Archive for Ideal Career

Interview QuestionsHow can you handle answering those tough interview questions and why do employers use them? This is Part 2 of our series on strange  interview questions…

Why do employers use these kinds of questions?

Employers use them for several reasons including, getting them to divulge something that they may not have otherwise, or had not prepared for while getting ready for the interview. It could be to see how they think on their feet but also to get answers that are not canned or prepared so they can see how they answer authentically. Some employers feel if they can catch you off guard, they’ll get a more honest or authentic answer from you.

Here are some other examples of odd interview questions…

  1. What have you disliked about previous jobs or employers?
  2. You seem overqualified for this position, how would you address that issue?
  3. They’ll give you a scenario like a client calls you with X problem and is very upset, how would you handle it?
  4. If you could be any song or animal, what would you be?

How you can prepare for these unique questions…

  1. Prepare 5 stories of success, failures, challenges you addressed and weaknesses *and how you handle or manage them now.
  2. Have 5 things you want to ensure you get across during the interview that demonstrate why you are qualified and how you can help them.
  3. Understand and be able to communicate what your soft skills are, in addition to hard skills (communication, work ethic, ability to work in a team, etc.)
  4. Be clear about and able to communicate why you want their job, what your long term career goals are and why that position fits into those goals.
  5. Identify what your values and priorities are in terms of your career, and how your work performance would reflect those

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

P.S. Is your clock ticking towards retirement? Check out our Encore Career Coaching services to help you define your life – on your terms.

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Ideal CareerOne of the best ways to clarify what you want most from your career, your education, and your life is to ask yourself, “If I were at the end of my life looking back on it, what regrets would I have?” Teens and young people have difficulty answering this question because for the most part, they are still in the phase of life where they see themselves as immortal. By your twenties and thirties or later, however, if you find yourself answering that you would regret not pursuing a specific career or a specific education, you can ignore your answer, but your desire for it will not end. Your desire will haunt you like a ghost in your heart
until you do pursue it.

Some studies about regrets show that having a fender bender or spilling your beverage are not the kind of regrets that bother people long-term. The regrets that bother people the most are the ones that are irreversible – like not spending more time with your children who are now grown, not spending more time with your parents who are now dead, and not pursuing a love interest that is no longer available. Not pursuing a career or education are among the lifelong regrets that bother people as well.

The advantage of knowing about this study is that you can make decisions now to avoid regrets later. If you already know what you would regret, pursue your dreams - if for no other reason, so you can die happy without major regrets!

If you need any incentive to overcome obstacles to your dreams, here are some words of inspiration:

Until one is committed
there is hesitancy,
a chance to draw back,
always ineffectiveness….
The moment one definitely
commits oneself, then
Providence moves too.
All sorts of things occur
to help one that never
otherwise would have occurred.

- W. H. Murray, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition

Hallie Crawford and Terry L. Wynne, Ed.S., LPC, BCC
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

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Online EducationDoes the career of your dreams require an education you can’t afford? For many people this can be a stumbling block but – it does not have to be an obstacle.  Did you know there are free online classes available through massive open online courses (MOOCs)?  You can read more about them in this article

Here are seven popular MOOCs, each of which offers different courses:

  • Coursera
  • edX
  • Udacity
  • Udemy
  • Canvas Network
  • iTunes U
  • Saylor.org

These free courses could help you get a flavor of what a new industry might be like, and could be on first step towards preparing you for a new career, or enhancing your current one.  While most courses are free, some do have a charge. Some of these courses are college level; others are not academic at all. To identify whether or not you will receive college credit for any course , you will need to investigate each course individually as well as the MOOC that offers them.  One of these MOOCs, Coursera, even offers an option to request a transcript that you can present to your current college for evaluation for college credit.

Regardless of whether or not you receive college credit, you can still take courses that interest you for free to investigate a new career path or begin preparing for a new one. So start researching MOOCs and enjoy obtaining a free education in the topics of your choice!

Hallie Crawford and Terry L. Wynne, Ed.S., LPC, BCC
Ideal Career Coaches

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

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Part 3: Bored at work? How to recover your creativity

Career Plan We all get bored sometimes at work. I had a job in my twenties where I could have taken a nap during the work day and no one would have noticed. That was worse for me than being too busy! Sometimes we get bored at our jobs because we don’t have enough to do, but sometimes it happens because we have lost our creative edge. And this can happen even if we are not in a creative field. Creative problem solving for example requires creativity. Figuring out how to handle that difficult client requires it. Regardless of the type of job you are in, creativity will be required in some way, shape or form. If you have lost it, how can you get it back?

Here are 5 ideas to help you get started on the right foot in January 2014:

1) Reach out – Get out of your office and get back to networking. Attend an association meeting this month. Meet new people or learn a new skill there by attending a presentation or workshop.

2) Connect and brainstorm – Leverage your colleagues in meetings, formal and informal. Bounce ideas off of them. Walk into their office and ask them if you can think out loud with them for a few minutes. Often, sharing with others helps us solidify an idea, or come up with a new one.

3) Journal or doodle – Keep a notepad handy where you can draw your ideas or simply write them down. Come back to them later. Seeing things in black and white, outside of our head, can help us not only be more objective about them but can also help us generate new ideas about how to handle them.

4) Step away – Writing them down and coming back to them can give us a fresh perspective. In the meantime maybe you spoke with a colleague and that gave you a new idea. Either way, that time off from the idea you have been struggling with can make a big difference in how you see it when you come back to it.

5) Do the same thing a different way – Mix up your routine. If you come to work at the same time every day, try a half hour earlier. Eat at the same place almost every day for lunch? Go somewhere completely new for a week. You don’t always have to change the task you perform in order to break the monotony, sometimes a different way of performing that task can do the trick.

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

Categories : Nurture Your Career
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ResumeWe always hear we need to sell ourselves on our resume, of course, without being dishonest. If you have been out of the workforce for a while, are changing careers, or have been in school without working for a few years-what are some of the experiences you can use to enhance your resume and fill those gaps where you lack traditional work experience. Here is a quick list of possibilities. Instead of experience you can list:

1. Sports team memberships – Yes I had a client at a presentation say she did this with great success. *She played a leadership role on the team. That makes a difference. If you played a leadership role, add that higher up on your resume under a category called Leadership Positions and Activities for example. List the role you played there. If you did not play a leadership role, leave it at the bottom under Volunteer Work and Activities or leave it off completely.

2. Internships – Yes they count, even if they are informal for example if you worked at a friend’s office for free for a few months. Only include them if they are relevant of course but if they are, list them and specify a) what you learned, and b) the results you provided while there.

3. Volunteer work – This can be included, again, as long as it’s relevant. Reference the location, length of time and specific duties focusing on results and achievements.

4. Classes – If you have just completed your MBA for example and attended full time so did not work, list the relevant coursework at the top of your resume in your Professional Profile section. Mention is was a course and, if there was a specific project you were involved in that is relevant, for example a corporate case study, be sure to include that as well! It’s about showing relevant experience or knowledge, however you came by that experience. Focus on results here as well. Was there a report you provided to the organization, what did they do with that report and your results or suggestions? For example did they adjust their marketing efforts based on your project recommendations? Be specific here, use numbers to quantify whenever possible.

5. Involvement in organizations on campus or otherwise – Again, only if you were in some kind of leadership position and utilized skills that would be relevant. Did you serve on your child’s class committee for fundraising and raise a certain amount of money? If you were just the class parent with no specific relevant results, leave it off. Each listing on your resume has to demonstrate relevant skills. Relevancy is critical.

Hallie Crawford
Career Coach

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

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So, you have created your profile and now you are done with the obligatory LinkedIn stuff. Hold on a minute! You might be okay with passively using LinkedIn if you’re not currently job searching, but in order to reap the benefits of a live network, you need to nurture it so it grows over time.

Here are 5 things you should do on LinkedIn each week to stay engaged, grow your network, and connect with opportunities:

1. Update your status with news, something you learned, or share an industry related-article

a. Stay active and on the radar by demonstrating your knowledge of current industry trends. What you post will appear on your contacts’ home page feed. If you write or follow a professional blog, this is a great place to share it.

2. See who has viewed your profile and evaluate whether you should connect with them

a. This is a creative way to expand your network through a “warm” connection. It can also be very beneficial if you are trying to build your business through new clients.

3. Recommend or endorse someone you know

a. Recommendations carry much more weight than endorsements so be sure to recommend others and ask them to write one for you.

4. See what is happening in the group discussion boards for groups you like

a. Groups are a hot spot to plug into the latest trends, resources, and where people need help. Follow along and add your comments when valuable to the discussion. Many groups will post the picture of the top group influences, which enhances visibility.

5. Grow your network by sending personalized invitations to new people

a. This is a critical follow up step after meeting someone in a formal or informal setting. Reach out to them with a customized invitation to connect message and keep your networking live and resource rich.

This does take work, so I recommend choosing one of these 5 actions to start with. Spend just a few minutes each day until you are comfortable and then move on with another action step. Before long, you will become fluent and enjoy projecting your presence throughout the blue ether of LinkedIn.

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

P.S. How do you know if your resume is good? Take this Resume Quiz to find out how to keep your resume out of the trash can.

Categories : Networking, Social Media
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WorkAccording to a recent Gallup Poll 70% of the country’s full time workers hate their jobs, GallupSurvey and need some positive ways to make a change. If you’re one of the 70%, here’s what you can do to take action on your situation…

1. First don’t be too dramatic. We’ve all seen YouTube videos of people quitting their jobs by jumping out of a plane, or dancing on the desks: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xcv82ntxJO8. The very first thing you need to do before you take dramatic action (especially in case it’s not needed!) is to take some time to assess how bad it is. Is this a phase or is it a long term sense of dis-satisfaction? Get a sense of which scenario it is before you do something drastic. We’re not discounting drastic action, sometimes quitting your job can be the best thing you can do! But other times a course correction is needed as opposed to a complete career make-over. So figure out which one’s needed for you.

2. Be rational. We get emotionally worked up when we’re unhappy at work – understandably. I was there, I was crying in the bathroom every day and tried shopping to help me feel better (it didn’t work.) The second thing to do is to break it down. What is wrong with your job? Make a list. Then make a list of what’s right – there actually may be a couple of things, not many perhaps but some. See if you can come up with a list of both. Do you just have a bad boss but everything else is great? Or do you like your industry but the culture at your organization is the wrong fit? You may be in the right career, but at the wrong company. Write down what makes you unhappy so you can see it in black and white and analyze it – how many things are on the list? Review it rationally – Is it 10 things or just two things?

3. Have coffee with a friend and make a plan. Depending on your answers to the above, make a plan. Is a big change needed or a small one? Do you need to define your career direction or do you know what you want to do instead? Create the plan then think about what you can do right now to feel better at your job, even if it’s small changes. The sooner you focus on your future and are able to be happier where you are now, the more energy you’ll have towards moving forward.

4. Be practical and passionate. Identify your career values, and what would be rewarding for you in a career. This is the passionate or heart piece of the equation. But also look at the practical side, the talents/skills you want to use, the work experience you currently have so you’re qualified for the next position you’re considering. People tend to err on the side of one or the other too much. They take a job just for the money. Or they follow heart and end up burned. Take it step by step and balance the two.

Hallie Crawford
Job Coach

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.

Company PicnicIt’s time for some company team building or bonding. As summer draws to an end, in order to ramp up enthusiasm for the fall again, companies like to host a beach outing, picnic, or some other outdoor event before the weather turns cold. We all know how some of us really feel about them. If you Are one of the lucky ones who truly enjoys them, that’s awesome! There are plenty of people out there who don’t though, and they approach them as a chore sometimes with a feeling of dread. I was honored to be featured in this recent Wall Street Journal career article about how to survive that company picnic and even have a good time!

Read article here

Here are two things that I wanted to add to this career advice:

1. Have a strategy – Decide who you would like to most connect with during this time. Is there someone you don’t get to talk to often at work but would like to get to know and possibly network with. Identify who those people are and make an effort to reach out.

2. Decide on and communicate a time frame – You don’t have to stick to it to the letter, but if you can only stay for a certain period of time, make that known in advance so people don’t think you are just ducking out. Or if you are not looking forward to it, decide on the amount of time that is reasonable for you to make an appearance and be cordial and warm then have a good reason for leaving. If you decide to stay, that’s fine. But at least it’s not an awkward goodbye when it’s time to go.

Handling professional events with ease is a critical piece to your professional development and, they should be handled with care. As a career coach, I always advise my clients to be mindful of their professional image, at all times. You just never know who is watching and what your behavior might communicate. So – be thoughtful about it!

Hallie Crawford
Ideal Career Coach

P.S. Is your clock ticking towards retirement? Check out our Encore Career Coaching services to help you define your life – on your terms.

Ideal Career Quiz

Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you are on the right track with this quick Ideal Career Quiz! Take Quiz Now!

About Create Your Career Path

Our team of career coaches help people of all ages nurture their career, identify their ideal career path, and navigate their career transition. We offer group and individual coaching as well as self-directed learning products. Schedule a free phone consultation with Create Your Career Path today.