Category: Career

12 Pieces of Advice for New Grads That Everyone Should Take

12 Pieces of Advice for New Grads That Everyone Should Take

12 Pieces of Advice for New Grads That Everyone Should Take

As a soon-to-be college grad, I know that the world of work can catch you unawares. In preparing for the job search, I’ve found that experienced professionals often have a lot of great advice to dispense (also some not-so-great advice, but that’s an article for another day).

And it’s true that sometimes the wisest tips don’t come from experts, but from real people with real stories. So, with that in mind, The Muse team asked the LinkedIn community what wisdom they’d bestow on recent grads.

And upon reading all the tips, I couldn’t help but think that anyone—and really everyone—should read them, too. So with no further ado, here are my favorites:

1. Remember These Four Words

Be positive, principled, pro-active, and productive.

-Rakesh N.

2. Discover Yourself

Consider this job a journey to learn about yourself. The purpose is to grow as a human being; to discover what you’re good at, what you love to do, and what you dislike.

Discover your why, and you’ll become happier and more passionate in life!

-Carol L.

3. Be Open to Change

Don’t get discouraged when a job you really want does not pan out for you. It just opens up doors to other opportunities.

-Mitchell M.

4. Don’t Hide From Mistakes

Be honest. Not sure about something? Ask questions. Screwed up? Own up!

I’ve always valued someone willing to learn, and we do that in different ways. I’ll always highly regard someone willing to be honest about their mistakes because we learn from those just as much as our successes!

-Samantha DM.

5. Keep Moving Forward

Learn to hear feedback and never let it fester. Instead consider it, take what works, and move on.

-Heather J.

6. Learn From Everything

Remember every moment is an opportunity to learn from everyone around you, no matter their title.

Pay attention when things go well; pay extra attention when they don’t, and watch how people react to it. Build relationships with the people who face problems by being their solution.

-Anita S.

7. Make Connections

Your biggest asset is your network.

-Eddie M.

8. Be Patient

Networking + Resilience = Success

It won’t be easy but you have to start somewhere. This is just the first step on the stairwell, so don’t give up, and know that the best is yet to come!

-L. Nicole

9. Utilize Your Co-workers

Don’t be intimidated by your colleagues and superiors!

Remember that they were once in your shoes when they began their careers. Leverage their knowledge and experience and find ways to take what worked for them and adapt it to work for you.

-Lauren L.

10. Treat Everyone With Respect

Speak when you walk into the office everyday. Say good morning to your boss and peers as you walk past their offices, smile at janitors and receptionists in your office.

Don’t be so focused on getting ahead that it’s all business all the time. Treating people with humanity and integrity is most important.

-Brittany K.

11. Keep Your Own Counsel

Don’t assume that a co-worker won’t repeat your criticisms of a colleague. When asked how you feel about individuals in the office, be open and vague with your answers.

Always reserve judgment on your co-workers until you have enough time to make up your own mind.

-Nicholas G.

12. Prepare for the Future

Develop good time management habits early on. Your workload will only increase with time, and so will your responsibilities. Be ready when they do.

-Alicia M.

From making the right impression of getting a handle on time management, a new work environment can be tricky to navigate. And, that goes for anyone, no matter how high up the ladder you are.

So if you want to set yourself up for success, pay attention to these sage tips.

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Your 5-Step Plan to Getting a Promotion Without Having to Ask for It

Your 5-Step Plan to Getting a Promotion Without Having to Ask for It

Your 5-Step Plan to Getting a Promotion Without Having to Ask for It

Nobody likes having to actually ask for a promotion. Advocating for yourself is a lot harder than speaking up for others. The good news is, if your boss is paying attention and your actions are speaking for themselves, you may not have to ask.

You probably already know that doing good work is the single most effective way to show your boss you’re ready for more. (But it’s worth reiterating because if you skip this step, you’re going to have a hard time getting promoted.) Ideally, you should be consistently exceeding expectations in your current job. This means you do just about every task as well and as efficiently as it can be done, and you usually finish tasks ahead of schedule.

Once you’ve got that down, here are five more ways to prove you’re ready.

1. Consistently Do “Above and Beyond” Work

Exceeding expectations is only the start: You should also look for ways to add value through projects and tasks that are beyond your role. Find things that need doing that no one has had time for.

True story: Nels was a regional sales rep who regularly met his quotas and completed all the necessary reports. His group’s customer database was out of date and needed to be upgraded and scrubbed of old, bad data. The administrator was bogged down in a systems upgrade issue, so Nels asked if he could start work on making the upgrades and updates. Before anyone knew it, the job was done. Nels graciously shared the credit with the database admin and went on about his regular business.

Six months later, in a move that seemed pretty much out of the blue to him, Nels was promoted. But it wasn’t out of the blue; his manager had noticed several situations like the one above where Nels showed initiative to do extra work and share the credit with others. That’s the kind of employee managers look to promote.

2. Be Hungry for Growth, Not Status

Your boss will be far more impressed with your ability and desire to learn that he will with ego and ambition to improve your rank or status. Your hunger should be for the acquisition of skills and knowledge, not about a new office or a better title. That’s not to say you wouldn’t enjoy those things—after all, you’re human—but they shouldn’t be your primary motivation.

Resist the urge to talk about what you know or brag about how easy everything is for you. Instead, share what you’re learning, and be vulnerable and honest about it. If you’ve suddenly discovered a new way to do a task or job better, don’t say “I feel like I have my area wired”, say, “Just when I thought I had my area wired, I learned a whole new way to approach [a task] that I can now apply to how I do a lot of things. What a great lesson!”

This sounds like an employee who is ready for a promotion—because she’ll keep looking for opportunities to grow and thrive.

3. Work on Continuous (Self) Improvement

Think of it this way: You are your career’s biggest project. Get used to that idea.

As you reach new levels of mastery, take the time to pat yourself on the back. Then, roll up your sleeves and challenge yourself to do what you just did—even better.

Here’s the thing about continuous self-improvement: Most people tend to go for what they know they can accomplish, not what most needs improvement. Try to have the courage to see yourself objectively and work on those things that most interfere with your own success.

Unsure where to start? Ask your boss what you could be doing better, then work consistently to make those improvements. It’ll help you address any weaknesses that could serve as obstacles to a promotion.

4. Look for Long-Term Projects

Tasks that take longer to accomplish are, by nature, more complex. The further up the hierarchy you go, the more intricate your job will become.

Managing complexity is different than just being smart; it’s about overseeing multiple tasks with variable goals and execution strategies. Learn to handle multi-layered projects by picking tasks that are progressively more complex.

Just remember you want to stretch yourself—not drown. So, if you are used to managing tasks that can normally be completed in a month or two, don’t sign up for a project that’ll take a year to complete. Look for a six-month one first.

When you show you’re adept at handling a more advanced project, you’re demonstrating that you could work at the next level.

5. Work on Your Collaboration Skills

Mid and high-level jobs usually mean working in group environments that depend less on being told what to do, and more on being able to make things happen without using your rank to achieve results. In every great team, there is at least one person who makes things click because he or she has the collaboration superpowers of listening, compromising, and mediating. Be that person.

So, practice your teamwork skills any chance you get. Contrary to popular belief, leading every group effort won’t show your boss you’re the best person to promote. To really impress your boss, show that you’re a true team player—one who can add value through supporting your colleagues as well.

It isn’t your boss’ responsibility to help you find your dream job—that’s up to you. But when any quality manager sees these attributes in an employee, he’ll want to find new ways to help that person grow (and that often means a promotion). Yes, you may end up needing to have a direct, and potentially uncomfortable, discussion with him about why you’re ready for a higher level position, but try these steps first and see what happens.

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How to Tell if an Internship Will Be More Than Just Fetching Coffee

How to Tell if an Internship Will Be More Than Just Fetching Coffee

How to Tell if an Internship Will Be More Than Just Fetching Coffee

We’ve all heard the internship horror stories. Those grueling days working with little to no pay in the heat of summer, trekking to get coffee for a terrible boss before organizing filing cabinets all day.

But don’t worry, that doesn’t have to be the case. You can land an awesome internship, but to benefit, you have to do your homework.

And to help you with said homework, we spoke to Melanie Kollmai, a Campus Recruiter for Philips in the greater Seattle, WA area. She gave us the scoop on how to find an internship that will help launch your career. So read on to start your first professional chapter on the right foot.

1) Dig Into the Job Description

The job description is the first thing you see for any role, and the details (or lack thereof) can say a lot about the substance of an internship. And the more specific an employer is about the job responsibilities and the team, the better. Established organizations follow a specific template, and hiring managers should be just as clear in a job description for an internship as they are with any full-time position.

Look for a specific format: a clear background on the hiring company, an overview of the role, a detailed description of day-to-day tasks and an optimal candidate profile—followed, of course, by application instructions. “Make sure that you’re looking at the team specifics and any projects you may be working on, in particular,” says Melanie.

Sometimes, companies interview interns in the fall for the following summer so they may not know the exact focus of your work. That said, there should be clarification on the scope of the work, which helps ensure you will get real value out of your experience.

Red Flags

Vague or short job descriptions, little to no detail about the purpose of the internship, very few details on day-to-day responsibilities.

2) Ask the Right Questions

The interview is your time to shine and to find out more about the internship and the hiring company. Melanie explains why this second part matters: “It’s important to remember that, not only is a company interviewing you, you’re interviewing them, too. It may be your first interview, but it’s important that you ask a lot of questions.”

Here are some interview questions that will give you valuable insight into the role:

As you go through each step of the selection process, try to gauge the extent to which the company’s answers align with your growth. The best internship serves as an introduction to the professional life and gives you structured opportunities and regular support.

“At Philips, interns have a mentor and a manager—they go to meetings and benefit from one-on-one collaboration, even with other teams,” Melanie explains. “They are expected to act as if they are full-time employees by taking ownership, driving their projects forward, and working seamlessly within their team and others.” Internships like that are endlessly rewarding and set you up for a bright career.

Red Flags

An unprepared interviewer, vague or incomplete answers to your questions, an unstructured program.

3) Talk to Former Interns

Beyond talking to the hiring manager, there’s another way to get really good intel on an internship: straight from the source. Consider asking the hiring manager if there are any former interns you can speak with to learn about their experiences. Given that they’re a year (or more) ahead of you, they can give a longer-term view of whether the internship contributed to their career and if so, how.

You’ll want to ask about the specifics of their day-to-day in the role and whether the internship aligned with their interests or degree. It’s also worth checking whether this temporary gig turned into a job offer, and if so, how they’ve found the company since then.

Nervous about asking the interviewer directly? Do some digging on LinkedIn. With the right search, you can find a few people who worked at the company in a similar internship and team. Reach out and ask if they have 15 minutes to talk about their experiences or if they could answer a few questions over email. Their insights will give you a neutral perspective from someone who has been in your shoes.

Red Flags

Former interns think the program was a waste of time, negative feedback about the position.

When an organization invests in a strong internship program, they’re investing in you as a long-term employee. These mutually beneficial situations can set you up for a career that builds on your degree and opens a door for your next steps.

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How to Ask for an Awesome Letter of Recommendation (and Actually Get One)

How to Ask for an Awesome Letter of RecommendationYou’ve found your dream company. The even better news? They’re currently hiring for a position that’s perfect for you.

You’ve already tackled all of the application basics. You did your research, tailored your resume, wrote an impressive cover letter, and even sent the department head a friendly LinkedIn request.

But, with all of that under your belt, you’re looking for one more way that you can stand out and elevate yourself above the competition.

We have three words for you: a letter of recommendation.


Is it Common for Employers to Ask for Letters of Recommendation?

Honestly? It’s rare that you’ll be explicitly asked to hand one of these over. (It’s much more likely that you’ll be asked for references.)

“Except for junior roles where someone lacks experience or senior roles where the character is as important as the skill set,” clarifies Tara Padua, a Muse Career Coach.


Should You Have These Letters in Your Back Pocket Anyway?

I know what you’re thinking: If these letters aren’t an expectation, why would I go through the trouble of getting them?

Well, just because an employer won’t demand them doesn’t mean you can’t use them to separate yourself from the job search competition.

“If you have a letter, hiring managers could get more of a sense of your skills if they aren’t able to connect live with your former supervisors for whatever reason and only get the basics from HR,” explains Muse Career Coach Kelly Poulson.

Beyond giving you the opportunity to emphasize what makes you a no-brainer for that role, these letters can also serve as an awesome confidence boost.

“It certainly doesn’t hurt on days when you’re doubting yourself (we all have them!) to have something to refer to that reminds you of how valued you truly are,” Poulson adds.


How Should You Go About Asking Someone to Write You One?

You might be convinced of the power of a solid letter of recommendation—but, that doesn’t necessarily mean asking is any easier. Fortunately, there are ways to make this request a little less nerve-wracking.

First things first, think carefully about who you’re asking. Poulson warns that you don’t want to request too much of any one person—meaning you might want to stay away from your references when thinking about who to ask for a letter. “Be mindful of your asks and pick folks to write letters who likely won’t be doing calls as well,” she adds.

While a letter of recommendation from someone who’s high up the ladder can be impressive, make sure that you’re asking people who actually know you and your work. “Having a senior person write a generic letter of recommendation without any real knowledge of you and your skills will produce the opposite effect,” explains Padua. And even if it doesn’t hurt, it won’t help.

In terms of actually making the ask, Poulson shares that a little bit of flattery can go a long way. “Start out with how much you’ve enjoyed working with them and how much you value their opinion,” Poulson adds.

Finally, make the process of writing the letter as painless as possible by empowering them with the information they need. “Make it easy for the person to recommend you,” Padua says, “Tell them specifically what you would like to highlight.”

That might mean looking back at your work ethic or impact on the team in a previous position or emphasizing a specific skill set that matches the type of roles you’re targeting in your search. Whatever it is, make sure you’re clear about what you’re looking for.

And that includes being clear about your timeline as well. Remember, you’re asking this person for a favor, so you need to be realistic with your expectations. It’s smart to give contacts at least a week (but ideally more) to get the letter drafted and returned to you.

Make sense? Great—let’s pull all of those tips into an easy-to-use template.


EMAIL TEMPLATE Asking for a Letter of Recommendation

Hi [Name],

I hope you’re having a great week!

I’m reaching out because I’m applying for [type of role] with [type of company] and am pulling together a few letters of recommendation to emphasize why I’m a qualified fit for this kind of position.

I really enjoyed our time working together at [Company]—particularly when we were able to collaborate on [project]. With that in mind, I thought you’d be a great person to vouch for my expertise in [key skill area] and my ability to [impressive result].

I know you’re busy. So, if it’d help, I’m happy to pass along some additional talking points and information to make writing this letter a little easier.

Would you be comfortable writing a letter of this nature for me? Please let me know if you have any questions about this, [Name]. Let’s catch up over coffee soon—my treat!

All the best,
[Your Name]

No, letters of recommendation aren’t a job search staple the way your resume or your cover letter is. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t use them to your advantage.

If the only thing holding you back is the fact that asking for these letters can feel more than a little awkward (believe me, I get it), take a deep breath, use these tips and this template, and just send that email.

You’ll be armed with an impressive letter or two in your back pocket that you can use to prove to employers that you’re the candidate they’ve been searching for.

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10th November 2018

6 Smarter Ways to Spend Your Sunday (That Don’t Involve Doing Any Work)

6 Smarter Ways to Spend Your Sunday

When you think about your perfect Sunday, it could involve sleeping in, going out for brunch, and then binge watching Netflix. Unfortunately, most successful people can’t enjoy that luxury. Either they are tied down to completing a deadline, or simply just can’t sit there and not be productive.

The thing is, you do need to enjoy some time away from the business. You can actually step away from work and still have a productive Sunday by doing the following six things. If you do, you’ll notice that you’ll be more productive, rejuvenated, and ready to tackle the work week when your alarm goes off on Monday morning.

1. Spend Some Time Alone

While you should definitely spend some quality time with friends and family, you also need to have some time to yourself. Why? Because being alone has several benefits. It gives you the opportunity to reflect, clear your mind, improve your creativity, do the things that you want to do, and meet new people. Spending time alone can also increase your productivity since you aren’t relying on other people to share the workload on a project.

If you really want to enjoy your solitude, unplug during your alone time so that you aren’t bothered by email, text messages, and Facebook notifications.

2. Pursue a Passion

We all need a hobby that is going to recharge our batteries and spark our passion. Whether it’s writing, repairing an old car, painting, or hiking, you should use your free time on days like Saturday or Sunday to do activities that you normally can’t during the work. Ideally, you should find a hobby that either lets you blow off some steam, gets the creative juices flowing, or refreshes you in some way, or is something that may be related or unrelated to your business.

For example, if you sell custom bicycles, then maybe you spend your Sunday afternoons going for a bike ride with your family or participating in a race. I personally like to write and feel it makes me a better entrepreneur.

3. Get Some Exercise

The benefits of exercise have been discussed multiple times. While there’s no denying that we all need to be physically active, the busy work week may not leave us with too much to squeeze in a workout. You can always catch-up on your physical fitness on Sundays. Whether it’s kayaking, riding a bike, playing a game of basketball, or going to the gym, Sundays offer a great chance for you to get in a bit of exercise before you head back to the daily grind. I personally love a walk around the block with my wife, dog, and sometimes friends.

4. Socialize and Network at Community Events

While it’s important to have some solitude on Sundays, you also need to interact with other people. Local community events aren’t just a way to get the kids out of the house; they’re also perfect opportunities for you to network and meet new people.

Whether it’s at a local fair, a 5K, a fundraiser, or an art festival, there are plenty of influential community members at these events and you can take this chance to network with them, while you have the free time.

5. Do Some Maintenance

Maintenance can mean a lot of different things for people. It could literally mean cleaning up your office, home, or vehicle. It could mean personal grooming, like getting a haircut or manicure. Or, it could be cleaning out your inbox or scrolling through your social media accounts and connecting with the friends and family you’ve ignored during the week.

No matter what exactly maintenance means to you, Sundays provide people a chance to catch up on all of the housekeeping items that may have been put off during the week because now you’ve put yourself in a position to be free from other distractions.

6. Plan Your Upcoming Week

Take the free time that you have on a Sunday to map out your entire week. Whether it’s planning meetings, phone calls, setting deadlines for tasks, or even personal items like your food menus, you can get a head start on your entire calendar in advance. By doing this you can make sure that you accomplish and focus on the most pressing matters. You will see more clearly at this time of the week than you will later — when the whole force of your business is back into focus. For example, if you know that you must complete a deadline by Friday, but are worried about calling a client when he gets back from vacation in two weeks, you can prioritize which objective comes first.

Planning your week ahead of time will also save you throughout the week. Instead of worrying about what you’re going to eat and spending time looking for those items in your house, you can make a grocery list and get those items so you know exactly what you’re going to make and that you have all of the ingredients on-hand.


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9th November 2018

5 Things to Consider Before Accepting an Offer

5 Things to Consider Before Accepting an Offer

A company asks you to interview for a position that interests you. You put your best foot forward, answer questions to the best of your ability, and hope that you made the right impression. Shortly after, the hiring manager calls you back saying you got the job—congrats! Now all you have to do is sign on the dotted line and pick out what you’ll wear on the first day.

Stop. Take a deep breath. Yes, this is awesome. But now the ball’s in your court. Sure the company likes you, but do you like the company? Emphasis on the word company—not position. No matter how much you’ll love your daily to-do list, if you don’t like the organization, your experience is going to be rough. And, why make the 40+ hours you’ll spend there each week rough?

So, it’s now you who should do some digging to make sure it’s the right fit. If you’re unsure of where to start, think about these five key factors.

1. The Physical Space

There are two important questions you need to ask yourself right now. The easy one: What kind of space do you work in now? The thinker: Do you like it?

If you thrive in a cubicle (no shame!), you should think twice before moving into an open office. This is not to say you should turn it down, but you should ask the current employees there if it’s OK to put on headphones, as well as if there are quiet spaces to work. Likewise, if you prefer being able to see your co-workers and you’re moving to an office full of walls, ask how people communicate. Are there frequent meetings? Are people really active in chatrooms to the point that it feels like you’re all working at one large table?

Along with your seating, think about communal areas as well. If you’re looking for a collaborative team, make sure there are spaces that encourage that. Alternatively, if you can’t sit in one place all day, keep an eye out for couches, stand-up desks, or the like. You’d be shocked by how much you can learn by just asking for a walking tour of the office.

2. Transparency

Transparency is more than the optics of the place you work in, it’s about access to information. Ask yourself: Are you comfortable with the level of info that you receive in your current position? Would your job have been easier—or would you have performed differently—if you had known more?

There’s no one right answer. I’ve worked at both types of companies, and here’s what I learned: When you don’t know the company’s big-picture goals, it allows you to really delve in deep and focus only on what you and your team need to be doing. So, there’s less stress around actively making sure the company’s on track to hit some numerical goal.

When you do have more information about the organization’s goals, you get away from the nitty-gritty of a to-do list and instead think about how your job fits into the company’s strategy. So on days when you feel like you’re doing the same-old, same-old, you can take a step back and remember that you’re helping to drive the bottom line.

Now’s the time to think about what motivates you. Is it working toward small goals or larger ones?

3. Collaboration

Almost every interviewer has asked me if I like the idea of teamwork. No brainer, right? They want you to say yes. But how collaboration happens varies greatly from one company to another. Ask yourself: Do you like working with others on a project from start to finish or do you prefer to be accountable for your own work?

Over time, success metrics have very much shifted away from an “I” mentality to a “we” mentality. The pro to this is that in order to be productive, drive results, and take strategy to the next level, it’s helpful to work dynamically with others. The con? Relying on coming to a consensus among a group can greatly slow things down and take longer to get those results.

I’ve been in roles where my work was reliant on only me—meaning I got it done faster and got all the credit (or blame). Other times, when I’ve worked in a team, it’s taken longer—but I learned a fair amount from my colleagues along the way.

4. Continual Learning

You’re never done learning no matter how far you get from your college years. With that said, not all companies prioritize professional development.

So, if you’re someone who likes working in an environment that pushes you to continue learning (and, if you’re someone who knows you need that push), find out where this company falls on the spectrum. The options can range from tuition reimbursement programs to on-site courses to a lax policy toward taking days off to attend a conference.

Early on in my career, I took Hindi and economic classes at a university in the evening. The classes weren’t crucial to my job, but the fundamentals I learned still help me to this day. Now, I look for companies that encourage me to take similar opportunities.

5. Perks

The last and most fun part to discuss: Perks! I’ll issue my disclaimer up front: I’ve worked at places that had personal concierge services and three meals a day. While all of these are nice to have, I learned that if I don’t love my job, none of these perks matter much.

But, if you’re given a list to entice you to say yes, here’s what you should think about (and a warning, I’m about to play devil’s advocate):

  • What will actually make my life better or easier? Free snacks are great, but if you’re a health fiend, will endless bags of chips in the kitchen make you happy in the long run?
  • What will result in better work-life balance? Company masseuses are awesome, but are they there to keep you relaxed when you’re working late for the 19th day in a row? Likewise, discounted gym memberships don’t sound as fancy as a state-of-the-art gym in the office. However, does the in-house gym imply that the company values your health, or that you should spend more time at the office?
  • Unlimited vacation days sound great on the surface, but how many days are employees typically taking? Is there pressure not to take too many?

I’m not recommending that you dismiss all perks, but to think through them carefully and what they mean for you.

As you can tell, there’s way more to consider than just the job position. It’s important for you to evaluate what’s important to you and then see how that fits into the company you’re interested in joining. The more comfortable you are in an environment, the faster you will succeed!


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3rd November 2018


Most people don’t want to do anything but relax on the weekends. Understandably, they want to spend their free time relaxing, catching up on their favorite TV shows, or simply hanging out with friends and family.

However, you could be spending these two days much more productively. And why should you do that? Because people who utilize their weekends productively often feel less stressed and have an easier time meeting deadline during the week.

That doesn’t mean that you should spend your only available free time working, though. If you manage the time well, you could get some tasks out of the way and still have time to relax. To help you do just that, here are 6 ways to be more productive on the weekends.

1. Have a plan
Yes, it’s great to escape a structured day that’s planned down to the last minute, but planning your weekend is actually a really good – and useful – idea. Just as Friday comes to an end, try to decide how you’re going to tackle your weekend. It’s a good idea to get weekend projects or assignments out of the way in the mornings, so you have the rest of the day free to use as you want.

2. Don’t overwork yourself
Overworking yourself will only add to your stress and defeat the purpose of having a weekend. Although it’s always tempting to work on the weekends and simply get things out of the way, it’s healthier to slow down a little. Instead of working as hard as you would during the week, try to unplug and relax. Stop checking your emails and pick an assignment or a project that you would enjoy doing. This way, you’ll be working on something without adding to your stress.

3. Turn off email notification
Emails have a way of dragging you back to work. Often, a new email will come in and you’ll be compelled to work. Most people forget that they have the right to take a break, and they dive into work even on weekends. The best way to avoid this is to only check your emails once or twice a day. If there are any urgent issues, tackle them and get them out of the way. If you’re guilty of checking your emails more often than you should, The 4 Hour Workweek has some great suggestions on how to switch off on evenings and weekends.

4. Avoid sleeping in
You only have two days of free time – do you really want to waste it with sleeping in? Most people love oversleeping on the weekends but it’s not a good idea, for several reasons. Not only would getting an extra four or five hours of sleep to disturb your natural sleep cycle and leave you feeling dull and tired, but you’ll also find waking up on Monday a lot more difficult. To avoid this, try not to oversleep by more than two or three hours. Some people actually wake up early to make the most of their weekends. You can read more about the negative effects of sleeping in on the BBC News website.

5. Focus on relaxation
After a busy week, your mental batteries need to be recharged and your body needs to relax – and the best way to do that is by doing something you love and enjoy. You could have a massage, play with your kids, read a book, or take a weekend trip somewhere nice. The idea is to get away from the monotony of everyday life for a little while. Some people think that this might not be productive, but it really is, and you’ll feel much more refreshed and ready to work on Monday.

6. Get some exercise
Unfortunately, professionals with packed schedules rarely have time for exercise. More often than not, physical exercise takes a backseat in favor of a deadline, a meeting, an important project, or other commitments. However, this can have negative consequences. If you don’t have much time during the week, you can still stay active by exercising on the weekends. And it doesn’t even have to mean heading for the gym. You could go hiking, go for a run, bike through scenic routes, swim, or simply walk through the neighborhood a couple of times.


7 Career Lessons That Double as Amazing Life Advice

7 Career Lessons That Double as Amazing Life Advice

7 Career Lessons That Double as Amazing Life Advice


The thing is, if you really think about it, a lot of the advice we give can be applied to any situation. After all, work and life aren’t all that separate from one another. Many of the lessons you learn from your job can shape your personal life, and vice versa.

1. There’s No Such Thing as the “Right” Decision

You make tons of decisions each and every day. And feeling like you have a tiny devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other, both weighing in on every major choice and insignificant call—like whether you should order an iced coffee or iced tea—is exhausting.

Stop overanalyzing all the small decisions you make in a day and instead lean on how you feel and what you know to be true. You can’t go wrong that way.


2. Clear Communication Is the Key to a Successful Relationship

That goes for colleagues and bosses as well as friends, romantic partners, and family members. Miscommunication happens all the time both in the workplace and beyond it. But you can fix that once you start speaking confidently and directly.


3. Nobody Knows What They’re Doing 100% of the Time

No matter how much you stay organized and think ahead, you’ll never be fully prepared for what life throws your way—whether it’s a tricky client or company restructuring, or an apartment flood or parenting issue. Life’s unpredictable and imperfect. There’s no need to have it all figured out—nobody does.


4. You Don’t Need to Take Everyone’s Advice to Heart

Sure, you should be open to feedback. But that doesn’t mean you’re going to agree with all of it—or even that you have to implement it. Everyone’s going to have different advice on how you should manage your team, run a meeting, or where you should take your career. Or, they might weigh in with their opinions about your cleaning habits, hobbies, or relationships. The key is to take that input into consideration and make the call that’s best for you.


5. Writing Can Help You Out of a Slump

If you feel like you’re caught in a career rut—or any rut for that matter—freewriting can help you out of it. It works because there are no expectations for what you write, what you think, or how you feel. It’s about processing your internal monologue on paper so you can get a better handle on where you’re feeling stuck.


6. You’re Allowed to Leave Behind Things That Don’t Fulfill You

Sometimes certain things look and feel rosier in your imagination than in reality. As you experience new things in your life, you might be surprised to find that your interests lie elsewhere. It’s OK to change course, and it’s OK if you leave behind something that you once valued or loved.


7. Nothing You Do Is a Waste

Lost friendships and relationships aren’t a waste of time. Neither was your last job or your failed side project. In fact, it was probably the stepping stone you needed to get to where you are now. Consider how far you’ve come, instead. You’ve gained so much because of those things you’ve “lost”—remember to focus on that.

Your career and life are more intertwined than you think. So, don’t forget to consider all that tried and true career advice when making decisions outside the office, too.

What to Put on Your Resume When You Have No Relevant Work Experience

What to Put on Your Resume When You Have No Relevant Work Experience

What to Put on Your Resume When You Have No Relevant Work Experience

Your dream job just got posted, and you’re super excited. There’s just one problem: You literally (and I actually mean literally) have zero relevant work experience. Whether you’re a career changer or a new grad with no internships under your belt, what can you actually put on the resume that makes you look as qualified as possible?

Fret not. There are a few different things you can include, as well as a couple of formatting tricks, that will help you present yourself in the best light possible.

Relevant and Transferable Skills

Most resumes will begin with relevant work experience (or education followed by relevant experience if you’re a new grad). That becomes a problem when a relevant experience isn’t your strong suit. But rather than waste that prime real estate on your resume on things that will just confuse the recruiter, start instead with your relevant skills.

And don’t tell me you don’t have any. There must be a reason why you think you can do this job. You might have transferable abilities from a previous, unrelated experience, or maybe you developed skills while in school doing academic projects. In any case, if you’re a career changer, try tying all your skills together with a summary statement at the beginning of your resume. New grads, pop your skills section from the bottom of your resume to the spot right under your education.

Related Side and Academic Projects

Speaking of academic projects, it’s important to note that those are fair game and should definitely be included in your resume. The same goes for side projects that you’ve tackled outside of work or school. As long as you are clearly labeling this experience as project work, there is nothing preventing you from including it in your resume—and you absolutely should! Don’t make the assumption that only full-time, paid experiences can be on your resume.

One way to do this is to create a “Projects” section. Here, you would write about your project work the same way you would for work experience. Think about the experiences you’ve had that helped you realize your career interests. Was it a class project? Maybe you volunteered to help with something that ultimately sparked your newfound career goals—that’s experience that you can include on your resume under a “Projects” section. Format it similarly to help the recruiter understand that this, too, is a valuable experience that should be evaluated when considering your candidacy for the position you are interested in.

An Enthusiastic and Specific Cover Letter

Okay, this isn’t technically part of your resume, but I am a firm believer of always coupling a resume with a strong cover letter. This is especially important if you have no relevant experience or a winding career path. As career expert Ryan Kahn explains, “find a way to connect your passions and life experiences with the company, then explain how that will translate into you hitting the ground running once you’re hired. You’ll find that link is exactly the kind of experience employers are looking for from recent grads.”

This is true for career changers, too, but you also have a little bit more experience to work with. The cover letter is the perfect opportunity for you to connect the dots between the company’s needs and the skills you’ve built across your eclectic career. Be specific here. You want to really spell it out for hiring managers and explain why your non-traditional background might even be an asset so that when they’re done with your letter they have a good understanding of why it makes sense for them to hire you.

Breaking into a new career is hard work, especially since many entry-level jobs are now asking for two or three years of experience. The trick to overcoming this is to really tease out those details like relevant skills and related side projects and break out of the resume “rules” that are preventing you from including them front and center on your resume. Add on a riveting cover letter and, with a combination of networking and some luck, you’ll be sure to pique a hiring manager’s interest soon.

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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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