December 19, 2011

career blogging: adventure is out there!

Before planning my posts for 2012 I am taking a few moments to look back at my first 3 months of career blogging, and I have so much to be thankful for!

I successfully posted 3 times per week without ever falling behind, phew! I have received wonderful compliments and comments on my blog, so thank you to each one of you who took the time! Writing requires a lot of reading which means I have learned a lot by just working through other career blogs I love, there are so many interesting writers I admire. I have had regular readers from 30 countries in under 3 months' time - how AMAZING is that!? I have written and featured my first guest posts - what a cool way to connect and share with others in the industry! And even though Twitter wasn't my main focus when starting to write, I have gathered 150 twitter followers in just under 2 months and I really appreciate each follow, re-tweet and reply!

All these little milestones really excite me about what lies ahead. So many career related topics and questions to be explored! Many more guest posts to feature and write. And most of all - more job satisfaction and career growth in each new year of writing about it!

Am I sounding like Buzz Lightyear? "To Infinity and Beyond!"

So anyway, this is my last post for 2011 and I will be back "in the office" on 2 Jan 2012. You can find me on twitter during this break for some sweet and short updates!

I really look forward to the journey that lies ahead and I hope that you are gathering all your witt and ideas to seriously boost your career in the new year!

Au Revoir!

December 16, 2011

'tis the season to update your online profile

Many of us in the southern hemisphere are on our way to enjoy a well deserved summer break after a jam-packed year at work. I can't wait to go to the beach and have an ice-cream (while leaving my watch and smart phone at home every now and then)! For folks in other countries it might not be summer time, but things still tend to slow down during the holiday season.

Some readers might still be looking for a job and feel anxious about going on holiday while there may be jobs to apply for. Many people slow down their search thinking that hiring will also be slowing down, but actually this is a time when companies still advertise, and you might have less competition if you keep tabs on what's being advertised!

Here are a few tips for you to go on holiday without losing out on potential employment:
  • Update your online profile - If your LinkedIn profile is current and detailed, your name will be found when recruiters search for candidates. You never know who might be searching for a candidate of your caliber.
  • Let the job-boards do the work -  Update your resume on any job boards you are registered with to ensure you don't fall off the radar. Be sure to indicate how recruiters can get in touch with you even while you're away.
  • Stay current and stay motivated - If you have been discouraged during your job search this year, have a look at this cool free webinar on accessing the so-called "hidden job market".

So, even though you may still be on the lookout for a job, remember to take it easy, do things you love doing and enjoy a well-deserved break!

December 14, 2011

do you have a b.f.f. at work?

Most of us connect and build friendships at work. We spend the biggest part of our day with colleagues, and so it is natural to get to know each other on a social level. But how many of you have a BEST friend (not just a friend in general) at work? If you do, do you find yourself being enthusiastic to go to work each morning? And do you perceive yourself as being more committed to your employer's goals and values than others around you?

According to Gallup's Q12 Employee Engagement Survey employees who have a best friend at work are more likely to report that:
  • they receive praise or recognition for their work.
  • a colleague encourages their development.
  • colleagues are committed to quality.
  • in the last six months, a colleague has talked to them about their progress.
  • the mission of their company makes them feel their job is important.
  • their opinions seem to count at work.
  • they have the opportunity to do what they do best at work every day.

Can you believe that having a best friend at work affects so many aspects of your job? This suggests that your overall performance at work will be higher, leading to better appraisals and possibly more significant growth in your career path. Who wouldn't want that?

So do you have a best friend at work? Would you agree with the outcomes listed above? How has it affected your attitude and performance at work? I found some more posts on having a best friend at work by Forte Consulting Group and USA Today - enjoy!

December 12, 2011

stretching your comfort zone at work

I am very excited to share this week's performance pointers with you!

Stretching (or breaking out of) your comfort zone is something we know we should try from time to time. It's human nature to stick to things we are familiar with, but if you want to achieve success in any area of your life, odds are you will need to leap into some uncomfortable and unfamiliar territory. Regardless how scary it may seem, if you want to see new results you've gotta try new things!

I found some great links for you on this topic:

What is the one area in your job/career where you can start stretching your comfort zone today? Are there new responsibilities you would like to try taking on? Hosting a presentation for the first time? Attending a networking event or reaching out to a new employee to make him feel welcome?

No matter how small the leap may seem, you will most definitely feel liberated and encouraged if you try!

December 9, 2011

2012 goals: out with the old, in with the new

With every year-end comes the inevitable topic of goals and new year's resolutions. When I was in my early 20's I used to set super ambitious (and often unrealistic) goals, only to realise two months into the year that I might want to rethink them a little. So the approach that works best for me is to keep the following in mind:
  1. Keeping it real - I know what I am capable of and what is within my reach. I know what I am passionate about and what I've always wanted to do (whether it be in my personal life or career). Choosing goals based on my own instincts and dreams is the simplest and most realistic way!
  2. Building on a previous goal - Looking back on this year and seeing the progress I've made with certain goals, I can try set the bar a little higher every year in order to see long-term growth in the career path I've chosen.
  3. Trying something completely new - I always try to challenge myself with one brand new goal to pull me out of my comfort zone a little. Writing this career blog was my new professional goal for 2011, and I am so glad I tried it! I am extremely excited to grow in this new project and I can't wait to see where it will take me!

Have you thought about setting goals for the new year? I would like to encourage each reader to ask yourself what you can add to your current skill set this coming year. Whether you enroll for a course or plan to learn from a mentor or friend, how will you go about adding to your repertoire and resume?

My primary professional goal for 2012 will be to further my studies in the area of management/career coaching and to start applying those principles in my job and in my writing.

I found these posts on setting career goals and setting smart goals - enjoy!

(I'm very excited to tell you that this post was mentioned on Brazen Careerist - have a look!)

December 7, 2011

networking: how to make a great first impression

Today's post is written by Anna, wannabe|employee reader and publisher of one of my favorite career blogs: Classy Career Girl. Anna has great tips on networking and will be sharing a few with us today:

Did you know that you only have five seconds to make a first impression when you are introduced to someone?  Here are my five tips to promote yourself and network so that the people you meet will never forget about you.

  1. Have a one-sentence introduction prepared and ready to go.  Usually, when you first meet someone, you may not have time for a long pitch about what you do.  But, you do have time for one sentence that says your name, what you do or what you would like to do.  This will help the other person remember you and give them an idea of what you can help them with or what you are interested in. 
  2. Networking is about how you can help others, not what others can do for you.  If you think for a second that you should go to dinner with a certain person because they can introduce you to their contacts, you are doomed from the start.  Think instead about what you can offer other people and what knowledge you can provide to them.  When others see how valuable you are to know, they will immediately trust you enough to introduce you to their contacts.
  3. Look the part before you get it.  Spend some extra time to make sure that you look professional and comfortable.  Do you want to stand out by being the only person with jeans on in the room or the person that looks the best dressed? 
  4. Don't leave home without your business card.  Don't be the person who forgot to bring their business card with them.  The people you meet will never remember you if you don't give them something to remember you by.  Even if you don't have a job, you can make your own business cards.  You can easily search online to find a great business card template and make your own.  The card should say your name, phone number and email address and your current job or the job that you are looking for.
  5. Know what networking is and what networking is not.  Networking is not about business cards, bothering people, emailing people and waiting for them to reply.  Networking is about building a wide array of connections that can put a face with your name and resume.  These connections are resources for providing guidance, support and employment opportunities for your future success.

Classy Career Girl provides advice to young professionals on how to be classy as they climb the corporate ladder.  Her blog covers topics such as business chic fashion, career motivation, personal development, networking and office etiquette. Connect with her at

December 5, 2011

conflict management at the office

Welcome back at the office! I hope your new week is filled with new opportunities to excel at work!

Something we are confronted with on a regular basis is conflict with co-workers. We are all so different that we are bound to have conflicting opinions and beliefs on a regular basis. The trick is to try sticking to the facts and not allow a misunderstanding or difference of opinion to cause damage to your relationships at work.

Here are some handy posts to help you in this area:

Is there one thing you can take out of these pointers and implement in the way you respond to conflict? The biggest (very simple) lessons I am learning at the moment are:
  1. To keep my tone calm even though someone else might be raising his/her voice.
  2. To avoid taking it personally when someone throws a tantrum in my face. The only reactions I have control over are my own, so that is what want to focus on.

Have a wonderful new week at work!

December 2, 2011

when your coworker never stops talking

Have you ever shared an office with someone who loves talking... about his/her personal life... ALL THE TIME!? I'm sure there are a few experts on the topic nodding their heads right now.

So what do you do when you have a chatty colleague (let's call her Cindy!) who struggles to A) keep her personal life personal, and B) stop talking long enough to actually do her work? I haven't had to deal with this personally, so I've looked around and found some radical ideas on how to handle this phenomenon:
  • Wear headphones all day - not ideal if you do need to talk with colleagues now and then and want to build relationships with your team.
  • Have your desk phone on speed dial on your cell phone - if whoever stops by to talk is taking too much of my time, discretely call your desk phone and go through the answer routine to your imaginary caller.
  • Explain that you're the type who can work and listen at the same time, so that they shouldn't be offended if you work while they talk.
All jokes aside, the best steps to follow when your chatty friend starts again, are something along the following lines:
  1. “Gee Cindy, I have so much to do right now. I’d love to chat but I’ve got to focus in order to get this done today…Why don’t we chat over lunch?”
  2. "Cindy, it's not that I'm not interested, but I’m really busy right now. I’ve got to get this done.”
  3. "Cindy, I can’t really afford to spend time at work talking about personal stuff. If I do, I fall behind and slip up on my performance. If you don’t mind, I’m going to have to stick to work. I don’t mean to be insensitive but I’ve got a lot to do.”
  4. Ignore her questions or comments by not responding (not ideal so try avoiding this step all together if possible).
  5. If this is affecting your ability to do your work, you need to avoid staying in the ignoring phase too long and talk to your supervisor.

I found these posts on avoiding the chatterazzi and how to discourage chatty co-workers - enjoy! Feel free to leave a comment if you have found some tried and tested ways of handling a chatty colleague!

* If your name is Cindy - thanks for reading my blog and please know that I was not referring to an actual person when writing this post ☺