How You Can Set SMART Goals and Boost Your Career

Feeling stuck in your job or your career overall? Setting goals is a great way to make headway when you’re feeling in a rut and can give you the boost you need to get where you want to be. Without goals, getting that new job or promotion you’ve been hoping for could be difficult.

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How You Can Learn to Manage Up & Reach Your Career Goals

Some of the most difficult-to-manage relationships in our lives are our work relationships. We don’t usually get to choose who we work with or who manages us at work. Many bosses and people in middle management are promoted not because of their ability to manage people but because of their skills, knowledge, or experience in a particular field. 

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7 Bad Work Habits to Quit this Year

After you’ve been at your job for a while, it can be easy to get into a routine or go on autopilot - that’s when you start developing bad work habits. You’ve likely been caught up in at least one of these seven common work habits, and we’ve got some advice on why it’s time to kick them to the curb. 

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3 Paths Toward a More Productive Workday

All of us have hours of the day and times of the year where we are more focused, more productive. Whether we do our best thinking in the morning or can’t seem to wake up when it’s cloudy outside, our levels of productivity and accomplishment are always shifting. But there are things you can do to make yourself more consistent in your productivity. 

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The Art of Negotiating

Whether you’re looking for a new job or celebrating working at the same company for years, the time will inevitably come for you to negotiate. 

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Building Your Career

As we’ve grown our business to the place it’s gotten to, expanded service offerings, built and sustained a team, and adapted our workplace to changing social and economic environments, we’ve learned a lot about what makes some people successful. Those who learn as they work, who ask good questions and respond to training and correction move ahead. 

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New Jobs and Better Perspectives on Your Work History

Are you in a place of starting fresh? Maybe you’ve just graduated with a degree and it’s time to put your education to work. Maybe COVID took your life on an unexpected detour and now you’re plotting a new course. Or maybe you’ve finally said, “Enough is enough” and you are redefining yourself and your future, taking control, taking some risks and doing something you’ve never done before. Wherever you’re at, starting something new takes hard work and a lot of nerve. 

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Turning a New Year into a New Professional Season

Since the start of the pandemic, our job market has been in a profoundly volatile place. From supply chain issues to workforce shortages, budgetary restraints, and new standards for productivity and effectiveness, there’s not an industry unaffected by the changes forced upon us.

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The Secrets to Changing Industries  

Depending on what you do for a living or what you are expecting out of the career you’re building, you may feel like a new job is the wrong choice. Sometimes, “starting over” at a new company or in a new industry means giving up seniority, specialized expertise, and opportunities for promotion and pay increase.

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The Essential Message to Communicate in a Job Interview

In this job market, it’s hard saying what will get you hired. For some places, it’s a simple question of whether you’ll show up. That’s all it takes. For other jobs, the standards certifications needed to do the job well are still a requirement, but the context and setting for the work may be up for discussion.

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How to Find a Job When Everyone is Hiring

Have you ever been voicing your frustrations of the hassles and hurdles of finding a job only to have someone feel compelled to share the not-so-helpful quip, “Lots of places are hiring.” The statement is clearly not being made by someone who is actually looking for a job. The actual process of searching for, interviewing for, preparing for, and starting a new job is something altogether different when you’re the one going through it. While many places may say they’re hiring, that doesn’t mean they’re hiring you.

And so as you consider how to go on this journey of job hunting, there are things to think about. 

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Making Work Work for Your Company

The past 18 months have taken all of us by surprise. None of us knew how vulnerable our companies were — even in one of the most thriving economic seasons we’d ever experienced. None of us could have predicted that we’d have to redefine the workplace and realign expectations we put on performance. Now as we move forward within a new economy that essentially has pushed a massive restart button on all of us, we have to revisit some of the most fundamental components of employment.

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You and Your Boss: Tips to a Better Relationship

Let’s face it. Some bosses deserve a mug that calls out how great they are at their jobs. Other bosses will only get one if they buy it for themselves. Not every boss is a great leader, and not every great leader is a boss. Deciding whether someone is worth following isn’t always about the title they hold or the authority they’re given. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have a better relationship with the boss you have.

Here’s some advice from some seasoned professionals on how to make your relationship with your boss as good as it can possibly get.

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Positioning Yourself for Promotion

The job market across the country is in a funny place right now. The recently-subsided COVID lockdown put many people out of work. Many small businesses suffered irreparable setbacks as they were unable to keep their doors open. Many large businesses changed the way they thought about their employees, the way they measured success, and even how they defined the word “office.”

This economic season has some people struggling to return to work. It has others wondering where they should go next after their last job was lost to the pandemic. But if you are one of those employees who has been able to maintain a job or has returned to work, there are ways to take advantage of this economic new world. There are ways to position yourself for new, better opportunities.

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Viking Client Services - A Career Path?

For many people, the idea of being contacted by a debt collector conjures up negative emotions. Some of those emotions are understandable. Who, after all, wants to be contacted about money they owe? But the people we’re specifically referring to here are those who equate debt recovery and debt collection with something unethical or illegal. People wonder if the debt collection company that contacted them is running some sort of a scam. This isn’t necessarily irrational. The shady practices of some companies in this industry have bruised the reputation of many great companies that are doing good work.

The unfortunate piece of this is the number of good workers and good companies who are doing good work that end up getting associated with collections scams. So when it comes to the work we do at Viking Client Services, the question is worth asking:

Is working in a debt collection job with a company like Viking Client Services really a career opportunity?

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The Opportunities That Come with Steady Employment

If you take some time to talk to people who are moving toward the twilight of their career, you’ll probably experience some consistent messages. What you’re unlikely to hear is phrases like, “It all went according to plan” and “There were no surprises along the way.”

You’ll realize that people didn’t have a crystal ball about each step they took. They didn’t have know the end of the story. Sometimes you’ll hear stories about risks they took or abrupt changes in direction. Sometimes you’ll hear about job loss or uncertainty. Often you’ll hear about lessons they learned along the way and things they wish they’d learned sooner.

Whatever lessons were learned and whatever direction was taken, some common themes will probably rise to the surface.

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Where is Your Job Taking You?

Sometimes the job you’re in is a means to an end. You need to pay your bills. You need to make ends meet. You need a job. Ideally you’ll find a job that’s rewarding and enjoyable while you also make enough money to pay your bills, but the main point is to work.

Sometimes the job you’re in is a stepping stone toward something bigger. You know that you have to “pay your dues” in the mail room or in middle management if you’re ever going to climb the ladder at your company or in your industry. While the path ahead isn’t always clear for promotion and new opportunities, the goal definitely is.

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Is Your Job Rewarding?

Let’s Define Rewarding

If we sat down with twenty different people, we would get twenty different answers to the question, “Is your job rewarding?”

For some, “rewarding” is about a sense of purpose or value. It’s knowing that the thing they’re doing is the thing they were put on earth to do. Even backing off of that a bit is another definition of rewarding, when someone is able to see that their contribution to their company is valuable, their ideas listened to, their voice important.

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Turning Things Around: Salvaging an Interview That's Gone Awry

Have you ever been in a job interview that seemed to be going off the rails? Maybe you butchered an answer. Maybe you got emotional or too personal. Maybe you did something like talk in circles, play air guitar, or ask a question that you immediately regretted asking. Bad moments happen in interviews. But a bad moment doesn’t have to mean a lost opportunity. You just need to find some ways to adapt.

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Going to Work in a Recession Proof Industry

Many businesses have been beat up by the global pandemic that has dominated 2020. Mandated shutdowns forced businesses to close their doors and many were unable to weather the storm. While some chose to defy government-ordered closure, the vast majority went along with the demands. The results have been damaging to many and catastrophic to some.

The global pandemic has led to lay offs, losses, and, in many cases, permanent closures. It’s led many people to reconsider their career path.

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Pursuing a Career and Keeping Your Job

People who have found themselves working in the same industry for an extended amount of time will often say that they didn’t set out to work in the industry they’re in. They got a job, started work, and the opportunities and demands of life kept them in a routine. Life has a way of going by very quickly, and before you know it, you’ve been in a job longer than you ever planned. You’ve reached a “point of no return” in your job that makes the potential of leaving and starting over in an entirely different industry totally unreasonable.

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How Long Should You Stay on Unemployment?

It seems that every time we start thinking the pandemic is winding down, a new surge in cases again fills our news cycle and reignites our uncertainty about the future. Our economy, for a while, was all but dead as a result of this crisis. Small business owners took the biggest hit. Many shut their doors forever as the mandated shutdown stopped them in their tracks, and people were forced out of work. As things slowly began to reopen, we saw a new reality unfolding before us. Restaurants — those that actually survived the shut down — began functioning at a significantly limited capacity and with scaled-back menus. Retail shops started enforcing capacity limits and mask mandates. Entertainment venues changed their seating and rearranged their programming just to keep at least some revenue in motion. Supply chain delays began to impact shoppers, storeowners, and the trades. The reality of a slow economic recovery began to become more and more evident.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Deciding on a Career Move in the Midst of a Chaotic Economy

Now that you’ve got that classic song from The Clash in your head, the question must be asked: Should you stay at the job you’re at or use this strange economic season to explore new options, go a different direction, or consider a monumental shift in your life’s trajectory?

There’s an old saying in the job search world that says, “Don’t pull up anchor without a motor in the water.” In other words, make sure you have your plans to move forward in place before you take any decisive tangible actions.

As you’re deciding on what’s best for your career and life plans, consider these couple questions to help you make your next move:

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Viking Client Services - One of Minneapolis' Great Places to Work

The Twin Cities is one of the greatest places to live and work in the country. With a strong economy, excellent school systems, and beautiful landscapes and recreational opportunities, ours is a metro area that has become a destination for entrepreneurs, business owners, and expanding companies.

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Your Best Foot: Learning to Talk About Yourself in a Job Interview

Are you in the interview process; back in the job hunt? Have layoffs or cutback pushed you back into the world of updating your resumé and looking through LinkedIn? Just in case you’re out of practice or have forgotten exactly how to move through an interview putting your best foot forward, we thought we’d give you some thoughts on how you can talk about yourself naturally yet effectively in an interview.

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Job Search in a New Market

Some Advice for the Suddenly Unemployed

The economy has taken a turn for the completely unexpected. Just a couple months ago, companies were scratching their heads, wondering how they’d ever find employees who could fill their open positions. How could they incentivize people to join their team?

Now, with an economy that has taken an about-face and with companies trying to navigate their next thirty days — much less their next 30 years — the job market is changing. Some companies are never going to come back from this. Some are going to change their structure or expectations for what it means to “come to work.” Some may never return to full force and others will redefine themselves and their definition of success.

As you navigate this new market and changing landscape, take some time to consider where you are and what is next for you.

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Turning Roadblocks into Opportunities

How a change in your work environment can mean good things for what’s next

As these words are being written, our nation and world is in the middle of a lockdown. It’s an unprecedented time, as commerce has been halted and financial markets have been on a tumultuous up and down. The oil industry has crashed and companies with 5 employees and companies with 5,000 are questioning how to navigate the next three days (let alone the next three months).

For some people, this shutdown has meant a hiatus from their jobs. For others, it has meant unemployment. Some businesses are getting help from the government to keep their employees — and their bills — paid. Other businesses were forced to close their doors and are probably not going too reopen. This unfortunate turn of events and entirely new scenario is a stark contrast to the booming economy of just a few months ago.

Regardless of where this economic season has taken you, it doesn’t have to be one that is without opportunity. Some of the biggest innovations in history have come out of times of necessity. Some of the most explosive and successful companies were birthed in times and atmospheres of resistance.

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Three Tips to Working from Home

Your Job Looks Different When You Work from Home.

As life has changed, many people have been forced into a work-from-home scenario that they weren’t previously equipped for. If you are working from home, consider incorporating some basic guidelines for your new work environment.

Turning these suggestions into action can help you stay productive and can keep you energetic and less distracted by the life around you.

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Considering a New Job?

How to Know It’s Time for a New Job

The worst time to look for a job is when you need one. You’re at the mercy of the economy, the bills you have to pay, and the clock. Time that passes and opportunities that you don’t get only seem to reinforce the urgency surrounding you. You have to find something, and you’re getting close to taking anything.

But when you don’t need a new job, but simply are ready for a new, better opportunity, that's an entirely different scenario. Deciding that it's time to move into a new job gives you a chance to take risks, to move into new industries or new positions, and push yourself beyond where you currently are.

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The Search for the Right Job: Things to Look for in a Boss

3 Leadership Traits You Want to See in Your Boss

You may be interviewing for a new job or deciding whether you should stay at the job you have. You might be looking at the greener pastures of a different company or questioning your future in the one you’re at. Whatever the case may be for your employment, there are certain traits to look for in a manager that will help you determine whether the work environment is a healthy one. There are certain components of leadership that, if present, should indicate to you that the company is a place worth staying (or starting) at.

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