Career Tips by Fisher Investments

Whether you’re interested in an opportunity at Fisher Investments, or simply looking to further develop your current career path, our career tips can help you stand out from your peers.

An Email and a Lesson

By, 11/29/2012

Hello,

On the job, you’ll notice email plays a large role in office communication. Learning how to write a professional email is key, as a poorly written email can detract from your message. Here are some quick pointers:

-Bullet points can be easier to process than paragraphs.

-Sentences should be short and clear.

-Repetition is rarely necessary.

-Keep the tone friendly, but polite, please.

-Readers prefer correct punctuation and grammar—so do employers.

If you mind the above items next time you email in the office, reception of your message may improve.

Cheers,

M.H.

What Motivates You?

By, 11/27/2012

People are motivated by many different things. And this question often comes up in job interviews or workplace performance evaluations. Intuitive as it may seem, this can sometimes be a tough question to answer.

Often the answer will reflect your personal values or goals. So when answering this question, be specific—starting with broad topics and giving concrete examples can be helpful in relaying your thoughts. For example, if career development is important to you, let your interviewer or boss know—but also highlight specific career goals, like being promoted to a different position or transitioning to a different department.

The good news is there’s no right answer to this question—motivation is specific to each person. The interviewer or manager is probably more interested in how you think rather than your specific motivations.

Interview Follow-Up

By, 11/26/2012

A lot of emphasis is placed on preparation and etiquette during an interview, but what should you do afterwards when the waiting game begins? Following up with an employer (and the way you go about doing it) is very important.

Following up in a timely manner can remind an employer that you are still very interested in the position. Likewise, it helps keep the impression you’ve made fresh in their minds. If you have been working with a specific recruiter, reach out to them and talk about how you think the interview went—what went well and what didn’t go exactly as you would’ve liked. The recruiter may also offer you some helpful feedback.

Sending a thank you note to the person you interviewed with (if different from the recruiter) is also helpful. It will give you another chance to reinforce your interest in the job and the desire to move forward in the recruiting process. However, keep the note brief—a concise message can be more effective.

If you are chosen to move forward in the hiring process, the recruiter will contact you to set up subsequent meetings or interviews. Follow similar steps for these interviews as well, like following up and sending thank you notes to those you interviewed with.

In-House Hiring

By, 11/23/2012

During your career it’s possible you’ll work in several positions. But when it’s time to move to a new role, you may have a hard time figuring out which direction to go—after all, you want to be a valuable employee, but moving into an area you aren’t ready for could hurt in the short (and maybe long) term. Below are some tips to plan your next professional move.

 

  • Speak up. If you don’t tell your manager, co-workers, acquaintances, etc. about your ambitions, you won’t receive the benefit of their knowledge or networks. The easiest way to stall your career is to keep quiet about what you want.
  • Talk to your manager. Your manger should be aware of your career ambitions and probably wants to help you achieve them. Managers usually have tenure and networking under their belt. If you let yours help, it could help open up a career path you didn’t know existed.
  • Talk to acquaintances in other roles. Departments are rarely isolated in a business. Therefore, you’ve probably met someone in a different role. Take a minute to pick her brain—even if you aren’t interested in the role. The extra knowledge probably gives you a better idea of how your company functions as a whole.
  • Introduce yourself. If you’ve discovered a role you’d like, introduce yourself to potential co-workers and managers. If you do get the opportunity to interview for that job, they may remember you.
  • Be flexible. Even if you feel you’re a perfect fit for a certain department, there may not be need for additional employees—or a more qualified candidate may receive the job instead. So while you should whole-heartedly try for what you want, be open to moving to another position or staying put, too. Your flexibility to the business’s needs will help you stand out.

 

Making the Most of Your First Day on the Job

By, 11/20/2012

A successful first day at your new job can make a great first impression, and first impressions are very important. These tips can be helpful in getting the most out of this important time.

One tried and true preparation step is getting a good night’s sleep—not just the night before, but instead getting a good schedule going a few weeks in advance. This can be especially helpful when making the transition from a university schedule to a full time work schedule.

When the big day comes, bring a notepad. Copious notes will be helpful down the road when remembering names, procedures or how your department may interact with others. It should also mitigate asking the same questions over and over again—managers and co-workers will appreciate the fact you can comprehend material and follow procedures from the get-go.

Remember to spend more time listening and asking questions and less time talking. Workflow may be slow, or they may get you up and running with tasks—either way, being attentive will give you the upper hand with a productive head start.

Interview Myths

By, 11/15/2012

When heading into an interview, it’s easy to have a lot of preconceived notions about the process. However, there are a few myths that might surprise you.

Interview preparation can be intimidating. Did you do all of your research about the company? About the position? One thing you might not think about is the interviewer may not be as prepared for your interview as you expect. Perhaps they were recruited last minute to the task and aren’t fully apprised of the role or your resume.

We’ve all heard that succinct and concise answers are best when interviewing, but sometimes this is not necessarily the case. For some questions, more thorough answers will be appropriate. However, don’t forget to stay on track—your answer may be longer, but it should still pertain to the question.

First Day of the Rest of Your Life

By, 11/13/2012

Starting a new job can be incredibly nerve-wracking. Even if you aced the interview, you’ll likely have butterflies when you first walk through the door as an official employee. Here are some tips for easing your nerves and cruising through that first workday.

  1. Get enough sleep the night before. Hopefully (especially if your sleep schedule will drastically change), you’ve been working on assimilating to your new wake up time. If not, try to plan ahead to prevent oversleeping—or undersleeping!
  2. Err on the side of professionalism—with your attire. You probably have an idea of the company’s dress code by your first day, but a good first impression is always helpful to future success. So be sure to iron out those wrinkles, polish those shoes, and dress to impress.
  3. Smile. Yes, even when it’s 8 a.m. and your coffee’s wearing off. Presenting a cheerful demeanor can help you make new contacts. Positive people tend to make lasting impressions.
  4. Pay attention and take notes. You’re going to learn a lot today. Focusing on each lesson and noting important concepts for future reference will only help.
  5. Unwind after the day’s done. Congratulations! You successfully navigated your first day. Make sure to take an hour or so to and relax. It’ll better help you mentally prepare for your second day than rehashing first day details.

Remember Your Resume

By, 11/09/2012

I find keeping track of my past achievements and skills helpful for greater professional development. An up-to-date resume easily accomplishes this—and can provide unique insight for future growth.

Reviewing your resume reminds you of past achievements, how you accomplished them and what you learned in the process. Recalling those items can be a helpful exercise in reviewing and revising how you approach current and future challenges. Previous achievements may also remind you of ongoing goals, how close you are to accomplishing them, and if they’ve changed.

In addition to accomplishments, your resume tracks your skills—what are your proficiencies? What would you like to improve? Your skillset may be something you don’t think of every day, so reviewing it can be an encouraging way to remember where your strengths lie. Reviewing your skills can also illuminate new skills you need to achieve your goals.

In the end, your resume is a comprehensive reminder of your professional history. Knowing your achievements and skills provides you an opportunity to review your professional development thus far—and will most likely give you direction for the future.

Multitasking

By, 11/07/2012

Multitasking is often viewed as a productivity detractor, but it can be helpful if executed correctly. Working on different projects simultaneously can keep you actively engaged in all of your undertakings.

Thanks to technological advances, there can be many different priorities vying for your attention—emails, voicemails or meeting requests. One key to staying on track is not moving on to something the moment it comes up. For example, instead of responding to each new email as it comes in, make sure you handle any time sensitive matters as needed—setting aside those non-urgent emails until you’ve worked adequately on your current task.

Organizing is also key to multitasking. When mapping out your day, cluster similar projects together. Shifting mental gears too frequently and unnecessarily can mean less productivity. Additionally, set aside some uninterrupted work time. Give yourself time to get back up to speed on a project and re-focus your efforts, especially if it’s been awhile since you worked on it last.

Finally, set proper expectations with managers and co-workers about communication—let them know they can still count on you to complete tasks even though you may not respond to inquiries right away. You’re less stressed about responding quickly when you’ve already broached the topic. After all, timely doesn’t necessarily mean instantaneous.

Personal Accountability

By, 11/06/2012

One of many employee responsibilities is to be accountable—to your employer, co-workers, and even to yourself. Developing a reputation of accountability is one of the ways you can enhance your career by showing others you’re dependable.

Accountability exists in many different aspects of your performance—for example, setting proper expectations. As is often said, it’s better to under promise and over deliver. Said differently, if you set proper, realistic expectations, your goals become attainable and it becomes easier to deliver on the promises you make. Additionally, what kind of results are you delivering? In the realm of setting expectations, the quality of results is just as important as the timelines you set for them.

Conversely, being accountable can also means taking responsibility for mistakes. It’s not always the easiest thing to do, but standing up, admitting mistakes and taking ownership for your actions is an admirable quality and those around you will appreciate your honesty.

Interview Prep

By, 11/05/2012

Sometimes, researching a company you are about to interview with can mean the difference between landing the job or not. But how do you find the right information and how do you use it to your advantage?

Start by reading the company’s website. Referencing their mission statement and tying it back to your goals, for example, is a great way to show the interviewer you have done your homework. How do their values align with your experience and background? You can also use the website to find news or press releases about recent events or awards the company has received.

Another large part of good first impressions in the interview process is how you dress. You may be able to get ideas from the company’s website about appropriate attire or dress code.

Finally, don’t forget to research yourself. Just as you are researching them, they may be doing the same with you. Be cognizant of what information is available online about you—you never know if it will come up in the interview.

Staying on Track

By, 11/01/2012

During the workday, it’s easy to get wrapped up in day-to-day tasks. But that often comes at a cost of working on bigger, longer-term tasks. It’s important to complete your daily agenda, but it’s equally important to set aside time for larger and generally less defined assignments.

For example, furthering your education on a subject can be a big and long-term assignment ultimately beneficial to your career. But self-guided education can be overwhelming when starting out.  Maybe so overwhelming you put it off in favor of daily tasks for a couple hours, then a day, then a couple of weeks ….meaning, over the long-term, you complete your daily agenda, but not the big assignment—even if you understand its value to your development.

So, if your schedule allows, try to set aside a half an hour a day to work on larger assignments and projects. Even something as simple as recapping your progress can greatly impact how smoothly your long-term assignments go. An additional benefit: Knowledge from your long-term assignments may help your short-term work—potentially boosting your overall job performance.

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