Tag Archives: networking

8 Ways to Perfect People Skills That Will Help You Keep Your Job

people skills at work
photo by Stephen Caissie

You worked so hard to get your new job. Now, in addition to the many details you’re learning in order to be proficient in your position, you should also be mindful of things you can do to help you keep it. Paying attention to the corporate culture and making an effort to fit in is crucial as a new employee. Let’s look at eight things in the realm of people skills you should be mindful of to help you integrate into the new company.

1) Flowcharting – Fitting in and building respect and a good reputation are important early on. One of my former supervisors used to flowchart out the positions and divisions in each company he worked for soon after he began. This initiative can aid your understanding of the company and who you could approach if you have an issue or need beyond the scope of your department. If you’re just not sure how to track this information down, your supervisor may have done this flowcharting already or be able to help you with the process.

2) Internal Networking – Have a brief “elevator speech” for what you do in your position. You can use this as you meet your fellow employees. Starting in your area, meet as many people as you can, even if they’re outside your department or not on your floor (the aforementioned flowchart will help.) This will help you develop good relationships with coworkers and build goodwill. Cultivate a network of relationships with coworkers at many levels. Higher-ups can help give you perspective from a management point of view; those at your level can answer questions and help you become more effective in your work. Avoid spending much time with those you find to be complainers and negative Nellie’s.

3) Excellence and Communication – Communicate clearly with vendors and coworkers alike, and really listen during your training. Show energy, enthusiasm, and excellence in your work, and strive to be visible.

4) Tooting Your Horn – Especially as you near performance appraisal time, find little ways to subtly point out your value and what you’ve accomplished since the last appraisal. Most supervisors are pretty overwhelmed, and it doesn’t hurt to work what you’ve recently accomplished into a conversation. Think about things like great customer feedback, compliments on your work from coworkers and higher-ups, meeting deadlines ahead of schedule, and positive facts or figures like sales achievements or how much you just saved the company.

5) Effective Collaboration – Making valuable contributions to projects can showcase you as a standout collaborator. Big projects need collaborative teams to carry them out. Perfect your persuasion skills, and if you’re not really a detail person, cultivate an eye for detail. Identify the positives and benefits of the thing in question; solicit feedback from friends, colleagues, and coworkers; then match the communication style of those you need to persuade when presenting. For example, if the members of the project team are big picture people, don’t get too deep into details. Use hot button words, lingo, and language they’re familiar with.

Further, think beyond just planning to implementation. While planning is important, employees who can create, revise, administrate, and execute ideas are setting themselves up for recognition and advancement.

6) Teaching Others – Obviously as you move up the ladder at your company, you’ll have picked up a lot of things. Or perhaps you bring to the table quite a bit of valuable knowledge from a long, rich career. Teach, and share what you know. There’s definitely opportunity for this with new employees. Help others gain wisdom, experience, and insight.

7) Avoiding Burnout – Years of service in the same position can sometimes make one stagnant in thinking or lead to frayed attitudes with coworkers or customers. When the phone rings or that next customer approaches you, stay positive and think “opportunity” not “obligation.” Don’t let your attitude get worn down, and be mindful of burnout. If you feel you’re getting burned out (or overloaded) but want to stay in your current position, work with your supervisor to come up with some changes that will make your work more pleasant and manageable. Or you could seek a position in a different department.

8) Being Persistent Not Pesky – The Marketing Director at one record label for which I worked liked my go-get-’em style and called me The Bulldog. In nearly every position, your work and your success rate in meeting deadlines will (unfortunately) depend on input from other people. When you follow up, don’t be such a bulldog that you tick people off or get branded as a nag.

After waiting for a reasonable time, and based on the urgency of the project, you’re your move to remind those who are holding you up. A good sequence of touch points is: request, log, remind by email, then finally—if need be—call or drop by the lagger’s office.

My Stephen Minister gave me some wise advice once, “Attitude and mood trump ability every time.” In other words, keeping your interactions and responses pleasant and professional is more important than mowing people down to meet deadlines to avoid anyone thinking you’re incompetent. And I’ve found that to be true most of the time.

What tips would you give others as far as people skills to develop that will help them fit in and keep their jobs?

 

Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow, and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free advice on your job search.

7 Tips You Should Know to Help Find Your First Job After College (GUEST POST)

How to Find Your First Job After College
Photo courtesy of Pixabay

So you’ve got your degree, and you’re ready to hit the ground running and get your first job. But where on earth do you begin? Here are seven tips to help smooth the path and help you find the right job.

1) Have Your Resume Ready to Go
This is a pretty important one. Make sure you have a clear, concise and informative resume that is free of grammatical, spelling, and punctuation errors. This is your chance to make a first impression, and something as small as a misspelled word can land your resume in the “toss” pile.

2) Google Yourself
Many companies take the time to research a potential candidate. If you still have fraternity party pictures up on an old MySpace page, now is the time to take those down. It’s also important that you have a good representation of yourself on the web. Your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram profiles should be good points of introduction. It’s especially worthwhile to make sure your LinkedIn profile is up to date and reflects your skills and background. It should go without saying, but with social media, always be sure to avoid posting pictures or comments you wouldn’t want a potential employer to see.

3) Find Your Calling
If you’ve gone to school for teaching, then you probably have a pretty solid path you want to follow when you start reaching out to employers. If you have a degree without a specific career path (i.e. English, sociology, art history) then the water muddies a bit. The onus is now on you to find an area where you can be eager and put your best foot forward. Like sales? Consider trying real estate or advertising sales. Like working with people? Consider a job in human resources. Want to start your own business? Become a dog walker to see what’s it’s like being your own boss. Have creativity and interest in moving outside your comfort zone? There are lots of non-technical jobs in tech these days. Really, the options are endless. As long as you have initiative and a willingness to learn, you can find opportunity.

4) Boost Your Background
In the meantime, it’s always beneficial to add to your skill set. You can do that through volunteering (which is also great on resumes) as well as taking short classes and online tutorials. Many nonprofits will let you volunteer and learn as you go—especially if they need help with a website, grant writing, marketing, or graphic design. Remember, any new skill you acquire should always be added to your LinkedIn profile to advertise what makes you an even more worthwhile candidate.

5) Spruce Up
Not everyone can afford to go out and buy a new suit, but you can do a lot to make yourself look presentable. Be sure to always have an outfit ready to go for when you land an interview. Keep a shirt or two ironed, in addition to pressed pants or a skirt.

6) Keep in Touch
One of the best ways to stay on someone’s radar is to send a thank you note after an interview or phone call. Handwritten is better, though this isn’t always an option. Be persistent but not pushy. What’s most important is that you are following up.

7) Stay the Course
Finally, not everyone gets a job right away, and it can be very defeating if you receive multiple rejections. If you can, find out why you weren’t a good fit for the company. Maybe you can re-apply later for a different job. Be sure not to take it personally, and don’t let bad news keep you from being persistent. There is a job out there for you, and it will happen when everything falls into place the way it should. Good luck, and go get ’em!

About the Author:
Erica Francis is passionate about helping young people prepare for careers in a tough job market. She enjoys developing rich lesson plans and other educational resources. Some of her lesson plans can be found at ReadyJob.org.

 

Looking for a new job? Want to get what you want fast? Check out my book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow, and subscribe to my blog (kurtkirton.com) for free advice on your job search.

3 Ways to Land Your Next Job by Being Personal

Being Personal as You Network
Don’t be just another candidate lost in a pile of other applicants for your dream job. Instead, be the person that stands out when applying for jobs, completing interviews, and networking with employers. There are so many ways to be top of mind as they decide who to hire.

It doesn’t have to be hard—just be yourself and add a personal touch! Try something new and unique, such as hand-written letters or cards, engaging through social media, or being prepared to communicate your message in person. Some of these ideas may take a little bit more time and effort, but can net you a job opportunity you’re excited about.

1) Handwritten Letters – Employers are receiving tons of mail, emails and even business letters during the year, so it’s important to focus on personalizing your message. Surprise them with something handwritten because the smallest things can make the biggest impact. Handwritten cards are the ones that also last longer. So, now that you’ve grabbed their attention, they will remember you as they narrow down candidates to interview.

2) Social Media Engagement – Companies have been using social media as their way to communicate sales, new products and company news, so it’s important to make sure that you’re utilizing these sites to engage with them. Try interacting by “Sharing” or “Liking” to show your interest and support of their brand. Don’t forget to check out their website before your interview to learn more about your future employer. Remember, it’s crucial to be proactive on social media as an applicant, especially when there’s competition.

3) Meeting In Person/Networking – If communicating through technology and cards isn’t your forte, there is always a way to make an impact in person by networking. Once you know the company at which you want to apply, and/or the person who will be managing the hiring process, get to work! LinkedIn provides a wealth of opportunity to research common connections, industry groups/organizations, and events hiring managers may be attending or even hosting. Connecting through mutual friends or talking casually at an event will give you the opportunity to show you’re a go-getter and jump your resume to the top of the consideration pile!

Although these efforts take more time than just hitting the Apply” button, they can be the best way to make a first and lasting impression.

Need help upgrading your LinkedIn profile before your job hunt? Get some quick tips from my colleague John Boyens. Ready to connect with more job hunters and networkers to share resources, tips, and advice? Here’s your personal invite to join my free online community, Your Networking Toolbox!

–Anna-Vija McClain

Anna-Vija McClain is a blogger and a sales and marketing expert with experience helping clients from small business owners to multimillion dollar organizations reach unprecedented sales results through development of marketing strategy, management of budgets, and efficient execution of projects. With 10 years of marketing experience, she draws upon an established network of subject matter experts that are able to complete projects on an as-needed basis. Currently, she is developing a neighborhood-based networking organization, Nashville Locals, and a communication company for private clubs.

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Looking for a new job? Want to get the one you want faster? Check out my new book, Here Today, Hired Tomorrow.