LinkedIn is more than a social network.
It’s also a career development tool you can use to:
- network with clients and colleagues
- research career options
- discuss and share ideas
- develop your personal brand
- search for jobs… and much more.
LinkedIn is free to use although you’ll need to take out a subscription if you want to access more advanced features. It is possible to get plenty of benefits out of a free LinkedIn account without paying any additional fees. Continue reading
‘It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.’
Professionalism is defined as ‘the conduct, aims, or qualities that characterise or mark a profession or a professional person’ (Merriam Webster dictionary). It’s about adhering to professional etiquette and ethics. It’s about you as a person rather than the position you are employed in. Your professionalism is judged by the way you behave and interact with colleagues and clients, whether you dress and present appropriately, your work ethic and level of competence, your communication skills, and your ability to accept personal responsibility for decisions and actions. Your professionalism can have a long lasting effect on your career.
7 ways to boost your professionalism
1. Work well with others and treat people at all levels with respect and dignity.
2. Show appreciation for help and meet your commitments.
3. Arrive on time to meetings and appointments.
4. Conduct personal business during your breaks and avoid using the internet to pursue personal interests at work.
5. Avoid using profanities and slang.
6. Dress appropriately.
7. Avoid getting involved in office politics.
You can start building your professional profile in your workplace by getting involved and taking advantages of opportunities. By letting people know who you are, what you are interested in, and through volunteering to do extra tasks, you can be seen as someone who is enthusiastic and a good team player.
‘You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.’
Relationships at work are important—often they determine your ability to be effective in a job. When you commence a new graduate or other role, take some time to learn who’s who, who does what in your team and how your work is connected. This helps you to know who to approach with questions and can also enable you to see where you can add value to the work of others. Over time, try to broaden your understanding of the roles performed by other teams and look for ways that you can support each other.
4 ways to develop workplace relationships
1. Seek feedback from others
Be proactive in seeking feedback to understand how you are performing and to identify what you are doing well and where you can improve. Ask your manager for a meeting to discuss how you are going and to gain some feedback. Consider asking your colleagues for feedback on things that could be going better, and what improvements you could make to help the team. Listen carefully to feedback. Keep in mind that it is designed to help you improve and isn’t about personal criticism. Continue reading
Email is a great communication tool but it can have its pitfalls in a working environment where a professional approach is essential. For instance, you want to convey a friendly tone in work emails but you need to keep enough formality to remain professional and get the job done.
5 key points to keep in mind
1. An email may not always be the best form of communication.
Sometimes it can be better to discuss something over the phone or in person, and also more efficient and effective.
2. Email communication is not private.
Your email could be forwarded on to others inside or beyond your organisation.
3. Consider how and when to include others in email exchanges.
Think about when it is appropriate to use blind copy (BCC) and carbon copy (CC). Using CC is usually best to ensure you are being direct in your communication. However you might use BCC when emailing information to a mailing list to ensure recipients addresses’ are kept private.
4. There’s room for misunderstanding.
Your tone doesn’t always come through in an email so attempts at humour can be misconstrued and direct comments which lack a polite introduction can be perceived as rude.
5. Consider how you might be perceived.
Should you send non-work related emails to colleagues? Sending regular joke emails gives the impression that you lack professionalism (and have too much time on your hands!). Never forward chain emails or send inappropriate images.
Find out more…
Read 10 tips for better email etiquette
Discover the 5 Etiquette Rules That Still Matter Today
View a slideshare presentation on Business Etiquette and Personal Grooming
The idea of ‘planned happenstance’ is related to the idea of career resilience. It’s a theory about using skills to deal with uncertainty and seeing the potential benefits in unplanned events.
Research suggests that certain attitudes can help us to deal effectively with uncertainly and to develop resilience.
Explore new learning opportunities—look for opportunities to explore areas of interest.
Volunteer, do a placement, take a short course in something completely different to your studies.
Exert effort despite setbacks—many successful people reflect that their persistence was what got them where they are today.
Be open to change and willing to adapt your attitude, skills and experience to take advantage of changing circumstances.
This is about taking action in the face of uncertain outcomes.
Be prepared to take risks, to make decisions without knowing all the information, to make mistakes and to fail.
(Source: Mitchell, Levin & Krumboltz, 1999)
Career resilience appears to be enhanced when your chosen career gives you a sense of meaning or purpose. Depending on your career values, you might find meaning within…
• the work itself
• the rewards achieved through work, or
• the effect the work has on others in society.
How do your values fit in with your ability to find meaning in your work?
You are more likely to find meaning in a career that allows you to experience a sense of ‘flow’. Continue reading
Resilience is ‘the ability to recover quickly from change or misfortune; buoyancy’ (www.thefreedictionary.com/resilience).
Career resilience is about the ability to bounce back from career-related setbacks and learn from experiences so you can keep moving towards your career goals.
‘I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life… Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith.’
Steve Jobs, on being fired from Apple in 1984
Being resilient in your career means being able to:
• bounce back from adversity
• adapt to change
• resume your career identity in spite of career setbacks. Continue reading
‘Luck is a matter of preparation meeting opportunity.’
Career planning in a complex and changing environment means opportunities will arise that you could not have planned for. Long-term goal setting may be of limited benefit because you can really only plan around how you might be successful in this environment. Instead, setting short term measurable goals can position you to do what you can where you are, and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
Short term goals need to be:
Make a commitment on paper and put your career ideas into action
Consider developing a Career Readiness Plan that lists short-term career goals that can easily be measured. As we all have different goals and development needs, your plan will be unique to you. Start by identifying areas where you can take action to develop specific skills or experience.
Your actions may include:
• skill development activities or training
• network development
• gaining experience
• applying for an opportunity.
Use your plan to keep track of your progress and update it to reflect new opportunities and strategies.
You’ll find some great resources for setting goals at Mindtools and the University of California.
Setting achievable short term goals is one approach but you can also visualise your broader career and life goals in more creative ways.
What are the 10 things you definitely want to experience in your career?
• Work overseas?
• Become an expert in your field?
• Speak at a conference?
• Change community attitudes to a social issue?
The possibilities are endless so why not create a ‘Career Bucket List’?
Get some more ideas here.
Or, head to Pinterest and get creative with images and things that reflect and inspire your top ten career ideas, hopes and dreams.
‘My career has not been linear, I have just made the best decision I could at the time.’
Tim Costello, World Vision
Your environment is dynamic… and so are you. Life is complex and you will need to adapt your goals to manage your life around constant change. Reflect for a moment on where you are now – could you have predicted your course of study and your part-time job a few years back? Careers Chaos Theory, developed by Jim Bright and Robert Pryor, challenges the idea that careers can be seen as linear and rationally planned (Pryor & Bright, 2003).
Key elements of Careers Chaos Theory
• Our careers are frequently subject to chance events. Research has indicated that 70% of people experience chance events that impact on their career. Continue reading