Posts Tagged “ways”

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

Not necessarily.

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

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

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

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

Do Say
“Unfortunately, the company had to implement some budget cuts and, due to their ‘last-in, first-out’ policy, I was made redundant. However, I’m proud of what I achieved during my time there, something which can be reinforced by my previous manager, who’s one of my referees.”

2. So, You Quit Your Job and Traveled the World
The key with this one is to focus on how traveling contributed to your personal development, rather than how much fun you had schlepping around the world with nothing but a backpack and a smile. If you took on any paid or volunteer work during this time, concentrate your response on the additional personal and professional skills it’s given you.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/explain-resume-gap-interview-right-way?ref=the-muse-editors-picks-1

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Worried what your boss thinks of you—if they like you, trust you, and think your contributions match up to their expectations?

If so, you’re not alone. Considering you’ll end up spending 10 years of your life at work, getting along with your boss is not only critical to succeeding in your career, but matters for your overall happiness and engagement at the office.

With that in mind, here are three easy ways to develop an effective, productive, and mutually rewarding relationship with your manager (even if they’re a tough cookie to crack):

1. Stop Using Email to Have Important Conversations
Is email your go-to forum for everything? In certain cases, it could be hurting your relationship. Even if it’s your manager’s favorite medium, it’s time to break the pattern of always relying on this.

Opt for in-person meetings if the conversation’s beyond a task or agenda-setting item—for example, if you’re asking for something or apologizing for a mistake. Not only is it just polite, it’ll most likely lead to a more productive discussion and help ensure you and your boss are truly on the same page.

“All of us are the worst possible version of ourselves in digital media,” adds Celeste Headlee, journalist and author of We Need to Talk: How to Have Conversations That Matter. “We might think we are persuasive in email, but scientifically, we are so much more persuasive in person.”

2. See Your Relationship With Your Boss as a Two-Way Street
Too often, we see ourselves as the executors and our managers as the creators of work, forgetting that our manager is also responsible for their own assignments.

So, if you want to immediately improve your relationship, ask them this simple question: “What can I do for you?” By opening up this conversation, you open the door for them to delegate projects they may not have otherwise considered. And, taking on stretch assignments can improve your visibility and lead to career advancement.

3. Be a Good Recipient of Feedback (and Ask Pointed Questions)
Get in the mindset that you want actual, honest feedback—and be physically ready for it.
Even if the feedback seems insensitive, kindly explain how the approach hurt your feelings, but then ask questions to get at the root of the problem, making it clear you really do want to improve. If you’re a good feedback recipient, your boss will be more likely to share valuable advice with you, which will ultimately help you grow.

And, if you’re finding that you only getting positive feedback, ask your manager to be more specific, or try mentioning something you wish you’d handled differently.

“If you open a dialogue with self-reflection, you give your boss—who might be uncomfortable giving you criticism—the opportunity to go on the learning journey with you,” advises Denise Cox, VP of Technical Services at Cisco Systems.

Finally, don’t wait for periodic reviews to get constructive feedback. If you can, ask your manager to schedule time to meet one-on-one weekly or monthly.

Research by Gallup shows that 50% of employees leave their job “to get away from their manager to improve their overall life at some point in their career,” which means building the right kind of relationship with your boss can make a real difference to your job satisfaction and career progression. Plus, it’ll make your friends and family find you much more enjoyable to be around outside of work.

 

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/tips-creating-productive-relationship-boss?ref=recently-published-0

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The pursuit of meaning is in our blood. Imbued in that pursuit is both joy and suffering. I suppose it’s the Yin and Yang of life; for every good thing there’s an opposite. Despite the possibility that the opposite, insignificance, will reveal itself, the search remains one of life’s deepest joys.

That joy, however, isn’t limited to your personal life. Meaning is an essential element in your professional world, too. Many of the research papers I read for my book, The Optimistic Workplace: Creating an Environment That Energizes Everyone, revealed how prevalent the need for meaningful work was among employees. Consider this finding from DeVry University: 71% of Millennials placed it as the top factor for defining career success.

Millennials aren’t the only people interested in greater meaning in work and in life. They’re merely voicing a human need that, until recently, hasn’t been a big part of the conversation in our workplaces. Whether you’re a founder, manager, or individual contributor, you can find greater meaning at work in ways that go beyond the obvious. What follows are seven tips to significantly magnify it in your personal and professional life.

1. Abandon the Pursuit of Work-Life Balance

The problem with balance is the assumption that you must give up something to achieve equilibrium. Why should you have to give up something personally or professionally to have a life with meaning?

Instead, switch your mindset to view the two worlds as integrated. How? Wharton school professor Stewart Friedman says you should look to develop the skills to be real (legacy, values, ideal self), be whole (service, supportive networks), and be innovative (focus on results, challenge the status quo). These skills help you uncover significance in your life.

2. Define Your Personal Values

It’s been said, “If you don’t know what you stand for, you’ll fall for anything.” What you stand for are the values you hold to be true and the beliefs that guide you through life’s challenges.

In her new book, Emotional Agility: Get Unstuck, Embrace Change, and Thrive in Work and Life, Harvard Medical School psychologist Susan David calls this “walking your why: identifying and acting on the values that are truly your own, not those imposed on you by others, not what you think you should care about, but what you genuinely care about.”

3. Uncover Your Significant Strengths

Strengths aren’t just what you’re good at, but what lights you up. The marriage of what you’re good at with what lights you up leads the way to peak performance. The more you can use your strengths in your work, the greater meaning you’ll derive from it.

4. Make Friends at Work

You don’t have to have friends at work, but those that do are more likely to feel a sense of belonging. In forthcoming research from Great Places to Work, people who care about others create a collegial environment, and that helps drive higher revenue growth. One of the benefits to you is the development of meaningful relationships.

5. Understand Your Emotions

Psychologist Susan David explained to me that we experience emotions as reality. David advocates to “feel the emotion” rather than push it away. Some tips she recommends to help you understand your emotions include:

  • Pay attention to patterned responses. Recognize what triggers the emotion.
  • Sit with emotions. Below the emotion are things that we value; emotions are data, not directions.
  • Hold the emotion for what it is: “I notice that I’m feeling undermined. I notice that I’m having the thought that I’m a fraud.” “I notice…” is a prefix statement and gives a little distance between the emotion and what it means.

By understanding your emotions, you help yourself be more genuine with others, magnifying the chance for greater meaning in your relationships.

6. Be a Quitter

It’s hard for meaning to reveal itself to you when you’re overwhelmed. Over-commitment is a way to distract yourself from doing your best work. Evaluate what’s keeping you from greatness, and quit doing the things or associating with the people that limit your potential.

7. Choose Courage Over Comfort

Returning to Susan David’s book, we find this wise, encouraging insight: “Choose courage over comfort by vitally engaging with new opportunities to learn and grow, rather than passively resigning yourself to your circumstances.” Meaning is dynamic. You grow more aware of it when you break patterns of behavior or try new things.

Meaning doesn’t need to apply only to your personal pursuits. It can also be nurtured in your professional life. It helps you live a whole life that satisfies and energizes. At work, that energy can be channeled to accomplish significant outcomes.

Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-different-ways-you-can-find-more-meaning-in-your-life