Benefits of Taking a Sabbatical

2Roads-blogs (4)Taking a sabbatical can have several long-term benefits if one has the determination to take one. This doesn’t mean you have to spend your life savings or ditch your entire career. Taking time off from your career may help you develop new skills, decompress from your busy life, and give you insight on your career and life goals.

Here are some benefits of taking a sabbatical:

You’ll Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Be curious and explore! You don’t have to climb mountains or put your life in danger, but just venturing out opens doors you never knew existed. You’ll have an outsider’s perspective when you travel to a new city. The possibilities seem endless, because they truly are…even back at home!

Traveling is a time for you to learn about yourself and watch your identity transform. Taking small steps outside your comfort zone will help you with your risk taking later on in life.

Time Management

A 6-month long sabbatical sounds like a long time, but when you’re traveling, it goes by quickly. There will be times when you’re homesick and your exploration might be hindered. Your experience may feel like a challenge if you’re counting down the days until you hop on the plane to go home.

Keep a positive perspective, always. Make new friends and go sight-seeing together or have dinner. The most difficult parts of your sabbatical are when you’ll learn the most.

Relate Your Experiences to Your Career

Traveling is a good time for you to reflect on your skills and even your career path. Identify experience that utilize your skills and challenge yourself by mastering new ones. For example, if you’re an aspiring artist, visit museum talks and seminars. Introduce yourself to speakers and curators. You never know whom you’re going to might meet in the art world. Networking abroad will help you build your portfolio and will inspire your work, too.

Your sabbatical experiences may even help you become a better professional later on. You may want a whole new career path when you return home, or maybe you’ll even find work abroad. Keep an open mind and document your journey. Opportunity is everywhere.

After your journey, reintegrating yourself into the working world may have different effects. Maybe you’ll have a career change, or maybe you’re going to apply to a different position. Maybe you’re content with your current position.
When you return home, stay open and keep the same sense of self-discovery that you had during your sabbatical. You’ll recognize that opportunities are everywhere, no matter where you travel.

Reasons You Should Publish on LinkedIn

2Roads-blogs (3)LinkedIn is continuously making changes to its platform, making it easier for you to see who’s in your network and to keep track of industry trends and insights. These connections make LinkedIn a very powerful tool for job seekers.
It’s publishing platform is now open to everyone, and if you don’t have a website or blog yet, LinkedIn is the perfect jump starter for you.

Here are some reasons why you should be posting to LinkedIn:

Get Featured on LinkedIn Pulse

With so many users, your content could become noticed. Link your posts to other social media platforms, such as Facebook, Google +, and Twitter. Posting to LinkedIn may help you reach a wider audience. If your connections like or comment your posts, their connections will see them, and so on.

You Already Have an Audience
Getting together a following is the hardest part about blogging but LinkedIn’s tools have already formed your connections for you. All of your posts and shares will land on your connection’s news feeds and
The hardest part about blogging and becoming a thought leader is getting together a following. LinkedIn has already done that for you in the form of your connections. Like an update, any posts you write get onto your connection’s news feeds and, if they like or comment, they’ll get sent out to their connections, and so on.

Your Portfolio is on Your Profile
Once you’ve established your following, your experience, skills, and professional insights are readily available on the front of your LinkedIn profile. Your searchable posts link directly to your profile, making LinkedIn a great and simple way to become more visible.

LinkedIn’s innovative platform makes putting your insights out there much easier, while creating a personal brand, and establishing a following.

3 Skills That’ll Make Your Resume Stronger

2Roads-blogs (2)If you’re interested in getting a job in a specific field but not sure where to start, look at job listings and take note of the skills that appear on the majority of them. You may already have a lot of these skills, and once you know that, you can figure out what to learn next to prepare yourself for the job market.

Here are some in-demand skills that you’ll find on many job listings:

Ability to Work With a Team
It’s vital to be able to work with a team effectively and efficiently. It doesn’t matter what your job title may be, you’ll most likely be working with other people as a team. Be ready to take on any projects together as well as some on your own.

Planning and Organization
When you’re working with a team on a large project, staying organized plays a major role in being effective and efficient. It’s important to make sure that others stay organized too.

Planning ahead and anticipating your team’s next move to accomplish its goals is another way of staying organized. During an interview, show off your planning and organizational skills by talking about long-term team projects.

Problem-Solving Skills

It doesn’t matter what field you are in, you’re going to need problem solving skills – customer support, marketing support, team support. Work always has you focusing on coming up with solutions to problems. Be prepared to talk about how you’ve had to solve problems professionally, and this will make a manager or recruiter feel like you’re a go-getter.

Being able to find the information you need to do your job is a key aspect of your career search. The working industry is always changing so it’s important to research things that you may need.

3 Ways to Stay Successful by Stepping Away From Your Desk

2Roads-blogs (1)When you stuck at work with an endless amount of tasks to complete, the phone is ringing off the hook, and your inbox is blowing up, the last thing you want to do is step away from your desk. Did you know that staying glued to your computer screen and not getting up can actually hurting your job performance?

Here are a few ways that’ll make you more successful, and they don’t include sitting at your desk.

Exercise
Keep up your productivity by exercising while at work, especially if you don’t have time to head to the gym. Going on a 20 minute walk during lunch or doing some desk stretches can leave you feeling rejuvenated. Get the blood circulating and take your lunch break to the next level!

Have Lunch With Your Colleagues
Make time to chat with your coworkers over lunch at a restaurant or even just at the table in the break room. This gives you the opportunity to bond with the people in your office and find out what role they play in your company’s success, which is beneficial for your career.

Friendly competition is always great to have around. Find someone in the office that you don’t know that well and ask that person to lunch. Get to know that person, and you never know what will come from it.

Take a Catnap
Take a quick nap at work during your lunch break, be it in the break room or in your car. Just 15 to 20 minutes of sleep will help your productivity for the rest of your workday.

Being stuck at your desk all day can hurt your job performance, so get up and exercise, head to a restaurant, or close your eyes for a few. Stay happy and refreshed!

Motivate Yourself to Work Hard, Always!

2Roads-blogsWe all have good days and bad days, and on those bad days it’s hard to stay motivated to work hard. We can get caught up in these funks that leave us uninspired and it may even seem impossible to get things done. Here are some ways to get you motivated during those times when you need it most:

Don’t Think About it as Hard Work
Instead of psyching yourself out with the words, “hard work,” think if your tasks as goals that will help you get to where you want to be in your career, or in life. Go in with a positive attitude, knowing that once your task is complete, you’ll feel so much better. You may even realize that it wasn’t as difficult as you thought it would be.

Set Small Goals
It’s important to be ambitious. You should never lose sight of your goals, so always look at the big picture. Of course, in order to reach that audacious goal, you must break it down into smaller tasks. This is an easy way to keep track of your progress while also feeling a sense of achievement. This will also make your big goals seem less daunting… One step at a time!

Celebrate The Small Victories
Acknowledge all of your achievements, both big and small. Don’t discount any of it! We are so quick to scorn ourselves for making mistakes, but how many times have we stopped to say, “Wow, I did great!”? Recognize your hard work with each step of the way. You’re brilliant!

Do it Now!

It’s easy to freeze in situations where you know a million things need to get done and you don’t know where to start. The most effective trick is to just do it. It really works! Instead of letting your mind wander, just take action. Trust that the focus will be what you need.

These motivational habits will help you jumpstart when you’re feeling uninspired or down. Always remind yourself of your worth, and when worst comes to worse, be a do-er!

Important Career Lessons

2Roads-blogs (3)If you’re ready for a career change or if you’re scared of being stuck with a career that you don’t love, it doesn’t mean that you’re being foolish or ungrateful. You’re being honest with yourself! Here are a few things to ensure you that considering a career change is OK:

You Want Something Different in Your Career

Career happiness and fulfillment comes from enjoying your work, and from feeling valued, engaged and excited. Remind yourself how great you are and how much you have to offer. There are so many people that can benefit from your skills. You can and will make an impact if you challenge yourself. You might be scared, but know that you may be onto something great.

The Sky’s The Limit

You work experience as an adult makes you more valuable than you think! You have an education and a few jobs under your belt, along with the ability to do anything. Change is scary, yes, but you’re never too invest to go through a change.

You have many years of work ahead of you. Know that you’re intelligent and can be trained to do anything. People will respect and listen to you as long as you’re willing to work hard like you’ve been doing your whole life. Make the most of your time!

Fear Means That You’re Onto Something Great

Fear is an indicator that you’re onto something new so don’t be afraid to explore. This may be a unique opportunity for you so do not be quick to dismiss the idea. Be resilient! Enjoy the journey.

So many thoughts will pour through your brain. Will I be able to pay rent? Will I fail? Use these thoughts as fuel to keep yourself motivated and on top of your decision making.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” ~Henry Ford

Be resilient, be yourself. You have so much to offer to the world, so stay challenged and embrace the journey!

Business Skills That Everyone Needs

2Roads-blogs (2)If you’re looking for a career boost, brush up on critical skills that can increase your career potential. These are skills that everyone needs to learn, and it never hurts to re-asses and find ways to improve them.

Great Communication Skills
Candidates with strong communication abilities are important when working with teams, clients and co-workers. It’s important to also talk to your team and discuss ways to communicate effectively. In doing so, you create public speaking sessions that will open the team up to each other to provide feedback and support. Always remember to be clear and concise when delivering messages.

The key to developing good communications skills is to stay challenged. Recognize your strengths and weaknesses and work hard to get better. Continue to network both casually and professionally. Change things up with small interactions, like using new conversation starters or talking to strangers more often. Improve one thing at a time to improve your professional communication.

Leadership Abilities
By developing great communication skills, you’ll further develop your skills as a leader.

In group settings, work on unifying the group and placing trust and responsibility in your co-workers. Not everyone in the group will agree on the same thing, so it’s your job to make sure everyone is heard while also making compromises to come up with a cohesive plan.

Teamwork

Working on a team is a skill that you will constantly have to learn and improve for the rest of your career. There are so many benefits from working collectively, especially in a challenging and engaging environment.

Working with a team teaches you how to become a better listener and how to keep an open mind. Understand everyone’s strengths and weaknesses so you can balance out the areas that need improvement. Teamwork also involves individuals with certain strengths to step up and embrace certain skills that others on the team don’t have. By staying engaged and excited about projects, you will boost the team morale.

While there are plenty of ways to learn in your day-to-day job, if you’re really ready to invest in your personal growth, look into a program like UVA’s McIntire Business Institute, which can give you the focus you need to develop these skills.
There will always be many ways to learn in your career. Invest in personal growth, build relationships, think strategically about your company as a whole, and be seen as a leader among your co-workers. Always challenge yourself!