New Year Goals Should Land Your Next Job #goalsetting to forward #careers

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With every new year is another opportunity to restart your career.   How can you turn new goals for your current job into a solid track to your next promotion?

One of the most important January business planning activities is often overlooked.   Rested from a holiday break, we get back to work full of energy and ready to tear through our To-Do list, particularly if we have year end projects to finish.  Let’s step back and ask some questions about those activities.

  • Is the planned activity list going to help my company deliver better products or services?
  • Do I have any activities planned that will help me grow professionally?
  • What work will help me get promoted?

Creating a strategic plan in January for tactical activities for the entire year will benefit your employer and you personally. I suggest writing out five possible goals to share with your manager, seeking their input and approval.

Create Five Goals

Goals One, Two and Three – These goals should be structured to benefit your company.   How can you set a goal that will improve sales, productivity or overall profit?  Even at an entry level position, your activities should show a direct line contribution to profit for your corporation, or to improvement of services to your customers or constituents.  Putting the company first indicates to your supervisor that you understand and are inspired by the company mission.

Goal Four – Your next goal should be structured around personal improvement or professional development.   Although we arrive at the workplace with past experience or have received on-the-job training, there is always something more you can learn.  Perhaps you may look into a certification program that you can add to your resume.  Or maybe it is time to broaden your ability to contribute with a horizontal move into another practice area to expand your knowledge base.

Goal Five – The last goal should be written to show your desire to take on additional responsibilities.  Read through the job descriptions of the job you want.  What skill set is needed for this position?  How can you demonstrate that you have the knowledge or leadership skills to meet the challenges and responsibilities in this role.

Congratulations – you are ready to start a new year, and great opportunities lie ahead!  Get after it!

About Joyce Jarek: Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1®Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  She enjoys mentoring her own team, and coaching new graduates who are entering the workforce and starting their first real job after college. To purchase First Job, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html 

Emerging Leaders in Commercial Real Estate, Passionate about Sustainability

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I had an opportunity this week to be a guest lecturer at Columbia University.   I thank Tom Paladino and Sukanya Paciorek, two of the top leaders in sustainability and asset management today, for inviting me to meet and address this inspiring group of professionals who aspire to lead commercial real estate development projects throughout the world.

I felt privileged to hear them speak of their leadership goals and express in a personal way, why sustainable design is important to them. They have problems they want to solve with themes that ranged from wellness, to water scarcity, to preservation of the world.   We also discussed the many lessons learned that comes from the completion of a complicated project, and how important it is to review with your core and extended teams the design, the methodology, and team leadership, that made a development project successful, or created challenges along the way.

What was my take away?  Overall, it has been a memorable few days.    Heightened by  emotion as I shared grief with three friends and coworkers who have lost loved ones just in the last week, I remember that personal passion for something matters.  Dreams become a job, meetings become a necessary evil, and projects develop a routine cadence as they pass from phase to phase until delivery.   But if you have something you fundamentally believe in, and an overarching problem you are trying to solve, it remains the drum beat that lifts your actions, refines your reaction, and fosters sustained enthusiasm, for many years to come.

Thank you class, and good luck!

About Joyce Jarek: Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1® Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  She enjoys mentoring her own team, and coaching new graduates who are entering the workforce and starting their first real job after college. To purchase First Job, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html About Joyce Jarek: Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1® Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  She enjoys mentoring her own team, and coaching new graduates who are entering the workforce and starting their first real job after college. To purchase First Job, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

How To Choose A Career Book

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There are thousands of career books on the market in the self-help category.  We often read books about how to achieve something we desire: I want to be 20 lbs lighter, I wish I had a high-paying job, or I want to have less stress in my life.   We gravitate to the ideal state and want to read about what it will be like when we get there.  I suggest that the best chance for eventually realizing this dream, is to start from where you are today, taking one step at a time.  The book you need is the one that gets you started.
Many of us are looking for tips  on how to advance in our career, find a new job, or become a better manager. A book with high impact will stress slow but steady improvements, starting with the job or skills that you have right now.

To find the right book, I suggest a quick self assessment:
1) What job do I have today? 
Are you an individual contributor or a manager of others?  How many years of work experience do you have?  What would be the next likely move for you?  If you are in an entry-level position, then reading a book intended for C-Suite executives may leave you confused about how to improve productivity and performance in your cubicle tomorrow morning.  If you are a mid-level manager, then you already come with a set of your own experiences which may go beyond the author’s recommendations.
2) What problems are you having at work today?
Take some time to study your environment at work.  Do you feel your place of employment or the people you are working with are holding you back?  Are you holding yourself back? Often our thoughts about others and our work location can give us the biggest tips on what we need to concentrate on personally.  How can a personal change impact the way I am viewed or treated at the company?   By exploring this line of questioning,  you probably can quickly identify what work skills need improvement.  If your desk at work looks like my teenage son’s bedroom, search for books about organization, productivity and time management.  If you are having trouble connecting to coworkers, search for books on teamwork and continuous improvement.  Identify what appears to be an external problem, and then internalize it.
3) What kind of learner am I?
Do you like short stories or thoughtful reads in small print?  Do you like the theory or fact-based evidence about success, or would you prefer light stories?  Would you enjoy reading about how others achieved success, or do you want the author to talk directly to you? The book that you are most likely to finish, is probably the right purchase for you, even if it is slightly off-topic.  You will retain the material and find something to take away, if you enjoyed reading it.
Congratulations!  Just by doing this short assessment, you have taken the first step  forward in your career.  You have identified what you want to work on, and can begin to search book titles.  I suggest reading a preview for each book where the title appeals to your situation while keeping in mind the type of style you desire.  Most booksellers allow you to read the first few pages for free, and you can determine the style, tempo and subject matter from what the author leads with in the first few pages.  That is how I wrote my book.   If the preview is short and to the point, the book will be to.  If the preview is personable or thought provoking,  so will be the next 20 chapters.
Good luck and connect with me online!

About Joyce Jarek:
Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1® Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates.  She enjoys mentoring her own team, and coaching new graduates who are entering the workforce and starting their first real job after college. To purchase First Job, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html

The Self-Performance Review – How Great am I? #Careers #Cubicle Life

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It’s time to close out last year, and all businesses have kicked it into high gear on two major fronts – year-end accounting close and performance reviews for employees.

Rarely will a manager perform a review without first receiving a year-end summary of activities from their direct report accompanied by a personal assessment of their performance and accomplishments.   The personal assessment always feels awkward; people in general do not like to talk about themselves positively because it feels like bragging.   Watch YouTube interviews of the 2014 National Champions The Ohio State University Buckeyes. (I just love saying that over and over).  Urban Meyer, Ezekiel Elliot and Cardale Jones are trained in crediting the team for success, but if these three outstanding individuals weren’t star performers, this Buckeye team may not have won the Big 10 championship game against Wisconsin where they made the case for the college playoffs.   It is not easy to talk about how great you are, but you must! You need to believe in yourself before others will believe in you!

Here are four tips to make your self-assessment easier. 

Restate Activities – If you follow my blog, you know that I emphasize goal setting and action statements in order to provide a clear roadmap for activity throughout the year. If the planned activity levels are detailed and the employee followed then, self-evaluation can be a “cut and paste” with a completion mark at the end. If you followed this plan, your self-assessment is nearly complete.   If you didn’t, go back now and write a retrospective plan.  Add the finishing touch with an anecdotal statement of the quality and timeliness of those activities, and two additional comments describing lessons learned.

No place for self-deprecating remarks – Don’t like talking about yourself? For just once doing your year, get over it.   This is not the time to be laughable or self-deprecating. Use positive action words like completed, managed, delivered and executed, and use adjectives like dedicated, customer-oriented, informative and timely.

Provide evidence that you are accountable – If you were disciplined last year and completed an activity plan, you can now restate it, demonstrating that you did everything you said you were going to do. You are accountable and organized. If some of the activities were incomplete or changed, document why, provide a guess on % completion, and relay how and when it will be completed this year. Show that you can be a reliable producer.

Demonstrate your commitment to continuous improvement – End your self-assessment with your plans for personal growth and professional development. Whether you had a modest or exceptional year, there is always something you can work on. Showing your willingness to improve and learn will give you and your boss something to talk about comfortably during your review.

Joyce Jarek Mihalik is a business leader in the real estate industry, creator of HlpSum1, Inc., and author of First Job: A Personal Career Guide for Graduates. To purchase, visit www.hlpsum1.com/first-job.html