The leaves are turning colour, there’s a slight chill in the air, and the rain has started…all reminding us that fall has arrived and school is starting. Although some of us are finished with school, fall indicates a new start and a kind of new beginning, even though the calendar year is not yet complete.
For us McNakers, we start to think about the upcoming year by planning our corporate philanthropy initiatives along with other strategic objectives. Next year, we plan to hold our annual charity event called GrapeJuice, in support of Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland, whose mandate is to help young girls through their mentorship program. We are also working to plan another Career Launcher session to help job-seeking aged ‘little sisters’ prepare for the start of their own financial stability. This initiative, which we have hosted in past years, has a goal to help young girls launch their career foundation.
All too often, young people are unsure of where to start when preparing for their first job. We try to help guide the development of a well-prepared resume; a resume that chronologically lists some recent work experience and other skills they have acquired over the years. If there is not a lot of work experience, then we suggest listing their volunteer work or extra-curricular activities, as it can be just as important for future employers to review. Skills gained while volunteering or studying are applicable to list on a resume – skills such as meeting deadlines (completing homework on time) as well as being organized and detail-oriented. Some students struggle as to what to put on their resume to make it long enough, but a 1 or 2-page resume is more than adequate for future employers at this level.
The interview is also critical as an excited student only has a few minutes to make that positive first impression. We try to pass along tips to be prepared for a first interview. We recommend reviewing what the company and position require, preparing appropriate examples of experience, arriving early and dressing appropriately, answering the questions succinctly, making eye-contact and showing enthusiasm, and following up with a thank you. These suggestions may seem like common sense, however, for a young person who hasn’t interviewed before, this is completely new territory and requires preparation.
Well, we are week one into the new year. How are we all doing so far?
Whether you are a resolution maker (or a resolution keeper, for that matter) or not, we can’t escape the idea of a new year being a fresh start. We can’t avoid those ‘New Year, New You’ headlines. Is this the year we break bad habits, and replace them with better habits? Good habits that will improve our health, nurture our relationships, and enhance our career?
I do look at a new year as another chance to evaluate where I am, and what I want to do differently to better myself. We all leave footprints on this earth, and we want to make sure that we matter. What we do ~ matters. How we make other people feel ~ matters. Maybe that is what leaving an impression really means. The footprints are an impression.
‘Tis the season for reflection, so in that spirit, here is a quick snapshot of our most read blog articles for 2011:
Ever had a difficult situation where you didn’t want to let someone down with unwelcome news, so you avoided personal contact, and resorted to e-mail? The post, Don’t hide behind email was selected for WordPress’s Freshly Pressed, and elicited many great comments.
Written by one of our Gen Y staff members, the article Facebook friend or foe serves up an interesting perspective on how your activity on Facebook could affect your career.
No matter what profession, no matter what stage in our lives, actor Kevin Spacey’s Wise Words can apply to all of us.
What do you want to be when you grow up? Vancouverite Sean Aiken set out to do something different. He decided to try out 52 jobs, one week at a time. An inspiring documentary are the results of Sean’s One Week Job project.
This year the McNak blog has seen more page views than ever before. We’d like take this opportunity to thank you all for taking the time to read, comment and share our articles. We have more grand plans for 2012 so watch this space.
“You hit a goal, you achieve a goal. You keep a resolution”. ~ Gretchen Rubin
I decided to ask some people in my network if they had any New Years Career Resolutions. I got off to a great start. One woman admitted that she would love to see her coworkers deal with their customers in a more empathetic and positive way, especially since the company she works for is purely customer services orientated. I found her answer to be genuinely concerned for how some of her coworkers were dealing with customers and in turn making her work environment not a very fun one.
A couple of people admitted that they would like to look for a new or more challenging role in 2012. Others felt that they had hit the well-known ceiling and were at a crossroads with whether or not they should stay or move on from their current companies. Two people said that they would like to further their education and be more challenged in their work. Then I got an answer that made me realize this whole “New Years Resolution” thing is a bit silly! My close friend Paul said, “New years resolutions are easy enough to make, but it is the actual implementation that differentiates the highly motivated from the somewhat motivated.” This comment jolted me a bit and made me question why do we feel we need to make promises to ourselves just because it’s a new year? I am sure most people can admit they never follow through with these promises, and most of them probably quickly conjure up some cliché answer when asked. Do you ever hear anyone ask, “Hey, what’s your resolution for April?” Of course you don’t. People have this tendency to think: New Year, new start. What I am asking here is why?
Be the highly motivated and make your goals year round. Write out your goals and stick it on your wall or in your bedside table and look at it nightly. Remind yourself of where you want to be and want you want to achieve and start taking the right steps. Don’t give some fluffy answer because everyone and their dog are asking you “What’s your New Years resolution?” How about next time you’re asked say, “To make a new goal for every month and actually achieve it.” Let’s get serious here and make our own successes with actual steps to get us there.
For example, to the woman who wants to see more positivity and empathy coming from some of her coworkers, I propose she initiates the change by being extra positive herself and setting a clear example for the rest of her team. Exude the fantastic customer service energy and hope some jump on the train. Or become a good listener to those who are negative and help them clarify their issues and perhaps provide good insight of how she handles difficult customers while remaining empathetic and helpful. These would be great steps to implement – and it means actually following through with your goal.
I completely appreciate my peers’ answers and honestly believe every single one of them will achieve their career goals. It just got me thinking about how many things I would like to achieve for 2012 and if I will actually do it. Being honest with myself I can say that previous “resolutions” were not fulfilled and I am tired of it! I am now going to make goals for myself every time I think of something I want, and that’s not just for my career, it’s for my health, personal life, and anything else I want. And I will tenaciously take the needed steps. Saying it is easy… it’s the doing that’s hard.
Those 3 dreaded words. Do they still give you the shivers? As children, we never wanted summer to end. As a parent, I am now observing how my children feel about going back to school this week. All is good. They had a fantastic summer, and they are looking forward to seeing their friends again, getting back into a regular routine, and starting a new year.
I like the freedom that summer brings, but I also like the regular routine that the new school year brings back. I look at the Fall as being the start of a new year. I am ready to take on some new projects at work, and that excites me. It feels after some time of rest during the summer that I can now focus my energy and give these projects my full attention.
We took a poll last year, on what September means to you, and 65% felt that September is like the start of a new year. To me, September will always feel like a new start. What does this time of year mean to you?
Many years ago, my grandmother asked me to explain “email” to her. Some of her younger friends were pestering her to get an email account so she could receive info about group meetings, bingo nights, etc. I dutifully explained to her that email was short for electronic mail and is a quick, easy, efficient way to send and receive messages. It was used for both work and personal messages. I boastfully bragged that I could sit at my desk all day long and not have to engage anyone face to face or on the phone. It was great! “Hmmmmmmmm,” she muttered, “sounds kind of lonely to me.” Whatever, I thought to myself.
Fast forward ten years and I have a resolution for 2011. No, I am not giving up on email or even reducing my use of it. My resolution is: I will try my best to avoid using email if I have to communicate disappointing or bad news to a client, prospect, candidate, colleague, or business partner. I will have the courage to pick up the phone or engage the person face to face. Why this resolution? Because I have been on the receiving end of these types of emails and not only am I sad about the communicated news, but I find myself disappointed that the person is hiding behind the non-confrontational nature of email. I may have some follow-up questions, I may want to express my frustration, I may want to ask why or how questions.
I realize my resolution is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to some of the negative aspects regarding our society’s ubiquitous use of technology; but it’s one small thing that irritates me and I want to change my behavior. I’m curious, do you sometimes hide behind email when you have to deliver bad news?
Happy New Year!
P.S. My other resolution for 2011 is to use more idioms in my daily interactions. Some of my favorites include: dime a dozen, sink a battleship, swing a dead cat, a blessing in disguise, blue moon, long in the tooth, pass the buck, slow as molasses in January, and three sheets to the wind.
Of course we all think of January as the start of a new year, but to some people, so does September. Maybe it is a leftover feeling from back when we were in school. Or maybe to some of us, we have this feeling if we are parents of school aged children.
Summertime seems to be a time for people to refresh and relax. September seems to be a time where we can have a fresh start after the lull and quiet of summer.