A-Z Challenge – Career Tips

Join the A-Z Challenge!
Join the A-Z Challenge!

by Liz daRosa @lizdaRosa

I’m participating in the A-Z Challenge in April and will focus on a Career Tip of the Day. Each post will focus on a letter of the alphabet until we reach Z on the 30th. Check out this area for the daily posts & as always I welcome your thoughts & input. Thanks!

April 23, 2015 T is for Take the Time to Tell Someone Thank-You or Terrific Job!

All of my posts have been actions to help you be more productive, successful and hopefully they motivate.  This post is no different but it truly requires you to act and interact with others not just work on yourself.

To be successful you need to be a great communicator. You need to know what you want and figure out how to be communicate with others to get what you want. Now put yourself in their shoes – don’t you like being thanked, being told you did a great job, being congratulated when you accomplish a goal? Everyone does!

When was the last time you took the time to tell the important people around you (at home and at work) that you noticed their accomplishments, their new outfit/hair cut, their presentation. It’s not only a great thing to do for someone but it makes you feel good too.

Who are you going to take the time to tell today that they made a difference in your life, in your work day or just because they are your support system? Don’t stop there why not tell several people…don’t be a phony baloney make sure your comments are authentic but give them away.  Treating someone to a compliment is priceless to the recipient.

Make a list of folks today and take care of it this week. Why not set a goal of talking to people on a daily basis and making it a habit. Oh, wait that may make you live in a state of positivity, can you handle it? Stop giving frowns & growls – negativity breeds negativity. Start giving smiles & high-fives – positivity breeds success!


April 22, 2015 S is for Savor Every Second of Your Successes!

All of us have enjoyed success in our personal life and in our work-life. Sometimes when we are at a low point (after a break-up, a job loss, continually being looked over for promotion) we forget those successes. Don’t forget them.

Savor your successes like you would enjoy a glass of wine or a warm chocolate chip cookie. Enjoy thinking about how you felt, what you did to get there and how you used that to kick-start your next relationship journey or job success story.

Don’t let yourself wallow in negativity for too long – you need to do it, give yourself a time limit, be negative and Move the heck on! It doesn’t do anyone any good for you to live in a state of negativity.

Your next success is there – go grab it, make it, or just fake it til you make it. But you need to act to make success happen; even those who have great ‘luck’ are still doing something to move themselves forward when they become ‘lucky’.

Before you know it you will be enjoying your next success and savoring every second of it.


April 21, 2015 R is for Be Ready!

At work, in the car, at the grocery store or where ever you are you need to be ready. You may be in the grocery line behind your future boss. You may park next to a potential client. You may even share a bench at your child’s soccer game with your future significant other.

Being ready doesn’t necessitate always being dressed for an interview or being paranoid about every little action. Readiness does require you to be consciously aware of your surroundings, how you interact with people and how you present yourself.

We’ve all had the ‘I want to wear yoga/sweatpants days’ – but here’s the catch, only let yourself do that IF you go workout then go run your errands. Perfectly acceptable.

If what you want is a promotion, be ready with your actions (and dress) to attract positive attention so you are thought of when that opportunity is available.

If you want a new job, be ready on that interview (see my post 5 Key Steps to Interviewing).

The list goes on and on. You know what you want. Be ready, success is right around the corner – go get it!!

April 20, 2015 Q is for Quietly Lead

Everywhere you look there is advice on leadership. Be bold, be fierce, be consistent. My add on is to Quietly Lead, which is lead by example. Do more, speak less and you’ll gain the respect and admiration of those you work with. I’ve had the most success when I quietly lead; it benefited the task and cemented my rapport & relationships with co-workers & my supervisor.

Remember even when you are short on time your quiet leadership speaks volumes. So quiet your voice and step up your actions by quietly leading. I’ll be back tomorrow with an “R” tip. Your Career Coach, Liz

April 18, 2015 P is for Position Yourself for a Promotion

You won’t become friends or even like everyone you work with but you do need to keep in mind this is work and you have a role to play. Make sure you position yourself for success (a promotion & more money) buy playing the political game and get along with your co-workers and supervisors.

We’ve all worked at organizations where we didn’t necessarily like the folks we had to interact with but we loved our job (are you shaking your head?) it’s so important NOT to let them get to you. I realize this is easier said than done because we are human and we tend to react to others more often than we’d like because they push our buttons. Don’t let them get you off-track from your goals.

Position yourself for a promotion and the other successes that come with that by staying away from gossip, always keeping your cool and maintaining a positive attitude. I’m not saying this will be easy but it’s important you focus on your success and not get preoccupied in unnecessary office politics. Next time you are faced with a situation at work where you feel you are getting sucked into the vortex of negativity, take a time out and remember your goals for being there.

April 17, 2015 O is for Be Open to Listening to Opinions

Now, don’t get me wrong, many opinions won’t be things that are valuable to you or will make you take action. But if you are open to listening to opinions you will develop meaningful relationships and learn along the way. You should be able to quickly discern what opinions are not in line with your values and goals. However, you can still engender mutual respect from the speaker by listening to them. This is a tip that will work in any setting, business, social or with your family. We all appreciate when we are listened to and normally don’t expect anyone to take action from our words. If you do learn something valuable from someone make sure you tell them. Be authentic in your gratitude and you will water the seeds of a lasting friendship in your personal/professional life. And wouldn’t it be great to expand your circle and learn some new information along the way?

April 16, 2015 N is for Never Quit!

Even if you are stressed at work, at home or a combination, never give up on yourself or your dreams. Chart your goals (as a #meGoal – focused NOT selfish) and work on them little by little everyday. Some days will be easier and you may accomplish more today than you did yesterday, but know that every day you put effort in on your goals/dreams the closer you are to achieving them. Never quit believing!

Comment Submitted via email from Tony: Love the straight-forward advice! April 16, 2015 at 3:33pm

April 15, 2015 M is for Make the Most of Your Day

While your main focus at work is your WORK why not increase your productivity and reduce stress by maximizing your opportunities?! It’s relatively easy but takes a conscious choice on your part and requires planning.

With People: Look them in the eye (trust & non-verbal communication), talk with them not at them, and be genuine.

With Time: Pre-plan your day (work & personal activities), take breaks & eat lunch/snacks.

With Social Media/Technology: Determine a set amount of downtime from all of your ‘screens’ (aka technology from t.v. to computer to video games). Instead connect with People (your family and/or friends).

Here’s to making the most of today!! Your Career Coach, Liz

April 14, 2015 L is for Live & Laugh

We’ve all had the job or supervisor or co-worker(s) who was negative or mean or rude. That bad energy makes the entire workplace less enjoyable. What’s even worse if it’s your supervisor!

I’ve chosen LIVE and LAUGH as the words for today to serve as a wake-up call for those in a highly toxic work environment. If you end the workday in tears, fits of anger towards your family or are so mentally drained you need to isolated yourself – it’s probably time to get out and find something new. Life is too short to be in a role where we can’t enjoy Living and we can’t Laugh.

ROFL: Rolling on the Floor Laughing! Created Using Bitmoji app

ROFL: Rolling on the Floor Laughing! Created Using Bitmoji app

Don’t get me wrong, the work place has rules, deadlines and stress but it shouldn’t take over your entire life! It’s healthier for you and your close relationships if you find a different career or new place to work more conducive to you LIVING & LAUGHING!

Back tomorrow for a tip that starts with ‘M’. Your Career Coach, Liz

Commented Submitted via email from B.J.: ‘Excellent, love the ROFL!’ April 21,2015 at 9:15am.

April 13, 2015 K is for Kick-Start Your (Insert…) Efforts

Here’s another reminder to make an opportunity to take action and kick-start your job search, hunt for that promotion, smallbiz or…

To me, a kick-start is like starting a motorcycle. Can you hear the engine turnover? Roll the handlebar and the engine gets louder! Get ready to hop on, hold on & GO GO GO!

Let me be Your Career Coach!

Let me be Your Career Coach!

Don’t be afraid to kick-start your career today! I’ll be back with “L” on Tuesday. Your Career Coach, Liz

April 11, 2015 J is for Jump-Start Your (Insert What You Need) NOW!

Yes, the “Insert” comment is supposed to be there. Today with jump-start I urge you to take the passion you ignited and push it forward toward…setting a goal…finding a better way to job search…or whatever you need.

Before you can take action you need to know what you want & what you need. When your car gets a jump-start it’s because the battery is empty. Perhaps you feel that way & that you need to be recharged. If you need help getting a jump-start reach out. I’ve been there!

I’ll be back Monday with a “K” career tip. Your Career Coach, Liz

April 10, 2015 I is for Ignite YOUR Passion!

To avoid using “I” as a pronoun I decided to stay with my action verbs and use ignite passion!

You’ve undoubtedly noticed the feelings of self-empowerment, motivation & success when you have a fire ignited within you to reach a goal.

Let’s harness this internal fire into your career journey and work-life.

In order to do this you need to know your personal brand (what do you want to be known for?) and it should be your passion.

Determining your brand should be easy – your passion should be evident like the color of your eyes. Embrace your passion and let the fire within you ignite your passion in this next step in your career journey.

I’ll be back tomorrow with “J” in our career tip journey for the month. Your Career Coach, Liz

April 9, 2015 H is for Take the Hill!

In a career search or when you are feeling stressed in your job it’s important to keep in mind that you need to ‘Take the Hill’. Which is 2 pronged: 1) Come up with a plan (strategy) and 2) then execute. Simple as that. The ‘Plan’ doesn’t have to be complicated.

Accomplish Your Goals...Take the Hill! Illustration Courtesy of Troggled.com

Accomplish Your Goals…Take the Hill! Illustration Courtesy of Troggled.com

FIRST: Sit down and figure out what your MUST DO’s are, that is what HAS to get done. Not what you’d like to get done – what absolutely has to get done today. Push everything else to the side. That will relieve some pressure and allow you to focus on the MUST DO’s of the day.

SECOND: Take the Hill! Put the plan into action and charge the hill (finish the project).

Don’t let a project or your career search overwhelm you – figure out what NEEDS to be done and take the hill! Your Career Coach, Liz

April 8, 2015 G is for Set a #meGoal. Go! Get it!

In previous posts I’ve referred to the importance of setting a #meGoal. It’s an easy way to help you track & achieve your goals which becomes a commitment to your success. So let’s review it.

You undoubtedly know about SMART goal setting. I’ve used it many times to set and track a goal but I wanted something with fewer ‘steps’. Also, I don’t know about you but I need to have goals that are exciting and truly meaningful for me to stick with them. So, the #meGoal was born: ‘m’ meaningful and ‘e’ exciting so it’s personal but it only needs to meet these two criteria.

Set a meGoal. Go! Get it!Illustration by Troggled.com

Set a meGoal. Go! Get it! Illustration by Troggled.com

Because it’s such a personal way to set and track goals it should propel you into action. Here are a few #meGoals I’ve set for the rest of this week:

Career #meGoal – Write a motivational blog post with an accompanying visual for 3 of the next 4 days.

Family #meGoal – Shut off all technology & spend it coloring/reading with my little ones, every night this week.

Fitness #meGoal – Complete a training run 3 of the next 4 days, focused on time.

Post below to share a #meGoal you plan to Go & Get. Even though its Wednesday there is still time to set and accomplish a #meGoal. Set a #meGoal. Go. Get it! Your Career Coach, Liz

April 7, 2015 F is for ‘Fun’

I like to have fun & I’m sure you do too. Think about a time when you had fun at work – whether it was for an hour (pot luck) or at an off-site team-building event or even the annual holiday party. Those are the positive work memories that you remember and it builds good feelings towards your co-workers, supervisors and the organization. While we do work to earn a living and towards a common goal for the organization, there’s no reason we can’t have fun. Just make sure you get your work done!

Here are some examples of fun at organizations I’ve worked with:

Annual Holiday Party: [TIP] Don’t overindulge in alcohol, smoke too much or be the one who goes to the buffet 5 times! If there’s an activity that’s part of the party make sure you participate or be an active cheerleader for those participating. Be involved, have fun & be smart about it!

Potluck: [TIP] This is a low-cost way to have a work get-together. I’m a germaphobe. I have hand sanitizer in every bag I own and I use it frequently. Also, when I’m cooking I have a clean kitchen and I wash my hands. I’ve had some unpleasant experiences with potlucks at work (we won’t talk about that!) but here’s what you can do to keep it a fun activity. We can’t control anyone’s hygiene or food prep habits but you can still participate & have fun! Attend the potluck – avoid it and you will be talked about – and 1) make a small plate of the dish you brought; or 2) make a small plate but don’t eat it; or 3) don’t make a plate but sit down with a drink and spend time talking with your co-workers.

Summer Picnic: [TIP] Even though it’s probably Saturday or Sunday (your ‘free’ time) you still need to dress & act professionally. It may be a 90 degree day, I know the picnics usually end up on the hottest day of the summer, but leave the revealing clothing at home. Participate in any activity or be an active cheerleader – engage in the fun! On Monday, you don’t want to be the talk of the office for the wrong reasons!

‘Take Our Daughter’s & Son’s to Work Day’: [TIP] This can be any organized Day your organization has for its employees. 1) Follow the parameters set forth by your organization (i.e. age of children who can participate); 2) Sign any releases necessary; 3) Communicate rules to your child and those reporting to you, before the event; and 4) Send a thank you email or write a brief note to your supervisor/HR about how much you & your child appreciated the event. There are many types of organized Days, this is just one example.

All of these activities, if done correctly can prove to be low-cost activities to improve employee morale and garner goodwill for the organization. This leads to increased productivity and FUN at work. It’s a Win for everyone! The key is to stay professional, be appreciative and enjoy the down-time with your co-workers.

What other activities fit into the FUN category while remaining a low-cost option for the organization? Please post below so we can learn from the best practice at your organization. Have a little FUN today…but do your work too! Your Career Coach, Liz

April 6, 2015 E is for ‘Epic’

Normally I don’t encourage the use of slang but I like the term ‘epic’ [means: Extremely Awesome!] Start this week looking for something that’s epic in your workday. Whether it’s the team effort from collaborating on a project or an idea that’s born from nothing on a tight deadline. Make something epic or better yet, be EPIC!


April 4th “D is for being Driven & Determined

Today, I completed my first 5k road race of the season. I was bummed as I stopped the timer on my iPhone & saw I missed my goal by 44 seconds.

I’ve raced in snow, sheets of rain and sweltering heat but this was my first race with winds of 30+ miles per hour. I wasn’t able to push through it. It’s not the end of the world, but I was disappointed.

What’s most important is what happens next. I need to keep reaching for my goal; drive & determination will propel me through the racing season. I will reach my goal!

This isn’t just for a physical activity, it’s applicable any time you want to reach for success.

Harness your inner drive & determination to propel yourself forward especially after you experience a ‘miss’.

I’ll be back with another career tip on Monday. Your Career Coach, Liz

Comment Submitted via email by Petra (http://petramonaco.com/): “I can understand the driven issue. I haven’t run an official race yet but am participating in a running challenge this month. Today was the first office run I was able to submit for time. One of the things I know is that we are always our best in each given moment, even when we are driven and disappointment allows us to evaluate how we can improve!” April 4, 2015 at 6:05pm.

Comment Submitted via email by Faith Ellerbe, The Frugal Fur Mom (http://livewagbark.com): “I love the driven and determined advice! I am a beginner runner and I have scheduled several 5K runs this year. Don’t quite have any goals but to get through the entire run actually running! I love the analogy. #A2Zchallenge blogger” April 7, 2015 at 2:39am

Comment Submitted via email by Toni Popp: “Congratulations on finishing the race Liz, especially in windy weather! I am cheering your accomplishments! …Hats off to your determination and endurance to finish against a first time challenge –forceful wind! It’s hard to run in the wind! and you did it!” April 7, 2015 at 9:47am

April 3rd  C’ is for Clear Communication, Show You Care & Be Confident!

When I was a Dean, every 6 weeks we’d have New Student Orientation. I’d speak with the new students and their parents about the 3 C’s: communicate, care and be confident to be a success. These strategies are effective no matter what your role or workplace.

Clear Communication: Many problems, misunderstandings and hurt feelings can be avoided by communicating. Meet people where they are by using the form of communication they are most comfortable with & use most frequently. It may be emailing, picking up the phone, sending a text, a face-to-face talk, a video chat, or tweeting. Whatever it is make sure you are clear with your message. Include in your closing something like, ‘let me know if there are any questions’ so they realize you are open to providing clarification (two-way communication) and strengthening the relationship.

If it’s your supervisor ask him or her the best mode of communication, if it’s your team then discuss the best mode of communication and agree on it. I try to over communicate. Also, I read emails aloud before sending them to make sure it shares my intended message.

Show You Care: For this aspect you need to be authentic & hopefully that means being nice. You don’t need a close relationship with someone you work with to show common courtesy. Say ‘Good morning’ ‘How are you?’ ‘Cheer-up, it’s almost the weekend!’ These are common courtesies shown to strangers that really can make someone’s day.

When you consistently show you care to others that can be the foundation for a work friendship. At minimum it paves the way for a nicer place to work where people get along and show they respect & care for each other. If you truly dislike everyone you work with and can’t muster the words “How are you?” “Have a great night!” then it’s probably time to find another job; don’t stay somewhere you are miserable it doesn’t do anyone any good, least of all you!

Be Confident: Exuding confidence should be easy if you are in a job you do well. As you know there is a fine line between confidence and arrogance – keep the bragging about all your talents, wins & ‘best of’ moments between you and your significant other. Confidence is a belief in yourself no matter what environment you are in. It’s the ability to ask someone a ‘silly’ question because you need to know the answer in order to improve.

Try to incorporate the 3 C’s in your work-life one-by-one. My guess is you’ll feel better about your job and the people you work with and will therefore be more successful. Let me know if there’s another C to add to the list.

I’ll be back tomorrow with another career tip. Have a great Friday! Your Career Coach, Liz

April 2nd ‘B’

Boost Your Productivity with a 10-Minute Break 

I have several magazine subscriptions that focus on lifestyle and health. One I enjoy the most is Shape. This morning, I found a little snip-it in the March 2015 issue I’d like to share.

Author & productivity coach, Carson Tate suggests that better productivity results from spending 50 minutes doing something that stretches/engages your mind followed by 10 minutes of mental ‘play time’.

This morning I put a 10-minute break schedule into practice and I felt more productive. Thinking about my short break activity (reading a new magazine) I felt more engaged with my work task and hopefully I was more productive.

Now, don’t get so type-A about planning these 10-minute breaks that you stress-out about what task to pencil in to maximize your productivity. It would seem the point of planning a 10-minute break after a 50-minute activity is to provide your mind time to recharge before you go back to another engaging task.

Take a 10-minute break today or tomorrow and see if you have better productivity throughout your day. I’ve recycled the March issue and will start the April issue on my next 10-minute break! Now, I’m off to the next 50-minute activity!

I’ll be back tomorrow with another Career Tip. Your Career Coach, Liz

Comment Submitted via email from Clay: “Taking a short break is ALWAYS a good idea – it’s needed to recharge and maybe even come up with a shortcut that will save time and allow you to come up with the same result.” April 2, 2015 at 2:48pm

Comment Submitted via email from B.J.: “For my break time I go to the gym. When I return I have much more energy to tackle jobs that are not my favorite.” April 2, 2015 at 3:23pm

Comment Submitted via email from Sunita (http://www.engineeryourlife.ca): “I lay on the couch for a power nap. I wake up to find the kids have covered me which is so sweet. I feel recharged and energized with that tiny bit of sleep.” April 2, 2015 at 3:56pm

Comment Submitted via email from Tony: “Thanks for the tip, Liz! I usually have a couple hour (rush-hour) commute at the end of the day; while I don’t have time to work on my physical well-being, the time in the car allows me time to recharge by listening to music…disco works best! 🙂 ” April 2, 2015 at 8:11pm

Let me know what you think in the form below!

One thought on “A-Z Challenge – Career Tips

  1. I found this Challenge ‘late’ so I’m starting with a “B” post later today. I hope you come back and check-in over the course of this month. As always, I’m excited to have you on this journey and I look forward to your comments, suggestions and input.

    Let’s be more connected! Your Career Coach, Liz


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