6 Smart Ways to Get Ahead in Your Career

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There are a lot of ways to advance your career that are not at all obvious until you see them work.

They are things that are often learned by watching your peers advance around you.  Or, when looking back at your own career, you realize they are what worked for you.

  1. Don’t criticize your boss, especially not in front of others.

It is a very rare leader who can take feedback and disagreement from a subordinate and be thankful for it.  If you disagree with your boss, before you tell say anything, think about how your boss will react; and if you still want to give him/her feedback, do it as carefully as you can.  Perhaps you could present it (frame it) as “another idea” or an enhancement to the boss’s idea, not as a critique of the his/her idea.  Sometimes supporting your boss’ decision is better than voicing disagreement.

2. Make your hours match the hours of important influencers.

Even if you work more hours, if you are not there when key decisions are being made, or assignments are being handed out, you may find yourself missing out on opportunities to shine.

3. Figure out if people prefer email vs. scheduled meetings vs. the “drop-in”.

Some of your superiors like email, others prefer impromptu meetings, and others want you to book a spot on their calendar.  You probably have your own preference.  But forget your preference.  Even if you think email is more efficient, put yourself in their head if you want to get ahead.

4. Never complain that you have too much work.

It may feel like you have too much to do.  But complaining never helps.  Work more hours, find a peer to help you, be clever about how you get things done.  Asking if a deadline is a “hard” date is better than complaining that you have too much to do.

5. Come up with something new.

No matter what your role is, coming up with a great idea is often the ticket to success.  Don’t pitch bad ideas in the hopes that someone likes them.  Pitch ideas you feel great about, and even then, anticipate the reaction when deciding who to pitch it to and when.

6. Be the expert at something.

Find a skill or critical knowledge (e.g. a process, or a software application used at your company) and dig into the details.  Learn it thoroughly, so that you will be the one counted on whenever it needs to be upgraded, discussed, or used differently.  If your boss counts on you for 1 thing, they will probably realize they can count on you for other things as well.

Top 5 Reasons You’ll Make a Great Medical Assistant

Careers in healthcare are on the rise, and medical assisting continues to be projected as one of the fastest growing occupations. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, the career outlook for medical assistants is quite impressive. In fact, it’s projected to have a much faster than average job growth all the way through to the year 2024. From 2014 to 2024, it is expected that medical assistant employment will grow by 23%. As a result of this, you may be asking yourself – would I make a good medical assistant?

There are many traits that contribute to a person being successful as a medical assistant. Take a look at the top five reasons you’ll make a great medical assistant.

You are a Good Listener.

Listening is essential in the healthcare field. During the course of your day, you will need to listen to the needs and concerns of your patients and extract vital information to relay to the medical team. Not only will you be expected to listen to your patients, but you will also need to listen to doctors and nurses. You must be able to take instructions from them for multiple patients at a time and execute those directions properly. This is another vital skill that requires you to be able to listen carefully.

You are Compassionate. 

As a medical assistant, you are going to have patients that are experiencing many different emotions and it is an essential part of your job to be there to comfort and support them.  In some cases, your patients may be in pain or have terminal conditions that require a high level of compassion and empathy.

You Love Helping People.

 There is hardly a greater field, than healthcare for a caring person who loves to help people. As a medical assistant, you have the opportunity to have a positive impact on people every day.  Whether you are taking a patient’s history, performing a blood draw or helping a patient understand their condition, what you do really matters and has an ultimate effect on the patient’s well-being.

You Work Well Under Pressure.

Dealing with patients that have a serious illnesses, or life threatening injuries, is not easy. Being able to maintain your professional demeanor while you are under intense pressure is essential to good patient care.  In addition, working in a busy medical office can get quite hectic.  Being a medical assistant requires someone who is patient, tolerant, and in-control even when under pressure.

You are a Team Player.

 Working in healthcare means being a part of a team that includes doctors, specialists, nurses, administrators, and more. The ability to work well as a team is an integral part of being a medical assistant.  You will need to be able to work with different personalities and different skill levels in an effort to provide your patients with the most comprehensive care. Providers rely heavily upon a strong team of professionals to help everything run smoothly.

Does this sound like you? While you may not possess all of these traits yet, you can get there. If you’re ready to start your healthcare career training, we’re here to help. Check out the Medical Assisting program at STVT today to find the location closest to you.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – South Texas Vocational Technical Institute

6 Reasons to Train for a Career in Welding

Welding is a career that is in great demand right now. Lack of skilled trades in the work force has made welding a very sought after profession. “Hard work, dedication and the drive to be the best we can at what we do, sets welding apart from other trades,” boasts, STVT San Antonio, Combination Welding Instructor, Samuel Elizondo. We asked him for his professional thoughts why welding is such a beneficial career path. Here are 6 reasons why you should train for a career in welding:

  1. Skilled Welders Are Always in High Demand

 Welding is one of the few career choices that is always in high demand. Since welders are vital in almost every industry, they have the flexibility of moving from one industry to another without changing careers. As a career choice, welding has endless opportunities that continue to fuel the demand.  There are very few things made in the world today that have not been in the hands of a welder, at one point or another. In addition, according to a report by Weld-Ed, the National Center for Welding Education and Training, between 2009 and 2019, there will be a need for 238,692 new and replacement welding professionals. One major reason for the high need is that the average age of the welder in this country is about 60 years old. As this generation of welders retires, the demand for skilled welders to replace them, increases.

  1. Welders Have Endless Career Paths to Choose From

Demand for welders has been high all over the country, but in Texas, in particular, the demand has been strong for the past few years, largely because of the booming energy-related industries. Welding is career that offers a vast number of industries to work in, which greatly increases the number of career paths to choose from. A few examples of the fields in which you can work are: inspection, engineering, education, project management, sales, and robotics.

  1. Welders Have the Opportunity to Travel the World

Welders travel the world due to their jobs and their unique skill sets. Welding is done everywhere from the bottom of the ocean, to outer space and everywhere in between.  It is a profession that can take you places.

  1. Welding Can Be Quite Lucrative

Welding is one of the higher paid skilled trades in the industry. Depending on skill level most welders make very good money. Did you know that welding is one of the few careers where you can earn a six figure income without a college degree? Highly skilled welders willing to travel and/or work in hazardous conditions can earn upwards of $100,000 a year.  But remember, just like any other profession, when it comes to welding, salaries can vary a lot.  If you are well trained, at a welding school like South Texas Vocational Technical Institute, willing to work hard, and possess a good work ethic, the sky’s the limit.

  1. Job Satisfaction: Welders Love What They Do

Welders are used to hard work and do not mind doing it. Becoming a welder takes patience, practice and persistence. Completing the perfect weld is a feeling like no other. Welders take pride in their work; that coupled with the fact that they are actually making something with their own hands, contributes to the level of job satisfaction.

  1. Welders Aren’t Stuck Behind a Desk

Many people choose welding as a career because they don’t want to be stuck behind a desk all day. Welders get to work in a variety of different environments from hot to cold, or high in the sky, to deep under water. The choices are endless.

As you can see, there are many reasons to pursue a career in welding and the possibilities are endless. To get started or to request information about the Combination Welding program at STVT click here.

Written by: Jennifer Robinson, Social Media Coordinator/Blog Editor – STVT Institute

The Most Important Thing to Take on an Interview

The day has arrived and you are preparing for your first interview. You have worked hard to learn a new skill. You have studied and passed your certification exam. You have a copy of your diploma, transcript and certificates demonstrating great attendance and grade point averages in your portfolio. You have multiple copies, ready to leave one behind for anyone that asks. You have prepared an award winning resume. Your interview attire is perfect- clean and ironed. You have studied the top 10 questions you could be asked on an interview and you have prepared answers for all of them. But, there is still something missing. Self-Confidence.

The one thing that will win an employer over is a candidate that possesses self-confidence. Self-confidence is a magnet for success. It means that you believe in your own skills, goals, and ability to succeed. In an article posted in the Time Management Ninja, the author lists 10 reasons that self-confidence leads to success.

 10 Reasons That Self-Confidence Leads to Success:

  1. The Drive to Start Things – Confident people start things. They are not shy about striking out on a new idea even when those around them are still pondering it.
  2. The Ability to Stand Up for Oneself – Confidence allows you to stand up for yourself in a fair and consistent manner. Otherwise, you may find yourself unheard or unfairly treated.
  3. The Ability to Say No – Confident people have the ability to say “No” where appropriate. They do not take on unnecessary or inappropriate work or obligations.
  4. The Ability to Say Yes – And at the same time, confident individuals say “Yes” to opportunity. They do not miss new options because they are shy. I have seen individuals pass up opportunities (even promotions) because they didn’t think they were “worthy”.
  5. Confidence Overcomes Fear – Lack of confidence can lead to paralysis from fear. Fear of failure. Fear of what others think. Fear of the unknown. To succeed, you need the confidence to face and overcome your fears.
  6. Believe In Themselves – Self-confidence means believing in yourself. Henry Ford said, “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t — you’re right.” He was right.
  7. Set the Bar High Enough – Confident individuals set the bar high and aim high. Lack of confidence leads to weak goals, setting the bar too low, and mediocre results.
  8. Stretch Your Limits – Confidence lets you know your limits and test them. By stretching your limits you increase them. You are stronger than you think.
  9. Confidence Asks Questions – Confidence allows you to ask questions, even when others are silent. Confidence even lets you “ask for the job”.
  10. Believe In Winning – Confident people believe in success. And more importantly, they believe in their ability to succeed.

As you prepare to land your new career opportunity, consider the most important thing you can take with you, self-confidence. When you believe in yourself, you stand out in the crowd and you will always have good success!

To ensure that you’re prepared make an appointment with your Career Services team.

Written by: Shaundra Hamilton, Ancora Education – Vice President of Career Services

Land the Right Medical Assistant Job for You

Before moving to Fort Worth, I was gainfully employed as a medical assistant in Austin, Texas. The family practice employed five providers in total, three physicians and two nurse practitioners. I look back on this time fondly, as I couldn’t have found a better fit to start my career. The work was intriguing and fulfilling. I learned about differing techniques, odd medical anomalies, the inner workings of insurance companies, countless lessons on people in general, and so much more. While my professional skills and personality made me the right candidate for the position in that office, I like to think my prep work helped get my foot in the door. These are the top five things helped me land the right Medical Assistant job for me.

  1. Be a detective. Before an interview, find out everything you can about the practice. Read reviews on Yelp. Look over the company website. I even Facebook and LinkedIn stalked people that worked there after the first interview. You can prepare a list of questions for your interviewer not only to gain vital information on the position, but also to show that you care about the role. Learn about the providers. The practitioner(s) you are supporting can drastically change your job description. At one practice, the Medical Assistants were assigned to different providers daily. One Nurse Practitioner wanted me to get in and out of the rooms with little more information than the patient’s vitals and medication lists. She would get very agitated if I spent more than 5 minutes with the patient. Another doctor wanted a full medical history with vitals taken and labs processed before she entered the room. The best decision is made when you know the job, what is expected of you, and the medical personnel you will support.
  2. Know your ideal position. Some openings for Medical Assistants are desk jobs. The position requires very little face to face interaction with patients. They need someone to solely process referrals or prescription refills. Another position may have the MA only rooming patients. Most places I came across had a mix of both, but know what you want to do or are okay with doing before wasting everyone’s time. I once attended an interview with a vague job description at an allergy clinic. When I found out the position entailed being cooped up in a lab mixing homeopathic allergy tonics and Fedexing them to patients, I was no longer interested.
  3. Identify your values and trust what your gut tells you. If you don’t believe in homeopathy, you shouldn’t work for an office whose main course of treatment is homeopathy. Watch how the leaders treat other employees. If the thought of an abrasive personality in a manager makes you ill, don’t take the job. You will quit or be miserable, which would ruin an otherwise fun, interesting, and gratifying career. After moving from Austin, I hastily accepted a position with a family practice in a well-to-do neighborhood. While it was called a family practice, it was one stop shopping for some of the patients. While I was occupied with little Johnnie’s strep throat, Mrs. Cooper scowled impatiently across the lobby to get her Botox injections. My next patient would be getting his HCG injection equipment.  I was supposed to teach him how to inject the horse hormones to stave off hunger on a 500 calorie per day diet. I was annoyed by the fact that doctors were incorporating beauty treatments at a family practice, but I was horrified that a doctor’s office would embrace a dangerous and inefficient weight loss scam like the HCG diet. The practice manager explained to me that the patients wanted these things, so we had to comply to keep their business. I could not sell gimmicky healthcare and found a new job quickly.
  4. Volunteer in a medical environment. Start NOW. Lack of job experience will make a resume sparse and sad, but a year of volunteering in a hospital or nursing home can beef up the CV and get your foot in the door for an interview. This will also give you the opportunity to network in the medical community. I was a birth doula for a fantastic organization that helped women with little or no support when having a baby. It was fun, rewarding, and later got me into an amazing practice.
  5. Smile. Of course you smile when meeting for interviews, but amp it up.  Smile when you make the calls. Smile at patients in waiting rooms. Smile at the receptionist; she will hopefully be a future coworker. Smiling lowers stress, releases neurotransmitters responsible for euphoria, and makes you look more attractive and sincere. Don’t force it. If you aren’t in a cheerful mood, reference something in your mind that makes you grin. Practice smiling. I’m not making this up. Google it!

To find your ideal Medical Assistant position, be as prepared as possible. Check out the office, people, and philosophies of the practice to verify this is a position you want. Volunteer to network, look better on paper, and feel like a decent human being. Then SMILE because you will find the best opportunity for you.

Written by: Megan McCatty, IT Administrative Assistant – Ancora Education

NOT NETWORKING = NOT WORKING

shutterstock_194022155_renderedIf you are clever at small-talk, have the confidence to insert a positive personal story that almost fits into a conversation, and can manage to sound smart when discussing news, business, and sports, you are a good networker. If you prefer to talk to people you know, don’t know how to keep a conversation going in an uncomfortable situation, and don’t like the pressure of always being “on,” then you my friend, are NORMAL!

Whether you love to network or hate to network, your career just might depend on it. “Networking” in the professional context, means talking and relating to people for the sake of improving your career.  But guess what? Your best network is the people you already know!

I have had 7 jobs in 20 years (large and small companies, several you have heard of), and 5 of the 7 jobs would not have happened if it weren’t for my friends. Here are the 7 jobs, and who got me the “in” I needed to land an interview.

  1. IT Consultant – My sister, and my best friend’s wife were both employed at my targeted employer. They got my resume to hiring managers.
  2. Process Manager – A friend that I met during my first job left and got a new job at a new company. He told me about the role and got me in the door.
  3. Product Manager – Someone I barely knew from a co-ed 4-person beach volleyball league.
  4. Product Manager – Monster.com. Yep, no help on this one. But my resume worked now that I had “Product Manager” on it.
  5. Regional Director – High School friend I had kept in touch with and hounded about jobs over the years. He finally came through.
  6. Project Manager – CareerBuilder.com. Yep, no help. Miracles do happen.
  7. Product Strategy Director – Someone from a parent-company that I was in training with for 5 days. During training he was impressed with me (so don’t act like a clown during training–you never know who could be of help to you later).

The key for me was that I let everyone mentioned above know I was looking for work, and what kind of work might be good for me.

When I was “in between jobs” do you know what kept me sharp, gave me confidence, and helped me practice those uncomfortable conversations with strangers? Job networking groups. Guess how many job offers I got through a networking group? Zero! Would I go to one again, and did I see it help other people get jobs? Absolutely.

Look for groups like this one:

http://careerdfw.org/J/

Consider clubs and groups for employed individuals. People with jobs are better at helping people get jobs!

http://www.networkafterwork.com

Join your local Rotary club.

Join your local Chamber of Commerce

But most importantly, network with friends, family, and family friends!

Written By: Dan Morchower, Product Strategy Director – Ancora Education