Travel, Good for the Soul and for Your Career
June 20, 2017
Summer in Arizona, don’t we all love it? Today the high was 118 degrees…sounds lovely, right? Instead of sweating like a pig in this fiery heat, we call our home; maybe it would be a great time to travel! Traveling, not only serves as purpose to get out of the heat and have fun, but it also broadens who you are and can be beneficial for your future career. Here are a few reasons why traveling is good for your career.
First, traveling helps with time management skills. When you are planning all the specific details right down to the tee, your time management has to be spot on. You have to be at the airport early enough to get through the dreaded security line and not miss your flight. You need to make sure a shuttle-bus picks you up at the right time, and definitely don’t be too early to the hotel because then you’ll be walking around with your luggage until your room is ready. Travel is hard because you cannot be too late or you might miss something, but if you’re too early then you’ll be playing a very boring waiting game. By traveling often, you learn to maneuver the system and exercise your time management skills.
Next, by traveling to different states or countries you learn the culture of where you visit. Cross-culture understanding is important for the millennial generation. We are referred to as an “entitled and selfish” generation and sometimes people do match that description perfectly, but understanding other people’s culture and realizing there is much more to the world than just what we go through, helps the younger generation grow and become more aware and open minded. You can learn so much in just a few days by networking and meeting other people from a different lifestyle. Travel helps gain experiences that you cannot get by looking up facts on the internet about the way other people live.
Last, in order to vacation it takes a lot of financial planning. Nothing about traveling is cheap, unless you have some really great connections. By understanding how much it takes to travel and budgeting for a successful trip without going bankrupt, helps understand how to manage money on a day-to-day basis. Not only does it help in life, but it helps in the workforce too. If you’re company is on a budget for a project, you need to be able to work within the financial guidelines you are given. By vacationing and using only a set amount of money it proves you can stick to a plan, think logically, and have self-control.
Overall travel just seems like fun, but there are valuable lessons that can be learned when traveling, too. It is a great opportunity to gain knowledge about how to travel, especially if you are traveling for the first time as a young adult without a parent getting you from place to place. You’ll learn how to be self-sufficient, how to manage time, budget, and learn from those you meet once you make it to your destination. Happy trails!
Three Ways to Understand Money as a Millennial
June 13, 2016
The green, the cash, the moo-la, whatever you want to call it, it is the single substances that runs our lives. According to a study conducted by the American Phycology Association, 64% of Americans claim to be financially stressed. A big chunk of that statistic is contributed by the millennial generation. Money, as glorious as it can seem, can also be torturous. Here are a few tips for millennials who are still struggling with their money.
First, start building good credit at a young age. Your credit score will determine many aspects of your financial life. Good credit means less interest; bad credit means horrible interest rates, which leads to paying more. Start by using a store charge card (the credit cards for a specific store.) By paying your bills on time it’ll help condition you to start paying monthly bills. After you’ve mastered the charge card, you can move on to credit cards. Some people think credit cards are the devil, but that is only if they are used irresponsibly. Do not take out a dozen different credit cards and pay off all your bills on time. Don’t spend money that you know you don’t have, always make sure you’ll have the money to pay it back. Also, look at the small details before signing up for a credit card. There are often fines or extra penalties that millennials overlook when signing up for a credit card. By the time you are ready for an apartment or car, you will have built a good credit and are in a better position to have cheaper payments.
Next, try to avoid debt. One of the biggest reasons people hate credit cards is because it racks up debt. Debt is a huge burden on your shoulders. Carrying debt as a young adult sets you on a terrible financial path for when you are an adult. Of course, loans are necessary in order to afford cars or the ability to go to college. If loans are a necessity then set a payment plan from the very begging and always stick with it. If you can, set all extra money aside to pay off your loans faster. You will be paying more in the long run by taking out loans, so if you can work hard to make extra money and avoid borrowing, the better off you will be.
Lastly, start an invest plan. Investing is a way to make money in a non-working sense. You give your extra cash to a business and become a share-holder. The better that company does the more money you are able to make. It is hard to invest young, because we often don’t have the disposable income, but if you do, don’t spend it on the new jeans you want – invest it! As millennials, we have time on our side. We can sit and grow with a company and the larger the company grows, the more shares we buy, the better off we’ll be. Investing is a way to set yourself up for early retirement and be financially stable.
The world of money can be confusing for young adults, so don’t be afraid to ask your parents or other trusted adults questions. There are also tons of resources online and in books to help with tips on how to understand money. By starting all this early, it will help guide you on a path of financial excellence!
Beating Summer Boredom while Bulking Up your Resume
June 6, 2017
Ah, summer, how we have missed you! This is the best time to relax at home, have no worries or cares, and no commitments. Sounds pretty nice to me but with all that unwinding comes boredom! Summer boredom happens to the best of us - from the time, we are little until we are adults. As college students, this could be a good brain break, or better yet, an opportunity to build a strong resume for your future. Here are three tips to help you make the most of your summer as a millennial.
First, get a summer internship! An internship looks great on a resume when you are applying for future jobs. What is even better is an internship in your field of study. Getting hands-on experience in your career field sets you apart from all the others when looking for your long-term job. You may even be able to get college credit at your school thanks to an internship. Looks good on a resume and college credits - how could it get even better? You can easily find summer internships in your area by looking online or looking at your college career center to find any listings available. If you get a good internship and preform well as an intern, then you may be able to set up a schedule to be an intern for that company every summer.
Next, if an internship isn’t up your alley, then a summer job might be a better fit. As a young adult, racking up as much cash as possible in the summer is a great thing! By getting a summer job and working as many hours as you can, you have the opportunity stockpile funds and pay for your next semester of books! Although binge watching the latest hit on Netflix sounds more appealing than getting a job during the summer time, the return on investment is greater than missing the newest season of your favorite show. The more money you make now, the fewer loans you have to take out for the next school year. Avoiding extra student loans is a good goal to have. Same as the internship, if you perform well at your summer job, it can turn into an annual gig and benefit you for several years to come.
Lastly, if either of those options don’t float your boat, try volunteering! Although, you don’t gain experience in your field or extra cash, this looks great on a resume and may be more rewarding than the other options. You could volunteer to help run summer programs for young kids, aid in a library, or even getting involved in groups that travel to other parts of the world to help. Getting involved in these not only benefit your resume, but volunteering really helps the community as well.
So whether you want to gain knowledge in your future career, earn money, or help the community, there are many ways to make this summer productive. Set yourself a step in front of everyone else who may be applying for the same job as you. There will be plenty time to relax in the summer, even if you occupy your time with one of these resume builders. There is no harm in working hard now in order to reward your future-self!
3 Ways to Make your College Transition Easier
May 30, 2017
That’s it, I officially finished high school. Woo-hoo! Since I am on the very end of the millennial generation, I am just now starting my college experience. I will be attending Northern Arizona University (NAU) in the fall on an academic scholarship. Although I am extremely excited, I also am horribly scared. This week’s blog is a few tips for any millennial trying to navigate their way through the maze of post-high school life and handle the hurdles of college!
The Best Way to Create Loyal Customers
May 23, 2017
The guy who comes in for a cup of coffee and a donut every day at 3:00 pm. The girl who only will go to a certain auto-shop for her vehicle needs. The kid who will only eat McDonalds and no other fast food. What do we call these people? These are loyal customers, the returners, the regulars. So how, as a business, do we create customers who will want to return or better yet, only choose our establishment? Here are a few ways to create a brand loyalty like no other.
First, product differentiation. Make your company different than competitors, whether it comes to your prices or your products. If you look exactly the same as the ice cream shop down the street, but with more expensive prices then say goodbye to your clientele. However, if you have an expensive ice cream shop that specializes in a unique liquid nitrogen ice cream, then you will have a much larger clientele. Why...because it’s different! People will drive the extra mile to get your distinctive product; they will pay an extra few bucks for it, too. In a market economy, competition drives everything. So you either have to have an amazing product or good prices in order to gain (and keep) customers that’ll choose your store over the nearest competitor.
Next, stay in contact with customers. This could be as simple as sending a thank-you note after a large purchase or a yearly “hope you’re doing well” card around the holidays. In my family we look forward to a simple Christmas card sent by our insurance guy every year. A card, note, or email takes such little time and the return on investment is high! Not a lot of companies take that much consideration into their customers so by going the extra mile, that will help differentiate your company. You can also send newsletters or email reminders to your clientele. This could be something quick to give your customers an update on what’s going on in the company, new offerings and special discounts. It will help keep the business top-of-mind for your customers.
Another important note is to learn how to take constructive criticism. When dealing with customers there is bound to be a few unhappy with the service/products you provide. Not only will there be some unhappy, but people are vocal when they are unhappy. So instead of rolling your eyes and shrugging off the problem, listen to their complaint. All feedback is good, depending on your outlook of the situation. Sure, there may have been a mistake that you now have to fix, but with a positive outlook, you take that complaint and turn it into a lesson for your employees, a way to grow your company. You modify your business and make it better with every issue a customer brings to light. This also plays hand-in-hand with good customer service.
So without further ado…customer service. This is the most important aspect of creating loyal customers. The first people you see when walking into a restaurant is the host or hostess. Although, they are just a minimum wage employee and are not the brains behind the company, they are the first impression of the business. If their personality is bland or they do not seem to have any interest in the customer, they probably won’t get a ton of return customers. On another note, if the kitchen makes a mistake, the one handling the issue is a waiter or a manager. They are the face that the customer sees and the person who takes the brunt of the issues. Instead of saying, “Well I didn’t mess up your food,” try to fix the problem to the best of your ability. Something as simple as throwing in a free dessert can make a world of difference. It will cost you little in food cost, but could encourage return customers, prevent bad Yelp reviews, and bad word of mouth. Having good customer service will help keep customers over a competitor.
These four tips will help you make your business one of a kind and create a place where customers love to come to. Not only, will they want to come in three or four times a week but they also will rave on and on about how good your product is and how helpful your employees are to all their friends and family! That kind of advertising is priceless!
The Ability to Market Yourself and Why You Need It
May 16, 2017
As millennials start to enter the work force, the looming question lies…will I get the job? After you’ve figured out the perfect career field for yourself, you are ready to find the company to build your career in. You are in a swarm of applicants though, and there is only one way to solidify that position for yourself. You need to market! Sure, marketing is all about selling, so what are you trying to sell here? Yourself! Here are four tips on how to successfully market yourself in order to help grab a job, nail an interview, or set you up for success!
1. Practice your “elevator speech.” What is an elevator speech? Well I’m glad you asked! An elevator speech is a 30 – 45 second little spiel about who you are. It’s the biography that you could tell from the time it takes to go from the bottom to the top of a building in an elevator. Included in this speech is a brief synopsis on you, your background, your work experience, and what you have to offer to the company. Make sure to always be energetic and let your personality shine within these 30 seconds because it is likely the first impression a company is going to get on you. Also, practice often so that you become a professional at your speech – it’ll make you sound more confident and come easier with each time you practice. A quick anecdote doesn’t seem like the best way to get your foot in the door of a company but this “elevator speech” can get the ball rolling. People often use this tactic at job fairs, when employers don’t have time to conduct an interview with every person they see. You can also include a written version of your elevator speech for your LinkedIn profile or other professional social media accounts.
2. Don’t be afraid to talk about yourself. An elevator speech is 100% about Y-O-U, so you need to get comfortable talking about you. It should come easy because who knows you better than yourself? But that isn’t often the case. People feel uncomfortable talking about themselves, especially if they are talking highly of themselves. That feels too much like bragging, which is socially frowned upon. Don’t worry; employers want to hear about your skills and what you can bring to the table for their company. When selling a product all the best features are highlighted first, it should be the same with you! Be proud of how awesome you are and share that with the employer. Tone will determines if you are bragging or if you are just stating your best features. Make sure to keep a humble output while talking about your great credentials.
3. Lastly, know your USP! An USP is your “Unique Selling Point.” This is what distinguishes you from the rest of the candidates fighting for the same position. Search deep inside of you to pinpoint that one specific thing that makes you the best, not good, but the BEST person to get the job. Once you know what your USP is, then make the employer aware of it.
Marketing has twists and turns, but one thing you should always be able to market is yourself. Mastering the ability to sell yourself will benefit you in all stages of life. Whether it is trying to get a first job, making a career change, or looking to get a promotion, knowing how to sell yourself will help start you off on all of those goals.
The Best Ways to Use Social Media Marketing
May 9, 2017
“Tweet this,” “like that,” “make sure to give it a thumbs up,” “post at least twice a day, but no more than 4 times, oh and make sure to post at the proper times of the day where you are sure to get the most buzz!”
The ins-and-outs of social media marketing are intricate but the average person can handle it. Millennials have a ton of experience using social media in our personal lives, so those skills should be easily transferable to a business’s social media needs as well. As millennials enter the workforce, they are great candidates for social media positions, but you must know the tricks to post properly.
First, find followers. Find your frequent customers on social media and request them as “friends.” Also, create posts for people to share. The more people share your post, the larger an audience you will reach. Let your customers know you have a new social media pages as well. Post a sign in your store with your usernames for all the mediums you use. If you have multiple accounts, add links to each social media so customers can follow any platforms they participate in. Once you have a good amount of followers and friends, engage them. Tag people so they get a notification when you post; or comment on other people posts. An important tip: Treat your business page as if it were a personal page - comment to friends, like posts, but always be professional.
Next, keep your social media up-to-date. If you are going to open a Facebook or Instagram account for your business, keep it active. If someone were to search for your company and see that Facebook hasn’t been posted on since December of 2014, they are going to think the business is not around anymore. Keep your followers updated on when events are being held and all the information accompanying it. Social media is an easy, and inexpensive, way to spread the word about something going on in your company. After you host the event, then you can post pictures of it to promote the next event you have; you could even thank the people who participated in the event within the post. Tag them and their companies to extend the reach of your post further.
Last, understand how to make a post that’ll reach your audience. You don’t want to post a novel, because people are going to take one look at it and skip right past it. A few words will be able to capture your audience. Also, don’t write in paragraph style, bullet points and quick phrases will help get your word out more efficiently. Use imagery as well. Throwing a flyer, photograph, or even a cartoon on your page will help draw in an audience. It keeps it exciting too; nobody is engaged with a boring post. And don’t forget the importance of timing. If you really want to get down to the nitty gritty, the best times to post for a business is between 12pm - 3pm. Even if you decide to post at 5 pm or 8 am, make sure to be consistent with when you are posting. Try to post around the same time every day. Oh, and one more thing, actually a question. Do you ever see the mom who loves to post 18 picture in a row of her kid? And it annoys you so much that you skip past ALL her pictures? Companies can run into that problem too. Don’t over post. Keep it to one or two posts a day and that will help you keep your followers and get your message out to the public.
Social media marketing is all over the world, and if you haven’t already put your business out on the World Wide Web, it is time to. Even if you refuse to join the social media craze, you cannot avoid it if you want to grow your business. You may not be the one posting, but other people are posting about your business, reviewing you on websites like Yelp, or posting pictures inside your company. You don’t want to miss out on the action around you, so get out on social media and join in on the fun today!
How to Create a Bright Future for Millennials:
May 2, 2017
Millennials, I have a question for you…are you scared of the future? Yeah, me too. Whether you are finishing high school, in the midst of college, in a steady career or about to retire, the future is one of the most horrifying aspects of life (no matter what generation you are.) However, you can prepare for the future in order to make it seem slightly less scary. We all want to be successful, but sometimes the tools are difficult to find. Here are a few simple tips to help make the future a little less frightening and a whole lot brighter.
Separate – The very first task you must accomplish in order to create a bright future is to compartmentalize. You have several different aspects in your life - your personal life, your school life and your work life, just to name a few. To create a successful future, you must separate the different pieces of your world. Don’t intertwine your career and personal life, because they might force one or the other to take a pause. If you have a set of goals for each part then one wouldn’t have to be put on the backburner. You can make strides in your personal life, by getting married or buying your first home at the same time you can be making strides at work with promotions and raises. Set attainable goals in all factors of your life.
Have a plan- plan for different stages of the future. Sure, we have the plans for tomorrow written down, we even plan for a few months at a time, but what does life look like in five years? Ten years? How about even 50 years down the road? Having an idea of where you want to be (whether that is personally or career related) will help shape your future and keep you on track. If you are not the best planner, then at least map out an idea for the future. Know the biggest steps, like what to do after high school; what secondary education you want; what career field you’re looking to join. If you’re able to plan some of the most influential steps in your life, then the small parts will fit in naturally. As millennials, we are still at the starting line of life so taking time to start planning right now will be beneficial. It may sound silly preparing for your career or retirement at the age of eighteen but you might be able to help your future self with just a few small decisions early on.
Maintain Motivation – We’ve all heard of “senior-itice” right? If not, it is defined as the lack of motivation seniors feel during their last semester of school. Trust me; it is a real syndrome (even for an A-plus student like myself.) Senior-itice does not just affect those getting ready to graduate. At any stage of life, people experience a lack of motivation. Motivation is hard to maintain, especially after you’ve been at a company for a while or are getting ready to move onto a new experience. No matter what the situation is, finish strong! There is nothing worse than being a hard worker at company for several years but losing a good recommendation just because you got lazy after putting in your notice. A tip for maintaining motivation is to reward yourself after accomplishing something big. Or keep record of your best accomplishments. It is easy to lose motivation if you look back and feel like you haven’t done anything significant, so make sure to remind yourself what got you in this position in the first place.
These three steps are easier said than done, and can feel a bit daunting. However, if you can figure out a method that works for you then you’ll have a bright future. Don’t succumb to chronophobia or the fear of passing time. Fear of the future is a common worry among people, but as millennials, we have the ability to sculpt our own future. We should focus our energy on making the future something to embrace, not to fear!
How to Maximizing your High School and College Experience
April 25, 2017
On today’s schedule: it starts with school, then a meeting for DECA, FBLA, National Honor Society, and Drama Club. Next up, basketball and badminton practice, then the internship, and finally time to get home and write my blog! Not to mention, prom and graduation is coming up which means more committees to join and events to plan! Yes, all of this is the “usual” on my daily schedule and I wouldn’t want it any other way. Keeping busy is the only way I know and I believe I get the most out of life this way. As millennials, entering into either high school or college, we should know the resources available to maximize our school experience. Here are four ways to take full advantage of your new adventure!
Get involved: Join anything and everything you can find! There are clubs or classes for pretty much every interest you can think of. There are thousands of student organizations at all three of the universities in Arizona, including: Greek life, drama club, music clubs and clubs for different studies at your school. Clubs are not the only option, there are also sports. Sports are a great opportunity to get involved and make friends thanks to the amount of time invested into that activity. If you’re not the greatest at sports and don’t have a chance at the collegiate level, then take advantage of the Recreation Center and join a “Rec Sport” instead! There are sports and clubs that fit many different interests and personalities, so explore your options! Try everything you never know what might stick and where you might find your place. There should be nothing to hold you back from getting involved with a variety of activities.
Step out of your comfort zone: Entering College and High School is a big change in your life and change can be scary. While this is all new and exciting don’t let the fear of the unknown hold you back, step outside your comfort zone because you’re already out of it! You are not alone in this new time of your life; every other freshman is in the same boat as you so confided in each other. Make sure to explore as much as you can your first few weeks even if it would be easier to just stay inside your dorm.
Find a good social circle: Some people say you make lifelong friends in college or high school, so start searching! You never know who your next best friend will be. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, one friend is cool, but having tons of different friends that you’ve met in various places is even better! That is the best way to branch out into a good social circle. With friends, however, comes drama. It is unavoidable, but also can be solved easily. The best tip is ask yourself, “In five years will this matter?” and if the answer is no then forget about the fight you had with your dorm-mate about who bought the last milk. Getting involved and stepping out of your comfort zone is going to be the best way to meet new people and make new friends.
Make good study habits: While making friends, getting involved and jumping out of your comfort zone is fun and all, you have to think why are you in school? To get an education! So the key to a good education is to balance fun with responsibility. Always show up to class, take all the notes you can, and join a study group. Professors hold tutoring sessions, there are peer tutors, and large study sessions led by others who have taken the class, so there is a plethora of resources around campus in order to help you make good study habits.
High school and college can be some of the best time in your life so as millennials we have to take advantage of that! The main goal is to look back on your younger years and say you’ve had no regrets. School is time to both learn in class, and learn different aspects of the “real world.” Have fun, be safe, get a good education, and have the best college or high school experience you can get!
The Five Best Ways to Handle Stress
April 18, 2017
As my very last semester of high school is coming to an end, I realize I have a ton of work to do before I graduate! I have four finals, three essays, and a 20-page project; not to mention work, extracurricular activities, banquets to host and plan, and of course time to sleep. All this comes with stress and I have no doubt my life is going to get a whole lot more stressful once I enter college. Not to mention the stress I will encounter as I start my career! Millennials struggle with managing stress and since it will be part of every stage in life, here are a few helpful tips on how to handle it:
1. Identify your stressors. It’s hard to fix a problem when you can’t find where it is coming from. Whether it is school, work, or drama in your social circle, find the source of your everyday stress. This is going to be the constant stressors - not the bursts of stress that happen every so often. Try keeping a stress journal and write down a quick synopsis of when you are stressed and what is causing it. This will help you identify what triggers the most stress for you on a day-to-day basis.
2. Learn to trade out poor coping strategies with healthy ones! More than 75% of people said they deal with stress by eating poorly, smoking or drinking. These are all examples of poor coping mechanisms. Instead of smoking try meditation, which includes breathing deeply. The deep breathing sensation is what produces the relaxed feeling and why smokers think that lighting-up relives stress. Also, instead of eating poorly, exercise is proven to help reduce stress. By releasing the good endorphins produced when exercising, it helps eliminate the feeling of stress.
3. Be productive. Eliminate some of the stress by putting it behind you. Have a big project due? Tackle it; don’t just kick the can down the road. Finish it and then you will have less to stress about and more time to complete another tasks on your to-do list.
4. Set aside time for fun and relaxation. Built up stress is bad for your health, both mentally and physically, so set aside time for you. Go on a trip with your family or have a spa day. After a busy quarter, reward yourself for the hard work and time you put into life. These small treats can do a lot for your mental well-being, will help recharge your batteries and get you ready for your next projects or goals.
5. Get on a schedule. Put together an everyday schedule with allotted times for what you need to get done in a day. Having a schedule will help eliminate some stress in your life by keeping you on track and organizing what you have to get done.
Stress is a necessary evil, it’s a survival instinct that protects you from danger, but in today’s day (when we don’t have to worry about being eaten by a bear in a cave), it is good to reduce and cope properly with the stress in our lives. There are four A’s of stress: avoiding, altering, adapting and accepting. Avoid the stressors that you know you can eliminate to give yourself less issues. Alter the situation if possible. Learn different ways around the issues causing you stress and try to fix them. If you cannot fix the situations, learn to adapt. Change your outlook and gain healthy coping skills. Lastly, accept certain situations. Stress is going to happen in everyday life, it is human nature. Accept what you cannot control and roll with the punches. By accepting the issues that are out of your hands, a lot of unnecessary stress will start melting away.
The Tools You Need to Discover Your Dream Job
April 11, 2017
As a child, you are often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Of course, you say the most practical, most awesome job you can think of . . . an astronaut with the back-up plan of being the President (of course) in case the whole astronaut thing doesn't work out. People smile and giggle at your remarks because you’re three and adorable.
Now that question seems to be coming back around, only this time when you say, “astronaut” as an 18-year-old, people look at your strangely. Instead of risking the strange looks, your answer just turns to an, “I don't know.” It is okay; very few young adults know what they want to be for the rest of their lives. It’s a pretty tough decision to make. Before deciding what the next 40-plus years looks like to you, utilize these resources to help find your dream job.
First, there’s the trusted internet. You know those Facebook quizzes, the, “What kind of candy are you?” quizzes that your friends love to blow up your feed with. Well those are not the kinds of quizzes that'll help your find your dream job. However, there are career aptitude tests are all over the internet. You can find dozens of options with a quick google search. Quizzes range from 10 questions to a few hundred questions. The longer the test, the more specific the test is, and the more accurate the findings will be. Take a few of these online and see if you can find a common theme. Don’t base your future career solely on a quiz, but use it as a guide or a way to start a brainstorming session.
Next, talk with people you trust and who know you. Friends and family are some of the best resources when making a big decision. A quiz may give you results, but friends and family are invested in you, your future and want to see you succeed. These people will help with the emotions of finding a career. They are looking out for your best interest, so always utilize the people that care about you.
Also, be introspective. Take a few moments to be honest with yourself and ask, “What am I passionate about?” and “What am I good at?” These questions will help you find the right career. Be honest with yourself. If you’re leaning towards being a neurosurgeon because they make good money, but you hate hospitals and blood, it’s probably not a good fit for you. Look inside and determine the definite no’s, maybe’s and yes’s in regards to your career options.
Once you have a good idea on what you want to do, start exploring that field. Take courses in it or find an internship so you can be hands on. Try a little bit of everything, because you never know what you are going to love (or hate!) Once you are actually experiencing what it’s like to be in that career you may have a whole new outlook on your future goals.
For me, I wanted to be a teacher, an engineer, and now I believe I want to go into marketing but who knows where I’ll be in 5 years. I am in the process of finding what I want to do for the rest of my life, just like the majority of millennials. According to a study conducted in 2014 about the American Workplace, only 31.5% of employees felt engaged in their work. That is a scary statistic. My generation is looking for more than 30% satisfaction. With a little more heavy lifting on the front end, finding a career you love will come eventually. Keep looking, keep exploring your options and don't give up. Most of all if you are unhappy in a career, you are not stuck there. Find something that you enjoy doing, no matter what stage of life you’re in!
How to be a Reliable Employee and the Opportunities it Creates
April 4, 2017
The phone rings and it’s your boss; you let it go to voicemail because you're watching the latest “Walking Dead” and nothing should interfere with that. Once it hits a commercial break, you listen to the voicemail. Your boss explains that someone called in sick and asked if you could cover their shift. What do you do? One employee looks at the extra shift as an opportunity to prove they are a reliable employee; another looks at the same opportunity as time away from their favorite TV show so they decline. Being a reliable employee comes with benefits. Here are a few easy ways to demonstrate you are a reliable employee:
First, communication is key. A little communication can go a long way so if you are sick, call your boss as soon as possible to tell them you cannot come in. Be aware that when you have to call in, it affects everyone around you. So give them lots of time to fill the gap. What’s even better than making the sick-call, is a call that sounds more like this, “I’m sick and can’t make it in today, however I talked with Michael Smith and he said he’d be more than happy to cover for me. I’ll have that article still sent to you this afternoon to meet my deadline.” Be proactive in situations as best as you can and then communicate that you already have it covered. Have a solution before you even introduce an issue. It makes you a more reliable employee.
Next, follow through with everything you commit to. Make sure you are at work every day you’re scheduled. If you have a complicated life, sit down with a boss and make work schedule that works for both of you. Don’t overcommit to work days that you will later bail on. Follow through on all deadlines you have as well. That way you won’t have to worry about a boss blowing up your phone asking where a project is, or how much longer until it’s done. The more your boss has to watch over you, the less reliable you are. Be the outstanding employee who can be assigned a project and trusted with it.
Last, manage your time well. Don’t show up to work late, try to arrive early. Also, don’t be Speedy Gonzalez to get out of work early – especially if your work suffers. If you need to stay later don’t complain, it does not reflect well. A boss is paying you for the time you’re at work so use it wisely. Don’t mess around on social media when you should be doing a hundred other work-related tasks. The rules are simple - meet your deadlines, show up to work on time, and use your time wisely because it all leads to being a reliable employee.
Being a an employee that can be counted on opens up more doors than if you were just clocking in and clocking out to get that paycheck. There are really two goals of working for a company – to grow within the company and to gain experience that you can take with to future opportunities. If you are a reliable employee that means you may get promotions in the company. It also means you will have a good reference when applying for a new job. Sure, being a reliable employee takes more effort than slacking off but the benefits are so worth it!
Building the Best Employees - There is No “I” in Team!
March 28, 2017
Do you remember in junior high when athletic teams had team bonding activities? Whether it’s arts and crafts, a pool party, or a “lock in” at the gymnasium, a coach always wants their team to bond – outside of their sporting activity. The question is, why? According to the Values in Action framework, people who have teamwork as a strong characteristic tend to be more loyal and work harder for the success of the group. Instilling a good sense of teamwork builds players with the same goal…to win. The same application should happen in a business setting. By building a team of employees who bond, and work well together, an employer creates the best work atmosphere which in turn will get the most accomplished. Here are a few ways to help employees bond:
Ice breakers: it is the simplest form of team building and can be translated for any type of setting. Ice breakers work best in large groups where participants know very little about one another. For example, the “find 10 things in common with one another” game or the classic “two truths and a lie” game. Activities like these help warm up the crowd before a meeting starts. It will help the employees feel more comfortable and able to bounce ideas off of one another, instead of being too shy or timid to share their ideas. Ice breaker ideas are easy to find online and often come with printable sheets to help conduct the games.
For a smaller group, such as a staff of 10-15 people, there can be activities for building a closer team. There are a ton of experiences that are fun, relatively inexpensive and are great for getting a group together. “Escape the Room” experiences are incredibly trendy right now and what better way to bond with a coworker than being trapped in a room with them for an hour with no way to escape? Seems riveting to me! These escape rooms help employees work together in order to reach one common goal – to get out. Working as one unit in a fun setting can translate to a business setting, too. Instead of working as 10 individuals on a project, it will be 10 minds coming together as one for the project. Plus, places like these are made to serve large groups and often have group pricing so it won’t take a toll in the company’s pocket book.
Another idea is take your crew to an adult arcade – like Dave and Busters. Enjoy food, fun, and a little heathy competition. An activity like this shows the fun side of employees, not just a work side. In a work place setting, there is not often times where you can show your competitive side without ruffling some feathers. Employees who have fun together outside of the office will get along better inside the business. Building comradery between coworkers outside of the normal 9 to 5 shows there is a human element to colleagues. Employees will be more understanding and work better in teams if they have some commonality and connect on a personal level.
Having employees who get along is a distinct benefit to any company. Having a team mentality will drive productivity versus everyone having their own motives. For a business to succeed having good team work is a key factor in what helps reach company goals. Team building activities take very little to plan but the benefits are immeasurable. Not only will it bring employees closer together, but it will make them feel appreciated, especially if the company foots the bill. The return on investment of a well working team is much greater than the cost of an event for your employees. A fun time, bonded employees, cheap bill, and a better working team – that sounds like a recipe for a great business success!
A Bold Perspective on the Millennial Stereotype
March 21, 2017
They’re lazy. They’re entitled. They’re arrogant and ignorant. They’re always on their phones. These are just a few stereotypes the millennial generation hears on a daily basis. Yes, millennials have a horrible reputation, but is it all true? Just like with most labels there are a few who fit the mold perfectly. I’m sure as you read this you can look at those four statements and think, “yep I know someone who’s just like that.” Not all millennials fit that mold though! Due to the portrayed image of millennials, less are being hired or they have more of a challenge getting the job they want. According to Forbes Magazine, the unemployment rate of this generation is 12.8% percent; in comparison the nation’s unemployment rate of 4.9%. Younger employees, however, bring a lot to the table. Employers should stop looking at all the negative stereotypes of this generation, and start asking themselves, “What can the millennial generation bring to my company?”
“You are always on your phone, why don’t you ever put that down and talk to someone face to face for once?” This, or a similar phrase, is one I’m sure many millennials have heard. Don’t take this act as anti-social, look at is as immersed in technology. On a personal level when I was a small child, we didn’t have cable. I only had three TV channels to choose from and if I wanted to play a game on the computer, I had to deal with the dreaded dial-up internet. Technology has come a long way in two decades and as I grew up, technology grew with me. Now I have the whole internet and more in my pocket. Technology changed side by side with this generations and because of that, millennials are the first to have it figured out. We are early adapters. Our generation thrives on technology and we learn all the new programs as soon as they are on the market. A gen X graphic designer using “Paint” on their PC from the 90s is going to have different results than the millennial who is using the latest and greatest program from their top-of-the-line Mac. Having employees who are tech-savvy is going to keep your company cutting-edge and up-to-date with the changing times.
The times are constantly changing and millennials are trendy and usually up with the fads. That means your company could be aware with the latest fashions or trends early in the cycle. For example, at one time something as simple as a coffee shop who served their coffee black with a choice of cream or sugar morphed into selling Frappuccinos and lattes. This kind of evolution happens because of forward-thinkers. Millennials help drive the evolution of companies. Not only will they help modify a business, but they broaden your target market. Having the eyes of a millennial will help reach other millennials. Just like how senior staff members know what their peers want, we know what our peers want and millennials are a huge market group. Millennials can be a breath of fresh air and bring completely new ideas to the table. Experiences mold new ideas and millennials have experiences that baby boomers or gen Xers just don’t. A creative mind can help spark new innovations to help you and your company evolve.
Yes, I am aware that millennials can be looked at as hooligans or as my mother likes to call them, “dirty hippies” but there are so many great things that can be gained by hiring a millennial. Instead of picking out the flaws of this generation, look beyond that to their creative minds, early adapting abilities with technology and their flexibility in new situations. Millennials have a bad rap and there is no way around it, but take a chance on something new by hiring one of my generation. While I’m sure, you will find shining stars in the millennial generation, you will probably find some duds too. Just like in every all generations you have some who match the stereotype but there will be a plethora of young employees who far exceed your expectations as an employer.
Want to Grow Your Business? Try Networking!
March 14, 2017
Gathering with a group of people to expand and strengthen your career and learn new skills…now that’s an interesting concept. If only there was a name for that. Oh yeah, it’s networking! Networking has a variety of benefits including gaining knowledge from industry leaders, making connections with like-minded people, and raising your career profile. Do you want to know the best part of networking? It is super easy to find!
When joining a networking group chances are the program will include people with similar interests. By talking to event participants, you will be able to learn about experiences they’ve had, business skills that were useful in their company and exchange best-practices. Mingling will give you the opportunity to hear perspectives from many people about different topics – presumably in fields that you are interested in. Often, there will even be a guest speaker who will discuss their expertise. At networking events, don’t be afraid to ask for the opinions of others on ideas you have, too. This is a great opportunity to address challenges you are having with mentors and experienced professionals. Not only could you get good feedback, but you could also gain constructive criticism in order to make your ideas even better.
Gaining exposure to new people lends itself to making new connections. Sure, many times you will meet people you may never see again, but there will also be times where you’ll make a great connection, new friend or potential business partner. This leads right into increasing your exposure; you never know who you are going to meet at a networking event. With each new occasion brings new people and new business opportunities. You may be recruited to partner with another business, or you may find people who could benefit your company. Putting your name and organization out there will raise its profile and create more chances for success.
So, now that you know why you should go to a networking event, where do you find them? In the age of technology, there are easy ways to connect with likeminded people. There are networking groups all over social media. Search for key words that are of interest to you and your company. For example, did you know there is a “Work At Home Moms in Public Relations” page on Facebook for women to connect and grow? Many clubs and professional organizations host networking events. There are also opportunities with groups like the Chamber of Commerce in your city. At the Peoria Chamber of Commerce, we hold networking breakfasts, mixers, luncheons, and a Women 4 Women’s networking group. All of these are easy, fun and reasonably priced.
No matter what you believe is the best opportunity for your business to grow, I would strongly suggest getting involved in a networking group, or two, or three! A whole group of intelligent minds is better than just the few. Use these opportunities to drive business and become an ambassador in your field. Plus, at the end of the day, networking events can be a great time, so get involved!
The Need to be a Pro in Crisis Management
March 7, 2017
“Breaking news . . . Superstar athlete gets busted for drugs. Stay tuned for more information at 11:00.”
Have you ever noticed how quickly an athlete or celebrity issues a statement of apology after they are caught for inappropriate behavior? What about a restaurant that has a dirty dining report or a cell phone that inexplicably catches on fires. In the world of marketing and communications, problems arise. Nearly every day! So what do you do in these less than ideal situations? This is a job for a talented and skilled crisis management expert!
Crisis management is the department that takes a bad public relations issue and turns it around quickly with a solution. Crisis management can be used to handle popular athletes, celebrities, and politicians but there is a necessity to use it in every business setting you come across, too.
The first rule of crisis management is to stay calm. In business, issues will arise, but if you start running around like a chicken with its head cut off there is no way to start solving the problem. Don’t panic and worry yourself too much. Use that energy to find the best solution – you’ll only be able to think of one or two and just roll with that. Start this process out just like any other and brainstorm the perfect solution. Lastly, you are setting a tone for your company. If you panic, others will follow. Lead by example, but make that example positive! Keep a cool head and everyone will follow – that means lots of great minds working towards fixing a problem
Next, be prepared. Don’t start a crisis management plan when you are in the middle of a situation. Plan ahead and have a strategy in place if something goes wrong with your client. Being prepared will take some of the stress out of the situation and also provide a road map for getting a solution underway quickly.
Communicate. Communicate. And communicate some more. This is the key to success in a crisis situation. Make sure you have devised a statement for the media and assure that your employees, clients and decision makers are all on the same page. You do not want conflicting messages getting out to the public.
Work as a team and present a united front. There is no shame in needing help; most likely, someone in your office has dealt with a similar situation. Learn from their experience and use best practices to set a plan in motion. If you’re feeling all alone when dealing with a problem, you are going to be less efficient. The more minds working on a crisis, the better results are going to get. Crisis management is often best in teams. One person can’t take on everything on their own. Put aside any ego and ask for help, it can only do good.
Lastly, evaluate your handling of the crisis after the situation is managed. Did you plan work out? What hurdles did you encounter that you didn’t plan for? Hindsight is 20/20 - how would you manage the situation differently in the future. Use the answers to these questions to modify your crisis management plan and as a tool to train your employees and clients about handling sticky situations in the future.
In today’s evolving marketplace, every public relations professional and business person needs to have an understanding about how to manage a crisis situation. Whether it is a poorly behaved client or a band aide in a customer’s sandwich, knowing how to make a situation better can be the difference between bad public relations and an a loss of revenue and a small bump in the road for your client. Learning to compensate for the difficulty at hand, whether it is in the workplace setting or just life in general, will make you a better-rounded employee and person. Co-workers are going to look at you and think, “Wow, they’ve got some of the best problem solving skills I’ve ever seen!”
The Perfect Equation to Reach your Target Market
February 28, 2017
What is a target market and why is it important to determine it when planning a marketing campaign?
Well here's a good example...if you are trying to determine a budget to advertise a skateboard, you probably don't want to reach out to 80-year-olds in a nursing home. They are not going to want that product. Choosing advertising that would speak to this audience – or demographic - would be a waste of your money.
Whether you have a tight budget – or a plethora of money – you want to make sure you are reaching the consumers who are most likely to buy your product. Demographics, psychographics, and geographics are the three components used to find your target market.
So, what are these determining factors and how can you use this information to make your marketing dollars work for you?
· Demographics - this refers to all the traits of the audience you’re looking to reach. It includes age, gender, marital status, income, and so much more. This is the most commonly used tool to find a target market.
· Psychographics - this is the interest level of the people you are marketing to. Back to the skateboard scenario, a skate shop or skate apparel store is going to be best place to advertise your product. Assumedly, everyone who goes into that kind of store has a common interest - skating. Psychographics don’t have to just be interest, it can be values or personality types too. By looking at these groups, you can narrow down your target market even more.
· Geographics - it's all about where you live...for example a presidential candidate knows exactly which states and cities they need to campaign in to make the biggest impact for their political run. If you are a Democrat, there's no reason to campaign in Texas since decades of research shows that particular state usually votes Republican. In turn, if you're a Republican there's not much reason to use your precious funds to campaign in California. They almost always vote Democrat. This same strategy goes for marketing. Don't waste time and money chasing consumers that won't purchase your product. Fine-tuning your campaign to speak to potential buyers is the best way to get a return on your marketing investment.
By utilizing these statistical information tools, you can narrow down the millions of consumers in the marketplace to the ones you know are going to benefit from your products and services. Fine-tuning your advertising strategy by using these determining factors will not only save you money, but also bring in more bang for your buck. Don't send out your promotions material blind, make sure to think about your target market beforehand!
Mark your calendar: How to Meet a Deadline
February 21, 2017
We’ve all used the common phrase, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Procrastination is an employee’s best friend – especially one who would rather binge-watch The Walking Dead. But, for a boss who needs an assignment completed, procrastination is their worst enemy. A two a.m., caffeine-rushed, half-asleep essay could still get you an “A” in high school or college, but that tactic will not help secure your job in the workforce. Don’t risk it. Here are a few easy tips to help you meet deadlines.
First, pre-plan. If you set a schedule from the start with small deadlines to meet each day, it will help you on track. And if you are anything like me, often times I feel like I’m swimming in work unless I check items off my to-do list. Visualizing and seeing that you are making progress on a project can be motivating and help encourage you to get the next step done. Then you will be that much closer to finishing it all up. The last step in the planning process it to get started! The first step is always the hardest. Thinking of ideas or ways to even get the ball rolling is difficult but once you get started, you will likely be on a good flow. The best thing to do is brainstorm and give yourself a strict start date or time in order to meet that deadline.
Another big part of meeting deadlines is knowing how much you can personally handle. Taking on a bit at a time is manageable but if you overload yourself with every component of a project you are going to get burned out, overwhelmed and be less productive. If you have several different assignments that need to be done, prioritize, prioritize, prioritize. Put out the hottest burning fire first and start with the project that has the soonest deadline.
Group deadlines are a completely different ball game when it comes to being able to finish a project. If you are working on a team project, learn how to delegate. You cannot be everything to everybody – as much as you would like to be. Meeting a deadline can either be made easier when working in a team, or be a ton harder when other people are trying to get the job done in their own way. Communication is key in order to efficiently finish a project on time with several people on a team. Make sure work is distributed evenly and that the task matches the teammate’s skill set. Also, do not accidently give two people the same task or forget to assign a task. There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to group deadlines so finish a few days early so you can put all the parts together and make sure everything fits into place.
Deadlines are easy to meet as long as you stay on top of them. Life can obviously get in the way of meeting deadlines, which is completely okay. Just know how to bounce-back and makeup if you missed days. Readjustments have to be made but make sure everything leads to having the project done in a timely manner!
Learning How to Cope with Difficult Work Environments
February 14, 2017
You turn sixteen and hear the sickening words, “It’s time to get a job.” Entering the workforce is an entirely new experience and with that comes much to learn. Some jobs are great - others are horrible, but chances are you will have both good and bad days no matter where you are employed.
More than likely your first job will be in the service industry. These first few fast food type jobs are relatively simple and look the same from place to place, company to company. However, as you get older and into more professional occupations, there may be some problematic situations that arise in the workplace. Dealing with conflict seems to be a common struggle among millennials. In order to succeed in the workplace, there are three areas where you must learn to cope with conflict.
Co-workers: there are going to be coworkers that you do not get along with. Especially on team-based projects, people may be tackling it from different points of views. These strategies may conflict with your own personal ideas. In situations like this, try to see where your colleague is coming from and understand how their views, or ways of working, could benefit the company. Respectfully explain your vision and try to meet somewhere in the middle. However, not all situations are that easy. There may be a co-worker who is your worst enemy. If that is the case, be cordial around the office and don’t instigate conflict. You don’t have to be best friends with them, but you do have to be respectful of the work place environment - having a fight in the middle of the office kind of goes against that. There will be people you love to work with, but you have to deal with those you do not enjoy as well.
Bosses: a boss can be someone who you look up to and start to model your career after. They can be the greatest mentor you’ll ever have…or they can be someone you despise but still have to work for. A bad boss is not ideal, and I guarantee you will have a few in your career. Whether it is a boss who goes on screaming rants, cursing you and the rest of the staff out on a daily basis or a crazy cat lady who lets stray cats roam the office (yes, a completely true story), you will come across a boss you don’t enjoy working for. It is hard to get around a bad boss, but if you try to build a personal relationship with them and see the motives behind their action, it can make the experience tolerable. It won’t fix their bad attitude but it will make you an understanding person.
Clients/Customers: like the saying goes, “the customer’s always right” …except when they’re wrong. Dealing with cranky customers and clients is hard because you don’t want to burn a bridge with someone who is helping your business profit. Explain to them the issue at hand, but don’t be condescending – always have respect. If the issue is fixable then fix it. If not, find a way to compensate. Try to build a good clientele and remember, being rude to an already irritated customer will not help you keep loyal patrons. Also, take what customers have to say into consideration; likelihood is that if one person is having an issue, another customer may be dealing with the same problem. Manage the situation with a positive attitude and a smile. You can always scoff about it privately with coworkers or friends. Anyone can fake it til’ they make it!
Through all of your work experiences there will be great moments, and pretty bad ones too, but they key in every situation is to learn from it. Let every moment be a learning experience so when you move on to the next job, you are a well-rounded employee. Issues will arise at work, the key to being a good employee is if you can overcome the problems and rebound from less than desirable situations.
Be SMART, Set Goals for Yourself
February 7, 2017
How do you know where you want to go if you don’t set goals? Having a few goals when starting out a business is a necessary resource in order to make your business successful. Setting goals is not the challenge. Presumably, you want to be CEO of an amazing and profitable company, right? Goal set. Mission accomplished!
Well, it is not quite that simple. Goals need to be smart – literally S.M.A.R.T. A method to beneficial goal setting is based on the acronym SMART. It stands for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timely. In order to use this goal setting technique you should understand it.
Specific - You must be specific when goal setting. Do not be too broad otherwise; your mindset cannot be focused on a precise area.
Measurable - This can be in a profit or views, however it relates to your company. There should be a way to measure success and how close you are to your goal. Whether it be in dollar signs or something else, measuring success if essential to meeting goals.
Achievable - It is the first month of my new local business and I want to have a cliental of 13 million people and make over 10 billion dollars in revenue by the end of the month. Yeah, that’s probably not going to be too achievable. Set goals that you can reach, start with baby steps for your new business.
Relevant - Create one large goal for your company, but as new opportunities arise, make relevant goals pertaining to that topic. All small goals should be relevant and related to your one larger goal.
Timely - Give yourself a strict deadline in order to accomplish goals. Procrastination can be deadly, so don't allow yourself to use the line, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” If you have a deadline that you must meet, then there is not wiggle room to push it off.
Goal setting can help your business no matter what stage it is in. Set goals, and meet them! And while 100% of goals may not be reached, reassess regularly and when a goal isn't accomplished, learn for your mistakes. It will help you grow as a company and a business owner!
The Do's and Dont's of Social Media
January 31, 2017
As social networks grow, employers are turning to social media pages to learn more about a potential employee. A survey conducted by Jobvite in 2014 released a shocking statistic on how many employers really look at social media when making hiring decisions; their data showed that ninety-three percent of hiring managers will review a candidates social media before making the final hiring decision (time.com). Knowing potential employers are likely to search through cyberspace may give you the motivation to clean out unwanted information on your Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and more!
So the question is, what shouldn’t I have on my page?
Let’s start with the obvious:
Now that the negative aspects of social media are taken care of, let’s look at the positives! Social media can be like a second resume. In fact, employers are now using social media to recruit people who they think would benefit their company. Post about your accomplishments in a career field and show community involvement. If your social media is clean and professional, you could stand out to employers and get the job!
Use social media to your advantage when you can and definitely take a second look at what you have posted before you send in that application. Always think before you post, because you would not want to lose a job opportunity and the expense of World Wide Web.
10 Steps to Nail the Interview
January 24, 2017
Congratulations! You got the job! Now think back to how you got the position…a big part of the process is having a good interview. An interview is the first step to succeeding in the workforce. Perfecting your formal interview is a must for success. Here are a few easy steps you should try to master that will help you secure the job you are looking for:
Starting as a Millennial in the Work Force
January 18, 2017
Being a young adult just starting a career can be confusing and challenging. Sure, you can read from a textbook all day long about future career opportunities, but one of the greatest ways to find your path in the workforce is to get involved in an internship.
Internship programs are not difficult to find. Most colleges and now many high schools are equipped to provide students internship opportunities. For millennials who are not in school, internships can be found on dozens of different websites. Websites like Glassdoor are a good resource to start the internship hunt. Forbes.com lays out the top ten places to find an internship – to see this article click here. Word of mouth can also be utilized to help find an internship – talk to friends, family members, neighbors and tell them what kind of experiences you are looking for, who knows, they may have a great connection for you! Lastly, don't be afraid to go into a business you admire with a resume in-hand to see if they have any internship opportunities available. Many companies will be impressed with your go-getter spirit.
Research shows that people who complete at least one internship during college are 13 percent more likely to find full-time employment as compared to those who did not have an internship (Huffington Post). Not only does having an internship look great on a resume and give an advantage in the hiring process, it also helps you determine if you like a specific area of work.
Internships are a great opportunity to try your hand in a field you may be interested in pursuing as a career. Internships can help determine what you like and dislike during the experience in your industry of choice. They can also help you target future career goals.. Students are also reportedly happier about career choices after participating in an internship (Huffington Post).
Overall, being able to try several fields within an industry is beneficial to the intern in all facets. It prepares for work-like situations, gives leverage for hiring, and allows participants to find out what interests them the most.
Starting as a millennial in the work force can be scary but interning is a good way to get one foot in the door and puts you on the right path to success.
Emma Wolff is a Senior at Liberty High School. She keeps her schedule busy by taking multiple honors classes as well as being involved in Varsity Badminton, National Honor Society, and DECA. She plans to study strategic communication and marketing next year at Northern Arizona University.
Maximizing Millennials in the Workplace
November 3, 2016
As millennials are gaining momentum in the workforce, there's a few traits to note that separate them from the rest. They view the world differently and have redefined meanings of success, personality, and professionalism. While every individual has strengths and opportunities, millennials in the workforce can be seen as tech-savy, multitaskers.
As baby boomers and gen-xers stick more to one job at a time, job security nearing the end of their career, and the freedom to do what they've always done, millennials prefer compensation, flexibility, and the opportunity to make a difference (UNC.com). They want a cause to believe in, a purpose for them to feel accomplished. So how do you leverage the strengths of the millennials and avoid their shortcomings?
Well, first things first, do not by any means talk to them like they're young and uneducated. Assign them a task that will make them shine! Let them control the social media (if not a large corporation). Let them structure or organize piles of paperwork. De-clutter and condense with their knowledge of computer software programs. Millennials work smarter, not harder, so to be able to put 10 pieces of paper to one will help everyone in the office out.
Many companies are going this route: companies will create focus groups and stock them full of millennials to see what they like or dislike about a company. After the recession, it became very hard for millennials to trust big businesses so these focus groups are utilized to identify ways to attract, develop, and retain millennial talent.
As a small business, many people in your community would love to help with this part. This helps businesses create culture and structure and put non-traditional policies in place to not only keep job loyalty, but to also grow business. Since millennials are also responsible for the highest buying power in the country, the millennials that helped grow the brand are now buying your brand and becoming a part of your culture.
Successful Social Media
October 26, 2016
It's the most wonderful time of the year! It's fall (although it certainly doesn't feel like it) and it's the buying season, and we have twice as many residents shopping. It's a good time to make sure the content on your social sites is set up for success to give you the best possible consumer reach. Your brand isn't just your logo. It's in your content, what you publish, what filters you use, and your color scheme. It's what you stand for and it should show true in everything you do involving your business. Since millennials are leading in buying power and shifting business strategy, are you prepared to reach them this holiday season?
It's hard to market to millennials if you aren't one. You might be counter-productive and seem quite insulting if all you think will interest someone is emojis and selfies. Fear of being overlooked shouldn't rush your marketing campaign. Here are some steps to take that will really help in reaching a digital generation.
Step 1 - Look to the brands that are doing it right. Some of them are big brands, yes, but what do they all have in common? A strong social media with well-engaged posts. Another thing you probably overlooked but will realize now is that when you're creating an account at a clothing store, Netflix, furniture store, etc, they allow you to create your account by signing in to your Facebook. Ah-ha! This tailors the suggested posts you see to be from those stores and similar stores like that. This is a great way to get to your target market.
Step 2 - Rebrand (if you've been around for a while) New look = new hype! Have a grand opening party or host a happy hour. Millennials love booze.
Step 3 - Text campaigns. Email spam just gets overlooked. You know for a fact that text alerts will be seen.
Step 4 - Facebook give-a-ways. Create dialogue; ask for a story or explanation from your followers to get them commenting on your photos, which will in turn, reach a broader audience. Give away a few items to help create a buzz. Ask your followers to share your page for a chance to win prizes. Most importantly, get creative!
Step 5 - Get creative. Think outside of the box. As stated above, don't be insulting by assuming everyone loves emojis and selfies. Create some sarcasm, a story. Ever seen those commercials where a video starts out and then right at the climax it's interrupted and says go to www.whatever to see what happens next? That's a great idea on how to get more page views.
Do some research. Don't copy, but use other successful strategies you see as inspiration. Schedule content, keep a theme, and treat your page like your best customer.
A New Season Brings New Customers
October 19, 2016
Welcome fall! In Arizona, that means an overcrowding of our freeways from snowbirds and winter visitors but more importantly a whole new pool of people to do business with.
From retail to hair dressers, it's the busy season. For those who can afford to leave the snow for 6 months, it's not a matter of price for them, but why they need what you have to offer. Sell them on you and they're yours forever.
Here are some ideas to market yourself this fall to a whole new audience or just to spruce up your game.
1. Tailor your social media content- define your target audience. Theme it with fall themes and colors. It shows that you manage your content constantly and don't leave the same thing up.
2. Support organizations: don't wait until the holidays to show you donate to charities. Showing support creates a personal touch, especially if it's in the local community.
3. Newsletter- if you've never created a newsletter, now is the time to start! Personally welcome the new or returning residents to Arizona. Share local spots only the natives know about.
4. Go to the hotspots- post on community boards. A lot of snowbirds will buy condos and they all have a community center. Grocery stores have community boards too.
5. Send a personal touch: Thanksgiving and other holidays are a great reason to start a campaign to mail by zip code with a personal letter, card, postcard, or whatever you want!
May this holiday season bring you happiness, wealth, and innovative business ideas!
Marketing Made Easy on Social Media
October 12, 2016
If you're a business owner, you have some form of social media. If you're had your business for over 10 years, you've probably had a tough time with social media and finding trending topics to speak to the digital generation. You might be wondering which avenue is going to benefit you the most: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram? Don't grade them, just get them all. There are many apps you can get to manage all of your social media platforms eliminating tedious time to post separately. Check out the top 5 managing apps for all of your social media http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/5-social-media-management-tools-to-save-time/
It's not enough to post information, statistics, facts, etc. What type of content are you bringing to have viewers stop in their tracks and check you out? First you must determine your target audience; but you probably already know that. Think about how you want to be remembered. The easiest way I can explain is when people think of you (as an individual) what do they think of in association? A superhero, an animal, a color? That's what content is. It's leaving your mark and your presence without really doing anything just because you always wear a certain color or you have tons of trinkets of your favorite animal.
Keep your content relative to trending topics, though. For instance: hello, it's October, it's fall. What do you associate fall with? PSL and Halloween. What's trending? Pumpkin Spice everything, horror movies, and the thousands of Harley Quinn costumes going to be seen at the end of this month. Hashtag everything. Millennials are spending 20 minutes per hour on social media and when I have nothing better to do, I search hashtags of the things I like.
Millennials have a need to share things they like: good, bad, and ugly. They need to be the first to share whatever content and get validation that they fit in. Social media sharing is the digital world's word of mouth and puts your reach from the hundreds to the thousands.
Stay on top of trends, or be lucky enough to create a new one. Photos and videos are the key. The goal is to get people to do your marketing for you. Sharing, commenting, viewing whatever you have to offer extends your digital thumbprint tenfold. Post often but no more than 3x a day. Stay relevant and consistent.
How to Get More Clients
September 28, 2016
It's hard enough to find a steady clientele no matter what profession you're in. If you're young, it's even tougher. But young people are hungry and understand that without clients, they don't eat. Here's how to get more clients so you can keep the lights on.
Getting new clients takes lots of time, energy, and effort. It does not happen over night and if you are already established, good for you! But have you ever just sat back and thought you had enough clients and you didn't need to do any more work? Doubtful.
The list could go on and on with hundreds of ways to gain more clients but here is what I find most helpful.
1. Word of mouth is the best advertisement you can have out there and it's free! Ask your clients to spread the word; utilize social media as a platform to share your page or a review about the service you did.
2. Ask for referrals. Create a referral program to give someone an incentive.
3. Facebook and Instagram Ads. It's cheap and you can reach tens of thousands of people in your area. The best part is you can get as specific as you want to whom you're trying to reach.
4. Network. Make yourself visible. Go to all the happy hours you can. If you're not a people person, fake it, at least for a couple hours. Make sure not to talk about yourself. It's about them; ask them the questions. Oh, and remember their name. Get a business card and follow up because 99% of the people who are at events aren't going to do that so you'll already stand out. Do what others won't.
5. Speaking engagements. Speaking in front of a group or class shows leadership. It shows that you're the expert in the topic and if you can take pictures or a live stream, it shows others that you're an expert as well.
You can also buy leads, read as many business and sales books as you can find, co-work, start a blog, sponsor events and charity functions, etc. The list goes on and on. Good luck to you in the busy time of year. We're lucky enough in Arizona to have snowbirds to make it an even busier time! People want to do business with you, not your company, so show them why they should do business with you.
How to Perfect Your 60 Second Commercial
September 21, 2016
How do you stand out in a crowd when your profession matches 20,000 other people's professions? What makes you different? Whenever you're at a networking group, how many people talk about their business opposed to THEM? Here are some steps to take when separating you from those who do what you do and implementing them in to your networking elevator speech.
1. Your purpose - What's your story? What's your WHY? - Sharing your purpose shows people you're human and not a robot. You have a mission that others will resonate with. Facts tell but stories sell!
2. Your Principles - What do you stand for in your business? - Sharing your principles with prospects shows you are ethical, you have morals and core values which is what ever successful business creates before they even open their doors. Stand by them; if you don't, no one else will.
3. Ideal referrals - Who is your ideal client? - This shows experience. You have a niche in this category and there's always a demographic no matter how specific you are.
4. Your Frustrations - What makes you angry about your industry? (what do others do wrong?) - Not necessarily trash talking about other associates in the business but tell common misconceptions about your business. This shows you don't make false promises and others will respect you for not wanting a quick sale and compromise your ethics.
Making a commercial tailored to you instead of what you do will help the most important part of doing business. Relationships. Building relationships keeps retention up, builds rapport and trust, and keeps word of mouth at its highest peak.
How to Dress Your Age
September 14, 2016
If you're a young professional new to the working world, it's hard to determine what you might deem professional vs. what others might view as distasteful. Over-casual can seem inexperienced. If you're a young professional woman, there's a lot working against you. Maybe you don't need to appear older, rather, mature. I think the best thing you could do for your appearance is to exude confidence, smile, and make eye contact. Here are some other steps you can take to look more established.
1. Go to colors - white blouses, black pants, and a touch of red. Tailored.
2. Lip color - one of my very good friends in Mary Kay swears that a woman needs a bold lip to make any kind of statement, or a more dramatic eye or defined lashes such as lash extensions.
3. Wear glasses - or fake glasses!
4. To be taller is to look older - get a great pair of heels and preserve the heel. The whole point is to be polished from head to toe.
5. Be calm and quiet. Immaturity is wanting to go in a room and immediately have people know you're there and to demand attention. Listen to people, talk in a lower voice, and avoid using words such as "like" and "um."
Other than that, if you're good at what you do, you're good! Focus on doing what's right for your clients. Do you think people care about what you look like when you're doing right by them? Or do you think it's the people who are watching you succeed who have the problem?
Finding Passion in your Career
September 7, 2016
Love what you do and do what you love.
Love what you do and you'll never work a day in your life.
There are countless mantras to validate you're on the right path and to help cope in the working world. The real question is, do you like Monday's or do you despise them? If the answer is toward the latter, you are not on the right path.
So how do you do what you love for a living? Is it even possible? How do you turn your passion to a career? I guess you would first need to figure out what you love to do, which isn't hard. More specifically, though, what are you good at? I love to sing and dance but I am most certainly not good at it but I am good at planning events and I enjoy planning events so that might be a little more up my alley.
See, it's not just about turning your hobby in to a way to make money. Frankly, you're probably not going to make much money anyway selling your crafty things...unless you do it on Youtube and become an internet sensation. It's more about using your strengths to your advantage. When you're good at something, it's a little easier and less stressful and that's when work becomes fun! "When you do what you love, people rally around you. Enthusiasm is contagious and you attract other people who are passionate too" (entrepreneur.com.)
This takes time, it takes trial and error. You might think you'd be good at something and it turns out to be a little more complicated. There are people who can help speed up this process. I went to a lunch and learn with a woman who helps people figure out their strengths and it's been one of the best presentations I've ever heard to this day.
"You should do what you want to do and do what your best at" (Stan Lee, creator of Marvell.)
Fear is the only thing that can hold you back. Sure, you went to college, got a degree, spent tens and thousands of dollars on doing something you don't love. It happens. I actually went to school to do hair and never went that route. If you change your mind, you can change your life.
Does Age Matter?
August 31, 2016
Is age really a factor in a young professional’s success? Why is it we don’t see many millennials actively networking in groups, especially in morning groups? You might think it’s because they’re lazy but they’re creating the change in how business is done. They are working hard but maybe not in the old-fashioned way of face-to-face interaction.
In a digital age where we crave instant response, millennials have the creativity and talent to be successful in this new era. They’ve figured it out now whereas the higher-ups are still scratching their heads.
Take the Rio Olympics for instance: nearly every medal was awarded to a millennial. Look at the most successful companies right now: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google, Amazon, etc. Those companies were all started by someone 30 or younger.
I believe it’s assumed that young professionals are going to make mistakes and that’s why people choose not to do business with them. Facts tell, stories sell; a saying that would prove experience matters in business. Meaning, you need to be in business for a while and see all sorts of circumstances and outcomes possible to be able to effectively do your job. Maybe have a family and a little gray hair. Experience definitely matters, no question, but “knowledge is one thing and competency is another” (Harvard Business Review).
If you’re an entrepreneur at an age before family and huge amounts of bills, you’re risky. You’re likely to take those chances and put it all out there. Energy and ambition play a huge role. Someone ambitious won’t quit after hearing no a few times which will ensure their success as they continue to give 100% every day. “We are made wise not by the recollection of our past, but by the responsibility for our future.” -George Bernard Shaw
Proper Work-Life Balance
August 24, 2016
In your early twenties, life is fun. You can live on Top Ramen and no sleep. No family to worry about and no money to make things complicated. Once you’re out of school, in the real world, your priorities shift. All of a sudden there are bills to pay and your taste becomes a little more expensive. Dating becomes a little more serious and before you know it, you have two mouths to feed. As you get older, your work load becomes heavier and a little more serious. Stress becomes apparent as you stay in the office later to finish a pile of work that seems like it will never go down. A 40-hour work week seems like a part time job with large corporations cutting tens and thousands of staff members now requiring remaining employees to take on three times the work load.
With the hustle and bustle of this thing called life, how do you create a proper work-life balance? Probably the biggest rule: you can say no. You don’t have to open your computer every single night and weekend. You don’t have to choose to come in on your day off. Or take frequent breaks. Re-adjust your posture, do a breathing exercise, or check a Facebook status. Having a work-life balance means not being overwhelmed at work. Learn to meditate; it’s easier than you think. My favorite way to meditate is sitting upright, in a chair, breathing in as long as I can, holding my breath for as long as I can, and breathing out until there’s nothing left. Try it! It’s amazing and will ease any stress until it’s needed again. Yoga is another great stress reliever. There’s many poses you can do while at work, at a desk, etc. It’s another great way to stay grounded and keep you in the present. Stress takes your mind to a different level and we can all use helpful hints to keep our feet planted on the ground and our mind at ease. You can only control so much!
How to Prepare for the Future on a Millennial's Budget:
August 17, 2016
Times are tough. National debt is climbing, tuition is going up, unemployment is drastically rising in millennials. There's always something that's going to happen to prevent you from saving. Bite the bullet. Start small. Contribute to a savings account and start a retirement fund. I talk to too many 50-something's who didn't start until later in their careers to think about retirement.
Yes, I know tomorrow isn't guaranteed, but what if you live a long, wonderful life? What will you do when you're at that age and all of a sudden you’re scrambling and realizing you may have to work 10 years longer than you expected to?
1. Start saving - however small. $25/month, $100/month. Do it right after you get your paycheck so you don't even notice it.
2. Start a Roth IRA. 401k’s, traditional IRA's and other investment products will be taxed upon distribution. Roth IRA's are pre-taxed so you will have more with your money. That's why there's a cap on how much you can contribute per year.
3. Have an Emergency Account - Has your car ever broken down out of nowhere? Pet ever been sick? There will always be some sort of unknown expense awaiting you at any time. Cars and pets can't talk so you never know what's wrong with them until you pay a fee up front.
4. Don't skimp on coverages. I'm in insurance so I see the bare minimums clients are choosing to do just to have a little more in their pocket per month. In Arizona, your wages will get garnished for 10 years if you're ever at fault for a total loss.
How Healthy are Millennials?
August 10, 2016
I’ve always thought the millennial generation were a fit niche. My newsfeed is flooded with instafamous fit chicks in sports bras and spandex, obstacle course racers and the fittest athletes, and the newest fitness trend crossfitters. I quickly found by branching out of my social media four corners that the millennial generation is in a dire health crisis. It’s amazing how false social media can portray the world and how media is truly corrupting what they really want us to see.
Car accidents, homicide, and suicide are the three leading causes of death in younger people ages 15-29 (Huffington Post). Why? This is the ugly truth of millennials. This is the category I don’t want to fit in. Extreme alcohol intake, illicit drug use and substance abuse are seen more in this crowd. One-fifth of this generation classifies themselves as binge drinkers and cause 41% of fatal accidents between ages 21-24 to be the result of drunk driving or driving under some sort of substance (Huffington Post). Let that sink in a little.
Mental health has become a serious issue in younger people. From 2007 until present, high school and college students are reporting more and more symptoms of mental illness. So what’s causing this? A few possibilities: 1. Economic depression equals personal depression- A study has found that levels of mental illness increase when the economy goes south (ABC News). 2. School- today, children spend more hours in (elementary) school than ever before. In Arizona specifically, our education system is a joke with 42% of students not passing the state Merit exam. Focus will now lie on the [underpaid] teachers to tweak their curriculum to now only focus on information that will be on the state exam. This means children are not being praised or rewarded for their participation, just demeaned and given negative reinforcement (psychologytoday.com). 3. My opinion- It’s no shock that our healthcare system is a complete joke. It’s a never ending cycle revolving around money. Parents think their child is acting different or having a hard time concentrating, takes them to the doctor, gets prescribed a psychiatric drug. In and out in 15 minutes and hundreds of dollars billed from the insurance companies. Then, every 2 weeks is a check-up, and so on. I could spend another 2,000 words on the effects of psychiatric drugs on the brain and how they completely do the opposite of what they’re supposed to. What we aren’t taking the time to do is care more about our health internally. What you put in your mouth has a direct correlation with how you feel (happiness, sadness, etc). If we were all a little more cognizant of what we were eating and what we are cooking for our kids, we would see a tremendous decrease in these mental health cases. Diet is to be addressed whenever seeking to cure mental illnesses (the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research).
We live in a society of instant gratification. We want our problems fixed now and that’s what a psychiatrist feeds off of. It’s hard to take the time to really work on yourself and find what works for you and what doesn’t, but statistics are only going to keep climbing and more people will die from the above causes unless we start to fight against the healthcare system and see it for what it really is: a money making conglomeration.
How Millennials are Shaping the Economy
August 3, 2016
The largest generation in history is about to enter in to prime spending years. Our habits can really control the economy. This will change the way businesses choose to sell their products and that’s why companies are shifting their selling strategy to market to millennials.
That’s a lot of pressure. This shift will shape the future for generations to come. Typically, the most expensive asset someone will buy is their home. Well, millennials aren’t so interested in home buying and seem to be just satisfied with a smaller space such as a condo. And this isn’t just limited to home buying. Goldman Sachs just released a study of how millennials feel about car ownership and other luxury items. “Millennials have been reluctant to buy items such as cars, music and luxury goods. Instead, they’re turning to a new set of services that provide access to products without the burdens of ownership, giving rise to what's being called a ‘sharing economy’” (Goldmansachs.com). The study went on to state 30% of millennials don’t intend to buy a luxury need ever.
So what does this mean for future home and vehicle sales? Will we see once high-end developments torn down for multi-family habitations communities? Are Uber and Lyft here to stay while car buying becomes obsolete? Could this be because millennials don’t trust the volatile market because a record number of them were burned by the economic crash? Four out of ten millennials say they worry about their financial future at least once a week (cnbc.com). It seems like millennials are being smarter about their money and not living beyond their means.
5 Tips on How to be Taken More Seriously
July 27, 2016
1. Quit talking - And by talking, I mean gossiping around the water cooler. Now, this is not just a millennial thing; I know plenty of 50 year old women who behave like they're still in high school, but they're taken seriously because of their tenure. It's easy to get sucked in to someone telling you a hidden secret about another associate but that's a surefire way to get your credibility taken away in the office. It's better to keep the chatter to a minimum and only about business.
2. Cut the slang - We grew up on AOL Instant Messenger and were texting early on so we naturally have text talk. It's easy to carry over "u" or "ur" in a professional email so proofread, edit, and edit some more until your grammar and punctuation are spot on...Oh and my biggest pet peeve: know the difference between your and you're!!
3. Dress - I've said this before: Dress for the part you want, not for the part you have. Cleavage is a no-no. Dress like a boss, a real boss.
4. Speak up - I am naturally a closed-off person and can be a little timid but I put myself out there. I've been rewarded more times than shut down and it's just a risk that should be taken.
5. Know your strengths and use them - There are studies being done about us. We're truly a different breed so we should play on that. We can help our bosses (if they're older) with Excel or computer issues and it will make us look that much better!
Millennials: Over Educated and Under Paid
July 20, 2016
I was watching the news earlier this week and I saw a story broadcasted about millennials and how we're the most underpaid generation. Gen X made, on average, over $10,600 more per year at my age (AZcentral.com). I have been told I'm whining about my situation when others before me have been treated the same way. Well, now I have proof! We are the most educated and every company is conforming to meet our needs because we lead in buying power, but why can’t they pay us a decent salary?
I've been researching this. I thought, maybe it’s the recession? That has to be it! Upon hours and hours of research this is what I have come up with. Research has shown that a millennial with the same degree, same job, in the same location is making less today than someone in the 1980's, inflation adjusted (Forbes.com).
So why are we letting this go on? The recession and unemployment definitely have a part in this. There's also a lot of competition. The job market is saturated with millennial graduates so it's more likely someone who accepts the lower wage is going to get the job. We're also content. We're not leaving for other opportunities. We're not asking for more money. Forbes had released an article earlier this year stating 43% are content in their jobs and not looking to leave and only 22% of millennials had asked for a raise. With student loan debt higher and salaries lower, why even go to school?!
I'm going to throw a little heat at the boomers. After all, they do it to me almost daily. Thanks to added spending on Social Security and Medicare, my generation is paying for it. Complex.com writes "the recent spike in federal debt means millennials won’t be able to collect on Social Security and Medicare as they age." So if you don't have a financial advisor in place or some sort of plan, you better make sure your parents have a great life insurance package.
How to use trends to your advantage
July 13, 2016
If you haven’t heard of Pokemon Go yet, you probably live under a rock. This particular app has taken the world by storm in just 6 days. The app is used more than Tinder, Facebook Messenger, Snapchat, and Instagram (Huffington Post.) It generates about $1.6 million in revenue PER DAY just from the Apple store (Forbes.com.)
So what does this mean for your business? “As a local business, you can help users flock to your store by utilizing in-app purchasing Lure Modules, a unique feature of Pokémon GO. Once purchased, Pokémon will flock to the PokéStops for a 30-minute period. Trainers will see flower petals on the map to indicate more Pokémon are being lured to the area. You can exploit this foot traffic by offering promotions and discounts for patrons or customers who visit your business to collect Pokémon” (1seo.com.)
This is a virtual realty game bringing people outdoors, on long walks, exploring areas they might not have visited otherwise. This is a great concept to get more foot traffic to your brick and mortar. Some businesses were lucky enough to have Pokemon or Pokestops right in front or near their businesses already. Most are near landmarks, State parks and mountains, Church’s, etc. It’s a great way for businesses to interact with their audience (see picture.)
Whether or not this fad will soon burn out, take advantage of it while it lasts. We’re seeing stories of hackers, robbers, and accidents occurring because of this game, but it can be a great business model.
And always: Please do not play Pokemon Go and drive!
Why Everything You’ve Heard About Millennials
I decided to start this blog because I was tired of my only shortcoming being my age. I don't have a college degree but I have drive and ambition. I come from a banking and financial planning background and have since moved to the insurance field. I worked my way up from the bottom of a huge corporate bank and became a manager within 3 years, something I hadn't heard of anyone doing before, especially without that degree.
I have taken the success I created in my previous field and applied it to my current profession using self-taught skills. With this blog, I hope to pass along some of the knowledge and skills I've learned to other young professionals of the millennial generation.