Career Advice

My 4 favorite career advice articles I wrote in 2015

It’s hard to believe we’ll be celebrating the New Year in a few weeks. As I reflect on 2015, I can proudly say I accomplished a lot; both personally and professionally. I transitioned to a new career in human resources, started teaching as an adjunct professor and got more involved working with a nonprofit in my community.

Reflecting on my achievements helped me realize I measure success by how helpful I am to others.

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Human Resources, Management

6 proven techniques for conducting an engaging training session

You’ve spent weeks preparing for your upcoming training session—the training goals have been identified, the agenda is set, all of your materials are finalized and your training schedule is complete. You may think you’re ready to give an effective training session. But, are you?

You made sure all of the necessary logistics were taken care of, but did you also ensure your training was designed to be engaging? Many people forget this step, and as a result, their hard work and preparation goes to waste. While their content is spot on, their delivery is dry, which leads to the attendees zoning out and not absorbing the material.

So this doesn’t happen to you, consider using these tips when conducting a training session.

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Career Advice, Human Resources, Management

The perfect trick to help you cope with making tough decisions at work

In all of my management roles, I have been “the bad guy” more often than not. I’ve said “no” more times than I can count and I have made hundreds of unpopular choices. I’ve also been responsible for initiating and supporting dozens of corrective action conversations and terminations. In short, I’m not people’s favorite person at work. But you know what? That’s okay. I take pride in taking a difficult stance as long as it’s for the greater good of the company.

When I started out in my career, being “the bad guy” didn’t come as easy to me. I would get nauseous before I had to have a difficult conversation and the idea of someone not liking me would make me cringe.

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Career Advice

How to keep your resume current and why you need it to succeed

Have you ever felt stressed out because your resume wasn’t up-to-date? It turns out you’re part of the majority of job seekers in this feeling.

2015 CareerBuilder Candidate Behavior Study revealed that 61 percent of people keep their resume current at all times. I was both shocked and disappointed to learn that leaves only 39 percent of us who are up to speed on the resume process, ensuring we are staying up-to-date and stress-free.

Keeping your resume accurate allows you to regularly reflect on your career path while also preparing you for an unexpected job loss or opportunity. It also gives you the framework needed to keep your LinkedIn profile fresh.

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Career Advice

4 salary negotiation mistakes to avoid

With annual review season here, chances are you will be negotiating a pay raise. Your negotiating approach will have a significant impact on your end result so be sure to avoid these common mistakes.

Bringing your personal life into it

Whether you’re expecting a child, buying a house or having financial troubles, it doesn’t qualify you for a raise, so don’t act like it does. When you bring your personal situation into the conversation you are letting your manager know why you need a raise as opposed to why you deserve it.

What to do instead: Share data and some recent examples of your accomplishments with your boss to help them see the value you bring to the organization. Helpful supporting facts you should include in your discussion are metrics where you exceeded expectations, completed projects, and employee and customer testimonials.

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Career Advice

4 ways to cope with job insecurity

Living with a lack of job security can be stressful, but did you know it’s also bad for your health? Job insecurity increases the odds of poor health by 50 percent, according to researchers from Harvard Business School and Stanford University.

This hits home for me. In my career, I’ve been an employee who’s worked for a company that frequently downsized, restructured and laid off employees. Working in that type of environment, I never knew if I was going to be the next one to lose my job. That stress was mentally and physically draining and caused me many headaches and sleeplessness nights.

And I’m not alone in this feeling. The majority of Americans are worried about paying for retirement, affording health care and losing their job, according to a new poll.

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Career Advice

What “A Walk in the Woods” taught me about setting goals

My sister and I recently went to see the comedy adventure A Walk in the Woods starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. It’s about two old friends, Bill (played by Redford) and Katz (played by Nolte) who reconnect and decide to hike the Appalachian trail despite the fact they are both in their 60s, haven’t spoken in decades and aren’t in the best physical shape.

Thanks to the many traveling mistakes made along the way by Bill and Katz, I left with a few new laugh lines and valuable goal setting reminders I can use in the workplace.

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Human Resources

Why workplace wellness programs are worth the investment

One of the biggest challenges we face as office workers is staying active. Like a ball and chain, we’re tied to our desks and meeting chairs from 9 to 5, and by the time the evening hits, all we want to do is kick our feet up and relax. The bad news: this lifestyle keeps us still, inactive and more susceptible to health issues.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, less than 48 percent of all Americans are meeting the country’s physical activity guidelines. A sedentary lifestyle has been linked to a weakened immune system, obesity, heart problems, depression, bone loss and even death.

Fortunately, employers and the government are coming up with new and creative ways to help us get moving and out of our unhealthy lifestyle ruts. Here are a few of my favorites.

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Human Resources

Are parental work benefits a double standard for childless employees?

As a working mom, juggling both family and office demands can be challenging and sometimes impossible. For me, the hardest part about being a working parent is not being able to be with my son for all of his key milestones. I struggle with finding a balance and admit that at times I feel overwhelmed and guilty when I can’t be at two places at the same time. So it’s great to see that companies are recognizing the importance of work-life balance for working parents on a mass scale.

This year alone, employers have been extra generous with their parental benefit offerings starting with Netflix’s announcement in August to offer unlimited parental leave for the first year of a child’s life. Adobe and Microsoft followed suit with extended parental leave allowances. And they’re not the only ones supporting this growing trend.

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Career Advice

3 manageable steps that help battle stress and avoid burnout

Last month was one of my most stressful months this year. Work was tense, my home life was chaotic, and my personal and professional calendar was jam-packed. Looking back on the month, I have to give myself some well-deserved kudos.

Although I was faced with a lot of challenges and commitments, I endured and did so gracefully. I never lost my cool, I never got run-down and I never missed a beat. If this had been five years ago, I would have been burnt out and sick in bed writing out sorry cards to all the people who had to deal with my frazzled, angry and impatient behavior. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating, but you get my point.

In the event you are ever faced with a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day, week, or month you may benefit from learning about some of the steps I took to get ready.

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