20 Career-Boosting Steps You Can Take Before New Year’s Eve

 

tm-pilbox.global.ssl.fastly.net

It’s December, and you’ve worked hard all year long. You wrote enough emails to fill a novel. You spent an average of seven hours a day on your computer. And, if you were working full-time, you probably spent 42 hours of your life battling traffic during your daily commute.

Whoa. If anyone deserves a chance to kick back and relax, it’s you!

But as tempting as it may be to spend the rest of December curled up with a big mug of cocoa, a snuggly blanket, and a never-ending Netflix queue, you probably want to avoid hibernating all month long.

Regardless of whether your job status is employed or unemployed, you shouldn’t underestimate the importance of getting a jump-start on your career in the year ahead in the final days of the month.

Use the next few weeks wisely so that you can finish 2015 feeling clear, focused, and organized when the year comes to an inevitable close. (If you’re job hunting, this is an especially good time to get your ducks in a row because January is one of the best times to apply for a new job.)

Here are 20 career-boosting action steps to complete before the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s Eve.

1. Write Down Your Wins

Make a list of your top 10 professional accomplishments from the past year. You can incorporate these “wins” into your resume the next time you spruce it up—employers love seeing descriptions of “accomplishments” as opposed to “duties.”

2. Congratulate Someone on His or Her Career Success

By celebrating others’ “wins,” you’ll reinforce the belief that you’re a positive, encouraging person—two qualities that are on every employer’s wish list!

3. Redesign Your Professional Materials

Order beautiful new business cards. And then, when that’s set, think about revamping your personal website.

4. Clean Out Your Inbox

Don’t just delete old emails and archive others. Take the next step and unsubscribe from mailing lists that waste your time.

5. Send a Thank You Note

Think of a colleague, manager, or mentor who helped or inspired you this past year, and let that person know you’re grateful for his or her assistance or inspiration. Sure, you could use email. But it would be better to use pen and paper. A handwritten note is a simple, classy way to make people feel special—and strengthen your professional network.

6. Read Up on How to Get Your Resume Close to Perfection

More specifically, read these 43 tips. They will only get you closer to getting that job you want. So, tweak your resume accordingly, or don’t be afraid to start over from scratch instead of building on one you’ve had for years.

7. Make That Revamped Resume Stylish

Find a beautiful new template among one of these 275 free templates and go forward with confidence as you send it out. (After tailoring it for each job, of course.)

8. Contact an Expert if You’re Lost

If you’re feeling stuck or don’t know where to begin, it might be worth it to pay an expert or hire a coach to get you past your obstacle. (You can book a session with me or one of our other Muse coaches right here.)

9. Learn How to Answer the Most Common Interview Questions

Your resume’s only doing the first part of the talking. The interview step is hugely important and not one that you can risk blowing. Prepare in advance by running through these common questions and you’ll likely ace it.

10. Update Your Professional Wardrobe

Need some style inspiration, ladies? Or, gentleman? Make sure to purchase items that are both professional and industry-appropriate.

11. Invest in a Standing Desk

You won’t believe the health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. It’s well worth speaking to your office manager about getting one for the office.

12. Reorganize Your Workspace

Remove clutter. Add beauty. Make a vision board or write a career manifesto and hang it above your desk.

13. Get on a Healthier Sleep Schedule

It’s no news that many Americans are sleep deprived, and being chronically tired is just as bad as going into work tipsy. The more rest you give yourself, the sharper and more productive you will be.

14. Google Yourself

Distasteful social media content? Snarky blog comments? That YouTube video that you uploaded during Mardi Gras circa 2009 still around? Put yourself in a recruiter’s shoes, and make sure your online footprint makes a good first impression.

15. Take Your LinkedIn Presence to the Next Level

Start by adding a personal note when you send out invitations to join your network. You’d be surprised by how few people do this, so it’ll really make you stand out and get noticed.

16. Reach Out to 6 People You’d Like to Connect With

Start lining up coffee date for the first few weeks of January. (And before you go on any of them, make sure you know how to have the best coffee date ever.)

17. Choose a Skill You Want to Improve in 2016

It could be public speaking, time management, or creative writing. Sign up for a class, seminar, weekly writing group, whatever makes sense for you and whatever might get you motivated. Then decide how you’re going to develop that skill. Block out the time on your calendar now.

18. Read a Few Career-Boosting Classics

I recommend Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People and Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. More of a listener? Subscribe to a smart podcast or two. Mmm. Brain food you’ll actually start to crave.

19. Fill Your Inspiration Tank to the Brim

Read these 45 beautiful pieces of career advice. Or these 50 inspirational quotes that’ll make you feel ready to take on the world. Or, at least your personal goals.

20. Write Out Your One-Year Plan

Whether you’re looking to make a move or are currently satisfied at your job, figure out what you plan to do to take your career to the next level. Maybe it’s telling your network you’re looking to make a move. Or, perhaps it’s getting a promotion (and a raise!). Whatever it is, figure out how you’re going to make it happen.

And if you do only one thing? Make an effort to re-connect with people you admire. Strengthen the relationships in your professional network. You never know how one follow-up email, thank-you note or holiday card might impact your career.

https://www.themuse.com/advice/20-careerboosting-steps-you-can-take-before-new-years-eve?ref=carousel-slide-1

 

Check out our website at http://www.SuperianSources.com

Advertisements

4 Mistakes Not to Make When Answering “Why Are You Interested in This Position?”

tm-pilbox.global.ssl.fastly.net

Hiring managers don’t always say what’s on their minds, and sometimes this results in a less effective interviewing experience for you, the job candidate. But, regardless of how good or bad your interviewer is, you’ll very likely still get this question: “Why are you interested in this position?”

The reason for that is because your answer says a lot about all of the most important things the interviewer will be evaluating: your skills, your cultural fit, and your interest. In other words, this is definitely not a question you want to screw up. Here are four common mistakes and how to avoid them.
1. You Never Talk About the Company

I recently had a conversation with a recruiter, and she shared this great tidbit with me about what she considers to be the kiss of death for interviews. When people answer, “Why are you interested in this position?” with something about being passionate about programming, writing, or some other skill with no mention at all about the actual company, it’s immediately a red flag. Think about it this way: You can bring your skills anywhere. The trick is explaining why you want to use them for this particular company.
2. You Only Say What’s in it for You

This mistake is particularly common because, well, this is what the question is asking for, isn’t it? Maybe this job would give you the chance to learn a lot about marketing, or it’s an opportunity to grow your quantitative analysis skills—that’s great, but it’s not what your interviewer really wants to hear. At the moment, the hiring manager isn’t the most invested in what’s in it for you; he or she wants to know what’s in it for the company. The solution? Align your interests and say something about your enthusiasm for using your skills to contribute to the company’s greater goal.
3. You Bring Up Points That Aren’t Relevant

In the heat of the moment, it can be really tempting to reveal that the office is actually quite close to your daughter’s school or how the company’s flexible hours policy would make it easier to carpool with your roommate, but don’t give in. These are nice perks, but (hopefully) they’re not the only reason why this position is exciting for you. Plus, you’ll be giving up an opportunity to share the more relevant ones.
4. You Answer the Wrong Question

Have you ever gone on a date with someone who wouldn’t stop talking about his or her ex? Well, turns out this happens during job interviews, too. Don’t be that person who can’t shut up about why you need to leave your old job, stat. Even if the reason you’re job searching is directly related to your previous position, focus on the future. Bring up the skills you’ve developed for sure, but no need to dive into the history of how you acquired them.

This seemly innocuous question is a surprisingly tricky one, especially if you try to answer it without first thinking about your audience. Read this to learn more about how to answer this question strategically. Then, get your story straight, and remember who you’re talking to. It’s just one question, but it can completely shape the way an interviewer views your candidacy.

 

https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-mistakes-not-to-make-when-answering-why-are-you-interested-in-this-position-1

 

Please check out Superian Sources at http://www.SuperianSources.com

16 Career-Boosting Lists to Make in 2016

tm-pilbox.global.ssl.fastly.net.jpgThere’s nothing I love more than a good list, especially at the end of the year, when reflecting and resolution-making abound.

You, too? Then here are 16 lists to make in 2016 that’ll help you do both of those activities, plus get a head start on that job search or promotion you’re planning to ask for.

Make one, or make them all—I promise every single one is more fun than your to-do list.

1. Companies You Want to Work For

This is a no-brainer if you’re actively job-searching: Having a list with your favorite companies, their websites, any contacts you have there, and links to their jobs pages makes hunting for openings a whole lot easier. But even if you’re not, this is good to have as part of your career emergency plan. (You have that, right?)

2. 10 Innovative Ideas Off the Top of Your Head

I got this idea from Muse Master Coach John Gannon: Start each day by writing down 10 ideas you have about a specific subject—something related to your job, an industry trend, whatever. As he writes, “[Entrepreneur James Altucher] says that if you generate 10 ideas a day, every day, for six months straight that you will become an ‘Idea Machine’—someone who can come up with great ideas in any situation about any topic. And you can use these ideas for your own benefit, or send the list to someone who could use them—whether that’s your boss, another team at work, or a friend.”

3. People You Should Know to Get Ahead

Think: People who work for your dream companies, people who would be awesome mentors, people further ahead than you on your career path—really anyone who will inspire you to push yourself. Having this makes networking a whole lot more efficient. Oh, and don’t be afraid to put a few “reach” people on your list, too! Arianna Huffington was on mine, and I met her at an event a few months later.

4. Books You Want to Read

Because next time you need a good read, you don’t want to spend hours browsing Goodreads when you could be deep into Chapter 3. Want a ready-made list to make your life even easier? Here are 20 books the world’s most successful people recommend you pick up.

5. What You Want to Happen in 2016

A lot of us set resolutions for the year ahead, but I like framing this exercise as: What do I want to happen in the next year? Feel free to include both work-related goals and personal goals. And then couple this list with…

6. What You Want to Leave in 2015

Are there bad habits you want to give up, work responsibilities you’d like to trade for more advanced tasks, even people you’d like to stop talking to? Add them to a list as a reminder that, come 2016, your time and energy is better spent elsewhere.

7. Your Career Bucket List

Once you’ve done your annual planning, now’s the time to dream big. Do you want to work abroad? Write a book? Start a company? Found a nonprofit? Have a corner office with a view of Central Park? Add it to this list, then keep it somewhere you can refer to when you’re feeling aimless.

8. “Got a Minute?” To-Dos

There are plenty of times you have a few minutes to spare—like when you’re on hold or waiting for a meeting to start. Rather than wasting those moments on Facebook, make a list of tiny to-dos you could get done. Here’s a starter list you can build from.

9. “Got a Slow Day?” To-Dos

There also might be times you have a few hours—even a full day—to spare. (Stuck in the office during the holidays, anyone?) Make a list of back-burner projects at work (or at home) that you want to get done…someday.

10. A “Not Right Now” List

Speaking of someday, if you want to achieve all those goals you’ve set out, you’re likely going to need to deprioritize less important tasks. So think of this an opposite-day list: Add things you’re absolutely, positively not going to spend time on—for now. As entrepreneur Frank Addante writes for Inc.: “It’s a list on which you put things that you don’t have time to work on right now, but you don’t want to take off your To-Do list. As the adage says, ‘out of sight, out of mind.’ If you unclutter your mind, you’ll be more effective in getting things done.”

11. Your Biggest Accomplishments

Start by making a list of 10 things you accomplished in 2015 that you’re really, really proud of. Then, every time you do something awesome this year, add it to the list. It’s a great motivator when you’re feeling like nothing’s going right, and it’ll make updating your resume a whole lot easier.

12. Lunches to Make

In 2015, I had a goal to bring my lunch to work more. (I didn’t do as well as I’d liked.) But what helped the most was creating a list of recipes I could make, complete with the ingredients I needed to add to my shopping list. It’s sort of like your own little menu. A few of my favorites? Healthy lasagna, mason jar salads, and Thai chicken lettuce wraps.

13. What You’re Grateful For

You’ve likely read about the benefits of focusing daily on the things you’re thankful for. Make that easier on yourself by turning them into a list and posting it someplace you’ll see often. (Bonus career karma points if at least a few of them are work-related.)

14. Things You Do Better Than Most People

This idea comes from writer Minda Zetlin: Create a list of “your core competencies, the things you can build your success on.” This has several benefits (other than a confidence boost). For starters, it’ll help you really focus on what sets you apart from others when you’re writing cover letters, your LinkedIn profile, or your personal website copy. It’s also a good gut check—if you realize that your current job rarely lets you utilize your top skills and abilities, it might be time for a change.

15. Things You Want to Try

There are probably activities you’ve thought about trying at some point—learning Photoshop, trying public speaking, mentoring a junior employee—but you don’t put them on any of these other lists because, well, you don’t really know if you’d like them. Put those activities here as a reminder, and next time you’re feeling bored, give one of them a whirl.

16. Sayings to Live By

This final idea comes from Artjournalist (which also has a great list of list prompts): a “Manifesto list.” The author asks, “What are some words and phrases to live by that are part of your life’s manifesto? Make a list of sayings to live by.”

https://www.themuse.com/advice/16-careerboosting-lists-to-make-in-2016?ref=recently-published-0

 

Check out our website http://www.SuperianSources.com

5 Boss-Approved Changes to Make to Your Work Routine That’ll Boost Your Productivity

downloadAs much as I love my routines (and schedules! And time management apps!), I know that some days, all the to-do lists in the world just don’t cut it when it comes to being productive. So, what’s an organized person to do when he or she just can’t get work done?

Mix it up! Whether you need time to focus on something more complex or have a project that requires more creativity, changing up your daily routine can be the way to go. The trick is to change it up in a way that doesn’t upset your boss (like taking a last-minute vacation to clear your mind) or affect your team (pushing back a deadline for a major project).

After a little bit of trial and error, I’ve come up with five methods that always seem to do the trick:

1. Try Working From a Different Space

Sometimes what your brain needs is a change of scenery. If you’re lucky enough to work in a city that has an abundance of Wi-Fi cafes or a service like Breather, check those out—even if it’s just for an hour or two. Otherwise, even working from a different part of the office can do: Try your kitchen, an open conference room, or even a lobby couch to see if one helps you think more clearly.

2. Switch Up Your Meeting Formats

Routine isn’t just about location, it’s also about the novelty wearing off and complacency kicking in. One solution to combat that is to try new formats for your meetings.

For example, try a walking meeting instead of taking your one-on-one in a conference room. Or, suggest converting a weekly update (where people repeat themselves every week) to an email. Then you can use that original time slot to address any questions or concerns. It’ll be shorter and more efficient.

And, if you have the flexibility, consider moving your appointments around to have a no-meeting day once a week or simply shifting them to keep your most productive time of day open for “real work.”

3. Take a Coffee Meeting with Yourself

For smaller projects that’ll only take an hour or two, I can’t recommend the following strategy more: Take yourself out to coffee (and a baked good!).

Whenever I have an important project to complete, I have a morning meeting with myself at my favorite local café. This works especially well for any work requiring creativity or focus. In fact, I’ve used this time for brainstorming a new process at The Muse, wireframing a new feature (most recently: Coach Connect), and writing a job description for a critical hire.

Pro tip: Put this meeting on your calendar like you would any other to protect the time, and set the project you want to get done as the event title.

4. Work From Home

Working from home, either for a morning or for a full day, is one of the best ways I’ve found to get large, challenging projects completed on time. The key is no meetings and no distractions (and yes, that means no TV playing in the background). Get in the zone and get. it. done. I’ve used working from home successfully to review and approve company taxes, work on a big product roadmap, and research a complex state policy.

If you’re in an office that requires sign-off from your boss to do this, and you don’t think he or she will be all that into it, make sure to sell it correctly. As a manager myself, I’d recommend pushing the fact that’ll it will help you complete a specific important project that you have on your plate. And then, the key to getting this approved again is to actually complete it.

5. Take a Workcation

If all else fails, work from the beach. Or work from a cabin in the woods with great Wi-Fi. Or from Rome. Definitely Rome.

Sound too good to be true? It’s not! Yes, this requires more advance planning, and you’re going to need to get your supervisor on board—but the pay-off is off the charts when it comes to productivity. Muse editor Erin Greenawald lays out everything you need to know to to plan out the perfect workcation. So you’re one article (and one big ask from your manager) away from booking those plane tickets and doing your work while laying out.

As awesome as your daily routine may be, switching up the way you plan your day (or where you plan it from) can have a huge effect on your productivity, mood, and work. So, if you’re in a rut and struggling to get everything done—test one of these out today.

The Modern Recruiter is Part Artist, Part Scientist

To be a great recruiter today, you have to be part artist and part scientist.

Now, that doesn’t mean pulling out your watercolors and test tubes — chances are, you’re already a lot more creative and analytical than you think.

the-modern-recruiter-part-artist-part-scientist_r3

Consider your day-to-day activities as a recruiter.

You’re constantly interacting with people, matching the perfect candidate with a role and evaluating skill sets and personalities. You’re also marketing and selling both yourself and your jobs and acting as an advisor to leadership. Now, if all that doesn’t require some artistry, then I don’t know what does.

But, you can’t solely rely on your ability to think outside the box. Today, you have to have data and facts to back up your decisions and get buy-in from the rest of your organization. You also have to be up to date and able to take advantage the latest trends, tools, and innovations.