4 Signs It’s Time for a Career Change

November 2nd, 2016 by

For many reasons, the career you have now may not be the best place for you in the future. Facing a career change can be scary when you consider starting over, but they can be necessary for personal growth and fulfillment. If you’re still not sure whether or not you need to rethink the future, here are four signs that it’s time for a change.

You are often tired or bored. If you are constantly tired or bored at the office, it could mean the work is no longer challenging for you. What was hard and rewarding when you first began has become an easy and passive task. This is a pretty good indicator that it’s time to find your passion again and look for a new position, or seek out a similar position that allows for more growth and challenge.

The future doesn’t excite you. When you first started working in your current position, you were probably excited about the work you were doing and where it could take you. If your future at the company no longer excites you or you no longer see a future, finding a new career could be the right move. This may mean you just need to find a different employer, but this could also mean that you need to change industries. Figure out what excites you now and move in that direction.

Your health is suffering. A job that overworks you, is physically demanding or is especially stressful can wreak havoc on your body. Physical and mental stress can weaken your immune system and cause headaches, ulcers and prevent you from concentrating. If a job is putting a physical strain on your body, then it’s definitely time for a change.

You dread going to work. There’s a difference between enjoying your weekend and living for the weekend. There are many reasons you could be dreading work, like you may not like your coworkers or your boss, you dislike the work you do, you don’t agree with the company’s ethics or you may not like the workplace culture. If your work makes you miserable, regardless of the reason, it’s time to move on.

Considering a career change? Brush up your resume and sharpen your Interviewing Skills.


Preparing for a Skype Interview

September 19th, 2016 by

Remote interviews are becoming more common and acceptable. From a business perspective, it makes sense: an interview over Skype can save valuable time and money. There’s a good chance a Skype interview could be in your future, so it’s important to know how to prepare.11075028576_6b76d4878c_b

Set Up. Make sure you have Skype set up a few days ahead of time and that everything is working properly. Troubleshoot your camera and microphone to make sure the picture and sound is clear. Also be sure that you will be centered on the screen and not off to the side. Lastly, make sure wherever you plan to interview that you have a strong Wi-Fi connection or you can plug into the Ethernet to ensure a good connection throughout the whole interview.

Lighting. When setting up your camera, consider the time of day and the amount of light that will be available. If your interview is at a time with no natural light or if you’re in a room without windows, you may want to consider setting up a lamp so the image isn’t so dark. However, you also don’t want so much light that your face becomes washed out or uneven light where half your face is in shadow.

Background. Keep your surroundings and the background of what will be in view of the camera clear of clutter.  Sit in front of a plain wall and make sure your desk or table is clean. Remove posters and knick-knacks from view.

Attire. Even though you aren’t meeting in person for the interview, proper attire is still important. Read our blog about dressing for the interview for more tips on proper attire. It’s also important to note that even though the interviewer most likely won’t see your bottom half, doesn’t mean you can wear sweatpants. Putting on a complete and professional outfit will put you in the right mindset for the interview.

Body Language. It can be easy to lose focus when you aren’t being interviewed in-person, so be mindful of distractions. Keep pets locked up and ask roommates or family to stay quiet during the interview. The interviewer can only see you from the chest up, so sit up straight and be aware of tapping and fidgeting in your seat.

For more ways to prepare for your career, take one of the professional courses at HR.nextstepacademy.com


The Job Search

September 12th, 2016 by

Whether you just graduated or are just looking for a change of pace, there is a lot to consider when looking for a job. Here are the four biggest areas you need to keep in mind during the job search process.

14089983055_af729e023b_bLocation. Before you start looking for jobs, you need to consider how far you’re willing to commute to work everyday. Would you commute an hour or possibly relocate for the perfect job? If not, you need to decide what is an acceptable commute and search for jobs within that distance.

Reputation. Does the company you’re applying to have a good reputation? Do they offer benefits and treat their employees well? When considering a job you need to look at the environment the company creates. Websites like Glassdoor.com allow you read reviews by past employees to get a good indication of how you’ll be treated as an employee if you get hired at the company in question.

Qualifications. You need to be honest with yourself about your experience and abilities, meaning you should look for jobs seeking candidates with your skill set. However, that doesn’t mean you should ignore all positions that you don’t qualify for 100 percent. It’s good to reach for opportunities. For example, if a job opportunity is seeking someone with 3 years experience in the field and you only have 1 but earned a lot of experience in the process, still give it a shot and apply. However, if a job requires a master’s degree and you only have an associate degree, that may be too far of a stretch.

Personal Satisfaction. Money and benefits are important, but so is your personal satisfaction. If you don’t love the work you’re doing, it’s going to be hard to get up early every day for work, no matter how large of a paycheck you get at the end of the week. Make sure you are clear about the type of work you’ll be doing if you get hired. Also consider the ethics, goals and purpose of the company. If the company’s ethics don’t fall in line with your own personal ethics, then it may be personally taxing to work there every day.

Looking to find out what career is right for you? Take a course at Next Step Academy to find out if it would be a good fit.


Dressing for the Interview

September 5th, 2016 by

You’re not supposed to judge a book by it’s cover. However, the second you walk into an interview, before you’ve said hello and shaken hands, you’ve already made an impression based on what you are wearing. Make sure that first impression is good one by dressing professionally and appropriately for the position you are applying for.

Interview_-_HSG_TALENTS_ConferenceKnow the dress code. If you are unsure what to wear to your interview, call ahead of time and ask about the company’s dress code. You can use this as a guideline for picking out your outfit for the interview. It’s best to dress above the position you are applying for. If the office dress code is casual where most people are in jeans and T-shirts, still step it up a notch to a blouse or button up shirt with nice jeans or slacks.

Hygiene and grooming. Make sure the clothes you choose are clean and free of wrinkles.  Wear deodorant, but avoid using an overpowering perfume or cologne — or better yet don’t use any at all. Just make sure you are clean and look tidy. Go light on the makeup, comb your hair and clean up facial hair.

Accessories. Don’t overdo it by wearing large pieces of jewelry or extremely bright ties. Accessories shouldn’t be distracting or look unprofessional. Tip: Choose accessories that can start a conversation. A piece of jewelry from a recent vacation, a small pin that represents your hometown or a tie that represents your interest in music is a great way to get a conversation going. Wear something that shows off your personality while still remaining professional.

Want more tips to help you get the job? Take our Interview Skills course!


Five Tips to Nail Your Interview

June 27th, 2016 by

Interviews can be the most stressful part of getting a job, with your future employment dependent on the impression you leave with a total stranger. The key to having a great interview and landing the job is being proactive and confident.pexels-photo-70292

Here are five tips for having a successful interview:

Research. Read up on the company before the interview. Make sure you know exactly what position you are interviewing for and learn about the company’s history and values. This will help you stand out from the beginning of the interview. Bonus points if you learn the names of your interviewer and the higher-ups in the company.

Dress for success. Make sure the clothes you wear to the interview are clean, wrinkle-free and professional. Think you’re under-dressed? Call ahead of time and find out the company’s dress code and use that as a guideline for what to wear to the interview.

Arrive on time. Do not be late, but also don’t arrive too early. Aim to walk into the office five minutes before your interview. Not parking five minutes before, but in the office and ready to shine five minutes before your scheduled interview time.

Come prepared. Review common interview questions and have answers ready. Consider practicing a mock interview with a friend or family member. Bring multiple copies of your resume, a notebook and a pen. Also consider bringing a list of questions you have for the company. Employers tend to ask at the end of the interview if you have questions for them. Make sure you ask something thoughtful like where they see the company going in the next five years — but leave the conversation about salary for the follow-up!

Send a thank you. Follow up with the interviewer by sending a thank you note. An email is adequate, however a handwritten note adds a personal touch and will help you stand out. The best advice I ever received was to write the thank you note BEFORE the interview, and slip it in the company’s mailbox on your way out!


Want more tips for nailing your interview and getting your dream job? Take the Next Step Academy course “Interviewing Skills” to learn more.




How To: Mentally Prepare For An Interview

March 8th, 2016 by

junge frau im bewerbungsgesprchIf you’ve never been on an interview before, you might not know what to expect and that can be nerve racking. Then again, people who have been on several interviews may still find themselves jittery before hand. While it’s natural, and perhaps even good, to be a little nervous for your interview, you’ll still want to mentally prepare yourself and build your confidence before heading in.

Take a Drive                                                                                                                                            A day or two before your interview, drive there.

It might sound like a weird thing to do, but trust me, it will reduce your anxiety. There’s nothing worse than being stricken with panic on your way to an interview when you suddenly realize you have no idea where you’re going. By mapping your route before hand, you’ll be more familiar with traffic patterns, the parking situation and the amount of time it actually takes to get there. On the day of your interview, it will be one less stressor to deal with.

Mock Interview                                                                                                                                     Recruit a parent, sibling, school counselor or someone else you know has been on interviews.

Provide them with a list of questions to ask you, but also invite them to ask you additional questions off the cuff. Why? Well, an interview is a balancing act. You’ll have some answers prepared for the more traditional questions, but you’ll also need to be ready to answer curve ball questions. The interviewer will look for you’re ability to think on your feet and how you perform under pressure.

Go through this process a few times and with different people if you can. The more you practice, the better and more eloquently you’ll find your responses, even on the really tough questions. Practicing your interview skills will build your confidence and in turn, you’ll be much more composed for the real deal.

Practice Tranquility                                                                                                                                An up-coming interview can create a lot of stress—schedule down time for yourself.

The night before and the morning of, spend five to ten minutes sitting quietly or with soft music if you prefer, but no phone, tablet, or other distractions. Close your eyes and take deep breaths. Let your worries melt away, maybe even use a mantra— try a phrase to raise your self-esteem and confidence like, “I am who they want to hire.”

Get Organized                                                                                                                                    Get your materials together.

Getting organized will help your mind slow down. Have a crisp folder with at least three resumes and three copies of references inside. You may also want to bring a professional portfolio with relevant samples of work or writing examples. Just by walking in with a folder or binder,  you’ll walk taller and  feel a whole lot more confident.

These tips will help get you started to a successful interview. For additional interview information take Next Step Academy’s Interviewing Skills course which you can find right here!


Tips to ensure a successful hiring process

April 22nd, 2015 by

iStock_000004692694MediumFinding a job is never easy. There are numerous steps in the hiring process — the application, a resumé and cover letter, an interview, the follow up, plus the preparation. To help cope with the sometimes overwhelming process, Joe Rosenbaum, vice president of human resources for Argyle Executive Forum, offers some tips to make it easier.

Commit to the process
According to Rosenbaum, there seems to be a hesitation to commit to developing a career in a specific profession coming out of college. Instead, people focus more on finding the perfect job or perfect fit. This could be a problem if you start applying to jobs without really wanting them. “Remember that an employer hires you for what you can do for them and if you don’t position yourself as someone who actually wants to do that job, why would you assume it would be offered to you?” he explains.

Resumés help you get to the job you want
In Rosenbaum’s opinion, resumés are given too much attention in the job application process, but at the same time you still need one that states your interests. He suggests that a resumé should be specific and clear because employers are looking for candidates who have some sort of idea about what kind of career they wish to pursue. “Trust me when I tell you that if you apply for a marketing job and your resumé doesn’t say that you’re interested in marketing, you’re toast,” he says.

LinkedIn is important
“Assume that the first thing a recruiter will do is look you up on LinkedIn,” Rosenbaum says. He advises to make it easy for them to find you — upload a professional photo (no group pictures or beach shots). Make the Summary on your profile similar to the objective on your resumé, as LinkedIn is the digital version of your resumé. He also says it’s very important to build your connections. Start with friends, siblings, parents, friends of parents, neighbors and classmates. LinkedIn tells you how you’re connected to a posted job based on the people in your network. “The larger your network, the better you can leverage it to get a job,” he explains.

Real-life connections matter, too
As Rosenbaum describes, resumés and LinkedIn work the best when you have formed connections with a lot of people. “Once you break into the professional world, you’re going to connect to jobs through friends, colleagues, former bosses. It isn’t as much about who you know as it is about knowing a lot of people,” he said. If you’re just posting your resumé on job posting boards, your chances of getting noticed are slim — you need to know people in order to get the process moving.

> For more help landing the job, take Next Step Academy’s short Interviewing course.



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