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Career Growth Tips You Need to Know to Stay Ahead of the Curve

Episode overview

On this episode of the finding career zen podcast, Pete Newsome and Ricky Baez share career growth tips in an era marked by layoffs. They discuss conducting self-assessments, developing skills, and strategizing transitions into new roles.

Pete and Ricky also highlight the significance of mentorship and networking in navigating your career path. They are here to steer you through the process of discovering your ideal mentor and forging impactful connections via strategic networking. Showcasing why platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter serve as powerful tools in this journey of professional networking.

Tune in and let’s give your career the boost it deserves.

48 minutes

View transcript

Career Growth Tips to Help You Achieve Your Goals

  • Develop a career plan: Know where you want to go. Having clear career goals can provide motivation and help you make decisions about what opportunities to pursue.
  • Build a strong skill set: Expand your knowledge and abilities in your field. It’s crucial to continually update and adapt your skillset to stay competitive in today’s rapidly changing job market. Attend workshops, seminars, or webinars, and take courses relevant to your job.
  • Seek mentorship: Look for someone who can provide you with guidance and feedback. Mentors can be invaluable in helping you navigate workplace politics, setting and achieving career goals, and avoiding common career pitfalls.
  • Network: Build relationships within and outside of your field. Networking can lead to opportunities that you may not have been aware of otherwise. Attend industry events, join professional organizations, or connect with colleagues on social media.
  • Show initiative: Proactively seek out projects or tasks, even if they’re outside your job description. This shows your willingness to go the extra mile and your commitment to the company.
  • Take ownership of your career path: You are in the driver’s seat of your career. Be proactive, seize opportunities, take risks, and don’t wait for growth to come to you. Step out of your comfort zone, expand your skills, and use your confidence to drive your career forward.

Additional resources

About Pete Newsome

Pete Newsome headshot

Pete Newsome is the President and founder of zengig, which he created after spending two decades in staffing and recruiting. He’s also the founder of 4 Corner Resources, the nationally acclaimed and award-winning staffing and recruiting firm he started out of a home office in 2005. Pete’s primary mission back then was the same as it is today: to do business in a personal way; with a commitment to zengig becoming the most comprehensive source of expert advice, tools, and resources for career growth and happiness. When he’s not in the office or spending time with his family of six, you can find Pete sharing his career knowledge and expertise through public speaking, writing, and as the host of the Finding Career Zen & Hire Calling podcasts.


Pete Newsome: 0:01
You’re listening to the Finding Careers End Podcast. I’m Pete Newsome. I’m with Ricky Baez today. Ricky, how in the world are you?

Ricky Baez: 0:09
Halfway through the year, my Christmas tree’s still up.

Pete Newsome: 0:12
You’re that guy? Well, i see your Christmas lights behind you, so maybe that’s just your thing, or you’re that guy in the neighborhood.

Ricky Baez: 0:18
I love Christmas, man, i really do. Every time I go to Tennessee there’s that Christmas in hotel. Leave it in July, it’s just fun to go see it.

Pete Newsome: 0:25
Christmas in July. Okay, well, you know, maybe we can give a little Christmas in July To whoever’s interested in expanding their career and knowing how to manage it better, since that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So any, any gifts that we’ll be able to give through that.

Ricky Baez: 0:41
Oh my God. You know what, though? Yes, yes, because, Pete, i don’t know if you’ve noticed. Actually, you have, because you read the newspaper just like I do. For those of you who don’t know, that’s a paper where the news used to be printed on.

Pete Newsome: 0:52
Yeah, i have no newspaper gets delivered anymore, got it?

Ricky Baez: 0:57
Well, there’s a lot of layoffs happening, pete, and it keeps happening and it keeps happening, and I think it’s there’s no better opportunity than now to talk about how people can stand out in that saturated job market these days.

Pete Newsome: 1:09
Yeah, what we’re really talking about is how to manage your own career and specifically your career growth and advancement. Although you know today that I think a lot of younger professionals have a pessimistic outlook on that, on their opportunities professionally, financially. That is something that my generation you know, because I’m a little bit older than you. I have to admit that we didn’t have that view, but I was speaking to some of our younger colleagues yesterday on our Gen XYZ podcast.

Ricky Baez: 1:43
I was there.

Pete Newsome: 1:44
I saw it, yeah, and they you know they’re that the younger generations don’t see a great road ahead, and that’s why we’re going to talk about this today, because we want to arm everyone, not just younger professionals, but them in particular, with ideas that they may not have, with new ways to think about their career and how to take the management of it, you know, in their, put it in their own hands and do something about it. So I don’t know, what do you think about that outlook? So there are a lot of layoffs, but I think, with technology and the remote opportunities that are so prevalent today, i think it’s a great time to be a aspiring young professional.

Ricky Baez: 2:33
Oh, pete, absolutely. And I don’t think people realize what. what a diamond in the rough this is right now, because, yes, it doesn’t feel good, because people are being laid off, lives are being disrupted, but for a lot of them, they’ve been thinking about jumping ship for a long time. So for a lot of those folks, this is that turning point that they need to actually to be, you know, kind of like COVID. right, that’s why there was so much, so many people jumping ship on or after COVID, because they were pushed over. So this is happening right now. I really think the the key points that we have today is really going to help a lot of people going forward and managing their careers. So I’m excited for this one.

Pete Newsome: 3:13
Good, well, let’s, let’s not waste any time and get into it and really talk about what. What career development, is that that? let’s start with that, because the premise here is that you shouldn’t just make things up as you go. You want to take the time to invest in yourself, in your career, and come up with a strategic plan that you can refer to. Over time It will change, it will evolve. We know that There’s a reason why the Zengig logo is is a Z and it’s a winding path. That is not a coincidence, as as we were coming, it was on purpose.

That was yeah, the original logo design was really I asked it for it to be a winding path that turned into the, the sort of funky Z that it is now, because, after so many years in staffing and knowing so many people who have started off in one direction, as a young person, thinking they were, they knew what they wanted to do, went to school for a specific training or a degree that ended up pivoting into something entirely differently. And that happens and it doesn’t happen.

You know, sometimes it happens by coincidence, but you should be looking ahead in in constantly assessing where you are. So that’s probably the first thing I would say in terms of career development is self-assessment, to really understand where you are in life, where you want to be in life, and then putting together a plan to get there. So at Zengig our little commercial is I’ll throw in is that we have hundreds of career guides on the site that exist for that very purpose to lay out how to transition into a new role, what the role consists of, how to you know, how to join that profession if you’re not in it today. So enough about that.

Go to Zengig.com, check out our career guides. But once you have that plan, then it becomes a matter of skill development, finding a mentor We’ve talked about that recently And then, if you’re going to transition, there’s specific steps you should take. So let’s go ahead and start off, you know, talking about that, and say you know, let me ask you, why is all that important? I mean, it just listed a whole lot of things. Why would you say it’s important?

Ricky Baez: 5:35
Well, let me, let me back up real quick, because I think it’s important to make a distinction between a job and a career, to completely different things right? A job, it’s somewhere where you go, you give up your time for your talent and exchange. You get some money. A career is your passion. Now, i say that loosely because there’s some people who’ve made a career out of jobs. Sure, right, so really depends. So you started off right because you said you know you have to put a plan together on what you want to do, what you’re passionate about, what you want to keep doing.

But you said something really interesting and that’s important for people to understand. There are going to be some pivots in that plan. There are going to be some milestones that you’re like whoa, whoa, wait a minute, i got to have to make a hard left or hard right And if you don’t have a plan in place, you may make a mistake in where you go. So the plan needs to be there because, look, i know a lot of people. They decide what they want to be when they’re in high school or college And that’s fine, but to me, what they think they want to be right.

Well, exactly right. Because then they get there and they’re like whoa, this is not the career that I wanted, i’m not happy. But then they see their 15 years in that career and they’re like I’m already being here for 15 years, let’s do another 15 because I spent all this time on it. The best example I can give to counterpoint that Pete, is let’s just say you’re driving to New York from Florida and you know, on the GPS says all right, now you got to go to Texas. You ended up in Texas. right, you’re way out West because you’ve made that trip. Are you going to continue to go into California?

No, you’re going to recalibrate. right, let’s come back and go to New York. So you got to have a good plan in place and really take a self-assessment on what your passionate about and what your skillsets are and align those together. Boom, there you have your career management plan.

Pete Newsome: 7:29
And know that your interest and desires will change and evolve. What you think is important at 15, if I look back, I won’t go through the list of things that I. GI, Joe’s, that’s what I thought was important. at 12. Yeah Well, I mean even at 15, 17, 18, as you’re getting into college, even 22, 23, for those who are entering the professional workforce, it’s okay if it changes. your life will evolve, So don’t get too hung up on that. But that’s where the self-assessment comes in, and that’s something that should persist throughout your career as it evolves. But it all starts with a goal. right after that, Once you have an idea of what you want to do, we recommend putting together a smart goal. Are you familiar with smart goals, Ricky? I know you are.

Ricky Baez: 8:21
Oh yes, I mean, I wouldn’t be smart if I didn’t know the smart goals.

Pete Newsome: 8:25
Where’s the There you go, there you go. So what’s a smart goal? It’s a goal that meets a number of criteria, and smart is an acronym in this case for goals that are specific, measurable, achievable and relevant and timely, and the timely part is as important as anything else. You have to put a deadline on that goal, or it’s just a thought and an idea, right? i mean, if i want to lose weight, which i do do i want to lose x pounds by x date, or do i want to just keep it open ended? If i, if i put a time and specific objective about it on it, my chances of success are infinitely better. Otherwise, i’m just talking right, that’s correct and look in smart goals.

Ricky Baez: 9:20
It took me a while for me to figure out smart goals. I mean, i knew what it was, but the power of it Because i was one of those when people told me if you have a goal, right it down, what the hell is i gonna do? i mean that that was my thought. What is writing a goal down? go and writing a goal down going to do? and i finally did it in what? i realize this once you write it down right, it’s there, is tangible, you can feel, you can touch it. It’s no longer a thought that goes away. Once you write it down, you start getting to more details and start reversing engineering on what milestones you’re supposed to hit. Next thing you know you no longer have a thought, you not have a plan, and exactly how you said, the best, the best example i can give about a smart goal is losing weight.

If i say i want to lose weight, that in itself as, as, as, as, as a smart as it can be, that in the self is not going to help you. But if you say i want to lose a hundred pounds by this time next year And this is where my milestones are going to be, and this is how i’m going to do it. Because you put that together, because you spend the time focusing on that, you’re gonna want to see it through. So, yes, write those goals down, make sure you’re really specific, and reverse engineering to you hit little wins every 30 days or so and you figure out what’s your stop and you look Wow, i’ve actually made it.

Pete Newsome: 10:41
I did a smart goal and it gotta be flexible if you apply the same logic and thought process to anything you want to accomplish it, this is where these goals really start to make a lot of sense, and I look at my own experience. This is not just advice that i give to others in their career. It’s something that i’ve applied myself where i’ve achieved success or failed by not doing this When i’ve. I used to run. I used to run long distances and i would start with a race date and the race date always had a link associated with it, whether it was Five K or a marathon and then work backwards to where you are now to put together a training plan. What steps are you gonna take?

How frequently you’re going to run? so when you start applying The thought process, your career, the road really becomes a lot more clear to you and the steps that you need to take if you want to achieve Position at a certain level, work for a new organization or transition into an entirely new career. All of these things apply. They’re gonna have very different Pass. You need to take in timelines associated with each, but you have to start. So smart goal is lots written about. Smart goals will put a link to a blog article on that in our show notes.

So Start there and then you want to find a career mentor. Now, we recently talked about that on a podcast, so we won’t rehash all of that. Your your anyone listening. Please check that out. But let’s just talk from a high level for those who haven’t heard that episode, about what the benefits are finding a career mentor.

Ricky Baez: 12:26
You know, Pete, when I watch a commercial for McDonald’s and I see a big Mac and I see that beautiful burger on there, they only show you the good things about that burger is not, until you actually meet the burger, like, all right, there’s some really nasty things about this as well. That’s what a mentor does. It gives your reality check. A good mentor will tell you the good, the bad and the ugly about that career. That’s what a good mentor is. So if you find yourself a mentor this is for the mentee looking for a mentor if you find a mentor that tells you everything is great about this job, no downside at all, red flag, red flag. Every job has to good, the bad and the ugly. You want to find somebody that is authentic. It can give you the real deal. That way you can make an informed decision and whether this is the path you want to follow.

Pete Newsome: 13:14
There’s a lot written about the benefits of a career mentor. it that guidance can be invaluable as you as you go through your career or, as important as anything else, maybe finding out before you get too far into it that it is not what you thought it would be And may want to pivot before you get too deeply into it. so the career mentor is an important step in in your career development Where you find one okay.

Ricky Baez: 13:45
Well, i was gonna say I got a great example of something that just happened a couple of years ago with one of my former students. This is a student that wanted to be a vet. Right, she wanted to work with animals and she had a plan for that Until she hooked up with a mentor. She goes and see what actually happens. She found out it’s I mean, i’m sorry to bring this up right now, but A lot of a vet’s work is having to put animals down as well, and she quickly found out that it’s not something she want to be involved in.

So she found out that that was too hard on her emotions to Nothing wrong with it. But she quickly found out, early enough, that there was a lot more mental, emotional anguish for her. So she decided to go somewhere else and the mentor showed her that Because the the the mentor said, and I was there. The mentor said nobody showed me this when I was going through. You know, grow up in my career and this is something I had to work for years, for years, to get over. So that’s a great example of finding out a good mentor to let you know the good, the bad, at the ugly of it, so that way you can make a right choice and now, now she’s a college or somewhere else, so she’s doing great.

Pete Newsome: 14:50
That’s such an important point that I’m glad you reinforce that. The mentor is not there to tell you what you want to hear as much As it is about telling you what you need to hear so you can make an informed decision that’s going to have a significant impact on your life. So Great, great story to join in with and then So with that, with that mentorship it, there’s a lot of responsibilities on both sides. It comes with. It’s something is not to be taken lightly. I’ll just say find someone that you admire and start there.

If you, if you don’t do the research it’s easy to do is on the widely available, not only on our site but but Google it how to find a mentor. We won’t go into too much more detail about that now, but it also ties into something that’s equally important in career development, which is networking. So even if You start with people who you admire, who are in a position that you want to be in one day, then those are invaluable relationships, even if they’re not a formal mentorship or don’t even get that deep. And as someone who’s entering a new profession or wants to go deeper and have more success in the profession they’re starting off in, networking is as important as anything else.

Ricky Baez: 16:08
That’s right. And so in that network and here’s, i want to give the data to the speed, i’m sorry. So once you network, once you find that person here’s, here’s, don’t just pick anybody either. You got to find somebody that your, that your personalities match right. Because, look, picking on a mentee which I have one it’s a lot of time that that I have to dedicate to this person. So this person, i make sure this person really understands that, how valuable her time and my time is. So let’s not waste it. Let’s make sure we plan our dates and we meet on a specific date, that we say that we’re going to meet And we don’t spend that time chitchatting.

Let’s spend that time getting to the goal, whatever goal we came up with, smart goal, at the beginning of the mentor mentee relationship. So you’ve got to find somebody that will dedicate that time to you. But if they do, do not waste it. Do not waste your time, because half the time, actually most of the time, there’s no cash being, there’s no money being passed down back and forth in a mentor mentee situation. There’s a volunteer work.

Pete Newsome: 17:16
Yeah, don’t hire a mentor. Or you know that’s not.

Ricky Baez: 17:20
yeah, don’t do that, don’t do that, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s volunteer work. And if a mentor says, yes, i’m going to do this, take it with open arms, respect that time and be a sponge, be hungry, learn as much as you can from that person And don’t be afraid to start asking crazy questions, because that’s what me, as a mentor, signed up for is to answer those questions that I didn’t have the opportunity to have asked of me later, um, before, when I was in that, in that career phase. So sorry, no, that’s good.

Pete Newsome: 17:52
No, that’s, that’s, it’s. It’s important. We could not talk about mentors enough. That’s right, let’s, let’s, let’s focus on general networking a little bit more and how you can expand, uh, your professional network, and social media has become a great avenue for that. I. I like LinkedIn in particular for almost every profession, because it’s where it’s it’s really become the default professional network. Do you agree with that Or do you think you know I don’t know that there’s a better side out there. There’s certainly not a bigger one out there for professional networking.

Ricky Baez: 18:31
Um, no, there isn’t. Um, i mean, I’m I guess I’m going to say this is becoming a little bit into a Facebook and I stay away from those conversations but, um, there’s a really good way to find people in your industry or the industry you want to be in and connect with. Now, here’s here, and you know what I’m going to say here, pete. Here’s the thing about LinkedIn. If you are on LinkedIn trying to find a mentor for the, for the sake of finding a mentor, it’s too late. It’s too late. You have to start cultivating those relationships when you don’t need a mentor.

Pete Newsome: 19:04
Right, Well, I, I let uh, yeah, take it away from mentorship at this point. Right, We’ve beaten that up enough. This is just about networking in general. For me is that you, uh, the the more people you know in your field, uh, the the the more informed you’re going to be, the more opportunities you’re going to encounter, the more you’ll learn. So, to me, it’s not about mentorship, It’s it’s about just building your, your network, for all the the positive reasons that come from it. Um, I can tell you that in my own career, my, uh, my personal network and professional network has blended as time has gone on, And that is where the greatest value has come from, where, if I have the opportunity.

Ricky Baez: 19:52
Huh, the, the. I’m sorry I interrupted the. The blending, the blending. Yeah Well, if.

Pete Newsome: 19:57
I can. If I can work with people I genuinely enjoy, and vice versa, i’m going to have better relationships with them. So I’ve built my professional network and I think this is natural. I don’t think this is unique in any way. Over time, where the people I have gravitated towards professionally, i have a personal connection with them, that that grows and evolves. So it may start off finding these people on social media, but then you you take it offline, so to speak, and have an opportunity to to really build that, uh, that individual rapport and professional I’m sorry personal connection. So LinkedIn is the default place to go for nearly every profession. Twitter is also an interesting pool to dive into, uh, to wait into. Maybe don’t dive into Twitter, maybe, maybe wait in.

Ricky Baez: 20:46
That’s a real example. You have it, pool Um already.

Pete Newsome: 20:50
It’s not for everyone. I’m still on the fence with how I feel about using Twitter professionally, because it’s it’s kind of the wild west where LinkedIn is almost a place where the community I won’t say has standards and guidelines. But we’ll certainly reel things back in if they get too uh, you know, too political or uh off the professional track. And you made the point that it’s a little Facebook like these days, and that has certainly happened where you see, um, a lot of non-business things you know uh coming up on on LinkedIn right now. Who knows where that will ultimately lead, but, um, it’s still the best business network without having a lot of other things coming, coming your way.

Ricky Baez: 21:37
And and and what I meant to say earlier it’s you know it’s. It’s because a lot of people go on there when they need something right. And and I guess the point I was trying to make is it’s you have to make a concerted effort to be on LinkedIn every single workday, every day, and produce some kind of content. You want to be seen as an authority in whatever content you’re putting out there, and that would help you build relationships later on. When people can relate you the name and the face to the content that you’re putting out there, and as long as they see those two things together, it’ll be easier to build those relationships later on, especially if you take it exactly like you said, if you take it out of social media and you go into a, a, a personal conversation, like an event, a conference, all those things that pre-COVID were big, post-covid not as big, but now they’re making a big comeback. Have you seen that?

Pete Newsome: 22:32
Yeah. So conferences is another great place to immerse yourself in, uh in the field that you are pursuing or already in, if you’re looking to advance. Remember, what we’re talking about today is how to advance your career, and all of these things probably aren’t in your job description. They’re probably not uh things that your employer is asking you to do, so you have to take them upon yourself. And if you are uh an employee at an organization somewhere, don’t wait for someone to send you to a conference. Bring those things forward, ask if you can go.

Sometimes your organization will pay for them, sometimes they won’t, and there are a lot of companies that will proactively send people to conferences anyway, but most of the time those organizations are going to do so for their own business interests, and rightfully so. That’s. Their companies exist to to serve themselves, to make a profit. Yes, they want to take care of their employees, but they’re not necessarily looking at that. Individual individuals, professional development.

And those that do great take advantage of of those opportunities, but you may have to go and find them yourself. So trade associations and professional associations exist. Most of them do have gatherings. Sometimes they’re virtual, but, like you said, in person, is is back, and that is a wonderful place to go and expand. So I recommend, even if you need to take your own personal time, even if you need to do it on your own dime, find a way to go to large conferences in your, in your space, whatever it is, and you’ll have an opportunity to meet more people in a day or two than you could in in a matter of years.

Ricky Baez: 24:10
So let me uh, I’m, I’m gonna give a bonus tip here, Pete. So you said something about five seconds ago that really resonated with me, which was ask your boss, ask them, ask your company to see if they will pay for it. Let me tell you why that’s valuable. Because even if you ask them and they say no and you’re like, okay, no problem, Thank you very much. You go on your own accord, You ask for the time off, you pay it on your own pocket, but it tells your boss you’re interested in that field, Right, And it tells them that, and the more you do that, the more they’re like my. This person is really, really into this field. They’re going to look at you a little bit differently at work. So always ask them. The worst that can happen is they ‘ll say no. And if they say no, oh well, you pay for it on your own, but try to see if your boss can do it, because they might see a value in sending you out there.

Pete Newsome: 24:58
What a great thing, right? I mean no employer, uh, or every employer, rather, they may not all have a way to act on it, but if an employee comes up and says, hey, I’ve taken an interest in this area, i want to expand my knowledge and my network And I’m willing to do it myself, i mean that is going to separate you from the pack in a big way and elevate your perception of you as a professional. So great, great tip. I love it And encourage everyone to do that, and I think there’s a very good chance when that happens, the organization will find a budget and way to pay for you to go or at least help out. So great idea.

Ricky Baez: 25:50
And this next one is a favorite one of mine, right? So let me give you the person who you’re trying to connect with perspective, right? So let’s say, you’re trying to connect with me, right, and you’re sending me a cold email and I’m like, ah, so I may or may not respond to you, right, because I don’t know who you are. But if a friend that I know can actually say, hey, i want you to meet Pete, Pete does this. Blah, blah, blah, blah, i ain’t going to, it’s more than likely.

I’m gonna respond to that because I know the person. It’s like the mafia, Pete, you gotta be introduced by somebody who’s already connected. Right, i’m not saying we’re in the mob, so I’m just saying I’m just using that as an example. So this is why asking a friend for an introduction, for an intro, is crucial. If you find somebody who you wanna connect with, right, you wanna learn more about that person and you have somebody in common, ask that person, can you do an intro? here’s what I wanna do. And if that intro happens, it’s a higher chance that the other person is going to accept that you’re sending a cold email. So ask your friends, expand your network to make introductions. It works.

Pete Newsome: 26:55
So what we’re talking about here is, if you have someone you’d like to get in touch with, you’d like to develop a relationship with, but don’t have a natural route to reach out to them personally other than doing it in a cold message, try to find someone else who’s connected to that individual, and that’s something else you can use LinkedIn for. It shows you the degrees of separation on people. So if you’re creative and you’re motivated, it may take a little time. These things don’t necessarily happen overnight but hopefully you can find a connection to that individual and ask for that personal referral and introduction. So really like that.

But there’s so many other opportunities to expand and be proactive, and one that I like a lot is developing new skills. We talked about the willingness to go to a conference on your own and bring that forward to your manager or your employer, but there’s a lot of things you can do without having to ask for permission or wait, and there’s so many online courses you can take. Oh, my gosh. Again, i wanna say it one more time we’re talking about taking your career into your own hands. No one’s going to do it for you.

They might, but assume they won’t That’s the best way I can phrase it, and look at the opportunities for continuous learning. It is so important and if you want to do the bare minimum, you can, but that’s not gonna help you stand out, that’s not gonna get you noticed, and instead find a way to expand your skills and your abilities and your knowledge. And all the online courses available right now are just a no brainer. I wish those things existed when I was starting off with my career.

Ricky Baez: 28:41
I was just about to say that And you know what, i wanna disagree with you a little bit. If you do the bare minimum, you aren’t gonna get noticed, just not the way you want to.

Pete Newsome: 28:50
Well, that’s right, that’s right.

Ricky Baez: 28:53
Just not the way you want to know. And look, you said it, man, i wish YouTube was around when I was growing up in my career. Because, pete, one of the things I hate to deal with is Excel. And 20 years ago, in order for me to know Excel, i had to go to Valencia Community College and take a course. Oh, it’s Valencia College, not here in Orlando, and take a course. And now, if I wanted to learn how to do a VLOOKUP YouTube, it’s easy. You wanted to know all about affirmative action and Title VII YouTube. There’s a lot of information out there that’s free And you just have to dedicate the time to it to just learn from it. And it’s there and it’s free.

Pete Newsome: 29:36
And these are steps that you should dedicate that time to it if you’re serious about advancing And we at Zengegg are particular fans of Coursera and Udemy for the courses they offer as well. Some of a lot of those are free. Sometimes you have to pay. Often you’ll have to pay to receive a certificate that you took the course, but that could be worth it too. If you have that on your resume. You’re looking for angles here. You’re looking for ways that you can be noticed and stand out, and as an employer, i can tell you and not just as an employer myself, but as someone who has helped thousands of jobs be filled over the years in staffing as a staffing company thousands and thousands.

When a hiring manager or someone in HR and talent acquisition looks at a resume, they’re making a quick assessment on whether to schedule an interview with that person. Now, when we present a resume, our recruiters give one resume a time, but to get to that one resume, we’ve started with thousands, potentially for any job title, depending on how niche it is, or applications. Look at the number of applicants, any posting on LinkedIn right now And I reference that because you can see the number of applications for any job.

They’re almost all in the hundreds, sometimes in the thousands, depending on the brand. If it’s someone like a Disney or Apple or Google, they’ll have thousands of applications for any specific job opening. So ask yourself just a very simple question Why would your resume get picked out of that pack? And one of the things is having certifications on there, courses that you’ve taken in your profession that show you’ve gone above and beyond And you’ve taken that responsibility when no one asked you to do it. And I just can’t promote that enough in the value of doing that at the individual level, because we know from our experience. The other thing we know is that most won’t, most aren’t going to do it. So it doesn’t take a Herculean effort to stand out, but it does take effort.

Ricky Baez: 32:01
It does, and for you to stand out again exactly how you said, pete, you can go ahead and just do the bare minimum. That’s up to you, but you do get out of it what you put into it. So one thing I really wanted to really focus on is there is a plethora of free workshops out there. We did one, We did one a couple of months ago Here. We did one on FMLA.

It was completely free. It’s free information, folks. You just have to put the elbow grease to look it out. And we got more coming. We still got to schedule them here with us, but there’s a lot more coming, but there’s plenty of free workshops out there. But, Pete, here’s the thing. Here’s the thing Just attending a workshop is not enough, right? Yes, people would notice that you attend the workshop, but what business owners? what hiring authorities? what we want to see is how you’re going to apply that information. So that’s the important part that some people forget.

You learn the information. Now you have to do something with the information And that’s the part that’s going to make a mentor, a hiring authority, make a decision whether they want to work with you or not. So don’t forget about that second part.

Pete Newsome: 33:12
I love it. It’s great advice. And there’s podcasts, there’s books. There’s books you can read, there’s audiobooks. There is more information out there than anyone has time to get a hold of. So carve out that time, do it at night, do it on weekends, and no one’s going to do it for you. So be committed to it And that smart goal. Well, if you do it right, it’ll have that time in there And you can hold yourself accountable. And then there’s your favorite topic, ricky. Of course There’s chat GPT.

Ricky Baez: 33:43
What is it? What is that, Pete? How about that You want?

Pete Newsome: 33:46
to tell us. You know what, Ricky, if anyone listening at this point needs that explained right now. I’m not telling them, I’m not going to do it. Yeah, that’s true, i think everyone knows right now how widely available these new AI tools are Chat GPT being the one that we particularly like and know how powerful it can be, and, once again, you may have to invest a little time in figuring out how to use it to your advantage to get the information back from it that you want, but you’re investing in yourself, you’re investing in your career, and that’s much better than investing time watching the latest Netflix show that comes out this weekend, isn’t it?

Ricky Baez: 34:29
Way better, unless it’s a Netflix show about chat GPT. So then we’ll see.

Pete Newsome: 34:34
I’m sure that’s coming.

Ricky Baez: 34:36
Oh, it is, It is, it’s coming. You know what, Pete, though? This next one is my favorite become indispensable. Let me tell you how awesome this one is right, because if you become indispensable, right, and you know what? I’d rather just tell you the story, tell you a quick example. Now, obviously, i’ve been doing it for a while, unfortunately. I have been involved in hundreds of thousands of layoff conversations.

We don’t just make a decision about laying people off, right, there’s a whole process And once we go through that process and we get down to the five people who we have, who we have to let go, i’ve been involved in these conversations And somebody says, oh, so, and so it’s, it’s on the list. I’m like, oh, so who’s going to do payroll? Like what do you mean?

This person is the only one who knows payroll right? And like, oh, wow, then we can’t do that Right. Next thing, you know that person’s off the list. Or who’s going to do Excel, who’s going to do that? So the point I’m trying to make is become indispensable, become that person that has that skill set that nobody else has. Becomes that, go to person. Because if you become that, the more you become that person, the less likely you’ll be on that list.

Pete Newsome: 35:44
That reminds me of a story that I will. I won’t. It probably won’t be a great story because, to protect everyone involved, specifically the person who I’m I’m thinking of, i can’t give any details, but it was a very active client of ours And they had an individual who knew how to he was. This was the only person who knew how to do a certain thing in the organization. It had to do with it, of course, and they wanted to get rid of this individual for so many reasons not not a fun person to be around, not easy to work with, disruptive, just a challenging employee, to say the least, could not get rid of that person.

I mean, this went on for years And I must have heard this organization bring it up dozens of times and just frustrated with the situation. But here’s, here’s the point. There was a couple points. One, don’t be that person that everyone wants to get rid of but can’t right. You don’t want to do that, but this person had was indispensable to the organization, they and so now that’s a different. I shouldn’t have even told that because it’s for a different reason, but I couldn’t.

It just was in my head as you were, as you were talking, there was no lay enough, this individual, that’s for sure. I mean, it would have been the last one standing, but there’s lots of ways to become indispensable and being reliable, being accountable, being consistent, being the person who’s willing to do whatever it takes. So there’s so much talk still about quiet quitting You, and I haven’t talked about that recently, but I’ve been surprised how prevalent it still is in the market, based on a recent Gallup survey that we talked about on a different show, where 52% of American workers are in the process of, you know, consider themselves to be quietly quitting, which means they’re disengaged from their job.

Ricky Baez: 37:36
So more than half Yep.

Pete Newsome: 37:39
And it’s alarming, right, it’s an alarming opportunity to hear and say out loud But that’s what the survey showed And these you know, these individuals you know, declared that on their own right. I mean they. So you know it’s true And so that’s what your competition is like And that is. Don’t think that that’s easy to hide. If you are checked out, if you’re disengaged, the organization’s gonna know. So we’re talking about the opposite of that.

Be that enthusiastic, willing person, and that is not necessarily today a thought that’s widely received And it’s not necessarily a welcome thing to say well, my employer doesn’t deserve it, they all. I’m only gonna do the minimum of what they pay me for. It’s not on my job description. I’m not doing it. If I’m always supposed to work at five, i’m not staying till 501. We’ve heard all those stories And you can do all of that, but it’s going to limit your success. So that’s right, just do it consciously.

And no, and so we’re. Hopefully the no one operating that way is listening to this particular show, because it’s about how to advance, and you and I have talked about this enough, where I know your perspective is exactly the same as mine. You will not advance that way So you can do it. You may keep your job, you may keep it indefinitely, but that’s it right That if you do the bare minimum, you’re going to get the bare minimum in return.

Ricky Baez: 39:09
You will get back what you put into it. You will get back what you put into it, right? And that is an alarming number, pete, because you said that kind of pause, like 52%, that means 48% of the workforce is actually trying to advance, right? So, yeah, the competition if you’re trying to advance, the competition is not. there’s no reason for you to advance. if you’re doing it for the right reasons, well.

Pete Newsome: 39:32
I don’t even know if it says that, because that option wasn’t available on the survey, which I found kind of interesting because it gave you three options You’re either loudly quitting, quietly quitting, or actively engaged right And trying your best. So it didn’t really account for the people who were just are in the middle, right I mean, which I think is where a decent number lives. So the competition is even lower today with people who are ambitious in trying to get ahead.

So a little will go a long, long way And that’s not necessarily a great thing for our workforce, but it’s a great thing for anyone individually, because you don’t have to again stand out in some giant way, but be conscious of that. What does your manager need to make their lives easier? What is the organization value in their employees? Look around, pay attention Who’s getting promoted, why?

What are they doing? Immulate that, ask questions. I’m a huge fan of being very direct to the person who you report to, whoever makes those decisions about bonuses or raises or promotions. Ask directly what’s the criteria, what does it take, what do you need to do to stand out and then do it? I mean, i know that’s a simple concept, but it’s very effective.

Ricky Baez: 40:59
It’s hard for people to follow because I constantly have to tell my students this is do not be afraid to ask your boss for what you want. And what I get back is well, Ricky, I’m brand new and I don’t think I should be asking for things. Excellent, Ask for help, Ask to teach, Ask to be taught something, But you want to be able to ask your boss for what you want. If you’re going to ask for more work, you got to make sure the work you’re doing right now you’re on time.

Pete Newsome: 41:24
Let me put a different spin on that, ricky, and if you ever let me come and talk to your class, i would love to have this conversation with them. That’s going to happen. Trust me, Don’t ask for what you want. Ask your boss for what they want and need and then operate accordingly. So it’s does it accomplish the same thing? Yes, of course, but that’s how you’re going to get what you want is by delivering what they want to need. And I say this from a very deep personal place where I inherited a boss, and you know the story.

I tell it off and it’s one of the life changing moments for me. Where I was, i worked for a large organization, i enjoyed my job, i worked with a lot of friends, i’d been promoted multiple times. I mean, my life was good And then I inherited a boss who I did not, who I did not fall in line with, i’ll just say, and I, because I knew better and I knew what I was doing, and this person who was new to the company, it wasn’t qualified to tell me what to do. These were all the thoughts that I had in my head that showed in the way I interacted with this new boss and manager, that put me on the wrong side of the equation And it went from a very happy place for me to a miserable place very quickly.

And it was my doing, because I didn’t give that individual what they were looking for from a performance standpoint, for a direct report, because I was doing what I wanted, and that’s a lesson that has stayed with me for more than 20 years now and painful in the moment, valuable ever since, and so what I’ve always told people is the number one thing, no matter what job that you’re in, as long as you’re working for another organization or another person, is to make sure that the person who decides your fate is happy with your performance, and everything else is such a distant second that doesn’t even. It’s not even worth bringing up, right?

So if it’s, hey, i just want you to show up on time every day Now, the bar is not usually that low, right Or I want you to consistently produce the reports that I ask for, or come in with the with an upbeat, enthusiastic attitude every day. That’s what I value the most. You’ll get myriad answers, a limitless number of answers, but if you don’t know, then shame on you for not asking.

And if you know when you don’t do it, then shame on you for not right, not acting just not acting on it right. So if you’re but here’s an important thing If you’re unwilling, right, if you know the answer and then you’re unwilling to adhere to it and perform that way, then you should probably leave right, Because you’re not going to advance. And that’s what happened to me.

My career trajectory came to an immediate halt, hit a brick wall, and it was my doing, And it doesn’t matter that I was right. It doesn’t matter that I knew more because I wasn’t in charge. And that lesson is one that I would shout from the mountains. I tell often because it is probably the biggest determining factor between success or failure. What is the biggest determining factor between success or failure in an organization where you have to report to someone?

Ricky Baez: 44:46
So that that is spot on, man, because it’s yes, you should ask him. You know, you should not be afraid to ask your boss for what you want, but that is gold. Ask him what they want, what makes their life easier. Because, let me tell you, when it comes time to and I hate to bring this up again to make cuts, that’s gonna come into play, right, because, especially if you’re willing to take on new challenges, if everybody else around you It’s, it’s, it’s really good at articulating a problem And it’s really good at telling you what the problem is, but they’re not good.

And taking on the challenge and fixing that problem, there’s your key. So, take on new challenges. Let me tell you, every employee that I had, what made my spine tingling in in happiness. It’s when somebody says a boss or what, but I got it, i got it, i’ll have it up there for you in three days. Boom, i don’t have to worry about it, no more. That is item number 7 million 476 that I don’t have to take a look at today, right?

So if you make your, your boss’s job easy. You are in their good graces and I know how does it come in across. I know people are saying, ricky, you’re saying you should Bronos, you say you should kiss butt. That’s not what I’m saying when I’m saying that you should be a team player. The chemistry has to be there and you have to be able to form really good, solid business relationships. That is the key for you to advance is those personal relationships. You and it goes back to the networking right Pete.

Pete Newsome: 46:05
That’s it. Well, it’s all tied together, yeah, right. So, and I think that’s a perfect way to end you made you made you know another excellent point. So Take, control your own destiny Right, set goals, find a mentor where you can network, take initiative in doing new things, and then ask. Ask for, yeah, ask for for what’s needed and wanted from you in the organization that you’re in, and if you do those things, success will come your way. I truly believe that. And if you don’t immediately, well, immediately.

Ricky Baez: 46:41
But you got to be patient because but it will happen at some point.

Pete Newsome: 46:44
That’s it right, That’s it. So. That is it for today, Ricky. Thank you so much. This is You know. We almost stayed under 45 minutes. We were close almost right quiet. But that’s a smart goal for next week. That’s right, we’ll put a time frame on, but thank you for listening to this episode of finding careers in. We hope you have Benefited from it. We love to hear your feedback, so email us, please. Questions at zen gig comms, the ENG IG. Visit our website and give us feedback on that too. The more you share, the better, and we will create content based on what the market needs. We Think about that every day and and and. If you see something or you don’t see something that would be valuable, we’ll do our best to accommodate it. So we love the feedback.

Ricky Baez: 47:27
Roger, that folks. Again, thank you very much. Have a great one and good night.