Category Archives: Career & Jobs

Career Advice – Are You Packaged For Career Success?

Like it or not, the personal package you present to the world–your dress, your demeanor, the appearance of your workplace, even your personal hygiene–is a critical factor in determining your career success.

This fact of life, encountered at every step along your career path, is more important than ever in a troubled economy.

Dress To Achieve Your Career Goals

A survey by Robert Half International’s Office Team Division, shows 93 percent of executives believe a worker’s style of dress influences his or her chances of getting a promotion.

This means dressing according to the prevailing style among one’s co-workers and the environment in which your employer or potential employer operates. There may not be an “official dress code,” but you can bet there is an “unofficial one”. Observe it and be guided accordingly. Ignore it and jeopardize your chances for gaining the career rewards you desire.

If the style is business attire, don’t buck the system and show up in jeans and running shoes. The reverse is true. If the style is casual, go for it; but don’t wear flip-flops, ragged jeans and an outrageous T-shirt.

Steve Jobs can get by wearing a pair of jeans, sans belt, and a turtleneck sweater for all occasions, but chances are you can’t.

Don’t go overboard with accessories. Get rid of body piercings other than modest earrings for women only. Camouflage tattoos. Go with a hairstyle that is appropriate to the work environment. A Mohawk might be acceptable in a creative boutique, but it won’t fly in a firm specializing in corporate law.

Clothes should be pressed, free of lint, with all buttons in place. Shoes should be shined; no run-down heels.

Mind Your Manners On Your Career Path

Treat everyone from the mail room to the corner office with the respect and dignity they deserve. Good morning, thank you, please and good night are always in order. Be polite, friendly and helpful. Treat others as you want to be treated.

Avoid nasty, sexist, profane language. Avoid destructive gossip and criticism.

Be aware that your table manners telegraph a strong message about you whether you are eating in the employee lunchroom, at your desk or at an up-scale restaurant with your boss.

Clean Up Your Workplace

Nothing says more about you than the state of your workplace. Keep it neat and well organized so that it facilitates your work and communicates that you are all about business. Keep personal things to a minimum. You want to project the idea that you are serious about your job, but that you have a well-rounded life.

Mind Your Personal Hygiene

Shower or bathe regularly. Use perfume or cologne sparingly or not at all. Less is more with makeup. Make sure your hair is well groomed; and that nails and hands are always clean.

That’s The Way It Is On The Career Path

You may feel this career advice is intruding your personal turf. By the way, a survey showed that a mere 4 percent of Gen Y workers want to wear business attire. That’s okay. It’s your choice, but be mindful of the fact that it reflects the reality of what it takes to get a job and hold it in today’s environment.

The Myths of Career Change

Chances are you already have many ideas about what it takes to successfully transition into a new career, even if you have never done it before. Some of those ideas might be useful – most probably are not. In this article I would like to expose The Myths of Career Change, which might actually be holding you back.

MYTH #1: PASSION AND WORK ARE NOT COMPATIBLE

In fact, research shows the opposite to be true. Most successful people are those who have learned to follow their passion. The problem is that many of us were taught to be rational when we make career decisions. So we buried our passion.

Think about your own career path. Maybe you were passionate about writing when you were younger, but made the rational choice to go into nursing. Maybe you were passionate about working with children, but decided accounting would be a “smarter” choice. (By the way, if nursing or accounting is your passion, and you followed it, congratulations.)

When we are passionate about our work, we are able to be spontaneous and joyful because we are tapping into our natural strengths and abilities. When we enjoy and are fully engaged in our work, our self-esteem is higher, and we are able to perform at a higher level.

On the other hand, when we are unable or unwilling to connect emotionally to our daily tasks, we are less likely to be successful. To draw an analogy, if you are in the wrong career, it is like a cactus trying to grow in the middle of a forest. It doesn’t belong there, it won’t grow – and the same is true for you. You won’t grow and success will be very unlikely.

Myth #2: THE WAY TO BE SUCCESSFUL IS TO PICK A CAREER IN ORDER TO MAKE ENOUGH MONEY TO SOMEDAY QUIT AND DO WHAT YOU REALLY WANT TO DO

Again, studies confirm that this isn’t what successful people do. They, instead, are so absorbed in their career they work long hours, think about their work constantly, talk about it to their partners and friends – they have that “fire in the belly.” In other words, their commitment to their work is unwavering. But if you are working just make money and you are postponing enjoying your work for some later date, you will be unable to maintain that type of commitment over a long period of time. Successful people have made an important discovery – that the journey itself is even more important than the goal.

Myth #3: YOU NEED TO BE SURE WHAT YOU WANT TO DO BEFORE YOU START DOING SOMETHING

This belief holds people back from making any moves at all.

People who have successfully changed their career began by experimenting; trying out new opportunities part-time, on a small scale, beginning weekend projects, volunteering, taking night classes or going back to school. They found a way to “stick their toe in the water.” When you begin exploring, you actually begin to experience your possible future and what it might feel and look like. You can then make adjustments in your course as you gain more experience and your direction becomes clearer.

The reason is simple. For years, you have been molded by what you do. Therefore, you need to actually start doing something else. If you are the kind of person that likes to do extensive research, make lists, take assessment tests, and research potential companies before making a move, do it. Gathering information can be useful. Don’t forget, however, that you need to begin taking steps to try out what you are learning.

Career transition does not follow a straight line and no two transitions are the same. It can take 2-4 years and it is often a case of three steps forward and two steps back. By waiting until your plan is perfect, you increase the chance that no moves will be taken.

So, begin the search for where your passions lie. Start by doing experiments, trying things out. Don’t let career change myths keep you stuck. By changing some of your beliefs about your transition, you will actually change the direction of your journey. Good luck.