Setting Goals: How to Set Goals in Your Personal and Professional Life

Goal-setting is something everyone does in some way or another. Whether it’s saving for a new car or vacation, or having a five- and/or ten-year professional plan, people have goals. In the workplace, setting goals for the entire team and individuals alike can promote a level of efficacy that surpasses expectations.

Setting goals in the workplace involves having a written down, clear-cut plan of what needs to be done and when it needs to be done by. This is particularly important in any sales environment. Goals can be in the form of quotas; for example, each employee needs to make X amount of dollars in sales each day or create X amount of new contacts in a week. Having these goals not only sets a standard that each employee needs to rise to, but also helps boost productivity by making it somewhat competitive, even if employees aren’t directly competing with each other.

What, Why, How and When

Before setting goals for the company and employees, it’s important to look at what needs done and why it needs done. The why is the most important. Next, it’s important to have an achievable method of reaching the goals, or the how. Finally, you need to set a standard for when the goal needs to be met. Look at previous sales or employee efficiency to create a deadline for reaching the goals. Again, it is important that the deadline be achievable, even if it is a bit difficult.

Positive Reinforcement

Let’s face it, all people work better when there is some type of reward at the end of the tunnel. This doesn’t have to be an extravagant reward, but positive reinforcement goes a long way toward achieving goals — even if it is a pat on the back and public recognition within the company for going above and beyond the call of duty to meet and/or surpass the goal. Additional rewards may include bonuses, small gifts (gift cards, lunch on the house, etc), or something along the lines of some extra paid time off.

Goal-setting is a great way to keep track of who is pulling the most weight and which employees are working hard to meet and surpass your expectations. It is also among the most effective ways to help boost your bottom line.

Using a Recruiter: Tips for Getting the Best Results

Many people have misconceptions about using a staffing firm or recruiter to aid them in their quest for the perfect career. Sometimes these misconceptions prevent people from taking advantage of a staffing firm or recruiter. Let’s get one thing clear: The firm and/or recruiter’s job is to find you a job and help companies fill positions. It’s a win-win for companies and you, the potential employee.

When you decide to put the misconceptions aside and work with a recruiter, there are a few things you should know before diving in. First, recruiters are professionals at reading people. They have to be; the success of their company lies in them finding the perfect match. That being said, a recruiter is going to analyze your attitude right off the bat. When you first meet your recruiter, be professional, courteous and make eye contact; in short: be yourself (but the best you can be). Be open, answer their questions and show them that you are the ideal candidate for a position they are trying to fill. Treat this as you would an interview with a company because IT IS.

When answering questions from the recruiter, be as specific as you can be. Let them know the tasks you handled at your previous job, even some of the more mundane ones. Play yourself up while still being honest; sell yourself. Opening up your work history and tasks you’ve managed plays an important role in the recruiter assessing your abilities. You may not think that a certain, everyday task you handled previously is important to the job you’re applying for, but it could very well be.

While the relationship with your recruiter should be maintained as a professional relationship, also realize that they are there to help you. Ask them any questions you have regarding the process, hiring companies, etc. Follow up with your recruiter on a regular basis to keep yourself fresh in his mind (not that he will forget you, but this also helps your recruiter keep your details in the forefront).

Working with a recruiter can be an excellent way to find your dream position. The recruiters know where the jobs are, and they are often privy to jobs that aren’t posted elsewhere. In today’s world, networking and making contacts can go much further than what’s listed on your resume, and the recruiter is a great contact to have on your side.

Do You Have What it Takes to Lead in the Professional World?

In every situation in life there are leaders and followers. While the leaders often take the grandest recognition, being a follower isn’t always a bad thing. Also, being a leader doesn’t always mean you’re the boss, manager or supervisor at your job. Natural born leaders have a few character traits, many of which you may have, as well. Many of these traits come naturally; however, you can also work to hone these character traits.

Lack of Ego

It may seem like common sense to assume natural leaders have large egos. This can’t be further from the truth, however. Natural leaders are able to suppress their own egos and make things work as a team. They are the best team players out there, and able to give recognition to other team members without trying to steal someone’s thunder. They are confident and able to offer ideas and support throughout projects. Some may confuse self-confidence with a large ego.

Communication

Natural leaders have an innate ability to communicate every detail, making sure everyone is on the same page. They will also use their communication skills to find out what others want and any issues going on with a project or work environment. Their communication skills also make them great listeners.

Standing Ground

Conflicts arise in everyday life, including at work. A conflict may arise with a fellow worker or with a client. Natural born leaders are able to tolerate conflict in a way that shows they won’t back down; however, they’re not often bullies during a conflict. Their ability to effectively communicate comes into effect during conflict. They won’t run from it, and they will go after what they want, but they will not snake or sneak to get it.

Transparency and Integrity

While there are stories of deceitful people making it big in the professional world, natural born leaders have unrivaled integrity. They are honest and transparent, allowing them to be fully trusted by coworkers, supervisors, clients and, well, everyone. Besides honesty, integrity also includes doing things the right way, giving credit where it’s due and owning up to mistakes.

Conclusion

Do you have these qualities? Are you looking to move up professionally and develop these skills to become a leader? While these traits are typically natural, there are a few you can work on to more fully develop your leadership skills. For example, many people avoid conflict, but you can stand your ground (even if it takes practice doing so). You can also work on your ability to communicate your feelings and desires in the workplace without overstepping your boundaries.

Speak Up: Learning How to Properly Answer Interview Questions

You’ve sent in your resume and received the call scheduling your interview. Chances are, you’re pretty excited about the interview, but also nervous about the meeting. The interview is a make-or-break instance that thoroughly increases or decreases your chance of getting the job.

Not everyone is a pro at speaking during an interview or important meeting. For some, it’s difficult to even talk on the phone with a stranger. If you have issues speaking up or are nervous about the interview, don’t worry! You’re not alone.

Learning how to speak up and properly answer questions not only makes you look more professional, it also shows confidence and allows you to more thoroughly explain your skills and experience. Here are a couple of tips to practice for your next interview:

TIP 1: Write It All Down

There are a few standard interview questions that are almost always asked. These include questions about your strengths and weaknesses; an explanation of a time you went above and beyond for the company; and what your experiences are and what they can do for the company. Start by writing down your answers to these questions as thoroughly as possible. Get detailed. Think about the answers. Practice saying these answers over and over in your mirror, even though you may feel silly doing so. Take the paper with you to the interview if it will make you feel more comfortable; however, make sure it is a clean and presentable piece of paper with just the questions and answers on it.

TIP 2: Do Your Research

Researching the company and position you are applying for is incredibly advantageous – the hiring manager will be impressed by your detailed knowledge of how the company works, what products are offered and why you will be a great fit, as described by you. Being able to mention how you might fix something or do something better takes this even further. Take time and think about what experiences and qualities you have that will be a great benefit to the company.

Conclusion

As they say, practice makes perfect – practicing your interview answers is a simple and efficient way to help you ace your interview. When you are prepared for the questions and have thoroughly thought about your answers, and you have taken the time to evaluate your own valuable skill set, you will answer more precisely and with more confidence.

Sharing Space: How to Effectively Share Space With a Coworker

In today’s world of office spaces and massive collections of people working closely together, shared space is somewhat of a given when taking such a job. While in some instances it works out perfectly, sharing office space does not always work out well.

Sharing a space with someone, whether it’s a cubicle or office, involves responsibility and respect from all parties. There is a chance that some things about your office mate will be offensive to you, cause disruption, or simply annoy you! So, when you must share your work space with a coworker, we suggest following these rules to encourage a great working relationship without going overboard.

Supplies

In many cases, supplies are shared between coworkers that share an office or a cubicle. In other cases, however, supplies are personal belongings. If you share supplies, always make sure they are kept in the correct spot – if you don’t have a place for everything, talk to your cubicle companion about bringing something in. Organization can go a long way into keeping a relationship civil.

If items aren’t shared, there should be no reason that you use each other’s belongings. However, a time may come when your stapler jams or you run out of pens (hey, it happens all the time). If you must use your coworkers supplies, do so only with asking and with putting it back where it goes.

General Respect

Always ask your coworker if scented candles, potpourri, flowers or other strongly scented items are okay. Some people are sensitive to perfumes and fragrances, not to mention allergic!

Another form of respect is watching your volume and your language. Many people have a hard time concentrating when a coworker in the same space is much louder than they are. Personal conversations on your phone should be kept to an absolute minimum within the shared space, and offensive language should never be used.

Mediation

If you and the person you share the space with are not working well together, it’s time for some mediation. Talk to your coworker to see if there is an arrangement that can be made between the two of you when the space is shared. If it is one-sided, remain professional when speaking with your manager or supervisor as to not offend the coworker. Unfortunately, small problems can escalate quickly when you’re in close quarters with someone for 4 to 8 hours a day. Your manager should be your mediator in times of conflict.

Sharing office or cubicle space is much like having a roommate that you didn’t choose. In order to remain successful, general respect is the key to forging a professional relationship with someone you spend most of your waking hours with.