Monday, January 17, 2022

The 4 Things Hiring Managers Really Want to Know

As more people job hop these days in an effort to obtain better positions, they need to understand that just because they have a pulse doesn't mean they will be hired.

Employers are still being somewhat discerning, especially when it comes to those who are seeking a "leap" in their career or even a completely new career.

For those who may lack the specific skills or experience required in a position, these are some of the abilities that will get the interest of hiring managers:

1. An ability to self-manage. Whether you're seeking a remote or on-site position, be aware that many managers are being pushed to constantly monitor employee "health and well-being," as well as provide proof that employees are getting their jobs done. Talk about how you organize your time at work, how you manage your own stress or how you are aware of how your own actions -- or inactions -- can impact others on a team.

2. Motivated. During the pandemic, we've all had to find ways to stay upbeat. If you've found a strategy to stay engaged and excited about work, share that with a hiring manager. Maybe it's listening to great music, finding satisfaction in helping someone solve a problem or enjoying the challenge of exceeding customer expectations.

3. You consider other viewpoints. Although many people would like to choose the people they work with, that rarely happens. It's just a fact of the workplace that you're going to work with people who are different from you in a variety of ways. What a hiring manager wants to know is: Can you work with others who may rub you the wrong way?  Are you able to deal with conflict in a professional manner? Can you relate a time that you resolved a conflict or learned to find common ground?

4. You strategize for success. You know the goals of an employer and set your job goals to help meet them. In other words, you recognize that your success is the company's success, and vice versa. You cannot operate in a vacuum and need to be flexible enough to shift as the company goals shift, and to align yourself to the most important goals.

No matter what job you're seeking, these are important issues that any hiring manager will consider. That's why it's important to think of examples to share with an employer throughout the interviewing process to show that you're prepared, motivated, professional and ready to take on new challenges.


Monday, January 3, 2022

How to Learn if Your Resume is Memorable

How memorable is your resume?

It might take a stranger to truly reveal that answer.

Ask someone you don't know to review your resume, either online or in a printed format. 

Let them review it for less than 10 seconds, then take the resume back and ask: "What do you know about me?"

It's often said that hiring managers don't give more than six or seven seconds to review your resume, so this test is a good way to gauge what is memorable about you.

Once you've gotten your answer, then it's time to consider several factors:

  • Did the reviewer only remember information that was in boldface, or a larger type size?
  • Did the reviewer remember only information in one area of the resume such as the upper right corner?
  • Did the reviewer only remember job titles?
  • Could the reviewer remember any of your accomplishments?
These are all important questions because they may reveal that your resume simply needs a few tweaks (more boldface, more bulleted points) or that you need to put your most important information in the upper right corner.

Try this test with several people, if possible. While this is certainly far from scientific, it does give you a good idea of a resume that isn't visually appealing or memorable in any way. If a stranger doesn't notice your qualifications, then it's worth making sure a hiring manager doesn't also miss them.

Monday, December 27, 2021

How to Become an Innovative Leader

Anyone hoping to move up the leadership ranks better put "innovative" at the top of their resume.

Innovation is highly prized by companies because it means that this person is always on the lookout for new ideas and new opportunities, which are critical in succeeding into today's competitive marketplace.

In an XBInsight study of almost 5,000 leaders across a wide range of industries, here are the competencies that innovative leaders share and how you can do the same:

1. Manage risk. Think of at least eight new initiatives and benchmark the best practices for each. How can they be implemented in your organization? Then, identify, document and plan for risks, dissecting the risk for every decision.

2. Show curiosity. What other education or training do you need to expand your current knowledge and skills? Look at past mistakes and write down what you can learn from them and what behaviors or actions led to those mistakes.

3. Lead courageously. Be willing to share your feelings and opinions clearly and with conviction even if you get pushback. Think about how to be assertive without being aggressive. Try to always look for the win-win.

4. Seize opportunities. When you've run into a setback or a problem, have you looked at it in a different way so you can create opportunity? New situations can create new areas of growth, but you can't let yourself be intimidated by them. Look for collaborators and remember that you don't always have to go it alone.

5. Maintain a strategic business perspective. You must thoroughly understand your business, the marketplace and your customers. With that knowledge you can then develop collaboration with others to better analyze and execute a business strategy.

Monday, December 20, 2021

3 Questions You Must Ask to Get Ahead

 Are you good at your job?

If so, congratulations. But it's not enough.

If you really want to move up in your career or in your company, then you've got to offer more. You have to go beyond your job description and figure out how your input contributes to the bottom-line success of the company. 

Here's how to figure out where you also need to focus your energies if you want to move up:

1. What tasks do you perform -- either officially or unofficially -- that have a direct impact on the bottom line? In other words, what earns the company money or customers?

2. What relationships do you have with the people who are critical to getting these key tasks done? For example, if you often predict when and how shipping needs will change for your company's product -- and prevent that change from becoming a problem -- then are you connecting with the right people that can help you accomplish that?

3. Does your boss know? If you're performing a critical task that is contributing to the bottom-line success of a company, you better make darn sure the boss knows about it. This is a contribution that matters, and he/she needs to understand that you're the one getting it done. Your success will contribute to the boss's success, so he/she needs to be on the same page so that the positive results continue.

Too many people take their job descriptions to heart and think that's the blueprint for their jobs. But job descriptions are often a hurried, random thing thought up by a busy human resources person or a harried boss. 

Take the time to truly understand the path to greater success by writing your own job description of the things you do that reall add value -- that's where you need to focus your time and energy.

Monday, December 13, 2021

What Does Your Pride Say About You?

Many of us have been taught from a young age that lacking humility is a downfall. Of course, now that social media has come along, it seems that bragging is an art form.

We might be able to ignore the celebrity or star athlete who can't quit bragging online, but it can be more difficult to stomach the boss or the colleague who is always gloating. We might believe that we shouldn't brag -- but one expert says that not correct.

Jessica Tracy, a psychology professor and author of "Take Pride; Why the Deadline Sin Holds the Secret to Human Success," says that being proud of an achievement isn't a negative. But when you have "hubristic" pride where you believe you are the greatest and deserve more than others, then that becomes a problem.

She says that insecurity often is the biggest motivator of such behavior, and such people become defensive and defiant as they push down the thought that they're not good enough and instead begin touting "I'm the best."

That can steamroll to the point that the person doesn't do the work to really have "authentic" pride and instead bases his/her sense of self on how others view him/her.

Tracy emphasizes that pride can be a positive thing, but it needs to come from doing hard work and trying to become the best person you can be. Only then will you feel better about yourself, because you know you're putting in a genuine effort toward something that matters to you.

What kind of pride do you have? Is it authentic or hubristic? 

Monday, December 6, 2021

How Managers Can Learn to Go With the Flow

No one would argue with the statement that the last 18 months have been challenging for workers.

But it's also been a very, very challenging time for managers. The strategies they developed to keep working flowing on their teams, deal with obstacles and help employees stay engaged have flown out the window. Now, these managers are dealing with workers working remotely, or in a hybrid situations. Team members they've relied on in the past have left for other positions. Workers are more stressed and it's up to managers to figure out how to relieve that stress and keep them moving forward.

It's a big ask.

But it may be easier for managers if they stop obsessing about the clock and how long it takes for someone to get a task done, and instead focus on how team members best get work done. 

For example, a working parent may be most productive between the hours of 10 a.m.-3 p.m., when the kids are off to school and he/she has had time to get a cup of coffee, take a deep breath and focus on work. Or, a young, single employee may work best from noon until 9 p.m. as he/she likes to go on a long bike ride before work and doesn't mind working later into the evening.

When a manager is focused on the clock instead of how quality work gets done, they may be getting work delivered -- but it's not as well done. That increases the stress on the team and on the manager.

Instead of trying to force your work pace on team members, try to let them choose when they work best and how they can meet goals. While there will certainly always be deadlines, letting team members have more leeway in their work flow can help relieve a burden on employees and managers.

Monday, November 29, 2021

How to Say "No" at Work

 Do you find it difficult to say "no"?

You may find it easy to say "no" to brussels sprouts, but much tougher to say "no" to a work colleague who seems to want your help with something that doesn't sound entirely ethical or may violate company policy. Or, what about the valuable customer who is pressuring you to do something you don't want to do?

These are tricky situations because you need to maintain relationships with these people, but also believe that "going along" doesn't feel right and could lead to problems for you.

Here are some ways to respond instead of outright saying "no" in workplace situations:

  • Be prepared. Chances are, you've known a colleague or a customer is leading up to something. You may not know specifically what the ask will be, but you have a pretty good idea. The person has probably been dropping hints to see your reaction, so it's a good idea to have a plan in place. Try writing out your response to why you may not want to say "yes" -- such as it violates your professional ethics, you don't want to lie or be less that completely honest or you think it could damage someone else.
  • Have other routes. Once you suspect that you're being pushed into something that doesn't feel right to you, then you need to be prepared with an alternative offer. It can lead to friction with the other person to just say "no" to a proposal, so make sure you've got some other ideas. Maybe you suggest moving the idea to the back burner until more data is gathered, or you include others in a meeting so that you're not pressured one-on-one. If you need an emergency exit, grab your phone and claim you just got a "911" call from home.
  • Ground yourself. Call on a trusted family member or friend, or reach out to a mentor to keep yourself from saying "yes" when you know you should say "no." Having ethical, steady voices throughout your career is critical, and are especially vital during such difficult times.