Here’s How to Compare a Great Job Offer With Your Current Job (That You Like)

Casually browsing for jobs while watching TV? Stalking your best friend’s new employer? Taking informational interviews during your coffee breaks at work?

Whether you’re after that dream job, are feeling restless after two years on the job, or are keeping your interview skills sharp, job hunting has become a reflex—even when you’re happy where you are.

While most of the time this “exploration” is just that, every so often it yields itself to an offer that catches you off guard.

At this point, you might find yourself in the great but difficult predicament of deciding between a quality job offer and your current job—which you actually like.

First, recognize that you’re in a position of strength. You have two great options in front of you, and it’s your choice.

Once you’ve recognized that, here are five criteria you should be looking at to evaluate your options and make the right decision:

1. Salary and Benefits

Money is certainly not the be-all-end-all of your career, but you need to be honest with yourself about the type of lifestyle you want to sustain long-term.

Be extremely thorough in assessing all the elements of your job offer. Look beyond your base salary to compare perks like 401K matches, free meals, vacation days, and pre-tax accounts. These little things might seem insignificant, but can add up to tremendous amounts over time. (If you need some help breaking it all down, check out this handy calculator.)

The one trap I see many people fall into is leaving for a marginal improvement in salary. If you have unpaid transition time, require a physical move or longer commute, or have to work twice as hard to prove yourself, these are all costs that add up.

2. Learning and Development

Many people don’t leave their jobs because they hate them or because they want more money but rather, as seen in a recent Korn Ferry study, because of boredom.

When your day-to-day feels like “deja vu” and you’ve stopped learning anything new, it may be time for a change. For many, this means looking for a new job; however, it doesn’t have to.

An honest conversation with your manager can help you identify room for growth. For instance, one of the things I appreciated most when I worked at LinkedIn was that many employees are encouraged to think about lateral moves (such as an internal transfer) as critically as promotions. Often these lateral movements resulted in breakthrough career moments a few years later.

What’s important is for you to have a career plan, even if it changes. Where do you want to be in 10 years, and what are the skills and experiences that’ll help you get there? Once you know that, you can determine which option offers the path of least resistance to achieve those goals.

3. Room for Advancement

It’s easy to prioritize for today, but if the job doesn’t give you an opportunity to move up, you’ll be facing the same situation all too soon.

You probably know a lot about your current employer, but if you don’t, talk to people in the positions you’d like to be in in two, five, and 10 years in the future.

For a new company, talk to at least three current and former employees to get a well-rounded perspective. Figure out if your manager and their manager are people who would advocate for you and champion your accomplishments.

And, take advantage of LinkedIn to observe career paths. If you see people in the same position for three years who then leave the company, that’s a red flag.

4. Purpose and Culture Fit

In order to be at your personal and professional best, you need a job you’re connected to and to be a part of a culture where you feel comfortable bringing your whole self to work.

I’ve found that cultures and values are best observed in the smallest things. The company’s dress code, email etiquette, guest policies, or noise level may seem trivial, but can often be strong indicators of whether the company culture is right for you.

The best way to evaluate this is to write or draw out your ideal work environment. From there, break it down by identifying your deal-breakers, nice-to-haves, and non-factors. Then, use this to compare and contrast your current employment situation with your offer.

5. Your Life Outside of Work

While work-life balance is a work in progress for all of us, it’s important to take a holistic view at your goals.

What else is important to you? Whether it’s health and fitness, relationships, writing, hobbies, you name it, it’s important to think about how your job fits in.

Does your current role give you enough time and space for the other areas that matter to you? If not, can you fix it, or is another job the best solution?

Once again, the devil is in the details. Don’t forget to think about commute-time, proximity to your hobbies, and the time-cost of having to prove yourself to a new group of people.

The real trick is being utterly honest with yourself. It’s easy to be persuaded by what you should do or what people expect you to do. Instead, take stock of which of the above factors matter most to you, and use that to optimize your decision. If you take your time and are intentional, you’ll make the right choice.

Have a different set of criteria? Struggling to make a similar decision? I’d love to hear from you on Twitter @samir077.

By Samir Goel

Originally published on The Muse

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6 Advantages of Hiring Through a Recruitment Agency

Recent research may have indicated that in-house recruiters are relying less on recruitment agencies to fill vacancies, but most staffing businesses are still posting strong results, whilst the RECs monthly Report on Jobs shows vacancy levels rising on a monthly basis.

Many industry commentators have long been forecasting the decline of agencies, in the face of growing competition from job boards, internal recruitment teams and social networking, but the industry continues to grow, and offer an important route for sourcing the best talent. Newer sourcing or attraction models may seem to preclude the third party recruiter, whilst client and candidate expectations change and evolve in line with technology, but there remains a core need for recruiting specialists to find talent for companies, and to help that talent become hireable.

When I first entered the industry I recruited qualified accountants. Most firms saw agencies as advisers, their eyes and ears in the market place, who focused efforts on attracting great candidates. As a recruitment consultant your value proposition was usually the candidates that you could find, or that you knew of, and your overall market intelligence regarding shifting trends and pay scales, and competitor activity.

So what are some of the main advantages of using an agency now?

Knowledge of the market

The best recruiters will have their finger on the pulse of their specialist markets, and can give the hiring team insight in to what is happening. They should know the available talent, where they are and how to reach out to them, salary rates, career expectations, available skill-sets and current hiring complexities. If other businesses are struggling to find the same people as you they should be able to advise on alternative solutions. The best will act as partners and collaborators, and should still be your eyes and ears in the market.

Extended reach

Some candidates are hard to find. They may be passive or they may be selective. If they aren’t responding to job advertisements, don’t see themselves as part of your ‘talent pool’ and are too busy to search full time then the chances are that they may have relationships with trusted specialist recruiters in your sector. Even if they aren’t currently active, there’s a strong chance that a good recruiter will know who they are and how to reach them. Agencies have many networks – each consultant, candidate, client or collaborator has the potential to leverage their networks to help connect you to people with a range of skills and experiences, many of who would be off the radar of an in-house team or hiring manager.

Candidates not applicants

A lot of talent attraction is aimed at attracting applicants, whether they are responding to an advert, applying on spec, or through your website. A lot of these people may not be good matches for the role hence a lot of time will be invested in filtering, assessing, matching and communicating with them. When we talk of a bad candidate experience it’s normally an applicant experience that we are referring to. Time and resource poor recruitment teams may not be able to run a thorough matching process. Using a recruitment agency should mean that you see only candidates – job seekers who have been pre-selected to match all the criteria that you are looking for and who are worthy of consideration and interview.

Help with employer brand

Large companies invest a lot of time and money in developing and marketing their employer brand, but many SME and smaller businesses don’t have the same resources. If you chose your agency wisely then they can give potential candidates a real insight in to your business – what it’s like to work there, benefits and career openings available, and a feel for the culture. If you partner closely with agencies, let them spend time getting to know you and some of your key managers, then they should be able to represent you as an employer of choice. If a candidate checks your business out on social media, either through a site like Glassdoor or by searching for people who used to work with you, then a fully briefed recruitment partner should be able to help clarify any points that may arise.

Access to key strategic skills

In the RECs most recent Jobs Outlook, the number one reason that companies gave for using a recruitment agency was to gain short term access to key strategic skills, a reason that been growing in importance over the last 3 years, now overtaking covering leave and peaks in demand. With talent shortages now potentially hindering growth it’s not surprising that this is the case. Whilst some of the reasons I’ve already given may refer more to permanent recruiters, many also offer the opportunity to bring in qualified, experienced help at short notice. These flexible solutions are particularly crucial for a long term project or initiative.

Budget/Resource

Whilst the FIRMs recent in-house recruiter survey did hint at a decrease in agency use, it also showed a tightening of budgets and resources. When I asked corporate recruiters on social media to give me reasons why they use agencies many answers were around budget and resource. There is a budget for agency fees, but not to gain extra resource. There are are time constraints to performing a thorough search, so it is often easier for managers to interview from an agency shortlist – in fact many hiring managers, themselves possibly placed by recruitment agencies in the past, often favour third party recruiters. There is little doubt that a hard pressed HR or in-house team can benefit from the reach and networks of a trusted agency partner.

Of course most business will have their own reasons for using recruitment agencies. For many it’s the temporary staffing service, or the more recent managed workforce facility that many larger companies are favoring as a way to monitor staffing costs. For some it may be a short term need and for others they may offer a major route to market to access the strong talent that they would otherwise miss out on.

By Mervyn Dinnen

Originally published on Broad Bean Technology

How to Make a Job Offer and Negotiate Salary For a New Hire

After a lengthy hiring process, you really, really, want the candidate to accept your job offer. And why wouldn’t you? The cruel irony of staffing is that the recruiting process only happens when you are already overworked and understaffed.

When your job offer is rejected, it’s frustrating. Some hiring managers feel personally rejected, while others feel embarassed to have “gone to bat” for a candidate, only to be rebuffed. It can feel humiliating to bet your internal political capital on someone who did not feel the same way about you. And even when you don’t take the rejection personally, it’s depressing and exhausting to even think about starting all over with the hiring process.

At the end of a search, after all the interviews are completed and once a finalist has been selected, most hiring managers are desperate to get back to their other work. And right then, in the very instant they turn their attention away from the hiring process, they unknowingly sabotage their  chances of having their job offer accepted, because the end of the search is just as important as every other step. The last thing anyone wants to do at job offer time is to sabotage their odds. But very few organizations manage the job offer process correctly.

What Executive Recruiters Know

You’re not the only employer in town. Any candidate strong enough to get one job offer can get two.

Each of the sixteen ways hiring managers snatch defeat from the jaws of victory fall into one of these four categories (with a corresponding blog post on how to handle it.)

Unnecessary Delays Making the Job Offer

1) Why the best candidates keep rejecting your job offers

A slow-moving hiring process is like falling out of a 60-story building. The first part actually goes surprisingly well…until you hit the ground. As the saying goes, “It ain’t the fall that kills you, it’s the landing.” In hiring, you think your process is fine…until it isn’t. Time wounds all deals. The longer you take to hire, the more candidates’ interest in your position falls. In many professional jobs, 10 percent to 15 percent of the best candidates drop out for every unnecessary week of delay. 

2) Taking too long to make the job offer

Time passes very quickly when you are in control and someone else is waiting for you. A week passes and it feels like a day. But when you are not in control, and you are waiting for someone else, every day feels like a week.

Not Managing Candidate Expectations During the Hiring Process

3) Why hiring drags on and on

Hiring is not like your other work. In your other projects, people notice every mistake and point it out. Every missed deadline gets the attention of upper management. Every failure has consequences. But hiring is like operating in a sensory deprivation tank. You get no feedback at all for long stretches of time. Until the very end, when things often go disastrously wrong.

4) What happens when candidates don’t know what’s happening?

The “normal” interview process almost always fails to meet candidate expectations. And neuroscience research shows that when our expectations are not met, “…our brain doesn’t just get slightly unhappy, it sends out a message of danger or threat.” My guess is that is probably not quite the candidate experience you were hoping to create. 

Bungling the Steps Before Making a Job Offer

5) Why employers need to stop asking for salary history

If you want to hire the best qualified people, you need to stop insisting on seeing someone’s salary history in your hiring process. Not in your ads, not on your applications, not in your interviews, and not when you make your job offer.

6) Don’t negotiate when you are desperate to make a hire

If you have not started your first round interviews with a field of at least six highly qualified candidates, you will probably find yourself coming down to the wire with only one viable candidate at offer time. That makes your hiring decision both simple and dangerously flawed.

7) Revisit your expectations before making a job offer

Before the courtship phase of your relationship turns into a marriage proposal….hit the pause button. Check in with your candidate. Have a conversation about your expectations, and theirs. 

8) The value of employment references

By and large, great people have great references. At the end of a good reference call, you should feel more energized and excited about hiring the candidate. If you don’t, it should be a red flag for you.

9) Beware of falling into your salary spreadsheet when calculating salary

Beware of the zombie-like trance, and appearance of rational thought that an excel salary spreadsheet offers. Look up from your screen at the real live thinking human being you want to hire, and be sure you understand their expectations. No candidate ever wants to hear about “room to grow” in their future salary when you just offered them a lower present salary than they anticipated.

10) How Long Should You Wait for a Response to Your Job Offer?

My father-in-law often said that, “Deals that don’t happen quickly, usually don’t happen.” The longer I work in the executive search business, the more I value that advice.

“To get what you want from the hiring process,
help the candidate get what they want.” (Click to Tweet)

Failing to Properly Set Salary for a New Hire

11) How compensation professionals think about setting salary

Many hiring managers struggle to find a framework to talk strategically about employee compensation. Fortunately, most  compensation experts agree on what factors you should consider when making a job offer.

12) Why lowball salary offers are a mistake

The smart assumption to make when interviewing candidates is that the best people will receive multiple job offers at the fair market rate for their skills. Your first salary offer sends a signal, don’t assume every candidate will want to negotiate with you. Put your best foot forward.   

13) How to hire within your salary budget

Before you overpay for your next hire, or underpay and waste salary dollars on someone unqualified, you need to first understand whether you have a recruiting problem (you have not yet seen the right candidates) or a salary budget problem (you have seen plenty of candidates, but simply cannot afford to hire the right ones). How do you know whether your salary budget is unrealistic or whether you just have a recruiting problem?

14) Hiring to fit the budget vs hiring to fit the performance expectations

When it’s time to hire someone new, you are often unfamiliar with what to pay, or what the “going rate” is for those skills.  And there is nothing wrong with not knowing.  Not knowing is actually a good thing – you can be more open minded. But if you did estimate a low salary budget, be sure to interview people who can actually do the work, not just the people who fit the budget.  

15) Be ready to explain your compensation strategy 

As a hiring manager, you now need to be ready to negotiate with equally well-informed job seekers. And while that may be unfamiliar territory, it’s actually good news. Credible, shared salary information helps to move the salary negotiation process out of the realm of hard-ball negotiating tactics and trust-damaging gamesmanship.

16) Should you consider internal equity or fair market rate?

In hiring, market rate is the only true benchmark. The minute you forget that, you start overpaying your less valuable people, and your more valuable people start quitting to go where their skills are properly valued. 

To get what you want from the hiring process, be attentive to helping the candidate get what they want from the hiring process. Remember that you are not the only game in town, and any candidate strong enough to get one job offer can usually get two job offers. To be sure your job offers are  accepted, keep your focus on the hiring process long after you have selected your ideal candidate.

Hopefully this perspective was helpful to you. You might also be interested in our advice for:

And now that we’ve shared our best insights (gleaned from over 600 completed executive searches) into how to make a predictably successful hiring process, maybe you would like to take a self-assessment to see how your own hiring process stacks up? In 2 minutes you can assess the strengths and weaknesses of your own hiring process, right in the privacy of your own office.

By Bob Corlett

Originally published on Staffing Advisors 

How Taking a Step Back in My Career Helped Propel it Forward

I’d spent most of my career working toward becoming an HR Director, and I was well on my way to achieving that goal. But, man, was I unhappy.

And I know—we’ve all found ourselves in jobs that aren’t very fulfilling, but this was something more. I was downright miserable. I struggled to get out of bed, I was grumpy all the time, and it took every ounce of energy I had to get through a day at the office. After months of muddling through, I had to face up to a radical idea: Maybe this wasn’t the right path for me.

But how would I figure out what was without quitting my job and having space to think?

Along those same lines, how could I quit my job when I had bills to pay, a dog to feed, and a husband who was supportive of my decision to explore a new career path, but rightfully concerned about how we’d manage financially.

Knowing that I couldn’t last in my role much longer, we sat down and took a hard look at our budget and our savings. What could we do without? How much of our modest savings could we use to supplement my unemployment? We decided that we had enough saved up to cover about three months of time off. And, just to be safe, I lined up a part-time remote role that would supplement my income while allowing space for me to job search. I also made a timeline for myself. If I hadn’t figured things out within three months, I would go back to human resources.

I don’t want to downplay how scary or financially risky this choice was. I gave it a lot of thought, and it took some serious planning. It’s not something that everyone can do. I know that I was lucky to be in the situation I was in. And there’s no way I could’ve done it without a supportive partner (and I do mean that both emotionally and financially), as well as a savings account.

Not to mention, quitting my job and essentially walking away from the career I’d spent a decade building was really disorienting. How could I now not want something I’d spent so long working toward?

Even harder than wrapping my head around that was explaining this choiceto my friends and family. Some of the people I was closest to just didn’t understand, and I struggled with feeling like I’d made a huge mistake. I kept wondering, was I crazy to do this?

This is all to say that leaning into my career pause took a little time—both to explain to others, but also to justify to myself. But eventually, I started pushing myself to try new things and make the most of my time off. I started practicing yoga. I took up bike riding. I read inspiring books about people pursuing their passions.

But I didn’t stop there. I made a list of the things I loved to do and thought a lot about how I could use my existing skills in new ways.

I put myself out there, offering resume writing and career consulting services to my network and seeking out contract recruiting gigs. Before I knew it, I was a freelance recruiter and had started a small resume writing business. My side hustles were doing well enough that three months away from the HR world turned into a year. I began to wonder what else I could do.

With each new experience, I became braver. I found myself saying yes to crazy things that I would never have done before. Like skydiving, a 40-mile charity bike ride, trekking through Patagonia, and selling almost all my worldly belongings to move onto a boat

I can’t stress enough how out of character these choices would’ve been for me just a year or two ago. Before quitting my job, I was not a risk taker. Now, I’m kind of in love with embracing things that scare me.

The facts are that the most interesting and exciting things that I’ve experienced since taking a step back from my career are all a direct result of embracing change.

I’ve learned that life can be an adventure, but only if you stop playing it safe all the time. You don’t need to quit your job to change the trajectory of your life. Just try making one change, then another and another. Maybe you self-publish an opinion piece on LinkedIn or start volunteering at a nonprofit that supports a cause you’re passionate about. Even something as simple as challenging yourself to speak up more at work or offering to plan your next department gathering can begin to shift your mindset.

Every time you experience yourself trying something new, you’ll get a little braver. And who knows where that will take you?

By Jaclyn Westlake

Originally published on The Muse

5 Quick Tips That’ll Help You Get Better at Taking Risks

Early on in my advertising career, I was considering taking a marketing role at a major food brand. But, as I scanned the lengthy list of requirements in the job description, I thought to myself, “I don’t check off all these boxes.” Feeling somewhat defeated, I closed the posting and didn’t think much about it—until recently.

At Cannes Lions a couple of months ago, one of the speakers on a panel, advertising legend Charlotte Beers, shared the troublesome statistic that women need to feel that we meet 100% of a job’s qualifications before we apply. Men, however, only need to feel 60% qualified before hitting “send.”

 In other words, women are less willing to take risks on themselves.

My experience job hunting, as well as my work as the President of Berlin Cameron, a creative and experiential agency, got me thinking about the psychology behind this phenomenon. In the past couple of years, I’ve had the opportunity to work with and get inspired by a number of female entrepreneurs. I’ve also served on the board of empowering organizations like Girl Up, and have started a division at Berlin Cameron called “Girl Brands Do It Better” to advance female founders.

And even with many of those I’ve met and worked with, how to take that first risky step has crept into conversations, and I wondered why.

I wanted to explore what sort of advice, or change in mindset, might help women to embrace their risk-taking side. So, I set out to discover what it takes to make that leap and dare to begin. I talked to experts, career coaches, and brilliant women who’ve launched companies across industries to find out how to get inspired and ignite new ideas.

Here’s what I learned:

1. Believe in Your Vision

Mentally investing in your own future is key.

“When people are stuck, it means that they are not connected enough to the end vision. If you think about a goal to run a marathon, the more connected you feel to that end vision, the more motivated you’re going to be,” executive coach Suzannah Scully, who’s worked with companies like Apple, Sephora, and Airbnb, told me.

She added, “If you have some limiting beliefs in your mind as to why this wouldn’t work out, explore those beliefs and figure out why you think it’s not going to work. I love the expression that a belief is just a thought you’ve had over and over again. It doesn’t mean that it’s true.”

2. Think Small

Any time you’re about to make a big leap, whether it’s putting together a deck to secure funding or working on an important pitch, the end result can be overwhelming. Setting small, easily achievable goals is one way to jump-start yourself.

Lisa Sun of the functional fashion line Gravitas agrees: “Set a goal every two weeks, even if it’s small things like opening a bank account for your business. After 10 weeks, you’ll be able to look back and have accomplished a lot.”

3. Check Perfection at the Door

Anytime you’re starting something new, the pursuit of perfection can be paralyzing.

“Choose action over perfection,” says 100 Days Without Fear founder Michelle Poler, who speaks all over the world about overcoming fear. “Women are perfectionists, and we have to let go of that desire to be perfect. We’re too afraid to fail ourselves—but when we don’t even try, we fail ourselves even more.”

You’re going to have failures, but try to learn from them and move on rather than chasing the impossible.

4. Find Your People

The importance of building a community’s crucial to opening your mind to take a risk.

“Surround yourself with others who are doing it—ask for help, don’t get stuck in your mind, and research, research, research. It’s one thing to have a great idea, it’s another to do the work, build out a business model, and thoughtfully go for it,” says Ashley Sumner, the co-founder of the female-focused co-working space Quilt.

Part of this is not being afraid to share your ideas and get feedback from others. “I’ve never had it come back to haunt me that I shared what I was thinking or previewed an idea with someone,” explains Katie Fritts, the founder of the luxury underwear subscription service Underclub. “If anything, it’s held me more accountable to do what I say I’m going to do.”

5. Make Fear Your Personal Force

No matter what stage you’re in in your career, fear’s going to be omnipresent. But everyone I spoke to agreed that it can be a great motivator.

“My job has been an exercise in flexing those muscles that I don’t usually flex,” Evvie Crowley says of the digital lifestyle publication, The Caret, she co-founded and launched this year. “I have an entrepreneurial drive, but it’s underneath a lot of insecurity. The best way for me to get over my paralyzing self-doubt is to keep pushing to make it a viable brand.”

Dee Poku Spalding, the founder of WIE Network and The Other Festival, added, “The first time you take a big leap of faith and it works is an incredible boost to your confidence. That gives you the confidence to do it again.”

After talking with all these women who’ve overcome the barriers that tend to hold us back, I’ve come up with a couple of insights of my own: Women are naturally good connectors who embrace community, as well as listen to and support each other.

So when it comes to taking risks, we’re a lot more equipped to do so than we think.

By Jennifer Dasilva

Originally published on The Muse

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

improve career by end of year

It’s finally 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 2017 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 Their 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.

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

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 Six People You’d Like to Connect With

Start lining up coffee dates 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 dateever.)

17. Choose a Skill You Want to Improve in 2018

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 emailthank-you note, or holiday card might impact your career.

By: Suzanne Gelb, PHD, JD

Article originally published on The Muse 

How to Design a Dream Job in Tech

tech job

Working on a tech team is a good place to be.

Six of the top 10 happiest jobs in America are in tech, and the field claims nearly half of the nation’s highest paying jobs. Plus, employer demand for tech professionals is greater than the current supply of qualified candidates. In fact, there are so many open positions in this sector that a Brookings Institution scholar who’s studied the skills gap argues that the field cannot wait for new graduates, but needs adults who are already working in other capacities to switch careers.

And why not? The tech sector’s long-term outlook shows no signs of slowing, so anyone who joins this field can look forward to a promising future. And even if you aren’t already in tech, it’s entirely possible to change course. I’ve spoken with teachers, administrators, and even a social workerwho have successfully transitioned into tech careers—and not one of them plans to leave their new field.

Melissa Omet is another person who didn’t originally plan on joining the tech workforce but says her non-traditional path ultimately worked in her favor.

“It armed me with soft skills that have complemented the hard tech skills I gained later,” she explains. After earning her degree in history, Melissa accepted her first job at a global professional services company, planning to pursue a consulting career. She realized early on, though, that she’d prefer to join a company so she could gain deeper industry and technical knowledge. This led her to accept a role at A&T, leading a team of network technicians—the beginning of her career evolution into tech.

“Once I started dreaming in C++—literally programing an ATM machine in my sleep—I knew this was where I belonged,” she says. So how did she get to that point? By understanding and capitalizing on what she enjoys and is good at, and then figuring out what company fit in to her goals. Let’s dive in.

Explore What You Like Best

Curiosity launched Melissa in to her tech career. In fact, her first role at AT&T didn’t require her to have a deeply technical background, but being in that atmosphere gave her a strong desire to learn.

“My eyes were opened, and there was no going back. I loved the technical field,” she says. While she could have settled for a hands-off management style, Melissa took a boots-on-the-ground approach. She shadowed the people who worked for her and took on every opportunity to better understand the technology behind AT&T’s network.

To get closer to a job you love, take a page from Melissa’s book. Identify what you enjoy and look for ways to sate your curiosity. Research different fields to explore your interests, talk to people in tech about how they got where they are, and look for employers that help their employees explore and pursue different career paths.

Hone in on Your Strengths

Melissa had strong business acumen and demonstrated leadership skills, which she used both to land and expand upon her first role at AT&T.

“Understand what you’re good at and capitalize on those strengths,” she says. “Also reflect on your weaknesses so you can then improve them or surround yourself with people who can fill those gaps.” Melissa explains that she’s naturally inquisitive and an avid reader, which helped her learn new tech skills and stay informed about her industry.

You should also consider what transferrable skills you’ve developed, Melissa suggests. She notes that demonstrating these types of abilities to future employers can lead you into different parts of a business—even across industries.

Need some examples? “Some of mine, for instance, are leading large-scale operations and successfully navigating union environments,” she says. “Various industries and types of roles can benefit from those skills.”

Marry Your Passions and Strengths with Your Company’s Needs

Melissa’s advice is to proactively guide your career—taking actions without necessarily needing to be told. In her first role at AT&T, the company needed a leader. She filled that need, but also wanted to learn about the technology so she sought out ways to do so.

She also suggests looking for a company that offers reskilling or skills pivoting programs and pursuing foundational knowledge by taking an operations role. Finally, she says that to ensure you’re matching your desires with your company’s needs, you need to sell yourself.

“Articulate and display what you already bring to the table, especially your transferrable skills, and how you plan to close any gaps,” she says. “Then share your approach for learning a new technology and show proof that you can master it for your new role. Give the hiring manager a good reason to take a risk on you.”

Take it from Melissa: Starting a challenging new role and molding it around your strengths and passions may just be the more rewarding work experience you could have. And don’t forget about your soft skills and other skill sets. They may just give you the edge you need to begin your dream job in tech.

By: Ann Shaw

Article originally published on The Muse

Employers Say You Need More Than A Resume When Applying to Jobs

We’ve done our research on the job searching practice so that we can give to you the best tips and tricks out there, and this statistic was not surprising to us: 53% of employers say that just a resume is not enough when it comes to apply for their jobs.

This wasn’t surprising. The job searching process is always finding ways to be more complicated and competitive. Therefore, we have provided you with a list of ways in which you can surpass a standard resume application:

FACT 55

Another tip we can throw in there for you to amp up your resume: sometimes, or more so in many instances now, it’s not always about being better than another applicant – it’s about having a wide variety of experience. Don’t be better, be different. A wide variety of experience is key. Show your unique skills so you can stand out!