Category Archives: career success

Building a Meaningful Career

There are millions of people who go to the office every day even when they really hate their current jobs. They are not satisfied with their jobs, but stuck in it for various reasons. Every employee wants to do a job that provides them complete satisfaction, flexibility and benefits. But not every one of us has a meaningful career. When you have built meaningful career, you are happy both in your professional and personal life.

Rather than just pushing ourselves into any kind of job or career, we need to give it some thought and make the career decision wisely. To have a meaningful career, it is essential to identify our skills and talents. Every one of us has been born with some innate talents or skills. That’s exactly what one needs to assess and identify to live a meaningful professional life.

Once you have identified the skills that come to you naturally, you can plan to develop them even more. You can take appropriate education and courses to polish your natural talents. Then you need to look for careers where those skills have the most use. Depending on the type of skills you carry, you can find an industry you are passionate about.

There are many people who spend their entire life without realizing their actual potential and fulfilling their dreams. Let it not happen to you. Take appropriate action in time and identify your skills, talents and abilities. Never make your career decision in a hurry, as it might cause you a lot of distress and frustration in the future.

Research is also an important ingredient of finding a meaningful career for yourself. Even after possessing a good amount of creative talent, many candidates are unable to choose the right career path. It happens because they don’t research well about the available career options.

Another important thing that needs a mention here is that you should look up to professionals who are successful at employment. Get in touch with those who have really built a meaningful career for them. They can not only inspire you, but can also help you with some expert pieces of career advice.

If you really desire to build a meaningful career, start planning your career as early as possible. You can also turn to career counselors and career guidance services to seek professional help. Plan an effective strategy to prepare yourself for a career and reach where you want to be in your life.

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4 Essential Tips for Great Customer Service Skills

For any job, where you need to interact with clients, you will require great customer service skills. Acquiring this essential job skill can lead to a successful career. Dealing with customers is not an easy task. Nor is it too tough for people who are ready to learn this art. You need to keep several important things in mind while dealing with customers.

Given below are some essential tips for great customer service skills –

Focusing on the first impression
You must have heard about first impressions and how important they can be. While interacting with customers, you need to make a strong first impression to make it a lasting impression on their minds. To achieve success, you need to do everything within your power to make a great impression. Remember, the rest of interaction you do with a customer will depend on how you interact with them in your first chance of meeting them.

Right from the beginning of interaction, you need to understand the potential of a first meeting. And there’s no doubt that respect begets respect. Appropriate treatment with customers can really make a big difference in your business dealings.

Determining the Customers’ Requirements
It should be your continuous effort to understand the requirements of the customer. Knowing what they want and fulfilling those requirements will make all the difference. Many times, you will need to deal with angry customers. If the angry customer wants to vent to someone, allow them the space to do so. If you think you are capable of handling the situation yourself, settle the situation yourself. At the same try to understand what the customer actually wants. Try to help the customers and fulfill their requirements to keep things going.

Defusing Angry Customers
While interacting with customers, you also need to learn the art of handling angry customers. In case, you are faced with an angry customer, it is of utmost importance to find out the reason. Listen patiently to the customer’s complaint and figure out how to solve the problem. Also be ready to take charge of the entire situation rather than giving excuses. Offer helping the angry customer and tell them you will resolve the problem. Be down-to-earth in your interaction with angry customers and avoid asking too many questions in these situations.

Helping Customers with Unusual Requests
During customer interaction, you will come across situation where you will be asked to help customers with unusual requests, outside the business. Under these situations, it is not wise to say a complete ‘No’. Instead you need to use the situation to your benefit. Consider helping the customer rather than denying their requests only because it is outside the norms. If you can help the customer with an unusual request, you will really strengthen your bond with them for future.


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How Does an Informational Interview Work?

There is no dearth of literature available for getting career related information. There are books, trade publications and online resources to get information about the career you aspire to pursue. However, the potential of informational interviews in this regard is second to none. Informational interviewing offers jobseekers, career changers and students to receive first hand information about careers they have interest in. Through these interviews, candidates can get a real insider view about careers and use that essential information for career success.

Setting up the informational interview
First and foremost, candidates need to set up the interviewing. Setting up means you have to find potential and influential people who can provide you a first hand knowledge about specific careers, industries or jobs. To identify such people, you can use the entire network of contacts including your family, friends, colleagues, classmates etc. Once you have prepared the list of such people, you can send them an introductory email stating your interests, career goals and background. Informational interviews can be conducted over phone, lunch or in person. A face to face informational interview is the most advisable way of getting first-hand career information and having a feel about the job or career you are interested in.

Preparing for the informational interview
Advanced preparation is key to becoming successful at informational interviewing. Before you speak to the interview, you need to make sure that you have researched on the whereabouts of their company and the industry they cater to. You can also log on to their company’s website to do some advanced preparation for asking questions. If you want to get information on a specific career, you need to prepare asking questions like where they started, how they made the most of their jobs, what the job description and how they plan to remain competitive in that particular occupation.

Conducting the informational interview
Consider your informational interviewing no less important than a business meeting. You need to attire yourself in formal clothes and act professional as well. Ask the interviewee whether they would mind taking notes during the interview. Maintain your eye contact and listen to the professional attentively. Try to build a natural rapport during the talk to maintain relationship with the interviewee. Also ask them about some references that can provide first hand career information.

Establishing the relationship
Building a relationship with your interviewee is one of the most important parts of the entire process. Therefore, don’t forget to follow them up. After the end of the informational interview, send them a thank you note or an email expressing your gratitude for the opportunity they gave you. With the passage of time, keep them informed of you career developments. This is a wonderful way of building a long term relationship with industry professionals. You never know when they might be able to help you again in the near future.

By using the above mentioned tips, you can definitely extract the maximum of your professional meetings. Use this effective tool to expand your contacts in an industry and achieve career success.

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How Can Fear Be Your Career’s Best Friend?

If you are not playing it safe while doing anything that is worth doing in your career, you are definitely going to experience some sort of fear. And the good news is that experiencing this kind of fear is not altogether bad. Jobseekers, career changers and fresh career starters should be happy to know that fear can actually be their career’s best friend.

Fear can be classified into ‘productive fear’ and ‘limiting fear’. Productive fear helps you figure out how you can avoid a potential pain and achieve you goal. On the other hand, limiting fear refers to a feeling of fear which asks you to turn around and move in the other direction. Limiting fear may also stop you dead in your track.

Most of the time it is not feeling that differentiates productive fear from limiting fear. Instead, it is actually what you do or how you handle a situation when you feel it. The feeling of this fear can surround or overwhelm you at multiple points in your career. For instance, a career change situation can bring fears of getting failed or falling on your face. Now if you decide that it is best not to take the risk of making a career change and continue with your dissatisfying job, it becomes a limiting fear.

On the other hand, you can also turn this limiting fear into productive fear. Instead of not taking the risk of making a career change at all, you can also figure out how to minimize the potential of that actually happening.

To turn fear into productive fear, you can ask yourself the following questions –

How can I prevent the outcome?
What do I need to be aware of to reduce the risk of the outcome?
How do I need to prepare myself to reduce the risk of the outcome?

Fear can really be a rich source of insight, if used positively. What can fear actually do for your career benefit? Well, it can be an eye-opener to potential trouble that might arise during a particular course of action. At the same time, it can be used to energize your action to reduce the risk of the outcome. In this way, fear can really be your career’s best friend.

There is a very fine line between productive and limiting fear. On the one hand, productive fear can be used to prepare yourself to prevent some unnecessary pain. On the other, limiting fear can just stop you from taking any action at all. Therefore, the next time you experience a feeling of fear, be ready to use it as an effective tool to pave your path and move towards your career goals.

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Career Success Tip: Track Your Accomplishments

When you achieve a target or accomplish something that brings profit to your company, you can not just give yourself a pat on the back. For instance, you acquired a new client through your inspired speech. Or you created spreadsheets that helped a lot in boosting the bottom line. Will you only give yourself a pat on the back and then forget these achievements. Not at all! To achieve career success, you need to record every single accomplishment or every small goal that you achieved. 

By keeping a record of your achievements, you can let others in the workplace know what difference you can make to the organization. Your co-workers will identify you through your work and achievements. This will be a part of your self promotion campaign. In today’s tough workplace, it has become utmost essential that you document your value to your boss or the employer.

Given below are some important tips to help you track your accomplishments –

Record it immediately
One of the most important things to remember while you start tracking your accomplishments is that you record them immediately as they occur. By recording the achievements immediately, you can easily record all the details while they are fresh in your memory.

Get it in writing
If you can gather some evidence about what you accomplished, there can be nothing better than that. Though verbal praise makes you feel nice, a written email or a written note would serve as an evidence of what you accomplished or achieved.

Quantify your achievements
It is also advisable to record your accomplishments in concrete terms. Try to get the figures and quantifiable terms that speak of your achievements louder. For instance, recording ‘landed a new client’ would carry no weight as compared to ‘landed new client bringing $48,000 to the company in the year 2010’. Therefore, always try to record your achievements in quantifiable terms.

Create a career portfolio
You must have heard artists creating their portfolio of best artwork. What about creating your own career portfolio to present it to organizations and employers? You can use the career portfolio for multiple benefits. For example, a career portfolio can help your negotiate the best salary and can be presented at interviews to set you apart from other candidates.

Tracking you achievements is essential to getting career success. Whether it is an interview, your resume, salary negotiation or a performance review, a record of your accomplishments can be effectively used for many career benefits.

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What Do Career Aptitude Tests Measure?

Career aptitude tests are meant to measure your mental development and intellectual abilities. They make you aware of how well you can perform under a given situation. Today, you have multiple resources to analyze your aptitude. You can find a number of such career tests on the internet, both paid and free services. By taking these tests, candidates come to know about their capability to comprehend instructions and then apply their previously acquired skills and knowledge to make good inferences. These tests tell you how you will perform in your future.

Career Aptitude Tests vs Attainment Tests
The aptitude career test, as mentioned above, analyses your general capabilities for predicting your future performance. Though these tests are a part and parcel of all psychological assessments, they vary from one group of people to another. Aptitude tests differ for people belonging to different cultural groups.

On the other hand, an attainment test is different from an aptitude career tests. Attainment tests are meant to measure your academic achievements. They are used to predict your achievement in different subjects including social studies, science, mathematic etc. Attainment tests do not differ in terms of people belonging to different cultures.

Aptitude Tests vs IQ Tests
How do you know whether you are a genius, an average or an idiot? IQ tests are designed to test how you have developed mentally. Though aptitude tests also do the same thing, they measure your intelligence for predicting your future performance. In most of the cases, an aptitude test may be the same as an IQ test. Owing to court’s rulings, however, aptitude tests do not use the term IQ or do not interpret the IQ scores as the result of an aptitude test.

Your Encounter with an Aptitude Career Test
Before you start taking the aptitude test, you will be given a solved practice test paper. First of all, you need to understand the requirements of the test. After this introductory preparation, the tester will provide you with a long questionnaire, containing multiple choice questions. You will need to answer all the multiple choice questions within the provided time limit. Do not worry if you are given a maximum number of questions to answer. They are given to candidates to test their capability of handling stressful situations. Both your accuracy and speed are tested through the career aptitude test.

What Characteristics Do Aptitude Tests Analyze?
If you take an aptitude test, you will come know about your ability to perform your role in future. These tests analyze some of your most essential characteristics. These are as follows.

  • Logical Thinking and Analytical Skills
  • Strengths and Weaknesses
  • Leadership Skills
  • Comprehension and Communication Skills
  • Capabilities you can work upon and improve
  • Your Hidden potentials that you can use to perform your role

Psychological testing companies have also developed job-specific career tests. Specialized career aptitude tests assist employers a lot in selecting the right candidates for specific job positions. For candidates, these tests have to play a crucial role in determining the right career path. Jobseekers, students and career changers need to take these aptitude tests seriously to become successful in their careers.


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10 Steps to Successful Career Change

Career change decision takes a lot of courage, careful thought and consideration. When you decide to change careers, you must ensure whether it is a right decision or not. For making successful career changes, jobseekers need to be equipped with some essential tips and suggestions. Given below are 10 steps for a successful career change.

1. Evaluate Your Current Job Satisfaction
Before you change careers, it is important for you to know whether you are satisfied with your current job or not. More importantly, you need to figure out whether your current job leads you towards your career goal.

2. Assess Your Interests, Values & Skills
The next most important step is to make an assessment of your interests, strengths, personality traits, personal values and skills. While you figure out and review your strengths, it is also important to know the areas you are weak in. Try be honest while assessing these traits.

3. Brainstorm Ideas for Career Alternatives

Spend time brainstorming on all the career alternatives that match your skills and interests. For this, you may need to get in touch with professionals and career counseling centers. Appropriate research needs to be done to gather as much information on career alternatives as possible.

4. Conduct a Preliminary Comparative Evaluation
When you have all the possible career alternatives before you, it is now time to conduct a preliminary comparative evaluation. Find out the best career alternative.

5. Read as Much as You Can
A major part of the career research is through reading. You need to read about the career of interest and know as much as you can.

6. Shadow Professionals
Try to find professionals who have successful in the career you have chosen. Know about them. Read about them and shadow these professionals.

7. Identify Volunteering Activities
Volunteering is a great way to acquire some real world experience as well to get in touch with influential and professional people. Grab a volunteering opportunity which is associated with your career field. Making contacts with people can also bring job information and career opportunities.

8. Investigate Educational Opportunities
When you consider a career change and want to be successful, you should also be ready to look for educational opportunities for the advancement of your career.

9. Look for Ways to Develop New Skills
Create or develop a skill set that sets you apart from the crowd of other jobseekers or career changers. Work on your interpersonal skills. Fine tune you written/ verbal communication skills, team playing skills, problem solving skills etc. Go for in-house trainings if your current employer offers the same.

10. Consider Alternative Roles
Try to look for alternative job roles or positions in the industry you are already employed in. Since you have been in the industry for quite some time, the acquired experience can really be useful and can applied to other related jobs in the same industry.


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