Planning Guide focuses on how to get you moving in the right direction by creating and seizing the right opportunities to land the job you want.
The tips that follow will help you get noticed for your hard work, be seen as a problem-solver and team player, create positive professional habits, answer tough interview questions, craft the right resume and make an impactful impression on LinkedIn.
How to Nail Your Dream Job
We all dream of loving our jobs, don’t we? Of getting up each morning, fresh and ready to go, eager to walk into the office and greet the new workday. Your dream job. Ahhh…it even sounds heavenly.
But what if you’re just not feeling it right now? What if you haven’t found your dream job yet - in fact, you’re far from it. You may be a gofer for Attila the Hun, or sitting in a windowless room, inputting reams of data in a huge IT department, or literally scrubbing floors.
Trust me, I’ve been there, including the “scrubbing floors” example - from when I was a nightshift waitress in a truck stop. (And I promise I am not making that up!)
I’ve held down many “interesting” jobs, simply to pay the rent and put myself through school. I’ve also worked with all sorts of people during my career as a trainer and consultant. Pilots, salespeople, engineers, managers, realtors, teachers, you name it.
And I’ve observed an important secret: Whatever it is you’re doing, no matter how insignificant it may seem, if you do it with excellence, then you’ll be noticed.
And you may even be promoted.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and move ahead, no matter what your current position, then do the following:
1. Be the best at something. Because it’s so unusual to see a person who really excels at her job, someone in the higher echelons is inevitably going to think, “Hmmm, I wonder whether we should consider her for another position.…”
That’s why you should set your sights on being the very best sandwich maker, floor scrubber or assistant-to-the-assistant you can possibly be. It may not be a glamorous job right now, but if you demonstrate excellence, then it’s highly likely that you’ll move up - and probably sooner rather than later.
2. Meet your responsibilities. One of my mentors once told me, “Just show up on time and do your job, and you’ll be ahead of 90 percent of the other people.” And guess what? She was right.
In the working world I’m afraid it’s all too true. However, this makes it that much easier for you to look great. So be punctual, always. And take your job responsibilities seriously; see to it your work is completed properly and on time. It’s amazing what a good impression you’ll make simply by doing what you’re supposed to do.
3. Do more than you’re asked - and do so cheerfully. When Rachael Ray was in her early 20s and selling fancy foods at a gourmet food shop in Albany, NY, she noticed her well-to-do customers bought prepared foods, but shunned the grocery aisles. That’s because they either didn’t know how to cook or didn’t want to spend the time.
So Ray started doing in-store demonstrations, showing her customers how to make quick, delicious, no-fuss meals. Her presentations became wildly popular and sold out quickly, and it wasn’t long before a local TV station asked Ray to do a regular segment featuring her “30-minute meals.”
Her career as a TV food star was on its way. Ray’s demonstrations were her own idea, the result of her boundless energy and enthusiasm, and they landed Ray her dream job.
And you can do the same. Look around your workplace and see what needs to be done. Is there a problem you might be able to solve? A mess you can clean up? A way you can improve things, not only for yourself, but also for others? Do more. It’s a great way to get noticed.
4. Say “yes” to things nobody else wants to do. I may be an honest-to-goodness psychologist, but I began my career on the very bottom rung - as an aide in a psychiatric hospital. My job duties were far from glamorous: I got the patients up and dressed, fed them, took their vital signs, broke up altercations, supervised smoke breaks and many other similar chores. I also had to clean up lots of messes of all kinds.
Early on, I vowed to stay pleasant, no matter what, and often volunteered to take on patients who were combative and difficult. It was rough, tough, physical work, but I loved the patients, and they loved me back.
And I believe my willingness to tackle all kinds of chores helped to make me a standout: showing I was a team player, a hard worker and the kind of person who could handle just about anything. It was undoubtedly a major reason I moved up fast in that organization and was awarded my very first dream job, becoming corporate clinical director while still in my 20s.
Countless people have climbed the corporate ladder and found their perfect dream jobs this way - by taking on clients no one else wanted to deal with, doing dirty jobs, staying late and working on holidays when everyone else was off having a good time. It might be unpleasant or even difficult, but it can solidify your image as a go-to person - one who can accomplish the impossible and work with the unmanageable.
5. Take chances. Whether or not you’re currently searching for your dream job, you’ll encounter many forks in the road during your career - times when you can either play it safe or go out on a limb.
In most cases I think it’s best to go out on a limb; that’s where you’re more apt to reap the benefits. For example, when an enticing job opportunity arises, go for it - especially when you’re young, but that doesn’t mean only when you’re young; I’ve met scores of people who’ve found their dream jobs after years and years of searching.
Hanging on to your current job because it’s safe and provides a regular paycheck can lead to years (or an entire career) spent stuck in the same position. In large corporations there’s an adage that often holds true: to reach the next level, you sometimes have to go away and then get hired back. This means that the longer you sit in your current job, the more likely you’ll be viewed as a person who can handle only that position.
In short if opportunity beckons and it looks reasonable, take a chance! Almost everyone who’s ever found his or her dream job has taken a gamble like this while reaching for the stars.
So is finding your dream job a real possibility, or is it, well, just a dream? I’m here to tell you it can be done - in waking life! I’ve found no fewer than three dream jobs in my lifetime, but I had to keep moving, work hard, stay open to opportunity and take some crazy chances.
So stay positive, don’t give up, believe in yourself and your abilities, and know for certain that good things will happen as long as you continue to pursue your dreams.
– Denise Dudley
About the Author: A professional trainer and keynote speaker, author, business consultant, and founder and former CEO of SkillPath Seminars, Dudley is the author of Work it! Get in, Get Noticed, Get Promoted, available on Amazon and on denisemdudley.com. She holds a Ph.D. in behavioral psychology, a hospital administrator’s license and a preceptor for administrators-in-training license, and is licensed to provide training to medical professionals in the U.S. and Canada.
Habits for Personal & Professional Growth Revealed
Why do some people dive, some survive and others thrive? The answer, based on findings from behavioral studies and my own survey of 5,000 people to reveal the daily habits that can make or break both personal and professional growth and success, is surprisingly simple: choices.
Ninety percent of life is habits. Make them rich habits. And by rich I mean an abundance of good. Just as poor habits wreck entire communities, rich habits ripple out and create enormous success.
And what I’ve found is all behaviors can be organized into four cornerstones:
• Me is quality thinking that builds wisdom. For instance, rich habits such as reflection, doing your homework and always learning build success.
• We habits form quality relationships. Here, making connections with people begets positivity.
• Do actions build productivity. Working hard, doing what needs to get done and producing quality work increases your production and gets you noticed.
• Be designs the future. Having a plan, check list or goals and progressing toward making that a reality is also a rich habit.
There is no one-size-fits-all definition of success. For some, it’s making money. For others it’s having a loving family, winning a competition, completing a degree or beating cancer.
However, if we choose rich habits, then we can be more productive and achieve the success we envision for ourselves.
– Randall Bell, Ph.D.
About the Author: Bell holds a Ph.D., and is a socio-economist and the CEO of Landmark Research Group. And Bell, drbell.com, is the author of Me We Do Be: The Four Cornerstones of Success. He’s also led a national practice at PwC, and been featured in and on The Wall Street Journal, People, The New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, CNN, World News Tonight with Diane Sawyer, 20/20 and Entertainment Tonight.
Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back
Natural disasters, market uncertainty, inflamed egos, red tape, unrealistic expectations and more all create fear. Fear is like a tornado that picks up energy from our attention and debris from past experiences as it sweeps through our lives.
But it’s ineffective to spend our time managing fear, feeding fear or overthinking our problems when we could be making actual progress toward our goals, especially at work, in our careers and in our job searches.
Here are three tips to help manage fear and keep moving forward:
1. Be in the Moment. So you have five equally important tasks to do and don’t know where to start? Anxiety is wrapping its fingers around your throat? Pour yourself a glass of water. Sit down. Drink your water. Breathe. Relax and center yourself. Your mind may be busy with thoughts about the future or what your staff is doing, but ignore them. For now just immerse yourself in the present. Honestly, this doesn’t have to be a big deal. You could also shut your eyes for a second and check in. You’re a human being sitting in a room.
2. See the Truth of the Moment. After getting present, wait patiently for clarity. Make a list of what needs to be done. Then look at your list. See what’s real in your situation. Objectively true. This clarity will enable you to respond in a manner that’s not driven by your nerves.
3. Respond Spontaneously and Appropriately. Too many tasks? Feeling paralyzed? Pick the easiest thing and do that first. Then pick the next easiest. And then the next. You’ll gain confidence and momentum as you go forward.
– Kendrick Mercer
About the Author: Kendrick Mercer is a historian, philosopher, consultant and author of Whole Self: A Concise History the Birth and Evolution of Human Consciousness. He also holds a JD and has more than 50 years of coaching to thousands of people who welcome his business and personal development advice.
Best Jobs in 2017
Examine, diagnose and treat teeth and gums.
Median Salary: $152,700
Unemployment Rate: 0.1%
2. Nurse Practitioner
Treat patients with a variety of issues and ailments.
Median Salary: $98,190
Unemployment Rate: 0.7%
3. Physician Assistant
Work with physicians and healthcare workers to treat patients.
Median Salary: $98,180
Unemployment Rate: 0.6%
Use data to provide insight and advice to companies.
Median Salary: $80,110
Unemployment Rate: 0.8%
Straighten teeth and align bites.
Median Salary: $187,199
Unemployment Rate: 0.1%
6. Nurse Anesthetist
Administer drugs to patients to minimize the pain of procedures.
Median Salary: $157,140
Unemployment Rate: 0.7%
Diagnose and treat babies, children and young adults.
Median Salary: $170,300
Unemployment Rate: 0.6%
8. Computer Systems Analyst
Evaluate and improve companies’ computer systems.
Median Salary: $85,800
Unemployment Rate: 2.4%
Sources: Monster.com, U.S. News & World Report
Resumes: What You Should & Shouldn’t Do
Here’s a quick look at what you should and shouldn’t have on your resume.
1. Do be specific, and quantify things you do and manage with numbers.
2. Do not make your resume longer than two pages.
3. Do include one-line aspects of yourself that make you unique, such as speaking fluent Mandarin.
4. Do mention why there’s a gap in your work history, if applicable, as noting quickly why that could sufficiently answer a recruiter’s question.
5. Do not write in company jargon, such as acronyms or internal names or nicknames for systems, processes, programs, software, equipment or applications, and instead use the formal names to be clear.
6. Do run a spell check and proof it, even if you think you don’t need to do so.
7. Do not omit any contact information, and include your name, phone number(s) and email address.
8. Do remove your street address, especially if you’re looking to relocate to another state.
– Vicki Salemi
About the Author: Salemi is a former recruiter who utilizes 15-plus years of experience in recruiting and human resources to empower job seekers. She also answers user questions on Quora.
The Best Answers to Tough Interview Questions
No byline; tagline, as we started doing for the Annual Career-Planning Guides last fall.
The Creative Group at Robert Half surveyed more than 400 advertising and marketing executives about the toughest or trickiest interview questions they ask job candidates. Here are some of the curveball questions they ask candidates, which can apply to any candidate and any hiring manager, and the best ways to answer them.
1. “Please give me a 60-second sales pitch about yourself.” This is a more challenging version of the common “tell me a little bit about yourself” icebreaker. The employer is trying to gauge your ability to package information and sell yourself (and your ideas) succinctly.
Develop a sound bite that details your most relevant skills and accomplishments. Being able to offer a compelling career bio at the drop of a hat will also come in handy at networking events.
2. “Why do you want to work here?” To answer, be prepared to make a case for why you’re a good fit for the job and organization. Thoroughly review the company’s website, marketing materials and social media accounts to get a firm understanding of its mission, history, reputation and workplace culture. Tap your professional network for insights, too.
3. “Can you describe a frustrating workplace situation you faced and how you solved it?” Devote more time to discussing the solution you devised than the problem you encountered. Share a story that places you as a positive-minded problem-solver who finds creative ways to deal with challenging projects and people.
4. “Why are you leaving your current position?” Be tactful and think strategically since the interviewer is likely trying to determine if you truly want the position. In short, make it clear you’re chasing a great job, not running away from a bad one.
5. “What is your biggest weakness?” When it comes to tough interview questions, this one tends to trip a lot of candidates because it requires such a nuanced response. Many interviewees falter by trying to transform a positive trait into a negative one. “I’m a perfectionist” or “I care too much about work” are two classic examples. A savvier approach is to mention an actual trouble spot, immediately following it with details about the steps you’ve taken - or are taking - to overcome the weakness.
Source: Robert Half blog
What Employers See When You Apply on LinkedIn
See the perfect position pop up in your LinkedIn newsfeed or down the sidebar on the right of your profile? Before you click to apply you need to know exactly what the employer sees on the other side of your application; it may change how you go about job-ssearching on LinkedIn.
Each time someone applies to a position posted on LinkedIn the employer receives an email notification. In each email is a very brief snapshot of that candidate.
So what exactly does that employer see in that snapshot?
• The candidate’s name.
• The headline beneath his or her name.
• Current employment job title(s); titles only with no employment details.
• Past employment job titles; titles only with no employment details.
• Education; only the names of the colleges or universities.
• Recommendations; how many people have recommended you with no recommendation details.
• Connections; how many connections you have.
• Contact information; email address and phone number.
• The candidate's resume; only if he or she chose to apply with one or upload it.
The most eye-opening information about these emails employers receive are the brief details and exactly which information is provided: headlines, job titles, number of recommendations and number of connections.
It shows the brevity of the hiring manager's attention - and validates the “scanning” of information when one is initially deciding whether to further investigate a candidate.
So that could mean employers may be weeding potential candidates out based on their headline and whether they’ve held similar positions (have relevant experience), if they have any recommendations or not, and whether they chose to upload a resume with their application.
Given this information, here are recommendations for improving your visibility and chances for consideration when applying for a position via LinkedIn:
• Ensure your headline is optimized to the position you want. Use keywords and position titles in your headline. This is the first thing the employer sees immediately beneath your name, and you want to make sure it shows an immediate match.
• Consider how you present your current employment. Position titles will weigh heavily in a decision-maker’s choice to view your profile and consider you as a candidate. Make sure you’re using the most appropriate position titles.
• You need to have recommendations. Start asking colleagues, previous employers or current clients to leave you a recommendation. Third-party validation of your work is influential in an employer’s decision to connect.
• Read the position announcement carefully. If they request that a resume be uploaded with the application, then do it. Reading - and following through with - the requests in the job ad will exponentially increase your chances for consideration.
• Make the most of the space you're given. Employers are getting only an abbreviated look at you: name, headline, titles and education. So maximize the impact.
• Make contact. Don't just click apply and see what happens. Reach out to the employer and share your interest in the role and why you think you're a good fit.
LinkedIn is a valuable tool for your job search. I encourage you to take the time to understand exactly what the employer sees when you apply and consider making adjustments to how you apply to positions that interest you and to how you follow up on said positions.
– Jessica Holbrook Hernandez
About the Author: Jessica H. Hernandez is president and CEO of Great Resumes Fast, greatresumesfast.com, a values-based executive resume writing service for accomplished and emerging executives. A certified social branding analyst, veteran career expert and former recruiter for Fortune 500 companies, Hernandez and her team create one-of-a-kind, strategically branded resumes and LinkedIn profiles for busy executives.
The Most Valuable Second Languages to Learn
The job market has never been more competitive, so it’s never been more important to give yourself that extra edge. ForexBonuses.org’s new study reveals the second languages that are most beneficial to know and learn:
• German: The most valuable second language, German opens up 265 percent more jobs compared to the bilingual average.
• French: French is an official or co-official language in 41 countries, and knowing how to speak it still increases your job opportunities by 190 percent.
• Spanish: More than half a billion people speak fluent Spanish around the world, but this doesn’t seem to dampen job prospects, as knowing this language increases your options by 18 percent.
Employment to Grow by 11.5M during 2016-26
Employment is projected to increase by 11.5 million during the 2016-26 decade, resulting in a bump from 156.1 million to 167.6 million, according to new research the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) revealed in October.
“This growth - 0.7 percent annually - is faster than the 0.5 percent rate of growth during the 2006-16 decade, a period heavily affected by the 2007-09 recession,” notes the BLS.
Healthcare industries and their associated occupations are expected to account for a large share of new jobs projected through 2026, says the BLS, as the aging population continues to drive demand.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)
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