What plans do you have for your summer vacation? Will you be working on your tan or enjoying the air conditioning at the mall? These activities might be fun, but they won't help you get ahead in your career.
Instead of the traditional summer activities, try being more proactive this season to jump-start your career. Here are some tips for kick-starting your career this summer:
1. Wake Up Early
The first rule for having a proactive summer is to get out of bed. It sounds simple, but you'll be surprised by how many hours you waste lolling about in bed in your pajamas. Setting your alarm to maintain your regular routine will ensure you don't waste time that could otherwise be used pursuing career-advancing activities and having fun.
Just think how much you'll get done with a few hours' head start on the competition!
2. Take On Volunteer Work
Taking on volunteer work is another valuable way to spend your summer while unemployed or on a break from school. Some students may find volunteer opportunities that naturally fit with their career aspirations. For example, you may like to volunteer in an old people's home or hospice if you want to become a nurse.
However, volunteering can also give you an opportunity to pursue a passion, like helping people with learning disabilities to read or tending to animals in a wildlife sanctuary. Studies suggest that no matter what volunteering position you pursue, it'll increase your chances of finding employment by 27%. That makes it much more productive than the bulk of summer activities.
3. Get A Summer Job
Even a summer job that's unrelated to your desired career can be valuable. As you look for a job, you'll gain interview skills and learn how to cope with rejection. Once you land a summer position, you'll learn how to deal with the public, take on responsibility, and be accountable to others.
A summer job will also help build up your resume. Any work experience is better than no work experience. The fewer job gaps in your resume, the easier it'll be for you to explain why you were unemployed in a job interview too.
4. Start Freelancing
Your summer vacation gives you the ideal opportunity to get a freelance business off the ground. Consider what skills you have and start marketing them to potential clients. Writing, designing, translating, and computer programming are all talents ideally suited for freelancing.
Several websites also showcase job opportunities for freelance workers. Many feature short-term opportunities that are ideal for students or unemployed professionals looking to gain work experience (and make some money) while hunting for a full-time job. Taking on these roles will help you beef up your resume and build your professional network.
5. Get An Internship
Many companies offer internships to students on their summer vacations. These positions don't often pay well, but they'll give you invaluable work experience and insight into your dream career. You might become even more passionate about your career direction or decide that your chosen career path isn't for you.
Whatever the case, you'll be able to apply what you've learned at school to real-world situations and make valuable connections. The company you're interning for will probably provide you with a reference, and you might even get a job offer out of it.
If you're not a college student, you can still get an internship!Mid-career internships, also known as "minternships," are on the rise. They're perfect for professionals considering a career change but aren't sure if they want to make that leap yet. So, if you're unemployed this summer and want to explore a new career, a minternship could be for you.
6. Shop For A Professional Wardrobe
Even shopping at the mall can be productive if you put your time to good use. Rather than searching for another pair of jeans or a cute pair of sunglasses, keep your eyes peeled for a great professional wardrobe.
Every workplace has a different dress code. When going in for job interviews, the general rule of thumb is to dress one level above the current employees. For this reason, it's always a good idea to have a solid professional wardrobe ready. You never know when a job opportunity will pop up!
Don't let another summer pass you by! Put your free time to good use and get a jump-start on your career this season with these six tips.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
It’s not if you’ll be affected by a disaster but when! And whether it’s a major power outage or natural disaster, most employees’ priority will be to ensure that their family and property are safe before work or anything else. Help them be prepared so that they can respond effectively when a disaster occurs.
Having an emergency preparedness plan doesn’t have to be complicated. For example, most people are familiar with fire safety at home including the importance of installing smoke alarms and replacing batteries during the daylight savings time change. Or in elementary school learning to “stop, drop, and roll” if your clothes caught on fire.
A home fire is one potential emergency. Start a plan and continue building on it. You want to determine what types of disasters are common in your area. Are you susceptible to power outages, hurricanes, or earthquakes? Regardless, there are three things you should consider doing to be prepared for the next disaster:
Make a plan
Build a kit
A great resource that I recommend is the Ready.gov website, which provides valuable information to help individuals and families prepare and respond to emergencies. It is a central repository with a wide range of information such as types of natural disasters, regional-specific information, and comprehensive preparedness guidance and resources.
Tips When Building Your Kit
For example, there is a specific page to build a kit that has an emergency supply list. You want to make sure you have the essential items to support your family for several days in the event of an emergency/disaster. If you don’t want to buy all of the suggested items at one time, buy them when they’re on sale. Also, make sure you have some cash in your kit (and keep bills ≤ $20 in case merchants can’t provide change).
Start with the suggested emergency supply list and then customize it for your family’s specific needs. Does anyone in the family have prescription medications? Babies who need formula or diapers? Elderly parents who have mobility challenges? Don’t forget supplies and ID tags for pets and fur babies.
Make sure you inspect your emergency supply kit at least annually to rotate food/water and check for expired/damaged items. When you periodically check your kit, you can validate and adapt it to meet the changing needs of your family. Don’t forget to update any emergency contact information and/or important documents in your kit as needed.
More Valuable Resources
Another reason why I recommend Ready.gov is how inclusive they continually try to be:
The Ready.gov website is always enhancing. For example, it now has "Get Tech Ready" resources such as the FEMA app and uses text messages to connect with family.
They understand that it can be overwhelming to get started so they created "Low and No Cost Preparedness." It identifies little or no-cost steps to get started such as creating an emergency communications plan, storing important phone numbers in a secure location, taking a CPR course, and storing important documents (e.g., birth certificates and insurance policies) in a waterproof container.
If English isn’t your primary language, they have several resources available in other languages such as Spanish, Chinese, and Korean.
When you proactively prepare for emergencies, you can enhance safety, reduce risk, and generally provide more peace of mind for you and your family in the event of a disaster.
When you think of a healthy work environment, you might think of a work environment that is inclusive, promotes employee well-being and productivity, and fosters collaboration, creativity, and innovation. Unfortunately, in today's world, a healthy work environment is the exception, not the rule. How can leaders ensure they are creating and maintaining a healthy work environment for their employees?
We recently asked our leading executives for their best tips on how to create a healthy work environment.
Here are their responses...
Ana Smith, Talent Architect & Global Learning Strategist
When you learn that 80% of cultures are toxic, what would your organizational and team culture be?
A healthy workplace is one where employees feel safe, respected, and supported. It is a place where everyone can thrive and do their best work. There are many things that organizations can do to create a healthy workplace, including:
Establishing clear expectations and goals. Employees need to know what is expected of them and what they need to do to succeed. This will help them feel more confident and motivated in their work.
Providing regular feedback. Feedback is essential for helping employees grow and develop. It should be constructive and focused on helping employees improve their performance.
Creating a culture of respect. Employees should feel respected by their colleagues, managers, and customers. This means treating them with dignity and courtesy, even when there are disagreements.
Encouraging diversity and inclusion. A diverse and inclusive workplace is a more productive and creative workplace. It is important to create an environment where everyone feels welcome and valued, regardless of their background or beliefs.
Promoting a healthy work-life balance. Employees need to have a healthy balance between their work and personal lives. This means providing them with opportunities to take breaks, vacations, and sick leave.
Investing in employee health and wellness. Organizations can help their employees stay healthy and well by providing them with access to health insurance, fitness programs, and other resources.
By taking these steps, organizations can create a healthy workplace where employees are happy, productive, and engaged.
Here are some additional tips for creating a healthy workplace:
Encourage open communication. Employees should feel comfortable speaking up about their concerns and ideas. This can be done by creating a culture of trust and respect, and by providing employees with multiple channels for communication, such as email, in-person meetings, and anonymous feedback surveys.
Resolve conflict quickly and fairly. When conflict arises, it is important to address it promptly and fairly. This can help to prevent the conflict from escalating and causing harm to the workplace.
Provide opportunities for professional development. Employees should have opportunities to learn and grow in their careers. This can be done by providing them with access to training and development programs, and by encouraging them to take on new challenges.
Celebrate successes. It is important to recognize and celebrate employees' successes. This can help to boost morale and create a positive work environment.
By following these (and other possible) tips, organizations can create a healthy workplace that is beneficial for both employees and the organization as a whole.
Ana Smith helps people & organizations achieve their full talent potential by developing and co-creating people strategies and customized solutions, and turning them into impactful outcomes and collaborative relationships, using coaching as the "red thread."
Michael Willis, Sports Business Operations Executive
Image from Bigstock
In creating a healthy work environment, I can’t ignore what the NFL represents and my passion for the shield. Working at the NFL, there are many stadium shots, action on the field photos, stand-out players, and paraphernalia that can quickly fill office space.
My plan for a healthy work begins with the following:
1. The Physical Space
I believe an attractive office design can make employees intrinsically happier. A theme-based workspace can improve employee well-being and promote healthy habits. You are investing in making your office a more enjoyable place to spend time.
Also, an investment in ergonomic chairs, stand-up desktops, and extra monitors can create a more relaxed and functional work environment. You are encouraging an office-friendly supply chain for replenishing office supplies and computer equipment and arranging the office space where departments sit closely when you can maximize collaboration and teamwork.
Lastly, creating an environment where sunlight flows into the office space to lift creativity and awareness—adding theme-based artwork to maximize productivity and boost morale.
2. The Wellness Space
Feedback and communication are the most valuable gifts you can give your employees. Providing a space where employees can voice ideas, opinions, and issues without judgment or criticism. An open engagement platform.
Showing appreciation and recognition for achievements, whether individual or the entire department, makes employees feel valued and appreciated.
An environment of psychological safety is one where employees are comfortable being themselves. Where they know they are free to exist without fearing embarrassment or retaliation.
Prioritize cultural alignment when hiring. As part of the interview process for potential incoming new hires, this might be an excellent opportunity to test the workplace’s cultural fit.
Lastly, empower your team with what they need to thrive. Be inclusive. Be appreciative. And communicate!
Michael Willis has 18+ years of experience working with accounting & sports organizations and has managed P&Ls of $10M - $125M+ with budgets of $3M-$50M+. He worked for the NFL for 22 1/2 years, mainly with the game officials working on the financial/accounting side of the business.
Debra Shannon, IT Executive
Image from Bigstock
When building a positive workplace culture, make sure you invest in each employee’s personal development. Are there learning opportunities for them to keep current, get a promotion, or move into a managerial role? Or information to improve their analytical abilities or critical thinking? It’s crucial to give employees the tools and information they need to continue learning and growing.
Encourage employees to develop a growth mindset and to be all that they can be. There is a saying by Confucius: “I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.” Do you encourage employees to be the best version of themselves? Have you asked them what is important to them? If it’s important to them, then it should be important to you too. Besides professional-focused development, make sure to include “personal” learning opportunities such as enhancing their quality of life (e.g., health/fitness) or developing a reading habit.
Personal development is lifelong learning. And when personal development includes both professional and personal learnings, employees are more likely to be and stay excited about what’s next and potentially stay with the organization longer.
Debra Shannon is an IT executive who is also a CPA, CIA, and CISA. Her passion is turning chaos into calm. With her unique blend of experience in technology, project management, and auditing, she can break down complex business problems, identify practical solutions, and lead executive teams and business partners to embrace the value of technology changes.
Lisa Perry, Global Marketing Executive
Image from Bigstock
Fifty-one percent of employees have experienced a toxic work environment, and one in five Americans have left a job in the past five years due to bad company culture. A healthy work environment is not only essential for the well-being and satisfaction of employees but also contributes to higher productivity, lower turnover rates, and overall business success. Here are some practical steps and strategies to create a positive and nurturing work environment that supports your employees' physical, mental, and emotional health.
Cultivate a Positive Company Culture: Start by fostering a positive company culture that promotes open communication, collaboration, and mutual respect among employees. Encourage a supportive and inclusive environment where individuals feel valued, recognized, and empowered to contribute their best work. Establish clear values, promote work-life balance, and create professional growth and development opportunities.
Prioritize Employee Well-Being: Invest in employee well-being initiatives prioritizing physical and mental health. Provide access to wellness programs, such as fitness activities, stress management workshops, and mental health resources. Encourage regular breaks and offer flexible work arrangements to support work-life integration.
Promote Work-Life Balance: Create a work environment that values work-life balance and encourages employees to maintain a healthy equilibrium between their personal and professional lives. Set realistic work expectations, avoid excessive overtime, and encourage employees to take time off as needed. Encourage open communication about workload and provide resources for time management and stress reduction.
Foster Effective Communication: Establish clear communication channels within the organization to ensure transparency, collaboration, and mutual understanding. Encourage open dialogue, active listening, and constructive feedback. Create opportunities for team-building activities, regular meetings, and cross-departmental collaborations to enhance communication and foster positive relationships among employees.
Support Professional Growth & Development: Invest in the growth and development of your employees by providing opportunities for training, skill-building workshops, and career advancement. Encourage continuous learning and provide resources for professional development. Recognize and reward achievements to motivate employees and foster a sense of progress and fulfillment in their careers.
Ensure a Safe & Supportive Physical Environment: Maintain a safe and comfortable physical workspace that promotes employee health. Ensure proper lighting, ventilation, and temperature control. Implement safety protocols and provide equipment and tools to prevent accidents or injuries. Consider creating designated spaces for relaxation, quiet work, and social interactions to cater to different employee needs.
Lead by Example: As leaders, set the tone for a healthy work environment by demonstrating positive behaviors, effective communication, and a healthy work-life balance. Emphasize the importance of well-being, work-life integration, and professional growth through your actions. Encourage managers and supervisors to adopt supportive leadership styles prioritizing employee well-being and fostering a positive work environment.
Creating a healthy work environment is an ongoing commitment that requires attention, investment, and continuous improvement. By prioritizing employee well-being, promoting work-life balance, fostering effective communication, and supporting professional growth, you can cultivate a positive and thriving work environment that enhances employee satisfaction, productivity, and overall organizational success.
Lisa Perry helps companies build leadership brands, driving loyal customers & delivering profitability. She does this through a process that builds brands consumers love. Her goal is to help companies develop, monetize, and grow their brands.
Mark Taylor, Product & Operations Executive
Image from Bigstock
I think what we are really trying to say here is:
“How do you create a work environment where tasks get done in a manner that moves the business forward (that’s what employees are ultimately there to do), whilst giving the worker opportunities to grow in a positive way?”
Those feel independent of each other “scientifically,” but highly correlated on a day-to-day basis; the linkage being one’s manager.
For example, I’m sure most of us have had the “opportunity” to work for a lousy boss at a great company and a great boss at a lousy company. The latter was probably the more “healthy” experience for both the individual and the business.
From experience, a solid way of linking a company’s and individual’s needs is to remind the employee: 1) how the company adds value to the greater good; and 2) how that directly aligns with the employee’s values and growth needs.
Mark Taylor has 20+ years of risk, technology, and product management experience working in global and regional financial services firms in the UK and the U.S. He's managed teams of 40+, successfully addressed 100+ regulatory issues, and has saved companies $15M+.