6/4/23 - How to network without being annoying

By Kathryn Vasel  

Networking. Just the thought of it may make you feel uncomfortable.

Who do you reach out to? What do you say? How do you stay in contact?

But even if it feels awkward, networking can play a major role in advancing your career.

"People are nervous about networking," said Marcia Ballinger, author of "The 20-Minute Networking Meeting" and co-founder of executive search firm Ballinger|Leafblad. She added that the majority of jobs people land tend to come through their network.

But you should be tactful with your approach.

"If you go into networking telling everyone you know you need a job and need help finding a job, people don't gravitate to that -- it makes people uncomfortable," Ballinger said. "If you go in and say: 'I want to reconnect with people, rebuild relationships, learn some things that will be valuable, share and contribute back,' the jobs will come."

If the thought of networking makes your stomach drop, here's how to make it as pain-free as possible while seeking your next job.

Use the network you already have

"Even if you think you don't know people, you do know some folks," said Kimberly Cummings, author of "Next Move, Best Move: Transitioning into a Career You'll Love."

That means looking to family, friends, mentors, sponsors, current and former co-workers, people you volunteer with or are in professional organizations with, that might be able to assist in your job search. That can include having someone pass along your resume, connect you with a hiring manager, make introductions or explain how they successfully changed careers into the industry you also want to pursue.

"Focus on the people you actually liked and enjoyed and had some sort of camaraderie with. Your network is not the same as everybody you've ever met," said Karen Wickre, author of "Taking the Work out of Networking." "It is a set of people you have a good feeling about even if you don't know them well or your experience together was a long time ago, that is a good basis for people that you can reach out to in a friendly way."

Be clear

When reaching out to people you know directly, provide a concise background of what's going on and what you are looking for.

"It's a paragraph or two where you say: 'I am looking for this, I've done this. Now, I want to do that or I am interested in this, or I'd like my next job to be this," said Wickre. "Help that person know how to help you. Give them something, not just: 'I'd like a new job and I thought you might have ideas for me.'"

For instance, if you applied to a role and you know someone at the company, reach out. "If you have even the thinnest connection to somebody there, absolutely parlay that," said Ballinger.

You can say something like: I am looking for my next job opportunity and I recently applied to a position at your company and was wondering if you have 15 to 20 minutes for a conversation so I can learn more about your experience.

"The best approach isn't 'can you get me in?' It's a little more 'what can you share? I'd love to learn more. Anyone else you think I should connect with as part of my application process?'" said Ballinger.

All the people in your immediate network know people, too, which can then create an extended network if they are willing to connect you with their contacts. This can lead to getting the name of a hiring manager or recruiter to directly submit your resume to.

"One question to ask in every networking conversation is: 'Is there anyone else in your network you feel would be beneficial for me to meet? And if so, would you be willing to facilitate an introduction?' That can immediately start opening up some doors," said Cummings.

 Don't be afraid of a cold reach-out

Sometimes, your network doesn't have what you need and you have to start from scratch.

A little online research can help you find employees of a company you are interested in working for or professionals that have made similar career transitions that would be good to connect with.

Reaching out to someone you don't know can be intimidating, but there are ways to make it seem a little more personal. Review LinkedIn and other social media pages to help find some commonality, whether it was attending the same college, doing similar volunteer work or growing up in the same area that can help break the ice in your initial contact.

 A little flattery can also help, like mentioning a recent award or promotion they received or saying how much you enjoyed a recent post they made on LinkedIn or social media.

 The key is to show you've done your research and to be clear with what you are requesting.

"Don't say, 'I want to pick your brain,' that is the worst thing you can say to someone," said Jacqueline Whitmore, business etiquette expert and founder of the Protocol School of Palm Beach. "It sounds like you are a taker and you don't want to be perceived as a taker, but more of a learner or someone who is curious and willing to go the extra mile to do what it takes to make a good first impression. Who has time to sit with someone who wants to pick their brain?"

 Come prepared to the initial meeting

You should come prepared with a lot of questions for your networking meeting or phone call, but "can I have a job?" isn't one of them.

Research as much as you can about the person you are meeting with and the company so you can ask pointed questions. If you are meeting with someone for the first time, the goal is to learn more about their background and expertise.

"Ask them something you can't readily and easily find out about them on the internet," said Ballinger. To learn more about the person, she suggested asking specific questions like: "You've moved from finance in a corporate setting into finance in higher education, I am also interested in higher education. Can you tell me about that transition?"

The goal is to establish a connection with that person.

"In that initial conversation, we shouldn't be focusing on the ask of you wanting to get connected to a job. You want to make sure you are connecting to that person and building that relationship first," said Cummings.

You can mention that you are job hunting, but Cummings said to remove any expectations.

Give the person you are reaching out to control over where, when and how (virtual, phone, coffee) the meeting will go. Experts agreed that 20 minutes is enough time for an initial meeting.

 Stay in 'loose touch'

Networking is an ongoing process.

"Just meeting someone doesn't mean they are in your network," said Cummings. "After you have the coffee chat, that is level 1, you are now in their attention...but not yet a friend."

She suggests following up immediately by thanking them for their time, mentioning something specific from the meeting that you found particularly helpful or interesting and that you'd like to stay in touch.

And it doesn't have to be overly complicated.

"Keep in loose touch," said Wickre. "This is the key to having a good network: You are intermittently and very informally and casually in touch with people and it doesn't have to be a two-way exchange."

The good news is there are a lot of digital platforms that can help you do this. It can be sending an email about an interesting article that you think the person would like, commenting on a LinkedIn post, telling them how beautiful their vacation photos are on Instagram, or sending a direct message on Twitter.


5/28/23 - Avoid Being Eliminated During The Phone Interview 

Great news! All your job search activities have paid off and you’ve landed a telephone interview with a prospective employer.

How to avoid being eliminated during the telephone interview
Eighty percent of human communication is body language: eye contact, facial expressions, the way you move your hands, your behaviors, the way you sit or stand, etc.—and all of this is missing during the phone conversation. Though these “body language” signals are missing, you still have these three powerful tools at your disposal: vocality, tonality, and content.

Vocality: The quality and structure of your language. This includes such things as your choice of words and sentence structure, and your ability to demonstrate a solid, consistent thought process.

Tonality: Your enthusiasm, energy level, and word enunciation. A technique often overlooked in both telephone and face-to-face interviews is mirroring. While you must demonstrate enthusiasm, you also want to pattern the rhythm and tone of your communication to that of the interviewer. If the interviewer is slow and soft in his or her speech, you should mirror that. If the interviewer is fast or loud, pick up your pace and volume.

Content: You only get one shot to avoid exclusion and the opportunity to move to round two, and that is why you don’t want to get forced into an interview you are not yet prepared to have. Here is how to adequately prepare for the telephone interview, as well as how to respond/react during the interview:

Avoid mention of anything personal, e.g., marital status, sexual orientation, state of your health, etc…
As you can see, there is significantly more involved in the telephone interview than what the typical job hunter supposes or expects. If you will follow the advice in this article, as well as do the necessary “homework” to adequately prepare for the telephone interview, you will brand yourself as being considerably more than “just another applicant.” You’ll certainly be perceived as more than just another person to be excluded as quickly as possible during this initial stage of the hiring process. Indeed, you will be just that much farther along toward turning your job search into a job FOUND!

5/21/23 - CEO shares the No. 1 question to ‘never ever’ ask at a job interview—‘wait until you’re called back’

by Matt Higgins 

If you’re a job seeker, here’s a piece of advice you likely won’t hear from anyone else: Never ever ask an employer what their remote work policy is during the job interview.

Before you say, “OK, boomer. Times have changed!”, know that I’m actually a firm believer in hybrid and remote work. It removes much of the pointless face time and unnecessary friction of office life. Plus, people who have more agency in their lives are generally happier.

But it’s time to face reality. As the Federal Reserve continues its rate-hiking campaign to tame inflation, millions of jobs could be at risk this year.

As a CEO, investor and founder, I’ve learned a lot about dealing with uncertainty. After acceptance, the second rule of crisis management is survival — and landing a job in this soon-to-be cutthroat job market will require some finessing and compromising.

What employers really think about remote work
A 2022 survey from GoodHire found that 78% of managers thought some in-person work was preferred. And 51% said their companies would “definitely consider” pay cuts for employees that refused to return to the office.

Inevitably, many leaders and CEOs, like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk, believe the pendulum has swung too far in favor of remote work, and that performance is suffering as a result.

Taking it one step further, following their mass layoffs, Meta has paused offering remote work options for new hires.

It doesn’t matter how exceptional you are
Whether it’s fair or not, some managers will perceive initial interview questions about remote work as telegraphing the wrong priorities. Even for me, it’s an immediate red flag.

Imagine this scenario: You close your interview with a question about remote work and get a chilly reception. The next day, the hiring manager meets another candidate who says they could be in the office bright and early the next Monday morning.

Sure, you may be more qualified. But there is a real chance that the other job seeker will be perceived as more committed. This might hold true even for managers at companies that have very robust remote work policies.

Wait until you’re called back
What if a non-remote job is a deal breaker for you? First, do your own sleuthing. There are endless resources online to look behind the curtain.

You already put in the work to interview, you might as well defer the question until you are invited back to a second round. Why? Managers are inflexible in the abstract, but will bend over backwards once they are smitten with a candidate.

Basically, make a great first impression when the stakes are high. Your excellent job interviewing skills might have created some leverage to fit within a company exception.

And who knows, you may end up working from Bali after all.

Matt Higgins is an investor and CEO of RSE Ventures. He began his career as the youngest press secretary in New York City history, where he helped manage the global press response during 9/11. Matt’s book, “Burn the Boats: Toss Plan B Overboard and Unleash Your Full Potential,” is out now.

5/14/23 - Mastering common questions at senior-level interviews

Cracking the code:  
In this guide to cracking the C-Suite interview code, we’ll discuss the most common questions for senior-level interviews and tips on answering them effectively.

Today’s executives are facing increasing pressure to deliver on multiple fronts. From uniting a workforce that ranges from entry-level to senior management to meeting growth targets and staying ahead of the competition, the job is far from easy.

Throw in unexpected markets and increased shareholder scrutiny, and it’s no surprise that interviews for senior-level positions can be stressful and intimidating. The 2022 Odgers Berndtson Leadership Confidence Index found that 24% of companies surveyed lack tangible, effective leadership.

Teams are hungry for passionate, ambitious leaders. They desire executives who can assess situations, strategize solutions, and inspire success without compromising quality or values. Bring a fresh sense of enthusiasm and promise to the interview, and you may rise above the competition.

In this guide to cracking the C-Suite interview code, we’ll discuss the most common questions for senior-level interviews and tips on answering them effectively.


Naturally, you’ll want to arrive at any executive leadership interview with a portfolio of your accomplishments and ideas for the business. But no matter how many successes you’ve had in the past, an executive position requires more than just hard data.

Success in any executive role takes a cocktail of hard and soft skills. Hiring managers want to know you have the technical chops, but they also need assurance that you can lead a team, foster collaboration, and inspire others to work towards common goals.

Let’s look at some executive-level interview questions that work to gauge your proven experience with the soft skills that employees desire in their leaders:

“What Do You Believe Makes You The Ideal Candidate For This Leadership Role?“

This question is a way for the interviewer to gauge your self-awareness. When you answer, refer to specific experiences that have prepared you for the role.

Come prepared with qualitative and quantitative evidence to support your statements and show the hiring manager you are right for the job. But don’t forget the intangible qualities; don’t be afraid to share how your passion and enthusiasm can bring a unique perspective to the team.

“Describe A Time When You Had To Make An Unpopular Decision As A Leader.”

PwC’s 26th Annual Global CEO Survey found that 75% of CEOs believe their organization’s growth will slow in the coming years. So how will you handle restructuring, downsizing, or other unpopular decisions?

Interviewers often design this question to gauge how well you can stand by decisions that may not be popular with your team or other stakeholders. It’s often an unpopular decision that can lead a team through a difficult situation, so the interviewer wants to know how you handle and communicate such decisions.

Stay focused on the outcome of your decision and provide concrete examples of how this choice helped or benefited the team or company in some way. Showcase empathy and understanding for those affected by the decision.

“How Have You Handled Leading A Diverse Team?”

Diversity is an essential topic in today’s market. Corporations prioritizing diversity and inclusion outpace their competitors by 35%. You must come prepared to explain how you view DEI initiatives and how you’ve successfully led a diverse group.

Share how you’ve led an initiative that improved collaboration and communicated a sense of inclusion among the team. Explain how you would implement similar tactics in the future, and emphasize how it will benefit the company beyond the bottom line.

“Describe How You’ve Managed A Crisis.”

Crises are unavoidable in executive positions, so be prepared to explain how you have handled tough decisions in the past. Demonstrate that you can remain calm under pressure while making sound judgments. Share how your actions positively impacted the organization.

Highlight successes that arose despite the challenge—such as technology solutions you implemented or innovative strategies you developed. Showing you can think on your feet and turn a potential disaster into an opportunity will go a long way.

“What Strategies Do You Have For Leading Change?”

Change is inevitable, but successful executives can embrace it and lead their teams through any transition. But surviving change isn’t enough—companies want to know how you met or exceeded expectations and what strategies you adopted to ensure success.

Be prepared to explain how you’ve successfully implemented change in the past. Share any lessons that you have learned from these experiences and discuss how they will inform your decisions going forward.

Demonstrate an understanding of the importance of communication when leading a team through change, and emphasize that you are a leader who will guide the group through any transition.


While correctly answering a hiring manager’s questions is important, it’s how you present yourself that will truly get you the job.

By understanding the most common questions asked in senior-level job interviews and these tips on answering them confidently, you will be better prepared to demonstrate your value and make a great impression that could result in a job offer. And in a world where genuine leadership is in high demand, your success may be just one interview away.

Tim Madden is an Executive Coach and former Headhunter. Founder of Executive Career Upgrades, he’s on a mission to help accelerate careers.

5/7/23 - CV vs. Resume: What's the difference?

by Erica Santiago 

CV vs. resume: Which should you use when applying for a job? If you spend enough time job searching, you'll likely see a few postings asking for curriculum vitae (CV) rather than a resume.

You'll probably wonder what the difference is between the two. Since resumes and CVs both serve as documents that help candidates land new jobs, it is easy to confuse them.

To help you distinguish between the two and choose the proper document for your job application, here's everything you need to know about CVs vs. resumes.

What is a CV vs. a Resume?
A CV provides the complete history of your academic credentials, career, and qualifications. A resume is a more concise document that focuses on your career, skills, and capabilities as they relate to a specific position.

In regions like Europe and Asia, a CV is the same as a resume, so be mindful when applying for jobs abroad. Now that you know what a CV and resume are, let's explore the differences between the two.

CV vs. Resume Difference
A CV is more in-depth and lengthy than a resume because it gives a more thorough summary of a candidate's career. A resume is more of a "snapshot" of a candidate's professional history and skills relevant to the potential employer.

As a result, CVs are often longer than resumes, which are usually only one or two pages.

CVs are commonly used in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. They are far less common in the U.S. unless a candidate applies for medical, law, science, or academia jobs.

CV vs. Resume Format
Resumes have three basic formats that vary depending on the job seeker's goals:

A CV doesn't have a standard format because the layout depends on the applicant's industry and desired job. For example, a scientist's CV will likely focus more on the candidate's research and published work.

However, a legal CV may highlight a candidate's work history and skills attained at past law firms.

Furthermore, resumes typically have five sections – contact information, professional summary statement or objective, education, skills, and job history.

A CV will also require that information, but some need more sections to adhere to industry norms.

Here's a breakdown of what to include in a CV:

Depending on the industry, you'll also want to include other information such as:

CV vs. Resume Examples
Below is an example of a graphic designer's comprehensive CV.

The graphic designer's CV is two pages long and features standard information expected in a typical resume. It also includes the applicant's past clients, projects, awards, certifications, and volunteer experience.

The graphic designer resume below is similar to the CV, but it's kept to one page and only focuses on the applicant's work experience, skills, and education.

CVs don't have to be two pages long. Like resumes, the length will vary depending on your years of work experience, industry, and what employers want to know. However, it's common for CVs to go into deeper detail than resumes.

And regardless of length, including a cover letter with your resume or CV is strongly suggested.

A cover letter gives you the space to explain changes in your career, gaps in your work history, and a more thorough analysis of your awards and achievements.

Now that you know the differences between a resume and a CV, you can decide which to use for your next job application.

CareerUSA Job Board Rebuild


The CareerUSA Job Board is being rebuilt.

Check back after July 1, 2023

4/30/23 - I was VP at Google for 10 years. Here’s the No. 1 skill I looked for at job interviews—very few people had it

by Claire Hughes Johnson 

During my 10 years at Google as a VP, there were weeks where I would spend up to 40 hours conducting job interviews. So to make things easier, I always had one skill that I looked for in candidates before anything else: self-awareness.

Sure, your experience and skills matter, but they can be learned. And when someone is highly self-aware, they’re more motivated to learn because they’re honest about what they need to work on. They also relate better to their colleagues and managers.

Plus, it’s a rare trait: Research shows that although 95% of people think they’re self-aware, only 10% to 15% actually are.

How I check for self-awareness
I always watch for two words: Too much “I” is a red flag that they may not be humble or collaborative; too much “we” may obscure what role they played in the situation. There needs to be a balance.

I typically learn something revealing when I ask about their specific role. A positive answer would be: “It was my idea, but the credit goes to the whole team.”

I also ask how their colleagues would describe them. If they only say good things, I probe what constructive feedback they’ve received.

Then I’ll say, “And what have you done to improve?” to check their orientation towards learning and self-improvement, and to see whether they’ve taken that feedback to heart.

The self-awareness assessment
If you’re not self-aware, how would you know? Here are some telltale signs:

How to build self-awareness
Becoming more self-aware is all about understanding why you work the way you do, and what you can contribute to your team:

1. Understand your values.
Knowing what is important to you, what gives you energy, and what weakens it will help you make sense of how you work.

With these insights, you’ll be able to express your values and understand when they are at odds with one another, or with someone else’s values.

2. Identify your work style.
Spend a few weeks writing down the moments when you feel like you’re reaching new heights at your job or hitting new lows. You’ll start to see patterns.

If you have trouble trusting your own instincts, ask someone whose judgment you respect: “When have you seen me do my best and worst work?”

3. Analyze your skills and capabilities.
In an interview setting, you should be able to speak confidently about your strengths and weaknesses.

To have a more tactical sense of self-awareness, ask yourself two questions:

Eric Yuan, founder and CEO of Zoom, has another great exercise: He sets aside 15 minutes of thinking at the end of the day.

“I ask myself: What did I do well? Did I make any mistakes? Can I improve tomorrow? Sometimes I write down something important,” he says. “But most of the time, the thinking is enough.”

Claire Hughes Johnson is an advisor for Stripe, author of “Scaling People,” and lecturer at Harvard Business School. Previously, she was Stripe’s Chief Operating Officer, and spent 10 years at Google, where she oversaw aspects of Gmail, Google Apps, and consumer operations. Claire also serves as a trustee and the current board president of Milton Academy.

4/23/23 - Keeping Your Confidence Up During a Lengthy Job Search

by Marlo Lyons 

If you’ve lost your job, it can be hard to remember all your career successes and stay positive. But you can’t replace your old job by staring at the computer eight hours a day or praying for a recruiter to call you. The author presents five ways to overcome the cognitive dissonance of having to sell yourself and your abilities to a prospective employer when you’ve taken a big hit to your confidence.

When Tonya* was working as a high-level executive at a tech company, she was recognized repeatedly for her value as a subject matter expert. After she was laid off in December, she was confident her skills would make her marketable and she’d land a new job within weeks. Three months later, she’s still looking for that next opportunity, and her confidence in her skills and capabilities plummets further with every rejection.

As your job hunt wears on, it can be hard to remember all your career successes and stay positive. Here are five ways to overcome the cognitive dissonance of having to sell yourself and your abilities to a prospective employer when you’ve taken a big hit to your confidence.

Write 10 reasons why you’re successful and read them every morning.
Writing a list of accomplishments helps you alter the negative thought patterns that can destroy your confidence. It’s not enough just to write them down — it’s about reading them every morning to condition your mind to think differently about yourself and the job search. Instead of focusing on things that make you feel worse about your unemployment and the constant rejection, focus on the facts in front of you. What made you successful in your previous work environments? What made you the “go-to” for colleagues when they had a hard problem to solve? What skills do you possess, and how do you use them to your advantage? For example:

I can build trusting relationships quickly, which is proven in the workplace when people rely on me to problem-solve sensitive issues.

I have been lauded for my performance every year, specifically for my ability to align stakeholders with different needs for their businesses.

Having the truth in front of you about your skills and capabilities will help negate any unhelpful self-talk because it’s hard to deny the truth.

Set daily and weekly goals.
When you’re working, you usually know what goals you’re trying to accomplish each day, week, or month. When you aren’t working, you have a high-level goal of finding a new job, but as the days turn into weeks and then months, you may feel defeated because you haven’t achieved your goal.

Break that larger goal down into smaller pieces. Determine the specific period of time you will spend updating your resume, practicing interviewing, researching potential opportunities, and applying to jobs. And don’t just look at your career — consider home goals you can complete to feel accomplished. Whether it’s painting a room or cleaning out cabinets or your kid’s room, now is the time to pick one thing each day or week to conquer.

Find a digital or paper planner that will inspire you to write down your daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly goals. It should break down each week by what you’ll accomplish each day. Setting goals for yourself every day will help you “check the box” on both your job search and perhaps that long list of home projects you’ve never had time to accomplish. And using a planner will provide visual evidence that you’re getting something done every day. Ultimately, that will help you rebuild the confidence to keep going until you achieve the end goal of a new job.

Create a networking group.
Convene a group of people in your field (or a different field if you’re looking to make a career pivot) to meet periodically and remind each other why you enjoyed working together and figure out how to help each other. Consider this a mastermind group for brainstorming. You could talk about how you can transfer your skills and capabilities to a different field or give each other resume or interview feedback. This group can also have the goal of bringing job leads to each other, linking members to additional connections or resources, or holding members accountable to their goals. Every meeting can help you rebuild your confidence because people are trying to help you, and they wouldn’t do that if they didn’t believe in you.

Demonstrate self-care.
Job hunting can be exhausting — every day you have to wake up and apply for more jobs and reach out to more contacts at companies with openings. As Ben Alldis reminds me during every Peloton stretch session, “Self-love is never ever selfish.” Self-care is done with the pure intention of giving yourself new mental, social, physical, or emotional resources to continue moving forward. Consider taking time to do something you’re good at or enjoy every day or week, such as playing golf or pickleball, hiking, biking, or simply reading a book. Adding low-pressure, achievable goals to those activities — for example, “I will read 30 pages a day” or “I will bike 10 miles this week” — can help you feel accomplished.

It’s critical to always be thinking about how you can upskill over the course of your career. Volunteering is a fantastic way to keep your skills sharp and even develop new ones. Bringing your expertise as a volunteer will remind you that you have skills that can bring value to an organization to help accomplish its goals.

Volunteering can also have major benefits to your psyche — helping others makes you feel grateful, and studies consistently show that those who are grateful are happier because they focus on what’s good in their lives.

You may also be able to practice the skills you used at your previous jobs and prove not only to yourself but also to others, that you have useful skills and capabilities. You can also teach others at the organization, which will help bring back your confidence as a subject matter expert.

You can’t replace your old job by staring at the computer eight hours a day or praying for a recruiter to call you. Give yourself permission to job hunt for a set period of time each day and then empower yourself to close the computer and try one of these other ways to rebuild your confidence. Confidence comes from feeling capable in your mind and body to accomplish anything you want to accomplish. Building up your confidence when not working will allow you to believe in yourself holistically, so when you do find that next opportunity, you won’t rely on the job to confirm your value. As for Tonya, she accepted a job offer after six months of searching and is confident in her capabilities, even if this new opportunity isn’t the final destination.

Marlo Lyons is a certified career coach and strategist, HR executive, and the author of Wanted – A New Career: The Definitive Playbook for Transitioning to a New Career or Finding Your Dream Job.

4/16/23 - How To Spot A Toxic Culture From A Job Ad

by Mark Murphy 

There are two ways to end up working in a truly terrible company culture. The first is to work for a good company whose culture is just a terrible fit for your personality. The second is to end up in a culture that any rational person would consider toxic.

You can easily avoid the first problem, working for a good company that's a terrible fit for your personality, by simply understanding the types of corporate cultures and, knowing your own personality, avoiding those companies.

The online test, What's Your Organizational Culture?, reveals that there are four primary types of corporate cultures. The Social culture fosters strong interpersonal relationships, collaboration, and a friendly atmosphere, creating a sense of belonging and loyalty among employees. The Dependable culture values stability, efficiency, and process adherence, ensuring consistent quality and performance through employees' commitment to following established protocols.

The Enterprising culture emphasizes innovation, creativity, and merit-based competition, encouraging employees to think outside the box and challenge the status quo for continuous growth. The Hierarchical culture is defined by a clear organizational structure, well-defined roles, and a focus on power and authority, driving employees to compete for promotions and recognition within a controlled environment.

Now that you know the types of corporate cultures, all you have to do is be honest about your own preferences. If you're someone who wants clear boundaries between your professional and personal life, you probably won't like the Social culture. If you thrive on creativity, spontaneity, and flexibility, you might feel stifled by the strict processes of the Dependable culture. If you love predictability and structure, you're unlikely to love the fast-paced nature of an Enterprising culture. If you're seeking a highly collaborative atmosphere, you may feel constrained by the top-down decision-making of a Hierarchical culture.

The second way to end up in a terrible corporate culture is to end up in one of those environments that everyone sees as toxic. For that, you'll need to look for certain phrases in job ads. Here are five phrases that often appear in job ads and that signal a potential problem in the company.

Phrase #1: "Fast-paced environment." This phrase can often be a red flag, especially as it indicates that the company expects employees to work at a rapid pace with little regard for work-life balance or burnout.

Phrase #2: "Must be available 24/7." It's not hard to see that this phrase implies the company expects employees to be accessible around the clock, which will almost certainly cause burnout and an unhealthy work-life balance.

Phrase #3: "High tolerance for ambiguity." Being adaptable is great, but when you see this phrase in a job ad, it can indicate that the company lacks clear communication or defined goals and might even have a chaotic work environment.

Phrase #4: "Flexible schedule." No one would dismiss the need for employees to be flexible, but this phrase can indicate that the company does not respect employees' personal time and boundaries, ensuring unpredictable work hours and constant changes.

Phrase #5: "Must thrive under pressure." We all want to be the kind of person who thrives under pressure, but when you see this phrase in a job ad, it can signal that the company often operates in crisis mode, with employees expected to regularly manage high-stress situations without adequate support.

The landmark study on new hire failures makes clear that attitude drives most hiring failures. This means that while you want to choose a good environment to showcase your skills, finding a cultural or attitudinal fit is even more important. Job ads often do a good job of subtly reflecting a company's true culture, so read them carefully. And when you see a phrase that feels wrong, trust your intuition.

Mark Murphy - I'm the founder of, a New York Times bestselling author, keynote speaker, and I teach managers and executives "the science of leadership." I'm the author of six books, including Hundred Percenters, HARD Goals, Hiring For Attitude, Truth At Work, and Managing Narcissists, Blamers, Dramatics & More. Some of my research studies include “Are SMART Goals Dumb?,” “Why CEO's Get Fired,” “Why New Hires Fail,” “High Performers Can Be Less Engaged,” and “Don’t Expect Layoff Survivors to Be Grateful.” I’ve lectured at The United Nations, Harvard Business School, Microsoft, Merck, MasterCard, Charles Schwab and Aflac, among others.

4/9/23 - Help! I got ghosted by HR ‘after going through a million rounds’ of job interviews

by Hanna Howard 

Dear Work It Out,

What do you do when you’re in the running for a new job and HR ghosts you after going through a million rounds?


Dear Ghosted,

I was laid off at the end of 2018, and though luckily I started a freelance job in January 2019 that covered my bills, I was looking for something full-time and a little more permanent. A HR person had reached out to me to interview for a job at a website I was really interested in, so I met with the editor who would be managing the open role. The interview went well, and I was cautiously optimistic that I’d soon have a job that would cover my health care.

We then moved on to the next stage, an edit test comprising four prompts that required me to put together, at a minimum, nine-story ideas, plus images to go along.

I put in the work and submitted an 11-page doc. I received an email from the hiring manager that acknowledged she had received it. And then … nothing.

I’m going to give you three pieces of advice — two I didn’t follow but wish I had, and one I did.

  1. Reach out
  2. Work your connections
  3. Don’t take it personally

There’s a whole range of events that may have led to your lack of response. Yes, they could have hired someone else and not let you know, which is rude but often just business as usual.

Or they could have gotten a budget update that put hiring on hold. A staff change could have altered what they were looking for. The hiring manager could have moved on to another position or gone on parental leave. From the outside, it’s near impossible to know the full story.

Back when I was ghosted in 2019, I saw a couple of months later that the person who interviewed me had a new job at another publication. Chances are, she gave her notice, HR needed to hire for that role before the one I was interviewing for, and they were back to square one.

I technically have no idea if that’s true because I never reached out. But the fact that I didn’t feel compelled to follow up after weeks of silence also showed me that maybe it wasn’t the right job for me and, on some level, I knew that.

‘Someone you sent a thank you email is more likely to remember you’

If you do want to reach out to get some clarity, your first step after you’ve been ghosted, or suspect you’ve been ghosted, is to reach out to whoever your point of contact was.

After that, you can reach out to anyone you talked to during the interview process, with two caveats.

  1. Only reach out to anyone you sent a thank you email to after your interview
  2. Only reach out once

Someone you sent a thank you email to is more likely to remember you. Even if they don’t, when they search their inbox for other communication, they’ll see that you followed up after you met with them and that will hopefully jog their memory.

Still, you only want to reach out once so that their predominant thought of you is “nice person from the interview,” and not “person who won’t stop emailing me.”

What you’re hoping for here is not necessarily that they email you back with a status update — if they’re not the hiring manager on the role, they’re unlikely to have an intimate knowledge of where in the process you are — but that they see your email and reach out to whoever is running point. That could potentially prompt that person to get in touch.

There’s no guarantee you’ll get a response from this, but hey, at least you will have tried.

With working your connections, you have to be a little bit more careful. If someone you know referred you for the job you’ve been ghosted on, definitely reach out to them. They’ll want to know what’s going on because they might have a referral bonus on the line and could be incentivized to help you out.

If your connection is someone you only worked with once in the past or met through networking, consider how much you want the job before you reach out. On the fence about the job or just want some closure? Keep your less-than-close contacts out of it.

Even though relationships shouldn’t be transactional, a lot of times in business they are. If your main interaction with someone is asking them for help without offering anything in exchange, it’s possible they’ll see you as someone using them for their connections instead of a valuable professional contact.

Basically, it pays to be choosy about the favors you call in.

If you really want this job, it could be worth it to make the call. Just know then that you might not be able to lean on that connect again any time in the near future.

Consider a helpful mental shift
The last thing to keep in mind is that when a recruiter or hiring manager ghosts you, it’s very rarely about you. Don’t let being ghosted feel like a reflection of your worth as a job candidate.

Once you’ve reached out and exhausted your options, try to shift your mindset. The goal of interviews is to find a good fit for both you and the company. If they’re unresponsive and making you feel insecure during the hiring process, it might not be the way you’d want to start a new job regardless.

A lack of response almost always says something more about what’s going on inside a company than you as a potential new hire.

Work it Out is Make It’s revived advice column for employment-related conundrums. Have a pressing career concern or question? Email me anonymously at Submissions may be edited for length and clarity.

4/2/23 - Job seekers are anxious. Here’s how to navigate the daunting job market

Looking for a job can be stressful.


Economists continue to reiterate that we are not in a recession, however, the widespread media coverage of layoffs (especially in the tech industry) has created a culture of fear among American workers and job seekers; a recent survey revealed that 61% of workers are concerned about their job security within the next 12 months. It’s extremely important for Americans to understand how best to navigate the current job market and ensure they are set up for success no matter the circumstances that arise.

We’ve developed six simple tips for workers to keep in mind if they are looking for a job, and help remove the stress from what can be—but doesn’t need to be—a daunting task.

Conduct an internal audit of your own skills in order to determine where your strengths lie. Your areas of expertise will help differentiate you from other workers, so it is important to understand what you are good at and how you can utilize these skills to provide value in the current employment landscape. For instance, in the era of hybrid work, homing in on skills that allow for digital collaboration could be beneficial to organizations.

Additionally, this exercise can help identify any potential skills gaps that you can fill. Many job seekers today are upskilling in order to increase their value within the workforce. In fact, a recent survey found that 67% of American workers are looking to upskill in the current employment market.

While every industry is different, we are seeing more roles requiring hard skills, such as cloud computing, AI, SEO/SEM, and data analysis. On the soft skills front, we are seeing requests for candidates with emotional intelligence, leadership, collaboration, and adaptability.

Many industries have been impacted by economic uncertainties—especially the tech industry, which has seen mass layoffs sector wide. In light of this, it would be wise to do research into which industries are struggling and which industries are growing and consider making a switch.

The BLS monthly jobs report is an excellent resource for Americans to turn to for regular updates on the employment market and the status of various business sectors. The latest report identified that the leisure and hospitality industry had the most growth in January, with the creation of approximately 128,000 jobs. The professional and business services industry came next with approximately 82,000 new roles created, followed by government with 74,000, and healthcare with 58,000 roles.

Understanding the direction of the job market and where career opportunities lie empowers individuals to make informed decisions about whether shifting industries makes sense for them and to determine if, and how, their existing skills can be transferred to a new setting.

Networking is a key part of navigating any job market but when times are tough, it’s extra important to put yourself out there. The good news is that odds are, you already have people in your corner—think previous colleagues and managers—who can be excellent resources to learn from.

Furthermore, take advantage of social networking platforms to connect with those in your current or desired industry and engage with them. Seek out people who have had a similar path to yours, or a path you admire, and ask questions about their career journey. More often than not, you will find that people are surprisingly willing to talk about their experiences. Many professionals got their start through networking and want to pay it forward.

These valuable conversations can guide how you move forward in your career, and you never know where these connections will take you. Perhaps, you will gain a new mentor, friend, or even be pointed in the direction of your next opportunity.

Many individuals don’t think about updating their résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile until they are ready to begin their job search, but in this uncertain employment landscape, it’s important to be proactive. Some have dubbed this “career cushioning.”

Updating recruitment materials before the need arises to look for a new role will minimize the chance of forgetting important information that can make you stand out from other candidates as you will not be in a rush or under stress to complete them. Information, such as recent accomplishments, milestones, and quantitative measurements of success, are key updates to make.

It is important to identify your relevant skills and experiences that align with the current demands of the job market and ensure that these are highlighted throughout your materials. Additionally, with the use of applicant tracking systems (ATS) becoming increasingly prevalent, noting these important skills and any relevant industry keywords can increase your chances of being noticed by organizations and moving on to the next recruitment stage.

Although much of the news we are consuming revolves around layoffs, we are still living in a hot job market in which there are more available jobs than workers to fill them. Bear in mind that the jobs report indicated that there were over 517,000 new roles created last month.

Although the market is still favoring employees, it is important to be vigilant when looking for future opportunities. Set up alerts on recruitment sites so that you are notified when roles that may interest you are posted.

If you have been laid off, you may want to take a look into your financial situation and see if you can afford to extend your job search and explore available career options rather than taking the first offer that comes your way. The constant creation of jobs could mean that your perfect opportunity is coming right around the corner, and it’s ideal to avoid accepting a role that is not the right fit solely because of the paycheck.

We’re living in an era of information overload, and no matter where you turn, career advice is available. Although much of this information can be valuable, it does not always mean it may be of use to your current situation.

For example, we are now seeing lots of advice being given out regarding the use of ChatGPT or AI in recruitment and how it benefits job seekers. Common advice surrounding using these tools involves how easy and fast it is for job seekers to draft personalized recruitment materials. With that said, this advice does not always take into consideration the potential negative effects of these tools.

This is why thinking critically is important. Consider the qualifications of the advice giver and always evaluate if a piece of advice aligns with your personal values and goals. Instead of rushing to put any advice into action, take some time to think things through and ensure that it makes sense for your situation. Additionally, don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion. An objective point of view can be very helpful for evaluating the effectiveness of any advice.

The labor market is constantly evolving, and although its current uncertainty may be intimidating, keeping these six tips in mind can help ensure that workers are effectively navigating the employment landscape.

Robert Boersma is a vice president of operations for

3/26/23 - How to Answer “What Are Your Salary Expectations?

by Amy Gallo 

There are many interview questions that inspire dread in an interviewee — from “What’s your greatest weakness?” to “Tell me about yourself.” But one, in particular, is especially complicated: “What are your salary expectations?” If you go too low, you might end up making less than they’re willing to pay. But if you go too high, you could price yourself out of the job. In this piece, the author offers practical strategies for how to approach this question along with sample answers to use as a guide.

Job interviews can feel awkward. You’re trying to prove you’re the right person for the role, but you never quite know what to expect or what your interviewer is really thinking about you. One of the most common interview questions — and one of the more awkward ones — is about salary. You know the one: What are your salary expectations?

Even if you have a strong sense of your desired compensation, you — like many people — may struggle to answer this question. It can be particularly difficult if you’re interviewing for your first job, or if you’re in the early stages of your career, and aren’t sure what an appropriate entry-level salary might be. Tori Dunlap, a finance expert and founder of the organization Her First $100K, says that it’s in fact one of the hardest questions to answer. As she explains in this video, “You’re going to get asked about either your current salary or your salary expectations, and this always trips people up.”

Many interviewees feel the need to respond with a specific number. But if you go too low, you might end up making less than they’re willing to pay. And if you go too high, you could price yourself out of the job. It pays to get this right, since your starting salary is often the basis for future compensation decisions, such as raises and bonuses. In other words, that initial figure will determine what you’re paid during your entire tenure at that company (no pressure!) so you want to get it as high as you can.

Here’s some of HBR’s best advice on how to answer this complicated question so that you can go into your next interview feeling more prepared and confident.

Strategies for Responding to “What Are Your Salary Expectations?”

Strategy #1: Redirect the conversation.
There are lots of reasons why you may not want to answer questions about salary directly. Perhaps you suspect that you’ve been underpaid in the past and anchoring with your previous or current salary would work against you. You don’t have to give a number. You have the right to protect your own interests. As career strategist John Lees says, “You’re not in a position to negotiate well because you’re still in unknown territory. The time to discuss salary is after they’ve fallen in love with you.” In that position, you’ll have more leverage and can feel more confident that you won’t lose out on money. There are also legal questions to consider.

Unfortunately, many job candidates go into interviews not knowing what is and isn’t legally allowed. In fact, there’s a close cousin to the salary expectations question that is illegal to ask in many U.S. states: What is your current salary (or your previous salary)? or What were you making in your last role?

Asking about salary history has been outlawed in certain places because research has shown that it contributes to pay disparities and furthers gender and racial inequities. Here is a list of states in the U.S. where this question is currently banned. (Though be sure to search to find the most recent information that applies to where you live since these laws often change and work in different ways.)

Here are two ways to redirect the conversation:

1. Turn the question around and ask about their budget.

Dunlap’s advice is to respond with something along the lines of: I actually don’t understand the full scope of the role at this point in the process to accurately price myself, but I would love to know the budgeted salary range.

If the interviewer is forthcoming about their budget, they’ll likely want to know whether that meets your expectations. It’s OK to be vague at this point and say: That’s helpful to know. If you were to offer me the job, is there room to negotiate?

2. Move past the question and go back to your qualifications.

You could say something like:

I’m still trying to fully understand the role and what’s involved. I’d love to continue talking about my qualifications and why I think I’m a fit for the position.


That’s not something I’m comfortable answering, but I’m happy to talk about my qualifications for this role.

There’s no doubt that these responses can feel like you’re dodging the question or refusing to answer it and that may be uncomfortable for you and the interviewers. Given the stakes here, this small moment of discomfort is likely worth it.

Strategy #2: Offer a salary range.
You may feel like you have enough information to answer the question or perhaps your attempts to deflect haven’t worked and the interviewer is pressing you for a response. In that case, you might consider giving a range.

To go this route, you’ll want to do your salary research before your interview so you have a realistic idea of the typical salary range for the role and can provide an informed response. In some places, employers are required to include a salary range on the job posting. That will give you the best sense of what they’re willing to pay, and will allow you place yourself within that range. You’ll want to compare your experience and qualifications with the job description to determine where in the range you might fit.

You can also do your own research, using sites like Glassdoor and This will help you understand what a fair salary might be for the position so that you can choose a minimum salary that you’re not willing to go below (note: that number isn’t something you need to share while interviewing but it’s good to have it in the back of your mind for when it is time to negotiate.)

Even with reputable sources though, it can be hard to translate average salaries across geographies or to the specific role. Is it reasonable to think that there’s a big difference between what a “data scientist” and a “data mining engineer” make, for example?

Another option is to ask people in your network — people who hold similar roles in your industry or maybe even work at the company you’re interviewing with. Of course, talking about money can be awkward but tackling a cringey conversation is worth it if it helps you know how to value yourself. If you’re working with a recruiter — external or internal — you can request the salary range from them directly. Whatever you find in your research, be careful not to get fixated on a specific figure, which can result in you being unhappy with the final number or accepting a lower salary than you might have gotten otherwise.

Once you’ve landed on a range you’re comfortable with, here’s how to share it in your interview:

State your range and provide a rationale for why you’ve landed on that range, sharing some of the research you’ve done and noting the skills and experience that make you a strong fit for the position.
Acknowledge that salary is just one of the factors that will play into your decision to accept the job or not. Make clear that you’re interested in knowing more about other benefits as well.
Signal flexibility so that your answer doesn’t come off as a demand but as the beginning of a conversation. Express your enthusiasm about potentially joining the company.
Here are three examples of how this might sound like:

Sample Answer #1:
I’m looking for a competitive salary that reflects my qualifications and experience. Based on my research and the requirements of the role as I understand them, I would expect a salary in the range of $X to $Y. Of course, I’m open to discussing the details of the entire compensation package since salary is just one factor. I’m particularly excited to learn more about the opportunities for growth and advancement here.

Sample Answer #2:
Given my experience and expertise in [name specifics relevant to the job description], I’m looking to make between $X and $Y in my next role. I’ve done some research on similar roles and talked to people in comparable organizations — all of which helped me confirm that range. I know I’d be a valuable asset to your team and am open to learning more about your budget for the role and the other benefits that you offer employees.

Sample Answer #3:
I’ve been doing some research on similar roles and my understanding is that for someone at my level with my background and experience, I can expect to make a salary in the range of $X to $Y. Of course, compensation isn’t the only thing that’s important to me. So I’m eager to hear more about your benefits package, including paid time off and other perks. What’s most important to me is finding a place where I can thrive. I can be flexible around the exact numbers for a job that’s a great fit.

Choose whichever option feels most comfortable to you, and tweak the language so that it sounds like you. You’ll also want to add some detail about your qualifications so that you can highlight how your experience aligns with what they’re looking for.

Why do hiring managers and recruiters even ask this question?
It’s helpful to understand why interviewers bring up this line of inquiry at this stage of the interview process. The short answer: They want to be sure they can afford you. It’s in their best interest not to waste their time (or yours!) going through multiple rounds of interviews and putting together an offer, if they can’t meet a candidate’s compensation expectations. As author and career development expert Vicky Oliver explains, “Employers will always ask this question because every position is budgeted, and they want to ensure your expectations are consistent with that budget before moving forward.” The interviewer typically wants to determine if the candidate’s expectations around compensation and benefits align with the budgeted salary range for the position.”

From the candidate’s perspective, answering the question can help to ensure that the opportunity is a good fit for you and that there is mutual understanding about the compensation and benefits being offered. It can also help to establish a baseline for your salary negotiation later on in the process.

. . .
Whether and how you answer the question is up to you, of course. By following the guidelines above, you’ll be able to assess which approach feels most comfortable to you and which is most likely to keep you in the running for the job. Importantly, you’ll also have some tools to help make this potentially awkward part of the interview less awkward.

Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, cohost of the Women at Work podcast, and the author of two books: Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone (Even Difficult People) and the HBR Guide to Dealing with Conflict. She writes and speaks about workplace dynamics. Watch her TEDx talk on conflict and follow her on LinkedIn.

3/19/23 - Layoffs are making LinkedIn the new hot social network

Vulnerability is having a moment on the platform as mass layoffs hit the tech industry.

By Shirin Ghaffary and Rani Molla 

When Rob Fishman, a former account executive at a tech startup, was laid off in January, he wasn’t sure how to talk about it.

Even though tens of thousands of tech employees at startups like his — and at major tech companies like Google, Meta, and Microsoft (which owns LinkedIn) — were being laid off, there was still, he said, a stigma attached to talking about it.

But he wanted people to know he was in the market for a new job, so he decided to post on LinkedIn.

Fishman wrote a lighthearted, self-deprecating post listing out everything he did on the day he was let go (For instance, read the email that he was laid off, call his fiancé, wallow in self-pity for a while, drink a large margarita, drink another large margarita, edit his résumé).

The post ended up getting more than 40,000 views, nearly 500 likes, and, most surprisingly, a bunch of offers of support from people he’d never met.

“It was complete and total LinkedIn strangers. Just completely altruistic people. Not hiring managers,” said Fishman, who said he had six job interviews in the two weeks after being laid off — and all of those opportunities came from LinkedIn.

In the past several months, as changing economic conditions, overhiring, and stock market drops have led to mass layoffs in tech, media, and other industries, vulnerability is having a moment on LinkedIn. It’s true that, early in the pandemic, many people turned to LinkedIn to share stories about how lockdown was negatively impacting their jobs. For the most part, though, the professional social networking site has long had a reputation for being a place where people go to boast about their career accomplishments, posting “hustle porn” and inspirational platitudes. Now, the tone has shifted. People are sharing their personal layoff stories more prominently on LinkedIn, especially if they’re tech workers.

Recode spoke with over half a dozen tech professionals who never regularly used the platform but are suddenly finding it more relevant for their professional and even personal lives. They’re using LinkedIn to announce they’ve been laid off, find out who among their former colleagues was also let go, and connect with industry peers who are sharing job leads. Importantly, they’re applying to jobs directly on the site.

Suddenly, LinkedIn has become a very popular social media platform for tech workers during this economic slump, and that’s reflected in the numbers. Web analytics firm SimilarWeb found that monthly traffic to LinkedIn grew more than 60 percent from January 2020 to January 2023, and from December 2022 to January it went up 17 percent. LinkedIn saw record user engagement last quarter, and a 10 percent increase in revenue year over year. As of early February, 18.6 million people have added an “open to work” green photo frame to their LinkedIn profile photos, up from 6 million in February last year (users first got the option in 2020), according to LinkedIn.

“It was an unwritten assumption before that job-seeking has to be as private as possible,” said Rohan Rajiv, director of product management for careers at LinkedIn, reflecting on the mood at the beginning of the pandemic in 2020 when a wave of Covid-related layoffs hit a number of industries. “I think what has changed is that this has become more the norm now. There is a complete destigmatization.”

The recent growth in layoff talk is also part of a seismic shift for a whole generation of tech employees who have only known abundance, perks, and seemingly unlimited growth in their sector. Suddenly, many of them are out of a job and realizing they need to pivot — maybe even away from tech. And for many, LinkedIn is a starting point to make that change.

Why people want to talk about being laid off on LinkedIn
For many tech professionals who once rarely used LinkedIn, the platform has become a helpful place to share about their situation, especially after they’ve been cut off from internal work communication channels like Slack or workplace listservs. They’re also turning to the platform at a time when some industry people who used to build a professional presence on Twitter seem to be using that network less.

Before the current tech slump, if you worked at a Big Tech company or hot startup where job security was high and cash was free-flowing, you probably didn’t feel the need to post regularly on LinkedIn to boost your career. Everything changed after this recent wave of layoffs.

Neha Krishna worked for eight years at Google, hiring graduating PhD students for the company. She said she was always a top performer on her team who felt well-rewarded for her work. She loved working at Google.

“I was absolutely living a dream,” Krishna told Recode.

Then, in late January, she was laid off along with 12,000 of her colleagues — via email. She was quickly cut off from Google’s many internal communication tools, like email groups and meme-sharing sites where she could talk to her coworkers.

Without access to those channels, Krishna didn’t have a good sense of who was let go and which teams were most affected. So she went on LinkedIn, where she saw post after post of former colleagues sharing that they too had been laid off. She was surprised by the breadth of the cuts and the fact that even well-respected company leaders had also lost their jobs.

“It’s comforting to know that you’re not alone, and it has nothing to do with you. It’s more the company,” said Krishna. “When you get into that mentality, I feel like it’s easier to go and publicly announce that, ‘hey, I was laid off too.’”

While other social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok are also popular with tech workers, Krishna and several other industry professionals who recently lost their jobs said that LinkedIn seemed to be the place they could actually network.

Many said that Twitter — which famously leans snarky — didn’t feel supportive or like a place where many people would earnestly help each other find jobs. On TikTok, some tech workers have been posting videos documenting their life before versus after being laid off — but those videos aren’t leading to traditional networking opportunities the way LinkedIn posts often do. Krishna said she uses TikTok and Instagram a lot but sees them more as places for socializing with friends and entertainment rather than seeking professional support.

Now, Krishna regularly posts or comments on other people’s updates on LinkedIn. She hasn’t found a new job yet but, like many others, Krishna said it’s comforting to be on LinkedIn so she can swap notes with peers, get job referrals, and even give advice to other tech workers who have also recently been laid off. She said she was pleasantly surprised that people still working at Google found her on LinkedIn and offered to refer her to other positions.

“I truly believe that human beings naturally want to help others,” said Krishna. “People no longer think, like, ‘oh, you know, I have my job and I should just stay quiet or stay put.’” LinkedIn is a space where people feel it’s socially acceptable — and even encouraged — to lend a hand to former colleagues.

Not everyone wants to be professionally vulnerable on LinkedIn
Even though LinkedIn has become a place where people are more comfortable sharing, there are limits to the vulnerability people show and what kinds of posts are successful. Not every layoff post gets attention, and some lead nowhere. And for some, the pressure to post on LinkedIn can itself become a major source of stress.

After Rob Fishman posted his LinkedIn note about drinking margaritas and wallowing in self-pity after losing a job, he wrote a follow-up post about the upsides of sharing his layoff situation on LinkedIn and encouraged others to do the same. That post went viral, too.

A recently laid-off tech industry peer, software architect Robb Miller, wasn’t having the same experience.

Miller’s posts about being laid off — which were also vulnerable but more straightforward and less humorous — didn’t attract much attention. They hadn’t connected him to any job leads. So he decided to comment on Fishman’s latest post, saying as much.

“I was being a smartass. I was like, ‘Yeah, that’s sweet that you [Fishman] are yelling from an ivory tower, but the rest of us weren’t getting this kind of traction,’” he told Recode.

Ironically, Miller’s comment on Fishman’s viral post ended up catching the attention of LinkedIn strangers who did connect Miller with some job leads — so in a way, it turned into another LinkedIn layoff success story (although Miller ended up accepting a job offer shortly after from a different lead).

But it also shows how successful networking on Linkedin after a layoff isn’t a given. It can depend on the whims of the algorithm and how well your post is primed for engagement, just like many other social media platforms.

Kayla Lazenby started using LinkedIn a lot several years ago when she wanted to transition from being a teacher to working in education technology. She successfully used the platform to find a job at a startup. When she was laid off from that job around Thanksgiving last year, she said her layoff post landed on the LinkedIn feed of an executive at another tech company. Even though she didn’t know that executive, they were impressed by her resumé and ended up hiring her.

Lazenby said it helped that she already had a strong presence on LinkedIn. She was more than just a “casual consumer” but instead an “active user” who shared her story and personality on the site. Her experience shows how, for many, sharing about being laid off on LinkedIn isn’t just about being authentic: There’s a strategy to it.

“None of the people who are doing this are foolish about the fact that they’re doing this on a public forum that will be seen by future employers,” said Emily Rose McRae, a director of research at Gartner who leads the firm’s future of work research center. McRae said she noticed that most laid-off tech employees are careful not to publicly slam their former employer, even though tensions were high around the mass layoffs. “It’s still LinkedIn; it’s still primarily a professional network.”

Gabi Weinberg, who works part time at tech venture firm Atento Capital, said that even though there’s less stigma attached to being open for work than before, he prefers to use LinkedIn in a more private capacity by sending direct messages to companies he’s interested in working with.

Weinberg said that if you’re not working for a big-name company like Google or Facebook, your layoff could be seen as less publicly “marketable.” He also said he personally didn’t feel comfortable sharing as much publicly on the platform as some others.

“It seems more culturally appropriate to share if you were laid off at a big tech company, whereas, if you’re at a mom-and-pop or smaller company, it’s not the same,” he said.

Other people Recode spoke to acknowledged that the feeling of having to post on LinkedIn can be a burden during an already stressful time.

“I think there’s a pressure built around LinkedIn, that you say you’re open to a job and if you’re not scrolling 24/7, you might miss that one post, and you miss an opportunity to apply,” said Lazenby, who said she gave herself a day to be sad and ignore social media after being laid off before she posted about it.

A big question, though, is what happens when people get tired of talking about layoffs and stop offering help — what Gartner’s McRae called “compassion fatigue.” Already, some LinkedIn users Recode talked to complained about the constant stream of sad news about layoffs appearing on their feed all the time. Or what happens when there’s no longer an economic downturn and people find new jobs and have less of an incentive to use LinkedIn?

While LinkedIn is finding more ways to keep people on its site — showing them more news and investing in career influencers — it is still a social network framed squarely around careers.

“Our vision has been for economic opportunity. We’re not here for the extra clicks,” said LinkedIn’s Rajiv. “The easiest mode of expansion would be cat videos, right? That’s not the goal. The goal is to help people grow, learn, and find their next job.”

So far, that goal seems to be working out well for LinkedIn — at least during this period of great economic uncertainty in tech.

3/12/23 - Are You Prepared to Be Interviewed by an AI?

by Zahira Jaser and Dimitra Petrakaki 

Human resources departments are increasingly turning to automated video interviews, and some even rely on AI to make decisions about who moves on to the next round. As a job seeker, how can you prepare for these interviews — particularly when your interviewer is just a screen? Evidence-based suggestions include understanding which type of automated video interview you’ll be encountering; going in with the knowledge that the technology is far from perfect or unbiased; and practicing being as human as possible — even when it feels awkward.

During the isolation of the pandemic, many human resource management processes moved online. And even as life goes back to being more in person, many of these processes are here to stay. One is virtual, or pre-recorded job interviews, which are increasingly guided by artificial intelligence (AI). These interviews typically shorten the hiring process, making it cheaper for companies to find the right candidates.

This shift has forever changed the experience of jobseekers, and not always for the better. Today, younger job seekers looking for their first role, placement, or internship are likely to face a bot at their first interview, not a human. And in the most extreme type of automated video interviews (AVIs), a bot asks a few predefined questions, giving the candidate a short window of time to answer them, and makes a decision about the person right then and there. We define these as AI-led interviews.

While some things about AVIs and traditional in-person or phone interviews remain the same (job candidates must still make a good first impression), there’s much that remains mysterious to job seekers about AI-led interviews. What is different in making a good impression online versus in person? And how do you impress an algorithm?

This short guide provides some advice on navigating these questions. First, we give a brief overview of what AVIs consist of and what data is likely to be collected during the interview. Second, we outline how you can prepare psychologically to face the algorithm. Finally, we provide some guidance about the practical steps you can take to make a good first impression.

What Are Automated Video Interviews?
The first step to preparing is becoming aware of what kind of interview you are about to take. There are different types, depending on how technology is used in the selection process, and AI can be involved to varying degrees.

It is also important to note that not all video interviews use AI technology. For example, some interviews are just a recording of a video, which will then be watched by hiring managers. Others will involve AI processing different types of data collected during the video. Here are few key types of interviews.

To be sure your upcoming interview indeed includes AI, keep an eye out for the following terms in the emails you receive about the interview, or in the fine print: machine learning, predictive analytics, decision algorithms, recommendation engines, or data driven-decision.

If you do identify these terms, you can expect that three types of data might be collected: visual (facial expression, eye movement, hand movement), verbal (vocabulary, key words), and vocal (voice tone, pronunciation). AI-led interviews use the data collected to automatically generate a prediction on whether the candidate is the person they are looking for. For example, AI designed to predict whether you are a good candidate or not might use big data from past hires and their subsequent performance at work, predicting candidate characteristics that might correlate to higher work performance.

AI-Led Interviews Are Not Superior Selection Tools (Yet)
Interviews using AI have something in common: You will find yourself in front of a screen, sometimes with your own image reflected back at you, answering automated questions with little time to think. Gone are the human interactions and real-time cues we get from our interviewer, which give us an immediate sense of how we are doing. Also gone are the transition times to the office or other physical building; there is no more journey to prospective work locations, no shift of an environment that prepares you to mentally switch to interview-mode.

In our research, we found that this experience is often confusing and unsettling. Job seekers are pulled in two directions: On one hand, the novelty of the technology and the “superior” quality that is sometimes attributed to AI makes them feel this is a futuristic experience bound to overcome human bias. On the other, the lack of human connection during the interview and the tension of the moment is a daunting mix that heightens anxiety. We warn that the glorification of the technology is often based on an idealization and a poor understanding of what AI can (and can’t) do.

We found that candidates’ tendency to glorify the technology made them trust it would make better decisions than human ones. This resulted in them feeling “judged” by a sort of superior entity. We instead encourage candidates to understand that the technology isn’t perfect by a long shot. Instead, these types of interviews may suffer from poor validity; for example, they are not very good at predicting personality traits from verbal and non-verbal behaviors extracted from videos. That means that the technology is often not good enough to measure what it is supposed to measure or, in other words, that the AI is not as advanced as advertised. Unsurprisingly, some analysts have deemed the use of facial recognition and other technology as pseudoscience, and some courts have outlawed it.

So, we advise taking a pragmatic view of whatever judgement is made by the technology as imprecise and potentially flawed and biased. In other words, do not let AI judgment knock down your self-confidence prior to, or during, an interview!

Making a Good Impression Means Staying Human
Despite the flaws of AVIs, particularly those that utilize AI, it’s likely you’ll still encounter them. So how can you best approach these interviews? Many AI interview platforms suggest that you just “be yourself.” And yet in our previous research, we noticed that this is precisely what job candidates find difficult. Faced with an AVI, they tended to behave in unnatural ways. People told us of how they adjusted themselves in ways they thought would make them look better, keeping a rigid posture, a fixed gaze, and using their hands as little as possible. In trying to make a good impression on the algorithm, many of our interviewees told us they felt like they were becoming robots themselves.

Understanding not just what technology is involved, but also the pressure you might be under in the presence of the technology, is key to making a good first impression. The trick is to stay as natural as possible — despite how unnatural this may feel. So, to counter the knee-jerk reaction of robot-like rigidity, we suggest that interviewees should practice, first in the presence of other humans online, and then solo.

First, get used to speaking to a screen.  Ask a friend to use Zoom or WhatsApp Video and have them ask you prearranged questions. Increasingly, interview questions can be found in question banks offered by different university sites that prepare their students to face these interviews.

We suggest a three-step approach to this roleplay. Initially, practice by having your cameras on, so that your friends ask questions while you see them on screen. Initially, the presence of another human will be reassuring and help you find the confidence to answer, as you would in a normal interview. Record yourself, play it back, and analyze what you did well. Remember, positive psychology tells us that focusing on strengths, rather than on development points, can result in a faster improvement of desired behaviors.

Second, repeat the same exercise,  with your friend asking questions, but with the camera off. It will be more awkward to speak to a black screen, but you will be getting closer to what it will be like to use AVI. Again, record yourself, analyze the recording, identify what you did well, and note whether there were any differences this round.

In the third step, prepare a few questions in a document and go solo. Speak to your computer screen and record yourself. What did you do well? And what did you do differently than when you were facing a human? By proceeding through all three steps analytically, you can become aware of how you perform under different types of conditions, and with practice, you’ll be able to match your spontaneity to a human-to-human conversation, even during an AVI.

Finally, while the psychological preparation is part of getting ready for an AVI, the practical part is important, too. We found that the successful candidates in our research spent time making sure their environment was somewhat “work-like.” They had a neutral background, ensured that the lighting and sound was good so they could be captured well on camera, and double-checked that their technology was working properly. They also did their rehearsals in these same settings before the interview, and blocked out enough time to do the interview comfortably. Essentially, they behaved as if they had to go to an in-person interview by preparing both psychologically and physically.

AVIs, as a novel form of recruitment, can have steep learning curve for job candidates. We ask you to be reflexive of the process and of your performance without judging yourself. We are humans, and having to face a new technology at such an important moment — a job interview — can create discomfort and anxiety. But like everything else, the more experienced you get with automated interviews, the better you’ll perform.

And remember: The technology is new. A lot of research tells us that it is not as clever as you might think and is limited in understanding exactly who you are. So don’t let it rattle your self-confidence.

Zahira Jaser, PhD, is aassociate professor at the University of Sussex Business School, the Director of the Sussex MBA, and associate fellow of Digital Futures at Work Research Centre. Her work focuses on how managers bridge multilevel relationships in organizations and make hierarchies more fluid. She is the sole editor of The Connecting Leader: Serving Concurrently as a Leader and a Follower (IAP) and a board member of the journal Leadership. For updates, follow Zahira on LinkedIn, Twitter, or here.

Dimitra Petrakaki is professor of Technology and Organization at the University of Sussex Business School and co-Investigator of the ESRC-funded Digital Futures at Work Research Centre. Her work focuses on the implications of the introduction of digital technology for the organization of work. She is the associated editor of the Information Systems Journal and editorial board member of the journals Work, Employment & Society and New Technology, Work & Employment.

3/5/23 - If You Say These Things In An Interview, You Won’t Get The Job Offer

Jack Kelly 

Traditional career advice generally focuses on what a candidate should say in an interview, but often leaves out what landmines and behaviors to avoid. To make a great first impression, there are certain taboos a job seeker should refrain from mentioning in their initial meeting with a prospective employer.

Interviewers want candidates interested in the company and the job they applied for. As thousands of people have been laid off recently, hiring managers get that job hunters will shotgun their résumés everywhere to get a foot in the door. They may not care about the organization, its mission, corporate culture and products and services, but just want a job.

When you interview, make sure you demonstrate you took the time and effort to learn about the organization, its reputation, financial situation, management team and other factors. Doing your due diligence shows that you want to work at the company and have a connection to it.

It won't go well if you lack basic knowledge about the job and company. The interviewers will feel that you couldn't care less if you got the job here or with any other firm.

You must abstain from talking negatively about your former employer or ever making an off-color joke. Avoid immediately demanding the exact compensation, vacation and personal time off and how quickly you’ll get promoted. It will never go well if you arrive late to a meeting without an apology or tell the interviewer to revert to your résumé for any questions about your background or experience. You mustn’t be rude to staff when checking in for your interview, as it will surely get back to the hiring personnel.

Ingratiating Yourself With The Interviewer

In your meeting, take the lead by saying, “Thank you for inviting me to the interview. I’m excited to be here. I’ve done a lot of research into your firm, spoken with people who previously worked at the firm and purchased some of your products to test them out.” By doing this, the interviewer will be impressed with your homework and interest in the company.

While you want to know all about the compensation and benefits, hold off until later. The key is cultivating a relationship with the interviewer and demonstrating that you have the right skills, background, experience and education. Toward the end of the meeting, you can then dig into the salary, bonus, title, vacation policy and benefits.

If you demonstrate a lack of knowledge about what the company does, the interviewer will feel that—at the very least—you could have spent a reasonable amount of time researching the company before the interview. It reflects that you actually have no interest and are not intellectually curious. You don’t need to be an expert on the firm, quote their financial statements and name all the people on the board of directors, but you should know a modicum of information about the company's products and services.

Don’t Get Too Comfortable

You can be friendly, but avoid getting too cordial. Sometimes an interview is going very well and it transcends from a cold, stuffy interrogation into a cordial, friendly conversation. At times, the friendly conversation blossoms into a bonding session. Then, it's easy to get carried away. Without realizing it, you let your guard down, drop some curse words, say something politically incorrect or make an off-colored joke. Don't fall into the trap. The interviewer may view you as a nice person to have dinner with, but not see you as a trusted and discreet employee.

Avoid asking very personal and invasive questions. In the first interview, you want to showcase your skills and abilities. I know that it's not fair, but if you start interrogating the interviewers, they will be put off. This could be done later on.

Only Say Good Things About Your Former Employer And Co-Workers

Your former boss may be the Devil incarnate and your co-workers vapid, gossiping weasels, but don’t share that with the interviewers. If you talk poorly about your last company (even if it's true), you’ll be considered malcontent and a person who talks about others behind their backs, which also means you can't be trusted. The interviewer will think that you’ll also talk bad about them. Furthermore, they may believe that the issues emanated from you and it was your fault—not your prior boss or colleagues.

Use Your Common Sense And Be Polite
When asked about your background or skills, never say, “It’s on my résumé.” This is a weird quirk in that the person feels that they are so wonderful that you should immediately know everything about them. This warped logic doesn't have an end game. Should the interviewer hire them just because their résumé is solid? No matter what level you are at, you have to elaborate on your background and sell yourself.

You should never say, “Sorry, I’m late” or “I have a hard stop and must leave in half an hour.” Sometimes things happen; however, it is rude to arrive late to an important interview. If you know that you are pressed for time, then you should have either told them that ahead of time or rescheduled the interview for a later date.

Speak Like A Human Being And Not A Corporate Drone
You may think speaking in corporate buzzwords, jargon and clichés makes you sound important and in the know, but for the person listening, it is painful. It is mind-numbing to hear someone endlessly pontificate about how important they are. It's worse when they sound like a corporate robot instead of an actual human being.

Moreover, don't be rude to the receptionist and other assistants. They will report back to the hiring managers about your bad behavior. The managers will think you are a phony when you are nice to them, but cruel to subordinates. Also, it would be an affront to the people you were rude to if management was to hire you.

Jack Kelly - I am a CEO, founder, and executive recruiter at one of the oldest and largest global search firms in my area of expertise, and have personally placed thousands of professionals with top-tier companies over the last 20-plus years. I am passionate about advocating for job seekers. In doing so, I have founded a start-up company, WeCruitr, where our mission is to make the job search more humane and enjoyable. As a proponent of career growth, I am excited to share my insider interviewing tips and career advancement secrets with you in an honest, straightforward, no-nonsense and entertaining manner. My career advice will cover everything you need to know, including helping you decide if you really should seek out a new opportunity, whether you are leaving for the wrong reasons, proven successful interviewing techniques, negotiating a salary and accepting an offer and a real-world understanding of how the hiring process actually works. My articles come from an experienced recruiter’s insider perspective.

2/26/23 - Advertised salary ranges are not set in stone. That’s why you still have to negotiate

By Jeanne Sahadi 

 Now that more and more states are requiring companies to advertise salary ranges for open roles, you may assume the range is the range and you can’t negotiate for more.

Not true.

While the new pay transparency laws mean you’ll have more information about what an employer is willing to pay, the ranges advertised likely won’t give you an accurate picture of what you might be paid for the actual role you’re applying for. So unless you do your own research, ask questions and then negotiate, you might shortchange yourself.

“I’ve seen people deterred from negotiating because they think [the advertised pay range] is set in stone. We haven’t found that to be the case,” said Brandon Bramley, founder of The Salary Negotiator, which provides one-on-one consultation for people seeking to improve their pay packages and online courses in salary negotiation.

What you need to know about published ranges
Here are three reasons why a published salary range is hardly the whole story:

1. The range may not be the “full” range: Some employers only publish ranges between, say, the 25th and 75th percentiles of what they pay for a given position, said Lulu Seikaly, a senior attorney and pay transparency expert at Payscale. “A lot of organizations won’t post the entire range. It just has to be a good faith estimate.”

What’s more, Seikaly added, even if an employer publishes the full range for a job, employers are legally allowed to pay more to the right candidate.

“There’s always flexibility to offer more than the top of the range,” she said.

2. The published range may be very wide: It’s not hard to find advertised salary ranges so wide you could drive a truck through them. Think yawning gaps of $100,000 or more between the minimum and the maximum.

Some employers may do so because they’re using one posting to attract applicants for a few roles under the same general function — such as a software engineer. But each role is suitable to people at different levels of experience (such as a junior engineer, a mid-level engineer or a senior one), Seikaly noted.

Similarly, an employer may publish the same wide range for each of several jobs with different responsibilities.

And sometimes, it’s not clear what an employer is thinking. Companies are in the trial-and-error stage of compliance since pay transparency laws are quite new and vary from place to place. The oldest one on the books, in Colorado, has only been in place for two years. Pay transparency laws in California and the state of Washington went into effect on January 1. And employers in New York City only started advertising pay three months ago, while employers in the rest of New York State won’t have to do so until September.

When a range is laughably broad — Seikaly cited one posting that included a range of $90,000 to $900,000 — she believes the company is making “a very big branding mistake” because it appears as if they are not offering a good faith estimate and potential applicants might well be wary. “It’s a big red flag that they don’t value employees,” she said.

3. The range typically reflects base salary only: There is a lot more to your compensation than your regular paycheck.

The published range for an open role usually just reflects your base pay, not bonuses, equity and annual increases.

And all those parts are often negotiable for the candidate a company wants most, even if a hiring manager or recruiter asserts that they’re not, Bramley said.

What’s more, there are other negotiable parts of compensation that can augment your pay package, such as tuition reimbursement, a home office stipend and additional paid time off.

Negotiating the best number for you
Don’t take advertised ranges as gospel. Instead:

Do your own compensation research: Bramley recommends getting pay averages from three pay data aggregators such as Payscale and Comparably.

That way you’ll be able to gauge whether the employer’s published range is within reason for the role you’re seeking.

Get more information on the employer’s published range: If you’re considering applying for a job with a wide pay range, ask the recruiter what specific role the employer wants to slot you into and what the specific pay band is for that role. Then ask what skills and experience justify their offering a candidate pay at the top of the range.

Some companies may most typically offer to pay candidates at the midpoint of the range unless the candidate is more junior or senior, said talent hiring executive Rachel Levine.

An employer may choose to pay a candidate above the top of the advertised range if someone brings additional value or an exceptional skillset to the role than what current employees in that role have, Levine said.

Avoid sharing your pay expectations prematurely: Many states and localities ban organizations from asking job applicants what they’re currently making. So instead recruiters early on will ask you what your pay expectations are.

“You get a lot of pressure to share,” Bramley said. The risk is you will offer a number below what an employer is actually willing to pay the right candidate, thereby limiting what you might get in the end.

“Flip the script when asked about your salary expectations,” Bramley suggested. “Ask what range they had in the mind for those who are best qualified.” Or, he added, you might say, “To be honest, my expectation may be near the top [of the advertised range]. But it’s hard to say right now because I want to learn more about the company, the role and its compensation structure.”

It pays to ask for more: Once you have an offer in hand, you will be in the strongest position to negotiate for more because you know they want you, and most of the time you can secure something extra, Bramley said. But even if you can’t, he has never seen an offer rescinded because someone tried. “The worst case is they say ‘No’,” Bramley said.

2/19/23 - How to Not Be Boring While You're Networking

A networking expert shares his secrets to making yourself memorable.

By Ivan Misner 

Charlie Lawson, author of The Unnatural Networker, and I often discuss the importance of telling a great story. Think about the last networking meeting you went to where people had a chance to introduce themselves: Were they interesting? Did they grab your attention? Were they engaging? Or did you often find yourself thinking: Do I really have to carry on this conversation?

Have a great story ready to tell
If you want to know that people are really listening — supply them with a great story. Charlie gave me an example regarding a Business Networking International member named Dena.

Dena ran a Yorkshire, England-based listing agency specializing in short-term accommodations. One day she got a call on a cold, rainy February afternoon. Dena could tell that the lady on the line, who we'll call "Ann", was quite upset from all the commotion of kids running around in the background. Ann had been kicked out of a house by her partner, who'd left her with the kids and she was calling to see if there was anything Dena could do to help.

"I know this doesn't usually happen on short notice," admitted Ann, "but I need somewhere to stay tonight."

Dena managed to source her a property and told the harried mom that they'd work out the details as soon as possible the following day. Then, right as Dena was about to hang up the phone, she asked: "Where are you, now?".

Ann relayed that she was currently standing on a roadside, with kids in tow, along with a couple of suitcases and no ride. So Dena got in her car, picked the crew up and took them to their temporary residence where they managed to sort everything out.

After telling this tale, Charlie's asked me if I would ever refer business to Dena. I answered as anyone would — with an effusive yes!

Reveal something they'll remember
Dena realized that they were in a grave situation, and she could make a difference for Ann and her family.

A regular listing agent would just go as far as offering short-term and last-minute solutions before hanging up to address whomever else is on hold. What better sells these services is the fact that we know we'd be comfortable referring said agent — and that is where storytelling happens. It becomes both memorable and the sort of thing we'd bring back up in subsequent conversations. The next time someone asks me about listing agents, who do you think I'm going to remember?

Even though we may not have been in that situation ourselves, the story helps us understand how the person involved felt. Ann actually did get the family into a permanent flat, but what resonates most is how Dena served her potential client in a time of need.

Storytelling is more interesting, memorable and referable than simple facts about services that you offer. Recall why we go to networking events - to build our businesses through referrals. We've got to give our networking partners the tools to find those referrals and I think effective anecdotes are a great way to do it. Plus compelling stories, as Charlie likes to say, "won't bore people to tears".

Dr. Ivan Misner is a 'NY Times' bestselling author and co-author of the bestselling book, 'Networking Like a Pro' (Entrepreneur Press 2017). He is also the Founder & Chief Visionary Officer of BNI (, the world's largest referral marketing and networking organization.

2/12/23 - 3 Key Steps To Successfully Pivoting In Your Career

by Cheryl RobinsonContributor 

Layoffs throughout corporate America continue to shake the nation. With more than 105,000 people losing their jobs this year at private startups alone, the job market is competitive, and the entrepreneurial space is booming, creating more competition.

If the past couple of years taught us anything, we all need to be adaptable and learn how to pivot. Understanding the key steps to successfully pivoting in your career and then applying them to a strategy will put you ahead of the crowd.

There are three core types of pivots: personal, professional and mindset. An example of a personal transition is when someone gets married, moves to a different state or goes back to school for a higher degree. Professionally, people experience a change of positions within the same company, change of industries, start their own company or dreadfully lose their job. Mindset pivots occur more regularly and are critical in leadership and handling life’s obstacles; it’s being able to communicate differently to get the message across, motivate a team and keep yourself focused on moving forward rather than dwelling on the past.

Although all three are critical to survival, when a person loses their job and doesn’t have the proper foundation to handle the challenge, it can negatively impact the other two areas of pivoting.

When something perceived as negative happens, many people automatically assume the worst. However, taking a step back, viewing the situation from a different perspective and recognizing that you’re in the middle of a pivot will help you reframe the current moment.

Top three steps to successfully pivot in your career:

Change your narrative.
As a society, we define ourselves based on our job titles. So it can be challenging to navigate how to market or rebrand yourself. Many people experience an identity loss, especially if it is a dream job or a company they’ve been with for years; they automatically are associated with that organization.

Instead of leading with who you were in a past career life, lead with what you’re doing now. Then, if you’re still looking for the next opportunity, share what you’re working towards. Yes, your past does matter; however, people want to know what you’re currently doing. The misconception is that if you lead with past projects, it automatically highlights your skill set and the value you bring to the table. People’s attention spans are limited. So focusing too long on your past might cause you to miss out on the next position because the person lost interest before you could showcase how you bring something unique to the table.

Build your risk tolerance.
The word risk alone is frightening; it’s the fear of the unknown if you decide to do something and it doesn’t work out. However, the word risk coupled with pivoting is exhilarating. Taking a risk doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to sell your house, move across the world and live in a van. Everyone’s level of risk tolerance is different. What all successful pivoters have in common is that they take one. For some, it may mean going to night school to earn a degree. For others, it means saving up a year’s salary to start a company. And there’s a small group of people where it means they sell their houses, buy boats and travel the world while working from the sea.

The people who successfully pivot in their careers let their drive and determination to succeed overpower their fear; the risk of remaining in the same situation can be greater than the risk of pivoting. The initial decision to pivot does come with reservations; those uneasy feelings are a natural instinct. The important thing is not to become overwhelmed or paralyzed by the lurking fear. Successful people do not let their fear drive their actions when they transition. Instead, they are taking a chance on themselves to pursue a better circumstance.

Building risk tolerance starts with taking small, manageable steps. Identify a low risk, such as reaching out to someone you’ve always wanted to connect with on LinkedIn. Then, for one week, reach out to someone every day. For week two, pick a slightly loftier goal to accomplish. You’ll have laid a foundation and built your self-confidence within a month.

Develop relationships.
The common saying goes, “You are only as strong as your network.” Some people associate networking with just getting to know someone on a business level and only for the sole purpose of benefiting their career. Others view networking as an opportunity to develop and foster relationships to succeed; it is more than just a one-off situation and is viewed as a two-way relationship.

Networking is more than attending an event and hoping someone will reach out from the hundreds of business cards handed out. Social capital, the quality of a person’s network, is more prominent now than it has been over the last decade. In today’s society, it is about developing relationships with people, continually fostering those connections through frequent coffee meet-ups, friendly emails, and extensions of invites to events and parties.

Relationships are a two-way street. Some people go in with the WIIFM, what’s in it for me, mindset, while others understand how developing meaningful relationships can help achieve the long game. It takes time to get to know someone and patience, but in the end, you’ll have a greater return on your investment. Great networkers are always more curious about the other person than they are about sharing information about themselves.

Intentionally practicing active listening allows you to hear the other person and ask questions that drive the conversation. In doing so, you find out what they are working on, how you could add value to the projects, and if they are open to collaboration.

Remember, it’s just a pivot. Anything is possible at this point.

About Cheryl Robinson - I’m a working model, international speaker, author and founder of Ready2Roar. For the past 5 years, I’ve studied how individuals pivot in their careers. Additionally, I successfully defended my dissertation making me a Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership. My dissertation was on the art of pivoting. I’m the host the Embrace the Pivot Podcast. My 15-year journey in the Sports and Entertainment industry includes assisting Hollywood agents and former NBA players, helping manage an HBO boxer and involvement with the 2014 NYNJ Super Bowl. I have experienced many highs and lows being an entrepreneur. I take all my experiences, learn from them and help others bounce forward and embrace their pivots.


2/5/23 - LinkedIn Author Has Strategic Advice To Improve Your Profile

by Robin Ryan 

Wouldn’t you think people working in HR would have a great presence on LinkedIn, especially if they are recruiters or in talent acquisition? Yet, when you search them out, you’ll find quite a few have pretty poor profiles. Karen, a director of employee relations, had an incomplete LinkedIn profile and thought nothing of it. Then her employer of eleven years started making leadership changes. Her boss departed, and she got a new manager whom she instantly disliked. Within a few months, she realized it was time to move on. In our first career counseling conversation, she said, “I knew that LinkedIn was a vital career tool, but I hadn’t cared. Then once I began my job hunt and networking, a few friends mentioned getting calls from recruiters off their LinkedIn profile. That’s when I realized I needed to completely revamp it.”

Jen had recently graduated from college with a degree in communications. She had set her sights on being a marketing coordinator. Yet, she was struggling to get her first job. Jen needed help to impress recruiters and wanted a top-notch profile. When she started to write it, Jen got overwhelmed. She needed help identifying keywords, writing a headline, and promoting her internship and academic experience. She called for assistance. Together we created a new LinkedIn profile that reflected what she’d accomplished and presented her in a positive light. Jen got a call from a major airline. Her interview went very well, and she landed that coveted position. Once she got hired, the recruiter told her, “I always check out a candidate’s LinkedIn profile before I start the interview process. If I’m not impressed, I move on. Yours caught my attention.”

Tom had years of experience and was a prominent company's head of talent acquisition. However, he had utterly ignored LinkedIn. That changed, he said, when a colleague told him that job hunters were checking him out and his current profile reflected poorly on him and his company. Tom got the message and agreed that his colleague was right. He immediately enhanced his LinkedIn profile.

Expert Guidance

Donna Serdula is the author of LinkedIn Profile Optimization For Dummies, 2nd edition. She explained the importance of looking impressive on that platform. “Your LinkedIn profile is all about branding,” said Serdula, who partners with companies to optimize their leadership profiles to align with the company’s messaging. “Anyone in senior leadership or HR should be a brand ambassador on LinkedIn, as they are the face of the company. When done correctly, this could be a powerful tool for recruitment and employee engagement.”

A professional profile is essential for job hunters. Serdula continued, noting a critical mistake many make is they do not think about who their target audience is: recruiters and hiring managers. She says, “Upon reviewing your current profile, does it showcase your expertise, strengths, and abilities? Will it support the new job you want? Your experience and skills should stress how they relate to performing a new job and demonstrate how you could take on a bigger role someplace new.”

Serdula advises that you not use job descriptions. They will not have the critical keywords necessary so that you can be found online. Don’t just grab the company job info and post it. Instead, feature your top accomplishments. People often confess that it is difficult to write about themselves, so they avoid doing it. “Optimizing your profile will tell the world about who you are in an appealing light. That has a positive impact on how others see you. Be strategic in telling your story as you create your headline, ‘about’ section, and work experience,” she said.


How do you come to the top of a recruiter search? It’s all about using keywords and optimizing your LinkedIn profile. You must include these keywords in the headline, ‘about’ section, and work descriptions. No list exists. You must customize your words. How? Review the appropriate employer’s job listing. Highlight the needed strengths, essential requirements, and top work tasks. Then use those details to create your keywords in your work descriptions. Do not stuff the profile with keywords. Serdula says that strategy is not effective.

Write the ‘about’ section in first person. It’s not about keywords but needs to share some insight about your personality. Who are you? Do you focus on helping others? What are your passions? Why do you do what you do? Why does it matter? What kind of manager are you? Be genuine in telling your story. Do invite people to connect and network.

Robin Ryan - A career counselor that helps clients land jobs, I offer Resume Writing, LinkedIn Profile Writing, Interview Coaching, and Salary Negotiation services. I’ve appeared on Oprah, Dr.Phil and 3200 other TV and radio shows. A Wall Street Journal #1 bestselling author, I have written eight career books including: 60 Second & You’re Hired, Retirement Reinvention, Winning Resumes and Over 40 & You’re Hired. Helping people advance their careers and land a new job is my mission. Learn more at:

1/29/23 - 5 Tips To Make You Standout In A Competitive Job Market

by Ashley Stahl 

The tech sector laid off more than 150,000 employees in 2022, populating the job market with a wave of talent from some of the country's most notable companies.

Job seekers energized with a fresh start to the new year may be in for a tough awakening – getting a job just became much harder. CNBC reports that, according to job recruiters, the tech market remains competitive, even if job seekers are considering fewer offers than they have in the past.

Ongoing inflation and talk of a 2023 recession will likely make the job market even more competitive this year. Whether you’re applying for the same position as someone who lost their job or looking for something that provides more financial support, being a top candidate means bringing your A-game to the hiring process.

Here are five tips to help you gain a competitive edge over Twitter’s latest resignee.

1. Clean up your digital footprint
Look through your social media
Most people know to rid their social media profiles of inappropriate photos and posts. But, in case an employer “stumbles” on your Twitter or Facebook profile, double check that you haven’t liked or commented on any posts you wouldn’t love for them to see.

Embrace the pain of Googling yourself
People enjoy Googling themselves as much as they enjoy listening to a recording of their voice – okay, so they don’t tend to enjoy it all. But some things are worth a few minutes of internal cringing, one of which being a shiny new job. Take note of the websites that come up first? Is there anything problematic you need to take care of? If your personal website doesn’t come up within the first page of search results, consider making some SEO improvements.

Update any shared personal information
Long bios, short bios, social media bios – make sure all of these are not only updated with your most recent accomplishments, but also reflect the image you want to give employers. A competitive job market is not a great time for self-deprecating humor.

2. Go a step beyond just doing the research
Companies love it when candidates “do their research.” Not only does it show employers that the candidate is seriously considering the company, it also boosts some egos – just be sure not to overdo it.

Showing you did your research can look like spitting out the statistics and key phrases you saw on their website, but to really be effective, go one step further. Incorporate your own thinking, ideas, and values into the information you’ve gathered about the company. What excites you about their approach to solving problems? How does their mission and values align with your own career goals? Do you have any ideas to bring to the table if they were to hire you into the new role? Share them if they’re open to hearing them, and be sure to know what competitors are doing so that you can be informed on the market you’re in.

3. Leave no threads hanging
Nothing says you’re interested in a company more than a thank you email, and if necessary, a follow-up email. Not only is this a gracious practice, it also leaves employers with a positive image of you before they make their decision.

4. Do some reflecting
You don’t need me to insert an inspirational quote about failure to know that rejection is a part of life. Coming to terms with rejection and getting back on the horse, though, is only the first step. Dare I say – achieving success despite failure is not just about how many times you can get back up.

Dare I say – achieving success despite failure is not just about how many times you can get back up.

If there’s one thing you take from this piece, let it be this: Never ask a company for feedback after getting rejected! Despite their good intentions, many people don’t realize that asking companies for feedback can open the door to legal issues that cause major problems on the company’s end. For this reason, HR is usually well trained to decline that request.

Instead, form your own opinion on how the interview went. Be honest with yourself — what could you have done better? What questions did you feel unprepared for? Were there any moments that made you feel particularly anxious? Also reflect on the hiring manager’s demeanor and body language. Were there any points during the interview when they responded in an unfavorable way? You know more than you think you do.

Take note of the kind of candidate the company was looking for and any interview answers you may have given that revealed the ways in which you might fall short.

Is the gap specific to this company and position? Or is it something you foresee standing in the way of getting other jobs with similar demands in the same industry?

The mismatch may be because you lack a skillset or preferred style of working or because you have location or time requests the company cannot meet.

5. Tweak your approach and head back to the job board
Taking stock of the things that didn’t align during your last application or interview process isn’t enough to make things fall in place during the next go-around. Make a list of things you can change to close any gaps making you fall short of what hiring managers are looking for.

Then, pick a gap to resolve. Maybe this means adding another certification to your tool belt or accepting that you may need to relocate. Whatever it is, repeat this process enough and it will only be a matter of time before you land a job offer. When you do, it won’t be a job that happened to fall into place; it will be a job you put into place yourself.


Ashley Stahl - I'm a career coach, keynote speaker, podcast host (You Turn Podcast) and author, here to help you step into a career you're excited about and aligned with. This may look like coaching you 1:1, hosting you in one of my courses, or meeting you at one of workshops or keynote speaking engagements! I also own CAKE Media, a house of ghostwriters, copywriters, publicists and SEO whizzes that help companies and influencers expand their voice online. Before being an entrepreneur, I was an award-winning counterterrorism professional who helped the Pentagon in Washington, DC with preparing civilians to prepare for the frontlines of the war on terror.

1/22/23 - 9 Mistakes That Make Your Resume Look Outdated

by Biron Clark 

Having an outdated resume can cost you the interview—even if you have all of the qualifications an employer wants to see. Fortunately, the mistakes that make your resume look outdated are all easy to fix. The following guide explains how to overhaul your resume to give you a leg up on the competition.

9 Signs You Need to Redo Your Resume

1. You’ve listed a home address.
Managers are less likely to hire applicants with a long commute, according to a recent study from Notre Dame University. There’s no need to list your full address on your resume, and doing so can appear outdated and expose you to discrimination.

In today’s job market, it’s best to include only your name, a professional-sounding email address, and a phone number at the top of your resume. You can also include a link to your LinkedIn profile, if you think it will help inform the manager’s decision. An individual’s professional reputation is pivotal if they’re being considered for a C-suite position, and social media can be used to boost credibility.

2. You have an objective or statement of purpose.
If you applied for a job, the employer knows your objective is to interview for the position and receive an offer.

Because this information is implied, you don’t need to take up valuable space on the page with an objective. Instead, use a career summary section at the top of your resume. The career summary should include one or two brief paragraphs about who you are as a professional and what you’ve accomplished so far.

This section will help your resume stand out and boost the chances that the hiring manager or recruiter continues reading past the introduction.

3. The template is text-heavy.
In general, people read left to right—but recruiters only spend on average 10 seconds or less reviewing each resume, which means they’re scanning the page rather than reading every sentence. As a result, you need to adapt the structure to fit their reading style.

Position the job title and length of each position in one line on opposite sides of the page. Then, include a bulleted list of your achievements for every role. This format creates an “E-pattern” that’s easy to read and uses white space to draw the eye toward the most important highlights.

4. There are too many stylistic embellishments.
Ten years ago, color and graphics might have added visual interest—but now, most of these features will get filtered out through applicant tracking systems.

A modern resume design is simple. The content should be clear, even without rich text formatting.

Select fonts that are widely used and legible, such as Calibri or Arial. These fonts are designed to look best on a computer screen, which is how most hiring managers and recruiters will read your resume.

5. You included personal references.
When the time comes, an employer will ask for your references. Show respect for your colleagues’ time and privacy by protecting their contact information until you reach that point.

Setting those boundaries shows maturity, and it frees up space on the page for you to address issues that are more pressing.

>>> It’s already implied that you have professional references—you don’t need to say “References available upon request,” or anything similar.

6. You address basic proficiencies.
Unless skills like email and Microsoft Word are mentioned on the job description, it’s best to leave them off your resume. It’s assumed that most office workers know how to use these features.

If you’re an expert at using a popular program, then list a specific skill on your resume (for example, “Document formatting in Microsoft Word”). If you have any certifications (for example, Microsoft Office Specialist or MOS), you can also include those on your resume.

7. The formatting is inconsistent.
You want employers to believe you created a new resume for your current job search. Ideally, it should be tailored to the position for which you’re applying.

Using a variety of fonts, inconsistent bolding, different date formats, etc., will make it seem like you’ve gradually added sections to the same document over the course of several years. This oversight makes it look like you haven’t given much thought to your application or have strong attention to detail.

There isn’t a standard rule for how to use bolding, underlining, and headers on your resume—but pick one pattern and stick with it.

8. You discuss details that are irrelevant or personal.
Focus on your professional qualifications and leave off personal details like your marital status, number of children, hobbies, interests, etc.

If employers want to hear about your hobbies, they’ll ask about them in an interview. This is where they try to get to know you as a person and assess if you’ll be a good cultural fit.

9. Your resume is too long.
As you progress in your career, your resume will get longer. But too much information can overwhelm readers and make your resume seem outdated.

When an employer reads your resume, they’re not looking for a list of everything you’ve done. Instead, they’re thinking, “Does this person have the skills and experience necessary to step into this job and succeed?”

If you include a lot of irrelevant information, it will be harder for the hiring manager to find the points they need to address. Try to keep your resume to one or two pages, even if you have more than 10 years of experience.

>>> Stop using your resume to list everything you’ve done. Instead, treat the document like a targeted sales pitch.

On average, every open position receives around 250 applications. There’s a lot at stake with your resume. If you follow the tips listed above, you’ll create a modern-looking document that’ll help you land a job quickly.

 Biron Clark is a former Executive Recruiter and job search author. His blog, Career Sidekick, is read by over one million people a month and has been mentioned in Forbes, Business Insider, CNBC, Yahoo Finance, and more. He has been advising job seekers since 2012 on how to think differently in their job search and land high-paying, competitive jobs with less stress. Connect with Biron on LinkedIn.

1/15/23 - How to avoid the 5 worst virtual interview mistakes

Job seekers may be unintentionally sabotaging their virtual interviews, according to survey data. Fortunately, with a little preparation, these mistakes can be easily avoided.

Despite a growing number of companies mandating their workers return to the office, a recent hiring survey from TopResume revealed one pandemic-inspired work trend that is expected to continue into the new year: the virtual interview process. According to the survey results, one-third (33%) of employers currently offer an exclusively virtual interview process, with an additional 21% resorting to in-person interviews only for final rounds. In fact, only one in five (20%) participants stated that most of their company’s interviews take place in-person.

Although many of us have grown accustomed to using videoconferencing tools like Zoom in lieu of in-person meetings over the past few years, the data shows that many job candidates have yet to master the art of the virtual interview. When employers were asked to identify the worst offenses a candidate can commit during a virtual interview, five surfaced as the biggest deal-breakers. Fortunately, with preparation, these little mistakes can be easily avoided. Take the following steps to prepare for your next virtual interview and avoid sabotaging your chances of landing the job.

If you live with your partner, family members, or roommates, let them know when you have a scheduled interview to prevent any interruptions or surprises. You can reinforce this by blocking off the time on a shared calendar or taping a sign to the door of your chosen interview space. It’s also a good idea to close windows and invest in a reliable pair of noise-canceling headphones to eliminate unwanted background noises, such as traffic or barking dogs. When all else fails, invest in a lock for the door to keep others from accidentally barging in.

While it’s a no-brainer that you should avoid sitting in a messy room during a video interview, it’s sometimes challenging to find a suitable spot in your home. If your usual remote workspace may be an unsuitable backdrop for a video interview, test a few options around your home during the same time of day as your scheduled interview to find a space that’s quiet, clutter-free, and well-lit.

If all else fails, sit in front of a blank wall or door with a slightly blurred background filter to achieve a neutral backdrop for your meeting. Some experts suggest sitting against the door in a bathroom or a walk-in closet because these smaller spaces tend to have great acoustics and blank backgrounds.

While there’s a time and place for using virtual backgrounds, a job interview isn’t one of them. You should only apply a virtual Zoom background during a video interview as a last resort. Remember, your goal is to create a distraction-free environment for your interview; the last thing you want when you’re trying to build rapport with a recruiter is a distracting virtual background that might be considered inappropriate or unexpectedly makes your hands, head, or hair disappear.

Once you find your interview spot, test the audio and video to ensure the sound is clear, the lighting is strong, and the laptop is the right height. Books, empty Amazon boxes, and plastic storage containers can help you achieve the ideal elevation. In addition, consider purchasing a ring light that attaches to your laptop for optimal lighting.

It’s always an unnecessary risk to leave unrelated browser tabs or programs open on your screen during a video interview. You never know when you might be asked to share your screen and accidentally expose an inappropriate Slack conversation, a confidential work email, or a questionable tab to your potential new boss. Even if you don’t expect to share your screen during the video conversation, there’s always a chance an application could start dinging or a random pop-up ad will begin playing from a window and interrupt your interview.

Play it safe by closing all windows and applications on your laptop and muting any default notifications on all nearby devices so your interview is uninterrupted by random pings or inappropriate ads popping up on open tabs.

Making the right amount of eye contact during an interview is crucial to establishing trust with the interviewer, conveying your confidence, demonstrating professionalism, and indicating your interest in the opportunity. When your eyes are rapidly blinking, darting around the screen, or looking away from the interviewer, it gives the impression that you’re being dishonest, extremely nervous, or unsure of your responses—none of which will leave a good impression with the interviewer.

If you’re having difficulty figuring out where to look at the screen to make eye contact, perform a test run with a friend. It helps if you can practice using the same platform (e.g., Zoom, Google Meeting, Microsoft Teams) that you need for the interview. Once you’ve figured out exactly where you should be looking on your screen, place a Post-it note or a small piece of masking tape on that spot. When it’s time for the actual interview, resize the screen that displays your interviewer and move it to that spot before removing your note or tape. That way, you can look directly at the person who is speaking to you and know that you’re maintaining eye contact with them.

As you make eye contact throughout the interview, smile into the camera and lean in slightly toward the laptop to engage your interviewer and build the right connection through the screen. Try recording a mock interview with a tool like Interview School or to practice your body language—from your eye contact, to your facial expressions and hand movements—during virtual interviews.

Although participants in the hiring survey indicated that encountering technical issues, such as a bad internet connection, is one of the least critical issues a candidate can have during a virtual interview, that doesn’t make it any less unnerving for the job seeker who’s already nervous about their interview.

To ease some of these concerns, download or update the necessary software or app at least one business day prior to the interview to ensure everything is properly working before your scheduled meeting. If you are worried about having spotty Wi-Fi due to an impending storm or other situation outside of your control, be proactive in your communication and devise a back-up plan.

Email your main point of contact at the company to let them know there could be an issue during the interview due to [unexpected circumstance] and, if that should happen, you’ll dial into the meeting instead. By addressing the issue before it happens and communicating an alternative solution, you’re demonstrating to prospective employers that you’re a proactive problem solver and a good communicator.

If you take these steps to rid your interview space of potential distractions, you’ll be able to focus on what really matters—connecting with the interviewer across the screen, demonstrating your qualifications, and learning more about the opportunity to determine if it’s right for you.

Amanda Augustine (@JobSearchAmanda) is the resident career expert for Talent Inc.’s suite of brands: TopResume, TopInterview,, and TopCV. With more than 15 years of experience in the recruiting and career-advice industry, she is a certified professional career coach (CPCC) and résumé writer (CPRW), helping professionals improve their careers and find the right job sooner.

1/8/23 - Which Connections Really Help You Find a Job?

by Iavor Bojinov, Karthik Rajkumar, Guillaume Saint-Jacques, Erik Brynjolfsson, and Sinan Aral 

Experiments involving 20 million people generated a surprising finding: moderately weak connects — and not strong connections — are the most useful in finding a new job. To be more specific, the ties that are most helpful for finding new jobs tend to be moderately weak: They strike a balance between exposing you to new social circles and information and having enough familiarity and overlapping interests so that the information is useful. The findings are important not just for job seekers; they also have implications for managers seeking to hire new people.

Whom should you connect with the next time you’re looking for a job? To answer this question, we analyzed data from multiple large-scale randomized experiments involving 20 million people to measure how different types of connections impact job mobility. Our results, published recently in Science Magazine, show that your strongest ties — namely your connections to immediate coworkers, close friends, and family — were actually the least helpful for finding new opportunities and securing a job. You’ll have better luck with your weak ties: the more infrequent, arm’s-length relationships with acquaintances.

To be more specific, the ties that are most helpful for finding new jobs tend to be moderately weak: They strike a balance between exposing you to new social circles and information and having enough familiarity and overlapping interests so that the information is useful. Our findings uncovered the relationship between the strength of the connection (as measured by the number of mutual connections prior to connecting) and the likelihood that a job seeker transitions to a new role within the organization of a connection.

The observation that weak ties are more beneficial for finding a job is not new. Sociologist Mark Granovetter first laid out this idea in a seminal 1973 paper that described how a person’s network affects their job prospects. Since then, the theory, known as the “strength of weak ties,” has become one of the most influential in the social sciences — underpinning network theories of information diffusion, industry structure, and human cooperation.

Despite the longevity and influence of Granovetter’s hypothesis, there has never been a definitive causal test using large-scale data. This is because people’s networks evolve simultaneously with their jobs, making it extremely difficult to run the large-scale experiments needed to test the theory. It is also for this reason that most studies in this area have resorted to correlational analyses, making it hard to know if it was actually because a tie was weak that someone got a job or because of confounding factors like their seniority or the fact that their company was growing rapidly.

Our work addresses this gap using data from the largest professional networking platform in the world: LinkedIn. In particular, we leveraged a standard part of modern recommender engines: A/B testing. As the AI models that drive these recommendation algorithms are constantly improved, new versions are rigorously tested using randomized experiments to ensure that they work well for all users. Given the scale of digital platforms, these experiments tend to be massive, running on tens of millions of users.

We analyzed data from multiple experiments of this kind on LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” algorithm, which recommends new connections to LinkedIn members. The worldwide experiments, spanning five years, randomly varied the composition of connection recommendations in the networks of over 20 million people, during which time two billion new ties and 600,000 new jobs were created. By chance, these tests varied the prevalence of weak and strong ties in recommendations, and it was exactly this variation that we leveraged.

Our causal analysis confirmed that weaker ties increased the likelihood of job transitions the most, providing the first large-scale causal test for the weak ties hypothesis and suggesting several updates to the theory with important real-life implications:

First, when it comes to finding a new job, moderately weak ties are the most useful and the strongest ties are the least. For instance, compared with extremely weak ties with one mutual friend, a new tie with 10 mutual friends nearly doubles the probability of changing jobs!

Second, while weak ties are important, on average, they are especially vital in industries with high degrees of IT and software adoption, integration of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), and robotization. That is most likely because the state of the art in these industries tends to evolve rapidly and keeping up with all the developments is critical for success. That is why weak ties that provide access to diverse communities with a broad exposure to new technological and methodical developments are so valuable.

Finally, our findings suggest that weak ties are even more important in industries that are friendly to remote work. As the world is transitioning to a hybrid or work-from-anywhere future, creating and cultivating weak ties will become even more essential for career success.

The takeaways for job seekers are clear: You should actively manage, broaden, and diversify your digital social network as weak ties can materially impact your job prospects, job mobility, promotions, and even wages. For workers in digital industries or roles where the technology is rapidly evolving, weak ties provide novel information and bridges to new communities and opportunities. Those doing remote work must especially take note, because such arrangements make water-cooler conversations and unplanned run-ins with new people difficult.

But job seekers aren’t the only ones impacted by these results. Managers are too. Our findings highlight the value of an expansive and open network when trying to source and hire top, diverse talent. An enormous amount of recruiting and hiring now happens through digital platforms such as LinkedIn is vital. Understanding how they work and the utility of algorithms such as “People You May Know” will maximize managers’ reach and ability to hire quality talent. By looking beyond the usual suspects within his or her close circle and expanding job searches to the frontiers of his or her networks could land a manager a new star employee. This, in turn, may drive innovation, a key engine of corporate and economic growth.

Beyond job seekers and managers who are hiring, our work highlights the importance of actively managing algorithms. Today, many parts of organizations and the digital economy are impacted and, to some extent, governed by AI. These algorithms have the power to promote economic access, improve efficiencies, and even redesign firm’s operating models. That is why AI requires careful managerial oversight and long-term analysis of the causal impact of deploying these algorithms to millions of people. As an example, LinkedIn has built internal tools to track and address the unintended impacts of every new feature on its platform.

As our work shows, when used effectively, social media platforms like LinkedIn can increase economic value for employers and employees through algorithms that help connect people with the right contacts. So, whether you are a job seeker, manager, or recruiter, be thoughtful and open about growing your networks online and think twice before you ignore a connection recommendation from the “People You May Know” algorithm. Your second-degree network — the connections of your connections — is a portal to a whole world of opportunities.

Happy Holidays 2022 - Check out our holiday wish for You!

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2023 but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to the replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Happy Holidays, and a very safe and Happy New Year to you and yours!

12/11/22 - You’ve been laid off — now what? Here are 3 steps to take if you lose your job

by Sharon Epperson 

> Know your legal rights. Companies have some responsibilities to employees they are laying off.
> If you’re offered a severance plan, you may be able to negotiate additional benefits.
> Ask for references and connect with your network.

Layoffs at tech giants Twitter and Meta this week have affected thousands — and they’re just the latest examples in a downsizing trend that was already taking place across the industry.

The news has put a spotlight on what rights employees have in mass layoff situations. While the laws around workforce reductions vary by location and employer size, there are steps anyone can take to help cope with being let go.

In addition, dealing with the emotions around a layoff is probably the hardest part for most people, but these three steps will at least help you protect yourself financially as you contemplate what comes next in your working life.

1. Make sure your employer complied with the law

If you’ve gotten notice you are being terminated, experts recommend checking that your employer has complied with the law.

Employment in the U.S. is typically “at will,” meaning that a company can let employees go at any time. But companies do have some responsibilities.

In mass layoff situations for larger firms, companies that fulfill certain criteria are required by federal law to provide employees 60 days’ notice. The WARN Act is meant to provide workers with sufficient time to seek other employment or retraining opportunities before losing their jobs.

While employees can be fired for any reason, they can’t be let go for an illegal reason. “I sometimes see layoffs of one person,” said Kellee Boulais Kruse, a principal at The Employment Law Group, based in Washington, D.C. ”That’s pretty suspicious.”

For example, if a newly laid off employee had just disclosed they were sexually harassed, have a disability or are going to have a baby, that could be an illegal firing. Small layoffs get more scrutiny, but with large layoffs it’s difficult to prove individuals were targeted if an entire department was let go.

Don’t wait to consult with an attorney if you think you may have a case, advises Kruse.

2. Negotiate your severance offer

Employers are not required by federal law to offer severance, but if they do those contracts can often be negotiated.

Companies offer severance to keep goodwill with former employees, keep workers from disclosing company secrets and to avoid potential lawsuits. Severance agreements typically come with a waiver of liability that has to be signed before any payment is made.

Don’t rush into signing an agreement. While it varies based on the age of the worker and state laws, employees typically are given a few weeks before they have to sign. “If someone suspects that they’ve been laid off or fired for an illegal reason, they should speak to an attorney before signing,” said Kruse.

There could be room to negotiate. Often the pay amounts are set, but try to get the maximum that matches your experience and tenure with the company. Other benefits may be available to those who ask.

“Negotiate for continued health insurance if possible, and see if your employer will cover your premiums during the time you are receiving severance,” said Alexandra Carter, a professor at Columbia Law School and author of “Ask for More: 10 Questions to Negotiate Anything.”

Outplacement services, resume assistance and coaching may also be something an employer might help arrange. Some firms might let you keep a work-issued laptop or cellphone if you ask.

3. Prepare for what’s next

Ask for references. There’s no shame in a layoff, but if your layoff wasn’t a high-profile event, you can ask your former employer for a letter or email stating that you were laid off and not fired for cause or performance.

“You are still a valid person, a good contributor [and] you will find somewhere else to go,” said Eric McNulty, associate director of the National Preparedness Leadership Initiative at Harvard University.

Be courageous in reaching out to people you may not know well, he says. ”The research shows that your loose networks, those extended connections will be more useful to you than your immediate connections, just because they’ve got more opportunities you’ve never heard about.”

12/4/22 - 18 Red Flags You Should Be Looking Out For When Interviewing

If You're Looking For A New Job, Here Are 18 Red Flags You Should Be Looking Out For When Interviewing
by Brian Galindo 

I think we can all agree that getting a new job is usually exciting! But sometimes, in our rush to want to get the job and start it as soon as possible, we miss signs that maybe this isn't the ideal place to work.

And recently, Reddit user u/Aviliuss was curious about just that when they asked: "What are some workplace red flags that scream, 'Don’t work here'?"

Thousands of people replied with the red flags they look out for. Here are some of the top-voted and best answers:

1. "If everyone you meet has been working there less than two years and it isn't a startup."

"Or the flip side: I once worked in a place where everyone had been there 15-plus years except one other person who had just started eight months before me.

Needless to say, there wasn’t much career progression, and the people there were just counting their years (or days) until they retired and didn’t give a shit about anything.

Red flag was definitely the newest person training me instead of the ones who were there a long time."

2. "'Work hard, play hard' = 'You won’t have a life outside the office, but we’ll pump you full of booze!'"

"Not a drinker, but decided to give it a go after the place I worked at fired someone that regularly didn't show up for the 'optional' binge drinking happy hours. He wasn't a team player."

'"We work hard, and we play hard.'

I once asked for an example of some of the fun things they’ve done as a work team, and the answer I got was special cookies that were recently brought in. Yeah, I’m sure that makes the 55-hour work week worth it."

3. "Everyone you've interviewed with has left by the time you start."

"This happened to me. They left three weeks after I started."

"The hiring manager who brought you in quits."

4. "If a larger company buys your company out but says, 'Nothing is changing but the name and address that your paycheck is coming from,' but then everything changes."

"Bonus points if everyone on all sides of the merger promised different things."

5. "Hearing things like: 'Were like a family' or 'Be willing to work in a fast-paced environment.' This is just code for 'we will guilt you into doing things beyond your job, and we are poorly managed.'"

"I can confirm. Don't apply for any job with the words 'fast-paced environment' and 'multi-tasking.' You will have a low title, poor pay, be doing the work of five different positions, and will not be respected."

"'We're like a family' means 'I have no friends outside of my subordinates at work.'"

6. "The owners' children are in high management/executive positions."

7. "If there are some very, very new workers and a group that has been there from the start, just know you're going to be treated like shit by the latter."

8. "If all of the other employees look sullen and depressed. If you walk into the office area and feel like you've walked into a funeral service. Nobody's smiling, nobody's laughing, nobody looks remotely happy or content. Just turn around, and walk back to your car. That is not a good place to be working at."

9. "If you ever hear a higher-up say anything along the lines of 'I don’t have to do that because I’m a X.'"

"As a manager/owner/lead/etc., your job is to support your team. If that means as a store owner you’re cleaning puke off the bathroom floor, guess what? You’re cleaning puke off the bathroom floor.

If you ever see a boss refusing to help when it’s busy or delegating a task poorly (e.g. the blinds guy has to go pick stock while your boss hangs out in the back room taking calls), quit."

10. "Oh, man, I feel like my workplace is filled with red flags. Like tonight, for example, we had a 16-year-old get fired for being drunk while on the job and unable to function. They fired the kid about a month ago; I show up today, and that same kid who they fired got his job back and was at work tonight. It's sad when a place of business is so hard up on finding workers that they will rehire someone they just fired."

11. "I went for a job interview that heavily promoted their Friday night team events. I said I have two little kids so I'd have to skip most of those. They acted like I just took a shit on their desk."

12. "Extremely high pay for what is a very simple, low-effort job. Bonus points if they have a sign that says 'now hiring' outside, year-round. This indicates that even with a high pay rate, they can't keep people on."

"Oh, god, my job is like that. For minimal effort, we make $15-plus an hour starting and $18-plus if you are a lead. (I should note this is rural-ish Minnesota, so 15-plus is quite good.) The job takes no effort at all, we are always hiring, and we go through staff like a chainsmoker with cigs."

13. "Conveniently small amount of Glassdoor reviews, and all glowing. Company I used to work for was awful, and they had loads of 1-star reviews (with a lot of substance behind them). Conveniently enough, they've all gone recently, to be replaced by a handful of 5-star ones."

14. "When your supervisor and/or coworkers act like they think you hung the moon and stars by the end of the first month."

"In my experience, this behavior just means that 1.) they are two-faced backstabbers who talk shit and spread rumors about you, and/or 2.) they have very black-and-white thinking, and you’re handling a time bomb. Meaning, if they think you’re an 'amazing' person, and you do one little thing they don’t like, such as make a mistake or ask them to correct something, they do a hard 180 and decide you deserve their eternal hatred. 😒"

15. "If you get asked in interviews about how you deal with workplace conflict and how you get along with difficult personalities. If they’re asking about how you deal with difficult customers, that’s one thing. If they basically ask how you handle a toxic work environment, it’s going to be a toxic work environment. I very naively learned this the hard way."

16. "Being hired on the spot."

"They hire you on the spot and have you start immediately. There’s a reason they’re that desperate to fill a spot; nobody wants to be there, LOL."

"If at the job interview, on the spot, they ask me to fill in new employee details, bank details, and tax file number info. I'm expecting to be interviewed, not hired on the spot. Red flags galore there."

17. "If during the interview phase, you get calls or emails from people at the company outside of their regular work hours, then it is a sign that the company does not have good life/work balance. One company I ended up working at initially reached out to me on a national holiday. I never once thought, why is this person working today? But in hindsight, I should have."

And lastly...

18. "There are a lot of hindsight tips here. You won’t know the hiring manager quit until you started; you won’t always get to see the common areas and group interactions if you’re ushered to a conference room and meet with a lineup. Having worked at both a large investment bank and a large tech company, both of which are considered industry leaders, but both equally terrible to work for, here are the red flags that I could have spotted before I accepted/from the interviews:"

"1. People talking about what opportunities the roles open up to you. It means the job itself is total trash, and you will hate it, but you do it for what’s after. For most, that next step doesn’t happen before the burnout forces them out.

2. Do your interviewers show up on time? Are they constantly checking their phones? Do they end it immediately on time even if the next person isn’t ready? This shows a few things, like how tight and busy are people. It’s good to be busy, but not so busy that you can’t take 30 minutes to meet with someone. It also shows where priorities lie in terms of new talent acquisition.

3. Ask people what they do for fun and how often they engage in those activities. Look for answers that show a lack of energy or time on the weekends. This will obviously vary by people and their personal interests, but if you ask all your interviewers the same question, you can look for trends.

4. Ask people where they see their careers in three to five years. This can be a good indicator for how quickly they feel they can move up and how much development is in the role. It’s important to understand how the company promotes as well. Look for answers that show that people have the time and ability to think about growing in the future. At the tech company, a lot of people said, 'I’m not sure, I haven’t thought about it,' which in hindsight should have been an indicator that they didn’t have the time or tools to develop themselves.

These are not hard rules, and there will always be exceptions, but regardless, look for leading indicators of a bad situation."

11/26/22 - Why the Last Candidate to Be Considered May Be the Least Likely to Be Hired

By Kasandra Brabaw 

Recruiters typically interview job candidates one after another. But some research suggests that interviewees might want to avoid being the last person evaluated.

When we evaluate others serially, we are likely—without realizing it—to give a harsher description of the person who comes last, according to Chicago Booth’s Alex Koch, Delivery Associate’s Andrew Bromley, Ruhr University Bochum PhD student Johanna Woitzel, and Ruhr’s Hans Alves. In a series of experiments, they find that people tend to describe the individuals at the top of a list more positively and are more likely to focus on the negative characteristics of those at the bottom.

This phenomenon could have important implications in a range of social and business settings, potentially including job interviews, the researchers suggest. The same issues may apply as we consider whom to ask out on a date or what social media posts to focus on. While the researchers say they aren’t ready to declare it the “serial killer” effect—one that would kill the chances of the final person in a series—they acknowledge that the bias could have negative consequences.

Koch, Bromley, Woitzel, and Alves conducted five experiments involving Facebook profile pictures. In one, they asked participants to describe a series of 20 people with one word on the basis of their profile photos. Each participant got a different subset from 1,000 pictures and a different, random order for viewing them. Participants’ descriptions became both increasingly negative and increasingly distinct as they got further into the series of images, the researchers observe.

Other experiments indicated that someone’s positive traits could lessen the effect. When photos of people with distinct positive traits were positioned late in a series, the effect didn’t hold, but it was amplified for people who had distinct negative traits. Positive traits were conveyed in a picture of a student graduating with honors, for example, or a playful museum goer, while negative traits came across in photos that included a person making a rude gesture at the camera.

The study capitalizes not only on a massive Facebook database of profile pictures but on advances in machine learning, Koch says. In the past, researchers could provide participants with a list of ways to describe someone, and they’d have to fill in a bubble to pick one. Now, scientists can study how participants communicate their reactions, and an algorithm can rate their words on, for example, positivity, he says.

Participants gave harsher descriptions of the later photos they saw because, essentially, they ran out of nice things to say, the researchers argue. Say you meet people at a dinner party and later on want to describe them to your partner. To offer something unique about everyone, you’ll describe a feature of the second person that you didn’t focus on in the first and something about the third person that you didn’t mention for the first or the second, and so on.

“You can see how for the last person in the series, the set of possible things you can describe while still trying to provide new information has gotten considerably smaller,” Koch says.

He combines this understanding with a theory from a paper he published with Alves and University of Cologne’s Christian Unkelbach: that there are many more ways to be negative than there are to be positive. Consider the temperature, for example. The range of temperatures most people enjoy is relatively small, and there’s a much broader range of uncomfortable temperatures—from life-threateningly cold to life-threateningly hot. In this previous paper, Koch and his colleagues found a similar phenomenon with positive versus negative words—across a range of languages they tested, there are many more ways to describe something or someone negatively than there are ways to do so positively.

Because we want to provide useful information on the people we meet, we look for unique words to describe them, explains Koch—and when our list of positive words runs out, we focus on the negative, Koch says.

“You’ll probably witness positive features, but you just won’t store that person in your own memory under those features, and you won’t communicate those features because they’re not new,” Koch says. So the last person on your list gets the short end of the stick.

Works Cited
Hans Alves, Alex Koch, and Christian Unkelbach, “Why Good Is More Alike than Bad: Processing Implications,” Trends in Cognitive Sciences, January 2017.
Alex Koch, Andrew Bromley, Johanna Woitzel, and Hans Alves, “Why Serial Person Perception Can Be Increasingly Negative,” Working paper, August 2022.

Happy Thanksgiving 2022 - Check out what we give thanks for

turkey05               pilglobe               cornucopia01

What do you give thanks for?

We give thanks for the career group leaders who give their time to help us.

We give thanks for the organizations that allow us to meet in and use their facilities.

(New for 2020) We give thanks for Zoom, Facetime, Teams, Google Meets, and others, for options to continue to meet online when we can not meet in person.

We give thanks for the speakers who share their knowledge to help us with our job search for free.

We give thanks for the opportunity to network and meet new people.

We give thanks for the opportunity to help others in their job search.

We give thanks for the support our family and friends provide.

We give thanks for the opportunity to spend more time with our family during our job search.

We give thanks for the opportunities we have living in the USA.

We give thanks for the next great opportunity that awaits us in the future.

We give thanks.

What do you give thanks for?

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from CareerDFW and

11/13/22 - How to negotiate a job offer

By Dawn Wotapka  

Congratulations, you've received a job offer! You may get caught up in the moment and want to scream "Yes!" at the top of your lungs and accept the offer. However, resist that urge and get your game face on — even if the fit feels perfect. Why? In many cases, you can ask for more money or perks as you seal the deal.

"While the thought of negotiating may seem difficult, it is normal and expected," said Brandon Bramley, founder of The Salary Negotiator, a Seattle-based company that helps coach professionals through the job offer negotiation process. "You have leverage once you're selected as the right candidate."

Accounting is an in-demand skill, so any pay package needs to reflect the specialization you're bringing to the table. "We deal with sensitive and complex data to make sense of the financial status of individuals, firms, and businesses for them to make critical financial decisions," said Mark Stewart, an accountant for Step By Step Business, a resource for those starting a business. "You can negotiate a job offer if you feel like it doesn't compare to the value you will be giving."

If the thought of asking for more gives you jitters, here's a game plan you can follow:

Time it right.  Wait until you have a firm job offer, said John Ricco, CPA (inactive), co-founder of the Manhattan-based Atlantic Group, a recruiting and temporary staffing firm that places accountants and finance professionals. "There's no point in negotiating terms for a job that you have only interviewed for, because this will give the wrong impression to your potential employer," he said.

In fact, Bramley warned, trying to negotiate too early could "detract from the interview process and cause you to miss out on a potential offer."

Do your research.  To know what's fair, gather compensation data to understand the role's pay range and what peers in other companies earn, Bramley said. "Companies range drastically with their compensation structures and benefits," he said. "It's worth it to shop the market to find out what that role should pay."

You can ask trusted mentors or peers for guidance. In addition, "individuals can use multiple online resources, such as Payscale, Glassdoor, and," Bramley said. Keep in mind that, while these sites are useful, the information is submitted anonymously, so there's no guarantee it is accurate. Also, "they provide compensation reported by current or past employees, so the pay may differ from what [companies] offer new employees," he pointed out.

Specifically, learn about the employer and its pay structure, Stewart said. "This is how you would know what pay range your experience fits into," he said.

Understand the entire offer.  Don't get stuck on the salary number. Instead, understand the total package, including paid time off, retirement matching, health care, bonuses, and other benefits, which can be quite valuable. For example, if an employer covers the entire health care premium, that could add thousands of dollars to your take-home pay each year. (Multiple online tools can help you figure this out easily.) "Understand and look at the total compensation," Bramley said. "This is important because it allows you to calculate true annual income and compare compensation across companies."

Sell yourself.  Justification is key, said New York City-based Mark Herschberg, author of The Career Toolkit: Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You. "Just saying 'I want x more dollars' isn't helpful. You want more, the company wants to give less," he said. "Provide a reason for why you deserve that money. Now, the company needs to address the justification, and you can see if you're on the same page about it."

Treat the negotiation as if you're asking for an investment, "which is what your potential employer should be thinking about, too," Ricco said. "An employee is hired to bring financial value to the company, so they want to be convinced that you will provide a substantial return for their investment in you," he explained. Present a clear idea of what you will bring and how much of a financial impact you can make.

Confidently list your achievements and how you can help the employer reach its goals faster or receive better-than-expected results and be prepared to answer follow-up questions, Stewart said. As you make your case, avoid words including "maybe" or "I think" "because they make you look uncertain about your skills, expertise, and value," he added.

Stand firm.  According to Bramley, he's been able to negotiate more compensation for clients almost 95% of the time. But if the employer won't increase its offer, don't be afraid to move on, he said. "Interviewing can be difficult and time-consuming, but just because you land a job offer doesn't mean you have to take it and that it will be the only opportunity for you."

Negotiating is a key skill that can be used time and time again as you move up the corporate ladder. "Everyone needs to learn to negotiate, and doing so will help them throughout their career," Herschberg said.

Dawn Wotapka is a freelance writer based in Georgia. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Courtney Vien at

11/6/22 - Career challenge: How do you explain a six-month gap (or more) on your resume?

Here's how to present yourself in the best light if you have an employment gap 

If you’re currently in search of a job and there’s a gap on your resume that spans six months or more, you may be worried that this lapse in employment will raise red flags with potential employers.

It may indeed raise questions — but there's more nuance to the story than that.

Career gaps spiked 39% year-over-year in the year of 2020, according to data from LinkedIn.

The good news is that the data also revealed that 79% of hiring managers reported they would be willing to hire candidates with a career gap on their resumes.

"It’s not as unusual to have a gap in your resume in today’s workforce, and resume gaps aren’t as critical or frowned upon as they once were," John Feldmann, senior communications specialist at Insperity, based in Houston, Texas, told FOX Business.

He added, "Attitudes on gaps in employment have shifted" today, given that "many people dropped out of the workforce during the pandemic."

He said the reasons range from "job loss to health care concerns to child care responsibilities."

How do you respond if asked about a work gap?
While it’s important to address the reason for any lapse in employment, there isn’t a need to go into great detail, Feldmann advised.

Instead, he suggested that people focus on the productive ways they spent their time during the break.

For example, did you take classes or learn new skills?

Did you do volunteer work, network with others and/or read industry publications?

It is appropriate to share any of those enriching personal gains, he noted.

If you took a break for personal reasons, you can disclose that, too.

"If you were taking care of children or other family members, you can explain that you were performing unpaid caregiving duties," Kevin Wu, CEO of Pathrise in San Francisco, California, told FOX Business.

"And if you were between jobs," he also said, "you can say that you took some time off to regroup before making your next career move."

Wu agreed with Feldmann about highlighting any skills or experience gained during time off from work on your resume.

"This will show that you were still actively engaged in learning and development, even when you were not working," he said.

"Whatever the reason for a resume gap, there is no need to be ashamed of it. Be honest and upfront about it, and you will likely find that employers understand."

What if the reasons for a work gap are less than favorable?
If you were terminated or went through a layoff and it took a while to find work — or if you’re still looking for a job — should these issues be disclosed?

Honesty is the best policy, but boundaries are OK, too, say professionals.

While you should "always be honest about the reason for a gap," said Feldmann, "going into detail is unnecessary."

If your layoff or termination was a direct result of the pandemic, Feldmann said it’s helpful to mention this, as those extreme circumstances impacted millions of people.

"Otherwise, you can mention that your last company wasn’t the best fit for you or that you and your employer had different expectations," he said.

"It’s more important to focus on the solution rather than the problem and direct attention to your experience, skills acquired during the break and what you can do for a prospective employer going forward."

Try this strategy as you discuss the work gap
One effective strategy to paint an employment gap in a positive light, said Feldmann, is to address it in a cover letter, as opposed to using the limited space on your resume.

"By doing this, you can spin the narrative in a favorable direction, while also being upfront about any concerns the employer may have," he said.

Here are the best ways to do this, according to Feldmann.

1. Focus on your experience and qualifications that make you a good fit for the job.

2. Emphasize your eagerness to rejoin the workforce.

3. Demonstrate how you remained active during the gap (classes, new skills, freelance or volunteer work, etc.).

What not to say about an employment gap
While a six-month break in employment may seem like a long time, it’s still a reasonable time period to spend on personal development or a much-needed break caused by burnout, said Feldmann.

As mentioned earlier, the pandemic affected the workforce dramatically, so many employees needed time to recover, he said.

The rules changed, in other words, about an acceptable time length for a break from the workforce.

"As long as candidates are able to discuss how they spent the six-month gap and their experience and qualifications are a good fit for the position, then employers shouldn’t have cause for concern," he noted.

What may raise red flags, however, is pinning the blame on others for your own work history.

"Red flags are raised when employees complain about and/or blame a previous manager or company for not helping them to be successful," Jâlie Cohen, group SVP of human resources for Americas at the Adecco Group, based in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, told FOX Business.

Cohen says this puts the potential future employer on notice that workers don’t hold themselves accountable — and is looking for the company to make them successful instead of taking the reins of their own career.

Another red flag is raised is when people focus on what they need the prospective employer to do for them — yet never engage on how they can add value to the team, said Cohen.

"This is a partnership that requires collaboration, accountability and transparency from both parties to be successful," she said.

10/30/22 - Distinguish yourself: 10 questions to impress your interviewer

By Dawn Wotapka  

During a job interview, candidates typically answer plenty of questions. But, invariably, the tables get turned and the job seeker gets to do the asking. Instead of dreading this pivot, consider it a crucial time to distinguish yourself, to help determine if the role fits you, and to dive deeper into the all-important organizational culture.

"Always have some questions ready to ask, as recruiters and hiring managers love when candidates have queries," said Jim Sullivan, founder and CEO of JCSI, a Massachusetts-based recruiting company.

Career experts can provide valuable insight about what — and what not — to ask when it is your turn to interview the interviewer.

Here are 10 suggested questions:

I read that your organization [insert fact here]. Can you tell me more? Asking something like this demonstrates that you've done your research. It shows "that you know a snippet of information about the company but are eager to learn more," Sullivan said.

What are your expectations for this position? Candidates need to know exactly what the potential employer is looking for. From the interviewer's answer, "you'll get an idea if you feel like you can achieve this goal," said Edith Hamilton, a former CFO who founded NEXT New Growth, a coaching company. "Knowing expectations and sharing similar goals to the company will help you get things in order if you fill the position."

Where do you see the organization in a few years in terms of growth? (Or a similar, appropriate open-ended question) By asking something that doesn't have a right or wrong answer, "you can identify some common challenges," Sullivan said, and you can provide the interviewer possible solutions to those challenges, offering you a chance to shine. This also allows you to glean insight into whether you'd enjoy working for the organization, Sullivan noted.

How would you describe the work environment? Asking the interviewer for their personal experience with the workplace can often elicit a more in-depth and real-world answer than just asking, "What is the company culture?" said Jon Hill, chairman and CEO of The Energists, which places financial professionals in energy roles globally. "That question is likely to get you a near-verbatim reading of the stated culture and policy, rather than the firsthand account from someone who works within it," he said.

What is the biggest challenge facing your department/team/organization today? This question can be used to show you're interested in the employer and its current challenges. "It also allows you to find out what the other person values and what they think will make a big impact," said Kimberley Tyler-Smith, head of strategy for Resume Worded, an AI-enabled career platform.

What is the typical career path for someone in this role? "This shows that you're interested, not just in a job, but in a career with this company," Hill said. "It is also a good way to find out about potential advancement opportunities without it seeming like you only see the role in question as a steppingstone."

What are some projects that you are working on right now that I could help you with? The answer may allow you an opportunity to further highlight your skills and what you can bring to the role. "Ideally, they say something you have experience with, and this will start a conversation and you can tell them how you are qualified and can jump right in," said Anna Papalia, CEO of Shift Profile, a Philadelphia-based company that teaches hiring managers and job seekers how to interview better.

Was there anything done by the previous holder of this position that you really enjoyed and hope continues? When an employee leaves a role, the hiring manager loses the qualities that made that individual an asset. "Use the success of the previous employee and build off of it," Hamilton said. "The hiring manager wants every new hire to be just a little bit better than the previous one."

Was there anything with the job's previous structure that didn't work well? When you take on a new role, you get a chance to make your mark. Knowing what worked and what didn't provides crucial insight to help you "avoid any mistakes that were made in the past," Hamilton said.

How would you describe your leadership style? Leadership styles vary, and it's best to know what you'd be in for. Some bosses are very nurturing, while others are strictly business. "Certain employees work best with specific leaders," Hamilton said. "It's best to know upfront about how a leader works and what they prefer from their employees."

While these questions will help you shine during the process, avoid asking anything that can easily be learned about the organization, because that would make it appear that you didn't read up for the interview, Hill said. Also, don't ask about time off, health benefits, and salary until later in the process. "Asking about vacations before you've even landed the job can send the impression you don't really want to work and can make the interviewer concerned that you won't be available when they need you," he said.

Instead, use the time to showcase your skills and talents as you learn more about the job and the company, Papalia said. "An interview is a two-way street," she said. "You also want to interview them."

Dawn Wotapka is a freelance writer based in Georgia. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Courtney Vien at

10/23/22 - How to Apply for a Job When a Company Isn’t Hiring 

Job seekers and advancement-minded professionals can’t afford to sit around waiting for opportunities to find you.

Taking a proactive, targeted approach is far more effective. That means you should find the company you want to work for and make your pitch.

But, what if your target company isn’t hiring? Is it still worth your time to “apply” when there are no open positions?

The simple answer to this question is, YES.

Whether or not an official job opening exists, it definitely makes sense to initiate a conversation when you find an organization you’d like to work for.

The following strategies will help you do so successfully.

Why apply when there are no open positions?
First, let’s explore why you should still apply when the company isn’t hiring.

Did you know that career experts estimate that approximately 70 to 80% of job openings are never publicly advertised?

Just because it looks like the company isn’t hiring, doesn’t mean there aren’t still opportunities.

Positions may be coming available soon, and in some cases, positions may actually be created for the right candidate.

Even without such good fortune, it still pays to make yourself known to the organization.

That way, when the right position comes along, you’ll be top of mind. Second of all, companies are often more flexible than you may think and if you can make the right pitch, they may be willing to create a role just for you.

How to Apply When a Company Isn’t Hiring

1. Research the company
Before you attempt to pitch yourself for a role when there are no open positions, you have to do your research.

As any good salesperson will tell you, it’s essential to first understand your prospect’s problems and identify what they really need to solve them. Only then can you position yourself as the one who can deliver those solutions.

If you think you’ve found a company you’d like to target, start by learning everything you can about them.

Read their website, press releases, LinkedIn profile, and more. Look for articles available online.

Talk to people who have worked for them or with them in the past. Basically, you’re playing the role of detective. You want to understand where the company has been and where it’s going.

More specifically, you want to identify what it will need with regards to your expertise to be successful in the future. What essential skills and talents do you offer to support the company’s goals and fill any potential gaps?

Remember, you’re pitching yourself proactively—so you need to predict what the company needs and provide an answer for a problem they might not currently have (or know they have), but are likely to have in the future.

2. Introduce yourself via email
Once you have a deep understanding of the company, reach out to appropriate individuals via email.

Who these people are will vary and, again, research is required (LinkedIn is an excellent resource for this).

You may want to connect with a manager that oversees the department you’re interested in, or perhaps it makes more sense to start with an internal recruiter or Human Resources professional.

The goal of this email is to introduce yourself, demonstrate your interest in the company, and position yourself as the ideal candidate, even for a role that currently has no open positions. For example, your email may look something like this:

Dear John, My name is Mary Smith, PMP. I’m reaching out to introduce myself and express my interest in ABC Company. I was so excited to follow the recent development and launch of the 123 product. As an experienced Project Manager in the technology industry, I was inspired to see how a project of this magnitude was delivered so quickly and has exceeded market expectations. Congratulations to you and your team for the impressive work. I look forward to future iterations of the 123 product and continuing to watch as it is further refined. I can only expect that its current success will put increasing demands on the team. I realize that, currently, your company isn’t hiring Project Managers. Regardless, I wanted to get on your radar, should opportunities become available in the future…
From here, you can share a bit of your background, how your skills apply to the organizational goals, and perhaps even direct the reader to your LinkedIn profile, personal website, professional portfolio or attached resume.

You can also suggest a phone call or meeting for coffee, as a way to further get to know one another.

However, a few words of caution as you approach this task:

Don’t be overly presumptuous. While your research has given you some great background information, there is likely a lot you don’t know (and can’t know as an outsider). You want to show that you are well-informed and believe you can be a valuable addition to the team based on what you know, but you don’t want to come off as overconfident.
Don’t offer free work. Some career experts will suggest that you offer to “volunteer” or provide pro-bono services as a way of demonstrating your interest and skills. However, this is (1) not sustainable for you and (2) not generally respected or accepted in the corporate world. Your past portfolio of work and professional references are enough to demonstrate your abilities.

3. Connect via LinkedIn
Once you’ve sent your email introduction, be sure to connect with these people on LinkedIn as well.

This will help ensure you can remain in contact even if the conversation doesn’t progress any further at the moment.

Remember that you want to stay top of mind so that, when a position becomes available, you’re the first person they think of.

Make it a habit to regularly touch base and be a generous contributor to their network. The more positive interactions they have with you, the more memorable you’ll be.

Just because a company isn’t hiring or they have no open positions in your field of expertise, doesn’t mean you can’t begin the process of “networking in.”

You never know what might be secretly available or what might come up in the near future for the right person. If you make strong connections now, you might land a job there without ever going through a formal application process for an officially “open” position.

Chrissy Scivicque is a career coach, corporate trainer and public speaker who believes work can be a nourishing part of the life experience. Her website, Eat Your Career, is devoted to this mission. Chrissy is currently a contributing career expert for U.S. News & World Report and the author of the book, The Proactive Professional: How to Stop Playing Catch Up and Start Getting Ahead at Work (and in Life!), available on Amazon.

10/16/22 - 7 Reasons Why You Are Not Getting To The Next Interview Stage And How To Fix It 

Interviews for senior-level executive roles differ from entry-level job interviews in many ways.

While being on time, having a strong handshake, and researching the company is enough to impress the recruiter when applying for junior positions, for senior executives is bar set higher.

Interviews for senior roles consist of multiple rounds, and getting to the next one is often a matter of tiny details.

To increase your chances of being invited to the next interview stage, make sure you avoid the seven following mistakes.

1. Mistake: You’re stating only general facts
You might think dropping names of the functions you previously held sounds admirable, but the truth is, titles don’t matter so much.

Mentioning them is a great way to exhibit your career highlights, but they shouldn’t be the main focus of your interview.

Saying you had been a CFO is remarkable, but noting which particular goals you managed to reach during that career is more impressive.

How to fix it: Focus on specific accomplishments.
Instead of telling who you are, focus on saying what you can do.

Your achievements in the previous positions are more important than the functions themselves.

The best way to describe your accomplishments is by storytelling. While people often forget plain facts and terms, good stories stick with them for good.

Before the interview, prepare narratives describing the problems you faced in the past and how you approached them. The conclusion should portray your ability to fix issues using your skills and talents.

2. Mistake: You’re talking too much about what you know
Displaying your skills and knowledge seems like a smart idea to make people appreciate your intellect, certificates, and education.

However, this behavior gives a subtle sign you’re a self-centered person forgetting about the bigger picture.

How to fix it: Focus on what you can bring to the company.
You’re not getting hired only because of what you know — you’re getting hired because the company can benefit from your talent in the first place.

Thus, quit talking about yourself and start concentrating on how you can improve the company.

Don’t be shy to mention your business administration degree, but don’t stop there.

If you manage to find any problems the company is currently facing, propose potential solutions or improvements.

Talking about these points will make you look like you’re already a part of the team.

3. Mistake: You’re being too formal without any authenticity
Another common problem during the interviews is the need to look strictly professional.

It comes with avoiding personal answers, showing emotions, or sharing stories.

Even though senior positions require high professionalism, being slightly informal is a necessary step to keep healthy relationships in every workplace.

How to fix it: Introduce your genuine self
While bringing personal issues into your profession isn’t advised, revealing a bit more about yourself makes the interviewer’s job easier.

As the overall relationships at the workplace greatly impact the employees’ performance, understanding who you are helps the company evaluate your personality and emotional intelligence.

Hence, don’t be afraid to show a bit of your personality and authenticity already during the first interview. It’s a great chance to give your interviewer a hint about whether you’ll be a good fit for the team.

4. Mistake: You’re focusing exclusively on your past
There’s nothing wrong with dedicating most of the conversation time to your accomplishments and skills.

Everyone wants to reveal their strengths and experiences, so talking about your achieved goals makes sense. However, too much focus on what you have done comes with an unexpected downfall.

How to fix it: Mention how you want to grow in the future
Mentioning your achievements helps interviewers evaluate your skills, but focusing only on your past may imply you’ve reached the end of your professional journey.

Companies need people with a growth mindset, which means constant improvement and learning have to be a natural part of your professional goals.

To appear as an outward-looking person, always mention what you strive to learn in the future and how you plan to expand your skills.

5. Mistake: You’re concentrating only on answers
For interviewees, it’s typical to put too much attention on the answers as they depict their suitability for a job position.

Yet, concentrating on your resume and the right answers robs you of the chance to demonstrate your interest in the company.

How to fix it: Ask questions to show off your curiosity
The interviewer doesn’t have to be the only person asking questions.

If you start asking more, you’ll encourage a discussion and convey your appeal in the role. You can use questions like:

“Why is this position open?”
“How do the first weeks look in the new position?”
“Shall I gain any specific skills to perform at this job as well as possible?”
The interviewee will appreciate your effort, and you’ll receive practical answers.

Whenever possible, avoid asking questions with “yes” or “no” answers as they don’t usually help the conversation.

6. Mistake: You ignore the end of the interview
Another overlooked mistake is taking off immediately after the interviewing part is over.

You might think your job is done here, but neglecting the end part of the interview can actually cost you an invitation to the second round.

How to fix it: Always close the interview well.
Due to the psychological phenomenon called the peak-end rule, people judge their experiences based on how they feel at the end of them. Therefore, you should strive to finish the interview in the best possible way.

Once the official talk is complete, don’t run away and engage in a personal conversation or ask additional questions.

It offers you a great opportunity to leave a good impression that can later impact the interviewer’s decision.

7. Mistake: You’re focusing only on the interviewer
On your big day, you walk into the building, rehearsing the story you’re about to share with the recruiter.

But somehow, you forget to say hello to the lady at the reception, smile at your future team members, or greet the cleaning guy in the hallway.

A tiny mistake that comes with significant consequences.

How to fix it: Be nice to everyone around.
While people other than your interviewer might seem unimportant to your success, don’t neglect the fact the interviewer might be later discussing your performance with others.

Regardless of their positions, make sure you are kind to everyone so the employees can think of you as a nice person they’ll be happy to welcome on board.

Get invited to the next interview.
Even though executive roles come with great professionalism and maturity, you shouldn’t forget that your interviewer is a human being just like you.

Being cold, sharing only career-related stuff, or not engaging in the conversation are tiny details that might not seem relevant to the role you’re applying for, but they make a tremendous difference once the final decision has to be made.

10/9/22 - How to approach in-person networking again

by Rachel Loock, University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business 

You’ve heard it before: If you want to move up in your career or find a new job, networking with the right people is critical. You can get valuable information on career paths, and you’ll be more likely to hear about job opportunities before they’re posted.

Building rapport with others can be easier and more authentic in a face-to-face situation, leading to more spontaneous conversations. But after a two-year hiatus for many in-person professional meetings and events, getting back out there again can feel new again, and frankly, a bit daunting.

To get started, give yourself — and everyone else — a break. It’s hard to get back to networking, especially if it never felt easy to begin with. Even if you’re back in an office, many casual interactions in work life still aren't there. So how do you push yourself to network and be intentional about it?

Know the goal. Networking is based on finding areas of common interest with someone and building a mutually beneficial relationship. It’s not just about reaching out to people who can help you — think about what you can offer. Are there people on your contact list who might be interested in a job you know about or would benefit from being introduced to one of your colleagues? Reach out, and maybe they’ll return the favor.

Make a plan and hold yourself to it. Come up with a list of people you want to reconnect with and set specific goals. For example, give yourself to the end of summer to meet with three people for coffee or lunch and attend one organized event. After you meet with someone or attend an event, assign yourself action items — like sending email follow-ups or connecting with new contacts on LinkedIn.

Start with something easy. Connect with a colleague you already have a relationship with, but haven’t seen for a while. Summer is a great time to meet outdoors, where it's easier to feel comfortable. Consider taking the initiative at your current workplace to plan an outdoor get-together with co-workers.

Grab a friend. Some conferences are returning in-person. That can be a great way to network, but if going to a conference alone feels overwhelming, ask a friend or a professional colleague to go with you.

Think small. If you're reluctant to attend a big industry conference, try looking for smaller conferences at less-crowded venues. Oftentimes, a national organization will have regional chapters that host smaller gatherings. And check out what’s happening at your alma mater for smaller-scale networking opportunities. Things like alumni events or regional professional meetings can be a good way to reconnect or make new connections.

Make the ask. When you approach someone for an in-person meet-up, give the person an out. Phrase it along the lines of: “It’s been a long time since we’ve connected. I’d love to meet for coffee or lunch, if you’re comfortable getting together.” But don’t make assumptions that everyone is OK meeting in-person again.

There’s always Zoom. If someone isn't comfortable getting together in-person, see if they are open to a virtual meeting or a phone call. The longer you let a relationships sit without any contact, the harder it can be to rekindle.

I’ve made my own goals to reconnect with more people in-person this summer, too. It's is a great time to get back out there, and you’ve got nothing to lose by trying.

Rachel Loock is a career and leadership coach with the Office of Career Services at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.

10/2/22 - 10 Red Flags to Watch Out for in a Job Interview

by Rebecca Zucker 
Summary - While no one can perfectly predict how a new job will turn out, staying alert to potential red flags during the interview process can help weed out sub-optimal employment options. Being observant in your interviews as well as attuned to how the process is managed, asking good follow-up questions, and doing your due diligence can help mitigate the chances of making a bad decision. Here are 10 red flags to look out for.

Job interviews are a two-way process — you’re interviewing your potential boss and employer as much as they’re interviewing you. After all, you don’t just want any job — you want the right job. According to a CareerBuilder survey, two-thirds of workers say they’ve accepted a job only to realize it was not a good fit, with half of them quitting in the first six months. There are several reasons this could happen, including feeling like you’ve been sold a false bill of goods or a realizing that the culture is not consistent with your values or even toxic.

The saying “caveat emptor” — buyer beware — applies when interviewing for a job. This isn’t to suggest that you should go into the interview process overly skeptical or suspicious, but rather to encourage you to be attuned to potential red flags in the interview process that warrant your attention, as they can indicate larger issues with your potential boss, team, or the organization as a whole. Here are 10 red flags to watch out for.

1. Constant rescheduling and disorganization
People are busy and things may unexpectedly come up, so it’s not unusual that an interview may at some point need to be rescheduled. Yet, when it happens multiple times, it’s an indication that something is amiss. “If things get rescheduled let’s say twice, and they want to reschedule a third time, that’s it. That’s too much,” said Susan Peppercorn, an executive and career coach. “There has to be some real extenuating circumstances that get explained to you because your time is valuable just as much as their time is valuable. And it’s sending a message that says you’re not that important. And I think employers today have to be extremely conscious about getting back to job candidates quickly, communicating with them clearly, and treating them as if they were employees…because otherwise job candidates are going to go somewhere else.”

Caroline Stokes, an executive coach and leadership strategist, concurred, adding that constant rescheduling means “They don’t prioritize the people or the placement. They are not cognizant of the war for talent. If things are scattered, and they’re all over the place or they’re disorganized, it’s absolutely a red flag.” This includes their communication with you (or lack thereof). “If the recruiter or the hiring manager ghosts you for a considerable period of time — and by a considerable period of time, I’m talking a week, that’s a red flag,” Stokes said. It shows a lack of transparency and inability to communicate properly.

2. Disrespecting others
Every organization has some natural tensions or frustrations between different departments, such as sales and engineering. Are the people you’re meeting with during the interview process able to talk about challenges or tensions with other stakeholders in a constructive way, or do they do so disparagingly or disrespectfully? If it’s the latter, this is a red flag, not only indicating that the organization may be highly siloed, but also that there may be low psychological safety.

Stokes points out that if you participate in a panel interview, with two or more interviewers, it’s a good opportunity to observe the dynamics between the panelists. How do they interact with each other? Do they interrupt each other regularly? Does one person dominate the conversation, shutting the others down? What does their body language, including subtle micro-expressions, say, even if the interview is on Zoom?

3. Values conflict
A values mismatch is a big red flag. Get clear on what your most important values are before you start the interview process and have questions ready that will allow you to assess the company’s culture, the extent to which the organization shares your most deeply held values, and how well you’d be able to express your these values on the job.

For example, if you have a value of inclusion, and the company you are interviewing with says they are committed to this principle, what are they doing to ensure the workplace is, indeed, inclusive? How are they measuring it? Is the organization walking the talk or is it just lip service? “If you really are looking for a good, strong environment to commit to for the next few years, you need to be diligent about the values aspect,” Stokes shared.

Likewise, if you have a value of autonomy, you might ask your boss a question like, “Which decisions would you expect me to make, and which decisions would you want me to escalate to you?” Even if they tell you what you want to hear, take a “trust but verify” approach. Ask others who report to this leader what their experience has been in being given autonomy or to what extent have they been empowered with decision-making authority. A lack of convincing answers is a red flag.

4. Lack of clarity or consistency in answers to your questions
As you ask questions throughout the interview process, how clear or precise are the answers you are given? Are the answers you receive vague or general statements, or does the interviewer give you tangible examples — the same as they’d expect from you? “If you don’t feel that you’re getting specific and direct answers, that’s a red flag,” said Peppercorn. You should ask follow-up probing questions until you feel like you’ve be given the specificity you need.

Throughout the interview process, you’ll be meeting with various stakeholders who will be important to your success in this role. Have a core set of questions that you ask each person to understand their perspective, as well as notice where there is alignment in their answers and, perhaps more important, where there is not. You’ll want to see that there is a fair degree of consistency in their answers from one person to the next. A different answer from one person may still be consistent and complement others’ responses, painting a fuller picture of the situation, role, or environment for you. Some variance is okay and is to be expected. It’s when you hear answers to the same question that are in direct conflict — or inconsistent — with others’ answers, that it’s a red flag.

5. Bait and switch
When the job for which you are interviewing starts to sound very different from the initial job description that prompted your application, this is a red flag. To be sure, change is constant. Yet, if the hiring manager doesn’t explicitly highlight or call out the change, it can be an indication that they don’t communicate or manage change well with key stakeholders, both internally and externally.

Likewise, if the change in the scope of the role suddenly makes the job less interesting to you, this is well worth noting. “They may be moving so quickly that they haven’t stopped long enough to be able to explain to job candidates well that ‘Yes, we said this in our job description, but over the past 30 days, our needs have changed…so we really need the person to focus in this area instead of that area.’,” Peppercorn said. “That [lack of communication] would make me a little concerned about does the organization know what they’re doing?”

6. Inappropriate questions or comments
In the limited Showtime series Super Pumped that chronicles the rise of Uber and its toxic leadership during that time, it is no surprise to anyone that the hubris-filled “bro-culture” was revealed immediately by Travis Kalanick’s first interview question, “Are you an a**hole?” The only correct answer to this question (if you wanted a job there at the time) was “Yes.” There is no brighter shade of scarlet than that particular red flag. While you may not be asked a question as crude or blatant as this one, it’s entirely possible that an interviewer could ask a highly inappropriate or even illegal question or make an inappropriate comment.

If you receive a question or comment that is ageist, sexist, racist, or equally offensive, it is an obvious red flag that this organization not only has poor training, but also likely tolerates bad behavior — or just as bad, has not addressed unconscious bias in its talent management practices, including recruiting.

7. Lack of connection
A good interview is an engaged two-way conversation that leaves both parties feeling energized and excited about the possibility of working together. When there is a lack of energy or connection and the interviewer doesn’t seem engaged, is not smiling, seems distracted, and/or is robotically asking questions as if following a script and not really trying to get to know you, that is not a good sign. “If you notice that the people that you’re talking to don’t seem engaged… it could be that they’re going through the motions because they already have somebody else lined up for the position,” Peppercorn said. “So, if somebody’s interviewing you, but they know that they’ve found the person that they want, they’re likely not to be so enthusiastic during the interview.”

Likewise, there can be a sudden shift in the energy or engagement from one round of interviews to the next. Stokes shared that a client of hers said after a second round of interviews, “The first interview was really great. You know, there was great chemistry….The second interview, not so great. There was no chemistry there. There was no warmth.” She immediately thought, “Yeah, because they like somebody else.” Stokes said that the sudden shift in enthusiasm was a red flag that they’d found another candidate that they preferred, and they just didn’t want to cancel the interview because they wanted to make sure that they their hunch was right. She added, “It’s also a sign that they don’t know how to communicate effectively.”

8. Resistance to change (even if they say they want change)
Open positions exist because an organization needs someone to improve the current situation — to build better products, create operational efficiencies, attract new clients, improve departmental performance and the like. Making improvements in the business requires change. A client of mine, “David,” was hired by his last employer to improve the organization’s customer support function. While he was hired to turnaround the department and create change, his boss’s boss ultimately didn’t want change and felt threatened by it. Since she was the one with the power, it didn’t turn out so well for David. I asked him what red flags there were in his interviews, and he noted that she had said to him, “I may have opinions about this [function], since I used to do this years ago.”

At the time, her answer didn’t really faze him, since most managers are going to have an opinion. But a simple follow-up question might have raised an important red flag, such as, “How do you deal with others who have different opinions?” He may have gotten more useful information here from both her words and body language, and from those who worked with her to see what their experience was of how she handles conflicting points of view. Sadly, it was her way or the highway. Even worse, as it turned out, she had worked in that function decades prior and much had changed since then, including the technology that she was woefully unfamiliar with. She overrode my client’s improvement recommendations in favor of outdated practices that hadn’t been used since the 1980s versus more efficient methods and technologies he proposed. It was frustrating — every day felt demoralizing and like an uphill battle to David.

Stokes shared that some hiring managers “just don’t have an improvement mindset. They may just be so old school they just want to keep it the way things are…You’ve got to keep your ears wide open on that.”

9. Excessive number of interviews or drawn-out interview process
In an ideal world, the interview process itself would be efficient and optimize (versus maximize) stakeholder involvement and alignment, and not take more than a few months. A red flag arises when the number of interviews becomes excessive, and the process drags on for an extended period of time. Either (or both) of these can be a sign that the team or organization is overly consensus driven, indecisive, or has issues driving things to completion.

While the number of interviews and duration of the interview process is likely to be positively correlated with the level of the position (e.g., a C-suite interview process may take longer than a more junior position, as the stakes are higher, and the rest of the C-suite and board members will be involved), Peppercorn considers 10 to 12 interviews to be excessive. (She’s seen up to 14). While this many interviews could make sense for a C-level candidate, it does not for a director. She said, “It should be the hiring manager that makes that decision, so why do you have to have 14 interviews? What is that saying about the organization and its ability to get things done?” Some companies, like Google, are actively taking steps to shorten drawn-out interview processes to be more competitive in the war for talent.

10. Exploding offers
Exploding offers are job offers that are given with a firm deadline (often on a very tight timeline), beyond which, the offer expires. While rare, these still occur on occasion. One client of mine was given an offer at one company on a Friday afternoon and was told he had until Monday to decide. He was still interviewing with his dream employer and succumbed to the pressure from the first company and the security of having an offer of employment versus tolerating the uncertainty that remained with his ideal company (which incidentally ended up backfiring for the company whose offer he accepted, as he left months later when the job at the dream employer finally came through).

An exploding offer is basically an ultimatum. Ultimatums don’t feel good or show respect for an individual’s desire to make a thoughtful career decision and weigh their options that will affect their career and livelihood for years to come. It shows rigidness, insecurity, and even bullying behavior on the employer’s part (not to mention a big blind spot in their awareness of how the company will be perceived in the talent market). Do you want to join a company because you are under duress to do so, or because you genuinely are excited to work there? When people (or organizations) show you who they are, believe them. Companies that issue exploding offers are not likely to respect your wants and needs once you’re on the job, and are likely to be inflexible, bullying and autocratic.

While no one can perfectly predict how a new job will turn out, staying alert to the potential red flags mentioned above during the interview process can help weed out suboptimal employment options. Being observant in your interviews as well as attuned to how the process is managed, asking good follow-up questions, and doing your due diligence can help mitigate the chances of making a bad decision.

Rebecca Zucker is an executive coach and a founding partner at Next Step Partners, a leadership development firm. Her clients have included Amazon, Clorox, Morrison Foerster, Norwest Venture Partners, The James Irvine Foundation, and high-growth technology companies like DocuSign and Dropbox. You can follow her on Twitter: @rszucker

9/25/22 - 93% of employers want to see soft skills on your resume—here are 8 of the most in-demand ones

by Gili Malinsky 

When applying for a job, there are many ways to optimize your resume. You can check the listing to see where the employer’s priorities lie in terms of experience, and make sure to highlight what’s most important to them, for example. You can include any major achievements like exceeding sales goals. And you can include a link to your LinkedIn profile.

One group of skills career experts say is crucial to include is your soft skills. An overwhelming majority ― 93% of employers ― say “soft skills play a critical role in their decision about whom they want to hire,” Ian Siegel, co-founder and CEO of ZipRecruiter, said in the company’s recent report The Job Market Outlook for Grads.

Soft skills include a wide array of abilities. “I would say, in general, communication is very high on that list right now considering how people are working in very different situations, hybrid situations,” says Kristin Kelley, chief marketing officer at CareerBuilder, as an example.

ZipRecruiter compiled some of the most in-demand soft skills on its platform. Here are the top skills on that list, including the number of jobs on the site listing the skill as a requirement.

Communication skills - Number of jobs listing the skill: 6.1 million

Customer service - Number of jobs listing the skill: 5.5 million

Scheduling - Number of jobs listing the skill: 5 million

Time management skills - Number of jobs listing the skill: 3.6 million

Project management - Number of jobs listing the skill: 2.8 million

Analytical thinking - Number of jobs listing the skill: 2.7 million

Ability to work independently - Number of jobs listing the skill: 2 million

Flexibility - Number of jobs listing the skill: 1.3 million

When it comes to the importance of communication, in part, as Kelley says, that’s a result of the new remote and hybrid work arrangements that rely heavily on tech. “How you respond to someone who sent you an email” matters, she says as an example. “Formally respond to them in 24 hours.”

The importance of communication is also a result of various companies’ recent diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives.

“To be a diverse and inclusive employer,” says Georgene Huang, co-founder and CEO of Fairygodboss, “you have to work with all different kinds of people, which means you have to be able to communicate effectively with all different kinds of people.”

When it comes to scheduling and time management, “no matter what kind of role you have, if you can’t organize your time,” you can’t be effective, she says.

Finally, when it comes to flexibility, “people really have to be able to turn left, turn right on a dime, join the Zoom, be able to manage their own instant messages coming in,” says Kelley. There’s an element of ease with multitasking and being able to switch what you’re doing at a moment’s notice that has heightened since the pandemic and as so many people continue to work from home.

Include your soft skills by giving concrete examples of how you’ve used them either in your resume intro or the bullets under your job descriptions.


9/18/22 - Learn to Love Networking (or at Least Tolerate It)

A look at the social and psychological factors that can make networking uncomfortable and how to overcome them. 

Maryam Kouchaki, Edward (Ned) Smith, Leigh Thompson, Brian Uzzi, and coauthors

We tend to have a range of reactions to the prospect of networking. Some of us love making connections and sharing information with new people. Some of us dread the awkward introductions and small talk.

And though we have probably all heard that networking is important to our career, these different attitudes mean we approach it differently. Below, our faculty discuss several social and psychological factors involved in networking—so you can assess your own approach and change it if you need to.

1. Networking’s “Ick” Factor
Maryam Kouchaki, an associate professor of management and organizations, is interested in the ick factor that many of us feel while networking. She and coauthors explored where that feeling comes from and found that networking can make people feel morally impure.

For example, in one study, participants saw partial words that could either be completed with a word related to cleanliness or an unrelated word (S _ _ P could be “soap” or “step”). They found that participants who had been asked to recall an instance of professional networking were more likely to fill in cleansing-related words than participants who had recalled forging a personal connection.

How does the aversion to networking that some people feel affect their professional careers? The researchers asked a group of lawyers about their personal-networking patterns and found that lawyers who felt dirtier after networking tended to do it less often—and had fewer billable hours.

2. How to Get Over an Aversion to Networking
Given networking’s importance to many careers, Kouchaki’s findings raises an interesting question: Can anything be done to combat this feeling of impurity? In another paper, Kouchaki and the same colleagues examined how the lens through which people view their networking can alter how they feel about it.

“We wanted to know what determines whether people feel guilty or not, and what we can do to help people get over this discomfort,” she says.

Across several studies, they found that the more people viewed networking as a way of achieving a goal (as opposed to a way of preventing negative professional consequences), the less troubled by networking they felt, and the more likely they were to actually do it.

“Think about networking as an opportunity rather than a burden,” Kouchaki advises. “That’s the biggest hurdle you need to overcome.”

3. Who Else Dislikes Networking?
Kouchaki’s studies reveal one group of people with a particular aversion to networking—those who see it as a burden. But other groups have their own reasons for disliking networking.

A study by the late Ned Smith, who was an associate professor of management and organizations, looked at why seasoned professionals seem to be more comfortable actively reaching out to their networks than their more junior colleagues. After all, junior professionals often stand to gain the most from networking, so they’re doing themselves no favors if they’re networking-averse.

“We sensed this disconnect between who actually needs to be doing the networking behavior the most, and who is actually doing the networking behavior the most,” says coauthor Jiyin Cao, who earned her PhD from Kellogg and is now at Stony Brook University.

Smith and Cao explored why this is the case. First, they confirmed that higher-status people have larger networks and are more likely to work to broaden those networks. But, critically, they found that the differences between low- and high-status individuals actually hinged on something else: whether people considered status to be an indicator of quality. When people attributed their own high status to their talent and hard work, they were particularly eager to network because they were confident they had value to offer and that others would be receptive to their outreach.

“Higher-status people think, ‘I’m not just networking; I’m offering value to you,’” Cao explains. “They don’t feel like they’re taking advantage of their networking partner, which makes them come across as more authentic.”

Of course, the opposite is also true: lower-status individuals who feel they have little to offer others are less likely to network.

For those people, Cao advises to “think about the value you bring to this relationship. If you know you have value to bring to the relationship, you will feel more comfortable about doing this type of work.”

4. Status Affects How We Network
So social status affects how people generally approach networking. Another study by Smith and Leigh Thompson, a professor of management and organizations, shows that status also affects how people network when they really, really need to: when they’re at risk of losing a job.

Smith, Thompson, and coauthor Tanya Menon, at The Ohio State University, found that those who identify as having high social status tap into broader social networks when faced with the prospect of job loss than those who regard themselves as low-status individuals.

Accordingly, “If I’m a high-status person under a threat, I’ll be in a better position potentially to find the next job than a low-status person under threat,” Thompson says.

The difference does not reflect differently sized support networks. Rather, the research shows that higher-status job seekers typically reach out to a wide range of contacts, including individuals they met only occasionally in their work lives. Low-status people, by contrast, tend to share their situation with only their closest associates, such as family members and old friends.

“When people who perceive themselves as having high status face job loss, they remember the weak ties more than they otherwise would have,” Smith says. This is important because weak network ties are key sources of job-related information. “Low-status people under the same threat have exactly the opposite response; they go to dense, strong ties.”

5. When It Makes Sense to Network Differently
While it’s true that everyone should be networking, that doesn’t mean it’s a one-size-fits-all activity. Different types of people need to form different sorts of networks.

This is true for men and women hoping to land top jobs, according to research from Brian Uzzi, a professor of management and organizations, and colleagues.

The researchers analyzed social-network and job-placement data for graduates of an MBA program. For men, the most significant factor affecting job status after graduation was how “central” they were in their networks—that is, with how many highly connected people they have relationships.

Successful women also tended to be more central, but that alone was not enough to land them a top job. The most successful women often had a tight-knit circle of female colleagues as well.

The reason may come down to the types of information that men versus women need to succeed. Presumably, having numerous connections provides access to what the researchers call “public information,” such as which companies are hiring and which types of candidates they’re seeking. For men, that alone may be enough to land a good job.

Women, however, also need “private information,” which may include insider tips about a company’s leadership culture and politics, or hints about how to make an impression in a male-dominated industry.

Women are only likely to put faith in such private information when it comes from trusted contacts. Furthermore, only fellow women can provide the sensitive, gender-specific information that will be useful in a career context—hence the benefit of having connections who are both close and are women.

“You need that private information to understand how to negotiate within a world where you’re being held to different standards,” Uzzi says.

Maryam Kouchaki
Associate Professor of Management & Organizations

Edward (Ned) Smith
Associate Professor of Management & Organizations (2013-2021); Associate Professor of Sociology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences (Courtesy)

Leigh Thompson
J. Jay Gerber Professor of Dispute Resolution & Organizations; Professor of Management & Organizations; Director of Kellogg Team and Group Research Center; Professor of Psychology, Weinberg College of Arts & Sciences (Courtesy)

Brian Uzzi
Richard L. Thomas Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change; Co-Director, Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO); Faculty Director, Kellogg Architectures of Collaboration Initiative (KACI); Professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Sciences, McCormick School (Courtesy); Professor of Sociology, Weinberg College (Courtesy)

Emily Stone is senior editor at Kellog

9/11/22 - What to Say When a Recruiter Asks Your Salary Requirement

Here's how to navigate the often uncomfortable topic of compensation.
By Sarah Showfety 

It can be such a deer-in-headlights, panic-inducing moment. You’ve spent weeks scrolling through job listings, (ruling out most of them), selecting a few that fit your background and career path, tailored and tweaked your cover letter ten times, and finally gotten a bite from a hiring manager at a company you’d love to work for. Not five minutes into the nebulously-named “introductory conversation” (which is really just a screening call) they nail you to the wall with, “And what are your salary requirements?”

It’s a tricky spot—we must find a diplomatic reply that keeps us in the running without shooting ourselves in the foot with a low number. As a job seeker, it pays to be prepared with a savvy answer that keeps you in contention for the position while still securing the highest number possible.

How to research what a position pays
First, as annoying and backwards as it is, you must research the market and salary ranges for your position. Companies want to see that you’ve done your homework, and you’re generally aware of what the position will pay. As the HR consulting firm Robert Half recommends: “Check out reputable sources, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics for federal data on wages in your industry. Also, review the 2022 Salary Guide From Robert Half to get the average national salary for the position you’re seeking.”

How to answer the salary requirement question
Once armed with this information, it’s time to get your response ready. There are a few best practices recommended by career experts.

Delay the question: If you’re just beginning the interview process, saying you need more information before you can provide a salary expectation is reasonable. For example, “I’d like to learn more about the position and responsibilities so I can provide a more realistic expectation.” Keep in mind, however, you will eventually need to discuss salary, and there are advantages to speaking candidly about money early on—so you can rule out any positions that don’t meet your minimum salary requirement.

Provide a salary range: Rather than giving one specific number, give a range you’re comfortable with. Make sure your target number is close to the bottom figure you provide, because the employer will likely opt for something on the lower end of your range. Provide a range with only a $5,000 to $10,000 gap between the high and low end.

Flip the script: Many career experts recommend flipping the script and getting their salary requirement first, to avoid being low-balled and leaving money on the table. Career Coach Rosie McCarthy shares the following script on her Instagram page: “Before I can discuss salary in detail, I’d need to have a better understanding of the exact role scope and level of responsibility, as well as what the global package entails.⁠ Can you share the range for the role and I’ll let you know if it’s about what I had in mind?” Hopefully, they will engage with your inquiry and not say, “I just need a number.” (Speaking from personal experience.) If they won’t play ball, or if you’d like to take a different tack, see below.

Provide negotiation options: Keeping in mind that salary is just one piece of the compensation puzzle, let them know you need to hear more about the overall package, including benefits, discretionary income, vacation and other perks before definitively deciding. provides this example: “I am seeking a position that pays between $75,000 and $80,000 annually, but I am open to negotiating salary depending on benefits, bonuses, equity, stock options and other opportunities.”

When it’s time to give a number: When you’ve reached the end of the interview process and it’s time to settle on a number, you may find the initial range or number you provided is too low. If that’s the case, begin your response by conveying your excitement about the position, summarizing the responsibilities, and what you will bring to the table.

For example: “I’m really excited by this opportunity! I respect the range already discussed, but after hearing the scope of responsibilities and considering my (X) years of experience excelling in a similar role, I think $XX is a fair figure. I’m confident my years doing (XYZ) have equipped me well to succeed in the position.”

Then, and this is important: Don’t worry that they will retract the offer simply because you advocate to earn what you’re worth. They have already dedicated resources to vetting and interviewing; they’re not going to pull the plug simply because you negotiate your salary. (Here’s how.) This is a common and expected part of the process we all should be engaging in.

9/4/22 - How to List Your Volunteer Activity on LinkedIn & Fill a Gap

by Lynne Williams Ed.D. Candidate 

Do you know how to list your volunteer activity on LinkedIn and fill a gap? You can add it to your experience section to fill a career break.

There may be reasons for listing it elsewhere than the volunteer section.

The topic of dealing with gaps came up at a recent LinkedIn training I did when attendees wanted to discuss options for filling gaps on their resumes and LinkedIn profile.

In March of 2022, LinkedIn announced a new feature called Career Breaks. It’s a great feature, but you may or may not want to use it to fill a void on your profile if you do not have a current job.

Prior to the release of that Career Break feature, I had recommended that individuals use the term “Sabbatical” when there was a significant gap between jobs.

In the gap article noted above are links to two other articles stating that it is better to show you have a “to present” job on LinkedIn than not have a current job listed.

This situation is where it might be helpful to include a “to present” role as a nonprofit volunteer, especially if the nonprofit has a company page on LinkedIn and you can display their logo.

You don’t have to list your job title solely as “Volunteer” at the organization. You can embellish your job titles up to 100 characters.

If you are using your skillset, list what you are doing for the organization and add “volunteer” at the end.

Example: Social Media | Graphic Design | Branding | Marketing | Communications | Fundraising | Volunteer

This job title is an example of someone volunteering for a nonprofit but showcases what they do for the organization, totaling 95 characters.

Placing this volunteer role in the Experience section not only fills the employment gap but lists keywords in one of the important places to include keywords on LinkedIn.

If you wonder about listing the volunteer role twice (Volunteering section and Experience), it’s absolutely fine. There are no written rules anywhere that state you cannot do this.

As the Executive Director of a nonprofit, I have the nonprofit listed on my LinkedIn profile in the Experience section, the Volunteering section, and the Professional Organizations section because we are a networking organization.

Do what makes sense and works best for your situation, and just know that you can “color outside the box” on this one. Volunteering your time and talent can be showcased in more than the Volunteering section.


8/28/22 - 9 Ways to Avoid Job Search Fatigue

Looking for a job is draining, writes Olga Koutseridi, who gives advice for how to stay energized throughout the process.

By Olga Koutseridi 

Let’s be honest: searching for a job is draining. I have yet to meet one graduate student or postdoc who gets their energy from engaging in the process, largely because it requires managing a lot of different components. For example, you are expected to exert mental energy on researching opportunities, analyzing tons of job descriptions, setting up and facilitating informational interviews, tracking and managing a lot of data, making a list of targets, developing technical writing and interviewing skills, and finally creating competitive and targeted documents that speak to the specific needs of the job description and organization.

Even this long list is not exhaustive, and job searchers must complete many other steps. On top of all of that, as graduate students you are also juggling academic priorities, social justice issues and familial and financial obligations—and, for some of you, immigration requirements, as well. It is no surprise then that one of the most common questions that I hear from students in career advising sessions concerns how they can sustain energy throughout the process. To successfully conduct a job search, you absolutely need energy, enthusiasm, a positive attitude and confidence. Such things are foundational to any job search success.

Thus, the goal of this article is to offer graduate students who are actively looking for a job a list of practical advice on how they can stay energized throughout the process and avoid job search fatigue. Hundreds of graduate students in career coaching sessions have tested these techniques and incorporated them into their job searches.

1. Know what energizes you and prioritize it. It is tempting and easy to focus all your energy on what you think you should be doing in your job search. One of the most common mistakes I see in advising is that graduate students almost always allocate all of their time to writing résumés and applying for as many jobs as possible. Instead, try to prioritize what excites you or gives you energy in the job search process. Ask yourself, what is the most interesting aspect of my job search, and how can I lean into that more?

For example, when I work with graduate students who are relational, we prioritize interacting with people by allocating more of the job search time to engaging in informational interviews, connecting on LinkedIn and building professional relationships within their target organizations. Students report feeling more energized because they get to approach the job search through their strengths and intentionally focus on things that interest them while pursuing their goals.

2. Boost your confidence. You can build it by consciously recognizing and consistently reminding yourself of your self-worth. Start with introspection. Make a list of all the skills, experiences and values that you bring. Ask yourself, “What are my strengths; what am I really good at?” Try asking a friend or trusted colleague what they see as your strengths. Now, start to think of all the things you have to offer to potential employers, how you are prepared to meet the needs of the organization and how you will thrive and be successful in that role. Don’t censor yourself—get it all out on paper.

Important caveat: this work is surprisingly difficult and takes quite a bit of time, patience and creative thinking. Often graduate students and postdocs will convince themselves that they have nothing to offer employers, but that is a fear or a limiting belief that is unsupported by evidence. You need to gather objective facts to challenge this belief, a step that will leave you feeling empowered and energized.

3. Know your worth. It is extremely important to conduct market research on yourself. What is your market value? How much do people with similar credentials, experience and skills make in your field? Having a better understanding of your market value can really boost your confidence. A great way to do such research is to connect with industry professionals. You can incorporate an informational interview question on this topic. For example, if you are speaking with a senior scientist at Merck who had a similar profile when they first transitioned out of a Ph.D. program, you can ask them about their starting salary range. You can also do online research using tools such as Glassdoor and PayScale to find salary ranges for the positions and industry you are searching in.

You also want to speak and build relationships with recruiters; their role is to fill positions with talent. They are full of valuable information about what employers are currently looking for, what skills are trending and what the most accurate and up-to-date compensation is for various positions.

4. Foster a growth mind-set. Employers and companies are looking to hire people who have a growth mind-set. Job searching is full of fixed mind-set triggers. Setbacks, criticism, comparison and failure are all natural aspects of the job search process—whether it’s not hearing back after submitting your painstakingly written application or making it to the final interview round and not getting the offer. How will you face such challenges? A growth mind-set will help you navigate them and view them as learning opportunities, allowing you to bounce back, pivot and employ new and creative search strategies. Additionally, having a growth mind-set will help you see job searching as a set of various skills that you will improve in overtime instead of something finite.

5. Challenge limiting beliefs. This technique comes directly from cognitive processing theory. Many graduate students will develop a series of limiting beliefs about their job search. For example, two of the most common limiting beliefs that I encounter in graduate career advising are “I will never get a job” and “I have nothing to offer.” The first thing you want to do is to collect evidence to challenge it. Make a list of all the evidence that proves this statement nonfactual. Having one piece of evidence is all it takes to undermine the belief. Employing the Socratic method, ask yourself questions that challenge your limiting beliefs. For example, do you currently have a job? Have you been able to get jobs in the past? Are the skills you have in demand?

6. Talk to yourself like you would a friend. When a friend or a colleague comes to you with a problem or a challenge, what do you say to them? Do you criticize them for not doing enough or working fast enough? Do you beat them up for making a mistake? Absolutely not. Instead, you lead with compassion, reassurance and understanding. I want you to do the same thing for yourself. Incorporate self-compassion into your job search; it will help you be kind and patient, and it will sustain your energy.

The idea of giving yourself a pep talk is pretty unnatural for most graduate students. You can start small. Incorporate phrases such as “I am doing the best I can, and that’s enough” or “It is understandable that I feel this way, as the job searching is overwhelming, and I deserve kindness, just like everyone else.” Having a compassionate internal dialogue during the search process will help you have a more fulfilling and pleasant experience. Self-criticism, in contrast, will make you dread the process and often leads to procrastination.

7. Form a support group, or get a job search buddy. Job searching is hard, so why go through the process all on your own? Take agency into your own hands. You can start your own support group or find what I call a job search buddy. Look to other graduate students for support; chances are that many of them are going through similar experiences. You can create a Slack workspace or Discord server—both require little effort and are incredibly inclusive ways of fostering a support group and community.

If you are having a hard time finding peers within your college or university, find graduate students online who can join your channel. You can celebrate your wins, troubleshoot, create accountability and share knowledge and opportunities virtually as well as in person.

8. Build job search tasks into your schedule. One of the biggest culprits of job search fatigue is decision fatigue. The best way to avoid decision fatigue is to incorporate your search into your schedule ahead of time. Instead of asking yourself every day what you should do to advance your search, pick one time a week (usually Sunday) when you can schedule the tasks of the search into your weekly, biweekly or monthly calendar. This practice will help minimize the number of decisions you have to make and free up energy to make actual progress by connecting on alumni platforms, attending employer events, practicing interviews and the like.

9. Reward yourself. Your job search is now built into your weekly schedule. After completing a task that’s related to your job search, such as sending out 10 informational interview requests or analyzing six job descriptions, reward yourself with something—say, a 15-minute walk around the block or a bar of dark chocolate.

This is also a great way to build in breaks into your job search process. As any good coach would say, breaks are fundamental to preserving and restoring your energy. Recovery is part of the job search process. This mind-set helps build healthy habits of work-life balance by encouraging you to engage in the process even when it might not always render immediate rewards. Additionally, it helps you celebrate all the small steps that you are taking to achieve your end goal. The focus shifts from celebrating the end result or single big accomplishment to valuing all the work you are doing. And that will allow you to move through the job search process with energy.

Incorporating these practical steps into your job search will allow you to navigate the process with less stress and worry—and even with some level of excitement. In fact, I am confident that these techniques and new habits will help you approach the job search with energy rather than dread.

Olga Koutseridi is the senior advanced degree coordinator for global mobility at the University of Texas at Austin. She leads the design of international career and professional development programming, advising and resources that directly address the needs and challenges of international advanced degree students pursuing careers in academe and industry inside and outside the United States. She is a member of the Graduate Career Consortium—an organization providing an international voice for graduate-level career and professional development leaders.

8/21/22 - Over 50 and looking for a job? Here’s what you need to know about age and work

by Cheryl Winokur Munk.. 


Yet many companies are increasingly looking to attract mature workers, and with good reason. For one, the labor market is as tight as it’s been in decades and there are now two open jobs for every worker in the nation, and firms are struggling to recruit and retain talent. Research from employee scheduling company Homebase suggests that seniors are more engaged; more likely to look forward to work; more connected to their companies; and less likely to consider quitting. This makes older workers especially attractive in the currently tight labor market, said Jason Greenberg, head economist at Homebase.

Here are four tips to help older workers find an age-friendly employer.

1. Identify companies committed to hiring older workers
Start with those that have publicly pledged to level the playing field for older workers. More than 1,000 companies, including Humana, Microsoft, Marriott International and McDonald’s, have signed on to the AARP Employer Pledge program. Eligible companies can’t have had discrimination lawsuits within the past five years. They must also agree to recruit across diverse age groups and consider all applications equally, regardless of age. AARP also offers a jobs board to help match experienced candidates with companies who have committed to having an age-diverse employee base.

The Age-Friendly Institute also certifies companies that are considered best-in-class for workers aged 50 and above. Applicants go through an extensive review and certification process, which includes committing to “meaningful employment, development opportunities and competitive pay and benefits for employees 50+.” The list, last updated in April, includes Aetna, Home Depot, Macy’s, Starbucks and Wells Fargo.

Just be aware that these lists can change, and don’t give you the whole picture, so be sure to do your due diligence on any company you are considering, said Lance Robertson, a former U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Assistant Secretary for Aging, who is now a director at Guidehouse, a global consulting and IT services provider.

2. Looks for clues in job postings
Older job candidates should look at a company’s job ads, which can offer insights into the company’s culture and if it’s really age inclusive, said Paul Lewis, chief customer officer at Adzuna, an online job search engine. Older job seekers should look for language that specifically states the company doesn’t discriminate based on age, he said.

Conversely, seniors should be wary of companies that use the term “digital native” in a job description or set a cap on the number of years of experience as a job requirement, said Karina Hertz, strategic communications director of AARP.

Additionally, websites like LinkedIn, Facebook and Glassdoor can be helpful in finding resources and information about a company’s employment practices, including its commitment to older workers. And talking to current and former employees is also a good opportunity to gather information, Robertson said.

It’s also worth checking out what tools, if any, a company offers to help older workers find jobs. Humana, for example, has a career site, with a section on “jobs after retirement” where seniors can search for jobs, learn about popular roles for older workers, and get answers to FAQ, including what the impact of working could be on their Social Security benefits. Workers who are younger than what the Social Security Administration considers their full retirement age and earn more than the yearly earnings limit, $19,560 in 2022, may have their benefits reduced. This means a deduction of $1 from your benefit payments for every $2 you earn above the annual limit, for those who are under full retirement age all year.

3. Press HR for specific answers on learning, benefits
After doing your basic research, be sure to talk to a company’s human resources department to get a deeper understanding of the company’s policies, Robertson said.

Seniors should ask about the kinds of support the company provides to family caregivers and what flexible work options exist in the event an employee needs to take on or increase existing responsibilities. This can include an array of options including job-sharing, compressed work weeks, remote work, hybrid work and project-based work, said Chantelle Johnson, associate vice president of workforce and culture at Humana. It’s also important to find out whether the company offers networking groups for seniors, which is a good way for mature workers to connect and benefit from shared experiences, she said.

Approaches to team collaboration, and learning and development opportunities, are important to know about in advance, said Ronni Zehavi, CEO of HiBob, an HR tech platform. “Even if someone has been in the workforce for 30 years or longer, it doesn’t mean that they have acquired all the wisdom they possibly want,” he said.

It’s equally important to inquire how this learning is accomplished, since many older adults aren’t as tech-savvy as their younger counterparts. Find out whether the company offers other options beyond online and app-based training, Robertson said. And health-care options, including dental, vision and pharmacy benefits, become even more important as people age, so that’s a must to understand, he added.

4. Know the red flags
Look to see whether older workers are featured on the company’s website and in promotional materials. According to Lewis, it’s a bad sign if the organization only chooses to showcase employees in their 20s and 30s.

And if a potential employer asks how old you are, when you graduated, or any other questions meant to gauge your age — either on an application or in a job interview — consider that a red flag, Hertz said.

They shouldn’t be saying things like, “I wasn’t even born when you did that work experience or went to college,” Lewis added.

Tampa Bay, Fl

Transition Masters - Transition Masters includes a combination of virtual lectures, and mock interview practice in a friendly, supportive environment, for FREE! Explore our website to learn more about Transition Masters. We meet virtually on Mondays from 5:30-8:00 pm EST. We ask that you register on this website and that once enrolled, you attend every class until you graduate. Any classes missed must be made up during subsequent TM programs.

Career Clarity - When you register for Transition Masters (or any other program) you will automatically receive Career Clarity. This is a FREE self -administered program that provides insight in the direction of your career. When you join Transition Masters we expect you to be clear about your career intentions, meaning the type of work you intend to pursue. Transition Masters participation requires a current resume, and job description, to be used in mock interviews.

 Transition Masters Topic Agenda

Week 1 Career Clarity

Week 2 Fifty But Not Finished

Week 3 The Inner Game of Job Search

Week 4 Skills Identification, Finding Target Companies, Accomplishments

Week 5 Job Search Strategy Assessment, Job Search Planning and Accountability

Week 6 Job Description Analysis, 21st Century Resumes, and Applicant Tracking Systems

Week 7 What to Do Before, During, and After an Interview

Week 8 Compensation Negotiation

Week 9 Linked In

Week 10 Portfolios + Graduation

8/14/22 - Get it in writing! Why you need a written job offer

It may be an employees’ market, but your best bet for making sure that exciting job offer comes to fruition is to look out for yourself—ask for a written offer immediately. Here’s what to know and what to do.

by Mari Alvarez, MBA, BSDH, RDH 

To say I was overjoyed would be an understatement when I was told I was going to be the director of hygiene with an up-and-coming DSO. I completed a few phone interviews and even attended an upper management Zoom meeting. I then received a verbal job offer! I couldn’t believe I was going to be someone important; someone in charge. The company’s hygiene program was going to be mine to design and implement. I was thrilled for myself, and my aching neck and back were thrilled for me too. This was my opportunity to move on to something big, as well as use my hygiene skills to help other clinicians and offices succeed. The only problem? I didn’t get my job offer in writing.

The company sent me through hoops to find a start date. My messages and texts sat in in-boxes unanswered and even unread. It was a maze I never got out of. Why was this happening to me? Why would the recruiter, CFO, and a current hygienist tell me they were excited to have me on their team? I was ghosted and back at step one, but I moved on and pursued other jobs and projects. It was a painful learning experience, but I took time to calm my emotions. I reflected on the mistake I made of failing to ask for a written job offer, and I will never make that mistake again. Afterward, I began brainstorming, and thought about all the content that should be included in a written job offer.

What a written offer should look like
First and foremost, a written job offer diminishes miscommunication and misunderstandings of several aspects of a new job. Let’s begin with the basics: the document should include a start date, job title, pay, location, responsibilities, if it's full time or part time, and hours. Other specific aspects might be included in an employee contract rather than a job offer, but having more clarification is in the employee’s best interest. Before moving on and finalizing the employee contract, it never hurts to press deeper and inquire about benefits, vacation days, sick days, parental leave, a raise after a probation period, and so forth. In the dental field, it’s also a good idea to discuss details regarding scrub allowance, continuing education courses, and even a bonus structure.

Points to reduce uncertainty
The job offer can also be used as a future reference if terms that were agreed upon are not met in the employee contract. If an $85K annual salary was discussed verbally but the employee contract states $75K, that is a clear miscommunication. Monetary disputes may not be the best way to begin an employer-employee relationship, and for most people it’s typically a difficult topic to discuss. A written job offer bridges that gap to hopefully avoid difficult situations. Additionally, a verbal job offer without a written one can lead to a future employee’s easy acceptance of terms the company provides. This leaves no room to negotiate salary or other important items.

I have a colleague who was able to arrange a higher salary with her employer to compensate for a lack of benefits offered. She received her salary expectations in writing to eliminate uncertainty while moving on to the next step of the hiring process.

Keep in mind that written job offers are not set in stone and aren’t considered legally binding documents like an employment contract is. Even so, a written offer shows the integrity of the employer when they state that they are willing to follow through with agreements. Think of the document as a genuine transaction. It’s not illegal not to receive a written job offer, nor is it illegal to rescind one with either party. For example, if you fail a drug test or background check, the company can easily take back their offer. The company can also have any number of other reasons to revoke their decision, such as an employee having a criminal history, company restructuring, or even changing their mind about a candidate altogether.1 In nearly every state, “The employment relationship may be terminated at any time, by the employer or the employee, for any reason or no reason, with or without cause or notice, so long as the reason is not statutorily prohibited or otherwise unlawful.”1 In other words, a job offer can be legally rescinded even after it has been accepted as long as the company is not discriminating against sex, ethnicity, race, creed, pregnancy status, and so on.1

However, repealing an offer is not always black and white. If your livelihood has been affected by the perception of beginning a new job, there may be grounds for legal action. For example, let’s say you moved from one state to another and were relying on the new job to pay for your moving costs and new living situation. You expect to begin the new job in a week and at the last minute, the company changes their mind about the job offer. You’re now living in a new state with no job and no immediate income. This might be a liability for a company.1 In this case, you’d want to seek legal advice.

You might have to ask for the offer
Just because you don’t initially receive a written job offer or must ask for one doesn’t mean that the company is looking to undermine you. It might mean they’re used to a more casual hiring approach, especially if it’s a small business. In some cases, receiving an offer in writing can be a matter of a formal versus informal business protocol.

Look out for yourself
Would a written job offer have helped me in my previous situation? In hindsight, it’s hard to tell, but it would have provided me with peace of mind. It would have also sent the message of wholeheartedness on behalf of the company. The document may have also made the company accountable for their actions and details discussed. Instead, I was left confused and with little esteem for those whom I was trying to keep in contact with. Did the company have the right to cut ties with me? It looks like it, but it still doesn’t sit well with me.

A word of advice: if you have an exciting job offer, don’t lose yourself in the hype, and remember to always look out for yourself. Asking for a job offer in writing can seem like a nuisance, but it’s a great way to ensure your understanding of a new undertaking. “Can you email me the job offer with all the details we discussed?” is a great starting point.

1. Rand C. Can an employer legally withdraw a job offer after it's been made? The National Law Review. 2019;IX(127).

8/7/22 - Your LinkedIn network’s huge! Here’s why that’s a red flag


There’s a virus spreading that isn’t the one you’re thinking of. Instead, it’s the profusion of “I’d like to join your LinkedIn network” requests that seem to daily bloat inboxes, at least my own. Rather than the volume of requests itself, the bloat is the time waste they bring.

I actually look at each one to confirm whether or not I know the person. When I do, I try to gauge the value we could bring each other. Even when I don’t know someone, I take the time to dutifully do the housekeeping of formally saying no thanks and telling LinkedIn “I don’t know this person,” all in an effort to keep my account and my network clutter-free.

Nearly all of this could be avoided if the sender did something that most who request we connect never do: Tell me why we should network.

For me, LinkedIn is a tool I use to manage my network. That was the platform’s initial purpose, and for me it’s still a highly valued one. But I have to work to make it that. I consciously treat it as a place for professional exchange, for my continued career learning and for keeping the modern version of my work Rolodex.

Striking the balance, I also consciously do not treat LinkedIn as just another social media platform. If I did, I would quickly dilute the very things that make it valuable, and one of the quickest ways to thin its value is to connect to people simply because they sent me a LinkedIn request. Not everyone sees it this way, and many don’t because they seem to have a very different impression of what a network is and can do. While it isn’t personal, that’s precisely why I work to keep them out of mine.

If you were to search for ways to increase your LinkedIn network, you would hastily accrue a list of usual suspect suggestions. Nearly every suggestion – from simply dumping in your email contacts, to using other social media to make a broad ask to connect – aims at one thing: pumping your number of connections.

The implication is that the more names, just names, the better your network. Apparently, many people agree with this conclusion, because 99.9% of the requests I get come without even a simple note, much less telling me why we should connect.

When you send me (and many others I know) such a request, you tell me immediately that we do not see networks in the same way, at all. My rejecting you isn’t personal, it’s just my way of wishing you the best of luck and against virtually all odds of mining value from your numbers network.

What does it mean to network?
Here’s what we forget as we hurry to succeed: Success, and the necessary networks that help facilitate success, aren’t just made up of names or even people. The valuable ones are comprised of well-tended relationships. At a minimum, relationships are based on understanding — I have an understanding of who you are and what you do, and you know the same table stakes information about me.

The best relationships go further. I know important things about your background — important to you, by the way — including how you see the world, what makes you tick and what you value. And if I am smart, I choose to build relationships of worth with people who care to know the same about me.

In a symbolic and not a token way, an invitation to connect is the catalyst or killer for a relationship yet-to-be. If you send me a note personalizing your request, I at least think you care minimally about me and what I care about (not to mention you immediately put yourself in a distinct category from the overwhelming majority who do not). If your note reflects that you actually know something about me (most notes fail here), or if it tells me why the heck we’d want to know each other, you begin to get my attention.

There is a double edge if you make it this far: If you’re faking it, versus really having taken the time to determine the value in our connecting, I’m on your scent like stink on a skunk.

Relationships, ones that truly co-create value, simply begin with connecting. They are built, balanced and become over time. Trust must be earned. Value must be clear and shared. So, if you think that simply having your request accepted opens the floodgates to your next asks of me, think again.

Good transactions have good relationships at their center. Bad transactions are never worth ignoring that maxim. I’ve learned that rather than delivering their promised payoff, investing in a bad transaction only causes pain. I work to save myself that pain. Countless others I know do too.

At the end of the day, your network is only as good as the relationships within it. A pure numbers approach doesn’t add up. If you stop and think about it, I think you’ll see the link.

Larry Robertson is an innovation advisor who works, writes and guides at the nexus of creativity, leadership and entrepreneurship. Robertson was named a Fulbright Scholar in 2021. He’s also the author of two award-winning books: “The Language of Man. Learning to Speak Creativity” and “A Deliberate Pause: Entrepreneurship and Its Moment in Human Progress.” As founder of Lighthouse Consulting, he has for over 25 years guided entrepreneurial ventures and their leaders through growth to lasting success. His third book, “Rebel Leadership: How to Thrive in Uncertain Times,” was released June 1, 2021.

7/3/22 - Summer Break 2022

We are taking a summer break!

Time for a vacation...we are going to take time off during the month of July from live sessions on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and Career Tip-of-the-Week tips.

We will be back in August with new Career Tip-of-the-Week tips and new online workshops. 

Since Covid started (March of 2020) CareerDFW and have put on over 520 workshops. These include LinkedIn Tuesdays, Interview Wednesdays, Effective Resume Thursdays, Networking Thursdays, The North Dallas / Plano Career Focus Groups on Fridays, and several other career presentations to groups around the country.

Need a Career Tip-of-the-Week? Check out any of my favorites Career Tip-of-the-Week tips on the right side of this page.

For the month of July, we recommend the following recorded sessions from the CareerUSA YouTube Channel

LinkedIn Tuesdays:
July 5 - "LinkedIn for Job Seekers" with Locke Alderson - 
July 12 - "LinkedIn - Present Yourself Like a Pro" with Jeff Morris - 
July 19 - "How to Drive Recruiters To Your LinkedIn Profile" with Ruth Lipsky - 
July 26 - "LinkedIn From A Recruiters Eyes" with Kurt VandeMotter - 
August 2 - "How to Drive Recruiters To Your LinkedIn Profile" with Ruth Lipsky - 

Interview Wednesdays:
July 6 - "Confident Candidate: Lessons from the PIT Crew" with Mark McDonald - 
July 13 - "10 biggest mistakes that people make in interviewing" with Tony Beshara - 
July 20 - "Avoiding interview crashes." with Mark McDonald and Walt Glass - 
July 27 - "The Six Keys To A Successful Interview" with Jay Fusaro - 
August 3 - "How To Survive Behavioral Interviews" with Paul Walsh - 

Effective Resume Thursday:
July 7 - "Effective Resumes for the ATS" with Jeff Morris - 
July 21 - "Strategies to Beat the ATS" with Rex Saiot - 
August 4 - "What recruiters look for in resumes" with Locke Alderson - 

Networking Thursday:
July 14 - "How to Net Work from Your Network" with John McDorman - 
July 28 - "How To Network" with Tom Jackson - 

We have over 390 videos on the CareerUSA YouTube channel. 

Live sessions and new tips will restart on August 9th.

If you would like to join our mailing list for upcoming FREE career workshops send an email to

6/26/22 - How to Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation That Works for You

by Alyse Kalish 

We all know the benefits of a robust LinkedIn profile. It attracts the right kind of attention from recruiters and hiring managers, it helps you build a strong, reliable network, and it’s a convenient and easy way to showcase your work, skill set, and passions.

One more thing? It’s the perfect place to show off all the great things people have to say about you. In fact, your LinkedIn recommendations can be a huge selling point for those who might be looking to hire you. After all, nothing makes you look better than praise from an important client, an old boss, or a close colleague.

What does asking for a proper recommendation on LinkedIn entail? Let’s get to it.

 When Should You Ask for a LinkedIn Recommendation?
The short answer is you can ask for one anytime. But, as Muse Career Coach and HR expert Christie Artis says, “no matter what timing you choose, the context you provide is key.”

“If you are truly on top of it, you can ask for recommendations throughout the year. For example, let’s say you’ve just finished a big, successful project with co-workers and clients. You can ask for a recommendation then. Provide them context that you’re always collecting feedback and would greatly appreciate theirs via a LinkedIn recommendation,” Artis says.

That said, it’s not always easy to be on top of this. So, she recommends taking advantage of key check-in and feedback points—for example, your next review cycle—to request a recommendation.

Many people also tend to reach out for recommendations when they’re leaving a job. If that’s the case, “it’s best to ask right away while you are still fresh in people’s minds. It is easier to get a review when it’s easier for people to write one,” says Artis.

Finally, she warns, take into consideration what asking for a recommendation may look like to an outside party. When it’s out of the blue, “it can make people think you are getting ready to leave, so be cautious.” Consider who you request it from and when, and don't forget to provide context.

 Who Should You Ask?
Artis suggests that you get a variety of voices, including but not limited to senior leaders you’ve worked with or who are familiar with the work you’ve done, your current and previous managers, immediate team members, and clients.

“This will give anyone reading your recommendations a well-rounded view of how you show up with different audiences and the ability to see you have senior-level advocates,” she adds.

Of course, you want this person to be able to give you a glowing review. But you also want them to be able to speak to specific things you’ve done and your particular work ethic and passions. A short and vague response is almost as useless as having no recommendation, so be sure you can trust them to be thorough and thoughtful.

 How Do You Make the Ask?
Be courteous and professional, make it super easy for them to say yes, and pay it forward.

“You can acknowledge that you recognize they are busy and offer to write a draft that they can edit (or ignore all together). You can also offer to provide a recommendation in return and ask for specific things they’d like you to include in your recommendation to them,” suggests Artis. (Here’s a template to help you write an amazing LinkedIn recommendation.)

When you go to write your email to this person, “give them context about what you are looking for within the recommendation. For example, are you switching jobs from a financial analyst to project manager? Then, ask for specific feedback around key skills required of a project manager,” says Artis.

What does that look like? Here are a couple email templates you can try. Or, if you’re connected on LinkedIn and want to make it super easy for the person, use the “Ask to Be Recommended” button at the bottom of your profile and copy and paste these into the note:

If You’re Asking Someone You Currently Work With…

Hi [Name],

I hope you’re having a great week!

I want to let you know how much I enjoy working with you, as well as how much I value your insights and feedback. I’ve especially enjoyed collaborating with you on [project you worked on together].

I have a small request for you. I aim to keep my LinkedIn profile updated to provide an accurate picture of my skills and experiences. With that in mind, I’d love if you could write me a LinkedIn recommendation that highlights my skills in [area] and [area].

I’d be happy to write you a recommendation in return. Just let me know if there’s something specific you’d like me to call attention to.

Would you feel comfortable writing a recommendation of this kind for me? Of course, no pressure either way.

All the best,
[Your Name]


If You’re Asking Someone You Used to Work With…

Hi [Name],

I hope all is well with you! [Some small talk or friendly question.]

I’m touching base to make a small request of you. I’m currently [job searching/looking to move on from my current role as X into Y] and want to keep my LinkedIn profile updated for recruiters.

I really enjoyed working with you at [Company], and I especially appreciate [feedback/advice/experience you got from them]. As a result, I thought you’d be a great fit to write me a short LinkedIn recommendation highlighting my skills in [area] and [area]. If you’re willing, I’m happy to send over additional information to make writing one easier for you.

Also, I’m more than happy to return the favor and write you a recommendation. Just let me know if there’s something specific you’d like me to emphasize.

Would you feel comfortable writing a recommendation of this kind for me? Of course, no pressure either way.

Let’s catch up soon!
[Your Name]

 See? Making the ask isn’t all that difficult! All it takes is one short email to ask a professional contact for a recommendation, and you’re well on your way to crafting a LinkedIn profile that truly speaks to your expertise and reputation.

6/19/22 - List of Weaknesses: 10 Things To Say in an Interview

By Indeed Editorial Team 

It can be hard to answer the question, “What is your greatest weakness?”—especially when you expect to be discussing the skills, talents and capabilities that make you the strongest candidate for the job.

Framing your weaknesses positively can be challenging but when you combine self-awareness with an action plan, you can quickly stand apart from other job applicants.

The key to preparing for this question is to identify weaknesses that still communicate strengths. This will show the interviewer you’re introspective enough to know your areas of opportunity.

Example weaknesses for interviewing
Here are a few examples of the best weaknesses to mention in an interview:

1. I focus too much on the details
Being detail-oriented is typically a good thing, but if you’re someone who tends to spend too much time on the specifics of a project, it could also be considered a weakness. By sharing that you focus too much on details, you’re showing your interviewer that you’re capable of helping the organization avoid even minor mistakes.

Be sure to explain how you’re making improvements in this area by looking at the big picture. While employers may not love the idea of having an employee who is preoccupied with the finer points, a candidate who assures quality and strives for balance can be a great asset.

Example: “My greatest weakness is that I sometimes focus too much on the details of a project and spend too much time analyzing the finer points. I’ve been striving to improve in this area by checking in with myself at regular intervals and giving myself a chance to refocus on the bigger picture. That way I can still ensure quality without getting so caught up in the details that it affects my productivity or the team’s ability to meet the deadline.”

2. I have a hard time letting go of a project
When you’ve spent a great deal of time and effort on something, it’s easy to feel apprehensive about marking it complete or passing it on to another team. There’s always room for improvement and some people tend to over-criticize their work or attempt last-minute changes, which can threaten the timeline.

At the same time, though, last-minute reviews can help eliminate errors and make for a more refined finished product.

If this is your weakness, share how you’re striving to improve by giving yourself a deadline for all revisions and being proactive about changes, so you’re not waiting until the last minute.

Example: “My greatest weakness is that I sometimes have a hard time letting go of a project. I’m the biggest critic of my work. I can always find something that needs to be improved or changed. To help myself improve in this area, I give myself deadlines for revisions. This helps ensure that I’m not making changes at the last minute.”

3. I have trouble saying “no” 
Helping colleagues on projects and properly managing your workload is an artful balance. From an employer’s perspective, someone who accepts all requests seems dedicated and eager—but can also be someone who doesn’t know their limits and ends up needing help or deadline extensions to finish their work.

If you’re so eager to take on new projects that you can’t bring yourself to say “no” to them, share how you’re working to better self-manage by organizing your tasks and setting more realistic expectations with yourself as well as those around you.

Example: “My greatest weakness is that I sometimes have trouble saying ‘no’ to requests and end up taking on more than I can handle. In the past, this has led me to feel stressed or burnt out. To help myself improve in this area, I use a project management app so I can visualize how much work I have at any given moment and know whether or not I have the bandwidth to take on more.”

4. I get impatient when projects run beyond the deadline
While expressing outward stress or frustration over missed deadlines can be considered a weakness, employers value workers that place importance on deadlines and strive to keep projects within the planned timeline.

If you’re using this as your job interview weakness, frame your answer to focus on how you appreciate work completed on time and ways you’re improving your helping to improve processes to get work done more efficiently.

Example: “My greatest weakness is that I get impatient when projects run past the deadline. I’m a stickler for due dates and get uncomfortable when work is not completed on time. To avoid this, I’ve started being more proactive and paying attention to how I’m reacting to make sure I’m being motivational and helping foster efficiency.”

5. I could use more experience in…
Each candidate has areas to improve upon in their expertise. Maybe it’s something specific like building pivot tables in Excel. Perhaps it’s a skill like math, writing or public speaking. Whatever the case, sharing something you want to improve upon shows the interviewer that you’re self-aware and like to challenge yourself. Be sure, however, that you don’t answer with a weakness that is essential to the role.

A few common areas people need experience in include:

6. I sometimes lack confidence
Lack of confidence is a common weakness, especially among entry-level contributors. Experiencing a lack of confidence can sometimes cause inefficiencies in your work. For example, you might feel unqualified to speak up at an important meeting when your idea could help the team to achieve a goal.

While being humble when working with others can be helpful, it is also necessary to maintain a certain amount of confidence to do your job at an optimal level.

If this is the weakness you choose to present in your interview, emphasize why you value confidence, your understanding of the value you offer, and ways you have practiced displaying confidence in the workplace (even when you might not always feel it.)

Example: “In the past, I have sometimes struggled with confidence. It has been helpful for me to keep a running document of the impact I have made on my team and at my organization to better understand why I should be confident about the skills and unique talents I bring to the table.

I have also made it a point to voice my ideas and opinions during meetings when I feel they are appropriate and will add value to the conversation. Because of this, our team ended up adopting my idea for a new financing process, which resulted in a 10% decrease in time taken to plan our annual budget.”

7. I can have trouble asking for help
Asking for help is a necessary skill both when you are lacking expertise in a certain area and when you are feeling burned out or cannot handle your workload. Knowing when and how to ask for help shows strong self-awareness and helps the organization by getting ahead of a possible inefficiency. While having a strong work ethic and being independent are positive qualities, the business should know when to ask for help.

If you know it has been difficult to ask for help in the past, explain why you know it is beneficial and the ways you have tried to improve this skill.

Example: “Because I am independent and enjoy working quickly, it has been difficult for me to ask for help when I need it. I have learned that it is much more beneficial both for me and the business to reach out when I do not understand something or feel burned out with my workload.

I also understand that many experts around me have specific knowledge and skills that can make my work better. While I am still working on it, I have been able to produce more high-quality work as a result of getting help from those around me.”

8. It has been difficult for me to work with certain personalities
Even the most flexible people can have trouble working with others that have certain characteristics or personality traits. Having good teamwork skills also means having a strong awareness of how you work with others and ways you can adjust your approach to better serve the organization.

If this has been a weakness of yours in the past, explain the personality types you have had trouble working with and quickly identify the reasons why. Then discuss the ways you have adjusted your communication or work style to better work towards a common goal together.

Example: “In the past, I have found it difficult to work with aggressive personality types. While I understand diversity in personalities makes a business strong, I tend to quiet my own ideas and opinions around louder colleagues.

To combat this, I have made it a point to spend more time with colleagues I feel uncomfortable working with. By learning more about them, their communication style and motivations, I am better able to collaborate with these personality types so that we both equally contribute our strengths and skills.”

9. It can be difficult for me to maintain a healthy work/life balance
Finding work/life balance is important to maintain motivation in your job. While it is certainly honorable and shows a strong work ethic to spend your time and energy on work, it is also necessary to prioritize resting, going on vacation, spending time with your family and enjoying hobbies. Doing so can help you feel refreshed when you are at work and can increase motivation, creativity and positive outlook.

If this is the weakness you choose to present during your interview, explain the ways you have learned to balance life and work and how you have seen your work improve as a result. You can also explain that work/life balance is something you find important in the role you are applying for.

Before providing this as an example, you should do extensive research about the company culture. If you are interviewing for a position in which it is necessary to have your phone on and available at all times, you might not want to say you turn your phone off at night to achieve work/life balance.

Example: “Because I truly love my work and have ambitious career goals, it can be difficult for me to keep a healthy balance between work and my personal life. I have seen a negative impact on my motivation and focus when I ignore my personal needs.

As a result, I have made it a point to focus on creating space in my schedule to focus on volunteering and spending time with my family. Taking small actions like putting my phone on silent during dinnertime is helpful. When I maintain a good work/life balance, I have found my output is more qualitative, I can get more work done and I feel excited about coming to work in the morning.”

10. I have been uncomfortable working with ambiguity
Many jobs require candidates who are comfortable individually defining tasks and working towards goals. This means they should be experienced, thoughtful and responsible with ambiguity in the workplace. While it is certainly a beneficial skill to closely follow detailed instructions, it is also necessary to be able to determine what it takes to achieve the desired outcome.

If this is the weakness you are presenting in an interview, explain the success you have found following instructions but also your career potential when finding comfort with ambiguity. You should also explain the steps you are taking to define your workday when given ambiguous tasks or goals.

Example: “In my last position as a marketing intern, I found that my supervisor gave very specific instructions regarding my responsibilities. Because I became familiar with having a strong direction, I tend to be unsure when approaching an ambiguous assignment or goal.

It is a goal of mine to become not only comfortable but successful working with ambiguity. To do so, I have created a personal framework for times when I feel overwhelmed or confused by an ambiguous task including conducting structured research and asking subject matter experts for advice. Doing so has helped me thrive when working on ambiguous tasks or when working towards less specific or defined goals.”

Use this list of weaknesses to help identify your areas for improvement, and remember to explain how you’re working to overcome your shortcomings. By presenting both the problem and the solution, you can transform your weakness into a strength.

6/12/22 - The (Simple) Guidelines You Should Follow When Naming Your Resume and Cover Letter Files

by Regina Borsellino 

When you’re first creating a document—even an important one like your resume or cover letter—you might give it a placeholder file name while you’re working on it. So if you’re job searching, you probably have at least one document named something like “Resume2021” or “FrontEndEng coverletter.” But you probably shouldn’t submit a cover letter or resume with a file name like this.

“It is important to have a clear and professional file name so your resume doesn’t get lost,” says Muse career coach Jennifer Smith, a former recruiter and founder of Flourish Careers. Recruiters and other hiring professionals are often working quickly and have multiple positions they’re hiring for at any given time, so an easy-to-scan file name “makes it simple for the recruiter to keep track of your info.” You’ll also “come across as an ideal professional,” Smith says, both of which are things that can help you to make a good impression on the recruiter—and anyone else considering hiring you.

How to Name Your Resume or Cover Letter
Here are a few rules to follow as you name your resume and cover letter files—whether you’re attaching them to an email or uploading the files to an online system.

Here are a few more examples of resume and cover file names:

What Not to Do When Naming a Resume or Cover Letter File
Though the exact file name you give your resume isn’t the most important thing—as long as it follows the guidelines above—there are a few things you should definitely avoid.

What File Type to Use
While naming your resume or cover letter file, you might also be thinking about the file type. So what file format is best for job applications? There are only two right answers: a PDF (.pdf) or a Word document (.docx). You should only use a different file extension if a job description specifies that the employer or recruiter would like to see your documents in a different format, such as .txt or .doc.

6/5/22 - The (possibly dystopian) rise of the automated video interview

Companies are embracing automated video interviews to filter through floods of job applicants. But interviews with a computer screen raise big ethical questions and might scare off candidates.
By Anna Kramer 

Applying for a job these days is starting to feel a lot like online dating. Job-seekers send their resume into portal after portal and a silent abyss waits on the other side.

That abyss is silent for a reason and it has little to do with the still-tight job market or the quality of your particular resume. On the other side of the portal, hiring managers watch the hundreds and even thousands of resumes pile up. It’s an infinite mountain of digital profiles, most of them from people completely unqualified. Going through them all would be a virtually fruitless task.

Enter the Tinders of corporate America. These services are the ones that made it so easy for anyone to apply for a job on the internet. But just like online dating, once the entire world is available for a match, you need to introduce some kind of filter to figure out who you should review first.

Most large companies use software to sort through resumes and cover letters, identifying likely candidates based on keywords, professed qualifications or even just where they went to college. But these services have taken their product a step further. Now, when some companies (ranging from major financial institutions like J.P. Morgan to food prep and retail) invite someone for an interview, they have no intention of showing up for the interview themselves.

Instead, these corporate Tinders give people an automated video interview, guiding the candidate through a conversation with their computer screen. The applicant stares at the webcam distortion of their face (instructed to emote normally like they would if speaking with an actual person), tries to explain why they want the job and then once more sends the information back into the abyss, often without being able to review their video first. The software will then produce a report and likely a ranking that will be used to determine if they get an interview with an actual person.

Automated resume and cover letter screening is just not advanced enough in a world where remote work is increasingly common and remote job applications are easier than ever. For hiring departments, automated video interview software makes whittling down the initial hiring pool infinitely easier. As an added bonus, the companies that make this software sell themselves as scientific and less biased than the flawed humans who run actual HR departments. The market is so fruitful that there are nearly endless options with similar services — among them HireVue, Modern Hire, Spark Hire, myInterview,, Willo and Curious Thing. Entry-level college graduates in tech, banking and even consulting almost always get funneled through these systems. In March 2021, HireVue announced that its platform had hosted more than 20 million video interviews since its inception.

But easy, frictionless processes like these always have a catch. Most companies like to talk about hiring like they’re finding the right fit specifically for their workplace. By relying on automated video interviews, they willingly introduce a third party — another company with its own goals, preferences and biases — between themselves and their new hires. Someone or something else is making the initial decision that could make all the difference.

That pesky AI problem
All of these companies use AI buzzwords to sell their services and advertise their tools. Modern Hire calls its service an “AI-Powered Automated Interview Creator;” at HireVue, the words “science-backed” appear frequently on marketing materials, and a HireVue spokesperson told Protocol that its “assessments are designed by psychologists with evidence-based approaches.” Companies deploy machine learning in different ways; HireVue and Modern Hire use AI tools primarily to transcribe the interviews and then to evaluate and rank the interview text.

Although the companies claim to reduce bias in hiring, the researchers and advocates who study AI bias are these companies’ most frequent critics. They argue that most machine-learning tools aren’t properly audited or regulated and commonly recreate or enhance already existing biases, so opting to incorporate AI into the hiring system is knowingly making a choice to take that risk.

The FTC has warned companies against using algorithms that could be unfair or create adverse outcomes, according to Sara Geoghegan, a law fellow at the Electronic Privacy Information Center. In 2019, EPIC filed a complaint with the FTC alleging that HireVue was engaging in unfair and deceptive practices that violated AI standards by using facial recognition AI tools in its video-interview analysis.

Then, in 2021, HireVue removed the facial recognition tools from its system. “HireVue research, conducted early this year, concluded that for the significant majority of jobs and industries, visual analysis has far less correlation to job performance than other elements of our algorithmic assessment,” the company wrote about its decision. “We made the decision to not use any visual analysis in our pre-hire algorithms going forward. We recommend and hope that this decision becomes an industry standard.”

Federal and state regulators have also started to propose legislation that would restrict how these algorithms are used and require independent audits. New York City passed a bill recently that would require “bias audits” for algorithms used in hiring, and Washington, D.C.’s proposed Stop Discrimination by Algorithms Act of 2021 would set a strict list of requirements for companies wanting to use algorithms in employment settings like the automated video interviews.

“We only score by the way the words people say that are transcribed, not the way they sound or the way they look. That is a hard line that we draw and have always drawn; my mentality and our mentality as a company is that we should only be scoring information that candidates consciously provide to us,” said Eric Sydell, the executive vice president of Innovation at Modern Hire. “There are organizations that use that information. I think it’s wrong. I only give you express permission to use my responses; that’s the right way that we need to proceed.”

For the systems’ critics, it’s difficult to actually prove why someone has been filtered out of the system. “What’s particularly tricky about this — it’s really hard to find people who have experienced an adverse outcome because of these systems, because you don’t know. If I do a little 90-second or 60-second video of myself, and I say, ‘Hi, I’m a lawyer and I do tech stuff,’ I won’t know if I don’t get a job if it’s because I wasn’t qualified or if it’s because a system made a call in a matter of seconds, and now I’m subject to that system,” Geoghegan said.

The companies that actually make the systems argue that hiring is already such a flawed and biased process that taking the actual interviewer out of the screening process actually makes it more fair. When people conduct unstructured interviews, they almost always hire the people they like, not necessarily the ones best qualified for the job. One striking example: a University of Texas study found that after its medical school had to accept students it had initially rejected based on interviews, the rejected students and the originally accepted ones had the same performance in school.

“The hiring industry and the hiring process itself has long been broken,” Sydell said. “This is a challenge that algorithms and modern science are suited to help solve, and help make scientific sense of it — which pieces about a candidate are predictive about your success on the job.”

“We are humans; the way our brains process information is very biased. We are always looking for people who are similar to ourselves; we weed out other people who might be different,” he said.

Problem whack-a-mole
Companies implement these systems because they have commercial and practical hiring needs they must meet. “It’s very difficult for them to go through this mass of applicants. They are indispensable, they couldn’t cope without them,” said Zahira Jaser, a professor at the University of Sussex Business School. “Though I am quite critical, I also don’t see a way out of it. I think this is going to become a bigger and bigger phenomenon.”

Jaser studies how people experience automated video interviews and how they affect hiring, not the AI itself. Her research has found that most people who undergo these video interviews don’t understand how the system works or what they’re getting themselves into, and she urges employers to adopt a “glass-box” approach where they provide as much transparency as possible about how their interviews will be processed and screened. At the very least, candidates need to understand that software, not a person, will be analyzing the text of what they say to a webcam. She also recommends employers create their own simple systems for candidates where they can see what successful interviews look like and why, and that they provide feedback to people who are rejected about why and what they can do to improve.

Without some of these changes, companies could run afoul of laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act. Federal regulators just released guidance in May that explains how the use of algorithms could violate the ADA. One of the key recommendations? Applicants need to understand the system and have straightforward ways to ask for alternative interview methods if they have a disability that could interfere with how the algorithm assesses their interview.

Smaller firms also need to consider whether the video interview might turn away potential candidates who see the system as offensive and develop easy alternative interview methods. One job applicant for a major media firm told Protocol that he immediately rescinded his application when the firm asked him to complete a Modern Hire interview. “It’s just the lack of transparency, and the data, and the laziness as well. It wouldn’t be that hard to just ask for a 20-minute chat. The person I actually want to talk to is the hiring manager,” he said.

“Why do they feel their time is more valuable? And this was for a mid-relatively high-up position; I can maybe understand it for graduates where you are receiving thousands of applications, maybe it’s a good tool to filter out from literally thousands. But even that is questionable in my opinion.”

Jaser sees that same sentiment from the people she has interviewed in her research.

“The technology doesn’t care about the human. So effectively it’s very exploitative of the human,” she said. “They are extracting what’s of interest to the employer in a very narrow way, forgetting almost all of humanity. It’s a very narrow way of judging. There is no relationship built.”

Anna Kramer
Anna Kramer is a reporter at Protocol (Twitter: @ anna_c_kramer, email:, where she writes about labor and workplace issues. Prior to joining the team, she covered tech and small business for the San Francisco Chronicle and privacy for Bloomberg Law. She is a recent graduate of Brown University, where she studied International Relations and Arabic and wrote her senior thesis about surveillance tools and technological development in the Middle East.

5/29/22 - Negotiating a job offer works

Negotiating a job offer works: 85% of Americans who counteroffered were successful. Here’s how to do it
by Michelle Fox 

When it comes to negotiating a job offer, if you don’t ask — you won’t receive.

It turns out many don’t ask, according to a survey from Fidelity Investments.

Some 58% of Americans accepted the initial offer at their current position without negotiating, the survey found.

Yet negotiating works. According to Fidelity, 85% of Americans — and 87% of professionals ages 25 to 35 — who countered on salary, other compensation or benefits, or both pay and other compensation and benefits got at least some of what they asked for. The survey, conducted March 8-14 by Engine Insights, polled 1,524 U.S. adults ages 25 to 70 who currently work either full- or part-time.

“People feel like they can’t or shouldn’t negotiate, but companies expect you to negotiate,” said Caroline Ceniza-Levine, executive coach at Dream Career Club.

“They respect good negotiators,” she added. “They respect you if you can advocate for yourself.”

“They want someone with that confidence to be on their side of the table.”

Confidence is key. Therefore, do your homework. Research compensation for your job, field and location. Also, ask other people about their salaries or what they know about pay for the job.

“If you understand what you can ask for, if you are doing a good job showing your value, it would help increase the confidence you have going into any salary negotiations,” said Kelly Lannan, senior vice president of emerging customers at Fidelity Investments.

Before you counteroffer, identify what you want. It may be a higher paycheck, or it might be about a bonus, benefits, title or scope of the job.

When focusing on salary, remember that even if the salary is in line with market data, you can still sell your specific skill set or experience as a reason for a higher rate, Ceniza-Levine said.

If higher pay isn’t in the cards, you can also negotiate for those non-salary items.

“Really look at the entirety of the offer and don’t just be so quick to say whoever gets the most money wins,” she said.

Also, think about what is going on at the company. For example, do they need you to start right away? If so, that may be worth additional pay or a bonus to start earlier, she said.

If possible, negotiate with the person who will make the ultimate decision. If you can’t, try to do your best to develop a rapport with the individual you are speaking with, such as the recruiter, so they can be a good steward of your case, Ceniza-Levine advised.

How you approach the employer with a counteroffer also matters. Be clear that you are excited to work for the company and highlight the skills and value you bring to the table, Lannan said.

“The way you engage in the conversation is just as important as the points you are making,” she said.

At the end of the day, it never hurts to ask. If the answer is “no,” it doesn’t mean the job offer will be rescinded. Plus, you can always revisit the topic down the road.

″‘No’ just means ‘not now,’” Ceniza-Levine said. “It’s not forever.”

5/22/22 - 6 Job Search Tips That Are So Basic People Forget Them

by Jenny Foss

The irony of job search advice: There’s so much available that you don’t have to spend more than four seconds Googling before you land on some nugget of wisdom or another.

Yet, at the same time, there’s so much available (some of which completely contradicts other advice you’ll find) that it can easily overwhelm you. Which, in fact, is probably the exact opposite outcome you’re looking for when you go sleuthing for genuinely useful counsel in the first place.

So let’s do this: Let’s boil things down to a short list of sound, timeless job searching tips that’ll help you fine-tune your strategy so that you may sail through the process (or at least cut out some of the unnecessary time and frustration).

 1. Make Yourself a “Smack-in-the-Forehead” Obvious Fit

When you apply for a job via an online application process, it’s very likely that your resume will first be screened by an applicant tracking system and then (assuming you make this first cut) move onto human eyeballs. The first human eyeballs that review your resume are often those of a lower level HR person or recruiter, who may or may not understand all of the nuances of that job for which you’re applying.

Thus, it behooves you to make it very simple for both the computer and the human to quickly connect their “Here’s what we’re looking for” to your “Here’s what you can walk through our doors and deliver.”

 Pro Tip - Study the job description and any available information you have on the position. Are you mirroring the words and phrases in the job description? Are you showcasing your strengths in the areas that seem to be of paramount importance to this role? Line it up.

 2. Don’t Limit Yourself to Online Applications During Your Job Search

You want that job search to last and last? Well, then continue to rely solely on submitting online applications. You want to accelerate this bad boy? Don’t stop once you apply online for that position. Start finding and then endearing yourself to people working at that company of interest. Schedule informational interviews with would-be peers. Approach an internal recruiter and ask a few questions. Get on the radar of the very people who might influence you getting an interview. (More on that here.)

 Pro Tip - By lining up with people on the inside of the companies at which you want to work, you will instantly set yourself apart. Decision makers interview people who come recommended or by way of a personal referral before they start sorting through the blob of resumes that arrives by way of the ATS.

 3. Remember That Your Resume (and LinkedIn Profile) Is Not a Tattoo

Yes, your new resume is lovely. Your LinkedIn profile, breathtaking. However, if they don’t position you as a direct match for a particular role that you’re gunning for, don’t be afraid to modify wording, switch around key terms, and swap bullet points in and out. Your resume is not a tattoo, nor is your LinkedIn profile. Treat them as living, breathing documents throughout your job search (and career).

 Pro Tip - If you’re a covert job seeker, remember to turn off your activity broadcasts (within privacy and settings) when you make edits to your LinkedIn profile. If your current boss or colleagues are connected to you on LinkedIn, they may get suspicious about all the frequent changes.

 4. Accept That You Will Never Bore Anyone Into Hiring You

Don’t get me wrong—you absolutely must come across as polished, articulate, and professional throughout your job search. However, many people translate this into: Must. Be. Boring.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. Realize that few people get hired because they had perfect white space on their cover letters, memorized all of the “correct” interview questions or used incredibly safe, common phraseology (i.e., clichés) throughout their resumes. All of this correctness is going to make you look staged and non-genuine. Instead, give yourself permission to be both polished and endearing. Memorable, likable candidates are almost always the ones who go the distance.

 5. If You’re Not on LinkedIn, You Very Nearly Don’t Exist

Considering that more than 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn as their primary search tool, this is not an understatement. If you’re a professional, you need to not only be on LinkedIn, you need to be using it to your full advantage. Don’t believe me? Think about it this way: If tomorrow morning, a recruiter logs onto LinkedIn looking for someone in your geography, with expertise in what you do, and you’re not there? Guess who they’re going to find and contact? Yes, that person’s name is “not you.”

 Pro Tip - If you figure out how to harness the power of no other social media tool for job search, figure out LinkedIn. It’s (by far) the best resource we have available today for career and job search networking, for finding people working at companies of interest, and for positioning yourself to be found by a recruiter who has a relevant job opening.

 6. Your Thank You Matters

I once placed a candidate into an engineering role with a company that manufactures packaging equipment. He was competing head-to-head with another engineer, who had similar talents and wanted the job just as badly. My candidate sent a thoughtful, non-robotic thank you note to each person with whom he’d interviewed, within about two hours of leaving their offices. The other candidate sent nothing.

Guess why my candidate got the job offer? Yep, the thoughtful, non-robotic thank you notes. They sealed the deal for him, especially considering the other front-runner sent nothing.

 Pro Tip - Consider crafting, original, genuine thank you notes (one for each interviewer) the moment you get back to a computer, following the interview. The speed with which you send the notes, and the quality, will make an impact.

 And finally, remember that the interviewer cares much more about what you can do for them than what you want out of the deal. Certainly, they’re going to care a bunch about what you want once you establish your worth. But during the interview, you must demonstrate why you make business sense to hire, period.

Now, go forth and show your job search exactly who is the boss.

 Jenny Foss is a career strategist, recruiter, and the voice of the popular career blog Based in Portland, OR, Jenny is the author of the Ridiculously Awesome Resume Kit and the Ridiculously Awesome Career Pivot Kit. Also check out the Weekend Resume Makeover Course, find Jenny on Twitter @JobJenny, and book one-on-one coaching sessions with her on The Muse's Coach Connect.

5/15/22 - 6 Ways to Clean Up Your Resume and Wow Hiring Managers

by Kathryn Tuggle

Many of us just keep adding to our resume over the years rather than paring it down, and after we’ve been in the workforce awhile, it can be a real jumble. Here’s how to streamline.

Lifestyle guru Marie Kondo has inspired millions of us to clean up our homes and get rid of what’s no longer making us happy—helping many of us enjoy a more streamlined life.

But why stop with an organized sweater drawer? Our resumes may contain things that are definitely not sparking joy for hiring managers when they scan our accomplishments—and we mean scan literally. Thirty-nine percent of hiring managers said they spend less than a minute looking at a resume, and 23 percent spend less than 30 seconds, according to a survey by CareerBuilder. This means that everything on your resume should immediately shout your qualifications from the rooftops—you don’t have long to tell them how amazing you are. This is why cutting out the clutter is so essential. Here’s how to do just that, with a resume clean-up that even Kondo herself would approve:

Many people are too long-winded on their resumes, says career adviser Allison Cheston.

“Think about the impact you’ve made, as opposed to the tasks you’ve performed. A resume that just rattles off a list of tasks performed is not compelling. Hiring managers would much rather hear that you drove sales increases 40% year over year by creating a new system,” Cheston says. Including too much information may also ensure that hiring managers will not pick up on the key pieces you want them to obtain, cautions Claire Bissot, managing director at CBIZ HR Services, a human resources outsourcing and consulting agency. Remember—if your resume only gets a quick glance, you don’t want them to be bogged down in extraneous details.

Take a very close look at your resume. “Do you have words like ‘manage,’ ‘administer,’ ‘responsible for,’ etc., repeated multiple times? If so, find new and more creative ways to describe your job,” Bissot says.

But there’s more than one way to be repetitive—you also shouldn’t individually list out consecutive jobs at the same company, cautions Eliot Kaplan, former VP of talent acquisition at Hearst Magazines, now career coach at (and, full disclosure, the spouse of HerMoney co-founder Jean Chatzky.) Not only does it take up unnecessary space, but someone not looking closely can get the impression that you’re a job-hopper. “You don’t want five consecutive one-year gigs at the same place listed individually, for example. You should combine them into one entry that shows your rapid growth and increasing responsibility at the organization.”

There’s no two ways about it: Photos on resumes are just downright weird, Cheston says. “There’s something creepy about it, and it can give a negative impression. These days, everyone is on LinkedIn, and if someone wants to know what you look like, they can find you there,” she says. Just because we live in a modern era where resumes can feature bold design elements doesn’t mean the traditional rules about using a photo have changed, explains Stephanie Naznitsky, executive director of staffing firm OfficeTeam. “Not only is a picture useless in evaluating if you’re a good fit for the job, it can be distracting.”

This means any crazy email addresses that don’t simply include your name at your email service provider of choice. “And once you’re within one month of graduation, you should also dump any ‘.edu’ email addresses,” Kaplan says. The same holds true for including the high school you attended, a long list of internships or your college GPA. “Your 3.7 is not that big a deal,” Kaplan says. Another big one to eliminate is college clubs, according to Bissot, who says that they should all be eliminated five years after graduation. The same goes for ancient jobs—no employer needs to know you worked at a restaurant one summer when you were 16.

This means you should stop including a section for “skills” like Microsoft Word, Excel, Outlook, etc. Everyone knows them. “I believe my pet cockapoo knows them as well,” Kaplan says. Also, stop saying anything about references—like “references available upon request.” Everyone understands that references are a part of the job application process, and you’ll provide them when asked. “And guess what—a recruiter does not need your permission to reach out to one of your former employers and ask about you,” he says.

Also, if you have a section for “interests” they must be interesting. “Netflix, cooking, travel are not interesting, Kaplan says. “If you want to include them, you have to be specific: the oeuvre of Alfonso Cuaron, Instant Pot classics or 50-state covered bridge tours.” Lastly, scrap words and phrases like “results-oriented,” “liaise,” “team-driven,” “dynamic” and “proven track record,” Kaplan cautions. They don’t convey any real insight into your abilities or personality, and using them runs the risk of making hiring managers want to yawn.

Hiring managers do not care about what you want from your career in the long term. They want to know if you can perform the job, and what you’re going to contribute to the company, Cheston says. “When people include these things, it’s actually a very self-centered way of writing a resume. With a resume, you’re really telling a company what you can do for them. Why take up space with a section that’s all about your desires?”

Everyone’s resume is different, and that’s as it should be. You have to show off what makes you unique. “If you ask 20 different people to look at your resume, you’re going to get 20 different viewpoints,” Cheston says. “Your resume doesn’t need to fit some cookie-cutter mold—you should always be looking for ways to distinguish yourself.”

And speaking of distinguishing yourself, remember that your resume should never be a one-size-fits-all-jobs document. Smart candidates re-tailor their resumes for every position they apply for, boosting certain keywords or skills, or highlighting certain experiences over others, depending on the job. “Your resume is never one and done. It’s a living, breathing, document that grows along with you,” Cheston says.

5/8/22 - The Truth About ATS Resume Keywords

by Molly Povich

Robots are reading our resumes before they make it to human eyes — the question is, how do you make the keywords on your resume ATS compliant?
What happens to your resume when you send it out into the ether (i.e. apply for a job via portals like Indeed or LinkedIn)?

Likely, it gets met not by human eyes, but by AI software known as ATS (applicant tracking systems).

99% of Fortune 500 companies — and 75% of the 760 U.S. employers surveyed in a recent Harvard Business School report — use ATS platforms to comb through the resumes of applicants, and select who to interview. That same study asserts that these software programs are defective, barring more than 10 million workers from hiring discussions.

“If your resume isn’t ATS compliant, it’s not going to be flowing through,” explains Kiran Pande, Co-Founder of Vmock, an AI-enabled start-up. This means that if you don’t create your resume in a particular way, it might get thrown out before you get a chance to showcase your desirability to a prospective employer.

A frightening prospect. So, how can you make sure your resume is “ATS compliant”? The biggest factor is keywords.

The software will search your resume for pertinent language the company has pre-programmed into the system, likely based on the job description.

“Some of the ATS systems only look for the exact keyword matches, and ignore synonyms,” explains Pande. “You could have the relevant skill, but just because you used a word that’s not in the job description, suddenly your resume is in the ‘no’ pile.”

The good news? You can get past the system with a little foresight. “The more information people have, the more sensitive they’ll become to this,” asserts Pande. No matter how limited ATS software is, it’s probably not going anywhere. “We might not like this evolution of technology, but we should adapt to it — you still want that job.”

Here’s how to calibrate your resume to beat the robots, and get your resume into human hands.


“When you’re writing a resume, you know it’s a marketing document and that you have to put your best foot forward. Sometimes that’s not an enjoyable action for people because they don’t like talking about themselves,” observes Pande. “But even though it’s more effort, it’s worth it to customize your resume for the job role you’re applying to – so they can see the best, most relevant version of you. You’re not doing it for someone else, but for yourself.”

“There are two kinds of candidates,” says Pande. “The ones who spent time reading the job description and internalized it. And others who have merely seen the job title and think let me just apply.”

If the keywords you need to match are pulled from the job description, you’re going to want to be familiar with it — and use that familiarity to your advantage. So analyze the job description and try to include similar languages in your resume. Highlight relevant skills, industry and role-specific keywords, relevant certifications/tools, etc.

“Don’t try to trick the system by mentioning all keywords in one place or entering the same keywords multiple times,” cautions Pande. “Ask yourself: where are opportunities to include keywords, but also make sure you’re not over-using keywords — that limits your opportunities to use other keywords that may be in job description and can help put you through.”

“Sometimes, people get creative with formatting their resumes to make them look more visually appealing. And then they think they’re great and push them everywhere, but they’re not necessarily ATS compliant and so they get eliminated,” Pande points out.

“You want to do what works. You can express creativity in other ways.”

Do not use multi-column formats, tables, graphs, charts, images, non-traditional fonts, etc. on the template. Do not share the resume in JPG or PNG format.

“How you should structure your resume often varies based on your level of experience, and different industries have different norms for how they expect information to be presented to them,” contextualizes Pande.

But in general, use a basic chronological resume template with standard headers e.g. Education, Experience, Skills/Technical Skills. Keep the resume in Doc or PDF format — and don’t put any content or personal information on the headers or footers. (ATS systems generally do not parse information placed in the header or footer.)

Pro Tip: Use both acronyms AND spelled out forms of keywords.


5/1/22 - Stellar Boolean Search Tips for Job Seekers & Entrepreneurs

By Lynne Williams Ed.D. Candidate 

Boolean Search Tips can help you better target the information you seek!

Are you a job seeker or entrepreneur? Do you need some stellar Boolean search tips? Do you even know what that is or how to do it?

Are you wanting to do a targeted search for someone or something on LinkedIn or the Internet? These stellar Boolean search tips are sure to help!

George Boole lived in the 19th century, and he was a mathematician, philosopher, and logician who developed a form of logic.

This tool uses the words (in caps) AND, OR, or NOT along with keywords like names, titles, and companies, and it can be used to search on the Internet in modern times, including LinkedIn.

If you want to glom together two or more words, make sure you keep them in quotes. Below are some examples.

“Sales Manager” AND “Real Estate”

“Sales Manager” AND Realtor

“Sales Manager” AND “Real Estate” OR Realtor

“Sales Manager” OR “Regional Manager” AND “Residential Real Estate NOT “New Construction”

LinkedIn currently has a limit of 100 searches per week, so you might have to resort to searching on Google for the site of LinkedIn. Below is a more complex search you can do on Google. (“greater Philadelphia area” OR “greater New York City area”) AND (R&D AND VP OR “vice president” AND “johnson & johnson” OR “johnson and johnson” OR “j and j” OR “j & j” OR j&j)

If you are an unemployed job seeker, you can put the following in your About section. If you are employed but seeking a new opportunity, you can include the words below under a previous job.

Seeking new opportunity. #opentowork #ONO (which stands for open to new opportunity)

LinkedIn is a database of information, so if you want to get found in searches, you need to ensure you have keywords in your profile.

The sections I target for keywords are the headline, About section, and Skills section, and I also suggest embellishing job titles (up to 100 characters).

Additionally, consider keywords in the Projects and Publications sections if you have them.

What would you type in Google if you were looking for someone?

Would you type Owner OR President of ABC Website Design, or would you type website design OR website developer as general terms, basically since you have never heard of ABC Website Design before?

If you are a business owner, your title and company name should go in your experience section, but not your headline.

You want to use keywords in your headline, and add a Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and then check it with a tool like Sharethrough, which you will find in my LinkedIn newsletter article.

You might want to read these articles by SHRM, TalentLyft, and Entelo on how someone in talent acquisition searches for candidates. Then, you can reverse engineer your LinkedIn profile on how you want to be found.

Instead f visiting job boards or LinkedIn jobs, you can also Google terms to find jobs that match what you are seeking, like in the example below.

nonprofit AND “servant leadership” AND management jobs in and around Philadelphia, PA

When using an asterisk (*), you can get different word forms, as the asterisk acts as a wild card. For example, “recruit*” might turn up recruit, recruiter, recruiters, recruiting, recruited

When using a double asterisk (**), it will turn up all forms of a particular word in different tenses. An example of “sell**” might turn up sell, selling, sold, etc.

There are other Boolean operators for computer scientists, but we will keep this topic focused on the average searcher.

So hopefully, you will give these BOOlean search tips a BOO-yah and not BOOhoo, and they will lead you to your BOOmtown!

Lynne M. Williams is the Executive Director of the Great Careers Groups, a volunteer-run 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides career education and networking connections for 1) job seekers in career transition, including veterans, and 2) employed and self-employed for career management.

4/24/22 - Never overlook these 7 classic job interview questions

‘Never overlook these 7 classic job interview questions,’ says CEO and hiring expert of 22 years
by Gary Burnison 

You can’t possibly know all the questions you’ll be asked in a job interview. They could be zingers out of the blue (“If you were an animal, what would you be?”) or total brainteasers (“Can you estimate the number of panes of glass in the city of Seattle?”).

But no matter how much the hiring process has evolved, it’s the simplest interview questions that will always remain the same. And yet, I see very few people prepare for them these days.

As the CEO of the world’s largest recruiting firm, I’ve been hiring candidates for more than 22 years — and my advice is to never overlook these seven classic interview questions:

1. “Tell me about yourself.”
Too many people respond by regurgitating their resume. That’s not what your interviewer wants to hear.

The best — and most memorable — answer I have ever received to this question was: “I’ve climbed the highest mountains on every continent, including Everest.”

This candidate showed who she really was beyond a piece of paper: an adventurous, curious, goal-oriented and disciplined person.

Talk for about 30 seconds, then let the interviewer respond. The goal is to make it conversational.

When I asked the climber about the first thought that ran through her head upon reaching the summit, she didn’t go off about how she’d done something most of us can’t even contemplate.

Instead, she laughed and said, “How the heck am I going to get down?” This showed her ability to engage others with humor and humility.

2. “Can you describe a situation in which you took initiative to accomplish a goal?”
Your interviewer is listening for examples of how you’ve been proactive and results-driven. Describe your motivation and how you used your creativity to solve a problem or identify an opportunity.

3. “What value do you bring?”
This can be a tough one because it’s so vague. But the key is to pick two or three main qualifications for the job and explain how you meet them.

For more junior positions, you’ll want to spend more time talking about the technical skills. But if you’re further in your career, then focus on highlighting how you manage, work with, motivate and engage with others.

4. “What is your greatest career accomplishment?”
This is one of the most important questions to prepare for. Giving a great answer can land you the job.

Just don’t drag on for too long; tell a quick story with specific details. Get comfortable with bragging and using the word “I.” Choose an accomplishment that is most relevant to the position you’re interviewing for.

Lastly, quantify the accomplishment: Did you reduce expenses? Increase productivity or revenue? Even something that gave the company high recognition in its industry counts.

5. “What are your weaknesses?”
By now, the interviewer already has an idea of what your strengths are, so they will be much more curious about what you can improve on. And telling them that you “work too hard” or you “care too much” won’t cut it.

Companies want a real answer from you, and they want to know that you are self-aware. Prepare a couple examples of areas that you’re working on — maybe something you highlighted in your last job performance review. Or, reach out to a former boss and ask for their honest opinion.

Here’s an example of an excellent answer:

“While my campaign ideas have helped grow and diversify our client base, I’ve had to lean on my co-workers when it comes to managing social media campaigns and designing graphics.

These are two areas I really want to improve on. I’ve started working very closely with my colleagues in these areas to absorb their knowledge and gain experience. I also signed up for some graphic design courses that I’m super excited about.”

6. “What major problem, challenge or failure have you had to overcome? How did you do it?”
In addition to highlighting your skills and competencies, you can showcase your goal orientation, work ethic, personal commitment and integrity.

Overcoming numerous or significant difficulties to succeed requires these qualities. Demonstrate your resilience by getting real about the challenges you’ve overcome.

7. “Why do you want to work here?”
What do you know about the company? This is an opportunity for you to discuss the “fit factor”: What you admire about the company, its mission and purpose, products and services, and culture.

If you want to go the extra mile, do some research about the person you’ll be reporting to and share what you’d like to learn from them. What have they accomplished throughout their career that you aspire to achieve, too?

Gary Burnison is a best-selling author and the CEO of Korn Ferry, the world’s largest organizational consulting firm. His books include “The 5 Graces of Life and Leadership,” “Leadership U: Accelerating through the Crisis Curve,” “Advance: The Ultimate How-to Guide for your Career,” and “Lose the Resume, Land the Job.” Follow Gary on LinkedIn.

4/17/22 - Signs that a potential employer may be ‘trying to hide something,’ and other interviewing red flags

by Gili Malinsky 


A majority of Gen Z, or those born after 1997, 79%, and millennials, those born between 1981 and 1996, 61%, will probably look for a new job this year, according to a recent Bankrate survey of 2,449 adults.

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, you’ll want to pick up on any red flags throughout the interview process to make sure it’s both a good fit for you, and not a toxic place in general.

“We have so much information available to us now,” says Julie Bauke, founder and chief career strategist with The Bauke Group. There’s a lot you can learn even before you apply. But during the interview process is a great time to assess if this is a place you want to work.

Here’s how to pick up on some red flags about a prospective employer.

How to figure out if an employer may be ‘trying to hide something’
The pandemic took “away the opportunity to meet with people in person,” says Bauke. This made it harder to “see what they’re like in their office environment, read their facial expressions” and get a better sense of whether or not you’re a fit.

As more companies return to the office, the opportunity to interview in person is coming back, too. “One red flag would be they don’t give you the opportunity to meet with anyone in person, if possible,” says Bauke. To her, this means they could be “trying to hide something,” such as disgruntled employees at the company, or an undesirable work environment.

Many companies are hiring remote workers who live far enough away that meeting in person isn’t an option. Some companies haven’t returned to the office yet. And some companies have given up their office spaces altogether, complicating in-person interview opportunities.

As you interview, take it case by case, and be wary of any employer that seems especially averse to the idea of you meeting with employees face-to-face.

‘Patterns of behavior repeated over time is the corporate culture’
Another element of the process to take note of: How is your prospective boss treating you?

If the hiring manager “is showing up late, not apologizing, rescheduling your call constantly — and this is at a time when they need to impress you — what does that say about how this person is going to treat you when you show up and start working for them?” says Gorick Ng, Harvard career adviser and author of “The Unspoken Rules.”

This kind of disrespect does not bode well for when you’ll be an employee and they have leverage over you, he says. It could make your work life at this company very difficult. Moreover, it could be indicative of how employees are treated at the company at large.

“Patterns of behavior repeated over time is the corporate culture,” he says.

Ask: Why do you work here?
To get a good sense of what it’s like to work at a company, come to the interview process prepared with very specific questions.

Bauke suggests asking some version of the following:

> How has your company culture changed since the pandemic?
> Why do you work here?
> What does success look like in this organization?

These could give you a sense of what you could expect as an employee, especially if the answers are vague and unclear. If the hiring manager can’t tell you why they want to work at this company, how can you be sure you’ll want to?

You can even get more specific, asking questions like, “What are the most exciting and frustrating aspects of this role? What do you expect me to have accomplished in my first week, first month, first year, first quarter?” says Ng.

“You’re asking about behaviors,” he says. “You’re asking about, really, how things get done.”

4/10/22 - Quit your job after less than a year? Here’s how to discuss it in interviews

by Jennifer Liu 

Employers are desperate to hire these days, and they’re more willing to overlook a short stint or even a gap in your work history.

That’s good news for young workers who feel their new jobs have been overhyped during the Great Resignation. A recent survey from The Muse found 80% of millennial and Gen Z jobseekers say it’s acceptable to leave a new job before six months if it doesn’t live up to your expectations.

If you’re preparing to jump back into job-search mode after just a short time away, here are a few ways to talk about it throughout the hiring process.

Prepare an explanation for leaving so soon
There are ways to be honest and diplomatic about a short tenure if the job or company turned out to be different from what you expected, says The Muse founder and CEO Kathryn Minshew.

If possible, discuss how the scope of the job changed between the time you interviewed, when you accepted it and when you began working. Did the responsibilities change? Did your hiring manager or colleagues quit? Were there other organizational changes that impacted how you feel about the company or leadership?

Minshew suggests saying something along the lines of: “Obviously, it’s not ideal to have such a short stint at a company. When I was interviewing for that position, some of the things that I was looking for were XYZ. There was a lot that was communicated to me about the role and the type of work environment that I was really excited for. But when I joined the team, there were some really key differences in what I experienced compared with what was advertised. It wasn’t the right move professionally, so I left.”

Show your impact
If you made an impact even with just a few months on the job, that’s something to highlight, says career coach Chelsea Jay.

Did you hit the ground running to meet important deadlines for your team? Or overhaul a workflow the company will continue using moving forward? Talk about how quickly you were able to adapt into a new work setting (even though it’s one you ultimately didn’t enjoy) and how you were able to help the business in a short amount of time.

Focus on what you learned from the experience
Self-awareness goes a long way, and you can even play it to your strengths. Lean on the fact that you stood up for yourself and what you want in a job or company, and that you were quick to see the other organization wasn’t delivering on it.

“You can tell them you’re big on self-awareness, that you recognized the job was a bad fit and you wanted to get out in time for someone else who would truly enjoy it,” Jay says.

Then, focus on how the experience reaffirmed what you want in a job or company — values like flexibility, innovation, or the ability to help people, for example — and that you know how to look for it in interviews. Instill some confidence by adding these values are ”[things] I’m really focused on in my next role, and I really want to find a company where I can stay for a long time,” Minshew adds.

Discuss what you’re hoping to avoid
Job interviews aren’t a good place to drag a former employer, even if you feel they misled you in the hiring process. Keep it honest and professional.

If you want, you could frame a bad experience as something you hope to avoid in the future. For example, if you didn’t like the competitive nature of a previous company, Minshew suggests saying something like: “I thrive best in a really collaborative environment, where I’m given a lot of information about the various areas of the company, colleagues want to help each other out and there’s a minimum of politics or gossip.”

Keep the conversation focused on the future
You also don’t have to go into every single detail about a bad work experience if it doesn’t serve the interview, Jay adds. “Your goal in interviews is to take everything you learned and accomplished to reason why you would be perfect for the new company and what you can do for their bottom line,” Jay says.

Keep the conversation simple and future-focused, she says: The past work environment was no longer for me, and this is what I’m looking for going forward.

Talk about a side project
If you worked on a side business or project while at your last job, focus on what you learned while on your own.

If your side hustle directly relates to the job you’re applying for, that’s extra experience and skills you can talk about. Even if the skillsets don’t totally line up, bring out the soft skills that make you a good employee and leader, like time management or the ability to delegate.

Leave it off
Finally, you also have the option to leave an old job off your resume entirely, especially if it only lasted a few weeks or months and it isn’t related to the work you want to do.

“If the stint is short enough,” Minshew says, “it is perfectly acceptable to remove it from your resume.”

4/3/22 - 13 Best Practices for Beating an Applicant Tracking System

By Indeed Editorial Team

When you apply for a job, your resume might go through an applicant tracking system before it reaches a hiring manager. As a component of efficient and effective hiring practices, the tracking system reviews resumes and accepts candidates who seem to be most qualified for the role based on certain criteria. It is important to learn how to navigate a tracking system to get your resume to the hiring manager so that they can decide whether to schedule an in-person interview.

In this article, we explore applicant tracking systems and how they work as well as best practices for getting your resume through one.

What is an applicant tracking system?
An applicant tracking system (ATS) is software that employers use to find the most qualified candidates for a role. These systems help streamline the hiring process and remove resumes that do not meet the qualifications. An ATS is more likely to submit your application to the hiring manager for review if you have optimized your resume and cover letter for the job you are specifically applying for.

How do applicant tracking systems work?
Applicant tracking systems work by scanning your submitted resume and cover letter to find keywords that match the job posting. They also store submitted resumes in a database for hiring managers and human resources professionals to look through later on. The ATS may highlight and rank any applications it has determined to be a good match for the role.

Best practices for getting your resume through an applicant tracking system 
To increase your chances of getting hired, you need to first make it through the applicant tracking system. Here are some best practices you can consider to get your resume through the ATS and to the hiring manager:

  1. Only apply for jobs you qualify for.
  2. Be selective about the jobs you apply for at one company.
  3. Use relevant keywords.
  4. Connect your keywords to unique experiences.
  5. Include a skills section.
  6. Use basic language.
  7. Write out acronyms.
  8. Submit a tailored resume for each job.
  9. Keep your resume simple.
  10. Use basic formatting.
  11. Submit the right type of file.
  12. Update your information online.
  13. Include referrals in your application.

1. Only apply for jobs you qualify for
The easiest way to make it through the applicant tracking system is to apply for jobs you qualify for as the ATS might otherwise reject your application. By submitting applications for jobs that match your work history, education and skills, your experience should naturally appeal to the tracking system.

2. Be selective about the jobs you apply for at one company
Human resources professionals and hiring managers can log into the applicant tracking system at any time to sort through the submitted resumes. They can also see your application history, including how many active applications you have at their company. It is better to remain selective about the jobs you apply for to show hiring managers how serious you are about the right position.

3. Use relevant keywords
Look at the job posting, and use the same keywords in your application in a way that naturally highlights your experience and skills. Consider looking up similar jobs to get ideas for other terms you can include that may pique the interest of the applicant tracking system and hiring manager. To determine the most important keywords, make a note of specific software, education, certifications and methodologies that a job posting mentions.

4. Connect your keywords to unique experiences
The applicant tracking system is more likely to send your resume through if there are enough mentions of certain keywords relevant to the position, but hiring managers want to see how those keywords connect to real skills and experiences in the workplace. Think about your unique job history, and concisely explain how it makes you the perfect person for the position.

5. Include a skills section
A skills section is your chance to include relevant keywords in another location on your resume, especially for assets that didn't naturally fit into your work history section. Including a skills section with keywords makes it easier to scan your application for the terms the hiring manager is looking for.

6. Use basic language
It may be tempting to use section headers that are a little less traditional, especially if you're applying for a creative role and want to show your personality, but using uncommon language on a resume can confuse an applicant tracking system. Use basic language and terms that are easy to understand, and mimic how you would address your qualifications during an in-person interview.

7. Write out acronyms
Depending on an applicant tracking system's settings, it may either search for acronyms or written-out phrases. It's more likely going to look for the long-form term or phrase, but it's best practice to include both. For example, you could say something like, "Experienced in Search Engine Optimization (SEO)."

8. Submit a tailored resume for each job
Even if two positions you are applying for are very similar, you should tailor your resume to each one. The job descriptions are likely to vary from each other in some way, so use any differences you find to make your resume more specific to each job. The companies are different as well. Take the time to visit each company's website to get an idea of their values and the business they do. You can then incorporate what you learned into your resume and cover letter to stand out.

9. Keep your resume simple
You may want to create a resume that's graphically enhanced, especially if you're applying for a graphic design position, but it's best to keep it as simple as possible. An interesting-looking resume may be attractive to the hiring manager, but you need to make it past the applicant tracking system first. Some tracking systems have a hard time processing complicated resumes and may place the content in the wrong places.

10. Use basic formatting
Consider using a universally basic font throughout your resume, such as Arial, Times New Roman or Georgia. Also, instead of charts or graphical elements, use bullet points and bolded or underlined words to bring attention to something specific.

11. Submit the right type of file
After completing your resume, it's important to pay attention to how the job portal tells you to submit it. Specifically, you need to ensure that you are using an acceptable file type. If you submit any other type of file, the tracking system is less likely to read it accurately or even at all.

Even if there are many acceptable file types listed, try to upload only .pdf or .docx documents. Although both are common, applicant tracking systems typically find it easier to read .docx resumes, so consider using this file if you can.

12. Update your information online
Some applicant tracking systems do more than search the resume you've submitted. They may also search the web for your information to make sure it all matches. Keep your online profiles up to date to make your application more complete.

13. Include referrals in your application
Referrals have always been an important part of getting a job. Hiring managers want to hear directly from someone who knows you and can vouch for your work ethic. During an online application, there is often a section that asks if a current employee of the company has referred you to the role. If this is the case, remember to put your friend or colleague's name here to increase your chances of making it through the applicant tracking system.

Some companies even have employee referral systems that can move your application straight through the ATS to a hiring manager, so you should use this to your advantage if you have a contact within an organization.

3/27/22 - Success statements show employers how you’ve added value at work


The process of creating success statements is to craft short pitches that accurately and positively portray the value you bring to your organization. These statements effectively highlight your skill set to those above you.

In my presentation “Reputations are Built on Perception,” I discuss the process of creating your success statement and the importance of both practicing and continually refining what you need to say. You need to be ready when the opportunity arises.

Start documenting your success statements today! Create a file on your computer, cloud or even your phone if it will help you get to it regularly. You can download a blank copy of this accomplishment template.

Here are tips on how to take your success statements to the next level.

Demonstrate an ability to get results
You may need to prepare a few success statements to use, depending on your audience. Think about the senior leadership you might have an opportunity to talk to, and what sort of results they would consider the most compelling.

Create your statements to match their interests.

Demonstrate executive-level communication skills
Having coached thousands of senior leaders over the last two decades, I can tell you what they are looking for in leadership talent. They are looking for that spark, that desire to connect with others that they themselves bring to the table.

You don’t have to be a dynamic extrovert to share a keen ability to communicate. Top leaders are seeking a certain executive presence that demonstrates poise and gravitas — a calm and confident way of landing in the moment with both the ability to listen and the skill and knowledge to make a decision.

Highlight your ability to speak clearly and with confidence in any situation. They’re not looking for a know-it-all, they’re looking for a weather-it-all; someone who can wade into chaos and help bring order and reassurance to a team no matter what the turmoil.

Demonstrate a team mindset
That brings me to another key element of a success statement: team mindset. More and more, organizations have realized that great leaders aren’t necessarily the ones who speak the loudest or speak up first, unless they are also doing so in service to their team. Great leaders know how to support their team, remove barriers, share praise, highlight accomplishments and generally help everyone do the best job possible.

The era of big personalities, fixated on personal glory and attention is fading into history. If you want to be considered for promotions in the modern landscape, you need to cultivate and demonstrate a team mindset.

Demonstrate critical thinking
If you have great ideas on how to increase sales or improve efficiency, be sure to create clear and succinct pitches you can use in the moment to share your thoughts with leadership.

Executives are looking for ingenious, motivated individuals eager to make a difference. If you know ways the company could achieve more, it’s critical to organize your thoughts so they can be efficiently conveyed. Working and refining may be even more necessary for these types of success statements, because you’ll want to be sure your message is clear and easily understood.

It can be challenging to dive into talking about yourself, but I hope these suggestions will set you on a solid path to designing and refining your success statements. Remember that self-promotion is key in getting ahead, even when you have the best track record and great advocates speaking for you.

Get used to making the most of every opportunity you have to demonstrate your value to your company. It will be key to your next project or promotion.

As an executive coach, Joel Garfinkle is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S. He provides webinar trainings and virtual coaching sessions to help employees achieve higher levels of leadership. Garfinkle is the author of 11 books, including “Getting Ahead.” Subscribe to his Fulfillment at Work Newsletter which is delivered to over 10,000 people. You can view his video library of over 150+ easily actionable two-minute inspirational video clips by subscribing to his YouTube channel.

3/20/22 - Don’t make these 3 mistakes when applying for a remote job

by Morgan Smith 

If you’re hoping to start or continue working from home full-time, you’re in luck: the number of remote positions has surged over the past year, and today’s competitive job market is teeming with opportunities.

Even though the number of job openings is near an all-time high, landing a remote position requires different strategies than the traditional application process that, if missed, could stall your remote job search.

“The number of applicants we’re seeing for each remote job that’s posted lately has skyrocketed,” FlexJobs career coach Toni Frana tells CNBC Make It. “If you don’t tailor your application accordingly, you’re not going to stand out.”

Below, Frana shares the three biggest mistakes to avoid during your remote job search — and how to catch a recruiter’s eye instead:

Applying for remote jobs outside your region
About 95% of all remote job listings have a geographic requirement, whether it’s a specific state, city or country, according to FlexJobs. Companies include such a requirement to meet tax and licensing laws or an existing client base, among other reasons.

Not meeting a company’s location requirement can quickly land your application in the rejection pile — so make sure you’re filtering out jobs on search boards that aren’t available based on where you live and double-checking the location requirements on a remote job description.

Forgetting to include remote-specific skills on your resume
Employers are looking for candidates who can learn fast and manage themselves in a remote environment. Highlight remote-specific skills such as time management, communication, organization and your technological prowess on your resume to impress hiring managers.

If you don’t have remote work experience, Frana recommends explaining how you’ve used problem-solving skills to succeed in your most recent role or mentioning your ability to thrive in a fast-paced environment on your application. Both skills “show an employer that you have what it takes to be a successful remote employee,” she explains.

Your remote experience doesn’t need to come from a formal work setting either. If you’ve communicated with friends over Zoom or helped someone navigate Microsoft Teams for a virtual work or school meeting, Frana says you can refer to those examples during an interview or list the online platforms you’re familiar with under your resume’s “skills” section.

Casting too wide of a net
If you’re eager to find a remote job, chances are you’re spending hours each week scanning job boards and submitting the same resume – and while sending in 30 applications might feel productive, it’s hurting your chances of getting an offer.

It’s a common mistake that a lot of job-seekers fall victim to, Frana notes. But remote job-seekers are especially vulnerable to this misstep because online jobs can feel more casual.

“It takes time to edit each resume to match the job description, but the more thoughtful your application is, the better results you’re going to have versus relying on the number of applications you’re submitting,” Frana says.

She suggests focusing on open roles at no more than five companies that align with your personal mission and career goals. “It’s important to think about what else you want in your next role, besides flexibility,” Frana says.

When you start your job search, ask yourself these questions:

What kind of team do I want to be on?
What impact do I want my work to have?

“You need to know these answers to truly find the right remote job for you,” Frana says.

3/13/22 - 6 ways to figure out how much you should be getting paid

6 ways to figure out how much you should be getting paid—before negotiating your salary or a raise
by Jennifer Liu 

By now, most people know that interviewing for a new job will involve negotiating salary. And most people also hear that in order to negotiate salary, you have to know your market value. But what exactly does that mean, and how do you figure it out?

Employers have a long way to go to become transparent about their pay practices, so until then, it’s up to employees to talk to each other and advocate for themselves. The good news is that there are a growing number of state and local policies, online resources and networks of people willing to share information in the name of salary transparency and pay equity. Here are a few ways to figure out how much you should be paid.

Check local job listings
Your market value will depend on a handful of personal factors (your job title, years of experience, education level and special skills or certifications) and how they fit into the context of your job market (your geographic location, the size of the company, your industry).

It’s getting easier to look up pay ranges based on where you live, says HR consultant and career coach Michelle Yu. At least 10 states and cities have passed laws that require employers to affirmatively state their salary ranges — in Colorado, they’re required to be listed in job descriptions, and New York City will follow suit come May.

If you live in a state or city that has salary transparency laws in effect, you can search online for job openings for your current title, or one you’re going for, and see if the range is listed.

See if HR is required to tell you
Checking job openings for pay ranges isn’t always foolproof — employers could advertise a role that falls between $50,000 and $150,000. A more direct approach would be to ask the hiring manager outright or go to your own company’s HR, Yu says. Again, you might be entitled to know the salary range for a new job, transfer opportunity or promotion if your state or city requires it by law.

The laws vary a lot: In Nevada, employers must provide the salary range to applicants after an initial interview automatically, even if the applicant hasn’t asked for it. But in Washington, employers are only required to share the salary range when they’re making an offer and if the applicant asks for it.

Job-seekers and workers should check their state’s Department of Labor site for more information.

Research online salary databases
Then there are anonymous online databases, which ask users for their salary information in exchange for access to view other people’s salaries and company reviews. With bigger databases, you can get specific and search by job title, city, years of experience or by company.

Glassdoor, Payscale and Emsi Burning Glass are a few that lead the pack and can be used as a starting point for salary research, says Matt Gotchy, executive vice president of marketing at Trusaic, an HR compliance tool.

Your industry might have its own databases, too. Yu works primarily with marginalized workers in tech and recommends sites like, Elpha, AngelList and Transparent Career. Other popular salary whisper networks include, Blind or the Fishbowl app.

Take anonymous salary data with a grain of salt. Different sites have their own standards for verifying self-reported data. And some entries could be outdated, Gotchy says, especially for a fast-growing company or one that’s quickly raised compensation due to the tight labor market.

Talk to your colleagues
Online searches can take you pretty far, but nothing is as accurate or localized as talking with your peers. Gotchy stresses that it’s perfectly legal and protected for most private-sector employees to discuss pay with co-workers under the National Labor Relations Act.

Of course, how you broach the topic will depend a lot on how you interact with your co-workers. Yu recommends starting with people you’re comfortable with, like peers you trust. Or, you could tap someone who’s already said they’re as passionate about salary transparency as you are. Timing could also help, like if you’re all going through performance review and bonus season, or if you open the conversation because you’re going for a raise or promotion and would like their help gathering more pay data points.

Tap your extended network
If you don’t go the peer route, you could try your network and ask someone more senior than you, says author and career coach Octavia Goredema. Ask them for their perspective on what the salary range should be for the role you’re after. Framing is key: You’re not asking how much they earn now, or even how much they earned in the past, but rather what they think the range for your role should be, Goredema says. And they might share their own salary history or negotiation strategies with you.

It’s going to feel awkward bringing up salary, says Mabel Abraham, a Columbia Business School professor who studies gender inequities in the workplace. So the best thing to do is make sure you build these networks over time, instead of tapping them when things are urgent. The wage gap exists, so make sure your network is diverse across the race and gender spectrum.

And, because they have historically been paid the highest wages, Goredema adds, “if possible, talk to a white man.”

Ask your future co-workers
If you’re going for a new job, remember that you’re interviewing the company just as much as they’re interviewing you, Yu says. It’s not uncommon to get in touch with a connection at the company for an informational to get their perspective of working there. You could bring up pay during one of these meetings — say you’ve researched what you think the target salary ranges should be, are you on track or off base?

That’s what Nishant Parepalli did when he was negotiating his offer for a software engineering job. When he got HR’s offer, the first thing he did was email a few of the people at the company who would be his future colleagues. “These were people I had just interviewed with, who said if I had any questions I could reach out to them.”

He had questions about how much he should negotiate for and figured they’d have a good idea: “I asked them the average pay I could expect. That helped me come with a counter offer.”

3/6/22 - Building Your Personal Board of Directors

Create the team that helps you grow and holds you accountable.
by Kate Healy 

What Is a Personal Board of Directors?

This isn’t the first time you have heard it (I know I’ve said it quite a few times!) Your career is, well, yours. You have the responsibility to see how it grows and where it takes you. You could say that you are the chief executive officer of YOU, Inc. Being the CEO offers advantages: you shape the strategic direction of YOU, Inc. You look at the big picture and focus on the why (also a recurring theme). And one big advantage of being CEO is that you work with a board of directors. So, it makes sense that YOU, Inc. has a personal board of directors (PBOD) to guide you in making decisions, give you advice, introduce you to people who can help, and occasionally, give you a slight kick to make sure you are focused and heading in the right direction.

Who Should Be on My Personal Board of Directors?

It can be overwhelming to decide who you need on your PBOD. Visualize your board table and decide what chairs you need to fill at this stage in your career. Narrow it down by thinking about what strengths are not part of your current arsenal. Are you getting ready to relocate and feel uncomfortable cold calling to establish relationships in your new city? There is always that person that “knows a gal,” so you may want to think about adding a “connector.” Do you need someone to help you envision where your industry is heading so that you can ensure you are preparing yourself for where the business is going? Look to your “futurist” connections for guidance to ensure your skill set is ready.

Focus on the four to six people that can provide strengths to guide you, for this time in your career. These should be people you trust, and you want to make a commitment to being your best self with. Most importantly, your PBOD needs to include diverse points of view. This isn’t the time for all your besties to sit around and tell you how great you or your idea is. You want people who are going to poke holes in your plans. Think of them as your personal lane change warning system—they save you from your own blind spots.

Some examples of the characteristics of those you want on your personal board:

Connector/Networker—can introduce you to people who can introduce you to people who can introduce you to people, who, well, you get the idea
Accountability Partner—makes sure you do what you said you were going to do
Futurist—the people who are always thinking about “what could be”
Realist—they want to see your business plan
Confidante—like a BFF, you can hash out your ideas knowing they won’t spill your secrets
Your future self—someone in a role or circumstances you aspire to
Innovator—brings change and innovative ideas
Rising star—someone who sees with fresh eyes as they make their way up the ladder

What is different about this board is that you will reach out to them individually when you need guidance.

How to Support Your Board—and Pay it Forward

Like everything else in life, your PBOD will need care and feeding. Once you have asked people to be on your board, make sure you are reaching out to them at regular intervals to share goals, get feedback and provide updates on how things are going, especially where they have helped you. Relationships like this are a two-way street so make sure to explore where your personal strengths can help your directors.

Your PBOD is a dynamic entity and as your career develops, and needs change, you may add new directors to your board. Let them know what strengths you expect them to bring to your table.

This also means you may no longer need some of your directors. Be transparent about what needs have shifted and share the successes they have helped you achieve. A nice gift wouldn’t hurt either.

And now my favorite part. Once you have assembled your board, share your thoughts on why you do this and what you get from it. People change jobs often, and mentors can be hard to find. Raising awareness of this strategy can help others. And who knows? Perhaps someone will ask you to be on their own personal board of directors.

Kate Healy is a financial services industry executive and NextGen advocate, focused on building brands.

2/27/22 - You Don’t Have to Pay the A**hole Tax: How to Avoid Working for a Bad Boss

by Brandi Neal 

Until about five years ago it never occurred to me to check out who my potential new boss would be when looking for a job. I had always focused on the job itself versus worrying about who I would be working for.

Early in my career, I was often so thrilled to have an offer in an industry (print journalism) struggling to find its feet and remain relevant alongside the rise of online publishing and social media that I didn’t mull over the real-world ramifications of working for a bad boss.

This led to me leaving more than one role in search of a better working environment.

Eventually, before I joined Radical Candor, I found myself up for a dream editorial position at a start-up and I was fairly certain they were going to offer me the job.

There was only one problem — I had a pit in my stomach about accepting what seemed to be, by all accounts, a #careergoals opportunity.

Why was the idea of taking this leap making me feel so uneasy? It was more money; there were benefits; I would have an incredible amount of autonomy; and the tools to establish a strong voice in a divisive media landscape.

As it turned out, my gut was trying to tell me to scratch beneath the surface and I needed to listen.

Listen to Your Gut to Avoid a Bad Boss

“If you are not dying to work for this person, don’t take the job. Trust your gut,” Radical Candor author and co-founder Kim Scott advises.

“If you’re not sure what you think of them, start by making a list of pros and cons. Keep wrestling with it until you get to what is for you the determinative factor. For me, it’s can this person help me take a step in the direction of my dreams, or will they trip me up?”

After a day of walking around feeling slightly sick about taking this new gig for reasons I couldn’t identify — this was more than jitters about taking on an exciting new role — I decided to listen to my gut and do a little research.

I googled the name of the person to whom I would report in this new role and found an archive of abhorrent tweets and other questionable online behavior that immediately made it clear to me there was no way I could accept the job.

I promptly emailed this person and asked them to withdraw my name from consideration.

When they asked why I used the principles of Radical Candor — Caring Personally and Challenging Directly — to tell them that while I was thrilled to be among their top picks for such an exciting position and their mission statement aligned with my values, morally and ethically I couldn’t attach my name to someone who displayed the type of behavior reflected in what I’d found on Twitter.

(Remember folks, tweets are forever — even if you delete them there are usually screenshots floating around.)

They thanked me for my honesty and I felt a huge sense of relief after taking myself out of the running. I’d been saved from months of mental, emotional and financial upheaval by trusting my gut instead of ignoring my instincts and having to leave once I was already working for the organization.

Because — you guessed it — bad bosses are the number reason people leave their jobs.

Bad Bosses Are the No. 1 Reason People Leave Jobs
According to a new survey titled Horrible Bosses: A Survey of the American Workforce from GoodHire, 82% of people surveyed across 10 industries said they would quit their job due to a bad manager.

Most respondents defined a bad boss as someone who is “overbearing and micromanages, as well as a manager who expects them to work outside of working hours.” What people most desire in a boss is an honest and authentic manager.

What’s more, “Only 32% of all American workers surveyed believe that management really cares about their career progression,” the survey notes. “Without a manager who cares, who communicates and who motivates, employees will continue to look for what’s next and for what’s better for them.”

Obviously, it’s preferable to avoid working for a bad boss in the first place versus having to leave an organization and look for a new job. What could I have done in the interview process to be more proactive about avoiding working for a bad boss?

According to Kim in an episode of the Radical Candor podcast, there are some questions you can ask your potential employer to get a better read about whether you’re going to love working for them or it’s going to be your worst nightmare.

Avoid a Bad Boss by Asking These Questions

You want a boss who is respectful of the people who work for them, not a boss who tries to lord power over their employees or who thinks the job is a value judgment rather than a responsibility they’ll be held accountable for. Ask your potential new boss:

What is your management philosophy?
A lot of bosses won’t be able to articulate exactly what a boss does. “It took me a long time to figure this out when I was writing Radical Candor — bosses get and give feedback from and to their o teams, in order to achieve results,” Kim says. “But you want them to have some idea of what their responsibilities as a boss are.”
Dig into the details here. If someone says something that sounds buzzwordy or you’re not sure what it means, ask them for a specific example of what they mean.
Beware of absentee and micromanaging philosophies.
You want a boss who solicits feedback and then responds well to it — who has a growth mindset.
Ask your prospective boss about a failure. Who told them they were failing, and what did they learn from the experience? If they tell you about a time when one of their employees told them they were screwing up and they responded well, that’s a really good sign.
Ask your prospective boss how they like to receive feedback. (Your real question here is, “Will you take feedback if I give it to you?”)
Try giving your prospective boss feedback about something you observed during the interview process, and notice how they respond.

Reference Check Your Future Boss

You already know your boss is checking your references. What you might not be aware of is that you have every right to check their references, too. And asking the above questions wouldn’t have uncovered the tweets I found. This is where, if you’re still unsure, you need to go a step further.

In a column for Harvard Business Review, David Galloreese, who leads people and culture at Medallia, writes that it’s an accepted and perfect legitimate practice to reference check your boss.

“You can ask other interviewers what it’s like to work with that person. You can use LinkedIn to find your potential boss’s former direct reports or business partners and reach out for their thoughts,” Galloreese advises.

“Social media can help you identify shared connections and point you to who can give you insights. Through both digital and analog means, you can also find out if he or she is in any clubs, associations, or alumni groups where you have contacts and can seek information,”

If you’re worried about the broader company culture — we all know your boss’s boss could be a bad boss — make sure your new boss acts as a buffer instead of a screen.

“It’s true that your boss’s boss can have a huge impact on how your boss behaves. But I’ve worked for some people who were incredible shit umbrellas — who shielded me from toxicity they were experiencing,” Kim says.

“Others, however, are like shit funnels… If you are worried about the broader culture, make sure you’re working for a shit umbrella and not a shit funnel.”

Overall, don’t ignore red flags during the hiring process that will likely be much more difficult to dismiss once you start working there — you don’t have to pay the a**hole tax.

2/20/22 - CV ageism: Can you be the 'wrong’ age for a job?

By Sophia Epstein 

Age-related biases are baked into the recruiting process, whether conscious or not. Should workers be cagey, in order to overcome recruiters’ biases?

Applying for jobs is generally miserable, even at the best of times. But what if you knew that simply revealing your age on your CV would send your application straight into the ‘no’ pile?

That’s the reality for many people. Age discrimination means that over-50s are more than twice as likely as other workers to be unemployed for two years or longer if they lose their current job. One study showed that a 50-year-old worker was up to three times less likely to get an interview than a 28-year-old applicant. “When you’re in your 40s and 50, mentioning your age is like dropping an F-bomb,” says 55-year-old CJ* who lost his corporate marketing job 20 months ago and is still looking for another.

It’s not just older job-seekers facing automatic rejection; young people can also be discounted for roles because of their age. Although this type of ‘reverse’ ageism is much less researched, studies show that younger workers can be considered undesirable employees, and that this can lead to them not getting hired.

“When you’ve got baby boomers who think that millennials are lazy and entitled, you can imagine how an assumption like that could get into the recruitment process,” says social scientist Stéphane Francioli, of New York University’s Stern School of Business, who recently co-authored a study on ‘Youngism’, together with Professor Michael North.

Tackling the issue of age-related assumptions in the recruitment process is tricky. Some workers have come up with their own solution; 44% of over-45s admit to altering their age on their CV. Other strategies involve only detailing most recent employment experiences (for older workers), or removing age-related information like graduation dates (for younger and older workers) in order to get through initial screening processes.

But does removing age-related information from résumés really make a difference for helping younger and older workers secure a job?

A permitted prejudice?

When you apply for a job, there's no obligation to put your age or age-related indicators on your CV. Even if you do, there are laws preventing employers from overtly discriminating based on age. Yet the moment your CV hits a recruiter’s desk, subconscious biases around candidate ages are likely to kick in.

Hiring managers often don’t have time to read every application they receive thoroughly, so they often resort to making assumptions based on small details that stand out. At a certain point, the people doing the hiring are looking for reasons to say no, and age is one of them – whether consciously or otherwise.

“You're going to rely on stereotypes to make a first selection, and to some extent that’s understandable when you’ve got 200 applications for a single position,” says Jelle Lössbroek, who studies workplace ageism at Utrecht University in The Netherlands. “But this phase is where ageism is really influential.”

Whether it’s assuming older employees will take more sick days (they don’t) or younger applicants are job-hoppers (they aren’t), these clichés don’t have to be true to make an impact. “If that’s what managers think, that’s what they will consider when they’re looking at a job applicant,” says Lössbroek.

Part of the issue is many people don’t consider ageism a problem. A 2021 research paper from the Stanford Graduate School of Business showed that ageism seems to be the only condonable prejudice. “Ageism is oftentimes a bias that doesn't even get discussed in this landscape of inequality,” says lead author Professor Ashley Martin. In fact, her research shows that those who endorse and advocate for equality are more likely to be prejudiced against older individuals.

“Unlike with race and gender, we often believe older individuals have already had their successes and opportunities. So now, the natural order of things says that they should step down so that younger people can step up,” says Martin. “And that oftentimes legitimises age bias, and allows people to feel pretty comfortable excluding older individuals from the workforce.”

This problem is especially clear with hiring managers. “There’s less of an idea that you’re doing something bad when you’re selecting on age,” says Lössbroek. “Many managers would feel bad saying they were selecting by skin colour, but with age, too many managers would say it’s nothing personal, it just works better like this.”

In one of his research projects on age discrimination in hiring, Lössbroek ended a survey by asking: ‘What do you think this study was about?’ About one in three respondents correctly guessed that the focus of the survey was ageism. Lössbroek and his team then looked back over participants’ answers, assuming they would have toned down their ageism as a result – but that was not entirely the case. “Yes, they discriminated a bit less than the other groups,” says Lössbroek. “But they still discriminated a lot.” It’s as if ageism was nothing to be ashamed of.

Mitigating measures

If judgements related to worker age are inevitable, is there realistically anything candidates can do to avoid falling victim to prejudices? After all, even if you strip your CV of your date of birth, there are plenty of other age-related indicators in your list of previous jobs, skills and qualifications. Some recruitment advisers suggest leaving off key dates and only listing your last 15 years of experience, but is that a real solution?

“The more salient your age appears on your CV, the more likely the one who reads it will focus on your age,” points out Lössbroek, explaining that the harder it is to find your age, the safer you are from having your résumé thrown out before being properly read. “I think there’s some value in not displaying the age explicitly, but it doesn't solve everything.”

Stanford’s Martin suggests tackling potential ageism head-on instead. “Erasing age from a résumé is one way to mitigate some of the biases, but it’s not a way I’m overly optimistic about, she says, explaining that cutting your 30, 40 or 50 years of experience down to 15 would likely downplay your accomplishments. “Removing things creates a lot of ambiguity, and that opens up a lot of room for bias. When we don’t know information, our mind has a lot of ability to assume.”

Instead, think about what your age might suggest to a recruiter about you, and cut it off at the pass. Older applicants should, for example, emphasise their tech skills to counter possible stereotypes about adaptability. Younger workers should be explicit about problems they’ve solved, particularly ones that might appear out of their age bracket. “When you make things really clear, it becomes much harder for [recruiters] to make assumptions,” says Martin.

If candidates can catch a recruiter’s attention for the right reason, they have more chance of securing an interview and an all-important opportunity to make their case for employment in person. So, thinking about how you tackle the issue of age on your CV, both through what you chose to disclose and how you present and emphasise your skills, seems beneficial.

But companies would also benefit from scrutinizing their recruitment practices to ensure biases aren’t causing good candidates to be overlooked – particularly given the tight labour market. Action from employers would do more to move the needle on ageism in employment than tweaks to a CV.

“It makes sense to talk about strategies the victim can use,” says Lössbroek. “But usually it's the perpetrator who has more agency to change the situation.”

2/13/22 - Career planning in the age of uncertainty

by Julie Winkle Giulioni 

Another extraordinary year recently came to a close – and by all indications, we may be in for another one.

Continued COVID-19 concerns. Supply chain woes. Shallow labor pools for deep talent needs. Disruptive technology. Unusual climate events. Geopolitical concerns. It all points to another year (or perhaps future) in which uncertainty is the only certain thing we can count on.

While many employees have joined the Great Resignation, others have stayed, waiting for the turbulence to pass, the confusion to clear and predictability to return. But even the most steady and steadfast among us are coming to the conclusion that it’s time to take a clear-eyed look at what "career" means in today’s wacky workplace -- and how to move forward to create the experience of growth, engagement and satisfaction they desire despite the uncertainty.

Career outcomes used to be clear and defined. We created plans that led to new titles, positions, moves and promotions. But in today’s more volatile and less hierarchical organizations, this may not be as certain as it once was.

(And let’s be honest: Those steps up are looking less desirable to many. Climbing today’s corporate ladder comes with a lot more challenges, stress, hours and risk -- frequently without the compensation that compensates for it.)

That’s why many ambitious (and befuddled) professionals are asking: Without the traditional outcomes -- a targeted next role, prescribed pathways or promotion -- what does career development look like today? When conditions change before the ink is even dry, how can we make plans for a relevant and meaningful career?

"Uncertainty, when accepted, sheds a bright light on the power of intention. That is what you can count on: not the outcome, but the motivation you bring, the vision you hold, the compass setting you choose to follow." ~ Joanna Macy, "The Greatest Danger"

The answer may rest upon something less tangible -- but more powerful -- than the traditional ‘outcome’ or trappings of career development: our intentions, motivations and vision for our work. So, as you begin your 2022 planning, consider these three intentions that will help you use the uncertainty to thrive.

1. Find ways to add value
The challenges and sheer complexity facing most organizations right now create an environment in which opportunities to add value are ubiquitous. And the simple intention to do so can trigger a range of developmental and career-supporting outcomes.

You’ll enhance your strategic mindset as you learn to discern where and how to add value. You’ll gain a keener understanding of the organization’s priorities and customer needs. You’ll discover the levers that address problems, streamline processes and enhance satisfaction. You’ll likely expand your network. And you’ll distinguish yourself, building a reputation as a difference-maker while likely experiencing greater meaning in your work.

2. Double down on human skills
With so much talk about digital transformation, automation and artificial intelligence, it’s easy to be lulled into believing that future-proofing one’s career means tying oneself to technology. And while that's the answer for some, for others the key is to focus on what differentiates us from machines -- and that’s human skills.

Communication, empathy, collaborating, team building, influencing -- these are just a few of the high-impact skills that will be necessary and valued no matter what the future brings. And setting the intention to invest in developing them today will create opportunities tomorrow.

3. Focus on what you want to do versus what you want to be
There are no guarantees in organizations today -- and let’s face it, there haven’t been for some time. You can check all the right boxes and do all the right things, yet that next big break or promotion may still not come along. As Macy’s quote highlights, we can’t count on the outcomes.

So, instead of focusing on what you want to be -- the role, title or position -- turn your attention toward what you want to do. What job can your job do for you rather than the other way around?

Maybe you want to better align work with your values. Or build your network and feel more connected. Or test your capacity with next-level challenges. Or take on greater responsibility. Or build your confidence. You don’t have to wait to assume another role to make these things happen. You just need to set the intention to discover and take action on what you really want to do -- then watch the growth and opportunities that follow.

Uncertainty is synonymous with today’s business environment. But clear intentions can offer the sense of a grounded stability we need despite swirling conditions and unpredictable outcomes.

How will you develop your career in 2022? What’s your intention?

Julie Winkle Giulioni is a champion of growth and development in the workplace, helping leaders and organizations optimize the potential of their people. Named one of Inc. Magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers, she’s the co-author of the international bestseller "Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go: Career Conversations Organizations Need and Employees Want" and a forthcoming book, "Promotions Are So Yesterday," published by ATD Press. Learn more about her work at

Jeff Morris


headshotorange2 MediumSchedule a call with Jeff Morris

Fill out the following form, then schedule a phone call or zoom call with Jeff.

15-minute phone call - Free

15-minute zoom call - Free

60-minute zoom call - $


Insert form here


Jeff's Bio

Jeff is an operation and organizational-oriented professional with 20 years in a light manufacturing, value-added, quick-turn environment. Extensive customer service and team-building experience. Jeff is experienced in identifying and implementing solutions (lean manufacturing), staff development, and increased productivity by incorporating Six Sigma.

In 2008 Jeff Morris founded CareerDFW, a website created to assist the unemployed and under-employed in the DFW area.

In September of 2012, Jeff published his first book called “What I’ve Learned About YOUR JOB SEARCH That You May Not Know.”

Also in September of 2012, Jeff was invited to attend the White House Forum on Job Clubs and Career Ministries at the White House in Washington DC.

In October of 2012, Jeff launched a website to help those outside the DFW area.

Since 2007, Jeff also facilitates the North Dallas / Plano Career Focus Group which meets each Friday morning in Plano. Over 1580 people have found their next great opportunity while attending this group since 2007.

When Covid hit, Jeff (CareerDFW) started live free online career workshops every Tuesday, Wednesday, & Thursday on LinkedIn, Interviewing, Resumes, & Networking. 408 free career workshops were put on in 2020 & 2021.

Everything Jeff has done since 2008 for CareerDFW is as a volunteer.

• Is a 501(c)(3) Public Charity Non-Profit
• Is 100% run by volunteers, no full or part-time employees (including Jeff)
• is a CareerDFW website.
• Our Goal: “Giving you the tools to land your next great opportunity.™”

2/6/22 - 4 ways to build career-advancing connections in a hybrid era

The pandemic is no longer an excuse to ignore cultivating new and existing business relationships. Make 2022 the year you up your networking game.

For years, I’ve been telling clients and friends that it takes a village to raise a career. You need to build contacts across your industry, cultivate those relationships, and be as helpful to others as you want them to be to you. But in the pandemic era, your village has shrunk.

Unsurprisingly, numerous studies show that with so many people working from home, we’re interacting with fewer colleagues both inside our companies and at other businesses across our industries. Without going into an office each day, we’re less likely to meet new people outside of our departments. And with numerous conferences being canceled—something happening all over again now, due to the omicron variant—the same goes for networking with people at companies we may want to work for someday. Even those people who choose to go to the office or attend in-person events when possible are still making fewer connections since many other people are staying home.

To build your “village” in the hybrid era, you need to be organized and strategic.

With fewer in-person opportunities such as “water cooler conversations” available, use LinkedIn connection requests—but do so wisely and judiciously. Find people whose career track records show they’ve worked their way up the ranks in your field, or in another field that interests you. Read posts or articles they’ve written. If they’ve posted videos of a speech they gave or a panel they were a part of, watch one. Note something interesting about it. Then reach out, simply saying you’d love to connect.

mails can work as well, but keep them brief and simple. Inside your company, use Slack or another internal messaging channel to reach out to people you haven’t met yet. Say hello, and ask if it might be OK to hit them up for advice sometime.

Don’t take it personally if people don’t respond. Many are overwhelmed or very busy. If you don’t hear back from them, move on to someone else.

As a rule, aim to make at least 10 quality new contacts every three months. This is my standard advice even outside of the pandemic, and it still applies now. Across a year, that’s 40 new people you have in your corner.

Unfortunately, when I ask clients and attendees to my workshops to write down the names of new contacts they’ve made in the past three months, most people can’t even name three. Many can’t name one.

Make reaching out a part of your daily job. Aim to get one positive response by the end of each week. People are very busy, so most won’t write back. That’s OK. (Across a year you’ll have some weeks off and some weeks in which your efforts fail, so you’ll end up at around 40.)

People remember you and feel more connected to you once they’ve spoken with you. Request a quick Zoom session with them just to get to know them, and offer a few possible times. Limit the ask to 15 minutes, which most people will consider not too burdensome.

If the person you’re reaching out to is a manager and/or plays any other role in hiring, you may get especially good responses if you call the ask an informational interview. The Great Resignation has companies on the lookout for talent. When you request an informational interview, you’re indicating that even though you may not be looking for a job right now, you might be interested in joining their company someday. They’ll have good reason to invest the time in hopes that you might one day make a good hire.

Most importantly, be your authentic self. People can tell when someone is being fake or just trying to find a way to use them. Open up honestly about any challenges you’re having, and listen intently when they share. Do your best to connect with them as people. Everyone is craving more human connection.

Over time, tend the garden of your relationships. Stay in touch with people to whatever extent they seem to feel comfortable. Drop a note once in a while just to say hi. Comment on the social media posts of people in your network. At a time when many people are feeling exhausted and lonely, even little notes can make a big difference.

With everything on your plate, you may feel that the last thing you need is yet another task. But building your network is a crucial investment in yourself. I’ve been recruited for every job I’ve ever had by people with whom I built relationships. Your village sets you up for a stronger future.

Denise Hamilton is a work culture expert specializing in inclusive leadership. She is the CEO and founder of WatchHerWork.

1/30/22 - Learn to write accomplishment statements as success stories

by Joel Garfinkle 

I’m a big believer in documenting your achievements, but I realize that it can be hard to talk about yourself and your successes in a positive but professional light. Just the idea of sitting down to write about and take credit for work makes many people uncomfortable.

In my presentation “Career Advancement: Release Untapped Potential in Your Underutilized Leaders,” I outline the various ways you can coach hidden talent to truly shine and put their best foot forward when discussing their achievements.

I often suggest you think about your successes as miniature stories, with a setup, a plotline and an outcome. It can be a lot easier to talk about yourself with a bit of structure to your outline. If you need a place to start in breaking down your own accomplishments, read on for some of my tips.

Step No. 1: The overview
Write a brief overview of the problem you faced or project you managed. Think about it from a company perspective: what was the issue at the outset? What was the negative situation or state, or the undesirable outcome, that you were looking to improve? Whenever possible, explain the financial or time implications of the problem you were tackling.

Mention when a certain aspect of the operation was unreasonably expensive, time-consuming or a source of frequent errors in the organization. It’s best to outline the problem in measurable terms.

Set the stage for the actions you took by describing the issues in a way that will resonate with the audience -- in this case, people invested in the smooth operation of the business. When they see the problem for themselves through your description, their minds will begin turning with the various ways they would have tackled it, and they’ll be interested to hear how you came to approach the issue.

Step No. 2: The approach
List the key actions you took to address the problem or the specific approaches that were the scope of your project. Explain how you were thorough in taking on the problem or project, and be sure to take every opportunity to highlight your role in finding the solution.

This isn’t about details, it’s about using the situation to illustrate your strengths. Think about the various skills, experience and talents you have that came into play in tackling the issue or project. You might even consider mentioning avenues that might have seemed obvious, that you investigated before abandoning, and why.

Think about taking the reader (or listener) on a journey through the steps and get them invested in the story.

Step No. 3: The results
Detail the measurable results that underscore the financial impact your accomplishment had on the company. You set these up in your first step; make sure you use the same terms of reference to show how you’ve improved the company’s bottom line. Remember to use financial terms whenever possible. This is how you really shine as an employee who brings value to the organization in simple, quantifiable terms.

Your example of your leadership and your success in completing the project, or overcoming the project is exactly the sort of story that interests your audience most -- it’s a success story that involves them, too. This will really resonate with senior leadership, who are always thinking of the company in hours, dollars and cents. As a bonus, it will likely be easier for you to outline your accomplishments using this unemotional method without feeling boastful.

Still not sure this method will work for you? Concerned about “tooting your own horn” or seeming too egotistical? Try the above steps with your least exciting, most basic achievement. Chances are you will find that documenting the results in detail, using simple financial terms will not only look surprisingly impressive, it will be easier to write. Give it a try, and after a few attempts, it will become less daunting.

Adding a bit of emotional distance by writing this way can not only make the process easier, but create better, more compelling results. Documenting your accomplishments will be easy to add to your regular monthly or quarterly habits. Be sure to make it a regular task in your career advancement routine to keep your skills in documenting sharp.


Joel Garfinkle provides corporate training, webinars, and executive coaching. He is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in the U.S. He has worked with many of the world’s leading companies, including Google, Amazon, Starbucks, Deloitte, Eli Lilly, the NBA , and The Ritz-Carlton Hotels. Garfinkle is the author of 11 books, including "Getting Ahead." More than 10,000 people subscribe to his Fulfillment@Work newsletter. If you sign up, you’ll receive the free e-book “41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!” You can view his video library of over 100+ easily actionable 2-minute inspirational video clips at his YouTube channel.

1/23/22 - Want to sound more confident in a job interview?

Want to sound more confident in a job interview? Tell the recruiter you’re nervous, says Google’s head of recruiting
by Morgan Smith 

Interviews can be nerve-wracking, whether you’re sitting across from a hiring manager in an office or speaking to them on a video call from the comfort of your couch.

But interviews are an important part of the hiring process: these conversations give you a chance to show off the skills in your resume and learn more about an organization to help you determine whether an opportunity is the right fit for you. “Remember: an interview isn’t an exam, it should be a conversation,” Google’s Global Head of Recruiting Brendan Castle tells CNBC Make It.

A successful job interview starts with preparation: researching the organization, practicing your responses to possible questions and planning how to follow up with the interviewer after your conversation. Consider these three interview strategies from Castle that can help you stand out and land your dream job:

Acknowledge your nerves
It might feel counterintuitive at first to tell an interviewer that you’re nervous, but Castle notes that acknowledging your nerves can help calm you down and organize your thoughts during difficult parts of the conversation.

“We understand that you’re a human, it’s okay to be yourself and own your feelings,” he says. If you’re really struggling during an interview, Castle suggests taking a deep breath and politely asking your interviewer for a brief pause.

“For example, you can tell them, ‘I’m a bit nervous, can I take a moment before responding?’” he says. “We actually quite respect statements like that because it shows how much you care about this opportunity and that the interview means a lot to you … it’s perfectly okay to show that.”

Ask questions throughout the interview
Candidates should feel empowered to ask questions about the position or company throughout the interview, not just at the end. “You’re also assessing these companies for the next step in your career,” Castle says.

Castle suggests asking these three questions to help you gauge an organization’s priorities and show that you would be a highly engaged employee:

How would you define success for the person in this role?

When you think about your own career and transition to this company, what did you learn about yourself on that journey?

What is it about the company that keeps you motivated and excited to go to work everyday?

Don’t badmouth your previous employer
It’s important to focus on the opportunities you’re running toward during an interview instead of the experiences you’re running away from. Castle warns against complaining about the companies you’ve worked at in a “really negative tone” — instead, he recommends you tell a recruiter what qualities you’re looking for in your next role.

“Complaining about a previous employer might be my biggest ‘don’t’ during an interview,” adds. “We don’t know what happens in other organizations, but we really want to understand ‘Why us?’ versus ‘Why not another company?’”

1/16/22 - With Virtual Interviews Here to Stay, Best Practices Are Needed

By Roy Maurer 

The use of videoconferencing technology for virtual job interviews exploded during the COVID-19 pandemic, and surveys show that the practice has become a part of the hiring process for good.

A recent poll of 1,100 U.S. employers conducted by Indeed found that 82 percent of respondents said they adopted virtual interviews for candidates because of the pandemic, and nearly all—93 percent—expect to continue to use virtual interviews in the future.

Another survey from recruiting software provider Jobvite found that 61 percent of surveyed recruiters said the hiring process will be a combination of virtual and in person going forward, while 22 percent said they plan to conduct all-virtual hiring.

"You have employers who are going to continue doing video interviews because they've adopted a remote/hybrid work environment and need the solution to interview candidates remotely, as well as to expand their talent pool," said Josh Tolan, CEO of video interviewing platform Spark Hire, based in the Chicago area.

Employers have noted multiple benefits to virtual interviews, including a shorter time-to-hire, a more streamlined hiring process and a better candidate experience for some because applicants have more control over when and where they interview.

Tolan noted the distinction between the two most prevalent types of virtual interviews: live video interviews, which are being used as a replacement for in-person interviews in a remote environment, and one-way video interviews typically used earlier in the hiring process as a preliminary screening interview, not meant to replace face-to-face, live interactions. He said the last 20 months have accelerated the adoption of this latter type of prerecorded video interviews, in which candidates respond to questions on their own time and then submit their recorded answers.

"Not only does this standardize the preliminary interview process with all candidates answering the same questions, but it also boosts hiring collaboration, as hiring managers are able to provide input earlier on, resulting in better downstream hiring outcomes," he said. "The candidate also benefits, since the employer can interview more people, giving candidates more opportunities." He emphasized that with all candidates answering the same questions, they're on an even playing field. "And, with multiple team members evaluating their video interview, the decision on whether they are advanced isn't solely dependent on one person, reducing bias."

There's also a health and safety component to virtual interviews—84 percent of employers surveyed by Indeed say they are still using video interviews to mitigate risk amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

In-Person Experience Is Tough to Beat

Even with all of the benefits of virtual interviews, a majority of the recruiters surveyed by Jobvite still consider an in-person meeting to be a better interview experience, even though that balance of preference is shifting. Over three-fourths (77 percent) of respondents said an in-person interview was preferable in 2020, compared with just 62 percent this year. And 21 percent chose video as the most effective way to conduct interviews this year, compared with 11 percent in 2020.

"I would agree that an in-person experience is better for the candidate and hiring manager," said Tim Sackett, SHRM-SCP, a talent acquisition expert and president of HRU Technical Resources, an engineering and design staffing firm based in Lansing, Mich. "When [I conduct interviews] in person, I can see body language better and am more likely to have a better experience with someone. Over video, it may not be bad, but I don't think it will ever be superior."

Tolan agreed that when comparing live video interviews to an in-person experience, "most would agree that in-person is desirable, but it also has its limitations."

Those limitations include not being feasible or economical for employers shifting to a remote environment, and the difficulty of aligning the schedules of interviewers and candidates, who have to block off time to travel to the interview.

"So, while the actual in-person interaction might be more desirable … there's still a case that, overall, the flexibility, cost savings and collaboration of live video interviews present benefits to all parties," Tolan said. "You also need to consider the shifting candidate market and what their preferences are for interviews."

Kerry Gilliam, vice president of marketing at Jobvite, said, "The more you know about the likes and dislikes of the person you are trying to recruit, the better job you can do outlining the ideal candidate journey and knowing their communication and interview preferences."

Amber Ferrari, marketing manager at Jobvite, agreed, saying it's important for recruiters to use their discretion for when to offer virtual versus in-person interviews, because these recruiters "should know what is going to make the interviewee most comfortable and most likely to connect with the organization."

Gilliam suggested that virtual interviews could be best conducted earlier in the hiring process as screening interviews, saving time and costs. "Another opportunity for video is when having to interview with multiple people at the same time," she said.

"There are a lot of moving pieces to consider, including equity issues," Sackett said. "I think if you are going to have virtual interviews, you have to put everyone through the same interview experience. If the first interview is virtual, all first interviews should be virtual. If you bring people in for an interview, all candidates should have the opportunity to have that in-person experience."

1/9/22 - The right way to follow up at every stage in your job search

By Kathryn Vasel 

The job search process usually involves a lot of waiting around. Did they get my application? Did that interview go well? How long will it take them to get back to me?

Even if a company is moving fast to fill a role it can still take some time to hear back. But the way you follow up while waiting can help make you stand out.
So don't be shy about following up and expressing just how interested you are in the position.

"Employers want to hire people that want the job. They're not in the business of trying to pitch a job to someone who is really resistant," said job search strategist Kamara Toffolo.

You've applied... now what?

You hit send on your application and then repeatedly check your email for the next few days to see if a recruiter wants to set up an interview.

But you don't have to wait. Experts said you should reach out immediately after applying. Even in a job seeker's market, chances are your application isn't immediately being seen by a human being.

"When you submit a resume it goes into an applicant tracking system...and recruiters do not look at every resume," said Marlo Lyons, a career coach and human resources executive. "You need to find someone to refer you in....or find a contact in the company to flag your resume."

It will take a little bit of sleuthing to find out who to reach out to if it's not listed on the posting. Check to see if you already have any direct connections or second-degree connections at the company on LinkedIn that you can reach out to and ask to pass along your resume or connect you directly with the hiring manager.

To find a recruiter, go to the company's LinkedIn page and find the "people" tab where you can search for "recruiter" among the company's employees, recommended Toffolo.

"We can refine that search even further if you know the business unit you've applied to," she added.

Another approach is to find the hiring manager. To help do this, try to figure out the title of the person you would be reporting to based on the title you are applying for, recommended Angela Copeland, vice president of marketing at

"Let's say it's marketing director -- think of the hierarchy of a company: you will typically report into the vice president, or if you are manager you might report into the director. You can look on the company's LinkedIn page to see employees and filter down by job title."

If this still brings up too many potential results, Copeland suggested scanning the job posting for more clues. "Look for something unique in the job description that you would be doing that your hiring manager might also know about and put that in as a keyword ... to help you narrow it down."

For your note, Toffolo said to make it clear you've already applied to the position and why you are a good fit.

"You can summarize your key strengths that you would bring to the role and ask for a time to chat. At the end the message include: If I should be reaching out to one of your colleagues, please feel free to send my message along with my resume, which I've attached."

The interview is over. Do this right away

Job seekers might have a lot of leverage right now, but a thank you note is still important.

"Every time you do the right thing, you are increasing your chances because so many people don't do the basics," said Lindsey Pollak, career expert and author of "Recalculating: Navigate Your Career Through the Changing World of Work."

An email is fine, but Pollak suggests sending it within 12 hours of the interview. And it can be short: Thank you for taking the time to meet with me about XYZ position, I really enjoyed our conversation. Then mention one memorable nugget of something that stood out to you or a follow-up to something you discussed.

"One factoid that shows you're not sending a generic note."

And if you interviewed with more than one person, each person should get an individualized thank you note.

It's been a few weeks since the interview, and ... crickets

You really thought the interview went well, but still haven't heard back.

To help set you up better for follow-up, Pollak suggests asking about the timeline in the interview: "Can you talk me through the next steps -- when can I expect to hear from you?" or "When would it be appropriate for me to follow up?"

If the response is something like two to three weeks, Pollak said to mark your calendar to send a follow-up note in two weeks. But if they don't give any sense, she said reaching out once a week is a good rule of thumb.

In the check-in notes, reiterate your interest and reference something either from the interview that you've been thinking more about or recent company news announcements or CEO comments.

"What you are really trying to do is not mess up by being irritating or rude" said Pollak. "You aren't writing a manifesto or love letter, you are just pinging them with a little bit of value."

If three follow-up notes after an interview go unanswered, Pollak said it's time to stop reaching out.

When you get a 'thanks, but no thanks'

It doesn't feel great to get the "thanks for the interest, but we've decided to go with someone else" email.

But you can still use it to your advantage by sending a response like: I wanted to thank you again for the opportunity, I am glad you found someone who is the right fit. I enjoyed meeting you and would welcome the opportunity to work with you and your team in the future and I've also sent you a connection request on LinkedIn, suggested Toffolo.

"A lot of folks miss the opportunity of sending a final message to the 'thanks, but no thanks,' message."

Sometimes the chosen candidate falls through or another position opens up, and a positive last impression can work in your favor.

"This can really stand out to an employer," she said.

1/2/22 - 4 Tips For Researching A Company Before Jumping Into The Interview

by Don Goodman Aaron Sanborn 

You may have spent hours perfecting your resume, and to finally get that call from the employer to come in for an interview feels fantastic, but don't stop the hard work and start relaxing just yet.

Taking time to do research before the job interview is the difference between winning the employer over and losing your shot at the job to someone else.

Clearly, you should know some basics about the employer like what they do, what they offer, who's their audience, where they have offices, and who are the key members of management. It also helps to know more about the individuals you'll be meeting with.

Going into the interview armed with as much information as possible about the company helps serve two really big purposes:

You'll be able to give an intelligent response when the hiring manager asks you what you know about the company, and your potential fit.
You can use your knowledge of the company to put together some good questions for when it's your time to ask questions during the job interview.

Here are tips on where to go to load up on information about the company.

Company Website
Companies put a lot of effort into their websites because they're great tools for promoting their brands and attracting new talent.

Even the most basic company website offers some form of information to help you prepare for a job interview. Refer to sections like "About Us" to learn about the basics of the company, "News/Press Releases" to be informed about latest news and developments at the company, "Management" where you can become familiar with important names and see details of who heads the particular department you want a job in, and "Locations" so you see where offices are located.

Even if you're not in sales or marketing, you should also look over sections of the website that talk about services, products, and partners.

Social Media Accounts
Not every employer will have a Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram account, but for those who do, they're easy resources to go through to pull a lot of information quickly.

Through what they post, and the tone of their postings, you can learn a lot about a company and its company culture.

Photos and videos posted on these sites can also give you a sense of the dress code, work environment, and show you faces of important individuals.

Job seekers should also use sites like Indeed and Glassdoor to see what the company's employees have to say about it.

LinkedIn is particularly helpful because it offers most of what other social media accounts offer, but more. By this we mean it can put you directly in touch with individuals at the organization. Read up on the individuals you'll be meeting like the HR manager, head of the department for the job you want, and other workers who may work in the same department.

You can even search for people who used to be in the company and find the individual who might have held the job you are seeking. LinkedIn is much more of a professional social media platform, so you can expect its page to include business-oriented news that can help you prepare for the job interview.

Online News/Industry News
If you're looking to really impress, also read up on industry news and know what's happening in the space so you can have an intelligent conversation. Employers are impressed by applicants who not only know its business, but about its market and competitors as well.

It doesn't take a lot to come off prepared for the job interview with the various online resources readily available with information. Armed with the information, you are prepared to respond and ask good questions at the job interview so that you solidify the message that you are a serious contender.

Happy Holidays 2021 - Check out our holiday wish for You!

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2022 but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Happy Holidays, and a very safe and Happy New Year to you and yours!

12/12/21 - 4 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Accepting A Job Offer

by Jenna Arcand 

Receiving a job offer after a long job search is one of the best feelings in the world. Before you say "yes" though, it's important to determine whether you're making the right decision for you and your career.

After an incredibly difficult job search, it can be tempting to take the first job offer you receive. Of course, there are many factors that go into whether you should accept that job offer, but for most professionals, it's not wise to blindly accept your first one, unless it's a position at one of your bucket list companies.

The decision to accept a job offer shouldn't be taken lightly. In order to advance your career, you need to make sure each job you take provides you with opportunities to grow as a professional, while also factoring in work-life balance.

Here are four questions you must ask yourself before accepting any job offer.

1. Do I Like The People I'd Be Working With At This Company?
It may be hard to know if you'd work well with the people at a particular company just after a few interviews and handshakes. But it's important to make an effort to get to know the people you'd be working with before moving too far into the hiring process.

Your co-workers can make or break your experience at a company. If you didn't get a good vibe from the people you met during your interviews, then maybe you should think twice about accepting the job offer. We're not saying you should be friends with your co-workers. You just need to be able to work well with them.

By getting to know as many people as possible early on in the interview process, you won't only learn who they are and whether you could get along with them, but you'll also strengthen your network within the company.

2. Will I Be Able To Leverage My Strengths In This Position?
Part of your job during an interview is asking the right questions so you can learn as much about the company and the position as possible in order to make an informed decision if a job offer comes your way.

After a couple rounds of interviews, you should have a clear idea of what you'd be doing every day if you were to accept the job offer. Are you excited about those projects? Will you be able to leverage your strengths to help the company meet their goals? If not, then you probably won't get very much satisfaction out of the job.

An employer will offer you the job if they believe you can add value to the company. But if the way they want you to add value doesn't align with your career goals or strengths, it might not be the right position for you.

3. Can I Relate To The Company's Values And Beliefs?
This question is an easy one to forget to ask ourselves when we're offered a job.

Although you should always feel connected to a company's mission or values before you apply for a job there (so you can write a disruptive cover letter and actually land an interview), maybe you haven't considered the company values and beliefs until this stage in the hiring process. If you haven't done so, you should research the company until you know what its purpose is. Why does the company exist? What problem is it trying to solve? Could you work towards this mission every day?

The bottom line: If your values and beliefs don't match up with the company's, then you won't be truly invested in what you're doing, and your performance and career happiness and satisfaction will suffer.

4. Will The Location Of This Job Work For Me?
A commute is a bigger factor in your career than you think. A lot of people underestimate the kind of toll a long and difficult commute will have on them. That's why it's important to be honest with yourself: Do you really want to spend an hour or more on the road every day?

Before saying "yes" to a job with a long commute, consider your schedule, lifestyle, and family commitments. Are you willing to sacrifice and compromise on certain areas of your life for this opportunity? Will you still be able to achieve some type of work-life balance with a long commute?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more and more professionals want to work remote jobs, and companies are listening, offering more remote work opportunities to attract top talent. If you'd prefer not to commute at all, then you should probably apply for jobs that offer the flexibility to work from home (at least some of the time). Being a remote or hybrid employee definitely has its perks when you consider how stressful, expensive, and time-consuming a commute can be, and it absolutely should be a factor in your decision to accept a job or not.

By asking yourself these four questions before accepting any job offer, you'll be sure you're making the right decision—for you and your career.

12/5/21 - The average recruiter initially spends 7.4 seconds scanning a resume

The average recruiter initially spends 7.4 seconds scanning a resume, so use these strategies to stand out in your job search
by Michelle Fox 

If you hope to land a new job, you’ll want to make sure your resume catches the eyes of recruiters.

The first thing you should do is shift your mindset, said certified professional career coach Matt Glodz, founder of Chicago-based executive resume writing firm Resume Pilots.

“Stop thinking so much about yourself and think more about what your reader is looking for and expecting to see,” he said.

The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted what some employers consider important — including, for example, vaccination status.

In this era of vaccine mandates, the number of job postings requiring candidates to be vaccinated against Covid-19 has doubled since the end of September, according to career site Ladders. Meanwhile, President Joe Biden’s vaccine and testing mandate for private businesses is currently working its way through the court system.

Whether or not you put your vaccination status on your resume is a personal decision, said Amanda Augustine, career advice expert at New-York based resume-writing service TopResume.

“If you are OK putting the information out there and that is the status for you, you are better off because there are employers that are ignoring candidates that don’t disclose that information,” she said.

In fact, 33% of hiring managers will automatically eliminate resumes that don’t include a Covid-19 vaccine status, a survey by found. It surveyed 1,250 hiring managers across the U.S. in August.

With that in mind, here are five strategies to make your resume stand out.

1. Demonstrate flexibility
Adaptability and flexibility are the top skills employers believe have greater importance since the pandemic hit, an October 2020 TopResume survey of 334 hiring professionals found.

Critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration and teamwork are also important to employers these days.

While it may feel challenging to get these skills across on your resume without simply listing them, think about the most recent work you have done that can demonstrate those skills, Augustine suggests.

“Talk about how you created results, got something done on time, contributed to your organization and the steps you took to get there,” she said.

If you’ve worked remotely during the pandemic, be sure to include that, as well, by simply putting it in parentheses next to your title in the experience section.

“You never know when you may be thrown back into some sort of quarantine,” Augustine said.

2. Present a compelling narrative
Your resume should tell a clear story as to why your experience and skills qualify you for the position you are applying for, Augustine said.

Therefore, TopResume recommends a hybrid-resume format that is not fully chronological. Instead, the top third of the resume should give employers a quick glance at why it makes sense to talk to you, she explained. It should include your contact information, professional title, professional summary and areas of expertise.

Then, dive into your work experience.

3. Show your impact
Recruiters want to see the impact you’ve made to your prior or current organization. If your experience section is very task-based, focusing on your day-to-day responsibilities, it will read more like a job description instead of painting a picture for recruiters, Glodz said.

“Take the task and turn it into an achievement,” he advised.

For example, show how much a project increased the company’s revenue or saved the business money.

4. Format matters
The average hiring professional spends 7.4 seconds scanning a resume before deciding whether to look at the candidate more closely, a 2018 Ladders study found.

“When you have such a little time to capture their attention and zero in on your application, you want to make sure it is easy for them to scan and understand your career narrative,” Augustine said.

Don’t make your experience an endless list of bullet points or dense paragraphs. Instead, create a short paragraph under your job that describes the role and responsibilities. Then use your bullet points, or what Augustine calls bragging points, to demonstrate your achievements.

Stay away from custom or overly intricate font styles. Use a classic resume template, organized with conventional headings, Glodz said.

Carefully proofread it line by line, looking at not only grammar and phrasing but making sure your spacing and fonts are consistent throughout.

“Your professionalism is really going to be demonstrated by how you present your document,” Glodz said.

5. Don’t forget a cover letter
When TopResume asked hiring managers if they are more likely to read cover letters now than before the pandemic, 48% said yes.

“It won’t hurt your application if you include it, but you could be hurting your chances of a call back if you don’t,” Augustine said.

Don’t make it generic. Instead customize it by including what you’ve learned about the company and what they are looking for in a candidate for the role you are applying for.

11/28/21 - Got a job offer but hoping another one comes through? Here's what to do

By Kathryn Vasel, CNN Business 

You've been interviewing with three different companies that all sound promising, and Company A is the first to give you an offer. You're excited, but you are still interested in what Company B and C might have to offer. What do you do?

It's not uncommon for job seekers to be getting multiple offers right now. According to Ryan Sutton, a district president at staffing agency Robert Half, "hot candidates" that have in-demand skill sets are averaging three offers.

"We've seen candidates pull many more than that. We've seen candidates with upwards of five-plus offers," Sutton said.

With more than 10 million job openings, it's a job seeker's market.

"In a tight labor market, you may have more leverage, but employers know that time kills deals, so rest assured, the employer is going to be pushing you for an answer," said Tessa White, CEO of The Job Doctor.

Responding to Company A

If the first job offer you get wasn't from your top choice, it's fairly customary to ask for time to think it over. But how much time is reasonable?

Career counselor Karen Chopra said asking for up to 10 days to evaluate the offer is fair game when still interviewing with other companies, but not too much longer than that.

"After a while it gets hard to ask someone to hold a job open for you. So 10 days feels reasonable," she said.

Chopra suggested saying something like: "Thank you, I am so excited for this offer. I am in the middle of interviewing with other organizations. I would like to complete those. Would it be all right if I got back you in 10 days?"

If you aren't comfortable disclosing you are talking to other employers, you can keep the response more general.

"You can be very general and nondescript," said Brenda Cunningham, career manager at Push Career Management. For example, you could say: Thank you so much for this offer, I would appreciate up to two weeks to go through my decision-making process.

Another discreet way to buy yourself more time is to ask to speak to potential colleagues to get a better sense of whether the position will be a good fit, since scheduling those discussions can take a few days, recommended White.

"Outside of that, unless there is really high trust it's hard to say, 'Can I wait and see what the other one says?'" she said.

The negotiation process could also provide more time before having to give a final answer.

Putting off a potential employer for too long comes with risks.

"I wouldn't recommend going past a week," said Sutton. "Past five days, the law of diminishing returns falls into play."

If you have a dream company, he suggested focusing on only that employer during your search right now.

"Why entertain a back up? In this kind of market when it's this hot.... You don't have the same risk of: Is there going to be another opportunity out there? Yes, if you have a good skill set that is in demand, there are going to be plenty of opportunities out there."

When asking for more time to consider an offer, Chopra recommended talking with the hiring manager, if possible.

"They are most invested in this going well. They want you to say 'yes' and have an incentive to be nice to you. They know how much flex they've got... they have the authority to do the negotiation."

And this isn't a conversation to have over email or text.

Having this discussion on the phone allows you to better evaluate the situation and respond accordingly.

"The problem with email is there is no vocal tone and you are not getting immediate feedback," said Chopra. "You can't hear the pauses, you can't hear how begrudgingly they say 'sure you can have those 10 days.' You can't do any repair work or assure them."

And if a company asks for more details about who you're still interviewing with, don't feel pressured to give in.

"Hold your cards close," said White. She added that it's fine to say it's in the same industry or for a similar role, but not to give the names of the companies.

If a company wants an answer right away but you aren't sure it's the right job, White said to slow the process down by asking for more details or to meet with additional people. "Push the company you want the offer from, but try and slow down the company making the offer."

Getting Company B & C to speed up

If you are able to get some time from Company A, you'll need to get things moving with Companies B and C.

"Your job is to help them understand the time crunch you are under without forcing the matter," Cunningham said. "This is a sensitive area and you need to tread carefully."

She recommended telling the company you have another offer and phrasing the request as a question, something like: "Is there anything we can do to accelerate this decision making process? Is there any information that I can provide quickly to influence your decision?"

How the companies respond to this request can be very telling of how the relationship is going to play out during your career, she added.

"If this organization doesn't understand the basic conundrum you are in, consider how they will respond later when you are a part of the company and you ask for a raise, or a promotion or unplanned time off? Is it going to be these same levels of red tape and bureaucracy that you are going to have to deal with?" Cunningham said.

Happy Thanksgiving 2021 - Check out what we give thanks for

turkey05               pilglobe               cornucopia01

What do you give thanks for?

We give thanks for the career group leaders who give their time to help us.

We give thanks for the organizations that allow us to meet in and use their facilities.

(New for 2020) We give thanks for Zoom, Facetime, Teams, Google Meets, and others, for options to continue to meet online when we can not meet in person.

We give thanks for the speakers who share their knowledge to help us with our job search for free.

We give thanks for the opportunity to network and meet new people.

We give thanks for the opportunity to help others in their job search.

We give thanks for the support our family and friends provide.

We give thanks for the opportunity to spend more time with our family during our job search.

We give thanks for the opportunities we have living in the USA.

We give thanks for the next great opportunity that awaits us in the future.

We give thanks.

What do you give thanks for?

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from CareerDFW and

11/14/21 - 10 Little Things That Make A Big Difference To Hiring Managers

by Laura Smith-Proulx & Jenna Arcand 

As a former hiring manager in several consulting firms, I often wondered if candidates were cognizant of the impression they made on employers. Even small things, such as the frown displayed by an applicant upon arriving at an interview, or the worn-out jeans on an applicant in a roomful of suits, gave me pause as I worked to screen candidates.

Ironically, many of the issues I spotted could have been easily fixed by taking care of seemingly minor issues. In some cases, these corrections would have made the difference between hiring the job candidate and taking a pass on the applicant!

Here are 10 “little" things that make a big difference to hiring managers in your job search.

1. Your Digital Identity

Yes, recruiters and hiring managers will be checking out your LinkedIn presence and verifying that your Facebook and Instagram activity is not violating their corporate policies. But have you stopped to think about your tweets or the content you're creating on TikTok?

Even the most realistic employer will need to assess your liability as a potential new hire. Therefore, your online activity must be sufficiently toned-down and presentable to a potential company—long before you enter the job market.

If you've kept up a website on your middle-of-the-night gaming habit or constantly tweet your distaste for political candidates, these items can offend hiring managers—and cause them to rethink bringing you in for an interview.

2. Your Honesty

Struggling to hide employment gaps in your work history on your resume? Failing to mention that new job you just took (that isn't working out)? White lies or sins of omission on your resume and in your interviews will come back to haunt you in more than one way.

If interviewers don't catch lies during the resume screening process, there's still a chance that your background check will reveal all. Even after you're hired, your record of impeccable service won't make up for less-than-forthright stories on your resume or LinkedIn profile.

Stories abound of high-profile executives, entertainment professionals, and sports coaches who attended college but didn't graduate—and who paid the price for fudging these resume details years down the road.

3. Your Accessibility

Are you open enough on LinkedIn that others can contact you? Or, did you forget to make your email address (and possibly mobile number) visible to other users? Here are best practices for ensuring you're more easily reached on LinkedIn:

From the "Edit Profile" menu, look under the box with your name and headline for "Edit Contact Info." Here, you can fill in your email address and phone numbers.
Joining Groups is also an important step in becoming accessible to employers. Sharing a Group with another user means he or she can reach out to you for free (important to recruiters maximizing their LinkedIn budgets).
Don't forget the "Contact Information" section. Select "Privacy & Settings" from the top right (hover the mouse under your name). Choose the "Communication" tab at the bottom left, and "Select the types of messages you're willing to receive." Add a paragraph in the "Advice to People Who Are Contacting You" box that includes your preference for email, phone, or LinkedIn messages.

4. Your Job Search Follow Up

Sent in a resume, but failed to take any action beyond pressing the "Send" button? If you didn't spend some time following up or identifying company insiders for further networking, your job search will take longer.

Doing some homework on the employer's business needs and identifying key people for personal follow up (through LinkedIn or an online search) shows them you're truly interested in a career opportunity, and that you've given thought to solving their business problems.

Be sure to use formal channels when applying to a posted job, then reach out to your newly found contacts to reiterate your interest in joining the company. Better still, connect and network with employees at the companies on your interview bucket list well before you start your job search. That way, you'll already have connections at those companies when it comes time for you to apply for a job.

​5. The Tone Of Your Cover Letter Or LinkedIn Message

Cranking out LinkedIn messages or cover letters at top speed—with just a few adjustments here and there? Hiring managers can smell a "form letter" approach a mile away. Nothing says "I'm desperate and don't care about your needs" more than a disjointed cover letter or a LinkedIn message that simply asks for a job.

No matter how you're getting in touch with employers, take the time to write a brand-specific message of value to them—helping them discover who you are, what you offer, and why you're interested in a position with their company. This means customizing each LinkedIn message and writing disruptive cover letters.

You may not be able to crank them out as fast, but you'll be sacrificing quantity for quality. And, in the job search, quality is always better than quantity.

6. Your Demeanor When Arranging The Interview

When setting up any kind of business meeting, there's a certain amount of give and take required for coordination. No matter how in-demand your skills may be, you'll be expected to acquiesce to interview timing and location parameters set by employers. That can mean dealing with less-than-helpful receptionists or HR personnel, all of whom will be taking notes on your reactions.

Your phone etiquette and email communications will be watched closely; a courteous and respectful tone will go miles in reinforcing your personal brand and potential as a job candidate.

7. Your Appraisal Of The Interviewer

Feeling put out by the fact that your interviewer appears younger, more inexperienced, or otherwise beneath you in the professional hierarchy? Be careful how you convey this disapproval. You may believe you're hiding these feelings, but as one of those younger-looking interviewers, I often picked up on this tone very quickly!

Even if you decide mid-interview that you're not interested in the company, remember to display a high degree of professionalism. You never know how well-connected your interviewer might be.

8. Your Discretion

Polarizing, hot-button subjects such as politics or religion should make their way out of your resume, LinkedIn profile, interview discussions, and side conversations.

No matter how neutral or popular you consider your stance to be on these topics, there's bound to be someone who disagrees with you—and who votes against hiring you.

9. Your Post-Interview Actions

Yes, you should be sending a thank you note to employers after your interviews! Whether a short, handwritten card, LinkedIn message, email, or even hard-copy letter, a thank you note gives employers the impression that you're a gracious and appreciative job candidate.

A post-interview note can also be used to address lingering questions, counter potential objections ("Regarding our discussion on your new Western region, I can assure you that I'm accustomed to handling accounts in person for maximum effect—and therefore open to travel"), or mention a fond memory you have of the experience (a conversation, for example) to highlight a connection you made with the individuals at the company.

Be sure to address your notes to each person you've encountered in the interview process (or at least mention their names in the note), especially if you've met with a panel or group.

10. The Frequency Of Your Messages

Just because social media lets you send messages faster than ever doesn't mean you should pester employers. Following up once or twice after applying for a job should suffice to let them know you're still interested in the position. The same is true of the post-interview period.

Hiring managers have companies to run and customers to serve, in addition to the process of choosing you. They may also have other candidates to consider. Staying on an employer's radar is important, but so is professional discretion. Aim for somewhere in between silent and stalker in your follow-up activities.

There are numerous ways employers can be put off by your job search practices or approach. Ensure you're taking steps to satisfy their need for information and put your best professional foot forward.

11/7/21 - How to answer the interview question ‘What are your goals?’

Show “how your goals and the goals of the job and the team can both be moved forward.”
by Gili Malinsky 

Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, many Americans’ career ambitions changed. More than half, 55%, of Americans in the workforce say they are likely to look for a new job in the next 12 months, according to Bankrate’s August 2021 Job Seeker Survey of 2,452 adults.

Whatever your plans for your professional life, when you’re sitting in an interview for that next job, you’ll need to be prepared. Some of the most popular interview questions include “What are your weaknesses?” and “Why did you leave your last job?” They also include the question “What are your goals?”

Here’s how to answer it.

Think about your goals ‘in the context of the role’
To answer this interview question, think about what you want to achieve “in the context of the role that you’re applying for,” says Amanda Augustine, career expert at TopResume. “If your goal is completely unrelated to what this opportunity is going to offer you, it’s going to be harder for your interviewer to connect the dots and understand, ‘Well, so how does this fit into your master plan?’”

Before going into the interview, consider what your career goals are for the next year or few years, and think about how this role helps to accomplish those. Say you’re applying for a role as a video editor at an advertising company and you want to work on a commercial for an iconic brand. If that company works with major American brands, you could mention that goal to show them their work is already in line with what you want to be doing.

Matching what you hope to accomplish with what this job entails helps to show interviewers “how your goals and the goals of the job and the team can both be moved forward at the same time,” says Brie Reynolds, career development manager at FlexJobs.

Use language that shows you want to contribute
Remember that when you get hired, “you’re joining a company as a two-way exchange,” says Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, entrepreneur and author of “Choose Possibility.” “They’re giving you the opportunity to learn and build. You’re giving them the opportunity to accelerate their progress by hiring you.”

When explaining your goals, use what Singh Cassidy calls impact language, or “language about your contribution to something bigger than just yourself,” she says. It shows that although you certainly want to further your own career, you also want to help the company grow and reach its objectives.

‘They don’t want to know that you want to lose 10 pounds’
One thing to steer clear of when answering this question: Don’t mention any personal goals that don’t have to do with work directly.

“Chances are they don’t want to know that you want to lose 10 pounds and travel to Europe,” says Augustine. “I’d veer away from the personal aspirations unless they actually specified that that’s what they’re looking for. The assumption should be that they want to know something around your goals when it comes to your career.”

10/31/21 - How to Find a Recruiter to Level Up Your Job Search

By Gabrielle Gardiner 

Finding a recruiter in 2020 looks entirely different than it did last year. The effects of COVID-19 have severely impacted businesses around the globe, and the norms of recruiting and how to find a recruiter have changed. With such a high volume of applicants and a completely digital hiring process, it's more important than ever to stand out from the crowd. Working with a third-party recruiter could be exactly what you need to get ahead in this competitive job market. Keep in mind that headhunters and executive search professionals fall under the umbrella of the term "third-party recruiter."

Working with a recruiter can be a win-win situation that speeds up your job search. If you know how to find a recruiter and maximize your time working with one, it can be a game-changer for your career as well. Below, we've outlined our advice for finding the right recruiters and building mutually beneficial relationships with them.

Benefits of Working with a Recruiter
Working with a recruiter is a great move for goal-oriented job seekers. As you figure out how to find a recruiter, practice articulating your specific career goals. Since most third-party recruiters work on commission based on job placements, they want to help you land the right position efficiently. Some of the reasons people love working with recruiters include the ability to:

Recruiters have a vested interest in making sure a job is a good fit for you, but they don't necessarily provide career guidance. Most won't have the bandwidth to help you narrow down your interests and pinpoint potential jobs, so it's best to rethink the idea of working with a recruiter if you're still figuring out your desired career path.

5 Expert Tips On How to Find a Recruiter

1) Start by leveraging your contacts

In order to find a trusted recruiter, it helps to start within your personal and professional circles. Leverage your contacts and reach out to friends, family and even your school alumni network in your field. Ask if they can introduce you to any recruiters based on their experiences. Mutual connections help start a recruiter relationship off on the right foot. However, a glowing personal recommendation doesn't exempt you from vetting the recruiter yourself.

2) Evaluate recruiters based on your own criteria

Recruiters are similar to salespeople in the sense that they are "selling" jobs to candidates, and then selling those candidates to hiring managers. Be sure to do your due diligence to determine that you and your recruiter are on the same page. Understanding how recruiters find candidates can help you increase the likelihood of finding the right opportunity as quickly as possible. A few questions to ask yourself:

3) Use LinkedIn to maximize connections with recruiters

LinkedIn is one of the best platforms for connecting with recruiters. Recruiters on LinkedIn search for candidates based on their work history, job title or college. Here are a few ways to make sure your profile is helping you rather than hurting you:

4) Focus on finding recruiters who understand your niche

Finding a recruiter who fully understands the nuances of your industry might take more work, but it will undoubtedly be worth it. Some of the best recruiters are industry-focused so they can use their expertise to make the most accurate matches. Linkedin is great for working with recruiters to a certain extent, but it has its limitations.

Depending on your profession and the stage of your career, you'll want to look into more advanced recruiter resources. For example, you might need to get creative with searching recruiter directories like Tools like these allow you to apply specialized filters for finding a recruiter. After all, highly sought-out recruiters who understand your niche can be difficult to find.

5) Build meaningful relationships with recruiters at scale

In an ultra-competitive world, you have to get in front of as many recruiters as possible to hedge your bets. Recruiters recognize the fact that you're working with multiple different people, but they won't be impressed if you advertise it. Avoid awkward mix-ups by using a spreadsheet or another organizational method to maintain information about your recruiter contacts. If you want to be memorable to recruiters, you'll want to prove you remember small details about your interactions with them.

Take thorough notes after every interaction, include the date and add them to your designated spreadsheet. It's a helpful habit to build personal recruiter relationships that go beyond the surface level. Especially in a world where you can only be judged by your digital interactions, it pays to follow up promptly and thoughtfully. Use the same strategy for fostering professional relationships through networking when you team up with recruiters. You'll be amazed at how eager recruiters will be to work with you.

As you navigate the competitive post-pandemic job market, working with a recruiter can help you level up your job search. Ideally, recruiters should be strategic partners in your job hunt who you can count on. If you're new to working with recruiters, don't get discouraged if your efforts aren't successful in the beginning.

Remember, working with recruiters is a long game. Persistence pays off. By adopting some of our strategies, we hope you'll start to receive more responses and notice recruiters seeking you out, too. 

Gabrielle Gardiner is a Manhattan-based content writer who creates helpful pieces about job hunting and professional development for LiveCareer. She’s passionate about sharing her insights to empower people to level up in their careers. In her free time she enjoys yoga, running, and exploring all that New York has to offer.

10/24/21 - When job interviewers ask ‘What are your weaknesses?’ they’re testing ‘your emotional intelligence’

Answers like “I’m a perfectionist” or “I just work too hard” don’t sound authentic or honest.
by Gili Malinsky 

Among the most popular interview questions an employer can ask a potential hire is “What are your weaknesses?”, according to Monster. At a moment when you’re trying to impress a potential employer, this can be a stressful question to try to answer.

But if it comes up, don’t panic. What’s important to remember is “what interviewers are looking for when they’re asking this question,” says Angelina Darrisaw, a career coach and founder of C-Suite Coach. “They’re looking to test your emotional intelligence” and to see “whether or not you are self aware.”

The question is an opportunity to showcase how you tackle challenges and to show different sides of your personality.

Here’s how to answer the interview question, “What are your weaknesses?”

Don’t mention weaknesses that are ‘main requirements for the role’
In anticipation of this question, research the company’s culture and values and thoroughly read the description of the role you could be filling.

“If they said something in the job description like, ‘you must be detail oriented,’” says Amanda Augustine, career expert at TopResume, “obviously you don’t want to pick apart the fact that you’re not detail oriented.” Instead, Augustine suggests mentioning weaknesses that are not “main requirements for the role.”

Show an employer ‘what you’ve done to overcome it’
When you mention a weakness or work habit you need to improve on, “the key thing” to show an employer is “what you’ve done to overcome it,” says Vicki Salemi, careers expert at Monster.

Say you’re someone who works quickly. Augustine suggests you might say something like: “I’ve always found that I’m striving for the most efficient way to do anything. Over time I’ve learned that sometimes that leads to cutting corners.”

But to note how you’ve grown, she adds, include something along the lines of, now “I review my work to ensure that I’m still getting things done quickly and ahead of deadline, but that they’re also of high quality and error free.”

If you’re a manager and you discovered you’re not great at delegating, you could say something like, “I’ve engaged in 360 feedback from my team and realized that I was not delegating enough,” says Darrisaw. But knowing that, “I built out better project management tools to ensure that I was being a more collaborative team player.”

Use the STAR method
In figuring out how to tell the story of those weaknesses you’re working to improve, Augustine suggests using the STAR interview response method. STAR stands for situation, task, action, results — all the key components you want to include in your answer.

“The idea is to brainstorm out different stories from your past experience where you were either faced with a situation or you were given a task that you had to complete,” she says. “You describe the actions you took and then the end result. And even if the end result wasn’t fantastic, it could be, ‘What did I learn from this?’ or, ‘What would I do differently now that I’ve had such an experience under my belt?’”

‘Avoid the clichés’
And another thing to remember when answering this question: “Avoid the clichés,” says Darrisaw.

Supposed weaknesses that people often point to like, “I’m a perfectionist” or “I just work too hard” don’t sound authentic or honest, says Augustine.

In part, interviewers are trying to get a read on who you are as a person and whether your personality and temperament fit with the team. These clichés don’t sound like they represent you in earnest, and could even come across as bragging.

These answers can sound like, “I’m really trying to tell you I’m amazing,” says Augustine. But hiring managers “see through that.”

10/17/21 - 5 Big Questions To Ask Yourself Before Taking A Job

by Kelly Kuehn & Jenna Arcand 

This is it. It's the light at the end of the tunnel. After going through the hiring process, you're offered a position! Congratulations! It's a big accomplishment and you should be proud of yourself. However, just because you got the offer doesn't necessarily mean you should accept it on the spot.

Think about it. Would you buy a house without considering what it means for you in the long run? Your career shouldn't be any different. Taking a job is a huge investment for both you and your potential employer, so some serious thought needs to go into your decision.

Before you accept that job offer, ask yourself these five questions.

Is This The Role I Want To Pursue?
This question may seem like an obvious one to ask, but it's still important. There could be a huge difference between how you view the job and how your employer views it. Take another look at the job description to make sure it is, in fact, what you want. Also, think back to how the hiring manager described the position during your job interviews. Did you like their answer when you asked them what a typical day in the job looks like?

Don't forget to consider what you're good at, and what you actually want to do for work. Are there skills you'd really like to use on a daily basis? If so, make sure they're a necessary part of the position. Are there skills you DON'T like using on a daily basis? If so, see if they're required for the job, and if they are, find out how often you'd need to pull them into your work.

It's important to know what your role will be and what will be required of you daily. This is also a good time to ask your potential employer to clarify anything for you.

Am I Going To Be Happy At This Job?
Your happiness level at your job will impact your work. In MetLife's 17th Annual Employee Benefit Trends Study, 90% of workers surveyed said their loyalty is directly tied to their happiness.

When debating whether to take the job or not, consider the environment you'd be working in as much as the work itself. Is this a place you can see yourself going to every day? Do you share the company's core values? Do you like the company's culture? Your happiness is key for productivity, and it's important to evaluate if this job will help you thrive.

Can I Meet My Employer's Expectations?
You got a job offer for a reason. The hiring manager thinks you'd be a good fit for the company after looking over your resume and going through a series of interviews. They believe you can do the job, but do you believe you can?

Be honest with yourself. This is a big step for both you and your potential employer, so you want to be confident in your skills. Taking another look at the expectations of the job is never a bad thing, especially if you haven't accepted the position yet. That way, you can gauge your skills and determine if you can meet—or even exceed—your potential employer's expectations.

Remember, you don't want to take a job that will be too demanding and require too much from you (resulting in poor work-life balance), but you also don't want to take a job that will be too easy for you, either. The right position for you will have a manageable workload and lots of opportunities to grow as a professional. Take the job that won't bore you, but also won't burn you out in six months.

How Do I Feel About My Future Boss and Co-Workers?
Think back to your in-person interview when you met your potential boss and co-workers. What were your first impressions of them? Did you think your potential boss was someone you could work for happily? Were your potential co-workers friendly and eager to get to know you?

If you take the job, you'll be spending a lot of time with these people. It's important to be honest about how you feel about them.

Will This Job Help Me Grow In My Career?
Think about your short-term and long-term career goals, then take another look at the job description. Is this job going to help you reach those goals? What will you learn in this position that will take you to the next level?

The position should help you grow as a professional. If you aren't sure about opportunities for advancement, this time allows you to reach out to the hiring manager and ask (if you haven't already asked about this during the interview process).

Before you take a job, remember to ask yourself these five big questions. That way, you'll accept every job offer confidently, excited about the next chapter in your career.

10/10/21 - 6 Intangible Skills That Can Get You Hired Today

by Deborah Shane & Jenna Arcand 

Want to get hired? Of course you do! Employers nowadays are looking for a more holistic group of skill sets in the people they hire. It's not enough to just deliver on your core skills anymore.

What will make you most valuable and have the most impact at a company are a combination of your core, personal, and intangible (soft) skills.

Here are six intangible skills that can get you hired today and certainly again in the future.

1. Adaptability
The "relentlessly changing" world we now live in now requires its workers to be able to flow with change, adapt to change, and navigate change with a can-do it attitude. Those that can adapt the best to personal, policy, and leadership change will be valuable assets to their work teams and workplace.

2. Team Player
The most successful sports franchises all have a balance of veteran, experienced, and rookie players. Working together with people of different generations, cultures, and demographics is a coveted intangible that will become more and more important as our workplace becomes more culturally diverse.

Your "human relations" skills—be it developing rapport, listening, motivating others or delegating with respect—will be what makes you an important part of any team.

3. Leadership
Owning the job you have and making things better and more effective, instead of just showing up daily to do the same thing, is an intangible that will make you stand out. You don't have to be the "owner," president, manager, or CEO to show leadership.

Just look at all the employees honored for their work in the awesome program "Undercover Boss." Most of these workers just have a strong sense of personal pride and work ethic, regardless of their personal lives of showing up to do a great job and making a difference every day.

4. Multi-Tasker
This is pretty simple. The workplace requires people to do more tasks, jobs, and take on more responsibility than ever before. Expect it and get prepared for it.

Certainly, this should have realistic boundaries. It's important for you to find work-life balance in whatever position you land. You don't want to experience career burnout.

5. Open-Mindedness
Being open and flexible to learning new skills and approaches, interacting with new people, and trying new ways of doing things shows a resilience and perseverance to do whatever it takes to do the job and get it done.

Nobody wants to hire someone who's stuck in their ways. In the interview process, it's important to come across as open-minded and coachable, especially if the company values a dynamic work environment.

6. Positivity
"Whistle while you work." Nothing is more attractive and powerful than someone who is a bright spot in anyone's day and shows up with a positive attitude of gratitude. Leave the personal, heavy stuff at home and come to work ready to greet colleagues and customers and make their day brighter.

You can talk about your intangibles through specific personal stories that demonstrate how you used them. Nothing beats a great, real story that gets people to relate to you. This can be huge competitive advantage in addition to documenting achievement and accomplishment in your core skills.

If you need some help discovering some of your intangibles, think about three jobs where you took on a project, made it your own, and were successful. Ask some of your current or past colleagues to tell you what they think your intangible skills are. If you need to practice, volunteer outside of work, or ask your boss to give you a small project that can stretch you!

In today's job seeking world there are your core skills, personal skills, and intangible (soft) skills. More often, if it comes down to you and someone else, the person who has the intangibles usually wins! What are your intangible skills that have impacted your jobs?

10/3/21 - 10 Tips for Mastering Any Job Interview

by Diane H. Wong 

Job interviews are stressful! Not only do you not know what a potential employer might ask you, but you have to be prepared to answer questions about your past employment history and why you are passionate about this job in particular.

 The secret to successfully passing a job interview and getting the position is to have a plan going in and to be 100% present in the moment when you are getting interviewed.

Being thoroughly prepared ahead of time will give you the confidence to be genuine while you’re talking with one or several staff members at the company. Besides, it will give you time to focus on other crucial elements, like having vibrant energy, making eye contact, smiling, and having an authoritative tone of voice.

These tips will help you get through any challenging interview. If you get a job after reading this article, feel free to leave a comment below so we can celebrate with you!

1. Pinpoint the type of employee the company is searching for.
Rather than starting with your skills, your strengths, your weaknesses, and the type of job you want, put yourself in the mindset of your target potential employer. What kind of employee would be their “perfect fit” based on the job description, their company’s values/products/services, and the communication that you’ve had thus far.

You could even be so bold as to ask what problems or issues they’ve had with previous employees so that you know not to mention any of those items in the interview. Remember, you might want a job, a great salary, and vacation days, but the company is more concerned about what they want rather than what you want. The best way to fill a position is to first figure out what they want by any means you can and then to sell yourself as being that perfect person or individual.

For example, if the company wants an employee that is good at customer relations over the telephone and their website emphasizes how it’s a “family” business and that the company cares about its employees, then you would stress your competency in the given skill set, demonstrate your interpersonal skills to the employer directly, and then make an effort to get to know a few of the staff members. They aren’t just searching for someone to fill a void, they are looking for someone that’s also going to enhance the workplace environment.

2. Outline your genuine strengths (not just your skills).
When people think about strengths, they tend to default to hard skills, like “I know how to use Microsoft Excel,” “I’m a good writer,” or “I’m a good public speaker.”

However, it’s also important to emphasize your soft skills to a potential employer. What do you bring to the table besides being “good on the phone” and how can you back up that claim with a story or anecdote?

For example, most employers care about interpersonal skills and some (not all) like managers that take the initiative. Let’s say you’re applying for a manager position and would like to explain why you’d be a good manager.

Well, most good managers are good listeners. You could tell a story about how you listened to a customer or a co-worker about something that needed to change in the company and then communicated that information in a compelling way to a higher-up, which leads to positive change in the company.

As another example, you could say that you are a fast learner and back that up with how you learned a completely new body of knowledge from scratch (like programming) or how you actively attended night classes to get a certification in some discipline.

The story must be true, but thinking about stories that you can tell ahead of time to back up your abilities, whether they are “hard” or “soft” skills is a great way to prepare for your interview. Past success is a good indicator of future success.

3. Fit your answers to their questions.
Have you ever noticed how, no matter what question a politician is asked, they almost always have some kind of answer, and usually it appears off the cuff?

This is because most politicians and even pop stars, who engage in frequent media interviews will think about the answers to common questions first and then if they encounter a new question, fit their answer to that question. They might also quickly answer the question and then transition to their rehearsed bit of dialogue.

Most people don’t remember whether or not you gave a complete answer that fitted their question. They are just interested in learning more about you and how you conduct yourself, which is why politicians frequently get away with this technique.

If you are ever questioned or told that you “didn’t answer the question,” just say something like “oh sorry, I got carried away there” and smile. The time you spent on your rehearsed dialogue will have allowed you to think of an answer on your feet. Or, you can just answer their question with a few words and say, that’s my answer, and then throw a question back about the company or the individual interviewing you to make the transition to another subject. It’s likely, they won’t even remember you were stumped.

4. Anticipate the difficult questions before they ask them.
There were two ways to take a test in high school. You could have studied a bunch, crammed all the material you could into your brain, and been prepared for any question that your teacher was going to throw at you, no matter how obscure.

The second approach, which has a bit of a risk element, but is more effective in terms of time management, would have been to anticipate the kinds of questions that your teacher would ask, know the answers to those questions inside and out, or at least know enough that you could draw knowledge for an essay question.

The latter approach is the best way to approach a job interview. Anticipate both the standard and difficult questions that the interviewer may ask you and prepare your answers in advance.

Put yourself in the mind of the company that is considering you as a potential employer. What questions would they have after looking at your resume, cover letter, and talking to one of your previous employers (or looking you up on social media)?

When a question that you’ve prepared for comes up in the interview, don’t just rattle off your answer the second it comes out of the interviewer’s mouth. Pause for a few seconds, process what they said, and then answer. This will give the appearance that you gave some thought to the answer and that it was genuine or impromptu. It underscores that you can think on your feet, even if it was rehearsed.

5. Remember everyone’s name or one fact.
The bestselling author, speaker, and motivational coach Dale Carnegie said it best: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”

When someone hears their name come out of your mouth, it makes them feel like you’re taking the time to get to know them and that you are aware of their existence.

By remembering the interviewer’s name or the names of the potential coworkers that they’ve introduced you to at the company, it shows them that you care about the company, that you’re invested in the interview process, and that you’re the kind of coworker they could seem themselves being friends with.

If you can’t remember the name of a particular individual, remembering some key facts about them can have the same effect of making them feel like you’re taking the time to get to know them and care about the interaction. For example, you could make a tasteful joke about some aspect of your shared experience, like having lived in the same city, or you could say “I’ll have to learn more about ____ tonight” if they are a big fan of some kind of topic you aren’t familiar with, like yoga.

6. Be curious about the interviewer and the company.
Don’t forget that during a job interview, the potential employer is not only evaluating your skills and whether or not they fit the vacancy. They are also getting a sense of who you are, what you’re passionate about, what your goals are, and if those values and that ambition would be a good fit for long-term hire.

Good employers want employees that want to work at their company. It makes for better coworkers, teammates, and will reinforce the culture at the company. Aside from smiling, bringing positive energy, and being competent, the best way to interest an employer is to be interested in the company. It is a tangible display of your commitment and interest in the job.

Yes, it’s important to ask technical questions about the job, the processes within the company, and the day-to-day work experience. However, what’s even more important is to ask questions about the values of the company, what the overarching management goals are, how the company has changed over time, and why the company has chosen to serve this particular group of customers.

It might seem strange to ask questions about the company’s values, the customers, or the history of the company, especially if you are applying for a non-sales job or non-executive job, but asking these kinds of questions will show the employer that you understand you are part of an organization larger than yourself and that you are contributing to the company’s mission.

If an employer ever asks you why you’re asking questions about the company’s organization or management, just say that you realize you’re part of a larger team and want to understand it. If they ever say “you don’t need to understand it,” take that as a signal to run for the hills. It doesn’t be a good company to work for, trust me.

Finally, taking a polite interest in the interviewer is a great way to express interest in the job, to stand out from the crowd, and ultimately, to make the interviewer like you. Remember that everyone wants to feel liked, appreciated, and understood. Taking even a few minutes to get to know the interviewer, and what they want, why they joined the company, and how they’ve progressed over time will show that you’ll make a good future coworker! No one wants to work with robots.

If the interviewer is ever a little freaked out that you are asking questions about them, just say that you like to get to know your coworkers and that you think understanding other people’s values, skills, and ambition helps you be more effective in a team environment.

7. Fit yourself into the company culture.
Every company has a culture. Some companies prize a hard work ethic, positive active energy, and a competitive disposition. It does not mean that you should know how to dress like a businessman or something like that. Others care less about your competitive or ambitious attitude and care more about having relaxed energy, and your ability to communicate well and empathize with other coworkers and customers.

By asking questions and being observant, you can get a quick idea of the company culture. Once you get a strong sense, take action to integrate yourself into that culture.

For example, if it’s a competitive financial company, bring up stories from the past which demonstrate how you’re a driven, bold, and fearless individual. If it’s a media company that has a tight-knit coworking environment, talk about how you set up a softball team at your previous company and was wondering if you could organize something like that here.

The best way to be seen as a “good fit” in the eyes of your employer is to demonstrate why you already match the culture that they have at the company and are a square peg in a square hole.

8. Don’t care about money.
Money might be at the forefront of your mind, but don’t communicate that to the hiring manager! From an employer’s perspective, if you have employees that only care about money, they are far more likely to move from your company to another in the long run. One that simply offers better benefits or a higher salary.

Good talent is always worth good money. Rather than spending your time asking about vacation days, salary, and benefits (which can always be negotiated down the road), they take time in the interview to learn about the company, the hiring manager, and what your role will be. Use the time to sell or convince that manager of how amazing of an employee you will be and how much value you will bring to the company.

In general, companies prize a loyal, passionate, and energetic employee over one that might have good credentials, but sees the opportunity as a “job” and not a “career.” Also, an employee that is eager to learn and grow and one that can demonstrate how they’ve learned quickly in the past will always capture the attention of a hiring manager.

9. Communicate your emotions.
Too often, potential hires underscore why they are a good fit for the job from a technical standpoint. They might even use stories or anecdotes to underscore their abilities. However, a good company doesn’t just want an employee that has the technical ability to do the job required. They also want an employee that will fit in with the culture at the company and who will be a pleasure to work with.

You might be excited about a job, but your employer will only know that if you smile, act enthusiastic, and show it with the tone of your voice. You might find something that a potential coworker tells you to be heartfelt or meaningful, but unless you communicate that with your body language and vocal tone, they won’t know you feel that way!

Communicating your emotions is a big part of developing rapport with the interviewer, co-workers at the company, and making the team feel good about bringing you into the company.

10. Emphasize what you can already do and how you can grow.
Finally, going back to point #9, companies don’t want to have to keep hiring new employees for a position and they don’t want to experience a rapid turnover rate. The best way that you can set their mind at ease is to show that you view the opportunity as a career step and not simply a job.

By emphasizing the skills you have, how you’ve learned them over time, and how this opportunity will help you grow as a professional, it demonstrates a few key aspects of a good hire:

– You care about the quality of your work and want to improve.

– You can learn new things and you’ve already learned a lot.

– You could be a long-term employee at the company and bring a lot of value to the employer.

– You want to grow as a person. This will make you more valuable as an employee over time and it makes you more appealing to be around from a coworker standpoint.

Not everyone has the ambition to grow, be more, and improve the quality of their work or skills. Showing that you do will give you a big leg up on the other hires, especially if you can demonstrate why this job opportunity is a perfect role for you to grow as an expert or professional in your field.

Diane H. Wong is a content writer. Besides, she is a research paper writer at the service where everyone can ask to write my essay so she prefers to spend her spare time working out marketing strategies. In this case, she has an opportunity to share her experience with others

9/26/21 - What to ask at the end of a job interview, and more tips to help you ‘knock it out of the park’

by Lauren Hans 

Many Americans are quitting their jobs in a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. Nearly 7.6 million people quit their jobs in April and May combined, according to the Labor Department. The large numbers of resignations are a sign people are confident they can find better work opportunities elsewhere, experts say.

With so many Americans now on the job hunt, it’s smart to think ahead to navigating the often-stressful interview process. During a recent Grow Twitter chat, career experts shared their expertise on what to do and not do during a job interview.

Angelique Rewers, founder of BoldHaus, a consulting firm that helps small businesses land corporate clients, for example, offered up her “best” end-of-an-interview question: “From your perspective, one year from now, what would be the greatest possible impact I could have made on your organization if I excelled every single day in this role?”

Here’s more of her best advice, as well as top tips from recruiters, career coaches, and job search strategists.

Research ‘what’s happening with the organization’
“Do your research on both the company and the person you are interviewing with,” tweeted career coach Angelina Darrisaw, the founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach in Brooklyn, New York. “Has this company been in the news lately? Have they won an award recently? What are their values? Drop in the research you’ve done into your interview to knock it out the park.”

Dr. Tega Edwin, founder of Her Career Doctor, agreed: “Don’t come in without knowing what’s happening with the organization. Google them. What’s being said about them in the news, on social media, etc.?”

‘Don’t memorize’ responses
“Don’t memorize answers to any common questions that make you nervous,” tweeted Amanda Augustine, career expert at TopResume. “Instead, prepare a few words to jog your memory so your answer will sound confident, but not scripted,” she suggested.

While memorization isn’t recommended, rehearsing can still help, said Edwin. “Practice your responses beforehand! Yes, it should be conversational, but there are some standard questions you can expect, and practice improves your confidence,” she tweeted.

Treat virtual calls ‘like an in-person interview’
“Most interviews will be virtual for the time being — treat it like an in-person interview,” tweeted Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster. “Check technology/audio ahead of time, have a good internet connection, good lighting (like a Ring lamp), proper height for the lens.”

Edwin also reminds that it’s best to double check what video chat program the interviewer will be using. “DON’T assume it’ll be Zoom,” she tweeted.

“Do dress up (even for zoom interviews), but make sure you’re aligned with the company’s dress code. If they are more casual, a suit may not be it,” tweeted Darrisaw.

To convey your strengths, ‘show, don’t tell’
While laying out your skills and strengths during the interview, Salemi suggests using “quantifiable examples like instead of saying you saved the company money, how much did you save & how? Show, don’t tell.”

Translating your value into numbers is a way to do that and can help you stand out as a candidate, Rewers previously told Grow. You might calculate how many hours of experience you have with a given task, for example, or tally the number of people who have been positively affected by your work.

Prepare for the question ‘Do you have any questions?’
Odds are good that you will be asked during the interview, “Do you have any questions?” Having some ready is important, experts say.

Ask about the future of the company, suggested Hannah Morgan, a job search strategist at Career Sherpa: “How is the company planning for long-term changes that will occur in the industry over the next five years or so?”

Find out about the history of the position you’re applying for, Darrisaw suggested. “Is this a new role? If it is, how will you help support me as I define success in this role? If not, what happened to the last person in this position?” she tweeted. “The answers will be telling. Don’t forget you’re interviewing the company too.”

Send a thank-you note that day
All the experts during the Twitter chat agreed that sending a thank-you note ASAP is strongly recommended.

“You should follow up after an interview on the day of for sure! I would say by end of the day that day or the next morning at the latest,” tweeted Edwin. “The candidates who take time to send a carefully thought-out thank you note ALWAYS stand out,” she added.

Augustine agreed that within 24 hours of the interview is the proper time frame to email your note.

In addition to thanking your potential employer for their time, Rewers suggested “including 3 to 5 bullet points with additional thoughts you had immediately following the interview, such as what you’re most looking forward to contributing or what project you’re most excited to take on should you be selected.”

9/19/21 - Making the Most of One-way Video Interviews

Joseph Barber explores the benefits and challenges of answering interview questions without any human interaction at all -- and how to do so most successfully.

By Joseph Barber 

In my most recent Carpe Careers essay, I talked about the possible rise of the video resume as the go-to application medium used in some types of internship or job applications. The video resume provides an opportunity to bring your experiences and skills to life and to add a touch of your own personality to the mix. After all, in a normal resume, it is hard to generate a lot of energy with bullet points alone -- and I am not sure I would recommend approaches such as these in your next written materials:

This week, I will focus on the continued rise and growth of the video interview as part of the application process. I am not talking about our new normal of having real-time interviews by video conference with real people. Rather, I mean the one-way video job interview that is often held over platforms like Spark Hire and HireVue. In such interviews, candidates are sent a link to a platform where they will have to record answers to standardized questions without any human interaction at all. Employers then have access to those recordings and can share them with anyone involved in the hiring process.

Although the format of these one-way interviews will differ depending on the type or role and the type of employer/industry, in most cases, candidates will be asked about 3 to 10 questions. The questions are most often delivered one at a time, so you may not know what is coming next until you have recorded your answer to the current question. You will also usually have time to think about your answer once you know the question -- and that can give you a moment to think of a good example and get your thoughts together -- something that isn't as possible when you are interviewing in person.

You'll be alerted as to how long you will have to answer each question, which might differ based on the question or be standard across them all. You will also probably be told if you can do retakes if you are not happy with your answer and how many you are allowed.

Retakes sound like a fabulous idea in theory -- who doesn't like the idea of being able to go back after messing up an answer and overwriting it with a better one? And, in fact, this can be a great benefit in one-way interviews when used strategically. Say, for example, you are asked a behavioral-based question along the lines of, "Give me an example of a time when you disagreed with your adviser," and the first story that jumps into mind as you answer is an example that you don't really want to talk about, doesn't necessarily end with a good lesson learned, and makes you feel negative. In such a case, probably thinking of another example would be a good idea. This would be worth a retake.

But if you are tempted to retake the answer just because you stumbled over a word or two, or the response didn't quite feel "perfect" enough, then I might be tempted to reconsider. There is no perfect; we are all human, after all. And no employer wants to hear an entirely scripted, robotic-sounding response that is delivered without any faults whatsoever.

In general, the one-way interviewing approach provides a way for employers to hold first-round screening interviews more efficiently from a timing perspective, as no one has to be in the same room/meeting at the same time. But it does offer some of the following challenges when it comes to the candidates who are giving their answers.

Setting the stage. As always, first impressions count, so making sure your sound, lighting, background, and general ambient environment all look good and professional is important. No beds in the background, no cluttered surfaces. Unlike platforms like Zoom, you may not be able to blur your background, and so be prepared to move furniture around your space to eliminate visual or audio distractions if necessary and possible.

Dealing with a lack of human feedback. I remember one interview where the director of the office asked me a question about "future trends in this career field." These aren't the easiest of questions, and if you start off on the wrong track with your answer, it can be hard to get back on it. Well, I clearly did start off on the wrong track based on the face the director made: it wasn't a positive, nodding-in-approval face. That gave me the opportunity to revise my answer very quickly.

Feedback from people in the interviewing process is helpful. Interviewers may not be consciously aware of the signals they are giving off, but it is incredibly reinforcing when you see a lot of nodding heads as you answer a question.

In a one-way interview, you don't get any of that. Depending on the platform, you might not even get a mini-window with your face in it. Some people hate seeing themselves on video meetings, but with my Ph.D. in animal behavior, I spend far too much of my time looking at myself during video calls. We've been doing these video engagements full-time for a year and a half, and I still want to know what I am doing, what I look like, and how I am coming across. My vanity aside, the option to see yourself in a one-way interview does provide a bit of self-reinforcement in that you feel you are in an actual conversation with someone, and that can help make your answers more engaging. Without the self-view option, you will need to remind yourself to look at the camera and visualize the hiring team who will be viewing your video -- which leads us to the next challenge.

Bringing the right energy. In a one-way approach to screening interviews, the employer isn't doing much to get the candidate excited about the position. Little energy is added to the interviewing process to help candidates present the most optimistic, energized, ready-for-action version of themselves. As a candidate, you get all the nervousness of interviewing without any of the excitement of engaging with potential future colleagues.

Bringing energy to your answers is important: not out-of-control energy but also not "I'm just sitting here in my living room" energy. How much energy you need will be somewhat connected to the job itself, but hiring managers will rarely be captivated by monotone responses and overly rigid body postures. You can only really be yourself in an interview -- and yourself is definitely good enough -- but make sure that you present an energized version of yourself.

Providing the right content in the right amount of time. The questions you get asked in these screening-type interviews shouldn't be too surprising. There are likely to be entirely predictable ones, such as:

And then you'll probably get a few behavioral questions based on the skills most sought after for the specific position, such as:

If you notice that the time you're given for a question is short (e.g., 30 to 60 seconds), then you know that you'll have to provide an overview answer that highlights the main takeaways and lists (rather than describes) some of the situations where you used the skill you're asked about to generate good outcomes. When you have two or three minutes to answer, then you will want to provide a summary response to begin with, and then tell a story using an example to illustrate the skill in action.

This is where your STAR (situation, task, action, result) structure for your storytelling will be helpful. Once you are done with your story and tying aspects of it back to the position you're applying for, a great best practice is to hint at other examples you could share if invited to the next round of interviews. So, in the last 15 to 20 seconds, you could mention something like, "And I would happy to share a couple more examples of where I used this effectively as a teaching assistant for a 400-person class or as part of my involvement in the student-run data science group on campus." As long as the example you give in your answer demonstrates to the potential employer that you have the skill, this "leave them wanting to know more" approach can get people excited about meeting with you to learn about your other experiences.

Whether video resumes will take over as the new normal in the future is unknown, but the continued growth of these one-way interviews for screening rounds is far more certain. Keep some of these points in mind if the person you have to talk to in your next first-round interview is yourself!

Joseph Barber is senior associate director of career services at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Graduate Career Consortium -- an organization providing an international voice for graduate-level career and professional development leaders.

FROM Jeff Morris - Founder of CareerDFW and - If you would like to try a one-way video interview - click on this link - afterward, I will send you the link so you can watch it back. No one else will see it.

9/12/21 - How to handle a pandemic-related gap on your resume

By Kathryn Vasel, CNN Business

Early in the pandemic, more than 22 million jobs were lost, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.

While breaks in employment can traditionally be red flags to hiring managers, you shouldn't be too concerned about a pause given the current situation.

"Don't worry about it," said Vicki Salemi, career expert for job site Monster. "It's more about how you handle the gap and what you should do. We have experienced such a collective global unprecedented situation that if you do have a gap, you are not alone."

Here's how to handle it with potential employers.

Be prepared to address it

If a recruiter or hiring manager brings up your time out of the labor market, keep your response short and refocus on the future.

"Assume they are going to ask," said Salemi. "Be prepared to say what happened and more importantly, why you are a strong candidate for the role you are pursuing ."

She suggested saying something like: 'I worked in hospitality, and as you know the industry was severely impacted and so I took some time off and re-evaluated.'

The key is to be prepared with your answer.

"Don't be self-conscious about it. It might take practice to come across as confident," said Christy Noel, a career strategist and co-author of "Your Personal Career Coach." "You don't have to be sheepish or embarrassed or concerned about it as much, you don't want to inadvertently come across that way."

Fill the gap with something else

Showcase what you've done with your time out of the labor market, whether it was additional education, training and certification courses, networking or volunteering.

"Not every 'job' on a resume has to be paid," said Noel. "If it's applicable to the job you are trying to apply for...include that."

For instance, if you volunteered to do marketing for a nonprofit and are looking for a marketing position, she suggested including it as experience.

Look for specific skills or requirements in job postings that are appealing and take this time to fill any gaps.

"Consider practicing some professional development skills," said Kyle Elliott, a career coach and founder of, who suggested LinkedIn, Coursera, edX and Udemy to help learn new skills. "Focus on some of those qualifications that job postings are asking for."

This way, if the break comes up during an interview, you can easily pivot the conversation to focus on your skills and strengths.

"Show what you have done with your time," said Salemi. "And how you are a top candidate for the job and why you are interested in it and how your skills and experiences ... are appropriate for the role you are pursuing. Always bring it back to the job and why you are the best possible candidate."

Leverage your resume and cover letter

Take the time to tailor each resume and cover letter to a job posting. That means using the same keywords that are in the posting, detailing specific results of your work, and also answering any questions that a recruiter might have -- especially if you are looking to enter a new industry.

"Connect the dots for the recruiter, especially when they are only looking at your resume and cover letter for literally less than five seconds," said Salemi.

Adding an executive summary at the top of a resume can help make an employment break less glaring. The summary, which should be no more than a few sentences, can include transferable skills, past experience and job posting keywords.

Use the cover letter to help address any potential concerns and highlight your experience and skills in how they are applicable to the job,

"The cover letter is valuable real estate," said Salemi, who added it shouldn't be more than a few paragraphs. "It could be a way to say: 'During the pandemic, I decided to switch my career path leveraging my top strengths and skills of XYZ and that's why I am interested in pursuing this job, because I think I would be an asset to your organization.'"

Don't be negative

There's no way around it: the last 17 months have been tough. But try to avoid focusing on the past.

"Avoid being negative," suggested Elliott. "A lot of people end up coming to interviews from a place of negativity sometimes because they have been out of work and the pandemic has been super stressful."

Instead, focus on explaining why you are drawn to the role and detail your skills and qualifications.

"Don't bad-mouth your [former] employer," said Salemi. "Don't focus so much on the past that you aren't able to pivot into the future. You want to demonstrate you are enthusiastic, passionate and positive."

9/5/21 - Language that makes your LinkedIn profile pop

Articulating your unique brand with authenticity will set you apart.
By Teri Saylor 

Whether you’re launching your career, climbing the professional ladder, or making a job change, the words and phrases you use and the ways you express yourself on LinkedIn can boost your profile and make you stand out.

A key first step in this process is building and articulating your personal brand, said Carol Kaemmerer, branding coach and author of LinkedIn for the Savvy Executive. And to do this, try to avoid generic terms applicable to most CPAs, she said.

“There are a lot of CPAs in the world, and assigning simple magic words designed to make all of them stand out will do absolutely the opposite if everybody uses them,” Kaemmerer said.

Instead, you must be authentic in communicating who you are, what sets you apart from the others, and the value you bring to your profession, she said.

Here are five ways to demonstrate your personal brand on LinkedIn and make your profile stand out.

Use valuable headline space to your advantage.
Your headline, the text that appears below your name on your LinkedIn profile, is small but mighty. Merely inserting your job title or description of your profession is a waste of space, said Sandi Leyva, CPA, president and founder of Sandra L. Leyva Inc., a marketing and web design firm for CPAs, based in Carlsbad, Calif.

“I’d rather see something like a brief elevator speech or clear tagline describing your value proposition,” she said. An example might be “A CPA who enjoys helping small businesses grow,” she added.

Identify three top qualities you are known for.
When you can articulate your three best attributes and the reasons your clients seek you out, that’s a powerful testimony and a great first step toward establishing your personal brand, Kaemmerer said.

You may be well known for your expertise in guiding small business owners, your financial forecasting abilities, or your great people skills. Make your LinkedIn profile memorable by listing these qualities in your headline, your “about” section and your skills section, she pointed out.

“This simple act gives you incredible power in terms of communicating who you are beyond your attention to detail and basic accounting skills,” she said.

Use appropriate keywords.
Most employers today use automation to skim through résumés and they rely on search engines to match LinkedIn profiles with the jobs they are filling. While specific keywords will help search engines find your profile, that’s only the beginning, Kaemmerer said. “It is important to be authentic, so use keywords that you would naturally use to describe your area of interest and expertise,” she said.

Avoid generic words that would apply to all CPAs, and instead find words that will make you stand out and match you to the opportunities that are just right for you, she said.

“For example, if you have a passion for strategic planning and excel at it, be sure to include that phrase throughout your profile so potential clients or recruiters seeking an accounting professional adept at strategic planning will find you,” she said.

Include recommendations.
Strategically crafted client or customer reviews and recommendations drive business decisions these days, Leyva said.

“When we conduct online searches for products or services, we look to see what kind of reviews a business has before potentially engaging with them,” she added.

An employer will ask for references before hiring you, and it helps to include a good number of powerfully worded recommendations on LinkedIn. When you choose recommendations and reviews for your LinkedIn profile, be sure to include those that use some of your keywords and highlight the qualities supporting your personal brand.

Highlight your achievements.
In the section detailing work experience, most people list the responsibilities they had under their various jobs.

But rather than itemizing routine duties and assignments, Kaemmerer recommends listing your accomplishments, such as how you moved your firm toward greater profitability or the way you developed processes and procedures that led to greater efficiency.

“First, describe in two sentences the company you worked for and your job title to provide context,” she said. “And then use bullet points to outline what you achieved in those positions.”

Recruiters know that if you achieved great things in the past, you will continue to achieve great things in the future. Articulating your accomplishments will set you apart from other job applicants and make recruiters sit up and take notice.

— Teri Saylor is a freelance writer based in North Carolina. To comment on this article or to suggest an idea for another article, contact Drew Adamek, a JofA senior editor, at

8/29/21 - Commentary: You've been approaching job interviews wrong

By Colleen Cook, Thrive Correspondent 

My career path has been more of a winding road than a straight line. I got my bachelor’s degree in music education and taught for a few years, before some unanticipated changes put me on the path to non-profit administration, which ultimately led to a career in which I lead a digital marketing agency.

When I was in graduate school, I asked one of my supervisors to review my resume and give me some advice. Her words were critical: “Your resume is confusing. Pick a path.” She was a bit harsh, but accurate.

At the time I was uncertain about which path to pursue: music or administration, and I was trying to keep my options open with a single resume. In short, I wasn’t picking a path and my resume was telling that story.

There have been several benefits of having a diverse career path, the greatest of which is perspective. I understand the public and private sector, I have lived experience of the differences in mindset in each and I can see clearly what each can learn from the other. The skills I’ve learned in each have carried over and translated to different types of work.

Once, a beloved music theory professor pointed out to me that he wasn’t surprised that I was good at marketing, because his subject had come so easily to me. I asked what they had in common and he grinned and said, “It’s all about finding patterns. That’s the skill you excelled in.” People often get siloed in careers they are ready to leave, not recognizing how translatable their skills can be.

I find myself now in a role where I’m frequently at the helm of hiring new employees for our quickly growing agency. I sift through applications and resumes, I lead interviews and, along with our CEO, make hiring decisions about new employees.

Sometimes, I’m asked for career advice from friends who find themselves in a similar place where I found myself just a few years ago, when I needed to pick a path. Here’s what I tell them:

Your resume is the one page story of who you are and what you bring to the table.

For the years I was sending out resumes, I was thinking about it all wrong. I was trying to follow the “rules,” I was trying to be complete and I was trying to squeeze as much information as humanly possible into an 8.5 x 11 inch sheet of paper. But, a resume is a story, not an encyclopedia. Tailor it to the job you’re applying for, and show them who you are and what you’re capable of doing in that role, based on your previous experience.You’re not applying for a job, you’re offering to do a job. This is your chance to lead with the main points, and let your cover letter fill in the gaps.

Follow the directions and be truthful.

I am utterly shocked at how frequently candidates don’t submit everything we ask for, and how often we see people boast skills or experience they don’t have. If you can’t do what we ask when you’re applying, I doubt you’ll take direction well as an employee. When you’re tempted to bolster your experience beyond your actual abilities, remember that getting the job is a lot easier than keeping the job when you’re unable to do what’s asked of you successfully. However, if you are honest about your capabilities, perhaps training is an option for the right candidate and you’ll set everyone up for success.

Your interview is about making a connection and determining a mutually good fit.

If you’ve made it to the interview, think of it like meeting a new friend. You’re not on trial, you’re there to make a connection with the people interviewing you and continue to tell the story you began with your resume. Then, your job is to determine whether this company will be a good fit for you. In the same way you should hope they’ve reviewed your application materials, do your own home work on the company and get to know who they are on paper too. Then, tailor your questions based on that understanding.

Ultimately, before you accept a job offer from this company, you need to determine the following:

Does their culture align with your values?

Does the job description accurately reflect the actual work you’ll be doing?

Does the day-to-day nature of the job you’re interviewing for match your personal strengths and needs in the workplace?

Does their compensation for the job meet your needs and expectations?

We spend a tremendous amount of time at work over the course of our lives. When we’re looking for work, it can be stressful and fear-filled and we can give the companies who are hiring all of the power in the interview. But, once you have the job, you have to live your daily life in that workplace, doing that job, participating in that culture. If it’s not a great fit for you, you’ll likely find yourself starting the job search all over again sooner than you’d like.

Colleen Cook works full-time as the Director of Operations at Vinyl Marketing in Ashland, where she resides with her husband Mike and three young daughters. She's an insatiable extrovert who enjoys finding reasons to gather people.

Career Videos and CareerDFW put on FREE online career workshops each week. You can see the current schedule on the front page of this website.

You can watch past videos on the CareerUSA YouTube channel. 

Check out the following playlist on the CareerUSA YouTube channel:

resume writing service
Effective Resumes
(1st and 3rd Thursdays at 1pm Central) - We have resume experts who share their knowledge on the best way for your resume to be seen by a hiring authority - 

Sample T-Cover letter
     Sample Resume     Sample Bio #1     Sample Bio #2
Action Words                   Action Word Cheat Sheet

interview graphicInterviewing 
(Wednesdays at 1pm Central) - Mark McDonald and Walt Glass have put together a 13 part workshop (about 20 hours) on Interviewing - 

Information on how to get a free practice interview - "Practice Early, Practice often" 
Information on the Interview Success Workshop with Walt Glass
If you would like to take a one-way video interview (FREE), follow this link:

Handouts from sessions:
     Session 4 & 7 - Offer Evaluation Template
     Session 6 & 8 - 200 Questions Job Candidates May Ask Your Company
     Session 8 & 12 - How to answer the 64 toughest interview questions

LinkedIn logoLinkedIn
(Tuesdays at 1pm Central) - We have 4 experts on how to use LinkedIn in your job search -  

2021 LinkedIn Character Count for Personal Profile

(2nd and 4th Thursdays at 1pm Central)- Each session we have a different speaker talking about Networking, the best way to find your next job - 

          Handout: Prayer Letter document


        North Dallas / Plano Career Focus Group (Fridays at 9:30am Central)-

Frisco Career Transition Workshop 2020 - Summer and Fall Workshops - 

Presentations from Jeff Morris, Founder of CareerDFW and on how to use the websites and his top career tips  

8/22/21 - Here’s how to avoid sounding ‘fake’ or ‘corny’ in your next job interview, says career expert of 15 years

by J.T. O’Donnell, Contributor 

When preparing for a job interview, it’s important to look for ways to stand out from your competition.

Unfortunately, many candidates fall short because they end up saying cliches such as “I’m so excited about your company’s mission” or “I’m ready to take on more responsibilities” or “I’m extremely passionate about the work” — without going any further. They wrongly think that these are all things hiring managers want to hear.

But in reality, it often just makes them sound corny, fake, boring or even desperate to the interviewer. The key to impressing hiring managers and avoiding sounding inauthentic is to emphasize your intrinsic motivation.

Know your intrinsic motivation before the interview
Intrinsic motivation takes over when we have a genuine interest in a task or topic and derive satisfaction from the work or learning itself without expecting any obvious external rewards — praise, money, prestige, recognition — in return.

The best way to highlight your intrinsic motivation is to talk about the meaning you derive from your career. What motivates you to get up each morning and go to work? I’m a career coach, for example, because I’ve seen so many people miserable in their jobs due to having little guidance or confidence. Helping someone realize that their dream job does exist — and that it is attainable for them — is truly enjoyable and satisfying to me.

So before your interview, think about what makes you want to take action. Perhaps it’s because of a life-changing event. How is that experience connected to your love for your work? What do you hope to achieve as part of the process of working at the company?

Example answer that incorporates intrinsic motivation
Andrew is applying for a teaching position at a charter school that focuses on low-income and minority students. During the interview, he is asked why he thinks he’d be a good fit for the role.

Here’s what he said:

“My mother was a teacher for 30 years. By all accounts, she had an accomplished career and was well-respected by her colleagues. But with so many students in each classroom, she constantly worried about the ones who were falling behind. She believed that if she had more time to work with them in smaller groups, she could have helped them excel in their studies.

“I used to think she was being too hard on herself. But five years into my teaching career, I’m starting to have the same concerns. I genuinely enjoy experimenting with different teaching styles that help personalize each student’s learning experience, especially those who need additional support but can’t afford it.

“That’s why this position at your school is a perfect fit; the smaller classrooms allow me to do that. Not only does this ensure that every student receives the amount of attention they need to succeed, but with the right teachers, I’ve seen it lead to stronger academic results, happier teachers and students, and ultimately a more educated society.”

What this answer tells the interviewer
In his response, Andrew connected the dots to what led him to apply for the position:

He followed in his mother’s footsteps as a teacher.
He believes in the value of smaller classrooms.
He is interested in experimenting with teaching styles that support each student’s needs.
He is motivated by the desire to reach underprivileged or underperforming students — something that his mother feels she didn’t get to do.

While Andrew compliments the employer for its educational values, he doesn’t go overboard. Instead, he keeps the focus on how his professional passion would fit into the school’s culture. His response paints a picture of what excites him about work, why he cares about it, as well as how those things can make a positive impact on the school.

There’s no guarantee that Andrew will get an offer, but you can bet that the hiring manager won’t be left with any doubts about his authenticity and motivation for wanting the job.

8/15/21 - Relearning In-person Eye Contact

by John Millen 

As we begin returning to in-person meetings in business and our personal lives, we are making a lot of social and personal adjustments.

Having stared at people's eyes as pixels on video screens for the past 18 months, in-person eye contact may take some getting used to.

And in-person meetings and presentations will call for renewing of our personal eye contact skills.

But the importance of eye contact in human communication cannot be overstated. We crave direct eye contact.

Our eyes have been called the “window of the soul,” giving us as human beings the opportunity to, we imagine, see inside of the real person.

The color, shape and positioning of the eyes may be captivating. Their expressiveness gives us enormous amounts of information and meaning.

Searching for trust
In business and life, we search the eyes for trust.

Whether we read any of these signals accurately is an open question, but there’s no doubt that the eyes play a critical role in our communication with others.

This is why making direct eye contact is one of the most important and, for many people, the most difficult parts of giving a presentation or talking face to face.

Indeed, eye communication provides a sense of connection for both you and your audience.

Avoiding eye contact
I coach clients who, when presenting to large audiences, have developed a habit of looking to the back walls to avoid looking in people’s eyes. They tell me that when they look at faces in their audience, especially people they know, they feel judged.

In business and in life, the ubiquity of smartphones has reduced eye contact. In many cases, instead of looking directly at someone for an extended period to fully engage them, people may glance up from their phones and possibly nod.

In meetings, instead of watching other people’s eyes to gauge the subtext of meaning, people might be glancing at their phones or computer screens.

With texts and photos increasingly replacing conversation, it’s possible that a generation will lose some ability to understand or use eye contact, but the importance of eye contact will not diminish.

The importance of eye contact
Human beings draw a connection and a lot of information from looking at eyes. If a person shifts eye contact frequently or looks down, we assume nervousness or unease.

If people avoid our eyes under questioning, we think they might be lying. On the other hand, good eye contact can make us feel like somebody is really listening and respects us.

Eye contact is a powerful force, and its importance is demonstrated at an early age. Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D., who studies body language, notes that infants naturally lock eyes with their caregivers. She says the significance of eye contact is still retained in the adult mind.

It shows a lack of confidence when we don't look people in the eyes. Most people look down frequently or avoid eye contact when they’re nervous. A lack of eye contact can betray our apprehension and fear in a situation.

It is vital to portray confidence to your audience when speaking. Goman found that “If a speaker actively seeks out eye contact when talking, he or she is judged to be more believable, confident and competent.”

Cultural and other differences
People from different parts of the world interpret and communicate differently. In the United States and Europe, direct eye contact is encouraged. It is viewed as showing respect, trust and attentiveness to what the other person is saying.

In some other cultures, eye contact can be seen as rude or hostile. It may be a sign of respect to avoid eye contact with elders and those in authoritative positions. It is helpful to keep culture in mind when making eye contact — or avoiding it.

And of course, there are neurological factors such as being on the autism spectrum which will greatly influence eye contact giving and receiving.

How much?
Eye contact is a delicate beam to balance on. Too much eye contact can be seen as aggressive and intimidating. If too little eye contact is made, you might appear inattentive and insincere. The right amount of eye contact creates trust and an overall sense of comfort.

But the correct amount depends on each situation. Variables such as gender, personality, setting and culture all factor into successful eye contact. Some research indicates that eye contact should range anywhere from 30 to 60 percent during a conversation, depending on the context.

The “flick”
In The Power of Charm, Brian Tracy and Ron Arden’s bring up an additional skill to add depth to your connection and make your eye contact even more natural. They define flicking as “the simple act of shifting your gaze from one of the person’s eyes to the other while you are listening.”

If you want an example, watch a movie where a man and woman are gazing into each other’s eyes and watch how their eyes flick. Their eyes will be moving back and forth, showing engagement.

This technique helps avoid the vacant, blank stare that may come across as phony listening. Active eyes show involvement in the conversation.

Improving your eye contact
Here are a few other strategies to sharpen the effectiveness of your eye contact:

Complete a point
In a meeting or presentation, try to maintain eye contact with a person as you introduce and complete a point, then move on to another person or section of the audience to develop a rhythm for you and your listeners.

Early on, talk directly to the people in front of you as if you were talking to a friend at a barbecue. Keep longer-than-usual eye contact with them while you make a point. It will make a connection and help you to feel calm.

Find supportive faces
Similarly, find people in the audience who are supporting you through their body language, such as a smile or head nod. Connect with them. Use them as a touchpoint and circle to the people around them. You will create a sphere of goodwill in that section.

Scan the room
Divide a large audience into three or four sections and rotate through the sections, looking at individuals near the front to the middle in that section. The people behind them will feel that you are looking at them. Don’t just look from side to side, but vary your pattern around the room.

Seek feedback
Develop awareness of how you give eye contact and how you judge the eye contact of others. Do you avoid eye contact? Do you perceive eye contact from others as overly aggressive?

Ask people you trust to give you feedback about your own eye contact. Do you give too much? Do you give too little?

Eye communication is complex and in many ways mysterious. This week, try to develop some awareness of how you communicate with your eyes and be more deliberate in your approach.

Maybe you’ll find that your eyes really are the “window of the soul” and you’ll invite more people to meet the real you.

2021 - Reference Solutions presentation by Kipp Lifson & Mike Ray

Kipp Lifson and Mike Ray have put on many presentations over the past few years on Reference Solutions (the program used to be called ReferenceUSA).

In Career Transition? Looking for companies that were in the same industry as your previous employer? Are you looking to transition into a new area and want to identify target companies? Not sure how to identify these companies? Do you desire to work in a specific city or state?

See how to use this tool to find companies.


 From the CareerUSA YouTube channel: 

8/13/2021 - North Dallas / Plano Career Focus Group Presentation (presentation starts about 35 min into the video) 

9/25/2020 - North Dallas / Plano Career Focus Group Presentation (presentation starts about 30 min into the video) 

Click here for the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation

Click here for the pdf version of the PowerPoint presentation (with notes)

8/8/21 - Here's how to talk about your strengths in a job interview

The key? Trust yourself.
by Sunny Betz 

In 2015, long before she became the head of engineering at the eco-friendly grocery delivery company Zero Grocery, Frankie Nicoletti found herself at the Hack Reactor bootcamp in San Francisco with an accounting background and only $600 in her pocket. She signed up to explore opportunities in tech, but like many new coders, wasn’t sure about how she would fit into the Silicon Valley ecosystem.

One of the first things she was asked to do at Hack Reactor was write down her elevator pitch — 10 times. When she finished, she was told to throw away her paper and write the pitch another 10 times.

Nicoletti said the experience was oddly freeing. “It had somehow managed to remove all of the gunk in my brain,” she said. “Once I got through that, I stopped doubting what I had to say and could tell the whole narrative of my strength and resilience.” With a refined elevator pitch and a strengthened confidence in her skillset, Nicoletti secured her first tech job at SolarCity as a software engineer.

In an industry as competitive as tech, speaking about your capabilities confidently can be tough. Especially if you are comparing yourself to others around you. Regardless of whether you’re an engineering lead or a recent bootcamp graduate, you have unique personal strengths that others don’t. If you can talk about them cohesively, you’re a step closer to ending a job interview with an offer.

It can take a while to sound natural when talking about your accomplishments and strengths — but it’s okay to fake it until you make it. “It always helped me to roll up to interview with some sort of energetic music playing. When I was interviewing for my first job in tech, the song I’d play was ‘Uptown Funk’,” Nicoletti said. “You’ve got to come in with that confidence, even if it’s artificial, because it’s a big part of what is being tested in interviews.”

Low confidence might seem like a problem that you should be able to overcome on your own. But when studies show that issues like low self-esteem and imposter syndrome affect marginalized workers and women of color the most, it’s clear that there are outside factors to consider.

“Imposter syndrome is environmental, not internal. It comes from what’s happening around you, not just some chronic lack of confidence,” said Nicoletti. “Tech gets away with that a lot more than other industries, because we don't have the standard success markers. People can sometimes try to feel superior by putting others down, so you can get toxic environments.”

As a woman competing for roles in tech, Jourdan Cobbs, Talent Acquisition Specialist at logistics tech company Forager, explained that sometimes it’s hard to accept recognition for her work. “I’m the kind of person who just wants to be doing things behind the curtain, so it is hard for me to talk about myself,” she said.

Cobbs said that when preparing for interviews, it helps to sit down and assess her accomplishments objectively. Make a list of moments you’re proud of in your career, and then write down three or four skills you relied on to accomplish them — it will boost your confidence in your abilities. It will also start to build trust with your interviewer.

“Interviewing is all about convincing other people you can do this job,” she said. “I think it’s a general consensus among hiring managers that we like people that can concisely demonstrate what they’re able to do.”

Before you second guess yourself or start to feel inadequate, pause and give yourself a reality check. “You should treat imposter syndrome like a question,” said Nicoletti. “If you’re asking yourself, ‘Am I good enough?’, what you should really ask at that point is, ‘Does my code run?’ If it does, then you have your answer.”

It’s tough to step back and judge your own skills impartially, but you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Ask a friend or peer what they think your strengths are — seeing yourself through their eyes might teach you something new.

In a professional women’s group Cobbs was previously a member of, she and her peers did an exercise to provide this kind of insight to each other. “We all sat in a circle, wrote notes to every other member with their strengths and areas of improvement, and put them into envelopes with their names on them.” When it came time to read through the notes in her envelope, Cobbs was surprised by all the positive and constructive things her friends had to say about her. “I learned new things about myself, and it really helped me prepare for future interviews,” she said.

In a job interview, be prepared to pull from data or concrete anecdotes to illustrate what you would bring to their team. Numbers and statistics are essential, but according to TextNow’s SVP of Engineering Andy Shin, it shouldn’t be your whole story.

“As you start to move up in your career, one of the most important interview skills is not just highlighting your skills or accomplishments but communicating how your work impacted the project or benefited the company,” he said. “You need to understand the ‘why,’ not just the ‘how.’ What will separate you from others is the ability to explain not only how you built or fixed something, but why your actions led to the ultimate success of the team, project and company.”

Just like when you are writing a resume or cover letter, the strengths you share in an interview should tell a story and be specific to the role. You’ll leave a more effective impression on the interviewer, and it also makes their job easier. “HR managers don’t have a lot of time and may interview several candidates. Focus on highlighting achievements that relate to the job,” said Stephen Twomey, the co-founder and CTO of SaaS company Kennected. “You’ll show you value their time and know how to focus on critical information — both essential to most jobs you interview for.”

Every job has its own unique requirements, but there are more general skills that employers expect from candidates, like flexibility and collaboration. Review your work history and note times where you’ve exemplified these qualities. For instance, if you’re applying to a software developer role that requires lots of cross-collaboration, come to the interview prepared with a story about a time you worked with a past team to execute a project successfully and explain what you learned.

“It comes back to impact,” said Shin. “Don’t just tell them what you did, tell them why it was important. Show your future employer that you understand how your role affects the company’s larger product, business and mission. Explain how your skills and experiences will make their company better.”

Don’t worry too much about sounding arrogant; hiring managers want to hear about your successes. When you’re trying to sound humble, it’s easy to diminish your accomplishments, said Twomey.

“The majority of us have to worry more about the undersell than the oversell. If you understand why you’re sharing the information — it’s vital to figure out your fit at a company — then it’s really not a brag,” he said. “Put yourself in the employer’s position. Do you want to hire someone who believes in their abilities or is unsure of them?”

Feeling like you have to be humble isn’t always entirely a self-confidence issue — it can be informed by a lot of factors, including the environment you’re in. Nicoletti explained that the pressure to be modest and reserved is much more intense for tech workers from marginalized backgrounds. “A lot of people have been told their whole lives not to take up space, to be quieter and to shrink themselves,” she said.

Her advice for overcoming self-conscious feelings? Take it easy on yourself. “You’re only bragging if you’re talking over your interviewer, or putting other people down in the process, or not answering the question that you’re there to answer,” she said. “Building confidence, even if it’s faked, will get you a lot further than being modest or timid. You have to be as confident as you think your competition is.”

8/1/21 - Hiring Is a Dating Process

by Kurt VandeMotter, Linked Executive Search

While many people think of the hiring process as something that is rigid and formulaic, it’s actually a lot more dynamic. Instead, the hiring process is more like a courtship. It’s very similar to dating, as the two parties should be getting to know each other and communicating openly.

Let’s look at how the hiring process mirrors the dating process, and how to better build professional relationships that lead to success for both the candidate and recruiter.

First Become Acquainted

In order to first become acquainted, it’s important for the candidate and hiring manager to both ask plenty of questions.

The #1 objective of the hiring manager is to learn about the candidate and have they accomplished the goals and objectives identified for this role, using past performance and experience as the benchmark, not that you “like the person”

The hiring manager knows what needs to be accomplished, and their questions should be behavioral questions asking about similar situations to what the company is dealing with today. This helps to make sure there is an alignment with the capabilities of the candidate—and that they have had past success in achieving these desired goals

The candidate often takes a passive backseat and just answers the questions they are asked. From a dating perspective, it’s important for the candidate ask the hard questions to make sure the other person (in this case, the company) is the right fit, and whether or not they are a good fit for the organization.

Candidates that don’t ask the tougher questions have a higher chance of turnover, since they haven’t gotten to know the company before taking the job. They need to better understand the challenges of the department they are entering, and what their role would look like.

Even if it’s a well-known company, there are still plenty of questions to be asked specifically about the culture of the organization, what keeps them up at night or what are the biggest challenges the company needs to solve in the next six months, the candidate is making a big decision = make sure there is an alignment.

Kick Off the Relationship

Any company is going to interview a number of candidates. That helps with the dating process. They get to play the field a bit before settling down, looking for the right attributes in a candidate.

The same goes for the candidate. They are able to interview with multiple companies to find a company that is the right fit for them

When a hiring manager interviews different people, they get to see the differences between the candidates that are out there and their ability to succeed. That’s when their instincts kick in and it becomes obvious that one candidate is the right fit.

Candidates are in the same boat. As they date around with different companies, they’ll want to make sure they find a company that they can relate to and have a long, healthy relationship with.

The dating process is a huge investment in time and energy. That’s why it’s so important for the hiring manager and the candidate to ask the right questions and interview around to make sure it’s a good fit before starting a relationship.

Once a good match is made, the relationship can begin.

Extending the Offer (the Right Way)

The best way to extend an offer is first with a verbal offer. Generally, this is contingent on a background check and/or checking references.

This verbal offer allows the candidate to get more details on the actual position title, salary, bonuses, etc.

Once the candidate accepts, the offer can be forwarded to the candidate in writing. From there, the company should do their background check, check references and do any other due diligence required.

Maintain Communication

Many candidates will be making major changes when it comes to accepting an offer with a new company. There is a lot of anxiety about how well they will do in their new role, and if they will be a good fit.

Anything a hiring manager can do to relieve that anxiety can help the candidate to better fit into their new role.

Once the offer is made, the onboarding process needs to start.

Too many companies take the hiring process for granted. They back off and don’t communicate with a candidate. That generates a lot of questions from the candidate.

It’s important for a hiring manager to maintain good communication with the candidate, to answer their questions and to keep them excited about the position.

A little extra communication helps to reaffirm that the candidate made the right decision.

Whether you are a job seeker looking for a position at a company that respects your talent, or you are a business looking for the best talent available, make sure to speak with a search firm that is able to meet and exceed your needs.

The right firm will help you to meet the right company or candidate and start the dating process.

7/25/21 - 6 simple mistakes that can sabotage your job search

A seasoned career recruiter who has interviewed close to 10,000 job candidates shares the most common mistakes that trip up job seekers.

There are no shortage of tips on how to have a successful job search. But when you fail to get the gig you want, you may be left wondering why. Hiring professionals are deluged with applications and don’t have time to write a “thank you for applying” letter. So candidates are left guessing.

I decided to go straight to the source and asked a seasoned career recruiter what the most common pitfalls are. In a far-ranging discussion with Tejal Wagadia, a career expert at Jobscan who has interviewed close to 10,000 job candidates in the past seven years, Wagadia shared the biggest things that can trip up job seekers.

The No. 1 thing that will derail you, according to Wagadia, is applying for a broad range of jobs that you’re not qualified for. It’s understandable that with so many jobs being advertised on job boards, and coming to you directly from sites like LinkedIn, you’ll feel you’re in demand.

But think again before you apply. “Unless you have 70% to 80% of the qualifications, you shouldn’t go for it,” says Wagadia. And that doesn’t mean you anticipate that you can do 80% of the job. It means you have already done 80% of that job. “It’s one thing to say ‘I can do this,’ and it’s another thing to say ‘I have done this.'”

For mid-to-senior-level positions, companies look for at least three to five years of experience. So for example, an account manager might apply for a Director of Sales position, but lacking any experience in that area, they won’t get the job. Instead, stay focused and apply only for those positions where you have several years of actual experience.

A second roadblock to landing a job is using a single résumé for all your job applications. “Candidates apply with the same résumé, over and over again,” says Wagadia. “They haven’t looked closely enough at the job description and made sure the skills listed are reflected in their résumé.”

“I’ve interviewed candidates whose résumé doesn’t match the job, and when I question them [about a skill] they say, ‘Oh yeah, I did that.'” But they hadn’t put it on their résumé. “We recruiters aren’t clairvoyant,” says Wagadia. “If you don’t show your skills and experience on your résumé, we have to assume you don’t have them.”

The solution, she says, is to customize every single résumé you send out. Make sure the skills you have on your CV align with those in the job description. If you want to know how well your résumé matches the job description, check out this site. “It’s particularly important to customize your résumé,” says Wagadia, “when applying for ‘bridge’ (contract) jobs or when making a career change, like going from one industry to another.” You will be evaluated on the fit.

The third thing that can trip job seekers up, according to Wagadia, is “not showing the impact you’ve had in the jobs you’ve held.”

“I don’t just want to know that you led a team,” she says. “I want to know how much you as a team generated in revenue each year.” You need to show the actual value you’ve created for your company in those roles.” This should be quantifiable (e.g., a recruiter might list the number of people she hired; a software engineer might list the number of programs developed and customers reached, a communications professional might share employee engagement figures or social media impact). Give at least three impact figures for each job you’ve held.

Not giving figures for your impact is a serious problem. “Almost every résumé I’ve seen just lists job duties rather than the value created,” says Wagadia. “Candidates copy and paste the job description they were hired into and forget to show the impact they had in that role.” If you want to impress the recruiter or hiring manager, give the quantifiable results you’ve attained.

Another thing that can derail candidates is their failure to ask the recruiter or hiring manager questions in an interview. “When they have no questions,” says Wagadia, “they appear not to be interested in the position.”

Wagadia has six favorite questions she recommends asking:

1. What does success look like in the first 90 days for this person?
2. What problems are being solved by the team right now?
3. What is the No. 1 stakeholder complaint you have heard about the team?
4. What is it about my background that you think would add value to your current team?
5. How do you define culture, and what is the team culture?
6. How do you communicate when someone isn’t meeting their monthly goals?

A fifth way to undercut yourself, is to misread people in team interviews. These group interviews are becoming more common, and they present challenges.

“Be aware how you are addressing the interviewing team,” says Wagadia. She has seen situations in which male candidates don’t address the female interviewers, especially in tech companies. Also beware of directing all your attention to the team leader or hiring manager. Treat everybody equally.

Group interviews can also be challenging because you have to customize your answers for each person. Think about who’s asking the question and choose a narrative that the person can relate to. For example, if an internal customer asks for an example, make it a customer-centric story. And size up whether the person wants a short answer, a big-picture answer, or a detailed “nuts and bolts” answer.

A final way job applicants can go astray is to appear disengaged by giving short, curt answers in interviews.

I asked Wagadia if there was a point in an interview when she made a decision not to proceed with a candidate, and she replied, “Yes, when they’re giving me one-word or one-sentence answers.”

She explained: “I might say, ‘Tell me about the kind of position you have been looking for.’

“The candidate answers ‘technical positions.’

“What kind of technical position? I ask.

“‘Project management.’

“When it feels like I’m pulling teeth,” Wagadia says, “I decide not to proceed with that candidate. An interview is a conversation, not an interrogation.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Judith Humphrey is founder of The Humphrey Group, a premier leadership communications firm headquartered in Toronto. She is a regular columnist for Fast Company and is the author of three books: Impromptu: Leading in the Moment (2018), Speaking as a Leader: How to Lead Every Time You Speak (2012), and Taking the Stage: How Women Can Speak Up, Stand Out, and Succeed (2014) More

7/18/21 - How To Pull Out Of A Job Interview Process Without Burning Bridges

When you don't want the role but you do want the contacts, you have to be strategic.
By Monica Torres 

Job interviews aren’t just an opportunity for employers to find out whether you’re a good match for them. They’re also your chance to determine whether the role is a good fit for you.

When the answer becomes clearly “no,” you can simply tell the hiring manager that and back out, or you can see it as another networking opportunity.

Particularly if you like the company involved, you’ll want to maintain the relationships so that when a role you like comes around, they think of you first. Here’s how:

1. Don’t drop out right before an interview if you can help it
Once you’ve decided a role isn’t right for you, it’s important to let the hiring manager or recruiter know as soon as possible so it’s not an inconvenient surprise.

Unless something urgent comes up, backing out less than a day before you are supposed to have a job interview comes off as unprofessional.

“It’s very inconvenient and could leave a bad taste in the employer’s mouth, because the interview panel has blocked off their schedule ... that’s time wasted on their side,” said Gabrielle Woody, a university recruiter for the financial software company Intuit.

2. In your rejection, mention which roles are a better fit for you
Career coach Jessica Hernandez recommends thanking the hiring manager for their time, connecting with them or their company on LinkedIn if you haven’t already, and noting what kind of role you are looking for.

If you want more of a leadership role, for example, Hernandez said you could say something like: “After carefully considering the position, I’ve come to the difficult decision that this role is not the right fit for me at this time. The biggest factor in my decision to withdraw my candidacy was my desire to step into a role with greater leadership responsibilities. ... Thank you so much for your time and support during the interview process. I admire ‘Company Name’ greatly and would enjoy working for your company in a position more aligned with my strengths and career goals. If I can be of any assistance in your search, please don’t hesitate to reach out.“

If one of the reasons you’re backing out is pay, Woody said, you can be direct about your rationale with language such as, “These are the types of bills and loans and financial constraints that I need to make work. If there is a role with a higher compensation package that could help me...”

3. Offer a referral to soften the blow
One way to maintain a positive relationship? Offer the employer a different candidate you trust for the role. It shows this is a company you are willing to recommend friends and colleagues work for, and it helps the recruiter.

Hernandez said you could share the referral offer after you let them know you are declining, with language like, “I wanted to recommend ‘Name’ for the position. I worked with her at ‘Previous Company’ for 10 years. She has the experience you’re seeking and is looking for a role like this one. I would be happy to share her contact information if you’re interested in connecting with her.”

4. If you can, do this all over the phone
Woody said if you have not gotten through the phone screen stage, a rejection email is fine. But for candidates who have done interviews, taking the time to call the hiring manager and tell them directly about your decision is a much more thoughtful approach.

“The phone calls really do stand out, because I’m always receiving emails. It sets the candidate apart a little more,” Woody said.

“It also helps the employer see how genuine that candidate is being. I feel like sometimes on email, tone of voice, you’re not able to really read that,” she added. “It also gives the employer the opportunity to ask any clarifying questions that could set the candidate up for success in a future recruiting process.”

5. After you back out, check in to show that you are still genuinely interested in the company
To maintain a relationship with a company you want to join in the future, save interviewers’ emails, or connect with them on LinkedIn, so you can send occasional messages that show you are still following the organization.

In your messages, you can bring up points of commonality or the latest news about the company, like “Hey, I just saw this article that reminded me of something we talked about,” or “Wow, I saw the company increased the revenue by $10,000,” Woody shared as examples.

The goal is for your check-in to be a reminder about your interest, Woody said. “You’ll be fresh in the recruiter or hiring manager’s mind when a role does open up.”

7/11/21 - 3 New Job Interview Questions Companies Are Asking Right Now

You should prepare answers for these questions, because you probably never had to think about them before.
By Monica Torres 

Now that COVID-19 vaccines are widely available in the U.S., more employers want workers back in offices at least some of the time.

According to a January survey of 133 U.S. executives, only 5% believed that workers did not need to return to the office to maintain good company culture; instead, the most common response was that employees should work at least three days in person. But a significant number of workers want to keep working from home for part of the week, and some never want to go back to an office at all.

As a result, the needs and wants of workers and employers may be at odds, and hiring managers are asking new job interview questions designed to reveal discrepancies. Companies don’t just want to know if you can do the job, but if your preferred working arrangement aligns with their return-to-office plans.

Here are the types of questions you need to prep for:

1. ‘How do you complete a project with minimal supervision?’

Daniel Space, who has worked in human resources for over 20 years, currently consults with business partners on strategic staffing, including interview questions.

“As it relates to COVID, a lot of the questions that we ask are ... behavior-style interview questions that tell us your ability to succeed in a fully remote environment,” he said. “What kind of touchpoints do you need? How do you take direction with minimal supervision? How do you handle different time zones? How do you keep yourself organized and managed?”

If you made a sudden remote transition at the beginning of the pandemic, this is an opportunity to show how you adapted when your boss wasn’t supervising you in person. Space said it can also be a way to share what you learned about old workflows that no longer suit you, and which ones do. It’s a chance for interviewers to engage in a dialogue about what they do and don’t do and whether that works for you.

Space said he’s seen candidates who are scared to be forthcoming and believe that interviewers want to hear that they don’t take any breaks. But he’s been impressed by creative responses, such as a woman who shared how she used to work late because others worked late until she realized, “That’s just not me. I’m a really early morning riser ... By embracing that approach, it’s been tremendous. My work style is so much better.”

2. ‘Can you share an example of how you had to adapt in your role during COVID?’

 Adaptability and flexibility are always highly sought-after skills by employers. But now there’s a COVID twist to questions about these attributes.

“I’m hearing a lot of candidates being asked about adaptability. How did they adapt in the workplace during COVID, what examples can they provide to show their adaptability,” said Jessica Hernandez, a career development coach.

The goal is to show how you rose to the challenge. “Perhaps it’s that they quickly flexed to learn new software programs to work virtually, or to meet a need with their clients who could no longer travel in the office,” Hernandez said.

Thankfully, the career story you tell doesn’t need to be tied to a current job if you don’t have one. If you lost a job during COVID, you can talk about what new skills and experiences you gained or courses you completed in the meantime.

3. ‘Do you have any concerns about returning to work?’ or ‘Do you prefer to work in an office or at home?’

Hernandez said that interview questions around work arrangements are one of the most frequent queries she hears about from clients.

“For some job seekers, it’s been about their preferences as employers are trying to recruit talent. And for other job seekers, it’s been about fit, when an employer needs an employee present in the workplace to complete the work,” she said.

When you’re asked about your comfort level working in an office, Space recommends being true to your values so that you don’t end up in a job that’s a mismatch later on.

“If you say ‘I’m fully fine with going back to work [in an office]’ and then a month later you’re not, you put the company in jeopardy because they don’t want to necessarily take any adverse reaction against you. You put yourself in jeopardy because this is what you said, but now you’re saying the opposite,” he said.

Ultimately, if a company doesn’t align with your values on working remotely, search for some other employer who is. “If it means that they say, ‘We don’t think this a right fit, we are requiring everyone to be back to work by August,’ it’s better to keep looking for companies that are remote,” Space said. “We are in an unprecedented job soar right now since COVID started.”

 Tejal Wagadia, a senior talent acquisition specialist at MST Solutions, recommends asking recruiters what the expectations are for a given role. That way, you that you can get a sense of what your future boss thinks before stating your preference.

Keep in mind that some roles available now may start as remote and transition to in-person jobs in the summer. Recruiters may ask if you are OK with that, Wagadia said, and stating an honest preference for continuing to work remotely may take you out of the running for some opportunities. But Wagadia said that being honest may do you a service in the long run.

“Do you really want to work for somebody that you know that you fundamentally don’t see eye to eye on?” Wagadia said. “It might take you out of this position, but it might save you the grief later of ... constantly clashing with the manager.”

7/4/21 - How to Write a Professional Thank-You Email After an Interview

A thank-you email after an interview demonstrates your interest and communication skills.
By Robin Reshwan 

Did you know that thank-you notes are so important that they have their own "National Day" on Dec. 26? This sleeper of a December holiday may not be well known, but the significance of expressing thanks, especially after an interview, continues to be a much appreciated courtesy. The thank-you letter has evolved since its handwritten roots in the 1400s, but the purpose remains the same – to politely express sincere gratitude. Here are tips on crafting a professional thank-you email after an interview.

Why Send a Thank-You Email?
Polite is a professional superpower. A recent 2021 survey by Zety found that integrity, sincerity and being kind rank in the top five traits hiring managers and recruiters target when making a new hire. In a world where there is more automation and distance, it is interesting (and not surprising) that employers want to work with genuine and thoughtful humans. A thank-you email after any interaction during the hiring process is an excellent way to demonstrate these traits.
Demonstrated interest. Although it doesn't always feel that way during the hiring process, interviewing is a two-way process where mutual interest is important to a successful outcome. Given the volume of applicants and the volume of roles that many candidates are pursuing, a thank-you email makes it clear that you are indeed interested in continuing in the interview process after each step. It also enables you to stand out, since most applicants do not send thank-you messages. It is a simple, but high-impact way to distinguish yourself.

When Should a Thank-You Letter Be Sent?

Interview processes have become more involved; candidates may meet with a range of employees across the organization, some on multiple occasions. Should you send a thank-you note after each exchange?

In general, send one to each new person you meet after the first time you interact with them. Also, send a thank-you email after each substantive interaction, like a second or third interview, even if it is with a person you have met (and thanked) in the past. If possible, send the email on the same day, especially if you know they are making swift decisions. However, only send an email if you have enough time to make sure it is well written and error-free. A poorly written email will do more harm than good – so don't rush if it means sacrificing quality.

What to Include in a Thank-You Email
Start with an authentic expression of appreciation for the opportunity and/or the time that was spent with you. You will get bonus points if you include any unique insights you gained or additional details that support your candidacy. Close by expressing your continued interest in moving forward in the process. Some managers will share your notes with others, so vary your content slightly to avoid looking like you just cut and paste the same message. Send each person their own professional thank-you letter, customizing each based on the person's title, department, interests and hiring criteria.

The ability to write clear, grammatically-correct, properly formatted and professional correspondence is important for almost every role. Your thank-you email demonstrates your written communication skills – so be sure to make a great impression every time you send an email. It is always helpful to have a trusted contact review your messages to ensure the email is as compelling as possible.

Professional Thank-You Email Samples
If you need inspiration before crafting your own thank-you email after an interview, refer to these examples.

After an initial screening with a recruiter who is moving you to the next stage in the process:
"Hi Rick,

Thank you for spending time with me today to discuss the analyst role. I was pleased to hear that my background seems to be an ideal match for the team, and I look forward to the next steps in the process."

After an interview with a hiring manager:
"Hi Mary,

Thank you for your time today. I really enjoyed hearing more about the growth of the ABC team at Awesome Co. I would be thrilled to leverage the lessons learned when my current company experienced a similar expansion in 2019. If I can provide any additional information, please let me know. I am very interested in continuing in the interview process and appreciate your ongoing consideration."

After a team interview/meeting with the hiring manager:
"Hi Mary,

It was great to see you today. I really appreciated meeting the team and learning more about the upcoming software transformation. As a user of your future software, I would love to help with the transition and play a role in maintaining productivity during a challenging time. My interest in Awesome Co. has never been stronger. Please let me know if I can answer any questions or provide additional information to demonstrate my interest and qualifications."

Check Your Work
Remember to double-check the spelling of each recipient's name and the company name. You can look back at any calendar invites, emails, the company webpage or LinkedIn to confirm email addresses and spelling. If full names, correct spelling or contact information were not given to you, it is always OK to contact the recruiter or interview coordinator to ask for those details. In summary, an effective thank-you email after an interview does not need to be long or painful to write. A succinct, sincere and error-free message is the best way to go.

Robin Reshwan is the founder and president of CS Advising and CS Search & Staffing. She and her team enable thousands of professionals to advance their careers through their advice, career coaching and recruiting efforts. Robin’s professional development tips are used by media outlets such as LinkedIn, Yahoo, Business Insider, Fast Company and Monster. She is a recommended career and executive coach for LinkedIn, educational institutions and Alumni Associations including Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business and University of California, Davis. An experienced entrepreneur, business executive and Certified Professional Résumé Writer (CPRW), Robin has been honored by LinkedIn and the American Business Women's Association. You can follow her on LinkedIn, Twitter or email her at

6/27/21 - How to Boost the Odds You'll Get a New Job

Advice from 'The Job Closer' author on resumes, LinkedIn, networking and job interviews

By Kerry Hannon 

Job hunting these days is not for the meek, especially for those in their 50s or 60s. It's challenging both in terms of time and emotional energy. But Steve Dalton, author of the new book "The Job Closer: Time-Saving Techniques for Acing Resumes, Negotiations, and More," has some smart advice, which he shared with me.

Dalton typically offers job hunting advice to students as program director for daytime career services at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. But although some of the tips in his book and in our interview apply to job seekers of all ages, others are specifically for older job hunters.

Before I get to his tips, let me tell you my two favorite techniques in his book:

The "You Bet Your Life" Exercise (it takes one minute). Name a single professional skill or ability in which you are most confident you are in the top 1% of the world.

"If nothing else, make sure that any job you accept in the future takes advantage of this one skill," writes Dalton.

By quickly naming your best skill, it "just clarifies everything," Dalton says.

This example in the book is geared perhaps to a younger set, but I think it can get your wheels moving: "If you are struggling to find firms willing to pay for your elite Tetris-playing ability, you may want to reinterpret your skill more figuratively than literally. For example, in what way is your Tetris ability exceptional? Is it your pattern recognition? Your spatial creativity?"

 The "Brain Dump" Exercise (it takes two minutes). Write down every job you would enjoy doing and could practically be, or become, qualified for.

"Many of my job seekers tend to endlessly cycle through all of the options they have in their head, wearing themselves out with self-debate but never actually making any progress," Dalton writes. "This technique will at least help you avoid that endless churning in your mind."

Now here are my favorite job-seeking tips from Dalton:

Slash your resumé. "Cut the less-impressive versions of similar projects from earlier in your career so your resumé is as close as possible to being a "greatest hits" list of bullets," Dalton said. "Each bullet should be a story you're excited to tell in an interview… Hiring managers are trained to spend six seconds per resumé. The bulk of that time is spent on where you worked, what your dates of employment were, what your job titles were — basically all of the things that you can't change."

Dalton thinks older job seekers should cull their resumé dates of employment and college or graduate degree dates. "We'd love to think that ageism doesn't exist, but I wouldn't want to take that gamble. So, I would leave my education dates out and then you can cut earlier work experiences."

Eliminate "Responsible For…" in your resumé. "Those aren't stories. They're job descriptions, which are tedious to discuss and don't show you in your best light," said Dalton. "Your bullet points will be accomplishment statements showing results. Your ability to achieve impact is what differentiates you and shows someone that you're probably better at this job than the person who had the seat before."

Skip your "objective" in your resumé. "Nobody cares. It's this thing that people stress over that doesn't have much impact," said Dalton. "It ends up becoming this milktoasty, inoffensive repository for jargon and buzzwords."

Ensure your resumé, cover letter and emails are error-free. In your resumé and cover letter, "Microsoft Word will help you catch most typos, misspellings and some grammar issues. And a free [online] tool called Grammarly will do the same for your word-processing software and email services," Dalton said.

"Many business schools are big fans of a tool called VMock, a resumé-specific analysis tool that is also free," he added. "VMock will point out if you've used the same action words over and over and will suggest replacements; it will also highlight the use of jargon and filler words like 'successfully.'"

Spend your time networking. "We think that networking is this concept where neighbors and relatives or people you know tell you about job openings," Dalton said. "But now with online job postings, networking is something totally different. It's not about passively who do you know; it's about creating those relationships on demand as needed."

"I can understand for more experienced job seekers who've made a great career on being experts in their field, trying to learn a brand-new job searching skill set may feel a little embarrassing. There may be a shame element to it: 'Why don't I already know how to do this?' I would encourage more experienced job seekers to not feel that shame. It's like feeling bad that you can't play the violin without ever having been trained to play the violin. There's no shame in it, but there is a need to invest in that new skill set.

"It's completely optional to like networking, but it's not optional to do networking," Dalton noted.

Use LinkedIn as a teaser. "If an employer is looking you up on LinkedIn, they know exactly where to look to find the information they're seeking in a nice, neat, predictable format about where you worked before, how long you were there and what job titles you've held," Dalton said. "LinkedIn is your objective information. I keep mine very minimalist."

Don't advertise on LinkedIn that you're available. "The thing to spend it on is that the summary underneath your picture. That is what people search on and is the job closer," Dalton said. "I don't like putting 'I'm seeking new opportunities' under your picture because you don't want to lead with what you need. You don't want to project desperation.

"Saying 'I'm available' and hoping other people will help you, that's very reactive, like you're putting your fate in other people's hands. I want to hire someone who puts their fate in their own hands."

Use one- or two-word descriptors in your LinkedIn profile, each followed by a vertical slash. "Some examples are: problem solver, vertical slash, team builder, vertical slash, mentor, vertical slash. I like it because it's constructive and it's positive," Dalton said.

During the job interview, show a genuine interest in your interviewer. "Ask: 'What do you see in the marketplace right now? Where do you think it's headed? What do you think the biggest challenge coming up for the organization is?'" Dalton advised.

Give the job interviewer a story about yourself that they can identify with. "The way to overcome ageism is to give people a story that makes sense about why you want to work there," said Dalton. "If you're over fifty, there's probably a moment in your life where your current story starts…or that moment where you took a completely different path, wherever your hero story is."

"It's about helping people understand what motivates you from personal experience…If you just repeat what your responsibilities were and where you work, you're just reading your resumé out to them. And that's not adding any value, nor building any rapport."

Kerry Hannon is the author of Great Pajama Jobs: Your Complete Guide to Working From Home. She has covered personal finance, retirement and careers for The New York Times, Forbes, Money, U.S. News & World Report and USA Today, among others. She is the author of more than a dozen books including Never Too Old to Get Rich: The Entrepreneur's Guide to Starting a Business Mid-Life, Money Confidence: Really Smart Financial Moves for Newly Single Women and What's Next? Finding Your Passion and Your Dream Job in Your Forties, Fifties and Beyond. Her website is Follow her on Twitter @kerryhannon.

6/20/21 - 5 tips for showing emotional intelligence during a video interview

Here’s how to make sure your soft skills shine through on your next big Zoom interview.

Here’s an important thing to remember when you’re on the job hunt: Getting offered an interview means you likely already have the necessary qualifications for the job. The interview is meant to determine if you will fit in with the organization. And that’s where soft skills can help you stand out.

While technical skills are important when it comes to finding a job, it’s now widely accepted that soft skills, such as emotional intelligence are equally (if not more) important. A recent survey of 2600 hiring managers and HR professionals found that 71% valued emotional intelligence over IQ. And when it comes to promotion of employees, the same preference of EQ above IQ also holds true.

But how do you communicate those skills in a brief interview—especially now that so many are taking place virtually? Forming an emotional connection with the interviewer(s) is more important than ever. While this is more difficult on screen than in-person, there are tools we can use to give ourselves the best opportunity for success. Here are five ways to show emotional intelligence in a video interview:

While lots of us are on Zoom calls all the time, not everyone is familiar (or comfortable) with seeing themselves on the camera. Set up some practice meetings with trusted friends to see how you look and react when seeing yourself. It’s important that you are able to relax and be your authentic self in the interview.

Play with the settings and camera angles to find the position that shows your best features. Make sure you are close enough to the screen that your upper body is clearly visible and fills the majority of the screen. Be aware of glare if you wear glasses, and ask others you trust to give you feedback. Looking your best will boost your confidence and help you relax.

Virtual interviews makes it more difficult to connect with your interviewers on an emotional level. The challenge in a video interview is to share your authentic self, instead of appearing wooden and stilted. Spend time with a close friend and get feedback on how you come across. Ideally you want to appear warm, open, and welcoming. Smile, if that’s natural for you, but don’t over do it. You don’t want to come across as forced. Talk to your friend about situations that bring out various emotions for you and ask for feedback on how authentic you appear.

Doing prep work about the person you’ll be speaking with, and taking note of their name (and how to pronounce it) is important, whether your interview is in person or virtual. The more you know about your interviewer(s), the more opportunity for you to connect. Try looking them up on LinkedIn or Twitter. And when responding to, or asking a question in the interview, use the person’s name. (Do this sparingly, otherwise it may appear contrived and inauthentic.)

If unsure how to dress, err on the side of being overdressed, rather than under. While a t-shirt and sweats may feel comfortable, they won’t show you in a positive light. I personally prefer to wear blue as it is a warm, calm color that some associate with emotional intelligence. Putting consideration into how you present yourself will help you make a good impression, and allow the interviewer to focus on the content of your interview.

The one advantage that you have with a virtual interview is that you have control over your background. With a little time and creativity, you can use this effectively to send the message about yourself that you want. Anything to show family, community involvement, volunteering, and/or healthy living will help. If the job requires lots of physical activity, show some evidence of an active lifestyle. For a job requiring a lot of cerebral activity, a full bookshelf in the background wouldn’t hurt.

I know someone who discovered before the interview that he shared a love of canoeing with one of his interviewers. He had attached a pair of crossed canoe paddles to the wall behind him. You are only limited by your imagination. Get a trusted friend or family to check out your background to confirm you are giving the impression that you desire.

Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence expert, author and speaker. To take the EI Quiz go to

6/13/21 - This Is The Best Time Of Day To Submit A Job Application

Time your job application so that it's at the top of a hiring manager's inbox.
By Monica Torres 

It’s frustrating how much of a job search is outside your control. You can write a great resume, feel you’re perfect for the role, and still hear nothing back from a hiring manager.

Kate Zimmer, a corporate recruiter for Varian Medical Systems, said that when she was unemployed, her day went something like this: “Coffee. Apply for jobs. Hawk inbox for replies.”

But one thing that is in your control as a job-seeker is timing when to send a job application, and this small action can make a big difference.

“The survey found that 7:30 p.m., right when many workdays end, was when candidates had less than a 3% chance of hearing back from an employer.”

The best time is early morning or late at night.
A 2017 TalentWorks analysis tracked 1,610 job applications from a variety of industries and with a wide range of experience levels and found that submitting before 10 a.m. in an employer’s time zone significantly increased the likelihood that a person would hear back and land an interview.

Sending a job application between 6 and 10 a.m. increased the odds of landing an interview by 13%.

The time of day that had the lowest odds? The survey found that 7:30 p.m., right when many workdays end, was when candidates had less than a 3% chance of hearing back from an employer.

Ashley Watkins, a job search strategist with corporate recruiting experience, agreed that mornings were the best time.

“The early bird gets the worm,” she said. “I’ve checked applications at all times of the day, but typically the initial check of my applications was first thing in the morning.”

Late at night could also work if it helps your submission be the first one seen in the morning. During her job hunt, Zimmer said that she noticed her response rate increased when she started submitting job applications late in the evening. It’s now a practice she recommends as a working recruiter herself.

“My day begins with ‘admin’ time, meaning I spend anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes assessing resumes and inviting candidates to interview,” Zimmer said. “Submitting applications at night or early morning yields greater visibility.”

Consider these timing-related factors, too.
Submitting first thing in the morning is probably not going to help if you are applying a month after the job first posted.

“If a recruiter gets a good enough candidate pool, they may not go back and look at everybody who comes in after,” Watkins said. “Applying as soon as the job is posted is a good way to go.”

When you see a job listing go live, start crafting your response.

“Create the habit of applying when a job is first posted to increase your chances of being in the initial candidate pool,” Zimmer recommends. “Technology is at your fingertips, and features like LinkedIn ‘Easy Apply’ reduce application time and can be done from almost anywhere, so leverage it.”

If you do apply late in the day or the hiring process, don’t despair. Lean on referrals in these cases.

“That person can vouch for you and make sure that your information is seen by the hiring team,” Watkins said.

Monica Torres is a senior work/life reporter for HuffPost who writes about the workplace, management trends, career anxieties and the future of jobs. She is based in New York. She is a 2016 member of Poynter's Diversity in Digital Leadership class and is Williams College's 2013 Jones Fellowship in Journalism recipient.

6/6/21 - Being ‘nice’ can actually hurt your career.

Do these three things instead
Learn the difference between being nice and being kind. Then focus on these tactics that will not only help you but benefit everyone around you.


A client told me recently that they wanted to be promoted, but felt their “niceness” was getting in the way. As they wondered aloud whether they needed to have a harder edge to get ahead, I couldn’t say no fast enough.

I do not recommend you bully, steamroll or coerce anyone to advance your career. In fact, some of the kindest and most genuine people I have met happen to be global leaders of large companies. Being mean did not pave their path to the top. Rather, their upward climb was a result of being great at their jobs and having the ability to earn respect.

You may be thinking, “But I am a good person and I like being nice to people.” That’s fine, but I’d like to shift the focus from winning approval through niceness and instead focus on the fact that they were respected.

Here are three ways to stop being “nice” and focus on tactics that will help not only you but benefit everyone around you.

It’s important to point out the difference between kindness and niceness. Kindness grows from self-esteem and earns respect in return. Niceness comes from a desire for approval, which can result in mistreatment or being taken advantage of.

If you spend your workday wondering whether your coworkers like you or how to get them to like you, you are wasting precious time. It really doesn’t matter whether your coworkers like you. It matters that they respect you and that you have a good working relationship with them.

All too often I have seen people fixate on winning someone’s approval as opposed to focusing on their actual work. If you focus your attention on keeping your work top-notch, you will be respected by your peers whether they actually like you or not.

It is important to be respectful of your coworkers, strive to be kind, and always be helpful. If you’re focusing too much on being nice and well-liked, you will notice the opposite effect. It becomes about you, not the work you are doing or how you are treating others.

Actors find, more often than not, that if the rehearsal process focuses too much on everyone being in agreement, trying to be “nice,” and not wanting to step on other people’s toes, the final production is sure to be an absolute disaster.

If the rehearsal process is difficult, in that they’re all challenging each other’s ideas and having engaging conversations about how they envision the final product, they are likely to have a hit.

The same applies to any collaboration or project you are working on. “Rockstar employees are willing to challenge and push their managers when the time comes and they know they’re right,” Cory Martin wrote.

If you are trying too hard to be liked, you will likely be too afraid to share your ideas even when you know they can be useful. For the sake of your team, speak up.

Keep in mind upper-level management cannot know everything. It is their job to collect information and guide those they lead to a common goal or outcome. If you know something needs to be addressed, voice your opinion. New ideas are born and change happens when constructive arguments are had.

Everyone can have a bad day and sometimes that translates into bad behavior, such as a blast of anger that is commonly misdirected.

For example, I had a client whose fuming boss made a very angry call to him regarding a decision that he had not actually made or even participated in. For years, that client was unable to shake the rotten feeling the phone call had caused him. All this time he was thinking his boss hated him when in reality, the boss just needed a punching bag for their own emotions.

This one instance caused misery at work for years while he attempted to get his boss to like him again. When this client finally got up the nerve to bring it up to him, the boss didn’t even remember the call.

You cannot control the emotions of other people, but you can control your reaction to them. If someone exhibits bad behavior and you know they are in the wrong—let it go. Don’t take it personally. And if you just can’t shake it, address the issue with the person as soon as you can after the storm of emotion has blown over.

The biggest takeaway is that even if someone lashes out at you, it does not necessarily mean they don’t like you. And it’s definitely not worth your time evaluating their (perceived) feelings about you.

What is important is that they respect you for the work that you do and you respect others for the work that they do. If you feel you are not being consistently respected, that is a conversation worth having.

Being nice means you are watching yourself and constantly trying to please others. If you are kind, do great work, and respect others, you will not only be valued, you will be respected.

Vanessa Wasche is the owner and founder of On Point Speaking.

5/30/21 - Avoid burnout without breaking your job search habit

A strategic approach to finding a new job will help you maintain focus for the long haul.
By Teri Saylor 

Looking for a new job, whether by choice or by necessity, is hard work. Applying for jobs online can feel like running on an endless treadmill — exhausting and humiliating — and the constant stress of long-term joblessness can lead to burnout, which can lead to abandoning your search before finding the right job. Before admitting defeat, consider new approaches that will help you maintain your job search habit without wearing you down.

According to experts, perseverance, careful strategies, and a little patience will eventually pay off and help you reach the end of the long, dark tunnel of unemployment.

Leslie Boudreaux, founder of BVOH Search and Consulting, an executive search and consulting firm based in San Francisco, and Steve Dalton, career programming director for the full-time MBA programme at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business and author of The 2-Hour Job Search, offer advice on how to maintain a job search habit for the long haul and avoid burning out.

Maintain visibility. LinkedIn is the go-to tool for recruiters and hiring managers, and elevating your presence on that platform will help them find you. Keeping your profile current, connecting with every professional you meet, and engaging on the platform by sharing, liking, and commenting on content will help you stay visible in the marketplace, Boudreaux said.

She suggests recruiting someone you trust to serve as a sounding board, provide support, extend your reach through their professional contacts, and help you keep tabs on the job market. This could be a friend, a colleague, or a former manager or recruiter you trust.

“At this critical time in your career, these colleagues can give you a tremendous amount of advice and support and might even directly help you find a new job,” she said.

Schedule informational meetings. People tend to quantify their job search by the number of applications they place and the number of hours they spend doing so. But those don’t correlate to success, Dalton said.

“Putting yourself in the hunt among many other job candidates — by applying to online job postings without referrals — vying for one job over and over is a recipe for burnout,” he said.

One way to avoid job search fatigue is to flex your curiosity and expand your horizon by scheduling informational meetings with successful professionals you admire. Rather than inquiring about job openings at their companies, ask for their insights and how they achieved success in their own careers. They will be responsive because people enjoy talking about themselves, Dalton said.

“These professionals are strangers when you first meet them, and expressing genuine interest in their opinions, their knowledge, and what they have learned along the way will help you turn a stranger into an ally,” he said.

Seek help from career counsellors. It’s frustrating to apply for random jobs over and over with no results, Boudreaux acknowledged.

“Instead of hitting the rapid application buttons on job listings, put some effort into your search, and seek out an expert who can analyse reasons why you are not getting results,” she said. Improving the way your résumé or CV is written or applying to the types of jobs better suited to your skills and background might help. When you get to the interview stage, career counsellors can help you put your best self forward.

“Often I see job candidates get that first interview, but they don’t get called back for a second interview, which demonstrates improvement may be needed there,” Boudreaux said. Personal coaches and counsellors can help you develop your personal brand, improve your résumé or CV, and help you become the best version of yourself during an interview.

Evaluate your career path. After being in the job market a long time with no success, looking in new directions may help you avoid feeling burned out, Boudreaux advised.

“Instead of giving up, seek opportunities in a different type of organisation,” she said. If you have an entrepreneurial spirit, this may be a good time to start your own business. It just comes down to having the motivation, desire, drive, and courage to reinvent yourself and harness your special skills to reach your full potential, she added.

“I love asking people what they really love to do and how they can package their passion into something that also makes money,” she said.

Take a break. At interviews, your frustration can come through in a way that doesn’t paint the very best picture of you to an employer. If you exude desperation in the marketplace, potential employers may assume this approach to your job search is predictive of how you will approach a job, Boudreaux said.

“Even though it’s tough financially, you may need to take a break from your job search if you can afford it,” she said. She suggested using downtime to take a class, further your skills, or do something fun to get away from the fatigue of the job search. Consulting or contracting is another great option to keep your skills fresh, learn new ones, and generate income while you are looking for the perfect long-term opportunity.

Be strategic. There are millions of job-seekers and millions of companies hiring, but there is only one of you, so you must be methodical, Dalton said. He recommends scheduling informational interviews with representatives of companies you are most interested in learning about.

Dalton’s methodology also calls for creating a list of 40 companies you admire. “Consider companies that might not be having their doors knocked down by throngs of people looking for a job, and where it might be easier to find someone who will talk with you,” he said.

Using LinkedIn tools, search for things you might have in common with those 40 companies, such as college alumni or contacts who work there. Rank them in the order of their desirability as a potential employer, and visit sites such as Indeed or Glassdoor to see if they have posted any jobs fitting your qualifications. This exercise will help you narrow your list to five top companies to target for outreach and to cultivate relationships that may lead to new opportunities, Dalton said.

“You may not walk away from them with a job, but you will walk away a richer person for the experience,” he said.

Visit the Global Career Hub from AICPA & CIMA for help with finding a job or recruiting.

— Teri Saylor is a freelance writer based in the US. 

5/23/21 - Do You Really Need to Send a Thank-You Note After a Job Interview?

by Sam Blum 

It’s a corporate custom that might seem outdated, or even like a trivial formality. Yet anyone with a good deal of job hunting experience will tell you how important it is to send a thank-you note after an interview. That’s the conventional wisdom, at least. How much does it really matter?

Interview best practices dictate that thanking a hiring manager or HR person for their time is simply a baseline measure of professional etiquette. But why? No two job interview experiences are the same. Sometimes a prospective candidate speaks with multiple different interviewers over the course of months. Does every person who asked you a question deserve a missive expressing your appreciation for their time? Why isn’t it incumbent upon the interviewer to thank the candidate?

Owing to the subjectiveness of interviewing in corporate (and even non-corporate settings), it isn’t always obvious how and when you should thank a hiring manager for the courtesy of trying to convince them to hire you. Still, many consider it a standard part of the interview process, and because of the possibility the expectation is there, it’s something you should plan to do for the positions you really care about.

HR professionals really do take note of a thank-you
According to a 2017 survey from the HR consultancy Robert Half, 80 percent of HR managers think a follow-up email expressing thanks is either somewhat helpful or very helpful when they are combing through a deluge of candidates with equal qualifications. Absent a note expressing thanks, there’s a chance a hiring manager won’t be able to affirm your presumably strong interest in the job, beyond the 15 to 30 minutes or so you dedicated to a phone call or teleconference. In fact, they might presume you’ve been dissuaded from pursuing the job if you don’t express appreciation and your further interest.

Some organizations place a premium on thank-you notes that can seem excessive. In a 2019 post for Business Insider, the website’s global managing editor, Jessica Liebman, garnered a fair amount of online vitriol for writing that she only hires candidates who write thank-you emails post-interview. The idea that a failure to send a follow-up email should completely erode one’s chances of getting a job offer isn’t universal—and in fact, some HR experts take the opposite view, and feel the lack of a note should definitely not disqualify a candidate—but given it’s a debate that often descends into online shouting matches when discussed in public forums, you’re probably safer erring on the side of writing one.

Email is fine
Expressing thanks for a job interview is, in a sense, a holdover from earlier days of corporate etiquette. According to Robin Sommerstein, an HR consultant in Los Angeles, receiving a thank-you via snail mail was a truly laudable act prior to the advent of email.

She explains to Lifehacker how thank-you notes used to showcase a high level of effort and interest on the part of the interviewee, owing to the somewhat meticulous process of typing out and mailing a letter:

As I recall from yesteryear, thank you-notes via snail mail were always appreciated because of the time and effort to write the note. This showed the interviewer that the candidate was seriously interested, appreciative of the time spent meeting a group or single interviewer.

Even in the era of email, the necessity of expressing gratitude remains—and given that email requires less diligence on your part than would preparing a physical letter, addressing an envelope, paying for postage, and finding a mailbox, you can stick with a concise note—preferably sent within 24 hours of your interview, advises the job site Indeed.

As Sommerstein notes:

A really appreciated thank you note via email is thoughtful about what you learned about the company during the interview or through a website, or a statement that was unsaid during the interview. Write your thoughts about why you believe you would be an asset to the position and a good fit with the company.

It seems pretty straightforward, but don’t go overboard—brevity is admirable in this context, Sommerstein says, advising, “more than two sentences but not longer than two very brief paragraphs” should do the trick. With that in mind, you can get creative. She recommends including, “something clever, but not too clever, humorous but not too humorous, quoting something said by a manager if [it was] important to you.”

When it comes to thanking multiple interviewers, it might be prudent to ask for everyone’s business card during your interviews, or to ask for a specific person’s email address if you haven’t been supplied with it already. Of course, being a bit more enterprising and finding someone’s email address on your own shows a certain amount of industry that a hiring manager will notice. You might have to call someone’s assistant to get an email address, but it’s also OK to ask that your main contact at a company forward your note of thanks to everyone you’ve spoken to, Sommerstein says. It isn’t imperative that every person you’ve spoken to receives a note from you, especially considering it might be hard to track everyone down if the process has been especially stretched out, but the effort, if noticed by a hiring manager, is certainly admirable.

While neglecting to write a thank you notes won’t necessarily take you out of the running—Sommerstein notes she’s personally never failed to extend a job offer solely because a candidate didn’t write a thank-you note—it’s an act that requires minimal effort, and it could make all the difference.

5/16/21 - Finding Success After 164 Job Applications

David Ding offers firsthand advice to all new professionals who are looking for jobs during the pandemic or who will begin their searches soon.

By David Ding 

Job searches aren’t easy for new higher education administration graduates, especially at this time. I started my search in January of last year, unsure about how to begin and which jobs I would qualify for. Over the course of creating 345 application documents, applying to 164 jobs and attending 41 interviews during the past 10 months, I learned a few things in my first professional staff job search. I want to share them in the hopes that it can improve the experiences of others in similar shoes.

First, I should tell you a little about myself. I worked in student and civic engagement as an undergraduate at Swarthmore College, and the experiences in vitalizing campus involvement during Swatoberfest and other activities changed my life. I knew then I wanted to continue to support, nurture and educate students. In grad school, I worked in student programming, co-curricular advising and summer STEM bridge counseling, and I collected various perspectives on advising, coaching and student development. Following dual graduate assistantships and a NODA internship, my goal was to work in a position that bridged academic and student affairs.

I also knew that my surface-level and deeper identities would factor into the job search process, as I am a male-identifying Asian American with a background in science and the liberal arts. From my experiences, I recognized that I faced distinct barriers related to systemic racism as well as certain personal challenges when looking for jobs. In higher ed, where I had already struggled to belong, I looked for places to work that would see my perspective, skills and insights as assets for innovation as well as equity in the field.

Unsure of how to start, I simply began applying for positions last January, writing cover letters and sending résumés that, I now see in retrospect, were of poor quality. Hesitance was the feeling of the day, and I was blind to the details and effort needed to advance in the application process. But, as most job searches responded with “the applicant pool is very competitive, and we have moved on with other candidates,” I found myself learning and reflecting on how to improve my efforts.

When April 2020 rolled around, so did all the disruptions of COVID-19. Institutions struggled with how they would address the pandemic, as did the job market. During that month, due to lack of time and job openings, I applied for only five positions in total, as compared to a peak of 10 a week in the later months of the search. That slow period gave me time to consider ways to enhance my application materials, and I created a makeshift assessment system to identify which jobs I should apply to and how I should tailor my application. Also, I networked and reached out to many alumni and other individuals as possible, and I learned to ask useful questions to build professional relationships.

Unfortunately, however, over the following months, I had to swallow my share of bitter pills. Two second-round interviews fell through, partly from factors outside my control. I experienced firsthand the difficulty of finding a job during economic hard times without professional experience. At the nadir of my search, I even acknowledged to myself -- and made peace with the idea -- that I might have to look outside higher ed to support myself before returning to it.

But what I was prepared to give up in career advancement was not mirrored by my will to grow from the processes. With each rejection, I learned how to improve my applications and interviews -- crucial during a time when only a 20-minute phone interview could separate my advancement in the process from the rejection pile. Committing to persistence and learning during this period, I strove to learn and open my mind to other work possibilities.

I learned how to draft compelling cover letters and created a consistent, precise routine for synthesizing materials to apply for jobs and advance in interviews. And ultimately, my approach paid off. During one week in September, I had five interviews. A month later, I had five more interviews in a week, with three being second-round interviews. Of the two concrete offers that resulted from my interviews, I accepted one and concluded my search.

It was a long and demanding journey, and I won’t sugarcoat it: the process took massive amount of time and preparation. But I grew a lot as a result, and here are a few things I would recommend to others embarking on a job search at this time.

Learn continuously. The job market is not a classroom, but take every possible opportunity to collect information and learn as much as you can.

Approach jobs without hope of an offer or fear of rejection. You will experience happy surprises and unexpected disappointments in the search process. Remember: anything before accepting an offer is not getting a job. Be disciplined and steady -- not only in your actions but also in your reactions -- throughout the application processes until you accept an offer.

Build a process to apply to jobs and to network in the field. No matter how strong or weak the economy is, your process is everything. Learn how to write a compelling cover letter; highlight precise, relevant credentials; and identify jobs you are qualified for and can potentially obtain. Have a good process, and time and patience will reward you.

Build your network. Everyone who has been through a job search generally knows how difficult it can be. Find other people who are doing the work you want to do, connect with them and identify good questions to ask them during informational interviews. Understand that each connection may not help you in the ways you anticipated but in others, and take some time to reflect upon the nature of your networking approaches, support and coverage.

Know that something’s out there that you are suited to do. During the nadir of my search, I interviewed for a job for which I was overqualified in education but underqualified in skills. The fit would have been misaligned, and even in the depths of the pandemic, I decided to seek other options.

Look for ways to supplement your skills and financial health. Most of you who want to work in higher ed will graduate with an advanced degree. That means you can and should innovate based on what you have learned. For example, in addition to finishing my degree, I have also become a tutor in STEM, English literature, college admission essays and SAT prep; have obtained a certificate in college teaching; and have studied a few academic advising manuals.

Don’t sacrifice long-term happiness for temporary comfort. People regularly counseled me to give up on my field and find employment in another. I’m glad I didn’t take their advice.

Know your worth -- and never split the difference. Despite the challenging economic times, I passed up a job offer that did not meet all of my standards for a starting postgraduate position -- knowing full well that I might lose out in future searches to other candidates. While I am humbled that they offered me the position, I made the tough decisions that it wasn’t really what I was looking for.

Be stubborn about your values. Know what you value in life, and look for anything you can do to support that. Making sure you are fulfilling your mission should be just as important as the benefits a job can provide. I used this time to reflect upon my values and will make sure that they are an essential part of my work going forward.

Stay positive. Never forget that you inherently contribute and add to the world just by being in it. Life is about what you make of it. Do something you find productive. Learn, read, exercise. Spend time doing other things that give balance to your life.

Be patient. Trust that there is something out there for you

My journey was not easy, but it allowed me to improve my job-search skills in ways that not only paid off now but will continue to do so in the long run. Such a process can test you in many ways, but know that if you keep trying, you will ultimately have success.

Bio - David Ding is an honors adviser at Purdue University’s Honors College and received an M.A. in education at Vanderbilt University.

5/9/21 - 10 questions to ask in a job interview that will really expose a company’s culture

Spoiler alert: “What’s the culture like here?” is definitely NOT one of them.

You are in the last five minutes of the job interview, and the interviewer asks: “What questions do you have?”

Time is limited, so you ask the question you think will be most helpful: “What is the culture like here?”

Don’t do this. There are better questions to understand the culture.

The interviewer will typically respond by describing the values of the company. Their reply will have some variation of trust, collaboration, transparency, integrity which are the same values that show up in various forms in many companies. These don’t help you understand the day-to-day experience.

Culture is felt through the behaviors that are reinforced or discouraged on a day-to-day basis on teams. If you want to get a sense of the story of the leader and team’s culture, use detailed questions. You will get a much better sense based on the responses, especially if the leader struggles to think of what to say. If you are a manager, prepare to answer detailed questions that illustrate your team’s culture.

Better questions to ask a hiring manager:

Tell me about a time a team member changed your mind? This lets you know if the leader feels they are the only one who has the answers or if they are open to different opinions. You are going to learn how they prefer to receive information and what they value.

Tell me about someone you are proud of. This is going to let you know which behaviors and skills they value. You can also learn their attitude towards developing people and celebrating success along the way.

Do you fully disconnect during holidays and vacations? Does this leader believes in boundaries and having time off and space that is protected? Or is this someone that will be calling you on your holiday—and will that work for you?

Describe a recent success or win. They should be able to come up with something pretty quickly. If they can’t, that might indicate that they aren’t great about celebrating progress or recognizing people along the way to milestones. They don’t have to describe a huge win. However, they should be able to think of a recent event that demonstrates progress.

Tell me about a disagreement or conflict on the team. Every team is going to have conflict. It is a great way to generate ideas and different thinking when the team has the right tools to navigate constructive conflict. You want to see is if the leader says: “We don’t have conflict.” This could mean that different opinions aren’t welcome, and the team sits in silence. Or the leader is trying to avoid the hard conversations that yield better results. The leader should be able to talk about people having different opinions they had to work through.

How did you start your last team meeting? Did they jump right into the agenda? Did they have an activity or conversation to learn more about each other? You can learn a lot about interactions by how they begin meetings and conversations.

What is your ideal person for this role? This is a great way to understand what the leader values and the knowledge, skills, and behaviors they view as making their work easier. They will probably describe the person’s organization, communications, skill set, or certain outcomes achieved. This response helps you get an idea if you fit with the leader’s ideal candidate.

Who have you promoted and why? If the leader has never promoted anyone, probe further to understand what is done to develop people. If they are a newer manager and haven’t had the opportunity, ask what they are doing to help grow and develop their team. It is ok if the leader hasn’t promoted anyone. What you want to hear is the thought around it and how they view their role in developing people on the team.

Tell me about the last person you recognized. Recognition can be a thoughtful conversation, an email, an award, or even a mention in an all-hands meeting. You want to see if the leader struggles to come up with an example or easily mentions individual and team recognition. Does the leader have the mindset that development includes helping people see the contributions they are making?

How do you focus on your own growth and development? Does the leader mention reading articles, listening to podcasts, reading books, having a mentor, taking courses, or having a coach? Are they actively trying to develop themselves? If they are developing themselves, they are more likely to develop their team. If they aren’t, you want to understand why. If they blame their schedule or struggle to find an answer, then odds are good your opportunity for development will be pushed aside.

Don’t waste your opportunity to learn more about your prospective employer in an interview. Ask these questions that help you get to the experience of that leader and that team. Culture is experienced at the team level, and every culture tells a story. Ask them about these specific moments to better understand the experience of the leader and the team.

Karen Eber is the CEO and chief storyteller of Eber Leadership Group, a talent development boutique. She is also an international consultant, keynote, and TED speaker.

5/2/21 - Flourishing During Job Searches

Looking for new employment can be especially daunting these days, but Brandy L. Simula recommends four practices that can help you come out ahead.

By Brandy L. Simula 

Job searches can be stressful under the best of circumstances. In the current moment -- when we are experiencing the intersection of a global health pandemic, economic downturn, continuing decline of available tenure-track openings and large-scale hiring freezes across multiple economic sectors -- searching for a new position can be especially daunting. A recent study by Nature, for example, shows that postdocs may be facing the worst career crisis yet.

Developing practices to manage your job search strategically, building a job-search support network, planning for how you’ll respond to requests for information about your job search and drawing on effective self-care strategies can help job seekers flourish even in today’s challenging job market.

Strategically Managing Your Job Search

Strategic management is a vital component of a successful job search. Without such an approach, the search process can quickly become a full-time job -- taking up time, labor and energy that you could otherwise use for research, teaching, professional pursuits and rest. By strategically managing your job search, you can prevent it from taking over your life and impeding your progress on other goals, minimize job-search stress, avoid burnout and make the most effective use of your search-related time, energy and labor.

One of the most important parts of strategically managing a job search is to set boundaries around when you will engage in search labor. That means not only the work on identifying possible positions, writing applications and preparing for and participating in interviews, but also the emotional labor of thinking about and mentally managing your search. Setting regular times to engage in such search-related labor and honoring boundaries around when you’re “off the clock” for working on and thinking about your job search are some of the most effective ways of preventing your search from interfering with everything else you’re involved in and from eating away at your mental health.

For example, you might schedule time to read job ads and identify positions you want to apply for on Monday and Wednesday mornings from 9 to 10 a.m. and set aside three hours on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to work on applications and prepare for interviews. While it’s sometimes difficult to not fall down mental rabbit holes related to a job search, taking breaks from thinking -- and worrying -- about finding a job is crucial to flourishing during a job search.

While it can be tempting to seek information through job wikis, discussion boards and job market gossip sites, the time that it can take, and emotional roller coaster it can put you on, can be more harmful than helpful. If you do decide to participate, consider setting boundaries around how often you check in. In my own first job search, I kept the job wiki in my discipline open on my phone and reviewed it dozens of times a day, even waking up in the middle of the night to check it. Never stepping away from being actively engaged, mentally and emotionally, in my first job search left me constantly anxious and exhausted -- and, worse, took away time I could have spent actually working on job applications.

Approaching a job search strategically also requires resisting the urge to apply wildly. It’s useful to apply widely, but letting anxiety and fear about the lack of availability of positions drive you to apply to every position for which you’re qualified -- regardless of how interested you are in a given one or how strong a candidate you are -- is not the most effective use of your time. Rather than attempting to apply to every position for which you are potentially qualified, strategize your search to prioritize spending time on positions you are most interested in and where your application is most likely to be successful.

Developing Your Support Network

It’s useful to create a support network with different, though sometimes overlapping, pools of people whom you can draw on for support. Your network might include: people from whom you can get advice and feedback; people with whom you want to share successes; people with whom you can share challenges, fears and setbacks; and people who can be available at pressure points in the search process (for instance, who can field messages or calls from you immediately before or after interviews).

While you might already have a strong general support network, ask people in it for specific kinds of assistance during your search. And if some are willing to field calls or messages before or after interviews or during campus visits, don’t forget to share the times you’d like them to be available in advance. As you’re developing and drawing on your network, it’s also important to consider how you will acknowledge, value and -- ideally -- reciprocate or pay forward the support you are receiving.

Managing Search Information

Many job seekers, especially grad students and postdocs, feel obligated to tell others about their job searches. But whatever stage of training or a career you are in, it’s important to remember that you get to choose what information to share and how, when and with whom to share it. That includes whether you’re on the market, which job market(s) you’re on, what positions you’re applying to or the status of your applications for specific positions. Indeed, managing when, how and with whom you share updates is an important part of managing your job search.

Be prepared for questions about your job search from your adviser or principal investigator, your mentors, other faculty members in your department, fellow grad students and postdocs, and friends and family. If you’re considering or have decided on a career path outside the academy but aren’t sure how to tell your adviser, Karin Hunt offers excellent advice.

Consider if and how you want to use social media related to your job search. Social media networking can be especially useful in a job search, but constant attention to job search-related social media can be distracting and draining.

Caring for Yourself While Searching

If you haven’t yet developed strong self-care practices, now is the time. Building self-care into your regular routine is an important part of managing stress and flourishing. If you’re not sure how to start identifying what self-care practices are most effective for you, this assessment can help.

In addition to your routine self-care practices, it’s useful to have specific self-care practices for pressure points in your job search. What practices will help you most effectively prepare for and decompress after interviews? What practices will you draw on when you receive disappointing news about a position you’re interested in?

Regardless of how accomplished you are, your job search will almost inevitably include disappointments and rejections. Balance those moments with celebrations of each success, and define success generously. Getting a first-round interview is a significant accomplishment. Getting an in-person interview is, too. Honor small achievements and advancements rather than only celebrating the position you accept.

Cultivating Flourishing During Searches

Remember that in your job search, you have the first and final decision about which career paths and positions are a good fit for you, which you’ll apply for, and which you’ll eventually end up taking. Consider strategically lowering the bar on your expectations for yourself during your search. Don’t set unreasonable expectations about how many positions you’ll apply to or how much time you’ll invest in each application. Lowering the bar strategically means thinking seriously about where and how you choose to invest your limited intellectual and emotional labor in your search.

Similarly, consider lowering the bar for how positive or upbeat an outlook you’re demanding of yourself. While a buoyant attitude can be useful, the pressure to bright-side challenging situations can actually undermine well-being. It’s OK to recognize that job searches can be anxiety provoking and exhausting.

Finally, remember that your first job is almost certainly not going to be your only or last one. If your current search doesn’t end up yielding a position that feels like a fantastic fit, remember that it’s unlikely you’ll be stuck in that position forever. Particularly in the present context, where the job market both in and beyond the academy is challenging, consider the strategic reframe offered by Design Your Life founders Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. They suggest that rather than focusing on the unrealistic goal of finding the one perfect job, you can more productively concentrate on seeking a position that is “good enough for now.”

Bio - Brandy L. Simula is a professional development specialist at the Georgia Institute of Technology and a research affiliate at the Center for Positive Sexuality. A certified career, professional and life design coach, she is an active member of the Graduate Career Consortium and the Professional and Organizational Development Network. She works and writes on the occupied lands of the Mvskoke (Creek) People.

4/25/2021 - I Really Dislike Negotiating, But…

I Really Dislike Negotiating, But…
… whatever our circumstances, Joseph Barber writes, we should all negotiate for something as part of our next job offer.

By Joseph Barber 

Negotiation is an important way to advocate for your professional skills and experiences. Let me start, in fact, with a sweeping generalization that, whatever your circumstances, you should negotiate for something as part of your next job offer. We all need to take opportunities to tell others the value we bring to a new position, and ideally employers should find value in supporting their new employees.

That said, knowing that you should negotiate is not the same thing as finding yourself in a position where negotiation is easy, enjoyable and in no way stressful. I will highlight some general negotiation best practices that can be helpful in most cases, and then I’ll identify a few scenarios where those practices don’t always work.

Given that no one ever taught me any job offer negotiation strategies, that job offers could or should be negotiated, or that doing so would be important to my professional trajectory, it is not surprising how I approached my own first offer. I hadn’t officially finished my Ph.D., and I had traveled from the U.K. to Disney’s Animal Kingdom to interview for a (just about) postdoc position. Everything was overwhelming: Florida, the temperature, Disney, the giant Disney characters parading past my future boss’s window, and also my future boss saying that she would like to offer me the position and asking, “The salary for this position is $XXX -- does this work for you?”

“Um, sounds great” was probably my answer. With all my preparation focused on succeeding in the interview, I hadn’t given any thought to actually receiving the offer. At that moment, I remember my brain focusing on all the projects I was going to be working on, all the information I would have to learn, and all the new responsibilities I would have when the position started. At no point did I reflect on the post-offer, pre-acceptance period where negotiation can happen -- or on whether the salary offered was good, bad or somewhere in between.

Many of you may experience the same rush of thoughts when you receive a job offer: you jump straight to the new (and hopefully exciting) responsibilities of the role that you’ve spent a lot of time thinking about during the application period and skip over many of the logistics of the offer itself. Being goal-focused and project-oriented is one of the reasons you will bring value to the role you have been offered. But that doesn’t mean you should overlook the equally important goal of advocating for yourself.

Let’s quickly cover a few negotiation basics that provide a general set of best practices.

First, wait for a written offer, but don’t rush into any negotiations as soon as you receive it. Once you have the written offer, ask for more time to get back to your potential employer. Some organizations, for some positions, will offer weeks. Others will give you days. It is a good idea not to make a hasty decision if you can avoid it, especially if you may have other interviews or potential offers that might materialize in the next few days.

Then, before you actually start negotiating, gather all the information you need. Speak to people in your network who might have insight into the role or the company, or seek their advice based on their own experience negotiating. While you can’t ask them about their salary, you can get their thoughts on what a fair offer looks like in the field.

Also, if anything in the offer letter is confusing, ask for clarification from your main point of contact at the employer. Let’s say a that a company offers you stock options as part of the offer, and your response is “Huh?” This is a great opportunity to ask if you can talk to someone at the company who might be able to share information about it. Whatever questions you may have about what is written in the offer letter, this first phase is the time to get some answers. An email might work for most questions, but scheduling a time to chat might be better in some cases.

Once you have answers to all your questions, then you can decide on what you want to negotiate for and why. Asking for more money is often the focus -- but everyone would like more money, so what is the positive argument you can make as part of your negotiation? In typical situations, a good argument is that you have highly sought-after skills, knowledge, experience or even a network of contacts that can be especially helpful to the role. In other cases, your ask may be based on the research and networking outreach you conducted, from which you might have discovered that average salaries at similar organizations and for similar roles are higher.

Any good negotiation happens in real time by phone/video and with the person who is in a position to discuss the offer. (Figuring out who this is may be something you need to find out as part of your information gathering.) Once you have scheduled a time to chat with this person, then a well-practiced ask as part of this conversation is a good outcome. For example:

“I’ve spoken to several of my contacts in my network who work in this field, and they mentioned $X as being an industry standard for someone with skills doing X and Y. I’m really excited to bring my rich experience doing X & Y to this role, and so this higher amount seems appropriate. What can we do to get closer to this?”

An effective negotiation strategy is to ask such a question and then not say anything else until the person with whom you are talking has responded. But you need to practice that approach.

Also, if you are looking for networking strategies, consider some of these resources: 

Some Exceptions

Keep these best practices in mind, but in some scenarios, the process doesn’t quite follow those steps.

For example, some job descriptions or the careers pages of organization websites specifically state that salaries can’t be negotiated. That might be because the jobs are associated with a union or a city/state department or just reflect the organization’s philosophical approach. I think it’s refreshing to have clearly stated, nonnegotiable salary levels and to provide an equal playing field for candidates, including those comfortable with negotiation and those who are not (but then again, I dislike negotiating, so that is not surprising). Employers that are transparent with salaries up front provide candidates with enough information to decide if it is even worth applying. It is also worth noting that you can negotiate other elements of the job beyond salary that can still play a key part in supporting your professional success in your new role.

Some employers want you to negotiate before they give a final offer. You might get a verbal confirmation that they will be offering you the role, but no specific details or numbers. That often happens when the office or department that is making the offer isn’t the entity that makes salary decisions. For example, a centralized HR office may decide on salaries to ensure parity across the organization. That approach puts the onus on the candidate to come up with a preferred salary without knowing all of the details. Students and postdocs who experience this scenario often worry that any “incorrect” negotiation may result in a written offer never materializing. That typically doesn’t happen, and most of the negotiation best practices are still relevant in this situation, but the lack of a written offer first makes the negotiation process feel a lot more stressful.

Another recent scenario I heard about was a job for which an organization made a written offer but required the candidate to first decline that offer before starting to negotiate. The candidate could then submit a justification for whatever was being negotiated, and if the organization accepted it, they would make a new offer. The idea of declining an offer to negotiate certainly raises the stress level, but given the time and effort it takes for employers to choose a final candidate, they would very likely entertain a counteroffer from a candidate whom they were excited about -- especially if that candidate could advocate positively for their value.

In another situation, the hiring manager told a final candidate that they had to accept the offer promptly because the hiring manager didn’t want to lose out on a great second-choice finalist. Of course, that doesn’t sound like a great way for the employer to begin their relationship with a potential new hire!

Again, I dislike negotiation and the uncertainties involved. But I’ve found it always feels better to advocate for yourself in the best way you can when you have an offer than to miss the opportunity and regret it. No one will advocate for you as well as you can, and whether or not you successfully increase your salary or gain access to other professional benefits, the process of verbalizing your value to others will always be professionally fulfilling.

Joseph Barber is senior associate director of career services at the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Graduate Career Consortium -- an organization providing an international voice for graduate-level career and professional development leaders.

Philadelphia PA (Metro...including Trenton NJ and Princeton NJ)

Newtown (Bucks County PA) Career Networking Group - The Newtown Career Networking Group (Newtown, PA), was established in January 2010 by and for talented people who were displaced by the recession. We're a secular group, sponsored by the Newtown Presbyterian Church, serving the entire community including Lower Bucks County and the surrounding area. Meets 1st and 3rd Tuesdays from 7-8:30 pm Eastern. 

Philadelphia Area Great Careers - We offer career education, monthly meetings with speakers, networking, interview preparation resources, and workshops on Zoom and on Clubhouse. Whether you are unemployed, underemployed, employed. or self-employed, you should be managing your brand and your career. This means keeping your career documents up to date, refining your networking skills, building your sphere of influence, and building your technology skills.

Tulsa, OK

Overcoming Job Transition - Our ministry has been blessed to serve hundreds of out-of-work Tulsans by equipping them with the knowledge they need to succeed and helping them take control of their job search.

4/18/2021 - Use these 3 solid answers next time someone asks: ‘Tell me about yourself’

A public speaking coach says the best thing about this open-ended question is the opportunity it offers.

Rather than dread the question, think of it as a self-promotional invitation you mustn’t let pass you by. People are not asking for your chronological history, but they do want more than your name, rank, and serial number. Whether you are in a job interview, meeting a new contact while you build your network, or talking with your big boss on a video conference for the first time, this is your moment to shine. It is an opportunity to give your two-minute advertisement about your background, your accomplishments, and the importance of what you do.

Your goal is to turn the question into the beginning of a deeper conversation and a deeper relationship. So keep these three key pieces of your response ready: Engage the audience, establish credibility, and tell people why they should care. Then tailor your reply to the person who is asking. Find ways to connect your experience and expertise to their interests.

Resist the urge to lead with your title and organization unless you know that will stand out. Instead, give a short, illustrative explanation of what you actually do. Make it an interesting conversation starter. If it points to anything going on in the news right now, even better. Everyone you talk to is different. If you have researched their background or learned something through talking with them that relates, find a way to tie your work to a common area of interest. For example,

“I’m a cybersecurity expert, helping companies respond to the recent SolarWinds hack and other growing threats.”
“I’m starting a new advertising agency so we can focus on the more nimble, creative approach I loved when my last agency was still small.”
These introductions give your interlocutor the opportunity to ask questions that lead to an in-depth conversation. That gives you the opening to follow up in more detail about what you do and how it relates to the other people in the conversation.

Now is the time to share what it is about you that people should want to know. Describe highlights from your work experience, life experience, or education that set you apart and demonstrate your knowledge in this area. This might include the inspiration that led you to this line of work, what you studied at your university, a big project you worked on, or places you have lived. What makes you uniquely qualified to do the work that you do? For example:

“I’m excited that I can combine my engineering degree and my experience running marathons to develop new technologies for prosthetics.”
“My two years with a management consulting firm in Hong Kong gave me unique insight into the impacts of political swings on the U.S.-China trade outlook.”

Include some version of, “This is important because . . .” At this point, you have offered a conversation starter and discussed your expertise. Now use big picture concepts explain why they should care. For instance:

“Artificial intelligence is helping us in so many ways and has incredible potential to do more. My work will help protect our privacy in the process.”
“Working from home in the pandemic is causing a wave of mental health challenges. The online mindfulness programming my company offers gives workers a chance to get away even when they can’t get away.”

The most important part of responding to the inevitable question, “So, tell me about yourself,” is to be prepared. If the brand name of your company or your university will pop, put it out there up front. If your life experience, awards, or projects you have worked on demonstrate your value-added, make sure to include them.

To build your confidence around this response, it’s a good idea to film a practice round on your phone ahead of time—and watch it back so you can adjust if needed.

Remember that the best thing about this open-ended question is the opportunity it gives you to highlight your best features and why what you do matters.

Eileen Smith is a public speaking coach, former diplomat, and founder of Spokesmith. She helps business executives, policy experts, and rising professionals deliver their message in daily and extraordinary events.

4/11/2021 - How to identify and apply for unposted job opportunities

Reviewing job boards is fine, but many jobs aren’t listed formally. Here’s how to identify potential openings, and effectively find the hiring manager.

If you’re looking for a job, your first step may be to peruse job boards. While it’s a tried-and-true method, a growing number of jobs are “hidden,” as more companies move to employee referrals and professional networks for sourcing qualified candidates more quickly, according to a study by Jobvite. If you don’t have an inside connection, you may think finding these leads is a matter of pure luck. However, it’s possible to get into the talent pipeline via the hiring manager’s inbox.

“The reality is that a lot of markets and industries are in constant flux and chaos,” says Ivan Shovkoplias, head of content for, an online résumé builder. “Many companies reorganize slower than needs appear, and openings aren’t anticipated by managers. Also, the infrastructure for job listings is not up to speed with what companies need. The world is changing faster than the tools.”

To get in front of a hiring manager, you could spend time cold-emailing and networking, but one of the best methods is by cultivating a deep knowledge of the industry. “Depending on the industry or location, there’s usually a rumor mill,” Shovkoplias says. “You may become aware that some companies are hiring more than others. You may be aware that certain industries are on the rise and need specialists. There are multiple ways of finding out.”

Another good tool is research, including reading industry journals and company blogs. “Research is good even if it’s open source,” Shovkoplias says. “It can give you a superficial leg up.”

Once you’ve got a lead on a company that might be hiring, you need to determine the right person to contact. You’ll want to identify a hiring manager as well as the manager of the department in which you’d be working.

“A manager may be able to walk your résumé to HR and be an ambassador,” Shovkoplias says. LinkedIn’s search tool is a good place to find appropriate people. Once you’ve got names, use a tool like to dig up their email addresses.

Your subject line needs to get through spam filters, and Shovkoplias recommends using some proven email marketing tactics. “Avoid a long subject line or overuse of caps,” he says. “The golden standard is below 60 characters and 10 words. These tiny nuances [decrease] your chance of going to spam.”

Make your subject line short, succinct, and catchy without being too pushy. It should also be personalized. For example, “Former Google employee looking for an opportunity.”

Avoid the generic “To whom it may concern” or “Dear Sir/Madam.” Instead, personalize the greeting, making sure you spell the person’s name correctly. Shovkoplias says you want to come off as warm, but don’t get too creative. Get a feel for the company’s culture and language by reviewing its website and try to mimic the tone.

The first line of your email should grab the reader’s attention. It creates the first impression and establishes trust with the reader as you explain who you are. If you’re applying for a creative position, such as a job in advertising, you can be creative. Otherwise, remain conservative in the bounds of industry.

“We live in a depersonalized marketing world,” Shovkoplias says. “Show you’re a human and grab their attention by providing proof of your expertise, a quick fact, or an achievement figure.” For example, “I’m an experienced marketing professional who has secured placement for clients in top publications such as . . .”

Be respectful of the time the reader will spend with your email. Shovkoplias recommends having a one-line introduction and about three to four sentences with a general message that conveys your value, then bow out.

“If you’re writing a huge letter that takes more than three to four minutes to read, you dramatically lower the chances that a recruiter or department manager will respond,” Shovkoplias says. “Be cognizant that we live in a world of short attention spans.”

Your message could include:

Why you’re reaching out
What you can bring to the company, such as your experience
Proof of your skills
Previous achievements, including metrics
Knowledge of the industry
Shovkoplias warns against too many attachments, such as a portfolio or work sample. “Most of the time attaching more than a résumé is risky,” he says. “What you want to do is make it easy to get to the next step. If you’re emailing a manager, they can take your résumé and forward it to HR.”

Another benefit of keeping your email short is that you’re more likely to hear back, adds Menno Olsthoorn, CEO of “It gives the other person permission to send a quick reply with feedback, a next action, or to simply say the position is filled,” he says. “If you write a one-pager, the person may archive it or not reply at all.”

Similar to email marketing, close your email with the next step open-ended. For example, “Would you be open to a phone call to discuss possible openings within your company?”

Shovkoplias says, “You want the person receiving it to not feel like the dialogue is closed. And don’t be presumptuous or arrogant. Ask if they have time to talk about possible job openings. It should be engagement more than a statement. A statement puts a stop or pause on the dialogue.”

Finally, sign off in a similar way to your salutation. Unless you’re in a creative industry, Shovkoplias says it’s best to use a safe and traditional sign-off, such as “Best Regards” or “Sincerely.”

“They are cliché to an extent,” Shovkoplias says. “[But] it’s best to end safe because you’ve already taken a risk—you sent the email.”

4/4/2021 - 7 effective strategies for streamlining your job search

Ditch the time-wasters and get focused on what you want to do next.

The pandemic turned a job market one of the tightest labor markets in history on its head. At its peak in April, unemployment reached 14.7% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and may have been even higher. So people who still had jobs hung on to them. The so-called “quits rate”—people who voluntarily leave their jobs—fell to 1.4%—the lowest level since 2011 during the Great Recession recovery.

But there’s some good news on the horizon: Employers are looking to hire again. Monster’s Future of Work 2021 Global Outlook Special Report found that 82% of employers plan to hire in 2021, including 37% who plan to fill positions left open after layoffs and more than one-third (35%) that are hiring for new jobs.

So, if you’ve been holding off on looking for a new, more fulfilling gig or are perhaps uncertain about the best steps to take in this “new normal” for job-hunting, now might be the time to act. And here are some ways you can focus and streamline your job search to be most effective:

“Stop being so open-minded [about your search],” says executive search consultant and media executive Rob Barnett, author of Next Job, Best Job: A Headhunter’s 11 Strategies to Get Hired Now. Barnett says he counsels people to figure out their “North Star”—the true career goal they have. Then, focus your effort on the path to getting there.

You need to create a rock-solid case for why you’re the best person to fill the role you want. That requires three key elements, Barnett says:

“What is the job in your heart?” asks Barnett. What do you love the most and what do you want to be doing?
Be brutally honest with yourself and determine whether the job you want intersects with what you’re best at. Where are your strengths? Where have you had your biggest career wins?
Prove it. Barnett says that thinking about “transferable skills” alone can be dangerous, because hiring managers want to see that you have some experience doing what needs to be done. Make a case for why you’re the best person for the job that includes some relevant experience. And if you don’t have that, start building it.

The pandemic has led to a wave of skill-building and training. As some had more time on their hands, they invested in courses, classes, and other programs to help them learn new things or strengthen areas of weakness. “There’s so much free development online now or at minimal cost that you can continue to develop your skills, your competencies, your capabilities,” says cognitive behavioral researcher CK Bray, founder of change management research firm The Adaptation Institute and author of Best Job Ever!: Rethink Your Career, Redefine Rich, Revolutionize Your Life. Prioritizing your own professional development shows initiative and can help you get closer to a meaningful career.

Barnett says that, sometimes, investing in yourself requires taking a more junior role in your new chosen field or role to help you build the skills you need to advance. This should be considered on a case-by-case basis, in light of your overall career goals and level of experience.

Spend some time researching the company and role you’re targeting, says career coach Angelina Darrisaw. Use LinkedIn to find out who had the position before you and look at their background. That may help you identify your own strengths and career parallels, she says. “I’d even go as far as considering using a LinkedIn message to reach out to that person and seeing if they will spend time with you,” she says. “[Take] those extra steps to show that you’re really interested in the position that you’re also going to make sure that you are a good fit.” Of course, use your network to determine if you have contacts who can either give you information or help with an introduction, she adds.

Barnett says that uploading your résumé to job-search sites isn’t worth your time. Neither is interviewing with companies where you really don’t want to work, Darrisaw days. Bray advises people to not go overboard when updating their résumés. Too many people spend far too much time laboring over each word and how big the margins should be, when the key is to update it and get it out there.

There are some important areas on which to focus. It’s important that the job history, including dates, titles, and companies, on your LinkedIn profile aligns with those on your résumé, Bray says. And Darrisaw recommends reviewing the company’s job ads and incorporating some of the specific, descriptive words the company uses, so those words will show up in applicant tracking services (ATS). In addition, Darrisaw recommends reviewing your public social media profiles to ensure that they reflect you as you wish to be perceived.

Each of the experts recommended tapping into your network now. Touch base with contacts from your past and review the LinkedIn contacts of people in your network to see if there are opportunities for informational interviews or introductions. (It may actually be easier to do so now that so many people are still mostly working from home.)

Also, if you’re actively interviewing at a company where you really want to work, Bray recommends staying in touch with the team, even if you don’t get the job. “Ask questions about what they think you can work on [to be a stronger candidate],” he suggests. Then, take the advice to heart. Companies are becoming more aware of keeping “runners-up” in mind for future positions.

Gwen Moran is a writer, editor, and creator of Bloom Anywhere, a website for people who want to move up or move on. She writes about business, leadership, money, and assorted other topics for leading publications and websites.

3/28/2021 - Meet Empathy, a Career Power Tool

Irina Filonova explores how you can use this foundational skill to advance your career and maintain well-being during a job search.

By Irina Filonova 

“Learner, Input, Achiever, Analytical, Intellection” read my table tent, proclaiming to the world my talents identified by the Gallup Clifton Strength assessment. I was proud of the outcomes because they correctly characterized me as a neuroscience researcher ready to take action.

Suddenly, a postdoc sitting next to me exclaimed, “Empathy? What is that? How come I have it?” This puzzled my analytical mind, which had been trained for years in my scientific research to value logic over emotion. The facilitator quickly described empathy as a precious talent that helped us understand other people and build strong relationships. However, I was not buying this description as a strength I could use to reach my ultimate goals.

Now, six years later, working as a career coach at an institution in Japan and logging countless hours in one-to-one meetings helping others determine career direction, I wholeheartedly agree with one of my postdoc advisee’s statements: “Empathy! I love it! I would not be here without it.” As a result of this shift, I am writing to share how we can use this foundational skill to advance our careers and maintain well-being during a job search.

First things first, let’s define empathy. Empathy is the ability to experience other people’s feelings, emotions, thoughts and behaviors. More simply, it is the ability to put yourself in another’s person shoes. Neuroscience tells us that when we empathize, a special network of brain cells called mirror neurons is activated, allowing us to “mirror” the others’ experience. For example, when I work with a postdoc who struggles to find a job amid pandemic and Brexit concerns, my mirror neurons are working hard to create an experience of frustration and anxiety mixed with hope, allowing me to understand the state of mind of my advisee. Likewise, I am full of joy and excitement when reading a message from a graduate student who landed a dream position.

To note, empathy is different from sympathy and compassion. Specifically, sympathy expresses an understanding and concern for a situation, and unlike empathy, it lacks the feeling of sharedness and closeness. Compassion, on the other hand, takes empathy to the next level by adding a desire to alleviate suffering and discomfort. With the clarified terminology, let’s explore why it is beneficial to consider empathy skills when managing careers, applying for a job or conducting interviews.

Empathy is often the top skill employers seek in a potential hire. Every year I teach career development workshops where we examine job postings to understand the position requirements. We have yet to encounter the phrase “Empaths are needed” in an advertisement; however, we frequently find reference to “team player,” “cross-cultural communicator,” “adaptable professional” or “skillful problem solver” on company wish lists. It turns out that most employers are looking for candidates who can mind read a funding agency, resolve conflict, build alliances, nurture relationships and manage or work in teams. Upon closer examination, we discover these traits to be rooted in understanding other people’s perspectives to advance projects or common goals. This is, in a nutshell, empathy in disguise.

Empathy provides keen insights during interviews. I love prepping our postdocs and graduate students for upcoming interviews. During those sessions, we practice the most frequently asked questions and develop a “tell me about yourself” elevator pitch. We also exercise our empathy by an “imagine yourself as an interviewer” role play. This activity serves two purposes: to see the hiring manager as a real person with specific needs, and to collect useful data to make the interview experience more relevant, memorable and fun.

For example, I ask a postdoc to imagine a hiring manager on the fifth Zoom call of the day at 4 p.m. on a Friday during a tough week. They are dealing with a lot of uncertainty while keeping the team afloat until the pandemic is over. Once imagined, we explore how this information could affect the interview dynamic.

In this case, we discuss how the postdoc could benefit from acknowledging the unfortunate timing and shortening the answers by getting straight to the point. Moreover, they could provide examples of handling uncertainty to ensure that joining a team in difficult times is a familiar experience. That sounds good, right? But how on earth can one guess these details during the real interview? The answer is to use deep listening, which comes when you empathize with a person on the other side of the conversation. Actively listening, observing and taking on the other person’s perspective shifts the focus from your rehearsed answers to your conversation partners' needs and wants. That leads to mutual understanding and an instant connection, making the interview experience more memorable and effective.

Self-empathy keeps us grounded during the job search. It has been a year since we learned what it means to be under constant pressure due to the pandemic and all the changes in our work and home lives. Some of us are facing uncertainty, anxiety and desperation when sending out application No. 51 to the black hole of HR portals. Experts suggest using self-compassion to treat yourself with kindness and support to handle such stressful situations and relieve suffering. But if you are like me, self-compassion might be a difficult concept to incorporate into your daily routine.

You could try a self-empathy shortcut aimed at observing your situation, collecting evidence and objectively yet open-heartedly analyzing where you are in the present moment. This gentle investigation allows you to look empathetically inward to acknowledge that you are not alone in the quest to obtain a job during these tumultuous times. Taking this perspective, you might find some comfort in reframing highly competitive and unstable job markets as shared learning experiences that bring us all together instead of splitting us apart. You might also realize that facing some type of hardship may build a character and momentum to pivot your career and examine opportunities you would have never considered before.

At this point, you might be curious if empathy is innate or can be acquired. The truth is, some of us, like the postdoc mentioned at the very beginning of this essay, are naturally good at picking up on others’ emotions and thoughts. Meanwhile, some of us, like myself, have to learn “to feel the feels.” Despite your natural abilities, I’d like to offer a few practices to get you started.

Deep listening requires listening with your ears, eyes and body not for what is said, but rather for what is unsaid. You can practice deep listening by setting up a short listening session with a friend or family member. During these sessions, ask, “How are you?” or “Tell me a story about …” Then pay attention to every word, gesture and pause. If you find yourself thinking and preparing the next questions, rather than focusing on what your conversation partner is saying, bring yourself back to the conversation and start over again.

Perspective-taking is aimed at understanding the perspective of the other person. To sharpen this skill, imagine yourself in the shoes of people who surround you -- a fellow researcher, colleague or bank teller. Ask yourself about what they might be thinking, feeling and experiencing. This exercise could be especially useful when facing a difficult conversation, because it creates an opportunity to hear the other side of the story, see yourself from a different point of view and examine your own assumptions about what happened.

Improv classes are for the bravest of us. Initially intimidating, then morphing into pure fun, in-person or online improvisation exercises create a judgment-free environment to practice empathy and connections with others through activities that teach humor and responsiveness. To build up the courage, I’d suggest incorporating some of the activities into your online social or birthday parties, combining silliness with undercover intentionality.

In my experience, developing empathy has been a slow but rewarding process. Over the last six years, developing and improving my own empathy has powered me to navigate complex environments, resolve conflicts and help many researchers to move forward with their goals. Choosing to listen and understand myself and others opened up a world full of sensations, emotions and insights. I am confident that expanding your empathetic repertoire will also bring you precious “aha” moments of support as we journey further into an unpredictable 2021.

Bio - Irina Filonova is a postdoctoral development specialist and a career coach at Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan, and a member of the Graduate Career Consortium, an organization providing an international voice for graduate-level career and professional development leaders.

3/21/2021 - 5 ways to reach out to recruiters that feel refreshing

Here are a few nongimmicky approaches to piquing a hiring manager’s attention.

With the ongoing global pandemic creating a more challenging, competitive job market, the onus rests on candidates to proactively find ways to stand out to hiring managers in what is an employers’ marketplace.

During ordinary times, getting the attention of a manager is hard enough, but now, differentiating yourself from the competition is even more difficult with a lack of in-person interactions.

Here are five unique ways you can reach out to others that go beyond simply sending a cover letter and résumé without coming across as gimmicky or unprofessional.

Meeting face to face often enables you to create a stronger connection with someone. But when that’s not an option, consider sending a personalized prerecorded video message instead. Video platforms such as Loom, Vidyard, or Bonjoro allow you to easily create a simple video introduction that allows others to quickly put a face to your name.

For example, you could create a short video explaining why you’re interested in a specific company and why you would you be a great fit, says Biron Clark, founder of Career Sidekick. “A candidate used this tactic to approach me last year. While they didn’t end up having the right technical skill set, the video caught my attention immediately and prompted me to set up a phone interview less than 48 hours later.”

In lieu of in-person recruitment events, companies are having to get more creative with customer, community, and candidate engagement. This includes hosting online events, company-sponsored webinars, panel discussions, social media, and community forums.

Connecting with recruiters through online community forums or company-sponsored webinars can be a great way for candidates to authentically introduce themselves and open the door to career opportunities, according to Niall O’Rourke, VP of talent acquisition at Intuit. “Whether forging one-on-one connections or participating in community discussions, candidates can showcase their value in a more casual setting, participate in surveys and join events that speak to their interests and professional background, providing context beyond what can be expressed in a résumé.”

O’Rourke goes on to say Intuit keeps in touch with participants who join their company-sponsored webinars, inviting them to join Intuit’s online talent communities. Today, approximately 30% of software engineer hires at Intuit are existing members of their talent communities.

In your initial outreach to a company, instead of simply asking whether a recruiter or hiring manager is aware of a job opening, take the initiative to make a useful contribution to your target organization. “When you help someone solve a problem, they’ll remember you positively for your effort and be more willing to help you out in the future,” says Jon Hill, CEO and chairman of the Energists, an executive search firm.

Providing value could include offering to introduce someone to a relevant contact, referring a new customer, mentioning a useful event, relaying an opportunity, or even just sharing a useful article.

Contributing value conveys you’re proactive, which is a trait hiring managers appreciate, says Ro Kalonaros who sits on the global content and culture team at Omnicom. “I got a simple email from a job seeker who heard me speak at a virtual event recently and had come across an interesting article built on a topic I’d spoken about. That article was exactly what I needed for a presentation I was building. No gimmicks, just genuine [consideration] and real connection.”

Creating your own content online can demonstrate a track record of interest and passion about topics that could be relevant to an eventual target company and hirer. Maintaining a blog, self-publishing on LinkedIn, or creating valuable content on other social media platforms can be a way of reinforcing your personal brand with a prospective employer.

Michael Lowe, CEO of review website Car Passionate, explains that while résumés and cover letters can demonstrate a candidate’s professional background and understanding of their company, ascertaining what an individual knows about cars is difficult from these materials alone.

“We’ve received YouTube channel videos from online creators who work daily on their cars and have vast amounts of knowledge. We also receive résumés from bloggers who run their own car blogs which shows they already understand the work we are doing here.”

Lowe states sharing relevant content helps candidates stand out while also enabling Car Passionate to single out the best candidates during the recruitment process.

Although sending objects (such as flowers) to a hiring manager to get their attention could seem forced, awkward, or even inappropriate, mailing a thoughtful object that’s relevant to your target company or the role can really grab someone’s attention.

Jeff Neal, an operations manager, received over 100 résumés for a marketing position opening at their company. One candidate did some online research, discovered Neal liked fly fishing, and used this as a way to demonstrate his market research skills. “This candidate actually mailed his résumé with a packet of fly-fishing lures. I was very impressed and invited him in for an interview.”

Creativity can also go a long way in reinforcing your key skills in a way that’s hard to do with a résumé alone. Peter Gray, president of a real estate group, spent a previous decade in human resources. He says nearly any job application tactic, including employee referrals or even direct applications, fared better than online applications.

He shared an example of a candidate applying for a brand-building marketing role. “The applicant made a brand of water using his name. The ingredients were all of his positive attributes: hard work, creative, good team player, etc. I looked at his application for hours, compared to two seconds before deleting an online application.”

All these tactics take more effort than just firing off a quick email or résumé—and that’s sort of the point of customizing and focusing your approach. Your approach to the job hunt says a lot about your personal brand as a candidate. If you’re willing to go the extra mile, it demonstrates initiative and thoughtfulness.

Whether you choose to try out one of these tactics or simply stick with more traditional outreach, customizing your message based on your research on the company and role is critical to standing out. Remember that real effort is clear and still quite successful. So, don’t be afraid to approach someone in a unique way that may surprise and delight them; it might just be the thing that helps you get your foot in the door.

3/14/2021 - 6 career coaches share the best career advice they ever got

When it comes to career advice, these coaches have heard it all. Here, they share the best advice they ever received.

When it comes to evaluating career advice, few people are in a position to hear so much of it—and evaluate how it works out for the practitioners—than career coaches. Since they help their clients pore over strategies to advance their careers and look for their next jobs, they’re front and center when it comes to what works and what doesn’t.

Here, six career coaches share the best advice they ever got and how it helped them move forward in their own careers:

Too often, fear, impostor syndrome, or other challenges lead us to talk ourselves out of opportunities before we even have a shot at them. A better way: “Let them tell you ‘no,'” says Angelina Darrisaw, founder and CEO of C-Suite Coach, a firm that sources and trains coaches. “Getting a ‘yes to every promotion, raise, etc. is not likely, but a ‘no’ is certain if we don’t pursue it at all.”

Instead, embrace the risk it takes to pursue your goals or take a shot at something new, she says. Even if it doesn’t work out, you could get yourself noticed and open doors for future opportunities that may be a better fit. “Asking for things we feel unqualified or unprepared for is understandably risky and scary, but if we tell ourselves no, we will never get to hear a yes,” she says.

Early in her career, a manager had some advice for Jackie Mitchell: “You coworkers will relate to you and respect you more when you don’t hold your personality back.” Mitchell, now an executive career coach, says that sometimes we’re so buttoned-up and ‘professional’ that we “forget to have personality in our interactions with others.” Once Mitchell let more of herself shine through in her job and let herself show vulnerability, she found her relationships deepened and she expanded her circle of influence, she says.

Being vulnerable also nixes perfectionism, which undermines so many in the workplace, she says. Once, when she had to facilitate a tense meeting about project funding and budgets, her “nerves took over,” she says. “So, what did I do? I said, ‘Sorry, but this is an intimidating topic, especially since we’re over budget and I need to ask you for more funding.’ One of the executives said, ‘Don’t worry, we’re all nervous.’ This broke the ice, and we were all a bit more relaxed after that. And yes, I got the additional funding I needed for my project.” Being “human” on the job can make us more relatable, approachable, and successful.

Sometimes, a role or manager creates a situation that’s untenable, and it’s time to move on. As tempting as it may be to set the bridge ablaze as you walk out the door, it’s almost never a good idea, says career coach Kay White, author of The A to Z of Being Understood: Make Your Voice Heard and Your Conversations Count. “‘The person you throw under the bus today could be driving it tomorrow.’ That quote from Glenn Shepard encapsulates the best career advice I’ve ever received,” she says.

Sometimes, paths cross more often than you think. “Suddenly, as if by a cruel twist of fate, that person is working for the exact same person or team they thought they’d left behind. Or, that boss you wanted to leave behind, leaves too. Then joins your new firm, as your new boss, again,” she says. “One time, after a merger, when the teams were combined, the first person to be let go was the person who flounced out of our company to join the one we’d just merged with. The boss never forgot nor forgave.” Leaving on good terms may also leave the door open in case your new job isn’t what you expected and you end up wanting to return to your former employer at some point.

After a brutal layoff left her “crushed and shattered” roughly two decades ago, a simple question from her therapist changed Kathy Caprino’s life. “He said, ‘I know this looks like the worst crisis you’ve ever faced in your adult life, but from where I sit, it’s the first moment you can choose who you want to be. Now, who do you want to be?'” she recalls.

That pivotal moment set Caprino on the path to becoming a career and leadership coach and author of The Most Powerful You: 7 Bravery-Boosting Paths to Career Bliss. While she had no idea what else she could do professionally, she realized she wanted a career that would allow her to help others. Her therapist shared some Master’s degree programs in marriage and family therapy and she found the subject matter fascinating.

The reminder that she could choose her next steps, along with her therapist’s encouragement and suggestions, unlocked a new world of possibility for Caprino. Sometimes we forget that part. “[It] also gave me permission, finally, to believe I could build a happier career–that it was possible to have great success doing meaningful work that mattered to me,” she says.

Years ago, career coach Mark Anthony Dyson, host of the Voice of Job-Seekers podcast, scoffed at his former boss’s advice. She said that no matter how satisfied she was with her job, she always interviewed at another company at least once a year because those conversations kept her in touch with the skills she should be developing. The process also kept up her own interview skills in case she needed them.

Later, Dyson realized how relevant that advice was, especially in a turbulent job market. “It is hard to know-how industries will fare through remote work and an unexpected economic downturn from year to year. The practice of job interviewing helps you remain instantaneously marketable in any economy, even if you’re not on the market,” he says.

Nadia Ibrahim-Taney, now a career coach at the University of Cincinnati’s College of Business, felt very unsure of herself and her job skills early in her career. She turned to a career coach for help. The coach’s advice was simple, but life-changing: “In the job search journey, if you don’t believe you are hirable, you likely won’t be hired.”

Each week, her coach asked her: Why should someone hire you? “I had to give one new reason every meeting and over time, I practiced believing I could be hired, which led me to being confident enough to advocate for myself in hiring conversations and thus, successfully land a job,” she recalls.

If you don’t believe in what you are selling—especially when it’s yourself—it’s going to be hard to convince others to be interested, she says. And by strengthening her belief in herself and practicing through role-play, informational interviews, and formal interviews, she became a more confident professional, which led to promotions and peer recognition.

Gwen Moran is a writer, editor, and creator of Bloom Anywhere, a website for people who want to move up or move on. She writes about business, leadership, money, and assorted other topics for leading publications and websites

3/7/2021 - The rules of job-hunting have changed during the pandemic

The rules of job-hunting have changed during the pandemic—here are 3 ways to shift your approach
by Jennifer Liu 

The rules for finding a new job during the coronavirus pandemic are completely different from what they were a year ago, when the share of opportunities outnumbered the share of people looking for work, and going through a completely virtual hiring process was far from the norm.

But if landing a new gig in 2021 is on your priority list, career coaches offer their best tips to narrow your focus, make the right connections and ace your interview. Here’s how to readjust your plan to find work in the recovering job market.

Forget what you know about finding a new job

The best thing a job seeker can do is consider the new ways of networking, applying and interviewing for a job as opportunities rather than barriers, says Akhila Satish, CEO of the leadership training program Meseekna.

“The world has changed, and all the paradigms we thought we knew about the hiring process have been tossed up in the air,” she tells CNBC Make It. “Instead of letting that overwhelm you, use it to your advantage.”

For example, with more companies supporting remote work and finding talent with non-traditional backgrounds, you may be able to apply for positions you previously weren’t able to due to location or education.

Sarah Sheehan, co-founder of the career coaching app Bravely, recommends women and people from marginalized groups not underestimate their qualifications or work history. Research has shown women are less likely to apply to jobs unless they feel 100% qualified for the role, whereas men are more likely to go for the role even if they feel they’re not entirely qualified. As a former recruiter, Sheehan recalls, “A lot of times, the most successful people you hire are ones who haven’t done exactly what you’ve hired them to do.

“So often, skills are transferrable and may be a stronger match for the job than someone who’s done the job directly,” Sheehan adds.

Form a narrative around your accomplishments that relate to whatever job you’re seeking, Sheehan adds. Create a few different versions of a resume for different industries or types of roles you’re applying to, with each one highlighting the skills you’ve practiced in your past work and how they align with what you’ll bring to a new job.

Reverse-engineer your job search
If you have some time to think about where you want to take your career next, start by coming up with a list of companies you’d like to work for, rather than searching for new opportunities by job title.

Think: Whose work in your field do you admire? What employers are known for being a good place to grow in your career? Then, says Randstad RiseSmart career coach Wendy Braitman, connect with people in the organization. Check LinkedIn to see if you have any mutual contacts within the company, if recruiters are available to field informational questions or if former colleagues who have an in can make an introduction on your behalf.

Your goal should be to build relationships within the company and understand why people enjoy working there, Braitman says, even if there may not be an open job at the moment. By building this relationship, you may be able to get on the radar of a hiring manager or recruiter when an opportunity does arise. In any case, Braitman says, new jobs are often circulated internally for referrals before they’re posted publicly, so having an inside connection could get you in the running that much faster.

Another tip, she adds, is to set weekly networking goals that are firmly within your control, like reaching out to two new people every week. As someone who used to work in the entertainment business, Braitman says, “I’m a huge believer that it’s not just who you know, but also who you can know. Then build that network one person at a time.”

Don’t be desperate — and harness this instead
Jackie Mitchell, founder of Jackie Mitchell Career Consulting, is more blunt in her job-search advice: “You cannot be desperate in going after what you want,” she advises job seekers. “Hiring managers can smell that a mile away, and that puts you at a disadvantage,” such as a low-ball offer.

Instead, Mitchell says to turn the process on its head and empower yourself as a candidate: “Position yourself to be a problem-solver and solutions-provider as opposed to a job seeker.”

The distinction is subtle but powerful, Mitchell says. A job seeker goes into an interview simply looking to fill an open role, she explains, whereas a solutions-provider goes in on a fact-finding mission to determine how their skills align with the problem the employer is trying to solve. What is the main objective of the job? What new ideas can you bring to the table that will improve the role itself? And most importantly, how can you solve the employer’s biggest challenge at hand: Hiring the right person in a timely and cost-effective manner?

“It’s a different dynamic. That interview, when you’re coming from a problem-solving point of view, that’s more of a conversation,” Mitchell says.

Even if the role is outside your usual wheelhouse, focus on the tasks of the job that you find most purposeful, says Alexi Robichaux, CEO and co-founder of the professional coaching platform BetterUp.

“Managers are looking for people whose personal mission aligns with the company mission,” he says. In today’s labor market, that could be as simple as seeing a service job as a means to provide personal connection and compassion to customers. Speaking to these values, especially if they align with the employer’s mission, can “tip the scales” in your favor in a sea of qualified candidates, Robichaux adds.

2/28/2021 - 'Secret Shop' a Job Before Your Interview

by Sam Blum 

Perhaps the most frightening thing about starting a new job is not knowing whether you made the right decision. You could, for example, be baited and switched by an employer who lured you into a position with false promises, or suddenly feel pangs of buyer’s remorse once you realize that your old job offered a friendlier atmosphere than your new one.

Researching companies online has its shortcomings; there’s only so much you can glean from reading past employee reviews of a company on Glassdoor, so it’s best to be proactive when it comes to deciding if a job will ultimately be the right fit. To do that, you can shop a company discreetly, so the hiring manager won’t know that you’re snooping around for intel during the interview process.

Here’s how to go about gathering reconnaissance on a potential employer before you make that pivotal decision.

Talk to employees of the company
Find current or former employees of the company and pepper them with questions, as there’s little incentive for them to lie about their experience. If someone left their job after a number of years and still has a bad taste in their mouth, it might be a sign that the place harbored a toxic culture or might not look after its employees.

Ask questions that apply to your concerns. Don’t be shy if you want to ask about money, vacation time, health care plans, and basically every other vitally important aspect of a potential job offer. If someone worked at a place and is happy to relay their positive experience, take it as a good sign that you’re barking up the right tree.

When it comes to actually finding these people, consult LinkedIn and social media. Or just Google the person’s name. Most professionals have websites these days, and are generally easy to track down and open to talking shop.

Pretend to be a customer
Try pretending to be a customer to get a sense of how people in your prospective position operate. For example, if you’re applying for a position in insurance sales, try calling a representative and masquerading as a potential client. This way, you get a sense of the tools these sales reps employ, how they communicate, and the kind of tone and approach they may use over the phone. This might work best if you’re considering a position in sales, but if you can find a way to make it appropriate for another field, more power to you.

This can be a quick, 15-minute conversation where you pretend to be considering various offers, and decline to commit to anything. But it’ll be an instructive lesson in how you might approach an interview, if you take the call as a cue.

Talk to outsiders
Try to understand the broader reputation your prospective employer has within your industry. If it’s a well-known player, people who haven’t even worked at the company are bound to at least have a vague idea of the firm’s culture. Moreover, people removed from this potential employer are bound to have a more unfiltered and unbiased view. They won’t be inclined to protect friends who may have earned unflattering workplace reputations, nor will they be opposed to sharing company gossip that might irk an employee or ruffle the feathers of management.

Interview the hiring manager
Job interviews are a two-way street. At a minimum, you should be showing some kind of curiosity about the hiring manager’s long-term vision for your role, or how they’d like someone in your position to help them become better. If the questions you’re asked during an interview give you pause, or hint that you might not like working for someone, it’s best to tap into your more inquisitive side. As John Lees, the UK-based career strategist and author of How to Get a Job You Love, told the Harvard Business Review in 2014, ask targeted questions that speak to your concerns and curiosity. “Ask about turnover and find out what happened to the last person who did the job,” he said.

If they don’t seem to be interested in having a conversation about this, it might behoove you to think about looking elsewhere.

Trust your gut
There are certain intangibles that come with understanding if a job is going to be a good fit or not. People’s energy in an interview setting is a very real thing. You have to gauge work relationships not only in terms of their professional usefulness, but on more human levels, by asking yourself: “Could I actually tolerate spending 40 hours a week or more with these people?” Of course, nobody you work with has to be your best friend, but it helps when you get a good feeling about your potential colleagues.

2/21/2021 - Understanding the New Realities of Job Searching in the COVID-19 Era

By Susan Walton, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA 

Nine months into the COVID-19 pandemic, the job market isn’t looking good. The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits remains at a near-record high and only half the jobs lost to the pandemic in the spring of 2020 have returned, the Associated Press reported in late November.

This double whammy paints a bleak picture for new PR professionals looking to advance their careers. For new college graduates, the outlook is even tougher. Many are seeing their job and internship offers deferred or rescinded.

While the PR profession is not immune to the current economic and employment downturn, we have tools to help us. Most important, we’re fortunate to work in “a profession of relationships,” says Ron Culp, APR, Fellow PRSA, a consultant and educator who is also professional director of the Graduate PR and Advertising Program at DePaul University in Chicago. “PR pros are inherently empathetic, and in this environment, they are more committed than ever to helping others.”

Especially for recent grads and early career PR people who are looking for jobs, professional relationships can make all the difference. But leveraging your network requires understanding the new realities of job-hunting in the pandemic era.

Network on LinkedIn and Twitter.
For the time being at least, coronavirus has changed or eliminated many traditional networking opportunities such as meetings and events. Now, “you have to find a way to establish and maintain connections in the virtual world,” Culp says.

As a result, social media networks have become more important than ever. Culp advises job-hunters to spend an hour a day focusing on the two primary channels of LinkedIn — which is fast becoming the heir apparent to the traditional résumé — and Twitter. Devote that hour to building quality content on your profile and establishing good connections, he says.

Understand intangibles.
Savvy job candidates have long made it a point to learn the qualities of an organization that are not easily defined, such as its culture, work style and expectations. But with virtual interviews over the internet you lose the opportunity to observe those intangibles, says Alyssa Boule, senior vice president of recruitment for Edelman in Washington, D.C.

“You can’t show up to the interview early, sit in the reception area and see how people act,” she says. “You can’t walk past conference rooms and see how colleagues collaborate.”

Job interviews conducted via video calls also change the questions you must ask, because you’re forced to gather information about those intangibles from other peoples’ experiences rather than your own, she says.

Boule recommends using your research skills and network to learn those answers before the interview. Find the company’s current or former employees on LinkedIn and reach out to them for insights, she says. Review the organization’s website for photos and other clues about its dress code and work environment. Read news articles about the company and its leadership.

Virtual environments can also affect your job-interview performance, so Boule advises practicing beforehand. “Make a video of yourself, and give it an honest critique,” she says. “Become more conscious of your body language, posture, and facial expressions.”

Deepen your relationships.
Now is the time to not only build and expand your professional network but also to nurture your existing contacts, says Andrew Cook, an associate for social impact at Weber Shandwick in Seattle and former national president of PRSSA. Meeting new people may be harder right now, but you can deepen your relationships with people in your network and ask them for help, he says.

Cook also advises setting up job alerts for the city where you live (or would like to live) and for specific companies that interest you. This targeted approach will give you a sense of the employment market and let you help other job-seekers bypassing postings along to them.

When you follow a company on social media, let them know you’re following them, Culp says. He recalls a former student who received a recruiting call from such an organization — not because the student had applied there, but because people from the company knew he was following them and saw that his skills matched their needs.

Understand what has not changed.
Despite the changes brought by COVID-19, some traditional job-search rules still apply. “Don’t apply online and then do nothing,” Boule says. “Follow up. If you don’t know anyone at the company, scour LinkedIn and find out who works in the practice area you’re targeting. Then, connect with those individuals and add them to your network.”

On the other hand, Boule also cautions against following up too often. If you’re in an active interview process, checking in once a week maybe OK, but ask the hiring manager upfront if that frequency will be acceptable, she says.

Remember that sending thank-you notes after job interviews is still in style. Email is the best option since many people aren’t in their offices to receive regular mail.

Wear your badge of resilience.
If the pandemic has slowed down your job search, use that time to your advantage, Cook suggests. “This is the moment to up your ‘hustle quotient,’” he says. “Find limited gig engagements, projects, volunteer opportunities, freelancing. Do things that reflect your skills. Write your own blog.”

Perhaps most important during the lull in your job search, “Make sure you’re not regressing” in your skills, he says.

If despite your best efforts you still find yourself with an employment gap, then don’t worry about it too much, Boule advises. “This is not the first time there’s been a hit to the economy,” she says. “Acknowledge that impact upfront: ‘My career has looked different than I thought it would, but it’s been a good learning experience.’ This is simply a part of your professional story. Proudly wear your badge of resilience.”

Above all, Culp adds, stay positive and proactive. “A powerful network of PR professionals is there to help you,” he says. “The best way to find them is by raising your hand.”

Susan Walton, Ph.D., APR, Fellow PRSA, is a PR faculty member at Brigham Young University-Idaho.

2/14/2021 - Should I Send My Resume as a PDF or Word Document?

by Sam Blum 

If you haven’t been out testing the waters of the job market for a long time, dusting off your resume may feel like unearthing a relic from centuries past. But once you have it ready, you might be wondering about the best potential format for dispersing it among all the employers who may want to hire you.

While using Microsoft Word may have been the best practice of years past, it’s a bit more common to send a resume as a PDF nowadays. There’s a number of advantages to using a PDF, but there’s still a host of employers who ask for Word documents for their own reasons.

Once you’ve got your resume up to an interview-ready standard, here’s how to navigate the potential job-hunting dilemma of resume format.

One PDF advantage is formatting
A PDF is basically a one-size-fits-all file that looks like same no matter the device you’ve used to download it. That isn’t really true for Word documents, as some of the trickery you’ve employed to give your resume a flash of personality can get jumbled from one computer to the next. The formatting will also change if the recipient has a different version of Word than you.

As Resume Coach explains, the quirks of passing a Word document across devices can present multiple headaches:

Often the margins are different sizes, a one-page resume can spill over onto the next page, fonts can appear differently (as the program may not have the font you chose), or even worse, your resume may just appear as undecipherable code.

If you’ve spent valuable time working on your resume, focusing on the resume format and layout, it would be tragic for an employer to open a messy resume instead of your well-produced resume. It gives entirely the wrong impression.

PDFs can also be locked and code-protected, which is a bonus if you’re weary of somebody, uh, sabotaging your candidacy.

When you might use a Word doc
If you’re emailing or DM’ing a recruiter or potential manager your resume, I’d recommend opting for a PDF, owing to all formatting advantages and the general ease of opening the document. But when it comes to applying on lots of company websites, you might want to opt for the Word route.

Many companies use applicant tracking software (ATS) that more readily scan Word documents. For example, you may have submitted a PDF on an online job listing only to find that your experience looks scattered and inscrutable once the system digests it and spits it back out.

As ZipJob explains:

When applying to a job online, the best format to send your resume in is usually a Word doc. This format is most easily read by the majority of applicant tracking systems (or ATS). While it is more and more common for companies to invest in more sophisticated ATS software that will parse your resume, you can be confident that virtually all ATS scans can read a .doc file.

Most ATS systems are compatible with PDFs nowadays, but it never hurts to be doubly sure.

Word docs are editable, for rare occasions
This happens more often with recruiters, who like to offer edits to resumes that can better augment your chances of getting a job. Since a PDF isn’t exactly a living document that anyone can change, you might want to send your resume to a recruiter in Word form, just so they can tinker with it and strengthen what’s necessary.

It’s good to have both on hand
I generally get by with PDFs, but one general best-practice remains true across the board for everyone: submit the format that the employer is asking for. Every company has its own policies and workflows, so you might be asked to submit a Word document one day and PDF the next. In my experience, most employers ask for PDFs, but there’s no telling if you’ll be asked for a different format at some point. It’s definitely best to have both.

2/7/2021 - What to Do After a Final-Round Job Interview

by Rebecca Knight 

You made it through the final-round job interview, and now you’re waiting to hear whether or not you’re hired. This stretch of time can feel like agony, so what should you do in the meantime? Is it appropriate and expected to send handwritten thank-you notes? Or is email better? If you thought of the perfect answer to one of the interview questions after the fact, should you reach out to the hiring manager? How long should you wait before following up to see if they’ve made a decision? And how do you avoid ruminating about the job while you wait?

What the Experts Say
This waiting period between your interview and the company’s decision is so stressful because often, “you and the organization do not share the same sense of urgency,” says John Lees, the UK-based career strategist and author of Get Ahead in Your New Job. While you’re singularly focused on whether or not you got the job, they have plenty of other things to deal with. Lees warns that during this time, you’re at risk of “counterproductive” behaviors, including doubting your own abilities, coming across to your prospective employer as desperate, and — perhaps worst of all — not pursuing other jobs. While the hiring decision is out of your hands at this point, you’re not powerless, according to John Sullivan, a professor of management at San Francisco State University and author of 1000 Ways to Recruit Top Talent. There are some “immediate actions after an interview that can provide a candidate with a competitive advantage,” he says.

Say thank you.
Your most pressing post-interview duty is to thank the people who took the time to talk to you. According to Sullivan, the message should communicate that you’re even more excited about the job and confident that you want it. He also recommends personalizing the message by “mentioning something positive that happened during the interview.” If your interview took place at the company’s office, you could send an old-fashioned, pen-and-paper thank-you note, which Lees says offers a classy personal touch. If your interview took place virtually, it’s best to stick with digital communication. If you don’t have your interviewers’ contact information but communicated with someone else at the company to arrange the meeting, you can send that person an email letting them know how much you appreciate theirs and the interviewers’ time. Make sure to mention the people you spoke with by name and write your message with the assumption that it could be forwarded to them. You could also connect with your interviewers on LinkedIn and send them messages of thanks there.

Send follow-up materials.
In addition to a thank-you note, Sullivan recommends sending supporting material, including samples of your work that might’ve come up in the interview. “Sending additional information could strengthen your case and help sway their decision,” he says. Along those lines, Lees recommends sending a news article that’s pertinent to the organization. It could be about a technology the company is considering adopting, how the pandemic is impacting their business, or some other relevant trend. By doing so, “you’re subtly saying, ‘I understand your needs.’”

Resist the urge for a do-over.
It’s natural to mull over mistakes and questions you didn’t answer well after the interview, says Sullivan. “Everyone comes out of a job interview thinking, ‘I wish I had said this instead of that.’” The French expression, esprit d’escalier, which means thinking of a witty remark in hindsight, is apt, says Lees. And while it’s tempting to ring up the hiring manager to re-answer the interview question you flubbed, it’s wise to exercise restraint. While Lee concedes that your polished response might provide helpful information for the hiring manager, “the danger is you sound too needy.” Because that perfect reply is unlikely to be the thing that makes or breaks their decision, it’s best to leave it be.

…But occasionally make an exception.
According to Lees, the only exception to this rule is when you have something particularly useful to add to the conversation. If, for instance, you can connect a piece of relevant evidence about yourself to an organizational need, then it might be worth speaking up. Your tone is critical here. “It mustn’t sound like criticism of the process,” says Lees. Don’t imply that the interviewer neglected to ask you about a particular thing. Instead, go with something like, “‘I really enjoyed our conversation, and here’s another piece of information that’s come up since the interview you might you like to know about me.’” Lees emphasizes the importance of being “warm, professional, and brief.”

Seek positive distractions.
Waiting to hear whether you got the job can be stressful, but try not to dwell on it. While you wait it out, seek positive distractions. Cultivate your hobbies. Get some exercise. Dig into that juicy novel that’s sitting on your nightstand. Lees also recommends spending time with friends and colleagues who “elevate your self-image.” Talk with people in your professional network about how to generate ideas for different job possibilities. Ask them about mistakes they’ve seen other candidates make during the interview process. You can learn a lot about how not to “sound needy or over-communicate,” says Lees.

Do due diligence.
Another way to pass the time productively is to figure out whether or not you actually want the job should it become yours for the taking. Even without an offer, Lees says there’s information-gathering you can do in the meantime. You can “work your industry contacts to learn more about the job and the organization” behind the scenes, he says. Of course, “if you’re offered the job, you will scale that up” by doing even more due diligence since you’ll need to decide whether to take it. According to Sullivan, this is also a good time to “finalize your job acceptance criteria.” Set your minimum salary requirements and develop a plan for how you’ll negotiate other important details. The goal, he adds, “is to be prepared for the call that says they want you,” but be careful not to get your hopes up.

Keep your options open.
You also need to prepare yourself for negative news, says Lees. “There are dozens of arbitrary reasons that the job will not be offered to you. The organization might change direction; it might have a hiring freeze, or some senior manager could decide they don’t want to fill the position.” That’s why you need to continue to explore other opportunities. “Anticipate the flattening effects of rejection,” he says. “If you’ve got other conversations going, the rejection will have less impact. If you’ve put your life on hold, though, it’s much more of an emptying experience.”

Be judicious about when you follow up.
Deciding how long to wait before following up to see if the hiring manager has made a decision is tricky. “You don’t want to be in job-beggar mode,” says Lees, and checking in frequently could put you in a worse bargaining position. At your final interview, Sullivan recommends asking the hiring managers how long they anticipate it will be before an offer is made. “And if they say a week, double it, because things always take longer than planned,” he says. Still, it’s worth following up within the time frame they gave you to show that you’re still interested in the job, but “be respectful and don’t push.” An email that says something along the lines of, “No response necessary, I just want to let you know that I’m still interested,” could help you stand out from other candidates.

Principles to Remember
   Offer gratitude to the hiring manager, with either a handwritten note or an email.
   Provide backup support material, such as samples of your work, to strengthen your case.
   Spend your time productively by doing due diligence on the company and finalizing your personal job acceptance criteria.
   Ask for a do-over on a question you flubbed — unless you can offer highly relevant information that speaks to an organizational need.
   Let the stress get to you. Distract yourself during the waiting period by spending time with positive-minded friends.
   Stop looking for other jobs. Keep your options open by exploring other opportunities.

Advice in Practice
Case Study #1: Avoid ruminating by continuing to look for other jobs
Per Ohstrom says that he usually feels “a little bit nervous after that final round of interviews,” but that he does his best to remain calm and stay focused on other things.

He tells himself that he did his best. “I remind myself that I showed the interviewers how my background and experience are a good fit for the job,” he says. “Once it is out of my hands, there is nothing more I can do about it.”

Last year, Per interviewed to be the vice president of marketing at a Midwest-based B2B manufacturing company. After several rounds of interviews, Per was told that the job was between him and one other candidate. Per was excited about the opportunity, and he liked the people he interviewed with.

“The job was in my wheelhouse, and the company was well poised for growth,” he says. “I had a good feeling about getting an offer,” he says.

After his last interview, he wrote a thank-you email to the hiring manager reiterating his interest in the position.

Per says he avoided thinking about the job while he waited because he was in “active job-search mode” and too busy to ruminate. “I kept exploring other opportunities as if nothing had happened,” he says. “I kept sending CVs to recruiters, and I also went out for other interviews. It was an excellent way to keep myself occupied.”

A week later, Per found out that, unfortunately, the job offer went to the other candidate. “I felt a pang of disappointment,” he says. “But I reminded myself not to take it personally.”

Per kept networking for the right job, and earlier this year he joined Chief Outsiders as a fractional CMO, sharing his time between several industrial and B2B companies. “It is a great situation,” he says. “I get to use my deep marketing experience every day with customers that really need help.”

Case Study #2: Try to stay positive and keep your options open
Jack Garnier,* a financial industry veteran, has been looking for a new position during the pandemic, and he’s had his fair share of final-round interviews. He hasn’t been the chosen candidate yet, but he understands that the job search is a numbers game.

“It’s a recruiter’s market right now, and I accept that,” he says. “Most of the time, I may not be a fit, or there’s a [better] candidate, or the organization decides to go in a different direction. But it comes down to the pipeline: The more people I speak with, the more jobs I apply for, the more interviews I go on, the more likely I am to get a job. And all it takes is one.”

Two recent experiences with final-round interviews stand out in his mind. A few months ago, he was in the running to join a Bay Area hedge fund as COO. As a candidate, he was asked to take a series of online automated tests, create videos of himself to present to other employees, and interview with four members of the executive team.

“I invested quite a bit of time in the process,” he says.

He received positive feedback about his performance throughout, and he felt confident. At his last interview, the hiring manager told him that he was a finalist and intimated that Jack would hear from the company within a matter of days.

After those days passed, Jack sent a follow-up email expressing his interest in the job and asking whether a final decision was indeed imminent. In the meantime, he kept networking and looking for other jobs. “I wasn’t sitting by the phone all day long, though it was certainly on my mind.”

He never heard back from the hiring manager. “Clearly I had my answer,” he says. “Their silence was saying it all.”

Now, a month later, Jack is once again a finalist for a CFO job at a nonprofit. He sent thank-you emails to the executives he interviewed with and politely inquired about the organization’s timeline for making a decision. He was told that the decision would be made in a week.

“It’s not my MO to keep following up. I try to sway the recruiter during the interview stage and then accept [that it’s out of my hands],” he says. “It’s a balancing act: I don’t want to seem insecure, but I do want them to know that I want the job.”

For now, Jack is doing due diligence on the organization in case he’s offered the role, and he’s also applying for other positions. He wants to keep his options open.

He admits that the process can be frustrating at times. “Everything seems to be going in the right direction, and I build up my hopes,” he says. “Then the bubble bursts — it’s like getting your heart broken.”

But even when he feels dispirited, he remembers the odds: All it takes is one.

*not his real name

Rebecca Knight is a freelance journalist in Boston and a lecturer at Wesleyan University. Her work has been published in The New York Times, USA Today, and The Financial Times.

New Jersey area

Hillsdale Career Networking Group - 

Neighbors-helping-Neighbors USA website - 


1/31/2021 - 7 Ways to Combat ‘Zoom Fatigue’

After a brief holiday respite, the video calls are back in earnest. Yet burning out on them can set back your career.

It is, by all accounts, a real problem. Zoom or any other video calls running back-to-back all business day, causing everything from eye strain to bad backs to irritability. Indeed, despite nearly a year of getting used to it, many employees at all levels say they’re still suffering from this rather awkward form of communicating.

But the harm is not only to people’s mental or physical side. Smart executives are realizing careers now hang in the balance—over not only how to use these platforms well but how to reduce the burnout they can cause. They can see that those who don’t Zoom well are losing the attention of their leaders or the people they are trying to lead.

To be sure, the problem may subside as more offices reopen and a vaccine emerges for widespread use. But with new government lockdowns emerging, and social distancing occurring even in open offices, video conferences and “Zoom fatigue” aren’t going away soon. Some steps that may help:

Set an agenda. Then follow it.

Meetings, video or otherwise, become tiresome when they go long or don’t accomplish anything. The odds of that happening increase when no one knows exactly what the meeting needs to accomplish. Experts suggest setting and sharing an agenda with all meeting participants before the call. Then, during the meeting, don’t feel badly about pulling back anyone who rambles or gets too far off track.

Of course, sometimes meetings have to be long due to what needs to be covered. That’s OK, says Ilene Gochman, a Korn Ferry senior client partner who was frequently using video conferences well before the pandemic. Try to keep each section of the meeting to less than 30 minutes. No video call, no matter how important the presentation is, should ever go for longer than two hours.

Hide your own video from yourself.

When you’re speaking with someone face-to-face, you only see their face, not yours. But on a video call, you see yourself too. It isn’t only you who may feel awkward or distracted, either. Seeing yourself on camera, psychologists say, can make you stressed about your own appearance, contributing to your feeling tired after video calls.

Zoom has a feature aptly named “hide myself” that allows other participants to see your video without your having to see it. When your video first comes onscreen, right-click it. A menu will pop up where you can select “Hide myself.”

Don’t let others see you, either.

Some psychologists theorize that the way video-call participants “look” at one another can actually contribute to fatigue. In real life, making eye contact with someone improves the chances each person will respond faster and like one another. On video calls, however, people only appear to make real eye contact; in reality, they are looking only at their own computer’s camera, says Jena Lee, MD, an assistant professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California at Los Angeles. In effect, people are putting in the effort of making eye contact without actually getting the benefit of making eye contact. Turning off your own camera can eliminate that psychological disconnect.

At the same time, it takes a lot of effort to look interested and engaged during video calls. After several hours of Zooming, people can look stressed and haggard. “Leaders are beginning to understand that people can’t keep their Zoom face up all day,” says Korn Ferry’s Gochman. Unless it is a one-on-one or small group meeting, video is likely not necessary, she says. So just turn the camera off.

Touch up your appearance.

Can’t turn the camera off? Even if you are physically tired, you still can improve how you look on camera. Zoom has a touch-up function that works much like an Instagram filter, automatically adjusting light, color, and other settings to enhance your facial features. To enable this, go to “Settings,” then select “Video” and toggle on “Touch up my appearance.”

Work on your voice.

Much like people get tired of seeing themselves, they also can get frustrated hearing themselves. It’s why some experts suggest changing your voice—though they don’t mean silly accents or cartoon voices. Try speaking only when you breathe out, says Vanessa Van Edwards, author of Captivate: The Science of Succeeding with People. “Make sure you speak when the air comes out to force your voice to eject more powerfully, increasing your vocal power in the process,” she says.

Schedule blocks of quiet time.

Meeting fatigue has existed long before video conferencing. Before the pandemic, there were about 11 million meetings in the United States each day, according to various research. The simple way to alleviate meeting overload, video or otherwise, is to block off time during the day when no one can schedule a meeting with you. Analysts say that limiting remote meetings can be critical to avoiding worker burnout.

There will be days, of course, where you have to speak to multiple people. Rather than making them all video calls, consider sharing documents and talking about them over the phone. You might work more efficiently and get a break from constantly being on camera.

Get up between meetings.

Don’t just do other work once the meeting is over. Get up. Stretch. Walk around. “Admit to yourself that we were not built to keep our faces centered in a small window for hours on end,” says Mark Royal, senior director at Korn Ferry Advisory. Recharging is important, Royal says, “even if it means turning off the camera or showing up a few minutes late for your seventh call of the day.”

Chicago, IL area

Is a group you attend missing? Send an email with all the details to

Job Support At Holy Family Catholic Community Church - Inverness, IL 60067 - 

The Jobs Driven Networking Group (JDNG) - - A & Christ Church Partnership Project. Our job club meets via webinar every 3rd Thursday to help job seekers strengthen their networking & job search skills.

1/24/2021 - The 6 Biggest Mistakes Job-Seekers Make On Cover Letters

You tell a story with your cover letter. Make sure it's the right one.
By Monica Torres 

Writing a cover letter when you apply for a job is increasingly optional. In a 2017 Jobvite survey, 47% of job-seekers said they did not submit a cover letter with their application. And not every recruiter or hiring manager is going to read cover letters: In the same survey, only 1 in 4 recruiters said they were important for the hiring process.

But even when they’re not mandatory, career experts say, you shouldn’t skip a cover letter. Ashley Watkins, a job-search coach with corporate recruiting experience, said that’s the biggest mistake she sees job-seekers make.

“You miss that opportunity to either fill in some gaps or really give context to your reason for applying, your personal situation ― like if you want to relocate, if you want to change jobs. Anything that needs explaining,” Watkins said.

The goal of a good cover letter is to “succinctly, clearly prove that you are a fit for the job,” and to serve as “a narrative for the résumé,” said career strategist Linda Raynier.

Here’s how you may be telling the wrong kind of story with your cover letter, beyond not doing one to begin with.

Mistake 1: You don’t push past generic and boring.
If you copy/paste generic paragraphs about your interest in the company for every cover letter you use, hiring managers are going to notice.

Watkins said to avoid using templates. “If you Googled a cover letter, nine times out of ten, so did the other 100 people that you could be competing against,” she noted.

Too many cover letters are boring. “The reason no one reads cover letters anymore is because they all sound the same,” said job search strategist Melanie L. Denny. “Instead of opening with ‘I’m writing in response to the job ad I saw on Indeed,’ start with a more compelling opening or a thought-provoking question.”

To personalize your cover letter, write as if it’s a conversation between you and the hiring manager. “Pretend that that’s your only opportunity to say something to a hiring manager to convince them that you were the right fit for the role,” Watkins said.

Mistake 2: You make the letter too long.
Keep in mind that a recruiter may be skimming your cover letter alongside dozens of others. You want to grab their attention right away.

“Our attention spans are shrinking by the day. No one, especially a busy recruiter, has time to read a two-page essay about your career history,” Denny said. “I would advise 200 words or less. Be succinct, relevant and memorable.”

Mistake 3: You don’t sell yourself.
Don’t just make your cover letter a summary of what you’ve done in your career. Make it a persuasive story that shows why you are the best candidate for the job.

“Instead of going on and on about your credentials and years of experience like everyone else does, talk more about the impact you’ve made and how you can support them in overcoming their challenges,” Denny said.

What’s persuasive to a hiring manager is showing how you’re the problem-solver they need right now. “In your letter, especially in the opening, it’s important for you to show that you understand what the employer needs and how you’re the answer to that problem,” Watkins said.

For example, if you’re a tax accountant applying to a company that has known legal troubles, you can speak to how you have helped past employers from failing audits through solutions you designed.

Mistake 4: You talk about your soft skills, not technical ones.
“Too many people talk about soft skills on their cover letter, meaning they say, ‘I have great communication skills, I have great teamwork skills, I have great organizational skills,’ and as much as those are great, those are not the types of skills [recruiters are] looking for,” Raynier said.

Raynier noted that technical skills can back up soft skills. Instead of saying you are good at communication, for example, explain how you prepare reports for management.

Raynier recommended bringing up three to four technical skills you possess and making achievements you mention relevant to those key skills.

Mistake 5: You don’t proofread for typos and grammatical errors.
It can be easy to miss mistakes in your excitement as you rush to send off your job application. But typos and basic errors, like addressing the cover letter to the wrong person, can signal carelessness.

That’s why Watkins recommends waiting a day before you submit your job application materials so you can reread them the next day with fresh eyes.

“Tired eyes, excited eyes ― they miss things, because all you’re thinking about is the end goal. You’re not thinking that you made a mistake,” Watkins said.

Mistake 6: You don’t end with a call to action.
Watkins said that ideally, the beginning of your cover letter needs to grab a hiring manager’s attention, while the middle backs up the claims you made in the opening paragraph and the last paragraph sums it all up and ends with a call to action for what you want the reader to do next.

Watkins said these calls to action can be as simple as “I invite you to check out my LinkedIn profile” or “Happy to speak on the phone” with a summary of your availability. “What you say is implying that you’re looking for some form of communication,” Watkins said.

1/17/2021 - How To Get A Remote Job: Make These Changes To Your Résumé, Cover Letter and LinkedIn

You need to specifically target your job application if you want to work remotely. Here's how.
Monica Torres 

If you’re looking for a remote job to escape the dangers and drudgery of office life, you’re not alone. Competition is fierce right now. LinkedIn reported that the number of remote job listings has nearly tripled since March.

But landing a remote job requires more than simply telling friends and recruiters you want a post in which you can work from anywhere.

In job application materials, the focus should not be your personal journey, but on how your past virtual experiences and skills make you the best fit for this job.

“You must craft your résumé taking into consideration what the company needs and expects from you to succeed in the role,” said remote career consultant Fabrizia Zanca.

Here’s how to do it when you’re trying to go remote.

Your résumé needs to display specific language about working remotely.
Showcase any and all remote experience. You likely have more of this experience than you think.

“If you’ve worked at a distance from your coworkers, across time zones or physical distances, that counts. If you’ve worked from home occasionally or regularly, that counts,” said Brie Weiler Reynolds, a career development manager and coach at FlexJobs and “If you earned a degree or certification online, that counts. If you volunteered on a project where you did most of the work from your home office, that counts.“

You can include this in descriptions of your past jobs with a statement like, “Led a team of five customer service reps in a completely remote work environment, and successfully earned an average team satisfaction rating of 94%,” she said.

Clearly denote which past titles were remote with language like, “Director of Marketing (100% Remote Work),” Reynolds said.

Make sure your virtual tech skills are prominently displayed. Recruiters scan résumés quickly. If you know the company you are applying for is using a platform like Asana or Slack, you want to make it immediately clear that you know how to use it well.

List your expertise with remote tools at the top of the first page of your résumé or in a place where it is clearly displayed, said Zanca.

Don’t have virtual experience? There are ways to gain it. If you don’t have any experience with working apart from others and are making a radical career switch, don’t despair. Remote job coach Jordan Carroll, said you should first identify which skills you are missing for the roles you want by working with people who already work remotely.

“Make a list of the people in your network who are already in that role in some way. They may work virtually, or remotely, or they have a job they mostly do from the computer. They may be a business owner that has a company that hires people virtually,” Carroll said. Asking them to work with you may require you to do work for free, but by taking on some tasks in exchange for mentorship, you’re not only getting experience for your résumé, you’re getting real-world practice for the job you want.

Your cover letter should support why you’re a great remote worker.
The cover letter is not about you. It’s about how you can support the company. Remote job experts emphasized that your cover letter should support why you make a good remote worker, not why you personally want to work from home.

“The reason is not that you want to travel the world or be able to pick up your kids from school,” Zanca said.

Instead, the cover letter should present a business case. Zanca said you can make this case by describing how much your performance has advanced during whatever time during the pandemic you worked from home.

Keep in mind that hiring managers who scan your job application are looking for key remote skills. Job search coach Ashley Watkins said that when she was a recruiter for remote jobs, she focused interviews around determining whether candidates had the following skills: flexibility, such as responding to the unknown with little guidance and taking initiative; adaptability, such as managing shifting priorities, relationship-building and the ability to gain trust and buy-in from customers or leadership; the ability to prioritize multiple projects and the ability to close the loop on pending decisions.

“Providing clear examples of how you’ve been successful in each of these areas supports your request for a remote role,” said Watkins, adding that this approach works for both cover letters and résumés.

On LinkedIn, don’t just state you’re looking for remote work.
Make your profile headline a targeted pitch. “A LinkedIn profile is not about you. It’s about the people that are going to land on the profile,” Carroll said.

In the headline, “A lot of people write, ‘Seeking remote job opportunities.’ That is about the worst thing you can put there,” Carroll said, “because you’re only focused on yourself. You’ve wasted a chance to put any searchable keywords there. If a recruiter or a hiring manager were doing a search from the recruiting version of LinkedIn, they’re not searching, ‘Seeking [remote] opportunities’ in their search, they’re seeking the role title or the industry title.”

To improve your headline, Carroll said you should look for roles for which you would be a good fit, then use a site like Wordclouds to show you which keywords are used most in job descriptions for those roles. Use what you find to make your headline statement specific.

“The job seeker focus is, ‘How do I find those companies and connect with the people in the companies that are already championing remote work, and how do I display myself and articulate my value as a good fit for that role, remote or not,’” Carroll said.

Filling up the “About” section matters, too. Watkins said leaving the “About” section of your LinkedIn profile blank or just making it a sentence long is a common mistake she sees remote job seekers make.

“Even though the section of that profile is not searchable if you have enough keywords that fit the job posting that sends them to your profile, that ‘About’ section is a bonus because it lets them know about you the person,” Watkins said. “That’s where you make your connection to draw them in, to grab their attention, and entice them to reach out to you.”

1/10/2021 - How to answer a quirky question in a job interview

What flavor of ice cream do you see yourself as? How many pencils would fit in this room? These ‘fun’ questions can be stressful if you don’t have a plan.

If you’ve done plenty of job interviews before, you know that they tend to go better when you prepare by writing down and answering all the familiar, expected questions you might be asked.

But inevitably some questions will take you by surprise. In some interviews, you’re going to be asked to respond to totally crazy questions that seem connected to nothing in particular. They’re designed to see how you perform under pressure—and sometimes how creatively you think.

Your success in the interview will depend on how you deal with these oddball queries. Do you panic or do you respond with poise and clarity of thought?

Here are four ways to shine when you’re hit with wacky questions:

You can expect to have at least one far-fetched question in any job interview. Given the unpredictable world we live in, recruiters and hiring managers are increasingly asking these off-the-wall questions to find employees with agility.

So they’re likely to throw you questions that take you by surprise and force you to respond quickly with a savvy answer.

Apple poses some of the most inventive oddball questions. It once asked a prospective quality assurance software engineer: “If you have two eggs, and you want to figure out what’s the highest floor from which you can drop the egg without breaking it, how would you do it?” Amazon does the same, having challenged a candidate with this question: “How would you solve problems if you were on Mars?” It hit another prospect with: “Amazon is a peculiar company. What is peculiar about you?”

Microsoft has asked “How would you move Mt. Fuji?” And Nestle has posed this one to a job candidate: “If you were a brick in a wall, which brick would you be and why?” Other questions high on the quirky scale might include “If you were a tree, what kind would you be?” Or “What flavor of ice cream do you see yourself as?”

When one of these questions comes your way, keep your composure. Recruiters ask these questions to see how candidates deal with stress. Show that you pass that test by keeping your cool!

Don’t screw up your face or respond with nervous body language. Nor should you comment on the question with “That’s a good question,” or “Wow, that’s a whopper of a question!” or “Where did that one come from?” If these are the first words out of your mouth, you’ll sound like you’ve been caught off guard.

Instead, take a deep breath and pause when one of those wild questions comes your way. You need time to collect your thoughts.

In answering, remember that the question may be wild, but your answer gives you a genuine opportunity to show your authentic self. So in answering, make sure you are true to who you are and your values.

View the question about what kind of tree you’d like to be as a test of your personality. How do you see yourself? You might respond that you’d be a leader, like mighty oak. Or you might suggest that you’d be an apple tree that produces fruit and adds beauty to the world when it blossoms every spring.

Asked to solve problems while on Mars, your first response might be to show concern for the safety of your team, given that the red planet provides such an inhospitable environment. That response demonstrates your leadership qualities and emphasizes that you’re a team player.

The question about which brick in a wall you’d like to be can draw out how your see yourself in relation to others. An aspiring CEO might want to be one of the highest bricks, one that the others look up to. An entrepreneur might want to be the first brick laid—a brick upon which the others find their purpose and future.

There are no right or wrong answers. But remember, your imaginative response will reflect your authentic self and your ability to tap into your core beliefs.

So if an Amazon interviewer tells you that Amazon is a peculiar company and asks what is peculiar about you, you might respond that you don’t see yourself as peculiar, but you do look at the world differently from most people. You challenge thinking and explore alternatives. This, you believe, makes you an asset to any company.

Let your imagination run wild with these puzzlers and have fun, but keep in mind that these crazy questions are also serious ones for the interviewer.

When you’re through answering a quirky question, you may wonder if you were too off-base with the answer. You’ll probably feel a little weird. But don’t ask for feedback about how well you did. If you look for praise or positive reinforcement from the hiring manager or recruiter, it will suggest that you were unnerved by the question.

Instead, show that you’re comfortable with your quirky answer and the values you have expressed. This will demonstrate your comfort in dealing with even the most outrageous situations that might arise at work. And these days demonstrating that resilience is high on every employer’s list. After all, it has been an outrageous year.

Judith Humphrey is founder of The Humphrey Group, a premier leadership communications firm headquartered in Toronto. She is a regular columnist for Fast Company and is the author of three books: Impromptu: Leading in the Moment (2018), Speaking as a Leader: How to Lead Every Time You Speak (2012), and Taking the Stage: How Women Can Speak Up, Stand Out, and Succeed (2014)

1/3/2021 - LinkedIn Etiquette for Managers, Employees, and Recruiters

First tip: Don't send a message with just "hi!"

LinkedIn has 660 million users--and that number continues to creep up. With that many people, it's a fantastic place to network, share ideas, and even make new friendships. There are lots of options for interacting on LinkedIn, but some things people do may limit the usefulness of this career-focused social media site.

I spoke to a group of LinkedIn superusers. Many of them work as consultants, helping people maximize their effectiveness on LinkedIn. They gave me the inside scoop on what not to do on LinkedIn. I'll help you out with what to do instead:

Megan McCarthy: "I personally hate the people who connect and then all they say is 'Hey! How are you doing today?' Like, what does that mean?"

What to do instead: Send a meaningful message. It should be short and explain something about why you connected. "Hi. Thanks for accepting my connecting request. I see we both work in plastics, and I thought you would be a good person to follow."

Grace Judson: "The classic, of course, is sending connection requests without personalizing the message."
What to do instead: Only send connection requests that make sense--if you can't think of anything to say, then it's probably not a connection you should be making. People who work in the same field, or whom you find interesting, or even industry leaders are fine. But if you can't articulate a reason to connect, don't bother.

Kenneth Lang: "I hate all the automated connection requests I get. How do I know they're automated? They cut and paste my name, job title, and company name. Sometimes it's just a 'Hi,' with the request. Other times it could be 'Hi, [first name].' I've actually gotten those where the program sending these out doesn't fill in the [ ] -- I've collected some of my funniest ones for presentations I give."

What to do instead: Bots can't network for you. There has to be personal interaction, otherwise, it's like buying followers on Twitter. It may make you feel important, but it doesn't improve your business prospects. Every interaction needs to be personal.

Carla Deter: "For the job seeker (and during these times it's even more critical):

1) Venting about past or current work or colleagues
2) Posting or commenting strong opinions on touchy topics such as politics, topics of adversity, etc.

Each can have an impact on getting the interview, the job promotion, the job offer.
A negative digital footprint can be irrevocable."

What to do instead: Remember, people assume that if you talk trash about your last boss, you'll talk trash about your next one as well. Be honest but positive. And in an age in which there are so many political conflicts, it may be best to keep your content business-focused.

Karthick Richard: "Plagiarized content. Bit of a rap on your knuckles when you get called out."

What to do instead: Write your own content. Or share others' content by sharing their post, not copying and pasting. And, though Richard didn't mention it, don't makeup things either. Keep it real and honest.

Wendi Weiner: "[One] pet peeve is getting a connection request, accepting, and immediately getting sales pitches. Then, if I don't respond, I get two to three more before I have to tell the person I'm not interested. Now I just send them back a pitch for my writing and branding services. Reverse psychology."

What to do instead: It's OK to use LinkedIn for sales and recruitment, but remember that you need to build relationships first. Comment on people's posts. Write your own posts. Show how your product can be of use and build a relationship before pitching.

Donna Svei: "Failing to build out the Skills & Endorsements section of your profile.
People who use LinkedIn's Recruiter product often search for job candidates by skills. Thus, if you haven't listed your currently marketable skills and secured high-quality endorsements for them, your profile won't fare well on a skills search."

What to do instead: If you're job hunting, make sure your skills are up to date!

Hopefully these LinkedIn tips will help you have a more productive time on LinkedIn.


Atlanta, GA Career Networking Groups

Is a group you attend missing? Send an email with all the details to

Career Quest at St. Ann’s Church - We are the oldest continuously operating job-search ministry in Atlanta - 

Crossroads Career Ministry is a ministry of Perimeter Church 

Roswell UMC - Job Networking 

Other groups in the Atlanta area - Job Networking and Support Organizations - 

Happy Holidays 2020 - Check out our holiday wish for You!

"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all.

I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2021 but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee.

By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."

Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukkah, Happy Holidays, and a very safe and Happy New Year to you and yours!

12/13/2020 - How emotional intelligence can help you find your next job

It’s all about knowing how to network, no matter what industry you work in.

The way we look for jobs has changed drastically over the last few years. While many jobs have always been filled by networking, that number has shot up of late. According to joint research conducted by LinkedIn, up to 85% of jobs are filled through networking. However, most candidates still spend the majority of their time looking for postings and applying directly. That time would be spent more effectively networking.

But just because you know you should network more doesn’t mean it’s easy to do. For some of us—especially those of us who are naturally more introverted—networking might feel especially daunting. It requires you to get out of your comfort zone and put yourself out there. But with the right strategy, time, effort, and patience it can result in landing that job you’ve been after. Knowing someone in the company you want to work for helps, but by using your emotional intelligence, you can network effectively in order to find someone within the company who will give you an inside referral.

Almost all organizations would rather fill positions internally, through people they already know and trust, rather than taking what they consider the greater risk of hiring an outsider. Anna Schuliger and Melanie Feldman, creators of the Get Hired Course, have encouraged their clients to stop applying to jobs online, and instead to use the power of networking to take advantage of internal referral incentive programs.

You’ll be surprised by the reaction you can get when you message people the right way: One of their recent clients messaged the CEO of a company where she wanted to work, added value, and was hired the following week. No one thinks to message the CEO—but that’s kind of the point!

Here are things to consider when coming up with a networking plan:

Think strategically about all your social media profiles and posts from the perspective of a potential employer. Maybe your friends would think photos of your backyard party with loads of booze are cool, but it’s not likely to impress a prospective employer. Instead think of your achievements, awards you’ve received, teams you have been part of, and volunteer activities. Do your profiles and posts show someone who is active, engaged in healthy activities, good at working with others, and who cares about their community?

Use platforms like LinkedIn and Twitter to find people in your field, industry, or at the company you want to work for. Look closely at their profile for anything that you can connect with them on. Perhaps you graduated from the same college, have similar goals, interests, or career trajectories. When you reach out to them, offer a sincere compliment, something that impresses you or that you would like to emulate. It feels good to be flattered. Just be careful to not overdo it—coming across as insincere is a turnoff.

Once you have a connection, ask if you can have a few minutes of their time to ask some questions. Let them know that you recognize that their time is valuable and you would appreciate just a few minutes. In non-pandemic times, face-to-face meetings provide the best opportunity to make a strong connection and be memorable. Offer to buy them coffee or lunch if possible. An online meeting on Zoom or Skype where you can see each other is the best second choice. If they agree, be well prepared with questions. Make it about them, not you.

This is not the time to ask about job opportunities or to pitch yourself. You’re gathering information and making a connection that you hope will lead to furthering your goals down the line. People love to talk about themselves and their achievements when they don’t feel pressured. Listen attentively and look for opportunities to probe and go deeper.

Look for opportunities to offer to do something for them. Perhaps you have written something in an area that they have an interest in. Whenever someone sends me a connection request on LinkedIn, I always send a reply thanking them and asking if there is anything that I can do for them. This has led to many valuable connections and partnerships. Always follow up your meeting with a thank-you note. If possible, send a handwritten note; so few people do this anymore, so it will help you stand out.

A proverb says that the best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today. Think of networking in the same way. The sooner you start, the more potential results will come your way. Start networking even when you are not looking for a job. Think ahead and plan where you want to be and network strategically to that point. Keep the connection alive by looking for opportunities to support the people in your network.

Do they have a book? Get a copy. And if you like the book, write a positive review and let them know. Comment on their blogs and posts. If your connection is strong, keep them updated on your career. Compliment them on any promotions they receive. Persistence is the key. Not every connection will lead somewhere. But even if it doesn’t, you’ve lost nothing; in fact, you’ve gained experience that will help you fine-tune your future efforts. Remember that you may be only one well-placed connection away from the job of your dreams.

Harvey Deutschendorf is an emotional intelligence expert, author and speaker.

12/6/2020 - This hiring manager says she will only hire people who stop and do this in an interview

by Una Dabiero 

It can be difficult to pin exactly down what interviewers are looking for from a job candidate.

There are heaps of interview advice articles floating around online, often giving detailed advice on how to sell yourself. In the past, reading these articles has made me feel like a robot who’s being judged on how well they can synthesize a bunch of tips and tricks by another robot.

But the truth is, your interviewer’s human impression of you goes a long way. Unless you make a true faux pax or really can’t get your value add across — and those are mistakes you can avoid by reading detailed advice online — it’s the first impression that matters the most.

That’s why I loved the criteria Samantha Moss, Editor & Content Ambassador at Romantific, sets for the candidates she interviews. For Moss, it’s not about how quickly a job candidate can make a case for themselves or how much they know it all. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

“As someone in charge of hiring in our company, the one thing I look for in interviews is how an applicant pauses before answering a question,” Moss shared with Fairygodboss.

Moss says this gives her a strong impression of someone’s interest in the role.

“This reveals how deep in thought the applicant is and if they are really serious about getting the position. An applicant who isn’t really interested in the position would not pause to think too much; rather, they would rush to answer. On the other hand, when an applicant really really likes the position, they would pause and you can see on their faces that they are really thinking about what they’ll tell you so that they can give you the best possible answer.”

Moss would probably advise you take the time to really parse out what your interviewer wants and answer their questions thoughtfully instead of using a script or bursting out in statistics from your resume. In other words, it’s OK to not have it all figured out before you take the dive.

A version of this post previously appeared on Fairygodboss, the largest career community that helps women get the inside scoop on pay, corporate culture, benefits, and work flexibility. Founded in 2015, Fairygodboss offers company ratings, job listings, discussion boards, and career advice

11/29/2020 - How to Figure Out Whether Your Values Align With a Prospective Employer's

by Elizabeth Yuko 

So you’ve the hit the point in your job search when you’re asked to interview with a prospective employer. Considering how many applications are either ignored, or filtered out before they make it in front of an actual human, getting an interview is itself a win.

By now you’re probably familiar with the concept of using job interviews as a way not only to express why you’re right for the position, but also figure out if the organization is right for you. Typically, the focus is on finding out whether the company culture is a fit for you—and that’s certainly important. But so is the company’s values, Kristi Hedges, a senior leadership coach who specializes in executive communications, wrote in a recent article in the Harvard Business Review. Here’s how to determine what an organization’s values are, and whether they mesh with your own.

Culture vs. values
What’s the difference between a company’s culture and their values? Here’s how Hedges explains it:

Culture determines how work gets done, but values show how companies prioritize, make decisions, and reconcile conflict. A culture may celebrate innovation, but values determine what gets sacrificed in the pursuit of it.

According to Hedges, learning about an organization’s values is a three-step process, involving the following:

1. Identify your own values
First, you have to determine which values are most important to you. As Hedges explains, in this context, your values are “the tenets that are central to who you want to be in the world. If they are infringed upon, you will feel it acutely.” A few examples include honesty, integrity, positivity, quality, service and trust.

2. Make a list of questions
Before the interview, Hedges suggests putting together some questions that will reveal the values a company prioritizes. “These are typically open-ended questions that ask the interviewer to provide specific examples,” she writes. “The goal is to elicit information that you can compare to your own values—not to ask for confirmation.”

This means staying away from leading questions, like “I value honesty—can you give me an example of how honesty is valued here?” and going with some of the following, courtesy of Hedges:

Feel free to ask follow-up questions, including requesting specifics.

3. Rate the interview
As soon as you finish the interview and have a minute, take some time to rank the company’s responses to each of the questions about your core values. Hedges offers this 1-5 scale to assess the interview:

When you’re done, you should have a better idea of whether the company is a fit for you, based on shared values. Unfortunately, this isn’t a guarantee everything will always line up, but at least it should help minimize surprises.

Dr. Elizabeth Yuko is a bioethicist and adjunct professor of ethics at Fordham University. She has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, CNN.

Happy Thanksgiving 2020 - Check out what we give thanks for

turkey05               pilglobe               cornucopia01

What do you give thanks for?

We give thanks for the career group leaders who give their time to help us.

We give thanks for the organizations that allow us to meet in and use their facilities.

(New for 2020) We give thanks for Zoom, Facetime, Teams, Google Meets, and others, for options to continue to meet online when we can not meet in person.

We give thanks for the speakers who share their knowledge to help us with our job search for free.

We give thanks for the opportunity to network and meet new people.

We give thanks for the opportunity to help others in their job search.

We give thanks for the support our family and friends provide.

We give thanks for the opportunity to spend more time with our family during our job search.

We give thanks for the opportunities we have living in the USA.

We give thanks for the next great opportunity that awaits us in the future.

We give thanks.

What do you give thanks for?

Have a safe and Happy Thanksgiving from CareerDFW and

11/15/2020 - This Is How Lawyers and Clients Look Good on Video Calls

(NOTE from CareerDFW...this article is written for Attorneys and their Clients...but many of the tips apply to job seekers as well.)

WEBCAM TIPS By Scott Brennan 

Despite the occasional frozen screen or mute button mishap, after months of videoconferencing, most of us have the hang of it. The novelty has worn off and, honestly, it can be painful to be in a meeting with someone who is just figuring out how to use the conferencing platform, or work their mic, or share their screen. OK, obviously, you know how to handle yourself and look good on video calls, but what about your clients? Here are handy reminders from Lexicon’s Scott Brennan for making sure you are both webcam ready.

Webcam Reminders for Lawyers
Using a webcam successfully requires understanding how the basic technology works, along with adequate preparation and some tweaks to speaking styles and body language.

First, the logistical aspects:

Lighting. Generally, you want to avoid only being lit from behind, above or underneath. Light should come from a source directly in front of you, and it shouldn’t be too bright. Invest in a ring light designed for a webcam if your lighting conditions aren’t ideal.

Microphone. After lighting, the sound is the most important aspect to get right in a webcam meeting. It’s a good idea to use a separate wired microphone for this. Built-in computer mics are notoriously unreliable, and a Bluetooth connection can fail.

Camera positioning and surroundings. Position the camera in front of you and slightly above eye level. Then, look around at your space. You don’t want clutter in the background or anything that would be inappropriate. Ensure there aren’t confidential documents in view, either. Placing yourself in front of a wall is always a good choice, or have a bookcase in the background — just be sure there’s nothing embarrassing on the shelves!

Once the technical and logistical things are in place, it’s important to practice and prepare (and prepare and prepare and prepare) for video calls — especially if you are new to video or using a new platform. Just as you would practice opening and closing arguments, there should be dry runs for webcam meetings, particularly important client calls and court appearances. Play around with the software, do a test meeting with a colleague, and make sure everything works well ahead of time.

Here are a few more things to consider:

Don’t multitask. Yes, others can see your eyes dart to the side to look at a notification or your fingers work the keyboard to dash off an email. Don’t do that.

Mute all notifications and silence all phones for the duration of the meeting so your focus doesn’t wander.

Remember you are on video and that other participants can see what you’re doing. This is not the time to wolf down lunch or make exaggerated eye rolls when you don’t like what someone else says. Be professional.

Dress appropriately. Treat video calls like any other professional setting. Show up in business attire or at least business casual attire. And, yes, please wear pants. We’ve all seen the viral videos. You don’t want to star in one.

Be aware of your gestures. If you talk with your hands or rely on body language and gestures to make points, you may have to adapt that for video. Avoid moving your arms out of the frame and make your points with smaller movements.

Webcam Tips for Clients
In addition to getting yourself webcam ready, take these steps to make sure your clients are prepared to appear on video, too:

Do as you do. Every time a client is going to appear on a webcam, for either a meeting or court appearance, ensure that you’ve taken them through the same preparation you’ve done. And, insist on a pre-meeting on video before the actual call so you can check their appearance, clothing, background and deal with any technical issues. Encourage them to have a glass of water and maybe tissues beside them but limit other distractions around them.

Don’t forget your usual pre-hearing preparation. Just as you would for an in-person hearing, go through your usual preparation for a client’s court appearance on webcam. Walk through expected questions, offer body language tips and the like. This would be part of the billable work you’d normally do for any hearing involving a client, so it should be done here, too.

Don’t use the conference platform’s chat functions. It might be tempting to shoot a client a quick message using the text chat function offered by most conferencing platforms. Don’t. Not only is it not secure, it might also distract the client. If you absolutely must message them, do it with an email or a mobile phone text message.

Video calls and virtual conferences are here to stay. While they will never completely replace in-person meetings, there is no reason webcam meetings can’t be just as productive and successful. Just a few logical steps —for both attorneys and their clients—can make all the difference.

11/8/2020 - Zoom Etiquette

By Peggy S. Bud, Speaking Skillfully

Can you remember before COVID 19 when we attended face to face meetings or professional events? Yes, there was a time when you could actually meet with a potential employer, shake hands and have a conversation. You could join a friend for lunch, coffee or a drink; have a conversation without wearing a mask or worrying about getting sick.

The logistics of getting to a meeting was something we all considered. You probably used technology to determine how long it would take to get there. Using your GPS for both directions and estimated travel time, you were able to be punctual. If you were like me, you allotted extra time for unforeseen traffic issues, finding a parking spot, or getting lost. I would try to get to the meeting a little early because it meant more time for networking. When attending a business meeting or interview, arriving early meant I could freshen up and collect my thoughts before the meeting.

I’m baffled how many people arrive for a ZOOM meeting at the precise time it was scheduled and often up to 10 minutes late. They don’t seem to be aware of proper ZOOM etiquette. If they are going to be late or need to leave early, they should notify the host ahead of time. Otherwise, they should arrive to a meeting a few minutes ahead of schedule.

Technology can and will fail. Never assume it’s going to work like it did yesterday or earlier in the day. The lighting isn’t right; different time of day. The colors I’m wearing wash me out. My volume is too loud or too soft. Preparing is part of good ZOOM etiquette. Check for technical issues before every meeting; software updates, microphone problems, camera issues. Participating in a ZOOM call takes planning. Arriving early is best practice. It gives you the opportunity to do a final check on ‘how you look on video’ before clicking “Join a meeting.”

ZOOM calls can be tiring, allowing for breaks between calls is essential and is part of the preparation. I suggest about a 20-minute break between calls. Use the time to walk around, freshen up, drink some water. Hydration helps your appearance. Log on about 10 minutes before the call. Check out how you look and sound before joining the meeting. I realize you might have to spend a few minutes in the waiting room. Sometimes the host will admit you when you arrive early, giving you a chance to chat with the host or other early arriving participants. Isn’t this what you did when attending a face to face meeting in the past?

Being aware of good ZOOM etiquette is important. It’s new to our lives. It takes practice. You only get one chance to make a great first impression, which begins with how you look and sound. Confidence and success are the result of planning, preparing and practice. What others see as you enter the meeting is your professional virtual image. Make sure it is a winning image!

About Peggy Bud: Peggy is a Communication Coach, Trainer and Speaker. She coaches and trains clients on how to Skillfully Participate in a Video Call by using her knowledge of the cognitive-neuroscience of language. She teaches clients Effective Communication strategies and techniques; enhancing written and oral communication, developing listening skills, creating concise and powerful resumes and memorable elevator pitches. Clients come from a variety of industries (medical, legal, financial, insurance, engineering, and education). She has spoken at National Conferences, Women’s Summits, Rotary Clubs and Libraries. She can be reached at Visit her website:

11/1/2020 - LinkedIn's new tool helps users make a career change through overlapping skills

by Coral Murphy - USA TODAY 

LinkedIn launched a new tool aimed towards helping recently unemployed Americans make a career change.

The business social network unveiled the Career Explorer feature, which displays careers job seekers can transition into by finding skills that overlap with their previous jobs. The tool ranks the skills in order of importance depending on the job position.

LinkedIn users can also identify skills that they would need to build to make the career pivot they want. Once a user clicks on a skill they need to build, they are launched to a list of LinkedIn courses users can take to improve that skill.

The feature also shows the popularity rate for a specific career transition, and helps users connect with people in the field they are interested in through LinkedIn.

"We know that the majority of hiring managers say that soft skills are equally or more important to hire for than hard skills," said LinkedIn's Career Expert, Blair Heitmann. "Soft skills like communication and problem solving are especially important because they translate across industries and have become increasingly more valuable to employers as COVID continues to change the way we work."

The move comes as 8.4 million Americans continue to receive unemployment benefits due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurant and retail workers are among the hardest hit as lockdowns temporarily closed businesses in these industries, while some closed for good.

According to LinkedIn, the new tool can help food servers make the transition to a customer service role. The company said there is a 71% skills similarity between the two roles, with some of them including customer service, time management, teamwork, cashiering and others.

As for a store manager, the networking platform found the job position has a high similarity with a salesperson role. The tool identified retail, inventory management, merchandising and others as common skills, and highlighted customer service, Microsoft Office, sales operation and others as skills to build.

Over 45% of job seekers have not tried to make a career change because they don't know where to start, while 33% don't think they are qualified for the industry, according to a LinkedIn and CensusWide survey. Over a third of those surveyed also believe they don't have the connections in other industries.

The new tool is also part of LinkedIn's initiative, in partnership with Microsoft, aimed at teaching digital skills to 25 million people worldwide by the end of this year by giving free access to training sessions. Some of the sessions include software development, graphic design and financial analysis.

10/25/2020 - 3 ways to ensure you communicate your potential in a job interview

Having potential and being able to communicate that potential are two different things. Here’s how to get your potential to shine through in your next job interview.

In the spring of 2019, I interviewed a job candidate with no software sales experience for a software sales position. She had scored some impressive sales wins at two national restaurant chains over the course of her career, but I had to figure out if she had what it took to succeed at a growing HR tech start-up.

“Can you describe a time when you displayed creative problem-solving?” I asked her.

The story she proceeded to tell gave me goosebumps.

January is typically one of the slowest months for restaurants, especially those that generate a lot of business from large groups of business travelers. Since this woman’s main role was selling private event space at a steakhouse in downtown Indianapolis (and there are no big industry conferences in January), she knew she would have to get creative to hit her quota. After doing some research, she found that professional basketball games were the only events happening downtown in the frigid weeks following New Year’s. But NBA teams need to eat too, right?

After several weeks of phone calls and emails to team managers, she finally got a “bite” from the travel manager for San Francisco’s NBA team. But there was a catch. He wanted a catered meal delivered to the stadium in Indianapolis before a game happening the very next day. She had never arranged a catered steak dinner before, much less to the stadium with less than 24 hours notice. But thanks to her hustle, she not only pulled it off and met her January sales quota, but also made a repeat customer out of the Golden State Warriors.

Needless to say, she got the job.

Potential is something most hiring managers look for when filling a position. Sometimes, a candidate’s potential is even more important than experience. But “potential” can be hard to define. The dictionary definition—the capacity to become or develop into something in the future—rings hollow compared to the experience of interviewing a job candidate that radiates potential.

I’ve found that people with potential are people in motion—those who aren’t content maintaining the status quo and seek continual growth and improvement. Potential says, “I’m not a finished product.”

But having potential and being able to communicate that potential are two different things. Here are three ways to ensure that your potential shines through in your next job interview.

I believe everyone has a “thread” that has been constant throughout the fabric of your career. This thread is what drives and motivates you—what you feel you were put on this earth to do—that’s been present in every role you’ve held. My common thread is unlocking people’s potential. I’ve occupied some very different roles in my career—I’ve been a pastor, a professor, a vice president of sales, and a human resources chief—but my core motivation has been the same through them all.

Find that common thread in your career and give it a tug. Think about how it aligns with the role you’re applying for. And consider how to convey that the open position is the next logical step in your career journey. Most modern companies want to hire people with momentum—people who know where they’re going in life or at least have a vague idea of an ultimate career goal. I want to know the direction people are growing in, and understand why they think the open role is their next step.

Telling stories is the most powerful way to communicate information. According to famed author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins, “The power of a single story goes far beyond simply relaying facts and data. Stories emotionalize information. They give color and depth to otherwise bland material and they allow people to connect with the message in a deeper, more meaningful way.”

To communicate your true potential in a job interview, consider preparing a few stories that give “color and depth” to your professional experiences. Think about a time when you demonstrated creative problem-solving, your biggest professional achievement, or an instance when you had a tough decision to make.

Next, run the story through the STARL framework. STARL stands for situation, task, action, results, and learning. To really shine a spotlight on your potential, spend plenty of time on the “L” and refine the lessons you learned. In interviews, I love asking questions like, “what would you do differently?” and “name an opportunity that you could have handled better.”

These questions open the floor for the candidate to showcase their ability to critically assess the past and imagine a different future. That’s a foundational aspect of a growth mindset. It’s tempting to go into an interview and try to cast an aura of perfection, as opposed to sharing what you learned and what they would have done differently. But sharing those insights, while it may feel vulnerable, takes a lot of self-awareness and shows that the candidate is willing to learn.

At the end of the day, the candidate is responsible for making the interview a positive experience. Only you can control what it feels like to talk to you. Consider practicing your stories on a friend to get some feedback, or recording a video of yourself answering some common interview questions. Both of these approaches may feel wildly uncomfortable, but will help you understand how you “show up.” Ninety-three percent of communication is nonverbal, after all, so if your body language is at odds with what’s coming out of your mouth, you may want to break some bad habits before the interview. But, above all else, remember to be yourself.

Companies want to hire humans with breadth and depth of experiences, perspectives, attitudes, and opinions. It’s okay to show your personality in an interview. In fact, I encourage it because you will never bore someone into hiring you.

At the end of the day, communicating your potential starts with believing in your potential. Establish the right balance between confidence and humility, and you’ll leave the hiring manager thinking, “equipped with the right resources, this person could accomplish something truly great for our organization.”

Adam Weber is the cofounder and chief people officer of Emplify, an employee engagement measurement company, and author of Lead Like a Human.


10/18/2020 - 4 tips for sustaining hiring momentum through COVID

Six months into the pandemic, SimpliSafe’s HR leader reflects on the company's recruiting and hiring growth.
By: Larry Jacobson 

To say that the business world has been turned upside-down over the last six months would be an understatement. With the onset of COVID-19, we witnessed a swift downturn in the global economy, with unemployment surging to 21.3 million and recent data from SimpliSafe and Hippo indicating that more than one-fifth of U.S. homeowners feel less secure about their job situation than this time last year. Not only were the industries and businesses struggling prior to COVID impacted greatly, like popular retailers and multinational tech giants, but so, too, were the ones that were thriving, like leaders in the travel and fitness industries.

Many of the businesses that we’re seeing weather the storm successfully are those that address consumer needs, not wants—the products and services that make this “new normal” possible, like grocery delivery apps, remote work tech solutions and smart home security.

At SimpliSafe, we’ve seen sales steadily increase throughout the pandemic, and as sales have surged, so have our recruiting efforts. We’ve conducted nearly 1,200 candidate phone interviews, 280 virtual video interviews and hired nearly 75 employees in the last quarter alone. However, even though we have been able to grow our business during this unprecedented time, we, too, have faced complex challenges when it comes to recruiting and hiring. Here are four key lessons I’ve learned six months into the pandemic.

Hiring isn’t easy right now.
With nearly 10% of working-age Americans currently unemployed according to the latest jobs report, you might reasonably believe that finding talent is “easy” at the moment; however, that is not the case. As a growing number of companies, like Twitter, Zillow and Square, express a willingness to hire remotely, the competition for talent is no longer restricted by office locations and headquarters.

This presents a double-edged sword. On the one hand, many companies now have access to a wide pool of qualified candidates and prospects from San Francisco, Austin, Chicago, New York and beyond, but so do other tech giants across the country. The world of companies that applicants are interviewing with has dramatically expanded, and it’s created a race to snatch top talent.

On top of that, strong talent that is still employed has become increasingly difficult to recruit, as they are more likely to see a change as a huge leap of faith during this uncertain economy and time. It makes sense when you consider that over half of Americans are feeling less financially secure than they were last year, according to the research from SimpliSafe and Hippo. Those who may have been considering a change are likely to stay the course, making it that much more difficult for companies to communicate that what they’re offering is competitive and “worth the risk.”

Create and communicate your workplace culture, even if the workplace is virtual.
Understanding an organization’s culture and hiring for cultural fit has been one of the most challenging parts of the interview process going virtual, for both job seekers and employers. From the employer’s perspective, it’s more important now than ever to be very intentional about communicating your culture, knowing candidates no longer have the benefit of sitting in the waiting room and observing lunchtime, hallway conversations or meetings in progress. On top of that, the elements of culture that are important to communicate to job seekers have evolved, given the current state. Rather than focusing on pre-COVID perks like free bagels, catered Friday lunches and happy hours, focus on a culture of collaboration, communication and respect, and how those values continue to be lived out virtually.

While the majority of corporate work may be remote for the foreseeable future, culture remains of utmost importance to candidates, and people are hungry for meaningful work. The shock of something like a global health crisis makes people take a step back and think about how they’re spending their time. While not a new concept, we’re seeing surging interest among job seekers in working for mission-based organizations and companies whose values align with their individual values. Additionally, the way in which companies navigate difficult times speaks volumes to “what they’re made of,” so to speak.

Virtual recruiting is here to stay.
Virtual recruiting is one of the mainstays of this “new normal” that has drastically impacted talent acquisition, and I anticipate it will continue to play a significant role post-COVID. The current state has forced us to realize that modern video technology is both seamless and intuitive. On top of that, it provides a way to read a candidate’s facial expressions and body language and get to know them a bit more dynamically.

From a logistical perspective, virtual recruiting can help compress the interview process and convert new hires more quickly, as it eliminates many of the headaches associated with coordinating interview schedules. That being said, there is still significant value to in-person interviewing and recruiting, and I suspect that many companies will adopt a hybrid format, especially when it comes to executive and C-level hires.

Stay on the offensive–regardless of your current needs.
As mentioned above, with unemployment numbers historically high, it’s easy to develop a false sense of security, but the employers that will be most successful are those that stay on the offensive and take advantage of every opportunity to recruit, hire and retain top talent. Continue to be proactively engaged with talent communities that are relevant to your business, even if your ability to hire has been stifled due to the economic downturn. Keep job seekers engaged as much as possible so they’re the first to apply when things improve and you can activate your recruiting strategy more quickly.

The recruiting world has always been an ever-evolving one. Just a decade ago, promoting a new job listing on Twitter or Facebook was considered novel. Now, many employers, including SimpliSafe, lead full digital campaigns to attract and engage potential candidates, constantly tweaking our presentation to stand out against the competition. Over the course of my recruiting career, I’ve changed tactics, talk-tracks and channels to help source and recruit the best talent for a company. As HR professionals, it is imperative that we be nimble and responsive to factors like the economic landscape, shifting job-seeker behavior and more. The pandemic is the latest thing we need to respond to and, while it has not come without challenges, it has encouraged—and forced—us to think beyond our creative scope and innovate at a faster clip.

Larry Jacobson is global head of talent acquisition at SimpliSafe.

10/11/2020 - How candidates are using background props to stand out in video interviews

Remote backgrounds offer new real estate to showcase your personality in remote interviews, but is there a downside?

My friend Mike recently applied for a job in marketing and communications at a video game company that asked candidates to demonstrate their creativity and deep knowledge of “nerd culture.”

The role is a great fit for Mike, who has obsessed over comic books, science fiction, and video games since we were in high school together. But before the pandemic the interviewer would have had to take his word for it. Since the interview was conducted remotely, however, he got an opportunity to prove it.

Before the interview Mike set up a display of his Funko figurines in clear view of the camera, featuring characters from his favorite comic books, video games, and sci-fi films.

“People in this nerd culture, a lot of them collect these,” says Mike, who prefers not to use his last name, as his current employer doesn’t know he’s interviewing elsewhere. “The goal was to subtly show that I’m into this culture, that I do have that ‘nerd’ background that they’re looking for.”

Most advice for making a good impression in a remote interview mentions keeping the space in view of the camera clear of clutter and potential distractions. As video-based interviews evolve from the exception to the norm, however, candidates such as Mike are starting to use this new real estate to showcase carefully curated props that can serve as a conversation starter, demonstrate something about their personality, or make a case for their qualifications.

Whereas wardrobe choices provided one of the only opportunities for candidates to bring some of their personality into the interview room before the pandemic, a candidate’s background can now serve a similar purpose in a remote interview setting.

“What you wore to an interview was often scrutinized, or made an impression,” says Diane Domeyer, executive director of the Creative Group, the creative and marketing industry staffing arm of the global human resources consulting firm Robert Half. “The reality now is, as so much more of the hiring is happening virtually, your background is part of your interview suit.”

Just as a candidate’s clothes should be carefully chosen to demonstrate both professionalism and personality, Domeyer says remote interviewees have a new canvas to work with—but the rules for this space are still being defined.

“The creative industries have an opportunity to actually lead in making some changing behaviors for video interviews, because they can be more bold,” she says. “It can be a differentiator, but you still need to be cautious with those sorts of things so they don’t come across as too try-hard or kitschy.”

When in doubt, Domeyer says it’s best to play it safe and opt for a plain background but adds that carefully chosen items might be worth including in later interview rounds as candidates gain a better sense of the company culture.

“It’s kind of like your résumé; you want to edit it a little bit for each situation,” adds Brie Reynolds, the senior career specialist at FlexJobs. “You might apply for jobs at very traditional, buttoned-up companies, and you may be applying for jobs at super casual, creative companies, so you might want to change it up, while always remaining true to yourself and who you are.”

Reynolds suggests that candidates should tailor their backgrounds based on the role and industry and look for clues regarding the company’s culture in its social media activity, on its website, and on the job posting itself. “Do some research on the company and see how they put themselves out into the world. Is it buttoned-up and traditional, or do they get creative with things?” she advises.

Reynolds adds that FlexJobs will be updating its prior guidance on best practices for remote interviews to include creative use of background space in response to a continuously evolving set of norms surrounding remote hiring.

“The hiring managers that you’re talking to, they might not have been familiar with remote work and remote interviewing before,” she says. “Now a lot more people are familiar with what remote work is like—the blending of work and life that happens, and how your office space and your home aren’t always a sterile, professional environment.”

Bringing more of one’s home life into a professional setting, however, can be a scary prospect to those who might feel self-conscious about that environment. Just as dress code requirements can serve as a barrier for those who don’t have access to the latest fashion trends, it’s important that recruiters don’t add background space to the list of potential sources of discrimination.

“I fear that it opens up recruiters and hiring managers to more biases in video interviews, because it’s much easier to make those judgments,” says Chanele McFarlane, a career strategist and founder of Do Well Dress Well, an online personal branding and career resource. “When you’re on a video interview you’re opening up your home, and you get an idea of what someone’s financial situation is, whereas in in-person interviews you can kind of keep that separate.”

McFarlane cautions that remote interviews could further contribute to inequality or anxiety amongst those experiencing income instability, as they are less likely to have high-speed internet, high-quality cameras, or relevant props.

“It then becomes the responsibility of the hiring managers to be aware of all of that, and see what they can do to alleviate some of that anxiety,” she says. “Maybe provide a link to a digital background they can use, which just helps to level the playing field.”

Even digital backgrounds provide an opportunity for candidates to showcase their personality, creativity, and personal branding, adds Domeyer, who recently came across an example of someone who had done so successfully.

“By looking at [the hiring manager’s] LinkedIn profile they realized they had both gone to the same educational institution, so she put the stadium of the university behind her in the background of the interview,” she says. “It was very deliberate, very bold, and likely left a good impression.”

Whether candidates utilize relevant props or digital backgrounds, McFarlane believes the space behind the interviewee will be more frequently utilized as a personal branding tool in remote interviews in the future. “You just want it to be something that they’re going to remember,” she says. “Moving forward, I think people are going to go out of their way to make sure their background has items that help them stand out.”

 ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Jared Lindzon is a freelance journalist and public speaker born, raised and based in Toronto, Canada. Lindzon's writing focuses on the future of work and talent as it relates to technological innovation, as well as entrepreneurship, technology, politics, sports and music.

10/4/2020 - How to prepare for — and land a job — at a virtual career fair

by Nicole Dienst & Kelsey Johnson 

> With coronavirus infections still surging across the U.S., many companies are turning to virtual career fairs as a hiring strategy.
> Career experts claim 80% of recruiting will be virtual for the foreseeable future.
> Among the benefits of a virtual job fair: no setup, hiring is accelerated, and geographic boundaries and travel expenses are eliminated.
> Studying up on the participating companies’ backgrounds and demonstrating excellent communication skills are ideal traits for landing a job virtually.

With coronavirus infections still surging across the U.S., many companies are turning to virtual career fairs as a hiring strategy. While not new, the concept has been gaining ground since the pandemic began. Hundreds of job fairs have been taking place globally, with companies both large and small joining in. The latest to enter the foray is early career platform Handshake.

As a result of the widespread shift to remote work, Handshake, a career networking platform aimed at college students, announced Wednesday its own end-to-end digital job fair solution, which will allow universities and companies to host virtual recruiting events and job fairs. The new platform will facilitate large-scale virtual job fairs for universities and employers so that students have access to increased opportunities to both network and stand out in the job application process.

This is good news for the approximately 17 million Americans out of work today and the 6 million-plus graduates who have entered into this brutal job market.

According to Handshake’s April survey, 73% of recent college graduates are still searching for full-time jobs, and 23% of students had their internship offers rescinded. While the unemployment situation is dismal for both graduate and undergraduate students, many Americans have lost their jobs or are struggling to obtain new opportunities amid the coronavirus pandemic. The national unemployment rate was 11.1% in June 2020, ranking 7.4% higher than it was in June 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

What is a virtual job fair?
Virtual job fairs take place at a designated time and are similar to a webinar. Recruiters and job seekers meet in a virtual space via chat rooms, teleconferencing, webcasts, and/or email to exchange information about job postings.

Rather than just reviewing resumes,hiring managers will be able to meet candidates face to face, interview them and make offers right on the spot. Virtual hiring takes the hassle, time and expense out of attending a traditional job fair and helps recruiters and employers interact with potential employees from all over the world and a variety of disciplines.

Employment platform CareerBuilder has been hosting virtual career fairs for universities and companies alike since 2013. However, Chris Salzman, health-care director at CareerBuilder, has found that since the onset of the pandemic, more companies are embracing virtual career fairs as a primary resource rather than a supplementary or creative resource. “It’s become more of the staple, the norm and the necessity,” he said.

Today the most active sectors in this arena are financial services, health care, nonprofit, internet and software, claims Handshake.

Through the use of virtual career fairs and Handshake’s new platform, employers have the opportunity to search for students across thousands of partner universities that meet the criteria and qualifications of their position. It will also enable universities to build stronger relationships with employers that don’t typically recruit from their school.

“This will become the opening for how a university or career center can establish a relationship with some of those employers. ... They should be able to attract more employers then they’ve had in the past,” said Christine Cruzvergara, Handshake’s vice president of higher education and student success.

How a typical career fair works
Virtual career fairs are not limited to college students and entry-level roles. FlexJobs, another virtual recruiting platform, primarily caters to filling more experienced and managerial positions. While these roles often require additional experience and technical skills, attending virtual job fairs can be advantageous for people looking to pivot industries or get one-on-one time with a recruiter for a role they may be passionate about, according to Brie Reynolds, career development manager at FlexJobs.

For dedicated client virtual fairs, career platforms can provide the software, marketing and even prescreening of candidates so that recruiters from a company can connect with a variety of qualified candidates for their specific openings. Attendees provide their resume and contact information at registration, and after joining a lobby and being presented with options, they can either initiate one-to-one conversations with recruiters or join group conversations.

CareerBuilder recently facilitated a targeted event for a client seeking interested, qualified and screened nurses. “We had over 300 people scheduled for the event, over 100 recruiter chats and over 75 qualified candidates, and they ended up making 35 offers,” said Salzman.

For career fairs with multiple employers, career platforms use intricate software to replicate a ballroom with Zoom “rooms” and chat boxes with recruiters for each company. Employers are able to facilitate interactive panels and discussions to share more about the positions that they are hiring for, as well as more about their company culture and values. Attendees may curate their schedule in advance or visit multiple “rooms” of their choosing throughout the day, asking questions in the group setting or initiating a one-to-one text or audio chat with a recruiter.

According to Reynolds of FlexJobs, recruiters often expect the attendee to initiate any follow-up after the fair. “When you’re applying for the job after the fair, make sure to mention in your cover letter which recruiter you talked to. ... It’s good to reiterate that you’re already active and are seeking out this company in particular,” she said.

Reynolds also encourages attendees to connect with recruiters on LinkedIn and include a message about their conversation at the fair. “You have given yourself an advantage if you’re using the info you learned at the fair and the recruiter connection.”

Tips to prepare for the virtual job fair
Virtual job fairs are much different from the in-person experience, so preparation is vital to success and to build a lasting impression on a recruiter or employer. Those who can adapt will have a great advantage. Here are some key ways to put your best foot forward and maximize your time with a recruiter.

Do your research. One of the most common pieces of advice from recruiters and career services utilizing virtual career fairs is to do your research. Cruzvergara urges candidates to cross-reference their research with company reviews on platforms like Handshake to inform smart questions for recruiters. “Think of questions that would allow you to get deeper knowledge about the culture of the organization, what it means to be able to move up in that organization, or what it is you would be able to contribute or learn in that organization.”

Sharpen your communication skills. According to Jenny Petru, corporate recruiting manager at Regency Integrated Health Services, who has worked with CareerBuilder on virtual recruiting, “The best way a candidate can stand out is good communication skills and good grammar skills. ... In a virtual world, you don’t want to write like you’re texting a friend; you still want to have that professionalism.”

Don’t give up. To make the most of this opportunity, Trappey encourages candidates to put themselves out there and overcome any apprehensions they may have about virtual recruiting. “The key to finding a job or an internship is to keep trying. Just say yes to a virtual event or go to LinkedIn to make those connections yourself. Having the confidence to do that even if you feel awkward is integral to landing a job no matter where you are.”

Benefits of virtual recruiting
Despite lacking in-person interaction, virtual career fairs and virtual recruiting still offer job seekers an opportunity to connect with employers and form a lasting connection.

In fact, experts predict that even after the pandemic, there will be no rush to revert to traditional, in-person job fairs. According to a survey conducted by Handshake in early April that polled 112 of their partner employers, 80% of recruiting will remain virtual for the foreseeable future, and 60% say that even if travel were safe, they would still decrease their on-campus presence.

Here are some of the ways online job fairs provide benefits for candidates across different experience levels, employers and universities.

Engages more candidates. While virtual career fairs existed prior to the pandemic, the coronavirus has been a critical catalyst for accelerating the use of virtual recruiting as a primary resource for employers. “It accelerated people’s openness to being willing to think about a virtual strategy and to really use the tools that would allow them to engage more qualified students across more institutions,” said Cruzvergara.

Saves time and money. With career fairs now online, employers no longer need to spend days setting up an event, travel expenses for both the candidates and recruiters are eliminated, and there are no geographic boundaries. In addition, recruiters are able to participate across multiple shifts throughout the day, allowing them to resume normal work operations before and after.

Opens up more conversations. In addition, the variety of available methods for interacting with recruiters can effectively cater to the different needs and preferences of candidates, allowing them to feel more comfortable in the recruiting process.

“In this sort of isolated time, virtual events generally do give that interaction and space to speak freely to the company. ... These sort of events are a way to put a face to a name and make a connection so you can move forward in that process later,” says Amy Trappey, senior director of customer success at female-oriented career platform Power to Fly.

The nature of virtual recruiting also permits candidates to seek multiple job openings and interact with a number of employers without the barriers of travel and wait times. “It can be even more effective for the recruiter because they are able to carry five to 10 conversations with candidates at the same time,” said Salzman of CareerBuilder. “Same goes for job seekers, they are able to vet out more opportunities or attend three or four virtual career fairs in a day, instead of the old way and in person. … It’s a more efficient type of process.”

For job-seekers of greater experience levels looking to switch roles, careers, or industries, these virtual career fairs can be a great opportunity to learn more about the skills needed in different roles and highlight one’s transferable skills to the recruiter, added Reynolds from FlexJobs.

Provides greater campus outreach. Virtual tools certainly allow for an increase in exposure and outreach in the university setting. Hayden Kornblut, head of university relations at Kraft Heinz, explained that all of their upcoming fall recruiting events will be fully virtual. This will result in new opportunities to connect with talent from a larger variety of college campuses and allows more of their own employees to communicate with potential candidates.

“We’ll still be doing “campus events,” like information sessions, coffee chats and case-study works virtually, but our plan is to also do larger-format virtual events, where we’re focused on getting out in front of underrepresented students and campuses that we traditionally haven’t targeted before,” said Kornblut. “We want to make sure we are working with campuses and universities that reflect our company and reflect our consumers.”

Offers a better avenue for sourcing diverse candidates. One of the greatest benefits of virtual recruiting is the ability to source diverse candidates from various backgrounds, locations and experiences.

Power to Fly identifies diversity as integral to the services they provide. “Our key job is helping women find jobs but also working with our clients to identify where they may need pushing in this area,” said Trappey. The company, which was originally created to get more diverse talent into companies’ pipelines, has also incorporated training and educational tools for candidates entering, re-entering, and even pivoting within the workforce, as well as a combination of on-site and virtual recruiting events for women of all skill levels and backgrounds.

“There’s so much strength in taking people from different backgrounds and perspectives when you’re hiring,” said Trappey. “There are tons of jobs in these fields, and sometimes it just requires a more open mindset in allowing people to train on the job. That is something that we constantly push at Power to Fly.”

9/27/2020 - How to Master LinkedIn's Algorithm

Seven tips to get the biggest reach and most engagement for your posts.
by Stephen Boswell

It would be great if all of your posts were delivered to all of your contacts, but it doesn’t work that way. LinkedIn’s algorithm determines how widely your posts will be seen. Their mantra is “people you know, talking about the things you care about.”

From a user’s standpoint, it makes your newsfeed much more relevant and enjoyable. From a poster’s standpoint, it makes understanding LinkedIn’s logic really important. Here are seven tips for helping the algorithm work in your favor.

1. Engage others generally.

When you comment on or share other people’s posts, they notice and become more likely to engage with your posts in return. If you spend more time giving, you’ll get much more in return.

2. Engage others strategically.

When you engage with a prospect, key client or referral alliance, it signals to LinkedIn that you know each other. Since LinkedIn prizes “people you know,” this is a powerful way to make sure these key contacts see your future posts.

3. Generate comments and engage with them.

Comments are weighed more heavily than likes in LinkedIn’s algorithm. More comments equals more reach. Generate them by posting content that asks a questions like, “Which of these options would you choose” or “What’s been your experience with this?”

4. Reply to your comments.

When people comment on your posts, comment back to them every time. You may even want to do this more than once. Your first comment back could be “Thanks for sharing.” Then you might add another that says “I hope you and your boys are doing well.” Every interaction helps trigger the algorithm.

5. Solicit engagement directly.

Ask your friends and colleagues to engage with key posts when they launch. When it happens soon after your post goes live, it tells LinkedIn this is a post worth spreading.

6. Post content that is worthy of engagement.

This may be the most important tip in the list. If you’re auto-posting a bunch of canned content, good luck. This is the strategy of 90% of the advisors we see and it’s not effective. Raise your game with better graphic design and more personal posts.

7. Make your content snackable.

If you’re posting super-long videos or articles, the user has to do some work to determine whether or not to interact and what that interaction should be. If you’re posting “snackable” content like quotes, memes or quick videos, it’s much easier for them to engage and move on.

Understanding the LinkedIn algorithm is critical if you want to get the most reach out of your posts. The goal is to release consistent, high-quality content and for it to actually appear in the newsfeeds of your clients, prospects and centers of influence. This type of awareness and thought-leadership strategy takes effort but pays big dividends in the long run.

9/20/2020 - Make these 4 LinkedIn profile updates now to get more job offers

Just one of these strategies used on a LinkedIn profile made them discovered up to 27 times more in searches by recruiters.

If you’re on the hunt for a new job, there are few tools more powerful than your LinkedIn profile. It’s a one-stop shop for recruiters and hiring managers to learn more about your professional story, so make sure your profile represents not only your experience and strengths but also your goals and what you want to accomplish.

Here are a few new ways to update your LinkedIn profile to give you an edge as a job seeker.

With the Open To Work feature on your LinkedIn profile, you can quietly signal to recruiters that you’re open to new opportunities, and you can now engage your entire professional community in your search. To let the broader LinkedIn community know you are looking, just add an #OpenToWork photo frame on your profile photo. By doing so, when your profile comes up in a search or shows up in the feed because you comment on or “like” a post, professionals beyond your LinkedIn connections will see your #OpenToWork photo frame and can connect you to job openings they’re aware of or facilitate an introduction to a hiring manager. We know that candidates on LinkedIn are nearly four times more likely to land a job at a company where they have connections, so imagine the possibilities of reaching LinkedIn’s community of 700+ million professionals.

The more complete your profile, the better the odds that recruiters will find you, so it’s important to include examples of your past experience and accomplishments. The new Featured section lets you highlight the work you’re most proud of by pinning to your profile links to media presentations, articles you’ve written, or presentations from a previous job or speaking engagement. You can also showcase your posts or published articles on LinkedIn, which can help you stand out to new opportunities.

Recruiters view skills as critical when looking at job candidates. In fact, we’ve found that members with five or more skills listed on their LinkedIn profile are discovered up to 27 times more in searches by recruiters. That’s why it’s important to list your skills—both hard and soft—on your profile. If you want to turn it up a notch, you can now validate your hard skills with 95 Skill Assessments that you can test against. Once you complete an assessment, a badge gets added to your profile which highlights your proficiency.

And if you don’t have all of the required skills for the job you want, online learning is a great way to build them and increase your chances of getting hired.

We all know that pronouncing someone’s name correctly is important in making a good first impression, but sometimes we see someone’s name in writing and aren’t sure how to correctly say it. With LinkedIn’s new name pronunciation tool, you can add a recording of your name and attach it to your LinkedIn profile, so others can learn how to pronounce it correctly. If you’re a job seeker with an interview on the horizon, check to see if anyone interviewing you has this feature turned on. Pronouncing their name correctly will help you kick the meeting off on the right foot.

Making these updates to your LinkedIn profile is a great way to kick-start your job search, and show who you are, what you want, and why you’d make a great candidate to potential employers. But don’t wait until you’re looking for a new job to update your profile. A strong LinkedIn profile, highlighting your latest accomplishments and skills, could help you discover other exciting opportunities you may not have thought of and set you up for long-term career success.

Abhijit Tamhane is the director of product management for LinkedIn profile.

9/13/2020 - 6 secrets to getting hired during an economic downturn

Challenging economic circumstances should not dash your hopes to landing a job. Stick to these tips to catch a hirer’s eye during widespread uncertainty.


Unemployment is at an all-time high and right now, it’s harder to get hired than years and decades past. But all hope is not lost. There are ways to get noticed and separate yourself, and to get the job, even when job openings are scarce.

First, consider these encouraging statistics: According to a recent study by SHRM (the Society for Human resource Management), among 2,278 members, 17% of employers were expanding their businesses and 13% were hiring. In addition, according to its annual global CEO survey, PwC found 74% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of skills in their respective workforces.

The bottom line: Companies need great employees with strong skills to grow their businesses. Particularly those who are unafraid to take an unconventional and bold approach.

So how can you get hired when it seems no one is hiring? Establishing a strong start to your process is key, along with finding the best ways to leverage your network, your creativity, and your distinctive skill sets.

Here are six ways to get hired during an economic downturn.

The fact is during tough times, you have to be among the best in your area, keep your skills fresh, and maintain the strength of your capabilities. As the job market has contracted, employers have more choices, so they can select the cream-of-the-crop candidates. There will still be a range of entry points for positions: entry-level, midterm, or senior. However, wherever you are in your career progression, stay on top of your area of expertise. Read within your field. Learn the latest software that will keep you relevant. Develop the newest skills critical to the type of role you want to land.

Ensuring your knowledge is cutting edge will set you apart in terms of what you can immediately offer to a company. It will also demonstrate your determination and thirst for learning—two characteristics which are always attractive to employers.

Networking is one of the nonnegotiable’s if you’re going to get hired. It’s critical to tap into the hidden job market and nurture connections that will introduce you to hiring managers. Reach out to people who you know well, but also focus on building links with people who are new acquaintances. Known as “weak ties,” people you know less well can inform you about a new opening simply because they have exposure outside of you and your typical, more condensed network.

And finally, be intentional about deepening and expanding the relationships within your network.

The number of traditional roles may have declined, but your capacity of invention should now. Consider recommending a new role, a contribution, or a skill set you believe the company needs but may not have thought of themselves. A manufacturing company may need an expert in plant layout to reduce virus transmission, or a retail store may need someone who can innovate creative ways to welcome customers while social distancing.

Another way to get in the door may be to offer the company the opportunity to give you a test run. A friend of mine offered to work for free for eight weeks so the company could test her skills and her fit. Another friend offered to do a salaried job on a commission-only basis for three months to prove herself to the company. While these strategies will generally work better with smaller, less formal companies, they may be worth a try at even larger firms. In each of my friends’ cases, they were ultimately hired by companies who were enthusiastic about their skills and their futures with each organization.

When you talk to a potential employer, tell your story in a compelling way. Resist the temptation to just go through a list of your previous roles. According to Angela Burke, president of Palladian West, an executive recruiting firm, it is especially effective to pull out themes from your experience.

Perhaps you’re a skilled problem-solver or someone who is especially organized or the one person who can energize a team. Highlight these kinds of strengths across your experiences. Burke also coaches clients on solution-thinking: “You are a solution, [so] consider the problems which need solutions, and how you can set yourself apart as the best solution.”

To make the strongest impression on hirers, make sure to stay consistent. You may want to step beyond your current skill set and seek a job that you will grow into, but resist this temptation. In a tight job market, it is best to play to your existing strengths. Deborah Rousseau, lead talent acquisition partner for Poly a telecommunications company, says “You’ll be competing with people who already have skills in the area where you may be trying to grow, so this isn’t the time to try and stretch to a job beyond your current skill set. Instead, emphasize your existing core competencies.”

In every role, you’ll be a member of a team and how you play will matter. Burke says, “Think about the team you’ll join and market yourself based on what you bring to the team and how you will add something unique and valuable.” In addition to being specific about the team, also be specific about the role. Rousseau says, “Customize your résumé for each role by highlighting your relevant experience in a summary or as the top bullets in your work history. You can also identify the specific position to which you’re applying at the top. Recruiters are moving quickly, so make it easy for them to see the match between your résumé and the job they’re seeking to fill.”

The pandemic has forced a reset in the market overall and for many businesses. The study by SHRM found 10% of employers are in the process of beginning new initiatives; however, the study by PwC found 55% of CEOs believe they can’t innovate successfully and 44% cannot pursue new business opportunities because their people lack the skills. This creates the need for entrepreneurial and problem-solving skills among candidates. In addition, because no one has been through a pandemic before, many companies report they especially need innovation and creative skills. Be sure you highlight these in your experience.

On your résumé and in conversation with your contacts, give examples of how you’ve solved a thorny problem or found an unexpected solution in a difficult circumstance. Show how you’ve learned throughout your career and continuously contributed in fresh ways to your previous roles.

There’s no doubt about it, this is a rough time to find a new job. But companies are hiring, and jobs exist for those who are able to explore and chase after them effectively. Be excellent at what you do and invent opportunities to contribute while highlighting the skills that matter most right now. Stay connected and network brilliantly; stay visible and keep to the course.

Your determination and grit will be important once you’re hired for a new job, so express these characteristics in your search and success will follow.

Tracy Brower, PhD, MM, MCRw, is a sociologist focused on work, workers, and workplace, working for Steelcase. She is the author of Bring Work to Life by Bringing Life to Work: A Guide for Leaders and Organizations.

9/6/2020 - How to use your network to survive a bad job market

You may already know that successful job-searching requires networking, but how extensively should you reach out?

During an international pandemic and economic recession, it is a historically bad time to find a job. Hungry job searchers need to get creative.

Nevertheless, this can be a great time to find the job you didn’t expect. Many companies are reinventing their businesses and expanding the skill sets they’re looking for.

An important component of job search success is the strength of your network. You won’t read advice about getting hired that doesn’t include networking, but you may not know if you need to cast your net widely. Typically, new jobs don’t come from your primary network (those who know you best and with whom you speak most often), since you and they probably have similar knowledge of the opportunities available. New opportunities normally emerge from your secondary and tertiary networks because those are the contacts who have access to markets and people you don’t. By definition, they will know of possibilities that are new to you.

So, to find success in your job search, stay connected with those who are close to you, but reach out to those who are more distant.

The creation of new links is key to building your network. Tap into these secondary or tertiary networks by asking to get introduced on LinkedIn or by reaching out to people you know from a distance but with whom you don’t normally interact. Perhaps there is a college friend you haven’t seen in years, but with whom you can rekindle a connection. Or maybe there’s someone you met in a previous role who can be helpful to you.

While it may be tough to put yourself out there, it will be to your advantage to be open about seeking work. Resist the advice to keep your old title on your LinkedIn profile until you find something new (instead, be clear in your moniker you’re on the hunt). In addition, consider reaching out to a wide breadth of contacts, casting a wide net, letting them know you are open for new opportunities, and asking them to keep you in the loop if they hear of anything fitting.

Offer value. Rather than simply asking people for a networking call or an introductory conversation, offer them information they may find useful or give them feedback on something you’ve seen them do or say on social media. The most fruitful connections have an element of reciprocity so consider how you can add value for them since you’re asking them to add value for you.

Ask for help. People typically love to provide advice and input, so don’t be afraid to ask for it. Resist the temptation to launch into a desperate monologue of all your skills and talents, and ensure the conversation you have with a contact is two-way and allows them to make suggestions and provide you with assistance in your search.

It is helpful to keep in mind, you can network when you’re not in need. Too often people only reach out to their more distant network when they need a job, a contact, or a reference. Stay in touch with people regularly, especially when you’re not asking for anything. Share an article or just let them know they came to mind. This will keep your relationship with your contacts fresh and when you need help, they’ll be more likely to assist because you’ve stayed in touch over time.

Perhaps one of the most challenging balances to strike is that of being persistent without coming off as a nuisance. When you reach out to someone you may not hear back right away, but keep at it. Knock on the door (or ping the inbox) at least a few times before letting up.

You also want to be creative in how you distinguish yourself. Amid the current atmosphere, many people are busier than usual. You will not be their main priority, so be gracious about asking for their time and, before connecting, express gratitude for their potential attention.

To network, you have to make yourself visible. Sociologically speaking, familiarity leads to greater acceptance. If you’re visible and your contact has seen your posts or heard your virtual voice through social media, they will be more likely to take your call. So write a blog, speak at a virtual conference, and be active on multiple social media platforms. Also, manage your persona. You may be frustrated or cynical, but people typically want to hire and work with people who are positive voices and influences, rather than negative nellies. Be authentic but lean toward the positive in your public interactions.

Finding a job is challenging today, but tapping into your current connections and creating new links is the first step.

Go broad and be sure you’re delivering value as well as asking for help. Stay in touch with people, be persistent, and find ways to be visible with your network. Tapping into your primary network is good, but expanding your secondary and tertiary networks will bring you one step closer to landing a job. Even if the job market isn’t on your side right, you can build a network that is.

Tracy Brower, PhD, MM, MCRw, is a sociologist focused on work, workers, and workplace, working for Steelcase. She is the author of Bring Work to Life by Bringing Life to Work: A Guide for Leaders and Organizations.

8/30/2020 - 7 critical steps to make your cover letter stand out

Your cover letter can seal the interview deal even if your résumé can’t. Here’s how to get it right.

Résumés get the attention, but a good cover letter can go a long way toward helping you get the attention of hiring decision-makers. A recent survey by ResumeLab found that 83% of respondents claimed that a great cover letter can land an interview even if your résumé isn’t good enough.

But what makes a good cover letter? This seven-point cheat sheet will help you write a letter that’s short, sweet, and gets attention.

You have just a few seconds to grab the reader’s attention, so start with whatever it is about you that will grab their interest, says Amy Soricelli, vice president of career services at Berkeley College. If you’ve been referred by someone influential, lead with that. Otherwise, think about the fact or brief anecdote that will catch interest. It might be your experience, expertise, or a big impact you made, Scoricelli says. Avoid at all costs the typical—and drab—”I’m writing about your job listing,” she says.

Let recruiters and hiring managers know exactly how you’re of value. Pick out the most important skills, experiences, training, accolades, and other accomplishments, says career coach Ronald J. Auerbach, author of Think Like an Interviewer: Your Job Hunting Guide to Success. Share them in descending order of importance. Consider how you would use keywords from the job ad in your résumé and integrate them in your cover letter, too.

Auerbach says there are a number of salutation options ranging from “Dear Hiring Manager” to “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir or Madam.” When possible it’s best to address your cover letter to a person. However, if you’re responding to an ad, you may need to choose a generic option. The best one depends on your industry norms, he says. “Some feel these standards are outdated and should be avoided in favor of the more modern salutations. Others feel it’s better to avoid the modern ones and stick with the old standards,” he says.

Many companies now use applicant tracking systems, which can typically accommodate a cover letter up to 250 words, says career coach Rachel Montañez. “There has been some research done that shows that the length that typically gets past an applicant tracking system,” she says.

As for structure, Montañez typically recommends a compelling lead paragraph, then two to three short paragraphs or bullet points in the body highlighting your key strengths, and a closing that includes your interest in the next steps.

Between the opening and close, make a powerful case for why you’re the right person for the job and company, Montañez says. Use active words to describe how you truly made a difference. Instead of “I have worked on financial reports,” try “I single-handedly created my team’s financial reports and presented them to senior management.” Bring a sense of enthusiasm to the writing, she advises. Your cover letter shouldn’t just repeat what’s in your résumé. Work on adding something fresh.

It’s common advice, but cannot be overstated, Soricelli says. Typos can indicate carelessness and put you out of the running before you start. Use your word processing program’s spell check and editing functions and get someone who can spot typos and grammatical errors to take a look at it before you hit send. The reason career experts keep telling people to proofread is because the advice is often ignored, she says.

Your cover letter is an opportunity to give the person reading it a brief glimpse into who you are as a person, Soricelli says. Use it to tell a brief, interesting story about why you’re the best choice to hire. Take a little time with the cover letter to be sure it is tailored to the job and reflects you and your personality.

Gwen Moran writes about business, money and assorted other topics for leading publications and websites. 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

8/23/2020 - If you really want the job, show you have these 6 qualities

In a tough job market, it’s essential to stand out.

Even in a recession, companies are still hiring. And, given the competitive market, it’s important to make sure you stand out when interviewing. I spoke with executives at Harqen, a company that helps companies hire talent, to understand the six qualities that companies are looking for today.

Harqen has a database of over five million job interviews, from which it draws conclusions about the qualities companies look for when they hire. The company screens prospective employees based on this set of characteristics. For the screening round, it uses machines that mimic human interviewers to accelerate the hiring process.

How do these machines identify these all-important qualities? It scans the answers job seekers give, and it looks for certain words and phrases that convey these attributes.

Here are the six key qualities that they believe employers are looking for, and how you can demonstrate them when searching for a job.

Confidence is imperative for job candidates. If you fumble this one, you’re out the door.

To determine the confidence level of a candidate, Harqen’s machine learning algorithm looks for action words that show you’ve accomplished things and aren’t afraid to talk about them. It looks for words like created, built, achieved, led, envisioned, and implemented. For example, if asked about your present job you might say “I led a team through the pandemic and created an even stronger, agile organization.”

Stay clear of words that are more passive. These suggest other people acted in some way and you were the recipient of that action. These include expressions like “I was led by,” or “I was seen as . . .” or “I was told” or “I was passed over.” Even saying “I was a manager” is less strong than saying “I managed.” Don’t talk about the role you were given; talk about what you accomplished in that role.

A second quality companies look for in job seekers is enthusiasm. Harqen’s CTO, Mark Unak. told me that the best way to show enthusiasm in your language is to use positive expressions. In fact, Harqen uses an index of positivity that goes from +5 to -5. At the top of the scale of positivity are superlative words like absolutely, astonishing, super, and love, as well as collegial words like relationships and team. These are high-voltage expressions that show a strong, positive attitude.

At the lower end of the positivity, scale are negative words like “abhor,” “abandon,” “abusive,” and “terrible.” Always put things in positive terms in interviews. Employers are looking for positive people.

A third quality employers look for, according to Unak, is the ability to influence, otherwise known as having clout. People who speak to others with a high degree of clout are strong, influential communicators. They are likely to draw others to them and inspire and convince.

How does the machine pick up this quality? According to Unak, it analyzes the pronouns you use. Most people talk more about themselves than about others, and they frequently use I, me, my mine, or myself. But, according to Unak, “those with clout communicate by shifting the focus from themselves to the group they belong to. They frequently use words like we, us, our, ours, ourselves.”

So if you want to show you have the capacity to influence others, don’t say “I did this” or “I did that.” Say, “We as a team have been amazing in staying focused during COVID-19.”

The ability to think analytically does not mean you have to go into detail about every situation or project you have undertaken. But it does mean you should show that you can analyze situations and find ways to address the issues at hand.

How does the machine detect this mindset in a candidate? It picks up on word clusters that show precision in your thinking. For example, if you’re an analytical thinker, you might say, “These are the facts that pertained directly to this situation.”

The opposite of an analytical thinker is a narrative thinker, who is less likely to get into the facts, but who focuses on the story. A narrative thinker might say, “We’ve got some great facts, if you’d like to see them.”

As you’re answering interview questions, be mindful not to skim the surface in your explanations. Be precise. For example, if you are leaving your job for a new opportunity you might say, “I have enjoyed my current position for several reasons. Here’s what they are.”

According to Tim Ihlefeld, president and CEO of Harqen, every employer wants employees who can help them solve problems and advance their business.

Harquen’s algorithm looks very closely at the candidate’s answer to an oft-asked question: “Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you had to solve an unexpected problem, and if so, what did you do and how did it turn out?” Job candidates should have a ready answer for this one.

If you’re preparing for an interview, think about how you solved an unexpected problem, and take your audience through each step of the process. Then write out and learn your response. Unak says that this question can account for a full 10% of a company’s hiring decision.

The final success factor for any aspiring employee is the ability to show that you really want to work for the company that’s interviewing you.

This can be determined by the way you answer the question “Why do you want to work for us?” According to Unak, this is the single most important question (and answer) in any job interview, and it needs to be thought through in advance. The answer to this question as well as your answer to how you’ve solved an unexpected problem can sometimes account for 100% of a firm’s hiring decision.

To do this, make sure your answer indicates that you have great respect for the company you’re applying to, you know their business well, and that you want to make a contribution and have a good understanding of what that contribution will look like.

Judith Humphrey is founder of The Humphrey Group, a premier leadership communications firm headquartered in Toronto. She is a regular columnist for Fast Company and is the author of three books: Impromptu: Leading in the Moment (2018), Speaking as a Leader: How to Lead Every Time You Speak (2012), and Taking the Stage: How Women Can Speak Up, Stand Out, and Succeed (2014)

8/16/2020 - Shoot for the Moon – What Skills Will Really Boost Your Employability?

by Laura Butler 

With the employment environment constantly changing, we are likely to see the emergence of new professions as well as the disappearance of many outdated ones within the following decade. The so-called ‘growth mindset’ has become a prerequisite for all of us rather than something only relevant for top performers. Shooting for the moon seems to be the only option as uncertainty becomes the only certain thing about the future labor market in many industries. Below we will analyze the skills that will boost your employability in 2020

Soft Skills
If your professionalism has reached the point above the ‘industry average’, emotional intelligence, and soft skills become a must for your future advancement. The most basic one of them is networking or the capability to build networks of trusted contacts allowing you to realize major projects, find new orders or pursue professional development goals. Team-building and communication skills are equally beneficial for both regular employees and managers having to improve the performance and cohesion within their subordinate units. Finally, cross-cultural awareness is becoming critical for modern companies operating across multiple time zones and relying on teams including remote workers from all over the world.

Learning and Team Building Skills
This name is used by many professional coaches to designate the skills that are highly useful for multiple areas of your professional operations. Learning capabilities may be a good example of this category since most well-paid professions are rapidly developing and require frequent ‘rehashing’ of what we already know. The 4C model includes communicating, creative thinking, critical thinking, and collaborating elements. They are responsible for the capability to acquire and structure new information, use creativity, and communicate ideas within established media to facilitate the learning of others. Being able to learn new skills, delegate important tasks, and brainstorm the developed concepts is critical for almost any profession of your choice. You also have to be able to teach and coordinate others if you want to use the powerful leverage of a well-built team to reach your professional goals faster.

Personal Branding Skills
In the modern world, people need to be aware of your achievements in order to employ your services or promote your career. Maintaining your online portfolio is a must for freelancers surviving in a gig economy but is equally critical for fully-employed professionals in the highly turbulent labour market. It is preferable to maintain your own website to be independent of any technical problems of third-party platforms. Another good option is writing articles for professional blogs, moderating professional forums or engaging in online discussions related to your spheres of competence. If you are well-known for your expertise and regularly receive job offers from multiple sources, your employment stability is securely protected.

Basic HTML and Coding Skills
Let us face it, almost everyone can learn how to make a basic website after 3 months of training. The significance of coding skills and digital expertise has been promoted in recent years by such unexpected proponents as, one of the founders of the Black Eyed Peas band. There is no way around whether you want to develop a personal blog, become more versatile as a freelance designer or simply ensure that you always have alternative career paths if your industry segment collapses due to some digital disruption trend. This also ties in with the ‘complex problem-solving’ requirement posed by multiple employers since being aware of the functional elements of modern projects allows you to better understand their technical limitations and the best ways to manage them.

Hard and Soft Digital Skills
The development of big data solutions is expected to fully change the ways decisions are made in most industries within the following several years. A modern manager, marketer or software developer cannot accurately predict future trends and customer needs without exploring the vast arrays of information that cannot be processed by a single person anymore. If you belong to one of these professions, you may want to start exploring the current trends and popular solutions in cloud computing and data analytics right now to start building your awareness and competence.

Time Management
The gig economy is here. While it may not be blatantly obvious for most full-time employees yet, corporations are starting to use more and more freelance workforce from multiple time zones to address demand fluctuations and allocate workloads more effectively. In just several years, many talented professionals may become freelancers with multiple employers and a complex schedule of intermediary submissions, project coordination milestones, and conference calls at 4 A.M. Time management is another meta-skill allowing you to manage your work/life balance and ensure that you can reasonably ‘squeeze in’ more tasks within a limited time span.

Leadership Skills
Last but not least, your development as a professional may be hindered by the need to build a qualified team of subordinate specialists or organize your own company to realize your strategic vision. In all of these cases, you will have to understand complex personal motivations, find ways to increase staff engagement, and effectively delegate some tasks. While leadership skills may be highly complex to develop, they can open new horizons for your professional growth.

A recent IBM study identified that up to 120 million workers will require re-training or career adjustments in the nearest future due to the emergence of modern technologies, automation, and AI development. As no one can predict how these disruptions will change various industries, your best course is to become self-guided in your personal development. Make sure that you allocate sufficient time to build your own personal brand and spend at least one hour on a daily basis developing alternative skills and soft skills. You can also use popular free business resources for entrepreneurs or career-driven individuals to assist you in remedying knowledge deficiencies in your areas of choice. Keep in mind that the occurring changes may be both a burden and a window of opportunity since new challenges can only be faced by a minor share of specialists with good foresight. Hence, investing time and resources in the development of such competencies can make you a highly demanded professional in your sphere of competence in just several years.

Laura Butler is co-owner at Outreach Lab, who specializes in providing content writing and SEO services to businesses around the world. Having worked in multiple start-ups over the years, she has experience in building businesses from the ground up. Laura enjoys writing content on a variety of topics, from business strategy, sustainability, to marketing, and SEO.

8/9/2020 - How to show off your professional accomplishments without turning people off

In this bonus chapter from ‘Brag Better,’ author Meredith Fineman discusses how to approach your job search by walking the balance between showing off your value and coming off as self-promotional.

One day in the future, we will be back to shaking hands and attending in-person meetings in offices filled with coworkers. Until then, we all have to strengthen our ability to communicate our accomplishments and skill sets to our managers, coworkers, clients, and broader audiences without leaving the couch.

 We are in unprecedented, scary, and shaky times. Everyone has their personal filters to navigate news coverage—and you can’t let them forget about you and your work. The stakes are extremely high around your job, your career, and your place in the professional world. You have to be as explicit as possible about why you’re special, what you’re best at, and how you add value. Nobody can acknowledge and celebrate your work until you do.

We—the freelancers, current workers, CEOs, employees tasked with attracting new clients, employees with managers, the unemployed—have to work to, what I call, “Brag Better,” both online and from home. The good news is that you have the tools to do so, but it will be a matter of being clearer and louder about your work than ever before.

The group I refer to as the “Qualified Quiet” are smart people who struggle to talk about themselves, and thus go underestimated or unrecognized. This group spans gender, race, sexual identity, and seniority; each of these factors plays deeply into the difficulties we have with bragging. That said, it’s in your power to increase your influence, starting today.

There are three pillars to “Brag Better”—be loud, proud, and strategic. Loud means repetition, consistency, and a commitment to continually sharing your work without fear. Pride means a conviction that your accomplishments are worth talking about, and they are expressed as factual statements. It’s less anxiety-provoking to talk about your work when you think of it as simply stating facts. Finally, to be strategic, you need to work backward from what you want as a result of bragging better. Is it recognition in the true public sense, like television or speeches? Is it more face time with those in power at your company? Or is it another kind of recognition, such as a raise or a bump in funding?

This is hard work during the best of times, and especially now. Here are some tips to help you nail the content, tone, delivery, and flair for sharing hard work, setting yourself up for a more interconnected and digital bragging future.

Buy the domain of your name. It’s time to start thinking about a personal site, even if it’s just your bio and links to work. You want to own the conversation around you, and that means having your own corner of the internet.

Look at how you are describing yourself online. Is it all consistent? Check your personal website, your company’s website, your social media, and anywhere else you might be writing or contributing.

Ask your boss (even if that boss is you) how to communicate your wins when you’re not in the office. Does your boss like to see a roundup each week? Does he or she want to get on a call? Be sure to brag to his or her style; otherwise, it’s useless.

In this anxious time, you don’t need to aim to “break through” or “win big.” It’s more important to stay consistent and strong.

You are preparing yourself for the new workplace, which might look different, but you will have a handle on all of this. You can begin anywhere, it’s never too early or too late to “brag better,” and your accomplishments—no matter how small you might deem them, probably unfairly so—are worth talking about.

To brag effectively is a difficult muscle to flex, but you can pick up those small weights, start doing reps, and improve your ability to showcase your strengths, thoughtfully, with time.

Meredith Fineman is the founder and CEO of FinePoint, a leadership and professional development company that elevates individuals, from young professionals to CEOs. She is the author of the upcoming book Brag Better: Master the Art of Fearless Self-Promotion.