Seven Ways to Become Super Productive

Whether you’re starting an internship, a graduate position, revision or entrepreneurial venture here are some top tips to becoming super productive (impressing yourself, employers and fellow colleagues).

1)   Become self-disciplined! Being able to do what you should do when you should do it is one of the key qualities of productive people. Expect that there will be things on your list this summer that you should do but you don’t feel like doing and remember to do them first. By being able to do the things you don’t like quickly, effectively and with a smile will impress those around you and lead to greater productivity and greater success.

2)   Get Clarity: Interns and graduate trainees are often given mini-projects and tasks to complete so that they are able to gain the experience of seeing something through to completion. To complete tasks effectively ask your superiors exactly what it is you need to accomplish and what the exact steps are to accomplishing it. Taking a few moments to plan ahead as opposed to repeatedly asking what you should be doing will be appreciated by those completing their own tasks around you.

3)   Create a To-Do List: According to time management experts working from a list increases productivity by 25%; write down what steps you need to take to complete the task you have been given and commit to doing each one. If there is something on your list you have classified as ‘a might do’ decide to either commit to it as an actionable item or remove it from the list completely. List clutter will only slow you down!

4)   Prioritise! Once you have your list decide which tasks are the most important. A good way to determine the most important tasks is to ask which tasks have the most benefit or consequence if they are done or not done; whilst simultaneously considering the deadlines for each one. By placing the most beneficial or crucial task with the shortest deadline at the top you can begin to formulate a list on the basis of a tasks benefit, effect and urgency.

5)   Create a Daily Plan: Before each day you should create a daily to do list of actionable tasks that you need to complete for that day. Creating a to do list of daily goals will give you an ongoing sense of accomplishment and personal progress once you achieve them. Be realistic, you can always add more to your list and it is likely that you will be given other tasks during the day, which need to be added to your list.

6)   Take Massive Action: Once you have created your first daily list start working on the number one priority on immediately.  Movement creates momentum, the sooner you get going, the sooner get a sense of achievement and the sooner you get a sense of achievement the sooner you accomplish what ever it is you set out to do!

7)   Organise Your Workspace: It is estimated that 30% of valuable, otherwise productive, time is spent searching for misplaced items in the workplace.  Avoid this trap by organising your workspace appropriately, according to the tasks you have to complete that day, making sure you can easily access your to do list and key information and materials you need to complete the task. There is nothing more embarrassing than being asked to find something quickly for a senior colleague and having to root through the piles on your desk to be able to find it.

Why successful entrepreneurs and career high flyers network and why you should too!

When it comes to networking most students & graduates run a mile! But the truth is networking is essential to career and business success.

Here’s why successful entrepreneurs and career high flyers network professionally and why you should too:

  • Networking Leads to Professional Relationships: Networking is all about creating mutually beneficial relationships with people who you can support and with people who can support you! It’s about creating a team of people who are proud promoters of you, your business and your career.
  • Professional Relationships Lead to Personal & Business Success: As members of your team, your professional enthusiasts will often support you in making your personal dreams and business ambitions come true. Whether it’s raising money to climb Kilimanjaro, fast tracking your career or business to the next level or securing that all-important business deal your network is there to support you.

Seven Top Tips to Networking Effectively:

1)     Preparation is Key! Knowing who you want to support and who you want to support you is essential to creating a solid professional network. Creating a network of mutually beneficial connections, will lead to lasting successful professional relationships.

2)     Know Where to Find Them! Do your research, if you’re interested in meeting other entrepreneurs start attending university enterprise activities, entrepreneurial award ceremonies or events such as Start Up Britain Events.   If you want to work within a specific industry begin attending professional body events, company sponsored lunches and informal networking events.

3)     Plan What to Say and Who to Speak to! Once you have chosen the type of people you want on your networking team and you know where to find them, you need to plan what to say and who to speak to. Knowing what to say is easily planned. Simply introduce yourself, tell them a little bit about what you do and begin to find commonalties. Remember the aim of networking is to create a relationship; don’t fall in to the trap of simply pitching your skills, product or service.

Knowing who to speak to is, however, a little trickier. Sometimes event organisers will provide you with a list of attendees and the company they are representing. Identify from the list which attendees you want on your team and then track them down (by reading the name on their badge) and say hello.  If a list isn’t available talk to somebody you think has approachable body language and go from there.

4)     Be the first to say hello! Taking the initiative to say the first hello not only breaks the ice it also illustrates to those around you that you’re a friendly, sociable, approachable person. Somebody they too would like to get to know. Someone who has the communication skills to promote them or their business. It also shows confidence in who you are and/or the business you are promoting.

5)     People are just people! Once networking use effective communication skills to develop rapport and a level of trust. Relax, use welcoming body language and ask people questions (why are they there, what they do etc.) Remember networking is about creating mutually beneficial relationships not just selling your skills, product or service; by asking people questions you can effectively respond to commonalities when they arise.

6)     Say Thank You! If someone you meet at the event introduces you to someone else they think it would be beneficial for you to know, thank them! People like to know their efforts have been appreciated and chances are they will introduce you to other people too.

7)     Keep in Touch! After the event you will hopefully have a pile of business cards from people who want to be on your team. Take time to write down (on the back of the business card) who each person was, what information they shared with you, who they would like to get to know, how can you help them and how can they help you. Then send them a ‘nice to meet you’ email followed up by emails that help them achieve their professional and personal ambitions. Note: collecting business cards is not the aim; creating a team of useful professional contacts is.

Exercise:

1)     Make a list of people who are currently in your team, what you can do for them and what they can do for you. For instance, do you already know somebody who could help find you a summer internship, graduate position or work experience? Contact those who are already part of your team and ask them to support your personal and business aspirations and find out how you support them.

2)     Make a list of the type of people you want on your team and begin to make a list of events and places where you could find them.

So what are you waiting for? Book yourself on to a networking event and begin to develop your professional relationships!

Career Goal Setting – Dream It, Wish It, Do It!

 ‘You have to be before you do and you have to do before you have’ Zig Ziglar

We are big believers in dreaming big, taking massive action and only doing the things we truly love. You see with so many different career paths, entrepreneurial opportunities and lifestyle choices it’s easy to choose a direction and hope it’s the one that will bring you the most excitement, opportunities and lasting happiness. Here’s our top three tips for setting your career goals:

  1. Create a Career Board!
  2. Create a Career List!
  3. Create a Career Plan!

Personal Branding: You 2.0

From me.com websites to professional blogs and photo shoots; personal branding is an increasingly exciting phenomenon among smart students, ambitious professionals and aspiring entrepreneurs! But what exactly is personal branding and what should your personal brand say about you? Wondergrads investigates!

A relatively simple concept ‘personal branding is the process that takes your skills, personality and unique characteristics and packages them into a powerful identity’ that confidently separates you from your competitors. Built on your accomplishments, skills, personality, friends, interests and lifestyle, personal branding tells people who you are, what you do and what makes you different.

Take for example forward thinking graduate ‘Kyle’ who created an online resume website where employers were invited to bid for Kyle as an employee via a well designed, edgy website which branded Kyle as a smart, creative, unique graduate. It is not surprising that soon after launching the site Kyle was offered a graduate position whilst also receiving lots of press coverage, publicity and praise. Why? Because effective personal branding ‘gives people irresistible reasons to work with you’.  By creating a persuasive personal brand you can increase your credibility, influence what people think of you and more importantly make people think of you first. So how do you get started?

Start by taking a personal brand assessment! It is important to recognise that even though you may not have intended to create a personal brand people will already have perceptions about what they think you stand for. To find out what your current personal brand says about you ask people who you know to describe you in five words or less. Ask them:

  • What words come to mind when they think of you?
  • What they consider to be your key skills, strengths and weaknesses?
  • & What values do they think you convey?

Then assess:

  • What words came up repeatedly?
  • What perceptions did others have of you?
  • Were you happy with the way you were perceived?

Before beginning this assessment you should also take the time to write down the words you think describe your current personal brand and then compare them to the feedback you received.

Our first FREE course in personal branding will be launching soon! In the mean time we highly recommend that you read Peter Montoya’s book ‘The Brand Called You’ when you’re looking for some student procrastination inspiration!

Five Interview Tips from MTV’s Ryan Kahn

Today, new grads are facing more obstacles than ever before in finding that first job. Below, Ryan Kahn, a nationally recognized career coach and star of MTV’s hit TV show Hired!, shares his favorite five tips from his book Hired! The Guide for the Recent Grad available at www.HiredGuide.com.

“Never ask about salary until the moment they say you’re hired.  A negotiation tactic I’d recommend is always let them tell you how much the offer is for and avoid giving them your desired salary.  If they ask what range are you looking for, turn it back to them and ask how much someone with your level of experience would make at their company.”

“Most people say show up 10 minutes early to an interview.  I tell my clients to arrive 30 minutes early, park in the parking lot and relax in the car, call a friend or family member, and then walk in the door exactly 10 minutes early calm and collected.  The last thing you want to do is feel rushed getting to the interview. You have enough pressure and stress on the interview day, so give yourself every advantage to make a great initial impression.”

“Research the interviewer’s online presence. It’s best not to broadcast that you were researching them specifically, but to look for common points you can casually bring up during the interview.”

“The interview starts with the receptionist.  The casual conversation you have with the receptionist could help you in the final decision. Often employers will ask his or her opinion and I don’t want you to miss any opportunity to make a great impression. It also helps you look great when you enter the interview with the boss and mention the great conversation you just had. It will show your great people skills.”

“Prior to the interview, have a stamped, addressed blank thank you card ready and with you. This way, right when you walk out of your interview you can write your thank you note while everything is fresh in your mind and drop it right in a mailbox.”

For more tips from Ryan Kahn, including job listings, follow him on Twitter @RyanKahnHired.

THE START UP BRITAIN BUS TOUR IS BACK!

… AND THIS TIME THEY ARE VISITING THE ENTERPRISING YOUTH OF THE UK!

SUB will be travelling the length and breadth of the UK visiting 40 universities and further education colleges, which is set to give students the opportunity to network with and learn from business advisors and successful entrepreneurs, which will help alleviate the fear factor of going it alone. This is what happened when SUB hit the road last year:

And after having so much fun on last year’s tour this is what we had to say:

Find out if the bus stops near you and make sure you come and visit the Wondergrads team on the bus on 01 November 2012!