Does Your College Major Matter?

I remember having to choose a specific major in college – it was a paper and pencil form that I had to fill out, penciling in the bubble of the major that I wanted to commit to for the rest of my life. Having never thought of that question before, let’s just say that it was nothing less than terrifying for this commitment phobe.

Choosing your major is declaring what you are going to do for the rest of your life. Well, it felt like it at the time. After trying on a business major and clashing with a little class called Accounting, I quickly realized that I needed to stick with something that I enjoyed learning about and landed in Communications.

It was the last time I really thought about the choice I had made.

My communications major was hardly mentioned when I landed my first job – it was in sales/marketing, in case you were wondering, or my second job in advertising. Apparently they wanted to hire anyone who would accept the measly pay.

But when I leaped for my third job, my “major” decision in college was questioned and picked apart.

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How to Make Performance Management a Two-Way Conversation

The calls have already started coming in this week – two weeks earlier than I expected. Annual reviews have started to be delivered. Results from 2013 are being shared. Promotions are being handed out and denied. And performance management feels like a sentence.

Performance Management as a phrase, refers to the ongoing management and communication of how an employee is achieving the expected results. It’s more effective if it’s done on an ongoing basis, but most companies tend to go through the cycle only once a year. Because it sucks. For everyone.

The idea behind it, or let’s be honest, what employees are told about performance management, is to celebrate the accomplishments and wins from the previous year and also plan for new projects and areas of focus for the year ahead.

What did you do great, crappy, and what can you be assigned going forward?

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Interview Like a STAR

*This* is the post that you want to bookmark, share and keep handy at all times. I can’t tell you how many times I have talked to clients about how to interview “like a STAR,” using behavioral interviewing techniques to be able to answer every single interview question concisely and effectively.

Ready to be a star?

When we really want to the position we’re interviewing for, we tend to get nervous, which activates our rambling gene. Don’t worry; it happens to the best of us. Butlosing the interest of the interviewer by rambling — and, more importantly, missing the point of their questions — will take you out of the running for any role.

I know, you’re special. Your accomplishments can’t be summed up succinctly. You believe you must tell the interviewer every single detail of your awesomeness. But, honestly, they don’t care to hear every single detail. In fact, the more details you share, the more they’ll lose interest and start multitasking. And multitasking is the kiss of death for your chances of getting to the next interview.

Instead of inviting the kiss of death, how about you stand out like a star instead?

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4 Ways to Interview the Company

For many during the interview process, it feels as though we’re constantly jumping up and down, praying we don’t get picked last for the team. Oh wait, maybe that was just a middle school flashback. Regardless, while you’re trying so hard to be the best candidate for the job, you could be forgetting a key component to the interview process:

Do you want to work for that company? Does it meet your needs? Would it be a culture fit? Is your boss going to drive you insane?

And then we wonder why we’re so unhappy in the job a year down the road. Not every job or company is a good fit for you — and the interview process is all about figuring that out, for both sides.

Apparently the company side has things figured out, so let’s focus on you to ensure you aren’t blinded by the desire to want to be picked first. Below are four important questions you should be asking the interviewer.

1. Why Is This Position Open?

There can be several reasons why a position is open, and each tells you a different story. Here are some things you can read into each answer:

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Career Planning – Review, Reflect, Move Forward

It’s that time of the year – looking back, taking stock, and figuring out if we want to call last year a success or a failure… and strategizing how we can make this year even better. To be fully transparent, I suck at this – particularly around the “success” part of that equation. I could spend a few weeks analyzing just how sucky something went and question every small detail along the way.

But alas, only focusing on what went wrong, never helps me move forward. It only serves to keep me stuck. While I don’t think January 1st is the only time that you should be reviewing, reflecting and moving forward, it does seem to be the easiest way to figure out what your priorities will be for the year ahead.

Below you will find the framework that I use every year to help me get focused and start, stop or continue various activities. A few things to note before we start:

  • This template can be used for any type of “career” you are looking to plan for the upcoming year. It works if you are an entrepreneur, a traditional corporate worker, or something in between. It’s all about how you want to focus and position yourself.
  • A great suggestion from Pam Slim is to think of each topic as a strategic priority – I had been doing this for years with the heading “topic,” but when she mentioned to me honing in on priorities, it felt more authentic. So use those interchangeably based on what you are trying to plan out.

It’s quick and dirty – no need to linger in the past! 

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