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Book: Your First Job: How to make a success of starting work and ensure your first year is the launch of a successful career. 

Author: Mark Blayney. Complimentary copy provided by the author for an honest review

As most of my clients are senior executives, I was unsure if “Your First Job—how to make a success of starting work and ensure your first year is the launch of a successful career” would be useful to for my readership to hear about. However, everyone has a family member somewhere who would be good candidates for this book. And an excellent and thorough book it is!

This useful, comprehensive guide, is written in a clear, flowing style that explores everything you weren’t told beyond submitting a resume and interview. It’s all about starting your first job.

From the initial warm welcome, to the stress of dealing with competing priorities and unreasonable demands of others, this book helps individuals deal with the ‘real world’.

Following the author’s advice of self-management, social media accounts, relationship management, effective communications, and organization, new employees should be able to navigate the minefield of their first role—if not with ease—then certainly awareness from the first day, and throughout the month’s ahead.

This book is a must read for people passionate about putting their best foot forward when embarking on the first steps of a career.

The post Book Review: Your First Job by Mark Blayney appeared first on https://www.topmargin.com.

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Leave Your Job Gracefully

You’re miserable. You’ve tried to cover it up, but really, this job isn’t for you. Maybe the problem is a toxic environment, you’ve burned some bridges and relationships are strained. Or feel stuck in a rut and seek new challenges. Whatever it is, you know that it’s time to leave your job and move on.

How you leave your job is often just as important as how you start it. A graceful exit will benefit your reputation and prevent awkward moments in the future, especially if you are continuing to work in the same industry. Histrionics and sneaky maneuvers have no place here. Once you’ve secured a new position and are ready to leave, don’t slam the door. Make it your business to “leave well” by following some (or all) of the following tips:

  • Tell your boss in person. While a formal letter of resignation is usually required (see the next step), it’s important to let your boss know in person if possible. Keep the conversation positive. This is not the time to list your grievances, but rather an opportunity to leave in a professional manner. After all, you never know where people are going to end up and you don’t want to burn bridges and create an awkward future situation.
  • Write a resignation letter and be sure to thank your employer and immediate colleagues for their support. Never write a nasty letter that could go viral. Time to focus on your future.
  • Smooth the transition. Offer to sit in on interviews and train your replacement. Again, this is a great reputation-builder.
  • Clear your workload as much as possible before leaving. It would be easy – and probably feel pretty great – to let others face a huge pile of work as you head out the door. But it’s not fair to those who are left and definitely not the way you want to be known to operate.
  • If you must leave immediately due to the sensitivity of the environment, thank your employer, clean out your desk, leave outstanding work neatly organized for the next person, and exit in a positive manner.
  • Be pleasant to the people around you. If there has been tension in the office, realise that you are no longer part of it. Smile, you’re leaving, this is a good thing!
  • As you go, shake a few hands, say thank you and goodbye. Be happy – it’s over!

The days of staying with one organization for an entire career are long gone. Moving from one company to another at some point in your career is almost a given. When you find yourself ready to move on, remember that last impressions have just as much power to influence your reputation as first impressions. A positive exit will ease the transition and allow you to start your next job with reputation intact and in the right frame of mind.

If you’ve decided it’s time to move on and aren’t sure where to start, the first step is to get your resume in order.

Click HERE to see how we can help your resume support the outcome you desire.

The post Leave your job gracefully and preserve your reputation appeared first on https://www.topmargin.com.

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Your job search success is reliant on your commitment

Don’t be a yo-yo. No, this isn’t the latest street slang. In fact, this is probably one of the most critical pieces of job search advice you need. When you make the decision to search for a new job, acting like a yo-yo will almost guarantee failure.

What constitutes a yo-yo job search? Picture this: You’ve had a bad week at work and decided that’s it, you’re leaving. You send out resumes and connect with a recruiter who is interested. The next week, well, things aren’t so bad so you’re unsure if this is the right time. You’ve already made a few interview appointments and don’t want to burn any bridges so you go. But your uncertainty shows and you end up wasting their time and yours. The recruiter you chatted with has been burning up the phones on your behalf. Now you call and let her know you’ve changed your mind. More time wasted and that great first impression you made is gone.

This is yo-yo job searching, and it needs to stop. Why? Because it:

  • Wastes time and energy for everyone involved
  • Creates negative first impressions
  • Hurts your professional reputation
  • Brings about greater career dissatisfaction
  • Alienates recruiters, people who genuinely have the power to get you into a great career

Now is the time to get clear about where you are now, and where you want to be in 12 months, 2 years and 5 years. Take the time now to decide what sort of environment suits you, what skills you enjoy most and are best at, what you need to learn, and what size or type of company you want to work for.

Next, create a strategy to get there. And stay committed to your plan. Good days or bad days, commitment is key.

No job is perfect. But if you find yourself in a bad situation, yo-yo job searching may have gotten you there. Doing the homework and sticking to your strategy may very well help you prevent any future bad decisions. For instance, if you decided that you don’t like small companies, then don’t apply for a job at a small company. Want to avoid a long commute? Then don’t apply for a position a long distance away.

Flattered by an attractive job offer after one interview, but the position involves doing something you detest? Don’t say yes, when your strategy tells you no. This all sounds easy, I know, but people do it all the time and then wonder why they are so unhappy.

Part of making the commitment to a job search strategy that will get you where you want to be is a resume that is a true representation of what you want, not what you think the next interviewer wants. We can help you create a resume that supports your strategy and helps you target the right job, nothing wishy-washy about it.

The post Your job search success: Commitment is critical appeared first on https://www.topmargin.com.

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What influences job search success?

It’s one thing to have the tools to create the resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile. But there is one thing that influences job search success just as much and that’s your attitude.

You may not even know or acknowledge that past experiences have taken their toll on you. But like any emotional trigger things can happen—sometimes at interview—that clearly show your true feelings. Here are just a couple of ideas of how you can move through the job loss phase effectively, because typically, none of us has the financial luxury of slowly reconciling our feelings over the loss of a job!

The Job Loss Recovery tapes I mention in the video can be found here.

Your Attitude and the Job Search - YouTube

The post Job search success versus your attitude appeared first on https://www.topmargin.com.

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No local experience! If you’re relocating to Australia, that’s the phrase you don’t want to hear!

Australia’s robust job market has inspired many to consider a fresh start and seek employment “Down Under”. As a resume and LinkedIn specialist, I’ve worked with a lot of people over the years, helping them address three common difficulties people face when relocating to Australia to work: Culture, communication, and the dreaded “no local experience.”

An article titled “Other Side of ‘Think Local” in The Australian posited that many employers tend to value “local experience” much more than their counterparts in the U.S. or Europe, creating hurdles for overseas professionals desiring to relocate to Australia. If you are in this position, don’t give up.

The key is to communicate your experience and skills in a way that allows potential employers to see how well your experience and talents fit the local market – no matter where you come from.

Your first step? Find a local resume expert who can review your resume, ensure it translates well for the local market, and key you in on local customs and strategies that will help you make the right first impression.

The post Relocating to Australia? How to boost your job search appeal appeared first on https://www.topmargin.com.

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There’s no place in today’s job-seeking world for stagnancy. Accepted job search and resume protocols that were standard 20, 10 or even just a few years ago are changing dramatically. If you’ve been employed for some time, and are just now jumping back in the job search pool, it’s the perfect time for a refresh.

My colleague, Master Resume Writer Dawn Bugni, addresses this perfectly in an article on her blog titled “How current is that job search advice? Responding to the dinosaurs.” After receiving 1990’s-era job search advice regarding a cutting-edge resume written for a client, Dawn took the stops to dissect why many old-school methods don’t work. And shows, by example, fresh new techniques that help applicants stand out from the crowd without sacrificing professionalism or credibility.

I highly recommend checking out Dawn’s article. Her message is right on point: In today’s job search market cookie-cutter doesn’t cut it. Differentiation is the key. Don’t be afraid to do something because it’s never been done that way before.

Ready for a refresh? Check out our resume services here, we’ll make sure your resume doesn’t go the way of the dinosaurs.

The post When Job-Search Advice Reaches Its Expiration Point appeared first on https://www.topmargin.com.

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A LinkedIn update is needed now—it’s not a “set and forget” business!

Do you need a Linkedin update? Remember how you set up a LinkedIn profile a few years ago? You probably check in now and then when you receive an invitation to connect, but how much attention have you really paid it lately? Left unattended, an out-of-date LinkedIn profile can hurt rather than help your reputation. If your work history is out of date, if your bio does not reflect your current focus, expertise and experience, it confuses your message.

Let’s say that a colleague recommends you as a perfect candidate for a new position. That company immediately checks your LinkedIn profile, doing their due diligence before reaching out. When they see a profile that hasn’t changed in 2 years, outdated credentials, and no mention of the experience required for the position, they move on.

And you’ve just missed a golden opportunity without even knowing it.

It’s never too late to fix it up, though. Here’s a checklist to help dust off your profile and turn it into the powerhouse online sales profile it can be.

  • Use a professional headshot. Nice and close, no distractions or other people. Look straight into the lens and smile. Looking cool, unattainable and edgy is just great for Facebook. For your job search, look engaged, professional and motivated.
  • Keep your bio up to date. Stay away from using buzz words and superlatives about yourself. You really are not the superman of sales, and everyone says they are motivated, hard-working and a self-starter. Be original and try to attach a real-life business achievement to your personal attributes to prove they’re not just words; that you walk the talk.
  • Focus on clearly stating your experience, strengths and goals. Know what key words are important in your industry and use them. If you don’t know, research people with your job. Look at their key words.
  • Fill in the blanks. Update and add any experience, accreditations and awards, as you gain them. Share examples of recent work including media appearances, projects, volunteer experience and published articles. Don’t be afraid to add new sections to your profile! Don’t know how? Feel free to ask me. Include anything that highlights your strengths, makes you memorable and helps to set you apart from the crowd.
  • Get–and give–recommendations. Reach out to colleagues and clients and ask for recommendations. Try to have one or more for each job listed in your profile. If appropriate, offer to write recommendations for others in turn.
  • Keep your last job “current”. Your profile may be considered outdated (and get fewer displays to searches) if your last job has ended and you don’t have a new job to add. So don’t close off that last job. It’s easy to say that you’ve not updated it if asked.
  • Be social. Joining strategic groups, follow companies, and participate in conversations. Offer thoughtful responses and share solutions that give readers an insight into your expertise.
  • Proofread! Typos, incorrect grammar, and misspellings can all destroy your credibility, causing readers to instantly dismiss you and move on. Each time you update your profile, take a minute to go back and read through it carefully. Even better, ask a friend to look it over as well. Even professional copyeditors know that two sets of eyes are better than one.

If your LinkedIn account doesn’t reflect your current strengths and focus, if it doesn’t send the right message, it’s not too late to fix. Use this checklist to get started on your LinkedIn update. And if you aren’t sure what the best strategies are, reach out to us. We’ll make sure your LinkedIn updated profile successfully supports your professional image online.

The post LinkedIn Update : How to make the most of your profile appeared first on https://www.topmargin.com.

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Older workers can face significant barriers to re-entering the workforce—and moreso as time away gets longer.  According to a recent article in The Age, people over 50 spend an average of 61 weeks on the unemployment queue, compared to 37 weeks for all other people.

61 weeks! And those numbers aren’t getting any better.

A federal government program designed to support older Australians who are getting back into the workplace debuted with much fanfare a year ago, yet has been declared by some as a complete failure after helping only about 5 percent of 32,000 intended beneficiaries. The program provides a wage subsidy of up to $10,000 to employers who give jobs to people aged over 50 who have been unemployed for more than six months, however not many took advantage of it and the problem still exists.

One has to wonder, why are employers and employees age 50+ not taking advantage of these programs?

The employment landscape has changed dramatically in the last 20 years. Older job-seekers  often struggle as they find themselves in unfamiliar territory. Hiring practices are vastly different and employer expectations have changed with less time spent on orientation training and more emphasis on just finding your way—the type of environment that may cause discomfort to the older worker.

Adaptation is necessary, but where to start?

While federal programs and corporations attempt to work it all out, there is plenty that can be done at the individual level by those who are over 50 and seeking employment.

Instead of relying on job advertisements, try a new approach by finding ways to put yourself live and in-person in front of decision makers at companies you are interested in. Who do you know? Now find out where those people are. And plan legitimate ways to interact. Business networking, awards dinners, assemblies and volunteering opportunities are all positive ways to interact with the people who have the most potential to help you move forward.

Break out of traditional thinking. Are you willing to leave the world of office suites and suit-and-tie employment for an entrepreneurial life with multiple income streams? Life is full of people who are successfully doing this. Would you consider consulting? Temporary or contract work? Recently a person started up a Facebook page because she liked her local supermarket! That page now has 91,000 ‘likes’, a regular and thriving community and the supermarket is paying her to keep up this positive brand of marketing for them! This success allowed her to take on a business partner and start other similar business ventures. Sometimes it just takes an idea to make something work.

61 weeks is a long time to be unemployed and if you’re over 50, it’s a scary, emotional ride that erodes motivation.

Shaving weeks off this average is desirable, so it’s time to take charge. Talk to people you know, work your LinkedIn profile, meet with recruiters, friends, colleagues, former employers, and make plans that take advantage of the wonderful new advantages today’s workplace offers.

Whatever you do, don’t wait another minute, today’s the day to get started!

The post Over 50 and Unemployed? Time to Take Charge! appeared first on https://www.topmargin.com.

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Employers talk all the time about job seekers misrepresenting themselves on their resumes and during interviews. But what happens when the tables are turned and interviewers show poor form by misrepresenting the job?

What do you do when employers misrepresent themselves?

I recently had a long conversation with a client who was highly disillusioned. When he decided to move to his current job six months ago, he agreed to a significantly lower salary but with the assurance of a six-month review as part of the deal when he was hired. At the six-month mark, he requested his review, but found out it was no longer on the table. In fact, after several ignored requests and cancelled meetings, his employer dismissed his request entirely, maintaining that she didn’t remember that part of the salary negotiation even though it had occurred only six months previously.

He was understandably upset, felt used and was considering leaving as he had made strong changes that brought in new revenues and streamlined operations. Unfortunately, having agreed to work with a significantly lower salary, he will likely have to use that as a starting base as he searches for a future job.

New jobs can fail to meet expectations in many different ways. Salary and other forms of compensation, responsibilities, promised opportunities for advancement, office location and commuting options, and many more things can differ from what you thought was offered to what you really get once you’re on the job.

Has this happened to you? What would you do?

First of all, if these differences have you saying to yourself, “I hate my job,” then by all means speak up. Not doing anything implies consent and you’re sure to get nothing when you say nothing. Request time to sit down with your supervisor or the person who hired you and show them your concerns by highlighting the issue in a way that is positive for you and the company. Review with them the duties you’ve been given and how you are spending your time. Then show the benefits to the company if you were able to redirect your efforts to what was originally promised.

Second, if you’ve only been on the job a few weeks, don’t start writing a resignation letter just yet. Many companies use the first 30 to 90 days as a trial or training period. That period of time can’t be considered an accurate reflection of what you’ll always be doing at the company. If you’re worried and things seem way off base, a few nonchalant chats with your new colleagues asking if they experienced similar trial periods when they were first hired might ease your mind – or let you know if it’s time to schedule a session with your supervisor.

Third, prepare yourself next time to avoid this situation by getting all promises and assurances in writing as well as doing your due diligence. Don’t rely on just what interviewers promise verbally in a private session. Talk to current employees of the company to get their insider perspective. Ask for a written description of the position, spelling out specific responsibilities. Some companies even offer the ability to “shadow” employees before you accept a position letting you get a taste of a typical workday.

Lastly, if you’re really suffering from a case of new job remorse, it might be possible to go back. If you absolutely know within a short amount of time that this new job isn’t for you, reach out to your old boss and see if the position has been filled. Providing that you exited from your previous job gracefully and on friendly terms, they might just welcome you back.

Moving on to a new job or position should be an exciting time, but in some cases like these it can be frustrating and even downright disappointing. No matter what you decide to do, always be prepared with an up-to-date, stellar resume (click HERE to see how we can help you with this) and captivating online presence so that you can immediately take action to correct your position and create new and better opportunities.

The post What to do when employers misrepresent your job? appeared first on https://www.topmargin.com.

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How and why to frame an answer : talking about your skills at interview

Picture this: You’ve at a job interview and the person across the table asks you to list the top three skills you possess that give you the leading edge. Could you do it? Now imagine that they ask you to give specific examples of those skills in action. This is about the time that many people start to get that deer in the headlights look.

When you’re clear about the unique strengths, skills, and expertise you bring to the table, future employers will be able to see them as well. If you’re not sure, how can you expect others to know?

I was working with a client awhile back who struggled to answer these questions:

  1. What are the top three skills you believe are your ‘best sellers’ in securing your next job?
  2. Once you think of those top three skills, please give me a specific example in your current or previous jobs, of how you best demonstrated those skills.

He struggled for months to answer these questions. When he finally contacted me, this was his reply: I’m a leader, a problem solver and a technical trouble-shooter. No further examples were provided. We spent some time discussing his jobs, his responsibilities and his achievements as we looked for specific examples that would shine a light on his answers. Despite being absolutely certain that these were his top skills, he still couldn’t come up with examples or anecdotes that backed them up. Eventually, he went away to think some more.

Imagine a situation where you are asked to give an example or why you are a great leader, and you reply: “Well I can’t think of any, but I’m really good at it.”

The interviewer is going to see someone who has never given in-depth thought to his career or the value he brings to a company. (And believe me, you’re never going to get several months to think of the perfect answers like I gave my client!)

This is a pretty standard line of questioning that you should be prepared for. Take a moment and put yourself in this position. How much thought have you given to your strengths? Do you know what makes you stand out, what you excel at, and what your outstanding contributions are?

Before you sit down to update your resume, fill out an application or go to your next interview, be sure to take the time to really think about what you do and the value it brings.

Create a list of your very best skills. Then think seriously about how well you use them. How you made a difference. Recall specific anecdotes, projects, or contributions that made a difference to the company. Did you use those skills to resolve a problem? Help someone else? What actions did you take specifically? What was the effect? Did they resolve the problem?

If you’re having trouble composing specific examples that highlight your skills, I suggest using the C.A.R. (Challenge, Action, Result) system. What was the problem (CHALLENGE) you or the company, your division, your team, were having? What contribution or ACTION did you take to resolve it? And finally, how did things improve as a RESULT?

Identify your core strengths, illuminate them with clear examples of how these strengths make a difference, and you’ll be sure to make a positive, memorable impress at your next interview. If you’re still having trouble getting clear on these points or any other issues for updating your resumes or interviewing, click on the Contact Us link and we’ll help you out.

The post Talking about your skills at interview appeared first on https://www.topmargin.com.

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