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May 2, 2013

May Day, May Flowers … May conjures up images of springtime growth.

Flowers

Why not use this month as a springboard to energize you career in one simple way.
Can you pick one new thing to do this month to spice things up in the career realm of your life?
Here are 10 simple suggestions:
1) Take a class  —  Is there a University Extension course offered in a subject you have been meaning to explore? Or perhaps it is time to brush up on your computer skills? Check out the bounty of technology classes on Lynda.com.
2)  Attend a Webinar — Find an expert in your field who offers a webinar or look on  Careerealism‘s website which is chock full of options on various career management topics.
3) Got to a Conference — Perhaps it is time to tap into your professional development stipend and plan to attend that industry conference you have been meaning to check out. For example, this month in SF the following conferences will be held: CloudCon Expo, Mobile Gaming USA West 2013, 2013 Conference to Eliminate Health Disparities in Genomic Medicine, International Conference on Software Engineering.
4) Listen to a Lecture — Ted Talks are a good place to start for inspiration.
5) Read a book on a subject that is foreign to you — Why not choose one of those business bestsellers everyone always talks about and that you’ve heard about a thousand times but haven’t found the time to read. Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence Others comes to mind.
6) Attend a gathering posted on Meetup.com. It’s a great opportunity to learn more about topics that you are curious about, but do not know much yet. This is also a great way to meet new people and expand your professional network.
7) Invite a Mentor to Lunch — everyone has to eat sometime and why not make it a memorable meal? Ask a few provocative questions. Probe a bit between bites to find out his/her real story. Gain insight on how to succeed in your field.
8) Check out a book on tape from your local library and listen to it during your commute or while you run errands. (For female readers of this post, I suggest, Find Your Strongest Life: What the Happiest and Most Successful Women Do, by Marcus Buckingham. He is British and has a lovely accent. It is a pleasure to listen to him present the book.)
9) Ask to work on a special project — go outside your comfort zone and seek to work with someone you haven’t had the opportunity to before, or take on a task that is outside your area of expertise. This will teach you something new and give you new perspective on your company and coworkers.
10) Volunteer at a special event for a cause you care about — Helping out at a fundraiser feels good, does good, and gets you out to meet folks you might not otherwise have the opportunity to meet. Try  HandsOn___(your city) for charity ideas. For example: HandsOnBayArea.org. It’s a win win.
  The options are endless…see what happens when you try one new thing…

January 6, 2013

 It’s the first Sunday of 2013. Many folks have taken time off for the holidays and tomorrow marks the official beginning of the new work year. Before you launch into your work, I encourage you to take a moment today and take stock of where you want to go in the year ahead. What are some changes you would like to see happen in the realm of your career?  How will you cultivate work/life balance this year? What are the new skills you want to hone or acquire in the year ahead? Hmmm.

As you focus on your own responses to those questions, I would also like to provide a few useful links offering perspective on how to ring in the new year for your career.

new year

ResumeBear’s Top 10 New Years Resolutions for Job Seekers presents logical steps to take to bolster career management. While these steps are common sense, it is always good to be reminded what steps you should be taking.

Doostang’s 4 Career To-Dos Before Ringing in the New Year  may technically be geared to things to do before the new year, it is not too late to try them out.

InterviewIQ’s 5 Career Resolutions to Banish Your Workplace Woes by Susan Wareham McGrath offers an Australian perspective to career management but it is all very relevant and applicable.

carpe annum!

(photo credit: courtesy of Darwin Bell)

April 9, 2012

The saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.” Spring is in full force here in the San Francisco Bay Area as evidenced by the major rain storms predicted for the remainder of the week. Spring always brings to mind thoughts of change and growth. This is a good time  to take a lesson from the season and cultivate your own professional growth. What are you doing to enrich your own skills, knowledge, talents or network?

With change in mind, I would like to direct you to a few other posts that have some excellent advice and resources. First, I wanted to share a blogpost  from Bridgestar, How to Develop Yourself as a Nonprofit Leader.  It has lots of practical advice from some very distinguished leaders in the sector. While many of the recommendations are common sense, it is always nice to see what the pros recommend. Consider embracing one of the ideas and working on it through the rest of spring and summer and take stock come fall. Using the change of season is a convenient way to set a timeframe for a personal goal.

Another useful resource is this handy compilation from ResumeBear on 20 Impressive & Inspiring Productivity Experts on Twitter.  Twitter is a great resource for quick and dirty tips and tricks for all parts of our lives. Anytime I can find a helpful resource, I like to try to spread the word. See if these tweets don’t help you on your quest for some personal growth.

December 15, 2011

“The only thing constant in life is change.”  Francois La Rochefoucauld

I was reminded of this quote when I read an email from my daughter’s preschool informing me that the facility would be unexpectedly closing its doors.  This sudden change of events was most unwelcome (by me and all the other parents as well as by the teachers who would be losing their jobs).  Just like that the teachers found out they would no longer be employed — no advance warning.  It just brings to mind that not only is change constant, but you must always be prepared for the unexpected.

Keep your resume current.  Maintain a file of kudos and an ongoing list of key projects you complete so it will be easy to make updates to your resume before you find yourself unemployed. When you are in a rush to update your resume, it is very hard to remember your recent accomplishments.

Stay in touch with your contacts. Whether via LinkedIn, Facebook, or Twitter, your network is your lifeline, don’t take it for granted. You never know when you might find yourself suddenly out of a job and needing help. Maintaining connections with your friends and colleagues is vital so that when you need to activate a job search, folks will be willing and able to help you out.

Keep your skills relevant. Try to attend a training or a class that will hone your skills for the type of work you do. Consider getting certified in your field. It is always good to show that you are willing to learn and embrace change.

The more you can do to keep yourself on top of current trends and issues, the easier it will be to know where to look for the few jobs that are available in your field.

It is very competitive still these days to find jobs, you have to do all you can to keep a step ahead…

September 2, 2011

It’s actually September and everyone is heading Back to School. In the spirit of new beginnings, I want to share a couple of resources that could prove quite useful for your job search.  The first is a link from ResumeBear’s 50 Best Books for the Unemployed.  This is an extensive list of books that vary from the practical to the motivational. Even if you are not currently unemployed, you may want to check out the list as there are a number of useful titles worth reading on topics such as Job Hunting, and Networking too.

Second, I wanted to share a link to Steve Job’s commencement speech made in 2005 at Stanford University. Since he announced his decision to step down from his leadership role as CEO of Apple, this speech has been making the rounds on twitter, facebook, etc. I found it to be very interesting and thought provoking. It is good advice to keep in mind as you pursue a job search and consider your options.