Posts Tagged “job”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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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 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

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I sat fidgeting in an uncomfortable chair that was placed adjacent to my boss’ expansive desk, feeling the sweat already start to tickle my forehead. I kept picking at a piece of torn upholstery toward the bottom of the seat, despite my best attempts to look cool, calm, and collected. But, no matter how many articles I crank out about successfully putting in your two weeks notice, I’ll admit it’s pretty tough to look confident and composed when you’re quitting your job.

That’s exactly what I was doing. I was seated across from a man who had been my manager for years—starting when I was just a college intern to when the company took me on full-time—and explaining to him that I was hitting the road.

“So, I guess you could consider this my two weeks’ notice,” I said to him while doing my best to avoid any direct eye contact. “Oh, here, I put it in writing too, in case you need that or, like, something,” I added while practically throwing him an unsealed envelope and simultaneously trying to edge my way out of the room.

“Well, this is a surprise,” he said, with a forced smile on his face. “Where are you going? Did you receive a better offer elsewhere?”

I swallowed nervously, took a deep breath, and attempted to keep my voice from trembling. “No, not exactly,” I replied, trying to stifle the nauseous feeling that was slowly rising from my stomach to my throat.

“So, why are you leaving?” he pressed, “Where are you going?”

“I want to be a freelance writer. I’m going to do that full-time,” I quickly responded.

His face said it all. Like so many others, he was confused as to why I would leave the comfort and security of a traditional, full-time job (and, hello, health benefits!) for a life of uncertainty as a freelancer.

I wanted to explain to him that this was something I just had to do. I’d been thinking about it for ages, and I could no longer tolerate it being only that—a thought. I needed to take action and give it a try.

But, in reality, I didn’t say any of that. Instead, I kept my mouth shut. Why? Well, the truth of the matter was I didn’t really have a plan that I could share with him. Sure, I had one big client that I was hoping would carry me until I could get things off the ground (that client actually ended up dropping me only a few months later, but that’s a story for another time). But beyond that, I didn’t have any other potential opportunities lined up. I lived in a small town with very few connections to the type of work I wanted to be doing. I really had no idea how I was going to go about running my own freelance business. Oh, and I had absolutely zero clue how I was going to pay those pesky things called bills.

As someone who loves security and predictability, to this day I have no idea what came over me. But, regardless of the fact that I didn’t really know what was coming next, I quit my job anyway.

Looking back, jumping ship from my full-time position with no firm back-up plan in place probably wasn’t the smartest thing. And, I’m definitely not trying to encourage you to march into your own boss’ office tomorrow and use that exact same tactic—unless you’re prepared for a lot of shameless crying into an open carton of those delicious (and somewhat addicting) frosted animal crackers.

However, I do think taking that terrifying leap of faith was one of the most enlightening career experiences I’ve had so far. Call it stupid, impulsive, or brave—at the very least, it was educational. Here are a few of the (many, many, many) things I learned.

 

1. You Don’t Need the Approval of Others

When I would tell people about my plan to sprint away from my cubicle in favor of the freelance life, I so desperately wanted them to reassure me with statements like, “Oh wow, you’re so brave!” “Good for you!” or even a friendly and dad-like, “Go get ’em, tiger!”

Unfortunately, that’s not really what I got. Instead, I was faced with a lot of, “Wait, you’re doing what?” types of comments.

In the end, it really didn’t matter. I was the only one who needed to feel good about my decision. And I did—at least in between the animal cracker crying sessions mentioned earlier. Yes, we all naturally crave approval and reassurance from others every now and then. But, trust me, you don’t need it—at least not as much as you think you do.

 

2. Scary Is Exciting

There’s a reason that people fork over wads of cash in order to see a horror film about possessed grandparents or to walk through a haunted house where someone is guaranteed to leap out with a chainsaw. There’s a big part of being terrified that makes you want to run and cry—but the other piece is actually somewhat thrilling.

In the first few days (ahem, alright, months) after leaving my full-time gig, I’d sit down at my computer and feel totally overwhelmed. Every day was a battle to try to scrounge up work and at least take one step in the right direction. But, at the same time, I felt absolutely exhilarated. I had no idea what was coming next, and that actually made me feel surprisingly motivated and optimistic. It was one of the most distressing, nauseating, and anxiety-inducing times in my life—but it was also the most exciting.

 

3. You Never Know Until You Try

I hate to sound like a cheesy, cliché high school commencement speech. But, this sentiment really does ring true. You have no idea what you’re capable of until you push yourself to try it.

I’ll be honest—it’s not that I strongly disliked my full-time job. However, it didn’t set my heart on fire either. A big chunk of my duties were administrative. And, while I did perfect the art of mail merging like a total boss, I didn’t really feel all that challenged or fulfilled by my work.

However, as a self-described creature of habit, I think that I likely could’ve dealt with that mundaneness for the rest of my life. There was a big part of me that figured I was suited for that sort of life and career. It was safe and predictable. I was content.

Fast forward to now, and I’ve accomplished things that I never even thought were a possibility for me. I’ve been published places that I assumed were mere pipe dreams. I’ve worked with people who are essentially celebrities in my eyes. Just think—none of it would’ve happened if I had stayed with the “safe” route.

 

4. Your Career Really Doesn’t Define You

We all have the tendency to use our careers to define ourselves. But, it’s important to remember that your job isn’t who you are—it’s what you do. As Muse Managing Editor Jenni Maier explained in her article about being laid off, your position definitely adds to your life, but it doesn’t make up the entirety of it.

When I left my job, I felt the need to justify my decision and clarify every last detail until people were literally snoring in front of me. There was this immense need to explain my employment situation in order to give myself a purpose and identity.

Turns out, that’s really not the case—all of that pressure to define myself using my career was totally self-imposed. In fact, most people honestly didn’t care if I was a dog walker or the Dalai Lama. Although, above anything else, they were most likely just wondering why I gave them a play-by-play career breakdown when all they asked was, “Paper or plastic?”

Jumping ship from my full-time job was undoubtedly one of the scariest career decisions I’ve made in my life thus far. But, even though it had my knees shaking and my palms sweating, I’m glad I did it. It’s worked out well so far, and I’ve managed to learn a lot along the way.

So, if you’re contemplating taking your own leap of faith anytime soon, I hope these lessons encourage you and help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. And, in those moments when all you feel is sheer panic? Well, reach out to me on Twitter. I’ll come running—frosted animal crackers in tow.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-lessons-i-learned-from-quitting-my-job-with-no-backup-plan

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The prospect of returning to work after years away from my career was daunting. I faced a host of challenges: a lack of recent and relevant experience, outdated corporate skills, and uncertainty about my Baby Boomer place in a Millennial-focused world.

I still thought, however, based upon my early career success and an advanced degree in my field, that I’d get a great offer in no time. It didn’t happen. My strategy—jumping into a role that was the wrong fit (and later leaving), followed by picking up consulting gigs here and there and then trying to explain it all in a resume with gaps and changes—was failing. I needed a strategic shift.

So I changed everything, from how I was approaching the job search process to my end goal. As a result, I applied for and landed a returnship, with Goldman Sachs. (If you’ve never heard of it, a returnship is an internship for people returning to the workforce.) It enabled me to add current and substantive experience to my resume, and reset my career path so I could once again move forward.

Here are the six most important lessons I learned in my quest to get back on track.

1. Update Your Online Presence
Being a somewhat tech-savvy boomer, I had a LinkedIn profile.

But too many people have ones that are lackluster or outdated. If that’s you, place this at the top of your to-do list. Both recruiters and hiring managers use the site to find and screen candidates.

I left off dates for my degrees to minimize age bias, and truncated my experience to the past 10 to 15 years (I recommend you do the same!).

2. Network—Always
You may think that networking is just for young professionals who need to meet new people. That’s simply not true. It’s beneficial regardless of your age.

For example, I had a friend put in a good word for me, and I know that helped me to be considered for the role at Goldman.

Here are four things you should start doing (if you’re not already):

Periodically touch base with professional contacts. Be memorable by sending a personal note and an interesting article once a month.
Let the other person know that you respect their time by being specific when you have an “ask.” Say (or write): “I’d really appreciate your perspective—can we speak/meet for 15 minutes?” And then stick with that time commitment.
Extend your network. Ask your contacts to connect you with their contacts.
Follow-up with a thank you note, every time. Take it to the next level by offering to be of help if they ever need your perspective or expertise.

3. Make it Easy for People to Help You
If you’re asking someone to refer you, give them everything they need, so they can simply send along your details.

So, if you’re applying to a role at their company, this includes the job name, job number, your resume, and bullets outlining what skills and experience you’d bring that match the requirements for the role.

People are busy, and so if you give them a complete email they can simply forward, it’s a lot more likely it’ll get passed on.

4. Refine Your Elevator Pitch
When you’ve had a lot of experience, it’s important (though often hard) to be clear about your objectives.

What are your areas of expertise?

What type of role are you looking for?

It’ll be tempting to rattle off everything you’ve done in the past, or say, “I can really do anything.” But a long speech can be overwhelming for listeners—and can make you look overqualified—and unfocused. So, cut it down and zero in on one thing you want the other person to come away with. My rule of thumb is that it should be no longer than 30 seconds.

5. Practice Self-Care
Unreturned emails, closed doors, and rejection all sting. But, it happens to pretty much everyone, especially when you’re outside the “sweet spot” of hiring prospects.

There’ll be surprises for better and worse: People that you’d have bet would be right there to help aren’t; and people you barely knew will do all they can.

So, it’s all the more important to be kind to yourself: go the gym, meet friends, and see a movie! That stuff may seem frivolous when you’re job searching, but it’ll help you feel happier—and keep you from letting your identity be wrapped up in your professional life.

6. Pay it Forward
Once you’ve landed in your new role, do what you can to help a colleague or friend of a friend. It could be at work, like offering to mentor junior employees.

Or, it could be that someone contacts you seeking your advice. Remember how you felt when you were job searching and do your best to find the time!

And of course, when you’re hiring in the future, give those who’ve had winding career paths a second look.

After my 10-week returnship program ended, I was asked to stay on for another year—and I did, happily. When my role recently came to an end, leaving Goldman Sachs was bittersweet.

But one thing that made me feel better is that I knew I was ready to find my next, more permanent position. On this search, I have not only a solid and recent accomplishment to leverage, but all of the lessons I’ve learned the last time around, as well as some new and treasured Millennial friends.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-6-best-job-search-lessons-i-learned-after-10-years-away-best-of?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-1

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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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Why would I quit my good job?

Even if we’re not happy, many of us stop short of leaving because of that question. If you have good benefits, decent pay, and a reasonable boss, you feel ungrateful for wanting to go (even if you dread the work itself). You know many people would kill for the positive things you just listed off.

If you’re torn between whether you should leave, or try to make it work, ask yourself the following questions.

1. Did I Daydream About Being Somewhere Else Today?

Do you spend a good amount of your workday reading random articles or thinking about vacations you have no intention of going on? I get it—it’s fun to fantasize—but at a certain point, it’s a red flag that your job isn’t engaging enough.

Follow-up Question: Am I Just Easily Distracted?

In many situations, these sorts of distractions come down to your ability to focus, not how well your job suits you. If this is the case, you’re better off making a concerted effort to improve your focus and develop productivity skills than looking for a new role. A great place to start is reading Brian Tracy’s famous book, Eat That Frog.

On the other hand, if you typically have laser-focus and realize you’ve recently stopped caring, it may be time to move on.

2. What Would it Take for My Job to Make Me Happy?

Make a list of the things that would need to change for your job to be really fulfilling for you. Maybe your workload is massive, or maybe your team is structured in a way that causes friction. If your unhappiness is stemming from something circumstantial, talk to your boss and see if you can change things for the better.

Follow-up Question: Are These Changes About Me (and Not My Job)?

Often times, when I ask my clients to do this exercise, they wind up with a list of things they’d need to change in themselves for their job to make them happy.

What this signals to me is that they aren’t unhappy with the work. Rather, they feel they’re holding themselves back in some way. Building new skills can be a way to boost your confidence and open your self up to new opportunities—both in current and future roles.

Online courses provide tons of training and advice. Along with that, I’d recommend reading books in your area of focus, as well. Once you’ve changed up what you have to offer, it’ll be easier to assess whether it’s you (or where you are) that isn’t quite working.

3. Am I Worried About Money?

Fear’s a powerful motivator—and understandably so. It’s disconcerting not to know where your next paycheck is coming from. However, if all your job does is help you pay your bills, I encourage you to see if there are other opportunities you’d find more compelling (without bankrupting yourself).

Follow-up Question: Am I Unhappy Because I’m Financially Vulnerable?

I’ve repeatedly noticed that when people are stressed about money, they become more risk-averse in general. Their anxiety about losing their job actually drives them to underperform. This drop in performance makes them more anxious, and as result, they begin to hate their job.

If this describes you, then the next step for you is to buckle down and get brutal about your finances. How can you right now budget a life that leaves you a financial safety net and takes the pressure off?

This will help you either way, because if you secure yourself financially and you’re still unhappy, you’ll know it’s time to go.

The last question you should ask yourself is: “Am I afraid of what people will say?” This is a fundamental fear that holds people back. Many of us are terrified of what people will say when we quit a “good job”—especially if it’s for something less profitable or uncertain. They might think you’re ungrateful, insane, over-confident—who knows, maybe all of the above!

Forget them. Would it be really be worth staying in a job you don’t like—each and every day—just to have other people be impressed with you? Those people could think you were a hero, but you’d still be unhappy. Make this choice about you and your personal happiness, and you’ll come to the right decision.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-questions-to-ask-yourself-before-quitting-your-perfectly-good-job?ref=carousel-slide-0

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When you think of what you can do in 10 minutes, you probably think of taking a shower or checking your email—nothing too crazy.

But, what you may not realize is that this is actually plenty of time to do something far more productive and valuable, like get ahead in your career.

Wait, but how? We asked nine successful entrepreneurs from YEC to share the best ways you can advance your knowledge and skill set in just 10 minutes of free time. Because why not take advantage of every second you have?

  1. Research and Pick a New Podcast to Listen To

I love listening to podcasts as I’m driving or walking. I’ve learned so much from hearing different career stories, and it entertains me during my down time.

  1. Learn From Experts

Identify an expert in your field and spend 10 minutes a day analyzing his posts on social media, his blog, or videos of him speaking. Pay attention to how he words things and how he appeals to audiences. Make time in your schedule for 10 minutes a day to do this, and in a year’s time, you’ll have spent over 60 hours learning from the masters.

  1. Learn Anything Outside of Your Job

It’s often the most unexpected things that contribute the most to our careers. If you’re living in an information vacuum and only learning things directly relevant to your job, those bolts of lightning won’t strike. That’s why I spend my free minutes during the workday unwinding and learning something completely new, whether it’s through a short video or an interesting article.

  1. Skim Industry Publications

Stay on top of your industry by using 10 minutes to skim through a relevant magazine or website. Not only does this keep you up-to-date with your profession, but it may spark ideas for new projects   or initiatives at your company.

  1. Reach Out to Someone in Your Network

We all think we’re too busy to keep up with the vast majority of our connections, yet we know that there is undisputed value in maintaining those relationships. In 10 minutes, you can quickly text or email someone whom you haven’t spoken to in a while and let her know you’re thinking about her. It goes a long way.

  1. Watch a TED Talk

With each TED Talk you watch, even if it’s only for 10 minutes, you get to learn something fascinating about a new subject from experts in that field. Plus, you see firsthand how you too can turn any subject into a compelling narrative.

  1. Take a Risk

Sometimes, the only way to push forward is by taking a leap of faith. For example, write that email you’ve been hesitating to make to that potential employer. There are times when the only way overcome stagnancy is to face rejection or accept an offer from someone who’s willing to bet on you. Take the risk, and reap the rewards (or fail and try again).

  1. Take a Walk

When I have 10 free minutes, I take a walk around the office or outside. I try not to think of anything in particular, but to observe what’s happening around me. It refreshes you, and you may notice things that you normally wouldn’t while actively engaged in a task. It’s when I’m doing ‘nothing’ those solutions to problems occurring to me.

  1. Subscribe to a Publication

Sign up for a daily email from a publication related to your field. They usually contain a word or story of the day that teaches you something new and informs you of the different aspects of your industry. Reading these emails generally takes no more than 10 minutes and gives you a powerful bit of knowledge for the day!

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-10minute-activities-thatll-make-you-better-at-your-job-and-impress-your-boss-in-the-process