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How to Prove You're as Smart as Your Resume Says You Are Do you know what an Allen wrench is? The engineer my friend hired a few years ago didn’t—despite his degree. His employment status changed after that. You see, it’s one thing to be able to list a college, graduate program, or certificate on your resume. Competence is an entirely different matter, however. What does this mean for you? How do you prove that you’re as smart as your resume implies? I’m glad you asked. Keep Learning There’s simply no replacement for learning. Certainly there are traditional routes you can follow to further your education like attending grad school or enrolling in an intensive course. But it’s silly to assume those paths are the sum total of a good education. Growth is a constant and lifelong process, and information is more accessible than at any time in our history. You can take  free online classes ,  listen to podcasts ,  watch videos ,  read voraciously ,  listen to audiobooks —the list goes on, and the variety of topics which you have access to is endless. And certainly, since you have access to endless topics so long as you have an internet connection or a library card, you don’t really have any excuses. Continuing to learn and push yourself is the best thing you can do if you want to be marketable. And, it’s not only good for your career and your brain (obviously), it’s also great for your self-esteem. Put in Effort You may be hearing your mom’s voice right about now, or maybe the voice of a teacher or mentor from your past. You know what? They’re right, and I can’t over-emphasize this. Anyone can sign up for a class. Anyone can show up and sit through the class. It takes effort to actually draw as much knowledge as you can from that class, to apply that knowledge outside of the classroom (whether virtual or brick and mortar), and to build on that knowledge. Effort separates the mediocre from the exceptional, and the amount of effort you put into expanding your knowledge is entirely, completely up to you. The same goes for collecting credentials. I know some folks with long strings of acronyms after their names who are truly exceptional, and others who are not so exceptional. Earning certifications or licenses can look good on paper initially and can certainly be a worthwhile investment. But anyone with five minutes of work experience knows a credential is only as good as the person behind it.   Demonstrate Mastery Speaking of proving something, when you invest in your education, consider how you can go beyond just telling a potential employer or your current manager that you’ve completed a degree or earned a license, for example, and instead demonstrate your knowledge and skills. After all, you’ve poured the time, energy, and money into bettering yourself. For heaven’s sake, don’t make anyone guess at whether or not you’re qualified. Show them that you are. Because at the end of the day, it’s not what’s on paper that matters most. Yes, the paper gets you in the door, but that’s all a resume is—a foot in the door. It’s what you can do that matters most. Employers don’t create jobs as favors to hand out to nice people with sleek applications. They create roles because they need something done that ultimately impacts their bottom line. It doesn’t matter how many accolades you have if you can’t do the work. Finally, when you’ve completed a degree, program, or course, don’t think of it as reaching the finish line. I often tell new college graduates, “This is just the beginning. Your degree is a launchpad for much, much more.” Where you go in your career and how you move forward depends in no small part on how you handle yourself. Keep learning. Keep challenging yourself. Keep building relationships across industries, gaining knowledge across industries, and looking for new opportunities. You can’t stagnate if you’re always learning. And you won’t be stuck trying to figure out what you want to do and where you want to go in your career if you’re regularly exposing yourself to new things. Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/How to Prove You're as Smart as Your Resume Says You Are
A Step By Step Guide to Showing You're the Right Culture Fit for a Company You've lined up an interview for your next great opportunity and are excited about the prospects. But in addition to perfecting your " tell me about yourself " pitch and rehearsing  common interview questions , there's another secret weapon you must deploy: demonstrating that you'll fit right in. Let me explain… Your experience and skills got you in the door, but now the hiring manager wants to know that you'll buy into the company's vision and work well with the current team. Having been involved in my fair share of candidate interviews, I can tell you that you're more likely to get a job offer—with negotiating power—if you show you're a cultural fit. Why? People who fit in with the culture tend to be happier in their roles. And  happy employees , as it turns out, are productive and driven. When it comes to prepping yourself for that culture audition in the interview process, bear in mind that there are universal traits that make you appealing in the eyes of the hiring manager and your future colleagues. So, where do you start? Step 1: Discover Your Potential Employer's Culture Before the interview, you'll want to spend some time really researching the culture. Head to the company's career page or Muse profile to learn about the core values, then browse through the blog or social media profiles to see how those values play out day-to-day. Better yet, scan your network for any current or past employees who can give you a more detailed (read: honest) overview. Through these steps, you'll likely find that an employer uses particular value statements or keywords often. Are they all about innovation? Do they like to tell stories about their employees being adventurous? Does a charitable mission go hand-in-hand with growth? And does all of this match up with what you're looking for in a company? Great. Once you have this intel in hand, you're ready to wow the interviewer with answers tailored to the culture. Demonstrate it: Come prepared with anecdotes that showcase how your experience and passions align with these values. If you're excited about a specific aspect of the company's culture, don't be shy about mentioning that. We're not saying you should open with an enthusiastic "Pizza Mondays will be the reason I show up on day one!" but do show that you've noticed the cultural norms that set this office apart. For example, "I enjoyed reading about the team's weekly All-Hands meetings. In my next move, I'm really looking for a company that is open and transparent with employees, and it's clear how much you value that here." Step 2: Use These Universal Values in Your Interview Though every company has its own set of values, most employers look for certain characteristics when determining how successful you'll be as a teammate. Among them? You're Willing to Learn Companies want to know you can grow with them. Candidates willing to learn new skills and develop as professionals are more likely to stay long-term, growing their expertise for their role, and building and maintaining a strong knowledge of the company. Demonstrate it: After showing off the skills you have for the current role, explain to the hiring manager what you're excited about taking on in the future and ask questions about how you might do that there. While you don't want it to seem like you'll be itching for a promotion after four months, you do want to show that you're eager to learn and looking for a place where you can grow your career for a while. You're Motivated Motivated people not only get things done, but they perform at higher levels and push the envelope of innovation. When hiring managers find motivated candidates, they want to snap them up, so showcasing this trait will likely keep you on their radar, even if you don't land this particular role. Demonstrate it: Ask intelligent questions about the open position and its role among other departments, with the goal of understanding the team's current pain points. Then, if ideas for how you'd solve a problem or enhance current processes come to mind, don't hesitate to show enthusiasm and share them. Again, you don't want to act like you know it all from the couple hours you've spent in the interview process, but showing that you're excited to jump in to the team's current work can go a long way. You See the Big Picture High performers understand the “why" behind what they're doing and how it affects the company's overall success. Show that you understand how your performance will affect the bottom line, and you're bound to impress. Demonstrate it: Not only research the company's business model before your interview, but seek to understand the industry as a whole—competitors, large customers, and trends. Where you can, weave in this knowledge during your interview discussions. You're a Team Player Teams get things done. Employees who don't play well with others not only cause drama and distraction, but they can impair successful outcomes. Demonstrate it: Be ready with an example of a project you worked on with others. Be careful to not just toot your own horn. Instead, share how you collaborated with colleagues and how valuable their efforts were, too. While it may seem counterintuitive to be talking about someone else's accomplishments, done well it will make you look like a great colleague. Remember that when a potential employer is reading you for cultural fit (and those hireable traits they're dying to see), you are also evaluating them and the company. While going through the hiring process, consider what's most important to you. Cultural fit goes both ways and when it matches up, magic happens for your career. Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/A Step By Step Guide to Showing You're the Right Culture Fit for a Company
5 Things Every Boss Is Dying for You to Do (But Won’t Ever Ask For) Your manager can be a mysterious person—one day they’re hot, the next they’re cold (cue Katy Perry). And chances are you’re desperate to do whatever it takes to make them like you more. I have the solution for you! Actually, I lied–I have five! Every  boss wants you to do  these five things without having to ask—and if you do them regularly, you’re sure to crack their secret code and build a stronger relationship. (Hint: The stronger your relationship, the more likely it is they’ll help you get promotions and raises!)   1. Take the Lead Your boss has a lot on their plate. They don’t have time to handle everything, so they most likely delegate some of their responsibility to you. That’s par for the course. Look at this as your open invitation to run with it without needing their constant oversight and “friendly reminders.” I can almost guarantee they’ll be both impressed and relieved to see you taking charge in meetings, setting agendas, and completing assignments without having to ask.   2. Let Them Know When You’re Struggling But when you’re not comfortable taking the lead on something, or are not sure how, or are struggling to handle the workload, your manager wants you to speak up. Most bosses aren’t evil, which means they don’t enjoy watching others suffer (at least I hope not). But more importantly, they need to know when you’re struggling because it may very well affect them. That deadline you’re about to miss, that project you’re half-assing because you don’t have enough time to spend on it—those results will negatively impact your boss’ to-do list as well their reputation. So, let them know when you’re lost ( this template  will help)—because then you (and your boss) can fix the problem before it happens.   3. Be on Time and Prepared Your manager probably went over the general gist of what they expect from you when you first started your job, but they shouldn’t have to (and don’t really want to) continue to micromanage you to uphold basic work etiquette. Basically, even though they don’t say it, they really want you to show up to do your day-to-day job responsibilities, in addition to showing up to work on time, coming prepared to meetings, and meeting deadlines. And really, why wouldn’t you if you care about keeping your job?   4. Ask Questions, Push Back When it Makes Sense, and Offer Alternate Solutions Your manager may not say this directly, but they want you to seek out information you don’t know or understand, question projects you’re involved in, and offer solutions. You’re there because they value your input, so don’t be scared to offer it. Trust me: They’d rather know there’s a flaw in their plan on day one, rather than day 100. Just be careful that you’re not questioning everything and pushing back on all your assignments. As Muse writer and leadership expert Jim Morris  says : [S]ometimes I’d just like my employees to do what I’ve asked. It’s exhausting (for both of us!) if I have to defend every single decision, plus it makes me feel like you have no faith in my judgment. If you’re still unsure whether it’s a good battle to pick, ask me. Say: ‘Are you open to a different opinion on this?’ and give me the choice of opening it up for discussion.       5. Help Them Better Manage You Finally, your supervisor wants to be good at their job (again, because they’re not evil). Therefore, they want to help you do your best work, because realistically, it makes them look good, too. That means that they’re  technically  open to feedback. I say technically because in an ideal world, everyone you work with would want to improve and would seek out constructive criticism to make that happen. Alas, that’s not always the case. If you think that your manager would listen, try starting the conversation with this  handy email template . If you want a more subtle method, reinforce habits you like. For example, “Thank you for giving me such in-depth feedback on that memo, I found it really helpful and I’d love for you to continue to do that for other projects.” Or, if neither of those seems like the right tactic, you can try subtly  managing up  and, without having to say anything, train your boss to better manage you. As I said earlier, being proactive with your manager not only leads to more productive and effective collaboration, but tells them you can handle anything on your own—and possibly that you’re a great candidate for a promotion down the line. Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/5 Things Every Boss Is Dying for You to Do (But Won’t Ever Ask For)
How to Stop Your Co-workers From Slowing You Down We’ve all had those days. The days when you get to the office at 9 AM, primed for productivity. You have an airtight plan to complete everything on your  to-do list . The next thing you know, it’s 6:30 PM, and you’ve only knocked one thing of your ever-growing list. At that point you’re too tired to do anything else, so you’re left spending your journey home wondering where all the time went. After I’d experienced this more times than I’d like to admit, I finally stopped to think about what was going on. I realized that the best intentions fall by the wayside because, well, no one’s an island: We’ve all got colleagues vying for our attention, emails that never stop coming, and meetings that suck up all our time. In a culture where time is at a premium, the most valuable employees are the ones who not only manage their own time but who also manage other people’s time effectively—essentially allowing themselves more real estate in the day to get their own stuff done. So, the way to get better at  time management  is to problem-solve for others. It’s all about helping people  help  you. To break it down in a way that feels actionable, I’ve created three broad buckets of people you interact with regularly: your new hire, your teammate, and your boss.   1. Your New Hire: Help Them Prioritize Joining a new company is simultaneously exhilarating and exhausting. Most people desire to make a big impact early on to prove that the company made the right choice in hiring them. But, in my experience—both as the new kid on the block and as the veteran co-worker—it’s all too easy to get bogged down with information, names, and systems. What every new employee needs is not more information, but a way to prioritize it. That way, they can home in on the most important aspects of the job and start to attribute with the understanding that everything else comes with time. It might sound time consuming but it’s easier than you think and can be accomplished with a brief 30-minute joint exercise. Try this: Write out every task they’ll be asked to do. Indicate the tasks’ level of importance (high, medium, low), best person to ask questions (POC), and how much of their time they should spend on it (e.g., 10% percent of your week). It’s important to caution that the levels and time things should take may change or evolve. The idea is to lay out everything the person needs, which’ll enable you not to have to drop everything every hour to explain and answer questions.   2. Your Teammate: Communicate Clearly and Consistently Whether it’s attending meetings without a purpose, redoing work because of poor communication, or knocking out tasks without a clear direction, the bottom line is that time is being wasted. If you want to feel accomplished when you head out the door each day, you need to find a way to cut down on these issues. To manage a colleague in a way that boosts your time management, you’re going to have to get very good at communicating. One idea is to send out deck pre-reads. When you share a presentation, you don’t often have an opportunity to have a productive conversation on next steps or takeaways as people are still processing the information. This results in multiple meetings down the line. Sending out the presentation early alleviates the endless string of meetings and never-ending email chains. It also encouraged people to come to the meeting prepared, leading to a better, more focused discussion. Sometimes, I’ve even found that I can eliminate the meeting altogether if everyone’s aligned.  3. Your Manager: Own Your Work Streams The more senior a person becomes, the more stretched they feel. In reality though, it’s not the fresh workload that is overwhelming for your boss—it’s the weight of feeling responsible for “everything” at all times. What anyone in this situation craves is someone who can help them offset their mental stress.  As a direct report, there’s an easy way you can  manage up  in this instance: Own your work streams. Your boss should be able to hand something off to you and not have to worry about it until it’s at the sign off or final approval stage. If they can give you a task and essentially consider it checked off their to-do list, you’ve made yourself invaluable. Not only are you saving them time but you’re also giving them much needed mental space and relief to focus elsewhere. This requires trust, which is key to getting the freedom to set your own schedule and boundaries. If your manager can count on you to get the job done, they’ll be less concerned with the tactics of how you do your job: when you come in, your working hours, etc. Not sure how well your time management skills stack up? Take  this quiz  to see how far you’ll need to go to improve. And don’t forget the benefit of taking advantage of your golden hours.  This article , on that very topic, explains how planning certain work items around that period will make you insanely productive. If you approach time management from the perspective of helping your colleagues be more effective, it will save you much more time in the long run. Feel like giving these a try? Let me know what you think on  Twitter . Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/How to Stop Your Co-workers From Slowing You Down
3 Things You Have to Give Up if You Want to Be Successful An uncomfortable, but powerful, truth that took most of my twenties to internalize is this: There’s an opportunity cost to everything worthwhile in life. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish, you’ll have to give up something in order to make it happen. In building my career as an author, speaker, and host of the Unmistakable Creative podcast, I’ve had to give up many things along the way. Here are the three big ones:   1. Other People’s Definition of Success When I was in college, there was an unanimously agreed upon definition of what success looked like. While it wasn’t explicitly stated, it was implied through people’s conversations, behaviors, and decisions. But by this definition, I was a complete failure. I had no prestigious jobs, no Ivy League MBA, and a bank balance that was close to zero upon graduating from Pepperdine in 2009. At 30 years old, I was basically starting from scratch. At some point, I realized that I had to give up other people’s definition of success. While this is one of the most difficult things to give up because it’s so deeply embedded in our cultural narrative, it’s also incredibly liberating and ultimately leads to the fullest expression of who you are and what matters to you. Other people aren’t going to live with the consequences of the choices you’ve made. So why would you live your life according to their values? In a conversation I had with Yanik Silver a few weeks ago, he told me a story about a client who wanted to become a billionaire. When he asked why, the client listed a number of reasons, most of which didn’t require a billion dollars. By understanding the essence of our goals—what it is that we believe our achievements will bring us—it’s easier to give up other people’s expectations.   2. Fear of Judgement For years, I’d have conversations with family friends and distant relatives about the work that I was doing. Every time I talked to one of them they would say, “So, still blogging?” Trying to explain that there was far more to what I was doing felt like a lost cause. It reminded me of this conversation that Dani Shapiro referenced in her book, Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life :   I’ve thought of all the times that I’ve been asked if I’m still writing. I’ve been asked this by acquaintances and strangers, even by fans, readers of mine…I’ve asked around and discovered that every artist and writer I know contends with a version of this question. It’s asked of writers who are household names. It’s asked of photographers whose work hangs in the Museum of Modern Art. It’s asked of stage actors who have won Tonys. Of poets whose work is regularly published in the finest journals. No one who spends her life creating things seems exempt from it.     The fear of being judged keeps so many of us from taking a shot at our most ambitious dreams. At a certain point, I realized it wasn’t my job to convince the people that what I was doing was important, meaningful, and valuable. I had to give up the need to be validated by certain people. The people whose opinions I did truly value—my business partners and really close friends—didn’t judge me at all. They supported me and could see a light at the end of the tunnel even in the moments that I couldn’t. Once you give up your fear of judgment, your ability to work changes quite drastically. You become more present, productive, and start to gather creative momentum. You focus on the process, not the prize, and you start to see progress toward the life you want to live.   3. Any Baggage Related to the Past We all have a past. It’s filled with wonderful experiences, and also filled with horrible things such as bad bosses or an ex or two that pulled the rug out from under us. At some point, you have to give up whatever resentment you have toward people, circumstances, and experiences from your past. Otherwise, your future starts to look an awful lot like your past. When you give all that up, you end up ditching a lot of baggage. You walk through the world with a sense of lightness, peace, and freedom that makes its way into everything else that you do. For years, I was angry at all the bosses who fired me. When I finally gave up this feeling up, I realized these people had given me a gift and lit a fire under me. Because ultimately, I wouldn’t be doing what I am now if I hadn’t been let go. Giving things up isn’t just about sacrifice. It’s also about gain. When you give things up you create an opening in your life for other things. If you want to live life on your terms, in the long run, you might have to give some things up in the short term. Maybe you sacrifice comfort and security in the present for a greater sense of possibility in the future. Ultimately, it’s up to you to define the meaning of success and what you’re willing to give up in order to have it—and figure out if the outcome will be worth it. Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/3 Things You Have to Give Up if You Want to Be Successful
How to Make Your Resume Tell a Story (Because That's What It's Supposed to Do) Resumes—no one picks up a handful up at the end of a long day and reads them for pleasure. And for that reason alone, most people look at me with confusion when I tell them that this one piece of paper needs to tell a compelling story. But unlike the stories you may be drawn to at the end of that long day, this one doesn’t get the easy out by working in star-crossed lovers or a murder mystery. Rather, it needs to make its case—the case to hiring managers that you’re the best possible hire—with bullet points and action verbs. Here’s how to realistically make that happen.   1. Start With a Summary or Your Skills The quickest way to set the tone is to start off with something that’s immediately relevant to the job you’re applying to. Occasionally, your most recent experience will fit the bill, but in many cases you’ll need to pull some career highlights out into a summary section . Or maybe you’re a little too early in your career to have a list of “highlights.” You can still use this idea, but instead place your skills section at the top of your resume to make sure readers keep them in mind as they look at the rest of your experience.   2. Add Unique Sections Especially if you have a winding career path, the next step is to give your experience some structure that’s easy to understand. Say you’ve been working a string of part-time graphic design gigs as you try to transition to the field from a sales background. The standard chronological format of an experience section might make you look a little flighty or unfocused. However, if you break up your work experience into two sections—“Design Experience” and “Sales Experience”—then suddenly everything makes sense. Don’t be afraid to break away from the standard format if doing it another way will help you illustrate your story better. 3. Rethink Your Less Relevant Experiences Finally, have a closer look at your past roles that aren’t completely relevant to the position you’re seeking now. Have the first bullet point cover the main gist of the role, then tweak the rest to better illustrate transferable skills. (If you’re not sure how to do that this formula makes it easier. Remember, you want to tailor your entire resume —even the bits that are only there to avoid gaps. For example, if your first position was in marketing, but it’s no longer very relevant now that you’re a project manager, it’s still beneficial to point out general teamwork skills you acquired in your early role. Focusing the bulk of your bullets on how you “collaborated across departments” or “presented to clients” will even help explain the transition. Ideally, no part of your resume is just filler. At the end of this process, you should have a resume that not only spells out what your skills and experiences are but also is intriguing enough that the reader can’t help but reach out to you to find out more. Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/How to Make Your Resume Tell a Story (Because That's What It's Supposed to Do)
4 Signs You Need to Stop Working and Take a 5-Minute Walk Right Now I’m a firm believer that everyone can find five minutes in their workday to take a break. (And by break, I usually mean a dessert break—ice cream anyone?) But as nice as that sounds, there are very few people in my life who would agree with me. In fact, most of my colleagues are convinced that taking a break will derail them for the rest of the day. And even though studies say otherwise , it’s hard to pull them away from their desks. That’s crazy! Five minutes not only won’t derail your day, it’ll actually help you get it moving in the right direction. I’m so convinced of this that I’ve rounded up four flashing signs that you’d be better off taking a walk right now than trying to get any work done. 1. You Keep Getting Distracted by the Internet I’m as guilty of this as anyone else on the planet. As motivated as I am to be productive, I just can’t help myself from indulging in short clips of puppies running around, or my favorite chefs cooking steaks, or the latest news. For me, this is just a fact of life—and also a good sign that I that I’ve gone from “just checking one thing” to being completely distracted. So, even though I’m all for the occasional viral video break, get away from your desk if you notice you can’t stop clicking on things completely unrelated to work. It might not feel like a good use of your time to get up right now, but a few minutes to reset your brain with something other than YouTube’s latest and greatest will help you attack your to-do list with a much clearer mind. 2. You Keep Getting Interrupted by Your Co-workers The reality of many work situations is that it’s easy for people to saunter over to your desk for a “quick” conversation that could easily last for three hours. There’s nothing wrong with a short chat, but you deserve a little breather if your workspace suddenly has a line of people waiting to “pick your brain” about something. If you feel guilty asking someone to wait, think about all the times you’ve gone over to someone’s desk to ask a question. In many of those cases, you probably did it because you had a sudden jolt of inspiration or a reminder that you needed some information. These conversations usually happen on a spur-of-the-moment basis. So, while they might be important, they can also almost always wait. (And if you get back to your desk and still need help fighting distractions, check out these tips on doing so without being a jerk.) 3. You’ve Been Staring at a Blank Document All Afternoon Whether it’s a report you’re trying to finish or even a simple email you’re nervous to send, sometimes the most intimidating part of completing something is starting it. And no matter how sure you are of what you want to say, it’s not always as easy as taking those thoughts and putting them down on paper. In the event that a blinking line is taunting you on a document, don’t be afraid to minimize it and take that short walk. Odds are taking that break could be just what you need to come back and get started. 4. You Keep Telling Yourself You Wish You Could Take a Break Hey, I get how dedicated you are to your work. That’s commendable and you shouldn’t get too down on yourself for wanting to be the very best. But at the same time, if you’re shaking your fist in the air because you “can’t” step away for a while, you probably need a break . This might sound counterproductive, especially if you’re in the middle of something with an urgent deadline. But if all you’re thinking about is the break you wish you could take, your effort will reflect this mindset. Seriously, if you’re only half present, your project will only be half as good as it could’ve been. The easy solution is to grab a snack, take a lap around the block, and return to whatever it is you’re doing with a fresh mind. It’s important to use your judgment whenever you think of taking a quick breather at work. If you have something that’s due in the next few minutes, you’re obviously better off waiting until that task is completed before you step away. But if you notice any signs that you could use a quick walk around the block, don’t be afraid to just do it. You’ll not only give brain a much-needed cat nap, but you’ll set yourself up to crush the rest of your day. Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4 Signs You Need to Stop Working and Take a 5-Minute Walk Right Now
4 Simple Ways to End Each Workday Happy (You're Welcome!)   At happy hour with a friend, you innocently start whining about the annoying comment your co-worker made earlier. Hours later, you both realize that the only thing you’ve spoken about the entire night is what you hate about your jobs. Whoops. It’d be quite remiss of me to say this should never happen. No position’s perfect, and you’ll probably need to vent sometimes . But you don’t want to let a so-so or bad day at work bleed into your life outside the office on a regular basis. That’s not good for anyone. And, I admit, it’s an easy trap to fall into. But luckily, it’s much simpler to prevent than you may think. How? By ending on a positive note. Ha, you say. That’s much easier said than done. Maybe. But I suggest you try these four tips before drawing that conclusion.   1. Review Your Accomplishments At the end of each day, set aside time—even if only five minutes—to write down what you achieved in the previous eight (or nine, or 10) hours. “Your team members and clients are too busy to notice your daily victories, so it’s important to take a brief moment for self-congratulations,” says William Arruda, author of Ditch, Dare, Do: 3D Personal Branding for Executives . “It’s a great confidence builder, and it helps you quantify and assess your strengths.” And don’t worry if you only checked minor items off your list. The bigger wins can’t happen without them. This short activity can give you a feel-good boost and help reinforce that you were productive. Even if it was only somewhat productive. Because let’s be real—believing you got nothing done isn’t a warm and fuzzy feeling. Instead, it makes you want to shove your face into your couch and crawl under a blanket of shame. (Or is that just me?) And hey—if you really didn’t do anything, take this time to tell yourself it’s OK. Because it is. Sure, this can’t be a common occurrence, but an occasional lazy day is perfectly fine. Pat yourself on the back for showing up, and go on your way.   2. Get Ready for Tomorrow I spend a lot of my leisure time contemplating my giant to-do list. Rather than relaxing and partaking in activities I enjoy, I let the tasks consume my every thought. It’s not necessary for me—or you—to do this. Before you go home, prepare yourself for tomorrow. Outline your main action items that need to be completed. And review what’s on your schedule, too. Are there any meetings to prep for? Any deadlines to meet? Form your list with those things in mind. Tonight, you’ll feel less burdened because you’ll know exactly what direction you need to head in upon returning. No longer will you have to waste your evenings thinking about it. I’ve started doing this and, let me tell you, it makes me feel better at the beginning and end of each day. My Google doc remembers (and keeps track of) the important things, so I can be fully present when I catch up with those pesky New York housewives.       3. Organize Your Space In college, I usually couldn’t sleep unless I’d tidied up my room. The desk needed to be cleared, and all clothing had to be in drawers, the hamper, or at least hidden under my bed. Doing this made me feel more in control, less scattered, and like I was tying up the loose ends of my day into a nice little bow. The same goes for my office. When it’s more visually put together, so is my mind. I can head out the door feeling confident that I’ve taken care of anything that may have popped up spontaneously. (Plus, cleaning always makes me feel like I’m “adulting” a little bit better, which makes me feel relatively successful.) I’m not saying to whip out the magic erasers and go all Mr. Clean here, but at least put things into piles and throw away any lingering trash. (If you’re the laziest, these tips will be right up your alley) You won’t leave feeling like you’ve forgotten something, and tomorrow you won’t be taunted by the mess you walk into.   4. Have Something to Look Forward To Happiness isn’t something that just comes to you. You have to put in the effort. You have to set yourself up for “happiness success.” And one way of doing that is by scheduling things that you’ll look forward to. When you do this, “you bring happiness into your life well before the event actually takes place,” explains Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project (Revised Edition): Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun . “In fact, sometimes the happiness in anticipation is greater than the happiness actually experienced in the moment.” Meet up with a friend or family member. Start taking a class, such as improv (like me!) or ceramics. It could even be diving into a good book . It doesn’t have to be anything big, and you don’t have to spend money. Just be intentional about consistently taking time to do something you’ll truly enjoy. When you schedule time for fun activities into your calendar, you’ll think about that rather than work.   We have much more ownership over how our days play out than we think. Sure, there are going to be off ones where you’re thrown super random and sometimes downright discouraging curveballs. But for the most part, you’re in charge. When you take back control of the wheel, you can start to steer it in a more positive direction and end each day on a happy note . Good luck! Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/4 Simple Ways to End Each Workday Happy (You're Welcome!)
Here’s How I Finally Found a Fulfilling Career After 10 Miserable Years All of my professional activities as a recruiter align toward one common goal: I’m on a mission to empower people to find career fulfillment. On any given day that may include working with a startup to find a new digital marketing manager, coaching a client on networking techniques, or composing job- hunting tips to share with readers. Based on feedback I’ve received, I’d say my strengths are the energy and passion I put into my work. But if I’m being completely honest, that wasn’t always the case. In fact, it took 10 years and five relocations to cities across the country before I even gained a glimpse as to what I truly desired in a career. It all started when I took a job right out of college that wasn’t right for me. I was motivated by the starting salary, the signing bonus, the company car, and the comprehensive benefits package. And while I definitely appreciated all of those things, in the end, they weren’t enough to make up for how miserable I was. Yet I stuck it out for 10 whole years, enduring multiple moves always with the hope that the next transfer would be the one. It never was. And even though I was regularly promoted throughout my tenure, I wasn’t fulfilled. Finally, after a corporate restructuring, I got laid off. I was thrilled. That may sound crazy, but I saw it as my chance to really figure out what I wanted to do with my life. So rather than rushing right back into a different job in the same field, I forced myself to figure out what kind of work would lead to a fulfilling career . This is how I made it happen: I Engaged Lots of Different People I felt completely lost after getting laid off, yet I was also so excited to have a second chance. My first move was to brainstorm with people that had absolutely nothing to do with my previous line of work. I needed fresh ideas. I sat and listened to retirees, to coffee shop baristas, to family members that owned businesses, to college students, basically anyone who’d give me some advice on how to discover the type of work that could bring satisfaction. Three pieces of advice stood out: It’s easy to do the exact same thing; don’t fall into that trap. You deserve the job you want; don’t settle for just any company that extends an invitation. Write down three job descriptions that look like the perfect job, then go out and find it.   Write Down the Picture-Perfect Position Writing down my vision of the perfect role was a game-changer. It pushed me to think through the type of environment I perform best in, the industries that get me pumped, and what I envision to be rewarding day-to-day tasks. The answer lay in the details: collaborates with a small close-knit team, utilizes blogging and social media, promotes a meaningful experience or service, interacts with clients one-on-one toward a mutual goal, aids individuals in reaching their personal potential and so on. I took my list and searched online, typing in the keywords that got me the most excited in hopes of identifying job titles that closely matched my vision. The results came back—recruiter, nonprofit fundraiser, and salesperson for a socially-responsible company. Recruiter was the one that made the light bulb go off.   Do the Research Now that I had a focus, it was time to gather information. I wanted to learn all that I could about recruiting. I read article after article online to get a feel for the industry. Doing that led to finding recruiters to talk to, whether they were business contacts of a friend or random profiles that I came across on LinkedIn. I’d simply reach out with a quick message detailing my current transition and ask for a five-minute call to learn a little bit about what they do. Contacting strangers can make some people uneasy, but most folks that I reached out to were open to chat. I figured the worst-case scenario was people not responding. No big deal.   Test it Out The more I understood my career track, the more eager I became to get things going. That’s when I reached out to a nonprofit organization who helped refugees find work. I became a volunteer and focused on building out my recruiting skills, skills I could put on my resume. I’d found a creative way to exchange my time for an opportunity to gain experience and perspective. It was a great way to see if this new path was in fact as good a fit as it seemed. Volunteering worked for me—and you can read about my experience here —but I’ve seen people test the waters in a number of ways including: advertising online to provide dirt cheap services, participating in industry events, teaching or research assistantships, or simply shadowing someone for a few days. Because it took me over 10 years to find a fulfilling career, sometimes I feel a little behind. But at least I’m on the right path. I tell people all the time that it’s never too late to stop, to evaluate your situation and to ultimately change your career journey to one that suits you. From career coaches to online courses, there are resources out there to help you get on track and to discover your passion. And, look, I know that’s an overused word these days, but you’re going to spend a lot of your life working—doesn’t it just make sense to find something you love? Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/Here’s How I Finally Found a Fulfilling Career After 10 Miserable Years
3 Signs Your Lack of Confidence Is Getting Out of Hand When it comes to confidence, I am the quintessential example of someone who feels wholly unqualified to do his job. Some people close to me have said that it’s a good way to keep myself humble. But trust me, there are times when the feeling of being an impostor has completely derailed me at work. Based on my very real experience, here are a few signs that your impostor syndrome has crossed the line from being something you should be aware of—and something that’s keeping you from being a functioning member of society. 1. You’re Not Getting Any Work Done It’s easy to wallow in self-pity and assume that you’re just a little too dumb to be doing the job you’re doing. But, when your work is simply not getting done, it’s unfair to blame this on the fact that you don’t feel qualified to do the job. Of course, I can relate to the feeling that at any moment, you’re going to get “found out” and your boss is going to ask you to never show your face again. But if that’s causing you to miss important deadlines and let your teammates down, that’s a completely different story. How to Deal Someone much smarter than me once told me that a bad first attempt is way better than no attempt at all. So when your impostor syndrome has you afraid to take a pass at an important project, just remember—lots of feedback on something you worked on is a much better place for you and anyone else involved to start with. And chances are, that first attempt will be way better than you think it’ll be. 2. You Assume Every Conversation With Your Boss Will Involve Firing You Hey, I get it. It’s really tough when you start hearing whispers about your job—especially when those rumblings are based on rumors you’ve made up yourself. But unless you fear your boss because she’s told you that you’re one mistake away from the unemployment line, there’s nothing productive that can come from waiting around for your manager to walk over to your desk and fire you. Not only is it based on absolutely no truth, it can put you in the type of mindset that makes it impossible to do your job well or even improve where you need to improve. How to Deal If you’re really this nervous about your job status, find some time to talk to your boss about what’s going on. Assuming you have a good (enough) relationship with your manger, it’s as easy as saying, “I’m wondering if you have any feedback about my recent performance.” Even if you don’t like what you hear, at least you’ll have a clearer idea of what you need to improve. But if you can’t get a meeting the second you need one, be honest with yourself. What can you learn to get better at your job? If you’re proactive about improving, trust me—you’ll worry much less about getting the boot, and much more about understanding how you can grow your skills. 3. You Start Frantically Looking for New Jobs When you’re feeling like you can’t do your job, it’s only natural to say, “Hey, I should probably find something new before they tell me that I’m an embarrassment and ask me to leave.” But again, this is a great way to distract yourself from the fact that not only can you improve at your work—but that you’re also pretty qualified to do what you’ve been hired to do anyway. And when you panic and start looking for something you’re “more equipped to do,” chances are you’ll just end up finding something that doesn’t make you feel any more secure. How to Deal If this is you, ask yourself whether you’re searching for a new job because you really want to find something new—or if you’re doing it to avoid being fired. If you really hate what you’re doing, then go for it. But if you’re enjoying your work and are just trying to avoid getting the boot, you should probably take my advice from above, have that chat with your boss, and get that necessary confidence boost that you’re not in danger of becoming unemployed. No really, I spoke to my boss about my insecurities (and wrote about it here ) and it was a gamechanger. There’s a lot to be said about dealing with the feeling that you’re just not good enough. But at much as I can relate, there are times when you need to take a good look in the mirror. How much are you getting in your own way? As someone who deals with it on a daily basis, take it from me—there are plenty of things you’re taking the wrong way, and there are ways you can combat them before it gets completely out of control. Source: https://www.themuse.com/advice/3 Signs Your Lack of Confidence Is Getting Out of Hand