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The job hunt is a tiring, confusing process. When we have clear direction for our next step, it can be easier to draft a plan with tactics. But what about when you’re not sure what you want from your next position? Here are some ways you can start mapping and planning your next position, even if you’re not quite sure what you want that position to be.

  1. The Good Stuff. Start tracking the things you enjoy about your work currently. It can be the skills you’ve acquired, the people you work with, the company’s investment in their employees or the way it makes you feel. Look for trends in the positives, and note that you want more of them.
  2. Talk. Meet with people who are the same as you and different. If you think you’d like your role more somewhere else, chat with someone who does what you do, somewhere else. If you think you’d like to try out a different type of role, chat with those people too. Not only are these conversations helpful, but you can ask many questions in an informal setting and find out more honest, off-the-cuff feedback. You just may discover that you’re experiencing the grass is greener. Or, you may find a role you want next, or a company you’re interested in. Better yet, you just met people who can give you great advice – or access to their head recruiter. Expert tip? Go for coffee before work. It doesn’t take up too much of anyone’s time, lets everyone keep their evenings free and gives everyone the coffee fix they wanted anyway.
  3. Track Success. Once you start interviewing, you’ll get lots of questions about how you’ve handled situations in the past. Even if you’re looking for a slightly different role, by keeping track of things that have gone well, or that you’ve learned from, you’ll have great fodder for those conversations. Or for your next review!
  4. Build Skills. If you need more of something to take on another role, go ahead and do it. Between coursera, udemy and local workshops you can build up your expertise in many areas. Consider it a small investment for your future career.
  5. Evaluate. Think about what values are important to you in your next career. It can be that you want to work somewhere smaller, larger or that you want to make sure people move around a bit.
  6. Go Inside. As you’re looking at all the details you have in front of you, think about if you could fulfill these needs in your current company or role. Do you have the support of your manager to extend your skills further? If so, think about levering your current company’s offerings to expand your career.
  7. Remember. Remember that your career if fluid, as are your needs. It’s possible what you need today could be different than what you want tomorrow. In the same way that your needs may change, remember that it’s okay if things are quite aligned at this moment. The only constant is change, right?

Go craft!

Credits:
http://www.inc.com/peter-economy/7-awesome-ways-to-map-out-your-dream-job.html?cid=sf01001
https://www.themuse.com/advice/7-ways-to-lay-the-groundwork-for-your-next-job-even-if-you-dont-know-what-it-is
http://good.co/blog/2013/06/12/how-to-create-your-dream-job-10-steps/

So you’ve got your paper offer, and are talking about start dates. Most companies, at least in many metropolitan cities, will ask for an immediate start. “We needed you yesterday!” they shout. If it’s project-based work, it’s possible that is quite true. The two-week resignation is extremely common, and I’m not even sure where it started, but it’s fairly ubiquitous. But, that doesn’t mean you should start in two weeks.  No no no. Here are some reasons why!

  1. Looking for a new job is stressful. You may not even realize it, but attending all those interviews, trying to catch up on work, completing challenges, hopping on phone calls and networking your behind off takes a toll on you. You may feel like you should continue rolling at fifty miles an hour, but wouldn’t it be better to take some you-time and relax?
  2. Breaks offer perspective. Along the same vein as recommending taking a vacation when works got you bogged down, consider taking a min-vacation before you start your new job. Let your mind wander, take a long lunch, stroll in a new neighborhood. All these activities let your brain work through thoughts without having the constant flow of email communication. Allow yourself to breathe for a moment, and arrive for your new role rejuvenated, and ready to go.
  3. Time off gives you a moment to restart. You have laundry piling up, calls to make, chores to do. All of these items were being neglected. By taking a few days (even just one!) you have a chance to come in bright eyed and bushy tailed, rather than on the tailwind of your last big meeting presentation.

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to take a week off between jobs, but, at least take a day or two. Plus, starting in a new place comes with all kinds of surprises like finding your new commute, figuring out who to have lunch with or discovering your new team. These activities are tiring! By starting on a Wednesday, you only have three days of aggressive learning before you can take a two-day break to recharge. To breaks!

You got the job! Woo! Congratulations! Well done. In this scenario, it feels like it only took moments, right? I’m kidding. But, when you leave a company for a new role, there are some great steps you can take to ensure you’re leaving your team in good standing:

  • Give time. Let your manager as soon as you’ve signed on the dotted line that you’re leaving. Come prepared with a proposal for how to divide and conquer your work while they plan to hire, and begin creating hand-off documents.
  • Transition smoothly. No one wants phone calls from an old employer asking where some file is. So, make it easy for them and get everything backed up on your server, all contact information shared and updates on every project you have running. Leave things in good standing.
  • Thank everyone. The people you worked with were fantastic, except for Jim. Take the time to thank them for their support, awesomeness and fun times. Focus on where you grew and who you learned from. Including Jim. He probably taught you many things.
  • Be honest. Tactfully tell the HR department on your exit interview your pain points, and any solutions for future employees. Stay positive and upbeat, especially with this boomerang mentality that’s been increasing.

Leaving a job is a weird thing, especially when you’ve built really strong personal relationships with your coworkers. Be careful to remain supportive, and try not to vent too much on your previous employer – your coworkers who are still there are on their own path, and will reach out when they’re ready.

I said I’d give more about resume tips, and I’ve snagged quite a few websites that can help you get started, but, I’ve also outlined a few of my favorite tips and tricks to get started.

Borrow from the Best – Scour the internet using keywords of the types of roles you’re looking for and see how they’ve organized their resume. Focus on what makes you excited in a resume when you look at them too.

Review the Goods – While you’re seeking resumes, take another hard look at your own skillset. What do you want to highlight? Sometimes we seek to highlight what’s most sought after at our current role, but, if you’re looking to make a slight transition, think about it in terms of your hiring manager. Sure, you may be incredible at putting together proposals, but, if you’re hoping to move closer to content generation rather than proposals, highlight the success you’ve had in those areas more heavily.

Don’t Fear Double Effort – In the world of job hunting, job titles and roles can mean different things to different people or companies. Feel free to create more than one resume that helps you target different aspects of your role. If you’re thinking about consulting roles, focus on how your client relationships on that resume. But for the resumes that are going to in-house companies, you might want to think about the team coaching you’ve done more.

Get Tight on the Story – The resume is something that folks scan, and, they’re usually looking for the exact title they want, exact role description or industry experience. You may find that if you’re trying to move into something slightly new, you may have a hard time getting in the door. However! Don’t let that stop you from making sure the content of your resume is clear, simple and highlights metric-related accomplishments. Even if you’re in a creative field, highlighting if you’ve worked on global versus national programs, or, if you’ve managed to run a large budget – get ready to brag those up!

Find Ways to Bring the “YOU” In – Don’t be afraid to add details that make your resume feel more like you. Have fun selecting fonts, colors, thinking about how you lay out the page. Or, you can even think about new ways to put together your resume – use a website instead! Develop a paper airplane that can fly into the hiring managers room! Create an elaborate board game that the winner gets to hire you! If you’re feeling like the resume is holding you back, don’t forget about the opportunity to write cover letters to help share your expertise and your excitement.

And, an aggregation of some links you should check out for resume support:

https://www.themuse.com/advice/43-resume-tips-that-will-help-get-you-hired
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/resume-tips/
http://www.forbes.com/sites/naomishavin/2014/07/16/tips-for-the-perfect-resume-and-cover-letter/
https://hbr.org/2014/12/how-to-write-a-resume-that-stands-out
https://www.asme.org/career-education/articles/job-hunting/6-tips-for-writing-an-effective-resume

It’s possible I’ll write more about this in the future, but I figured you could start with some experts!

So you’ve decided that it’s goodbye to current company, on to the next one. Congrats on making the decision to change jobs. It’s a difficult decision to make, to decide that you’re done with a current place or role, and that you need to leave in order to fulfill your general desires.

Now that you’re rolling on out, here are some good steps to take to make the process as seamless as possible. Read on dear friends.

  • Double-check in with yourself. Is this the time? Is there anything your current company could do to make you stay? If so, start considering taking that route. If there’s a lot that you like in your current role, and there’s just a few key pieces to focus on, you may want to give your company and supervisor a chance to make the change. Be aware that using ultimatums will hint to them that you’re thinking about leaving, so you may want something tangible to back anything up.
  • Find the good (and bad). Start tracking what you like about your current role, company or supervisor. Start tracking what you don’t like, and write them all down. These focal points will help you hone in your job search.
  • Drop to 90%. Job hunting is a second job, and working while looking is incredibly difficult. In order to commit to both your new job and current job, find some space to drop a bit. It may be as simple as keeping a to-do list rather than keeping it in your head. Or, reducing your water cooler time so that you can leave a bit earlier for an interview.
  • Commit to your tasks. As much as you’re dropping a bit of your energy, you don’t want to leave your current position and company in disgrace. While working, be clear about what you can complete and when, rather than letting anything slide.
  • Keep it out of the office. Starting to share that you’re thinking about leaving brews an unhappy concoction. Keep your job hunt to yourself, and keep your job hunting hours off work hours (and off your work computer). If you have some trusted advisors you can lean on them for network connections, but overall, try to keep your hunt your own personal hunt.
  • Prep for the role. Off work hours, start reading other job postings, especially ones at your own company. Identify the parts of the role that you enjoy, and language that’s used, and start to hunt for job roles that use similar language. Consider adding language to your resume that mirrors it.
  • Resume prep. To come… there’s so much out there for resumes!


Good luck!

So a previous post was about how to go to work when you are just simply not having it. I get you. It’s hard. It’s really very hard. It makes many mornings feel like you’re about to explode with sadness and Sunday evenings be a slow demise. So, let’s take a deeper dive into your job. True motivation really comes from within, intrinsically, I mean, so it’s possible that some of your job disengagement is stemming from needing a quick reboot.

  • What can you change? When you’re feeling not so happy on a daily basis, take a quick run-down of what’s in your control, and grab a hold of it. Set up meetings, coffees, and come prepared with a plan.
  • Vent. But keep it small, and consider who you’re talking to. It’s possible you may want to lay your five minutes on your significant other each evening, but it won’t go over well. Instead, spread around the sad-train, but keep it short, to the point, and offer ideas while really listening to the feedback. If you don’t want advice, make it clear, but, everyone could use a second opinion.
  • Speak up (to your boss). It’s one thing to be the grumpy gus, but if you can propose solutions and actively listen to the feedback, you can make some changes. And, you can be real with your boss about how you’re feeling and find some middle ground.
  • Recognize the good. You can’t change everything, and as much as you may hate everything right now. Take a moment to identify what makes you happy there. It could be the people, the snacks, the hours, maybe the fact that when you tell someone new your job they say “oo.” By doing a quick reminder of what you do in fact like, you may be feeling a bit more positive.
  • Learn. Everything can be a learning experience. It’s possible a lot of what you don’t like is out of your control, but some may be based on skill sets that you need to develop. Use your time at your job to take a hard look inward at what you could improve upon. Maybe it’s email communication, water-cooler socializing, internal politics or self-promotion. No matter what it is, there’s something to learn.
  • Keep checking in. By really giving yourself a jump-start to try to love your job more, you’re invigorating all your good vibe energy. That’s fantastic! As that’s happening, continue to connect with yourself, and see how these changes align with your general well-being. If after making some changes you’re still feeling pretty crappy on Sunday’s thinking about the work week ahead… you just may want to make a change.

Woo

Credits:
http://lifehacker.com/how-to-keep-going-when-youre-demotivated-at-work-1631681320?utm_content=bufferad5e1&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

There’s enough out there for us to discuss if it’s important to love your job – think of that saying that if you love your job you’ll never a work a day in your life. And, don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll spend some time focusing on work/love/play.

Today though, I want to focus on when you don’t love your job – or you simply don’t love your job on this day. It can be a really disheartening thing to not want to go to work each day yet you have to. So! Here are some tips to make today more manageable as you pack your lunch.

Sleep! Sleep makes everything seem easier. I promise!
Eat! Make your lunch, or make a plan to leave your desk, get outside, and find something healthy. No, chinese food from the place that you’re slightly scared of doesn’t count.
Workout! Pumping some iron or hitting the pavement will get you more amped for your day. And it’ll give you endorphins. Which makes you happy – thanks Legally Blonde.
Cut! Cut out some of your communications with people who you work with that generally complain. Complaining can feel good for the venting moment, but it doesn’t give actionable steps for improvement. Next time your colleague is complaining, try asking them what they would do to fix the problem, rather than just be upset about it. Or, try asking them about their weekend! Switch it to a fun water cooler chat instead of bashing Jim and his processes.
Write! Write some sentences each day in the beginning and the end about what you like and don’t like. Let that knowledge help you figure out if this is simply a low point, or a flag to start hunting.
Create! Expand your brain in new ways, maybe take a ceramics class (I’m crushing mine) or schedule some weekend hikes. Or, start researching something you’re interested in. Make a podcast! Learn to play guitar!
Gate! Create boundaries for yourself. Being always on means being always annoyed. Find times to shut down your computer and stop answering email. By allowing yourself some distance you’re having lots of mini-vacations!
Plan! If you really aren’t loving things, start taking action. Schedule time in your day to job hunt, and start having informational calls to learn more about other companies you may like. Try looking at LinkedIn, Glassdoor or your college’s alumni association.

Hope some of this helps – and if you have more tips, send them my way!

 

Credits:
http://my.happify.com/hd/how-to-stay-positive-when-everyone-around-you-is-complaining/
https://hbr.org/2015/03/your-late-night-emails-are-hurting-your-team

are you my manager

When we join a new company bright-eyed and bushy tailed, we don’t always take into account that our primary connection to that company may be our boss. In the post about the questions to ask before you accept a job, I mentioned you should meet your boss (a lot) and meet their direct reports. I stand by that. But what do you do when that boss just isn’t up to snuff once you join? Or, if you have a constant rotation of new bosses. You know that book Are You My Mother? It can be like that at times, and you may need to fight the urge to start asking new bosses just how long they’re planning on staying around for. Just so I’m ready for the next changeover.

Nina Sunday posted a great story to LinkedIn explaining that employees don’t leave their companies, they leave their managers. In order to encourage engagement, direct management is one of the main drivers to focus on as a company.

To be clear, I don’t believe all employees should become managers, even if they have more experience. Something to consider in a company is whether or not someone will be a good manager, and if they want to be a manager in the first place. There should be ways to create upward mobility within a company that do not require every employee to have direct reports. Some employees just aren’t cut out to be managers, and that shouldn’t dock them points in the corporate ladder.

Some areas that make managers pretty up to snuff are:

  1. Recognize direct reports for a job well done
  2. Deliver consistent and transparent feedback
  3. Demonstrate visible support
  4. Offer clear direction
  5. Take the time to set goals

As an employee, you can take the opportunity to manage up a bit, and make it clear to your manager (or series of managers) that these five areas are important to you. If you manager doesn’t set up time with you, schedule bi-weekly 1x1s so you can try these approaches:

  • Recognize direct reports for a job well done – when you do a good job, toot your own horn and send a note to your manager. Even better, have someone you worked with do it.
  • Deliver consistent and transparent feedback – just ask your manager for feedback. Often.
  • Demonstrate visible support – when you require assistance, make it clear to your manager how you’d like to see them support you.
  • Offer clear direction – if you’re left puzzled, ask for clarification, no matter how silly it makes you feel.
  • Take the time to set goals – don’t wait for your manager to schedule that “optional” quarterly review, go ahead and schedule it with a prepped “Brag Bag” to talk through

As an employee, we can take some Manager issues into our own hands to encourage a strong mentorship between parties. It’s worked for me, maybe it will work for you.

 

Credits: @iconmonstr, Thinking designed by Michael V. Suriano from the Noun Project

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