New Manager's Quick Start Guide

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Thinking about moving up to the next level professionally? If that includes managing a team more formally, congratulations on stepping up to the plate!

Whether you’re already managing people or eyeing the pay bump, stepping into a role of overseeing other people’s work can be exciting, yet slightly terrifying. Suddenly you’re responsible for other people delivering top notch work, and the ever evolving office conflicts.

Despite these tradeoffs, working with a team has many benefits. You instantly become aware of how precious your time is, and become equally reliant on your team as you are about your own work. If you’re feeling a bit nervous on where to start, here are  4 skills to have to hit the ground running as a people manager.

Setting expectations: Most times conflict arises because of a lack of communication. Even shy new managers need to overcome assuming that they know what’s being communicated. Practice the repeat-back method to ensure the message was delivered clearly. Practice clarifying expectations for final deliverables with your reports, active listening is crucial.

Providing feedback: You don’t have to wait for the annual review to check-in with your employees about what is working and areas of growth. Providing relevant feedback and perspective on the employee’s work is a great tool to keep morale and productivity. Your employees will want to know how they are performing and how they are perceived. Whether you are providing positive or negative feedback, focus on actions and different ways to improve a lackluster performance.

Team Building: Focusing on team building exercises is a great way to engage your employees and to understand each others’ strengths, weaknesses and challenges. It also improves collaboration and creativity which in turns creates a more engaging team culture. From brown bag lunches to retreats, there's a myriad of team bonding activities that can be implemented. The most fundamental as a manager is to talk to your employees daily about their lives. Daily interaction makes employees feel like you care.     

Conflict resolution: Conflict is natural and to be expected. When you have a team of people with different goals, education and backgrounds conflict is bound to arise. However, this is a good growth opportunity as opposed to something to be avoided. Identify the conflicting parties, allow for space to express their views, decide on what’s working, common ground and a way forward. Avoid blaming or focusing on the past or individual personalities. Stay grounded on the actions and schedule time for a future meeting to check-in on how things are going. If the outcome is favorable, great! If not, then enlisting the help of a neutral mediator or disciplinary action may follow.  

Again, congratulations on stepping up to take on new responsibilities. It's not easy, but with constant communication, feedback, and knowledge building you're going to be an amazing manager who will inspire others to do their best!

Roger

5 Questions to Inspire Your Next Career Move

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I get a lot of people who reach out without knowing what they want to do next. I know this problem intimately, I used to experience the exact same feelings of confusion, overwhelm and frustration. You have the abilities, but where do you want to apply them?

When you have a lot of energy, talent, skill and education that has helped you become a successful well-rounded professional, deciding what to do next when you stop loving your job is hard work. Once you begin realizing that the job you have is no longer working, you immediately set out to see what else is out there. The options can seem endless. There are positions at your level, one level above, at another company, in another city, the options go on and on!

Social media has helped and hurt the job search for those who don’t know what they want next. By sharing connections, LinkedIn has become a powerful connector and reminder of how much we need our network to succeed. It’s also hurt us because of how easy it is to share positions that are not being filled internally, and the easy apply buttons across the web draw your attention to them.

With so many distractions, taking a step back to figure out what you want is a constant battle.

Coaches tip: Limit your job search if you don’t know what you want just yet. Create a list of qualifiers, or criteria to help you sift through the options and come up with your next move more efficiently.

I know I’ve found myself looking at jobs at NASA – it’s a cool place to work, sure, but I ultimately won’t see my vision come true if I work there. My career is taking me in a different direction. 

Ok, so now that you have an understanding of what’s causing distractions in your search, there are a couple of timeless questions that I use when I’m feeling unsure of where I want to head next. I’ve modified my original questions to focus specifically on your career, but you can use this for a lot of different decisions (i.e. I used this to help decide on a home!)

So, to date, you’ve been focusing on narrowing your job search based on what you don’t like – which of course includes a lot of your current responsibilities. If you’re eyeing the door, but unsure what you want to do next, here are a couple of my favorite go to questions to help you get inspired and choose and new path for yourself.

1.       List your talents/gifts and how you are current using & sharing them at work and at home. What talents are you not using or expressing, or what could you be expressing more of?

2.       Create a table with your past positions on the left column, and the qualities/contributions that the position had on you and others. Be as specific as possible.

3.       What do you enjoy the most about your current job? What do you enjoy the least (limit the things you dislike to the top 3)

4.       Do you tend to work solo? Does your work cause you a lot of stress?

5.       Put an “X" next to each of the following that you feel you excel in:

Delegating, writing, evaluating, self-reviewing, public speaking, organizing, supporting others, encouraging, decision-making, motivating, teaching, persuading, negotiating, time management, selling, planning, budgeting, self-reviewing.

The process to deciding what to do next can feel like it’s taking forever, but in the long run it’s really not taking up much time at all. Once you align with what feels right for you, you’ll excel at a rapid pace, even if there’s a learning curve in the beginning. Remember that taking the time now to make sure you’re going after the right position is vital. You’re going to spend more time in the next job hating it if it isn’t a good fit. Feel free to modify this and accelerate your process if you are in a toxic work environment or on the verge of a professional mutiny (i.e. your boss is actively sabotaging you). Then be sure to jump!

Have more ideas of what helps you narrow down decisions like this, or do you have a great question that really spoke to you? Share it with us on Social!

Lea

2018 Resume Trends to Follow

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I’ve seen SO many different resumes during my career. It also feels like I’ve sent thousands (some weeks more like billions) for job postings, and I’ve made so many different mistakes that got me denied from jobs.

I remember getting a rejection letter in my very early career (high school) that simply stated “Your resume does not reflect the detail-oriented candidate we are searching for”. OUCH, talk about rubbing salt in the wound. But useful feedback nonetheless (#stopprofessionalghosting).

Many of us don’t realize how important the small details are in these documents.

Here are the top resume trends that are ever important for 2018!

1. Consistency: There’s a rule for resumes that formatting doesn’t matter until it isn’t 100% there. The design, layout, and placement of text doesn’t need to be complex. Focus on making sure everything from dates to titles are aligned on the page for each of your past experiences. Use lines to create the illusion of breaking up text and boxing sections together to make the reader able to skim quickly and efficiently. Recruiters can easily spot these errors when you don’t pay attention to them – even if your content is golden, they will have an excuse to put you at the bottom of the pile. If your resume has typos, this will almost certainly disqualify you from the pool. It sends a message that if you didn’t care about the position as a candidate, much less so as an employee.

Hot tip: Ask a few friends to review your resume for you before you send it out. Specifically, ask if they can spot errors by simply scanning through the document. Formatting updates may take you a short while to figure out but it nonetheless it’s important and worth going the extra mile.

2. Listing our previous experience as mere tasks. If your resume is a copy and paste of bullets using your former job description, think again. The employer isn’t looking for your duties, they’re looking for a reason to hire you. Related experience means you’re going to be cherry picking the projects and outcomes that relate most to that employer. It states to them, hey I can do this job and here’s the proof that you can trust me.

Hot tip: Reframe your previous experience answering these couple of questions- A. how the employer benefited from what you did, and what the quantified (numbers, percentages) results, impact or achievement of your efforts were. This is the end result of what your job description was. For instance, instead of “in charge of the marketing plan for the department” say “developed and implemented a marketing plan and strategy which created a streamlined process and increased sales by 25%.” Which one would you hire? Exactly.

3. Overused wording. Ctrl F your resume for common words like team-play and goal-oriented. Any words that are common nowadays you want to stay away from. They take away from the punch that you job achievements will speak to. If you’re unsure if your resume has any of these, take a quick minute to google overused phrases in your industry and see if you can spot any.

Hot tip: Replace these words with results, actions can and do speak louder than sentences saying that you can do something.

These common formatting and content errors can really hurt our chances of getting picked up by a recruiter, but there is also one other problem that can really hurt your chances of going for a stretch position (a position that’s going to be a challenge for you). That missing piece is creating a building story to your resume. Sure you may have varying experience, but there are commonalities that are easy to spot in hindsight.

Take a few moments and look at your resume from a glance. Ask yourself why you took each of those positions, what you really wanted to get from it, and if there are any underlying themes to each of the positions that link them together. These links could be industry, political cause, geographic location, types of demographics served or even policy type. If you can spot these themes in your story in your past, you’ll be much more likely to narrow in on telling a building story to explain to the hiring manager.

Ever built a professional resume story? It’s becoming more common now than ever to create a cohesive story that easily communicates your brand and interests without having to rely so heavily on your cover letter. If you want personalized 1-on-1 support with this, schedule a consultation with me and we can talk more about what your career goal is and what story you need to be telling on your resume.

Lea

Are any of these 7 things costing you job offers?

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You’re staring at your computer sending out the next batch of resumes and slightly tweaked cover letters (let’s admit it, we rarely rewrite cover letters!). When you check your inbox some time later, you notice that none of the jobs have responded to you. You wait a bit longer, then, luckily, one response comes back that you received an invitation for an interview.

While you’re preparing for that interview, a lot of nerves creep up. Is this the right story to be telling this person? What if they ask me about why my time at the position was so short?

Before you know it, confidence sabotage sets in.

As much as we try to hide it, we all question ourselves when we are applying and interviewing for jobs. What we may not recognize, however, is that this same line of questioning and challenge could be costing you job offers.

Confidence is an elusive feeling for many of us - we have times when we feel totally comfortable in our skin, and then plenty of other times when something new sets us off into a tizzy. Very naturally, new experiences, problems and challenges test our self-confidence. The problem in our society is that job hunting is predominantly a solo activity. This means rather than airing frustrations and building our story with other people who can provide objective feedback, we turn inwards. This is when self-confidence likens itself to quick-sand. We value complacency. That’s just a human fact, it makes us feel safe and doesn’t turn on our survival mechanism. After all, we used to fend for food and ward off predators. These days we are warding off different predators in order to feel accepted by society- those predators are the unknown risks that remove the feeling of security and control in our lives.

So if we aren’t warding off predators, and still seeking complacency…. then innovating and aligning ourselves to something brand new when there’s an unknown factor doesn’t always come naturally.

So take a deep breath. It’s ok that this all feels uncomfortable at times. You aren’t the only one who second guesses their salary and qualifications. It’s not natural to ask for these things - and yet we are missing out tremendously on new opportunities.

Employers are looking for someone who shows competency and an ability to take on the role. Whether or not you have all of the desired qualifications (oftentimes it’s just a wish list), what they are really hiring you for is how well you believe in what you can do.

In order to show this to a potential employer, you first need to prove it to yourself. Here are the top mistakes that people make during the interview that costs them the job.

  1. Showing low trust in our ability to judge a situation: There’s no way we have experienced EVERYTHING a potential job will throw at us. The biggest mistake that people make is that they get uncomfortable talking about something if they have not yet directly done it. Instead of getting uncomfortable, practice answering without missing a beat - make sure your interviewer sees you answering the question without hesitation even if you are thinking on your feet. Talking through a problem or situation that they are asking about is fine - be sure to show that you trust yourself to solve the problem and save the day (per se)

  2. Lack of motivation to grow personally: Allowing the world to dictate what you do, how you do it, and by when is extremely dangerous for your confidence. If you don’t pursue new skills outside of your current job, you run a HUGE risk of becoming irrelevant in the job market. Don’t let complacency get in the way of growth. Showing that you’re motivated to learn, grow, solve problems and work as a team starts with action. Take it, and build your confidence both on and off your resume with experience that you can share with the interviewer.

  3. Not focusing on our self-values and worth: When we don’t stand up for something, it shows in our performance. Integrity is a huge behavioral trait that potential employers are looking for. Don’t underestimate how easy it is to spot this. If you’re asked about a situation involving ethics, integrity or situational judgment, be prepared to offer solutions. Lacking solutions is the quickest way to lose the interviewer’s attention.Also, if you are scared to ask for more money, check yourself. You aren’t helping anyone by taking less money for the job. The more money you make at your job, the more people you can help (perhaps donating it to a special cause!).

  4. What you chose to limit yourself to: Finding a job that allow ou to grow is much easier when you have a strong sense of belief. If you don’t truly believe that you have the ability to grow in the role, you are going to get stuck in lower level jobs that won’t place high value on you either. Identify a few beliefs that are holding you back right now at this moment. Pick a few skills you feel you can never learn, and go get introduced to it. The more you lean into what makes you uncomfortable, the more confident you are to take on these projects, the more employers want to pay you to help them deal with theirs.

  5. Draining yourself by comparison: When we compare our journey with someone else it’s never going to end well. Everyone starts off with a different set of circumstances, beliefs, and values. When you align yourself with what truly matters to you, what everyone else does looks different to you. Rather than competing, you start to see that people are living their lives according to their set values and beliefs. Believe in your choice to focus on yourself, and don’t allow your confidence to get trampled by someone who doesn’t have anything to do with your story.

  6. Not fully aware of what makes you tick: Getting familiar in a skill set or area that you’re not comfortable in is one thing, but understanding your true strengths is another. Aside from being a well-rounded professional, consider getting immensely good at something you really enjoy. Confidence enjoys more confidence, so if you can spend time growing your own strengths alongside areas that you feel less confident about, the cup is more likely to overflow.

  7. Letting your confidence building go stale: These practices are not to be done once and then left to dry in the sun. Your confidence requires you to constantly find the next challenge grow yourself. It may seem overwhelming at first, but working with someone else to put together a foundation and plan can help to alleviate this stress. Consider working with a coach to help identify those values, and come up with an action plan that’s concrete and automated. If you’d like to talk more about your job search and how this plan can help you, schedule a free call right here.

 

To your job success!

Lea

 

 

(Photo Credit: JRH Graphics)