Monday, August 13, 2018

8 Things To Consider When You Get a Job Offer

Congratulations! After a lot of hard work, an employer has extended a job offer to you. But before you go out for a celebratory dinner, there’s more hard work ahead. Here’s what to do when you get a job offer:

1. Use your manners.

What do when you get a job offer? Well, first things first—say thank you. It sounds simple, but many job seekers forget this step, and it sets the wrong tone with the employer. If you decide to accept the offer, send thank-you emails to those who met with you during the interview stage, and note how much you appreciate the opportunity.

2. Get the offer in writing.

A verbal offer is nice, but a job offer is only as strong (read more here)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Don't Go to a Job Interview Without Doing These Things First

When you get a job interview, the worst mistake you can make is just trying to “wing it,” no matter your level of experience or the skills you possess. Interviewing requires preparation and practice, and those that put in the effort are much more likely to get the job they desire.
While there is no “best” way to handle interview preparation, there are steps that need to be taken to boost your chances of success. For example, you need to make an honest assessment of your skills, experience, and accomplishments while also doing your homework to learn everything you can about the employer. This may take time, but remember that every interview is a learning experience, and your interview preparation work lays an important base for all interviews yet to come.
Here’s a checklist of interview preparation items to consider:

Clean up your online presence

Check your privacy settings on all social media pages (read more here)

Monday, August 6, 2018

5 Everyday Habits That Can Quickly Derail Your Career

It's often the simple things at work that can really cause the most problems for your career. While you may be sweating over the big presentation you're giving next week, it's really something else that has caught the attention of others in your workplace.

Your feet.

Yes, it's sandal season, and it's blazing hot outside. You grab your favorite pair of  flip-flops because the dress code is really no big deal at work.

But, your feet.

It's first noticed by the woman in the next cubicle. Then, the guy sitting by you in a meeting notices. Before long, there's an IM storm going around about your feet.

Long, unclean toenails. Calloused skin. Hairy toes. What is wrong with you? your co-workers wonder. How oblivious are you to those feet? Those feet are with you all day -- don't you even notice?

But this is when the real professional trouble begins. Now your colleagues are wondering: If you don't notice your gross feet, what else are you missing? Should they be concerned you won't do a good job on the big project? Should they let you even talk to important clients?

Like I mentioned earlier, it's often the little things that can cause big problems at work. In the interest of saving your career and letting you focus on important matters at work, here are the little things you need to avoid:

1. Not cleaning up after yourself. Whether it's in the bathroom or the break room or your cubicle, no one wants to have to deal with your dirty dishes, food scraps, moldy coffee cups or any other detritus. At work, people equate sloppy habits with sloppy work.

2.  Always being late. Everyone has issues that can cause them to be late every once in a while, but colleagues have very little tolerance for someone who is chronically late. It's seen as a power play to get everyone to march to your tune, and they will quickly grow resentful and start finding ways to make you pay, whether it's excluding you from communications or mentioning it to the boss.

3. Phone addiction. I know even the most rabid phone users who are annoyed when a colleague is always looking at his phone and can't hold one conversation without constantly checking it. Start breaking this bad habit by turning off notifications when you're having conversations, or sticking the thing in your pocket and leaving it there while someone is talking to you.

4. Bad speech habits. One weird habit I've noticed lately is people starting every answer with "So." If I ask, "How are you?" I get a reply of, "So, I feel pretty good today." It's a crutch, and one that becomes annoying over time, as does using "like" or "you know" or "uh" too much.

5. Social media. Some jobs require you to use social media to promote your product or service. No one begrudges you using social media in these cases. But it peeves colleagues when they're waiting on some information from you and when they come to ask you about it, you're checking Instagram or Facebook or Twitter to see what your friends or family are doing. Any personal interactions --  whether it's on the phone or through texts or social media -- should be rare outside of lunch or break times.

You may not care whether your colleagues like your behavior -- or your footwear -- and just ignore them. But I can promise you that when colleagues get annoyed like this, they start to drop hints with the boss about your behavior or performance. When the boss has to stop what she's doing to listen to such comments, it's only a matter of time before she also gets annoyed with your lack of awareness. Then, my friend, you've got real trouble.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Microsoft Finds the One Thing That Matters Most to New Hires

As the competition for workers heats up, employers are offering better benefits and pay in an effort to attract job candidates.

The problem is that once a new worker is on board, then things may start to fall apart -- often within the first week. Many new workers are thinking to themselves: "Wow, I think this was a mistake," and may even begin job hunting again, knowing that there are plenty of employers out there who want them.

Why do new workers feel this way? Often, it's very simple: They don't feel a connection to the new job or the people or the organization. The quickest way to remedy that, finds a recent study, is for the manager to meet one-on-one with the new worker.

A Microsoft study found that it's often the "little things" that matter most to new hires: a working computer, immediate access to the building, email and intranet on the first day of work. That way, the employee feels productive immediately, and also begins to tie into the shared goals of the organization.

Looking at the engagement of about 3,000 workers, Microsoft finds that the really critical key is for a new employee met with a manager during the first week. When that happens, then the company saw key growth for the employee in building an internal network, higher-quality meetings and greater collaboration with team members.

Let's look at it another way. When you invite someone to your home for dinner, you don't let this person into your home, then turn around and go lock yourself in the bedroom to read or play Fortnight. You wouldn't expect this person to make his own dinner, clean up afterward and then find his way home without any contact from you. It's ridiculous -- and so is the practice of new employees never being personally welcomed by the boss and spending that one-on-one-time.

As the Microsoft researchers note, it's a pretty simple idea, but one that many bosses miss.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Research: Workplace Incivility Has Ripple Effect

When I am the most frustrated and angry, I wish I had a British accent. There is just something special when someone like Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham on "Downton Abbey" lets you know you're behaving like a jerk.

"When you talk like that, I'm tempted to ring for Nanny and have you put to bed with no supper," she once said.

In the workplace, incivility is a problem. Disagreements about the way to approach a new project can quickly deteriorate into insults that are anatomically impossible and comments about one's politics/nationality/mother.

Even email can get out of hand. A study by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign finds that a rude email can really stress people out. Whether it's when an email is delivered (3 a.m., really??) or the tone ("We can't afford for you to just keep playing around with this project") the negative effects spread.

Specifically, the worker takes the stress home to a domestic partner, who then also begin to feel stress. Both of these workers are now affected by the incivility to the point that they withdraw from work the next week, making the incivility a "double whammy," says YoungAh Park, a professor of labor and employment relations at Illinois.

Some blame politics in this country for the mounting incivility that people complain about at work. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Ohio) and Rep. Joyce Beatty (D-Ohio) have become so concerned they've formed the Civility and Respect Caucus, which puts Democrats and Republicans together to promote civility in Congress and among high school students in their districts.

While some cynics may scoff at such action, the author of "How Civility Works" says that people seeking civility matters.

"The true crisis of civility is if none of us cared. If we all stopped caring about what counts as appropriate behavior, then civility's not in crisis, it's dead," says Keith Bybee.

According to the National Conflict Resolution Center, there are several ways that civility at work can help your career. Among them:

1. Better productivity. When you're civil with people and communicate effectively, you'll be able to resolve differences faster and begin achieving results.
2. Resiliency. Workplace changes happen quickly these days, and those who can't adapt will get left behind. Get rid of the "us versus them" attitude that becomes a mental and emotional roadblock and instead look for the best ways to help your company be successful because that will lead to your success.
3. Greater value. Emotional intelligence is becoming a highly sought skill by many employers, who now believe that just having the right technical skills isn't enough. They want workers who can communicate and collaborate and they won't get that from someone who is uncivil to others. Being seen by others as someone who is civil can go a long way to making your a valued member of the team.

As Lady Crawley said, there is no whining. Life, she said, is just a "series of problems which we must try and solve."

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

3 Ways to Stay Connected to Hiring Managers

One trend I've noticed with more and more hiring managers is that they have an ongoing list of potential candidates for a variety of jobs. Some of that is because of "ghosting," which is a trend where candidates don't show up for job interviews -- or even new jobs.

Another reason is that many hiring managers know how stressful it is to try and hire under pressure, such as when IT screams "I've got to have a new body in here in two weeks or else!"

So, to protect their own sanity, many hiring managers have a list of several candidates they feel can be contacted should there be a job opening -- or the candidate they hired doesn't work out.

That's why you need to never write off a company and say, "Well, I'll never work for XYZ. I didn't even get a call/interview/second interview."

You can get a jump on the competition simply by remaining top-of-mind for employers. Even if you didn't seem to get a lot of interest from an employer, you need to:

  • Make a connection. Follow the hiring manager on Twitter, connect via Facebook and send a LinkedIn request. Then, through that connection make sure you send industry news or even professional achievements (such as a new certification) as a way to stay connected. If the hiring manager loves football, for example, you can always send them a link via Twitter about recent trades or rumors.
  • Look for a side door. Just because you didn't land the job you applied for doesn't mean there isn't a way to work for that employer. Sometimes you can find another position through sales instead of marketing, for example, that allows you to email the manager who didn't hire you and say, "I'm going to apply for the sales position because I just feel that your company would be such a great fit and has a strong culture I can get behind. I just wanted you to know because I so appreciated your consideration and the time you spent telling me about the company." You never can tell when that hiring manager may put in a good word for you with the sales hiring director. "You know, I didn't hire Bob Jones, but he let me know he's applying to you. I thought he had a lot of energy and I think he's worth looking at."
  • Keep a list. If you don't get a response with your outreach efforts, don't worry. It doesn't hurt anything to be friendly and professional (no stalking, please). Just as hiring managers are keeping a list of "potentials," you should also keep a running list of potential employers. If you record your interactions, it's much easier to check back in at regular intervals (a holiday greeting, Super Bowl prediction, etc.) and then make a much smoother connection when you're looking for a job.
Finally, don't forget that the day is coming when it will again be a bad job market and you're going to be desperate for a job. The best way to guard against such tough times is to always stay connected with those who are best positioned to hire you.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Techies: Are You Willing to Embrace a Stupid Idea?

Techies may believe they have nothing of value to learn from Lady Gaga when it comes to their careers, but they would be wrong.
Gaga is adept at taking smart risks, says Whitney Johnson, an expert on disruptive innovation and personal disruption. That is exactly what more tech workers need to do if they want to have successful careers.
Technology pros often are prized for their self-discipline and ability to think logically. But, says Johnson, author of "Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work," they may become so accustomed to following rules that they don’t push themselves to take more risks. “Their logical mind may look at something and say, ‘Are you out of your mind? This doesn’t make sense.'"
But at a time when more employers are urging employees to come up with innovative ideas and solutions, this lack of creativity—even in technology—can cause a career to stagnate, Johnson says.
People in IT and related industries should use their knowledge and experience to make smart decisions but also be willing to take a step back from a “stupid idea,” instead of (read more here)