Tag Archives: professionalism

Making the Most of a Mentor

Do you remember your favorite teacher? Or professor? How about your favorite cashier at a store? The best server you have ever had at a restaurant? Who inspired you to choose the major or career that you did? Our lives are filled with people who influence us, and our role models are great options to consider for mentors.

Dr. Becky Faber contributed her article on Finding a Mentor to the Career Corner of Education Week.  Although her perspective comes from teaching, her points are certainly valid across the job market. Mentors are an incredible resource, particularly when it comes to learning about the industry and preparing for the job search. First and foremost, a mentor can share their own insight and experience from their time in the field. They have a strong network, and not only could they alert you to potential job openings, they can help you delve into your research as you prepare for an interview.  A mentor can also share what potential interview questions may be that would be specific to your particular job. When you are drafting your resume, a mentor can be another set of eyes and make suggestions on changes and additions you can make. Don’t be afraid to ask someone you admire to be your mentor. You may just help them learn something new, too!

To read all of Dr. Faber’s article, click here: http://blogs.edweek.org/topschooljobs/careers/2016/10/find_a_mentor.html

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Six Super Things You Can Do to Make the Most of Your Spring Break

Spring break is right around the corner! I know I am dreaming of spending the week on a sunny beach somewhere, but unfortunately that won’t be the case- and I know for many students, that won’t be the case either.  Are you one of those students who will be stuck imagining a week of beach volleyball and sunny days? Well, here are six ways you can distract yourself, and step up your professional game in the process.

  1. Create or update your LinkedIn Profile. There are millions of people on LinkedIn, so chances are good there will be someone you know on there.  Who knows, maybe that someone can help you get a start in your field.
  2. Take part in an informational interview. Spend 20-30 minutes getting to know someone with a job that you find interesting. Learn more about how they got into that role, what they enjoy and dislike, and what other advice they can share with you.
  3. Better yet, shadow. Make a connection with someone in your field that you will be able to shadow for a half or full day. This will allow you to really get a better picture of what an “average day” is like in a job you are considering, plus you will be able to meet more people.
  4. Research graduate schools. Even if going for a Masters degree isn’t in the five year plan, it’s good to know what programs are out there. They can be a strong sign of what specialty areas employers are looking for.
  5. Spend some time helping a person or organization in need, even if it’s not related to your area of interest. It’s a solid resume builder and allows you to develop some great transferable skills. And speaking of resumes…
  6. Work on your resume! Or cover letter. Or interview skills. Take the time to put together your go-to interview outfit. Whatever it takes to come back to school ready to not only be amazing in class, but ready to take on the professional world!

What other suggestions do you have to make the most of your spring break? Let us know in the comments section!

From the Rio Olympics to Albright

As it gets colder and snowier, it’s easy to let your mind drift to warmer days full of sunshine. Some of us even daydream of the Rio Olympics- two weeks of sun, warm-weather sports, and temperatures that would definitely prevent snow. Abby Wolfe and Stacey Gawronski, both of The Muse, shared some insight on how we can incorporate lessons from the Rio Olympics into our everyday lives for success in the workplace or at school. Every student wants to do well in their classes, but it’s important to also take care of yourself in the process. Here are just a few of the suggestions that Wolfe and Gawronski provide:

  1. Get plenty of the right kind of sleep.  In other words, no all-nighters! Your body and mind won’t work effectively if they are deprived of the time they needs to restore themselves.
  2. Have confidence.  Clarify your goals for yourself, communicate them with others, and make your goals your focus.
  3. Take a break for fun.  There will be times when the to-do list seems daunting. Pencil some time into your schedule to get off campus, read a Buzzfeed article, or watch Carpool Karaoke. This will give your brain some time to relax and be ready to focus for your next round of studying.

There are many other ways we can emulate Olympic athletes to make sure we stay productive, such as finding ways to keep anxiety at bay, and eating healthy.  Learn tips from ten incredible athletes here: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-olympic-athletes-daily-habits-you-should-steal-that-dont-involve-the-gym

Put Your Best Email Forward

Email has become the most efficient way to communicate in the real world.  It’s instantaneous, available worldwide, and accessible on a computer, tablet, phone, and watch. However, just because it is efficient doesn’t mean it’s ok for it to look like it took two seconds to type.  There’s still important things to consider as you build professional relationships over email.

 

  1. The Exclamation Point.  People want to be liked, and since it’s hard to interpret tone in email, it seems common sense to add an exclamation point so we seem friendly and outgoing- Hi Joe! So good to hear from you! On the other hand, it’s important to remember that you’re building a professional relationship, not a personal/friendly one, so hold back on the “!!!!!” whenever you can.
  2. The “They Said WHAT?” Sometimes you will get an email that you don’t want to read. It’s mean, or demanding, or demeaning.  Before you respond, first take a deep breath. Remember from our point above that tone can’t be interpreted solely from words.  Then, respond back with a focus on “we.” “Let’s work together so we can provide the best plan possible for our clients.”
  3. The Follow Up. No one ever wants to seem pushy. But sometimes you just have to send a reminder. Keep it short and friendly, and specific. “Hi Sam, I wanted to know if a date had been set for our fundraiser in the spring. Please let me know if there is anything I can do to help you. I’m looking forward to working with you on this.”

 

Career Contessa has other wonderful, helpful professional email tips.  You can read them here: http://www.careercontessa.com/conversations/quit-the-bad-emailing/  What other email suggestions do you have?

Professionalism Starts with “You Guys”

One comment we frequently hear from employers is that recent graduates don’t seem as polished in the professionalism department as they could be. Texting instead of calling, using emojis in emails, and answering the phone with a “Hey, what’s up?” instead of a “hello” are all signs of a lack of professional communication skills. In some workplaces, this may be ok, but as the Culture and Manners Institute points out, it’s always better to “err on the side of formality.” Here’s some wonderful advice from their Tip of the Week:

“Hey guys! It’s time to talk about informal language.

That means not starting an email salutation with “Hey” or using “guys” to refer to everyone.

If someone says, “Thank you,” our response should be, “You’re (or You are) welcome” and not “No problem” or “No worries.”

Why should we care? Because other people care about this… a lot (or a great deal.) They tell me about it all the time.

Don’t freak out. That doesn’t mean they are old fashioned, uncaring, unfeeling stiffs. You might be surprised to learn they are people who are pulling for you, professionally and personally. (If you argue that you don’t want to be judged because of your informality, that train track runs both ways, Honey Bun.)

The whole idea of etiquette is to make the people around us more comfortable. Some think being informal makes people more comfortable. But sometimes, informality creates discomfort.

Err on the side of formality – in emails, snail mails and the spoken word, especially with people who are new to us. And even with people familiar to us with whom we have a businesslike relationship.

Instead of “Yeah” and “Nope,” kick it up a notch to “Yes” and “No.”

Not to say we should look unkindly upon the informals, if their intentions were honorable. Personally, it doesn’t bother me when people say, “No worries,” because I know they meant well. I have been known to let slip a “Yeah” or a “No problem” myself. Chillax! I’m working on it.

But I never say, “My bad” in place of “Excuse me,” or “I’m sorry.” That’s really irritating.

Err on the side of formality.

Glad we could have this talk. Love ya’ gobs.”

To find out more about professionalism, etiquette, and manners, we recommend checking out the Culture and Manners Institute at www.cultureandmanners.com.