April 26, 2012

How to Actively Wait

Sounds contradictory doesn't it? Whether you're job hunting, anticipating the next big customer or hoping for that promotion, here are 3 things you can do in the meantime:

Plant more seeds. Network like it's going out of style. It's a numbers game. The more connections you have, the better your chances to accomplish your goals. Attend networking events. Ask for introductions. Follow up like your life depends on it. You can never have too many connections. If you desire growth, never stop meeting new people.

Clarify your niche/offering. The average employer/recruiter looks at your resume for 6 seconds. That means you have a single sentence to communicate what you do. What are your strengths? What makes you unique? What is your brand? If you're not clear, the recipient leaves confused which means you're forgettable. Simplify your message. Now the receiver can make a decision. 

Ask for help. Seems simple, but most of the time your ego gets in the way. It's not any less of an accomplishment if you collaborate. Can you think of one successful person who's gone it alone? The more people you share with, the more eyes looking out for you. Think of it as a value proposition. What can you give that brings value to the customer?

Waiting is hard. Anyone who says otherwise isn't ambitious. Timing is everything and you can't rush that. Be proactive by reaching out, define your message and don't be afraid to ask for help. You can't control time, but you can control how hard you prepare for the opportunity. What are you waiting for?

April 25, 2012

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Get Ahead in Your Career

This guest post was written by Dean Vella
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone and Get Ahead in Your Career
People can be really good at getting stuck and staying stuck. Sometimes the rut becomes familiar and even comfortable. This comfort zone can hold people back from achieving their goals and living their dreams.
If you’ve been thinking you’d like to get ahead in your career but feel stuck and unsure about what steps to take, these tips might offer some motivation and guidance.
Tactics for Career Improvement
You may find it difficult at first but speaking up at work shows that you are interested in and enthusiastic about your company and its goals. Be sure to take part in meetings and add value to the conversation; bring ideas that are worth sharing.
It’s equally important to show management that you’re a team player by going above and beyond your work duties. If you find co-workers need help with a project, volunteer. If your own workload can handle it, take on additional tasks and duties, such as training new hires or organizing team events.
Take pride in your appearance. Dress for the part you wish to play. If you want to advance within your organization, project that in your attire. This will affect how you feel about yourself and draw positive attention to you.
Educational Opportunities Online
One of the best ways to realize your professional goals is to continue your education. Getting an advanced certificate or a bachelor’s or master’s degree could set you apart from the competition and advance your career and salary.
In that regard, earning a degree or certificate online can offer great flexibility in scheduling. Learn at your own pace from the comfort of your own home.
Before signing up for a certificate or degree program online, it’s vital to make sure the college is accredited. The accreditation process evaluates whether educational programs, both online and traditional campus settings, meet the highest standards.
It is important that the program you choose is accredited to ensure you get the best possible education and also because it’s common for employers to not recognize a degree or certificate from an unaccredited school.
To find out whether a program is accredited, check the U.S. Department of Education’s institutional database at http://ope.ed.gov/accreditation/Search.aspx.
Stay Motivated and Achieve your Goals
Setting goals is easy but reaching them is an entirely different matter. How can you stay motivated long enough to advance your career?
One powerful method is to realize that nothing in life is perfect and that includes your journey to a better job and salary. Many people wait for the perfect conditions in which to act or don’t act for fear of not doing things perfectly. This mentality will keep your goals out of reach every time.
Nothing is perfect. So don’t attempt perfection, just act.
Staying motivated also means staying in the present. It is common for people to get lost in thoughts of how they could have done something better in the past or how they will do something amazing in the future. In order to get where you want to go you have to stay focused on the task at hand.
The best intentions and efforts can be ruined by disorganization. Although your path toward a better career won’t be perfect, it doesn’t mean you should allow sloppiness to creep into your environment. Keeping things in order will make necessary tasks easier to tackle.
The future can be yours if you’re willing to put in the work to get there. Show others you can be given more responsibility, seek to better yourself through education and stay motivated.
This guest post was provided by University Alliance and submitted on behalf of University of San Francisco.  USF offers online marketing certificate courses including SEO training, search engine marketing, social media training, mobile marketing and more.  To learn more about University of San Francisco’s certificate programs visit www.usanfranonline.com.

April 20, 2012

No Excuses

Would you rather try and fail or live with the regret of never trying? 

When trying any new idea, you hear doubts swirling around in your head. It's up to you to silence your inner critic and re-focus your thoughts. Here are 3 ways to help:

Fact or Fiction? How much of what the negative voices are saying is actually true? Are you basing it on past experiences? Do you expect the past to repeat itself? No two situations are the same. Try focusing on a positive outcome. What you choose to focus on, usually comes to fruition

The Cost of Investment. Mark Cuban says, "Don't follow your passion, follow your effort." Anything worth doing is going to take hard work and sacrifice. If you're not willing to put in the work, don't start. The only thing you have control over is how hard you work. If you work hard first, passion usually follows.

Learn from your Mistakes. Ask for feedback. When given, take it with an objective filter. You can't grow if you stay the same. Growth hurts, but it's worth it. When knocked down, don't play the victim. Get up, brush yourself off and move forward. Perseverance builds character

Self-talk is the #1 thing holding you back. Increase your ability to risk by re-training your mind. Successful people don't let failure stop them from trying again. Embrace your mistakes, learn from them and move on. What will you try today?

April 16, 2012

What's Your Plank?

There are no original ideas anymore. Instead of trying to come up with a new idea, why not build off an existing one? 

Here's some examples:

- iPhone accessories
- Mobile apps
- Fitness videos

You may be saying, "I'm not skilled in those areas," so take the last product you purchased enthusiastically and build off that.

It's much easier to tap into an existing audience versus trying to create a new concept (which probably has been done before). 

Successful businesses adapt and companies such as: Amazon, Google and Apple have transformed into "platforms" because of their various offerings to the masses. Each of the offerings is considered a plank.

Ask yourself, "What companies can I be a plank for?"

Imagine the partnership opportunities. Not only do you have a shared audience, but also a context to build off of. Exposure is crucial in today's economy and you'd be foolish to go it alone. 

Creating a plank is much easier. So what are you waiting for?

April 5, 2012

Be a Connector

"A connector is someone with an extraordinary knack of making friends and acquaintances." - Malcolm Gladwell
Simply put, connectors know a lot of people. 

Why is this important? Successful career longevity is based on who you know. 

Here are 3 ways to become a connector:
Focus on helping others. It's not always about you. Networking becomes less daunting when your goal is to help others. Be curious. Ask questions. Listen. Figure out how you can help them.

Ask for introductions. Start with who you know, share your goals, then ask your contact(s) to introduce you to someone they know. It's like a game of connect the dots. Keep doing this and your network will grow significantly over time.

Track your contacts. Create a system that helps organize when you last contacted someone and what you talked about. The consistency of your follow up will determine your effectiveness. The same concept that SalesForce uses to track leads can work for you.

What if building your connection base wasn't a "means," but the "end" (of your goal)? How would that shift your approach to networking? Think of your network as investing in relationships. It's a worthwhile goal that will reap benefits for a long time.