Cultivate Your Career: Plant Seeds that Will Allow a Garden of Opportunities to Grow

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Spring is here, and in addition to planting your garden, it’s time to grow your career. It takes preparation and consistent care to get a bountiful harvest, and the same can be said about nourishing a flourishing career. What you do today will help you get the job you want tomorrow. Here is a four step plan watch your career goals blossom.

Layout Your Garden 

A successful garden is one that is properly designed and prepped. Doing the same for your career goals will allow you to define a career path that is easy to follow. Identify the steps you need to take to get to your ultimate goals, and lay out a plan as to how you are going to achieve them.  Your garden will grow with some simple planning, and so will your career.

Plant, and Water, Your Seeds 

Seeds don’t grow overnight; it takes time and some dedicated watering to help them sprout. While you may have a basic professional network in place on LinkedIn, putting some time into growing and cultivating it to your specific needs will pay dividends. Reach out to new people in your target industry, and look for those who have positions in your target companies. The more time you put into your network, the better results it will yield when it is time for harvest.

Prune Dead or Dying Branches

If a particular career path isn’t bearing fruit any longer, then it may be time to start cultivating some new shoots so you can stop pouring your valuable energy and time into a path that won’t take you where you need to go. Even if your current career path is bearing some meager fruit, you may still be better off looking for opportunities with the potential for larger or more desirable harvests down the line.

Harvest at the Right Time 

All the prep and care you’ve put into the garden will yield a wonderful bounty of fruits and vegetables when it is time to harvest, just as all the hard work you put into your network will pay dividends when it is time for a new job. Communicate with your network and outline what you are looking for. At the very least they will be able to direct you to job openings that may not be public yet, and they may even be able to get you into interviews before the job ad even goes public.

Want To Find Your Dream Job? Here Are Three Questions You Must Ask Yourself

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What’s your idea of a “dream job?” If you have that itch to try something new, it’s a question worth pondering before launching a job search.  Because your wants and needs evolve, what you considered your ultimate career goals may have changed over time. One of the best ways to pin down what you really want from your job is to ask yourself the following questions:

“What Do I Love About My Current/Past Jobs and What Would I Change?”

There is no doubt that while you love certain parts of your job, there are other aspects that you would change. When thinking about your dream job, break down both the positives and negatives of your job to get at what you actually like and dislike about it. This is especially important when it comes to things you would like to change, as it can show you hidden aspects of the job you may actually like. For example, you may dread working with other departments on a certain project because of an overall lack of communication between management. This means that you may actually love the idea of collaboration as long as there is full communication.

“What Would You Do If You Weren’t Being Paid?”

If money wasn’t a factor, what would you do with your life? Would you travel, read, volunteer, or spend most of your time building things in your garage? Of course, money is going to be a factor in any career decisions, but thinking about what you would like to do without salary concerns is a window into what you actually want to do. Consider jobs that involve these items that you love doing. If you love helping people, look for a job where you can make an impact.

“What Am I Good At?”

Leave your humbleness at the door for a second and consider the tasks that allow you to shine. Consider the types of duties that people specifically earmark for you at work, and the types of skills that your friends and family members turn to you for. Things you do exceptionally well tend to be the areas where you get the most satisfaction, meaning that they are a window into what will drive you in a new job.

AppleOne’s Internship Program Focuses on Experience for the Real World

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AppleOne is excited to announce the launch of its official Internship program which will give students the opportunity to learn skills that are relevant to not only staffing, but to any future career. Opportunities are now open for the Southern California region, with plans to roll out nationwide for future classes. Apply today at www.appleone.com/Students/Internships/Default.aspx.

In the spirit of putting your best foot forward for your internship, here are three ways to make a great first impression at internship interviews:

Dress to Impress

Don’t let your clothing do the talking for you during an interview; make sure your interviewer remembers what you said, not what you wore. Dressing professionally and conservatively, always works for an interview. While a company may have a “casual” dress code for employees and interns alike, this should not apply to interviews. You can find additional guidance on what to wear to your interview at http://appleone.com/Career_Seekers/nhp/.

Know What You Want Out of the Internship

Companies with internships want to know that the time they invest in you will be truly meaningful and helpful to you. During your interview, convey what you are looking to get out of the position. Highlight specific points from the internship description, and talk about what you hope to learn by the end of your time there. In addition, mention coursework or other campus activities you took part in to highlight qualifications that will allow you to immediately make an impact in the position.

Leave a Thank-You Note with the Receptionist Before You Leave

Thank-you notes may seem old-fashioned, but they really work. While there may be circumstances such as phone interviews or off-site interviews where you may have to send the card via mail, you can make a big impact by leaving a card with the receptionist as you’re leaving the interview. Have the card written before you go to the meeting so the hiring manager can see it ASAP, but be sure to leave a little room to reference something from your interview to better personalize it.

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Don’t Keep This Secret from Your Boss!

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Being up-front with your boss about your career plans can pay dividends. Unless your plan involves moving on to another employer in the near future, it’s worth letting your manager know your goals. Here are three ways that it might pay off:

It Helps Your Boss Assign Projects that Can Help You Progress

Giving your boss an idea of where you want to take your career can help influence the type of work they give you. You may be included in projects that can help you gain skills and experience that you wouldn’t otherwise get. This may involve working with other departments, which can help you network as well.

It Helps Your Boss Identify Job Openings That Match Your Goals

When a company identifies an employee that excels in their job, they want to keep them around. By letting your boss know your long-term plans, they can keep an eye out for openings in the company that match your career path. This puts you in line for promotions and beneficial lateral moves.

It Helps Your Boss Know How to Keep You Happy

Managers want to keep their employees happy, but they may not always be able to meet a specific goal such as a large raise or a particular promotion. However, when you share all of your goals for salary growth or career development, it can open up additional ways that your boss can keep you happy and motivated. If they can’t make a promotion happen right now, maybe they can get you a bonus, or if money is tight, maybe they can advance you into a role that will position you for the growth you want.

The One Tool Every Job Seeker Needs in their Arsenal

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Looking for a tool that will add a new dimension to your job search? Partnering with a (free) employment service, like AppleOne, will enhance your job search and provide you with the personalized assistance that every job seeker needs. Here are the three most important ways that an employment service will help you:

Develop a Better Understanding of What Local Employers Are Seeking

The “X-factor” that can you get a job at one employer may be a turnoff to another one. Knowing what specific companies are looking for in your area will help you get you the job you are targeting. AppleOne Hiring Advisors track local and national employment trends. Because they work with specific employers, they can give you valuable insights into how best to present yourself for a particular job.

Stronger Resumes and Cover Letters

The average hiring manager takes only eight seconds to look over your resume to decide whether to call you in for an interview. That is if you can get past the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that they use to cut down the initial job pool. An employment service knows what employers are looking for in cover letters and resumes, and they can help you craft something that will get past the computers and catch the manager’s eye.

Access to Jobs That Aren’t Posted on Job Boards

Did you know that up to 85% of all available jobs are never posted on online job boards? Because of the costs associated with hiring and advertising, many of these jobs are actually never even available to the public, as companies look to sources like AppleOne to handle the hiring for them. This means an employment service can help you apply for jobs you would have not found otherwise. These are jobs that aren’t looking for a pool of applicants, but only the ones they want to either interview or hire on the spot.

Get into the Secret Job Market for an Amazing Career

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You can easily find thousands of jobs online. It’s quick and easy to apply, but they all produce hundreds of applicants. How can you possibly compete with that? Big job boards have a place in every job search strategy, but you also need to get into the secret job market to find the jobs that 99% of your competition will never even see.

Focus on Where You Want to Work, Not Who Appears to Have Job Openings

Since “secret” jobs need to be discovered, narrow your focus to the companies that you really want to work for. Make a list of 20-25 companies,  and start developing a plan to secure a job with them. Use you networks, or your parent’s networks, to find people who work for your target employers. Ask your AppleOne hiring advisor for access to our Navigating the Hiring process guide, which contains scripts for how best to reach out to these people. During your meeting be sure to ask if they know of any jobs that might be right for you and find out who else they think you should contact.

Attend Those Marketing Events That Are On Campus

Do you see flyers around campus or in the career center that advertise a networking event or a guest speaker from a company of interest? These are events you need to attend. Yes, they allow you to meet other people who have similar career interests, but they also allow you to meet people in person that can help you identify jobs before they become public. Never miss an opportunity to meet someone who has connections, and don’t be afraid to ask them questions, or even hit them with an elevator pitch regarding what you are looking for. You’d be surprised how many interviews and hiring’s start with a simple handshake.

Build Up Your LinkedIn Network

LinkedIn can help you in two distinct ways. First, it allows you to grow and nurture a network of professionals that can alert you to new job openings, while giving you advice on how to secure them. Second, it can help you identify and connect with people who work at, or with, your target employers. The latter will help you get an interview even before the job is discussed externally.

Make It Personal: Use the Phone or Introduce Yourself in Person

Email and texts have their place, but they aren’t always the best choice for a job search. Let your personality shine by picking up the phone to talk to a human being at your target companies. This makes you harder to ignore, and gives you an opportunity to ask follow up questions, and even develop a relationship with the person on the other side of the phone. If you feel extra confident, you can do your inquiries in person, which allows you to put an immediate face to the name. In both cases, have your resumes ready to go, and have your elevator pitch down pat.

 

 

Going Beyond Fear – Your Key to Growth and Success

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Fear can be useful, but you won’t grow if you allow it to hold you back. As in all things, you need to find the right balance, and our 3-step process will help you work through you fear so that you can boldly push past your comfort zone into the areas where growth is possible.

Is the Fear Specific or General?

Are you worried about a specific aspect of a new opportunity, or is it just a general anxiety of the unknown? Separate the general uneasiness from the specific concerns that you may have about risks you may be taking. For example, being worried about fitting in and thriving at a new company can be chalked up to the general anxiety everyone experiences when starting at a new job. This kind of stress can be expected, and thus not looked at as something that should stop you from going for it.

Are There Steps You Can Take Right Now To Help Reduce Your Worry?

Some of the fear you have regarding a new opportunity that has presented itself can be alleviated immediately. For example, if you are worried about a taking on a new job because it is related to a field that you don’t know much about, you can find a lot of information online that will give you in-depth information on what you can expect. A lot of fear comes from the unknown, so simply learning about what you need to know right now can alleviate a lot of fear.

Are the Risks Worth the Reward?

Once you’ve eliminated general anxiety and taken steps to reduce specific worries, you’re left with a few risks that you need to actively manage. For instance, you may be worried about leaving a relatively secure position for a less secure position. First test each assumption. Is the current position really secure? There are no guarantees in life and people often find themselves let go from jobs they thought were stable. Is the potential employer really insecure? If it’s a start-up, how long can they stay in business based on the current direction of the company. If you were let go how long do you think it would take you to find a new job?  Once you have a handle on the situation, look at why you’re interested in the opportunity. Will there be new duties or skills that will allow you to grow in your career? Will there be a larger salary that will allow you to save against a possible loss of work. Consider each of the rewards against each of the risks and make an informed choice.