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Professional growth

  • You’ve probably heard the term best fit or ideal candidate quite a bit if you’ve been applying for new jobs, submitting college applications, or simply sifting through your long-term career goals. Employers know who they want, and usually what they want, in the hiring process. However, sometimes that’s not always clear on the other end and candidates can find themselves with many mixed messages.

    Aspiring to be the perfect fit for a new position is a job in itself. After all, nobody’s perfect, and everyone is unique. But what do you do when you’ve received the infamous rejection email for the umpteenth time? How will you possibly bounce back from not being the best fit after nailing the first or second interview, time and time again?

    Here are a few ways to grow as a candidate and own not being the ideal fit:

    Avoid Displacing Anger

    Man gets mad after receiving a rejection email for a job he applied for

    If you can’t express appreciation or thanks to the hiring manager after receiving the job rejection, then you need to take a step back and go for a walk.

    Never communicate with a recruiter, hiring manager, or anyone else in the hiring process while under the influence of anger. You may say something that could damage your reputation and cripple your career. It’s okay to feel hurt after putting in time for an opportunity you really wanted, but save those emotional feelings for close friends or family.

    Learn About The “Ideal Candidate”

    Woman on laptop reads a letter of feedback from a hiring manager

    Following the job rejection, it’s okay to ask the hiring manager for some feedback about what you were lacking as a candidate, and how you can improve for future job opportunities.

    When asking a hiring manager for feedback, it’s important to be professional and not too pushy about it. If they don’t respond, or decline to respond, just let it go. Not everyone is comfortable with or has time to give feedback.

    However, if they do provide feedback, the information could be invaluable.

    Not only is it good to know who you’re competing against, but it’s also good to assess what other candidates have in common, and what traits your dream company looks for in candidates. Why? Because you’ll be able to better understand if you fit in.

    For example, if you have a hard time taking charge of tasks on your own but find yourself applying for jobs that offer little structure or support, you might not be the ideal candidate for the job.

    Don’t Let Rejection Stunt Your Growth

    Let’s say you didn’t get the design job of your dreams despite having a portfolio with years of obvious hard work. So what? Use rejection as a way to perfect your skills and toughen your skin. Maybe you were just one year shy of the necessary job requirements, or maybe your skill set needs some fine-tuning.

    This is all perfectly okay. Sometimes we don’t get the things we want because we’re not ready. Remember, the company isn’t saying “No, not ever.” They’re actually saying No, not today.” You could re-apply to the same company later on and get the job. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open.

    Don’t let your job search get in the way of your personal growth. There are always opportunities available for professional development and upskilling—you just always have to be open to those opportunities.

    Just because you weren’t the ideal candidate initially, doesn’t mean you won’t be in the future.

    Need more help with your job search?

    Become a member to learn how to land a job and UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • Are you sick and tired of depending on other people for your career success? Good! The only person in charge of your success is you.

    If you’re feeling trapped by a job you hate, a bad boss, insulting pay, or all of the above, it’s time you take ownership of your career. But where do you start?

    Here are three things you can do to start taking control of your career today:

    Take Inventory Of Your Skill Sets

    What are you known for? What are your best skills? What accomplishments are you most proud of? What are your best qualities?

    Take some time to list your best skill sets, and how you use those skill sets to add value to a company. Think of all the quantifiable examples of the times your skills have helped previous employers and other examples of your skill sets standing out from everyone else’s.

    Organizing all of this information will help you build your personal brand and organize how you want to market yourself as a business-of-one to employers.

    Start Being Proactive In Your Career

    A young professional has a career conversation with her boss

    If you want to take ownership of your career, you need to stop being reactive and start being proactive. Reactive activities include but aren’t limited to the following: waiting for your boss to give you a promotion, waiting for recruiters to reach out to you with new opportunities, or waiting for employers to email you back about your resume.

    Notice that all of these “job search activities” started with the word “waiting.” Newsflash: Waiting doesn’t get results. Taking action does.

    Instead, set up a meeting with your boss to discuss advancement opportunities or make a bucket list of companies that you want to work at, and then reach out to employees at those companies to connect, and maybe even set up informational interviews.

    It’s also important to submit your cover letter and resume to an actual person when applying for a job, and following up with that hiring staff.

    Build Your Professional Network

    Man on phone and laptop builds his professional network

    The old saying, “It’s who you know,” has never rung more true. Get by with a little help from your career friends! Focus your efforts on building your professional network. Meet new people within your industry and bucket list companies. Start conversations and build relationships with them.

    Even if you’re not ready to find a new job or change careers yet, having these people in the wings as references, mentors, and professional contacts will help you tremendously. They can provide tips and insight, act as a sounding board for ideas, and even hook you up with a job. Just make sure you help them out in return!

    Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone

    Young happy professional stands out in the job market by stepping out of her comfort zone

    Part of your new, proactive approach is to step out of your comfort zone. Many people hold themselves back solely because they are afraid of what people might think. But remember, nothing will change if you don’t!

    Make an effort to put yourself out there and meet new people. Set up informational interviews with like-minded professionals, strike up a conversation with someone at a conference, and attend in-person or virtual networking events.

    If you’re ready to achieve career success, take ownership of your career today by following the tips above. What is your business-of-one capable of?

    Need more help with your career?

    Become a member to learn how to UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • Understanding one’s stage of self-awareness development as an executive coach who facilitates leaders to practice conscious leadership is crucial. My own developmental journey emphasized the need to pay attention to how my beliefs and assumptions enabled my effectiveness in varied contexts and interactions.

    I realized the importance of aligning my developmental stage with my role and goals. As a learning practitioner, it was clear to me that unless I became able to make sense of my own way of being and acting at a level essential for enabling others to transform, I would not be acting with a high degree of integrity. Nor would I be effective.

    What provoked the realization that I was stuck in a level of mindset that was not going to serve me was my encounter with one of the leaders of consultancy that I was seeking to join.

    My Pivotal Moment

    Soft skills, growth, development concept

    During an interview, the company director asked me, “What are your strengths?” Proudly, I responded, “According to my StrengthsFinder, my strengths are Activator, Communication, Connectedness, Woo, and Positivity.” I believed I was showcasing my expertise. However, my ego took a hit when the director responded, “I don’t want you to define yourself by an instrument. I want to know your essence, who you are.”

    My Transformation Journey

    Growth, development, self-transformation concept

    Despite the rocky start, I was hired. At the beginning of our professional relationship, the director played the bad cop, challenging my tendency to act as the subject matter expert. He aimed to unveil my authentic self, and this feedback served as a wake-up call for me to reflect on who I truly was.

    At this point, I needed a framework that I could understand that would help me find my way to what many call a “later stage of meaning-making.” Enter Robert Kegan’s five stages of adult development, a framework that, despite my conceptual understanding, revealed a disparity between my self-assessment and reality. Believing I was at a stage referred to as Self-Authoring Mind focused on what I could create of value according to my own standards, I discovered I was operating from the perspective of Socialized Mind, which draws self-esteem and orientation based on how others would judge me.

    I engaged the support of an executive coach, driven by my eagerness to learn, enabling a breakthrough that helped me transition from a Socialized Mind to Self-Authoring Mind. I was able to free myself from always needing to know the answers, to be more comfortable with the ambiguity of not knowing, and to be more collaboratively accepting of others’ perspectives.

    Power Of Coaching In My Journey

    Coaching, mentoring, guidance concept

    This experience highlighted the power of coaching that fosters self-awareness and transformation. I acknowledged that I wouldn’t have progressed to higher stages without my coach’s guidance. This personal evolution equipped me with the wisdom to help others grow.

    Another resource, Jennifer Garvey Berger’s book Changing on the Job: Developing Leaders for a Complex World, deepened my understanding of transformation. It guided me on how to assist others in identifying their level of development and fostering corresponding growth.

    My journey underscored the importance of self-awareness, coaching, and aligning developmental stages with professional roles. This experience fueled my passion for enabling others to navigate their transformative journeys.

    Your Journey

    Growth, professional development concept

    As you reflect on my journey of self-discovery and professional growth, consider your own path. What stage of development are you in, and where do you feel called to be to lead more effectively? Are you ready to embrace the transformative power of coaching, self-reflection, and continuous learning?

    If you’re ready to unlock your full potential, take the first step today. Seek a coach, explore relevant literature, and commit to your own evolution. Remember, the journey to self-awareness and authentic leadership is ongoing—embrace it and you will empower yourself to inspire meaningful change in both your professional and personal spheres. Your transformative journey awaits!

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  • If you are an employee looking to get ahead at your current job, you need to start managing up. Managing up is not difficult and the benefits are worth the time and energy it takes to master it.

    Managing up is not manipulation either. It’s simply understanding how to create an exchange that is mutually beneficial—and this kind of exchange cannot occur without trust between both parties.

    Here are three rules to successfully “manage up” in your job:

    Rule #1: Get To Know Your Manager’s Personal & Professional Agenda

    Woman talks to her boss to try to manage up

    To manage up, you must embrace the idea that you are selling your professional services. You are a business-of-one. It’s time to act like a salesperson, and great salespeople take the time to learn about their clients’ histories, experiences, perceptions, and, subsequently, what it might take to shift those perceptions. I emphasize the word “time” because many of the professionals I work with come to me after making the initial mistake of not getting the detailed information they need to manage up.

    A great salesperson is actually a really gifted teacher, someone who patiently and creatively navigates pupils, enabling them to reach the right conclusions on their own. Yet everyone knows teachers can’t make this happen for their students without first determining what the students need to understand. Thus, understanding our managers to the point where we know how to get what we want means doing our homework.

    Here are just a few questions we should be seeking the answers to:

    • What is my manager ultimately trying to accomplish and why?
    • What does he/she value most, both personally and professionally?
    • How have past work experiences impacted his/her professional goals?
    • How is he/she planning to make his/her mark on the company?
    • What role does he/she envision me playing in his/her master plan?

    That last question is most important because the answer tells us what our manager thinks we’re capable of. How can we begin to convince managers we can do more without first knowing what they perceive our limits to be?

    Doing extensive research on our manager not only keeps us busy but also provides us with a gold mine of information we can use to help connect our own professional goals to those of our manager. And we all know presenting evidence-supported, win-win strategies produces some of the best and fastest results.

    Yet, while the “everybody wins” approach is a solid start to being heard and respected by management, we must now explore another sign of a truly successful salesperson, and the next key element to managing up: knowing when NOT to press the sale.

    Rule #2: Build A Long-Term Relationship (It Yields More Than A Self-Serving Sale)

    Two employees build a relationship with their boss during a work meeting and manage up

    The most impressive, unforgettable salesperson isn’t the one who closes the big deal. Rather, it’s the one who upon listening to the needs of its client realizes their product or service actually isn’t a good fit and then tries to help by suggesting viable alternatives.

    Now, that’s someone we can trust and respect—someone whose honest opinion we would seek again.

    The value in thoroughly exploring the what, why, and how of upper management is that we may also get a “heads up” as to why some of our ideas might not work at a certain time. Is pushing a personal agenda worth jeopardizing our credibility?

    It’s easy to get caught up in the sale of our professional services, especially when we are dissatisfied on the job. But even when we want something, we must recognize our managers may not be able to meet those demands right away. The timing might be off, or the right pieces might not be in place. And, like that unforgettable salesperson, it’s the employee who recognizes and graciously accepts what can’t be at the moment, and who willingly goes back to the drawing board to come up with another plan, who gains the respect of management.

    Now, before you say, “But management is too self-absorbed and busy to even give me the time of day,” or “Why would I bother when my boss doesn’t listen to me or respect my opinions,” let’s take a look at the final key element of effectively managing up that has quantum leaped the careers of many professionals I know: a willingness to speak their language.

    Rule #3: Be Appreciative, Tactful, And Understanding

    A woman walks with her boss at work and tries to manage up

    The best salespeople are engaging communicators who care seriously about what they say and how they say it. The old cliche, “You get more flies with honey than vinegar,” is paramount to managing up. If you are a professional looking to get ahead, then learning to speak to management on their terms will be your ticket to success.

    Let me share a story.

    I was recently speaking to a group of managers who had to hire a lot of younger professionals in the last year. Their first comment to me? How inconsiderate these new employees could be when expressing themselves on the job. One manager even shared a story of how, when she made an effort to commend and recognize a new employee’s efforts with a creative token gift, instead of a “thank you,” the employee said, “That’s corny,” and gave her a disdained look.

    I don’t care how old you are or how long you’ve been a manager, getting that reaction from your efforts is like a kick in the stomach. More importantly, it puts up a wall of defense between the two parties. Why should a manager respect us if we don’t treat them with respect? We may not like their approaches, but let’s at least give them credit for trying.

    I know how frustrating it can be for employees on the job, but making a change requires diplomacy—the choosing of words wisely. The desire for greater teamwork, leaderless organizations, and an emphasis on meaningful one-on-one interactions are just some of the concepts employees believe will improve a workplace. Yet the very success of those initiatives rests on highly effective positive communication. So, why not start by setting an example?

    Before you speak, put yourself in the shoes of today’s seasoned manager and imagine what it must have been like to work over the last twenty years. If you can’t muster some sensitivity for their plight, then look at it this way: The disconnect between older management and younger employers is not going to go away. Some day, the current crop of younger professionals will be responsible for the workplace, and the new generation entering behind them won’t be satisfied with what they’ve done with it either. That’s the nature of progress—never being satisfied.

    I must admit, after years of hard work and working only with what was available to me at the time, I don’t think I’d appreciate folks brand new to the workplace bluntly telling me how I’ve messed it up for them, would you? Progress only works when ALL parties learn to effectively communicate with one another. It’s not just management’s job to listen to the desires of its employees; it’s every employee’s job to find the right way to engage management in dynamic, productive conversations.

    For example, we’ve all got questions. But it’s how we frame those questions to managers that can make a difference. Open up conversations by saying:

    “I am really interested in finding a way to make a greater impact, but I need more information. You have a lot of experience that can help me see the big picture. I need your perspective. Can we set up some time so I can ask questions and get the kind of feedback that will help me?”

    This is one way successful young people are connecting with their managers. Give your manager the chance to share how they got their workplace battle scars. Some day, you may want that chance too.

    More importantly, articulating the reasons for our questions in this fashion is the smartest way to get management off the defensive. Instead of assuming we’re questioning their authority and secretly criticizing their decisions, they’ll understand that we’re just looking for answers that will help us do our job better.

    In summary, adjusting our approach to communicating with management is part of the give-and-take necessary for successful partnerships. Nobody (especially a manager) wants to work with someone who conveys an “all about me” attitude in their efforts to get ahead. We all know there’s no “I” in “team,” but smart professionals know thinking and subsequently phrasing their thoughts to reflect a “we” versus a “me” mentality is the quickest way to get respect from higher-ups.

    Ensure your communication with managers showcases a comprehensive view of everyone’s needs, and you’ll be seen as both wise and worth more than your years.

    The secret to successfully managing up in your job is following the three rules above. Managing up in your job will help you get ahead in your career, and hopefully help you achieve the career growth you’re capable of achieving.

    Need more help with your career?

    Become a member to learn how to UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • To most of us, career growth and success are life goals that are right in line with marriage, a mortgage, kids, and two bright and shiny new cars in the driveway. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. In many cases, well-educated people are stuck in jobs that they’re overqualified for and they’re blocked for promotions by senior team members.

    When it comes to career success, if you’re not growing, you’re dying.

    Here are five things that you can do to improve your career growth prospects and be happier and successful at work:

    1. Learn New Skills

    If you’re passed over again and again for promotions, it might be time to start learning new skills in order to make yourself more valuable to the company. Taking online courses and getting professional certifications can go a long way to help you advance with your current company or look more attractive to another company should you decide to leave.

    It’s important to remember that it’s not your employer’s responsibility to advance your career. You must develop your own plan for career growth and hold yourself accountable.

    2. Stop Schmoozing Co-Workers

    Coworkers have fun in the office and take a selfie

    It’s great to have friends at work but your job isn’t a country club aimed at enhancing your social status. Being friendly and courteous is important in the office, but being friends with everyone is not. This is not to say that you shouldn’t attend social events or engage in some water cooler talk from time to time, but remember that your peers may one day be your subordinates.

    This often leads to workplace hostility. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that you have friends outside of work and that remaining friendly, but not too friendly, is the best course of action.

    3. Set Personal Goals

    Confident young professional on laptop brainstorms some professional goals

    When it comes time for a promotion or a raise, you’re ultimately going to be judged on what you do to provide additional value to the company.

    Corporate goals are great, but setting personal goals to push the envelope a bit further is great for overall career growth and gives you great talking points when you’re met with a review for a raise or promotion.

    4. Build A Network

    Young professionals at a networking event

    Networking is no longer an option; it’s the norm. Attending these events puts you in contact with people who not only could provide opportunities later but could also help you at your current job. Need a new HR person? You probably know someone. The IT department is looking for a new lead—great, you can call the guy you met at happy hour.

    These contacts allow you to not only be on the lookout for future opportunities but to also be the person in your current position who has the contacts they need to get things done.

    5. Be The Solution

    Happy man on laptop thinks about solving problems at work

    If there’s one thing that bosses hate, it’s the person who brings problems to them to solve. Problems happen, and sometimes you don’t have any other choice but to bring it to your boss, but you’ll be looked at in a far more favorable light if you bring solutions when you present the problems.

    “This is a potential problem, but I’ve done some research and it appears that this would fix it”—sounds a lot better to your management team than just being the guy who is constantly complaining.

    If these tips don’t help and you can’t seem to get ahead no matter what you try, it might be time to look for a new job. There’s no shame in trying something and then moving on to something else when it doesn’t work.

    No matter what position you’re in, there are always ways to keep moving up the corporate ladder. Don’t give up. Remember to seize every opportunity and work on your career a little bit every day. You’ll be out of a career rut in no time.

    Need more help with your career?

    Become a member to learn how to UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • Do you have “unproductive discomfort”? As a career coach, I work with a lot of people who sit in unproductive discomfort, meaning they have a lot of anxiety, stress, anger, and frustration around their situation, but they’re spending more time worrying about it and thinking about it than doing something about it.

    Now, that’s not to say that you’re not trying. I know that you are. I know that you’re trying different things, but nothing is working. And every time you try something and you don’t get results, it eats away at your confidence and gets you into this really uncomfortable space—unproductive discomfort.

    How To Overcome “Unproductive Discomfort”

    The only way to fix this is to not assume that a fairy godmother is going to come along or you’re going to get a magic pill that’s going to solve your problems. Yet human nature is always searching for that quick fix, that thing that will take us out of our discomfort. And it doesn’t work.

    In 20 years of being a career coach, the fastest way I know how to get you out of unproductive discomfort is to have you basically trade up pain, trade up discomfort, and take it from a lower level to a slightly higher level temporarily. We call it highly productive discomfort.

    Imagine if, in just 15 minutes a day, I could teach you something new. I could take you through exercises that help you improve your skills and your attitude, make you feel more positive, and dispel some beliefs or assumptions you have that are holding you back. Because those three things are what are keeping you in this unproductive state. But if I can, for 15 minutes a day, put you in this temporary but productive discomfort of learning and growing, you’re going to make big leaps in your progress.

    These are the breakthrough moments that the people we work with at Work It DAILY have every single day because inside our program we have courses, coaching, and community all designed to address your discomfort and get you out of it as quickly as possible by giving you the things that you need.

    So, if you’re willing to go back to school a little bit and throw out any outdated beliefs and negative mindsets to get the results you’re looking for, then I hope you become a Work It DAILY member and sign up for a free trial today.

    Good luck, and go get ’em!

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  • Becoming a successful leader at work can be challenging. You want to be the one your team looks to for guidance and support, but you may not be in a leadership role yet. So, can you establish yourself as a leader at work, and display the characteristics of a good leader daily?

    There are many ways, but listed below are some things to start doing today. By doing these things, you can position yourself as a leader at work without being too obvious about your ambitions.

    If you want to become a leader at work and develop your leadership skills, incorporate these actions into your daily routine:

    1. Take On More Responsibility At Work

    Man showing he's ready to take on more responsibility at work by leading a tough project and making a presentation

    To become a leader at work, learn to take responsibility for anything that you’re interested in, and own it. That also means that as long as you participate in that project, you influence whether it fails or succeeds.

    Learn to take responsibility for not just the good things, but also the bad things. Take ownership of your mistakes, and know it’s okay to be wrong. You cannot learn if you haven’t made any mistakes.

    2. Believe In Win-Win In The Workplace

    Male boss/leader seeing a win-win situation in a team meeting at work

    A rising tide lifts all boats—always think win-win.

    It exists. Just because some may believe the business world is nasty, and that you need to be manipulative and maneuvering to win, you need not participate in it. In fact, make it your priority to not to be a negative and manipulative leader.

    If you want to be a leader at work, believe in your positive leadership abilities. The positive influence you have on the people around you and the ability to inspire your team is right in front of you.

    3. Strive To Push The Envelope

    CEO leader talks about purpose during a team meeting

    Try new things. Take some risks. Make yourself uncomfortable. Do the things that may make you look foolish. Seriously, what do you have to lose?

    Leaders take risks. They are not afraid of doing what they believe is right. What are you willing to take a risk for? To be a leader at work, you need to take small risks, like taking on a project no one wants.

    4. If You Have An Idea, Write It Down

    Happy man leader writing down his work idea and thinking about his leadership skills

    I often say this world is full of people who talk too much and don’t do enough.

    If you want to be a leader at work, act on something. Work on a plan. If you have ideas simmering in your mind, write them down.

    It doesn’t matter if your idea doesn’t have a plan yet—just write it down. If you don’t write it down, there is no record of the idea, and you won’t have anything tangible to present. How can it count? If you want to be a leader at work, you have to practice writing down everything.

    5. See Opportunities Everywhere

    Happy woman leader taking the lead and sharing what opportunities she sees at work during a team meeting

    There is no need to create leadership opportunities at work. The opportunities to lead are everywhere already.

    You need to be mindful of these opportunities. An example of an opportunity you can capitalize on is taking on a project no one wants. If you don’t see opportunities like this everywhere, you are missing the point.

    6. Be Open To Receiving Feedback

    Employee receiving constructive feedback in an office and thinking about how he can develop his leadership skills

    Be open to criticism. Otherwise, you are just living off your own opinions and ideas.

    What does being open to criticism mean? When you are open to feedback, you are getting ideas and suggestions from others that are free. Oftentimes, these ideas come from people smarter than you. They will give you tips on how to improve and how to be better.

    That’s what a leader needs—constant feedback. You need feedback to be a leader at work, otherwise you are “feed-own” (I just created that word to mean feeding yourself) and you will go hungry soon. With no new ideas, a leader dries up.

    7. Give Your Work Everything You’ve Got

    Woman leader at work being enthusiastic about the work that lies ahead

    Giving is how you open up at work. Pour out all you got. Express your ideas, thoughts, and plans. Feel the vulnerability and learn to like it.

    When you pour all your ideas out, you will need new ones. Where do new ideas come from? They come from critics, from well-meaning supporters, and from the people you least expect. At the end of the day, more comes back to you. You have more to input. It enriches you, and that’s how you become a leader at work.

    These are the seven actions you can do starting today to position yourself as a leader at work.

    Remember, if you want to be an influential leader, do not be afraid of taking risks. You have more to gain than lose when you open up.

    Need more help with your career?

    Become a member to learn how to UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • Whether you were fired, laid off, let go, want to make a career change, or just quit your job, it’s important to find activities that will make you more employable when you’re out of work. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time keeping up with qualified job candidates who aren’t desperate for a job.

    Also, you’ll have a lot of explaining to do when it comes to addressing employment gaps on your resume. Your goal is to fill those employment gaps with productive activities that are relevant to your field.

    So, when you’re unemployed, don’t waste valuable time just sitting around applying for jobs online. Instead, make yourself more employable by doing one (or more!) of these resume boosters:


    Upskilling is one of the best ways to give your resume a boost. Think about skill sets that would give you an edge in your industry or target job. Then, determine how you can get those skill sets.

    Consider certificate programs, online courses, workshops, free webinars and video tutorials, or professional clubs. Even though you’re not currently working, you’re proactively finding ways to stay relevant in your industry. That fact alone can give you a huge leg up in your job search.

    Temp Work

    Happy young man working on his laptop at work while he pets his cat on his lap

    Working with temp agencies (or staffing agencies) is a great in-between-jobs option for professionals.

    These agencies will match you with companies and place you in temporary jobs. This type of work can lead job seekers to some great opportunities because it allows them to get paid for their work (although minimal), network with different companies, figure out which companies could be a good fit, and potentially receive a full-time job at one of the companies.

    Part-Time Work

    Young woman works a part-time job while seeking a full-time position

    If you can find a part-time job that allows you to hone your current skill sets or build new ones, this is another great way to get a paycheck as well as fill those pesky resume gaps.

    Remember, while it would be ideal to find something in your industry, you don’t always have to do that. Think about what transferable skills you can gain from a part-time opportunity. How will the skills you use in this part-time job transfer to your target job?


    Unemployed professionals take advantage of volunteer opportunities

    While it doesn’t pay, volunteering is a great way to keep yourself busy, sharpen your skill sets, and network with like-minded people. Find organizations in your area that relate to your field or interests and start making a difference in your community!


    Happy young woman on her laptop writes for a blog while looking for a job

    When blogging first came on the scene, people used it as a way to share their diaries, opinions, and useless knowledge with the world. While some still use blogging as a tool to share their personal lives with the world, others use it more strategically—and you should, too! Think about your industry. What advice, insight, ideas, or issues can you write about?

    Writing about things that matter in your field can help you establish yourself as an expert in your industry. When recruiters Google you and they see that you’ve been actively writing about your industry, you’ll score brownie points because you’re taking steps to be a thought leader in your field (and most employers dig thought leaders).

    Instead of spending all of your time sitting on your couch simultaneously searching for jobs while watching reruns of Friends, find ways to stay active in your field. It can really pay off!

    Need more help with your job search?

    Become a member to learn how to land a job and UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • Social media, artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and many more technological advancements are rapidly changing the world as we know it, and how we interact with it.

    While change is good, too much change can feel overwhelming, especially if technology isn’t your strong suit.

    Not being the most technologically aware person can put a major damper on your job search or cause you to fall behind in your career, especially if your company is always innovating and changing software. But if you’re still rocking a flip phone, haven’t gotten the hang of social media, or struggling to incorporate technology into your everyday workflow, all is not lost.

    Here are a few simple ways you can become tech savvy in your career:

    See The Value In Digital (ASAP)

    Professional woman uses tablet to read work email in an attempt to become more tech savvy

    If you find yourself constantly in fear of or rejecting new platforms and software, it might be worth it to change your perspective. Some people aren’t that tech savvy simply because they aren’t open to change or doing things a different way. While it’s okay to get into a routine, being stubborn in this area can cause you to isolate yourself from the rest of the world, and could set you apart from other candidates (or co-workers) in a bad way.

    That’s why it’s important that you try to see the positive side of technology. While there are downsides to technology, without it, you might not know what the weather would be like in a week, be able to reconnect with a friend, or do your job efficiently. There are two sides to every coin, but it’s all in how you perceive it.

    Get Into The Habit Of Learning And Exploring

    Older man on laptop tries to become tech savvy

    Another reason you might find yourself in the technologically disadvantaged group is because you’re not testing the waters or exploring what’s out there. Getting online or adding a bit of technology to your life is simple; it just depends on how you’d like technology to benefit your life or career.

    Let’s say you’d like to be able to control or monitor various aspects of your home. You might look into purchasing a Google Home or an Amazon Echo. If you want to become a social media guru, you might start by creating your own social profiles or taking a small online course on social media or digital marketing.

    Just because you’re not that tech savvy now doesn’t mean you can’t become tech savvy. So, get into the habit of exploring and discovering all the possibilities available to you in the world.

    Ask Questions

    Older professional asking a question about new office technology

    Some people have an innate ability to pick up any skill or use the latest device without much difficulty, but for others, this could prove a challenge. While you’re working on changing your perspective and exploring new technologies, it’s important to remember to ask questions, no matter how silly they seem. Whether it’s through an online forum or at work, you should always be asking questions and seeking to gain a better understanding of how things work, especially those that impact your life and career directly.

    The more willing you are to learn about new technology, the more you’ll benefit in both your personal and professional life. It’s important to remember that new technology is always going to be incorporated into the workplace and failure to keep up could have a negative impact on your career.

    So, stay a step ahead, embrace the challenge, and become a tech-savvy worker.

    Need more help with your career?

    Become a member to learn how to UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • In today’s rapidly evolving business landscape, the difference between thriving organizations and those merely surviving is their ability to cultivate and nurture top talent. With the right talent development strategy, a company will foster the growth and success of its most valuable asset—its people—empowering the organization to rise to new heights of excellence and innovation. How can your organization effectively harness and develop its top talent to not only meet the challenges of today but also shape a brighter future?

    We recently asked our leading executives for their best tips on how to develop top talent at an organization.

    Here are their responses…

    John Schembari, Senior Education Academic And Operations Executive

    To develop top talent within an organization, CEOs/boards should think strategically and comprehensively about organizational needs and who on staff has talent in those areas—think “succession plan.” After this, provide staff members who show promise with opportunities to work on some mid-high profile leadership projects.

    Recognize, however, that these individuals may struggle on these projects from time to time (imposter syndrome) and that leadership can be a lonely activity so provide ongoing leadership coaching and feedback from non-evaluative leadership facilitators. At the same time, provide ongoing opportunities for top talent to collaborate/work together on projects (meet weekly/bi-monthly) and to engage in problem-of-practice consultancies facilitated by the CEO/senior administration.

    John Schembari is a current K-12 teacher/school leader academic improvement coach and former school building and district administrator. He loves to draw, travel, swing dance, and read nonfiction.

    Ana Smith, Leadership Development & Learning Strategist

    Talent development, identifying top talent concept

    Developing top talent in an organization is a critical aspect of effective talent management and long-term success. As an expert, I can offer guidance on how to nurture and grow your top talent:

    1. Identify High-Potential Employees: First, identify employees with high potential and the desire to grow within the organization. Look for individuals who consistently excel in their roles, demonstrate leadership qualities, and show a willingness to take on new challenges.
    2. Create Individual Development Plans: Work with each high-potential employee to create personalized development plans tailored to their strengths, areas for improvement, and career aspirations. These plans should outline specific learning objectives, milestones, and timelines.
    3. Provide Challenging Opportunities: Offer top talent challenging assignments, projects, and stretch goals that allow them to develop new skills and capabilities. Exposure to diverse experiences will help them grow both professionally and personally.
    4. Offer Training and Development Programs: Invest in training and development programs that align with the organization’s goals and the individual needs of top talent. These programs may include workshops, seminars, online courses, and leadership development initiatives.
    5. Encourage Mentoring and Coaching: Pair high-potential employees with experienced mentors or coaches who can provide guidance, support, and constructive feedback. Mentoring relationships can significantly enhance professional growth and knowledge transfer.
    6. Promote a Learning Culture: Foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement within the organization. Encourage employees at all levels to seek out learning opportunities and share knowledge with their colleagues.
    7. Provide Regular Feedback: Regularly provide feedback and performance evaluations to top talent. Offer constructive criticism and recognition for their achievements to motivate them to continue excelling.
    8. Encourage Collaboration and Networking: Promote collaboration among employees and encourage top talent to build relationships with peers, leaders, and professionals outside the organization. Networking can lead to new perspectives and opportunities for growth.
    9. Support Work-Life Balance: Recognize the importance of work-life balance in talent development. Encourage employees to take time for personal well-being, which can enhance their overall performance and productivity.
    10. Offer Growth Opportunities: Demonstrate the organization’s commitment to the growth and advancement of top talent by offering opportunities for career progression, promotions, and lateral moves to expand their skill sets.
    11. Recognize and Reward Excellence: Recognize and reward top performers to reinforce their positive behavior and contributions. This recognition can be in the form of promotions, bonuses, public acknowledgments, or other forms of appreciation.
    12. Stay Current with Industry Trends: Encourage top talent to stay informed about industry trends, best practices, and emerging technologies. This knowledge will empower them to contribute innovative ideas and solutions to the organization.

    By implementing these strategies, organizations can develop and retain top talent, fostering a culture of excellence and continuous improvement. Investing in employee development not only benefits the individuals but also contributes to the organization’s long-term success and competitiveness.

    Ana Smith helps people & organizations achieve their full talent potential by developing and co-creating people strategies and customized solutions, and turning them into impactful outcomes and collaborative relationships, using coaching as the “red thread.”

    Michael Willis, Sports Business Operations Executive

    Talent development program concept

    Developing top talent isn’t about cookie-cutter plans or following the herd. It’s about daring to disrupt the traditional norms and reimagining what talent development means. Start by unearthing the hidden gems within your organization—those unconventional thinkers who might not fit the mold but possess raw potential.

    Instead of confining them to standard roles, empower them to lead projects challenging the status quo. Encourage them to cross-pollinate ideas across departments, even if it initially seems unconventional. And forget about the safe zone—throw them into the deep end with assignments that stretch their abilities and force them to innovate.

    Unleash the mavericks! Developing top talent demands audacity; it’s about unearthing those hidden gems that defy convention and challenging them to reshape the future. Hunt for the quiet rebels, the unsung heroes buried within your ranks—they’re the ones who shatter ceilings and obliterate limits.

    But don’t just hand them a roadmap; fuel their fire with opportunities that spark evolution. Plunge them into the heart of projects that teeter on the edge of what’s possible. Let them wrestle with complexity, for it’s in those battles that innovation is forged.

    Traditional mentors are out; disruptive allies are in. Pair your talent with unconventional guides—artists, scientists, anyone who can spark new neural connections. Disruption doesn’t come from the familiar.

    Embrace reverse mentorship, where the rising talent teaches the established leaders a thing or two about new technologies, fresh perspectives, and the changing workforce. Shake up the routine by hosting “failure parties” to celebrate the risks taken and the lessons learned because failure is the ultimate teacher in a disruptive world.

    • Succession planning. Integrate top talent development into succession planning. Identify potential future leaders and groom them for leadership roles within the organization.
    • Create exposure. The C-suite demands holistic understanding. Rotate them through diverse departments and projects. Make them adaptable, agile thinkers.
    • Instill strategic thinking. The C-suite isn’t just about operations; it’s about shaping the future. Provide opportunities for crafting and executing strategies.
    • Leadership crucible. Assign high-pressure leadership roles. They’ll hone their decision-making, crisis management, and people skills here.

    Remember, developing top talent is an ongoing process that requires commitment, patience, and a genuine investment in your employees’ growth. By fostering a culture of learning and empowerment, organizations can create an environment where top talent thrives and contributes to long-term success.

    Michael Willis has 18+ years of experience working with accounting & sports organizations and has managed P&Ls of $10M – $125M+ with budgets of $3M-$50M+. He worked for the NFL for 22 1/2 years, mainly with the game officials working on the financial/accounting side of the business.

    Lisa Perry, Global Marketing Executive

    Talent development, career growth concept

    In today’s competitive business landscape, the success of an organization hinges on the quality of its talent. Attracting and retaining top-tier professionals is only the beginning; the real challenge lies in developing that talent to its fullest potential. A strategic approach to nurturing and honing the skills of your employees can create a workforce that not only meets current demands but also drives innovation and growth for years to come. Let’s delve into key strategies for developing top talent within your organization.

    Cultivate a Learning Culture

    A learning culture is the cornerstone of talent development. Encourage continuous learning by providing opportunities for employees to acquire new skills, attend workshops, and access online resources. Support them in pursuing certifications and advanced degrees that align with their career paths. When employees feel that learning and growth are valued within the organization, they are more likely to invest time and effort into their own development.

    Personalized Development Plans

    I’ve seen that a one-size-fits-all approach to talent development is a thing of the past. Each employee has unique strengths, weaknesses, and aspirations. Work with them to create personalized development plans that align with both their career goals and the organization’s needs. Regularly revisit and update these plans to ensure they remain relevant and challenging.

    Dual Mentoring and Coaching for Holistic Growth

    Implementing a dual mentorship program that pairs seasoned top executives with rising talents facilitates a two-way exchange of insights. On one hand, top executives provide invaluable guidance and strategic direction to their mentees, helping them navigate challenges and cultivate skills. On the other hand, these executives gain fresh perspectives from their mentees, reconnecting them with the pulse of the organization and innovative ideas.

    Stretch Assignments

    Give high-potential employees the opportunity to step outside their comfort zones by assigning them tasks or projects that require them to develop new skills. Stretch assignments challenge individuals to rise to the occasion, fostering both skill growth and confidence. These experiences also help identify emerging leaders within the organization.

    Regular Feedback and Performance Reviews

    Transparent and constructive feedback is essential for growth. Implement regular performance reviews that go beyond annual evaluations. Provide timely feedback on accomplishments and areas for improvement. Create a safe space for employees to discuss their career goals and express any concerns they might have.

    Skill Development Workshops

    Host workshops and training sessions that target specific skills relevant to the organization’s objectives. Whether it’s leadership skills, technical expertise, or soft skills like communication and teamwork, investing in these workshops empowers employees to contribute more effectively to their teams and the organization as a whole.

    Recognition and Rewards

    Recognizing and rewarding outstanding performance not only boosts morale but also incentivizes continuous improvement. Implement a recognition program that highlights exceptional achievements and encourages others to aim for excellence. This recognition can come in various forms, from monetary rewards to public acknowledgments.

    Opportunities for Career Progression

    Top talent seeks growth opportunities. Establish clear career paths within the organization, complete with advancement criteria. Provide a roadmap that enables employees to visualize their trajectory and the steps required to reach the next level. This fosters a sense of purpose and commitment to long-term growth.

    Collaborative Projects

    Encourage cross-functional collaboration on projects that require employees to work with colleagues from different departments. This not only exposes them to diverse perspectives but also cultivates teamwork and adaptability—crucial skills for career advancement.

    Empower Decision-Making

    Provide employees with opportunities to make decisions and take ownership of projects. Empowerment fosters a sense of responsibility and accountability, encouraging individuals to develop problem-solving skills and strategic thinking.

    Developing top talent is an investment in the future success of your organization. By nurturing the growth of your employees, you’re not only shaping their careers but also contributing to the long-term success of your organization in an increasingly dynamic and competitive world.

    To delve deeper into strategies that foster talent growth and organizational excellence, I invite you to explore my book, “How to Develop a Brand Strategy,” which provides a step-by-step guide to crafting a robust brand strategy that aligns with your business goals. Just as nurturing talent propels businesses forward, a strong brand strategy propels your organization to stand out in the market.

    Lisa Perry helps companies drive revenue by using consumer trends, insights, and data analytics to innovate their approach to marketing.

    How do you develop top talent at your organization? Join the conversation inside Work It Daily’s Executive Program.

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  • From Bonaparte to Branson, the history books are peppered with charismatic leaders. Although some leaders are more successful than others, there are certain characteristics that make up the DNA of almost all influential head honchos.

    They’re assertive, adaptable, assiduous, and intelligent.

    They’re adept at overcoming adversity, prepared to laugh in the face of fear, and they’re not afraid to get their hands dirty. Quite simply, they’re the ones hanging around the office long after everyone has departed, leading by example, poring over the figures, or dreaming up new ventures to make their millions.

    In your own work life, you may harbor ambitions to achieve success on the same scale as a Rockefeller—but pesky scientists have potentially thrown a spanner in the works. According to a study, leaders such as Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher had brains wired differently from the majority, making them destined to lead successfully.

    This leadership predilection, it seems, stems from more brain power in areas that control decision-making and memory, which gives them the edge when making difficult judgment calls. Crucially, this research may prompt an organization to carry out tests to determine which of its employees possesses the “leadership gene” and offer the appropriate training.

    What can you do to ensure you give yourself the best shot at becoming a leader and climbing the ladder?

    Enroll In A Management And Leadership Course

    Man on computer enrolling in a leadership course to sharpen his leadership skills and climb the ladder at work

    Although eggheads claim great leaders are born with the ability to show the way, they are unquestionably few and far between.

    Consequently, you can attempt to get ahead of the curve with a quality education. By enrolling in a management and leadership course, you can take steps to improve the key principles required to successfully lead a team.

    Seize The Initiative

    Woman sharpening her leadership skills by speaking up and sharing her opinion in an office meeting

    If you’re a bit of a wallflower in the workplace, it’s unlikely your boss will give you responsibilities that require you to be assertive and lead a team. As a result, it’s important to grab the bull by the horns, take yourself out of your comfort zone, and ask for more responsibilities.

    Far from being clichéd, if you go above and beyond, it proves you have what it takes to grow in your career.

    Understand Delegation

    Man sharpening his leadership skills by delegating work to his team at work during a meeting

    As said by the American philanthropist and entrepreneur Eli Broad, “The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems I see with managers at all levels.”

    Most successful leaders refuse to micromanage their employees, instead preferring to delegate tasks, empowering workers and making them feel more involved in the overarching goals of the organization.

    Doing these three things—enrolling in a management and leadership course, seizing the initiative, and delegating tasks—will help you stand out from others at work and establish yourself as a leader. Start improving your leadership skills today!

    Need more help with your career?

    Become a member to learn how to UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

    This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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  • In a world where life’s challenges seem to test us at every turn, I embarked on a transformative journey over five years ago—a journey that has led me to embrace the power of an abundance mindset. As a thirty-something striving to find my way in a fast-paced and demanding world, I’ve learned firsthand that progress is a product of practice, patience (not exactly my forte), and rewiring my thought patterns. Yet, amid this personal evolution, I stumbled upon a game-changer, a hidden gem that propelled my growth to astonishing heights: community.

    I’ve experienced firsthand how building a strong network of like-minded individuals who support and challenge you can elevate both your career and personal trajectory. It’s not just about having the right people in your network, but also knowing how to network effectively. Let’s dive into the key elements that can help you foster a community for your career and personal success.

    Surrounding Yourself With The Right People

    Happy coworkers at work

    I’ve learned the importance of surrounding myself with diverse individuals who share my passions and vision. Seeking out mentors, colleagues, and friends who can offer valuable insights and constructive feedback has been invaluable to my professional growth. Beyond traditional settings, I’ve engaged with people from various industries and backgrounds to gain fresh perspectives.

    Leveraging Social Media

    Man uses social media to try to find the name of a hiring manager

    In today’s digital age, social media platforms have become powerful tools for networking. Platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and even TikTok have connected me with industry leaders, potential employers, and peers who share my interests. Engaging in meaningful conversations, sharing my expertise, and participating in relevant groups have allowed me to expand my reach and connect with like-minded professionals.

    When utilizing social media, I can relate to those who are “over it.” However, branding yourself is imperative in this day and age, even in job search/career management. Here is a quick strategy I use to keep myself in check on my social media usage.

    Think of this strategy like when you go to the grocery store. If you go in with a list, you give yourself guidelines to adhere to: get in, get what you need, get out! If you don’t go with a list, things are forgotten, too many snacks are purchased and you blew your budget, and you may have to go back (eek!).

    Making a simple strategy for leveraging social media will keep you focused on managing your time, protecting your mental and physical health, and keeping your productivity intact. Follow the “get in, get what you need, get out” strategy—it will keep your social media usage under control.

    1.) Get in.

    Lead with your content, expertise, or value-add that you want to share with your network. This provides information to your network about you, your expertise, your experiences, etc.

    2.) Get what you need (networking is about supporting/nurturing others).

    Create a cadence every day or week on how many reach-outs you will make. Whether it’s commenting, liking, or messaging other brands/connections, you are supporting another person’s efforts (also valuable to the trust, connection, and rapport of that individual/brand).

    3.) Get out!

    Log off or immediately swipe away the app on your phone so you aren’t tempted to scroll. Just don’t do it!

    Attending Networking Events

    Group of people at a networking event during the summer

    Despite the digital era, face-to-face interactions remain crucial for building authentic connections. I’ve made it a point to attend conferences, seminars, workshops, and industry events to meet professionals in my field. Approaching these events with an open mind and a genuine interest in learning from others has helped me establish meaningful connections. Following up afterward to solidify those connections is essential.

    Reciprocating And Offering Value

    Manager talks to a colleague at work

    Networking is a two-way street, and I’ve learned the importance of being willing to assist others in their professional pursuits. By offering insights and support, I’ve been able to build genuine relationships based on reciprocity and mutual trust. Giving back and nurturing my connections in my community has grown my confidence and has also strengthened my network.

    Embracing Authenticity And Vulnerability

    Woman talks to a colleague about community in her career

    I have been inspired by so many different people across many industries. Why? Their authenticity and vulnerability. What you think it took to get where they are is only the tip of the iceberg on their true journey. Remember that for EVERY individual you encounter. Embracing my own journey, including the challenges I’ve faced and the lessons I’ve learned, has allowed me to foster genuine connections with others. Sharing my story has not only inspired others but also deepened the sense of community we share.

    Adopting A Growth Mindset

    Happy man at work adopts a growth mindset

    Approaching networking with a growth mindset has been crucial for my development. Being open to new experiences, challenges, and opportunities and viewing setbacks as learning experiences rather than failures has helped me adapt and grow in my career. Can we just get rid of the word “failure”? (Asking for a friend!)

    Elevating My Online Presence

    Woman sends a message to a LinkedIn connection with her phone

    I’ve taken steps to ensure that my online presence reflects my professional brand. Crafting a well-designed LinkedIn profile and curating content, practicing being on video (I prefer behind the camera but oh well), and maintaining consistent social media activity have enhanced my credibility and given me even more opportunities to connect with others.

    Listening And Learning

    Diverse group of professionals/coworkers listen and talk to each other during a work meeting

    I’ve come to understand that effective networking involves active listening. STOP! Read that again! Taking the time to understand the perspectives and experiences of others and learning from their successes and challenges has enriched my own knowledge and understanding.

    In conclusion, building a community for your career is about more than just collecting contacts; it’s about creating meaningful connections that support your growth and elevate your trajectory. Surrounding myself with the right people, being authentic and vulnerable, and contributing value to my community has been the key to growth. I now understand that success is not a solitary journey but a collective effort toward mutual growth and prosperity.

    Ready to take your career to new heights? Start by building a community that fuels your success. Connect with like-minded individuals, embrace authenticity, and make a difference.

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