3 Tips for Developing a Great To-Do List

checklist

On Tuesday, we gave you a nice primer on some of the key reasons why you need to work on your to-do list.

As we mentioned, most jobs require us to multi-task in one form or another, which is why working on our day-to-day tasks requires a lot of careful planning and organization if want to execute our projects and tasks efficiently and successfully.

That’s where the all mighty to-do list comes in. Now that you know why they are so important, here are three tips on how you can go about making your to-do lists a success. Take a look below:

Write a list the night before. Try to make it a habit to write your to-do list the night before. Doing so will help you start your day much faster since you’ll have a better idea of what needs to be done first. And don’t worry: nothing is set in stone, so you don’t need to panic if something comes up and you need to move your list around the following day. In fact, as we mentioned in our other post, having the list will help you better visualize your day and allow you to move things around much easier than if you were to go just off the cuff.

Have multiple lists. Having multiple to-do lists is another great way to organize your day-to-day tasks, especially when it comes to working on daily tasks/short term-projects and long-term goals. Just don’t go overboard and write too many lists, or you may end up getting a little disoriented and wasting your time trying to put the pieces of your day back together.

Organize by importance. This one is pretty straightforward, but it bears mentioning since it is essential to a good to-do list. Try to organize your to-do list in terms of what is most important in your day. Try factoring in what is most important about each task, such as the due date, if it requires a little extra time or is more mentally taxing than other tasks on your list.

Doing so can help make a whole world of difference when it comes to tackling your list, since, as Harvard Business Review contributor Ron Friedman points out, “we have less willpower as the day progresses, which is why it’s best to tackle challenging items–particularly those requiring focus and mental agility–early on.”

What are your thoughts on to-do list? Love or hate them? Let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

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3 Reasons Why You Need to Work on Your To-Do List

to-do-list

Last week, we did an extensive post on the many facets of being a great leader and good boss. As we mentioned, being a good boss requires a lot of juggling and great balance, which is why one characteristic of being a great leader is being well organized.

The same, however, goes for any person in the office. More often than not, we are required to take on a number of different tasks throughout the day, and as such, if we want to succeed, we need to take certain steps in order to help us find the time to complete all these tasks efficiently and perfectly.

That’s why over the next couple of posts, we are going to talk about one of the best ways to get yourself organized and on you’re way to success: the to-do list.

For today, will give you a few reasons why you need to work on your to do list. Take a look below:

It helps you focus.  Harvard Business Review contributor Ron Friedman likens the to-do list at your desk to the mise-en-place or “everything in its place” of the kitchen, stating, “For the experienced chef, mise-en-place represents more than a quaint practice or a time-saving technique. It’s a state of mind.” In short, what Friedman is referring to is the attention and focus you can place on the tasks at hand simply by orienting yourself with a to-do list that will ensure you know exactly where everything is at.

It helps you visualize what’s most important. Having a to-do list is a great way to help you figure out the most important tasks you need to get done in your day. That way, you can ensure that you aren’t scrambling when your superiors are requesting that you turn in a certain assignment.

Likewise, having that kind of visual can help you make sure that you are taking your time on certain projects rather than rushing them because you have to get them in. A to-do list will help because you will know exactly when everything is do and how much time you need to complete them.

It keeps you better prepared for the unexpected. When you have a to-do list, you should be able to know exactly how long each and every task takes to complete. So when something unexpected happens, (i.e. an emergency meeting or a quick assignment) you can just take a look at your to-do list and see how to manage yourself from that point forward in order to ensure that you start everything that needs to be done right away, as well as know what tasks can be put on the back-burner for now.

Check back on Thursday when we give you a few tips on how to work on your to-do list!


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A Guide to AIM Careerlink’s 3rd Quarter Blog Posts of 2014

Summer has officially ended and fall is well on its way! As we do every quarter, we are going to take a look back at the last three months in hopes of making it easier for our readers interested in getting acquainted/re-acquainted with any of the great tips we’ve had throughout our blog. So, without further adieu, here is AIM Careerlink’s guide to the third quarter blog posts of 2014. Take a look below:

Career Essentials

  • Why Networking Matters for Your Career (Part 1, 2)
  • Choosing the Right Connections for Your Network (Part 1, 2)
  • The ‘How, What, When, Where, Why’ on Making a Career Change (Part 1, 2, 3 & 4)
  • Employees: How to Deal with a Difficult Boss (Part 1, 2)

The Candidate Experience

  • What You Need to Know When Using Social Media to Screen Candidates (Part 1, 2)
  • Employers: Paying Attention to Your Candidates in the Waiting Room (Part 1, 2)

Leadership Essentials

Social Media

Technology

Is there a post that you really enjoyed from this quarter, we’d love to hear about it! Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

 

The Good Boss: The Many Dimensions of Being a Great Leader (Part III)

good-boss

Last week, we took some time to break down the many different facets of being a good boss. And as we mentioned, sometimes it can be hard to juggle all of the characteristics that make up a well-rounded boss.

Don’t worry though, in this post we are going to talk about some of the ways you can make sure you are taking the right approach to handling these “many hats”. And hopefully in turn, become the boss all of your employees want to work for. Take a look below:

Be adaptable: While there are certainly some things that everyone likes in a leader, some people place a higher value on some characteristics more than others. And, for a boss who is most likely supervising more than one person, the chances are that each and every employee likes something a little different. As a boss, it is up to you to be aware of these differences. Take the time to get to know what everyone on your team likes. In turn, building these relationships can help ensure that you are on good terms with your employees, as well as boost moral. You don’t necessarily have to be super accommodating at all times, but at least having a basic idea of what each person looks for in a boss will make things much easier when it comes to interacting with them, especially when you are helping them out.

Know your limitsWhile this series has been about how to juggle the many dimensions of being a great leader, we’d also like to point out that it isn’t always possible to do all of these things at once. Understanding that you can’t be everywhere is the best way to ensure that you don’t stretch yourself too thin or cut any corners when it comes to being a good boss. In short, you need to know your limits. Doing so is an essential part of being well balanced because it helps to ensure that you are doing what you need to do the right way, rather than doing a little bit of everything at once and burdening yourself with all of that responsibility. So, make sure you do all you can to know your limits –your employees will thank you for it in the long run.

That wraps up our series on the good boss! What do you think makes a good boss and what are some tips you have that you didn’t see in our posts? Let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!


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The Good Boss: The Many Dimensions of Being a Great Leader (Part II)

balance

On Tuesday we gave you an introduction to some of the characteristics that employees look for in a good boss. As we mentioned, being a great leader has many different facets. And as such, it can be hard sometimes figuring out how to juggle all of them in order to be a well-rounded boss.

To round off our list, here are just a few more dimensions we think every good boss should encompass. Take a look below.

An organizerAs a team leader, it is up to you to manage the daily schedule of each and every one of your employees, and that requires a lot of planning and timing on your end. Being an organizer not only for your team’s schedule, but also for your own is an essential element to what it means to be a good boss. When things start getting out of order on your end, you’ll most likely see things slipping up on your employees’ end as well, so it’s important that you stay organized.

A quick thinkerA great leader must also think on their feet. No matter how organized we are mishaps and mistakes that are beyond our control are bound to happen. Being able to come in and calmly remedy those situations is an indispensable asset to being a good boss. Not only does it make the lives of your employees much easier, it makes your life easier as well.

A humble personFinally, no matter how great you are, a leader is also able to know their shortcomings, and also be aware that there are others who are better. Everyone makes mistakes, and having the ability to accept those mistakes and know when you are wrong is an important part of moving forward and fixing them. On top of that, knowing that there are others out there who are much better than you helps to strengthen your drive and desire to improve.

From an employee’s perspective, it can also alleviate any fear that they can’t go to you. When you are a humble leader, your employees will see that you are human and just as susceptible to failure as they are. So when they are have a problem they are able to turn to you, ensuring that the situation gets fixed before it gets worse.

Have any characteristics you’d like to add to our list? Let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!


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The Good Boss: The Many Dimensions of Being a Great Leader (Part I)

dimensions

Every leader wants to be a good boss to their team. Sometimes though, that can be pretty hard, especially considering the many levels that go into what it means to be a good boss.

Just what do we mean? Well, on the one end, a good boss wants to be well respected and in a position of authority, but on the other end, they want to feel like they can be counted on like a friend.

As such, it can be hard to find that nice balance. So over the next few posts, we are going to give you the run down on the many dimensions of what it means to be a great leader. For today, we’ll explain some of the characteristics many people look for in a their boss. Take a look below.

An authority figure: Simply put, a great leader is someone who is well respected, and one way to gain that respect is by being an authority in your respective field. Having the knowledge to back up your position is an indispensable asset to have because it means that when a team member has a question, they can go directly to you and know that you will always have the right answer, or at least provide them with the appropriate direction/step necessary to get their questions answered.

A friend: When we say “friend” we don’t necessarily mean you need to be that person your employee can go out for a drink with after work –though, we won’t criticize you if you are. Rather, a good boss is someone who an employee can count on and expect to be taken care of when things get tough. In short, you need to make sure you are a great support system and someone your employee can trust, rather than the scary boss who reprimands them when they do something wrong.

A great communicator: A great boss is also a great communicator. Knowing how to adequately express commands, criticisms, praise, etc, is an essential part of being a leader. Without good communication skills, your employees are left to fill in the blanks and that can end up getting messy and frustrating, especially when they don’t see eye-to-eye.

On Thursday, we’ll continue the conversation with a few more characteristics that employees look for in a good boss. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!


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New Updates on Facebook’s User Privacy Controversy

Facebook

Recently, Facebook ran into some issues regarding its user privacy settings. As we mentioned in a previous post, Facebook users made a stink when Facebook’s new messenger app asked its users for permission to access various mobile device features (contacts, calendar, location, microphone, etc). Users felt as if the social media giant was asking to divulge more personal information than necessary—putting the social media giant in a tough spot, as it opened up the possibility of users leaving the platform for good. Fortunately though, most of the rumors were dispelled and a lot of the backlash subsided.

Being on the cautious side however, Facebook recently published a blog, detailing all the new updates to the Facebook app (messenger and platform) that would coincide with the launch of the Apple’s iOS 8. One of the updates specifically deals with the users privacy settings. Here is what they had to say:

“Nothing has changed about how Facebook gets location information from devices, but Apple has updated its Location Services setting.”

Rather, as the blog notes, iOS 8 now gives you a choice of three different kinds of permission: Always, While Using the App, or Never, as opposed to the previous two choices of On or Off. So for those users who previously set their permission to “On”, the new update will now have that permission set to “Always”. But as Facebook points out, the user will still have full control over your location information. Facebook will not receive any of your information unless you enable location services or use the “Nearby Friends” option, which can pull up your information (if you allow it) even when Facebook isn’t being directly used.

Facebook’s Private Sharing App

Rumors are also floating around that Facebook plans to launch a new app designed to encourage private content sharing. The app, currently called “Moments”, will allow users to send private content to friends and family. Many speculate Facebook’s new app as an attempt to woo back users who have been put off by the social media giant’s ever-changing privacy settings.

So, What’s the Take Away?

While we won’t speculate on the outcome of this new “app”, we will say that Facebook’s recent post on the iOS 8 launch, and what it means for the application, is a good indication that they are at least trying to appease users who are currently frustrated with them. Whether or not it pays off, we’ll just have to wait and see— but as we like to point out, it’s always good to be in the know of what’s going on with our favorite recruiting tools.

What do you guys think? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!

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3D Printing Skills: Now Highly Coveted Among Tech Jobs

3d-printing

At AIM Careerlink we pretty much love all things tech, especially when it intersects with people’s careers. In the past few years, the tech-world has blown up and nowhere have things been “techier” than in the 3D printing sector.

Simply put, 3D printing has gotten big. So big in fact that according to Wanted Analytics, a global analytics firm for the talent marketplace, “35% of all ads posted for engineering jobs in the last 30 days prioritize 3D printing and additive manufacturing as the most sought-after skill.”

And that’s not all—here is what else they found:

  • Wanted Analytics also found that within the last four years, there has been a 1,834% increase in the number of job ads requiring workers with 3D printing skills, and a 103% increase in August 2014 compared to August 2013.
  • Also according to Wanted Analytics, Industrial engineers, mechanical engineers, software developers/applications, commercial and industrial designers, and marketing managers are some of the most in-demand jobs right now that require 3D printing.
  • Manufacturing currently has the highest number of positions for 3D printing, with other industries following close behind, including:
    • Other Computer Peripheral Equipment Manufacturing
    • Colleges, Universities, and Professional Schools
    • Tire and Tube Merchant Wholesalers
    • Search, Detection, Navigation, Guidance, Aeronautical, and Nautical System and Instrument Manufacturing
    • Aluminum Sheet, Plate, and Foil Manufacturing
  • There has also been a global spike in the demand for freelancers with 3D printing expertise. For example, there are a number of freelance sites, such as Elance and ODesk, showcasing freelancers and their skills, as well as the various job boards popping up that specifically focus on 3D printing.

So what’s the take away?

Suffice to say, 3D printing is huge and it only seems like it will get bigger. As a part of our mission, AIM’s primary purpose is “IT talent development from early student interest – to linking them to careers – to ongoing career development.” And one area we think will make a huge impact on careers in the future is the field of 3D printing.

So, for those interested in an IT driven career, we definitely suggest at least taking a look into the 3D printing world. Not only because it is a great resume booster, innovative and tech-forward, but also because it is just so darn cool.

What do you think about 3D printing? Is it here to stay or will it fizzle out? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!


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The ‘How, What, When, Where, Why’ on Making a Career Change (Part IV)

planning

Over the past two weeks, we’ve given you the skinny on making a career change—outlining when it is time to start thinking about a career change, what you need to consider before doing so, and how to make that change successfully.

As we mentioned, making a career change can be a long and sometimes difficult process, especially considering that most people try to have one career and stick with it. Fortunately, with a few key considerations and some careful planning, you can try to make your career change as stress free as possible.

So today we wrap up our series with just a few more tips. Take a look below:

Don’t rush things:  Success doesn’t usually happen overnight, so don’t kick yourself just because things aren’t happening as quickly as you’d like. One tip we mentioned in our last post is that you need to make sure you have a plan when making a career change, and part of that planning is setting up different levels of goals for yourself. This will help position you towards making a more successful career change because it will give you a better timeline of when your goals should be completed.

Accept the curve balls:  Another thing we’d like to point out is the inevitability of curve balls as you try to make your career change. But just like you shouldn’t worry that things aren’t happening as fast as they should, try to accept that things don’t always go as planned. Make the most out of these hiccups by accepting them as simply another challenge to changing your career. If you really want to make the change, then it will be worth it in the end.

Be realistic:  Although we already mentioned this in our post on things to consider before making a career change, it bears mentioning again: it is very important that you are realistic throughout the entire process. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t push your boundaries and try to go above and beyond. Just make sure that you are always keeping in mind the consequences of your actions, and how far you are willing to go to do what you want. If it seems way over your head, then we suggest giving it some more thought before you go ahead and execute it.

Have you made a career change in your life? What tips do you have to add to our list? Let us know by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!


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The ‘How, What, When, Where, Why’ on Making a Career Change (Part III)

career-change

In our last two posts, we talked about when it is time to start thinking about a career change and what you need to consider before you go ahead and commit yourself to that change.

For many, making a career change is a big deal, one that has many steps and considerations to it, which is why we’ve split up our post into a four-part mini series.

Now that we’ve given you some of the preliminary steps and considerations to making a career change, we are going to give you some concrete advice. Take a look below for pointers on how to successfully make a career change:

Utilize your current network: There is no doubt that within the amount of time you’ve spent in your current career, you’ve built yourself up a pretty good network. Don’t feel afraid to take advantage of the current network you have. Sure, you may be “turning a new leaf” but that doesn’t mean you should abandon the great network you’ve worked so hard to develop. All of those great contacts shouldn’t go to waste, especially the ones you are really close to—chances are they will probably know how to help you out the most.

Have a plan or two: When it comes to making a career change, one of the biggest mistakes you could make is going into it without a plan. Sure, it is perfectly okay to feel a little uncertain about how things are going to turn out –we think that should be expected –but the last thing you want to do is to take a shot in the dark, especially if you have a lot riding on this change (financial obligations, family obligations, etc). So, what we suggest is that you try your best to at least articulate what it is that you want out of your next career and then figure out a few different ways you can approach making that happen. Otherwise, you run the risk of falling back into a career you don’t really want, or failing at even making a change.

Check back on Thursday when we give you some more tips on how you successfully make a career change. In the meantime, let us know your thoughts by connecting with us on Facebook or Twitter. We’d love to hear from you!


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