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Category: Professional Development

3 Times It Makes Sense to Take a Career Risk

Filed under: Career Advice, Decision Making, Goals, Job Search, Professional Development

In most situations, it makes sense to play it safe. Don’t cross the street without looking both ways, and never drive a car without wearing a seat belt. Both of those things make sense because there’s no upside to making the dangerous choice.

When it comes to your career, though, sometimes it does make sense to take risks. You shouldn’t be foolish or take risks just for the sake of it, but there are situations when the safe choice limits your upside.

If you take a risk and fail, you can always get another job. The prospect may seem scary, but if you take enough smart, well-considered risks, then hopefully some will work out for you.

When Your Integrity Is on the Line

Jason Hall: There are plenty of times when the best thing to do at work is “keep your head down” and focus on the work. Whether it’s avoiding office politics (or discussing real politics), gossip or correcting your boss when it would only cause you to catch their ire, these can be “high-risk, low return” situations that are best avoided. And there are other times it may go either way if there’s a real risk you could do permanent damage to your reputation if you have a plan or idea that fails.

However, there should be a red line when it comes to your integrity. This is because, in my experience, an employer or coworker who asks you to start letting “little” things slide will eventually expect you to start ignoring — or possibly even hiding — bigger things. And sometimes these can mean breaking the law and becoming an accomplice to a crime. Of course, it’s important to consider context here, but in general, it should be pretty obvious when you’re starting down a dangerous path.

But if you always make a point to be honest in your dealings with your employer, peers and clients, you can avoid a slippery slope that can ruin careers and lives. The bottom line is, no job is more important than your integrity. If you have to break rules or lie or commit crimes to stay employed, you’re risking a lot more by trying to stay with that company.

When You’ve Saved for It

Maurie Backman: I’m the first person to encourage others to pursue their dream careers, because having done so myself, I know how rewarding it can be. I worked at a hedge fund for almost five years after college, all the while wanting to move over to something more creative. When I finally took the leap, I knew it would involve a major pay cut, and I was OK with that. The reason? I had savings to back myself up.

We spend so much time at work that we deserve to be doing things we love. At the same time, we can’t neglect our bills. If you know you want to switch careers, or take a similar risk that might result in a drop in income, go for it — but save some money first. When I went from collecting a steady paycheck to freelancing, I knew it would take time to build up a client base, and so I saved enough to ensure that even if I didn’t earn a dime during my first six months of independent work, I’d be OK.

It’s brave to take a career risk, but it’s unwise to compromise your near-term and long-term financial security in the process. So don’t. Save money to buy yourself the option to take that risk. This way, you can approach your new venture head on without having the stress of getting evicted or running up credit card debt holding you back.

When You’re Stuck in a Dead-End Position

Daniel B. KlineA few years ago I was working as the editor of two small — some would say dying — local newspapers. My boss was a nice enough guy but we had differing philosophies on local news. I believed in cramming as many local stories in the paper as possible. He believed in spending as little money as he could.

It wasn’t a bad job, but it was dead-end. If I stayed I was never going to get a meaningful raise, a promotion (there was nothing to promote me to) and it was unlikely my boss would come around to my thinking as to how we could get back to growth.

I wanted to leave and could have left for better newspaper jobs. That, however, would have likely been trading the headache I knew for a different one. Instead, I joined a friend of mine and started a business.

You can read the rest of the article on Glassdoor.

7 Tips to Rebrand Yourself for an Industry Switch

Filed under: Branding, Career Advice, Confidence, Goals, Job Market, Job Search, Professional Development, Your Career

Ready for a career change, but worried you don’t have the experience or skills to land a job in your desired field? Filling your resume with your previous work experience that has no similarity to the job you’re applying for is likely to land your resume in the trash can. But that doesn’t mean you’re stuck in a career you hate forever.

Dawn Graham, PhD, career coach, psychologist, and author of the book Switchers: How Smart Professionals Change Career–and Seize Success, says rebranding your professional experience is key to a successful career switch. “When you’re making a switch, you need to be a good fit for the role, and while some of your skills and experiences may be transferrable, many may not be,” she says. Here’s how you can prove that you’re worthy of the title, even when your resume shows no previous experience in the field.

1. Change your social presence

Use social media to your advantage to rebrand yourself in your new career area. Follow thought leaders in your target industry and comment on their posts. Connect with relevant industry groups and associations, share relevant and interesting articles within your online network, comment on posts, attend the biggest industry conferences, and develop a network of contacts in the industry. “Technology makes it easier than ever to market yourself in a way that appeals to the audience you choose,” says Graham. The more you can demonstrate that you’re serious and invested in your new target industry, the more credible you will seem.

2. Find your transferrable skills

Rebranding yourself takes time and introspection. Everyone has transferrable skills, even if you think you don’t. Graham gives the example of a recruiter who wants to move into social media marketing. “You can show off your customer research, analytics, and technical savvy skills,” she says. Demonstrating how you can reach new customers using the same skill set you used to uncover qualified candidates is a way to prove that your experience is relevant.

To determine your skills, Graham recommends breaking down achievements. “If you contributed to saving a large client, consider the steps that got you to that result–perhaps problem solving, diplomacy, creativity, and influencing.” Do the same with other accomplishments and you’ll soon notice a pattern of core strengths. Try going through this exercise with a colleague or manager who may be able to see strengths that you are overlooking.

3. Do your research

In order to find out what skills and experiences are most relevant to your new career choice, spend time learning as much as you can about your target position. Speak with professionals in your target industry, look for volunteer positions in the industry, take courses, and attend professional events to learn what experiences and skill sets are most valuable in the new industry.

4. Don’t lead with your title

While most of us use our job title when introducing ourselves, this can be an error when you’re switching careers. Many companies use language that doesn’t translate outside the industry. A title can cause confusion for someone in another industry, and biases their opinion toward your application. They may think right away that you’re not a good fit without reading further into your experiences. Instead of focusing on your title, place the emphasis on your value–the skills you developed in that position.

5. Know your audience

In order to highlight your value and position yourself as a good fit for the job, you need to know the challenges the hiring manager is trying to solve. “Many job seekers have incredible accomplishments, but without knowing what is important to your audience, you risk leading off with accomplishments that, while impressive, lead the hirer to think you’re not a fit for the role,” says Graham.

When in a job interview, make one of your first questions about the challenges the company or department is facing at this time. Once you find out the hiring company’s pain points, you can select the achievements from your background that best align with what the hiring manager is looking for in the role.

6. Cherry-pick experiences

Some of your best accomplishments and achievements may not be impressive to the hiring manager if they have no relation to the job you’re applying for. To be most effective in rebranding yourself professionally, select the parts of your experience that align most closely with your target role. To make your application in this new field stronger, highlight these experiences in your LinkedIn profile.

If hiring managers are reviewing your resume and then jump over to LinkedIn and see a whole different type of experience highlighted, they may be confused and cause them to put aside your resume. Rebranding your professional experience may mean dropping what you think are some of your best accomplishments, but by focusing on “fit” first, you will have a better chance of a recruiter recognizing you as a potential candidate for the position.

7. Justify the switch

“Every hiring manager wants to know why this job at this company at this time,” says Graham. Your answer to this question will be especially important if you’re a career switcher.

The Power of Culture in the Workplace

Filed under: company culture, Job Market, Job Statistics, Professional Development, Work-Life Balance

Corporate culture is a concept at the forefront of the employment marketplace—professionals want to feel valued as individuals, not just for their professional contributions.

In order to ensure a fulfilled and productive workforce, employers should build a strong culture to enhance employee morale; this translates to defining the organization’s mission and core values, as well as creating a sense of community amongst employees through professional and personal development.

Our 2018 Market Insights Report shows the impact culture has on professionals from the moment they consider a position through the lifecycle of employment.

1. The Offer: Our study shows that following compensation, corporate culture and work-life balance are the most important factors to consider in a job offer. And while respondents agree that salary is the most significant determinant in accepting an offer, nearly half (40%) of jobseekers would take a position that did not meet their financial expectations but with a company that promotes culture and professional development.

2. Engagement: In this candidate-driven market—the U.S. unemployment rate is below 4%, the lowest in 18 years—hiring quality professionals is only the beginning. In addition to attracting talent, companies must keep their workforce engaged. Our study shows that while people value the financial and tangible aspects of employment—compensation, insurance, 401(k)—they equally value professional growth and fulfillment.

3. Job Satisfaction: We can assume that, to jobseekers and tenured employees alike, culture may not be regarded as the most important aspect of a job, but it is certainly an unequivocal determinant. 93% of all respondents agree that it is important to have a sense of belonging and shared values with their organization. Our results show there is strong correlation between culture and job satisfaction:

    • of the professionals who claimed they fit in ‘very well’ with their culture, 77% were satisfied at their job;
    • of the respondents who fit in ‘somewhat,’ 62% were satisfied;
    • and of the people who didn’t fit in, only 33% were happy in their roles.

4. Retention: As challenging as it is to attract talented professionals, retention is equally as essential. In today’s competitive marketplace companies must invest in retaining top talent, as turnover is not only costly but impacts morale and employee engagement. Culture is a key factor in employee retention—of the people we surveyed who were planning a job change within the next year, only half (50%) noted a positive company culture, compared to the professionals who weren’t planning a job change, of which 90% reported alignment with company culture.

Our study concludes that positive company culture vastly benefits both employers and employees—your external brand is only as strong as your internal culture. In order to perform well employees need to feel appreciated, engaged, and aligned with their company’s mission and core values.

It’s crucial for companies to build and enhance culture for the well-being and productivity of their workforce, as clients will never love a company until the employees love it first. Ultimately, business improves along with employee morale: low turnover, as well as increased motivation, translates to positive results.

 

Stay tuned for more insights where we will reveal steps employers can take to successfully implement a positive company culture and productive work environment.

Women.NYC is Launched as Career Resource to Help Women Succeed

Filed under: Job Market, Professional Development, Professional Women, Social Impact, Technology, Women Leaders

In New York City, women earn about 89 cents on the dollar compared to men, and out of the 55 Fortune 500 companies in the five boroughs, only one has a female CEO.

But a new website that aims to support women in their careers hopes to change that. Women.NYC, launched on May 16th by New York’s Deputy Mayor of Housing and Economic Development Alicia Glen, is a one-stop-shop for women seeking information, resources, and tools on everything from finding a job, starting and running a business, and getting legal help, to accessing health services and money management.

“Women have waited long enough for equal pay, power and respect. In New York City, we aren’t going to wait any longer,” Glen explained in a statement. “That’s why we are launching Women.NYC. We know women can do it alone. But we don’t have to. Women now have concrete tools for concrete success, all in one, easy-to-navigate place. New York City is already the best city in the world for women. Today, we’re making it even better.”

The initiative is accompanied by a thought-provoking marketing campaign, which aims to encourage women to share their experiences, advice, and goals with the hashtag #NYCPowerMove.

“Power means something different for every woman, but we are all better off when every woman can tap into her power,” noted New York’s First Lady Chirlane McCray, co-chair for the Commission on Gender Equity. “New York City cannot continue as a successful city if women cannot succeed too. And now, for the first time in history, the women of New York City have all the tools they need to succeed in one place with Women.NYC.”

You can read the rest of the article here on Harper’s Bazaar.

How to Pull Off One More Career Win Before the Year’s Over

Filed under: Goals, How To, Professional Development, Strategy

How many times have you already said that you can’t believe it’s September? And then went through your mental list of everything you said you’d accomplish this year way back in January and felt resigned to the fact that those will now have to be 2018 goals?

Well, before you write off the year, I have a little bit of good news for you. And that good news is that there’s still plenty you can do to set and achieve a new career goal by the end of the year!

Here’s are four steps that’ll get you to where you want to be:

1. Document Your Goal

Your goal might be to get a promotion with your current company. Or you might want a fresh start at a new job. Or, perhaps you just want to learn a new skill.

Whatever you’re hoping to do this year, start by tuning out what everyone around you is working toward right now. No really, forget their goals and focus on your own. After all, just because Jaime wants a promotion, doesn’t mean that’s what you should want.

Once you’re focused on you, write your goal down somewhere that’ll you see it a lot. A sticky note on your bathroom mirror, a reminder in your phone, a tattoo on your hand—whatever you know will work best.

For example, last year I stayed on top of my goal by setting a calendar event for December 31st and creating monthly reminders for the first day of every month. This might sound silly (and maybe even a little annoying), but it really kept me on top of things.

Continue reading on The Muse…

7 Skills Managers will Need in 2025

Filed under: Leadership, Leadership and Management, Professional Development, Relationships, Strategy

We all know that the work landscape is changing. The jobs that will be in demand are shifting as more are automated by artificial intelligence, machine learning, and robots. Teams are becoming more disparate and globalization has added new collaboration challenges. At the same time, more millennials are taking on management roles, and even our work spaces will undergo changes between now and 2025.

“Change will be happening so quickly that 50% of the occupations that exist today will not exist 10 years from now. So we’re going to be living in an environment that is extremely adaptable and changing all the time,” says Liz Bentley, the founder of Liz Bentley Associates, a leadership development consulting firm.

Amid all of this flux, managers are going to need new skills, too. The staid, hierarchical structures of the past aren’t going to work, she says. So as you plan your future managerial career, be sure to keep these skills at the forefront.

TECHNOLOGY MANAGEMENT SKILLS
Technology is going to “grow alongside of us,” says Bentley, and there will be no job that is immune from its effects. Of course, it won’t be a straight line from where we are now to machine learning and robots taking over the workplace, but technology will become an ever-present factor in the workplace. That will create new challenges, conflicts, and opportunities related to skill building, workplace roles, data management, privacy, and others. Managers will need to understand technology enough to keep abreast of and anticipate emerging issues.

Some technological developments will work, some won’t, and some will evolve, she says. But the constant is that managers will need to not only be comfortable with embracing new technology, but they’ll also have to be adept at managing the changing relationship between people and emerging tech.

Continue reading on Fast Company >>

17 Skills that are Hard to Learn but will Pay off Forever

Filed under: Good Habits, Professional Development

The best things in life may be free, but that doesn’t mean they won’t take time, sweat, and perseverance to acquire.

That’s especially the case when it comes to learning important life skills.

To ascertain which talents are worth the investment, one Quora reader posed the question: “What are the hardest and most useful skills to learn?”

We’ve highlighted our favorite takeaways, as well as a few other skills we thought were important.

1. Empathy

“You can be the most disciplined, brilliant, and even wealthy individual in the world, but if you don’t care for or empathize with other people, then you are basically nothing but a sociopath,” writes Kamia Taylor.

Empathy, as business owner Jane Wurdwand explains, is a fundamental human ability that has too readily been forsworn by modern business.

“Empathy — the ability to feel what others feel — is what makes good sales and service people truly great. Empathy as in team spirit — esprit de corps — motivates people to try harder. Empathy drives employees to push beyond their own apathy, to go bigger, because they feel something bigger than just a paycheck,” she writes.

2. Mastering your sleep
There are so many prescribed sleep hacks out there it’s often hard to keep track. But regardless of what you choose, establishing a ritual can help ensure you have restful nights.

Numerous studies show that being consistent with your sleep schedule makes it easier to fall asleep and wake up, and it helps promote better sleep in general.

Continue reading on Time…