Here’s Everything You Shouldn’t Do if You Want to Make a Good Impression at Your New Job

The first few days of a new job are always a bit stressful. You want to make a good impression, bond with your co-workers (the right ones, at least), and try not to get a label that’ll stick with you for the rest of your time there.

So how do you do that? By exuding confidence, being respectful, and most importantly, not being afraid to ask questions. You don’t have to try too hard—if the job is a good fit, you’ll naturally blend into the culture in no time.

And best of all, if you make a mistake, no one will remember it three months from now.

Watch this video on what to do—and especially what not to do—to “win” your first few weeks at work.

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5 Mistakes To Avoid When Negotiating Your Salary



Unless you’re Donald Trump, talking about money likely makes you pretty uncomfortable.

When it comes to making polite dinner conversation, this is probably for the best. But where discussing your salary is concerned, avoiding this talk is going to cost you a cool million over time.

No, that’s not a typo.

…The only thing worse than avoiding a salary negotiation all together? Completely botching on your ask.

I once had a new client—Jonah— tell me about the last time she tried to negotiate a job offer. The company she had been interning at offered her a full-time position after graduation. Jonah crunched the numbers, factored in her student loans, and proceeded to tell the HR rep that she would need an extra $10,000 to be able to “swing it” due to her loan payments.

The HR representative told her to take it or leave it.

Jonah turned it down — and has regretted that exchange ever since.

To be fair, having the salary conversation isn’t as clear-cut as it may seem. Here are a few of the biggest don’ts to avoid when it comes to negotiating your starting salary at a new job.

1. Don’t make it personal.


Even if you live in a city with a high cost of living. Even if you have unique medical expenses that you need to pay…. Even when you have $200,000 in student loans (like Jonah did).

When discussing salary, never, ever make it about your personal situation.

For starters, there’s nothing worse than a job candidate who tries to justify a salary negotiation due to their personal situation. The money you’re making should correlate only with the responsibility you’re taking on in the company. You cannot bring the personal into it. Companies don’t care, and frankly, shouldn’t care about the unique expenses that you have. You must keep it about the industry standards, the responsibility level and your qualifications. It’s as simple as this: The company has an opening, and someone taking on that responsibility level is worth X amount to them.

2. Never give your number first.

The first person to give away a number loses. If you’re asked to give a salary requirement, your answer should always be that you’re negotiable. You may have to divulge your current salary or salary requirements if you’re cornered into sharing it, but most of the time, recruiters and HR will accept the fact that you’re negotiable. Not to mention, not giving away a number gives you the chance to win over your potential future bosses without having a price tag attached to you. Show them that you’re the only candidate for this role. Play negotiation hardball when the job is offered to you.

3. Get informed of the industry standards for similar job responsibilities.

When negotiating salary, always focus on similar levels of responsibility. It means nothing if you tell a company that you’re being offered another job somewhere else at a different salary. But it does mean something when it’s of a similar responsibility in a similar industry. You really need to capture this idea of a “similar level” so that it feels less indiscriminate to HR, and more about what the market offers candidates like you… Do your homework, and be prepared to speak on industry standards that back up your salary asks.

4. Take your time.

It’s okay to ask for 24 hours to read through a job offer — especially if you need some time to consider what amount you’d like to negotiate for now that a number has been put on the table. I’ve had plenty of job seeker clients who are literally waiting to see if they get a better offer from somewhere else in the same week they get a job offer and need to buy themselves time (as a career coach, my favorite situation to hear about). If you need more than 24 hours, ask if it’s okay to get back to the company by the end of the week, or within a few days. Asking for anything more than 4 to 5 days brings a weird vibe into the air, and it’s just not worth it to do that.

5. Have multiple offers? Do tell.

The strongest position to be in is when you have other offers on the table that you’re deciding between. If you absolutely needmore than 24 hours to consider an offer (given that you’re expecting another offer to come in), do let the HR person know that you “are excited about the role, but currently weighing it against another offer.” While you think “they’re a better fit for you,” you can share that want to crunch numbers and get back to them within 72 hours.

Negotiating a job offer is the best way to set the tone of your worth in the workplace, get paid what you should and raise the salary bar for this entire generation.

As for Jonah and her student loan debt? Girlfriend learned how to play hardball. She kept her game face on and didn’t drop a number when initially asked for her salary requirements, and armed herself with hard facts about the going rate for her discipline.

Recently, she negotiated a salary twice the rate of the job she turned down– and then some.

But of course, her new boss doesn’t know that — she left out the personal details this time.


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7 (Almost) Effortless Ways You Can Get More Done Each and Every Day


I am ready to work. Opportunities are happening with abundance and I am ready to get lots of stuff done. When I get in a productivity mode, I like to learn from those who seem to be busier than I am and yet seem to be relaxed while they accomplish a ton.

Lately I have been interviewing some CEOs who are high achievers from the Young Presidents’ Organization and they have truly inspired me to up my productivity game. Here are the daily tricks they have taught me so far.

1. Get a Full Night Sleep

I need a minimum of five hours sleep each night to feel alert and six hours makes me feel great. People who don’t get enough sleep are less efficient and prone to mistakes. The quality of their thinking will suffer with extended sleep deprivation. Make sure your work life and your home life support a restful sleep and you’ll get more done while you are awake.

2. Create Undisturbed Work Time

I recently interviewed a 29-year-old CEO of a public company who told me his best tip was creating two-hour blocks of time when all outside communication is cut off. I was surprised. “I thought Millennials were all about multitasking,” I said. “Maybe they are, he replied. “I just get more done with no distractions.” I agree with him. I personally need email, texting, and even the internet to go away so I can think and write. I do play a lot of music as well.

3. Give the Brain a Rest

The more I think, the more physically tired I get. It’s easy to lose sight of how much energy brainwork draws. A brief and mindless refresher like TV or an escapist book can let your body and brain recharge, readying you to focus on difficult problems or creative activity once again. Try natural beauty as well, especially if you are near water.

4. Master the Checklists

You don’t have to be a detail freak, but listing tasks and checking them off will help you stay organized and productive. Listing everything helps you assess time and prioritize. And checking off the list is a great morale boost to keep you motivated throughout the day.

5. Review All Email

If things are left hanging you’ll waste time and energy worrying about what needs to be done. Plan to review all of your email by the end of the day. You don’t have to respond to each and every one, but if you at least look at it you won’t miss anything. You may even be able to avoid working on things that are already resolved. Just open, read, and if necessary, add the required action to your to do list.

6. Resolve All Conflicts

Emotional conflict is a draining distraction from getting things done. You don’t have to like everyone with whom you work, but you don’t want to let anger and resentment negatively affect your performance. Address issues before they linger. Find the quickest way to an amenable solution so you can focus on the positive aspects of you instead of that guy who ticked you off.

7. Plan the Next Day

Not knowing what’s happening ahead can add stress and take mental energy. Planning a day ahead doesn’t require hard thinking, but it will release tension and let you start the next day right away when fresh. It helps with number one on this list as well.


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The Secret to Landing a Sales Job is Selling Yourself—Here’s How


When you’re applying for a sales role, hiring managers aren’t just looking for someone who matches a list of qualifications—they’re looking for someone who can walk in and show why they’re the right one for the job.


How do you do that? By following these three steps:

1. Put Together a Brag Book

You need to show the interviewer you’re as prepared for this meeting as you would be for a sales call. So once you’ve prepped your elevator pitch and completed your research, it’s time to get your “brag book” together (also known as a “atta girl” or “atta boy” book).

For those of you who are thinking: “Um, what’s a brag book?” basically, it’s a visual compilation of your successes. Because it’s one thing to say you’ve been successful, but it’s another to show it. This may be old school, but it’s powerful.

When asked about your past accomplishments, pull this out and tell the interviewer you put it together to help illustrate what you’re about to talk about. If the conversation (somehow) never gets to this, simply bring it out when you’re asked if you have any questions.

Now, I bet you’re wondering what should be in there. Well, here’s a couple of ideas to start with:

  • Reports showing where you rank versus peers in results
  • Shoutouts from managers and peers that showcase your leadership skills and your ability to be a team player
  • Notes from clients that speak to how much you’ve helped their businesses
  • Business plans you created and executed, plus the results
  • Any awards and recognition you’ve received

If you can effectively prove you can drive revenue through this compilation of your experience, you’ll very likely be the most prepared candidate the company’s interviewed so far.

2. Prove That You’re Not Only Interested in the Company, You Also Understand the Position

Here’s a scenerio: The hiring manager asks you to talk about a recent sale you’re proud of. Easy enough, right?

Well, in addition to answering it, you should also finish with a question that shows off your research.

“I was looking at your client list, and I was impressed to say the least. On a personal note, I’m a huge fan of Company X. Which sale are you most proud of and why?”

And no, it doesn’t just end there. Listen to his or her answer and then ask, “What was the sales process like? Was there anything unique or different about it that you think made it so successful?”

Overall, the goal here is to make sure the questions you’re asking are relevant enough to flow naturally, but also specific enough to show how interested you are in the ins and outs of the role.

3. Take Notes and Follow Up

After interviewing most candidates, the same question always comes to mind: “Why did you bring a folder or briefcase if you’re not going to take notes?” The amount of times this occurs during the process is really staggering.

Here at The Muse, the information I provide during the interview’s actually really important for you to succeed in the follow-up steps of the process—those who are more thorough stand out in later stages.

Think about how you can make an impression after you’ve left. You think a thank you email is good? Why not also create a 30-60-90 day plan of attack or an outline for a sales call based off the notes you took? If you don’t think you’re getting enough information to do this during the interview, ask questions that will deliver those pertinent follow-up details.

Such as: “What’s the next sales training you’re going to deliver to your team about?”

This question gives you an idea of how much of a learning and development focus the organization has, while also providing a great follow-up opportunity. Let’s say the next training is about the elevator pitch. In your email, you can create a training centered around the elevator pitch for the company you’re interviewing for.

I promise you that this, plus a thank you note, will impress.

Like any sales call, practice makes perfect. Selling yourself isn’t easy—and that’s why it’s important to continually work it. The more you do it, the more you’ll be able to make your product (you!) sound absolutely irresistable.


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3 of the Best Fields for Career Changers—and How to Break In

In case you haven’t heard, careers are changing in a big way. People don’t stick around in the same jobs—or even on the same career paths—their entire lives anymore. And while sometimes people know exactly what they want to their new career to look like, others are left puzzled, knowing that they’re unhappy on their current path, but unsure of where to go next.

If that sounds like you, we’ve got some great paths for you to consider—three industries that are quickly growing and bursting with diverse opportunities. Of course, it’s tricky to say for sure what the best option is for you, but if your interest is piqued, they could be worth exploring more.

If You Want to Make an Impact: The Social Sector

One thing that frequently spurs a career change is the feeling that you’re not making an impact on the world. If that sounds familiar, the social sector might be the place for you—think working with nonprofits to overcome society’s biggest challenges, such as increasing access to education, improving public health, ensuring equal economic opportunity, and supporting environmental sustainability.

While there’s always been a need for professionals to put their skills to work bettering our society, opportunities in the social sector will be booming in the years ahead. According to the study “Map the Gap,” there will be demand for over 32,000 senior and mid-level leadership and administration positions due to growth of public charter schools and efforts to improve low-performing K-12 schools. And The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “Employment of social and community service managers is projected to grow 21% from 2012 to 2022.”

If you’re interested in the social sector, there’s more good news: Plenty of skills you may have gained in your current career—like data analysis, project management, finance, human capital, and operations—are highly transferrable (and very much needed) within the social sector. You just need the personal conviction and courage to act on your desire to make a bigger difference. Start the transition by engaging in the issues you care about—reading up on the cause, volunteering at nonprofits, and networking with likeminded folks. Many organizations in the social sector run on pretty lean teams (read: it may seem like they never have openings), so building relationships and getting on organizations’ radar is a great way to make sure you’re in the know when positions do open up.

Or, if you’re looking for a more direct way of entering the field, look into fellowships or other programs. The Broad Residency, for example, is a leadership development program that places participants into mission-critical managerial positions within urban public school districts and charter school networks as well as state departments of education.


If You Want to Get in on Something Big: The Tech Sector

If you’ve thought about changing careers, then you’ve likely already considered what your options might be in tech—which is changing the world one innovative product or service at a time. In fact, it’s hard to come up with an industry that hasn’t been touched by tech. Plus, with 2015 “experiencing the largest year-over-year increase from the past two decades” of startup activity, according to a study conducted by the Kauffman Foundation, almost any opportunity you could imagine exists in tech.

Of course, the most common openings are for programmers, and if you are one or are interested in becoming one, you’re in luck: Job opportunities for developers are expected to grow 22% by 2022. Other common roles in the tech industry are business development, data science, and less technically specialized roles like customer support representatives, salespeople, and office managers.

This all sounds great, but the big question is: How do you break in? The barrier to entry is pretty high for technical roles, but the good news is that numerous companies, bootcamps, and online learning opportunities have sprouted up, offering a nontraditional route to help you gain the necessary skill set. Just make sure to try a free version such as Codecademy or Lynda first to see how you fare before signing up for an intensive paid program.

For other roles, while it’s nice to have at least some technical understanding, your main focus will be on what transferrable skills you have. Think about how to include these skills in your elevator pitch and then find opportunities to use it. In other words, start networking.

If You Want to Help People: The Healthcare Sector

In healthcare you won’t just find plenty of opportunities to help individuals; you’ll also find plenty of opportunities period. There’s high demand for a range of roles: think nurse practitioners, dental hygienists, physical therapists, and more. According to the BLS, “The health care and social assistance sector is projected to grow at an annual rate of 2.6%, adding 5 million jobs between 2012 and 2022. This accounts for nearly one-third of the total projected increase in jobs.” And, on top of that, market growth for the MedTech sector is expected to grow 4.4% through 2018, opening up opportunity for anyone looking to tap into both tech and healthcare.

That’s great news, but there are some strings attached. Entering the healthcare field for a technical role almost always involves more school. That can mean an associate’s degree, a bachelor’s degree, a post-baccalaureate program, or a master’s degree. Since this is, as you can imagine, not cheap, it’s important to do your due diligence before making the move and signing up for courses. Conduct informational interviews or job shadows with people who are already in the field to learn more and see if it would be something worth the investment.

If you like what you hear from the people you speak with, take it one step further without fully committing by volunteering at a local hospital or healthcare provider. Most hospitals will have a page on their website where you can learn about different ways you can contribute. You could even look into shadowing someone in the field regularly, which can give you a clear picture of what you’d be doing day in and day out. In fact, many schools in the healthcare field will require or at least recommend that applicants have some firsthand exposure to show that they know what they’re signing up for—meaning volunteering and shadowing will not only help you decide whether or not healthcare is for you, it’ll help you get your foot in the door.

As with any big change in your life, you’re going to want to give yourself plenty of time for reflection before you make any decisions. The opportunities are there. The question you have to answer is: Which one do you want to pursue?


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The Secret to a Really Good Interview Is Simply Knowing When to Shut Your Mouth


One of the first things I learned as a recruiter caught me by surprise: Interviews are just as uncomfortable for a hiring manager as they are for a candidate.

The first question of any interview—the tricky “tell me more about how you got to where you are today” question—is an obvious icebreaker. Especially for the person asking the questions. A majority of candidates have well-rehearsed responses, which I usually welcomed, especially if he or she brought something up that I hadn’t planned on asking about, but was worth discussing in more depth. However, some of the most manicured responses to this question had one major flaw:

They were way too long.

When it became clear that certain candidates could’ve talked about themselves for 25 minutes out of a 30-minute phone screen, I often had to interrupt and politely (I hope) redirect the conversation back to the rest of the questions I wanted to ask. Not only was this uncomfortable, it gave me the impression that candidates were simply trying to “win” the conversation by selling themselves, which didn’t necessarily make me rule them out for the role, but it wasn’t a great look.

Of course, you want to do everything you can to make a hiring manager feel that you are the choice for the position. However, as the old adage goes, sometimes less is more. Way more.

For those of you who could talk for days on end (I’m one of them), here is what you should keep in mind when figuring out how long you should take to answer each question.

How Long the Hiring Manager Set Aside for the Interview

Most people I know are very specific when scheduling, especially initial phone screens. We understand that a candidate’s time is just as valuable as our own, so there’s no use in beating around the bush. If the first conversation should only take 30 minutes, a good talent department will make that clear early in the scheduling process.

Once you’re told how long it should take, you should also understand that not all 30 minutes are reserved for you to only answer the “how did you get here” question.

As a job seeker, I used to think that an interview that went over the allotted time was always an indication that the recruiter really liked me. Like, they really, really liked me. When I became a recruiter, I learned just how annoying it could be when a conversation went 10 to 15 minutes over what I had originally planned. Here are the logistics of what usually happened when a candidate spent too much time answering the first question:

  1. I started to tune out after a certain point in order to begin plotting how I could interrupt.
  2. I judged the (long) answer and decided that maybe I didn’t have any other questions—and not in a good way.
  3. I crossed my fingers that the answer to “Do you have any more questions?” would be “Nope.”
  4. I was late to my next meeting and suddenly not in a great mood.

Hiring managers aren’t looking for candidates who read their responses off a script (quite the opposite, actually). However, be mindful of the time. Although recruiters prefer having more natural conversations with candidates than formal interviews, they do need to get to know about your qualifications.

Which leads me to…

How Many Qualifications You’ve Gotten to Show Off

Early on in my career (before it was even my job), I was impressed by anyone who found a way to be friendly and energetic during an interview. When I became a recruiter, I fell victim to this even further, often letting myself be wooed by candidates who seemed genuinely excited just to be talking to me.

The problem? I had no evidence that showed these candidates could actually do the job.

Of course, people are going to gravitate toward candidates who make it clear they’re pumped to be in the room. However, they also need to know that if you come aboard, you’ll be a valuable part of the team. It’s impossible to learn anything to support that by spending an hour talking about how you planned your wedding (I’m guilty as charged), so the people who make The Decision need to ask you specific questions about what you’ve accomplished. And then there will be follow-up questions based on your responses. And then more follow-up questions. And, well, you get the idea.

It’s important for all people in charge of The Decision to ensure all hires will fit in and add to the overall chemistry of the team they would be joining. However, if an interview were solely a personality contest, most of us would be enrolling in acting classes ASAP. Hiring managers have an enormous amount of pressure to identify the right people for the roles they’re trying to fill. If they make a mistake, not only is it a huge bummer, it is expensive.

I’d be remiss if I told you not to be yourself. It would be ridiculous if I suggested that you self-edit to the point where you become a shell of the person you actually are. However, remember that after you leave, a hiring manager will have to present evidence that you are (or are not) the right person for the job, so leave room for him to ask questions that will allow him to do it.

Interviews are not easy for anyone, so it’s understandable when you go off the rails a bit with your answers. However, a little bit of consideration for the people interviewing you (and their calendars, peace of mind, and overall well-being) can go a long way, especially when you leave room to actually prove you’re the right person for the job. Stay your energetic self, but give hiring managers more than just your preferred ice cream or baseball team to make a decision from.


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