• Hiring for commission-based roles: What to consider

    March 15, 2018 by

     

    If you are hiring for commission-based roles, you have probably encountered misconceptions about commission-based employment, especially among entry-level candidates. Good candidates for these roles possess different characteristics than those who you might consider for a non-commission role. Here I get into how to address those misconceptions, how to identify great candidates and how to set new hires up for success in a commission-based role. Continue Reading

  • 10 ways employers can turn struggling new hires into rock star employees [infographic]

    June 22, 2017 by

    Performance improvement tips for entry-level employees

    It’s a rewarding feeling for employers, HR professionals, and recruiters to attract that rock star entry-level employee. But it’s also as equally deflating when that recent college grad or other new hire isn’t working out. Many questions arise. Why isn’t this entry-level employee working out? What went wrong? There could be many reasons – a poor onboarding program, communication gaps, unidentified skills gaps, or a culture clash could be among the many potential reasons new employees struggle.

    But before an employer considers terminating a struggling new hire – resulting in a costly hiring mistake – there are a number of steps that should take place, to help this entry-level employee improve, and eventually, make an impact. Continue Reading

  • Summer intern onboarding: Good and bad practices

    May 15, 2017 by

     

    Onboarding should be a positive and productive experience for interns. When you build a successful onboarding program, you benefit in the short-term with satisfied interns who will give their all, and you also benefit in the long-term when your best interns convert to full-time employees.

    We wanted to bring forth some best practices and common mistakes for onboarding summer interns, so we checked in with our friend Saïd Radhouani, Ph.D., Co-founder of Nextal, a collaborative applicant tracking system. Radhouani, who holds a double Ph.D. in Management and Computer Science, has built teams from scratch and put in place strategies to serve some of the largest web and mobile properties in Canada. We also gathered insight from Wes Higby, President of Full City Tech Co, where he consults in employee development and other services.

    8 essential elements to successfully onboard your interns

    These seven steps will help you set up your interns for success:

    • Onboarding doesn’t start on the first day. Interns should begin onboarding before that, especially for interns who accept the position months before they graduate and begin your program. It is your responsibility to make a great first impression and show interns that your company is a good place to work, and that they will be given an opportunity to grow and succeed. Consider assigning each intern to a peer advisor who meets with them before they start. Consider inviting them to holiday parties, community service activities, and other office events where they can meet their future co-workers. At the very least, before your interns arrive, they should already understand your organization’s history, vision, and mission. Another excellent way to start off right is to ensure administrative paperwork is done before the first day, instead of boring your interns to death on their first day.
    • Welcome your interns authenticallyGive them a personal and warm welcome. It is very important to schedule a real moment for your new interns to be personally welcomed. Interns lack experience and might need special treatment in the beginning to facilitate their transition into a professional environment. Their first day’s experience can have a big impact on their integration within the work environment. Set up their workspace and equipment so that area is clean and ready to go. All technology (computer, phones, passwords) should be set up properly and working.
    • Organize a site visit for them. Give office staff notice beforehand so they can be present and introduce themselves. This will give them a taste for your organizational culture and the business background. The more people they connect with, the more they will feel included in the day to day life of your organization.
    • Introduce them to their own team. They need to know right away who they will be working with. This will lay the foundation for their sense of belonging. Don’t underestimate the importance of this–your interns who feel connected, safe and included from the beginning will be likely to identify with the higher organizational needs.
    • Appoint both a manager and a mentor. While the manager will manage the work of the intern and ensure projects stay on focus, the mentor will have a role of a facilitator. The mentor will be in charge of providing any information (not necessarily related to the intern’s project) that will help the intern in their role.
    • Clarify expectations. The manager has to clarify expectations from both sides: what the intern is expecting to get from the internship, and what the manager is expecting to get from the intern. To do so, it’s very important to provide a real work assignment and define the success criteria. Remember that college students are used to seeing a syllabus for each of their courses. Consider creating a work plan that explains the focus and goals of each week during the internship program. And go ahead and call it a syllabus.
    • Assign challenging and relevant work. Allowing to your intern to work on challenging and relevant tasks that are recognized by your company is one of the best ways to ensure the success of the internship. Once the work assignment has been done, the intern should be given the necessary documents and tools to allow them to get the necessary information. Ideally, the manager or the mentor should provide a reference checklist that the intern can follow to make sure that they are getting all what they need.

    Read concrete tips and big ideas in our white paper, “How You Should Tweak Your Summer Internship Program”

    • Define a communication plan. The manager should define the communication plan with the intern. For example, an intern might be expected to send a written report to their manager at the end of each week. This will not only help the intern to improve their communication skills, but it will help move projects along by documenting progress. Also, this would raise red flags if they hit a roadblock. Some interns are required to write a paper for college credit at the end of the internship program. If that’s the case, they will have a lot of materials from their weekly communication.

    Intern onboarding gone wrong: Common mistakes employers make

    These are five onboarding mistakes that employers often make.

    • Don't support everyone with the same broad brushDon’t treat everybody the same. It’s important to have a process or checklist, but just be careful not to standardize it too much. Tailor the plan to the candidates you’re hiring. If new hires have accolades in sales, for example, don’t put them through a sales training program. Your college talent is now made up of Gen Z, and above all else, they demand authenticity and expect personalization.

    Watch College Recruiter’s Steven Rothberg present “New Strategies to Engage Gen Z and Other Modern Candidates”

    • Don’t make interns wait for benefits. There’s nothing to gain by withholding vacation days, health care, etc. Putting interns through a waiting period will make them see you as a cheapskate and can create mistrust. If you don’t trust new employees enough to give them benefits on day one, why are you hiring them?
    • Don’t give unclear expectations. If you throw them to the wolves without ensuring everyone is on the same page, you will find that they don’t perform up to your expectations. This seems like a no brainer but many interns have this exact experience.
    • Don’t exclude interns from the process of designing their training. Don’t just train them by talking at them. Take advantage of that training period to learn what motivates them and where they want to grow. This will engage them and you will discover ways to get the most out of them this summer.
    • Don’t assume you have nothing to learn from your interns. Learning is not a one-way street. There are plenty of interns who have skills that you do not. Learn from them not only to benefit your own development but to increase their sense of inclusion and value.

    Signs the internship is going well

    According to Radhouani, two things will tell you whether things are on the right track. “Clear communication and measurable progress.”

    Another good indicator is how well the intern has integrated within the team. During the weekly meetings with the manager, it should be clear how much progress they are making toward their goals and how they are working with their team. If you successful onboard your interns, then they will have clear objectives and all the necessary information to exceed expectations.

  • Onboarding new employees starts before first day on job

    May 02, 2017 by

     

    A new employee who is not onboarded the right way is going to have difficulty finding a sense of belonging inside an organization, says Scott Redfearn, executive vice president of global HR at Protiviti, a global business consulting and internal audit firm.

    “Employees who don’t have a meaningful career experience aren’t going to last, and they will not perform to their full potential,” says Redfearn. Continue Reading

  • The do’s and don’ts of recruiting summer interns

    February 15, 2017 by

     

    Recruiting interns requires being strategic. Here are a few ideas.

    The competition for talent ranks as one of the biggest challenges with recruiting interns.  Whether contending with large corporations that have more established programs, or smaller businesses with better compensation and perks, companies are only successful in the long term with an effective recruitment strategy and strong employment brand.

    Developing the right recruitment strategy and implementing it on a consistent basis is critical.  Here are a few ways to become more strategic:

    • Host focus groups to learn how students perceive your employment brand, and what they are looking for in a potential employer
    • Encourage former or current interns to become ambassadors to further your reach on campus
    • Build and foster your school relationships, letting them know you’re open to new and unique opportunities to connect with students
    • Focus recruitment efforts in the fall. Your competition is probably recruiting interns to snap up top talent in January so it benefits you to start early.
    • Maintain a consistent message across all functions that are recruiting interns on campus, making sure what’s communicated aligns back to the larger organization.
    • Play up the positives of your company, being transparent about what a student may not feel is a benefit (students can see right through an inauthentic or generic message).
    • Increase your candidate pool and save on cost through virtual career fairs, info sessions, and video interviews.
    • Recruitment platforms, talent communities and niche job boards can help pinpoint candidates who you wish to hire.

    Dig into a few pools that you might be missing.

    Companies can broaden their candidate base through the use of talent communities and social media platforms.  A company’s own careers page can let students opt-in to receive notices about internship openings or related company news.  Social media platforms make recruiting interns easier by targeting and connecting with certain student populations (ex. HBCUs, STEM, MBA) through advanced filters and virtual presentations. Continue Reading

  • Why recent college grads shouldn’t overlook manufacturing industry careers

    November 01, 2016 by
    Photo courtesy of stockunlimited.com

    Photo courtesy of stockunlimited.com

    Seeking a career in manufacturing? Recent college grads should be sure to know this:

    Manufacturing today is not your grandparent’s manufacturing. Take a job at a door and window company. Saying one works at a door and window company may not sound cool. But saying one works at an industry leader that has more than 75 active patents, is constantly developing new products, and creating new composite materials while using Smart Home sensors to revolutionize the door and window company – now that sounds cool. The company doing just that is Andersen Corporation, an international window and door manufacturing enterprise employing more than 10,000 people at more than 20 locations, with headquarters near St. Paul, MN.

    “The misconception that we hear most often is that there is nothing cool and innovative about doors and windows,” says Jennifer Swenson, Talent Acquisition Lead at Andersen Corporation.

    At the core, recent college grads may view manufacturing careers as factory jobs – partially thanks to old stereotypes bestowed by parents and grandparents. But look closer and dig deeper – and recent college grads will find opportunities with innovative companies using cutting edge technology, engineering, and research and development to manufacture the next big thing.

    The manufacturing industry allows recent college graduates to pursue “innovative, creative, and hands-on careers developing, testing, and reinventing products using the latest technologies and environmental and sustainability best practices,” says Swenson.

    Jobs to be filled

    There are roughly 600,000 unfilled manufacturing job openings in the United States and employers are demanding highly skilled workers in order to meet their needs, according to Manpower’s Future of the Manufacturing Workforce report.

    “We are at a turning point in the manufacturing workforce environment in North America,” says Tom Davenport, author of the report. “There are major changes underway in the demand and supply for manufacturing workers – many driven by new technologies that will require new strategies and tactics for both companies and employees.”

    Employers such as Andersen are seeking recent college grads and entry-level employees with these backgrounds:

    • Engineering: Chemical, mechanical, manufacturing, industrial, material science, plastics, electrical, environmental
    • Supply chain: Logistics, operations, sourcing, finance and accounting, IT, marketing, sales, human resources
    • Talent acquisition: staffing, generalist, learning and development, HRIT, communications, safety, sustainability, disabilities management, facilities, customer service, administrative support

    According to Manpower’s Future of the Manufacturing Workforce report, employers also need skilled workers in roles that require extensive training such as machinists, operators, craft workers, distributors, and technicians. The industry also faces a generational skills gap as existing employees are nearing retirement age, creating an even greater demand for workers, especially those with engineering and IT backgrounds, says Swenson.

    To fill those gaps, employers like Andersen are working hard to connect with job seekers at colleges and universities across the country. Campus recruiting is crucial in the manufacturing and current college students should pay close attention to campus recruiting fairs to find out when they can connect with manufacturers.

    When searching for internships in the manufacturing industry, be sure to research the company before applying, or meeting at a campus recruiting event. Prepare in advance to secure an internship with a manufacturing company.

    “Our interns are a true pipeline of talent for full-time positions as interns have the first opportunity to interview for any open opportunities before they leave at the end of the summer,” says Swenson. “We have converted a number of interns into full-time roles over the last few years.  In addition to meeting students at campus events, we begin our interview process on campus, and then invite our top candidates for additional interviews on site, as well as to tour our facilities.”

    Soft skills important

    Recent college grads must also have the soft skills employers seek. Those include communication, collaboration, leadership, curiosity, drive, determination, problem solving, and the ability to build relationships, says Swenson.

    Women in Manufacturing

    Careers in manufacturing provide wonderful opportunities for women, and employers and organizations are working hard to promote these opportunities. Women in Manufacturing is a more than 500-member-strong non-profit national association dedicated to supporting, promoting and inspiring women pursuing or working in a career in the manufacturing industry. Manufacturing Day is a nationally recognized event that is designed to expand knowledge and improve the general public perception of manufacturing careers, including those for women.

    “There are a wide variety of rewarding roles both directly in the manufacturing environment and supporting manufacturing that can be attractive to women,” says Swenson. “Being a part of a team that creates a tangible product that enhances the beauty and energy efficiency of people’s homes is very rewarding for the window and door industry in particular. IT, engineering, sales, marketing, and many other opportunities exist at manufacturing companies just like they do at service and retail organizations. I would encourage women to think outside the traditional stereotype of manufacturing and realize that there are many ways to contribute to a manufacturing company’s success.”

    Andersen also partners with organizations like the Society of Women Engineers to share the story of the company, as well as the stories of the number of women leaders in all areas at Andersen.

    “It is important for us to continue the conversation about women in manufacturing, as well as celebrate and share the success of women in this industry so students see beyond the stereotype,” says Swenson.

    When searching for opportunities in manufacturing, recent college grads should look for employers who provide training and growth opportunities. Andersen provides a number of career development programs for recent college grads that focus on research, development and innovation, operations, logistics, sales leadership, sales development, product manufacturing, lean/six sigma, and much more. Anderson also offer new college grads an opportunity to connect with other young Andersen professionals as they onboard into the company through the Andersen Young Professionals Network’s (AYPN), which helps support and help young employees grow by providing additional opportunities to engage cross functionally, learn developmental skills, and build relationships.

    Top manufacturing employers understand the need to stay on top of recruiting trends to attract top talent.

    “In order to continue to be the leader in our industry for over 110 years, we are constantly being innovative and staying competitive in our market place,” says Swenson.

    Recent college grads can find many exciting and innovative opportunities in the manufacturing industry. Check them out. Your grandparents and parents will be surprised – and proud you did. And so will you.

    Want to learn more about manufacturing careers? Stay connected to College Recruiter by visiting our blog, and connecting with us on LinkedIn, TwitterFacebook, and YouTube.

    Jennifer Swenson, Talent Acquisition/Campus Relations at Andersen Corporation

    Jennifer Swenson, Talent Acquisition/Campus Relations at Andersen Corporation.

    Jennifer Swenson is a Talent Acquisition Lead and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt at Andersen Corporation, where she manages the company’s college relations and summer internship experience. Swenson is working to continue to build the Andersen brand on campuses across the country, as well as drive strategies to increase diversity and talent pipelines, as well as consistently create an excellent candidate experience. Connect with Jennifer on LinkedIn.

  • Oven-ready hires: The problem of matching available skills to our demands

    October 28, 2016 by

    Oven ready dishGuest writer Martin Edmondson, CEO and founder of Gradcore

    It feels like there is an ever-growing consensus among employers that university graduates should emerge fully formed, perfectly skilled and immediately work ready. The phrase ‘oven ready’ graduates appears far too often for my liking. It oversimplifies what is ultimately a very complicated issue: How do you match the supply of skills and people with the demands of the economy, when both are moving targets? In other words, how much should employers compromise when searching for the ideal candidate? How much should they training should they assume?

     

    This is such a significant issue in the UK that the government has created a ‘Teaching Excellence Framework’ for universities. One of its goals is to tackle “skill mismatches” in the economy. (Go figure that the same government is now limiting their own access to skilled talent via immigration clampdowns.)

    Every employer presents unique circumstances. So it’s critical for employers to examine their fundamental approach to hiring with a few questions such as:

    • What characterizes the hires you make that are successful, and those that are not?
    • What is the most critical factor for fit with your organization – skills, values, attitude etc?
    • How recently did you evaluate what is really important in the people you hire?
    • If all the evidence says that those people are not available for that price in this place, which one of those variables are you prepared to change?

    Here is the challenge: So many employers are seeking candidates with the skills that are in shortage areas. This is typically around digital and software roles where there is a major disconnect between employer requirements and the quality and quantity of graduates available. Employers (and policy makers who are trying to solve these problems) should try one of the following:

    1. Grow your own

    This is the long game, but often one of the most successful approaches if you have the time. Recruit graduates who have the core attributes or values that suit your organisation, but need to develop their skills further. Then put in place the structured training that will develop them. This could be in house training, or delivered under emerging models such as degree-apprenticeships.

    2. Think differently

    Stop looking at the really obvious candidates. This could be described as the Blue Ocean approach, getting away from where everyone else is fishing. Recently I saw a very interesting post from a company called Talla about mapping resumes using neural networks. This visual approach helps you to appreciate that people who superficially have seemingly different backgrounds are actually remarkably similar. Each of the dots below is a resume. This shows how different titles share characteristics:Point graph of title descriptions on resumes

     

     

     

     

     

    3. Up the budget

    Sometimes you simply need to either increase the budget in order to reach a wider audience, or increase salary to attract the necessary skills. While it’s never ideal, there are clearly certain economic realities that are hard to escape.

    Underlying all of this is a bigger societal question, which will be answered differently in different countries:

    Whose job is it to make a person employable?

    Is it the role of the education system and teachers? Employers? Parents or the state? Or are we all solely responsible for our own development? All play a part, but the prevailing national answer to this question goes a long way to deciding the expectations employers have of graduates and vice versa.

     

    Look forward to discussing this and lots of other topics around college recruiting at the College Recruiter Bootcamp in Washington DC on December 8.

    martin-edmondsonMartin is the CEO and founder of Gradcore, a social enterprise focused on graduate employment and employability. Martin has more than 15 years of experience in graduate recruitment and Higher Education. He founded Gradcore, and over the last decade has led a wide range of graduate recruitment and employability projects. These include running global graduate schemes for a range of large employers, delivering employability performance improvement in universities, and chairing the UK and European Graduate Employment Conferences. Martin was a member of the steering group for the ‘graduate recruitment in SMEs’ report for the UK government and has written for a wide range of newspapers and websites. Connect with Martin on LinkedIn.

  • Spotlight on Success: Engaging entry-level hires at GSE [video]

    October 14, 2016 by

     

    No doubt you’re familiar with the job-hopping trend that millennials are known for. How do you increase your retention of entry-level hires? Wendy Stoner, Director for the Office of Emerging Talent Development at GSA, knows how. She leads a Leadership Development program to engage entry-level hires. She calls the two-week on-boarding Career 101. “millennials like to be part of a cohort,” she says. “They don’t like to be on their own,” so the new employees work together along two training tacks.

    They receive technical training to prepare them for the functions of their jobs. In addition, and perhaps more importantly, they learn soft skills like professional communication, presentation and negotiation skills, and how to have a critical conversation in the workplace. They watch videos and practice role play to prepare them for working with people whose backgrounds and working style differ from their own. Also, GSA delivers the Myers-Briggs personality indicator to explain why coworkers’ behaviors may differ, and how to work with them.

    Generational differences? You don’t say.

    The Careerstone Group designed GSA’s training in response to the inter-generational issues we all hear about. You know some of the complaints. Baby Boomers complain about millennials’ informal communication (they write emails like text messages, Boomers say). And millennials complain about Baby Boomers’ work ethic (keeping long hours doesn’t mean you’re more productive, millennials say). During their Career 101, new GSA employees learn to articulate what these generational differences are, and understand the different values that cause differences in behavior.

    Don’t stop at onboarding.

    Stoner says GSA invests in engagement beyond the first two weeks. They put their entry-level hires on a two-year rotational track that exposes them to different areas of their field. For example, a new hire in finance may rotate to learn about formulating budgets, executing them, strategic planning and more. Not only does this prepare them for a variety of possible jobs, but it clearly demonstrates that they care about employees’ development. GSA wants employees to discover what job appeals to them most. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was that age,” Stoner remarks, so it is only fair to facilitate employees’ learning for a couple years.

    Nothing counts without an open culture

    Formal training can transfer plenty of knowledge, but without an open company culture that embraces all employees, that training can fall flat. Stoner says, “Your culture needs to be open to listening to them and hearing their ideas.” She says GSA recognizes that good ideas can come from anyone, regardless of where they sit on the org chart. Their investment and openness pay off. GSA retains 93% of entry-level hires during their first two years–pretty impressive for the new job-hopping norm. Engaging millennials doesn’t have to be hard. Stoner says, “We want them know they are coming into a company that does value their development. millennials are eager, knowing that a company will make an investment in them.”

    wendy-stonerWendy Stoner will be a panelist at this December’s College Recruiting Bootcamp. She serves as GSA’s Director for the Office of Emerging Talent Development within the Office of Human Resources Management. She strives to create an environment of highly engaged employees dedicated to accomplishing GSA’s mission and has successfully recruited hundreds of highly talented recent graduates prepared to tackle GSA’s business challenges. Stoner’s work is helping GSA fuel the pipeline to meet the agency’s future leadership and succession planning needs. Connect with Wendy on LinkedIn.

  • Having lunch with new hires while onboarding

    July 01, 2016 by
    Businesswomen having conversation over lunch photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Making new hires feel comfortable is the responsibility of companies during the onboarding process. One way employers can do this is by reflecting their company values and/or culture to new employees. Companies can use the onboarding process to emphasize qualities they want all employees to represent. Armando Lopez, Executive Director of Human Resources at Ramsey Solutions, discusses why his company provides lunch on the first day to new hires.

    “We welcome new teammates in such a way that it communicates part of our culture is not only being prepared, but we’re welcoming because we really want them here.

    One thing we do is provide lunch on the first day. New hires may not be familiar with the area or your cafeteria if you have one. More importantly, it gives us a chance to relax, sit down together, and immerse new teammates into our company culture. At Ramsey Solutions, our Executive Director of Culture, Rick Perry,  joins us and tells stories about the company so new hires get a sense of who we are, what we are, and why we are.”

    Interested in welcoming new hires to your company? Visit College Recruiter and follow us on LinkedIn, YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook.

     

     

    Armando Lopez, Executive Director of Human Resources at Ramsey Solutions

    Armando Lopez, Executive Director of Human Resources at Ramsey Solutions

     

    Armando Lopez has been an HR professional for 23 years working at Cracker Barrel, American Blue Ribbon Holdings, and now Ramsey Solutions.

  • 10 career mistakes to avoid

    June 26, 2016 by
    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    Photo by StockUnlimited.com

    One of your top goals is to have a happy and successful life.

    Your career is the key to achieving this goal.

    You’ve got a nice degree, have a lovely smile and are ready to work, but there’s one more thing that could stop you from realizing your dreams:

    Mistakes.

    Some mistakes could harm or even end your career. You have to recognize and avoid them at all costs if you really want to have a successful life.

    There are 10 career defining mistakes.

    1. Dressing badly at work

    Research tells us that what we wear affects how we think. How we dress also affects how other people perceive us.

    Sure, you deserve to get the respect you think you deserve and get people to listen to you. People should respect you because you know what you’re talking about.

    So why should you wear expensive socks to get people to respect you?

    Let me tell you a story.

    One day I was on a bus headed to my friend’s house. It’s been a long time since I went to the neighborhood so I wasn’t so sure which stop to get off at. I was constantly looking out at the window, and the gentleman sitting beside me could not help but notice it.

    He nicely asked where I was going and if I needed help. I told him where I was going, and he said I should exit in two stops. I thanked him.

    A few minutes later, another man sitting behind me said “Actually, you should get off at the next stop.”

    I thanked him and exited where he told me, ignoring the advice of the first guy.

    Now, you may want to ask me why I chose the second guy’s advice.

    As I walk away from the bus stop, I realized I ignored my seatmate’s advice because he was wearing sweatpants, had a dark stain on his T-shirt, and looked like he skipped showering that day. I realized that I chose the second guy’s advice because he wore a collared jacket, well-polished shoes, and designer glasses.

    When you dress well at work, people will notice you. Your superiors will notice you, and they would admire you for that. That would open up more opportunities for you.

    2. Expressing a rude and negative attitude at work

    Even if you’re a highly-talented employee but always express a bad and negative attitude at work, you’ll have a high mountain to climb to advance your career. Many managers hate working with employees who have bad attitudes because they decrease the team morale.

    According to studies from Leadership IQ, 87% of employees say that working with somebody with a bad attitude has actually made them want to change jobs. And as much as 89% of new hires who fail within 18 months actually failed because of attitudinal issues, not skills. Bad attitudes also include laziness, tardiness, inappropriate jokes, unresponsive to emails, etc. List all the bad and negative attitudes you have and make a consistent effort to overcome them.

    3. Not building good relationships with your colleagues

    Bad relationships are bound to happen from time to time. How you deal with them is the most important thing.

    Your colleagues are the keys to your happiness at work. If you’re not happy with your coworkers, then you’ll certainly be looking for work soon. I’m a big believer of the phrase “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” If you want your coworkers to be kind and respectful to you, then you have to be kind and respectful to them.

    Make sure you remember your coworkers’ names and address them by their names. It’s easy to say happy birthdays to your coworkers on Facebook when you rarely talk to them at work. Make sure you’re doing that important one-on-one conversation. Get on the phone and tell them “Happy Birthday.” Go an extra mile and surprise them with a gift. This little generosity will make you more likable at your workplace.

    4. Writing unprofessional emails to colleagues

    You know there are some unprofessional things you shouldn’t say to your colleagues in the workplace. The same is true for work emails.

    For example, it’s not appropriate to answer a colleague asking you how your job search is going inside your work email. Another example is when your colleague complains about other coworkers and says nasty things about them.

    These are discussions you shouldn’t allow inside your work email. I don’t think it’s good to allow it at all whether it’s your personal or work email. You should know that you don’t own your work email, your employer does. Your employer can monitor who you’re communicating with on your work email. You could be in trouble if you’re making inappropriate remarks about sensitive issues at your workplace.

    In addition to that, there are some email mistakes that can make you look really unprofessional.

    For example:

    • Using informal or curse words you’re not allowed to use at work
    • Rambling in your email instead of getting straight to the point
    • Forgetting to attach files when you say you’ve attached files
    • Spelling the person’s name wrong or using a different name to address the recipient

    These email mistakes may not look big to you, but they are serious mistakes that can prevent you from accelerating your career.

    5. Making career choices based on earnings

    The love of money could lead you down the wrong career path.

    I’m not saying “The love of money is the root of all evil.”

    You need money to do a lot of things. You probably need money to pay student loans, buy some nice outfits and keep the roof over your head. So you definitely need money. We all do.

    But when you choose a career or a job you don’t even enjoy based on your goal to make $90,000 per year, that’s when it becomes a problem. You need to ask yourself:

    Does your desire for money match your passion and skills? When you choose a job you’re less passionate about, you’ll be pushing yourself to get things done. And this would be visible in your performance. You should choose a job where you have the skills and abilities to get the job done.

    6. Not investing in yourself

    If you strip Larry Page of his assets and dump him on the street, I can assure you that he would be back living a comfortable life within a week.

    Larry Page has a ton of human capital.

    According to Wikipedia“Human capital is the stock of knowledge, habits, social and personality attributes, including creativity, embodied in the ability to perform labor so as to produce economic value.” In other words, human capital is a collection of resources—all the knowledge, talents, skills, abilities, experience, intelligence, training, judgment, and wisdom that are possessed by an individual. If you want to achieve a lot of success in your career, you need a lot of human capital. Focusing on building your human capital is a lot more productive than worrying about “job security.

    So how do you build your human capital?

    You build up your human capital by investing in yourself through:

    • Improving your skills
    • Acquiring complementary skills
    • Reading educational books
    • Starting healthy habits
    • Building your personal brand
    • Getting a mentor

    As you do these things, you’ll become irreplaceable in your organization. You’ll become the go-to person within your company. Many more people will start looking up to you. All these help you accelerate your career.

    But when you stop investing in yourself, you become stagnant. Your skills become obsolete.

    7. Not maintaining a healthy work-life balance

    A poor work-life balance is bad for both the employee (you) and the employer.

    People who have a poor work-life balance are more stressed and experience more family conflicts. They also tend to have both mental and physical problems. If your private life is suffering, it will negatively impact your professional life. Your private life comes first. When you experience more problems in your private life, your creativity, engagement and productivity at work will suffer.

    The only way to prevent this is to keep a work-life balance.

    This may not look like a career mistake to you, but it’s a mistake that can have adverse effects on your career. You should set work hours and stick to them. Don’t work during times when you should be with your family or have set aside times for tending to personal matters which are a priority to you.

    8. Not improving your communication skills

    “The most important single ingredient in the formula of success is knowing how to get along with people.”—Theodore Roosevelt

    The consequences of poor communication are great.

    For example, if your communication skills are poor, your message would be hard to understand, and this can lead to serious confusion among your colleagues.

    Too much information when it is not needed can also affect the concentration of the listener.

    Poor communication becomes more serious when you communicate with customers. If customers are not serviced in the right manner, it would reduce sales, thereby affecting business goals.

    Great communication skills help you do well at your job because you’ll be using these skills when requesting information, discussing problems, giving out instructions, and interacting with your colleagues. As a result of demonstrating good communication skills, you’ll enhance your professional image, build sound business relationships, and get more successful responses.

    You have to continue sharpening your communication skills if you want to get and stay at the top.

    How do you do that?

    You sharpen your communication skills by:

    • Striking up conversations with strangers
    • Reading good books
    • Listening to others
    • And engaging in more one-on-one conversations

    9. Not networking outside your company

    Your network is your net worth.

    Your network is your source of job opportunities, potential business partnerships and much more. Your network won’t only find your next job, but it will help you improve your current position.

    NETWORKING is the single most powerful marketing tactic to accelerate and sustain success for any individual or organization!”—Adam Small

    One of the biggest mistakes many people make is to network when they are only looking for a job. You can’t only rely on people you already know within your current workplace to help you land your dream job. You must always be networking outside of your company, and even your industry.

    For example, let’s say you’re a website designer; networking with other website designers alone would limit your opportunities. You should network outside your industry like in the Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agriculture and Energy sectors. People in these sectors could be good references. They could become customers. They might know someone who needs your service.

    LinkedIn is a very good place to start networking with people outside your industries.

    But your conversation with those people shouldn’t be limited to the web. Take it offline. Do face-to-face meetings with them. That’s how you expand your network and increase your chance of career success.

    10. Not serving your network

    The truth is the people in your network needs you as much as you need them.

    You can’t just expect people in your network to connect you with other people they know. You can’t just expect them to link you up with job opportunities without you giving them some value. You’ll appear selfish if you always expect people to do things for you but offer nothing in return.

    The best way to keep people interested in you is to serve them. When you diligently do something good for people, they will want to return the favor, though, your major aim of helping people shouldn’t be to get something in return. The more people you serve, the more your network grows, and the more your network grows, the more opportunities will come your way.

    Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

    Michael Akinlaby, guest writer

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    Michael Akinlaby is a freelance writer and SEO Consultant. He’s the founder of RankRain, an internet marketing agency that specializes in content marketing and Search Engine.