Employees

1

Going back to work after having a baby is a big career (and life) switch. It isn’t exactly easy, balancing the needs of your child with likely way less sleep than you’re used to, while trying to be the same employee you were before you left. And having a baby changes the way you think about and prioritize your day, and can potentially make you question what you thought you wanted out of your career. It certainly did for me.

Navigating those first few weeks back takes patience, self-care, and boundary setting, both at home and in the office. As I’m transitioning back to work for a second time (I recently took almost six months off in between leaving a long-term role and launching my own company), I’m pulling from my first experience returning from maternity leave three years ago and the community of incredible moms I’ve been blessed to be a part of for advice on making the transition out of parental leave as seamless as possible.

1. Be Patient With Yourself
This is one of the best pieces of advice I got from my boss at the time. You don’t have to be perfect your first day back, your first week back, or really ever. This goes for parenting and your body, in addition to transitioning back to work. The advice is actually pretty universal.

Give yourself some breathing room to get back in the swing of things. Don’t schedule big presentations or client meetings or say yes to big projects right off the bat if you can help it. If you can’t avoid taking on something big, try to find ways to move other items off your plate so you can give that one project your main focus.

Do put blocks of time on your calendar to go through email and catch up on projects, reports, or anything else you missed while you were on leave. Note: You probably won’t get through all your emails in one sitting, and that’s OK. Try tackling the most important stuff first and get to the rest over the next few days.

And schedule individual meetings or coffee dates with your team to hear what they’ve been working on and in general how they’re doing (this will be a nice break from all the work-information overload!).

2. Build Trust in Your Childcare
If you have confidence that your little one is loved and cared for while you’re not there, you’re going to be a better, more relaxed person at work. So start looking for childcare early and take the time to get to know your caregiver(s) before you go back to the office.

If you’re going the nanny route, try to have the person start one to two weeks before you go back, on a reduced schedule if possible. Play and interact with the baby together and run some errands where you’re only gone a couple hours to get used to the idea of being away. And take your nanny to lunch—sans baby—to get to know them outside of their role.

If you’re doing a nanny share, schedule some family hangouts with both families before going back. And if you’re using a daycare, ask to shadow or observe, take advantage of the tour, and ask any and all questions. Again, have the baby start earlier than needed, potentially on a reduced schedule, so both you and baby can get used to the new setting.

3. Set Clear Boundaries With Your Team (and Yourself)
I came back from my maternity leave to a reduced schedule, so I made sure to meet with my team to explain my hours and come up with new normals in our day, including how we could work together in a way that made sense and benefited everyone. The first few weeks I was back, I also started checking in with my team every day an hour before my new “end of work day” to get us all used to the schedule. Even if you don’t have a new routine, make sure your team’s aware of when you are and aren’t available online.

It’s becoming more and more common for new parents to have flexible schedules in those first few weeks back to help ease the transition back to work. But in having more flexibility to work from home, I also had to navigate how to work from home. I experienced, and have heard from quite a few of my fellow parents, that it’s tough to be in both “parent” and “work” mode at the same time, so even at home I set boundaries with myself to try not to be both at once.

When I was commuting, I always checked my email and handled anything that needed immediate attention before walking into my apartment so I could be fully tuned into my family when I stepped through the door. My phone and computer go in another room so I’m not checking them in front of my child or trying to respond to a client while making dinner (and so words like “fart” don’t end up in work emails—yes, I learned that from personal experience). If you’re looking for more tips, here’s advice for working from home as a parent.

4. Advocate for Your Needs (and Your Child’s)
This advice, of course, transcends parenting and applies in all aspects of life, but it’s especially important after having a child. It’s simple: Ask for what you need and don’t assume people know what it is. You’d be surprised how much people will give you if you simply ask for it.

Do you need a meeting moved so you can make pickup time at daycare? Present an alternative solution in your ask, but ask nonetheless. Are you not as available for after-hour client events? Advocate for a colleague to take your place, or suggest other creative ways to get in front of clients that fit into your schedule. Who knows, there could be other working parents who will appreciate your ingenuity.

5. Manage Expectations
I don’t have to tell you that when you have a baby to get home to, you figure out quickly what’s actually important to get done—and that you need to set expectations in order to get those important items done on time.

So when someone asks you to step in on a project, don’t be afraid to ask: When do you need this by? Is this a priority? How much time do you expect this to take?

Then spell out exactly what you can and can’t do for them, clearly and directly: “I’d love to work on that, but since I have X to get done by the time I leave today and it’s not a huge priority, I won’t be able to get that to you until the end of the week. Does that timing work for you?”

While you may not be able to please everyone, by being direct you cover your bases and show you’re proactive and dedicated to doing your job well.

6. Schedule Time to Pump
If you need to pump breast milk at work, block off time on your calendar to do so, and add a 10-15 minute buffer to ensure you stick to your schedule. By slotting it into your day and really making it nonnegotiable (remember those boundaries we talked about earlier?), you can help keep it from being a point of stress. (And it’s not just about emotional distress: Skipping a pumping session can become physically painful, and you can end up wearing the consequences down your shirt.)

If possible, get a second pump to leave at work to minimize lugging the gear back and forth, and make sure you have a comfortable space to pump in your office. If one’s not apparent in your workplace, explicitly ask HR or an office manager about a “lactation room.”

Federal law states that an employer must provide both break time and “a place, other than a bathroom, that is shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public” for nursing employees. Specifics can differ from state to state and based on office size, which is why it’s important to first determine what your office has in place before advocating for what you need.

7. Find Your Support Team
Working parent guilt is real, and it comes in all shapes and sizes—guilt for being away from the baby, guilt for not feeling guilty for not being with the baby, guilt for saying “no” to a colleague so you can leave early to get back to the baby…the list goes on.

When these thoughts start to creep in, repeat this to yourself: You are enough.

And, find your community (whether inside or outside the office). Talk to other parents who have been through it and create a safe space to talk about how you’re feeling. A quick Google search of local parenting and mom groups will at the very least hook you up with Facebook groups where you can start connecting. (These groups can also be a good source for nanny shares.) Also, some hospitals put together parenting groups based on when your baby was born. Take advantage of “Baby and Me” classes in your neighborhood or town, too, from swimming lessons to local library reading sessions to group walks.

I randomly ended up at a “mommy and me yoga” class, and after that class I went to lunch with three incredible women with babies the same age as mine. To this day (three years later) I still text with them weekly to talk about all things parenting, working, and babies.

8. Make Time for You—Just You
While it may seem impossible to carve more time out of your day outside of family and work, you can’t be the parent or employee (or really insert anything here) you want to be if you don’t take care of yourself. When I take time for myself, I’m more present in every aspect of my life. I’ve learned that a present moment (even a short one) is worth a million hurried moments.

Here’s how you can realistically make time for yourself during the week:

Actually put lunch on your calendar—and step away from your desk (or turn off your computer) to eat.
Keep up with that once a week yoga (or Pilates, or barre, or whatever) class—you’ll be grateful you did.
Wake up an hour before you actually need to (and an hour before the baby) so you can do something just for you. It’s not for everyone (if you’re not a morning person please sleep in), but for me this way I can take my time drinking my coffee and curl up reading a good book.

Above all remember: There are countless parents out there right now who’ve felt exactly how you feel and may still be trying to figure out how to do what’s best for them and their families. It’s a big deal going back to work after a baby, so hopefully it helps to know that you’re not alone, everything you’re feeling is valid, and it’s okay to be patient with yourself.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/tips-parents-going-back-to-work-after-a-baby?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-0

1

I am so tired.

So today I decided, six years into being a mom, to invest in a little thing called “self care.” I went to get my makeup done and when the girl at the counter asked me what look I was going for, I told her, “I want to look like a person who didn’t spend all night googling Coxsackie symptoms through the cries of a screaming two year old while also panicking about a big client presentation.”

Basically, what I’m trying to say is, I get it. As a working parent you experience tons of feelings you’re not properly prepared for. Sure, you’ll get the, “Sleep now while you can”, but once that baby comes, it’s up to you to figure out how to manage it all (and make it look easy). But don’t worry, the 70% of working mothers with children under 18 years old get it, too.

We get it in the way the girl at the counter did when she picked out the heaviest concealer they had.

So, remember, you’re not alone in this. Here’s how to navigate the feelings that come with this crazy, beautiful thing called parenting.

Feeling #1
Exhaustion

Yesterday, my new babysitter started. I came home at 7PM to unfed children, one with a leaking diaper, and a house that looked like my boys had used crayons and Play Doh to get vengeance for any parenting mistake I’ve ever made.

And this was after a day of back-to-back meetings and an inbox ticking towards the triple digits.

So here’s what I did:

I ordered takeout. Immediately and without hesitation.

I put my phone in my bag and stopped looking at it (work panic avoided).

I told the kids I had to go to the bathroom, screamed into the shower curtain, and then came down smiling.

I asked my kindergartener what the best part of his day was.

I did NOT clean the house. And I was OK with that.

That last sentence is very important. Sometimes, as moms, we think that we need to do everything at once.

But I’ve let this go, and you can, too. Let. It. Go. All of it. Or at least, try to. I’ve spent way too much time comparing myself to friend’s cute Facebook photos of children in matching outfits in clean houses. It’s not real. They might have gotten it right this week, but next week they will have a messy house and unruly children. And it will be OK because we are all in this together.

The truth is, I recently realized that I spend too much time thinking about how tired I am and not enough time sleeping. So, I did something I don’t think I’ve done since my children were born. After I put my boys to sleep, I went to bed, too.

And although I didn’t do any work the night before, the next morning I felt like I accomplished more. I was more focused. It was so much better.

So, relax when you can. I’ve started listening to music and reading books on the way home from work instead of answering emails. It’s for my own sanity. Cherish those fleeting moments of “you” time and grab hold of them as tight as you can.

Feeling #2
Loneliness

Being a working parent comes with a feeling I never thought I’d have, but one I’ve heard repeatedly: loneliness. Yes, you’re constantly around kids, co-workers, and clients but the connections just aren’t the same as they used to be.

Here’s my hypothesis: Parenting is hard. You often can’t do a lot of the things you used to (like those fun girl’s trips or romantic weekend getaways). Making friends at work can be difficult (it’s not exactly easy to go out for happy hour). And many of us don’t want to admit when we need help, especially if you never had to wave the white flag before having children.

Here are some ways to combat it:

Find your fellow work parents: You know who gets it? Other parents who work at your company. Here at The Muse, we have a #museparents Slack channel. Do some digging to find your fellow moms and dads.

Put yourself out there, even just a little bit: Attend activities that match your family’s schedule. Make awkward conversation, rinse, and repeat, until you find a mom or dad friend.

Pick one day a month to be kid-less: Get a babysitter once a month to do a whole day of socializing. Maybe that means seeing an old friend, taking a day with your spouse, or attending that co-worker thing that you always say no to. Just make sure it’s something that will leave you feeling good and socially replenished.

Join a networking or support group: I believe in this so much, that I started one. With my hectic schedule I never have time for more than a few minutes of socialization, but through my online social circle, I’ve discovered that plenty of moms and dads are going through the same things I am.

Feeling #3
Overwhelmed

This is probably the most common. Why? Because as working parents we have a lot of stuff going on. And there’s studies that show being a working parent is the equivalent of working more than two full-time jobs (but you didn’t need a study to tell you that).

So, here’s how to to keep your head above water:

Accept help: From pretty much anyone who will give it. Your mother-in-law just offered to come over for an hour so you can stay late and grab a quick cocktail with friends? Let her. Your direct report said he would pitch in so you can pick up your children from childcare? Let him do it. Bottom line: Be honest with others about what you need.

Make lists: Buy yourself a notebook or planner and write everything down. Cross it off as you accomplish it. For me, there’s nothing more satisfying than manually crossing something off, but do what works for you.

Say no, but not sorry: Even superheroes need a break. It’s OK to decline when a non-essential 6 PM meeting encroaches on family time. It’s OK to turn down a work event because it is just too much this week. It’s OK to take a rain check on the girl’s trip because you can’t find sitters or can’t afford it. It’s OK to not have your child in six activities and always wearing matching outfits. Do what feels right for your family, not anyone else’s.

In short, you are not alone. I know it can feel that way at the end of one of those long, hard days. But remember, even when you think you are failing, your children see a hero… and your co-workers are likely in awe of how you do it all, and make it look easy.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/feelings-you-experience-working-parent-how-to-manage?ref=recently-published-0

1

You’re in a job interview, and things are going well. You didn’t get lost on your way to the office, you made some friendly small talk with the hiring manager, and you’re nailing your answers to the questions you’re being asked.

Just when you start thinking you have this in the bag, you hear the interviewer say, “Tell me about a time when…”

Your stomach drops. You rack your brain for something—anything!—you can use as an example. You grasp at straws and finally stumble your way through an anecdote that only sort of satisfies the prompt.

First of all, take comfort in the fact that we’ve all been there. These types of interview questions are tough to answer. But, here’s the good news: There’s a strategy you can use to come up with way more impressive answers to these dreaded questions: the STAR interview method.

What Is the STAR Interview Method?
The STAR interview technique offers a straightforward format you can use to answer behavioral interview questions—those prompts that ask you to provide a real-life example of how you handled a certain kind of situation at work in the past.

Don’t worry—these questions are easy to recognize. They often have telltale openings like:

Tell me about a time when…
What do you do when…
Have you ever…
Give me an example of…
Describe a…
Thinking of a fitting example for your response is just the beginning. Then you also need to share the details in a compelling and easy-to-understand way—without endless rambling.

That’s exactly what the STAR interview method enables you to do. “It’s helpful because it provides a simple framework for helping a candidate tell a meaningful story about a previous work experience,” says Al Dea, the founder of CareerSchooled and a career and leadership coach.

So, let’s break down that framework. STAR is an acronym that stands for:

Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.

By using these four components to shape your anecdote, it’s much easier to share a focused answer, providing the interviewer with “a digestible but compelling narrative of what a candidate did,” says Dea. “They can follow along, but also determine based on the answer how well that candidate might fit with the job.”

Answering Interview Questions Using STAR
Knowing what the acronym stands for is only the first step—you need to know how to use it. Follow this step-by-step process to give the best STAR interview answers.

1. Find a Suitable Example
The STAR interview method won’t be helpful to you if you use it to structure an answer using a totally irrelevant anecdote. That’s why the crucial starting point is to find an appropriate scenario from your professional history that you can expand on.

There’s no way for you to know ahead of time exactly what the interviewer will ask you (although our list of behavioral interview questions can help you make some educated predictions). With that in mind, it’s smart to have a few stories and examples ready to go that you can tweak and adapt for different questions.

“Brainstorm a few examples of particular success in your previous job, and think through how to discuss that success using the STAR framework,” says Lydia Bowers, a human resources professional. Repeat that exercise for a few types of questions.

If you’re struggling during your interview to come up with an example that fits, don’t be afraid to ask to take a minute. “I’m always impressed when a candidate asks for a moment to think so that they can provide a good answer,” says Emma Flowers, a career coach here at The Muse. “It’s OK to take a few seconds.”

2. Lay Out the Situation
With your anecdote selected, it’s time to set the scene. It’s tempting to include all sorts of unnecessary details—particularly when your nerves get the best of you. But if the interview asks you to tell them about a time you didn’t meet a client’s expectations, for example, they don’t necessarily need to know the story of how you recruited the client three years earlier or the entire history of the project.

Your goal here is to paint a clear picture of the situation you were in and emphasize its complexities, so that the result you touch on later seems that much more profound. Keep things concise and focus on what’s undeniably relevant to your story.

“The STAR method is meant to be simple,” explains Flowers. “Sometimes people provide too much detail and their answers are too long. Focus on just one or two sentences for each letter of the acronym.”

For example, imagine that the interviewer just said, “Tell me about a time when you achieved a goal that you initially thought was out of reach.”

Your Response (Situation): “In my previous digital marketing role, my company made the decision to focus primarily on email marketing and was looking to increase their list of email subscribers pretty aggressively.”

3. Highlight the Task
You’re telling this story for a reason—because you had some sort of core involvement in it. This is the part of your answer when you make the interviewer understand exactly where you fit in.

This can easily get confused with the “action” portion of the response. However, this piece is dedicated to giving the specifics of what your responsibilities were in that particular scenario, as well as any objective that was set for you, before you dive into what you actually did.

Your Response (Task): “As the email marketing manager, my target was to increase our email list by at least 50% in just one quarter.”

4. Share How You Took Action
Now that you’ve given the interviewer a sense of what your role was, it’s time to explain what you did. What steps did you take to reach that goal or solve that problem?

Resist the urge to give a vague or glossed-over answer like, “So, I worked hard on it…” or “I did some research…”

This is your chance to really showcase your contribution, and it’s worthy of some specifics. Dig in deep and make sure that you give enough information about exactly what you did. Did you work with a certain team? Use a particular piece of software? Form a detailed plan? Those are the things your interviewer wants to know.

Your Response (Action): “I started by going back through our old blog posts and adding in content upgrades that incentivized email subscriptions—which immediately gave our list a boost. Next, I worked with the rest of the marketing team to plan and host a webinar that required an email address to register, which funneled more interested users into our list.”

5. Dish Out the Result
Here it is—your time to shine and explain how you made a positive difference. The final portion of your response should share the results of the action you took. Of course, the result better be positive—otherwise this isn’t a story you should be telling. No interviewer will be dazzled with an answer that ends with, “And then I got fired.”

Does that mean you can’t tell stories about problems or challenges? Absolutely not. But, even if you’re talking about a time you failed or made a mistake, make sure you end on a high note by talking about what you learned or the steps you took to improve.

Bowers warns that too many candidates skip over this crucial, final part of their response. “They don’t make it clear how their action made an impact—the result,” she says. “That’s the most important part of the answer!”

Remember, interviewers don’t only care about what you did—they also want to know why it mattered. So make sure you hammer home the point about any results you achieved and quantify them when you can. Numbers are always impactful.

Your Response (Result): “As a result of those additions to our email strategy, I was able to increase our subscriber list from 25,000 subscribers to 40,000 subscribers in three months—which exceeded our goal by 20%.”

Putting it All Together
It’s making sense now, isn’t it? Here’s one more question-and-answer example for some added clarity.

The Interviewer Says: “Tell me about a time when you had to be very strategic in order to meet all of your top priorities.”

Your Response:

Situation: “In my previous sales role, I was put in charge of the transfer to an entirely new customer relationship management (CRM) system—on top of handling my daily sales calls and responsibilities.”

Task: “The goal was to have the migration to the new CRM database completed by Q3, without letting any of my own sales numbers slip below my targets.”

Action: “In order to do that, I had to be very careful about how I managed all of my time. So, I blocked off an hour each day on my calendar to dedicate solely to the CRM migration. During that time, I worked on transferring the data, as well as cleaning out old contacts and updating outdated information. Doing this gave me enough time to chip away at that project, while still handling my normal tasks.”

Result: “As a result, the transfer was completed two weeks ahead of deadline and I finished the quarter 10% ahead of my sales goal.”

The STAR interview process for answering behavioral interview questions might seem a little overwhelming at first. But it will become second nature with a little practice. And make no mistake, practicing is definitely something you should do.

“Whether it’s in a mock interview or just practicing your answer in the mirror, talk through your response so that it feels natural and comfortable when you’re actually in the interview,” Flowers says.

With just a little preparation and strategy, you’ll soon view behavioral interview questions as less of a burden—and more of an opportunity to emphasize your awesome qualifications.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/star-interview-method?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-0

021218

We all face many situations that require making career decisions. Everyone will manage these in their own way, as each career is unique.

It makes sense for each of us to take as much control of our careers as we can. In doing so, we’ll be better placed to generate our own career plan and make the decisions needed to put it into action.

Learning how to make effective career decisions is crucial. It will help you to:

  • manage and take control of your career
  • adapt to change
  • take advantage of career opportunities as they arise.

What’s your decision-making style?

Decision making can be complex. To reach a choice, we need to take account of our current values, interests, aptitudes and preferences as we try to make sense of the information, ideas and impressions coming from the world around us.

How do you make important decisions? Most people have their own preferences. These can range from working intuitively and according to what feels right, to doing things step-by-step in an ordered, rational and systematic way. Some people may keep things to themselves, weighing up decisions in their own head. Others will want to involve people they know, gathering and testing out their ideas and thoughts.

Reflect on the career decisions you made when you were selecting your senior subjects at school.

  • How certain were you about your next steps?
  • How did you go about making your decision?
  • Were there any important influences?
  • To what extent was it a well-thought through, conscious decision, based on research?
  • Did you collect a lot of information and generate a range of options?

3 obstacles to effective decision-making

Making decisions that affect your career can be complex for several reasons.

  1. The consequences of a decision can be significant – but it’s usually not possible to have all the information.
  2. There may be many alternatives, each with its own set of trade-offs and compromises.
  3. Career decisions can involve complex interpersonal issues arising from the involvement from other people, including our family, partners and friends.

Given these barriers, it’s not surprising that most of us have at some stage made career decisions that weren’t entirely rational and logical. Instead, circumstances and our emotions influenced them.

Good career decisions will depend on your readiness

It’s common for people to try to make career decisions without asking themselves whether they’re feeling ready to do so. Here are some reasons why you may not be ready to make a specific career decision:

  • You may lack motivation and feel that given enough time the ‘right’ career choice will ‘just happen’.
  • You may be indecisive and confused by decision making in general.
  • You may have beliefs and assumptions that aren’t based in reality. For example, ‘I believe there’s only one ideal career for me’ or ‘I only get one chance at making a career decision’.
  • You may find it difficult to commit to a specific career choice, fearing that you may miss out on a better option.
  • You may find it challenging to balance the importance of your ideas with the importance of other people’s ideas (especially of people close to you).

Getting ready to make an effective career decision begins with self-awareness. Put some time into reflecting on your decision-making style. What do you need to find out, do or have to make this particular decision? Time? Information? Skills? Commitment? Inspiration? Support? Confidence? Other resources? How might you make, develop or find what you need?

 

Source: https://myfuture.edu.au/career-insight/details?id=a-quick-guide-to-making-career-decisions#/

1

So, you’ve got a gap in your resume? Maybe you decided to travel, or go back to school, or maybe you looked after a sick relative, or you took time out to be a parent yourself. Whatever the reason, you’re probably feeling like your job hunt is going to be that much harder. Surely any recruiter looking at your resume is going to run a mile away.

Not necessarily.

Most employers nowadays recognize that it’s rare for anyone to stay with just one or two companies for their whole career. Plus, job security isn’t what it used to be (unfortunately).

As a recruiter, I’ve interviewed my fair share of candidates, and if there’s one piece of advice I can give you, it’s this. Think about how to present your gap. With a little foresight, you can turn a potentially tricky interview situation into a masterclass in personal branding.

1. So, You Lost Your Job
Some people find it embarrassing to talk about being laid off, but it’s unlikely to elicit anything but sympathy from your interviewer. It’s fairly commonplace these days. Just remember not to badmouth your past company or boss. Instead, focus your response on all the positive things you achieved while you were there.

Don’t Say
“That #!&$! company had it in for me from day one. I probably would’ve left anyway.”

Do Say
“Unfortunately, the company had to implement some budget cuts and, due to their ‘last-in, first-out’ policy, I was made redundant. However, I’m proud of what I achieved during my time there, something which can be reinforced by my previous manager, who’s one of my referees.”
2. So, You Quit Your Job and Traveled the World
The key with this one is to focus on how traveling contributed to your personal development, rather than how much fun you had schlepping around the world with nothing but a backpack and a smile. If you took on any paid or volunteer work during this time, concentrate your response on the additional personal and professional skills it’s given you.

Don’t Say
“Well let’s face it, partying in Thailand is a lot more fun than going to work. I’m pretty sure I had an awesome time, but I can’t actually remember most of it.”

Do Say
“I spent a number of years working at a company in a very demanding job, in which–as you’ll see from my references–I was very successful. But I’d reached a stage in my career where I wanted to focus on my personal growth. The time I spent traveling taught me a lot about how to get along with people of all ages and cultures. Now I feel more than ready to jump back into my career with renewed energy and focus and I feel this role is the ideal way to do that.”

3. So, You Went Back to School
This is perhaps the easiest one to explain. Particularly if what you did is relevant to your chosen career. Even if not, it’s easy to put positive spin on something that requires a certain level of intelligence and hard work.

Don’t say
“I’m still trying to figure out what I want to do with my life, so I stayed in school rather than getting a job. I am still uncertain if this career path is right for me.”

Do Say
“I wanted to expand my career options by completing some training/getting a qualification in x. Now that I’ve achieved my educational goals, I’m looking forward to using my qualifications to benefit the company I work for. This role is the perfect way for me to do that because…”

4. So, You Took Time Off for Health Reasons
Brevity’s key here. The interviewer won’t expect (or want) you to go into painstaking detail about an attack of depression or a serious back operation. Prepare a straightforward explanation that you’re comfortable sharing. Mention how proud you are that you were able to overcome your health problems and then move the conversation swiftly into the present day by discussing the relevant skills you have to offer this company.

Don’t Say
“Whoa, yeah, things were pretty bad there for a while..”

Do Say
“I went through a tough time emotionally/physically due to… and I took some time out to concentrate on getting better, so I could get back to work as quickly as possible. I’m pleased that I overcame that challenge because it’s made me a stronger person but now I’m fully recovered and ready to focus on the next stage of my career.”

5. So, You Had to Take Care of Your Family
Remember, caring for the sick or elderly and raising a family are tough jobs that require a huge range of skills, which you now have in abundance. No interviewer should make you feel like your decision to prioritize family over career reflects badly on you.

If you had time to keep your skills and industry knowledge up to date, make sure you mention this. End the discussion by telling the interviewer that you’re excited to recommit yourself to your career. And remember, any company worth your time and effort should recognize what an all-round superhero you clearly are.

Don’t Say
“I live the closest to my mom so I drew the short straw in having to take care of her. I just couldn’t handle looking after her and holding down a job!”

Do Say
“After a lot of thought, I decided that my top priority was my child/elderly parent/sick spouse. However, I made sure to keep my professional skills up to date during that time. Now I’m in a position to refocus on my career and I’m looking forward to utilizing all the additional soft skills I’ve learnt.”

Lastly, remember that lying on your resume or in interview is a really bad idea. When you’re asked about a gap in your employment, take a deep breath and acknowledge the interviewer’s concern. Stay composed and don’t get defensive: it will reassure the interviewer that you’re confident and comfortable with your reasons so there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be too.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/explain-resume-gap-interview-right-way?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-2

1

The ability to sell yourself, develop new skills and offer relevant experience are just some of the ways you can stand out in today’s jobs market.

You should also prepare, dress appropriately and listen to the questions asked to avoid common jobseeker mistakes.

Many jobseekers are failing to stand out and do themselves justice in today’s market. For instance, when an employer recruits, they want a proven performer who can hit the ground running and add immediate value to the business.

This means you need to consolidate the experience you have. Use your skills and experience to show potential employers you are a tried and tested candidate.

If you are a graduate, professional work experience completed during your study is a huge benefit that will help you stand out from the crowd. Even a few weeks completed during semester break gives you an advantage over fellow graduates who have not taken the initiative to gain relevant experience.

Our top five tips to stand out:
1. Write an impressive resume: Make a good first impression. Use a common program, such as MS Word, and start with your contact details. List your education and qualifications and then your work experience in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent. If you have your own website profiling your work, include the URL, but do not submit it instead of a resume. Proof-read your resume and take the time to get it right.

2. Sell yourself: Highlight one or two unique selling points to differentiate yourself in your resume and in an interview. For example, were you one of the highest achievers in your university degree? Have you improved customer retention levels or led a project successfully? Have relevant examples and statistics at your fingertips.

3. Experience: The most valuable skill a jobseeker can have is relevant experience. For seasoned professionals, this means matching your existing skills and experience with the job requirements. For graduates, this means gaining relevant industry experience through volunteer work or a study placement.

4. Use your networks: Contact a recruiter, search job websites, use social media sites such as LinkedIn and talk to your networks, industry bodies and university alumni.

5. Develop new skills: Stay on top of industry trends to demonstrate to an employer that as their industry and business moves forward, you are moving forward with it.

Our top five mistakes to avoid:
1. Arriving late for your interview: Interviewers have heard every excuse when it comes to candidates arriving late. There should be no excuse. Anticipate traffic or public transport delays and leave the house earlier than you normally would. Often, you will only get one chance to get your foot in the door.

2. Failure to prepare: Another common jobseeker mistake is to fail to research the organisation prior to your interview. A company’s website, professional bodies, annual reports, your networks, and your recruitment expert will help you gain a better understanding of the business and how your experience and skills match. Use this to prepare for likely interview questions and prepare questions to ask at the end of the interview.

3. Dressing inappropriately: You should look professional, act professionally and dress professionally for your interview.

4. Inability to listen: Listen carefully, give the interviewer your full attention and answer the questions asked. If you are asked behavioural questions, such as “Describe an occasion when …” you need to answer with a relevant real-life example. Do not evade the question as it is more obvious than you think.

5. Inappropriate use of social media: A growing number of employers are now extending their vetting process to include social media, particularly when they feel a candidate might not be what they are portraying themselves to be in an interview. Change your privacy settings and be sensible in the content you post online. Failure to be aware of your digital footprint is a huge mistake in today’s market.
Source: https://www.hays.com.au/career-advice/job-search/HAYS_238194

1

Anyone who has built a career knows that finding your first job is a real challenge. There’s no class in college called, “How to Find a Job That Will Make You Happy,” and many stumble to carve out their own paths in those first couple of years.

When you’re on the verge of graduating, it’s tempting to get buried under online applications and advice from career counselors, all the while forgetting there’s one untapped resource right at our fingertips. Remember those people who raised you?

Your parents are a great resource for the job search process, serving as consultants who help you hone in on your strengths, tap into a wider network, prepare for an interview, and evaluate an offer. But don’t just take our word for it, we spoke with Campus Recruiters at Philips, Brett Romary and Rebecca Abrahams, about how to leverage your parents’ wisdom to make that big jump into your first job a great one:

Get Their Feedback
Your parents, it turns out, know you better than almost anyone. They’re a great resource to help you understand your strengths and passions. And luckily, parents are always there (remember when you couldn’t get away from them fast enough?). They can help with the job search process from the very beginning—from figuring out what cities you want to live in, to what kind of role you want to pursue.

As you consider the route you want to take—and the opportunities that arise from there—parents are a great sounding board to help you process this big life change. Rebecca says, “Young professionals and their parents would benefit from having a good conversation about each opportunity. Is this something that’s aligned with what you did in college and your interests?” You can be a bit more vulnerable (hopefully) with your parents than with your career counselor, which will help you to honestly examine how you feel about a certain opportunity.

That said, make room for your own instincts, too. Sometimes, parents want to sway you in a certain direction; building awareness around that will help you strike a balance between benefiting from their support and making independent decisions.

Tap Into Their Network
Parents have networks, even if they’re informal. These communities may be the key to making inroads into your first job, and they’re worth tapping into. “Making professional introductions is huge,” says Brett. “Parents probably have connections somewhere, whether they work in this field or not. They can really help candidates learn more; the possibilities of these connections are endless.”

Don’t dismiss your parents’ network just because they don’t work in a field related to your interests. Although it’s hard to believe, your parents are social beings. Maybe a neighbor, PTA member, or friend of your dad’s has your dream job. So, ask your parents to mention to their friends (and acquaintances) that you’re looking for a role—you never know what will come of it.

As Brett notes, “These communities often serve as the bridge between students who are just graduating and a job.” And, your parents’ network is one of the easiest ways to get your hat into the ring—you know your parents are dying to brag about your qualifications!

Ask for Professional Prep
Many parents have worked in a professional setting for years, if not decades, so they have a wealth of information about how to navigate a new job. Talk to your parents about the most important career lessons they’ve learned along the way. “Parents can really help their children develop business acumen within the field,” Brett says.

In no situation is this truer than in the interview process. “Young professionals are really nervous because they’ve never interviewed before,” says Brett. “We tell them to practice; if their parents can help prep them at all, it’s a huge plus.”

Set aside time to do a few mock interviews with mom or dad. This kind of exercise will make it easier to get comfortable when you’re in front of a hiring manager, and ask your parents to give you helpful tips to improve your pitch.

Evaluate Compensation
When you’re evaluating a compensation package, it’s difficult to know where to even begin. You probably don’t know the difference between HMO and PPO insurance plans or have a clear sense of expectations for vacation days.

Online research can be really helpful, but if your parents have experience negotiating compensation packages, they could be your best resource. Rebecca says, “It can become really overwhelming to assess your first package because you’re not sure what’s the norm. That’s why we encourage students to talk to their parents.”

Beyond helping you assess the package itself, they can give you insight into whether the compensation is something you could really live on. Work with your parents to create a budget around your potential salary to make sure you can cover daily expenses, have savings, and plan for retirement.

As a young professional, you’re in the driver’s seat. But use the knowledge and experience of your parents, and give yourself a boost when you need one most. We bet your parents are going to give you unsolicited advice anyway, so why not solicit the advice you really need—that extra support from your parents could help you launch your career.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/use-your-parents-as-resource-when-looking-for-job?ref=recently-published-1

1

Recently, I shut down a project I’d been working on for the last several months. It was a sentimental moment for sure—no longer spending my time on something that had been a big part of my day was certainly a tough pill to swallow. However, it was an experiment from the start, and I knew that once we got the results we needed, it would draw to a close.

Having to end—or in corporate jargon, sunset—an initiative you’ve been a crucial part of is bound to happen in your career, whether by your own accord or someone else’s. Maybe budgeting runs out, maybe it’s a bandwidth issue, maybe goals and priorities shift, maybe someone made a mistake assigning it in the first place.

Regardless, knowing how to wrap everything up in a pretty bow is an important skill—just because it’s coming to an end doesn’t mean you don’t have a responsibility to end it smoothly and professionally. Plus, when done correctly, you can use all you’ve learned and achieved for future career advancement.

Here’s how:

1. Gather All the Facts

Before doing anything, you need to understand why this project is ending. Ask questions, talk it out with relevant team members, and understand what this means for the long-term.

For starters, this could give you both confidence and perspective—especially if you’re concerned that it’s ending because of something you did (or didn’t) do.

This also helps you make more educated decisions going forward. When you know why a project is no longer needed, you can make smarter choices for future initiatives and ensure that you’re on the same page on:

  • whether this is a permanent, trial, or temporary initiative
  • how success will be measured
  • what the timeline expectations are

2. Set an End Date and Prepare

Next, get the little details sorted out. When will this be completed? Who will help in wrapping up loose ends? What’s needed to get done before it is? Who needs to be notified?

Once you know all this, you can start preparing immediately—both for the last day and for what comes after (if anything). You’re going to have more time on your hands after this is over, so figure out how you want to spend your time moving forward and what other projects you might like to start or be a part of. Make sure to talk to your boss to get a sense of what they want you to focus on and prioritize.

Also, take advantage of the time you have to complete this project. Is there an experiment you’ve been meaning to try? Or, a skill you’re looking to build? Use this stretch to test any last-minute ideas or thoughts.

3. Notify Your Team (and Anyone Else Who Was Involved)

This is key: Whoever was involved in some way or another—whether they helped out, contributed feedback, or just followed it passively—should be looped in.

Send out an email or set up a meeting outlining why the project is ending, what this means for each team member and the company, and what the next steps will be. Give your colleagues a chance to ask questions and contribute feedback (and jot that information down for step five).

4. Take the Time to Celebrate Key Players and Accomplishments

This goes hand-in-hand with step three, but it’s so important to acknowledge all the hard work and achievements associated with the project. Make sure to call out and celebrate those who helped and shout out any big positive outcomes that resulted.

Also, celebrate yourself! Whether or not it was a “success,” you spearheaded something and no doubt gained skills along the way (even if those skills are better project management). So, take the time to feel proud of the work you did.

5. Do a Reflective Analysis

Once you’ve closed up shop, gather everything you collected over the course of the project, both qualitative and quantitative:

  • What did you do?
  • How long did you do it for?
  • Who was involved? What did they do?
  • What results were you hoping for?
  • What results did you get?
  • What results didn’t you get?
  • What was surprising?
  • What mistakes were made?
  • What lesson were learned?

Define what success meant for this specific initiative, how you did (or didn’t) achieve it, and what can be learned for the future—and write it all down in a report.

Then, use that report! Having all this information in one place is incredibly valuable for a number of reasons:

  • It forces you and your team to be reflective. Set up some time to go over it all, discuss it, and add to it. Use it as a conversation starter for launching new projects or brainstorming other initiatives.
  • It helps you be strategic in making future decisions and prevents history from repeating itself. Whenever you come across a project or problem that feels similar, look back on this report to decide whether to move forward and how so you don’t make the same mistakes or fall down the same rabbit hole.
  • It’s physical proof of your achievements. You can bring this to your next performance review or reference it in your job search. Also, you can use it to just feel good about yourself—you did all this!

It’s certainly not emotionally easy to end a project you care about. But, by doing it in a well-documented, well-thought-out way, you make it easier for yourself to successfully lead future projects. And that’s a great thing.

 

Source: http://www.americanrecruiters.com/2018/09/14/heres-how-to-gracefully-sunset-an-initiative-youve-worked-so-hard-on/

1

Most people have a general understanding of how to prepare for an interview. Yet, it can be easy to overlook some of the details, especially if you’re feeling a bit nervous or you’re focusing on preparing for common interview questions.

To help take some of the stress out of your prep, here’s a handy guide to your interview preparation.

1) Mental preparation
Background research: The first step in your preparation is to gain a detailed understanding of the role and the organisation. Pore over the job description so you understand everything that’s involved and gain an understanding of the team you’ll be working with. Research the organisation using all the sources of information at your disposal: the company website; press releases and annual reports; news and other media; social media and LinkedIn; friends and contacts.

Learn about the organisation’s products and services, areas of growth, financial performance, its history, management team, company culture, and its place in the industry. This information will help you understand how you would fit and add value. Also check the LinkedIn profile of the person interviewing you so you understand their role and where they fit into the organisation.

Self-reflection: Now that you’ve gathered information about the organisation, it’s time to reflect on you – your experiences, the skills you’ve developed, your professional achievements and goals. Go through your resume to refresh your memory on the details of your work history.

Think about the specific points you need to be prepared to articulate: your career ‘story’, personal brand and USP, your key capabilities and achievements, what interests you about the role, how you can help the organisation achieve its goals, and why you are attracted to the company and want to work there.

Prepare for common interview questions and behavioural interview questions, and jot down key points. As much as possible, use the terminology used in the job description to describe your competencies and experiences. Also prepare your own questions to ask in the interview.

The most important thing to emphasise in the interview is the fit: between your capabilities and the requirements of the role; between your career goals and what the organisation is offering; and between your personality traits and the culture in the team or organisation.

2) Logistics
Practical details: Sorting out the practical details involved in getting to an interview is just as important as mental preparation, and helps you remain calm on the day. This includes planning what you will wear to the interview and what you will bring to the interview (printout of your CV, notepad and pen, examples of your work). Check the weather – is it likely to rain so will you need to bring an umbrella?

Getting to the interview: If there’s one golden rule about interviews, it’s that you must arrive on time. That means ensuring you know exactly where to go and how to get there, and who to see on your arrival. Make sure you have the interviewer’s full name and its correct pronunciation, and their title.

If you’re taking public transport, check schedules and estimated travel times and give yourself a generous buffer in case of delays. If you’re driving, check the route on Google Maps. If possible, do a test run before the interview and keep your eye out for one-way roads and roadworks. Do you have enough petrol in the car? Always allow more time to get to the interview than you think you’ll need, especially if you’re travelling in peak hour or if rain is expected.

Physical preparation: To perform at your best in the interview, it’s crucial to get a good night’s sleep the night before. Eat a nutritious evening meal (not too heavy or late), avoid alcohol and start winding down before you go to bed. Get an early night and of course, don’t forget to set your alarm.

3) On the day of your job interview
Before leaving: Give yourself time in the morning to review your resume and notes, and run through specific points you wish to make. Ensure you leave early enough to arrive at the interview a few minutes ahead of time.

Final tips: While a morning coffee can help make you more alert, it might be wise to avoid having too many as you don’t want to be jittery during the interview. When you arrive at the interview, give yourself a final once-over: tidy yourself up (check your face, clothes and hair), turn your mobile phone to silent, and take a few deep breaths. When you meet the interviewer, greet them by name and don’t forget to smile!

Source:https://au.hudson.com/career-advice/how-to-prepare-for-a-job-interview

eyeball magnifier

Recruiters spend all of six seconds looking at a resume.

So you only get a brief chance to grab their attention.

The nature of the process means that hiring managers are looking for faults rather than seeking the skills to match the role on offer. A case of looking for weaknessess before strengths.

One key is to make sure achievements in a resume are backed up by metrics. If a project you were involved in was successful, say why it was with numbers.

“Resumes are vital to most job searches, but creating one can quite often be a long and tedious process,” says Ciaran Martin, Talent Acquisition Manager at Open Colleges.

“With so many conflicting pieces of advice, many people feel like they don’t know where to begin.”

Open Colleges, an Australia online education provider, has created a guide to building a career-boosting profile.

1. Pay attention to detail

Be consistent and make sure you spellcheck.

2. Write a cover letter

This shows your interest in the position and, just like with your resume, make sure it is tailored to the role.

3. Lead with a summary or person profile

But make sure it’s only about 10 lines in length.

“This should act as a snapshot to your whole CV,” says Martin. “Use this space wisely as it’s an opportunity to outline your key experience.”

4. Keep the layout simple

Adopt a standard format for each job role you’re discussing, highlighting responsibilities and achievements.

5. Avoid personal details

Only name, email and mobile number. No photographs. “Recruiters try and rule you out before they meet you,” she says. “For example, including your home address might lead to you being disregarded if you live far away from the place of work.”

6. Be careful with the font

Traditional is best, such as Arial or Times New Roman. The font size should be between 10 and 12.

7. Read the job advert

“Make sure you know what you’re applying for,” says Martin. “Tailor your resume so that your responsibilities and achievements are inline with the job spec. If the job was for a more creative/technical position, it would be helpful if those skills were demonstrated.”

8. Highlight key achievements in previous roles

“Ideally achievements that relate to the job you’re applying for, demonstrating your ability to perform well in this next opportunity,” says Martin. “Outline projects you’ve successfully completed – reflects on other skills such as time management, relationship building.”

9. Simple is best

“If you’re applying for a role such as a Graphic Designer, the layout of your resume will be important,” says Martin. “But as a general rule, the most easy to read and accessible is best. If it’s a creative resume, there must also be a link to a portfolio.”

10. Keep it private

“Don’t put your resume up online for everyone to see, plus always PDF,” she says. “Don’t send through a word version which could be edited.”

 

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/10-tips-for-resumes-to-get-a-recruiters-attention-2018-8

1

Searching for a job can be a job in itself and is not truly finished until you are offered employment. Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy offers a few tips on how to stay motivated during this often trying time:

1. Clarify your values: If the company’s values are in opposition to your personal value, the employment is inherently set up not to work. This determination of values can be done by being honest with yourself and doing a self-appraisal of what you believe in.

2. Write out your marketable skills and areas of execellence: When you are switching jobs or looking for a more challenging opportunity, be sure to emphasize your strengths. Emphasize how your skills have resulted in measurable consequences in the past. Moreover, certain areas of specialty can serve to add flavor and interest to your candidacy for a job.

3. Pinpoint your areas of weaknesses and determine how you can improve them: Try to avoid fluffier answers like, “I am a perfectionist.” Be honest with areas in which you are not the strongest and think actively about how you can make yourself better.

4. Don’t let the world decide your path for you; choose something you love: Tracy brings up the point that you will spend more time in your life working than any activity other than sleeping. Make sure it’s something you can not only tolerate but find purpose in doing.

Source: https://www.entrepreneur.com/video/312868

Resume1

Estimates suggest that prospective employers will spend between 10 seconds and two minutes looking at your resume before deciding whether or not they want to interview you. Make sure your resume grabs their attention and demands a second look. Suggestions include:

  • If possible, tailor your resume to fit the particular job.
  • Remember that a resume is only a summary, not a full-blown account of your every career move. Keep it brief – three pages is more than enough detail.
  • Include basic information (such as full name, address, telephone number and other contact details) on the top of the first page.
  • Next, list your educational qualifications, starting from the most recent and working backwards.
  • Then, list your employment history, once again starting from the most recent. Include position, company and length of employment.
  • For each previous job, only list pertinent and interesting details. Don’t just retype your job description – write about your accomplishments.
  • Include specific information if you can. Use numbers and figures. For example, instead of saying ‘raised funds for projects’, put ‘raised over $100,000 per annum’; rather than ‘supervisory position’, write ‘supervision of 25 people’.
  • Explain any gaps in employment history, if you have them. For example, you may have taken time off to travel or further your education.
  • Consider including a summary paragraph of your work skills.
  • Include any other skills that may be relevant such as first aid training, a forklift licence or typing ability.
  • Include industry awards.
  • Include references or contact details for referees.
  • Avoid using gags or novelty tactics to flag attention to your resume. Always type your resume on white A4 paper, and don’t include little gifts or send your resume in unusual packaging. These tactics are just annoying.
  • Attach a short, to-the-point and professional cover letter. Include a summary paragraph to sell your experience and qualifications.

Source: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/job-hunting-tips

1

Woolworths had previously indicated that their next priority, following the opening of their Wadalba store, will be the long-awaited project at the proposed Warnervale Town Centre site. The Town Centre site is also currently seeing the construction of planned housing developments and a park being built by Council. The pace of infrastructure development in the area has picked up in the last year, with a long-awaited new ambulance station being built at Hamlyn Terrace, along with a new private Hospital being built at Kanwal. This is being further complemented by the beginning of the $200m upgrade of Wyong Hospital, representing a huge investment in health infrastructure in the area.

Work has also begun on the new Bunnings development at Lakehaven and a series of industrial and commercial developments ongoing at North Wyong, marking a good sign in the battle against the Central Coast’s 18.1 per cent youth unemployment rate.

David Harris said he welcomed the investment and development in the area and committed to continuing to fight for further funding for local road upgrades and infrastructure needs. “After years of what seemed like a lack of interest from Government and the private sector in our area, we are seeing vital community infrastructure being delivered in and around the Greater Warnervale Area,” he said. “These investments will be a significant boost for jobs in our local area and mean residents have access to better services, closer to home. “I look forward to Woolworths hopefully following through and prioritising its long-awaited development at the Town Centre site. “In 2016, we were facing the imminent privatisation of Wyong Hospital and not much in the way of local service development. “We have fought hard to get where we are and it’s great to see the progress.”

Source: https://coastcommunitynews.com.au/central-coast/news/2018/08/harris-welcomes-new-investment/

Unemployment Workers. Unemployed office workers holding cardboard signs job hunting

Your resume impressed a potential employer, and now you have an interview. Suggestions include:

  • Research the company or organisation. Be familiar with its products and goals.
  • Think about what you want to say in the interview. Imagine the kind of questions you might be asked, and rehearse a few answers.
  • Prepare questions of your own. For example, you could ask them to tell you about the working environment.
  • Dress conservatively and in a business-like fashion.
  • Make sure your personal grooming (such as fingernails and hair) is up to scratch.
  • Arrive on time.
  • Try to be polite, positive and friendly to everyone you meet during the job interview.
  • Don’t use slang or swear words.
  • Display positive body language – such as good posture, firm handshake, relaxed smile and make eye contact – these can make a great first impression.
  • Don’t say anything negative about previous employers.
  • Let the interviewer take the lead. Don’t try to control the conversation.
  • Avoid talking about salary and employee benefits too early.

Source: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/job-hunting-tips

1

A job title is a nicely packaged label, but we’re more than just a title.

Your background and experiences provide a wide array of knowledge, skills, and strengths that you can transfer over to any job.

 

Instead of searching by title, I’d start by researching the responsibilities that excite and energize you. That means instead of confining yourself to a job title, start describing what’s involved with your ideal role instead.

Here’s How to Do That

I recommend starting with an exercise that resembles digging for career gold, where you’ll evaluate all of the positions you have held throughout your career and ask yourself things like:

  • What did I love about this job?
  • When did I lose track of time?
  • When was I most excited?

As you go through this process, jot down all of the responsibilities you enjoyed and skills you liked using.

Next, I want you to take a look at this list and start identifying common threads and patterns. Were you happiest when crunching data? Interacting with clients? Problem solving in a team? Building something from nothing? Working on one long-term project vs. multiple short ones?

As you start to understand your skills and interests, you can lead your job search by sharing the story of what you’re looking for. Each time you share your dream role including the skills and interests you align with, two things will happen:

You’ll open up closed doors as more people hear you stating what you’re looking for. It’s amazing what connections and opportunities crop up once we share our goals with the world.

You’ll hear recommendations from people that often sound like, “Have you ever considered [blank]?” or “Have you talked to [blank]?” Whether you’re talking to career experts, recruiters, friends, or strangers, everyone in the world has unique perspectives, contacts, and experiences that they are able to share with you in turn.

Once you figure out what types of roles really intrigue you, then you can craft your personal brand and ensure you’re highlighting a cohesive and consistent story in all of your online and offline marketing materials.

More importantly, you can start a targeted networking campaign to spark conversations with people who will be able to share more about the career paths you’re truly interested in. These informational interviews can lead into informal job interviews… which can lead to offers.

It’s easy to feel welded to your title in your job search, but that doesn’t need to be the case. Turn your attention to your skills and experiences instead, and I’m confident that you’ll find job opportunities that are way better suited to what you’re looking for. Good luck!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-job-search-with-vague-job-title

1

When it comes to a “safe” job versus a “dream” job, it can be hard to turn down the first if there’s no guarantee of the second.

So, the question becomes: If you get an offer that you’re not too excited about, should you take it, or keep looking?

The answer really depends on your situation. There are circumstances in which it makes sense to say “yes:” whether it’s for experience, much-needed cash, or because it’s a stepping stone to a career you do love.

Remember: Not every job needs to be your dream job, but every new position should offer some advantage over your current role.

Here’s your guide to deciding if an only somewhat exciting offer is worth taking.

Yes if: It Will Help You Achieve Big Goals Down the Line
If it’s common practice in your industry to pay your dues with a not-so-great role for a couple of years, then you probably need to accept it for a bit—just make sure it’s part of a larger plan.

No if: You’re Delaying Important Goals by Taking It
If your life’s ambition is to be a designer, and what you’re being offered is a social media manager position (with no chance of changing roles later on), it’s probably in your best interest to turn it down.

Yes if: The Pay Is High Enough That It’ll Solve Other Big Problems in Your Life
If you have a ton of student or credit card debt, are trying to save for a down payment, need to move out of your parents’ house, or have a health problem that needs funding, a high-paying job can take the stress off and make your life easier (until you’re physically and mentally ready to pursue a career you love).

No if: The Pay’s Not a Big Improvement From What You’re Earning Now
Switching jobs should be for career advancement, much more interesting work, or a significant salary bump—not for another boring position at the same pay level.

Yes if: You’re Going to Get Career-Building Experience
Even if the job description sounds dull, if you can get essential experience and learn some valuable skills, it’s worth going for it. Then, after you’ve bulked up your resume, you can start looking for more exciting jobs where you can use your new talents.

No if: It’s a Lateral Move
If it’s a job similar to the one you have or have had, and there’s no potential for gaining valuable experience or skills in your field, take a pass.

Yes if: There’s a Real Opportunity to Move Up
Maybe you’ll be the receptionist now, but the company does interesting design work and is known for hiring internally. Or, there’s an exciting management job that could be yours in a couple of years. Sometimes, you have to do something you don’t want to in order to get what you want—but just make sure there’s a prize worth waiting for.

No if: It’s Truly a Dead End
If the offer comes from a company where the people in your dream job have been around for decades and show no signs of leaving, or you know they’ll never consider you for an internal transfer, decline.

Yes if: You’re Unemployed and Have Been Applying With No Success
A lengthy period of unemployment can raise red flags for potential employers. If the months are going by and no offers are coming in, take it. This allows you to make money as you look and not end up in a far more desperate situation.

No if: You’re Gainfully Employed and Don’t Think This Will Make You Any Happier
There’s no advantage in changing things just for the sake of a change. Keep looking for a role that’ll make a positive difference in your life.

If you decide to accept an offer you’re not excited about, remember two things. First, keep the reason you’re doing it front and center, and remind yourself that you’re here in pursuit of a larger goal. This will help you not feel stuck forever in a career you’re not happy about—and force you to make a change when you’re no longer gaining fulfillment from it.

Second, put in as much effort and enthusiasm as if it were actually your dream job—not only will this help you succeed later on, it will make your work atmosphere a bit more bearable.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/should-i-take-a-job-offer-i’m-not-excited-about?ref=recently-published-2

1

Early on in my career as an HR generalist, I realized that my favorite tasks had to do with recruitment and hiring—probably because my personality is more like a salesperson, and recruiting is the “sales” side of HR.

My career fantasies consisted of me getting to just focus on recruiting all day—finding and interviewing people, making offers, and convincing them this was the right opportunity for them. Eventually, I made my dreams happen and never looked back.

But is specialization always the right answer? Here are six questions to ask yourself to help you decide if it is, or if you should go the generalize route:

1. Who Are the People I Really Admire and Enjoy Working With?

Do you get excited when you talk with a specialist about what they do? What about their expertise gets you jazzed?
If you find your curiosity leads you down a rabbit hole of ever more detailed questions for them, then specialization could be a great fit for you. If you run out of questions or feel confused or bored, maybe you’re more of a “skim the surface” kind of person. There’s nothing wrong with that—business needs both kinds!

2. Would I Be Content Spending All Day Focused on One Thing?

If you’re in finance, you can take that in a lot of different directions. For those who like to dip their toes in all areas—from accounts receivable to treasury to budget management—specializing would be a downer.

But if you’ve seen all that and want to plumb the depths of one specific field, it may be just the right decision. Talk to a few people who work in those roles to make sure it’s what you think it is and you’ll enjoy it.

3. Will I Need More Education to Go Deep Into What I Really Want to Focus On?

Accountants and lawyers often face this dilemma early on. Tax accounting and tax law, for example, can be a fast path to high rewards, but they typically require advanced degrees and a lot of exposure to the specialty.

If you make that investment in yourself to go back to school, you’re making a long-term commitment to your craft. So be sure you really love it (and can afford it).

4. Will Specializing Increase or Decrease My Work-Life Balance?

It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert at anything, according to Malcom Gladwell’s book Outliers: The Story of Success.

Are you ready to spend a lot of time working to become a topic expert? How will that affect your relationships with your friends and family? It may be smart to ask for their opinion and support first, and decide for yourself if specializing will take away from the things you value outside of work.

5. Will I Box Myself Out of Future Opportunities if I Become Too Narrowly Focused?

It’s key to figure out if becoming a specialist will ultimately limit your career path down the road. Use your networking efforts to get a sense of where specializing will take you—and whether that sounds interesting to you.

Also, consider whether you feel more comfortable in a large organization or a small one. Small companies typically (but not always!) need more “utility players” willing to play several roles and fill in for others, whereas large enterprises often “divide and conquer,” solving problems with teams of specialists.

6. What’s My End Game?

If, down the road, you want to manage others, you might want to keep one foot in the generalist world. As a boss, you’ll need to be able to have credibility beyond your specialty to lead others.

However, if you’re more excited about becoming an expert in your field, specializing might be the way to go.

You may or may not already know all the right people willing to invest in you and advise you as you decide between specializing and generalizing.

If you don’t, that’s okay—but it’s key to have a strong network when making this decision. Talk with colleagues at your current company who are a few years ahead of you. Or, get in touch with fellow alumni who graduated from your university. Or, consider hiring a career coach who specializes in your industry or desired field.

Just be sure not to rush your decision—and know that you can always change your mind. Read a lot of articles and blogs, take people to coffee, listen to podcasts. In short, take your time. After all, this is your career—it’s worth getting right!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/questions-ask-yourself-specialize-generalize?ref=recently-published-0

NSW Premier, Ms Gladys Berejiklian, and Health Minister, Mr Brad Hazzard, officially opened Gosford Hospital’s new 11-storey tower on June 23.

“Together with the $200m Wyong Hospital redevelopment, the $348m Gosford Hospital redevelopment is delivering next-generation, first-class health care to the Central Coast,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The technological advancements in the new 11-storey tower block are incredible, including for the first time, a nuclear medicine service which will greatly improve diagnoses for a range of conditions, and speed up scans for emergency patients. “The redevelopment is part of our government’s record $8b health infrastructure spend over the next four years,” Ms Berejiklian said. Mr Hazzard said clinicians and the community contributed to the innovative design.

“The new tower has been designed with patients in mind, with privacy and comfort front and centre,” he said. “The Intensive Care Unit has the largest windows of any public hospital in the state, and a courtyard with oxygen and gas fittings means that some of our sickest patients can be outside,” he added. The new tower features: a Special Care Nursery, with expanded capacity for newborn cots from 10 to 15, and pull-out beds for parents and carers; an Intensive Care Unit with glass screens that can be switched to opaque (instead of curtains); an MRI machine to diagnose stroke, cancer, infection and joint abnormalities; single or double rooms with an ensuite and a patient/relative lounge in each unit; and, dedicated staff and patient lifts to offer more privacy. The complete redevelopment, due to be finished by 2019, also includes a new $35.5m carpark and refurbished spaces for allied health, cancer day unit, emergency short stay unit and cardiovascular services.

Source: https://coastcommunitynews.com.au/central-coast/news/2018/07/hospital-new-11-storey-tower-opened/

1

If you know you’re capable of doing more than fetching coffee (and I know you are!), then you need to walk into that interview room with the confidence and command that says so. How do you do that? Use these tips when readying yourself for your next interview.

1. Make a List of What You’re Great at

Think about the things that make you feel good about yourself. Are you gifted at organizing or creating systems and processes that improve efficiency? Or, are you great interpersonally and have a knack for making people feel heard and welcome?

Start creating a list of those attributes. This will not only shore up your inner confidence, but it will also give you content that you can relate to what your interviewer is looking for in the company’s next hire.

2. Think Through Your Day-to-Day

So you’re telling me that someone paid you for 40 hours each week plus benefits to only get coffee—and that’s it? Even the most prodigal of companies probably had a few more expectations than that.

When you’re struggling to think of other responsibilities, it’s helpful to talk through your day-to-day with a friend. It’s easy to take for granted the other things you do, and by relaying what you spend your day doing, you’ll be able to come up with significantly more content and depth than you previously thought.

For instance, in addition to getting coffee, did you also ensure the office was appropriately stocked and presentable for visitors and employees? Did you manage the conference room schedule and ready rooms for meetings? Did you liaise with building maintenance staff on the upkeep of the office?

Look at that! You’ve just described the background of a perfect office coordinator or administrative assistant.

3. Unlock Your Potential

Remember, potential is not what you’ve done, it’s what you can do. Rather than fixating on the most literal definition of yourself and what you’ve previously done, use this as an opportunity to think and dream expansively.

What more can you do? What more is within you? Listen carefully to the needs of the person interviewing you and find ways to relate your background or personality to those needs. Your previous job doesn’t define the whole you, nor should it define your potential.

The job search is enough to shake anyone’s confidence—particularly when you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t have valuable skills or experience to offer. But, I’m willing to bet you bring way more to the table than you think!

Put these tips to work, and you’ll tackle your job search with the confidence of someone who’s more than deserving of that open position.

 

Source:https://www.themuse.com/advice/job-search-with-confidence-when-skills-are-lacking?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-1

1

The days when you had to put on a mask for work in the name of corporate conformity are over. They died with the wide-and-shiny neck tie, “kitchens” that looked like your dentist’s office, and other bad memories from yesteryear’s workplace.

Today’s workplace trades on inclusivity, empowerment, teamwork, and—in a word—realness.

Whatever your race, ethnicity, gender or sexual identity, it’s not only yours to embrace, but your employer’s. According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends report, 69% of executives say diversity and inclusion is an important issue. And that’s smart—because it’s good for business.

Recent research from Diversity Council Australia found that employees who work on inclusive teams are 10 times more likely to be highly effective than workers who don’t. They were also found to be more satisfied in their work, and studies have proven that happy employees are more productive.

So, it looks like it’s the perfect time to get real. Here are a few tips to make sure you can thrive as you at work.

Ask Upfront for a Diversity Onboarding

If you don’t identify as a white male (no shade if you do), chances are you have questions when entering a new workplace. What’s the policy to ensure women are paid as much as their male counterparts? Is there a mentorship program here and how can I find a mentor whose values align with my own? How can I help this company cultivate and hire diverse talent like myself?

Many reputable organizations will answer these as part of new-employee onboarding in the form of policies, videos, training, and general information. The goal should be to equip you with the knowledge and resources to work freely as your true self and ensure others can do the same.

If your new-hire briefing falls short of these expectations, don’t let your questions stew. Ask them. Doing so doesn’t mean you’re anticipating some sort of institutionalized discrimination (why would you join the company in that case?), it just means you’re curious and you’re looking forward to being part of progressive solutions to today’s workplace challenges.

Phrase questions to show that you’re curious about something meaningful to you and it’ll be easier to start the conversation: “I’m really passionate about women’s issues, I’d love to know what you do here to make sure women have access to leadership opportunities and equal pay?”

Join an Organization, or Start One

Whether you’re underrepresented at work or just have a really niche interest, joining a club—or starting one—is a great way to create space for the parts of you that don’t fit neatly into your job description.

Find groups that empower you—whether they’re creative or career development-oriented. The best part, clubs can fill voids if something you feel passionate about is not already reflected in your workplace. For example, if ladies aren’t exactly running the show (yet), a women’s group can be a great way to find support and mentorship. If people seem clueless when Pride rolls around, an LGBT+ alliance can change that.

If the group you’re looking to join doesn’t exist, consider starting it. Talk to HR or your manager and ask whether there’s a formal process in place to secure funding.

Be Aware of Your Biases, and Wake Others Up to Theirs

For better or for worse, we all carry unconscious biases. They’re woven into our minds from childhood and continue to proliferate in popular culture. These biases can affect our interpretations of and interactions with coworkers.

One of the best ways to be more self-actualized in the workplace is to help others be the same by granting them freedom from even small stereotypes and assumptions. Look into ways you can become more aware of your biases and spread the word to co-workers.

A few places to start: browse YouTube for bias exercises like this one, ask your colleagues for honest feedback, and pay close attention to your thoughts and reactions in groups (are you responding to hard facts and values, or assumptions and emotions?).

Grow Your Social Circle

Finally, it’s easier to be yourself if you’re among friends.

You can find them, but you may have to work for it. That means going to company events, grabbing coffee with new co-workers, switching your lunch crowd every so often, or hopping in new channels on Slack.

And try to connect with a range of coworkers, not just your immediate peers. You can learn from others who are different from you and who are in more senior or diverse roles. You may have to leave your comfort zone, but it’s well worth it—you’ll be more relaxed at work if you have a group of people supporting you.
Work should be inviting—not just because you like your work (although that’s a big plus), but because you can be yourself while you’re there. Whether your workplace is super progressive and has all the diversity and inclusion boxes checked, or you have to do some work to help get it there, use these tips to make your workday—and that of your coworkers’—more real.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/bring-your-whole-self-to-work?ref=recently-published-1

1

Making a career change is scary. It may seem easier to stay in a job that you’re comfortable with and good at, rather than taking the plunge into a totally different career. But, those who do take that plunge often end up happier.

That proverbial leap requires more preparation than simply closing your eyes and jumping, though. To be sure that you don’t end up at another job that leaves you unfulfilled, you need to have a plan of action.

Catherine Morgan, Career Transition Expert at Point A to Point B Transitions, sees clients take a variety of different career journeys—doing the same job in a different industry, doing a different job in the same industry, or finding a job that is completely different in both skill set and industry.

And while some people know deep down that making the transition is the right thing all along, others come to the realization after a major life event. Regardless of the catalyst, Catherine advises taking calculated steps once you’ve decided to change industries.

So if you’re ready to take the leap, here’s our best advice on how to set yourself up for a successful career change.
Follow Your Passion, Purpose, or Side Hustle.

If you’re considering a career change, you’re probably not fulfilled with your current role. But, before jumping into another unsatisfying job, take the time to figure out what would make you happy. 1 out of 5 people don’t feel engaged with their job, and we know you don’t want to remain one of them.

Finding your passion can seem daunting, but if you examine the things you enjoy most, it gets easier. When thinking about changing jobs, “people often pull from life experience or something they’ve been doing on the side,” says Catherine.

Think about your hobbies—do you love to cook, or read, or sew? What activities are you best at and bring you the most joy? While not every hobby can be turned into a full-time job, examining your interests outside of work is a great way to discover what type of career might make you happy.

Have a Strategy and Take Steps to Implement It
In most cases, a career change doesn’t happen overnight. It takes work and preparation—but don’t get overwhelmed. Once you have your big picture figured out, do the following:

1. Research
We know you know how to do some internet sleuthing. So, instead of stalking your ex online, use those detective skills to start researching potential employers. Check out their social media, website, and any other info you can find so that you can make an informed decision on whether a company is the right fit for you.

2. Network
Make a list of people you know who work in the field that you’re interested in. If you don’t know anyone personally that’s okay. Utilize LinkedIn to expand your search, and don’t forget to ask friends and family for their connections. You can even craft an email to friends explaining that you’re looking to change careers and would love to be connected with anyone they think could help.

Once you have contact information, look them up before reaching out. You’ll want to sound informed so people know their time won’t be wasted connecting with you. Request a coffee, informational interview, or even to shadow someone after you’ve made the first move.

3. Know What You’re Willing to Sacrifice
Before making a big shift, Catherine says, consider whether there is an opportunity to rework your current job situation. “Look at what you want and what would make you happier—less travel, working from home more, boundaries to disconnect,” she says.

If you are set on changing careers, there’s a lot to consider before leaving your current job. Before quitting evaluate what sacrifices you are willing to make in order to find a role that you love—can you take a pay cut, start in a lower position, do you have leverage to leave your job without having your next one lined up?

Knowing the answers to these questions beforehand will set you up for success and help narrow down potential jobs and employers.

The Results
Catherine says “the people I work with tend to be happy with their decisions, they are going into it with the right mindset and finding something valuable to them.” We spend the bulk of our time at work, so being happy with your job can make a huge difference.

So, if you think it’s time for a career change, follow the steps above—do your research, create a plan of action, and take the leap. You may just end up happier than you ever imagined.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/why-a-career-change-may-make-you-happier?ref=recently-published-1

1

There’s a magical period of time that can only be found between the day you leave one job and the day you actually start a new gig you’ve got lined up. There’s nothing else quite like it—a real vacation unmarred by work emergencies, project spillovers, or impending deadlines.

It’d be hard to judge anyone for dreaming of extending that blissful in-between phase and filling it with travel, rest, and all kinds of projects you haven’t had time to tackle. But usually, your old company wants you to stay as long as possible (at the very least the customary two weeks) and your new one wants you there as soon as possible.

And sometimes that leaves you with just a weekend to yourself. How in the world are you going to fit everything into a measly two days? The hard truth is that you can’t. But you can still have some fun, get some rest, and be ready to go.

Here are a few tips to help you plan it right and make the most of the time you have.

Celebrate—But Not Too Much

It’s natural to want to celebrate. But don’t overdo it. If you’re going to indulge in some drinks (or greasy foods for that matter), do it on Friday and remember what you already know about moderation. The last thing you want is day drink your way through Sunday and arrive at your new office feeling hungover.

Be Realistic About Your To-Do List

The biggest mistake you can make is to be too ambitious, according to Muse Career Coach Tara Goodfellow. If you try to take all the things you’d normally do in two weeks off and stuff them into one weekend, you’re going to get overwhelmed and stressed.

“If you go away or do a big weekend event, you’re setting yourself up to start drained,” she says. And if you sign up for that spin class you’ve never tried before and go so all out that you can’t move for two days afterwards, you’ll end up “sore, exhausted, and cranky.”

Easy on the organizing projects too. On Friday night, you might be determined to do a full spring cleaning, but by Sunday you might freak out when it’s nowhere near done and you’ll have to spend the next few weeks living in the mess that is a half-finished organizing job.

Frontload Any Prep You Still Have to Do

The key is to get this stuff out of the way as early as possible. That might mean setting out your first-day clothes when you get home on Friday, says Muse Career Coach Clayton Wert. Or maybe it’s sitting down with your laptop and a cup of coffee on Saturday morning and spending a few hours going over any materials you’ve been sent, jotting down some notes about things you want to remember or questions you have, or poking around LinkedIn to learn about your new team. Or perhaps it’s going out to do a little shopping on Saturday to pick up a new work bag to get you excited.

Sleep, Relax, and Take Care of Yourself

First, make sure you’re getting enough sleep on each of the three nights you’ve got, Wert emphasizes. But beyond that, he says, “do what you need to do to feel good, what puts you in a positive mindset.”

Once you’ve done your last bit of prep, start winding down and do whatever it is that makes you feel relaxed and recharged. That could mean going on a run, taking the yoga class you love, getting a massage, sitting down with a good book for a few hours, or visiting your favorite coffee shop.

Unplugging and doing whatever activity you know you enjoy can help alleviate stress and anxiety you might not even realize is there, Goodfellow says. And if you are aware of your nerves, don’t be afraid to share that with those close to you.

“Sometimes people don’t realize how normal it is to be nervous. They think they should just be excited,” she says. “It’s okay to communicate those fears and concerns and anxieties with people. A lot of times that’s held in,” she adds, but letting it out can provide some comfort.

“Focus on the Positive Things Ahead”

Sometimes the hardest part of the transition isn’t starting the new job, but breaking free from the old one and processing any difficult emotions it left you with. And such an abbreviated break in between might exacerbate that stress.

“Instead of still trying to hold on to the baggage, put that on the back burner for now. You can’t carry that with you the first week or two [of your new job], which is not to say you shouldn’t go back to it,” says Muse Career Coach Eloise Eonnet.

But in this quick turnaround scenario, “focus on the positive things ahead,” she says. “Imagine yourself in great detail a year from now at that company. What are the kinds of relationships you’ve built? What projects are you working on?”

Spending your time visualizing your happy future at your new job—rather than rehashing the terrible boss or toxic culture you dealt with at your last one—will help you start off on the right foot.

We’d never argue that having just a couple days between jobs is exactly as refreshing as having a few weeks. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make the most of that weekend. And don’t forget to think ahead. Carve out some time for self-care in the first weeks at your new job, even if it’s just slotting in a yoga class every Thursday or time to go to the park every weekend.

Finally, plan a real vacation or even just a long weekend, whatever your new time-off policy and company culture allows. Make sure it’s not too far out of sight and start looking forward to it.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/make-most-of-weekend-only-time-between-jobs?ref=recently-published-0

1

The first 90 days of your new job are crucial to set yourself up for long-term career success. It’s where you make good on the promises you touted during your interview and set the stage for how people perceive you.

That’s why asking for feedback during this time is so, so important. It quickly demonstrates to your new boss that you’re invested, you’re committed to excellence, and that you’re in this for the long haul.

Plus, if done well, you can earn major brownie points that may help you get recognized later for opportunities to work on interesting projects or even advance more quickly.

Easy enough, right? Now that you know just how important your first 90 days are, here are some guidelines for how to ask for feedback to ensure you’re on the right path (or how to get on it).

When Should You Ask?

Eliciting feedback in these crucial first few days is a balance between giving your new manager and co-workers enough time to form concrete thoughts and opinions of you, while also being proactive in prompting feedback that will help you as you get onboarded.

Rule of thumb: Don’t expect a formal review by the end of week one. After that, it’s all a judgement call. How much real work have you actually had a chance to do? If you’ve just completed a big project or finished a tougher assignment, now may be the perfect time to ask for some input on how you did. Regardless of the above, don’t let three weeks go by without making the big ask.

A good rhythm for how frequently you continue to check-in will hinge on the volume and involvement of your work. That said, a good best practice is no more than once a week, but no less than once a month.

How Should You Ask?

Don’t pounce at the water cooler or in the bathroom while your boss is washing her hands. Reach out to your manager via email or in person and request a meeting directly. Explain what the meeting is for—people will appreciate having a heads-up so they can prepare ideas ahead of time.

Try something like, “I’d like 15 minutes of your time to talk about how you think things are going so far with me. Are you satisfied with what I’m doing, and the work I’m producing? Is there anything I can be doing differently?”

What Should You Ask?

Give your manager suggestions on what you want to hear, such as, “How am I integrating within the team?” “Am I operating at the speed you need me to?” or “How is the quality of my work? Any development areas you have already identified that I can work on?”

This is also the time to coach your manager on what you need in terms of resources. Would you benefit from regular one-on-ones or additional training? Perhaps a tracking system that you and your manager have access to to share what you’re working on?

Who Should You Ask?

Besides your boss, co-workers are also a great resource for feedback. While it doesn’t need to be as formal as with a manager, try crafting an email along the lines of, Hey, I’m loving it here so far, and would love to get some feedback from you to make sure I’m setting myself up for long term success. It’s really important to me I’m doing a good job and making a good impression.

The reality of soliciting feedback is that it may not always be 100% positive. So, prepare yourself mentally. All your good intentions will immediately be nullified if you go into “defensive” mode. Keep your ego out of this conversation and stay open and non-judgmental.

Then, send a follow-up email thanking your manager or colleague for their time and candor, and briefly outline your takeaways and any next steps you plan to take. Implement any areas of improvement right away and follow-up with your boss to make sure the adjustments you’re making are correct and noticed.

We know there’s a lot to learn in your first 90 days. You’ve got new systems, technologies, faces, and names to remember, and so much more. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Incorporating this advice displays maturity and commitment on your part, and will also give you a good indication of whether you’re doing well, or need to make some adjustments before its too late. Regardless of what you learn, it will empower you to excel in your new role.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-ask-for-feedback-first-90-days-successful-new-job

to do list

Let’s face it — life can get really crazy sometimes, especially when we’re trying to balance work, family, a social life, and whatever other real-world obligations come our way on a daily basis. For that reason it’s vital to understand ways to make a better to-do list, in order to keep us organized, understand what things absolutely need to be completed, and to actually be able to finish them in a timely manner.
It seems like an easy enough thing to do, right? Sit down with a pen and a piece of paper and jot down the things we need to get done that day. However, there is really an art to creating the best of the best to-do lists — ones that will truly help us to meet deadlines and ultimately feel less stressed and more accomplished.

I know plenty of people who tell me they never make to-lists because they feel they’re a waste of time. These are the same people I encounter in my life who forget to follow up on emails, or send things when they say they will, or even return phone calls or texts. Their head is always in the clouds, so to say. They live in the moment — which is fine for certain types of work and living situations — but definitely is a challenging way of life for those of us with more regimented jobs and family responsibilities. For those who live for structure, I’ve got you covered in this article. Following some of these tips could be a game-changer for you, as I know they have been for me.

Here are seven ways to make a better to-do list.

1. Consider Quality Vs. Quantity

I am notorious for making extremely long to-do lists. For one, I love the feeling of being able to cross something off the list, so even the little things bring me joy. Secondly, I have a million balls spinning at once all day so without these lengthy lists sometimes I honestly will forget to drop off clothes at the dry cleaner if I don’t write it down.

According to Forbes, a good way to prevent us from bogging down our lists with meaningless items is to remember that by focusing on the big things (quality vs. quantity), we’ll be much more effective at our jobs, and in our broader lives as well. Forbes recommended keeping your list as short as possible, and really weighing a task before considering if you need to write it down. I’m not going to recommend you eliminate a task that you might genuinely forget to do. Rather, if you know every morning you start your day by responding to emails, no need to write that at the top of your list for tomorrow. Try your hardest to focus on the bigger things.

2. Make Your List The Night Before

It’s such a nice feeling waking up and already knowing what you need to accomplish that day, rather than spending the first hour flustered as you respond to emails and scribble a list. To achieve a level of uber-organization, try making your to-do list the night before. This will prevent you from having to waste your energy in the morning figuring out what things need to get done, according to Reader’s Digest. Also, making the list the night before can help calm your mind before you sleep so you’re not waking up in the middle of the night feeling anxiety over little things you might otherwise forget to do the next day.

3. Try To Start The List With The Hardest Task

Have to talk to your boss today about a failed project? Likely you’re completely dreading it, so get it over with at the start of the day. By tackling something difficult first thing you can create a sense of achievement that you’ll take with you for the rest of the day, according to foundr. Also, that hard thing will be done. It will feel so nice. It doesn’t always have to be uncomfortable conversations to start the day, just try to think of which task is going to be most difficult, and move it to the top of the list.

4. From There, Try A Sequential Approach

It’s only been in recent years that I’ve been such a crazy organization freak, but prior to that I used to create to-do lists by writing the day at the top of the page and then jotting down items as they came to my mind, rather than by when they needed to be completed. For a writer, this is a horrible approach because you’re constantly working against deadlines. You need a sequence!

Real Simple suggested a sequential approach to list making that organizes tasks by morning, afternoon, and evening. If you want to make it even more granular, the outlet suggested breaking down whether it will be completed at home, work, or wherever else. Keep our first tip in mind her, though, and try to keep your list of items short and sweet.

5. Include Time Estimates

I have come to live by this tactic mostly becomes it helps me see how many things I can realistically get accomplished in a day, and also because it keeps me motivated to finish assignments in a timely manner. Try adding a time estimate next to each item when you’re creating a list — whether you think it’s going to take you 15 minutes or three hours. Omar Kilani, cofounder of to-do list app Remember The Milk, told Fast Company doing this means “you can make realistic decisions about how much you can really fit into your day.”

6. Try Using An “Other” Section

This tip is a personal recommendation for those like me who despise ending a day without being able to cross every item off their list. I always keep a side list of “Other” items — things that don’t necessarily need to be completed that day, but that I don’t want to lose sight of completely. If I finish my must-do tasks early on a given day, I’ll move to the “Other” section and start ticking those off.

7. Limit The Amount Of Meetings In Your Day

This last one isn’t a tip for writing the list, but rather a way to help ensure you can achieve the items on it. Ever have one of those days where you’ve created an achievable to-do list, as the day goes on you’re pulled into meeting after meeting, then by 5:00 have not been able to complete one of your list items? It happens to us all from time to time.

Where possible, try to limit the amount of meetings in your day. TheMuse.com recommended before you schedule a meeting considering whether the issue could be resolved with an email, phone call, or a quick few minute conversation by the water cooler. If you absolutely need the meeting, try to keep it focused on the fewest number of key agenda items as possible, least number of participants, and the shortest amount of time possible, according to the outlet.

By taking the time in advance to make the right kind of to-do list, you can ultimately be much more productive, deadline-oriented, and overall effective in your work and home life. Take note of these tips, get yourself organized, and start getting things accomplished!

 

Source:  Erica Florentine | https://www.bustle.com/articles/142527-7-ways-to-make-a-better-to-do-list

1

When you’re a manager, your employees are constantly watching to see how you behave and what you say. As a result, it’s important to be intentional about your choice of words in any setting.

As the boss, there are certain things you probably shouldn’t say.

You’re probably aware of the more obvious statements, like:

“I’m only doing this because corporate is making me.”
“I really shouldn’t be telling you this, but…”
“I just need to vent to you about [Person]…”
However, in addition to these obviously-nots, there are a few others phrases that, although seemingly harmless, may end up hurting you and your team.

1. “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”

Leaders often say this to their high performers—the low-maintenance team members they know they can count on to deliver. It’s intended to encourage them to keep it up by letting them know they’re doing a good job.

Still, as an executive coach, I’ve heard time and time again from high performers how frustrating this type of feedback is.

Why? Because they’re often ambitious. They want to advance in their careers, and they crave feedback that will help them grow. The absence of constructive criticism sometimes exasperates them so much that they’re inclined to seek out other opportunities where they’ll get the mentorship they need to continue moving up.

A Better Alternative
To maintain your high performers (and keep them growing), try: “You’re excelling with X. Let’s give you an opportunity to stretch by giving you more chances to do Y.” Or, “You’re doing really well! Let’s explore your career goals so that I can make sure I’m coaching you to get you ready for your next step.”

2. “Was That Clear?”

While this might seem like a reasonable thing to say, it might not always give you an accurate picture of whether or not your team understands your intended message.

For example, I’ve often seen really bright leaders provide so much information that it overwhelms their audience. In those cases, people might not even know where to begin to respond to the question. Further, if this is posed in a group setting, people are less likely to speak up for fear of looking like the only person who’s confused.

Even in those cases in which your audience thinks that everything’s clear, they still might not be on the same page (like when you’re talking with a peer and realize that you’ve each walked away from a meeting with different conclusions).

A Better Alternative
Instead, say: “Let’s do a quick review of the key takeaways to make sure I articulated it clearly.” (Then, you can review them, or better yet, you could have other people in the room review them for you.)

3. “Failure Isn’t an Option”

While this might be something that’s appropriate for life and death situations, for most leaders this isn’t the sort of phrase you should be using too frequently.

Although it seems like it sets the bar high, the reality is that it’ll likely encourage mediocrity.

Think about it: If people are afraid to make mistakes, do you think they’ll be willing to experiment to see if they can make something better, or do you think they’ll stay safely within the bounds of what they know?

A Better Alternative
You can tell your team, “To be innovative, we’ll probably have to take some calculated risks. I don’t want us to make mistakes on purpose, but they’ll inevitably happen. Let’s make sure to learn from them so we can continue to improve.”

4. “Don’t Bring Me Problems, Bring Me Solutions”

This statement is usually meant to encourage problem-solving and proactivity. I’ve also seen it said by bosses who want to prevent employees from incessantly complaining about issues while doing absolutely nothing to solve them.

But according to Wharton professor Adam Grant, it can prevent people from speaking up about important issues they simply don’t know how to solve. This can result in leaders being unaware of where their team stands.

It can also create a “culture of advocacy” where people come to discussions highly invested in their solutions. As a result, they’re more concerned about selling their ideas than engaging with the group to work collaboratively.

A Better Alternative
To encourage your employees to speak up when needed, try: “To make this place better, we need to be aware of all problems—whether or not you know how to solve them. I’m also open to hearing your proposed solutions, too, so we can collaboratively improve our environment.”

To excel as a manager, you’ve got to be a great communicator. When you’re speaking, keep your goals in mind, and think critically about the messages you’re sending. With that sort of intentional communication, odds are you’ll have a positive impact on your team.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-harmless-phrases-leaders-never-say-at-work?ref=recently-published-1

1

You spend the last few months of 2017 saying, “Next year will be different.” And now it’s next year and you can’t really say that anything’s changed. You know what you want—it’s just that the closer you get to going after it, the more unsure you are.

You’re not alone in this feeling. But, instead of continuing to find every flaw in your idea, let’s first make sure that you’re not overthinking every step.

 

1. Every Time You Think About Doing Something Awesome in Your Career, You Immediately Think “I Shouldn’t…”

Are there times when something isn’t right? Sure, of course. But if every time you see an opportunity, you immediately think “I shouldn’t” or “I can’t” then you’re definitely overthinking it.

Here’s what to do instead: Let’s put your amazingly smart brain to action, and think about all the reasons why you actually can do something.

For instance: You think to yourself “Ugh, I’m way overdue for a raise. But I shouldn’t ask for one, I don’t want to be that person and I know my boss is busy.”

Which leads to you feeling terrible and nothing good happening.

Instead, why not try a phrase that starts with “I can” and is followed by “Here’s how.”

Let me give you an example. Start by saying: “I can ask for a raise.” And then add: “Here’s how: I’ll start by writing down all of the work I’ve done and make my case on paper. Then I can also make sure I schedule a time that works for her, so it won’t be a problem to sit down and have a conversation about this. Finally, I can focus on the fact that asking for a raise is a normal thing to do, as long as I’m polite and focused and positive, things will be OK.”

The combination of those two phrases does something magical to your brain. It distracts you from all the reasons why not, and gets you thinking about the good stuff like how it can be possible.

2. Whenever Your Friends Ask About Your Career, You Change the Subject

Have you ever been out with your friends, and someone asks you “How that’s job search going?” And you mumble something quickly and immediately move to another topic?

You aren’t alone! Frankly, we’ve all been there. Sometimes you just aren’t ready to talk about a big career move.

And sometimes you’re just plain scared of change, so instead of facing up to the fact that you’re beyond overdue, you keep changing the subject.

So, to determine which camp you fall into, ask yourself this question: “Is this just a tough moment, or am I honestly avoiding this question all the time?”

If the answer is “I’m avoiding this all the time” then chances are you’re over-thinking your next step and it’s time to face up to the fact that it’s 100% okay to ask for a raise, or to meet with your boss to talk about a promotion, or to even want a completely different job.

Usually, we dread the idea of something more than the thing itself, so the easiest way over the hump is to talk about your next steps with someone you trust. Even saying something like “I really want to change jobs, but I’m terrified of ending up unemployed” can help you move past the analysis paralysis and into action.

And action is where the magic happens.

3. You Endlessly Research Options, But Can’t Seem to Make Yourself Actually Do Anything

Have you ever researched…and researched…and researched…

And just when you feel like you have a solution or an idea for your career, you decide the right answer is “more research.”

You know, just to be safe.

If your answer to “What’s next in my career?” is always “more research” then you’re definitely over-thinking and it’s time for action.

Here’s what you do: Commit to researching two to three good options, and once you have your options in hand, it’s time to take action on them, instead of going back for more information.

So, for example, here’s what that can look like: You decide you want a new job. So you research several different companies but you can’t make yourself apply.

Instead of going back for more research, review all of the work you’ve done to date and then choose your best two options in terms of potential companies. Commit to applying to jobs at both. Don’t panic! Applying doesn’t mean “taking” but it does mean making progress.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/signs-overthinking-career-change-new-job?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-2

1

When I first started working, I never understood why people hated meetings so much. I love people, I love brainstorming conversations, and I love an excuse to not stare at my computer for several hours—how could they not be anything but great?

Of course, over time, I started to understand why they get a bad rap. Take away the fact that most meetings are inefficient, if not unproductive and a waste of time, it takes around 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get focused back on what you were working on before a meeting (which is why we’re big fans of turning unnecessary ones into emails).

As someone who’s (and knows many people who have also) had days of back-to-back meetings, I know how tough it can be to get all your other work done. Here are some tips for how to get through the day the best you can, if cancelling isn’t an option.

The Day Before

Prep for the Meeting
Chances are you know a couple days ahead of time when you’re going to have a day full of meetings. So, use that prep time to get organized.

Make sure you have everything you need to present or run each meeting. If you’re an attendee, go over any documents or agendas your colleagues have sent out to get a sense of what you need to bring and what’ll be discussed (if you have none of this, ask for it!).

Knowing what’s coming up will save you from scrambling day of to find files, or track down information, or waste any mental energy on being shocked at what you’re learning

Get Work Done Ahead of Time
Look at what you have coming up the day after the meeting. Is there anything you can get done in advance? By working through your lunch or staying just 30 minutes later than usual the day before, you can knock off some tasks and not end your meeting-filled-day feeling like you’re way behind.

Plan on How You’ll Take Advantage of Those Bits of In-between Time
Sometimes meetings end early. Sometimes they start late. And sometimes they get cancelled. (And sometimes the presenter spends the first 10 minutes trying to hook up their computer.)

Get ready to use those spare moments wisely.

Make a list of everything that can be done in under five minutes. Then turn to that list (and not social media) when you find yourself with minutes to spare.

Block Off Any Free Time You Do Have
Another no-brainer trick is to physically block off any time you have between meetings on your calendars.

The Day Of

Work in the Meeting (When Possible)
OK, I’m not giving you permission to not listen in the meeting, but I also realize that everyone does this at some point. And I also know that fires come up that you have to address, no matter how important the discussion is.

So, if there’s a lull in the conversation, you’re merely an observer in the meeting, or you’re certain you’re not needed in that moment, I give you permission to tackle any of those low-hanging fruits on occasion—whether it’s responding to a Slack, answering an important client email, or filling out a quick document.

Actually Eat Lunch
If it’s not completely taboo in your office, please eat lunch during the meeting. And, take bathroom breaks, even if it means leaving in the middle or running late to the next one. Oh, and, bring water and a snack with you so you don’t feel famished or dehydrated.

This will help keep your energy up so you can tackle stuff later on (more on that below).

Plan on it Being a Long Day
If your day’s going to be completely packed, then it might be worth getting into the mindset that you probably won’t be leaving when you ideally want to. It sucks to have to work outside your regular hours, but knowing that it’s coming will make it a little less painful.

Cancel Your Plans That Night
With that said, don’t make your day longer by having after-work plans. Not only will this put a deadline on how late you can work, but it’ll also just mean you end the day more exhausted than necessary. Instead, make it a self-care night that’s relaxing and stress-free.

Get in Early
Set your alarm a bit earlier than usual and get to the office before everyone else. This leaves you with plenty of distraction-free time to focus before the day really starts. And this goes for night owls too—even if you get in early and just spend the first hour making a to-do list for the day, you’ll feel better.

The Day After

Avoid This in the Future
You can try following these tips to cut down how many meetings you have to attend in the future.

Or, going back to the whole “blocking off your calendar idea,” you can make sure you block off two to three hours every day for your work. This helps to ensure that you will almost always have time to work. While you’ll of course have to move those blocks to accommodate other people and deadlines, it’s a great start.

No doubt about it that having a meeting-full day stinks. However, it’s not impossible to survive a day like this and still do your job (after all, if I can do it, you can, too).

 

Source:https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-survive-meetings-still-do-work?ref=recently-published-1

1

Unemployment or changing jobs or being stuck in a career rut is stressful no matter how you look at it, but when you multiply it by two, it can really take a toll on you and your relationship.

When my husband and I lost our jobs within six weeks of each other, we were in shock—and found ourselves spending a lot of time together, for better or for worse. During that harrowing period, we attempted to reinvent ourselves as professionals without losing who we were as a couple.

Now that we’re both collecting paychecks again, it’s easy to see many of the mistakes we made as we navigated the rocky road back to full-time employment together. The following is my hard-won wisdom on how to handle joint career stress without losing your peace of mind or your relationship in the process.

Respect Each Other’s Methods

Remember the old “opposites attract?” Well, my husband and I approached our job searches from completely different angles. I regarded it as a numbers games, sending my resume far and wide, while my husband was more strategic, cultivating connections and networking with everyone he’d ever met.

When I tried to convince him to give my way a go when some of his leads didn’t pan out, he insisted his strategy would eventually bear fruit. Likewise, when he suggested I get back in touch with people I hadn’t spoken with in years, I hesitated. Though we were skeptical of each other’s methods, neither of us was right nor wrong.

Respect your partner’s approach to their career, and if you can borrow what’s working for them and incorporate it into your own game plan, all the better. Because, ultimately, both tactics led us to new positions.

Work as a Team

During a rough career patch, you can definitely feel isolated and alone. If there’s an upside to facing it as a couple, it’s that you’ve got a partner who is attempting to overcome the same hurdle, which means your relationship has probably never been filled with more empathy. Use that compassion to cheer each other on and be encouraging on those dark days when your inboxes seem to overflow with rejection emails.

In addition to providing emotional support, you can benefit from having a ready and willing interview partner. Trust me, it’s a lot better to make mistakes in a mock interview with your significant other than with your would-be boss.

Be Gentle With Each Other

When you’re feeling raw and vulnerable during this time, something as small as a sideways glance can feel like a devastating slight.

Though it might be tempting to offer advice, sometimes your partner may just want to vent and know that their feelings are heard and valid. It’s important to keep communication open and figure out what makes each of you feel supported.

When my husband was passed over for a position we were almost certain he’d get, I found myself saying things like, “I don’t understand. How could you not have gotten it?” This ultimately wasn’t helpful for either of us. People process these life events in different ways, so treat each other with care.

Put Away Your Pride and Get Help if You Need It

There’s no denying that a career bump can cause your confidence to plummet while your stress level skyrockets. These factors can wreak havoc on even the most rock-solid relationship. Just remember, you’re not alone.

From career counseling to marriage counseling, if this period is taking a toll on your mental health or your relationship, seek help. Having a professional third party provide strategies for navigating this difficult period can assist you in getting back on track.

Though it may not feel like it while you’re in the thick of it, you will come out on the other side, and when you do, your relationship may be stronger for having weathered this challenging period nobly together.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-deal-relationship-rough-career-change?ref=recently-published-0

Recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before they make the initial decision on candidates, according to research conducted by TheLadders, an online job-matching service for professionals. That means you have to win them over fast.

To get a better idea of what makes a resume great, we reached out to Amanda Augustine, career expert at TheLadders. She created an example of an excellent resume and allowed us to share it.

While resumes should be tailored to the industry you’re in, the one below offers a helpful guide for entry- and mid-level professionals with three to five years of relevant work experience.

What makes this resume so great? Augustine outlines the following reasons:

1. It includes a URL to the jobseeker’s professional online profile.

If you don’t include URLs to your professional online profiles, hiring managers will look you up regardless. Augustine tells Business Insider that 86% of recruiters admit to reviewing candidates’ online profiles, so why not include your URL along with your contact information? This will prevent recruiters from having to guess or mistaking you for someone else.

2. It uses consistent branding.

“If you have a common name, consider including your middle initial on your resume and online professional profiles to differentiate yourself from the competition,” says Augustine. For example, decide if you’re Mike Johnson, Michael Johnson, or Mike E. Johnson. Then use this name consistently, be it on LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook.

3. It includes a single phone number and email address.

“Choose one phone number for your resume where you control the voicemail message and who picks up the phone,” she advises. The same rule applies to an email address.

4. It does not include an objective statement.

There’s no point in including a generic objective about a “professional looking for opportunities that will allow me to leverage my skills,” says Augustine. It’s not helpful and distracting. Ditch it.

5. Instead, it includes an executive summary.

Replace your fluffy statement with an executive summary, which should be like a “30-second elevator pitch” where you explain who you are and what you’re looking for. “In approximately three to five sentences, explain what you’re great at, most interested in, and how you can provide value to a prospective employer,” Augustine says.

6. It uses reverse chronological order.

This is the most helpful for recruiters because they’re able to see what you’ve been doing in recent years immediately, says Augustine. “The only time you shouldn’t do this is if you’re trying to transition to another career altogether, but then again, in this situation, you’ll probably be relying more on networks,” than your resume, she says.

7. It uses keywords like “forecasting” and “strategic planning.”

Many companies use some kind of screening process to identify the right candidates. You should include the keywords mentioned in the job posting throughout your resume.

“Identify the common keywords, terminology, and key phrases that routinely pop up in the job descriptions of your target role and incorporate them into your resume (assuming you have those skills),” advises Augustine. “This will help you make it past the initial screenings and on to the recruiter or hiring manager.”

8. It provides company descriptions.

It’s helpful for recruiters to know the size of the company you used to work for, advises Augustine.

“Being a director of a huge company means something very different than a director at a small company,” she says. You can go to the company’s “About Us” section and rewrite one or two lines of the description. This should be included right underneath the name of the company.

9. It does not list achievements in dense blocks of text.

Recruiters receive so many resumes to scan through at a time, so make it as easy as possible for them to understand why you’re perfect for the job. Dense blocks of text are too difficult to read, says Augustine.

10. Instead, achievements are listed in three bullet points per job.

Under each job or experience you’ve had, explain how you contributed to or supported your team’s projects and initiatives.
“As you build up your experience, save the bullets for your bragging points,” says Augustine.

11. It quantifies achievements.

“Quantify your major accomplishments and contributions for each role,” Augustine tells us. This can include the money you saved or brought in for your employer, deals closed, and projects delivered on time or under budget. Do not use any more than three to five bullet points.

12. Accomplishments are formatted as result-and-then-cause.

A good rule is to use the “result BY action” sentence structure whenever possible. For example: “Generated approximately $US452,000 in annual savings by employing a new procedure which streamlined the business’s vendor relationships.”

13. White space draws the reader’s eyes to important points.

Recruiters do not spend a lot of time scanning resumes, so avoid dense blocks of text. “The key is to format the information in a way that makes it easy to scan and recognise your job goals and relevant qualifications,” Augustine tells us.

14. It doesn’t use crazy fonts or colours.

“Stick to black and white colour,” says Augustine. As for font, it’s best to stick with the basics, such as Arial, Tahoma, or Calibri.

15. It does not include pronouns.

Augustine says you should never write your resume in third person because everyone knows you’re the one writing it (unless you go through a professional resume writing service).

Instead, you should write it in first person, and do not include pronouns. “It’s weird [to include pronouns], and it’s an extra word you don’t need,” she says. “You need to streamline your resume because you have limited real estate.”

16. It does not include images.

“Avoid adding any embedded tables, pictures, or other images in your resume, as this can confuse the applicant-tracking software and jumble your resume in the system,” says Augustine.

17. It doesn’t use headers or footers.

It may look neat and concise to display your contact information in the header, but for “the same reason with embedded tables and charts, it often gets scrambled in an applicant tracking system,” says Augustine.

18. Education is listed at the bottom.

Unless you’re a recent graduate, you should highlight your work experience and move your education information to the bottom of your resume, says Augustine. Never include anything about your high-school years.

19. It doesn’t say “references upon request.”

Every recruiter knows you’re going to provide references if they request it so there’s no reason for you to include this line. Again, remember that space on your resume is crucial so don’t waste it on a meaningless line, Augustine tells us.

 

Source: https://www.businessinsider.com.au/why-this-is-an-excellent-resume-2013-11

1

20 years ago, you probably would’ve laughed if someone said your life would one day be irrevocably changed by a company called Google. What’s a google?

But, as you know, Google’s become the largest entity in one of the biggest tech companies in the world. And it’s giving you a glimpse inside its robust research on what makes a great manager.

It’s no secret that being a good manager can make all the difference in how happy your team is and how well it performs. Google not only proved this to skeptics years ago, but also identified eight (later updated to 10) behaviours of its best managers. So why not learn from one of the most successful data-driven companies out there?

1. “Is a Good Coach”

Employees need and appreciate a manager who takes time to coach and challenge them, and not just when they’re behind.

As Muse contributor Avery Augustine put it, “When it comes to clients, the squeaky wheel usually gets the grease.” The same is true, she said, of employees you manage.

But “I realized that every employee needs to be managed—star performer or not,” she wrote. “And simply leaving some employees to do their jobs without any type of feedback or guidance was detrimental to their career development.”

2. “Empowers Team and Does Not Micromanage”

Micromanaging’s a common mistake managers make without even realizing it, one that discourages and frustrates employees.

But Google’s research found that its best managers don’t, instead offering the right balance of freedom and advice, showing they trust their direct reports, and advocating for the team, according to a sample breakdown from an internal presentation included in a 2013 Harvard Business Review article.

3. “Creates an Inclusive Team Environment, Showing Concern for Success and Well-Being”
In the first iteration of the list, this was described as “expresses interest in and concern for team members’ success and personal well-being.”

Several years later, the company’s updated this entry to reflect research on psychological safety that allows for risk-taking—which Google identified as an important characteristic of effective teams—and unbiasing, or the process of becoming aware of and combatting unconscious biases.

It’s not enough just to have a diverse team, good leaders and managers strive to create an inclusive environment every day.

4. “Is Productive and Results-Oriented”

Employees don’t want to work for a lazy boss. They’d rather be part of a team that’s productive and successful, and that’s hard to do if the leader doesn’t set the tone.

Former Muse editor Adrian Granzella Larssen explained that becoming a boss means you have to be on model behavior.

“As a manager, you’ll be looked to as a role model,” she wrote. “You can’t expect people to give their best at work if they don’t see you doing it, so be sure you’re always on your A game.” That means putting in the effort and getting results.

5. “Is a Good Communicator—Listens and Shares Information”

Communicating effectively is one of the basics of being a good manager (or a good employee for that matter). But it’s also important to remember that great managers prioritize listening.

“Focused, curious listening conveys an emotional and personal investment in those who work for us,” according to Muse contributor Kristi Hedges. “When you listen to people, they feel personally valued. It signals commitment.”

6. “Supports Career Development and Discusses Performance”

Google recently added the “discusses performance” component to this behaviour. The company pointed to research from Gallup that found only half of employees know what expectations they should be fulfilling at work.

“To free employees to take initiative and inspire high performance,” Gallup concluded, “managers need to set clear expectations, hold employees accountable for meeting them and respond quickly when employees need support.”

In other words, managers should not only help their team develop skills and advance their careers, but also be clear about expectations and give honest feedback about performance.

7. “Has a Clear Vision/Strategy for the Team”

Stephanie Davis, who won one of Google’s Great Manager Awards, told HBR that feedback reports helped her realize how important it was to communicate team vision in addition to company vision.

“They wanted me to interpret the higher-level vision for them,” she said. “So I started listening to the company’s earnings call with a different ear. I didn’t just come back to my team with what was said; I also shared what it meant for them.”

A clear and shared vision can also help members of your team work well together.

 

8. “Has Key Technical Skills to Help Advise the Team”

When Google first released its list of behaviors, the findings were somewhat anti-climactic. “My first reaction was, that’s it?” Laszlo Bock, then the Vice President of People Operations, told The New York Times in 2011.

The entries on the list may’ve been obvious, but their relative importance wasn’t, as Bock’s team found out when it ranked the behaviours.

“In the Google context, we’d always believed that to be a manager, particularly on the engineering side, you need to be as deep or deeper a technical expert than the people who work for you,” he said. “It turns out that that’s absolutely the least important thing. It’s important, but pales in comparison.”

So all hope isn’t lost if you find yourself managing people who know more than you.

9. “Collaborates Across Google”

Google recently extended its list by two when its employee survey found that effective cross-organization collaboration and stronger decision-making were important to Googlers.

Whether you’re at a large corporation, an early-stage startup, or a nonprofit, managing your team and leading it to success can depend at least in part on how well you can work with other teams.

Muse contributor Rebecca Andruszka gave some tips for improving communication with other departments for “the collective betterment of the company” (and, as she wrote, to avoid feeling like you work in Congress).

10. “Is a Strong Decision Maker”

Google’s last addition is a reminder that while it’s important for a manager to listen and share information, employees also appreciate one who can make decisions.

Muse Founder and President Alex Cavoulacos urged managers to go one step further and tell their teams not only what decision they’ve made, but also why they’ve made it. The small extra effort helps the team understand context and priorities, improve their own future decision-making, and stay engaged as well as informed.

One of the reasons this research was so effective was that it used internal data to prove what makes managers great at Google (and the company’s re:Work website provides some first steps for others who want to try to replicate its approach).

But that doesn’t mean the list isn’t helpful for people who don’t work there. After all, Google did go from being a made-up word to a household name in just a few years. People and companies now look to it as an example, not only in innovation, but also in its approach to management.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-behaviors-make-great-google-manager?ref=recently-published-2