What Being a Waiter Taught me About Customer Service
By Alejandro Zendejas, Customer Service Representative at BSI Financial Services Inc
After I graduated from Georgetown, I had been applying and interviewing for full-time employment while working a summer job for the university as a student security guard. My contract was ending in the beginning of August, and luckily, a friend of mine that worked at a local Mexican restaurant referred me to the management to become a waiter. Despite only doing the job to earn money for survival and to extend my stay in Washington, DC, until I found a full time job, I learned numerous customer service concepts and absorbed fundamental interpersonal skills that helped me land my current job as a Customer Service Representative at a mortgage servicer.
At Georgetown, I decided not to go through a conservative, secure path of obtaining a job in finance, consulting, law, sales, or education through the Career Center. I did not see myself working in any of those locations after graduation because my desire was to attain a job at a non-profit that dealt with foreign affairs and international development as well as the federal government. These positions are extremely difficult to obtain in Washington, DC, since the openings are extremely scarce and the competition is fierce. As I felt my time was running out, I decided to seize the only opportunity available to mostly support myself through the month of August while crashing at my friend’s apartment.
Without any previous background in retail or hospitality, the owners of the restaurant and the management decided to bring me in. I did not know the nuances of waiting tables until I began my training, shadowing veteran servers and practicing carrying the drink tray with one hand. I was reticent, observing my fellow waiters, and asking any question I could think of, whether it seemed stupid, redundant, or ingenious. In my first actual shifts, I made mistakes that irked the kitchen crew; however, the management was receptive and helped me whenever I faltered. The other waiters advised me and provided pointers in improving the quality of my service. When I began to work more shifts, including weekends, the owners’ perception changed after they witnessed my progress and positive reviews began coming in. Ever since then, I would always refer to a more seasoned waiter or the management for all my work concerns. Furthermore, I valued everyone in the restaurant because they took part in my development.
Now, I am in a similar position at my current job. I became hired with the basic idea of what caused our economy to collapse and virtually no knowledge of the mortgage industry. I was educated on laws regulating creditors, absorbed terminology inside the mortgage business, and learned proper phone etiquette when dealing with borrowers. I am still stumbling, but in this job, like waiting tables, one can only excel through repetition. My manager is extremely helpful and my co-workers do not hold back in correcting me. I see myself as a member of a team focused on maintaining borrowers current and assisting them on their homeowner goals. I demonstrate deference to my co-workers because they have been in the business longer.
In all restaurants, a waiter’s principal duty is to be a messenger between the kitchen crew and the customers. If a customer’s order is wrong, the waiter will always bear the brunt of his inattentiveness from the patrons. For that reason, waiters must be active listeners, taking notes and paraphrasing what the customer said to ensure that every detail is remembered. Additionally, a waiter must remain proactive, gathering information to be aware of the situation at the tables. Checking up on your customers once in a while is important because it makes them feel valued. Showing up at your table and asking a simple question such as, “How’s everything going?” without being overbearing will inform you of the actions you need to take to satisfy their present wants. These desires can range from refilling their drinks, to serving more of a complimentary appetizer, and providing recommendations on dishes to order.
In the end, it comes down to effective communication between a representative and a customer. At my job, I apply these skills whenever I receive a call from one of my customers in my pipeline. During a conversation with a customer, I always ask what I can help them with, taking notes while talking, and try to give an answer. On the other hand, I make outbound calls to check on the borrower to see if he is able to make payments, remind him of an upcoming due date, ask if they need any loss mitigation assistance, and request missing documentation. Through iteration, rapport is established, and the flow of information between a server and a customer remains open and honest.
In customer service, multitasking becomes second nature. Waiters are the masters of this skill due to the circumstances of the profession. In a restaurant, waiters need to execute by timing their actions, remember the serving process, and handle the pressure from customers.
Timing is crucial for ensuring a quality dining experience for the patrons. After customers arrive and are seated, few minutes exist that a waiter has to make an introduction and begin serving. Once the waiter introduces himself, he must return with water and an appetizer (depends on the venue) and inquire if the customers are ready to order. As soon as the order is complete, a waiter must instantly register the beverages and entrées correctly and deliver the drinks within a short period of time so the customers have something to sip on while waiting for their meal. Timing forces a waiter to be conscious of when his last activity with the customer was, which will give him space to manage other tables or complete additional tasks.
Alongside timing, remembering the process of taking an order is significant since it allows a systematic progression of tasks. At some restaurants, customers are numbered based on where they are sitting. Waiters must take note of each customer’s number so they can know from which person the ordering should begin. Another aspect of the serving process, which is imperative for waiters, is checking for IDs right after drinks are ordered. Some jurisdictions send undercover cops to penalize restaurants whose staff does not follow the law. Subsequently, handling food and beverages is tantamount to keeping utensils sanitary. When placing drinks and food on the tables, waiters must be cognizant of the way they are holding the plate or the glass. At the end of the meal, waiters should ask if the patrons want anything else, and the answer will lead to a dessert or the check. If the customer wants the check, a waiter should permit the table to see the cost. The instant that the checkbook is placed on a table with the type of payment, the waiter must take heed to special instructions, charge the payment amount, and return the book soon thereafter. Even though the patrons are finished, a waiter cannot take the checkbook until they leave the table. By remembering the nuances of any process, tasks will flow more smoothly.
Lastly, pressure from customers will pervade the restaurant. Every customer wants to be treated like he or she is special. Each one will have different preferences in their orders or requests and varying degrees of patience in receiving what they want. Regardless of the situation, a customer is always right. A waiter must own up to any mistake committed and assure the customer that measures will be taken to remedy it. Customers are constantly a priority, and an excellent waiter will always remember that.
These three items relate to being a customer service representative because a person in this position is the first one a customer will encounter on the phone. When I receive an inbound call, I have to answer the phone within three rings. After answering, I have to verify the borrower and give them the disclosure as mandated by law for debt collectors (even in my outbound calls) as part of the call process. During my phone conversation, I must have the borrower’s account information in front of my screen to be prepared to answer any question that the customer faces. If I need to put the customer on hold in order to do research, I cannot leave him waiting past five minutes. As the conversation reaches its end, I ask if there is anything else, and then, I finish with a thank you. Before going for my next call, I always record the call by writing notes of the important aspects of the conversation. In the event that a borrower cannot reach me, I tell the borrower in our parley to leave a voicemail and give me up to 48 hours to return his call. If a mistake happens, the representative must call and inform the borrower of the error and apologize. A customer service representative is the first line of response in any company, and must be mindful of his behavior and the person on the other side of the line.
Focus on Customer
Nevertheless, customers are people, human beings, just like us with feelings, cravings, and wishes. While being a waiter or a customer service representative, it is imperative to recognize this element in order to build patience. The one thing I have learned in both jobs is that we, as humans, influence others based on our own feelings. If a customer is having a bad day, a representative’s cheerfulness or friendliness can ease any worry. Conversely, some circumstances may be too difficult to overcome such as the fear of losing a home. In that case, you as the representative should demonstrate empathy as the customer tells his story to let him know that you care.
While speaking with any customer, anyone in the service industry must follow the Golden Rule. Treating everyone with the equal and utmost respect as you conduct business will eventually lead your customers to respect you. Your reputation will improve with the person as well as the company’s because you are the face of the company that people see or interact with. By doing an outstanding job and respecting customers, the company’s ratings and reviews improve, which will then cause potential clients to hold the firm in high regard.
Being a waiter checked my pride and curbed my entitlement I had received from graduating from the most prestigious university in DC. It made me realize that everybody has to start somewhere before reaching a desired job. When an opportunity came to interview to be a customer service representative, I decided to try it out just like I did as a waiter. Working in both positions has showered upon me greater appreciation for any individual providing a service to a customer. Notwithstanding that my current job at a mortgage servicer is simply a stepping stone for my career, I have gained negotiation skills, learned how to build trust with people, become more responsive to concerns as well as inquiries, and taken home-ownership knowledge that will help me in my adult life.
“I’ve been meaning to make an appointment, but I forget to call when you’re office is open.”
“Can you help me locate an internship?”
“What is the process to apply for academic credit?”
“Dorsey is so far away!”
At the Career Development Office, we’ve heard you. What is our answer to these questions and remarks? CDO ON THE GO! We are excited to launch this new initiative starting November 4th. Stop by and ask us your CDO questions. Let our Peer Career Advisors help you get on the right track for your job or internship search, learn about our services, discover options for your career path, and much more.
Check out our website for hours and locations http://www.goucher.edu/career-development-office/for-students/meeting-with-the-cdo/cdo-on-the-go
If you are tired of the job search rat race, then stop doing what you are doing. While you are at it, dismiss all the assumptions you’ve made about how jobs get filled. People hire people, not résumés. Let’s debunk your beliefs and myths associated with job searching:
MYTH: You will find your next job by applying online. You may believe that if you apply to enough jobs, you’ll eventually beat the odds and land one. While applying to jobs may make you feel productive, a recent CareerXroads survey shows that only 15 percent of positions were filled through job boards. Most jobs are either filled internally or through referrals. When you spend all your time and energy scoping out jobs and applying, you’re hurting your chances.
So what else should you be doing? Try a combination of things. Successful job seekers use a variety of tactics, such as contacting industry-specific recruiting agencies or third-party recruiters, meeting one-on-one with past colleagues, attending professional association meetings, volunteering and meeting new people every day. If this sounds daunting or almost impossible, remember: More than 70 percent of people land jobs through networking.
MYTH: You should expect to hear a response soon after you apply. After you have taken time to research a company, modify your résumé and go through the application process, you assume you’ll hear something. The reality is you may not hear back from the company. Expect this to be the norm and take proactive steps. Plan to follow up with someone in human resources after you have submitted your application. Ask what the time frame is for filling the job, and then ask if your application was received. Always end every conversation by asking when you should follow up next and with whom. The really eager job seekers will make that call the same day the application is submitted. The less assertive job seekers wait about a week.
MYTH: Your cover letter will always be read in full. You can’t make someone read your cover letter. In reality, some people will never read a cover letter, and others won’t look at your résumé until after reading your cover letter. And there are varying preferences in between. The bottom line is that you should always include a customized cover letter that explains specifically why you are interested in and qualified for the job and shares something about the company to show you are a fit. If you don’t take the time to do this, then why should the company take time to review your qualifications for the job?
MYTH: You should network with human resources. One of the many roles human resources serves is to fill open job requisitions. Often, there are numerous requisitions in the pipeline, and the No. 1 priority is to fill these jobs. Requesting to network with human resources is not in your best interest nor in the best interest of the busy human resources professional. He or she probably doesn’t know about future openings or department-level plans. And and even if he or she did, the advice you get would be to wait until you see something posted.
Invest your time reaching out to peer-level employees inside a company. Learn how these employees landed the job, what the company culture is like and the skills and responsibilities required in the job.
MYTH: The best time to network is after the job has been posted. You see the perfect job posted and believe you’re a match. With great excitement, you reach out to someone inside the company only to get ignored or brushed off. You’re doing the right thing, so why isn’t it working? You’re too late to the party. That job has probably been circulating inside the company for weeks. The person you are contacting may even be in the running for the job.
The best time to network is in advance of job opportunities being posted. In fact, networking after a job has been posted really isn’t networking – it’s tracking down a job. That’s not bad – in fact, it’s recommended – but it’s not truly networking. Start identifying companies you would like to work for, andbegin networking before jobs are posted.
MYTH: You will be granted an interview for every job you apply to. If you’ve purposely submitted a vague or general résumé with the hope that a recruiter will call for more details, think again. Most of the time, you will not receive a call. Recruiters, human resources staff and the hiring manager only call you if you are a good match for the job. If your application and résumé don’t show how you are a perfect match for the job, the recruiter has very little interest in speaking with you.
MYTH: Your references are contacted before or during the interview process. Every company has a different policy regarding reference checking. Seldom will your references get checked while résumés are being reviewed or during the interview process. It costs time and money to verify references, and if there are multiple candidates applying and interviewing, this can be a costly investment.
On the other hand, a quick Internet search can often reveal information, so some recruiters may be checking you out online. Carefully select the people you want to serve as references, and prepare them to provide the most relevant and important details about you.
MYTH: Your résumé is the most important job search tool. It is important to have a well-written résumé. However, how many hours do you spend updating, modifying, tweaking and adapting it? Too many. The numerous hours you spend hiding behind a computer screen means you aren’t spending time on the phone reaching out to people or attending one-on-one networking meetings.
Invest your time wisely. How many people will actually take the time to thoroughly review your résumé and ask you questions about each job you held? Much of the detail you obsess over is irrelevant to hiring professionals or will be overlooked in haste.
Hannah Morgan writes and speaks on career topics and job search trends on her blog Career Sherpa. She co-authored “Social Networking for Business Success,” and has developed and delivered programs to help job seekers understand how to look for work better.
Visit the CDO for walk in hours to amp up your networking skills! M,T,Th,F 2-4pm, W 3-5pm
As the year winds down we are heading into the last week before graduation. Before we know it there will be an entire class of graduates who are looking to begin careers and therefore make connections. Graduating from college can have a multitude of benefits (like a degree and four years worth of education) including the alumni that have also graduated from your college. In most cases, alumni are proud of where they went to school and for both professional and personal reasons are always looking to meet recent graduates or undergraduates who are still attending their Alma mater.
Here at the Career Development Office we have a variety of networks that can help connect you with various alumni. Through LinkedIn you can check out the Goucher Professional Network that can link you to grads, undergrads, and other Goucher community members!
Beyond our resources, here is an article by Levo.com discussing other various ways that you can connect with alumni and why it is so important.
“This post is by Sudy Bharadwaj, a co-founder and the CEO of Jackalope Jobs, a platform that helps job seekers find a job via their social networks. Learn how Bharadwaj and Jackalope Jobs obsess over job seekers by connecting with them on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), the class of 2013 was expected to total 1,744,000 bachelor’s degree graduates. More than one million alums have embarked into the “real world.”
As an alum, you may think “now what?” How can you use your degree, experiences, and passion for your industry to start making real strides? And how can you do so in a difficult job market?
Check out these suggestions to optimize your new alum status:
Utilize your alumni network
Your alumni network can be a powerful resource if you use it properly. Not only do you have a common connection—your alma mater—but there’s also a willingness to help those who have a shared connection. In the same light, referrals are often linked as the number one source of hire. Pair the two together and the chance of landing the job of your dreams skyrockets.
Tip: Don’t use your network solely when you need something. Cultivate and maintain your relationships. Show what you can offer so they come to you. No one likes a leech; don’t become one just because you are starting your job search.
Create and maintain an online image
I know you’ve heard it before, but it begs repeating: Your online presence and your reputation are so important. Most employers use the internet as a screening method. In fact, one in 10 young job seekers were rejected because of their social media channels. If you have pictures from your party days or continuously post information that may offend certain audiences, you may be put in the “no” pile.
Tip: When you start looking for jobs, think about what an organization would like to see. Does the content you present align with their messaging? This may mean posting industry news or showcasing your knowledge for the space. You might also consider having a personal website—according to Forbes 56 percent of all hiring managers are more impressed by a candidate’s personal website than any other personal branding tool. This can help an organization to see why you’d be a great fit.
Look into postgraduate internship positions
An internship or an ambassador program may not be your ideal post-college job. After all, you may have thought those days were behind you. However, the fact is it may be your one shot to get into an organization. Studies have shown that candidates have a 70 percent chance of being hired by a company they’ve interned with.
In addition, campus ambassador programs, such as the ones created by 1 Degree Hire, allow new professionals to create content, build their own professional networks, develop their personal brands, and can give them the opportunity to earn commissions. While these jobs may be temporary, there’s no denying the power of an internship or an ambassador program for your future.
Tip: In addition to traditional job searching methods, one of the best ways to find an internship or an ambassador program is through your career center. Even though you’ve graduated, keep looking into it as a resource. Career centers are also typically willing to help those who want to stay connected with their colleges. Take advantage of it.
Go outside the box
Many alums use basic job searching tactics to find work. In today’s competitive market, you have to stand out and be bold. Think about the minimum you can do to land a job—now, triple it.
Although your resume already contains solid content that showcases your experience, adding interesting design elements or creating a video resume can make you a more attractive candidate. Going outside the box may require additional work, but the outcome is typically more rewarding.
Tip: You may be tempted to use a bunch of bells and whistles, but think strategically about the kind of image you want to portray. A cleanly designed resume or a video that addresses why you are a great candidate are both good options. Bribing an employer with boxes of donuts or calling incessantly are not. Be smart and understand what an employer would want to see out of candidate—that is, what will show your value.
Being a college alum in today’s market is tough. However, turning your “now what” question into real, marketable tactics is how you can get past that question and land the job of your dreams.”
Stop by or make an appointment at the CDO to learn more about how to edit, structure, and tailor your resume!
As of today our Grad School 101 week is launching! Our aim is to help all students at Goucher to be able to begin processing the ins and outs of grad school.
Come and attend one of the three events that we will be hosting throughout the coming weeks!
STAND OUT ABOVE THE REST: 10/8, 4:30-6PM, BATZA ROOM
Learn how to make yourself an ideal candidate for the grad school of your choice. Event includes giveaway prizes!
GRAD SCHOOLS AND GAP YEAR PROGRAMS: 10/10, 11:30-1:30, ATH
Meet representatives from programs around the globe!
30 Things to Do for Your Career by 30
For many people, their 20s can be a rich time for personal self-discovery—a period when you’re more willing to take risks and maybe even make mistakes along the way.
But they can also be some of the most formative years for another important facet of life: your career.
When you graduate, you may have an idea of what you want to be when you “grow up,” but you may not have an idea of just how to get there. And while hindsight is 20/20, you don’t want to leave everything to chance—especially if it affects your future earning power.
So we tapped a plethora of career experts and coaches to get their opinions on the top dos—and don’ts—for the younger generation of career builders. Fromnetworking to job-hunting and then wowing your boss once you land the gig, here are 30 savvy moves you should make at each stage of your career before you hit 30.
Top Networking Moves for 20-Somethings
1. Attend as Many Events as Possible
“There’s an unstated expectation that you come to networking events to support people. As a result, there are many people who are more than willing to help perfect strangers find a job, exchange contacts, or give meaningful advice,” says Michael Price, author of What Next? The Millennial’s Guide to Surviving and Thriving in the Real World. “But the key is to meet those people face-to-face.” In other words, get off social media and start making real, human connections because no one can tell how charming you are over email.
2. Set Networking Goals
“Before attending any event, you should have a clear purpose of why you’re going,” says Ricardo Trigueiro, director of international marketing for image and brand development firm CHUVA group. “Is it to meet as many people as possible to build your contact list? Or is it to meet a particular person?” Then make sure to accomplish your goal before the event is over.
3. Order Business Cards
It may seem old school, but it’s still simpler to hand people a card as opposed to hovering over them as they input your info into a cell phone. Plus, you can’t hand your resume to everyone you meet, but you can leave a card behind without seeming overbearing, adds Kathy Condon, author of Face-to-Face Networking: It’s All About Communication. Exchanging cards with an important contact will then allow you to follow up with a resume later.
If you don’t have an existing business card, you can create a simple one for yourself that includes your name, address, phone number, and email, along with links to any relevant business sites, like a LinkedIn account or a personal website that displays your work or portfolio. A stack of cards won’t cost much, either. Online print shops, like Vistaprint and Moo, offer options in the $10 to $25 range.
4. Use a Contacts Manager App
The new people you meet can easily get lost amid the hundreds of contacts you log into your email address book and various social networking accounts. But using apps like Rapportive or Connect6º PeopleDiscovery can help you note identifying details—e.g., the CEO who loves Coldplay—to jog your memory, and give you something to chat about the next time you meet.
5. Craft the Perfect Reply to “What Do You Do?”
It may sound like a no-brainer, but you want to tell someone about your job in a way that encourages conversation as opposed to shutting it down, says Trigueiro. If you’re Trigueiro, the obvious answer for what he does is: “I am an image consultant.” But he prefers something more like: “I help professionals enhance their visibility, image, and performance in the workplace.” The latter is a better way to pique curiosity and open a dialogue.
6. Follow Up—and Mean It
“When you meet people, let them know how you plan to follow up, either by connecting on LinkedIn, emailing, or calling about scheduling a lunch,” says Trigueiro, adding that you should then do what you promise in a timely manner. “Lack of follow-up is not good business.”
Top Job-Hunting Moves for 20-Somethings
7. Delete Eyebrow-Raising Online Pics
Employers are likely to check out social media when researching prospective candidates, so your online presence on every account—whether that’s Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook—should be professional, says Parker Geiger, CEO of the CHUVA group. “That means no photos showing you drinking with friends on the beach or couple shots.”
If you can’t quite bring yourself to delete those old spring break albums, at least make sure your privacy settings are at their tightest. That said, once something is on the internet, there are no guarantees that those “It’s all in good fun” photos won’t surface somehow.
8. Create Resume “Extensions”
“If you want to stand out from the competition, listing your extracurricular activities on a piece of paper is no longer enough,” Geiger says. For example, adding your Habitat for Humanity volunteer work to your resume doesn’t bring the experience to life. Instead, post pictures of yourself working on the house on LinkedIn or brief videos of you working with other volunteers on YouTube. You can also add these as links within your resume in Word, PDF format, or on a personal career website.
9. Play the Job Field
While it’s tempting to focus on one cool company you’re dying to get into, “be strategic and interview with numerous companies at the same time,” says Matt Mickiewicz, CEO and co-founder of job-placement startup Hired.
This also means not accepting the first offer that comes along. In fact, juggling numerous opportunities is the best way to make yourself more appealing to hiring managers. “Then you can be upfront about the fact that you have choices,” Mickiewicz says, “because once a company has made you an offer, the last thing it wants is to see you walk out the door.”
Top Interviewing Moves for 20-Somethings
10. Kill the Receptionist With Kindness
“That person probably has more pull in the office than you think,” says Rosalinda Randall, author of Don’t Burp in the Boardroom: Your Guide to Handling Uncommonly Common Workplace Dilemmas. Being rude to your future bosses’ gatekeepers might burn bridges—and your chances at getting the gig.
11. Come Armed With Questions
“The key to interviewing and landing a job is to interview the interviewer,” says Price. After all, you’re on as much of a fact-finding mission as they are, so gather as many clues about the company’s culture and job expectations as possible. “Strong questions also let the interviewer know how you think and how intellectual you are,” Price says. “Think of it as a game of mental chess. They may not admit it, but they secretly want you to stump them.”
12. Master the Handshake
Here’s a hint: It shouldn’t be weak and clammy. “Do not underestimate the importance of a firm, dry, eyeball-to-eyeball handshake,” says Karen Elizaga, an executive coach and author of Find Your Sweet Spot: A Guide to Personal and Professional Excellence. “I hear from so many top executives that a less-than-stellar handshake makes them nuts.”
Top Skill-Building Moves for 20-Somethings
13. Sell Something
Even if you never go into selling full-time, holding a sales position at some point in your career can teach you valuable life lessons. Kate McKeon, CEO of Prepwise, a test-prep and career-coaching firm, even suggests trying out a commission-only job to get the full experience. “It’s brutal to get rejected over and over, but you’ll learn to persevere—and you’ll figure out how to be successful,” McKeon says.
Besides, whether or not you realize it, you’re actually selling all the time. “You have to sell yourself to companies to get jobs—and peers and bosses to earn their respect and promotions,” she says. “Selling is all around us.”
14. Take an Improv Class
“It can develop your ability to listen more carefully, build on the ideas of others, solve problems creatively, and get comfortable with risk—and even failure,” says Milo Shapiro, author of Public Speaking: Get A’s, Not Zzzzzz’s!. “My improv years did as much to help me with my corporate job as my college training,” Shapiro says.
15. Mind Your (Table) Manners
“Many meetings take place over fine lunches and dinners, so it’s important to know the basics,” Elizaga says. Learn how to order graciously, which fork and knife to use, and bread plate etiquette. “Your comfort with the basics will ease nerves, as well as make you look polished,” she says. “If you don’t have these skills, it will stick out—and possibly be a negative in terms of interfacing with clients or employers.”
16. Learn Basic HTML
Millennials get a lot of credit for being “digital natives,” but knowing merely how to browse the web, send email, use Twitter, and upload videos doesn’t really mean much these days, says Aaron Black, assistant professor of management and business administration at Missouri Baptist University. “You don’t have to know how to write software or create a website from HTML, but you need to know enough to understand how programming works so you’re ahead of the curve.”
17. Get Out of the Country
Spending time abroad—even if it’s just personal travels—is good experience to have in an increasingly global economy. “When I speak to my 30-something friends, nearly all of them say they wish they had traveled before launching their professional careers,” says Chaz Pitts-Kyser, author of Careeranista: The Woman’s Guide to Success After College. “Through travel, you can gain an amazingly broad view of the world—and maybe even find new career opportunities.”
18. Adopt a Cause You Believe In
“[Volunteering] can help show trust and value to potential employers,” says Geiger, adding that it illustrates you care about something deeper than the daily grind. But don’t just team up with a nonprofit to meet people or because it looks good on your resume. “Join one to help others first,” he says, “and make connections second.”
19. Be Willing to Invest in Yourself
Your career is your biggest asset, so it will require some financial investment, says Eddy Ricci Jr., author of The Growth Game: A Millennial’s Guide to Professional Development. “Don’t be afraid to invest in a library of self-help career books, lunches and dinners with influential people, and ongoing courses to build a career bedrock.”
Top On-the-Job Moves for 20-Somethings
20. Steer Clear of Office Gossip
This is especially sage advice during the first six months at a new job, says Louise Jackson, a career coach in Ann Arbor, MI. “Be quick to work hard, but slow to form alliances with co-workers,” she says. “Watch and listen for how stakes fall politically—the last thing you need is to be aligned with someone who is on their way out.”
21. Laugh at the Boss’ Jokes
Along those same political lines, you’re not going to love everyone you work with—and you’ll just have to deal. Of course, you don’t want to be the office kiss-up, “but bosses like to have their egos stroked,” says Dr. Lorenzo G. Flores, author ofExecutive Career Advancement: How to Understand the Politics of Promotion. “Plus, laughing at jokes is great for bonding and relationship-building.”
22. Make Friends in High Places
Sure, senior executives can seem intimidating if you’re just starting out, but they’re the ones you can learn the most from, says Fred Cook, author of Improvise: Unconventional Career Advice from an Unlikely CEO. “Stalk them in the hallways—without being creepy—seek them out at events, ask them smart questions, and never be afraid to ask for their help.” You never know when that high-powered exec might be willing to act as a mentor or sponsor.
23. Know When to Keep Quiet
We hate to break it to you, but you don’t know everything—and you shouldn’t be quick to yammer away at the wrong time. If you’re in a meeting, take notes for questions you can raise later. If you’re in a conversation, listen for the meaning between the words, and don’t be too quick to interrupt.
“There are times to assert your opinions, and times when it’s better to shut up,” Cook says. “People who are just starting their careers need to learn everything they can about their business, their clients, and their co-workers. And when you’re talking, you don’t learn anything.”
24. Test Your Comfort Zone
“Volunteer for the project that you don’t think you can do,” says Stacia Pierce, a life coach and the CEO of Ultimate Lifestyle Enterprises. “With your back against the wall, you’ll discover creative ways of accomplishing your goals and force yourself to learn a lot with limited time.” Plus, succeeding against the odds will make others take note of your tenacity, ingenuity, and drive—and that may earn you a much-deserved promotion.
25. Go Ahead—Break Bad News to Your Boss
It may be tempting to hide in your cubicle to avoid the aftermath of a mistake in the workplace, but it rarely works out in your favor. Proactiveness and communication are key for career success, says Elene Cafasso, executive coach for Enerpace, Inc. Bottom line: Knowing how to deal with the good and the bad is a sign of maturity.
26. Keep an Outside-Work-Hours Side Job
Not everyone can land their dream position at 22, so it’s great to keep your passions alive through side gigs—whether they’re hobbies that could eventually make money or income-generating businesses right off the bat. “Considering young professionals can likely count on having periods of unemployment throughout their careers, having a part-time gig to fall back on is crucial,” says Pitts-Kyser. Bonus: You might even learn a skill or two that you can translate into your 9-to-5 job.
Top Salary-Boosting Moves for 20-Somethings
27. Research Your Income Bracket
“Before you ever provide your salary expectations or accept a job offer, do your homework to make sure you’re not asking for too much or too little,” Price says, adding that you can do this by checking out sites like Salary.com or Payscale.com. “These are the same services that employers use to determine your salary.”
28. Speak Up
The most important thing you can do as you’re climbing the career ladder is to learn how to advocate for yourself, says Elizaga, whether you want to ask for a raise or a promotion, or join a team on an important project. “The more you practice or actually do these asks early on, the more comfortable you’ll get—and the more you’ll be able to earn for yourself over time,” she says. “You’ll [advocate for yourself] numerous times in your career, so it’s best to get accustomed to it now.”
29. Tout Your Accomplishments
“If you want a raise or promotion, you need to show your boss why you deserve it,” says Barry Maher, author of Filling the Glass: The Skeptic’s Guide to Positive Thinking in Business. “If you can assign a dollar value for how much the accomplishments on that list have earned or saved the company—even better.” Numbers don’t lie.
30. Write Yourself a “Future” Acceptance Letter and Salary Offer
“Focusing on [that dream offer] daily will help you attract what you want,” says Pierce. Hey, if visualizing your goals worked for Hollywood funny man Jim Carrey, why can’t it work for you?
Sourced from The Muse (https://www.themuse.com/advice/30-things-to-do-for-your-career-by-30)
Sourced from Socially Stacked (http://www.sociallystacked.com/2014/04/if-your-linkedin-profile-doesnt-have-these-17-things-you-wont-get-that-job/#sthash.P6HQjUqy.dpbs)
Use these tips to make the most out of LinkedIn!
Sourced from Top Dog Social Media (http://topdogsocialmedia.com/social-media-tasks-checklist/)
10 Words to Never, Ever Use to Describe Yourself
Consider the word “charismatic.” If someone called me charismatic, I would be incredibly flattered (and hugely surprised.) But if I called myself charismatic, you would think I’m a jerk—and rightly so.
Here are 10 more words that are awesome when used by others to describe you, but you should never use to describe yourself.
Take it from Adam Grant, an expert on the subject of giving and taking. Generosity is in the eye of the beholder.
“Generosity is earned, not claimed,” he writes. “Leave it to other people to describe you as a giver—that’s the highest form of praise.”
The most generous people I know give without fanfare and without seeking accolades. Their giving is so far under the radar it’s subterranean. And they don’t consider themselves to be generous since they’re always thinking they could do more.
All of us can be more generous than we are. While relative to what others give you might be more generous than most, if that’s the case let other people describe you that way.
After all, true generosity is often found in people who are also…
I like to think I’m humble. (Maybe I am, at least compared to this guy.)
But I’m really not.
Case in point. Last week, I showed two different people, totally unprompted, a photo of me with Mark Cuban at GrowCo. (I took a photo of Mark with someone else that was actually worthy of comment.) Sure, meeting Mark was cool, but showing off the photo was definitely a d— move. (Yep, I’ve still got a lot of growing up to do.)
Truly humble people don’t call themselves humble, if only because they’re too humble to ever say it.
Every remarkably focused person I know readily admits they struggle to stay disciplined. Why? It’s hard to stay on track. It’s hard not to go off on tangents. It’s hard not to give in and, to use a football expression, take a few plays off.
So you worked really hard and stayed on-task today. Big deal. So you resisted temptation today. Big deal. Do that for days, for weeks, for months—then come talk to us.
Self-disciplined people constantly struggle with self-discipline because they’re trying incredibly hard to stay disciplined. That’s why they are the last people to describe themselves as self-disciplined—they know it’s a challenge that must be met each and every day.
I’ve written about this before, and it’s still true. Passion is never claimed. Passion isdisplayed. Plus it’s really easy to sound over the top; claim you’re passionate about, oh, designing functional workspaces and you sound just a bit hyperbolic.
Here’s a better option. Save your passion for your loved one. That person truly deserves it.
I’ve never met anyone who claimed to be witty who didn’t also turn out to be insufferable.
You may, in fact, be witty. Some people are. This guy is. But you’ll never hear him claim he’s witty; he’s too busy developing even more great material.
And if he doesn’t call himself witty (or hilarious or entertaining or funny), then neither should you.
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of others.
That’s great but also almost worthless unless you do something with those shared feelings: offer support, offer help, offer guidance, offer tough love, and the like. Feeling empathetic is fine, but what you do with that feeling makes all the difference for the other person.
Claiming you’re empathetic turns a feeling that should be all about another person into a description that’s all about you—which, of course, is completely not the point.
Everyone’s afraid. If my ex-Navy SEAL pal Jeff Boss can admit to having been scared—hey, we’ve all been afraid. Besides, courage isn’t the absence of fear. Courage is doing what you need to do in spite of fear.
So don’t say you’re fearless. You’re not. Brave? In certain circumstances, maybe. Courageous? Possibly so. But fearless?
Maybe it’s just me, but I read “straightforward” and it sounds similar to starting a sentence using, “With all due respect…” Straightforward is usually a code word for rude, abrasive, disrespectful, or impolite.
Be straightforward all you want. We’ll assess your level of candor by what you say, not by what you call yourself.
I hate to whip out a cliché, but the only constant is change. Nothing—no industry, no market, no job, no, um, nothing—stays the same. We all have to be adaptable.
Like Chris Rock says, never take credit for things you’re supposed to be.
Self-reliance is a good thing. The ability to take care of yourself, to function without too much help or assistance, is a good thing.
But that’s now how most people use the word. Most people describe themselves as independent as a way to cover for being terrible team players, or for not knowing how to follow as well as to lead, or even as an excuse for not playing well in sandboxes.
After all, “It’s not that I don’t get along with other people. I’m just independent!”
Sure you are.
Sourced from The Muse (https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-words-to-never-ever-use-to-describe-yourself)
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