Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Finding and Keeping a Mentor

We’ve all heard the phrase “Mentor” and know the importance of having a mentor in your career and in life in general, but how many people can actually say that they have a true mentor that they have developed a long standing relationship with? I believe the struggle in having a mentor is in picking the right mentor to begin with and then finding ways to cultivate the relationship.  We know we should have one, yet the thought of finding one and maintaining the relationship often seems like more work than it really is worth.
In effort to increase your chances of selecting and keeping a mentor I have provided a few quick tips:
1.       Do your research- Before selecting a mentor do your research on what is important to you in your career and research people whom you admire. The person you select doesn’t have to be older than you or wealthier than you, but it must be someone that you admire and respect. When looking for someone to be your mentor look at their professional success as well. Have they had success in their prospective career, are they well respected by others?  Also, please note that they do not have to be in the same field as you. They can be inside your company or outside your company. Lastly, choose someone that will be honest with you about your career and opportunities for growth.
2.       Don’t over use the term “Mentor”- Nobody likes a name dropper, so when selecting a mentor, don’t over use the term “Mentor” this can make them feel uncomfortable, like they have big shoes to fill to provide you the best mentorship possible… which could end up straining the relationship. See them as a career counselor, advice giver, etc and be sure to thank them for their guidance and time. Flattery never hurt anyone. J
3.       Use time wisely- We all know that time is very valuable so make sure to use the time you have with your mentor wisely. You have to make the initiative to have meetings with your mentor, but be sensitive to their schedule as well. Set realistic meeting times and frequency so you don’t overwhelm your mentor. Also, be consistent with your meetings. Follow up on what you have promised, if you stated you want to meet once a month, it is on you to make sure you set up the meeting, not the mentor.
4.        What you put in is what you get out- Have a plan for your desired outcome from meetings with your mentor. Know what you want to discuss and ensure that you are doing what it takes to initiate conversation. If you are looking for guidance in a certain area of your professional development, ask specifically for this guidance. A mentor is not a mind reader nor do they have a crystal ball, so be transparent with communication and know that what you put into the relationship is what you will get out of the relationship.
If interested in other mentorship best practices please email amanda.robbins@mattressfirm.com

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Summer is heating up!

 When I think of “summer” several things come to mind; driving with the windows down, pool time, baseball games and the list can go on forever. For some of us, summertime means one thing…internship.

Here at Mattress Firm, we just kicked off our 2013 Summer Internship and things are about to heat up! I visited Atlanta this week for our Intern Welcome Day and was overjoyed with our selection of interns this year. I began to think back to my collegiate career and wonder why I never participated in an internship…man, I wish I would have! 
So here are a few tips for those of you who it might not be too late to partake in an internship:

I – Internview
That’s right; I combined interview and intern together to stress the importance of the actual interview for an internship. Make sure you come well prepared with several questions!

N – Navigate
Be prepared to navigate your way through a summer of firsts! This may be your first time in a professional environment, your first sale or your first time to meet deadlines. Be flexible and don’t stress if you are put out of your comfort zone.

T – Teachable
We speak of this term often at Mattress Firm. Show your potential employer that you are teachable and ready to learn! 

E - Experience
This is what an internship is all about…gaining real world experience! So look for an internship that you truly have an interest in for a potential full time career.

R - Roles/Responsibilities
During an internship, it’s important to make yourself stand out! Ask for additional roles and responsibilities so you can learn as much as possible!
N – Natural
It’s important during an internship to be your natural self. This will help determine if you truly are a fit for the company. 

Most importantly, summer is all about having fun and that’s exactly what an internship should be…FUN!
Summer is heating up and if you are looking for a possible internship, reach out to erin.lindquist@mattressfirm.com

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Harlem Shake

Happy Harlem Shake Thursday from our Atlanta Interns!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Why Culture is so Important!

Just this past week I had the opportunity to see a sneak peak of “The Internship” starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn.  While the movie is full of laughs and snarkiness, the one thing that stood out to me like a beacon is how Google runs as a company. I’m sure that a lot of the movie was slightly fabricated, but we have all heard the great stories about working for Google and therefore it is a hot commodity for graduating students.
Google is a large campus that offers cafes, restaurants, coffee bars- all free, as well as Broadway themed conference rooms and areas that are made to replicate subways carts. Google understands that they want to create an environment that works for their employees. They want to make work somewhere that is fun and lets their employees feel like it isn’t just work.

However, they do this for a reason- they expect AMAZING results in return.
When you are on the search for a new career, take into consideration the culture that the company provides. Are you going to enjoy going to work every day? Do they make the environment conducive to accomplishing goals? No one likes going to work where you are stressed out and hate waking up every morning. Working for a company like Mattress Firm has shown me what to look for in a company. We may not have slides taking us from the second floor to the first (we only have one floor) or multi colored bikes to ride around on, but we do have a great company that cares. We have fun market wide sales meetings, national conferences with live bands, vendor sponsored events, and contests that determine the fate of whether or not your District Manager gets a pie in the face or shaves their head. Our top producers can win trips to Hawaii, we have a league kickball team, and in his spare time, our CEO does The Dougie.
Make sure to find a company that offers great benefits. Are there any special perks provided? Your company doesn’t have to offer you a short term gain like a new car or a $50,000 bonus to make you happy.  Find a company that aligns with your goals and expectations.  Make sure that the company you choose to work for is a company that makes it worth it to get out of bed every morning. 
Clearly Google must be doing something right.
To win the opportunity to shave my head (just kidding!) send any questions to erica.siri@mattressfirm.com

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Power of Positive!

A few months ago, leaders from across Mattress Firm Nation joined together in one place for our annual National Leadership Conference in sunny Orlando, Florida. Among several special and inspiring guest speakers, Shawn Achor, author of “The Happiness Advantage,” spoke to our group of 400+ about the power of happiness and positivity in our personal and professional lives.

The advice that Shawn provides in his book has no boundaries and can apply to each and every aspect of one’s personal and professional life, including one of the most nerve-racking scenarios for a job seeker… the interview! While the following techniques are not directly from Mr. Achor, the idea of using elements of positivity before the interview will ensure your success when the spotlight is on you!

Read Something Personal and Positive
Have a family member or close friend write a short note of encouragement prior to the big day. While you’re waiting for the interview to begin, take it out and read it for the first time. What an amazing feeling it is to know that you have someone rooting for your success! A recommendation letter from a past supervisor or co-worker might also work well (and is also a great resource to provide during the interview)!

Prove Them Right
An interviewer has reviewed your resume and prescreened you before the initial interview. This means that they believe you have what it takes, on paper, to be successful in the position. An interview is your chance to prove them right. So why not do just that?

Visualize Success
Visualizing interview success is a great way to imagine the interview in a way that will generate a positive aura you can carry with you into the interview. Visualize preparing for the interview. When arriving, use your senses to determine the setup and hear the interviewer’s voice greeting you. You feel calm and confident as you introduce yourself and provide descriptive, intuitive answers to each question. You sense the close of the interview and imagine the interviewer welcoming you aboard the team!

While these are just a few ideas on implementing elements of positivity into your interview preparation, there are many others out there that will allow you to perform your very best on the big day!

Written by Haley Hoskins