Month: October 2018

4 Steps for Answering “What Are You Looking for in a New Position?”

4 Steps for Answering “What Are You Looking for in a New Position?”

4 Steps for Answering “What Are You Looking for in a New Position?”

Whenever you get asked this question during an interview, it’s impossible to not feel like it’s a trap. What other answers can you possibly give for, “What are you looking for in a new position?” other than, “Everything this one offers?”

Well, it depends on the humor of the hiring manager, but in general, that’s probably not your best option. To play it a little safer and to be thorough, follow these four steps. Remember, you want to be honest, but diplomatic.

1. Start With Your Skills

The question is about you, but you need to think about it from the hiring manager’s perspective. Sure, you’d love for your new position to pay extremely well, have an effortless commute, and ensure access to nap rooms during all work hours, but that’s not going to impress anyone. Instead, dive into your skills—an area the hiring manager is sure to care about—and talk about how you’re looking for a place where you can use them.

I’ve been honing my data analysis skills for a few years now and, first and foremost, I’m looking for a position where I can continue to exercise those skills.

2. Explain Your Motivation

Most hiring managers hope that the person he or she hires will be motivated by more than just a paycheck. Assuage this concern by addressing it openly. Describe what motivates you and how you can see that playing out in this position or company.

Another thing that’s important to me is that the position allows me to not only play with data, but also present my findings and suggestions directly to clients. That would be really refreshing! I’m always very motivated by being able to see the impact of my work on other people.

3. Connect With Your Long-Term Goals

Hiring people means investing in them, and no one likes to see his or her investment walk out the door. If it works with the flow of your answer, it might be good to mention how you see growing or building your career at a company that’s the right fit. Anything that signals you’re in it for the long haul is a good thing (unless, of course, you’re specifically applying to a short-term position).

And, I’m definitely looking for a position where I can grow—professional development is something that’s really important to me since I hope to take on managerial responsibilities in the future.

4. Wrap Up With Something About the Company

Bring the focus back to the company as you’re wrapping up your response. Depending on how long your answer is, it may make sense, to sum up, everything you’ve talked about, and then end on how excited you are about the company and why.

To sum it up, I’d love a position where I can use my skills to make an impact that I can see with my own eyes. Of course, the position is only part of the equation. Being at a company where I can grow and work toward something I care about matters, too. DNF’s goal of being the intersection between data and education inspires me, and I’m really excited about this opportunity.

Your answer will change depending on the position. You might emphasize more than one skill or skip over the part where you talk about your long-term goals, but the overall structure will probably remain the same. The key thing to remember with this question is to, of course, answer honestly, but with the hiring manager’s perspective in mind.

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5 Tips to Acing Your Phone Interview

5 Tips to Acing Your Phone Interview

5 Tips to Acing Your Phone Interview

Fantastic resume submitted.


Now, get ready for the phone to ring! Acing the first contact from a recruiter or hiring manager is just as important as the in-person interview. Here are five easy steps to make sure you shine.

1. Be Prepared

Track each and every opportunity you submit your resume for with the following information:

  • Company name and brief details on the company about what makes it an attractive place for you to work.
  • Position title and summary. Paste the position description into your notebook, and highlight what in the description spoke to you and what makes you the right, qualified candidate.
  • Know your resume. Know why your skills align with this particular job and are ready to talk to it.

Have this info in a place that’s handy—you never know when a call will come in. Don’t be caught off guard: there are few things that’ll set a recruiter off more than a potential candidate who doesn’t remember the job.

2. Time to Talk

When the call comes in, evaluate your surroundings. If it’s not a clear, comfortable place for you to talk, let the call go to voicemail or answer the call and respectfully let the recruiter know that now is not a good time to speak, but you’d like their name and number and will call back in 15 minutes.

It’s much better to delay for a few minutes, get somewhere quiet, and collect your thoughts than it is to muddle your first impression with background noise or distractions. When you quickly return the call, be ready to talk in a quiet, disturbance-free environment. Of course, have your information in hand to be ready to speak about the company, position, and your fabulous experience and qualities!

3. Voicemail

You may not always get to your phone when the recruiter calls. In that case, your voicemail becomes your first impression. Make it a good one. Voicemail often gets overlooked, but it can make the difference between the recruiter leaving a message or passing you by. Things to avoid:

  • Music as your message. A recruiter doesn’t care that you love Beyoncé’s latest single. (I do, but a recruiter won’t!)
  • Too casual. “Hey, you know who it is and what to do!” They don’t and they won’t.c
  • Family greeting.  While your daughter’s voice can melt your heart, in a career search, try a more polished approach. Stick with a concise, professional message. Try: “Hello, you’ve reached Sarah Smith. I’m sorry I’ve missed your call. Please leave me a detailed message and I’ll return your call as soon as possible. Thank you.”  Short. Sweet. Professional. Love it.

4. Gum

This one is easy. No gum. No food. Nothing in your mouth to distract from your message.

5. Name and Number

Before you even start the conversation, get the full name and contact information of the recruiter or hiring manager you are speaking with. Don’t wait until the end because:

  • If you’re on a cell phone and get disconnected, you’ll want to have their information to call back immediately.
  • In the course of the conversation, you may get excited and forget to ask at the end. Get it out of the way.
  • If you don’t immediately schedule the interview during the call, you’ll want their information to follow up in a few days. But, do wait at least two days before calling back. And when you do, remind the recruiter of the day and time you spoke and for what opportunity.

Follow these tips, and you’ll land the interview without a doubt!

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5 Things You Deserve From Your Job (No Matter Where You Work)

5 Things You Deserve From Your Job (No Matter Where You Work)

5 Things You Deserve From Your Job (No Matter Where You Work)

I have news for you: There’s no such thing as a perfect job. Even the careers that seem like they jumped straight from your dreams and into reality have their downsides—that’s why there’s a paycheck involved.

But, while you might never love every aspect of your job, there are a few things that you absolutely deserve to get from your career—aside from enough money to cover your bills.

Believe me, I get it. It’s easy to think that wanting and needing these things makes you picky, entitled, or high-maintenance. You’re getting paid to be there, so how much else do you really need?

Well, think about it this way: You’re going to invest a large chunk of your time, energy, and attention into your job. That means that a work environment that checks the following boxes isn’t something that you should consider to be meant for just the lucky few—it’s something you deserve just as much.

1. A Safe and Supportive Environment

Let’s start with the basics. You’re more than worthy of feeling safe and supported in your office. You should be able to bring your authentic self (your authentic professional self, of course) into work and not feel worried or threatened when doing so.

Rest assured that your expectations in regards to feeling secure in your surroundings aren’t unreasonable or out of line.

Nobody should have to head into the office day in and day out wondering who’s going to throw them under the bus or stab them in the back. You’re entitled to a basic sense of respect and a company culture that isn’t overflowing with toxicity.

2. A Boss Who’s Invested in Your Growth

When it comes to your career, your manager should be your greatest ally. They should be in the loop on your desires and plans for professional development and provide necessary support and guidance whenever they can.

If you feel like your supervisor is always undermining your accomplishments, offering criticisms that are in no way constructive, and is completely disinterested in your growth and advancement, know that you’re justified in wanting more.

Your boss doesn’t necessarily have to be your biggest cheerleader, but they should at least be in your corner.

3. An Understanding of Your Life Outside of Work

Work is a big part of your life—but it’s still only a part. It’s not the entirety of your existence, and you’re entitled to an employer who understands that fact.

Endless pings and emails when your team knows you’re away and unplugged. Major hurdles and complaints when you have a family emergency to deal with. Relentless guilt trips when you finally take a well-deserved vacation.

Those are things you shouldn’t have to deal with on a regular basis. You deserve a life outside of your job—and an employer who encourages you to live one.

4. An Appreciation for Your Contributions

There’s dignity in all work. Your job exists for a reason. Regardless of your specific role, you’re serving your company in some important way—whether you’re in the mailroom or in the corner office.

That means you shouldn’t ever be made to feel worthless. You should pack up and head home every evening knowing that your contributions matter and are respected by the people that you work with.

No, you shouldn’t expect ice cream cakes and celebrations in your honor each and every week. But, there’s a big difference between that excessive level of recognition and simply feeling heard and valued for what you bring to the table.

5. A Sense of Fulfillment

Maybe you aren’t doing work that you consider to be particularly world-changing. But, you still deserve a job that gives you some level of fulfillment and a sense of purpose.

Perhaps you spend your days making things run smoothly in the office, and you find it rewarding that you can make life easier for your co-workers. Or, perhaps your interactions with your clients and your ability to help and serve them is what leaves you feeling gratified at the end of the day.

What constitutes a meaningful career is different for everyone, but you should get at least some degree of personal satisfaction from what you do.

Work isn’t always fun or glamorous—that’s exactly why we all get paid to be there. But, just because you head home with a paycheck doesn’t mean that everything else is forgiven.

When we all spend so much of our lives in the office, I like to think that we deserve more from our jobs than just a month’s worth of rent.

So, yes, you can call me entitled or needy or spoiled. But, in response, I’ll go ahead and use a different word to describe myself and my career: happy.

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27 October 2018

7 Steps to Mapping Out a Job You’ll Actually Love

There are a lot of people who aren’t so happy in their current jobs—are you one of them? If so, you’re definitely not alone. About 50% of all workers say they’re unsatisfied with their jobs, and only 15% report that they are very satisfied with their jobs.

When strategy execution consulting firm Root, Inc. surveyed 1,000 American employees, the company uncovered some troubling statistics:

  • More than half (54%) of workers felt discouraged on the job.
  • Only 38% of employees strongly agreed that their boss had established an effective working relationship with them.
  • 40% of employees reported that they don’t get the company’s vision, or that they had never seen it.
  • Only 43% of employees say they feel accountable for the company’s revenue, profit, or growth.
  • Just 26% of employees strongly agree that their boss personally embodies the values expected from employees.

So what if you could map out your own dream job, and then make it real? The good news is that you can do just that, and you can do it right now.

In her book, Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness, career expert Kerry Hannon suggests that each one of us has the power within us to create a better job—our dream job. Not only that, but with some minor changes, you might just be able to turn your less-than-great job into a truly great one. Says Hannon, “If you really want to love your job, you must first be able to step back and appreciate what’s going right about it, even if there are times when you dread that upcoming assignment, meeting with the boss, or lunch with a difficult client.”

Consider these seven awesome ways you can create a blueprint for your dream job:

1. Map Your Future

You are the artist of your life. Create a map of your life that describes the future you want, including your accomplishments, your work, your personal relationships, your financial goals, and more.

2. Don’t Let Your Past Determine Your Future

Just because you’re stuck in a career rut right now, that doesn’t mean that you have to be stuck in that same rut tomorrow. You have the power to create your own future today—use it.

3. Remember That Nothing Is Forever

Life is all about change, and so are jobs and careers. If you don’t like your current job, then do everything you can within your organization to change it, or to transfer to a different position or office. And if that doesn’t work, then look outside your organization for your dream job.

4. Look at the Big Picture

Says Hannon, “When one part of your work is not going swimmingly, more than likely there’s another bit that’s still feeding your creativity.” Zero in on that other bit by making a list of all the things that you love—or ever did love—about your job. Don’t dwell on what’s going wrong, instead, focus on growing what’s going right.

5. Figure Out What Would Make You Love Your Job

If your goal is to stay with the same employer, then creating the job you love may mean a transfer or temporary assignment to a different department, or mentoring a younger co-worker, or becoming involved in an industry group. Connecting with your boss and co-workers in new ways can inspire and energize you.

6. Understand Your Work Goals

What are your goals at work? Maybe you want to learn new skills that will enable you to earn the promotion you desire, or perhaps you would like a flexible work schedule or more autonomy and authority. Whatever your work goals might be, identify them, write them down, then work toward them one by one.

7. Adopt New Ways to Envision Your Career

Instead of looking at your career as a ladder that goes straight up and down, from the bottom of the organization to the top, take a tip from Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg who likens careers to a jungle gym. Says Sandberg, “Ladders are limiting. Jungle gyms offer more creative exploration. There are many ways to get to the top of a jungle gym.”



9 Phrases That Make You Sound Less Experienced Than You Are

9 Phrases That Make You Sound Less Experienced Than You Are

9 Phrases That Make You Sound Less Experienced Than You Are


When I started my first job, I was the youngest person in my organization. No, really. Although I could legally drink (barely), every single one of my 300-or-so co-workers was older and more experienced than I was.

I felt like the low woman on the totem pole—and worse, I probably acted like it. (Exhibit A: My email signature was hot pink and in Lucida Calligraphy font.)

But looking back, I shouldn’t have let it affect me so much. Here’s what I know now: It doesn’t matter how much experience (or grey hair) you have compared to everyone else. You were hired to do a job and to work together with the people around you. So, the more you can position yourself as an equal, the more you’ll be treated like one. While you shouldn’t go to the other end of the spectrum and act like you’re more important than the rest of your team, you should never feel afraid to present yourself confidently as a peer. (Oh, and this is true whether you’re in your first job or joining the ranks of upper management.)

How do you do that? Here are a few commonly used words and phrases you want to avoid since they instantly make you sound more inexperienced—plus what to say instead to ensure you come across as the capable, competent professional you are.

1. “I Don’t Know”

You certainly don’t need to have all the answers all the time. None of us do. But answering your co-workers’ questions with “I don’t know” (and a blank stare) can make you look like you’re not up to the job.

Muse writer Sara McCord offers some great alternatives in this article, such as offering up what you do know (“Well, I can tell you that the report went to the printer on Friday”) or responding, “That’s exactly the question I’m looking to answer.” Or, if you know you can get the information from someone else, try “Let’s loop Devante in to confirm.”

2. “I Have to Ask my Boss”

It doesn’t matter what level you’re at in your career, there are certain things you’re going to have to run by your boss. (Even CEOs have to ask the board for approval on important matters.) But that doesn’t mean you have to end every conversation letting others know that you’re not the one who can make the final decision.

Instead, try, “This all sounds great—let me just run our conversation by a couple people on the team before moving ahead.” You’ll sound like a thoughtful collaborator, rather than the lowly subordinate.

3. “Is That OK?”

When you do have to run something by your boss? Skip this line, which sounds like you have no idea if your recommendation is a good one or not, and use something like: “Let me know by Friday whether I should proceed.”

4. “I Am the [Insert Junior-Level Job Title Here]”

Here’s a secret—if you have a not-so-impressive job title (and we’ve all had ’em), you don’t have to broadcast it to everyone you work with, particularly if you’re reaching out to potential clients or partners who are higher up than you are.

In your next cold outreach email, trade “I’m the Jr. Marketing Assistant at Monster Co,” for, “I work in Marketing at Monster Co, and I’m reaching out because…” It’s still honest, but it makes you sound a bit more experienced.

5. “Very,” “Insanely,” “Extremely”

It’s Professional Writing 101 to remove unnecessary adverbs from your language, not only because we all want shorter emails, but because these additional words tend to add emotion into what should be straightforward fact-based communication. Quick: Which sounds like it came from a calm, cool professional: “I’m incredibly eager to get started, but I’m insanely busy this week—could we aim for next week when things will be way calmer?” or, “I’m eager to get started, but booked this week. Could we aim for next?”

6. “Hi, I’m Julie”

In a social setting, it’s perfectly fine (in fact, expected) that you’ll introduce yourself by first name only. But in a professional or networking setting, it can make you sound unsure of yourself like you’re someone who just happened to walk into the room, rather than someone who was invited to be there. Instead, share your full name and why you’re there: “I’m Julie Walker, from the Marketing team.”

7. “I” and “Me”

As Aja Frost reported in this article: “Reducing your use of the word ‘I’ can actually make people view you as more powerful and confident… a psychologist from the University of Texas who analyzes how people talk for hidden insight found that whoever uses the word ‘I’ more in a conversation usually has a lower social status.”

Consider these two statements: “I would be so grateful if you would consider meeting with me next month. I’m very interested in your work, and I would love to meet you in person,” and “Would you be available for a meeting next month? It would be great to learn more about your work and meet in person.” The former veers into fangirl territory; the latter sounds like one accomplished professional addressing another.

8. “I’m Available at Whatever Time Is Convenient for You”

Really, are you? If the person you’d like to meet with wrote back and said that 5:30 AM on a Tuesday morning was convenient, I’m pretty sure you’d disagree. (And even if you didn’t, you’d look like you have nothing going on in your professional life.)

Try “Tuesday and Thursday afternoons work well, though I’m happy to be flexible,” which sounds similarly agreeable, also shows that you have an important schedule of your own.

9. “I Hope to Hear From You Soon!”

Ending your emails hoping and praying that you’ll hear from your recipient makes it sound like you think there’s a good chance you won’t. Instead, project confidence that the conversation will continue, with something like, “I look forward to discussing,” or “I look forward to hearing from you.”

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How to Get the Right Kind of Feedback in Your New Job (Because Your Success Depends on It)

How to Get the Right Kind of Feedback in Your New Job (Because Your Success Depends on It)

How to Get the Right Kind of Feedback in Your New Job (Because Your Success Depends on It)

The first 90 days of your new job are crucial to set yourself up for long-term career success. It’s where you make good on the promises you touted during your interview and set the stage for how people perceive you.

That’s why asking for feedback during this time is so, so important. It quickly demonstrates to your new boss that you’re invested, you’re committed to excellence, and that you’re in this for the long haul.

Plus, if done well, you can earn major brownie points that may help you get recognized later for opportunities to work on interesting projects or even advance more quickly.

Easy enough, right? Now that you know just how important your first 90 days are, here are some guidelines for how to ask for feedback to ensure you’re on the right path (or how to get on it).

When Should You Ask?

Eliciting feedback in these crucial first few days is a balance between giving your new manager and co-workers enough time to form concrete thoughts and opinions of you, while also being proactive in prompting feedback that will help you as you get onboard.

Rule of thumb: Don’t expect a formal review by the end of week one. After that, it’s all a judgment call. How much real work have you actually had a chance to do? If you’ve just completed a big project or finished a tougher assignment, now may be the perfect time to ask for some input on how you did. Regardless of the above, don’t let three weeks go by without making the big ask.

A good rhythm for how frequently you continue to check-in will hinge on the volume and involvement of your work. That said, a good best practice is no more than once a week, but no less than once a month.

How Should You Ask?

Don’t pounce at the water cooler or in the bathroom while your boss is washing her hands. Reach out to your manager via email or in person and request a meeting directly. Explain what the meeting is for—people will appreciate having a heads-up so they can prepare ideas ahead of time.

Try something like, “I’d like 15 minutes of your time to talk about how you think things are going so far with me. Are you satisfied with what I’m doing, and the work I’m producing? Is there anything I can be doing differently?”

What Should You Ask?

Give your manager suggestions on what you want to hear, such as, “How am I integrating within the team?” “Am I operating at the speed you need me to?” or “How is the quality of my work? Any development areas you have already identified that I can work on?”

This is also the time to coach your manager on what you need in terms of resources. Would you benefit from regular one-on-ones or additional training? Perhaps a tracking system that you and your manager have access to share what you’re working on?

Who Should You Ask?

Besides your boss, co-workers are also a great resource for feedback. While it doesn’t need to be as formal as with a manager, try crafting an email along the lines of, Hey, I’m loving it here so far, and would love to get some feedback from you to make sure I’m setting myself up for long-term success. It’s really important to me I’m doing a good job and making a good impression.

The reality of soliciting feedback is that it may not always be 100% positive. So, prepare yourself mentally. All your good intentions will immediately be nullified if you go into “defensive” mode. Keep your ego out of this conversation and stay open and non-judgmental.

Then, send a follow-up email thanking your manager or colleague for their time and candor, and briefly outline your takeaways and any next steps you plan to take. Implement any areas of improvement right away and follow-up with your boss to make sure the adjustments you’re making are correct and noticed.

We know there’s a lot to learn in your first 90 days. You’ve got new systems, technologies, faces, and names to remember, and so much more. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Incorporating this advice displays maturity and commitment on your part, and will also give you a good indication of whether you’re doing well, or need to make some adjustments before its too late. Regardless of what you learn, it will empower you to excel in your new role.

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The 3 Questions Recruiters Expect You to Answer During a Phone Interview

The 3 Questions Recruiters Expect You to Answer During a Phone Interview

The 3 Questions Recruiters Expect You to Answer During a Phone Interview

Even though the phone interview should be the least nerve-wracking part of the interview process, I do know quite a few folks who find it to be one of the toughest parts. And even though I’ve conducted my share of them as both a candidate and a recruiter, I still count myself as one of those people. In fact, I got so nervous before my phone screen for this job at The Muse that I was sweating bullets a few minutes before it was scheduled to begin.

But the truth is that when I was a recruiter, I only had three questions I needed answering during this part of the process. Spoiler alert: I didn’t expect anyone to have a solution that would solve our company’s problems ready to go.

1. Did This Person Do at Least a Little Homework?

It’s probably no surprise to you that at this point, researching the company before the interview is one of the first things you should do. And sure, later on in the process, you should have a firm understanding on the company’s history and what they’re trying to accomplish. But when it comes to the initial conversation, the company’s just trying to ensure that the candidate had at least started doing their homework.

There’s a huge difference between talking to someone who’s taken a day or two to prepare themselves versus talking to someone who’s trying to wing it over the phone. And recruiters can hear the difference.

One of the most extreme examples? One applicant tried to read the “About Us” section on our website back to me. So while you don’t need to know the founder’s entire backstory, make sure you can tell the recruiter about the company’s mission statement, a recent product announcement, or how the company’s work has affected or inspired you.

2. Is This Person Willing to Discuss Salary?

Ah, the tricky question about money. I know how hard it is to discuss a salary because you don’t want to lowball yourself, but you also don’t want to take yourself out of the running by asking for too much. It’s a hard question, but the truth is that most recruiters know that.

While I can’t speak for every recruiter on the planet, my motivation for asking this question was to make sure I wasn’t wasting a candidate’s time. If someone asked for a dollar amount I knew we couldn’t touch, I’d tell that person. And in many cases, it broke my heart to do it because I wanted to advance those candidates to the next round.

But what really turned me off was when people tried to dance around the question. Why? The worst thing that I felt I could do was put a great contender through a long interview process, only to find out at the end that we couldn’t pay them what they needed to make.

Trust me: While you might be disappointed to learn your dream job can’t pay you what you deserve, it’s much better to find out early in the process—so meet the recruiter in the middle and be open about what you’re hoping to earn.

3. Does the Candidate Show a Sincere Interest in Our Company?

Again with the common interview advice, right? Well, not exactly. Most people know that recruiters want to hear about why you’re interested in the job. But what many people in my network tend to ignore is the fact that most recruiters have heard just about everything—and a canned answer about how you know the organization is going to change the world isn’t going to move the needle in your favor.

A lot of the candidates I spoke to overthought their answer to this question. And often times, I’d wait patiently for them to wax poetic about how they couldn’t imagine a more perfect job for them at this point in their careers.

Instead of making this answer about you, make it about your genuine interest in the job. If you have specific reasons for being excited about the role, share them! You’ll stand out for your honest, candid answers.

No matter how you slice it, phone interviews are a tough part of the interview process. And while getting comfortable with them requires some practice, it’s also important to understand that you’re probably overthinking it.

Knowing that recruiters aren’t expecting world-changing answers should help you relax, be yourself, and answer the questions as well as possible. Just being confident in yourself and in your reasons why you’d like this job is more than enough at this stage.

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3 Better Ways to Answer “Why Should We Hire You?”

3 Better Ways to Answer “Why Should We Hire You?”

3 Better Ways to Answer "Why Should We Hire You?"

I don’t even like asking this question in a mock interview, so I don’t know how hiring managers stomach it in a real one. But, apparently, they do—in fact, turns out it’s one of the 31 most common interview questions.

The good news is, despite how demanding and weirdly petulant the question is, it’s actually a really great opportunity, to sum up why you’re a good fit for the position. It allows you to talk about your skills, your fit with the culture, and everything in between. What more could you ask for in an interview?

So, how exactly do you cover your bases for such an open question? Here are three strategies.

1. The Intersection

One way to crack this interview question is to intersect what’s in it for the hiring manager and what’s in it for you. Basically, you want to get across that he or she will get an enthusiastic employee who has the exact right skill set for the position and that you’ll get to—and therefore look forward to and be motivated to—do something meaningful, build your skills, and work toward the next step of your career.

The key here is to not forget that second part: talking about yourself. Too many people make the mistake of only listing the benefits for the employer. Going into what’s in it for you will give insight into why you’ll stay driven—a trait all interviewers are looking for.

2. The Company Expert

Some interviewers will spell it out and others won’t, but you should know that the full question is always, “Why should I hire you over everyone else?” If you feel you’ve already spelled out your skills and experience multiple times, perhaps a better approach for you is to show what you have to offer that others don’t. Assuming you’re competing against other similarly qualified candidates, a good thing to highlight at this point is your dedication to the role.

To do that, show the deep knowledge of the business and an understanding of how you might fit in. This, of course, requires a good bit of company research (here’s a great guide to get you started), so you can talk about the uniqueness, the history, the future, and your own personal investment.

Diving into your knowledge of the company serves a few purposes. You show your excitement for the position, you come off as an insider who might be easier to train than other candidates, and you demonstrate how you handle something you’re invested in.

3. The Problem Solver

Frequently, hiring managers to post positions because they have a problem that needs to be solved. Get straight to the point with your response and outline, ideally in detail, how you can offer immediate relief for the company’s pain point.

Like in a “Pain Letter,” don’t spend all your time talking about the past—focus your efforts on the future, and explain how you can make the interviewer’s life easier by addressing his most imminent issue. This shows you’re forward-thinking, already a team player, and ready to hit the ground running.

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12 Things You Absolutely Won’t Regret Doing at Work Today


Have you ever had one of those days when absolutely everything went wrong? When it felt like the universe was not only against you—but actually laughing in the face of your misfortune?

Sigh. We all have, and those workdays can be paralyzing. You’re afraid to check your inbox, complete a project, or even so much as sneeze, because you’re convinced that it will only end in misery for you.

In those moments, you (and your ego) need some easy wins. You need some productive and beneficial things you can do that have little to no chance of backfiring on you.

Where do you start? Well, I’ve pulled together some different tasks you can complete, depending on the amount of disposable time you currently have. Don’t worry—these all have a very low risk of regret.

What To Do If You Have Five Minutes

1. Grab Your Co-worker a Coffee

Doing something thoughtful hardly ever works against you. Heading to the breakroom for a coffee refill or a mid-morning treat? Snag something for your colleague or deskmate too. It’s a small gesture that’s sure to be appreciated.

2. Send a Networking Note

When our workdays get so busy, nurturing our professional relationships is often pushed to the back burner. Take a few minutes to send a LinkedIn message, an email, or even a handwritten note to a contact you haven’t reached out to in a while. You’ll keep that connection strong (and maybe even open some new doors for yourself), with very little effort.

3. Get Some Fresh Air

It’s easy to feel cooped up when you’re spending hour after hour working away in your office. Even just a couple minutes of some time outdoors can work wonders. Heading outside for just a brief break and a change of scenery can quickly refresh your attitude—particularly when you’re having a bad day.

4. Pay Someone a Compliment

Compliments have a way of making people’s days—and offering them sometimes feels just as good as receiving them. So, tell your co-workerthat she did a solid job on her presentation or that you love the homemade cookies he brought in to share with the team. Spreading a little positivity never hurts.

What To Do If You Have 20 Minutes

5. Disinfect Your Phone and Computer

Are you ready to hear something disgusting? Your phone is 10 times dirtier than a toilet seat. And, it’s probably not something you think about cleaning all that often. Grab some disinfecting wipes and give that thing a good scrubbing. You might as well get the germs off of your keyboard, mouse, and computer monitor while you’re at it.

6. Clean Off Your Desk

Speaking of cleaning, I’m willing to bet your desk isn’t exactly in tip-top shape right now. Clear off all of the mugs and glasses that have taken permanent residency on various corners of your workspace. Toss out the junk mail and random Post-its that are contributing to your clutter. Straighten up the piles of papers that you actually need. Even just a few minutes spent tidying things up can make a huge difference.

7. Unsubscribe From Unwanted Emails

Never-ending emails are probably only adding to your stress. Unsubscribe from all of those sales messages and lists that you were mysteriously added to. It’s cathartic and can give you a greater sense of control on those days when it feels like you can’t make anything go right.

8. Read a Couple of Articles You’ve Been Saving

If you’re anything like me, you have an ever-growing list of things you eventually want to read saved or bookmarked. Take a quick time out to actually consume some of those articles. You’ll probably learn something, while still giving yourself a little breathing room on a tough day.

What To Do If You Have an Hour

9. Organize Your Computer Files

Take a quick look at your desktop. Is it a disaster? If not, maybe you’re someone who’s just sneakily stashing things in a bunch of different folders that you can never actually navigate. Either way, I’m willing to bet your computer organization could use a little sprucing up. Take some time to delete anything you don’t need anymore and attempt to bring a little order to the chaos of your computer.

10. Clean Up Your Inbox

Similarly, our inboxes can quickly spiral out of control. Guilty as charged? Spending an hour or so deleting, replying, and organizing those messages will pretty much never end poorly for you.

11. Get Lunch With a Colleague

Like I said earlier, our connections with other people can fall by the wayside when our workdays get hectic. But, those professional bonds are still super important. Invite a co-worker out for an hour-long lunch break where you can chat and get to know each other a little better outside the confines of your office. Bonus points if that colleague is someone you haven’t previously spent a lot of time with.

12. Make a Plan

Do you know that dreaded project that you’re consistently pushing off until “tomorrow?” You know, the one you’ve written on your to-do list so many times, it’s sort of become like an unwanted piece of furniture that you just operate around? Give yourself a major confidence and productivity boost by sitting down and finally outlining a plan and timeline for that assignment. Sometimes getting started is all you need to do to spark your motivation.

Nobody likes those workdays when they feel like they’re walking on eggshells—like one more wrong move will send things permanently snowballing downhill.

So, if you’re currently stuck in one of those bad days where nothing seems to be going right, turn to one or even a few of these quick and easy wins to turn your attitude (not to mention your entire day) around. You’ve got this!

Also for more career related advice visit here


Is a Two-Page Resume Ever OK?

Is a Two-Page Resume Ever OK?

Is a Two-Page Resume Ever OK?

You’ve been there. You’re up late one night trolling job boards and in between travel ads the perfect job opportunity appears. You hear the heavenly hosts cheering you on and rush to update your resume.

But before you add your latest and greatest skills and accomplishments, your brain interrupts with the job seeker debate: Should your resume be one page or two?

The answer, dear job seeker, is—it’s all subjective. Google this topic and you’ll get 100 different sources with 400 different pieces of advice. The truth is, we’ve been conditioned by the old-school tradition of the one=page resume. But the current digital age (where resumes aren’t always submitted on paper anyway!) has blazed a trail of new opinions.

That said, there are a few good rules of thumb to consider when deciding if a +1 should accompany your resume.

When Quantity Equals Quality

As you evolve in your career, you’ll find that things that were once relevant on your resume aren’t anymore. For example, if you’ve been in your career a few years or are changing careers, there’s no need to list every duty for every position. Learn to recognize when compromising the quantity of your experiences will impact the quality of your employment story. If you have enough relevant experience, training, and credentials pertaining to the position to showcase on more than one page of your resume, then go for it.

Note: I said relevant. This doesn’t mean you detail all your accomplishments since your high school babysitting job. It also doesn’t mean listing every college course you’ve taken and certification you’ve earned.

As a recruiter, I can tell you, if I’m going to read a resume that’s more than one page, it better tell a good story about what you bring to the table. Listing every task you did as a manager doesn’t make you a good manager. But if you tell me that you increased productivity by 25% or highlight process changes for multiple teams at several companies—you’re justifying that space.

If you can succinctly quantify your accomplishments to tell how you made a role, job, project, or assignment better and you need more than one page to demonstrate it effectively, that’s time (and space) well spent.

When Space Is No Longer an Option

Your content is impeccable. You’ve edited, downsized fonts, tweaked margins, and finagled text boxes to abide by the one page golden rule. But unfortunately, space is no longer on your side.
Once you get to this stage, it’s fine to go ahead and supersize your resume to more than one page. Trust me, you will not be cast away to the Island of Misfit Resumes.

Honestly, the hiring manager will grant you extra brownie points for not assaulting his or her eyesight with eight-point fonts or instigating what I call the eyeball cha-cha—where your eyes have to dance all over the page to find information you need.

A resume that has text scattered everywhere or is so condensed it looks possessed by hoarders can send the wrong message about you as a candidate. If employers have the impression you can’t organize your thoughts effectively on paper, they may second guess how you’ll perform in the role. Better to be safe than sorry and spread your wealth of experience to a second page.

What About the Extra Space?

If the text on the second page is only one or two lines, you may want to consider reformatting and sticking to the one page rule. Otherwise, don’t be overly concerned about the extra space on the second page. Recruiters have short attention spans and won’t want to scan more information than they have to.

But if you feel compelled to fill that space, be strategic and make sure the information is relevant. If you haven’t already done so, add information on your leadership, organizations, volunteer work, hobbies, or sports activities. This will show employers you have a life outside of work and give some insight into your personality.

Also keep in mind that this information doesn’t have to be in text format. I’ve seen some great resumes recently that have outlined these items using pie charts, timelines, and graphs. Just remember these fancy formats don’t always translate well when applying online and can wind up a jumbled mass of code.

So, what’s the moral of the resume length debate? In the digital application world, size doesn’t really matter. As long as you tell a compelling story about your employment history that’s easy on the eyes, your page breaks will be forgiven.