1. What is the most important piece of advice you can give someone seeking a new career opportunity? Put yourself in the hiring manager's shoes. It's all about them! They will make decisions according to your manner of speech, attitude, mannerisms, overall image (how you will represent them to the world), energy (positive, negative, high, low) and amount of enthusiasm (or lack thereof). Do you sound positive, tired, enthusiastic, effective, confident? You want to show you have the kind of drive, work ethic and sense of urgency that will provide the best outcomes and services. These are all qualities that can make people become raving fans of yours!
2. The younger generation, in particular, has been told by professors that appearance and outer image are not all that important. Does that immediate impression really make that much difference? That first impression is made in as little as seven seconds and some people will actually make judgments on a person's self-image, outlook on life, moral character, economic and educational levels, trustworthiness, social position, and even their future success. Is that fair? No. Does it happen? Yes. We have about twenty seconds to get the gist of our message (including who we are and how serious we are about the job) across the other person before they make a judgment as to whether they want to continue the conversation or move on. A messy appearance or revealing clothing invariably sends a negative message. We always want to leave with the kind of positive impression that will prompt them to call us back again.
3. What suggestions can you give someone who wants to switch career fields? They need to market themselves as a "skills merchant." What I mean by that is show themselves as a "package of skills" that can be transferred to the position you want. For example, when I was in staffing, a farmer came in seeking to get out of farming and into a business environment. He asked if there was any way possible to accomplish that due to the type of work he came from. I began questioning his work experience by stating examples of the type of work he must have done over the years, which included bookkeeping, inventory, ordering supplies, selling stock, negotiating fees and services, and time management and computer skills. We were able to create an effective resume showing all of the qualifications that could be transferred to a new career. Research companies and types of jobs that you want and then see how many skills you can transfer. Your drive, enthusiasm and creativity in problem-solving can often make up for what technical skills you may be lacking. You will need to show them you do have the majority of skills and initiative necessary as you begin acquiring the expertise you need to complete the list of qualifications. Remember any work you did as a volunteer can also apply. This includes how good you were at raising funds or recruiting volunteers. A positive, can-do attitude is critical. We can always teach someone new skills but it's hard to teach someone how to have the right attitude!
4. Social media is all the rage and people are networking all over the world. What are some of the pro's and con's to someone's career that you've seen happen because of social media? We are often judged by our actions "off" the job as well as on. Jobs (and clients) are gained and lost through social media sites. Prospective employers look at LinkedIn, Facebook and other sites to see what the person's profile says and what kind of pictures they have posted. Time and time again, someone has been a strong candidate for a position until the employer looked at too many negative comments or photos on someone's page. One young and talented woman was just about to be offered a promising career when a human resources manager saw her photo of a beer bottle stuck into a low-cut blouse. The company backed out. Others have been fired once word got out to management that this person made a bad representation through inappropriate comments or photos. On the other hand, when a person connects with individuals or groups from other companies on LinkedIn, they can build up a reputation for being a sharp business person. This is done by answering, or asking, questions related to their industry. Showing your knowledge and expertise through the discussions adds value and credibility.
5. What would you tell someone who has become so frustrated with not being able to land the type of career they really want? Hang in there. If it is something that you think about often and it won't go away, keep the fires burning inside. It is probably your life's passion. The most successful people in this world have failed time and time again…some in gigantic ways…and then succeeded to obtain their dream because they learned from their mistakes and then continued to the finish line, making all the adjustments necessary to get there.
6. How important are communication skills in how someone presents themselves? Extremely important. In my Marketing Yourself for Success programs, we discuss all the ways that verbal and non-verbal signals can make or break a career opportunity. Positive signals increase sales and chances for upward mobility. They make us more approachable and believable. Negatives signals repel, cause one to appear ineffective or not truthful. Grooming is also a large part of our non-verbal communication and if it is not good, causes one to appear to have a lack of attention to detail or says they are not serious about representing a company in the manner in which they want to be represented.
7. How does one's self-image affect his or her career? The most important thing a person can wear is confidence and the biggest determining factor in how someone treats us is our opinion of ourselves. What we believe to be true about ourselves determines how we act and react to life and what kind of treatment we will accept. Comments made to us from family, teachers or others can often affect us the rest of our lives. We must remember that NO one's opinion or negative comment has the right to determine our worth or where we can go in life. God made us in His image. There is nothing more powerful than that! That's the bottom line!!
This article was written by Rita Rocker. To get more great advice from Diva Toolbox Media Diva Rita Rocker, visit her website at: http://www.transformationacademy.com