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

shutterstock_98587043

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

shutterstock_131305052

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.

The Four Things You Need To Know About Thank You Cards For Your Job Interview

thank-you-typewriter

A thank you card is a critical component in not only showing a Hiring Manager that you appreciate the time they took interviewing you, but also that you are excited about the prospects of working for their company. In fact, a recent study showed that 75 percent of interviewers said that receiving a thank-you letter from a candidate does play a factor in their hiring decisions. When it comes to getting the maximum impact out of your post-interview thank you cards, here are four things you need to know.

Address a Thank You Card to Each Person Who Interviewed You

The point of leaving a thank you card after an interview is to thank the people who interviewed you for taking time out of their busy day to meet with you. With this in mind, stay away from the highly-impersonal “Hiring Manager” and address the card to  those you met. Ask who you will be interviewing with when you are setting up the interview. Most companies will gladly share the name of the interviewers.

In The Card, Reference Your Excitement at the Prospect of Working with the Company

Your thank you card is a perfect opportunity to remind a hiring manager that you are excited about the prospect of working with their company. In one or two sentences, highlight how well you will fit into the company culture, and what you can add to the team. Let them see that this isn’t just another job opportunity to you, but something that you really want.

Make It Known That You Are Looking Forward to the Next Step

Hiring managers wants to see candidates who are passionate about getting a job. With this in mind, sharing that you are already looking forward to the next step in the process is a great reminder that you are confident you are right for the position. Simply end your note by saying that you are looking forward to the next time you will speak. While you don’t want to seem pushy, a little bit of confidence in yourself is always a good thing to show.

If Possible, Leave the Note with the Receptionist Before You Leave

You want to be fresh in the memory of the Hiring Manager when they read your thank you card, so leaving it with the receptionist as you leave the building is always a good idea. While there may be circumstances such as phone interviews or off-site interviews where you may have to send the card via mail, if you are able to immediately drop off the card with the receptionist, 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.