An Open Letter to College Graduates - 8 Things You Must Know

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Congratulations, after four years of hard work, hard partying and a slew of life lessons, you now have a fancy, crisp, very expensive piece of paper! Sh!t is about to get real my friends. You are either still dazed and confused from all the graduation parties or you are starting to panic because this thing called “adulting” is right around the corner and it is merciless. The good news is you have tons of people in your life that have been where you are and they have all the guidance in the world if you are just willing to listen. So don’t be a know it all and listen to your elders who are willing to offer you free advice!

Here are some simple yet, not so obvious morsels of advice we would like to share with you:

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  1. You don’t know what you don’t know. If you go into every situation with an open mind, a longing to learn, and gratefulness for new exposure and perspective, you are winning at life. You musn’t close doors that haven’t been opened out of fear or ignorance. You can always disagree or choose not to take a certain path, but do yourself a favor and ditch the narrow mind. As a new grad you should be a sponge, soaking up all the knowledge you can from the people around you.

  2. Self-awareness is your best friend. Figure out who you are and own it. Knowing who you are will not only help you land the job you want, but it will also help you in your personal life. Ask yourself, what are your personal core values? Know what you are great at and know what you suck at (this is modern day terminology for strengths and weaknesses). Always be true to yourself and your values, it will determine what situations you end up in and how you walk through life, the sooner you figure this out, the easier the ride will be.  

  3. Be deliberate about your career search. This is the part of “adulting” where there are no excuses. You cannot just spray the internet with your resume and hope something sticks. Do yourself a favor, write down all the companies you want to work for and why. Write down all the companies you do not want to work for and identify what it is about those companies that are non-starters for you. Go back to your dream company list and get to work. Track down friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and friends of your parents who work at these organizations and ask for an introduction to HR or a hiring manager. You should have a clear path mapped out, do your research and it will pay off.

  4. This interview game has changed. You did your research and landed an interview with one of your dream companies, now what? Remember that interviewing is a two way street. You are interviewing the company just as much as they are interviewing you. It is your job to turn the interview into a conversation and ask really well thought out questions to the interviewer. Come to the interview ready to ask questions that will give you a glimpse into the company culture so you can make an informed decision about whether this company is a perfect fit for you. Consider adding these questions to your arsenal:

    1. What do you love about this organization and what would you change?
    2. What are the short and long term visions for this organization? What does it look like in five years, 90 or 120 days?
    3. Tell me about the culture here. Describe “a day in the life” here.
    4. What do you do to help your team members grow professionally? 
  5. Clean up your social media. College is over and it’s time to grow both personally and professionally, that also means being very careful about what you are putting out into the world via social media. It’s true what they say, once it’s on the internet it can always be found. Do you want your future employer to know that you were the beer bong champion of your dorm sophomore year? Probably not. If you choose not to clean up your social media, at least lock it down (check those privacy settings) so that future employers can only see what you want them to see. Use your social media to your advantage in your job search, follow the companies you admire, share relevant articles, join LinkedIn, search for jobs on Twitter.

  6. Work harder than everyone else.  Be proud of the work you do. Give 110% every day. Wake up everyday and write down your goals for the day. Put together a plan that is ever changing, but lays out how you will proceed to kick so much ass that your peers cannot keep up. Hard work and perseverance pay off, so start this habit early.

  7. Choose your friends wisely. It is true. You will end up like the five people you hang around with most. As you grow in your career, try to find a circle of friends that share the same morals, and values as you. Try to surround yourself with people who you are constantly proud of and who keep you on your toes. There will be a time when you need to ditch the negative people who just want to get by in life. We know, it sucks to hear but there are a lot of folks who just won’t make it to the next chapter of your life, and that’s okay. Remember you can always make more money, keep your values and morals in check, always.

  8. Find a mentor. Believe it or not, there are so many people out there that want to help you. Finding these folks is not hard. Look at who the thought leaders are in your industry. Reach out to them and ask them if you can buy them a coffee or a beer. Let them know you are looking for a mentor and more times than not, people will respond positively. Always give back and make sure you understand the value of other people’s time.
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Remember that fancy paper you got at graduation is not a ticket to a new job, it is a platform you will stand on to showcase yourself to a company.

You’re welcome and good luck!

It’s Time For Spring Cleaning – Not Just For Your Closet, But For Your Job Too

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It’s officially Spring and there is a fresh breeze bringing in optimism and new beginnings with a plethora of pollen.

For many of us, this is the time of year when we shake off the winter fluff and clean house for a fresh start to the season. As you bust out the Swiffer and start filling up those Goodwill boxes, also take a minute to consider where you are professionally.

Does your career need a little clean up? All things need dusting now and then, so here are five questions to ask yourself about your current job that will help gage the honey-do list.

Am I growing professionally?

Take stock of the past six months – can you tee up three things you’ve learned? Three things you’ve accomplished? Is there opportunity on the horizon for a challenge or a step up in the months ahead? Do a gut check on whether you feel there is traction in your current role.

Am I valued?

R-E-S-P-E-C-T! Do you feel your boss and colleagues respect you and what you bring to the table? When you have an idea, is it heard? Better yet, is it executed? Self-worth and perceived value are big deals when it comes to your professional mental health and motivation.

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Am I getting paid what I’m worth?

We’re talking about that money, honey! Have you gone online (Salary.com, Payscale.com, LinkedIn Salary, etc...) and done a cursory check on your market value for your role and location? If you’re under the mark, now may be a good time to put together a game plan on how to bump up your market value, whether it be asking for a raise or making a move.

Is my life balanced?

We’re going to dive a little deep here. Are you happy? Do you feel like you are working to live or living to work? We’re all for hard hustle, but self-care and living your best life should be priorities too. At the end of the day, if you’re feeling like your current job has no boundaries or isn’t leaving you better than it found you...life is too short.

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Whether it’s just dusting the cobwebs off your resume for good measure or gearing up for a career move, OneinaMil is in your corner. If asking yourself these questions gave you pause on your current job, let’s talk!

The OIAM Culture Quiz: Is your organization the best it could be?

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Company culture. This big buzz word seems to be looming over just about any conversation about recruiting talent and building a solid workforce. Do you know where you stand when it comes to culture? Take our quiz below to find out.

The search is on! How do you best describe your recruiting process?

A. Post description to job board. Get a million and five resumes. Match keywords. Weed out anyone without a cover letter. Interview three candidates. Pick candidate with most relevant experience. Done and done.

B. We have a sense of the gaps we need filled, but I’m looking for a person more so than a role. We start with referrals from our team – work from the outside in before starting to have conversations with prospective hires. I’m really looking for personality fit and growth potential.

C. Throw out some feelers and give first-responders a shot. I’m not entirely sure how half the team ended up here... Besides, the nature of our work weeds out the bad fits early on.

You’re hired! How do you best describe onboarding a new team member?

A. Welcome. Clock in at 9AM. After we cross T’s and dot I’s with paperwork, HR will escort you to your cube. Online training will take up the rest of day one. If time permits, you may even be able to pick out your very own stapler and motivational quote poster from the supply closet.

B. You’re here and we’re thrilled! On your first day, we have a signature onboarding process that knocks out the HR essentials and gets you set up with the software/hardware you need for your new role. As you’re getting settled in, your new teammates are swinging by to say hello – all of whom know your first name already. While a colleague is giving you the grand tour, your manager has slipped a hand-written note in your chair welcoming you to the team.

C. Did they even know I was coming? Dive on in, the water is warm! We hope you had your Wheaties this morning because it’s sink or swim in these waters. If HR remembers to ask you for your W-9, cool. Otherwise, good luck!

Moving on. Well, it’s so long for now and off to the next thing. How do you best describe off-boarding a team member?

A. Clock out at 5PM. There’s cake in the break room. If you’ve been here for 5 years, you get to keep your stapler.

B. We wish you the best, but there are no surprises here. We’ve already had you transitioning your role to your replacement. After a couple thorough exit interviews with your leadership team, we know exactly why you’re stepping away and are doing our best to part amicably. If there is an opportunity for improvement on our end, it’s been noted!

C. What’s his face didn’t show up for work this morning? Bummer. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

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Celebrate! There’s a win for the books and you’re giving your employee a clap on the back by:

A. $25 gift card to Starbucks and a half-day on Friday.

B. YAS! The CEO has sent an email to the entire company about the big win with a message of gratitude for all the hard work and contributions that made the magic happen. Later you all will celebrate by popping some bubbly and doing a toast with the team.

C. Kudos. Now there are a million and twelve other things to do, so eye on the prize!

He said, she said. How best describes how your team would receive a significant company-wide announcement?

A. Memos work. Likely an email “from the Founder” drafted by the Executive Assistant depending on level of importance. That covers it.

B. The first round of communication would be an email with a video message embedded from the CEO that clearly communicates the change, who all would be directly affected and any instructions for moving forward – combination of digital efficiency with Facetime. A day or two later, there would be another round of communication from team leads reiterating the message and addressing any questions. We may even go for round three to make sure everyone is in the know.

C. Spontaneity is fun. Most of our employees figure stuff out chatting around the water cooler after their morning cry into their coffee cups.

On a scale of one to 10, you would rate yourself where when it comes to employee flexibility?

A. One to three is forgiving. We clock in and out with an hour for lunch – preferably taken at noon. We are big on black and white structure and insist on desktops so our employees don’t stray.

B. We hover between 5 to 7. Although we do have processes and structure for the sake of sanity and making sure our team knows what’s expected, we aren’t big on rigid. As long as the job gets done on time, you are welcome to take your laptop and post in the park for all I care.

C. Zero fudges given, so that makes us a 10. Structure is for the birds and ain’t nobody got time for keeping tabs on you.

 

The Traditionalist (Mostly A)

You’ve been doing the same things the same way since you can remember. You find comfort in structure and predictability. For the most part, you don’t see harm in “we’ve always done it this way” because that has worked just fine for you thus far. Sure, you don’t have a ping pong table in the break room, but your team knows exactly where you stand and what to expect when it comes to getting the job done. How do people know how to plan their workday if everyone isn’t on the clock from 9-5? Preposterous! When it comes to finding new talent, you are all about that skill-match, man. We’re not here to bond - we are here to work.

This is all well and good, but heed our cautionary words that times are changing and clinging to old-school culture may not attract the fresh blood and new talent you crave from the Millennial and Gen Z workforce. These up-and-coming workforces of nature crave significance and independence – they will be inspired by contributing to a greater movement and will want to be acknowledged for personal contributions to the cause.

The Established (Mostly B)

Although you appreciate efficient process and communication, you are comfortable with doing things YOUR own way. You take pride in having a distinct company identity and personality. You like looking around the room and knowing exactly why each of your team members is involved and how they are inspired by your vision. As long as the work is getting done on time to your standards, how it gets done is inconsequential. When it comes finding new talent, you look for personality fit first knowing that skills can be cultivated.

Well played, friend. You have an established company culture that, because it is distinct and aligns with your mission, will attract the right talent to build your team. You are doing the balancing act between personality and structure but seem to have found the sweet spot. Much like keeping a garden, the trick here is to keep tending to your flowers while plucking those weeds.

Winging It (Mostly C)

Lord of the Flies makes you look tame. You’ve got way too much sh*t going on to worry about process or structure. It’s all about that money, honey, and if you can’t dive in and figure it out then it’s time to thin the herd. An hour for lunch? I’ve been living off power bars and caffeine drips for weeks. Email? If I need info from you, I’ll lob my stress ball at your face until you answer. When it comes to finding new talent, you throw newbies in the deep end and see if they swim. Only the strong or senseless survive and you dig it.

Gear down big truck. All this chest-thumping sounds great in theory, but you’re building your house on sand. Although you’re going a mile a minute, you’re losing resources on high turnover and ineffective operations, which are probably adding up to lost revenue. As for fresh talent, this kind of culture tends to attract those who are desperate or never have a prayer of being team players – not your all-stars who are looking to build a career. This approach may get the job done today, but will have you crashing tomorrow. Big business is a marathon, not a sprint after all.

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Not loving where you landed on the culture quiz, or want to talk more about how to stay in that sweet spot? Let’s chat! We are big on cultivating culture here at OneinaMil and are at the ready to help you craft a company culture that makes your team sing and attracts all-star talent.