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We all want to be rewarded for a job well done at work. When it comes to negotiating a compensation package, we might ask for things like flexible hours or coverage of certain expenses, but the one thing that most people turn to for reward is, of course, a raise.

But getting a raise? That can be a pretty difficult concept for people to consider or ask for. They might be terrified or unsure or just plain nervous about what to do.

Luckily, you’re not alone in those feelings and plenty of people have come before you to ask for, and get, a raise. For starters, you need to dive in and do your research. What do others in your field make and how much experience do they have compared to what you have? The following graphic offers some other insights:

Here are some other posts you may be interested in:

How to ask your network for help

How personality types and color psychology can help determine your ideal job

Choosing Your Career Happiness

The post Want a raise? Here’s how to ask for one. appeared first on Sterling Career Concepts.

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Source: Pixabay

Regardless of your age or field, a positive professional image is essential to a successful career. Whether you’re entering the professional workforce for the first time or a seasoned veteran, it’s a good idea to learn or brush up on the basics of creating a positive professional image. Not only does your professional image speak volumes about you, it also helps you develop and establish a positive reputation.

Here are a few tips:

1. Make a good first impression

This is crucial for those entering the workforce for the first time, interviewing, or starting a new position. Studies show that people form opinions of you within seconds of meeting you. Instantly, your peers are forming judgments about your personality, values, and competence. Once that first impression is formed, it’s often very difficult to change, so it’s important that your first impression says what you want it to say.

 2. Dress the part

We’ve all heard the old saying, dress for the job you want, not the job you have. You want your fellow colleagues to see you not just in the role you’re currently in or interviewing for, but “running the show” someday. What you wear to work sends a number of signals including how you view the environment, how much respect you have for your work and yourself, and with which groups you identify. Take a look around your organization. Who are the most successful employees? How do they dress? What do their clothes say about them?

When shopping for office attire, look for staple pieces such as blazers, suits, and skirts in classic colors like black, grey, or navy blue. To mix up your look, pick out blouses in a variety of colors, patterns, and styles. Once you have the basics covered, pick out a few standout pieces that will help make your look pop against everyone else’s like a bold color skirt or handbag. Building a wardrobe can add up so to help stick to your budget, consider shopping sales or at online thrift stores like thredUP that allow you to buy designer clothes in like-new condition for a fraction of the cost.

3. Exhibit a positive, respectful attitude

Be authentic, polite, and positive. You want to come across as confident, not cocky. Be someone your peers can look up to and respect. Your body language is a very important element of your professional image. It has to inspire trust and approachability. You can create a positive professional image through body language by:

  • Making eye contact when speaking
  • Carrying yourself with confidence
  • Smiling and greeting people
  • Having good posture
  • Offering a strong, assertive handshake
  • Using open body language 
4. Clean up your social media

Your professional image isn’t just how you appear in the office, it’s how you appear online as well. You may have created a terrific image at work, but if your online image is filled with inappropriate pictures or posts, it can have a negative impact on your professional image. Remember, everything you post online can be seen by your employer and co-workers.

Go through your social media accounts and take down anything that makes you look bad. Be sure to ask your friends to take down any pictures or posts involving you that you wouldn’t want your colleagues to see as well. Be proactive and regularly check your social media accounts for any negative images and posts. Don’t let how you appear on social media sabotage your hard-earned professional image.

Those are four ways to work on developing a positive professional image for success on the job!

The post 4 Tips for Creating a Positive Professional Image appeared first on Sterling Career Concepts.

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Why does the current workforce demand flexible hours?  What are the benefits to employers granting it?
I came across an infographic from McGowan Transcriptions (see below) that I found interesting, and while it features UK-related statistics on the benefits to flexible hours, the concepts are the same globally.
A whopping 82% of the UK workforce said that if they are allowed to have flexible working hours, their loyalty towards their employers would improve drastically.
What does the current generation of the workforce see as the benefits to flexible hours?
One of the prime reasons for flexibility is for employees to balance their work-life with their personal life including but not limited to school schedule of their children, traffic congestions during rush hour, and public transport schedules. Women joined the workforce in the early 1900s in very limited numbers but we are living in an era where both sexes equally contribute to the workforce and also share household responsibilities equally.
By offering flexible working hours and the ability to work from home, one or both partners can give more time to their personal time than wasting it wasted stuck in traffic daily. It appears to be a win-win for employees so far right. Wait, it is also quite beneficial for employers to provide their team with a virtual workspace over conventional office space. It would bring office expenses down big time as either smaller or no office space would be needed. Since employees would be able to work just as effectively from home, they would be in higher spirits towards considering the flexibility.
Another added advantage for employers is that they would be able to hire new talent from across the globe and also enjoy the round-the-clock advantage. For instance, if a US-based business hires someone in India, they would be able to assign a task at the end of the day in the US, which would be the start of business hours in India. The Indian team member will be able to finish the assigned work and deliver it even before his manager in the US wakes up.
Take a look at the infographic below for more statistics on the subject… 

The post Benefits to flexible hours for today’s workforce appeared first on Sterling Career Concepts.

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Let’s talk about the food you eat and how that has an impact on how you feel, how healthy you are, and finally how productive you end up being throughout your busy day. In turn, this will help you become more successful at your job search and in your career. In other words, the topic today is how your diet can influence your career success.

When you think about improving your productivity and your bottom line, cleaning up your diet isn’t usually the first strategy you would consider implementing. The changes the food we eat make on a day to day basis are subtle and easy to miss.

It’s a little easier to see when food affects us badly.

Think back to the last time you had a big lunch of pasta and felt like taking a nap after your meal. In this case, the food you ate made a big difference in how much you got done that day. Choosing a healthy light lunch would have served you much better.

While the food you eat has small daily effects that will influence your business success, the bigger story is about the long-term effects.

Food has a significant impact on your overall health.

The full extent of the impact we don’t completely understand yet. But, eating a healthy diet of fresh whole foods supports your immune system and decreases your chances of developing health problems. Anything from heart disease to cancer.

The key is to make healthy eating choices every day to benefit both in the long and short-term. Of course, that’s easier said than done. It takes time and effort to change your diet and make healthy eating a habit.

Start by becoming aware of what you eat and how that food affects you.

A food journal is an excellent tool to help you do that. By becoming aware, you’ll start to make smarter choices. It’s much harder to mindlessly munch on a bag of chips or cookies when you know you’ll have to write it down.

Planning your meals early and having plenty of healthy snacks ready to eat also helps. Making small changes like this will set you up for healthy eating success.

It won’t take long to make healthy eating and smart food choices a habit. Keep working on it, and you will start to clean up your diet and feel better for doing so.

The post How Your Diet Can Influence Your Career Success appeared first on Sterling Career Concepts.

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If you’re like most busy people, you’re always looking for ways to increase your productivity. If you can find a way to limit your distractions in what’s become a distraction-filled world, and stay focused on a single task at a time, you’re well on your way to getting more done faster in your job search, but it’s not always easy to get there. Thanks to technology today, there are a plenty of tools out there that can help. Here are 3 of my favorite productivity tools to help you limit distractions and stay focused on your job search:

Productivity Tool #1: Rescue Time

Let’s get the distractions out of the way first because even while technology brings us so many great productivity tools, it also brings us tremendous distractions. RescueTime helps you track your time on your computer and your mobile devices and identifies where you where you’re spending (ahem…often wasting) a lot of your time.

RescueTime will:

  • Alert you when you’re spending a certain amount of time on an activity
  • Allow you to block distracting websites during focus time
  • Keep track of what you accomplished throughout the day
  • Identify how much time you spend on a variety of activities, including email and meetings

You can sign up for a Lite account, which is completely free or their premium service for added features.

Productivity Tool #2: Focus Booster Pomodoro App

The Focus Booster app is based on the Pomodoro Technique, which is a long-standing productivity technique that uses a timer for focused work periods, usually 25 minutes, followed by a break of 3-5 minutes. After you complete 4 work periods, you get a break of 15-30 minutes. The idea is you stay completely focused on the task during the work period.

The app keeps a time sheet for you and produces a report that allows you to track your productivity and identify ways to become even more productive.

There are a lot of apps that can help you execute the Pomodoro Technique, but you can check out Focus Booster. The app is free for up to 20 sessions per month or you can pay a reasonable yearly fee for unlimited sessions and extra features.

Productivity Tool #3: Focus @ Will

Now here’s something different, but scientifically proven to increase focus and productivity – and if you love music, this is going to be great news for you.

Focus@Will uses human neuroscience and music to help you focus, limit distractions, get productive and retain more information. All you do is answer a few questions and the software will determine the right music to put your brain in a flow state that makes you super productive.

There’s a free 2 week trial, so you can see if it works for you.

So there’s three to consider.  Give one or more of these tools a try and let me know what you think — and if you have a favorite productivity tool of your own, share it with us in the comments below!

The post 3 Productivity Tools to Help You Reach Your Job Search Goals Faster appeared first on Sterling Career Concepts.

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As you’re preparing for your final few months on campus, it’s time to start thinking about making your next big move. You can scour the job boards, ask friends for references and go door-to-door with your resume. Or you can post up at a career fair right on campus! Colleges typically host job fairs to provide students with the opportunity to meet with various prospective employers in one place. In the time it takes you to fill out a single application online, you may be able to meet with a handful of worthy prospects willing to help launch you into your career. Showing up with enthusiasm may be the first step to a promising profession.

Preparing for Your First Career Fair

Got a few upcoming fairs that you want to attend? Here are some things to consider:

  • Be ready to sell yourself—In the days leading up to the fair, make sure that you’re practicing your “elevator pitch”—what you’ll present to employers in the first minute or so you meet—out loud alone and with friends. Be prepared to explain your background, skills, accomplishments and goals in only a few sentences.
  • Dress to impress—What we wear has a bigger impact on our success than you might imagine. Research shows that how you dress affects perception of your success, trustworthiness, authority, intelligence, financial success and suitability for promotion. Not only that, but it can also affect your behavior and make you feel more confident. Needless to say, it pays to put a little work into your outfit when you head to a job fair.
  • Have resumes on hand—Take the time to perfect and update your resume, showcasing your latest jobs as well as any pertinent awards or accomplishments. Before you head out the door, print out a few copies on some high-quality resume paper. Your potential employees will notice the time you spent on the little details.
Why It Makes Sense to Attend Career Fairs

Evidently, it takes a little bit of effort to prepare for your job fair debut, so you might be asking yourself if it’s worth your while. By and large, career fair attendees come away with an overall positive experience, even if they don’t land an armful of offers.

  1. You’ll broaden your horizons—Think of a career fair as an upbeat, self-guided tour of all your region’s biggest and best employers. While you may have had one company, job title or industry in mind when you went in, the event may open your mind up to the many unique opportunities that surround you. Try to go into any job-related event with an open mind without a pre-commitment to any one job.
  2. You’ll get plenty of face time—Did you know that the experts estimate that about 80 percent of all job offers come through networking? That means that a good majority of the jobs on the market aren’t published at all, and to get access to them, you have to meet people in the biz. Creating personal, face-to-face connections with potential employers ups your chances of getting a job and helps you hone your communication skills.
  3. You’ll amass cool, free stuff—Have we mentioned that most employers show up at career fairs ready to give out amazing promotional items? We’re talking about much more than just free pens and stickers. These days, companies shower prospects with cool swag like speakers, headphones, phone chargers, backpacks, fidget spinners and PopSockets featuring their logo. You might also come home with some free snacks and beverages if you stop at enough booths!
  4. You’ll meet others in your field—We all know that networking is invaluable to solidifying a good career, so anything you can do to meet with others who work in your desired field makes good use of your time. While you’re meandering through the different booths, if you happen to see others who seem to be interested in the same companies as you, try to strike up a conversation. You might just make some friends while you’re there! Of course, take advantage of this time to talk to employers who have been working in your industry for a while to get some one-on-one advice.
  5. You’ll get VIP access—When you attend job fairs, you’re often put in touch with industry experts, recruiters and educators who can be of great value to you as you advance through your career. These are the people who can open up doors to opportunities and events that will help you better market yourself, including networking events, seminars, workshops and industry-specific events that will get you into your field’s inner circle.
  6. It’s excellent practice—Spent hours at a career fair only to come away empty-handed (minus the awesome company swag)? All is not lost! Unbeknownst to you, you have spent several hours practicing some of the most important skills of adulthood—confident communication, an appropriate enthusiasm for self-promotion and a stronger understanding of exactly what you want out of life. Remember that even if you don’t receive a follow-up after the fair, employers will likely keep your information on hand for future opportunities.
Is it Worth the Effort to Attend Career Fairs?

Yes. As you can see, taking the time to polish up your resume, pick out a nice outfit and mingle with some potential employers can be well worth the extra effort! We’d recommend partnering with a close friend or a colleague in the same field or major as you so that you feel less lost going in. Along with plenty of smiling, active listening and enthusiasm, you’re likely to come away from your next career fair that much closer to a solid job offer!

The post Post-Grad Life: The Benefits of Attending Career Fairs appeared first on Sterling Career Concepts.

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For many of us, data privacy isn’t the first thing we think of when we wake up in the morning. For those of us working in the business industry, however, we may want to rethink this. Caring about the way we protect the data of ourselves, our company, and our clients are vital and also lawful.

Information privacy laws were enacted to prohibit information on private individuals from being either disclosed or misused. Because these laws are only partially regulated in the U.S., many concerns still arise when it comes to protecting an individual’s data in the 21st century. Certain industries such as the healthcare and financial sectors have higher regulations set in place, whereas data transmitted in business is oftentimes more freely managed.

Your employer likely has guidelines set in place to help follow this act, however, it’s up to you to fully ensure that you are protecting your own devices and files to the best of your abilities.

When it comes to protecting your personal data, there are many things to keep in mind, particularly in the workplace. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to always take precautions with your digital activities both online and off.

Do Not Overshare

Refrain from sending sensitive information in emails or online chat rooms with other coworkers, even if you have a trustworthy relationship with the recipient(s). It’s very important to be cautious of the information you are sharing and who you are sharing it with. Should someone intercept your message, you wouldn’t want it to get into the wrong hands. Many of the data breaches that companies face each year occur because of a weakened access point in an employee’s device. Criminals who gain access to this will use the data to extort, spam, hack or steal your identity.

What you should avoid sharing at work:

  • Personally Identifiable Information (PII)
  • Location Data
  • Financial Information
  • Passwords
  • Social Profiles
Be Aware of Scams

Unfortunately, scams happen in businesses daily. They can be extremely costly for employees, employers, and clients. Cybercriminals often use phishing emails as a way to access the network and gain the data that they need to commit an identity theft related crime or extortion. Carefully review any email that you receive which seems out of the ordinary. Criminals have found creative ways to make an email look like it’s coming from an internal employee. These are known as phishing emails. They will typically ask for sensitive information, so always verify any questionable emails with your IT staff before responding.

Create Strong Passwords

The first step to keeping cyber criminals from accessing your personal data is to prevent them from accessing your devices and accounts in the first place. Practice strong password hygiene and update your passwords regularly. The password that you use at work should never be the same as any that you use for personal accounts/devices. It needs to be strong, unique, and a mixture of numbers, letters and if possible – symbols. If an account or device offers two-factor authentication, take advantage of it. This provides an extra layer of protection and peace of mind. With this setting, if someone other than yourself tries to access your account, you will be asked to verify the login attempt with a security code to prove that it was you.

Protect Your Devices

For any device that you use for work, it’s important to equip it with the proper software. This goes for laptops, mobile phones, and tablets. They all have their own unique needs for protection but it’s important to make sure that your company provides these resources to you. Having an antivirus program installed on your laptop will help to keep viruses, malware, and other harmful downloads from gaining access to your device. If you work from home at all, you will need to ensure that your home network is secure enough to operate your work functions on. If you are unsure or may be working in a public space, especially when traveling, you should consider a virtual private network to operate on. This will encrypt your data by changing your IP address, therefore helping you keep criminals away. It’s also important to update this software and any applications you may use regularly. Typically, new updates for the programs on your devices are released every so often to increase the security of the program. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you are operating on the latest version.

Use Common Sense

When you walk away from your device at work, lock it. Whether you put it to sleep or completely close it you don’t need anyone reading your screen while you are away. If you travel for work, make sure to invest in a lock and utilize the safety in your hotel room for your devices when you leave the room.

Backup Data

Annually on March 31st, World Backup Day is hosted as a way to remind individuals everywhere and of every profession to take time out of their day to back up their devices. It’s a simple thing that many of us forget to do, yet it’s quite important. Should you ever have your device crash or a virus takeover, you’ll want to have a backup of all of your important files, photos, and documents.

Remember that although your employer and IT department work hard to ensure that you are safe online, when it comes to data protection it’s ultimately up to you. You are the one who needs to ensure your information doesn’t end up in the hands of a criminal or even a competitor.

The post Why You Should Be Concerned About Data Privacy If You Work In Business appeared first on Sterling Career Concepts.

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Despite the decades of verbal, face-to-face interactions being credited as the best way to communicate, the new era of digital communication is taking center stage. Sure, you could continue to stubbornly resist using smart devices, slack chats, and emojis (what does a side eye emoji mean anyway?) However, in doing so, you may be hindering your workplace performance and additionally the promotion of essential soft skills that will help you obtain leadership positions. As companies begin to maximize productivity through unified communication tools, use this upgrade as an opportunity to strengthen your soft skills.

Digital communication is here to stay. It doesn’t have to be the enemy!

  1. Brush up on your writing skills

When communicating digitally, it is vital to do so in a direct and concise way. Writing clearly will prevent your intended message from being muddied. Without the help of nonverbal cues like facial expressions and tone, the recipient of your message may analyze and misconstrue your attitude, potentially causing hurt feelings and tension.

Pro Tip: Take advantage of the time digital communication allows for proofreading. Always read a message aloud to yourself to ensure that the proper attitude and message is being conveyed.

  1. Embrace the emoji

No, I don’t mean to actually include emojis in your professional memos to higher-ups or when conveying serious ideas concerning projects amongst your team. The emoji, however, was created to help individuals more easily add emotion to their messages so tone and intent could more easily be understood. Learning how to exhibit empathy through written word will help overcome misunderstandings when face-to-face conversations are taken out of the equation.

Pro Tip: An easy way to show empathy is by reiterating the recipient’s concerns or ideas within your reply. This validates the other person’s perspective, allowing them to feel valued and heard – even though it’s via digital communication.

  1. Lean on others

Peer editing isn’t just for essays and ten-page documents. Keep in mind that, even if you read over your own message, you do so with your intention in mind. This could provide a hazy lens through which you clearly understand your digital communication while the recipient may still feel lost.

Pro Tip: If you feel a little uneasy about a message you’re sending, perhaps it touches upon a sensitive subject, or you recognize that the recipient is someone who may become hurt if you challenge their ideas, send it to a trusted colleague. The extra set of eyes can provide an unbiased lens that can provide valuable feedback to avoid workplace drama.

The post 3 Tips for Mastering Digital Communication in the Workplace appeared first on Sterling Career Concepts.

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As a relatively new graduate, you’ve probably given some thought to which types of jobs you want to apply, but have you considered which cities are best for your professional development?

Not every city will provide the resources and opportunities you need to advance your career. More importantly, some cities may not provide the culture, diversity and atmosphere that will make you happy in the long term.

Which cities are the best for new professionals?

Here are the top cities in the U.S. that are perfect for those just starting their careers:

  1. Salt Lake City, Utah

Are you a STEM professional? You’ll be pleased to know that Salt Lake City made it in the top 10 of WalletHub’s Best Metro Areas for STEM Professionals.

In addition, this city is quickly becoming a haven for young professionals in a variety of sectors. Salt Lake City’s dynamic nightlife, varied business sector and hip new restaurants can help explain the appeal.

Part of the charm is also its small-town vibes. In fact, Salt Lake City is often called “Small Lake City” by locals in reference to the city’s size.

  1. Charleston, South Carolina

If you’re thinking about moving to Charleston, S.C., now is the time to do so! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Charleston is growing at 3 times the rate of the U.S. population average.

The Holy’s City’s thriving tech scene and fast-growing economy are driving millennials to move to Charleston in droves. The Charleston Digital Corridor, launched in 2001, has significantly helped fuel the city’s tech sector by attracting and supporting technology startups.

Of course, Charleston is more than just its startup scene. With pleasant weather, pristine beaches and award-winning restaurants, it’s easy to see the appeal of this elegant city.

  1. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Ranked high in affordability, Pittsburgh boasts an up-and-coming tech sector and is quickly turning into a city for young professionals. The City of Bridges offers a great quality of life, decent transit, lots of green space and great bikeability.

Employment rates are up, and Pittsburgh is looking extra appealing for job seekers. The city was recently named one of 2019’s best cities for jobs by WalletHub.

  1. Columbus, Ohio

Teeming with businesses, arts, culture and entertainment, Columbus is far more than just college football. Home sale prices and the cost of living are far lower in Columbus than in other big cities in the country, offering young professionals a chance to live on their own.

In addition to its low cost of living, Ohio is famed for its critically acclaimed food scene, brewery districts and many nature preserves. Despite its bustling downtown, the laid-back vibes of Columbus make it a great place to settle down.

  1. Atlanta, Georgia

Who says San Francisco is the only place for tech professionals? Atlanta is an extremely STEM-friendly city that has recently emerged as an up-and-coming tech industry hub.

WalletHub ranked Atlanta No. 7 on its best metro areas for STEM in 2019, while a CBRE report ranked Atlanta as No. 9 on its list of top-ranked tech talent markets. As such, it’s not surprising that Amazon was once eyeing Atlanta for its next headquarters project.

Georgia is well known for being a business-friendly state, and Atlanta follows that lead. The city has been lauded for its startup scene and entrepreneurial culture, which are supported with resources such as Georgia Tech and Advanced Technology Development Center.

  1. Fort Myers, Florida

New professionals are eyeing Fort Myers, and for good reason. Attracted by affordable home prices, pleasant weather and pristine beaches, millennials have helped the Fort Myers-Cape Coral metro area become the fastest growing city in the nation.

When the housing bubble burst, Fort Myers suffered greatly along with the rest of the nation. However, the area has largely healed from the financial crisis, and the market is booming once again.

Now, Fort Myers features plenty of resources for entrepreneurs and young professionals to start their careers. From incubator opportunities at the Southwest Florida Enterprise Center to Cape Coral Chamber of Commerce networking events, the Fort Myers-Cape Coral area has everything young professionals need to hit the ground running.

  1. Dallas, Texas

Dallas offers the perfect blend of exciting, big-city amenities with a suburban feel. The city is full of young professionals who are attracted to the city for its growing economy, business-friendly government, sports culture and wide variety of entertainment options.

The food in Dallas is also a huge benefit — literally. In addition to its bountiful dishes, you’ll have a vast array of trendy restaurants and bars to hit up for happy hour.

  1. Boise, Idaho

Idaho is one of the fastest-growing states, and its capital city is leading the way. Boise is growing at a rate of 1.7 percent each year, and its job growth rate is keeping pace.

Boise has plenty of resources available to help young professionals advance in their careers. The Boise Young Professionals, launched by the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, helps connect young professionals with like-minded individuals in the area and empower them through professional development. The Treasure Valley SCORE is another organization that helps mentor young professionals by giving them real-world advice to grow their businesses.

It’s also a safe place to start your career. According to the Boise Police Department, Boise’s violent crime rate has been steadily dropping since 1992 and remains below the national average.

The Bottom Line

When first applying for jobs, new professionals have a difficult choice ahead of them. While many new graduates wish to live in places like New York, Seattle,  or San Francisco, the cost of living in these areas isn’t always worth the move.

Fortunately, there are plenty of great places to live that are not only affordable but also provide the resources and atmosphere that will support young professionals.

The post Newly Professional: Top U.S. Cities to Start Your Career appeared first on Sterling Career Concepts.

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Corporations are always in search of the right candidates and as a talent, your job is to help them find you, even when you are not looking for a job change. LinkedIn is one of the top social network sites that allow members to share their skills, past achievements, career goals, experience, and endorsements on their profiles. This provides employers with an opportunity to screen the candidates before making contact.

Many of you might be wondering why your profile does not get viewed or why you are not contacted by a recruiter.

There can be many reasons why LinkedIn is not working for you, and you would be thrilled to know that fix that! Scan through for any poor grammar or spellings mistakes on your profile for a start. Having such errors makes you come across as someone who lacks attention to detail. This can be a huge turn off for a potential employer.

Intrigued to learn more?

Check out this infographic from CV-Nation that entails a 10-step guide that can help you realize what is wrong with your current LinkedIn profile and how it can be fixed. Learn how optimizing just the headline with relevant keywords and completing your profile can make a considerable difference in attracting recruiters.

Source: CV-Nation.com

The post 10 Tips to Attract Recruiters on LinkedIn appeared first on Sterling Career Concepts.

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