5 Resume Mistakes that Are Keeping You From Landing Your Dream Career

So you have just finished your resume and you are ready to finally shoot it off to your dream company. That is exciting. However, just because your resume is finished, doesn’t mean it’s complete. The tips below will help you to avoid common mistakes most job seekers make when submitting a resume. 

Common Grammatical Errors

A good rule of thumb is to review your resume three times one three different days to ensure you didn’t miss anything. Check for errors in dates, job titles, as well as spelling. One really helpful tool I have found to help with his is Grammarly. This neat little app will help you stay error free in no time. 

Only Listing Your Job Duties

The purpose of your resume is not to list your job duties. If every job on your resume simply lists what your duties were, it is vastly incomplete. The number one question every employer want answered on your resume is,”What did you do that no one else has done in each position you held?” The way you answer this question is critical to illustrating your value as a potential employee. Employers are looking for results, not duties. They are wanting to see how your presence made a difference in your previous jobs. For example, writing “Voted top customer service manager for 3 consecutive years by upper level management” says a lot more about you than “Resolved customers’ service and billing complaints.”  

Using the Same Resume for Each Job

One resume does not fit all. Using the same resume for every job you apply to won’t get it anymore. Each job is different and require different responsibilities. Tailor your resume to each job description instead. One thing I suggest is to review the job description of the job you are applying to first and only list the jobs and experience that is relevant to the requirements of that particular job. Also, match your resume to the words found on the job description. If they are looking for someone experienced in executive leadership management, use those words on your resume if you have experience with it. 

Not Highlighting Your Accomplishments

If you have any significant accomplishments or career highlights, these should be specifically sectioned in an area on your resume. This section, typically on the sidebar or top of your resume, is great a way to highlight your achievements. It is sometimes called “Career Highlights” or “Key Accomplishments.” You can also just simply say “Results.” Either way, highlighting your big wins go a long way in getting you a job you love. 

Using Your High School E-mail Address

Your high school years are gone and so should that e-mail be you created then. If you are using the same e-mail you used in high school for a professional job, it may be time to create a new one. This should preferably be your full name, with no special characters or numbers. A professional e-mail should never contain nicknames or anything that could give away your age or something that would cause someone to presume it. For example, ramondwalker@e-mail.com goes a lot further than ramondwalker45@e-mail.com. Your goal is to remove the biases. Anything that could potentially tip off personal information to an employer can be used against you. 

Now go out there and make your resume awesome. And if you discover a new idea that works for you, let me know on Twitter or in the comments below. 

How to Build Your Personal Brand

Personal branding may be a newer concept to some, but its roots go back centuries. The reason we remember conquerors like Napoleon and Genghis Khan or leaders like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Franklin D. Roosevelt is because of their memorable brands. If you are only limiting your brand to social media, a website and logo, you have diminished the significance of its real value. I define personal branding as packaging your core values,  professional reputation and unique skills to solve a specific problem for a specific audience. Your brand is your living legacy. It’s the reputation that precedes you.  In today’s competitive career market, it is imperative that you understand how to make yourself stand out. If you are behind when it comes to your personal brand, use these three tips to help you get started.

Define Your Mission

At the heart of every successful brand, there is a strong mission or ‘why?’ Whether it is Coca-Cola or Apple, all major brands began with a cause to champion or a major problem so solve. Google’s ‘why’ is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. LinkedIn’s is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. Each of these companies are driven with an insatiable desire to solve a larger problem for their respective communities.

What is your ‘Why?’ What kind of problems do you want to solve in the world? How will your life shape the earth while you are here? The answers to these questions can carve the beginnings of a thrilling narrative to your personal brand. One thing I suggest doing to help with this is writing what I call a Legacy Letter. This is a letter from the future you congratulating yourself on all of the major accomplishments you have made in your professional and personal life. By doing this, it helps you to see the overarching things you would like to be remembered for and it also helps you to reverse plan those things into actionable goals.

Identify Your Assets

Naturally, there are skills and talents that you are good at. Whether you are an analytical mastermind or an engaging speaker, your innate skills and abilities are considered your personal assets. For example, I have always had a natural gift to motivate others. Whether it was my friends or family, I was always known to be the person to go to if anyone ever needed encouragement. You also have skills and abilities that come easy to you. The key is to identify which skills align with your mission and which skills do not. You may be great playing basketball, but if it doesn’t help you solve a problem you are passionate about, it may not be the best skill to highlight.

Some skills you may be innately great at, but others you may have learned to be good at. Either way, if you have skills that you enjoy using and they directly align with helping you solve a major problem, they should definitely be something you consider. I suggest using an assessment like Strengths Finder or 16 Personalitiesto really help with this. These assessments can give you a in-depth analysis of your skill set.

Choose Your Platform

The last thing you have to do to build a personal brand is choose a platform that is right for you. Your goal is to position yourself as an expert in the problem area you are targeting. Because of this, having a platform that others can find you on in that area is crucial to  your branding strategy. For some, it may be blogging, and for others, consulting. For many it may simply be working at a specific type of company as a career.

One of my longtime friends specializes in the development of a niche software. Instead of starting his own business, he has found more credibility working for a small firm that is the leader in servicing that software. Had he tried to launch out on his own, he may have never had the same level of experience or clients that he has now working for the company. It is important to find a platform in which  your target audience naturally “hangs out.” If your audience looks on Craigslist to find solutions, your platform should be there. If they are at tradeshows, you should have a networking platform there.

Personal branding is simply about getting your passion fueled mission and skillset to the people who need them the most. It is about identifying what makes you unique and maximizing opportunities to capitalize off that uniqueness. With a little bit of time and development, your brand can position you as an expert and create unlimited opportunities.


If you would like me to help you build YOUR personal brand, check out my Clarity package and we can get started! In this package, I can help you

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  • Get you unstuck in your current career and provide steps to find one you love
  • Help you find your niche audience in business and discover how to reach them

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3 Ways to Perfect Your Networking Skills

Networking is not about collecting business cards and shaking hands. It’s about exchanging experiences, ideas and assets in order to add value to the lives of other people. When you approach it from the perspective of what you can give and not what you can get, it changes the dynamics of how you approach new relationships. Use these three tips to perfect your networking skills and become a master at adding incredible value.

Know What You Want

In order to be effective at networking, you have to understand your current goals. You may be looking to transition into a new career or looking for new clients for a business.  Whatever your current goals are, you need to be keenly aware of what you need to accomplish them. It’s very frustrating to meet a lot of amazing people only to discover you have no real reason to connect with them further. Having goals gives you a reason to connect. Your goals should be specific and actionable. Networking is great for helping you make a “next step” versus a “giant leap.” Knowing exactly what the next major thing is for you to do to reach your goals is critical to making them happen. I get very frustrated when I meet people with great long term dreams, but don’t have a solid action plan to help them move forward in the short term. When you know where you are going, it’s easy to find the people to help you get there.

How to Apply

Make a list of three current goals you have personally or professionally. Next, using  MeetUp.com, search for events or communities that can help you accomplish them. For example, if you are looking for new clients for your cleaning service, you may use the website to search for business-to-business networking meetings that may help increase your clients. I would also recommend visiting your local chamber of commerce’s website for opportunities as well as searching for Facebook and LinkedIn discussion groups about a subject.

Build Contextual Relationships

Remember in English class when you had to identify sentences in passages that were out of context? Based on what the passage was communicating, you could identify what belonged in the structure and what did not. The same applies to building your network. Pursue connections that are aligned with where you are going. A vision is only as great as the community that helps bring it into reality. Relationships without context never produce a purpose. The best way to build meaningful contextual relationships is to offer value first. Once you start meeting new people, find ways to help them get to where they are going. I have had the amazing opportunity to build relationships with several friends who have ultimately led me to new business opportunities, clients and even career opportunities. Although I would have never initially foresaw these relationships leading to the opportunities, having them in my life has opened up numerous of doors.

How To Apply

One of the things that I suggest in my book is to write down the five people you are closest to and identify how much value they add to your personal and professional life. Relationships are very transactional. The better the relationship, the healthier the exchange. Every good opportunity that has ever happened in your life is probably attributed to  the people in your life. The same applies to every bad one. After you have identified your closest network of friends, take some time to write down seven to ten of the most recent opportunities that have accelerated your goals. Next, consider the individuals who were responsible for those opportunities and write them down. If you discover that the people you are closest to and the people who have brought opportunities in your life aren’t the same, you may need to reconsider your group of friends.

Network Everywhere and Often

Don’t limit networking to simply events and parties. Do it at Walmart, Facebook groups, restaurants, coffee shops, and everywhere where there are people to talk with. Opportunities are only limited by those who limit themselves. If you expand your mind to consider other points of connection to network, you may open up possibilities you never knew existed.  I remember meeting the CEO of one of the largest marketing companies in Tulsa while helping a friend at a coffee shop and meeting the CEO of Chick-fil-a Dan Cathy while visiting a local restaurant to grab a sandwich! If I never stopped to ask him who he was (didn’t recognize him before then), I would have never gotten to meet him. Your ability to network in unconventional places can be one of the most valuable assets you have.

How to Apply

Begin to intentionally approach new people with casual conversation throughout your daily activities. Instead of waiting for someone to approach you, approach them, greet them and then ask them about their day. This may uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it the more you get used to it. I usually try to find common points of connection for conversation starters. For example, if I am at Walmart, I may take a glance at what they bought to strike up a conversation about my thoughts about the product. Or if I am at a restaurant and I see a seemingly interesting person sitting alone, I try to ask them about their meal and start a conversation from there.

Networking does not have to be scary or awkward. Your goal isn’t to sell the people you meet, but to sow seeds of value into their life. The more you make your interactions about the other person, the better chances you will have of building a meaningful and lasting relationship that will propel you forward for years to come.

3 Secrets To Mastering Your First 90 Days on the Job

When a president first takes office, the first 100 days are widely considered the most important benchmark that will determine the success of their term. The same applies to a new employee’s first 90 days of employment. For many companies, your first three months are used as a testing period to review your work performance and  to examine how well you fit within the company culture. It is critical that you make the best impression during this time. If you focus on mastering one specific thing each month, you can make an incredible impact.

30 Days In

Your first thirty days should be focused on mastering your job duties and reviewing your company expectations Study the initial job description for the position and read the employee handbook within the first two weeks. This will help you understand the expectations of the company and provide a better understanding of what you should be accomplishing. Jot down any notes or questions you may have while reviewing this information so that you can review with your supervisor.  Never be afraid to work a few hours later or come a few hours earlier to ensure you have a complete handle of your responsibilities. The more you master in the beginning, the better it will be for you long term. I would keep a running log of what you feel you are doing great at and document the areas you need help in. You can then  get assistance from other employees or your trainer in your weaker areas. Never wait for someone else to assess your progress first. Always be proactive in doing it for yourself.

60 Days In

The next thirty days should be focused on building relationships. You should have already started doing this through training and the initial meet and greets. However, this will be the time that you turn it up a notch and become intentional about meeting specific people in your company. There are three people that I recommend  initially developing an intentional relationship with: your supervisor, your CEO, and your longest tenured employee or HR manager. Because the work you do reflects on the leadership of your supervisor, it is very important that you understand their specific expectations of you in your department. You need to be sure that what you are providing them in your work is what they expected. Be intentional about communicating your careers goals and expectations within the company as well. Also try to learn as much as possible about the responsibilities of their role and offer your assistance in helping them to do their role if needed. This will help for long term growth.  The next person you should develop a relationship with, if possible is your CEO. Even if it’s a simple hello while they are in their office or a brief meeting when applicable, making sure your CEO recognizes you can be a great asset. Keep a running list of ideas that you may like to one day present to them could possibly be used to benefit the company. Lastly, you should be familiar with HR manager or longest tenured team member. The HR manager is keenly aware of the big picture of the company. They understand what positions are needed for the progress of the organizations and are instrumental in getting the right people for the job. If they are aware of your skill set and experience, they may consider you first for an open position before posting it online. According to Will Cook, Business Programs Instructor at Community Care College, building a relationship with your eldest team members can give you a great bird’s eye view of the company culture. It can also help you understand office politics from the ground level in a way that you may not be able to from those who aren’t in your level.

90 Days In

At this point, your focus should be building expertise and solving strategic problems. What kinds of issues do you want to be the go-to person in fixing? Identify a few key areas in your company that you would like to improve. Once you have, you can begin developing an action plan to do what is necessary to make your solutions a reality. The more you master a particular area, the better your chances are of getting a raise or getting promoted.  If possible, don’t take every extra responsibility that comes your way. Be strategic in identifying and solving the problems that could ultimately lead you in a direction you actually want to go.

Your first 90 days has the potential to make your new career a success or a failure. How you handle it is crucial to making the most of your employment. If you make a strategic plan and execute it properly, you can use the momentum of that time to propel you into a lasting career future.

 

The Key to Finding a Positive and Contagious Company Culture

Like many students, when I graduated from college, I had to take a job that I didn’t necessarily hate, but didn’t love as well. It provided consistent income and helped to pay the bills every month. Though it was a good job, it didn’t have a culture that I was passionate about working in. I have found many of my peers are stuck in similar situations. They go from one company to the next, gradually increasing their income as their passion for the companies they work for decreases. An employee that isn’t passionate about what they do ultimately decreases in engagement at the company. The number one key to finding a positive company culture is in finding the right people. The right people can create a contagious company culture that will skyrocket the overall productivity. Specifically what contributes to this are the people you work for, the people you work with, and the people you serve.

The People You Work For

Your CEO and management team at your company should inspire you. John Quincy Adams once said “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” Great leaders would rather empower you than impress you.  Are you inspired by the mission and vision of the company? Does the culture you work in make you proud to be there? Would you recommend your best friend to work there? The answers to these questions can be signs of great or not so great leadership at your company. Other things to look for include the level of transparency in the leadership, a healthy work-life balance in your CEO and supervisors, and whether or not you think you would enjoy working in a leadership role there. If you don’t get excited about any of these, it may be a good chance you may not respect the leadership to truly enjoy working at the company. Great companies inspire you to be more than a better employee, but a better person.

The People You Work With

I absolutely love the people I work with. We challenge each other and pull together to help one another for the good of the entire organization. The people you work with should do the same. Drive, joy and unity are all signs of a healthy company community. You should genuinely sense that everyone has the same goals and are committed to reaching them together. Do your co-workers seem consistently happy? Even during demanding times, do they rally to get work done or grudgingly plow through it? Great co-workers may not share all of your personal values, but they should share your core professional ones. Try to intentionally build strong professional bonds with those you work with. If no one is naturally connecting in your office or department, try inviting them for lunch instead. When you join a company, you marrying into a family. You will spend an average of 33% of your life working with them. You should enjoy your time around them.

The People You Serve

The people you serve are your clients and customers. These people are the heart and soul of everything your company does. If you don’t like the people you serve, you will end up hating the work you do. Before you even consider working for a company, you should already have a passion for the company’s audience. I once worked for a company that gave me great experience and had great opportunities for growth, but served an audience I didn’t particularly enjoy. When you become disinterested in your company’s audience, you become disconnected with its growth. Look for elements in the audience that you can align with your own personal values or story. There are two ways a company could potentially serve your audience: directly or indirectly. Let’s say you are a software engineer that has a passion for working with millennials at a company that develops educational applications to help them study better. That would be an example of a direct service. What you would do in the company directly benefits an audience you enjoy helping. However, let’s say your passion is for disabled veterans. The software company may not serve this population through its services, but it donates 10% of its profits to Wounded Warriors. This could be just the incentive you need to keep you motivated in what you do.

Company culture is a critical component to driving employee engagement. Though it may take some time and research, finding a company culture that is right for you is one of the best things you can do for your overall work enjoyment as well as your productivity. Cultures aren’t created by rules and objectives, but people. Find the right people, and you will find the perfect culture.

What To Do When Your Job Isn’t Paying You Enough

Over the last seven years, the median American income has been on a slow decline from $56,436 to $51,939. While the average yearly raise of 3% may be compelling to some, others are scrambling for ways to to drastically increase their income.  The average American debt is increasing greatly while income is decreasing. That means, more Americans are looking for creative alternatives for additional income. In today’s economy, it’s not enough to simply work hard and hope for better wages. It is imperative to leverage your skills and talents in creative ways to make extra money. I call this being an employeepreneur.

Employeepreneurs are able to use their existing skills and find other outlets to gain extra income. Most people are supporting a full-time life using less than 5% of their skill set.  Consider the accountant who makes six figures or more analyzing data and crunching numbers. Though those are  small aspects of their skill set, the don’t represent everything they are capable of accomplishing.  Or consider the engineer who uses critical thinking, computer  software, and problem solving skills to design parts for offshore oil rigs.  These are critical skills to have, but don’t represent the other facets of the individual that may include administration, negotiation, or other skills. These other skills, if honed and marketed correctly, can prove to be  powerful assets to make well above the annual 3% raise that some employees have become accustomed to. A modern day employee must use their additional skills to maximize there income earning potential. Here are my suggestions for proven ways to do just that.

Blogging

Blogging has gone from a niche hobby to a multimillion dollar industry. It has catipulted former CEOs, college students and moms into full-time entrepreneurs. If launched and developed correctly, your expertise can be used to position yourself as an expert voice in the marketplace. Blogging gives you the flexibility to make money on your time, create an incredible following, and maximize the potential for passive income. If you have a particular subject that you are passionate about, consider creating a niche blog to articulate your thoughts about it.

How to Make Money

Blogging is for building a following and products are what will make you the real money. Unless you have hundreds of thousands of people coming to your blog every month, advertising traffic alone won’t be enough to generate a significant income. The products you develop and sale based on your personal expertise is where the real value of blogging comes in handy. By developing a consistent following, they will see you as an expert and consider buying the products you have for sale. Other ways you can make money blogging include sponsorships, affiliate links,  and product reviews (if you get paid to do them).

Consulting

Growing up, I never knew what a consultant actually did, it just sounded really cool to me. As I got older, I learned that consulting in niche industries could actually be big business. Consulting is simply getting paid to give expert advice on just about anything.  Technically, anyone could become a consultant if there is a need for the advice. Consulting gives you the perfect opportunity to take the skills you have developed for years and find people who are willing to pay you to advise them.  If you can find a problem that a group of people desperately need help fixing and you have the skills to do it, it could be a perfect opportunity for you to consult. Just make sure what you are consulting about  doesn’t compete with the company products and services you are working for.

How to Make Money

Consultants typically get paid per hour or with a monthly fee depending on how extensive the consulting is. They usually send a proposal of what they will do based on what the client needs and then perform those services while checking with the client throughout the process. The most common fear I hear from people about consulting is that they don’t know enough about anything to get paid to consult. We are all experts at something. We simply have to discover what people are willing to pay for. One thing I recommend is to keep a list of problems you solve everyday for someone else. At work, is there something that everyone in the office always depend on YOU to know how to do? Is there a topic that friends and family always ask your advice on?  Does something come easier for you that you noticed is very difficult for others around you? These could all be things that, with development, bring in income through consulting.

Writing

Whether it’s writing a book or an article for a publication , writing can be a really great way to make money. Don’t just think traditional writing however. You can get paid to write business plans, proposals,  financial statements and so much more. Anything that you have gotten paid to write on a regular basis could potentially be something someone would pay you to write for them. Did you write a winning grant proposal for a non-profit you formerly worked at? Your experience could be used in writing another one for a new organization. Do you get trade publications about your industry sent to your office? Perhaps you can submit an article to them detailing something that hasn’t been featured. Writing, like blogging positions you as an expert and positions you to be compensated you for what you have learned over the years.

How to Make Money

The first place to start making money writing is to review things you have already been paid to write. If there are documents you have written that have led a present or former company to generating income or landing a deal, those same skills could be used to do it for another company. Maybe you can consider writing proposals for smaller companies outside of your current employers competition. Again, make sure to review your company guidelines to ensure you aren’t doing anything that could endanger your employment. Websites like Fiverr  andTimeetc give you the advantage of writing and editing from home and they  help bring the clients to you. Freelancewriting.com has a great compilation of other freelance sites you can use to apply for paid gigs. Last, if you are looking to write a book, the best place to get it published for free is Createspace. You only get charged a percentage of every book sold.

The beautiful thing about being an employeepreneur is that you get to control how much or how little you make on the side. Unlike a regular job, you can grow your business as large as you like without any limits. Employees are increasingly looking for creative ways to use their skills to increase their income. These suggestions hopefully will give you the jumpstart you need to build a life of financial freedom.

3 Mistakes Not to Make on a Job Interview

Only 2% of job candidates make it to the interview according to Robert Meier, President of Job Market Experts. That means, more than ever, job seekers have to be intentional about maximizing the interview and what happens during it. Interviews don’t have to be scary. You are simply answering questions about yourself. The more prepared you are, the better interview will go. These three things are common mistakes that applicants make in the interview. By understanding why they happen and learning how to overcome them, they will help you ace any job interview.

You gave too much of the wrong information.

“Tell me about yourself” may be one of the most common requests every job interviewer asks a potential employee. You may think offering information about your family, your childhood and your personal interests is the way the go, but all of these responses may spell disaster. Many of my students get extremely nervous about this question. They shouldn’t be. Keep the information you provide as professional as possible. They aren’t asking about your personal life. They want to know more information about you relevant to the job. An acronym I like to use to help with this is W.E.W.:

Work– Even though they have your resume of former job history, try telling them about some of your key accomplishments at a former job. Did you increase sales or develop team members? Did you create a new program or make the company more efficient? These are all things you can dive deeper into on an interview.

Education – Highlighting your success in school is great information to talk about in a job interview. Anything involving  success in leadership, communications or academic honors are worthy to be discussed. Things like perfect attendance or a high GPA are good things to communicate as well.

Why – Why did you choose the industry you are going into? Communicating this to potential prospects is a great way to reveal your passion for the position. Maybe you have a relevant story from your life that relates to the industry or you have family that worked in the industry that got you interested in the job. All of this information helps paint a stronger picture for why you are invested in the job.

Your values didn’t align with theirs.

When was the last time you had a value examination? Companies aren’t just looking for someone to do duties, but someone who is passionate about what they stand for. A good interviewer can always discern the difference between a candidate who just wants money versus a candidate who is passionate about what the company represents. It’s not enough to find a good company that pays well. You are essentially becoming apart of a corporate family. Just like a real family, companies want to make sure everyone joining them havw the same goals.

Take some time to write down your personal and professional values and make sure to cross reference them with the core values of the companies you are applying to. Try to only apply for companies with similar values as your own. Next, write down real examples of how you have exemplified those values in your professional career. This information will provide great reference material to use on the interview.

You didn’t follow up.

Following up is critical to ensuring you land the job after the interview. The first, most obvious follow up is sending a handwritten thank you note to the interviewer 1-2 days after the interview. The goal is to ensure the note gets to the company before a decision has been made. As common as this advice is, you wouldn’t believe how many people I meet who still don’t do it. This automatically makes you stand out from the hundreds of other applicants and helps you to be memorable well after the interview. If you want to add something extra, consider buying bagels, attaching the card to the box, and delivering it to the company’s office or e-mailing a quick 1 minute slideshow video presentation summarizing your strengths after the interview.

After your thank you card has been sent, your next step is to call your company back. The thank you card becomes a perfect excuse to call them. By simply following up to make sure the interviewer received the card, you can use the opportunity to thank them again for the interview and remind them why you are a perfect fit for the position. I recommend to not stop calling the employer until the position is filled. Once a week should be a sufficient time frame to check in.

Interviews are your opportunity to show off your skills, talent and brilliance. By doing your homework on the company and most importantly, yourself, you will find that answering the questions asked aren’t difficult. Prepare yourself now to make sure that every interview you have turns out for your benefit.

Turn A Job You Hate Into a Career You Love

With so much of our lives being centered around our careers, it is important that we love what we do. However, what if you hate your current job? Apparently, most Americans do.  According to a 2013 Gallup poll, 63% of employees are disengaged with their jobs, and 24% are actively disengaged.  This means over 80% of employees are in some way dissatisfied with their current place of employment. A job doesn’t have to be a prison, however. It truly can be a place that you have a passion to work at. By leveraging the assets of

your current job, you can turn a job you hate into a career you love.

To do this, first start by asking yourself these two questions: “Why am I working here?” and “How is this adding value to where I am going?” If money is the only motivation for you to stay, you will always hate what you do. When you love what you do, no one ever has to tell you to do it well. When you work in something you are passionate about, it always increases productivity. That passion may not be in the job itself, but there may be other benefits for sticking it out. Consider these things before you decide to call it quits.

FLEXIBILITY

You may hate your job, but it gives you the perfect schedule to work on your passion. Whether it is school, a side business, or simply building your family, focusing on that will motivate you to press through the daily grind. If your work schedule allows you the extra time needed to build your dream, it may be a perfect opportunity to help you transition until your side opportunity replaces your job income.

RESOURCES

You may hate your job, but the company you work for gives you access to exclusive resources. Whether it is equipment you borrow for your own projects (i.e. printers or copiers), facilities that are available for employee use (i.e. a gym or meeting rooms), software you can be use for free, or something else, many companies provide unique perks for the employees that work for them. Take some time to review your employee handbook to see what is available. Can you find a way to leverage the resources towards something you are passionate about? I remember one of the perks I had at a former company was tuition reimbursement for college. This helped me to fund my dream of completing school and motivated me to continue working for the organization even when I didn’t feel like coming to work. Make sure, however, that if you choose to use a resource for personal reasons, it is not against company policy.

SKILLS

You may hate your job, but you get to develop your skills like never before. Many larger companies offer extensive training and development opportunities to help you become better at your job. This training may be used in other areas as well. Ask your employer about the training that is available, and decide if you can translate those skills to help you with your goals. Whether it is training for a specific skill in your company or more general development, those opportunities can be added to your resume and leveraged to make you stand out for future career opportunities. They may provide just the experience you need to make it to your next career goal or even start a business.

PEOPLE

You may hate your job, but the people are great. Whether it is your co-workers, your customers, or your management, those you work with may be your ticket to the next major step in your life. The amazing thing about work is that your skills, character, and personality are put on display for everyone to see. Those who notice it the most are those who work the closest with you. The people you serve with every day could possibly recommend you for another opportunity or provide you a connection for something else you have always wanted to do. Get to know your co-workers, management and customers well. They could be a connection you need to move forward. Never be afraid to share your desire to explore a different position within your current company with management as well. If they are aware that you would like to consider another position, you may be simply one conversation away from a promotion.

If you can’t leverage at least two out of four of these from your current occupation, it may be time to consider a new one. No one should be miserable at work. Use your job now to bridge where you are going later.

How To Ask For A Raise and Get It

It is no secret that more employees are looking for ways to increase their income. Although there are a variety of ways to make more money, the first place you should start is with maximizing the income of your current job. Typically, your salary is the largest and most consistent income you get every month. Thus, increasing it gives you consistent earnings that you can use to reach your financial goals faster. Getting a raise could be just thing you need to put you in a financially healthier position. Though it can seem like tricky business, if you apply the following tips, you may just get the extra income you have been needing.

Check Your W-4 

It is quite possible that the extra money you need you may already be getting, it’s just not coming to you every month. Depending on what you put on your W-4 when you started your job, you may be allowing the government to withdraw more money than needed from your paycheck. Check to see if you getting the maximum amount of income possible with the number of exemptions you currently claim on your W-4. The less exemptions you claim, the more income the government withdraws from your paycheck every month. Ensure that number you have placed on it is true to your current living situation, and if it isn’t, consider correcting it.

Do Your Homework

Before you go blazing into your boss’ office asking for more money, you first need to ensure that A) the company is healthy financially and B) determine if you are already being paid at the top of your salary range. Many companies offer quarterly financial statements of the business earnings that you can review. Other signs of positive financial stability include consistent employee promotions, medium to large company purchases and expansions in services or locations. To view the average salary range in your industry, you can check websites like salary.com and glassdoor.com to see what the industry averages are in your area.

Develop Your Value 

Every company has a minimum and maximum range that they plan to invest in every position. That range indicates how valuable of an investment that particular position is to the overall growth of the company. The lower the ranges, the lower the value the company places on that job. It is your responsibility to maximize professional opportunities to increase the value you will ultimately add to the company. In today’s competitive job market, working hard, being on time, and completing your duties as required isn’t enough to get a substantial raise.Find creative ways to add greater value to your company by creatively solving unique problems. The more problems you can solve with quantifiable results, the more value you would have ultimately added to the company. Make an effort to keep copies of positive performance reviews, testimonials, survey results about your area, awards, and special recognitions. Also ask your supervisor throughout the year about things you can take from their responsibilities to make their job easier. At the end of the year during your performance review, all of these things can be used to communicate your overall value to the company and increase your chances of getting a raise.

Ask at the Right Time

Typically the best times to ask for raises are during performance reviews and after excelling at new responsibilities. These situations naturally put your value front and center to your employer and gives you definite talking points for why you are worth more than your current wage.

Asking for a raise doesn’t have to be scary or complicated. It is simply about communicating your value, and gaining additional income based on the added value you are bringing to your employer. Without you, your employer couldn’t generate the revenue they need to provide a sustainable and healthy business. Know your worth and get the value you deserve from the work you do.

What other tips would you suggest for getting a raise? Answer in the comments below.