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Your #Career : This Is How To Conquer Even The Most Hardcore #Networking Anxiety…Having #SocialAnxiety isn’t the Same as just Being a Natural #Introvert, which Means there are Steps you can Take to Mitigate It.

As an anxious person, there are few things I dread more than large, unstructured networking events. Hell is nothing if not balancing a plate of hors d’oeuvres while desperately scanning the room for a kindly looking duo or trio who might welcome me into their conversation.

Despite fearing these situations, I know they’re an important part of growing a career. Yet when I force myself to network, I often find myself spiraling through escalating negativity that usually goes something like this:

Oh, there’s that woman I met before. I should go say hi to her. Wait, what if she doesn’t remember me? She probably doesn’t want to talk to me anyway. Oh God, I’m just standing here now. Everyone can see how awkward I am! GO TALK TO SOMEONE! TALK TO ANYONE, YOU CRAZY WEIRDO!

Then I sweat through another 15 minutes of psychological distress before treating myself to a nice break of hiding in the bathroom.

The truth is, almost everybody experiences some level of anxiety in different social situations, and you can absolutely be anxious and still make positive connections at networking events. It just might take a bit more focus and patience than it does for the naturally extroverted schmoozers and hand-shakers out there.


Related: How I Learned To Stop Hating Networking Events (Mostly)


GET TO KNOW YOUR ANXIETY

While many introverts are also socially anxious, having social anxiety isn’t the same as just being being introverted or shy–it’s not a personality thing. “It’s a specific fear about being negatively evaluated by other people,” psychotherapist Noah Clyman, director of NYC Cognitive Therapy, explains.

This fear is usually linked to negative beliefs that the sufferer has about himself or herself, like, “I’m a failure,” or “I’m incompetent,” or “I’m stupid.” It’s totally human to think self-deprecating thoughts occasionally, but for folks with social anxiety, these aren’t rare instances of self-criticism but deeply ingrained thought patterns. As a result, social interactions foment the concern that others will see them in the same negative way they perceive themselves–often leading social anxiety sufferers to avoid those encounters or approach them with fear and trembling.

Ironically, since a key trait of social anxiety is being hyper-conscious about others’ experiences, anxious folks tend to have little to worry about in reality. Clyman says that people with social anxiety typically “have pretty good skills socially, and they just get in their own way because they’re thinking too much.”

Still, I know firsthand that it’s pretty much useless to tell someone with anxiety not to worry. (Do birds not fly? Do fish not swim?) Thankfully, there are several evidence-based techniques for reducing the power of self-critical thoughts. I explored many of them in a recent episode of Group, the podcast I host about mental health and mental illness, but here are a handful to get you started.


Related: How I Realized My Social Anxiety Was A Hidden Career Asset


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FACE YOUR FEARS BIT BY BIT (IN A CONTROLLED SETTING)

Claire Eastham, author of We’re All Mad Here: The No-Nonsense Guide to Living with Social Anxiety, credits so-called “exposure therapy” as one of the treatment forms that “really, really works” for her. It’s exactly what it sounds like. “You kind of expose yourself to something that makes you uncomfortable a little bit at a time, which is difficult, because it’s the last thing that you want to do,” Eastham explains. “It seems absurd to put yourself in a situation that makes you feel afraid, but it kind of gave me back that ground, that control, that territory.”

In his practice, Clyman’s method of exposure therapy often involves filming a patient (with their consent) doing whatever it is that makes them anxious. For someone with my neuroses, he might record us simulating small talk together at a pretend networking event. Before watching the video, Clyman will ask his patients to rate how they believe they presented themselves.

Then, he says, “we’ll watch it back, and what people see is that they come across much better than they think they actually do.” Acknowledging this contrast between a self-critical perception and the much milder reality makes it easier for anxious folks to challenge their negative thinking–including in interactions outsideof the safety of their therapists’ offices.

Eastham admits she often obsesses over the idea that she’s “ruined her life” after certain social encounters. “When in reality,” she says, “when you have a look at what you did, and how you behaved to an outsider, I mean, those people, they won’t remember it!”


Related: This Silicon Valley Therapist’s Tips For Coping With Startup Stress


CATCH YOURSELF COMMITTING A “THOUGHT ERROR”

When that negative inner monologue starts rolling, self-critical thoughts and ideas pop into your head. Therapists call these “automatic thoughts” and tend to pair exposure therapy with “cognitive behavioral therapy,” a series of habits for identifying and challenging those automatic thoughts with more balanced appraisals.

“Often these thoughts are really exaggerated in a negative direction,” Clyman says, “so that the person is making some kind of error or errors in their thinking.” One common “thought error” that socially anxious folks fall tend to make is “catastrophizing,” or imagining the worst-case scenario when other scenarios are actually more likely. A therapist like Clyman might work with a patient to think through many possible scenarios, maybe even writing them out.

One automatic thought I often have at networking events is a version of “everyone thinks I’m awkward.” If I catch myself thinking that, then use it as a cue to step back and mentally examine other possible scenarios, I’m usually forced to admit that it’s unlikely everyone is thinking about how weird I am. Chances are they’re just as fixated on their own experiences, and probably aren’t observing me critically at all.

PRACTICE MINDFULNESS

When I’m feeling anxious during a networking event, I’m hyper-conscious of how I’m standing, the way I’m speaking, and the general way I’m presenting myself. The problem, says Clyman, is that “when people are focused on themselves, they don’t have the opportunity to observe whether others are actually looking at them in a judgmental way.” Mindfulness exercises can break this self-focus just enough to gain a more objective sense of the situation.

Personally, I’ve found that meditation apps like Headspace useful for training myself how to get out of my own head and be more present. When I practice mindfulness regularly in situations that feel “safe” (when I’m spending time alone, or with close friends), I’m better able to remain calm and present in nervier environments, too–like when I speak with industry professionals at networking events.

NOW ABOUT THOSE SWEATY PALMS . . .

Social anxiety can also bring physical symptoms: a pounding heart, blushing, shaking, breathlessness. Eastham, for example, has a hand tremor that becomes evident when her anxiety is especially intense. Eastham has found that beta blockers, which are typically used to treat high blood pressure and migraines “help take the edge off” if those physical symptoms become unbearable. They can only be prescribed by a doctor and won’t treat the psychological experience of anxiety, but it maybe worth asking your healthcare provider if it’s an option you should consider.

The technique of “scripting” can also help you get through a networking event: “Spend some time planning how you would like it to go,” says Clyman. “Write down: What are three things that I could say about myself, or what are three things I could ask the person about themselves?” However, he cautions, once you finish that activity, make sure to move on. It’s easy to obsess or ruminate over how you want a situation to go, and spending hours mapping a hypothetical conversation isn’t going to be beneficial for your mental health–or your career.


Rebecca Lee Douglas is a multimedia producer and the host of Group, a lighthearted podcast about mental health and mental illness. You can follow her on Twitter at @RebeccaLDouglas and subscribe to Group on Apple PodcastsStitcher, or wherever you download your podcasts.

FastCompany.com | January 11, 2018 | BY REBECCA LEE DOUGLAS

 

Your #Career : These Methods Will Finally Help You Organize Your Job Search Better…Don’t Lose Track of your #JobSearch Progress.

When you’re actively looking for a new job, you can’t afford to wing it on the organizational front. Whether you apply for five jobs or 100, you’ll soon find yourself buried in an extraordinary number of resumes, cover letters, job descriptions, and interview invitations. If you don’t keep them carefully organized, you may not identify the right opportunity–or worse, you’ll flounder when the right opportunity comes along.

If you want to stay on top of all of the applications, LinkedIn requests, and other digital paraphernalia that go along with your job search, it’s time to break up with your bad organization habits. Here are seven techniques that will help you overcome the most common job hunt organization issues so that you know the where, what, who, and how for your next interview:

1. IF YOU AREN’T GOOD AT ORGANIZING . . . FIGURE OUT WHY

Organizational skills aren’t one-size-fits-all. There are just as many ways to be disorganized as there are to be organized. Instead of haphazardly applying “organization tactics” to your job search, try to identify specific ways that you tend to be disorganized and troubleshoot those issues directly.

For example, do you tend to lose hard copies? Digital apps will be where it’s at for you. But if you forget anything that isn’t written with pen and paper, a paper calendar or sticky note wall will be a better solution. And if you aren’t sure how you like to stay organized, try something new. If you’re usually an Apple Calendar kind of person, start using a paper planner, or vice versa.


2. IF YOU HAVE A HARD TIME FOLLOWING UP . . . USE A SPREADSHEET

When your job search is in full swing, it’s way too easy to send an email and forget it. Not only can this cost you when you aren’t following up at appropriate intervals, but it can also make you feel like you’re constantly treading water without getting anywhere. Your job hunt becomes an overwhelming, never-ending headache instead of a systematic, purposeful journey.

Combat this by starting a detailed spreadsheet that tracks all the pertinent details of your job search, such as the company, job listing, and contact details. As you move through the job hunt process (and the interview process), highlight the steps you’ve “completed” so you can show yourself just how much work you’ve done along the way.

 

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3. IF YOU NEED REMINDERS . . . GO HIGH TECH

There’s nothing wrong with manual spreadsheets that lists all of the job search details you need to know if it’s working for you. But if it’s not working for you– if you frequently forget to update the spreadsheet, and you’re never quite sure about what your next step should be–you need to take your job search into the 21st century with a free online project management tool like Trello or Wrike.

Using a project management tool as a job seeker allows you to organize all of the job search details and automate when and to whom you should send a follow-up note. You can also adjust your settings to automatically receive reminders when it’s time to update the individual jobs or check in on the progress of the hiring manager.

4. IF YOU’RE A VISUAL PERSON . . . TRY STICKY NOTES

The sticky note wall is a tried-and-true organizational method that works for writing a book, setting goals, and yes, getting a new job. First, pick a large wall you can divide into three or four columns. At the top of each column, mark out a different stage of the job process or your job search to-do list (e.g., “Draft Resume,” “Apply,” “Interview”). Then, write each job on a sticky note and set it in its appropriate column. As you work through your job hunt and make progress, move the sticky note to the next step.

Not only can it be very motivating to see your progress in such a visual way, but it is easy to get a quick snapshot of where you are in the process by simply glancing at your sticky note wall. Pro tip: You can also use the “Sticky Notes App” on your phone or computer if a digital version of the sticky notes would save you the wall space.


Related: Job Searching? Skip The Job Boards And Take These Five Steps Instead


5. IF YOU FORGET THE DETAILS . . . KEEP THOROUGH NOTES

If you’re speaking to one or two prospective employers each week, it can be tough to remember who’s who and what you talked about. If you don’t take careful notes, you may unwittingly repeat yourself or send a thank-you note to the wrong person and reference the wrong conversation. Talk about awkward!

If that sounds like something that could happen to you, use a free tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote to keep track of the meetings you have. For extra memory help, pull the LinkedIn photo of the person you’re speaking with into the note sheet and capture notes like the person’s company, job title, and location. Not only can you look at a picture of a real person when you’re in the midst of a phone screen interview, but you can also easily go back and remember who you spoke with when you’re considering job offers or writing thank-you notes.

6. IF YOU’RE LOSING MOTIVATION . . . MAKE A LIST OF REASONS YOU’RE SEARCHING

If you find yourself putting off your job search or simply not looking forward to any part of the process, you’re letting the discomfort of a job hunt distract you from the reason you’re looking for a new job. Get back in the right headspace by bringing the focus back to what motivates you.

Make a list of the reasons you’re looking for a new job–toxic workplaceskipped over for a promotionlow salary, etc.–and keep it in a prominent place. Not only will this motivate you to stick to your plan and find a new job, but it will also prepare you for the interviews ahead by keeping your deeper purpose of your job search front and center.

7. IF YOU’RE FEELING BURNED OUT . . . SCHEDULE SOME DOWNTIME

Little tasks can pile up, especially if you’re managing a full-time job during your job search. Instead of spending a whole day on your job hunt once a month and getting frustrated with your lack of progress, set short but regular periods of time to check in and make consistent progress. A half-hour two or three times a week will ensure that you’re responding to hiring managers at appropriate intervals and staying on top of new opportunities as they come out.


Related:This Is What It’s Like To Search For A Job As A Black Woman


A job search is a job of its own: You’re practicing time management, patience, and even customer service as you balance your search with your current job. But you don’t have to let the complexity of all the resumes, cover letters, applications, and interviews throw you off. Just find an organizational method that works for you so that the energy you put into the job search pays off with a new job–not a new headache!

 

FastCompany.com | January 10, 2018 | BY SARAH GREESONBACH—GLASSDOOR 6 MINUTE READ

 

Your #Career : Here’s What To Do When Common #CareerAdvice Doesn’t Work For You.. When working with your Former Company’s Sponsored ‘highly processing’ #OutplacementServices & Programs. Here is What you Can Do on your Own.

"After Cattle Call Meeting to Simply Sign Up on their Website. Now What??"

You’re  smart enough to spot bad career advice, but what about when you get good advice that you know works for a lot of people, but doesn’t work for you?

It can be tempting to throw your hands in the air and say “I give up.” But this isn’t your only option. Here are some ideas on what you can do when following common career advice isn’t bringing you much success.


Related: The Most Common Career Advice That Graduates Should Ignore (And What To Do Instead)


INSTEAD OF: BE SPECIFIC ABOUT WHAT YOU WANT

TRY: BROADENING YOUR HORIZONS AND LOOKING FOR WHERE THE DEMANDS ARE

We’re often advised to be specific and strategic about what we’re after. While this might be great advice for some, others might find that this approach yields little results for them–particularly when they’re trying to land their first entry-level job.

These days, it’s no longer enough to have a college degree, candidates need to have work experience, whether it be through internships or part-time gigs. But sometimes, even that isn’t enough. Marketing professional and freelance writer Brittney Oliver witnessed this when she embarked on her post-college job search. Despite five internships under her belt, it took her eight months and over 100 interviews before she landed her first job.


Related: These Are The Mistakes That Even Experienced Job Seekers Keep Making


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As Oliver previously wrote in Fast Company, being a woman of color presented her with additional challenges that her white peers might not have had to face. But considering that the interviewers’ unconscious bias wasn’t something she had much control over, she focused on what she could control. When she started her job search, Oliver had her sights only on PR jobs in New York City. But after struggling to secure a position, she saw her peers turn their degrees into “transferable skills that helped them land jobs outside of their fields.” She began to do the same.

This was also a strategy that Sydney Brunson, a diversity programs specialist at Pinterest, employed. Brunson told Oliver, “had I solely focused on jobs and careers in public relations or communications, my story might be different. I would encourage students to broaden their horizons and scope when searching for jobs.”

Another practical tip could be to look for roles that companies have difficulty filling. Ify Walker, founder of talent matchmaking firm Offor Walker Group, suggested that candidates who are having trouble landing jobs should try to put themselves “in places where others might say, ‘I don’t want to do that, or that’s too hard.'”

INSTEAD OF: EXPAND YOUR NETWORK

TRY: FIGURE OUT HOW YOU CAN HELP OTHERS IN YOUR EXISTING NETWORK

It’s true that having a large professional network never hurts, and you never know what opportunities could come out of new interactions. But if, like most people, your time is limited, making yourself attend three to four networking events a week in attempts to “widen your network” might not be the best use of your time.

Chances are, you probably have a few people in your current network that can help you get ahead. Alexandra Cavoulacos and Kathryn Minshew, cofounders of career site The Muselisted these types of people in their book, The New Rules Of Work: The Modern Playbook For Navigating Your CareerFrom those who hold similar positions to you, people related to your industry or role but with different responsibilities, the person one or two levels ahead of you and even the newbie who just started their careers–these are all valuable relationships to cultivate.

Of course, it goes without saying that in order to reap the benefits, you have to be willing to give. For example, you might recommend a candidate to your senior coworker when you hear that they’re hiring. When it comes to those who have a similar job to you, you might share your learnings and lessons and act as each other’s “buddies” when you do attend a big event.

INSTEAD OF: FIND A MENTOR

TRY: FOCUS ON MAKING YOURSELF MORE VALUABLE

No one really “makes it” on their own, so it’s no surprise that many successful people attribute their success to the help of others. Unfortunately, this has resulted in the idea that for our careers to have any chance of flourishing, we need to have a go-to mentor–a leader in our field  who we can turn to for advice in times of trouble. Oh and they need to be as equally invested in our careers as we are.

Of course, finding a person like this is definitely great for your career, but busy and important people don’t always have time to be unpaid career coaches. And plenty of successful people have had thriving careers without one consistent mentor (WeWork’s CEO and cofounder Adam Neumann is a great example). Having a mentor is not the be all and end all to your career.

Instead of focusing on what you can get, focus on what you can give. You can start with doing this at work, by making sure that you’re fulfilling every aspect of your job description, and going above and beyond when possible. Then you can also position yourself to “get in on what the higher ups” are saying, as Fast Company‘s Rich Bellis wrote in a previous article.

There are several ways to do this if you’re a junior employee–you can ask your boss directly to see if they can fill you in on what they discussed at the leadership meeting, or you can muster the courage to introduce yourself to the company’s leaders when you see them around the office. You’ll not only gain valuable insights about how your company works, but you might develop a relationship with someone who literally has control over your career.

INSTEAD OF: BUILD AND CULTIVATE A PERSONAL BRAND

TRY: FOCUS ON DEEPENING YOUR EXPERTISE IN YOUR FIELD

In the age of social media influencers, it’s easy to get fixated on making our online presence as polished (and popular) as possible. But unless your job title is social media marketer, at some point, you’ll probably see diminishing returns to all this self-promotion–particularly when the time you spend trying to gain followers on Instagram is cutting into the time you’re spending on your actual work.

In his book Perennial Seller: The Art Of Making And Marketing Work That Lasts, marketer and writer Ryan Holiday stressed that if you want to create a product that will stand the test of time, you have to create a great product. He wrote, “even the best admen will admit that, over the long term, all the marketing in the world won’t matter if the product hasn’t been made right.”

The same logic can apply to our careers. If we’re not good at what we do, no amount of retweets and likes will hide that fact. As entrepreneur John Rampton wrote in a previous Fast Company article, “It’s one thing to tout your best qualities and another to push them so hard that you fall into false marketing.”

INSTEAD OF: PUT YOURSELF OUT THERE

TRY: PUT YOURSELF IN SITUATIONS THAT LET YOU BE YOUR BEST

Many of us have a conventional idea of what success looks like. Go for the biggest job and opportunity, have lots of powerful friends, make a lot of money.

For some people, this “overachieving” mind-set is a surefire recipe for disaster and exhaustion, as Morra Aarons-Mele wrote in her book, Hiding in the Bathroom: An Introvert’s Roadmap to Getting Out There (When You’d Rather Stay Home)She wrote, “If you need more control over your space, pace, and place of work than others, the traditional career-ladder approach to success is all the more daunting–and possibly futile.”

Aarons-Mele went on to write, “But let me be clear: When introverts like me realize that the success they’re chasing isn’t making them happy, it’s not because they’re lazy or unambitious.” Rather, it’s about understanding what environments make you perform at your best, and what environments make you struggle–and embracing it. After all, life doesn’t require you to conform to society’s perceived idea of career success. What that looks like to you is wholly up to you to decide.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anisa is the Editorial Assistant for Fast Company's Leadership section. She covers everything from personal development, entrepreneurship and the future of work.

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FastCompany.com | January 8, 2018 | BY ANISA PURBASARI HORTON 6 MINUTE READ

Your #Career : Six Steps To Get Promoted This Year…This is your Guide to Fast Track your Career in 2018.

It’s a brand new year, and you’ve decided that it’s time to kick your career into high gear. Whether you’re gunning for a promotion or simply want to improve your performance, these six steps can move closer to your goal.

CHECK YOUR DIRECTION

Before you commit to moving forward on your current career path, take a moment to review where you are. How do you feel about your work? Are you happy?  It’s harder to be successful in an area for which you don’t feel passion or a sense of purpose, says New York City-based career counselor and executive coach Roy Cohen, author of The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.

“No matter what advice we give ourselves, if we really don’t enjoy the work itself, these tips and tricks won’t necessarily work for the long term. They won’t have staying power,” he says.

 

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BUILD YOUR PLAN

A career plan includes your short-term (three- to six-month), medium-term (six months to several-year), and long-term (five- to 10-year) goals, as well as a list of tasks or actions you’ll need to complete to achieve them, says Cheryl E. Palmer, owner of Colesville, Maryland-based career coaching firm Call to Career. Looking at where you want to be 5 or 10 years from now can be overwhelming, she says. But when you think about what you can accomplish in the next three to six months, it becomes easier to visualize and accomplish, and builds the foundation and direction for more long-term achievements, she says.

“They all tie together but it helps to break them down like that, so that you actually know what it is you’re trying to accomplish and within which time frame,” Palmer says.

Angelina Darrisaw, founder of The C-Suite Coach, a New York career coaching firm, advocates planning quarter by quarter. When you build your plan that way, you can see the natural progression, but it also shines a light on what needs to happen for your plan to be fulfilled, she says.

“You start to make a list [and see] what am I missing, are there any gaps in relationships I might need to have, and stakeholders at work that I might need to be engaging and developing a relationship with. Maybe there are some credentials that I’m lacking, and I need to see if my company has some training that I can take advantage of or tuition reimbursement programs that I can leverage to fill in those gaps,” she says.

UNDERSTAND–AND ENGAGE–SPONSORS AND MENTORS

Finding someone who can give you advice and help you move your career forward can be invaluable–but those two roles are often misunderstood, says Kim Powell, principal with Chicago-based leadership and change management consulting firm ghSMART and co-author of The CEO Next Door: The 4 Behaviors That Transform Ordinary People Into World Class Leaders. A mentor is someone who can give you advice and act as a sounding board with the added benefit of experience. A sponsor is someone who is in a position to take action on your behalf, she says.

In research findings detailed in her book, Powell says she looked at “sprinters”–people who got to the C-suite faster than average. Roughly half had sponsors. “They worked with these individuals thoughtfully. They shared aspirations, not problems. They linked to what was relevant to the sponsor. They made requests easy to fulfill, and most importantly, they followed through relentlessly. Meaning, they’re very reliable. So the sponsor made an introduction or did something for them. They didn’t let that ball drop,” she says.

Mentors, on the other hand, can give you guidance and add an objective, experienced voice to help you make decisions. When looking for a mentor, be sure to choose someone who can devote the time you need, Cohen advises. Even well-intentioned mentors who are too busy may not be effective.

LOOK FOR RESOURCES YOU ALREADY HAVE

Depending on the culture of your company and what you hope to achieve, Darrisaw says it may be a good idea to share your goals with your manager to help you advance your career. “For the most part, most managers do want to see their people succeed and do well and achieve what it is that makes them happy,” she says. “They’re able to look at where you are with a different perspective and can be very helpful in engaging with you in filling out those gaps that you might have. So, making sure that they’re aware of what it is that you want so they can help present opportunities to you.

Palmer adds that it might be time to become more of a “joiner.” If you’re part of a larger organization, look for committees, projects, or task forces you can get involved with. If you’re part of a smaller organization, look for ways to take on new responsibilities and make a difference. She shares one caveat, though: Be sure you’re working in areas that matter to the company and will move you toward your goals. It’s easy to find ways to be busy that either aren’t aligned with what the leadership values or that won’t develop skills or visibility you need. So, choose these added efforts wisely.

LEARN HOW TO SHOWCASE–WITHOUT SHOWBOATING

In order to be considered for promotions or other advancement, it’s important that leaders know your abilities and accomplishments. But, being braggadocios isn’t the way to win. “We call it the self-interest torpedo. If you come across as trying to self-promote, it can be a torpedo from a career perspective. So, the trick around building visibility is really around how you go about doing it,” she says.

Finding the right sponsors who will toot your horn for you helps, she says. In addition, if it’s possible to be thoughtful about the boss you have, choose someone who is generous about sharing credit. Building a reputation for being reliable and for following through was also common among the fast-track CEOs she and her team studied. With the right approach, you can let people know your contributions without overselling yourself.

RALLY SUPPORT AT HOME

One area that rising professionals often overlook is support at home, Cohen says. Putting in more time at the office or being more focused on your career may mean that a partner or family members need to make sacrifices. Discuss these potential changes and be sure that the people in your life understand or work out compromises for work/life balance. Resistance or conflict at home or within your support system can be distracting and drain energy that you could be devoting to your goals.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gwen Moran writes about business, money and assorted other topics for leading publications and web sites. She was named a Small Business Influencer Awards Top 100 Champion in 2015, 2014, and 2012 and is the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010), and several other books.

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FastCompany.com | January 5, 2018

Your #Career : Three Questions You Must Ask If You Want The Job…The #JobSearch Today is more Competitive & Time-Consuming than ever Before. Given this Environment, the Only Recipients of Job Offers are the Applicants who Interview Well & Manage their Job Searches.

At one time or another, we have all made the leap from high school or college to the real world and have likely spent some time on the interviewing circuit. As I recall my first interview experiences, I vividly remember my father’s advice on the art of interviewing. My father, Paul Micali, was a sales trainer, manager, author and public speaker. It’s fascinating to me that his words of wisdom, three decades ago, are even more relevant today.

Through our many interviews, we hopefully all learn the basics: a firm handshake, strong eye contact, smiling, proper posture, body language, tone of voice, key questions, answers and stories. But my father’s advice was all about “how" to end the interview; that time when the interviewer and interviewee have no more to say and look at one another across the desk in awkward silence.

It was at that point that my father explicitly instructed me to ask that all-powerful question — that question that no interviewee ever wants to ask.

“What are my chances of getting this job?”

 I couldn’t imagine being so brazen and presumptuous! To make matters worse, I was instructed to ask the question three times in three different ways:

1. What are my chances of getting this job?

2. How soon will you be making a decision?

3. Based on your timeline, can I plan to hear from you in one or two weeks?

 It took every ounce of courage I had to muster up the confidence to ask these questions. However, I’m so glad that I did. The answers to these questions provided me with the roadmap to guide and jumpstart my career. Fast forward 30 years, as a talent acquisition consultant and a career coach; I see the absolute necessity for every candidate to ask these questions in an interview.

The job search today is more competitive and time-consuming than ever before. With job postings on LinkedIn, Indeed, Zip Recruiter, company websites and alike, companies are deluged with resumes. Today, each position commands between 250 and 300 applicants with a mere 2% being called in for an interview. A job seeker in today’s market must put forth a patient and disciplined approach in applying for positions online, networking and directly reaching out to companies. Given this environment, the only recipients of job offers are the applicants who interview well and manage their job searches.

Assuming your interview has gone well, you have arrived at the point where “how” you handle the ending can be crucial to your outcome.

Here are three reasons why asking this infamous question, “What are my chances of getting this job?” are crucial to your interview.

1. You will show the interviewer that you are serious about this position and that you want this job. 

When someone visibly shows through their words and actions that they want something, they tend to work hard to get it! As the interviewee, you will be displaying to the hiring manager that your meeting has a definite purpose and that you mean business. It may have taken you four weeks to get to this point in the process, and you deserve to know your position in the lineup!

 

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2. You will send the signal that you have a productive jobsearch underway. 

And that you are weighing different opportunities. In other words, you are interviewing with other companies. You have been proactive in your job search, not waiting around to hear from companies. If you are as good as you think you are and the hiring manager agrees, they won’t waste time and will quickly move your candidacy forward.

3. You will overcome the hiring manager’s potential objections, turning a “no” into a “yes."

When you ask this question, an honest answer from the interviewer provides you with a snapshot of how he/she sees you in the position. If the hiring manager mentions an area where you may not reach the expectations outlined in the job description, this is your opportunity to overcome their perspective with specific results and stories. If you don’t ask the question, you will miss the chance to turn a “no” into a “yes." In fact, you will leave the meeting not knowing where you stand in the interviewee lineup!

Of course, if the answer is that your chances are good, then you can continue your pursuit with, “How soon can I expect to hear from you?” and “Can I look forward to speaking with you in two weeks?” These questions will further convey that you remain very interested in the position and would like to know the timeline involved in securing the job.

From the perspectives of the hiring manager, recruiter and career coach, when the interviewee doesn’t ask for the job, we question if the candidate really wants the position.

We have all heard the expression, “Ask better questions and get better answers.”

I challenge you to ask yourself: “Do you want this job?” .....  If the answer is yes, then ask for it, three times!

 The answers will give you the roadmap to guide and jumpstart your career and your life.
Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only community for leading business and career coaches. Do I qualify?
Author: Donna Poudrier - Career coach and recruiter Donna Poudrier helps job seekers and new grads find the “right job” to jumpstart their careers.
 
Forbes.com | January 4, 2018 

Your #Career : Look Out For These Warning Signs Before You Take That #NewJob…As Much as you Want to Make a Change Right Now, Take the Time to Make Sure it’s the Right One.

Think about it: Have you ever landed a coveted job only to feel miserable mere weeks later, lamenting at your cubicle that if only you had listened to your gut–to have seen your boss’s disheveled desk for the warning sign it was–you could have saved yourself a lot of trouble?

In other words, you ignored a red flag. “A work-related red flag is basically a warning sign, either overt or even a gut feeling you have, that the job won’t be a good fit for you,” explains career coach Hallie Crawford. “It can also be a possible issue you sense with the company, why the job is available, your prospective boss, or a team member you’d be working with.”

work-related red flag can be something you witness during the interview, read about in a company review, or hear about through the industry grapevine. But no matter the source, listen to your reaction to the news. “Trust yourself,” Crawford encourages. “If you sense something might be off, listen to that gut instinct and ask about it during the interview.”


Related: How To Become Indispensable At Work This Year 


1. YOUR INTERVIEWER (OR HIS SPACE) LOOKS A MESS

Picture a disheveled desk, stacks of folders strewn about, a trash can overflowing with crumpled paper—in other words, an office or a person that screams anything but I’ve got it together. This is a red flag you can’t chalk up to a bad day or a sense of disorganization, warns millennial career expert Jill Jacinto. “How we choose to visually express ourselves is part of the interview process. That is why we wear a suit, blow out our hair, or get our shoes shined. We want to show that we have it together.” And trust us: You want your future employer to put in the same kind of effort. “A few loose papers is one thing,” Jacinto concedes, “but a desk covered in papers or garbage is another.”

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2. YOU GET OFFERED THE JOB DURING THE INTERVIEW

It may seem like a very good thing if you if get offered the job before you even leave your first interview–but in reality, “this could be a red flag because there could be underlying issues,” warns Crawford. Think about it: Why is the company so desperate to fill this role? “Perhaps they aren’t able to keep someone in this position for very long, or maybe they fire employees regularly,” Crawford says. Instead of saying yes in this situation, “ask them why the position is available, and listen carefully to their answer. Ask to meet your manager and ask him what his ideal employee would be. This will give you insight into their management style and anything that may be going on.”


Related: You Can Do More Of What You Like At Work And Less Of What You Hate


3. THE JOB DESCRIPTION IS NOT CLEARLY DEFINED

Leaving a job description loose-ended is a recipe for work disaster. Why? Because, as Crawford points out, if an employer can’t clearly define exactly what they want you to do, they may be keeping it vague so they can ask “employees to handle a variety of tasks for little pay” after they’re hired, says Crawford. Or, “They may be just trolling for possible employees to test the market versus actually really intending to hire someone.” If you’re still interested in the job, don’t leave the interview–and certainly don’t accept the position–until you “let the manager know you would like a clarification of the job description,” she says. If they can’t do it when asked, Crawford says, “beware.”

4. THE HIRING MANAGER SAYS HE WORKS 24/7–AND SO DOES THE STAFF

Recalls Jacinto, “I was advising a woman a few years ago who said she regrets not picking up on her current boss’s eccentric behavior. He had said during the interview that if he could, he would sleep at the office and spends all his time there. She agreed to come in on weekends for training–but the ‘training’ never stopped. She–and the rest of the staff–were expected to march into work over the weekend to have team meetings and catch-ups. Needless to say, she found a better job.” If you see similar red flags during the interview process, “run,” Jacinto warns. “If a boss all but sleeps at the office, he’ll expect you and your team to bunk down, too.”


Related:This New Site Lets You Try A Job For Six Months Before Committing


5. THE COMPANY LOWBALLS ITS OFFER

You know what you’re worth–and you know what others make who work in that same job–because you’ve used tools such as Glassdoor’s company salaries search tool to find out. And “if you are offered less than the salary listed in the posting or lower than what they said their range was, this could be a red flag,” says Crawford. If you find yourself faced with this red flag, “Ask about benefits, but if they aren’t offering benefits or can’t define them, they [may just be] trying to take advantage of you.”

FastCompany.com | January 3, 2018 | BY JILLIAN KRAMER—GLASSDOOR 4 MINUTE READ

Your #Career : These Eight Phrases Are Killing Your Chance for a Promotion… Sorry, But I Honestly just Think you Should Read This.

Words matter more than you might think, especially if you are one of the 43% of employees who works remotely. If coworkers or your manager can’t see your body language, they have to rely solely on conversations you have over email or the phone, and certain phrases could cost you a promotion, says Crystal Barnett, senior human resource specialist for Insperity, an HR service provider for small to medium-sized organizations.

“While most of us manage to avoid making comments that result in a punishable offense, some common phrases can hurt your chances for advancement in the long run,” she says. “You have to choose words carefully to get your point across without being negative or self serving.”

Here are eight words and phrases that can derail your career if they’re uttered at the wrong place or time:

1. “HONESTLY …”

Starting a sentence with the word “honestly” when speaking about others can come off as an attack, and it’s one of the easiest ways to damage your career, says Barnett. “Telling a trusted boss how one truly feels is expected and encouraged at many companies,” she says. “However, in some organizations, giving an unvarnished assessment can be dangerous if done without careful consideration beforehand.”

Using the word “honestly” before offering a critique of another team member’s work in a public setting, for example, can damage your relationship. It can also create the impression that you’re willing to promote yourself by attacking others.

“Only use ‘honestly’ when it applies to you,” says Barnett.

 

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2. “I THINK”

When you use the phrase “I think,” you immediately lose credibility, says Barnett. “‘I know’ or ‘Based on my experience my recommendation would be’ are much stronger,” she says. “In our world if you don’t know you lose credibility. It can demonstrate your weakness in certain environments.”

3. “I”

Taking credit for your work can be like walking a fine line of what’s appropriate. Instead, always defer to the team when sharing your success, says Barnett.

“It’s better to see ‘I’ in context of we,” she says. “For example, ‘I was part of a team that accomplished this.’ You can use ‘I’ and give yourself credit for being part of team, but touting yourself alone comes across as being arrogant and most companies don’t find that appealing.”

4. “YEAH, BUT…”

If you’re given an instruction or request from a supervisor or manager that leaves you with questions or concerns, starting your response with “Yeah, but” could come off as being combative.

“Asking clarifying questions or proactively identifying issues is not a bad thing,” says Barnett. “However, doing so in a negative-sounding way suggests an unwillingness to follow instruction or, worse yet, a challenge to a leader’s authority.”

Avoid the phrase altogether. If you need to revise the request, start by saying, “I understand your point of view. Let me provide you with another perspective of what we can accomplish,” suggests Barnett.

“This shows that you’re open to listening and you want to following instructions,” she says. “Offering different perspective is a much better way to get that out.”

5. “JUST”

“Just” can be a loaded word in some contexts, says Barnett. “For example, if a manager says to an employee ‘I just want you to finish those reports before the end of the week,’ the comment sounds highly negative on the receiving end,” she says. “It’s a filler word that diminishes your confidence and the importance of the message.”

A better approach might be to say “Be sure to get me those reports by the end of the week,” which is clear and direct.

6. “YES”

Saying “yes” to a request from your supervisor is usually looked at as being a good thing, but it could cause you to stretch yourself too thin, says Barnett. “You can’t produce quality work if you’re saying ‘yes’ all of the time,” she says. “The danger of burnout should always be considered before you answer.”

Instead of saying “no,” answer with “We can do this. Let’s make a list of priorities and see where it can go.” “This way you share responsibility of where the task goes in order of completion so you don’t feel like everything is a burning priority,” says Barnett.

7. “SORRY”

Transparency goes a long way, but simply saying “sorry” isn’t enough, says Barnett. This is particularly important when speaking with someone who has authority.

“You need to follow ‘sorry’ with an offer of a solution,” she says. “For example, ‘I dropped the ball, but here’s what I’ll do to fix it’ is much better than just saying, ‘I dropped the ball.'”

8. “THAT’S NOT MY JOB”

Passing the buck in today’s work environment can be extremely toxic, especially if you’re working with customers or clients. If you receive a request that’s outside your scope, wheelhouse, or expertise, connect the person with someone who can help.

“Say, ‘I have a colleague who knows about this. I’ll get in touch with them,'” suggests Barnett. “It shows that you have confidence,” she says. “You’ve let them know you don’t have an immediate answer, but you’re not leaving them hanging.”

 

FastCompany.com | January 3, 2018 | Stephanie Vozza

Your #Career : How You’ll Look For A Job In 2018…Here are Three(3) Things to Pay Careful Attention to If you’re Among those Who Plan to Look for Work in 2018.

Plenty of New Year’s resolutions include searching for a new job. And people don’t just add it to their lists because they hate their current job. Overall, ZipRecruiter found that nearly half (49%) of Americans who are actively looking for a new job said they love, or at least like, their current job. But 68% of employed job seekers believe that the types of jobs available today are better than what was available before.

For those looking at greener pastures, there’s good news. The ManpowerGroup Employment Outlook Survey found that 21% of the over 11,000 employers across all industries in the U.S. they surveyed are planning to hire in the coming quarter. And no need to fear that AI or automation is eliminating jobs. Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report of more than 10,000 HR and business leaders found that 77% said they will either retrain people to use new technology, or will redesign jobs to better take advantage of human skills.

So if you’re actively looking for a new position or planning to hunt in 2018, here are some things to keep in mind that will impact the way you search and land that new job.

TOP SKILLS AND HOW TO SHOWCASE THEM

Dan Shapero, vice president of careers, talent solutions, and learning at LinkedIn says, “The skills employers are looking for are changing rapidly, so it’s important for professionals to constantly learn the emerging skills in their field as well as new skills that open up entirely new career options.” LinkedIn recently added a feature that notifies members what skills are trending among people with the same job title. But Shapero suggests, “By switching their thinking from “what is my title” to “what are my skills,” professionals can broaden their job options.”

Joachim Horn, CEO of SAM Labs, says current job seekers can better position themselves for 2018 career opportunities by making it a personal goal to become more proficient in STEM. “Whether it’s taking on a specific subject like computer programming or psychology, learning how to analyze data more effectively, instructing others to use technology,” he says, “signing up for a course like statistics or basic fundamentals of coding, watching an online tutorial on argumentation, or even working on an independent project at home like a DIY kit, are all great examples of ways to build STEM abilities.”

SurveyMonkey CEO Zander Lurie contends that the soft skill that will get more play in the coming year is curiosity, especially as AI gets smarter. But it’s still flying under most people’s radar, given that only 5% of more than 13,000 workers polled by SurveyMonkey and INSEAD say curiosity “should be in the top two most rewarded employee characteristics to help your company change and adapt for the future.” Communication (36%), self-motivation (29%), commitment (28%), and professionalism (27%) were the top three soft skills listed by workers. Yet, as Lurie points out, “You know who’s really good at commitment and professionalism? Freakin’ robots.”

 

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WORKING WITH AI

Get really prepared to work through artificially intelligent means of searching for jobs. The 2018 Entelo Recruiting Trends Report that surveyed 1,143 talent acquisition professionals found that 62% of companies plan to spend on AI-powered recruiting software. Of those, 86% plan to spend on intelligent sourcing software.

That starts with Google. Susan Vitale, the CMO of iCIMS, notes that earlier this year, Google announced Google for Jobs. As part of that program, recruitment software providers such as iCIMS have partnered with Google to improve the job search experience through machine learning capabilities. “What this means for job seekers is that it will be much easier to quickly search and apply for a job with a simple Google search,” she says. Google’s partnership with Paysa means that it’s also easier to search for a salary range for those open positions.

But it also means there are a plethora of platforms designed to match you with jobs that you might never have considered otherwise. For example, with Leap.ai, you have to do a self-assessment that focuses on sussing out your strengths (i.e., collaboration, leadership), skills (UX design, sales, marketing), and personal values, as well as job preferences (working in teams, independent, remote). TalentWorks also uses AI to optimize your resume and application and also provides human coaching (for a fee), while Talify’s college student users take personality assessments, and SquarePeg’s users take psychometric testsdesigned to make better matches to jobs where you’d actually perform your best.

ADAPTING TO DIFFERENT KINDS OF INTERVIEWS

Elaine Varelas, managing partner of Keystone Partners, insists that video interview expertise will be a must. “Every level of candidate will participate in AI video-screening interviews,” she states. “And they will need to be skilled at answering questions with no visual cues, feedback, or encouragement.”

Lindsay Grenawalt, head of People for Cockroach Labs, says that exercise-based interviews are becoming more common for non-technical workers. “Rather than guess if a candidate can do the job based on their answers to behavioral questions,” she says, “exercise-based interviews ask for candidates to show [what they can do].”

That means job-based simulations in the form of case studies, individual exercises, and presentations. “Since each interview focuses on different areas, collectively, says Grenawalt, the interviews are mini snapshots of the candidate’s capabilities.

“Candidates get a clear understanding of what it would be like to work at the company and in that role on a day-to-day basis,” she says. Fear not, she says. Because they require a high degree of engagement, they are more collaborative and a better experience overall than traditional interviews in which candidates have to sweat through a series of stress-inducing questions. Grenawalt recommends taking advantage of all of the information companies are making available on their hiring and interview process to shine in this kind of interview.

Matt Glotzbach, CEO of Quizlet, says it will be important for candidates to be able to articulate and emphasize skills that allow them to work side by side with new technologies. “Showing to future employers not only that you understand the technologies of today, but also that you’re actively learning new skills, topics, and subjects will be key,” says Glotzbach. Be prepared to discuss microcredentials, boot camps, self-driven learning projects, or side hustles, he says. “Learning doesn’t stop when you receive a diploma.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lydia Dishman is a reporter writing about the intersection of tech, leadership, and innovation. She is a regular contributor to Fast Company and has written for CBS Moneywatch, Fortune, The Guardian, Popular Science, and the New York Times, among others.

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FastCompany.com | January 1, 2018

Your #Career : How To Become Indispensable At Work This Year…You can Gain some Job Security and Maybe even a Promotion by Taking these Actions.

Virtually every office has one: that employee who is the go-to contact and seems to knows everything and everyone. The office can’t run without her. No one wants to think about what would happen if he ever left.

Being such a critical part of the team has a number of benefits, including a measure of job security. But those indispensable team members don’t get just that way through arbitrary means. If you want to join their ranks, here are seven ways to get there.

CHANNEL ELITE ATHLETES

Elite athletes are constantly trying to improve their performance. They fine-tune the details that allow them to compete at the highest level—and that practice holds some valuable lessons for people who are trying to become exceptional at their jobs, says Porter Braswell, cofounder and CEO of Jopwell, a technology platform that helps black, Latino, and Native American students and professionals unlock opportunities for career advancement.

“What I mean by that is not the ability to run fast, jump high, and all the other physical attributes that come with being an athlete. But more of the tactical, being a good teammate, communicating well, knowing how to work hard, being disciplined, being able to multitask—all the things that come with that athletic mind-set. Competing: That’s the mind-set one has to be in before I believe they can perform well,” Braswell says.

 

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DO YOUR OWN REVIEW

You may get regular feedback and a performance review from your supervisor, but it’s also important to do your own regular review to ensure you’re on track with your own goals and expectations, says Carolyn Birsky, founder of Compass Maven, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, coaching firm. Keep track of your accomplishments, training, feedback, projects, and overall numbers related to your job. We often think we’ll remember all of these things, but it’s easy to forget pieces here and there, she says.

Then, periodically and honestly review your progress, set new goals, and look at what it’s going to take to get to your next milestone, she says. These self-checks can help you ensure you’re keeping on track with your own career development and shore up areas that may need improvement. This practice will also keep you ready for the next time you’re up for a promotion.

“One of the mistakes employees often make is forgetting to hold those all together in some sort of file. That can be some of your best leverage to put your case forward and say, ‘This is why I think should be promoted. This is what makes me really good at what I do,'” she says.

TRACK YOUR METRICS

As you set your new goals, look at the metrics that are going to matter and include them as part of your plan, Birsky says. Whether it’s bumping up a sales quota or improving efficiency or cost controls in your business unit by a certain margin, be sure to look for positive measures to which you can contribute and how you can be most productive in contributing to them. Companies value employees who are focused on finding ways to raise the performance bar.

DO AN ALIGNMENT CHECK

It’s also a good idea to ensure that the areas you’re prioritizing in your career and development are consistent with what the company values, says licensed therapist and career coach Jessica Sweet. You may have a sense of what’s important to the company, but it’s essential to actually be clear that your efforts are moving initiatives forward that the company cares about, she says.

“I would be looking at what the company’s goals are for 2018, and be looking at how my skills and experience align with those goals, and how I can set myself up on any projects that are going on, to add the most value to those upcoming projects,” she says.

SPEAK UP

When employees are afraid to show that they’re imperfect or they don’t know something, it gets in the way of their performance, Birsky says. Learning how to effectively communicate with your boss and team, including asking questions and ensuring that you fully understand assignment instructions and ask questions when you don’t is essential to ensuring you’re performing in the best possible way for your company.

Beyond that, ask for opportunities to get better. “Be vocal to your boss about the fact that you are open to learning. Ask for opportunities to collaborate with another team, or be vocal about your ideas, or you might see a training [you need to get better]. Make your case for it,” she says.

ACT LIKE YOU OWN THE PLACE

Ownership is essential to being invaluable, says Andy Chan, founder of Seattle-based career coaching center Prime Opt. Take ownership of your work—whether it’s a project assignment or even a simple spreadsheet. Think about it in terms of the bigger picture of the company and what its goals are. When you take full responsibility and apply strategic thinking to your work, you’re immediately supporting your supervisor and team in a new and more valuable way. “Every time, when it comes to you learning new skills, it actually opens up a conversation for you to ask for a raise or a promotion,” he says. So, think about what you can take ownership of in your work environment, and treat your work as if you own the company and are acting in its best interest.

MAKE YOUR BOSS LOOK GREAT

One of the most important things you can do to be indispensable to your boss is to help them excel, Braswell says. People value those who help them do their jobs better.

“Really get in the mind-set of the person you’re working for or alongside and really figure out, ‘What are they trying to achieve?'” he says. “Through having an understanding of what they’re trying to achieve and having the context, you can then say to them, ‘What can I be doing to help you achieve that goal?'” Once you know where you fit in and exactly the metrics on which you should be focused, you can rank or prioritize your efforts on those tasks and initiatives, he says.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gwen Moran writes about business, money and assorted other topics for leading publications and web sites. She was named a Small Business Influencer Awards Top 100 Champion in 2015, 2014, and 2012 and is the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010), and several other books.

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FastCompany.com | January 2, 2018

Your #Career : Five Unexpected Career Resolutions You Should Make In 2018… “Get a Raise” is a Nice Goal, but Focusing on these Resolutions Might Set you Up for a More Successful Year.

The New Year is coming, and you’re making a list of resolutions. And if you’ve got a few related to your career, you might want to consider ditching the typical to-dos and adopting these more unconventional resolutions instead.

WORK LESS

If you’re shooting for a raise or promotion next year, you might be thinking about putting in longer hours to prove your worth. But Doug Ringer, president of Fort Collins, Colorado-based business consultancy Doug Ringer Consulting, says it’s a better idea to “get a life.”

Ringer has worked with leaders at Honeywell, GE, Ericsson, and Schneider Electric to help them make business-growth decisions. He says that employees who are burned out from working excessively or not finding any balance in their lives aren’t going to perform exceptionally. So, be sure you’re taking time to recharge. It could even make you better at your job–or lead to an entirely new career.

 

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LIMIT YOUR GOALS

The inclination to set goals can often have us creating–or receiving from our bosses–a laundry list of must-do achievements. But Ringer says that if you have more than about three big goals in the mix, you’re likely to dilute your effort and accomplish very little.

“If you have more than three goals, you have no goals,” he says. Carefully choose what you really want to accomplish. If your supervisor is overloading you with goals, work with your supervisor to identify the three highest-priority achievements, he says. “For the sake of the company, because the goals are set based on the company’s requirements, and for the sake of the employee, so that they can provide the best value for the company all the time. They have to learn how to say no,” he says.

START A SIDE-HUSTLE

Most people are more creative and effective when they’re working from a place of confidence and security. For some people, having an extra income or a side business that lets them work on something for themselves can help foster those feelings and make them better at their day jobs, says Donna Shannon, founder of Personal Touch Career Services in Westminster, Colorado.

“The lack of dependency on a single paycheck will make them better contributors for their employers. They are less concerned about the consequences of losing their job, so they take more risk and are more vocal about needed improvements and impending problems,” she says.

SPRING FOR A PROFESSIONAL RESUME REVIEW

Sure, you can have your best friend or mentor look at your resume to spot typos and make sure the grammar is correct. But, as more companies rely on technology to sort resumes, you also need someone who is in the thick of industry trends and changes, Shannon says. For example, two years ago, the position “customer success manager” didn’t exist, she says. Today, it’s an important role between an onboarding specialist and an account manager. Without industry knowledge, the resume reviewer wouldn’t know that.

Your resume reviewer also needs to ensure that your resume is peppered with the keywords and phrases that will make you a match for the job. These fall into two categories, she says. “Smart keywords” are those that relate directly to your work, such as “account management,” “prospecting,” or “uses Microsoft Word.” The other category, which she calls “stupid keywords,” are the cliché words and phrases such as “team player” or “excellent communication skills” that some might tell you to omit, but which still matter to technology platforms.

“We know we hate them, and you can read lots of advice online that says don’t put that in there, but unfortunately, if HR is using terms like that in the job description and you don’t have it in your resume, the computers could screen you out,” she says. “The computers want a 60% to 70% match before a human being even sees you and that includes stupid keywords.” You need to know what the technology and recruiters look for.

ASK DIFFERENT QUESTIONS

While many people start out the year asking “how can I get a raise or promotion,” that’s probably the wrong question to be asking, says Lauren Herring, CEO of St. Louis, Missouri-based career coaching firm IMPACT Group. “Go a little bit deeper and ask yourself what your career goals are,” she says. Questions might include:

  • What do you want to happen in the next three to five years?
  • If you want a promotion, what does that look like?
  • Do you want your boss’s job?
  • Do you want to switch companies into a more senior role?

There are many actions you can take to move your career forward, but you want to be sure you’re moving it in the right direction,” she says. “Really think about what that specific next steps stuff is, and then figure out the strategic plan for getting there.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gwen Moran writes about business, money and assorted other topics for leading publications and web sites. She was named a Small Business Influencer Awards Top 100 Champion in 2015, 2014, and 2012 and is the co-author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Business Plans (Alpha, 2010), and several other books.

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FastCompany.com | December 28, 2018