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Individuals considering a career change may experience mixed emotions. The excitement elicited by such a decision may be tempered by fear. Such fear is natural when embarking on a new path and leaving behind some security and professional equity, but that fear should not be the deciding factor when people mull whether or not to change careers. The decision to change careers is something that requires careful thought and ample consideration of a host of factors. Individuals facing such a decision can consider the following tips to ensure they make the best choice for themselves. Consider your motivation before pursuing a change. The motivation behind a career change can go a long way toward determining if that change is ultimately successful. Money can be a great motivator, but if money is the only thing driving a change, then individuals might be better off pursuing new opportunities within their existing field rather than changing careers entirely, as staying within the field will allow people to capitalize on the professional equity they have built over their careers while also providing a new challenge. A genuine interest in another profession or a desire to find a better work-life balance might make for better motivators to change careers than simply switching to make more money. Do your homework. Career changes require hard work and, if extra schooling is necessary, a potentially sizable financial investment. People should thoroughly research any fields they might pursue before making a change so they can fully understand the commitment they will need to make. Once they get an idea of what they will need to do make a successful career change, people should speak with their family to discuss the effects that their pursuit may have on family members. Such a discussion can make the transition to a new career easier, and the support a person’s family provides along the way can serve as something to lean on if or when things start to feel overwhelming. Don't be afraid to ask for help. Many people are dissatisfied with their careers, and those who aren't might have been at one time. When mulling a career change, don't be afraid to seek help. Help might come from family or friends, but people shouldn't limit themselves with regard to whose help they will accept. If a person wants to become a college professor, they shouldn't hesitate to contact a professor at a local college, explaining their situation and asking for any advice. Individuals have nothing to lose by reaching out and such help can prove invaluable. And people might be surprised to learn just how willing even strangers might be to lend a hand. Give yourself time. Career changes are rarely an overnight process. Successfully switching careers takes time, so don't give yourself a quick deadline to make a change. Such pressure likely won't increase your chances of making a successful switch, and you won't enjoy the process nearly as much if you bury yourself in pressure. Changing careers can be exciting and nerve-wracking. Affording such a switch the consideration it deserves and doing your homework can help make the switch as successful as you envision it being.  Metro Creative
Spring is a time for renewal and rebirth, and the signs of change are all around us. Flowers are blooming, and the days are longer, brighter, and warmer. We become more open to inviting changes into our lives. Spring, a season of transformations, may be the time to dare yourself to make desired changes in your career. To clarify your feelings about your job, take this quiz! Are you satisfied with your job? Respond "yes" or "no:" I often have trouble getting out of bed workdays. I frequently think, “I can hardly wait till Friday!” I have control over my job tasks. I call in sick when I am not. My performance and productivity have slipped. I like my colleagues and superiors. Leaving the organization will enable me to achieve desired goals. My work is damaging my self-confidence and health. My job enables me to express my purpose. Scoring: One point for each "yes" to statements 3, 7, and 10; and "no" to the other statements. Add points: 8 or higher suggests you're satisfied with your job; 4 to 7 suggests you like some aspects of your job, but dislike others; 3 or lower indicates you're dissatisfied with your work. This may influence your health and productivity. To nurture your career, consider tips below. New career beginnings - Manage your own career.  Identify what you like and dislike about your job. - Explore ways to creatively redesign your job. Trade responsibilities with colleagues. Propose suggestions to superiors. Mentor. This will enrich work experiences. Accept challenges in unexplored territories. Focus on experimenting with something new, rather than previously mastered tasks. - Investigate jobs within your company . Is there another position in the company that could satisfy your needs? Don’t discount downward, lateral or regional moves. Anticipate company changes. Network, read memos, newsletters and job postings. Advise key people in appropriate departments of your interest in a position. Show how your skills and accomplishments can contribute to the department’s bottom line. - Create opportunities in your organization. Look for jobs that need to be done, research ways to enhance the project, and offer assistance and suggestions to the project manager.  Volunteer for special projects. Identify those that offer challenge and meet other needs. Offer to take charge of a newsletter or community relations project. Be assertive. Make your needs and desires clear in a friendly way. Ask, rather than complain. Prepare and rehearse the script before the big request. To manage anxiety, practice a calming guided visualization or meditation . Continue to learn. Read professional journals, attend professional meetings. Share expertise. Create a demand for it. - Explore options outside the organization.  You have many other alternatives including another organization or different field, self-employment or time out for travel or study. Peruse printed materials and the Internet. Read professional literature and attend professional and business association meetings, shadow professionals at work, volunteer, work part-time or take courses in a field of interest. When evaluating options, determine compatibility with needs, interests, skills and goals. Know how to get started, and how to minimize potential difficulties. - Clarify goal. To clarify your goal, use both intellect and intuition. For an objective assessment, list options (teacher, engineer, book keeper) across the top of a page. On the side, write important criteria such as needs (creativity, autonomy, security). Give each option a rating of +1, 0 or -1, for each criterion. Add your scores. For further clarification, use intuition. For example, ask your dreams for guidance, meditate, enjoy nature, journal.   -  Plan and act. When you know what you want, it's easier to focus on finding a new position, return to school or take time out. Develop an action plan, and break it down into small steps indicating completion dates, activities and resources required.  Expect success, and continually visualize yourself performing your goal. -  Enhance lifestyle . Sometimes, other life components depress us. Poor health and lack of leisure or an intimate relationship may contribute to feelings of boredom and low confidence. Identify sources of discontent. Find hobbies, volunteer, study or other activities that provide needed perks. Get out of that rut! How can you improve your work situation? For additional information and inspiration refer to Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life   © Dr. Carole Kanchier, registered psychologist, coach and author of the award winning, groundbreaking book, Questers Dare to Change Your Job and Life , helps individuals and organizations dare to change. www.questersdaretochange  
Finding a new job is never an easy task. That task grew even more difficult over the last half decade, when a struggling economy forced many companies to lay off workers and institute hiring freezes. As a result, unemployment numbers rose, and many out-of-work men and women found themselves searching for ways to stand out among a crowded pool of applicants. Standing out in a crowded job market has always been tough, but many professionals find it even more difficult to get noticed now when many companies request prospective employees apply for job postings via the Internet. That process can be frustrating, as even the most qualified applicants can easily get lost among the myriad of workers all applying for the same position. But as daunting as finding a new job may seem to those looking for work, there are ways to stand out among the masses. Go the extra mile when sending your application. Many online job postings provide a link or an email address where applicants can fill out an application or send their resumes. This is a necessary step, and applicants should follow the directions in the posting. But applicants who really want to get noticed can take the extra step of finding the contact information for the company's hiring manager and sending their resume directly to that person's email address. Include the title of the position you're applying for in the subject line of your email, and cut and paste your cover letter into the body of the email. In addition to sending your email to the company's hiring manager, consider CC'ing the person who might be your boss if you were to get the position. Tighten things up. Your resume should reflect your work experience, but you want to focus primarily on the experience and skills that are relevant to the position. You can list past positions or internships you've had, but keep the synopsis of those positions brief if they bear little relevance to the position for which you're applying. The main focus of your resume should be the things you have done in the past that make you the best candidate for this job. This might change as you apply for various positions, but tailor each resume to each specific position. Make your resume download-friendly. Applying for positions but getting little response despite your qualifications? Chances are your resume might not be download-friendly. Bullet points and boxes might look good to you, but if the hiring manager on the receiving end of your resume does not have the same version of the program you're using, that resume might look like a scrambled mess by the time the it's downloaded. In such instances your resume is almost certain to end up in the scrap heap, no matter how qualified you might be. When uploading your resume to a company Web site or emailing it to a hiring manager, choose a format they can easily download. A PDF, for example, is a format that's easy to download and unlikely to scramble. Beware of hyperlinks. Adding hyperlinks to a resume can be hit or miss. When it's a hit, a hiring manager can click on a link in your resume and be taken directly to samples of your work. However, if you're asked to submit your resume via an online application instead of sending it directly to a hiring manager's email address, then those same hyperlinks might be relegating your application to the trash bin before it's ever seen. That's because the database may be programmed to associate any documents with hyperlinks as spam, in which case the hiring manager will never see your application or resume. Hyperlinks can be useful and help you stand out, but only when they're employed under the right circumstances. Include social media profiles. More and more companies want employees who are familiar with social media, which can work to an applicants' advantage or prove detrimental. If you have been responsible regarding your use of social media, conducting yourself in a professional matter and even benefitting your existing employer, by all means share these profiles with potential employers. But if you have traditionally used social media purely as a social tool and not in a professional manner, then it bears little relevance to your job search and likely won't help you stand out for the right reasons. Standing out in a crowded job is rarely easy. But savvy professionals can employ a few tricks of the trade to stand out as they search for their next jobs.  - Metro Creative
Make the most of your entry-level job Many top-level business executives, including some CEOs, began their careers in entry-level positions. Such positions may not fulfil a post-grad's dream, but they are often great opportunities for freshly minted graduates to learn about a given industry. Like many opportunities, entry-level jobs are often only as valuable as employees want them to be. Those who approach entry-level opportunities with a good attitude and a strong desire to learn are the ones who are most likely to someday consider their experiences as entry-level employees as invaluable. With that in mind, the following are a few ways entry-level workers can make the most of their opportunity. Maintain a good attitude. Chances are your first few months, as an entry-level employee will be spent performing tedious tasks that may have little to do with your long-term career goals. Approaching such tasks with enthusiasm may be difficult, but do your best to maintain a positive attitude. Your coworkers and bosses will observe how you respond to your workload, and that response can dictate your future with the company. In addition, those who are above you on the company food chain no doubt performed some menial entry-level work when they began their careers, and a poor attitude that suggests you are above such work will only harbour resentment among those who have already paid their dues. Be ready to chip in. A willingness to cooperate and work a few extra hours when help is needed is a great way for entry-level employees to get noticed. But while helping coworkers is great, make sure your own responsibilities aren't suffering because you're too quick to lend a helping hand. Once you have cleared your plate, you can then approach your boss and express your willingness to help. Such gestures will be appreciated and will help you get noticed for all the right reasons. Learn the lay of the land. Companies vary with regard to culture at the office, so while a casual environment might have prevailed at a past internship that does not necessarily mean your new employer fosters the same environment. When starting an entry-level job, pay attention to how the staff interacts with one another, including how decisions are made. Such information can help you as you look to advance your career and build relationships within the company. Develop your skills. No one expects you to be fully satisfied with an entry level position for your entire career, so don't be afraid to seek opportunities to further develop your skills. Such opportunities may present themselves within the company via an interesting project or outside the company via a class at the local college. Take advantage of any chance to develop your skills, and don't feel guilty about pursuing opportunities that have little to do with your current position so long as you're still doing your job to the best of your abilities. A good company will be impressed by your desire to learn and grow your skill set, so don't hesitate to seek such opportunities. - Metro Creative  
Since 2007, the American Psychological Association has commissioned an annual nationwide survey to examine the state of stress across the United States and understand its impact. The 2013 survey found that people continue to experience what they feel are unhealthy stress levels, with 42 percent of adult respondents reporting that their stress levels have increased over the past five years. In addition, 44 percent of survey respondents feel they aren't doing enough to manage their stress, painting a potentially troubling future for people who cannot find better and healthier ways to manage their stress. The picture is none the rosier in Canada, where data from the 2012 Canadian Community Health Survey revealed that nearly 23 percent of Canadians aged 15 and older reported that most days were "quite a bit or extremely stressful." While those figures marked a slight improvement from the previous year's survey, it's apparent that stress is still a considerable concern for people throughout both the United States and Canada. Though many people unfortunately regard stress as an inevitable side effect of adulthood, it's important that men, women and even children avoid characterizing stress as simply a by-product of a difficult and/or successful life and career. Even momentary stress, often referred to as "acute stress," like the kind that appears when stuck in a traffic jam, can have a potentially devastating impact on overall health. According to the American Institute of Stress, acute stress causes an increase in heart rate and stronger contractions of the heart muscle, and some medical professionals have suggested there is a link between repeated episodes of acute stress and heart attack. Regular use of relaxation techniques to reduce stress can help to counteract the effects of long-term stress, which the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine notes can contribute to depression, digestive disorders, headaches, high blood pressure, and insomnia. While it's always best for anyone, and especially those people with heart disease, epilepsy, certain psychiatric conditions or a history of abuse or trauma, to consult their health care provider before attempting to address their stress on their own, the following are two popular relaxation techniques that may help relieve stress in a healthy way. Meditation There are many types of meditation, but in general people who meditate employ certain techniques when meditating. These techniques may include maintaining a specific posture or finding a quiet, distraction-free location to meditate. Many practitioners of meditation choose to recite a positive mantra that they repeat throughout their session. While many people question the effectiveness of meditation, research has suggested that routine meditation sessions can alter the brain's neural pathways and make a person more capable of combatting stress. Yoga Yoga has grown increasingly popular in recent years, and much of that can be traced to the multitude of health benefits that have been linked to this typically low-impact practice of the mind and body. The NCCAM notes that studies have suggested yoga is effective at lowering heart rate and blood pressure and can even relieve anxiety and depression. Those are beneficial side effects for sufferers of stress, which over time can contribute to high blood pressure and arrhythmia (abnormal heartbeat) and even cause people to worry too much about minor things or suspect bad things are about to happen. - Metro Creative
The benefits of adopting a more eco-friendly lifestyle are numerous and well documented. In addition to helping the environment, an eco-friendly lifestyle can have a positive impact on personal health. Though many people are aware of the myriad ways they can make eco-friendly changes in their personal life, it's also important to note the ways to do so in their professional lives. Instituting a few eco-friendly changes in your professional life is a great way to help the environment, and doing so may also benefit you and your business' bottom line. * Start with your commute. Many professionals commute to work five days per week, and that commute presents a great opportunity to make some eco-friendly changes to your daily routine. Instead of driving to work each day, investigate the possibility of taking public transportation. Public transportation reduces the amount of cars on the road, which helps to cut down on fuel consumption and air pollution. Taking public transportation to work also saves you money, as the cost of a monthly bus or rail pass is likely much less than the cost of filling up your gas tank. If public transportation is not an option, then suggest a car pool with coworkers who live in your area. Each person can take turns driving from week to week, which will save you money on fuel and reduce the amount of wear and tear on your vehicle. What's more, instituting a car pool may cut down on your commute time if your community has a carpool lane on its major highways. * Forget you have a printer. Nowadays, fewer and fewer people rely on printed documents to get through the workday. Advances with regard to computer technology has made it just as easy to read documents on a computer screen as it is to do so on a sheet of paper. If you're among the last to embrace this growing trend, think of the environment before you print your next document and opt to read documents on your desktop rather than printing them out. Instead of leaving notes for coworkers, send them e-mails instead. This saves paper, which in turn will save your company money, and it also reduces your reliance on ink that can potentially harm the environment. When making presentations, do so using slides rather than printing materials and handing them out in a packet. E-mail coworkers the presentation in advance and print out a single copy for the meeting rather than printing multiple copies. If you and your coworkers simply must print documents, try to use two-sided printing and copying to reduce your paper usage. And urge your office manager to order supplies made from recycled materials and discard of any potentially harmful products, including ink cartridges, in an eco-friendly way. * Don't give up on your computer too quickly. Many professionals use their home computer for work-related reasons from time to time. If you find your computer struggles when you work from home, investigate ways to improve the computer's performance instead of seeking a replacement. Adding RAM might be enough to make your computer run more smoothly when you have multiple programs running, and that addition can be made at a fraction of the cost of buying a new computer. If an upgrade won't do the trick and you decide to replace your computer, recycle it rather than simply throwing it out with the trash. * Set your computer to power-saving mode at the end of the day. Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory found that the energy savings when a computer is in "sleep" mode as opposed to being turned off completely are negligible. But professionals should set their computer so it goes into a power-saving mode after a certain period of being idle. In addition, get rid of screensavers, which require energy and no longer have any positive impact on the life expectancy of your computer monitor. Going green is something that can be done in both your personal and professional life.  - Metro Creative
Executives who occupy corner offices tend to get much of the glory for a company's success. But many professionals know the progress and sustainability of a business tends to lie within the daily services offered by its front line of employees. A number of these seasoned and dedicated workers fall within the category of administrative professionals. Administrative professionals have seen their roles evolve in the changing face of office employment. While some of the more conventional duties that have long been a part of admins' jobs remain, many now find their roles expanding. Admins who want to stay a step ahead and improve their career opportunities can hone their skills and keep abreast of the changing trends. A survey sponsored by OfficeTeam and the International Association of Administrative Professionals zeroed in on what hiring managers said they consider are key motivators for hiring admins. The survey found that organizational skills, initiative and attention to detail are some of the most important qualities for support professionals to possess. They also need to have advanced technical skills, as proficiency in Microsoft Office is just the tip of the iceberg. Some employers now require office professionals be skilled at cloud-based apps, social media, database management, and even website maintenance. Long gone are the days when filing papers and keeping up on company correspondence filled the bulk of an admin's day. The following are some skills administrative professionals may need to advance their careers. Excellent written and verbal communication: Being bilingual is an added feather in one's cap. Industry experience: Knowledge regarding how a specific industry and/or business works can help admin professionals. Customer service skills: A friendly but effective demeanour can benefit admins. Filing/billing: An ability to file and/or create financial reports coupled with knowledge regarding how to process invoices can help admins. Flexibility: Admins who can wear many hats are especially attractive candidates to many businesses, as admins may have to fill in for the duties of an office manger or bookkeeper. Thirst for knowledge: A desire to continue one's education, including involving oneself in various seminars or training sessions particular to the industry, can help admins. Credentials are sought-after and include certification in certain industry standard courses. BYOD trends also are rising among administrative professionals. This means workers are able to bring their own computers or other digital devices to work. Admins may be tasked with establishing protocol for security and maintenance of such devices. Thanks to evolving roles for administrative professionals, outdated job titles are changing and salaries are increasing. According to Salary Guide, the average starting salary across the administrative field increased by 3.4 percent in 2015 and continues to grow. Current administrative professionals can continue to grow their skill sets and keep current on the training or technologies that can help them advance their careers.  - Metro Creative
Many people face the challenge of balancing work and family. Workloads may be hefty on both fronts, and the pursuit of a healthy balance between home and career may seem like an unattainable goal. Stress can build from feelings of being pulled in too many directions. According to Mental Health America, stress can compromise a person's ability to concentrate, lead to feelings of irritability or depression, negatively affect personal relationships, and weaken immune systems, increasing a person's susceptibility to a variety of ailments. Research even indicates chronic stress may double a person's risk of having a heart attack. The desire to have a fulfilling career and a full life at home is a goal shared by millions of people across the globe. But it's important that one's pursuit of such goals not come at the expense of personal health. Living a fulfilling life often involves finding the right work-life balance, and the following tips can help make that possible. Establish your priorities. Make a list of the things that are most important to you. Having this list put on paper can make goals more attainable. Think about the main things you want to focus on in life and go from there. Learn to manage your time. One of the keys to creating a work-life balance is to hone your time management skills. Effective time management can help you fit more in without feeling rushed or anxious. Start by determining just how much time you need to perform certain tasks. Then divide up the day accordingly. You may find that by waking up an hour earlier each day, you achieve a lot more without affecting your well-being. Quiet time at home in the morning can be a prime time to fit in a workout or catch up on paperwork. Don't procrastinate. Stick to your schedule so you don't feel stressed and as if you are constantly rushing around. Complete one item before you move on to the next. Communicate effectively with your bosses. Be honest with your bosses or colleagues if you feel like work is negatively impacting your home life. Supervisors may be flexible and receptive to feedback if it means keeping good employees happy and productive. Bosses may allow you to work from home or be willing to arrange a flex schedule. Unplug at home. When spending time at home with your loved ones, disconnect from your devices, especially those that connect you to work. Making yourself too available for work can be a detriment to your health and family. Divide your responsibilities. Allow family members to tackle some chores or other household duties so it will free up more time to spend together. Schedule a mental break each day. Give yourself time to perform one activity per day that you really enjoy. This will help you recharge and manage stress even further. Activities may include sports, hobbies or exercise. Finding the right balance between work and family requires some maneuvering and practice, but it can be achieved with planning, organization and communication.  - Metro Creative
While losing weight and quitting smoking remain among the most popular New Year's resolutions each year, many more people resolve to change careers at the dawn of a new year. Changing careers is a significant step, especially for men and women who are firmly established in their fields. A career change can be just as rewarding and life changing as losing weight or quitting smoking, and there are some things professionals might want to consider before resolving to change careers in the new year. Changing careers vs. switching jobs Changing careers and switching jobs are not the same thing, and some people may want the former while others may only be in need of the latter. A full-fledged career change may require returning to school and a willingness to start from the bottom. A job change typically allows professionals to stay in their fields and move on to another position, whether it's with their existing employer or with another company. Career trajectory The direction of a person's career may also influence whether or not they want to make a career change. Established professionals mulling a career change should consider their willingness to start anew. Many mid-career professionals have worked for years to establish themselves in their fields and within their companies. Switching careers does not mean that experience and reputation is invaluable, but neither attribute may carry as much weight in a different line of work, and that can affect career trajectory and future earnings. Effects on others Established professionals must also consider the effect that a career change may have on their families. Married mid-career professionals should discuss changing careers with their spouse, and even their children if the kids are old enough to understand. Discuss the pros and cons of changing careers and the impact that making such a change may have on your family's daily life. Will the family have to move? Will the family lifestyle change dramatically, if at all? Spouses and children may feel better about the change knowing they were involved in the decision, and talking things through with family may help working professionals determine if changing careers is the best decision for them. Long-term goals Long-term goals are another thing to consider before making a career change. That's especially true for mid- or late-career professionals who may already have made significant progress toward achieving their long-term goals. Discuss long-term goals with your spouse or significant other and how changing careers might affect those goals. Long-term goals can change, and while the ability to realize those goals might not weigh heavily in your decision regarding a career change, understanding how such a change might affect your retirement or other late-life plans can only help you make the most informed decision possible. Many people resolve to change careers at the dawn of a new year. But such a decision requires the careful consideration of a host of factors. - Metro Creative
The ability to communicate, interact and work collectively with others is both a professional and personal asset. But in certain ways, the reliance on technology has made working as a team more complicated. People have grown accustomed to spending large quantities of time alone working at computers or on phones and tablets, potentially compromising their ability to work directly with others when the need arises. According to Monster.com, when it comes to choosing a candidate for a new job or promotion, employers consistently say they want a team player. That means it's advantageous for professionals looking to further their careers to brush up on their team-building and social skills. So what does it mean to be a team player exactly? The following are some traits of team players. Meets deadlines: People working together on a project have their own unique responsibilities regarding such projects. It's important that the end result is produced on time; otherwise, the entire group pays the price. Employees who care about their teams consistently meet their deadlines, making things easier for their fellow team members as a result. Adapts easily: Team players are willing to adapt to change and take others' suggestions. Professional flexibility and openness to ideas are important traits, as you just may learn something from team members when you try things their way. Listens attentively: In order for a team to function, every member has to listen to what his or her coworkers are saying. This also includes being receptive to criticism without lashing out. Listening can sometimes be more important than speaking. Communicates clearly: Team players effectively communicate their thoughts and ideas. This includes using language that is constructive, honest and respectful. Participates frequently: Even when his or her own work is done, a team player does not shy away from taking on the tasks of others to ensure a project is completed on time. This also can include offering tips or pointers. Happily shares the spotlight: Never the glory hog, a team player is content to stand in the spotlight alongside coworkers. Team players make sure everyone is involved and recognized equally, and even take their share of the blame when things go awry. - Metro Creative