5 Books Every Young Professional Should Read

5 Books Every Young Professional Should Read

No matter what industry you’re interested in, no matter where you’re looking for work, having a solid knowledge of business and of yourself is an essential quality that employers are looking for. They want to see that you have an understanding of how business works and how you can impact that business. 


A great way to learn is from reading. We’ve put together a list of 5 book we believe every young professional should read. There are lots of books out there that deal with specific industries and personal growth. Don’t feel like this list is the be all and end all. Find a book that resonates with you and changes your outlook. Most importantly, keep reading!

by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Economics might not be for everyone, but finding out the relationships between different things, and exploring how those relationships affect one another is key for understanding how your job, business and industry work. Freackonomics takes a subject many find boring and makes it interesting and engaging. 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
by Stephen R. Covey

To find out how to be the most effective person you can be, pick up this book like so many others have. Constantly referred to, 7 Habits is still seen as one of the best books about making the most of your life. Being an effective person leads to becoming an effective leader. Being an effective leader is essential to your growth as an individual and as a professional.

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Who here is a big fan of change? Probably not too many of you. Most of us aren’t big fans of change because it brings the unknown. We can’t see what is on the other side of change and that can be scary. Who Moved My Cheese deals with this issue head on through the telling of a simple tale. It is a powerful tale about preparing and managing for the future in simple terms.

Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

For many in business, Malcolm Gladwell is a household name. He has written a number of brilliantly researched books looking at topics ranging from how we think to why there are so many pasta sauces. In Outliers, he takes a look at what has led to those who have excelled. From Bill Gates to the Beatles, Gladwell shines a light on what made some of the greatest minds so successful.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Stephen Johnson

Where do creative people get their ideas? How do they find them? Some may think creativity is something you have or you don’t, but it’s not that cut and dry. Innovation is an essential part of business and being able to find those ideas is as important as implementing them. This book gets you there. It’s so good, Bill Gates recommends it!


You always want to be learning, and these 5 books are just a start. Find some time in your day to get a little reading done, and you’ll be well on your way to finding career success. 


Need Some Help Decoding The Hiring Process?

Need Some Help Decoding The Hiring Process?

When it comes to getting hired, the whole process can feel like a bit of a mystery. How, in fact, do you stand out from the crowd in that pile of resumes? Why does one person get noticed over any other person? And then if you do end up getting an interview, what about that process leads a hiring director to choose one person over another?

You’re not the only one who is confused. Most jobs get about 250 resumes per application, and hiring directors typically whittle that down to about six candidates. Once they do that, then it comes to in-person time and that’s really where you can find some tips to lead you to success in your next interview. For example, can you and do you make eye contact? Then that’s an automatic positive in the eyes of the person doing the hiring. What else can you do? This graphic has some ideas.


Prepping For The Second Interview

Prepping For The Second Interview

Congratulations! You aced your first interview! The first hurdle in the process is over. You gave great answers and they like you. Now they want you back for a second interview. Which is great, even if it means you have to go through the process of doing an interview again. It can be stressful, but you’ve gotten this far; you can do it!

The Difference Between the First and Second Interview

You might think the second interview will be similar to the first one, only with another person – a higher up person. However there are significant differences between the two. This isn’t going to be the same questions with someone new, and it’s most likely not going to be the same person–by themselves at least–with a couple extra questions. The second interview is all about getting to know you better. There will most likely be a couple of people interviewing you. Some may just sit and listen, some will ask pointed questions, and others might be your prospective co-workers. Your job for the second interview is to be ready for these questions and to demonstrate you’re serious about the position.

Know the Company and the Position

Before your first interview you hopefully looked into the company you’re applying for. Maybe you knew of them beforehand. Either way, now it’s time to really dig deep. Find out, not just about the company, but where it’s headed. What’s the most recent news about this company? Bring what you’ve learned into the conversation during the interview. Prepare ideas on what you would do in your role to help the company meet its goals.

Prepare for Harder, More Specific Questions

If you thought there were some tough questions in the first interview, get ready for more in the second. You’ve made it to the next phase of the selection process, so instead of seeing if you’re a better fit than most, your prospective employers are seeing what makes you a better fit over a handful of others. The best way to rise to the top is to be quick, concise, and articulate with your answers. According to an article about How To Prep For Second Interviews, from Forbes:

Be brief and concise in all your answers to questions. “Don’t ramble or go too off-topic,” says Annie Shanklin Jones, manager of IBM’s recruiting in the U.S. There’s no stopwatch running, but try to keep each response about two minutes or less.

You know the company, you know your position and you know what you would do if you got the job. Rambling can lead an interviewer to believe you are looking for an answer or are unsure of yourself. Quick, clear answers let interviewers know you are on top of your game.

Prepare Your Own Questions

Your interviewers have some new questions, and you should too! Make sure you aren’t asking the same questions you asked in the first interview. This is a great time to ask more in depth questions. Ask about the company’s goals. What is their five year plan? You can also ask about your position and how they’d like to see the position evolve. This ensures your interviewers know you’re thinking of your future with the company. If you’re not offered the job by the time you’re asking questions, ask what the next steps in the process are.

Final Thought on Preparation

You’ve come this far, so you know they’re interested. Project confidence that you are what they are looking for. Don’t try and change yourself, just be honest about who you are. Feel free to have a little small talk as well. More than likely a couple of the people you’re interviewing with are going to be co-workers, and they want to know that they’ll get along with their new hire. Be prepared, and before you know it, you’ll be at your new job!


The Benefits Of A Work Mentor

The Benefits Of A Work Mentor

When you enter the world of work there can be a lot to take in. From the day-to-day of getting to work and handing different projects, to the large scale elements that make your industry and position unique. Most of us have ambitions beyond our first job. We want to make a difference and one day maybe even lead our own company. A work mentor is what helps you get there.

A Work Mentor

A work mentor is someone, usually within your own company, who connects with you consistently and helps you understand the ins and outs of both the industry and the company. When you walk in the door on your first day of work you have a lot to learn. A work mentor is there to help you through that learning process. Often a work mentor is someone older than you who has been working for longer and has advice to share. They’re someone you can take questions and issues to and feel safe sharing with.

Benefits of a Work Mentor

While the benefits of having someone who gives you advice and answers your questions may seem obvious, there are many more subtle benefits. For the company, not only are you improving the social element of your business, but you are also investing in a new hire who will improve quickly, becoming a bigger asset.

The Wall Street Journal notes “A mentor can help a young worker answer tough questions about his or her career path and get perspective on the industry. The relationship may even help you eventually land a new job. But you’ll need to be careful to pick a mentor whose expertise and attitude are right for you.”

How to Find the Right Work Mentor

If your company has a mentorship program, finding a work mentor will be easy. If it doesn’t, then you’ll have to seek one out. We mentioned earlier that most of time a mentor is someone older, but this doesn’t have to be the case. A mentor can be someone of your own age – who just happens to be a little further along in their career than you are. The advantage of choosing a peer is they’ll likely have a better understanding of your situation.

One thing to look for in a mentor is the skills you want to have. Determine the gaps in your skill set and choose a mentor who can help you fill those gaps.

Work Mentorship

Finding a Work Mentor isn’t always easy, and sometimes it can be downright daunting, but the benefits for you, your mentor and your company can be amazing. Look for opportunities to ask for a mentor, and maybe even be a mentor to your peers.

How Long Should You Stay at Your Job?

How Long Should You Stay at Your Job

How Long Should You Stay at Your Job?

You’re not going to have this job forever.


You’ll get promoted, or you’ll find your fit at a different company. Sometimes you might get let go and have to go on the job hunt. According to About:Careers, the average person will have about 11 job changes over the course of their careers. Changing jobs is as much about professional growth as it is about how much money you make.


Making the choice to change your job, whether out of necessity or desire, is always a stressful and important one. The question that most people ask themselves is, how long should I stay at my job? While the answer is rarely concrete, there are a couple of things to look at when you’re considering a change.

Always be Learning

If you feel that your current position isn’t offering you anything new, it might be time to change things up. Before you start asking for a promotion or looking for work elsewhere, make sure you’ve done all you can to grow your current role. You don’t want to ask for a promotion and have your supervisor tell you they don’t feel you’ve mastered your role.

Hard Numbers

If you’ve gotten as far as you think you can in your current position it’s probably time to move on. How long before you make the move without looking like a job jumper? All situations are different, and so it’s hard to give a set number. Over at Monster, they’ve suggested that the maximum length of time you should stay in one position is four years


Fortune suggests that there are four time limits to keep in mind. Anything less than 8 months is too short. A year and a half is a good minimum length. Fours years they say, is a good sweet spot. Finally, six years is the maximum time you should stay in one position. 

Personal and Profession Growth

In the end, how long you stay in your position has everything to do with you. Do you feel challenged, are you still learning, and are you being paid what you feel you are worth? If you feel you have more to offer, let people know and if you current employer can’t give you a promotion or raise, then maybe it’s time to move on. There is no right or wrong answer to this question.



What’s an Informational Interview?

What's an Informational Interview?

What’s an Informational Interview?

The quick answer: an informational interview is an interview you hold with someone who works in an industry or job that you are interested in. The aim of the informational interview is for you to learn as much as you can from someone who can tell you about the day-to-day of their job. 


The point of an informational interview is not to get a job. It’s to learn if a specific field or job is right for you. It can be a connection you make, and keep, that could help in your job search, but you shouldn’t go in expecting to get an offer out of it.

How to get an Informational Interview

An informational interview can be with anyone. Someone you know personally like a parent, aunt or friend. It all depends on what you’re aiming to learn. If you don’t know anyone personally who works in a place you’re interested in, asking friends if they have connections is another way to find people.


Don’t forget social media. LinkedIn is a great resource for finding people with jobs you’re interested in. Send someone you don’t know on LinkedIn an InMail explaining you’re looking for the opportunity to have an informational interview; you’ll be surprised how many people are willing to chat! Twitter is another platform where you can follow and message with people building up connections. Again, you’ll find it surprising how often people are willing to share perspectives about their work with interested students and job hunters.


One key thing to remember: You are asking a favor of the individual you’re interviewing. Be willing to move your schedule to fit theirs. Offer to do it by phone, or if they work/live near you and suggest meeting in person and be willing to travel to their location.

What to Ask During an Informational Interview

Prepare for an Informational Interview like you would for a real job interview. Research the person’s company and their position. Learn what you can about what they do before you go in. Your interviewee will appreciate the time you put in. Keep the interview professional. Avoid questions about money or salary. Ask them what their day-to-day is like. Ask where their job leads. Ask them what led them to the job they are currently in. 


Again remember that the interviewer is giving you their time. Respect that by keeping the interview short; usually aim for under 20 minutes. If it seems the interviewee is not in a rush, offer to end the interview but feel free to continue if they suggest they aren’t in a hurry.

Once the Interview is Done

Thank them for their time. One of the most important things to do after an informational interview is follow up. It can be as simple as an email thanking them for their time. If they gave you suggestions let them know if those suggestions helped. Staying connected with your informational interviewee is a great way to build your network and stay ahead of the curve. 


Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking

Conquer Your Fear of Public Speaking

You start to shake a little bit. Your hands are a little clammy. There’s this weird hole in your stomach that feels like you haven’t eaten in days. You’re thinking it might not be too late to cancel. Except that you’re at the podium, in front of all these people. You can’t turn back now.


Public Speaking constantly ranks as one of people’s most common fears. The idea that you might make a mistake and be humiliated in front of a room of people who are staring at you is terrifying for more than 40% of the United States. Whether it’s to an auditorium of people, or just to a handful of coworkers, public speaking gets people queasy. 


If you’re looking to overcome your fear of public speaking, try these steps.


In telling the story of how he overcame his fear of public speaking, Richard Branson says you must prepare. Take the time to find your own voice and inject your own personality into what you are going to say. Give yourself an outline and know the key points you want to make. Having a firm understanding of what you’ll be talking about will help you stay calm and on track.


Along with preparation comes practice. Give your speech in the mirror. Give your speech to your dog. Give your speech to a friend. Give your speech to a couple friends. Start small and work your way up to larger crowds. Practice makes the words come easier. It’ll help you remember what comes next. It’ll give you more confidence as well.

Talk Slowly, Breathe Deeply

Taking a couple deep breaths automatically relaxes you. Take a couple before you get up to speak. If you are using cue cards or a paper, write “Talk Slowly” at the top. When you get nervous, you’ll start talking quicker without realizing it. That little reminder can keep you calm and help you realize it’s okay to give yourself small moments.

Pick someone out in the crowd

Generally, the fear that comes with public speaking has to do with the public part. We have no trouble talking with friends at a party or over coffee, but expand that number and have them all staring at you, and all of a sudden our mouth dries out. One thing that works for some is to pick someone in the crowd and focus on them. This will help you feel like you are delivering your speech to an audience of one.

Remember It’s Normal

Finally, remember that getting nervous about public speaking is normal. As we mentioned earlier, nearly 40% of people say they have a fear of public speaking. You’re not alone in this.

A Strong Team Strengthens Everyone

A Strong Team Strengthens Everyone

In a world where getting ahead and making your mark is so important, you might be  inclined to think that getting stuck in a team would hold you back or slow you down. You may be surprised to learn the opposite is true. Working together in teams can enhance professional development, make everyone’s job a little easier and ultimately get the work done faster and better.


When working as part of a team you’re all working toward a common goal. Instead of having to face or overcome problems individually, people who are part of a team can figure out how to deal with them together. More ideas and experiences are brought to the table.


They say too many chefs spoil the broth. In an office environment the opposite is true, more chefs can work together to create unexpected, diversified dishes, more tasty than any of them could have come up with on their own.


Everyone is heard

One of the great aspects of working in a team is the opportunity for everyone to be heard. Suggestions for improving or advancing the situation or project can come from anyone on the team instead of exclusively from the top down. The diversity of ideas and perspectives can bring about solutions or ideas that would not have come about otherwise.


Opportunities for learning

When you are part of a team you have the opportunity to share with and learn from everyone else within the group. Through this process the whole group improves.


As the article 6 Benefits of Teamwork in the Workplace from Sandler training says,


“Great teams build each other up and strengthen individual members to create a cohesive group. By working together, employees learn that wins and losses affect everyone on the team. Teamwork necessitates confidence in each other’s distinct abilities.”


Improved communication skills

If you’re working as part of a team you need to be able to communicate effectively with other members of the team or the whole operation will suffer. It is said a chain is only as strong as its weakest link. That means every member of the team is invested in ensuring there is no weak link, or if there is in one, then doing what they can to strengthen it. The ability to communicate effectively and efficiently is part of the bond that will strengthen the weaker links in the chain.


Shared experiences

Whether a particular outcome is a success or failure, the experience is amplified when shared by an entire team. When the result is success, everyone in the team is aware that the entire group had a hand in the success. The shared success is amplified. So too is the shared failure. Everyone feels bad for their part in the failure and they also feel terrible for the whole group, which means they will work extra hard to avoid that situation.


Maximizing possibilities

Obviously when you put a group of people together, everyone brings something different to the table. The beauty of a team is; people most qualified or skilled in certain aspects of a project can take charge of that aspect. In the process, they can bring up the proficiency of others in the team. A strong team brings out the best in each team member, while also providing an opportunity for other members to learn.


Time For An Attitude Adjustment?

Time For An Attitude Adjustment?

You like your job, you’ve been doing it a while, it’s easy to become complacent and unmotivated. The key to staying fresh and motivated, to keep moving forward and expanding your horizons is maintaining your attitude.  Not only will a great attitude help you stay happy and fulfilled – as a byproduct you’ll want to push yourself faster and harder. You’ll be excited about achieving new things.

What if this was the last day of your life?

Uber successful Steve Jobs used to ask himself the same question everyday “If this was the last day of my life would I want to do what I’m about to do today?”


Ask yourself that question to help you put your days into perspective. You only have so many days to accomplish all the things you want. You have priorities, you have goals and dreams. Ensure as many of your days as possible are bringing you closer to those priorities, are helping brings those dreams out into the light of day.

Giving vs. receiving

All of us spend so much time thinking about what we can get. Things we can buy, what someone can give us professionally or personally. Things that we believe will enhance our sense of self worth. All those get things are good, but the satisfaction they bring is fleeting. Sure you feel good when you buy a new gadget, but soon the new gadget becomes just another gadget and you start longing for the next one. Sure that person helped you get to the next level, but now that you’re there, you’re already chasing after the next person. Sometimes after all that chasing you realize you’ve only been running on a treadmill, never actually getting anywhere. Sometimes the only way you will feel like you’re getting somewhere is to get off the treadmill altogether. To give yourself the chance to be the giver rather than the receiver. The benefits of helping someone else are twofold.

  1. You’ve helped someone else
  2. You feel really good about yourself.

And that good feeling you’ve created for yourself has the tendency to stick around a lot longer than the good feeling of a getting new thing because it’s mixed with pride and accomplishment and an all-around, good job me!

 Cultivate some patience

Heard a new song on the radio and you want it? No problem it’s a click away. Got a hankering for some pizza? Delivered, take-away or dine in – your choice.  Suddenly interested in a course on inhabitants of the Jurassic? An online course is as close as your tablet. With so much so easily available, it’s easy to think everything should be on demand. The perfect job. The exact experience you’re looking for. Then it’s not and with the world still at your fingertips, you start to feel depressed, like nothing is possible. Attitude adjustment! Have patience. Work towards your goals. Don’t expect them to materialize right away. Think of the three little pigs. Sure you can have a house of straw in about five minutes but it will blow down even faster. A house of sticks might take a little longer to build, but it will come down with the wolf’s laugh. The house of bricks will take some time to build, but it’s going to withstand whatever life throws at it and when you look at that house you built – boy does it feel good!

Keep yourself engaged

One of the easiest ways to get into a rut is having nothing to look forward to. No carrot just outside your reach. Have you achieved the goals you set out for yourself? If not are you still working towards them? Does the thought of your goals add a spring to your step in the mornings?

If you have reached all your goals do you have new ones? They don’t have to be monumental goals (although they can), but they do need to be objectives to keep things interesting.

Pay attention to your inner voice

Like it or not that little voice inside your head sways a lot of influence over you. If it’s always telling you that you can’t do something then you’re going to believe it. If it’s always telling you to keep going because you CAN then you’ll believe that too. You don’t have to agree with what that voice says. You are the narrator of that story. Change it if you want to.


Set Long Term and Short Term Goals Apart From The Pack

Set Long Term and Short Term Goals Apart From The Pack

There are things you want to accomplish in this life. Some of those things are in the far off future, others are more immediate. Right now, all those goals are jumbled together like a pack of runners at the start of the race. And you don’t have a map to your destination. Step one is creating some sort of roadmap with an overview of long term and short term goals.


If I could accomplish anything

Start by creating a tangible map you can see. Get a piece of paper and write goals in the center then divide the sheet into four quadrants:

  • 3 months
  • 1 year
  • 3 years
  • Lifetime


Now set a timer for ten minutes and write down every goal you can imagine accomplishing within those timeframes both personal and professional. This is a wish list. Don’t restrict yourself to what you believe is possible. If you could accomplish anything what would you do? Who would you be? Where would you go. Let your imagination run wild.


Create a priority list

You have a wish list before you. Now go back to each quadrant and choose one goal from each one that will have the greatest impact on your life. These are the long-term and short term goals you are going to prioritize.


Homework for each goal

Break each goal into tasks that need to be accomplished for its fulfillment. Create a specific task list for each goal. Give yourself timelines for their completion. Make the timelines reasonable. Make yourself work for it, but not so hard that you’ll want to give up.


Three month check in

At the three month mark when your first set of goals are at the finish line, go back to your original map. Spend five minutes reviewing your goals. Create a new three month goal. Review your priorities for one year, three years and lifetime. Are they still the same? If so carry on with your plans. If not revise those goals and carry on. By checking in with your goals on a regular basis you can keep yourself motivated and on track!