Monthly Archives: January 2013

Social Media: It Is My Gift, It Is My Curse

And Thank You to SpiderMan for that awesome quote!

Almost everyone has Facebook nowadays, and most even have Twitter, too. They can be great tools. They remind you to say Happy Birthday. They announce exciting news, like engagements or new jobs. They invite other people to events. You can even use them to find jobs and connect with professionals. You can “like” company Facebook pages to see promotions or breaking news. You can use hashtags (#) to find specific keywords, like #accounting or #Nevada. Putting them together, you can tweet: #Jobsearch in #Nevada for #accounting and see if anyone has tweeted about openings with those key words. OR someone else can see that you used those keywords and reach out to you. Pretty neat, huh?

Unfortunately, there is a downside to social media, too. Unless you keep your privacy settings as tight as possible, others can see you just as well as you can see them! Which means, they can see the status update where you slammed your internship supervisor, they can see the picture of you with a red solo cup (regardless of what is in it) and they can see that you posted a youtube clip of a comedian that uses a lot of profanity. Unfortunately, although an employer shouldn’t be looking for things like this (Facebook announced it goes against their privacy policy), they still do. So be aware of what you post. Untag yourself from pictures if you need to, and make sure people you aren’t friends with can’t see your posts.

However, one form of social media I encourage others to use is LinkedIn. It’s set up a lot like Facebook, and you can use your friends on Facebook and Twitter to find people to connect with. You can join groups and follow companies. You can even upload your resume right onto the page. It’s a much more professional form of social media, and again, you can use it to see if there are job openings. Moreover, employers can search for skills, and if you match what they are looking for, they’ll reach out to you!

Social media can be really helpful as employers shift their sites to hiring with them. However, you also have to make sure that you’re putting your best foot forward!

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Scams (Unfortunately) to Watch Out For

Scams (Unfortunately) to Watch Out For

On top of a rough economy, new graduates now need to keep an eye out for something else- scammers. Students find a job that sounds great on paper, don’t do any research on it, and wind up with no money and more frustrations.

Although we try our best, even we have had students who “interview” at a company, only to spend all day “proving their sales abilities” by going door-to-door and pitching the company. The company gets free advertising and pitches, without even hiring a single person. Or, a student will contact us that they went for an interview, only to find the business wasn’t even where they said they would be.

We urge everyone who is searching for a new job opportunity to do your research! Avoid searching for jobs on mass databases like Monster, or sites like CraigsList. If you have a question about whether a business is legitimate, talk to us. Chances are, if something seems fishy or too good to be true, it more than likely is. Read the attached link to hear more stories and learn about more red flags.

One SMALL step for… anyone!

Many people start the new year or a new semester with goals. I want better grades, or get a leadership position, or get an internship. However, many times a goal is too large to manage, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Conversely, sometimes life takes over and we forget it was ever a goal to begin with.

To make a goal more memorable and less overwhelming, make sure you break it down into small, achieveable steps. Remember, the Great Pyramids didn’t just show up fully formed. They were put together brick by brick. Also, give yourself plenty of time. A goal doesn’t need to be accomplished. It may take you all year or all semester, and that’s ok. If you give yourself more time, then you won’t feel as flustered, pressured, or like you aren’t succeeding.

Say your goal for this semester is to get better grades. Over the next 14 weeks, you really want to do well in class so you feel more prepared for finals. Great, 14 weeks is plenty of time! What smaller steps can we take? Set up (and go to!) weekly tutoring appointments. Get your papers reviewed at the writing center. Use a planner to schedule your time and block off specific time each day to do your homework. Go to your professors office hours to ask questions. Doing one of these things alone won’t necessarily give your better grades. But put them all together and by the end of the semester, finals will be a breeze!

So, take some time to reflect. What are your goals? What is your timetable? Most importantly, what are the small steps you can take to get there?

What are Your Strengths? Part 3

Today we are going to wrap up the different areas of Strength you may have. After reading through the final 10, go back and review them all. If you had to pick, what are the 5 Strengths you believe you have? What would others say you have? How can you use these Strengths?

25. Learner: Much like the Intellection or Input, you love learning new things. However, for you, the enjoyment comes from the process of learning and practicing and perfecting. It wouldn’t surprise you if you decided to take up tap dancing when you were 50! Not everyone will admire this quality and will try to tell you you’re “too old” to learn new things. Ignore it! Do what thrills you!

26. Maximizer: You strive for excellence. Not only in yourself, but in others. You want to bring out the areas where other excel, and work with them until everyone can see their strengths and achievements. It bothers you when people try to change you or point out areas where your struggle, because you only focus on where you do well.

27. Positivity: People love being around you because you make the world a little brighter. You are quick to smile, encourage, and point out the good news. Cynical people may think you’re being silly, but for you the glass truly is half full- and then some!

28. Relator: You don’t mind meeting new people, but to really feel comfortable you stay near your close friends. You don’t mind getting to know others, but you have to wait until you feel comfortable opening that door. Others may try to get too close, too fast, but you want every relationship to be genuine, and you know it’ll take time to do that.

29. Responsibility: If you start something, you feel compelled to complete it. And if you can’t complete it, you are driven to find ways to make up for it and then some. You don’t take excuses, and others automatically know you are dependable. Know that people will come to you for help, but beware of volunteering too much time.

30. Restorative: You love resolving things. You can look at a problem, find where it went wrong, know how to fit it, and explain ways to prevent it from happening again. You get a thrill from that sense of revival- you brought something back to running smoothly again. Just be sure not to drive yourself crazy over trying to resolve things you cannot.

31. Self-Assurance: You have faith in your strengths, you have self-confidence, and you trust what you decide. Others may tell you what to think, but you simply use them as a guide and then listen to your own voice. And moreover, you are not frightened by the fact that you know you have authority over your own life.

32. Significance: You want to be important and recognized by others. In order to be successful and the expert, you only hang out with others who are successful and experts. Others may see you are trying to be bigger than you are, but really, all you want to achieve goals and inspire others.

33. Strategic: You have an innate skill, and that is for finding the most efficient way to complete something. You pay attention to patterns and ask “what if” to enable yourself to be ready for similarities in the future. Others may tell you to try new things, but you aim to avoid paths that will lead you nowhere.

34. Woo: You want to “Win Others Over” whenever and wherever you can. Meeting new people in not scary for you, in fact, you find it rather fun! You like striking up a conversation because you are never at a loss for words. Others who do not have Woo may see you as gregarious and to willing to put yourself out there. In your mind, everyone is a friend you just haven’t been introduced to yet!

What Are Your Strengths? Part 2

On Wednesday, we started discussing the 34 areas for Strength. When you take the StrengthsFinder, you are in a group of 5 out of those 36. Do you think it’s nice to see your strengths and where you do well as opposed to always seeing where you are lacking? It’s like that saying goes: if you got it, flaunt it! But let’s get back to those categories, shall we?

13. Deliberative: You always have your guard up, because the world can be risky and unpredictable. However, you plan for risks and analyze them to see their impact. This makes it easy for you to plan for the worst, but others may see you as very negative or stoic.

14. Developer: You can always see the potential in others, even when they don’t! You enjoy challenging others so that they can learn from it and become more successful. Others are drawn to you so they can grow, but be sure you don’t push them too hard.

15. Discipline: Your life is planned and predictable, and you like it that way. You need to have schedules and a routine to perform best- otherwise, you feel lost. Others may see your behaviors as over-controlling. You need that sense of control in a chaotic world.

16. Empathy: You can tell what others are feeling because you feel it to. This does not mean you feel sorry for or agree with their situations, but you can answer the questions they are afraid to ask or provide just the right word when they can’t find it. Be careful not to get drawn in to their stories, but know that your strength is a great source of encouragement.

17. Focus: You like to know where you are going. Without a plan, you can get frustrated, so be sure you set goals, and lots of them! You keep everyone on track, however, others may resent not being able to see other options.

18. Futuristic: While the Context people look back, you look forward. You want to know the future and better yourself and the world around you to be prepared for it. You bring hope to others with your excitement for what may come. Just don’t let yourself get too hung up on present day conflicts.

19. Harmony: There is nothing you hate more than conflict. You actively work to find middle ground and a sense of commonality between others, because arguments only waste time. You are practical and flexible and willing to see the side of others, but don’t let them take over your core values.

20. Ideation: You love concepts, connections, new perspectives, and challenges. You live for that jolt when a great idea comes to you. While others may see you as creative and able to think outside the box, you just like to find new answers.

21. Includer: You want everyone to feel like they fit in. You hate the feeling that someone doesn’t feel like part of the group. You don’t like to pass judgments on others because it could hurt their feelings. Although everyone appreciates the equality and warmth you share, be sure you aren’t setting yourself up to be taken advantage of.

22. Individualization: You like seeing what is unique about other people and knowing what makes them tick. You refuse to make generalizations. By getting to know other people, you can tailor your interactions to meet their needs and personality. Just don’t bombard them with questions to get to know them right off the bat-other types may not respond as well.

23. Input: You like to collect, well, anything. Baseball cards, photographs, stamps- it all leads to a mental collection of new information. Trvia fascinates you. You think everything is important to remember, even if you never know when you might need it. Others may see your hunt for new “things” as silly, because why waste time if you’ll never need that information, but others will go to you to learn more about their things, too.

24. Intellection: Thinking is fun for you. Rather than working out your biceps, you’d rather work out your brain. What you think about may change constantly, but you enjoy processing new information and reflecting on it. While others may see you as a loner or unwilling to join with others, you prefer your time alone to collect all of you thoughts.

What do you think? Do any of these Strengths sound like you?

What Are Your Strengths? Part 1

All too often in this day and age we focus on our flaws- I should be more like this, and I need to improve that. A refreshing opportunity for everyone is to take the StrengthsFinder. It focuses on your strengths, obviously, and this allows you to see where you excel. You’ll realize more about yourself and your skills and see how you interact with others. You can buy the book, StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath, and it includes a code to take the assessment online. Answer questions about yourself and in about 30 minutes you’ll know exactly what you can flaunt!

The StrengthsFinder will select 5 out of 34 Strengths for you. Over the next few days, we’ll briefly go over the strengths. Have you taked the StrengthsFinder? What were your results? If you haven’t taken it yet, what do you think your strengths are?

1. Achiever: You are driven, every day, to succeed. You may even keep “points” for yourself so you know how much you’ve accomplished that day. While very driven and tenacious, it may be hard for your to “turn off” on vacation or at night.

2. Activator: You like to get the ball rolling. You know nothing can happen without some action. You not only learn from the end result, but throughout the whole process. But be careful, others may see you as just impatient or unwilling to think things through.

3. Adaptability: Life is a journey, and you go from choice to choice. You are flexible and understand that plans change. You expect curves and detours in the road of life. However, you also need to make sure that others don’t take advantage of your flexibility.

4. Analytical: You need proof! You want objective data! You want logic and patterns and connections! You need to know cause and effect relationships and how outcomes may affect the situation at hand. Although you just want concrete information and ideas, others may see your constant questioning as unrelenting and sharp.

5. Arranger: When a process needs put together or plans need firmed up, you’re the go-to person. You value efficiency and flexibility. In your mind, there may always be another way to get things done! But again, don’t let others dump everything on you because you can handle it.

6. Belief: You have a core set of values, and you stick with them and use them every day. You enjoy the meaning they give to your life, and gives you an inner compass of where to go and what to do. In order to have this in all aspects of your life, though, you need to do your research when finding a career and place to work so you know it meshes well with your beliefs.

7: Command: As the name suggests, you love to take change. You want to share your opinion and when you set a goal, you want others to reach it with you. You encourage others to tell the truth, and you don’t want to sugar-coat the realities of life. While some may willingingly let you be in charge, others may resent your constant sharing of your opinions.

8: Communication: If it involves speaking or writing, it’s right up your alley. You enjoy providing explanations and can turn things into stories. You want all eyes on you as your share your information, but at the same time, you can’t share too much to prevent overload. Although most will appreciate your desire to be succinct, others will feel there is no need for story time.

9. Competition: The world is your Olympics. You are focused on performance- of yourself and others. You make every effort to never be a sore loser, but nothing can beat that rush from being the best. Although this strength helps you achieve more, don’t shy away from opportunities where you think you won’t win.

10. Connectedness: You live by the phrase “everything happens for a reason.” Individuals are supposed to meet for a reason, places exist for a reason, and situations occur for a reason. You believe in the best of humanity, and instinctively make an effort to provide support and build bridges for others. Others may think you’re naive for seeing the best in everything, but you still ecourage caring and accepting of others.

11. Consistency: You like things to be fair, regardless of the situation and the people involved. You fear the scale tipping in someone’s favor because they pulled strings to get ahead. Although some may see you as being uncaring toward others, you firmly believe that people will succeed when everyone has a level playing field.

12.Context: You look back to gain knowledge for the future. What happened then, and what can you take away, that will impact what happens next. You want to get to know people, and know where they are coming from, so you can predict how they will behave in the future and be prepared for it. A drawback is that it will take you a while to adapt to a completely new situation, but you can always learn from your own past.

But They’re Different From Me…

But They’re Different From Me…

Many employers work hard to make sure they have a diversity-friendly environment. However many times, this can leave employees conflicted ad confused. Words and actions may easily get misinterpretted. This is a link discussing cultural barriers. The site also includes many other articles on the subject. What do you do or say that others may not perceive well? What confuses you about other cultures?