Don’t let yourself get too comfortable

Liking a job you have is great.  Loving it is even better. I am a firm believer in the theory that liking your job is one thing but liking your coworkers and management team is even better.  If you work in a place where you have both that’s even better.  Consider yourself very, very lucky because not everyone has that type of position.

But…. I think it’s important to understand when a job is truly just a job and when it might be time to leave.  

Last September when I first got this blog up and running ūüŹÉ, I was in the process of changing jobs.  Now the job I held previously was in the HR field but in the education system.  I absolutely loved this job.  I couldn’t (and still couldn’t) have a single negative thing to say about that job.  I loved what I was learning and how quickly I was able to learn.  Others were patient and willing to train/teach.  There (down the line) might have even been opportunities to take classes for a reimbursement! When I say this place was great I mean it. Total office job with holidays and weekends off.  Thus far in my very short career it was by far the least stressful.  Not only did I understand the content of my duties, but I had support.  I could go on, but I think you get my point.
Around this time last year, I was informed that would be unable to keep my position (some civil service laws/rules, I won’t bore you with the details).  I was devastated at first.  So upset that I had to leave.  My boss was so nice that he offered me a part time position while I was in between jobs.  Something he did not have to do but make it work for me.  

Once I had found a new job (my current position), I still wasn’t happy that I couldn’t stay, but I adjusted quickly and took on my new job as I had any other.  Each new day at my new job, I became more energized by what I was responsible for.  Being with a start up company, I had different responsibilities flying at me all the time.  In my ever adapting evironment, I was learning more about the HR world in just a few weeks, than I had learned over the course of a year at my previous job.  After six months I got promoted to a talent recruiter. Now being a talent recruiter, I have a huge challenge in front of me.  This role (at times) can be very intimidating and overwhelming, because it is so new.  I am bound and determined to achieve and do great things in my new role which is pushing me to work harder, ask more questions and even try new things.  The exponential growth I’ve been exposed to is worth leaving my previous position.  Moreover, I don’t think it is something I would have done on my own for quite a few years because it was such a comforting position.  I know now that being eliminated from my previous position was a blessing.  It has helped pushed me into starting my master’s program to move into higher education.  
Without my job being taken out from underneath me, I would have gotten comfortable and complacent.  My advise to you, NEVER let yourself get complacent with your current job.  Even the day I find myself in Higher Education, I still want opportunities to learn more.  Always strive for me, or you’ll end up like I almost did.  Comfortable.  Comfort is great and stress relieving, but I promise, it is not career building.  
Don’t believe that this is possible? Read this article.
#kbk, until next time

Does Job Longevity Really Matter?

This is a question that I had to do some research on because of my background. ¬†I had a job in high school at a retail store. ¬†This was my first job and the manager there took a chance that even without my experience, I would be able to do the job well. ¬†Throughout college I had a few jobs and did a summer internship. ¬†After graduation, I got one of those “big girl job” as an assistant manager at Target. ¬†Although on my resume I have it listed for over a year experience (the internship i did with them plus the extra three months I worked there full time) it really was only two summers and a few college breaks worth of work. ¬†Mid summer, I couldn’t take that job and quit. ¬†A decision I still stand by, but I quit none the less. ¬†tumblr_mhoe23akmv1r8mmrfo1_500

After much job search and applying for dozens of positions (and I mean dozens, like 30-40 jobs), I finally landed in education in the HR department.  I had no experience in HR but they took me anyway, believing (just like I believed) that I could handle the stress of the job and do a good job.  Well, after being there for a year, my position got cut.  I planned on staying in that particular job for a while, but I still had to move on.

Now, at my current job, I have been there for about 6 months and I again do not plan on going anywhere. ¬†However, after have pretty much every position before this that has believed in my ability, it has made me question the importance of longevity. ¬†So now when I search through resumes to bring talent to my company, I very much look over longevity in a job. ¬†I’ve had supervisors ask me “do you know why they aren’t working now?” or “why did they skip around jobs so much?”. ¬†I never have an answer for them. ¬†Dates on a resume is something I kind of overlook because clearly if you can;t tell about, I’ve got a few dates scattered around. ¬†So why does it matter?

Turns out job longevity is totally a thing that employers are looking for. Dates on your resume are suppose to stand out for a reason. ¬†It can prove to an employer your commitment your current job, which will most likely mean longevity in a new job you will be looking for. ¬†I think that makes sense. ¬†It would mean that you can stick it out though thick and thin, the good times and the bad. ¬†Most employers get it, that not everything will go smoothly everyday at your job. ¬†But they¬†need to know that you’re not going to bail or 04-the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly-768x576shut down when the going gets tough. ¬†If you work somewhere for a few years, it shows them that your able to stick to something. ¬†Employers simply cannot invest in training and paying someone (even if they are the most qualified for the job), just to have then quit and start the process all over again.

 

I think a better way to look at this is to think of the opposite. ¬†I’ve had such a luxury really to have people invest in my skills with having less than 1 year experience for my jobs that I really have to think of an extreme opposite of longevity to really get the point. ¬†If a waitress has 13 years of experience overall but has had 2 jobs within a year on average, that’s 26 jobs that a person has had in that time frame. ¬†You’re looking at about 6 months from this waitress. ¬†She might nail the interview and can interact with customers like there is no tomorrow. ¬†But after 6 months of working there is a good chance she will move on. ¬†It’s a lot about patterns that your resume creates that alludes employers to believe that you will or will not stay. ¬†It takes a solid 1-2 months to have someone completely trained and comfortable working independently for most jobs (others of course can take much more or less time). Our waitress example means after time and money from other waitstaff and managers to train her, your only looking at about 4 months of profitable work she will commit to before ducking out of there.

Now I can clearly see how longevity can prove a dedicated employee. ¬†I was getting myself so caught up in thinking people are like me, they either really really don’t like a job or they get cut from it. ¬†More benefit of the doubt, then holding people accountable for their actions.

So of course I must ask myself, how long is considered a safe time frame? ¬†I also asked this in college during a senior year job seminar. ¬†The response that I got then and still stand by is a few years. ¬†The woman that spoke about this hated her first job. ¬†She truly hated it, but she said that she stuck it out for the first year, and actually found another opportunity from a co worker because she stayed dedicated to the position. ¬†Her ability not to give up really pushed her to a better place. ¬†Furthermore she recommended that if you like your job, stay in it for a few years and see how much you can excel. ¬†Maybe you’ll find that your supervisor will give you more responsibility the longer you are there, meaning more experiences to add to the resume.

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My take away from all of this….. it’s okay to move onward and upward, but I want to take my time now to absorb everything I can at my current job. ¬†I want my resume to reflect a pattern of dedication, growth and creativity. ¬†I can accomplish that right where I am. ¬†At the end of the day, achieving those things now, will make me happier at my job during my daily grind. ¬†No, I don’t plan on going anywhere but it’s good to keep this in the back of my head and remember my drives.

 

Visit this blog site for more info.

#KBK

How Did I Get Here (part 2)

This morning I mustered up the courage to ask a few co workers why they chose me.  Like I had said in Monday’s post, I knew I would be capable of the new job but I had hoped that my now co-workers saw that I those qualities in me.  Well as Monday began my new adventure I decided to ask what I had that they wanted.

Their response: 

While I learned that they did like my background and expeience, I was pretty much hired based on things not indicated on my resume. One co-worker said that they had liked my ability to answer the questions directly. I wasn’t going in circles, but cut to the chase and gave a clear, but detailed answers.  I also received feedback that they enjoyed the initial phone interview with me.  

Hello, give me a job

I had no idea that the few questions they asked me about my application was considered a phone interview.  It was great to get the feedback to learn a little more of what they considered as good interview answers and such.  Turns out, what I thought was just a simple phone conversation was truly my first impression.  My phone interviewer even had me pegged as their favorite candidate. 

My takeaway:

So I really did learn a lot about myself and my interview skills.  I’ve noticed in the last year and a half (where I’ve accepted 3 “big girl” jobs) that those that have hired me have done it based on their ability to detect that I’m moldable.  Meaning they can turn me into a devoted employee to that company.  They have all been completely right thus far.  I still LOVE going to target even after quitting.  And working for a school district makes me point out a school whenever we drive by one.  

Photo credits: Wikipedia
To get to my point I did learn that I have good interviewing skills in terms of showing employers that I’m a hard working dedicated employee. Those are some great qualities.  But I have a lot to learn still because I now have some decent experience in a few areas, but I need to convey that previous experience in the future.  This isn’t a failure this is just something I need to work on if I want to get where I want to be.  

How Did I Get Here?

Today was the first day of a new job for me. While usually the first day is the worst, (because who actually likes walking into a company and having no idea what is going on) today was pretty cool. It’s a great company. I had a bunch of tasks already listed for me to work on. Thus far in my career, I haven’t had that happen.  Typically, I am placed in a position and am either expected or encouraged to just figure out my tasks on my own.  

While it was a great day today I couldn’t help but repeatedly ask myself  how did I get here?  And I didn’t ask myself this in a surreal, holy-crap-I-got-a-job way.  I was trying to understand why they picked me in the hiring process.  The further into the work I got, the more invested I became (already)! At the end of my first day, I was feeling like I had not only accomplished something but made a contribution that will impact my team positively down the road.  That is huge. 

So why was I questioning how I got to where I am? 

If your like me, you’ll understand when I say that I replayed the interview in my head, over and over and over again.  Each time I thought over what I said,  and kept thinking “oh I liked what I said but I should’ve added …..”  When I got the phone call last week about the job offer I nearly flipped out of my seat with excitement.  I had honestly thought that I wasn’t going to get this position.  I felt I provided decent answers to the questions, but nothing spectacular.  I wasn’t any Moses parting the Red Sea.   Apparently, I was wrong.  

With this being said, I think I want to ask one of my interviewers what they thought of me in my interview, and furthermore ask what it was about me that stuck out.  I’ve heard before of my peers getting some good feedback from supervisors at their interviews before, but it has never happened to me. My previous boss simply said “you did fine with our interview” of course I did fine, you hired me! But “fine” doesn’t tell me what employers think of me. If they’re was something that this company liked than there has to be something that the next company will like too. Maybe I can play on the strengths my interviewers saw in me. It’s all about building your career, which takes time. These little wins or pullers, are going to help me in the long run! 

How Everything You Do Can Help Your Career.

So in one of my previous posts I talked about Pushers vs. Pullers.  Click here to learn more.  I mentioned how I want you to create as many pullers for yourself as possible.   A reader of mine brought to my attention that I didn’t exactly tell you all about plowing the way for your future and creating pullers for yourself.  So let me tell you about some of my pullers:

  • After leaving Target, I took a job in Human Resources knowing that it was potentially a temporary position.  I had to take a New York State Civil Service Exam and score within the top three people to keep my job.  I knew I would have about a year in the position before I would discover the results of my test.  So while I of course wanted to keep my job, I worked my butt off for that entire year (partially) assuming that I wouldn’t be keeping my position.
    • Why it is a puller: Even though I didn’t get a high enough score on the test, my supervisor fought for me.  He tried to see if I could keep my job.  Furthermore, he found me a short term position that would give me some work until I found another position. Not to mention, both of my supervisors are great professional references. I figured that if I worked really hard, my supervisors would help me in my next steps after my position ended.   Don’t get me wrong it sucked losing that position, I loved what I did.  I loved it so much that I offered to help train the person that took over my position.  On the other hand, I gained so much from that position.
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Do work like a boss, and like your Boss
  • My sophomore year of college I took a class which studied older adulthood and the Baby boomer generation that was/is entering that stage.  I had the opportunity to take an additional credit through the class by volunteering at the local nursing homes.  I really wanted that extra college credit and I knew I would be helping the local community.  bingoWell, I quickly learned that playing BINGO in the nursing home was fine, I could NEVER (I can’t stress that word enough) work with people in the nursing home.  They were nice people but it is a field or cohort I couldn’t work with.  I didn’t hate it, but it didn’t love it.
    • Why it’s a puller: It taught me what I didn’t want to do in my future.  Instead of devoting time looking into positions in Hospice or with local nursing homes, I stayed well away from that area.  Kudos to those who work in that field, but it is not for me.  Volunteering pulled me to try something completely different from older adults.  Which is how I found an internship with the Career Services center and LOVED (can’t stress that enough either) it.

Take a look at Krystal-Bella’s post here.  Krystal-Bella has an inspiring story of how she is turning something difficult from her life and turns it into a puller by sharing it with others.  Not to mention she works a full-time job and still creates blog and vlog posts all the time.  Her story is a great example of how you can turn anything into a puller.  Krystal-Bella, thank you for sharing! It’s not always what life gives you but how you make life work for you.  

 

 

Resume Writing: You’re Doing it Wrong

I have waited to talk about this topic because it is not the first thing you should be thinking of when applying for a job, going to a career fair, or what have you.  While working in career services in college I saw so many students come in for assistance with their resume.  They often didn’t have a draft at all.  We think the first stage to a career is a resume.  It’s not.  Let’s take a look at a few steps to take in writing a good resume.

  1. In a previous post, I discussed  values.  Acknowledging your values is really the first step to writing a good resume.  If you don’t know what you believe in, or what you enjoy doing, how do you expect to use a resume to build your career?  You first have to have an idea of what experiences you want to get involved in.  If you’ve already written a resume and think you are past this step, you’re not.  In every expeience you encounter, you will find that you can learn about your core values.  Those values will drive you to where you want to be.  A key factor in resume writing is to know yourself and to know what you are all about.  If you are going to sell Tupperware to a consumer you’d want to be sure you know the products you sell, right?  Same principle applies here as well.  You’ll be taking on the task of selling yourself during the application process and at any interview, so it is best that you know who you are and what you value in life.  Some of my values are helping people and being able to have a balance between work and personal time.
  2. A good resume talks about all of the great things that you have done in the last several years.  When I wrote my first resume, I sat there with a  blank word document and thought to myself okay, what have I done with my life?  This is the absolute worst way to create a resume, yet it is how so many of us begin our document.  When we have an experience, such as volunteering or a first job, we should be writing down those experiences on a piece of paper or a “resume template” as I will call it.  A resume template can be very simple, as it is just a list of activities or experiences you have actively participated in.  They don’t have to be really intense or necessarily related to your career, but you have to have participated in them.  Put your resume template in the notes section of your cell phone.  The point to doing this is to have a reference of some kind so that you do not sit with a blank stare asking yourself what you have done in your life.  A good example for me is countless amount of volunteering I did freshman year of college.  It was required in the dorm I lived in, but I never thought to write all of those activities down, like working with children at a local preschool.  Since I value working with people, it probably would have been a GREAT item to remember when writing my resume.
  3. This one gets a little trickier as it begins to get to the core of resume writing.  That resume template I mentioned, let’s add onto it.  When you are at these activities, clubs, jobs, etc. also write down some things that you do there.  Again, this is easiest and works best if you jot them down during the time period that you are working on them.  In my most recent job, my boss asked me one day to conduct an exit interview for an employee as he had to take care of an emergency somewhere else.  He trusted me with the task rather than cancelling on the employee.  I only had to read off a list of questions to the employee and write down their answers verbatim.  It doesn’t mean that my boss trusting me with this task wasn’t important.  It was a perfect example of something to add to the resume template.

With those three key factors now in your head, you can have a much better, goal-oriented resume in mind.  If you have to go back and brainstorm some experiences and what you did there that is fine.  But going forward, get yourself aware of how your experiences can assist in building your resume.  If you recognize that you were able to contribute to a team project big or small, at work or not, write it down.  I promise it will help you when you finally sit down and put your resume together.  Which you are probably dying for me to show you how to do next.  Instead, go ahead and just do a google search of resume templates.  Here is a website I found that is pretty decent.   You’ll notice that resumegenius.com advertises to have a resume in minutes.  They do this because they’re assuming you’ve taken the time to think of your experiences already.  That is why steps 1-3 above are crucial in your writing.

You can find websites like these for free, or just browse some google images of resumes.  Try a google search of “resumes for (blank)”.  Fill in the blank with what kind situation you are in like resume for college/graduate student or resume for work experience.  I can go through and tell you what have learned about writing MY  resume.  You can copy it even, but that doesn’t set you apart from me, that makes you more like me.  In a world of trying to set ourselves apart to get a job and build a career, do you really want to look like me?  I really would hate to tell you that there is the ideal way to write a resume, because that’s such an assembly line approach.  I am happy to answer specific questions you have about your resume/experiences though.

An Interview!

It is always good news when you get a call for an interview. ¬†It brings me to a place I like to call “Cloud Kendra”. ¬†Basically, and all of my friends can testify, I have a huge adrenaline rush making it seem as though I’ve just chugged a RedBull. ¬†I tend to be bouncing off the walls because I am so pumped that someone saw what I had on paper and thought to themselves “who is this girl? ¬†I want to talk to her”. ¬†On the difficult road of submitting application after application it is really awesome to get a call about an interview. ¬†Most of the time, I let an application fly and expect to hear nothing back from the company. ¬†It’s the nature of the beast.

But alas on this day, I got a call for an interview next week with a new company. ¬†It is not with a college campus. ¬†I have applied to numerous college campuses over the last year and a half and I have yet to get work with a college campus. ¬†So I have to branch out. ¬†This summer has proved to be a difficult process in terms of branching out. ¬†I’ve been on quite the narrow road about sticking to only applying to college campuses. ¬†But those jobs are not the most common to come across with my level of education as colleges prefer a candidate with a Master’s degree.

Today, branching out has proven to be a great thing and I am so glad that I decided to apply. ¬†It is a brand new company, and being able to say that I helped launch a new business would be a great accomplishment. ¬† So it is not so much to be bummed out right now that I haven’t gotten an interview for a job on a college campus or my big dream of working in career services. ¬†It more about the fact that these opportunities can come to us without us seeking them out. ¬†Some people might call this “settling”, I don’t. ¬†It’s far from settling in my opinion, it is another chance to prove that I can be great at doing something brand new. ¬†To learn a new trade, to launch a new business and to maybe someday help me become a career counselor….. or maybe not. ¬†The world is at my fingertips and it is at yours too!

It takes time

It takes time to find your place in the world. ¬†I am slowly realizing that as I grow and learn more opportunities that there are out there for me. ¬†This past week I traveled to “The Great New York State Fair”. ¬†Most New Yorkers know that the fair is a big deal for us due to the food, competitions, shows etc. That the fair has to offer. ¬†The NY state fair is known for having themed days for fair goers as well. ¬†I am that person that decided that I wanted to go on SUNY day to learn more about working in higher education. The SUNY system is a higher education organization. ¬† What better place to learn more about my field of interest than a open forum!

So I went to to SUNY (State University of New York) day and sadly did not learn as much about careers in higher education as I’d hoped. ¬†However, I did pick up a few tips about Master’s programs in higher education offered completely online. While I wasn’t looking for that information, I have learned since applying for positions in higher education in the last year that I pretty much NEED a master’s degree in order to advance in the world of higher education.

It is going to take me some time for me to reach my goal of getting into higher education, but as they say (whoever the heck they are) “if you really want it, it’s worth the wait”. My takeaway from visiting the SUNY tent was that I am doing all of the right things to get myself to where I want to be. Sometimes it takes a complete stranger to tell you to “just keep swimming”

Never rule out any chance to network, interview or just talk to someone as it could lead you anywhere.

I always remind myself of where I learned of my dream in higher education and where I someday dream of returning to help others just as they helped me

What they don’t teach you in school

We learned so much from our studies from kindergarten to high school graduation and beyond. ¬†We’ve been provided with a great skill set in the fundamentals to being productive members of society. ¬†But those life skills everyone keeps telling us we need to obtain are more often than not in short supply.

I see no reason to keep the knowledge I learn about pursuing a passion in the career of your choice from the world. With endless possibilities to what we can achieve I refuse to let the challenge of job hunting get in my way.  Why should it get in yours? Join me and see what opportunities await you.