Managing Expectations: Dealing with Silence During Your Job Search

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Managing Expectations: Dealing with Silence During Your Job Search

May 22, 2023

Woman waiting with her hands clasped on desk, waiting for iphone to ringWhen you’re actively looking for a job, not hearing back from employers, network contacts, or interviewers can be extremely frustrating. The waiting game can feel never-ending, and it's easy to become disheartened.

Unfortunately, the answer is not to stop or skip the silence. Rather, you need to learn how to manage your expectations and accept the silence that comes with the process.

Below are three key pieces of advice to help you manage the silent times, which will also help you have realistic expectations and stay confident.

Realistically Assess Your Timeline

The first step in managing your expectations as a job seeker is to realistically assess your timeline for finding a new job.

If I were to ask you when you want to be re-employed, it's likely that you’re thinking: "As soon as possible!" However, it's important to set a timeline that is feasible and takes into consideration the typical hiring process in your industry and location.

For example, if you are planning to spend six to eight weeks to find a job, you should already be in the interview process. The entire process, starting from when you’re first looking for a job to apply for, takes much longer than that. Setting unrealistic expectations for a quick turnaround can lead to disappointment and frustration.

Other factors that can affect your timeline for finding a job include your qualifications and experience. If you have the skills and experience that are currently in demand in your industry and the companies you are applying to, your job search may be shorter compared to someone who lacks these qualifications.

Additionally, the process you are following to find a can also impact your timeline. If you're not utilizing effective and organized job search methods, it may take even longer to receive a job offer.

Seek Realistic Expectations

Another way to manage your expectations is to seek realistic advice from a career coach or other career guidance resource. Many early to mid-career professionals and recent college graduates may not have a clear understanding of the job search process or the current job market.

Seeking guidance from professionals who can provide insight into your specific industry and local job market can help you set more realistic expectations. Career coaches can also help you determine how much work you need to do to reach your goal and provide valuable strategies and insights to improve your job search.

Consider Market Conditions

The condition of the market you are in can also impact your job search timeline and expectations. Job markets can vary greatly depending on the location and industry, and it's important to consider these factors when setting your expectations.

Research your local job market and determine if it's a good time to be looking for a job in your field. For example, some industries may be experiencing high demand for certain roles, while others may be more competitive or have limited job opportunities. If you're considering a career change or looking to transition to a different location, be aware that it may take longer to find a job in a new field or area.

Managing your own expectations is a crucial aspect of the job search process. When you set realistic timelines, seek advice from career professionals, and consider market conditions, you can keep yourself confident and motivated during your job search journey.

Remember that job searches almost always take longer than we anticipate. It's important to be patient and persistent while also being realistic about the process. With the right mindset and strategy, you can increase your chances of success in finding your next job opportunity. Good luck!

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Building Your Professional Network: Tips for Early Career Professionals

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Building Your Professional Network: Tips for Early Career Professionals

May 8, 2023

Group of business people talking at a networking eventBuilding a professional network is essential for growing your career.

Networking can open doors to new opportunities that aren’t otherwise available. It can help you find a mentor and give you insight into industry knowledge that you can’t access through the public media or the internet.

But how do you get started? How do you network in a way that will help you build the relationships that you need over the long term of your career?

That’s a real challenge that most people face. Networking takes time, practice, and a consistent effort. Here are some specific things you can do to build a network that will help you grow your career.

Tips for Building Your Professional Network

Start Early: It's never too early to start building your professional network. If you're still in college, take advantage of networking opportunities such as career fairs, alumni events, and industry associations. Connect with professors, alumni, and professionals in your field of interest to build relationships and learn from their experiences. If you're already in your early career, it's not too late to start. Look for networking events, professional associations, and online communities related to your industry or career path.

Be Yourself: When networking, it's important to be genuine and professional. Show interest in others and be respectful of their time and expertise. Choose to be yourself; this will invite them to be authentic with you in return.

Be Professional: Avoid using networking solely for self-promotion; instead focus on building authentic relationships based on mutual respect and value. In other words, give as well as take. Maintain a professional demeanor and be mindful of your online presence, as potential employers or colleagues are probably checking your social media profiles.

Ask for Advice: Don't be afraid to ask for advice from your network. Ask questions, seek guidance, and show curiosity about others' experiences and insights. People love to share their knowledge and expertise; asking for advice can be a great way to build connections and learn from others. Be open to feedback and be willing to learn from others' perspectives.

Give Back: Giving back is an important aspect of networking. Offer your help, resources, or support to others in your network without expecting anything in return. This could include sharing articles or resources, providing introductions, or volunteering your time and expertise. If you aren’t sure how to help, ask them what you can do for them. Even just an expressed willingness to help can go a long way. By being generous and helpful, you can build a positive reputation and create meaningful long-term connections.

Be Proactive: Building a professional network requires that you be proactive. Seek out networking opportunities, attend events, and connect with professionals in your industry. When you make connections, be proactive in staying in touch with them by scheduling coffee or agreeing to go to the same networking event.

Follow Up: Most people don't do this so this is where you can really stand out. When you meet contacts at networking events or online, follow up within 24 hours. You can really make an impression when you send a personalized thank-you note. At the very least, send a follow-up email. Following up is the thing that most people don’t do, so it’s the perfect way to stand out.

Building relationships takes time and effort. I encourage you to be patient, keep working on it, and plan on sticking with it for the long term.

A professional network is essential for every professional. Whether you're a student, early career professional, or mid-career professional, now is the time to invest in building your professional network. Take action today and watch your network grow and thrive, opening doors to new opportunities and career success.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Strategies for Navigating Psychological Safety in the Workplace

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Strategies for Navigating Psychological Safety in the Workplace

April 10, 2023

Work team members in an office, talking as a group. In the modern workplace, employees are expected to bring their best ideas and thoughts to the table. However, for many, expressing their opinions and thoughts can be a daunting task. This is where psychological safety comes into play.

Let’s dive deeper into the concept of psychological safety in the workplace and explore what you can do if you feel that your workplace is not a psychologically safe environment.

What is psychological safety?

According to Garnter, “Psychological safety is an environment that encourages, recognizes and rewards individuals for their contributions and ideas by making individuals feel safe when taking interpersonal risks.”

Taking it from the opposite perspective, the Center for Creative Leadership describes psychological safety as “the belief that you won't be punished or humiliated for speaking up with ideas, questions, concerns, or mistakes.”

What is psychological safety in the workplace?

When you take a look at Psychological safety as it applies to the workspace, Gartner explains that it is “a shared expectation held by members of a team that teammates will not embarrass, reject, or punish them for sharing ideas, taking risks, or soliciting feedback.”

What does this mean for you?

If you have differing point of view with your colleagues or manager, it’s important that you feel comfortable expressing your opinion.

Speaking up to your manager is a courageous act all on its own. If done respectfully, the outcome can be positive.

However, I have learned that many of my clients do not feel safe expressing their opinions at work. As a result, they are stressed, anxious about going to work, and not fully engaged in their workplace. Their overall well-being is affected across the board, both at work and in their personal lives.

Fear prevents employees from voicing their opinions. They are afraid of being fired, or of being given a negative performance review because they were deemed “difficult.” They worry about getting on someone’s radar; if they cross the line just once, they can be labeled and on a powerful person’s bad side from there on out.

If your workplace is psychologically unsafe, what can you do about it?

You could talk to your boss. If you feel like they are approachable and just not aware of the impact on you and your colleagues, a simple conversation might be enough to make the changes that you need. I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. If no one has spoken up to them before, they may just not realize that what is happening is inappropriate.

If the issue is with your manager or your colleagues, and your boss isn’t approachable or responsive to your concerns, consider talking to their manager. (I think of them as the “big boss.”) It is possible that they aren’t aware of the situation and wouldn’t approve of it if they knew about it. This can be a scary option, especially if you’re concerned your immediate boss will be angry that you went over their head and take it out on you.

This is a great time to find a coach. When you talk to your boss or the “big boss” about these types of sensitive topics, it can be difficult to know what to say or how to say it. A coach can help you put together how you want to convey your message. They can also help you gather the courage that you’ll need to take these steps.

This whole scenario is just one reason why it can be helpful to develop positive relationships with your boss and their boss. Ideally, you don’t want the first time you talk to the “big boss” to be when you’re talking about a problem that you’re experiencing.

If neither your boss nor the “big boss” is responsive, that may be the time bring in HR. I consider HR to be the last resort. It’s important to make sure you try other steps first. Once you bring in HR, you’re bringing in more people and a bigger response. This is another good time to have a coach who has your back. They can help you find the right words to explain what you are experiencing and guide you through what may be an emotionally challenging time.

If you experience a lack of psychological safety throughout the company, it’s likely embedded in the culture. Your boss and their boss may not only be unaware that it’s happening; they may see it as “this is just how things work around here.” If they don’t understand the problem (or are so much a part of the problem that you can’t talk to them) it still might be worth talking to HR. It is possible that they don’t realize the negative experience of the culture on their employees. But if it’s truly embedded in the company culture, it’s going to be even more difficult to drive change, especially in a very big corporation.

If you truly feel like there’s no way for you to change what’s happening, your best option may be to leave. If that’s the case, at least you now know more about what you don’t want in the company you work for.

Remember that you deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and compassion by everyone, especially by your manager and colleagues.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Finding Your Footing After Being Laid Off

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Finding Your Footing After Being Laid Off

March 27, 2023

Image: Laid off workers with boxes leaving a buildingLast week, your job was solid. You were “in the zone,” feeling confident in what you were accomplishing, feeling valued as an employee, and receiving accolades on your work.

This week, you are no longer with that company because of a reduction in force. You've been laid off!

What happened? You were told that you were doing a great job and now you are no longer with the company.

This experience can spin anyone’s head around.

Unfortunately, this scenario happens all the time. Employers are forced to let go of talented people like you. It is never about your performance. You didn’t do anything wrong! You are simply one of many people affected by a business decision.

In this situation, it’s important to get clear about: (1) how to think about the layoff, and (2) how to talk about it.

First, let's look at how to think about being laid off.

In the chaos of getting laid off, these are important points that I want you to remember.

Getting laid off is not about you.

Employees who are laid off often interpret the layoff personally, as though the company targeted them to leave the company.

It’s vital that you remember: The company made a business decision about the role that you were in, not about you as a person.

This can be a difficult distinction to make, especially because you were emotionally tied to your position. Your identity may have been tied to that role and when that role was taken away, it can feel like your identity went with it.

Remember: You are a multi-dimensional person who has many other roles in life. You are a friend, sibling, wife, husband, colleague, coach, volunteer, a musician, a crafter, a teacher, as well as your professional title. Your professional title is only one aspect of you.

And also… you are a conglomeration of a multitude of skills and knowledge. That job was just one configuration of all of your abilities. When you leave the job, those abilities go with you, and you will reconfigure them into your next role. Your abilities are part of what make you who you are. Your last job is just one configuration.

I agree that your position at a company is an important part of who you are because you are compensated for your role and contributions. At the same time, WHO YOU ARE is more than what you do and where you do it.

When people lose their jobs, they tend to forget what they accomplished. They lose their confidence in their ability to do the work they have been successfully doing for many. You have many accomplishments to feel proud of! You added value to your team, you served the company, and you were respected and admired by your peers and leadership. These facts are still true! Make a point of remembering those things because it will help you maintain your confidence throughout your job search.

Second, let’s look at how to talk about your being laid off.

When my clients are laid off, I help them with their “Public Statement” about why they are no longer with the company. I make sure they aren’t saying, “I was fired,” because they weren’t! I also don’t want them to say, “I was laid off,” or “I was let go,” without adding the business’ reason for the separation.

For example, you could say:

“My position was eliminated because of [insert business reason here]." Maybe there was a merger or acquisition. Perhaps they decided to outsource or took the company in a different direction. Go back to the reason why the reduction happened and keep in mind that the decision was made about the position being eliminated, not you.

Next, say something like: “I was proud of the work I accomplished for the company and my goal is to add value to the next company as well.” You may wish to name your most recent accomplishment or you can keep it general. Either way works.

Why this all matters

Remember when you succeeded at that job before you were laid off?

YOU did that, and no one can take it away from you. The accomplishments belong to you not the company, so take those accomplishments with you when you leave.  

Your skills, qualifications, experience, and attributes that make up who you are have not changed. You just aren’t using them any longer at your former company. Your next company will benefit from what you have to offer.

And lastly, I invite you to think of your career as a journey. There are still adventures to be had! You won’t always know what’s down the road, but you will have a say about your options and choices. Use what you know and what you’ve learned along the way to design the life and career you want for yourself. You’ve got this!

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Why You Need a Mentor & How to Find One

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Why You Need a Mentor & How to Find One

March 6, 2023

Pictured: Office setting with an older professional male talking with a younger professional femaleWhat if you had a confidante that you could turn to for career advice? Someone who could help you develop new skills, guide you through conflicts at work, and help you advance your career? If you find yourself a mentor, you can have all these things and much more.

A mentor can be a game-changer for your professional growth.

Here are just some of the ways they can help you:

Personalized Guidance and Support
A mentor can provide you with personalized guidance and support that is tailored to your unique needs and goals. They can offer insights into the challenges you face and help you navigate them successfully. Their advice and support can help you to avoid common pitfalls and make the most of your opportunities.

Access to Knowledge and Experience
The right mentor has been in your shoes before and has valuable knowledge and experience they can share to guide you. They can help you to develop new skills, learn from their successes and failures, and provide guidance on how to overcome obstacles and deal with conflict.

Networking Opportunities
Mentors can also provide you with access to their professional network by introducing you to new contacts and opportunities that can help you to advance your career. They can also offer recommendations and referrals to help you to secure job offers.

Increased Confidence
Mentors can help you to develop the confidence and self-assurance you need to succeed. They can offer support and encouragement, help you to identify your strengths, and provide constructive feedback on areas where you can improve.

Great! So… how can you find the right mentor who will be a game-changer for you?

Here is where I would start:

Get clear on your goals and needs. Before you start looking for a mentor, identify your goals and needs. Think about what you hope to achieve and what kind of guidance and support you need to get there.

Find out if your company or professional association has a mentoring program. They can connect you with someone who is interested in being a mentor and is in a good position to guide you.

Ask a colleague who has a parallel career if they have a mentor. Ask how they found them and if you can talk to them about finding one for you.

Seek out a good fit. The best mentor-mentee relationships are built on mutual trust and respect. Look for someone who shares your values and who you feel comfortable talking to and learning from.

Take the initiative. Don't be afraid to reach out to potential mentors. You can start by sending an email or LinkedIn message expressing your interest and asking if they would be willing to meet with you.

Having a mentor can be a game-changer for your professional growth. Finding the right one who’s a good match for you can take time, so plan to put in the effort. It’ll be worth it!

With their guidance, support, and knowledge, you can achieve your goals and take your career to the next level.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Increase Your Chances of Getting an Interview with These Two Steps

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Increase Your Chances of Getting an Interview with These Two Steps

February 20, 2023

Image: woman in suite at laptop with her chin in her hands, looking frrustrated or sadMany clients who come to me do so after they have tried to find a job on their own. They’ve applied for many jobs – sometimes hundreds!

But they aren’t receiving calls to be interviewed.

Sometimes they aren’t hearing back at all… and they realize they need help.

Their biggest problem is that they don’t know what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong, so they don’t know where to put their attention and make changes.

While the answers vary from client to client, the biggest thing I see them struggle with is this: Aligning their resume with Automatic Tracking Systems (ATS).

What are Automatic Tracking Systems (ATS)?

According to JobScan.co, 99% of Fortune 500 companies use ATS, a software that helps them manage the large volume of applications that they receive.

When you submit your application, you may (correctly) have the hiring manager in mind, but you also need to get through the gatekeeper: Their ATS system.

If you don’t get past ATS, the hiring manager will never see your resume and you’ll never receive an invitation to be interviewed.

To Increase the chances of (1) your resume landing on the hiring manager’s desk and (2) receiving an invitation to be interviewed, there are two things that you need to do:

1. Apply for jobs that you are qualified for.

Many people apply for jobs for which they are underqualified and overqualified. And I can see how that makes sense.

Job seekers apply for jobs where they are overqualified because they think that since they have more than the company wants, the employer will think they are getting a bargain.

But that’s incorrect. The employer does not need someone with more skills. In fact, they see someone who’s overqualified as potentially expensive and unlikely to stick around for long. Employers want someone who will stay around for a while and will grow into the roll.

Conversely, people applying for jobs they are underqualified for may think that they can just get training and they’ll get up to speed quickly. But companies don’t want to wait, and employers don’t want to take a chance on whether you’ll learn fast enough.

In both cases, job seekers seem to think that job descriptions aren’t serious or specific, and that they can be adjusted to fit the applicant. That’s not the case at all.

Job seekers who are applying for jobs that they are over- and underqualified for think they are keeping their options open and that it will make them more marketable, but it does not! Rather, it seriously decreases your chances of getting interviewed and hired.

The ATS system and the hiring manager are both going to be looking for closely matched skills, experience, and accomplishments. In other words, they’re looking for someone aligned with the job and qualified for it. If you are not appropriately qualified for the job, then you do not have what they are looking for. You will NOT receive a call to interview. When you are applying for jobs, the best thing you can do is to focus on what you are qualified to do in the job market.

2. Incorporate the keywords into your resume that ATS will be looking for.

If your resume does not have many of these key words, they won’t make it past the ATS! So, edit your resume to bring in as many keywords for the job as possible.

You need to use the exact words because ATS scans your resume to find those words in the job description.

After you’ve done your research and have brought in all of your keywords, I recommend using an excellent tool called JobScan, which mimics an ATS. I have all of my clients use this tool because it scans your resume against the job description to see how closely aligned you are for the role.

There are other ways to find a job.

I know that this sounds like a lot of work, but if you continue to use the advertised market to find your job and don’t do these steps I’ve outlined, your search will take much longer and be that much more difficult and frustrating.

The good news is there are other ways to find a job! The advertised market is just one path. If you want to bypass the ATS altogether, choose another path. Learn about the three paths jobseekers can use to find the right job.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Not hearing back about your job search? Here’s what to do.

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Not hearing back about your job search? Here’s what to do.

January 23, 2023

Pictured: woman in yellow with her head in her hands, looking frustrated while she waits by her smartphoneJob seekers do a lot of waiting.

They wait to hear back from a recruiter or hiring manager about their resume.

Then they wait to hear back about the interview and whether they’ll get to the next round.

They also wait to hear back from colleagues who said they would refer them.

It’s an anxious process that requires a lot of patience.

During that waiting process, questions start to rise up:

  • Why aren’t they getting back to me?
  • How long should I wait before I reach out?
  • Will reaching out hurt my chances, or help?
  • At what point is this silence a definitive “no”?
  • Why do they do this?! 🤦‍♀️

Is your anxiety rising? Mine, too!

So, let’s back up.

When you hear crickets, what are you thinking?

Do you start to worry about why you are not hearing back?

Or perhaps you are thinking: “I thought I did well during the interview. What did I do wrong?” It’s easy to ruminate about what you did wrong, what subtle message you missed… it’s a scary time and incredibly frustrating.

What can you do to reduce your anxiety and frustration?

How can you better manage these times, and even make them more productive?

First, keep in mind that your sense of time is very different from the people doing the hiring. They are working and very busy with a lot of things. You are just one thing on their long to-do list. If you are not working or anxious to move on from your current position, your sense of time is very different. It moves more slowly, and you want things to move faster… but it’s not in your control.

Second, try not to judge the silence as bad news. When you start ruminating and creating negative stories about why they aren't getting back to you, you create a negative spiral. It can affect a lot more than your waiting period. It can affect the decisions you make and how you show up in the world.

What can you do instead of judging the silence as bad news?

  • Manage your expectations. Be realistic about when will you actually probably hear back from people. When someone tells you a week, I recommend you think of it as two or even three weeks.
  • Remember that not everyone has the same sense of urgency as you. The people looking to hire have a lot more to their job than hiring, and their urgency is different from yours.
  • Spend this time on other job search activities. While you’re waiting to hear back, spend your energy and time making sure that this one opportunity is not your only option!

Finding a job takes time, patience, and an understanding of the process. Try not to judge the silence. Choose to remain optimistic. You never know... on the other side of those crickets might be a job offer!

One more thing... if what you're waiting for is a call back from an interview and you're feeling ghosted, read this article to learn about the steps you can take during your next interview to minimize your anxiety and even stop the ghosting.

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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Are you concerned about being laid off?

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Are you concerned about being laid off?

January 9, 2023

pictured: sillouette woman at desk with her head in her handsHearing about layoffs at your company can be alarming. It’s not something you can control and so they make you anxious. Or sometimes they’re a complete surprise because the company has kept it quiet, so you don’t even see it coming!

You might be thinking:

  1. My position is safe because of the role I do with the company. I am too valuable for them to let me go.
  2. My manager loves the work I do, and we get along so well, I would not be put on the list to be let go
  3. I hope it happens to me because I have not been happy in my job for a long time.

The truth is: No position is safe from being eliminated.

If your company is in a cost-cutting, reduce-headcount mode, they’ll do what they need to do.

What YOU can do is prepare yourself for it.

When employees hear about layoffs, they typically become reactive. They immediately start applying for jobs outside the company. Their moves can be desperate because they’re busy being afraid and they want to protect themselves. While this totally natural, it’s not necessarily the best first move.

Getting laid off is an opportunity, even if you aren’t happy about it. I invite you to be smart about your next career move. Instead of suddenly applying for jobs, choose to be intentional.

Your best bet is to get clear about your plan. What will you do if it happens to you?

This is less about taking action and more about planning for your best move.

First, assess what you want from your next position by evaluating your current one. What sort of work do you want to do, for what type of company, boss, and industry? What do you like and dislike about your current boss? Do you like the culture where you are? What about your current role helps you to do your best work, and what prevents that? What motivates you the most?

Next, consider your opportunities. What is your industry looking for now in skills and experience? Do you have the updated skills that will make you marketable to other companies?

These questions might seem difficult to answer before you activate your job search. And you’re right. They are a lot to think about. But it’s worth the time and effort. Knowing what you are looking for will speed up your search because you’ll have a better idea of what you’re looking for.

The best way to be prepared for a potential layoff is to get clear about what you want next. This is where you can take control. It will reduce your worry because you will see the opportunities, have clarity about your options, and be in a great position to hit the job market!

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Let’s Set Your Career Intentions for the Coming Year

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Let’s Set Your Career Intentions for the Coming Year

December 26, 2022

Pictured: Woman in yellow sweater at desk with pen and paperEvery year around December and January, I spend a lot of time thinking about my career intentions for next year. Honestly, the deep question in my head is, “What do I want to do differently next year?” But it all starts here…

  • What do I want to accomplish?
  • What kind of work do I want to do?
  • What changes to my business (and to my life!) do I want to make?

Perhaps you think similar things?

To help create some structure for setting your intentions, here’s a little insight into my process.

First, I reflect on the past before I move to the future. I like to marvel at my accomplishments and look at what I was not able to achieve. In both cases, I want to understand why these things happen.

Were they on my wish list? Or were they something I really wanted to achieve? How intentional were these results, both good and bad?

For example, one of my career intentions for last year was to speak more in front of a live audience. I’m excited to say that I did this! Some were live and some were through Zoom, and they all count.

I also like to think about external events. What things outside of me impacted my outcomes?

This past year, the impact of Covid continued to linger. Some people still don’t feel comfortable with face-to-face events or returning to the workplace. Companies are still determining if they want their employees to be in the office full time or with a hybrid schedule. Layoffs are causing stress in people lives, especially if they’re worried that they might be lay offed right before the holidays.

Topics like the Great Resignation and Quiet Quitting consumed the minds of many employees, leaving people feeling insecure about their future. These factors certainly affected people’s lives and I am sure our career intentions as well.

All of this reminds me that I’m not really in full control over what I do and don’t accomplish. There are so many things happening around us that influence those outcomes. That’s why it really helps to be clear about what I want to accomplish. Especially considering all the external influences, knowing my intention helps me make good decisions throughout the year.

In line with that, I like to select words that help me focus and remind me of my intentions. This past year, I had 3 words: Adaptable, flexible, and resilient.

My next step is to use what I learned in the previous year to help me set goals and intentions for the year to come. I’m still working on those. 😁

Are you doing some planning now?

Use these steps to help you plan your career intentions for 2023:

Step 1: Look at last year’s career intentions and what you accomplished.

Make 3 lists:

  • What were your intentions one year ago?
  • What did you accomplish?
  • What didn’t you accomplish?

Step 2: Which goals from the previous year do you want to bring forward to the New Year?

Step 3: What new goals do you want to add to your list?

Step 4: You can’t do everything, so trim your entire list of goals down to 3-5 goals and then prioritize them. What is the one thing you will work on first?

Step 5: Identify up to 3 words that will help you stay focused on your intentions.

Walking through these steps will give you a good start towards creating your own career intentions for the new year!

To help you dig in and do this hard work, I invite you to keep this in mind:

“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll end up someplace else.” (Yogi Berra)

In other words, if you are not clear about what you want to achieve, then it will be difficult to achieve them. You’ll find yourself working on something you don’t believe in and wondering how you got there.

Take the time to set your own career intentions, and you’ll find yourself on track with a fresh perspective and a plan for your future career!

Wait... did you find this helpful and you want more? Download the worksheet below and dig even deeper!

Where do you want to go in your career?

Use this guide to create your own career path. You can choose your own adventure.

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Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: Which Will Get You Promoted?

Pictured: Woman stnding in front of a presentation with data, speaking to a group of people who are listening.

Hard Skills vs Soft Skills: Which Will Get You Promoted?

December 19, 2022

Pictured: Woman stnding in front of a presentation with data, speaking to a group of people who are listening.Employers use the terms “hard skills” and “soft skills” to describe what their employees need to do to succeed at their job.

It’s not unusual for people to focus on hard skills and consider them more important than soft skills. They couldn’t be more wrong!

I’d like to explain why. But first, let’s clarify what we mean.

Hard skills (or as I like to call them: head skills) are what you gained from work experience and training. These are the professional qualifications you need to do your job. Some hard skill examples include technical, computer, analytical, marketing, and finance.

Your soft skills (or heart skills) are personal attributes. They are your human qualities that enable you to interact effectively and harmoniously with other people. Soft skill examples include creative problem solving and innovation, communication skills, time management, adaptability, presentation, and active listening. While these heart skills can also be learned through work experience and training, they are often learned through life experience and may be rooted in our belief systems and our values.

When we think of the term “hard skills”, it makes them sound solid, firm, and confident. On the flip side, “soft skills” sound mushy, easy to mold, and gentle. But don’t let that fool you into thinking that hard skills are what matter most.

Without having effective soft skills, you will not be able to perform your job well.

Let’s say, one of your hard skills of expertise is analyzing data, but you are not comfortable with giving presentations. The ability to present information effectively is a soft skill that you need to be successful. You need to understand how to organize the information, how to present it in a way that your audience understands, and to be able to read the room and respond to questions effectively.

Your soft skills aren’t literally soft; they are powerful!

Companies are starting to realize the importance soft skills play in building effective teams, collaborating with colleagues, managing conflict, and solid relationship buildings skills. The term “power skills” is beginning to gain traction as the new vernacular for “soft skills.” I love that because your soft skills are powerful!

If your hard skills are the engine, your soft skills are the fuel that drives the engine!

If you want to be promoted, your powerful soft skills are key to your success.

It’s important that you know what your powerful soft skills are so that you can strengthen them and lean on them as you move up in the company.

What is one of your power skills?

What if you could find out about job openings before they were posted?

Download the guide, The Secret to Getting to the Front of the Line, and learn how to access the hidden job market.

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