Posts Tagged “how”

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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/

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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

1

I feel like I need more than just a traditional resume or cover letter in order to stand out to the tech companies I want to work for. What else can I do to separate myself from the competition that’s applying to these innovative companies?

Dear Desperate to Stand Out,

You really hit the nail on the head. Competition’s tough across the board and tech is leading the way.

Your first step to getting noticed is to get in the right mindset. What does that mean? Don’t think like a recruiter, but more like a marketer. Your product is your experience. Here’s how a marketer would sell it.

1. Focus on Presentation
Maybe you’re not a graphic designer, but that shouldn’t be stand in the way of creating an eye-catching resume. There are plenty of tools that make design easy for everyone—many even offer templates designed by experts.

And don’t just stop there. Think of all the other points of contact a recruiter could have with you—including your LinkedIn profile, other social media handles, a blog, an online portfolio, and so on. Make sure they are all polished and contribute to a cohesive personal brand.

2. Spread the Word
A solid resume or cover letter doesn’t accomplish anything if the right people don’t see it. One surefire way to stand out is to proactively put it in front of the right people and to make it easy for them to notice it.

For example, there’s a story of a candidate who used Snapchat geo filters to advertise his portfolio in front of creative directors at the agencies he wanted to work for. You may not want to go that far, but that core idea has some merit. Think of how you can make yourself discoverable.

Don’t be intimidated. This can be something as straightforward as finding an acquaintance who works at the company and asking for a referral, or even dropping a friendly note to the hiring manager on Twitter or LinkedIn.

3. Make it Personal
Anything that starts with the dreaded, “To Whom it May Concern” will find it’s way to the trash can in a hurry. But, it’s hard to ignore a message when it’s highly targeted and personalized.

Start by showing that you took the time to get to know both the hiring manager and the company. Stand out from the competition by finding unique themes, attributes, projects, values, or needs you have in common and then incorporating those into your application materials.

Proving that you’ve done your homework on the role and the company empowers you to present yourself as a seamless fit, while also demonstrating your high level of interest in that opportunity.

Getting the job you want with the company you want to work for can be challenging. But, the right mindset and approach will help you reach your goals faster.

This article is part of our Ask an Expert series—a column dedicated to helping you tackle your biggest career concerns.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/stand-out-against-tough-job-search-competition

1

Being stuck in a rut sucks. If there’s one thing I could wish for you, it’s that you never have to deal with a situation that holds you back from being happy, successful, or fulfilled.

That, unfortunately, is an unrealistic wish (even more unrealistic than wishing I could turn everything I touch into chocolate). Because like failure, ruts are inevitable. And the good news about that not-so-fun fact is that they ultimately help make us stronger, smarter, and more successful individuals.

Just look at a few people in your life who you admire—how many of them went through a struggle that forced them to reevaluate their goals or path?

Since I’m someone who doesn’t love surprises (except the birthday kind), I’m going to tell you right now exactly which ruts you’ll find yourself in throughout your career.

1. Being Bored
No matter how much you love your job, how many hours you work, or how large the pile of to-dos is on your desk, there will come a time when you will find yourself suddenly underwhelmed, unmotivated, or unstimulated at your job for days on end.

It could be for a number of reasons. Maybe your boss has stopped challenging you. Or, maybe you’re making the mistake of not seeking out challenges, or looking for exciting projects. Or, maybe you’ve found yourself in a new role that isn’t as exciting as you thought it would be.

Whatever the reason, boredom is usually pretty fixable. You can ask your boss for better projects, or see if you can chip in on what other teams are working on, or find ways to keep learning, like taking online classes or attending conferences related to your industry. If that still leaves you no better than you were before, it may be time to move on and find a role that’s more engaging.

2. Feeling Unhappy
Unhappiness is a more serious sign to keep an eye on.

Why is it so much more common than we realize? Because for one, we’re fickle beings—we’re always changing our minds and shifting our priorities. Which means the things we want in our careers now may change one, two, five years from now. That’s OK!

The other reason is because sometimes we’re really bad at recognizing when we’re miserable. We’ll place the blame on other things (woke up on the wrong side of the bed, had a bad commute, a crazy boss) rather than accept that something bigger is affecting us.Figure out what is making you unhappy and use that information to decide what your next steps will be.

Maybe it means transferring roles internally, changing companies, or switching industries entirely. Or maybe it’s even more simple than that. Maybe it’s talking to your boss about an overwhelming workload. Or asking your co-worker to stop talking to you when you’re working at your desk.

Whatever the cause, take the time to identify it and start making moves to solve it.

3. Doubting Your Career Path
Unless you’re very lucky, you won’t find yourself satisfied in the same role in the same industry throughout your entire career.

Don’t beat yourself up if you’re unsure about what you want to do next—even if you’ve spent 10 years in your role and are now doubting everything. The good news is that it’s never too late to make a change, whatever that means for you. The even better news is that you don’t have to have it all figured out when you’re 30, 40, 50.

As Benjamin Franklin said, “When you are finished changing, you’re finished.” Don’t be finished.

4. Feeling Like Nothing’s Going Right
Ever have those months when nothing’s going right? You keep messing up basic tasks, your manager keeps sending your work back with heavy revisions, your co-workers keep shutting down your ideas?

It could be your fault—if you’re job searching, for example, and getting nowhere, it might be worth reconsidering you’re approach.

But it could also be due to external forces, like a company restructuring or a bad boss. If so, it’s worth figuring out whether these can be fixed, and if not, what steps you can take to better set yourself up for success.

5. Having to Deal With a (Big) Change
Your company just went through a huge merger, half your department got laid off, you got laid off, they brought in a new boss, or oyou’ve moved to an entirely new city for a job.

One day, something major will happen that will shake up how you do things and think about your career. While it’s practically impossible to prepare for something like this, remember that it’s common. And, that it’s salvageable. And, that the feelings of loss and doubt and frustration and sadness won’t last forever. And, that you’ll come out stronger and more equipped to handle anything that comes your way. If you don’t believe me, read this.

The last thing I want to emphasize is that it’s easy to feel alone when you’re in these ruts, or that no one understands what you’re going through. But I can confidently tell you that everyone experiences these. Why else would I write this article?

So, don’t be afraid to admit when you’re in one—if you don’t, you’ll regret not making a change sooner. And if you still feel like the only one, chat with people just like you (and get some reassuring advice) on our Stuck in a Rut discussions platform.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/career-ruts-everyone-will-get-into-some-point?ref=recently-published-1

1

Meetings are expensive. Not because you’re charging people to attend (obviously), but because they use people’s time; time that could be spent doing lots of other revenue-generating things. In fact, one study found that a recurring meeting of mid-level managers was costing one company $15 million a year!).

$15 million a year!

Not to mention, you also need to take into account the prep time as well as the context-switching time. Professor Gloria Mark at University of California, Irvine found that it takes an average of 25 minutes for a worker to return to their original task after an interruption.

Knowing these stats means that when I’m debating whether I need to call a meeting, I ask myself what it’s worth (literally). Is this the best use of everyone’s time, mine included? And not so infrequently, the answer is “nope.”

So, what to do then? Easy! Send a simple but critical email to keep everyone informed and on track.

What to Include

There are three key things you need to cover:

Logistics: why the meeting was cancelled and, if it’s a recurring meeting, what to expect for next time
Action: any critical action items completed or pending
Information: any updates or general FYIs for the group

Note: Don’t fall into the trap of putting the action items and logistics last. Having the most critical information higher up ensures that it’s seen when your colleagues skim their email. Oh, and a bonus tip for you: Put people’s names in bold if they need to do anything to make triple sure they notice.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/turn-meeting-into-an-email-template

1

You’ve likely heard the advice to add numbers to your resume bullets. It helps recruiters really picture the impact you’ve made in your position, and it frankly just sounds more impressive.

See for yourself: Which person would you hire?

Person 1: Duties included taking field measurements and maintaining records, setting up and tracking project using Microsoft Project, and developing computerized material take-off sheets.

Person 2: Initiated and managed tracking systems used for the Green District water decontamination project, saving $125,000 on the overall project through a 30% decrease of staff allocation time.

Exactly.

Of course, I know what you might be thinking: Sounds great, but what if I just don’t really work with hard numbers? Maybe you’re in a role that requires softer skills, or maybe you don’t have hard data or sales reports to pull from.

That’s OK! Truthfully, no matter what you do, you can add some numbers and data to your resume to give it that extra touch.

Here are three ways to quantify your experience without being in an inherently quant-y field:

1. Range

Not knowing the exact figure for things is often a big deterrent for using numbers in resumes. But one way to overcome this is to use a range.

It’s perfectly fine to not know exactly how many clients you see a month or how many calls you take a week, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still quantify it.

Give it your best estimate, and the range will show that there is a bit of leeway. And, of course, focus on your impact.

2. Frequency

Now that you know it’s fine to use a range, one of the easiest ways to add some numbers is to include how frequently you do a particular task (after all, that’s a number that applies to pretty much everyone).

This is particularly helpful in illustrating your work in high-volume situations—a hiring manager will be able to see just how much you can handle.

3. Scale

You’ve heard it before and you’ll hear it again: Employers across the board care about money—and saving it. Including the frequency of your actions give a great sense of scale, but an even more eye-catching way to do this is to talk about the bottom line.

Think about all the things you do that ultimately save your company money, whether it’s streamlining a procedure, saving time, or negotiating discounts with vendors. Multiply those actions by how frequently you do them, and pop them into your resume bullets (remembering, again, that rough numbers are OK).

Numbers make such a huge difference in resumes—no matter what your work involves.

So, the next time you’re polishing your resume, try adding a few numbers to quantify your work and see how they really drive home the impact you’re capable of making.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-quantify-your-resume-bullets-when-you-dont-work-with-numbers?ref=carousel-slide-1

1

Can you get me a job at your company, please?

Do you know the CEO—and can I talk to her?

Want to see my resume? It’s awesome, I swear.

These are the things we’d like to say to people when we’re networking, but for obvious reasons can’t.

So, the question always becomes, what can we ask?

I recently read Molly Beck’s book Reach Out: The Simple Strategy You Need to Expand Your Network and Increase Your Influence. And in it, she breaks down the art of networking into bite-sized steps—one of which talks about good versus bad favours.

The concept is simple: Some things you choose to ask your network are better than others. And this means the difference between someone wanting to help you out and someone wanting nothing to do with your request.

If you read the quotes above and cringed at the thought of saying them to someone you knew, you already know what a bad favour is.

So, what makes a good favour?

“The key to a great favour is to ask a particular, definable question whose answer cannot be found on Google and can be answered easily in a paragraph or so via email,” says Beck in the book.

Let’s break that down a bit more:

 

It Should Be Specific

Your ask should be tailored to the person and not super open-ended. Beck gives the example “Can I pick your brain?” as both being way too vague and asking too much of someone (and for free, mind you). You’re better off saying something like, “What advice do you have for someone who wants to break into finance like yourself?”

 

It Should Be Non-Googleable

Don’t ask someone a question that you can look up yourself. Beck uses “What open jobs does your company have?” as an example that you could easily search on your own time.

 

It Should Be Short

Many of your requests will be sent over email to someone who’s already pretty busy, Beck points out, so they should be able to answer it without spending hours crafting a response.

 

Now of course, if the person seems excited to chat with you, you can ask to meet in person. But, Beck suggests, “If and when people say yes, keep in mind that you are working around their schedule, not yours, and you should be traveling to go to a place that’s easy for them to get to. Additionally, when you do meet for coffee or even a meal, you should be paying for them.”

Finally, the author says, every favour should come with a gift. Because this person is going out of their way for you, you should do the same—meaning you should include at least two beneficial things in your initial reach-out. Now, before you worry that you have to send a fruit basket and a bottle of wine every time you ask someone to grab coffee, don’t. It can be as simple as a compliment, a book recommendation, or an introduction to someone you think they would benefit from knowing.

(But if they end up helping you out in a big way, you might want to send them one of these thank you items.)

One of the most memorable favours I’ve ever gotten asked was when a reader of my blog emailed me to say that her friend was a big fan of my writing, and would I consider doing a birthday shout-out on the blog to her? It made my day that she and her friend thought so highly of my blog, and it was such a cool way to make someone feel special on their birthday. Of course I said yes. That super-unique favour opened up a great line of communication between all three of us.

Your request may be simpler (or, even more complicated) than this, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth asking. If you follow the guidelines above, you’ll make it that much easier for someone to say yes—and be excited about it, too.
Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/a-networking-expert-on-how-to-ask-people-for-career-favors-and-get-a-yes?ref=carousel-slide-3

2

Let’s be real for a second. These days, many of us live in a world of excess, where more is definitely better. We heap our plates full with seconds when we’re already full, overstuff a drawer with t-shirts we’ll never wear again, and ensure that we own at least 20 mugs. (I know, I know—each of those mugs serves a very specific purpose.)

Often, we apply this “more is more” principle to our professional lives, too. Clocking in at the crack of dawn and logging off only when our eyelids can’t stay open anymore are often heralded as hallmarks of star employees.

But, I have news for you: This type of lifestyle is not necessary for success, growth, or job satisfaction. In fact, I’d argue that it can actually hurt you (but that’s a story for a different day).

The main message here is: You can be the apple of your manager’s eye even if you don’t make working overtime a habit. Provided of course that when you’re in the office, you’re kicking ass, completing everything assigned, and turning it on time.

Ready to start leaving before dinner time? I recommend making these three things habits:

1. Stay Engaged

I used to bring my laptop to every single meeting. And, without a doubt, I’d spend the entire time answering emails, surfing random sites, and chatting with friends.

Now that I work in an office where this isn’t the norm, I realize just how annoying it is. A surefire way to signal that you don’t care about your job or your teammates (even if that isn’t necessarily true), is to spend your time with them with your eyes glued to a screen.

Instead, be present in meetings and all other conversations you have. Ask questions, provide helpful feedback and context, and flex those active listening muscles.

And yes, this applies to remote workers, too. Working off site doesn’t mean you’re off the hook when it comes to communication. If anything, you’ll probably need to make a bit more of an effort, but it’s worth it if it means you’re staying in the loop and others are, too.

2. Know When to Say “Yes” and When to Say “No”

Lending a colleague a hand or volunteering to take the lead on a new project are invaluable characteristics, and there’s an added bonus if you can anticipate needs and offer your services before someone needs to ask.

It’ll show that you’re a go-getter, a team player, and someone who wants to learn and grow. It’s a big plus for a supervisor if his staff isn’t constantly muttering, “That’s not my job.”

But—but—this doesn’t, in any way, mean you should be a “yes person.” It’s also crucial to know when and how to turn down requests for help, new assignments, and so forth. Putting too much on your plate is a recipe for becoming severely overwhelmed.

You may start producing shoddy work or missing deadlines completely, and, well, neither of those are invaluable characteristics. The key is knowing not just how much you can fit on your plate, but how much you can execute at a high-quality rate.

So if you’re at the point in which you can feel yourself starting to slip, say no.

3. Check in With Your Boss Regularly

In each position I’ve had, my manager and I met regularly. And, I admit—these times weren’t always helpful. Sometimes, it was because my supervisor always canceled them (thanks). But other times it was because I just wanted it to be over as quickly as possible, so I didn’t say much.

That was a mistake. This one-on-one time is so important. It’s your time to update her on your progress, ask for help, discuss career goals, and get to know each other a little bit better.

Taking these meetings seriously will reassure your boss that you are, in fact, doing what you’re supposed to be doing, and it’ll also signal that you care. And caring is a big part of being a good employee.

And hey—If you don’t have regular time like this on your calendar, I highly recommend requesting it.

Yes—there will be occasions in which you need to put in a little extra time. But that doesn’t have to be an ongoing theme in your life. I’m here to tell you that you can be a rock star employee and live a life outside of work.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-be-a-hardworking-employee-without-sacrificing-your-personal-life?ref=carousel-slide-1

1

Interviews come in all shapes and sizes: Sometimes you’re with one interviewer, others you’re with five. Maybe you’ll be asked to lunch, expected to solve a problem, or invited to a Skype interview.

But no matter what the format, we’ll give you what you need to succeed.

We’ll show you how to nail every type of job interview you might face. Check out these 10 common interviews and what you need to know about them.

1. The Traditional Interview

This is the scenario you’ll face most often: You sit down with a solo interviewer and answer a series of questions designed to help her figure out if you’re a great candidate for the job.

2. The Phone Interview

Asked for a phone interview? A call is typically a first-round screening to see if you’re a fit to come in for a full interview, so nailing it is key. You’ll want to prepare just as you would for an in-person interview, with some key adjustments for the phone format.

3. The Skype Interview

Skype video interviews take the phone-screening interview to the next level, and they’re becoming a regular part of the job application process for many companies. From choosing the right on-screen look to making sure all of your tech systems are a go, you’ll want to be 100% ready for your TV debut.

4. The Case Interview

The case interview is a more specialized format in which you’re given a business problem (“How can BigCoal Co. double its growth?”) or a puzzle (“How many tennis balls fit in a 747?”) to solve. While case interviews were once exclusively the domain of aspiring consultants, they’re now popping up everywhere from tech companies to NGOs.

5. The Puzzle Interview

Google and other highly competitive companies have been known to ask “puzzle” questions, like, “How many people are using Facebook in San Francisco at 2:30 PM on a Friday?” Seems random, but your interviewer wants to determine how quickly you can think on your feet, how you’ll approach a difficult situation, and how you can make progress in the face of a challenge.

6. The Lunch Interview

Has your potential employer suggested an interview over a meal? That’s a good sign—it usually means she wants to learn a little more about you and how you act outside of the office. We’ll show how to highlight your strengths and accomplishments while trying to maneuver a mouthful of chicken Piccata.

7. The Group Interview

Group interviews aren’t common, but you might find them for sales roles, internships, or other positions in which the company is hiring multiple people for the same job. How do you catch the hiring manager’s eye when you’re part of the group? It takes a little gusto and a few smart tactics.

8. The Working Interview

In some industries—writing, engineering, or even sales—you may be asked to complete an actual job task as part of the interview. Basically, your interviewers don’t want you to tell them you can do the job, they want to see it.

Don’t panic: If you go in prepared, this is your chance to shine.

9. The Firing Squad

If you’ll be reporting to several people or working with a team, it’s not uncommon to meet with multiple interviewers—all at the same time. Sounds nice, because you only have to answer those tough questions once, but it can also be tricky to make a strong connection with each decision maker.

10. The Career Fair Interview

If you’re attending career fairs as part of your job hunt, get ready for impromptu interviews, where you’ll only have 10 or 15 minutes to sell yourself to the recruiter for a chance to come in for a full interview.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/10-types-of-interviews-and-how-to-ace-them?ref=carousel-slide-0

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“Where do you see yourself in five years?”

When a hiring manager asks you this, there may be a few things running through your brain. “Moving (way) up the ranks,” “running this place,” “working for myself,” or “in your job,” for example.

None of which are necessarily things you should say out loud in an interview.

So, how do you answer the question? Watch this quick video, where Muse CEO Kathryn Minshew shares a formula developed by our career expert Lily Zhang. It’ll help you share your goals and ambitions the right way—and not give your interviewer anything to worry about.

(Can’t watch the video at work? Don’t worry—we’ve also copied the transcript below.)

How to Answer “Where Do You See Yourself in 5 Years?”

So, how do you answer, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

This can feel like a bit of a trick question, because sometimes the answer is, “not in this job,” or, “in your job,” or something like, “at a bigger better opportunity elsewhere.” But none of those are things you actually want to say to a hiring manager.

The good news is you can be honest while still telling them what they really want to know. Do you have realistic expectations for your career? Are you ambitious? And does this particular position align with your growth and goals overall?

For example, one way I like to think about it is: Think about where this position could realistically take you, and think about how that aligns with some of your broader professional goals.

So, for example, you might say, “Well I’m really excited by this position at Midnight Consulting because in five years, I’d like to be seen as someone with deep expertise in the energy sector, and I know that’s something that I’ll have an opportunity to do here. I’m also really excited to take on more managerial responsibilities in the next few years and potentially even take the lead on some projects. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some amazing managers, and so developing into a great manager myself is something I’m really excited about.”

So, what if this position is not a one-way ticket to your professional aspirations? It’s okay to say you don’t really know what the future holds, but you see how this experience could really help in making that decision.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-answer-where-do-you-see-yourself-in-5-years?ref=carousel-slide-1

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You’re ready to make a career move—maybe you’re looking for a new job, launching a side business, or eyeing a promotion. In all of these instances, boosting your personal brand can help you achieve your goal.

That’s because a strong personal brand is a carefully designed message that’s compelling and attracts the right people. It helps you stand out for who you are and what you do best.

You’re probably nodding along, because you already know all of this. You don’t need to be convinced how valuable personal branding is: What’s holding you back is the time commitment.

That’s why you have a LinkedIn Profile, even though you haven’t updated it since you set it up. After all, who can devote hours each week on top of working or job searching? Well, believe it or not, 30 minutes is all you need to take your efforts to the next level. Here’s how to spend them:

Minutes 1-10: Evaluate What Makes You Stand Out

The first thing you want to do is perform a self-assessment. This step is often overlooked, but it’ll be super helpful as you find your voice in a sea of professionals with similar experience.

This evaluation helps you have a clear vision of your USP, or “unique selling proposition,” which is just a fancy term for the value you offer to your target audience.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  1. What are you passionate about? You want to think about what excites you, and what things you truly enjoy doing.
  2. What are your core beliefs? This is important because it’s like a mission statement. It’ll help you relay your personal approach to getting things done.
  3. What are your top four strengths? This’ll help you share what you do better than anyone else, to set you apart from the competition.
  4. Are you a good leader or a good doer—or both? This is good to know because it’s a way to identify and highlight the kind of roles that complement your strengths.
  5. What do others say about you? Ask around! You may have strengths you’re unaware of, or talents you need to put more emphasis on so people know they exist.

To be clear, I don’t expect you to answer these questions with witty taglines. This exercise is to help you target your branding efforts. So, answer the question(s) that inspire you by jotting down notes, and honestly writing what comes to mind.

Minutes 10-20: Compare That to What You Already Have

Now that you’ve done some reflection on what you want to say, it’s time to see how it stacks up against what’s already out there.

If someone were to read your LinkedIn profile, tweets, or personal website, would they see messaging that points them toward the answers you came up with?

You might be thinking: Wait, I only have 10 minutes, that’s not enough time to read my whole website or review my LinkedIn line by line. But, here’s the thing, people who click into one of your social profiles or visit your website are probably going to spend a fraction of that time looking at it.

So, you want to look for things that shout what you do. On LinkedIn, that means moving beyond filling out the basics and adding links to media, writing posts, and getting endorsements for skills. On your website, that might mean building a portfolio. On Twitter, it’s about not just following influencers, but composing tweets, too.

This step is about comparing what you want to highlight to what you have and asking yourself: What’s missing? What can I add?

Minutes 20-30: Create a Schedule

Truth talk: Personal branding isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. Once you’ve figured out what you want your message to be and how you can share it more effectively, you’re going to need to start posting—consistently.

A helpful way to be consistent is to set a schedule that you can use as a guide. It shouldn’t feel like a chore, but if you’re anything like me, if you don’t schedule it, it could get back-burnered. All I ask is that you give it 10 minutes a day!

Here’s an example of a schedule you can start with:

  • Monday: Make (or update) a list of people you’d like to engage with more (a former manager) or simply connect with (an industry influencer).
  • Tuesday: Reach out to someone from that list. If it’s someone you’re reconnecting with, try one of these ideas. If it’s a stranger, you can test out this Twitter trick, or, if you’re brave, just send a cold LinkedIn invite using these templates.
  • Wednesday: Spend time looking for industry-related articles in publications popular in your field and share one. Or, alternatively, comment on someone else’s post (or at a minimum, share it).
  • Thursday: Make (or update) your list of improvements you’d like to make to your online presence. Break it down into baby steps. For example, you wouldn’t write, “Build personal site.” You’d write, “Look into site designers” and “write copy for personal site bio.”
  • Friday: Spend today looking yesterday’s list and knocking just one thing off.

Of course, you can tailor your plan to whatever works best for you. Honestly, if you just do the five things above even once a month, you’ll see traction. Regardless of the schedule you choose, feel free to switch it up, and see what gets the best response. You won’t see results overnight, but, that’s OK.

My final piece of advice is to avoid being misled by the term “personal branding.” What I mean is: The most successful brands aren’t just about you. Take the time to know your target audience, and listening to what’s on their minds as well. Genuinely connect and build relationships! As best-selling author Dale Carnegie said, “To be interesting, be interested.”

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-create-a-personal-branding-plan-in-30-minutes-even-if-you-hate-personal-branding?ref=carousel-slide-1

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You’ve probably heard that the average job posting receives 250 applications, but I’ve seen as many as 3,000 people apply for the same role.

I’m not telling you this to scare you, but rather as encouragement. Because some people do make it through to getting hired—despite that level of competition.

As the Global Head of Recruiting for Johnson & Johnson, I’ve seen what makes the difference in whether people move to the final stages of the application process—or not.

Without a doubt, from interns to C-suite level leaders, the most impressive candidates I’ve seen are the ones who’ve taken the time to define what they want to accomplish in their professional life.

They have a professional purpose.

By that I mean they know why they do what they do, what they want to ultimately achieve, and how they plan to get there. Because they’re so clear on their goals, and so open in sharing them, I can tell almost instantly when I’ve met someone who should be working at our company.

So, if you keep applying and hearing nothing back, the number one piece of advice I can give you is to find your professional purpose and then use that as a foundation point throughout any recruiting process—from your cover letter to final interview.

With that in mind, here are two steps you can take now:

Step 1: Get Clarity

It’s easy to get swept up in the day-to-day of your job. A constant flow of urgent deadlines can make time slip away and, before you know it, two or three years have flown by.

That’s why it’s important to take time out, hit the pause button, and think about what a successful career really means to you. Determine where you get the most fulfillment in your professional life and start thinking about how that could become your professional purpose. Then get something down on paper and iterate on it.

Here’s an example of how to use your answer(s):

I spoke to a candidate recently who lost one of her parents to Alzheimer’s and had decided to look for ways to contribute to curing this disease. Her plan was to become a recruiter for the next three years so she could identify and attract the best Research & Development talent for a pharmaceuticals company to help them in the search for a cure. Her ultimate goal was to save enough money to apply to medical school, so she could contribute more directly down the line. Needless to say, she really stood out against the other (equally qualified) candidates we were considering for the job.

Your professional purpose doesn’t have to be as profound as that (mine isn’t!), but it should be something bigger than the job’s duties or making money. When you tell a hiring manager something you really connect with, they’ll be more willing to put their neck out, because they know that you have the passion for sticking with it.

Step 2: Share It

Which brings me to this: Once you’ve figured out what’s driving you, don’t be shy about sharing it with others. Yes, it can be a little uncomfortable to put yourself out there, but authenticity’s an HR buzzword for a reason. When you share more of yourself, you’ll find that people gravitate toward you and are eager to help.

Next time you’re asked to introduce yourself, weave in your professional purpose. (If you’re not 100% confident in how it sounds, here are two strategies for creating a one-line elevator pitch.)

I’ll bet people will ask you more about it or offer to connect you to someone who can help you on your journey to achieve it. Sharing a genuine reason why you’re pursuing a certain avenue in your career is much more compelling than listing off your past positions’ titles.

It’s the same in interviews. There are so many boilerplate answers to the question: “Why are you interested in this company (or role)?” And, as recruiters, we’ve pretty much heard them all.

You’ll stand out more when you answer the question by explaining why the job’s values fit with your professional purpose—and why it matters so much to you. “I’d like to work here as a designer because I am passionate about more transparent package design which can help mothers choose better products for their children,” is an answer that’s true—and will get further than, “I want to work here because this company is a leader in the field.” (You don’t lose any points with the second option, but every other person may say the exact same thing.)

So long as it’s something you genuinely identify with, your focus and energy will shine through and make you memorable—and more likeable, too.

You might wonder if I have a professional purpose. I do, and I firmly believe it’s part of the reason I’m in my current job. For years, I’ve been frustrated with the bad recruiting experiences that I and several of my friends have had with many organizations. My professional purpose is all about helping to solve this issue on a large scale. And that’s the opportunity Johnson & Johnson provides me–to reimagine recruiting from the ground up for a large Fortune 100 company.

So, if you keep getting passed over on the job search, revisit that classic advice to “just be yourself.” Tune into what you really want to do and how you’d like to get there. Then, weave that into your materials, networking conversations, and interview answers. I promise it’ll help you stand out.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/this-is-how-you-stand-out-when-youre-competing-against-3000-people?ref=carousel-slide-1

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Knowing exactly what you’re doing at work is a great feeling. You’re confident, full of ideas, and ready to tackle anything.

Except—lately, you’ve noticed your co-workers seem to be avoiding you. They’re not extending invitations for group projects and you’re pretty sure you caught them rolling their eyes when you speak.

What gives?

The harsh answer is, to quote an old cliché: “nobody likes a know-it-all.” The more nuanced one is that they want to feel good at their jobs, too, and if you swoop in with the right answer all the time, they don’t have that chance.

So, it’s not enough to have the best ideas—you need to pay attention to how you deliver them, too.

On the bright side, a few simple shifts can help you salvage your reputation, and once you do, you’ll have the complete package of good ideas plus thoughtfulness.

Here are three changes you can start making today:

1. Be Patient

When you share your ideas first—especially if they’re strong—you eclipse your teammates’ ability to contribute. Yes, they can still build on what you’ve said or add something different, but your behavior sends a signal that you don’t really care what they have to say. After all, if everyone agreed to go with your plan, there’d be no reason (read: opportunity) to hear anyone else out.

Conversely, when you let others speak first, you’re giving them a chance. It shows that you think they have ideas worth listening to as well.

This strategy does run the risk that someone else will have the same brilliant thought as you, and he or she’ll get credit for it. But, that’s a good thing! If you agree, you can amplify it by saying, “I like Tina’s suggestion,” which’ll go a long way toward repairing the impression that you only value your opinions.

2. Be Open to Questions

One time you have to speak first is when you’re the one leading a discussion. But, as we all know, there are two ways to go about presenting an idea and asking for feedback.

The first is to share your idea and follow up with: “Can’t we all agree this is the best strategy?” Sure, this is a question—but the only answer you’re going for is a one-word “yes.”

The second option is to encourage your teammates to revise your work, by saying, “I’d love your thoughts on this: Do you see any areas for improvement?” Unlike a know-it-all who only looks for people to agree and execute their vision, you’re going out of your way to make a space for others to make valuable contributions. (If you want to dig into this a bit more, I lay out the right and wrong way to ask for feedback here.)

3. Be a Team Player

Truth talk: There’s usually more to being seen as a know-it-all than an excess of good ideas. It often comes with a side of arrogance.

It’s good to be ambitious and push yourself to contribute as meaningfully as possible, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of making your teammates feel like a bunch of runners-up.

So, ask yourself: Do you acknowledge when someone else has a good idea? Do you concede when you’re wrong, and back down when it doesn’t make a difference?

Where you’ve previously searched for holes in people’s ideas, challenge yourself to look for—and comment on—their strengths.

As someone who struggles to avoid coming off this way, I know the insecurities that come along with reining it in. You worry about downplaying all you know, and losing out on opportunities because of it. Or you don’t want to step back from a leadership role in a discussion—even once. Or you’d feel overlooked if someone else gets credit for an idea you were thinking and had forced yourself to hold in.

Here’s the thing: I’m not telling you to silence yourself or hide your genius. If you have an idea and you want to speak up and first, go for it. If you feel strongly about taking a project a certain direction, say so. Just realize you don’t have to operate at that speed all the time. If you pick your moments, you won’t just give others a chance—you’ll find they’ll be more supportive of you, too.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-share-your-brilliant-ideas-at-work-without-coming-off-like-a-knowitall?ref=carousel-slide-0

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To understand what it means to be driven by your passion, one need only speak with Sarah Osman, a successful account executive by day and an ambitious entrepreneur and creative by night (and on weekends!). Basically, whenever Osman isn’t making things happen at her day job, she’s devoting time and energy to her side gigs.

Yes, that’s plural gigs: Osman is the founder of Made Simple by Sarah, a lifestyle and nutrition program, and, more recently, she and Jenna Sands, a friend she reconnected with, co-founded Wellness Meet Up NYC—more on that later.

Osman’s sales background has come in handy lining up sponsors for the events, suggesting the powerful impact transferable skills can have on your side gig.

The following is an edited excerpt from our conversation:

You’re Currently Wearing a Lot of Career Hats. You Work in Sales, but You’re Also a Nutritionist? How Does This All Work?

Yes, I’m an account executive at a media company, and three years ago I went back to school and I got my degree in nutrition, so I’m also a health coach—on the side—and for a while I was seeing clients and posting and sharing recipes. I’m still doing that, but I’ve tapered my nutrition clients to focus on the Wellness Meet Up events.

Tell Me About That: How Did You Conceive of the Meet Ups? And What Are They Exactly

I became connected with an old friend, Jenna, who was working for a granola company, and we got to talking about how there was this weird world of social media, where people know what someone ate for breakfast or what their favorite workouts are, but they’ve never actually met in person.

We sought to bring the community together: connect the influencers and the community members outside of the social media world and into real life. To do so, we started in-person events, based on a different wellness theme and influencer.

How Do the Wellness Meetups Work?

We started Wellness Meet Up NYC back in October 2016. Since then, we’ve been doing monthly meetups with a different curated theme and host. We’re doing multiple events per month now and are branching out into different cities. It’s a nice extension of what I was doing on my own from a nutrition space [with Made Simple by Sarah], and a way to reach more people with the limited time I have. Because this is very much a side hustle.

If Money Were No Object, Would You Be Pursuing This Full-Time?

Before this job, I would’ve said yes. I was in another sales role I didn’t like, selling a product I didn’t like. It would’ve been no question. But now, I love what I’m selling. It’s such a cool time for me to be in the industry. Besides food and nutrition, I love media, and it’s a great fit.

For me, it’s not about money, I just need more hours in the day. It’s not if money were no object; it’s if time were no object.

It Sounds Like You’ve Had Some Not-So-Great Work Experiences? What’s the Worst Job You Ever Had?

An intern in fashion. I’d sit there and glue stuff that had fallen off of clothes. I’d wait on Fridays for a delivery guy who often never showed up! Thankfully, it was just a summer stint.

What Advice Do You Have for People Who Want to Pursue a Side Gig?

Give it your all. Give it 100%, and you’ll know if it’s something you truly and really love. If you have absolutely no free time, and you’re making sacrifices, and it still feels worth pursuing, you’ll know it’s what you’re meant to be doing.

I’ve accepted the fact that I have no free time, and that’s what my passion is worth to me.

What’s Next?

Well, our next Wellness Meet Up—a females and fitness event—is on June 21st in New York City. More info here if you want to learn more.
Osman’s path is one way of understanding how a side gig functions. Deciding whether to return to school, however, is a big decision and not one to make lightly. In fact, you can often gain experience in a new field without seeking another degree. In this article, career expert Scott Anthony Barlow explains how to do just that.

And if you’re simply unsure of a side hustle’s potential, this article, “Here’s How I Made $10K on Side Gigs (and How You Can Too)” may be just the thing you need to read.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/this-is-how-i-manage-a-demanding-side-hustle-on-top-of-a-fulltime-job?ref=carousel-slide-4

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At the John Lewis department store in the UK, they call the employees ‘partners’. It isn’t just a word bandied around to make people feel more engaged, they have a genuine focus on their staff. It’s a reflection of a management belief that they have a shared responsibility for the consumer, and that the way the company treats their staff is the way their staff will treat their consumers. As a result, everyone in retail wants to work there. But employee engagement doesn’t always work this well. And in the gig economy, where workers aren’t considered employees at all by many companies, behavioural psychology is being deployed in a way that can even work against employee self-interest.
Inevitably, it is Uber that is a master of employee manipulation, as reported in the New York Times exposé on this topic, How Uber Uses Psychological Tricks to Push Its Drivers’ Buttons

When demand for drivers peaks, local managers for Uber in the US are urged to use all kinds of techniques to get drivers to move to particular locations, such as adopting female personas in text messages, as they have been found to be more persuasive. Uber also tries to keep drivers working when they are inclined to knock off. By gathering information on how much their drivers want to earn each week, they will send message alerts such as: ‘“You’re $10 away from making $330 in net earnings. Are you sure you want to go offline?”

So what, you may be thinking. The drivers are making money. No one is putting a gun to their head.

Where’s my motivation?

Consider why we do what we do.

Extrinsic motivation is when somebody works for a tangible reward, such as their salary. Intrinsic motivation is what we want for ourselves; things we would do regardless of external recognition. They’re both important.

Although an employee may join an organisation for the money and benefits on offer, they may come to believe in the organisation’s goals, both because those goals are worthwhile and because the employee learns that when the organisation succeeds, they succeed. This growing understanding comes from promotions, salary bumps and professional development.

(Of course, other HR functions help achieve the same thing, including work flexibility, growing a positive culture of respect, etc).

But such organic development is not really possible in the gig economy, because there are no promotions, no salary bumps and no real opportunities to learn skills that will help the contractors or “independent business people” get a better job. They’re not considered employees by the company so there’s no seniority, no benefit to long service. So it’s difficult to argue that when the company succeeds, they succeed.

In fact, due to certain dynamics in the gig economy, the opposite is often the case.

The dark side

So how do you achieve intrinsic motivation in a situation like that? Well humans have certain cognitive triggers, behavioural adaptations we have evolved to help us thrive but that can be manipulated. This manipulation is much easier to achieve in a contractor relationship, where you have fewer responsibilities and interaction is almost exclusively conducted via a phone app.

One of the most basic and powerful methods is to provide positive feedback. Everyone is motivated by goals and progressing towards them. According to the NY Times, Uber found there was a drastic drop in driver attrition after their 25th ride, so they implemented push notifications to warmly remind new drivers as they closed in on that number.

This might seem fine, and much like your manager evaluating your performance and providing encouragement, except that it’s automated. If your manager encourages you, that probably means they’re invested in your career, and that if you do well they’ll notice and you’re likely to be rewarded. Uber’s feedback doesn’t involve another human, and means little long term.

Similar to this is the gamification concept of badges – little graphics Uber sends to let you know when you’ve worked hard, provided an entertaining ride and so on. Again, they get you to internalise the company’s goals while costing them nothing. And yes, they do work. In the NY Times story there’s a particularly poignant moment where a driver, who quit riding for Uber because he was running at a loss, is still proud of his badges. Imagine earning a company money while not making enough for yourself, and being proud because they emailed you some congratulatory emojis.

So, who would you prefer to work for: John Lewis or Uber? Or is that like comparing apples and pears?

The fact is that isn’t going away, and as we move towards wider automation, and the job market increasingly favours flexibility in workers, the temptation for companies to cut costs by creating as one-sided a version of engagement as possible might only grow.

What are your thoughts on this issue? Can you think of other examples, outside the gig economy, where engagement is gamed rather than earned? And do you think this is a trend we’ll see in the future of work?

Source: http://www.versatileresourcing.com/get-engagement-employees/

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Omitting your graduation date isn’t “sketchy,” in fact, it’s a very effective technique for older job seekers. There are plenty of tips and tricks out there, but here are three techniques that’ll propel you past the age-specific concerns that are getting in your way.

1. Get Ahead of Objections

Before you head into an interview (regardless of your age) you should ask yourself what in your background might be of concern to the hiring manager. Sometimes frequent relocation or short stints of employment raise eyebrows. For the older job seeker, they might be how your professional experience lines up with the role you’re after and what kind of salary you require.

For example, if you’re interviewing for a more mid-level role that won’t have you managing anyone, a younger hiring manager may wonder why you aren’t after a lead or management position. They may also presume that they can’t afford you based on your years of experience.

You can get ahead of their worries in how you answer the “tell me about yourself” question. Providing examples that proactively address a hiring manager’s age-based concerns is the way to eliminate them. Talking about your desire to remain hands-on can explain your lack of interest in a management position.

2. Align With the Culture

This is possibly the most important thing that you can do. Having a thorough understanding of a company’s core values, and being able to demonstrate your alignment with them is crucial to overcoming the unspoken concern that the rest of the team might be younger than you.

Pay special attention to the office culture, and if possible, try to land an informational interview with someone from the company. Nothing quite compares to having an internal champion singing your praises before you even apply to the job.

3. Do Not (Directly) Comment on Your Age

If you’re interviewing with a person several years younger than you, keeping the focus on your relevant skills is key. Avoid statements that shift the focus to your age. Saying things like “Oh, I’m probably aging myself” in reference to an industry tool or obsolete brand or “I’ve worked with this system—but not since 2004” isn’t helpful. Instead, refer to your experience by employer, not by year.

Try, “I had a chance to use this system with JP Morgan,” or “I’ve been playing with the most recent release”—both better options than unnecessarily dating yourself.

At the end of the day, a company that won’t even look your way because of your age is not a place you want to be. When experience is viewed as a liability instead of a benefit, it’s not a job you will love or a place you will succeed. Finding companies and roles that value employees for their skill sets is key to finding professional happiness.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/ask-a-career-coach-how-do-i-get-around-ageism-in-the-job-search?ref=recently-published-2

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Much like groundbreaking design, the best creative careers rarely adhere to a pre-determined template.

Nobody knows this better than Debbie Millman. An author, artist, illustrator, educator, and brand consultant, Millman’s career path looks much more like a winding road than it does a straightforward climb.

What’s more, it wasn’t always smooth. In fact, she describes the first 10 years of her professional life as, “experiments in rejection and failure.”

If you’re familiar with her work, this statement might surprise you—Millman is, after all, the author of six books on design; she chairs the School of Visual Arts’ Masters in Branding program; and her popular podcast, Design Matters, has accrued numerous accolades.

But arguably, those experiments, combined with a set of serendipitous curveballs, are what led to her success.

Whether you’re still contemplating the shape of your creative career or you’re looking for a bit of inspiration in your day job, take a page from Millman’s playbook on finding fulfilling work, navigating tough decisions, and defining success in a way that matters to you.

Follow Your Interests

Millman’s initial goal was to design magazine covers for a proper glossy in New York City, but despite being the editor of her college newspaper, her attempts fell short.

It wasn’t until her early thirties that she “fell into” a role in branding; the field was a perfect fit for her skill set, interests, and passions. At Sterling Brands, Millman began exploring the relationships between people and the brands they choose to integrate into their lives.

Then, in 2005, she started Design Matters—the world’s first (and now longest running) podcast about design—in which she converses with notable figures in the design space. It was the first thing that put her on the map, especially after garnering the People’s Choice Cooper Hewitt National Design Award in 2011; in 2012, Millman was invited to the White House and personally congratulated by former First Lady Michelle Obama.

Today, Millman dedicates a significant portion of her time to educating others about design. She finds her day job exceptionally fulfilling—a key litmus test for career success.

“I think that any time you are doing work that fulfills your soul, it has the opportunity to become much more universal—because chances are there are other people out in the world who it will fulfill, as well,” she says.

Look Beyond the Beaten Path

Recently, Millman found herself at a career crossroads: She was offered the position of CEO at Sterling, where she’d served as President for years. For many, it would have been the logical next step, but she wasn’t sure it was the right one for her.

“It was a really exciting opportunity, and one that I know I would have enjoyed—but it would have meant putting my own artistic and creative aspirations aside. It took me four months to decide to turn down the job. It was the hardest decision I have ever made,” she says.

The decision ultimately aligns with one of Millman’s core beliefs about careers: Financial and creative fulfilment aren’t mutually exclusive. Seeking the proper balance of both is key.

Plus, “if anything takes you four months to decide, you probably don’t want it,” she says.

Difficult choices aren’t the only element of Millman’s career that have led her off the beaten path—she’s also had the opportunity to travel to some of the most obscure corners of the country for her work.

“Travel has really impacted my career. As much as I am a homebody, I love seeing new places,” she says, adding that she’s always prepared for a spur-of-the-moment trip or opportunity. “I have a bag that’s always packed with the day-to-day things that I need when I travel. I keep everything that I need in that bag—all my toiletries, technology, cords… all of the things that make me feel comfortable when I’m not home. All I need to do is pack the clothes that I’m going to wear,” she says.

The Lowest Moments Can Reap the Highest Rewards

When Millman talks about the early rejections and hurdles, it’s easy to dismiss her protestations as humility. But, she insists, at one point in her career, she actually thought she might be “the most hated woman in design.” The low blow occurred when she read a piece in a blog called “Speak Up” criticizing the work she’d done for a major brand, as well as for a major film franchise.

Instead of folding when she faced criticism, she decided to actively join the conversation.
She connected with the blog’s founder, Armin Vit, and began contributing to the site, persuading the design community about the merits of her work. Millman and Vit went on to form a long-term professional relationship. Today, she’s the godmother of his oldest daughter.

“I look back on it now and think, ‘I’m so glad that happened,’” Millman says. “Almost every major [accomplishment of mine]—the kernels and the seeds—came out of that experience. Ultimately, that turned into one of the most profound, life-affirming, life-changing things. So, sometimes the worst moment of your life can be a catalyst for the best life you could possibly imagine.”

If You Can Dream it, You Can Be It

As an accomplished writer, it’s perhaps no surprise that Millman’s most emphatic piece of advice for young creatives is to turn to the power of the pen.

“Write an essay about the life you’d like to have five or 10 years from now,” she says. “Write it with as much detail as you can muster. What does your day look like? Where do you go? How do you get there? What does one perfect day in that life look like? Write it down, savor it, save it, reread it every year, and I will guarantee that the life you envision is one that you’ll get closer to.”

As for Millman’s perfect life?

“I’m living it,” she says.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/how-to-design-the-career-of-your-dreams-advice-from-creative-genius-debbie-millman?ref=carousel-slide-0