Saturday, 29 August 2015

HOW TO MAKE A KILLER PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN (THAT WILL TAKE YOU EXACTLY WHERE YOU WANT TO BE) - FREE WORKSHEE

How to make a killer personal development plan - Free Personal Development Plan worksheet from www.will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk Will Work For Coffee Blog


Where would you like to be in 5 or 10 years? Do you have a plan?

This post is for anyone that would like to stop daydreaming about how they will push their career forward, get fit and get that certification they need and start planning how they will make things actually happen. Don't worry – it's easier than you think, you just need a Personal Development Plan.

What is that thing? PDP is a super handy tool for setting your goals, listing step by step how you can make it real and helping you to keep track of everything. It works for both long and short term goals, so you can put some easy things along with the big, hard-to-achieve ones (and having a mix of those will make you more motivated, as you cross off everything that you already completed every now and then).

What you need is one simple worksheet, tea and 30 - 40 minutes to complete it:

Free Personal Development Plan worksheet from www.will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk

Start from the beginning. What would you like your life to be in a year? What kind of job would you like? How would you like to feel? What kind of changes would you like to make? When you have a somewhat clear vision of where would you like your life to go, try and think about what needs to be done to make it happen and strip it down to specific goals.

Do you need to find a new job, get some new qualification or start a freelance project? What is it that you would like to achieve?

Always write down why is it that you want to do something – if you have a reason and you remind yourself of it from time to time, your motivation will last way longer.

Also, set a clear deadline on finishing every single one of your goals. It's only for you and you should use it for reference – will you manage to complete everything in time?

Everything that you want to do can be broken into smaller pieces. So you want to change a job? You have to prepare a CV, find a job that you like, send out applications, interview. You would like to get a yoga instructor certificate? You need to find a course that will give you qualifications, attend, pass the exam. Put everything into tiny, achievable pieces that you can cross off as you complete them - easy as that!

You always need to know what exactly is it that you want. Do you just want to move to a different city, or do you want to find a new studio flat on a specific street? What outcome is good enough to be considered a success for you?

If there are any things that you need to make sure to send/check/hand in before a certain date – put them on the list whenever you find out about them (with a date when you will do it next to whatever it may be). This is simply to make sure that you are on top of everything.

If there are some things that are not so clear in your head (yet...) write them down in the four squares at the bottom. This space is for ideas that will develop as you go. Remember that your Personal Development Plan will change with time and will need to be updated – maybe things from the bottom part will reach the top? Maybe they are just your next goals that are slowly growing on you?

You can find a full .pdf version of this Personal Development Plan worksheet on Tiny Upload my SlideShare.

Have fun!

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

OFFICE SURVIVAL ACADEMY: HOW TO GET BACK TO THE OFFICE AND GET THINGS UNDER CONTROL AFTER TAKING SOME TIME OFF

It's that time of the year again! Getting your days off (and I do hope that you do – not using your vacation days is like telling your manager that you are paid way too much and would love some surprise unpaid overtime), so you finally can sleep in, read that book sitting on your table for ages and go to the wilderness/beach/most amazing city in the world for two care-free, adventure-heavy weeks.

But, as awesome as all that is, you have to come back to the office at some point. Awwww... Do I really have to? I know that pain, so let me make it a bit easier for you with some tips I gathered and tested out for you:

Before leaving

1. LEAVE ALL YOUR PROJECTS FINISHED, EMAILS READ AND REPORTS HANDED IN AND YOUR OUT OF OFFICE MESSAGE ON

Work like crazy if you have to, but don't leave any unfinished business that will blow up in your face when you come back from your perfect vacation. It's easier to tune in when you have new projects coming in just in time when you are back in the office. Any overdue work will just make you feel tired, overwhelmed and stressed and that is just not a good start for anyone.

2. DELEGATE

Try and find someone that can fill in for you in case of emergency. Be nice and don't leave them with any actual work that needs a lot of time and resources on a daily basis (because that is just mean, they will probably not do it anyway and you can get in trouble for trying to be sneaky), but prepare and send them an email listing things that you worked on and when to find all the information on those if needed. Leaving your email and computer password with your manager is also a great idea (and it will save you calls and texts if anyone needs urgent access to your laptop).

3.MAKE A TO-DO LIST (AND EMAIL IT TO YOURSELF)

If there is anything that you can't possibly complete before you leave, make a list of everything that you need to do when you get back (with details such as who you should email/call, adresses where you need to send things, websites that you need to update). Don't pretend that you will remember everything (because let's face it, there is no way that you will or even will want to). With that list you will have a head start and you will be able to make sure that everything goes as planned – stress free.

4. CLEAN YOUR DESK

It's just nicer to come back to an uncluttered, fresh space rather than to a chaotic mess. You will probably forget where you left that super important post-it with the phone number of that guy that was meant to do the thing, so make sure that you organize everything on and in your desk before you leave and that you get rid of everything you don' need anymore. For the sake of your future self.

While on vacation

5. SEND A POSTCARD TO THE OFFICE (AND LEAVE YOUR PHONE OFF, DON'T CHECK EMAILS AND TEXTS EVERY 5 SECONDS)

Why send a postcard? Because it's a nice thing to do, it brings a five minute chill to the office and it gets people a conversation point when you get back. You will have an easier time to relax at work if you still have memories of everything great that just happened to you at the back of your head and a postcard to prove it on the wall. Also, seriously, it's called vacation for a reason - leave your phone off or on mute. Lives are not at stake here and your boss can live without that report for the next few days.

When you get back to the office

6. LEAVE YOUR OUT OF OFFICE MESSAGE ON IN THE MORNING

Everyone knows that you are in, but leaving your out of office tune out there for a little bit you will get some breathing space and you will be able to deal with the most pressing things. Use the extra time to go through your emails. Do it first thing in the morning, so you catch up on everything that happened when you were off. If you sort the emails by person, you will have an option to read all of the messages and you won't respond to something that was resolved a couple of days ago. With every email that you read do one of 4 things straight away: delete, do nothing, respond immediately, flag so you can do it later (do not overuse this option, it's only for big things that will really take more than 20 – 30 minutes of your time). You will feel much better with an empty inbox, knowing what is going on around you.

7. LEAVE THE OFFICE ON TIME

As tempting as it may seem, staying late on your first day back will probably crush your holiday vibe and make you feel drained. Leave on time even if that means completing your work tomorrow. Give yourself some credit and relax. You just came back after a long absence and it is perfectly normal that you have a lot of things to do.

8. BOOK YOUR NEXT HOLIDAY AND ARRANGE SOME SIMPLE PLEASURES

Give in and book your next time off. Why? Because it will make you feel better, you will have something to look forward to and it will give you a boost of motivation during your first week back. Get your favorite tea and cookies and stash them in your desk, go to the cinema, find some way to enjoy your time back!

Have fun and remember - you can do it!

Friday, 21 August 2015

WHY DO YOU WORK WHERE YOU WORK?

Have you ever thought about that? I don't mean why do you work in general – that's easy, everyone works either for money, cause or pleasure (yes, there are people like that, they just scored amazing jobs that they absolutely love, lucky bastards).

What I really want to know is: Why did you end up in this particular company on this very position? Not how (that is also easy, you applied or was headhunted and you had a super successful job interview, congrats by the way), but why.

Did you accept this job because you liked what the recruiter told you about the company, because the salary and benefits were great, because that was the only offer you had at a time? 

During my career coaching years, I asked those questions hundreds of times to different people from mix of industries. Most of them ended up in the job because they wanted to get more money, a promotion or a new title. Also, most of them still worked their jobs after long years because it was easy.

Waking up, getting dressed, driving to work routine is comfy, it is safe. Every day flows in a similar way and then you get to go home and get paid by the end of the month. Simple bliss.

If you had a chance to work anywhere else – would you go for it? 

Not just anywhere else. In a place that would challenge you. Make you learn new things. Where you would be respected for the work that you put in the company. Demanding, exciting, scary as hell place.

Don't get me wrong though - having a nice 9 to 5 job can be amazing at times...but do you wake up, get dressed and go to work because you REALLY, REALLY WANT TO? Because if that is not the case, I can tell you right now, that sooner or later you will wake up with a pressing need of a change in your life.

But on the other hand – if you know exactly why do you work somewhere, love it, enjoy your days at the office – that is amazing! Keep it up! And tell me how did you find that job and what makes it special for you. Those stories are the best ones and you should share the magic. Maybe someone else will be able to do get a deep breath, summon some courage and get into career that is good not only because it's easy, but because it rocks!

Do you know exactly why do you work for your company? What is amazing about it? What makes you happy when you are in the office? Share and tell me in the comments!

And by the way, I decided to go more social, so you can follow my blog on Bloglovin

Have fun!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

YOU ARE SKILLED (AND DON'T LET ANYONE TELL YOU ANYTHIG DIFFERENT) - FREE WORKSHEET!

What are you good at? What kind of things can you do?

If I asked you that now – would you know what to answer? Go! Tell me 3 things that you are great at! Don't think that I expect a certain answer, don't try to make it complicated, just tell me what kind of things can you do (because you do them every day at work or because it's your hobby). Could you do the same with 10 things or more?

Now...Could you tell me how did you learn how to do those things? When was the last time that you really used those skills?

If you have any problems with the exercise above, take a look at this worksheet that I prepared for you:


Find Your Skills - free worksheet from www.will-work-for-coffee.blogspot.co.uk Super handy for self development and job hunting.

This table is for everyone that:

1. Would like to get a better idea on what kind of practical skills they have.

2. Has a job interview soon.

It is designed to give you something to think about (What kind of situations show different skills that I have? What else can I do that I don't really notice every day?) and to give you a head start at any job interview that will focus on your previous experiences (What did I do before that required me to be organized?).

You can either print the table as it is on the blog, or download the .pdf version from Tiny Upload or my SlideShare.

Have fun!

Saturday, 15 August 2015

QUESTION THAT RECRUITERS SHOULD NEVE ASK (BECAUSE IT SHOWS THAT THEY DON'T REALLY CARE)

There is this one interview question that I really hate. It's pointless, it's weird and it makes people lie (or worse – tell complete nonsense to a recruiter). Do you know which question is it?

Yes, spot on, this question is: What is your greatest weakness?

I could never quite understand why asking about your weaknesses during a job interview got so popular in the first place. You can't be honest (because if you say that you are lazy no one is going to hire you), you can't be too creative (because anything that actually is a bit odd or plain weird will make recruiter reconsider your candidature), you can't say what you really think (because not being able to swim is not even a tiny bit relevant to the job that you want).

You can of course go and read about all the different 'strategies' for this question – there is plenty of posts on how you should tell a great story about your 'secret weak spot' and how you are working super hard to improve. Great strategy (and I am all for change, development and getting better)...but imagine this:

You are a manager of a small IT company. Recently you got some new clients and you need to hire 2 people to keep up with all the new orders. Your recruiter gives you 5 resumes to go through. All great applicants, top universities, great experience. How do you choose who to hire?

You hire the BEST ONES. Always. The best skills, best team fit - that's it.

You don't go around asking 'What do you really, really suck at?'.

You do the exact opposite!

Have you ever heard of anyone absolutely amazing that didn't get the job because his weakness wasn't 'weak' enough? Because I can give you hundreds of stories about people that were great, skilled, experienced and got the jobs that they deserved because they talked about all the things that they excel at.

When I was a recruiter, I always asked people about what they like doing or what they enjoy most at their job – I got so many great stories in return. People were really happy and surprised that someone is actually interested in them, not their interview skills. They often told me why they chose a particular career, what are they really into, what they would like to learn. Isn't those kind of things a recruiter should be interested in in the first place?

Next time you go to a job interview talk about your talents. If anyone asks you about your weakness tell them, that there are many things you can't do. This is natural for every person. No one is perfect, no matter how hard they try - it's just impossible. You are aware of your flaws, but you decided to focus on your talents - that's why you are great at what you do and you will be even better with time.

Don't lie or tell anyone that you are 'too organized', 'overly critical of your work', 'a workaholic' or worse - that you don't have any weaknesses. Everyone knows that this is not your true answer. Be honest about what you can bring to the company and if you are talking with a no-nonsense recruiter (and this is the best type there is) it will be greatly appreciated.

Have fun!

Thursday, 13 August 2015

YOUR BASIC CV CHECKLIST THAT YOU HAVE TO GO THROUGH NO MATTER WHAT - FREE WORKSHEET

Last month I wrote about fixing your CV and making it more noticeable for recruiters. If you went through the whole article, you probably have quite a good idea what to do/rewrite next time you have some time to take care of your resume. If not (or if you would prefer to have a more condensed version of my post somewhere handy), maybe you will be happy that I made this simple, printable CV worksheet:

Free worksheet - use it to fix your CV before sending out your CV and applying for jobs.

You can find a full .pdf version on my SlideShare and LinkedIn

Download this list, print it out, sit down with your CV for 20 - 30 minutes and go through the whole worksheet – make sure that you have all the information that you need, delete the things that you shouldn't have and fix all typos. After that your resume will be ready to be sent out!

Have fun!

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

WHAT DO YOU ABSOLUTELY NEED TO KNOW THAT ONLY YOUR EMPLOYEES CAN TELL YOU? OR HOW TO HELP YOUR COMPANY IN 3 EASY QUESTIONS

Every business has 2 parts: the 'official' one that the top people (owner, directors, stakeholders) experience and the 'secret' (common) part that only regular employees know about.

Top people don't call prospects and clients, they don't deal with office issues, they don't decide on new hires and interns. From what I saw during my career, they have a little bit detached and blurry vision of what exactly is going on in their own company. Because, of course, they deal with the big stuff, important things, everything that needs to be done – and that is great. That is amazing.

But if you are one of those bosses, you should remember to sometimes ask your employees a few things:

1. HOW ARE YOU?

This one is the easiest question to ask, and it is incredibly hard to get an honest answer to it. Maybe it is only a London thing, but people here tend to mumble an automatic “Yeah, good, yea, how 'bout you?' as they walk away.

What you really want to achieve with this questions is to show that you have a genuine interest in someone's life (and yes, if you are not really interested, it probably won't work that well for you). 

Your employees spend majority of their time outside work, but do you know anything about that part of their lives? Where do they live? What kind of movies are they into? The talk about engagement at work is big right now, but don't only talk about it - make it happen! Make your employees feel relaxed and welcome. In fact, go and talk to them right now! (And then come back to this post, because there is more where this came from.)

2. WHAT ANNOYS YOU?

You are looking at the most important question of them all (that no one ever asks). 

The alternative version of this question could go like this: If this was your company, what would you change first? Because let's face it, if it were you, you would start changes from the small things that you really hate and that you have to deal with every day. Every person working for you can see the good and the bad going on around them. The bad things may be huge (and it's your job to go and fix them) or tiny (it's also your job to fix those, but you will probably never find out that they are there in the first place) and the sooner you get rid of them, the better for everyone.

If people in your company have dedicated tasks and deal with their own thing every day, they will probably be the only one cursing about those small, annoying things that never work like they were supposed to. This may be a process that isn't yet optimized, online form that crashes when you submit it, printer that jams most of the time. Making sure that you ask about those inconveniences can save you a lot of time, money and stress in the future (when eventually the company gets bigger and the problem grows with it and potentially explodes in your face).

3. DO YOU HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED?

In other words: am I giving you enough resources to do your best? I know that you need to think about your budget and need to save some money this quarter...but even the best programmer will not do much with an old calculator. Ask around and see if you are saving on the right things, or if your budgeting keeps people working slower and forcing them to be less efficient. Sometimes extra things (even the small ones) can make a huge difference.

(And yes, this goes for things like courses, accreditation and conferences too! Be proactive and ask your people if there is anything that they would like to learn. They will definitely appreciate it.)

Ok, now you have 3 great questions to ask your employees. Go and try it now (and I will bring you some more when you finish with those)!

Have fun!

Monday, 10 August 2015

7 TIPS ON HOW TO ACE THAT PHONE INTERVIEW

I have a phone interview...what now?

First of all - great job! This is amazing news!

How can you make sure that everything goes as you want it to go? The short answer is: You can't. The long one? You can make sure that you limit all the things that can potentially go wrong and know exactly what you want to say, what you want to ask about and what kind of impression do you want to make. Then, you basically keep your fingers crossed and try your best to sound like a capable and amazing person that you are.

Now, the things that you can control during your phone interview are:

1. WHEN YOU TAKE THE CALL

This one is really important, so please try to remember about it. You don't want to talk to a recruiter right after you wake up (because sounding sleepy and a bit spaced out is just not good) and you don't want to do that when you are tired (because you will sound either bored or angry and you will definitely not focus on the call that well). When scheduling your phone interview be mindful of which time of the day you are free, relaxed and generally in good shape. 

2. WHERE YOU TAKE THE CALL

Again, this one is important and really basic. You need to make sure that when you will take the call you will be in a quiet place, uninterrupted and not bothered by anyone. If you can do this at home – great. If you can't... You can risk taking this call at a meeting room at work, but I would strongly advise against it. It's just not good this way (and you definitely don't want to use your company's phone or be caught by your boss talking to a recruiter). Try and go to the park, maybe a quiet cafe if you know one. You can also try and take this call in your car if possible. In any case – relax and think for a while before you choose the right place.

3. IF YOU WILL HAVE TABLET/LAPTOP/YOUR CV/ JOB SPEC/ NOTES WITH YOU

Since the recruiter won't see you, you can have as many open documents or websites as you like. This is a great thing, but do not go crazy with it. It's a good thing to have your CV prepared (with notes about specific things that you may want to talk about), the job spec (because you will be able to link your experience with requirements that the company wants you to meet) and some notes (if you did your homework and researched the company, you should have some key points on a separate piece of paper – same goes for some of the most common interview questions that you shold prepare for beforehand).

4. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO ATTEND THE FACE TO FACE INTERVIEW

You should prepare some dates and times for when you are free to attend the face to face interview. Why? Because if everything goes well (and I am keeping my fingers crossed for you) it really makes a good impression if the candidate knows his/hers schedule. It's way better than hearing the candidate panic and frantically go through their calendar.

5. YOUR HOMEWORK - WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT THE COMPANY/POSITION YOU APPLIED FOR/MOST COMMON JOB INTERVIEW QUESTIONS

This one is simple – the better you prepare, the bigger chances you have to get the job. You should roughly know what do you want to say, how you will respond to questions about your skills and background, what the company does and what the role they contacted you about is. This research will help you relax and feel comfortable during the call. You are prepared - you got this!

6. QUESTIONS THAT YOU WANT TO ASK

The recruiter will always ask if you have any questions, so be sure to prepare a list of 2 – 3 things that you would like to know. Whether this is about a team that you will work with, type of contract or when the final list of candidates will be drafted. What are you curious about?

7. YOUR VOICE

Relax, stay calm, don't giggle, don't pause for more than 10 seconds or repeat random words. This may be a little bit stressful (as every interview can be), but to be honest – this is just a more formal phone conversation. You will be asked questions, give some answers and get to ask questions of your own – simple and easy.

Things that you can't control: …there are many and you can't really do much about them, so – go prepare for your phone interview and stop worrying!

You can do this!

And remember to tell me how your interview went!

Have fun!