These are the top 4 ways to get to the C-suite

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Hispanic women executive leading a meeting

If your goal is to climb the career ladder of success all the way to the top, chances are your path may not be direct. But it can also be hard to predict. “When you’re in the middle of an organization or even a few levels away, knowing what it takes to get into the C-suite becomes a bit of a black box,” says Cassandra Frangos, former head of the global executive talent practice at Cisco and author of Crack the C-Suite Code: How Successful Leaders Make it to the Top. “Some think that it’s a straight line, and others think it’s a matter of luck or even politics—and at times it can be.”

However, having played a role in many C-suite successions, Frangos found that there isn’t always a one-size-fits-all approach. “All organizations are different, and every executive brings unique strengths,” she says. “It’s often a portfolio of experiences that you need to have as well as a lot of skill in terms of navigating different career paths.”

Frangos is the co-instructor of a new course at MIT Sloan School of Management’s Executive Education Program called “Charting Your Path to the C-Suite.” In it, she shares the four most common paths you can follow to reach the C-suite.

The tenured executive

The tenured path is where executives stay at company they love and find a great culture fit, says Frangos. This is also the most predictable and common path, with the majority of CEOs and other C-suite leaders promoted from within, including 69% of Fortune 100 CFOs, according to a study from CFO Journal.

This path also requires the most patience. While Frangos says internal hires that rise to the C-suite were identified as high performers within their first year, she also says they often spend more time in roles than those who take other paths. “Know how long you’ll be in line, and decide how long you’re willing to wait,” she advises.

For example, if you’re second in line, and the current CEO is young, well-liked, and only in the job for two years, it could take a while for you to be promoted. On the other hand, if your boss has been there for a decade and mentioned that they’d like to retire or do something new in the next couple of years, your time might be coming soon.

“You can’t control someone else’s succession,” says Frangos. “If you are a C-suite hopeful and there’s no spot opening up in your timeframe, it may be a signal to look elsewhere.”

The free agent

Free agents C-suite members reach a certain point at a company and then jump to another to continue their climb. They’re often recruited because the company is looking for an outsider’s perspective and ideas. “This path seems to be picking up steam, as 22% of CEOs between 2012 and 2015 were appointed from outside organizations,” says Frangos.

To be a free agent, you’ll need to demonstrate a flawless track record and reputation, says Frangos. “Also, [you’ll need to] develop your leadership brand in a more deliberate way compared with internal peers,” she says.

The leapfrog leader

Leapfrog Leaders pass over their peers as well as superiors, jumping several steps ahead based on their vision and potential. Frangos says this was the case when Chuck Robbins was appointed CEO of Cisco in 2015. Formerly the head of sales, Robbins jumped two spots ahead to take the top spot.

To be a leapfrog leader, you need to able to confront industry disruption and present yourself as a strong champion for change in the organization, says Frangos. This can be the most difficult path to execute because it’s not one you can plan for; you need to prepare for opportunities and be ready to seize them if and when they arise.

The founder

Perhaps the fastest track to the C-suite is to create your own. Founders start their own companies because they have an idea and a passion—not simply a desire to be a CEO.

With this type of career path, you have more control over the timing of your entrance to the C-suite. However, it requires different skills sets. You need to be entrepreneurial and have a willingness to take risk. You also must be willing to take on a wider range of responsibilities during your startup mode, as founders wear many hats.

Whatever path you take

Anyone headed to the C-suite should have a willingness to reinvent themselves, as well as the confidence to state their ambition, no matter which path they eventually take. The landscape of the C-suite is changing in terms of its dynamics and the way to think about leading, says Frangos.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

First-time leaders need to stick to these 4 truths to succeed

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Confident Female Executive In Workplace

Congratulations! You have just been promoted to a leadership role in your company. You have aspired to be a manager and leader throughout your career, and you have finally achieved it. Now, here’s the bad news.

Research conducted by CEB shows that 60% of all new managers fail within the first 24 months of their new position. And the main reason they fail is that they were not trained properly on how to manage other people and be an effective leader in the first place. You don’t want to add yourself to that statistic, do you?

As a first-time manager, your job is to focus on building trust, engagement, and culture within your team of direct reports. Effective management is about a lot of other things, too, but at the end of the day, culture and the way people work with each other on your watch is what has to come first. The people you work with have to trust you and believe in the culture you are building before they can believe in and ultimately execute the strategy you are giving them.

In my own career, the people I looked up to the most or learned the most from were individuals who cultivated that sense of trust. They engaged with me, and other team members, on a personal level. They welcomed a direct connection. And they took it upon themselves to get to know me and see me as more than just someone they were managing.

This past year, I took on a new role within SAP as head of Partner and Small and Mid-Size Business (SMB) Marketing. I am responsible for a team of 100 people across four or five levels within the organization, spread across four continents.

After reflecting on what I appreciated most about my own managers, I wanted my new team to know I was always available for a one-on-one chat, whether the conversation was work-related or not. My belief, and what I have learned from my managers before me, is that in order to build trust if someone on your team needs to talk, that relationship needs to be a priority.

Once you have trust as your foundation, you can begin helping your team adopt these four things necessary for them to be successful.

Show (don’t just “tell”) people how to have an urgency for change

Companies that succeeded in the past oftentimes struggle to find their next big leap forward.

I have been at SAP for 14 years, and I have witnessed moments (just like any other company) where new strategies and changes are adopted immediately and effectively and other moments where new strategies and changes are forgotten and tossed by the wayside. When changes don’t get implemented, it is not necessarily because they are more difficult to execute. It is often because the environment, the team, is not prepared in order to internalize that change.

In a metaphor, “change” is sort of like planting a tree.

First, you have to prepare the ground (your team’s culture), so that it has the best chance of growing and flourishing the way you would like it. Second, you have to show people how and why the changes you are proposing matter. People need to see and understand for themselves the long-term impact—not just be given a task with minimal visibility of the larger strategy. And third, you as the manager need to make each and every person involved see how they fit into the bigger picture. Human beings need to know why their part matters, and how their individual efforts impact the efforts of the group.

What tends to happen instead is new leaders take a seed, throw it onto rocky ground, and say, “Here’s our new strategy.” They offer minimal explanation into how or why it matters. They don’t help people see how their individual efforts matter. And then they get frustrated when nobody feels a sense of urgency to implement the changes into their daily responsibilities.

You have to put people first, always

The only asset we truly have is our people. Our people are who keep the company moving forward, our people are who keep our customers and partners engaged, and our people are who collectively create the entire energy and culture of the organization. This means it’s my job, and the job of all the other managers, to ensure our people feel happy, motivated, and like they’re making an impact. It’s our job to make sure they don’t feel like they are being lost in the shuffle of the company’s fast-moving environment.

Celebrate as a team. If one person or a small group of people accomplishes something, allow everyone to be part of that milestone. This will make the success more meaningful for those involved and stand as motivation for everyone else.

Support the efforts that don’t succeed. When team members go outside the scope of what is “normal,” try their hand at something new, and fail, their courage to be wrong is the quality that should be highlighted—not the failure itself. It’s the Thomas Edison principle. Your team might fail nine times out of ten, but that 10th time, you all may invent the light bulb together.

Hold people accountable by acknowledging their intentions. At the end of the day, people are human beings. Sometimes, we’re wrong. The manager’s job then is to create a space where being wrong is okay—but to also hold people accountable to ensure the idea was given its best effort.

Create a culture of openness and sharing

Oftentimes, the best ideas will come from your team—not you.

As a manager, you have to be the one to set the bar higher for your team. I’m not just talking about the goals team members set for themselves, but how they go about achieving them in the first place. Effective leadership is not just about “knowing the answer” but being able to facilitate conversations in a way that allows the best ideas and “answers” to unfold on their own. Every project and initiative your team takes on, ask yourself, “Have I raised the bar enough? Did we go beyond what was expected, and do something we can be proud of?” The more your team can lift itself because of the culture you have built and the expectations you have set, the less you will have to continually do it for them.

Unfortunately, a lot of first-time managers (and even seasoned managers) don’t allow their teams to achieve their full potential, because they get wrapped up in their egos.

They feel like unless they are the ones to come up with the idea, they aren’t going to have a job anymore. Or, they need to feel like they’re running the show and being seen as the leader, instead of taking a step back and letting the best idea (from whomever) emerge on its own. They say they want to collaborate but, in reality, they want to be the center of attention. As a result, the team reciprocates and feels like their efforts don’t really matter. They learn to just sit back and accept things as they are, instead of helping push the bar higher and uphold the team’s standard for excellence.

As a manager, your number one job is not to be the smartest person in the room. Your job is to essentially organize the room, and make sure the right people are working on the right things, together. From there, your job becomes about having an open mind, listening, and deciding who needs who else in order to be most successful.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

What Are the Highest-Paying Jobs?

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collage image of a doctor and patient, dentist and patient and a professional woman with a lab coat on

Let’s be honest—who doesn’t want to earn more money? While salary is far from the only thing that matters when considering a career path, it is definitely an important factor.

Figuring out what a job pays will help you, in part, decide whether or not a field is right for you.

Recently, the Economic Research team at Glassdoor sifted through the millions of data points on our site to identify which jobs pay top dollar.

See below for a preview of the top 15 highest-paying positions.

1 Physician
Median Base Salary: $193,415
Number of open jobs: 40,000+

2 Pharmacy Manager
Median Base Salary: $144,768
Number of open jobs: 4,200+

3 Dentist
Median Base Salary: $142,478
Number of open jobs: 11,600+

4 Pharmacist
Median Base Salary: $126,438
Number of open jobs: 7,967

5 Enterprise Architect
Median Base Salary: $122,585
Number of open jobs: 16,900+

6 Corporate Counsel
Median Base Salary: $117,588
Number of open jobs: 4,900+

7 Software Engineering Manager
Median Base Salary: $114,163
Number of open jobs: 21,500+

8 Physician Assistant
Median Base Salary: $113,855
Number of open jobs: 41,800+

9 Corporate Controller
Median Base Salary: $113,368
Number of open jobs: 7,400+

10 Software Development Manager
Median Base Salary: $109,809
Number of open jobs: 50,100+

11 Nurse Practitioner
Median Base Salary: $109,481
Number of open jobs: 19,500+

12 Applications Development Manager
Median Base Salary: $107,735
Number of open jobs: 32,100+

13 Solutions Architect
Median Base Salary: $106,436
Number of open jobs: $59,500

14 Data Architect
Median Base Salary: $104,840
Number of open jobs: 21,700+

15 Plant Manager
Median Base Salary: $104,817
Number of open jobs: 6,500+

Methodology
Glassdoor’s 25 Highest-Paying Jobs in America report identifies the jobs with the highest annual median base salary, using a proprietary statistical algorithm to estimate annual median base pay, which controls for factors such as location and seniority. Job titles must receive at least 100 salary reports shared by U.S.-based employees over the past year (7/01/18–6/30/19).

The number of job openings per job title represents active job listings on Glassdoor as of 8/26/19. This report takes into account job title normalization that groups similar job titles. C-suite level jobs were excluded from this report.

This is the most essential trait you need to land any job

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Hiring manager interviewing potential candidate for a job

There’s no denying the value of having relevant experience and a winning personality when you’re looking to land a new job. However, a recent study conducted by TopResume confirms there is another quality that employers find even more attractive when making hiring decisions.

When asked “Which of the following is most important in a candidate?” nearly half of the recruiters and hiring managers cited potential as the number-one factor, beating out experience (37%), personality (16%), and education (2%).

But what, exactly, is potential, and how can you demonstrate this trait to prospective employers during your job hunt? While there are various definitions floating to describe a “high potential” (HiPo) employee, it ultimately boils down to two qualities: problem-solving skills and a willingness to learn.

SOLVE PROBLEMS CREATIVELY
Managers are always looking for people who will bring solutions, rather than problems, to their departments. These are the types of hires who will provide the most value to the company, no matter if the position is in customer service, public relations, or engineering. Employers across all fields want to find workers who will face challenges head-on and seek creative solutions, rather than avoiding the situation or ignoring it entirely.

DESIRE TO LEARN AND GROW
Thanks to the fourth Industrial Revolution’s rapid pace of change, expertise has a shorter shelf life than ever before. In fact, according to Dawn Graham, PhD, author of the book Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Careers and Seize Success, most of us will be forced to become career switchers at some point in the future because of these constant changes. No wonder employers are interested in candidates who have the willingness and ability to grow and adapt to new circumstances and challenges in the workplace. The best employees are lifelong learners, people who actively seek out new experiences, knowledge, and feedback to increase their skills and add value to their organizations.

THREE WAYS TO DEMONSTRATE POTENTIAL
Our research confirmed that most employers evaluate these qualities in a candidate based on what they find on a person’s résumé and during the interview process. Here’s how you can show hiring managers you’ve got the potential they’re seeking in their next top hire.

PREPARE PROOF POINTS
Anyone can declare a knack for tackling problems or a love of learning on their job application or during an interview. However, if you want to convince recruiters you possess these desirable skills, you need to offer proof.

Start by brainstorming a list of examples in your career when you demonstrated creativity in order to solve a problem, learn a skill, or meet a goal that benefited the company. For example, perhaps you gave yourself a crash course in blockchain technology to prepare a pitch for a potential client that your team successfully landed. Or maybe you delved into YouTube videos or took the initiative to complete an online course to quickly learn a new skill that was required to successfully complete a work assignment.

Spend time fleshing out the stories that best illustrate your skills. Then, determine which of these stories can be woven into your résumé or your interview responses.

MAKE SURE YOUR RÉSUMÉ LEADS WITH RESULTS
Review your list and flag the stories that resulted in an achievement or a contribution that benefited your employer, such as lower costs, safer operations, greater profits, happier customers, etc. These will be the most appropriate examples to incorporate into your résumé.

Use the bullet points under your résumé’s Work History section to highlight these successes. Where possible, begin each bullet point with the result of your efforts and then describe the actions you took to achieve such a result. This is known as the “result by action” format. The “action” part of this bullet point is your opportunity to specifically demonstrate how you leveraged a specific skill to provide value to your former employers.

In the cases where you completed training programs, courses, or certifications to expand or deepen your skill set, be sure to include these professional-development activities in your résumé’s Education and Professional Development sections.

PREPARE FOR BEHAVIORAL-BASED INTERVIEW QUESTIONS
Employers often ask candidates to describe how they behaved during a particular situation in the past in order to gauge how they might perform in a similar situation in the future. The sample behavioral interview questions below are designed to help interviewers assess your ability and willingness to adapt, to think creatively, to solve problems, and to take initiative—in other words, your potential.

Describe a time where you had to solve a difficult problem. How did you handle it?
-Tell me about the first job you ever had. What did you do to learn the ropes?
-Give me an example of a time when you had to think on your feet in order to delicately extricate yourself from an awkward situation.
-Tell me about a situation in which you recognized a potential problem as an opportunity. What did you do? What was the outcome?

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

How To Ace Your Annual Review

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The holidays are great, but there’s one last bit of stress remaining—the annual review. While it’s a relatively strong job market, there are plenty of things that companies are concerned about. Corporate executives are worried about the ramifications of tariffs and trade wars with China, nonstop political bickering and the uncertainty surrounding the upcoming presidential elections.

There are concerns that the stock market is due for a sell-off or correction and a recession is long overdue. As an employee, you’re afraid of all of the new trends of nearshoring and offshoring jobs to lower-cost places, the cost-cutting of people with the nexus of being over 40 years of age and earning a nice income and the push for technology to take over the jobs of workers.

With these real fears in mind, you’re forced to face your boss at the end of the year to have the annual review and discuss dollars and cents.

There are many employees who are in the right job in the right sector and feel really good about this time of year. They know that they have killed it at work and exceeded all expectations. Their skills are highly sought after and it would be easy to find another job with a competitor for more money. These types of employees hold all of the best cards in their hands.

You believe that you have worked hard, did a great job and deserve a raise and bonus. It sounds simple in your head. When it’s time to actually sit across the desk from your boss, it’s not so easy. It’s an uncomfortable conversation filled with potential landmines.

Let’s start with what you should never do in your annual review. Oftentimes, employees believe that they must get a promotion, raise and large bonus for just showing up. Their attitude and demeanor are turn-offs to the manager.

Here’s what you shouldn’t say:

  • “If I don’t get the money I have asked for, I’m quitting!”
  • “Jane earns a base salary of $123,612. I’m so much better than Jane, so I should get a raise to $150,000.”
  • “I have bills, tuition payments and car payments!”
  • “I’ve been here for over 15 years!”
  • “I’ve Googled how much people with my job title earn, so you should pay me what Google says they earn too.”
  • “I’m the only one who really works around here!”
  • “I do your job for you!”
  • “I don’t care if the company is not doing well, It’s not my fault.”
  • “Well, if you don’t pay me more, I won’t work as hard.”

Here’s what you should do instead. You want to enter the manager’s office armed with indisputable data, facts and information that highlight everything you’ve accomplished over the last year. Explain what was expected of you and validate how you have met and exceeded those expectations. You need to cite your achievements, including how you have helped your boss succeed, and made sizable contributions to the company.

The key is to start working on the annual review at the beginning of the year. On a daily basis, ensure that your boss and other important decision makers recognize your Herculean efforts and accomplishments. Be careful, as you don’t want to come across too obvious about it. Otherwise, they’ll think you are just trying to curry favor and gaming the system.

Your pitch is based upon tangible results. You are not asking for any favors nor are you petulantly demanding something you don’t deserve. You are politely, but firmly, presenting your case in a calm and deliberate manner that sets forth all of the reasons and rationale as to why the company should want to pay you more money.

Try to sound confident, upbeat and enthusiastic. If you drone on with just data points, you will lose your audience. You want your boss to view you as a superstar performer who is excited to come into the office everyday and shine.

The goal is to have your manager recognize that you are a valuable and irreplaceable asset to her and the organization. She’ll understand that it’s necessary to offer you more money, a larger bonus and promotion. If she doesn’t, your manager knows that there is a risk that you’ll leave to join a competitor or lose your enthusiasm and not perform as well in the future.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

Exactly how to improve your LinkedIn profile to get more job offers

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Happy young latina woman working on her laptop at home

Not all roads lead to the perfect career. That’s why it’s called a career journey, with twists and turns and likely many lessons learned along the way. How you embraced the journey is what matters to potential employers: the skill sets you’ve developed, how you’ve navigated change and overcome challenges.

Your LinkedIn profile serves as a digital and visual representation of this journey and your unique personal brand. Capturing your professional experience in one place helps you best represent yourself and tell your story. Your LinkedIn profile can be your ticket to a variety of new opportunities like partnerships, jobs, volunteering, or new business.

It’s always a good time to think about how you can spruce up your LinkedIn profile. Here are a few suggestions to make it shine.

Tell the world who you are and where you want to go

It sounds simple, but start with your profile photo. Profiles with a photo get seen 21 times more often than those without. Your profile photo should be professional yet approachable, giving people a true sense of your personality. And, don’t forget to add a background cover photo that supports it and works with the story you are sharing about yourself.

Equally important is your summary. Your summary is the first section people visit to read about you when visiting your profile, and it’s worth taking a little extra time to capture your professional strengths and unique capabilities. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself though. Try to sum up your experience in about 40 words, and think about keywords relevant to future job opportunities to help you be found.

Recommendations from professors, alumni, managers, colleagues, and even direct reports help validate what you’re saying about yourself and helps people understand a little more about what you’re like to work with. Whether you’ve been working for a few days or a few decades, don’t be afraid to ask for one and perhaps offer one in exchange.

Finally, location, location, location. Adding your home-base city makes you up to 23 times more discoverable in searches, making it even easier for you to be connected to your next opportunity or to be found by an old friend or colleague.

Highlight your expertise

Keeping your experience up to date pays off. Not surprisingly, professionals who have their current position listed on their profile are discovered up to 16 times more in recruiter searches. And if you’re not in a current position, don’t worry. Consider instead adding something about the industry or job you’re pursuing, for example “seeking opportunities in accounting.”

Also, don’t overlook crafting summaries for each job you’ve had in your experience section. This gives your audience more insight into your skills and background. Write a crisp summary or two-to-three bulleted sentences that share your strengths and key achievements in that position.

Eighty-seven percent of recruiters agree the skills a candidate lists are crucial as they vet them. Skill Assessments allows you to represent your expertise and show your strengths. Our data shows that people who complete LinkedIn Skill Assessments are up to 30% more likely to get hired.

Another way to demonstrate your expertise and build relationships with your connections is by sharing news, ideas, and perspectives to the feed and to help others stay informed. This is a great way to stay engaged with your network, for others to learn more about you, and an easy way to keep your profile up to date, as the posts you share can also be found in the activity section of your profile.

Tell the LinkedIn community what you need help with

Your profile is the perfect place to signal your needs to your professional community. Let people know what you want. Are you interested in a new job or volunteer opportunity? Need a recommendation on service providers? A service provider yourself, and want to grow your business? Signaling your intent through your profile will help you grow professionally.

If you’re looking for a new job opportunity, you can simply activate the Open to Job Opportunities feature when you update your profile. You can choose whether all LinkedIn members can see your status–or only recruiters searching to fill positions in which you may be interested. Plus, you can select the specific titles and job locations you’re targeting, allowing your profile page to work behind-the-scenes to help you land your dream job.

Continue on to Fast Company to read the complete article.

5 Tips To Make A Career Change In The New Year

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The New Year is traditionally a time for fireworks, celebrations, resolutions, and now, career change. A new study from Fiverr and YouGov shows that nearly 6 in 10 U.S. workers are looking to change something about their work or career in the New Year. Some of the changes they are considering include their company, industry or job location. These results underscore the fact that work has dramatically shifted over the past decade. People no longer have jobs for life and are prioritizing purpose over profit.

“As we enter a new decade, it is important for everyone to consider the opportunities that exist for them now that might not have ten years ago,” said Gali Arnon, Chief Marketing Officer at Fiverr. “Technology has made it possible for people to earn a living right from their phone or computer, work from anywhere and collaborate on a global scale. It has allowed people to be measured by their skills and their talent, regardless of anything else. People nowadays are not looking for that ‘job for life.’ Rather they want to be part of something that has purpose and stands for something bigger than itself.”

If you are yearning for a career change in the New Year, here are five tips to guide you through the transition.

1.      Take a step back

If you are considering a career change, this is a good time to ask yourself why. Take a step back to understand your motivation. Are you considering a change because you hate your boss or because you really don’t like your job? Try not to make a fear-based decision. If you’re thinking of starting a business because you are afraid of company layoffs, that’s not a good reason to pursue entrepreneurship. Your goal is to run towards something you love, not away from something you hate. To feel fulfilled, you’ll also want to ensure that your future career aligns with your values and priorities. For example, if your number one priority is your family, a job that has you on the road 42 weeks out of the year won’t be a good fit.

2.      Consider freelancing

The Fiverr and YouGov study also confirmed that many workers are looking for increased flexibility, the ability to work remotely, and a career that they’re genuinely passionate about. If that sounds like you, you may want to consider a freelancing career. According to the sixth annual “Freelancing in America” study sponsored by Upwork and Freelancers Union, more people than ever see freelancing as a long-term career path. The share of those who freelance full time increased from 17% in 2014 to 28% in 2019. Not only that, but at nearly $1 trillion (approaching 5% of U.S. GDP), freelance income contributes more to the economy than industries such as construction and transportation. Skilled services are the most common type of freelance work, with 45% of freelancers involved in other areas such as programming, marketing, IT and business consulting.

3.      Start a Side Gig

Thinking about going from employee to entrepreneur? One of the best methods to test a new business idea without immediately abandoning your day job is to launch a side gig. It’s also a rewarding way to acquire valuable skills while generating a bit of extra income. As your side gig grows, you’ll get a sense of whether this is a more meaningful and fulfilling career path. Eventually, you’ll have the potential to turn your side gig into a full-time business.

4.      Hire a coach

As someone who is a coach and has hired coaches for myself, I can attest to the power of coaching. They are sometimes referred to as career coaches, life coaches, or business coaches. If you are feeling stuck, wrestling with what to do next or wondering how to put your ideas into action, a coach can help. Coaches are especially valuable in terms of holding you accountable and assisting with the creation of short and long-term action plans. They essentially keep you on track and moving forward toward your goal. Ultimately, getting an outside perspective from a professional can be extremely helpful when navigating a career change.

5.      Revamp your personal brand

Has your LinkedIn profile gone untouched for months or even years? Did you send your last Tweet back in 2012? Or, worse yet, do you lack a social media presence altogether? The New Year is an ideal time to revisit your personal brand. Your personal brand is the unique combination of skills and experiences that make you who you are and allow you to stand out from the crowd. Cultivating a personal brand has become more important than ever. According to a recent CareerBuilder survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process. Personal branding is also essential if you are a consultant or a small business owner. By effectively managing your online reputation, you will be able to control the narrative and differentiate yourself from the competition.

If you are contemplating a career change, the New Year is the perfect time to reflect on the past 12 months, inventory your skills and chart a new course forward.

Continue on to Forbes to read the complete article.

What Not to Do in an Interview

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Job interview, Young executives man asking questions to applicant about work history, colloquy dream, Skill, expertise, experience and businesswoman listen to candidate answers

By Neal Morrison, City Career Fair

This is one of the most asked questions by candidates during my many years of producing the Annual Diversity Employment Day Career Fairs and Roundtables across the U.S. Few candidates have any idea of the potential field of land mines that await them in an interview.

So we surveyed for their input over 500 recruiters and staffing managers who are on the front lines of recruiting for major corporations, government agencies and non-profits.

Here are their top 10 should NOT’s for an interview.

  1. Be Late – Noted by 100% of the Recruiters

“Next!” that’s what you might hear when you finally turn up—late. If an unavoidable delay occurs, immediately let the employer know before your scheduled interview time.  This shows consideration and a level of professionalism.

  1. Lack Adequate Preparation – Noted by 98% of the Recruiters

Not knowing what the company does or details about the position you’re applying for indicates to the Recruiter that you’re unprepared and may not be the right person for the position. Asking relevant questions that allow you to engage with the recruiter indicates just the opposite.

  1. Inappropriate Attire – Noted by 93% of the Recruiters

If you don’t know the appropriate attire, just call and ask the company’s HR. Business suits are always your best bet.

  1. Complain about your Current or Past Employer – Noted by 92% of the Recruiters

Don’t do it. You’ll be perceived as a complainer and possibly, someone who holds a grudge.

  1. Become too personal or familiar – Noted by 90% of the Recruiters

Flirting is unacceptable and should be avoided. Telling personal stories and sharing intimate details during your interview is taboo and could put-off the interviewer.

  1. Lack attentiveness and expressed interest – Noted by 88% of the Recruiters

Yawning, slouching, fidgeting, and clock watching send negative non-verbal cues to an experienced recruiter.

  1. Cursing or use of excessive Slang – Noted by 99% of the Recruiters

Not acceptable in the work place and will certainly eliminate you as a possible contender for the position. It could also draw question upon your emotional and psychological suitability for the position.

  1. Fail to smile appropriately and make eye contact – Noted by 83% of the Recruiters

Appropriate and regular smiles along with eye contact provide the first line of successful engagement with the interviewer.

  1. Talk or texting on your phone – Noted by 84% of the Recruiters

Talking and texting during an interview is disrespectful and will certainly eliminate you from further consideration.

  1. Forget to ask the interviewer their first impression of your qualifications – Noted by 75% of the Recruiters

Remember a golden and rare opportunity exists to gain valuable feedback from an experienced observer—the interviewer. Most are willing to share their observations and assessment of your qualifications and prospectus for getting the position, if asked.

Regardless of how you’ve done on interviews in the past, these insights when applied should build your confidence and thereby increase your success.

Neal Morrison is Diversity Outreach Director at City Career Fair (www.citycareerfair.com).

Early Bird Gets the Worm

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early to work employee is smiling and conversing with other employees

Sunday nights can be scary before the work week begins, but Monday and Tuesday, especially in the morning, are when employees are most productive, suggests new research from staffing firm Accountemps. More than half of workers surveyed said their productivity peaks at the beginning of the week, with Monday (29 percent) edging out Tuesday (27 percent) by two points. After Hump Day (20 percent), worker productivity dips: 13 percent of employees do their best work on Thursdays, followed by 11 percent on Fridays.

Many professionals said they accomplish more work at the start of the day: 44 percent are most productive in the early morning and 31 percent in late morning, compared to 2 percent, who like to burn the midnight oil. It’s probably best to avoid scheduling meetings at noon: only 2 percent of workers surveyed said they get the most work done at lunchtime.

For peak productivity, where is as important as when to work, but employees are divided:

  • Those ages 55 and older have the strongest preference for working in an office, with nearly half (45 percent) reporting they work best in a private office with a closed door, according to the survey.
  • Meanwhile, working in an open office (38 percent) was the top response among 18- to 34-year-olds.
  • Telecommuting was a close second choice for younger workers, at 36 percent, compared to 26 percent of professionals ages 35-54 and 17 percent of employees 55 and up.

Employees were also asked about the single biggest distraction that impacts their productivity during the workday. Coworkers who are too chatty and social topped the list (32 percent), followed by office noise (22 percent), unnecessary conference calls and meetings (20 percent), cell phone use (15 percent), and unnecessary emails (11 percent).

Steinitz added that workers should hold themselves accountable for their own productivity and offered suggestions for minimizing disruptions: “Employees should focus on important assignments when they’re most alert and energized, and if necessary, consider posting a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign at their desk or switching team chat status to ‘Busy.’ Finding ways to shut out distractions can help maximize productivity, no matter the day, time or place.”

Additional Findings

The survey revealed the following differences by market:

  • While workers, on average, ranked Monday as their most productive workday, Tuesday came in first across 13 markets and tied for the top spot in Denver and Houston.
  • Nashvillians are the most likely to have productive Fridays, at 21 percent.
  • In Miami (35 percent) and Chicago (26 percent), office noise is the top productivity disruptor.
  • Workers in San Francisco are almost equally distracted by their cell phones (25 percent) as they are by chatty colleagues (26 percent).
  • Los Angeles professionals report a near-even split for preferred workspaces: 24 percent for open office, 31 percent for private office, 22 percent for working from home and 22 percent for working from an offsite location.

About the Research

The survey was developed by Accountemps and conducted by an independent research firm. It includes responses from more than 2,800 workers 18 years of age or older and employed in office environments in the United States.

Productivity at work can hinge on what you do off the job. Eat healthy, exercise regularly and get adequate sleep. Being out of balance in any of those three areas can throw off your ability to concentrate.

Ask These Questions Before Accepting a Job Offer

LinkedIn
Man interviewing latina woman for a job

You’ve been offered a job and can’t wait to jump on the opportunity. But before accepting the offer, ask yourself the following questions.

1 What is the company’s reputation?
The organization you work for will have an impact on your short- and long-term career. With that in mind, research the business to find out what kind of reputation it has and what its actions show about its values and the work environment. Look over its annual report and information about the company in news articles and elsewhere to decide whether the business or the industry it’s in are facing any financial or legal challenges. You want to join a financially strong company where you can feel comfortable and grow professionally.

2 What are compensation and benefits?
Make sure the salary being offered is comparable to what other companies are offering to people with similar experience in similar positions. Ask if you can earn bonuses or other additional types of compensation, especially if that’s the case in your current job. Compare the benefits package with what you may be receiving now or could expect from another employer to be sure you’re not losing out on any benefits.

3 What will you actually do?
Ask as many questions as necessary to determine you understand what is expected, what opportunities are available and whether you will be satisfied in the job.

4 Will it cost me more to work here?
Your review of the benefits plan can help you answer this question, since it can tell you whether you will have to pay more for health insurance or any other crucial benefit than you are paying now, as an example. If you will have to move or face a long commute, consider whether the extra expense is worth changing jobs because, say, the new company offers better career opportunities.

5 Is this a good next step in my career?
The answer—and the factors you consider—will vary based on your ambitions and current position. Issues to consider—and ask about in interviews—include the advancement opportunities, in-house training available and educational financial assistance the company offers.

6 Will I like it here?
This can be a tough question to answer before you’ve even started. If possible, reach out to people who work at the organization, or see if friends or business contacts know anyone there you can speak with about the culture and other factors important to you. Another consideration is whether you will have to work longer hours or travel more in the new job. Will you consider those changes a drain on your free time or decide you should accept them as the price of getting ahead? And if you now can set your own hours or work remotely, find out if they are available with the new company. The answers to all of these questions can clarify which job is best for you.

Source: 360financialliteracy.org

15 Work Conversations That Could Cost You Your Job

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two women at work seated at a table chatting

In August 2019, Google issued a new set of community guidelines that banned political discussions at work.

The new policy states, “While sharing information and ideas with colleagues helps build community, disrupting the workday to have a raging debate over politics or the latest news story does not.

Our primary responsibility is to do the work we’ve each been hired to do, not to spend working time on debates about non-work topics. Avoid conversations that are disruptive to the workplace or otherwise violate Google’s workplace policies.”

Talking about politics isn’t the only conversation you should avoid at work. There are plenty of types of work conversations that could cost you your job, so you’ll want to learn how to avoid them if they come up.

Talking Openly About Wanting To Quit

Even if you’re among co-workers you trust, it’s a bad idea to talk openly about wanting to quit your job, said Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation.

“No matter how close you may be with your co-workers or even if you said it out of frustration, it’s best not to discuss something this sensitive in mixed company,” she said. “News of this nature travels quickly through an office grapevine. Before you know it, your manager might find out and will have questions for you.”

“The best approach is to avoid discussing this topic altogether with co-workers,” Case said. “It’s a personal matter that should be kept to yourself and a conversation to have with management when, and if, the time is suitable for it.”

Discussing Religion

In general, it’s best to avoid any topic that could make your colleagues uncomfortable and raise a flag with human resources. Because religion is such a sensitive topic, it’s one you should not discuss at work.

“You may need to talk to HR or a supervisor if you need accommodation for your religious beliefs, such as time off for religious holidays or a place to pray during the workday,” said Paula Brantner, an employment attorney and principal at PB Work Solutions. “But when it comes to your co-workers, no one wants to be proselytized to at work since you’re compelled to be there, and it’s harder to politely decline.”

“Although religious discrimination is illegal, you also need to be focused on your job while at work, so don’t spend time engaged in religious conversations,” she said. “And don’t engage in discrimination against or harass other workers in violation of federal, state, and/or local law because they don’t share the same beliefs or have individual characteristics that you don’t agree with.”

Discussing Your Home Life or Marital Issues

Leave any issues you have with your home life at home, said Baron Christopher Hanson, lead consultant and owner of RedBaronUSA.

“News about your home life or any litigious matters you or a spouse may be facing can spread … or reveal weaknesses that competitors and foes in any workplace may use against you,” he said.

Airing Out Workplace Secrets

“Any workplace secrets — marketing plans, financial strategies or legal disputes — that your company is dealing with should never be discussed in public where details may be overheard, recorded or distributed digitally in nanoseconds,” said Hanson.

“In today’s modern world, communication comes at us seemingly from every direction — other people, our computers and especially our smartphones. Private texts and conversations can be seen or heard over our shoulders like never before, even on the train home from work when you think no one is really listening or seeing what you type.”

Discussing Health Issues

As with your home life, discussions about your health don’t belong in the office. Talking openly about a medical issue should not cost you your job, but it can make co-workers feel uneasy.

Telling your co-workers that you had a routine dental appointment isn’t necessarily an issue. Still, you might want to hold off on discussing serious medical problems, Annette Harris, president and founder of personal branding agency ShowUp!, told HuffPost.

“Similar to marital problems, people often just don’t know how to react or respond in a work environment,” she said.

Gossiping About Other Co-Workers

You probably won’t like every person you work with, but you should definitely keep those thoughts to yourself, said business coach Stacy Caprio.

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