Author: kailash

5 Small Steps You Can Take to Get Your Side Project Rolling Today

5 Small Steps You Can Take to Get Your Side Project Rolling Today

5 Small Steps You Can Take to Get Your Side Project Rolling Today

We’ve talked a lot about side projects (like why you need to start one in the first place). But actually starting one is, um, hard—especially after you’ve been at work all day.

But if there’s something you feel compelled to get out into the world—from a book you’ve written to cupcakes you’ve baked—and you’re not able to do it through your day job, there’s only so much resisting you can do before you sit down and decide to actually do it.

I’ve been side projecting for more than three years, and there have been times when it’s been totally exhausting. But mostly, because I love and am so passionate about my project, the work energizes and inspires me—even late at night on a Tuesday. You just have to get past that first big step: getting started.

If you want to get the ball rolling on your side project without completely overwhelming yourself, here are five small steps to take.

1. Set Your Intention

Before you start anything, you have to get clear on why you’re starting this side project and what you want to get out of it. Are you throwing yourself into something you love just because it makes you happy, or are you throwing yourself into it because you eventually want to turn it into a career?

Getting clear on your why—no matter what that why maybe—will help you stay focused and motivated. Need a little reminder to keep you going strong? Write why down on a Post-it and stick it on your laptop or print it out and hang it somewhere you can see it while you’re working.

2. Find Your Space

Whether your side project is writing a book, handcrafting wedding invitations, or refurbishing furniture, you’re going to need a space to work on it. Is there a space in your house or apartment that you can make your own (even if it’s just a corner of the dining room table)? Or maybe there’s somewhere close by—like a library or coffee shop—that you can retreat to for a few hours a week.

Finding a dedicated space for your project, wherever it might be, will make the experience feel much more enriching and fun. Plus, having a place to consistently return to will make it easier to get work done

And if you’re able to create a quiet space at home, fill it with whatever inspires you—e.g., pictures, posters, or fresh flowers—to make the space feel even more like you.

3. Get Your Tools

What do you need to get started on your project? Paint? Books? A good desk chair? Lots and lots of flour and sugar?

The point isn’t to spend tons of money on getting yourself stocked; it’s more about setting up your space with the few things you need to make the experience feel exciting. Whenever I start a new project, for example, one of my favorite things to do is go shopping for journals and pens. It may sound lame, but I love the writing process so much more when I have new tools in hand.

4. Make a Plan—But Just for the Week

When I first started my side project, I created a calendar for myself with specific times and days that I was going to focus on it—and only it. That is, until week two, when something popped up during one of my dedicated side-project days and the whole thing stopped making sense.

Now, every Sunday, I take a look at the week ahead and I make a plan. Planning just a week ahead allows me to be both flexible and realistic about the work I plan on getting done. And it helps me prioritize the side project up against everything else that’s going on that week.

5. Find Other Side Project-ers

Beginning to build a community around your project will inspire you, keep you motivated, and give you other humans to turn to with questions that only other side-projectors could know how to answer.

Not sure where to look? Take it to Google and see if you can find any community forums dedicated to whatever it is you’re working on—like cycling or marketing. See if there are any Meetups or events in your area focused on your side project. And don’t forget the power of your own social media platforms and community. Let people know what you’re working on, and chances are someone will know someone (who will know someone) who is working on something similar.

My last tip: Set realistic expectations for yourself and your project. If you’re only fitting in your work at night and on the weekends, you probably won’t be able to work as quickly as you could if you were dedicating all day, every day to it. But if it’s something you find energizing and fulfilling (which, ideally, you should), you can find a way to get it done.

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10 Marketing and Blog ideas for December

10 Marketing and Blog ideas for December

10 Marketing and Blog ideas for December

It’s officially the holiday season! How are you going to market your small business? Here are 10 ideas to kick off your marketing for the holiday season.

1. Festive Social Media Graphics

You decorate your tree, your house, and even your dog! Why not decorate your social media profiles for Christmas with festive graphics that you can make on Canva!

2. Host or Participate in a Toy Drive

During the holiday season, it’s important to remember those less fortunate than ourselves. Host or participate in a toy drive and encourage customers to do the same. Advertise your participation on social media by tagging the charity that you’re working with and asking them to retweet or share the post for a greater impact. Participating with other local businesses for the benefit of children is a great way to get your business name into the community. For a list of toy drives, check here.

3. Get Personal

Share pictures or stories of your family and holiday celebrations on your blog and social media. Do you have a favorite holiday memory that inspired you to open your business? What about a family recipe or tradition?

Bakers can share a video or recipe on their blogs. Photographers can post their family Christmas pictures on Instagram or Facebook and encourage others to do the same. Personal trainers should encourage clients and potential clients to join them on holiday road races through social media. Share your life with customers to engage them online!

4. Host a Party

Holiday parties are a great way to market your business during the holidays. Have an open house and extend your business hours one evening–make sure to update your blog and social media with these extended hours! Invite local customers and other businesses to stop by and mingle. Serve some food and drinks or get them donated by another local business! The more the merrier during the holidays and hosting a party is a great way to spread word-of-mouth marketing!

5. Dress up

Ugly sweater parties are popular during the holiday season, but why stop there?

There’s nothing that attracts customers like a fun attitude so take advantage of the festive spirit! Grab some reindeer antlers or wear Christmas pajamas if it’s appropriate for your business. Daycare centers can have fun dressing up and encourage a pajama day for students! Business professionals can have fun with a holiday colored tie or socks to get in the holiday spirit.

6. Gift Guides

A gift guide is a great way to market your business for the holidays. Write a blog post about gifts for moms, dads, kids, and friends!

The gift guide can include some of your products but the best way to sell your business is not to sell it at all. Instead showcase items that are related to your industry: Gift Guide for Accountants (tech gadgets, ties, fancy pen), Gift Guide for the Home Decorator (Christmas pillow covers, gold candlesticks, electric candles), or a Gift Guide for the Fitness Enthusiast (ice cleats for running outside, winter hat with Bluetooth headphones, Epsom salts for tired muscles). People are always looking for gift ideas! Show potential customers how helpful you can be!

7. Send Holiday Cards

Customers like to be appreciated. Send holiday or New Year’s cards or e-cards to your contact list. Marketing is about keeping your business on the radar of customers, new or loyal so that your business comes to mind when they need your services. Something as simple as wishing customers a Happy Holiday or Happy New Year is an easy way to get people to check out your website and keep your business in mind.

8. Tip or Product of the Day

Take inspiration from the 12 Days of Christmas and feature a tip or product of the day on their blog or social media. Fitness related businesses like personal trainers or health centers can give an exercise of the day to fight off gaining holiday weight. Flower shops can feature a wreath or bouquet of the day featuring different holiday colors or flowers. Restaurants and bars can showcase a cocktail of the day for the holidays.

9. Go Behind the Scenes

Show customers what your business is like during the holidays with video marketing! Are you a busy baker who is making cakes and cookies? Take customers into the kitchen with a video of preparations for the holidays. People are curious by nature and giving them a sneak peak of new products or behind-the-scenes action will set you apart from your competitors!

10. Photo Opportunity with Santa or a Winter Wonderland

Customers love pictures! Pictures are great for social media marketing! That’s a great equation!

Stage a photo opportunity at your store by inviting Santa to come or set up a winter wonderland for customers to post in front of. Everyone wants a picture with a gigantic polar bear so give customers the opportunity to market your business for you by having something fun to take pictures with! Pick up some props like Santa hats or tinsel garlands and let customers go to town with pictures! Make sure to include a hashtag with your company and share, retweet, or regram customers’ photos on social media.

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7 Steps to Landing a Job You Love Before the End of the Year

7 Steps to Landing a Job You Love Before the End of the Year

7 Steps to Landing a Job You Love Before the End of the Year

Looking to land a new job before the ball drops in Times Square this New Year’s Eve? Then limber up. If you play this right, you could be waltzing into a groovy new gig by December. Even better? If you start right now, you very well might avoid the glut of “New Year’s Resolutioners,” who will wake up on January 2 and vow to make 2019 their year.

Two-thousand eighteen. Forget about waiting. Seize the moment and close the deal now. Do you want to take a run at it? Here’s a rough outline of what you need to do:

Step 1: Construct Your Game Plan

Before you do a thing, figure out the end game. Where, specifically, do you want to end up by December? Assuming it’s realistic (as in, you’re not trying to go from copywriter to surgeon), then start at the “land great job” moment and work backward. What steps need to occur in order for you to get from today to that new role? Who do you need to meet? What changes do you need to make to your resume, LinkedIn profile, and any other materials? Do you need to shore up any skills to make you a more attractive candidate?

Map out the big picture before you go racing out of the gates all willy nilly. And then, once you have the overall plan pulled together, break down each day or week into manageable chunks or tasks, so that you can ensure your efforts consistently point you toward the goal (e.g., “On Monday nights, from 6 PM to 8 PM. I’ll find three people at XYZ Company who may be important to know).

Most people (especially those with day jobs, family obligations, or both) have precious few windows of time in any given week. You want to make darned sure you’re making the most of every one of these windows.

Step 2: Get Your Paperwork in Order

Many job seekers will try and do the paperwork (resume, LinkedIn profile, online portfolio) first. Don’t do that. You need a plan first. You need to understand who your target audience is so that you can readily figure out what they’re likely going to care about the most. And then you need to modify your current resume (or scrap it and build a new one) so that it speaks directly to the roles you intend to pursue.

Study job descriptions that appeal to you and find the common threads. Do you see that three job descriptions call for strong problem-solving skills or advanced Excel capabilities? That’s a pattern. Make sure you showcase these strengths right near the top of the resume (in a summary section). Figure out the keywords that are common and specific to your industry or desired role (again, by studying job descriptions). Assuming you have strengths in these areas, construct an “areas of expertise” section that allows people to instantly see your relevant skills.

And then make sure your LinkedIn messaging aligns thematically with your resume. In fact, make sure that every tool you’re using to market yourself professionally positions you consistently and in a way that speaks directly to the types of roles you’re trying to land. No one is going to deduce why you make sense for a job; you’ve got to make your relevance smack-in-the-forehead obvious.

Step 3: Start Applying—the Right Way

Once you’ve got your paperwork in order, you may be very tempted to just sit back and start firing off applications through blind mailboxes. Resist.

I’ve counseled many frustrated people who have spent months sending out dozens of resumes week upon week, without hearing so much as a peep from potential employers.

Relying on this one method of job search can be the absolute worst thing you do when trying to accelerate a career transition. Instead, you’re going to be much (much) more successful if you begin finding, reaching out, and endearing yourself to people of influence within your desired field or at your dream company.

I’m not suggesting “Don’t ever apply for jobs via online applications,” because I know that’s unrealistic. But I am absolutely saying that, in tandem with this effort, find a few people on the inside who may be very beneficial to know. LinkedIn is a simple way to find them. Start with internal recruiters, would-be peers, and—if you can figure it out—the hiring manager. And build into your game plan a strategy for getting on their radar.

Step 4: Polish Your Interviewing Skills

When the phone rings with an interview invite, will you be ready? Heck to the yes you’ll be ready. Because you’re going to spend time before Interview Eve polishing your skills. I recommend recruiting a willing partner who will practice with you via phone, Skype, and face-to-face. You just never know which format your interviews will be in, so you’ll be wise to conduct a “dry run” through each common type.

What should your faux interviewer ask you? If you’re eyeing a large-ish company, head over to to see if prior candidates have posted actual interview questions (borrow these). If no, check out these questions. Take a run through and then ask your “interviewer” for candid feedback or constructive criticism. Better yet, record the session and review it yourself. The more comfortable you are with various interview formats and questions, the more at ease you’re going to be when the rubber meets the road.

Step 5: Fine Tune Your Strategy

As you roll forward with your research, your conversations with people of influence, your interview—you’re going to learn things. And these things might suggest fine-tuning your strategy, your resume, your specific tactics.

Don’t be so great-balls-of-fire with plowing forward that you fail to refine, adjust, and amend your game plan along the way. Commitment and tenacity are so important, but rigidity puts you at risk for missing an important clue or opportunity to improve your game.

Step 6: Kill it on Your Follow Up

Even if the interview goes spectacularly well, you’re not done when you walk out of the meeting. You still need to seal the deal. An immediate, killer thank you note will help you do just that. And I’m not talking about a day or two afterward. I mean, park your rear at your computer on that same day and send personalized emails to each person with whom you’ve met. Call out something specific that you discussed, affirm your interest, and if needed, clarify anything that you think maybe wasn’t covered well in the interview. (The same goes for any networking meetings you go on.)

Speed and customization win with thank you notes. Your competition will wait a day or two. Trump them, every time.

Step 7: Prepare to Negotiate Like a Champ

Whether the offer comes in on week seven or week 15, your final order of business is to negotiate like a boss. Assuming you have written an offer in hand, you hold a fair number of cards at this stage of the game. You know they want you. You know they value your capabilities and envision that you’ll be a success. They’re eager to seal this deal.

This is when you’re in the very best position to negotiate. If certain aspects of the offer aren’t in line with your needs, goals, or bottom line, then approach (enthusiastically) with a proposal that outlines what you want, why you’re asking for the modified terms, and why this will provide a solid return on investment for your future employer. Remember, they don’t want to hear you whining about your car payment or rent at this point. They want to see where you’re coming from, and what they’ll get in exchange if they sweeten the pot on this offer.

Also, as you request what you want, make sure you affirm your excitement about coming on board. You want them to feel like they’re so close to landing the big fish, not like you’re going to be an endless pain in the rear.

Certainly, your transition plan may not unfold in this exact manner. But you’ll learn things and meet new people along the way. So, you’ll adjust your plans and to-do list accordingly.

But the key takeaway is this—you still have time to make a job change in 2018. Mobilize now, then bask in your successes come December.

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7 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

7 Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

7 Reasons You Didn't Get the Job

“I’m sorry—we’ve actually made an offer to another candidate.”

It’s a phrase any job hunter hates to hear, especially when the days drag on after your initial interview, and you begin to wonder, “Where did I go wrong?”

Of course, most of us already know the tried-and-true etiquette for landing your dream job: Don’t forget the cover letter. Make sure your social media accounts are up-to-date.

But what other little hobgoblins of job hunting can really trip you up?

We spoke to hiring managers to find out the real reasons good applicants can get the ax—and seven told us how potential hires they’ve interviewed have talked themselves out of a paycheck.

1. Lack of Follow Up

“Not providing good follow up is almost always a killer,” says Meghan Keane, vice president of editorial at Alloy Digital. “I’m always surprised when I have an interview with someone I really like, and they don’t follow up. No thank you note. No outreach. It usually means they aren’t interested in the job or aren’t as good as I thought.”

The reason this matter is that it’s a good indication of how you’ll perform on the job: “When you’re actually working with someone, you need them to be responsible,” she says. “If they can’t get back to you when they really want to be hired, would they be responsive on a daily basis?”

The Takeaway 

Be prolific in your thanks. After every interview, send a follow-up note, says Keane. Even if you immediately hear that you aren’t getting the job, send a thank you for the consideration. Even if the person interviewing you was rude and you wouldn’t take the job had it been offered, send a thank you because it’s the right thing to do. And if you don’t want the job, do it simply because you never know where your interviewer will land next.

2. Not Knowing Your Audience

You’d think there are certain things that would be givens, like not trotting out any big, red flags that could put the kibosh on your getting the job. “In our business, you have to be dedicated to the country and the military,” explains Scott Maddox, site manager at a national defense corporation. “Not to mention, you have to be able to pass a background check. I had one applicant who slyly mentioned that he does everything in his power to not pay his taxes. I couldn’t believe he would say something like that to a company that works with the government.” 

The Takeaway

Do your homework—and that means researching not only the particular company you’re interviewing with but keeping up on industry norms and trends. Then make sure that your behavior and the information you offer in the interview will help your cause, not hurt it. And, as a general rule of thumb, it’s almost always better to pay your taxes.

3. Being Overly Ambitious

“Of course we want employees who are ambitious and hope to move forward with our company,” says Jeremy Gates, research team leader at a pharmaceutical company. “But at the same time, I don’t want to hire an entry-level employee who isn’t going to be happy with the job she’s getting. I had one young lady who was extremely bright and very driven, but she didn’t ask a single question about what her position would be now. She was only interested in how quickly she could get promoted and our advancement opportunities. If you’re already looking at the job that you might be eligible for months from now, it tells me that you aren’t going to be satisfied with the position you’re getting.”

The Takeaway

There’s a fine line to walk between wanting to advance—and wanting it so badly you talk yourself out of a job you haven’t gotten yet. It is okay to ask a single question about this job’s advancement opportunities, or whether the company frequently promotes from within, but if you want to get hired, never announce that you don’t do grunt work, and do focus your attention on proving you’re the best candidate for the job in front of you.

4. Playing the Victim

“Every once in a while, I’ll get a candidate who just seems to have the worst luck at everything,” recalls M.C., a commercial banking manager. “They had to leave one job because of an ill parent, then they were laid off two months later, and then they had a personal health problem. They talk about their life as if it was a series of unfortunate events. And even if those events were out of the person’s control, all that negativity can be worrisome. Or maybe I just don’t want to bring their bad voodoo into the company. Really, I just feel like I’ll spend the next few years feeling sorry for them instead of managing them.”

The Takeaway

Yes, bad luck can happen to good people, but airing your dirty laundry in an interview never got anyone ahead. The bottom line is that you can’t expect a hiring manager to have time or energy to deal with your personal life, especially before you’ve even proven yourself. Remember: They’re looking for someone to make their job easier, and for someone who knows how to work through problems as they crop up. Save your sad tales for your most sympathetic friend and put your best face forward in a job search.

5. Neglecting Your Body Language

“Once you’ve done this for a while, you have an ability to read people by their behavior,” says Deb Niezer, COO of AALCO Distributing. “You look at body language, the way they speak, and the way they present themselves to show the whole picture. If they say, ‘I’m open to new ideas,’ but then sit with their arms and legs crossed, it’s questionable. If they say they have management skills but don’t carry themselves like leaders, it’s hard to trust that assertion. The details make the difference.”

The Takeaway

It’s not enough to talk the talk. Seasoned managers hear a lot of the same answers from prospective employees, so they have to look beyond the rhetoric to find people who really fit in with the company culture. That’s why professionals like Niezer pay attention to the subtler details, like how you carry yourself.

6. Dissing Your Colleagues

“For anyone looking to work in academia, it’s more about inspiring students or faculty than pleasing a boss,” explains the dean of a popular university. “Instead of talking about previous managers, I ask questions about how people manage those who work under them. One applicant said all the right things about working with other faculty members and the school administration, but when it came to talking about students, the applicant was dismissive, as if that was the last thing to worry about.”

The Takeaway

Anyone interested in management should realize that a reference from your assistant is just as important as a reference from your boss. Employers want to know that a boss can inspire the best from their workforce. Consider getting LinkedIn references from co-workers at your level and below, or listing someone at a similar level to you as a reference. And remember—you just might be working for them someday.

7. Lacking Confidence

“I remember a great candidate who went to an amazing school and had all the skills we would need, but she just reeked of desperation,” recalls Aaron Sapp, an attorney in the midwest. “Any and every job, she was ready to do. Whatever the pay, she was willing to take it. It seemed like she didn’t have any confidence in her work. It feels a little bad because you get the idea that she really needed the job, but at the same time, I don’t have the time to hold anyone’s hand or assure them that they were doing a good job. I look for people who know their worth and ask for it.”

The Takeaway

What some see as “accommodating,” your potential employer could see as a lack of confidence. While you obviously want to put your best foot forward, top-notch applicants shouldn’t feel bad about stating what they hope to get out of a job, pushing back against unreasonable demands, or refusing to accept less than a fair industry salary. After all, employers want to hire people who reflect a good image for the company, and knowing your worth is an important quality for any employee.

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4 “Compliments” Interviewers Give—and What They Really Mean

4 “Compliments” Interviewers Give—and What They Really Mean

4 "Compliments" Interviewers Give—and What They Really Mean

You had an interview this morning and you distinctly remember the hiring manager paying you a compliment. At least, you think it was something positive—right?

Well, there are a few comments that sound promising—until you translate them from hiring the manager to the normal person. Turns out that sometimes the interviewer is finding a nice way to tell you it’s not going to happen. So listen up and pay attention when you hear any of the following:

1. “You’re So Enthusiastic”

Translation: “You’re Freaking Me Out”

Enthusiasm is good: No one is going to hire someone who could care less about the work. However, a person who’s overly excited isn’t going to top any lists either. Do you think someone who’s starstruck by her company or her boss would feel comfortable being honest with the team and making tough (but necessary) decisions?

As Muse writer Richard Moy points out in “How to Keep Your Cool When You Interview With Your Dream Company,” you also need to do your due diligence and make sure the open position is right for you. If you answer each question by gushing over the company, the hiring manager will wonder if you’ve really thought it through.

So, feel free to share how long you’ve been following the company or why you personally admire its work. But don’t sell yourself short by acting like you’re a deranged fan who would just be lucky to work there. Make sure you spend ample time discussing the kick-ass applicant you are, and why you’d be a great addition to the team.

2. “You’re Not the Typical Candidate”

Translation: “I’m Not Sure You Can Do the Job”

“Yes,” you think, “I’m an individual!” And if you’re a non-traditional candidate—say you have less education than the position description calls for, or you’re changing fields—you should keep an ear out for these sorts of comments.

They translate to: “You don’t meet all of the qualifications.” So if the hiring manager says something like this, don’t give a two-word answer like “I know,” or even, “Thank you.” Take the opportunity to follow up with a strong line that emphasizes why that means you bring unique—and valuable—experience to the table. It sounds like this: “It’s true I’ve only worked in commercial real estate for two years. That’s because I spent my first three years out of school working in financial management. I use the lessons I learned counseling people on how they should invest their money every time I make a sale. ”

3. “You’re Very Persistent”

Translation: “I Need Some Space”

You know that following up is kind of a touchy subject for hiring managers. They appreciate someone who is timely and responsive, but they’ve also had to deal with one too many people who flood their inboxes asking for an update every 48 hours—for the duration of a six-week process.

While you want to be seen as diligent and on top of things, you don’t want to be seen as a pest. The fix is pretty straightforward: If you get this feedback, lay off a bit. Keep the faith that if you are the person he wants for the job, the hiring manager will reach out to you. If he has a follow-up question, he’ll reach out to you. (And if you’ve already been exchanging emails, you know that your correspondence goes through fine, so there’s no need to check in just in case of an overzealous spam filter.)

So, if the hiring manager says she’ll be in touch regarding the next round, give her at least a full week. And if you’ve already checked in once, you need to be patient—and use the time you saved to keep your eyes open for other opportunities.

4. “You’re Such a Great Ambassador for Your Company

Translation: “I Don’t Think You’re Ready to Move on”

It’s true: You fit in so well and are so loyal that it’s second nature for you to discuss an organization’s merits. How great is it that the interviewer recognizes that?

The answer is: It’s good and bad. In reality, a comment like this could mean the hiring manager thinks you’re too embedded to want to jump ship. For example, I once held a job I loved so much that, for years afterward, when people asked me about the organization, I’d say, “The program seeks to…and so we always…and we also…” (even though I didn’t work there anymore). By talking about what “we” looked for, I made it pretty clear that I still loved that job, probably more than the one I was interviewing for.

So, when you discuss your current responsibilities, talk about the work you do—and tie it to how it’s prepared you for the role you’re applying to. And when you talk about your current (or former) company, skip “we” and call it by its name, or say something generic like, “In a prior role,” or the “the program was designed to…”

Many hiring managers try to couch what they’re telling you in nice terms. These translations can help you cut through the niceties so you know what to work on to be a stronger candidate.

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4 Times Self-Doubt Can Actually Be Good for Your Career

4 Times Self-Doubt Can Actually Be Good for Your Career

4 Times Self-Doubt Can Actually Be Good for Your Career

Here’s a fact about self-doubt: Everyone has it.

Even some of the most famous people have suffered from self-doubt. Lady Gaga revealed in her documentary that she “sometimes feels like a loser kid in high school.” Arianna Huffington calls the negative self-talk in her head her obnoxious roommate. And like the supreme athlete she is, Serena Williams manages to pull through physically to overcome a negative mental state.

There’s plenty of great advice on ways to conquer it. But—bear with me here—it actually has some benefits if you learn how to think about it the right way.

So before you swat that “negative” feeling away and let it cripple your confidence, remind yourself of these four things:

1. Self-Doubt Motivates You to Keep Learning and Growing

Doubting yourself every once in a while makes you want to continue to better yourself—for example, questioning a skill you have and deciding to take a class on it or being unsure about a strategy and asking your co-worker for advice. Without it, your skills and knowledge would stagnate. There’s nothing like a little self-doubt to spur you to put in more effort, try harder, or pick up some extra training to stay fresh.

This ultimately makes you feel confident, sets you up to move forward in your career, and, better yet, opens doors that can lead to the discovery of a new field you might enjoy.

2. Self-Doubt Keeps You Humble

You’re human, which means that you’re aware that you’re going to make mistakes and not know certain things. And that self-awareness and honesty make you someone people can trust, count on, and feel comfortable working with. After all, no one wants to hire a narcissist—imagine the poor team skills!

Self-doubt also encourages you to see all sides of a situation—you’re willing to consider options outside your expertise and thus able to make smarter decisions. Think about it: When’s the last time you ran an idea by your boss or colleague just to be sure it was a good one? Did that conversation help you to refine and perfect your idea? Chances are it did—or at least forced you to ask yourself more questions and try different paths.

3. Self-Doubt Can Highlight Red Flags That Spur Action to Something Better

If you find yourself feeling really insecure about something, it’s possible that you’re working on something you’re not qualified to do or you’re in the wrong role or at the wrong company.

Knowing this encourages you to take actions to actually fix it. You might decide to move on to work that brings you more satisfaction. Or, you might decide to talk to your boss about your concerns. Either way, you wouldn’t improve your situation without a little self-doubt.

4. Self-Doubt Can Create More Honest and Transparent Conversations

If you’re doubting yourself, this can spur a much-needed conversation with your boss about your career trajectory, your workload, or your current assignment. Perhaps she’s given you a stretch assignment that’s caused you to feel anxious or said something in a meeting that put you off. An open and honest discussion might prompt her faith in your ability to overcome your fear and be the insight and boost you need to move forward.

Count the number of times you pursued something, anything—a course, a new hobby, a new job. Did you go into it with 100% certainty that you could do it?

Of course, you didn’t. But that bit of self-doubt made the experience that much more enlightening and challenging.

It’s OK to have self-doubt sometimes, and accepting that will put you in a healthier position to assess your career goals and refresh how they align with your strengths. Remember that everyone and everything is a work in progress, so the next time you feel a bit of self-doubt creep in, don’t let it overwhelm you—use it to your advantage.

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How To Turn A Boring Sunday Into Fun day

How To Turn A Boring Sunday Into Fun day

How To Turn A Boring Sunday Into Fun day


Are you spending your holiday sitting around bored with nothing to do? Don’t waste your precious day off – there are many, many things you can do to occupy yourself, even if the holiday is a week-long or not. You can find many ways to fill your day, both inside and out, using your intellect or your creative energies, or simply hanging out with other people.

1.Enjoying the Great Outdoors

Step out into the fresh air. Simple outdoor pleasures are highly underrated. Not only is a quick trip out of the house invigorating and mood-lifting, but also a great opportunity for exercise. If you have been thinking of reducing those bulges, then go out and jog, walk or do any outdoor physical activity you enjoy.

  • If the weather is bad or you do not want to go out, then go to the gym or do sit-ups inside the house as a form of exercise.
Go on an adventure with a friend. Grab a companion and try to find cool new places to explore. Visit a town you have never been to, or go for a walk in the woods. Remember to practice good safety habits when exploring a new area and take a charged mobile phone with you.

2.Being creative

Create art. Use your free time to dive into the creative pursuit of your choice. If you are interested in music, then try making some new music. If you love writing, then try making an article on WikiHow! The possibilities are endless.

  • Try such artistic endeavors as clay modeling, or a collage, or even start decorating your room. Choose things that let you express your mind.

3.Learning activities

Expand your linguistic ability. Language skills are some of the most useful, universal ones on the planet. Use your time to learn any new language or learn a form of programming like visual basic or HTML. If you’re especially bored, try making your own codes or ciphers.

4. Do nothing now and then

Relax. If none of these ideas appeal, perhaps it’s a rest day. Just do whatever you want or do nothing at all. Have a day in and relax, or go kite-flying. It’s up to you!

  • Try cloud-watching or star-gazing. It’s a good excuse to lie on the ground and just watch the sky fly by.

5. Go Shopping

Empty your pockets. If still nothing interest you there is always a space to go shopping and having Black Friday Sale is a bonus point for you. So fill your hands with shopping bags and live it out there, take your friend with you and enjoy this weekend.


5 Better Ways to Describe Your Entry-Level Position on Your Resume

5 Better Ways to Describe Your Entry-Level Position on Your Resume

5 Better Ways to Describe Your Entry-Level Position on Your Resume

Describing an entry-level position on your resume is tricky. After all, there’s a good chance your main responsibilities aren’t super important to your company’s overall success. And they, therefore, don’t sound all that impressive to a stranger. While you might be tempted to make them sound bigger and better than they really are—don’t. That lie will catch up with you at some (embarrassing) point in the interview process.

But don’t worry, all hope is not lost! We’ve got five techniques for accurately, yet strategically representing your entry-level job.

1. Describe How You Furthered Company Goals

At the end of the day, you were hired for one reason: To make the company more money. That means no matter what you work on, you can highlight how it helps your organization achieve its goals.

Let’s say you’re a Client Support Specialist. Every day, you answer questions, solve problems, and follow up on complaints from customers.

So, how does that help your organization make money? Well, not only does what you do make customers happier (which drives brand loyalty), it also lessens the chance a frustrated customer will stop buying or using your product.

Once you’ve got your answer, it’s easy to turn it into a resume bullet:

Improved customer retention by providing warm, helpful, relevant customer support via phone, email, and chat.

2. Describe a Specific Incident

Everyone has a success story. Maybe it’s the time when a customer was so satisfied he sent you a handwritten letter, or the time your boss was so pleased with your work she told her boss, or when a couple co-workers officially named you “Most Helpful Person in the Office.”

These smaller success stories deserve to be on your resume, especially if you’re not far enough along in your career to have promotions or huge awards to mention.

Think about your “small but cool” successes (a.k.a, what you brag to your parents about after a good day at work). Then, turn it into a bullet.

For example, if you work in HR:

Played the key role in recruiting two interns to work full-time at the company after graduation.

3. Describe Who You Worked With

No job exists in isolation—and typically, entry-level employees work with a bunch of other people on their level. This is awesome for resume purposes because you can use it to display your capacity for teamwork.

Start by thinking about who you depend on to do your job, and who depends on you to do their job. After you’ve created a list, create a bullet that describes these relationships. (And note that you should use job titles rather than specific names.)

If you’re a UX designer, that would be something along the lines of:

Work closely with UI, visual, and motion designers, UX researcher, front-end developers, and product manager to create visually appealing, easy-to-use, entertaining mobile app.

4. Describe What Your Superiors Said

Most people don’t know you can use the praise and positive feedback they’ve gotten from their superiors on your resume. But you definitely can—it’s a great way to reinforce one or two of the traits that make you a great employee.

Hopefully, you’ve been tracking and recording all the nice things your managers have been saying to you in your performance reviews. If not, no worries! Grab a sheet of paper and write down all the compliments you remember receiving. For more material, you should also take a look at emails and performance review records.

Let’s say you’re a sales rep, and your boss is always raving about how you can forge a genuine connection with any client—even if the two of you seemingly have nothing in common.

In resume bullet form, this would look like:

Recognized by the supervisor for the ability to create rapport with every client, which led to higher sales and greater client satisfaction.

(The keyword? “Recognized.” You want to stay away from “honored” or “awarded,” since those imply you got an official award!)

5. Describe Your Job in Numbers

If you’ve been reading The Muse for any period of time, you probably know we’re big fans of quantifying your resume bullets. However, when you work in an entry-level position, this isn’t so easy to pull off. After all, you probably didn’t “save the company $4K a month by reconfiguring expense tracking process” or “decrease client churn rate by 20%.”

That’s okay! You don’t need accomplishments to quantify your bullets—you can also use duties.

For example, if you’re an assistant editor, think about how many pieces you edit each week.

Edit approximately 15 articles per week for style, content, clarity, grammar, and formatting.

Or if you work as an office manager:

Promote tight-knit team culture by creating, planning, and executing 3 company-wide events per year.

If you’re still having trouble, write down your most time-consuming or important responsibilities. Then for each one, ask yourself, How much?

As you can see, there’s no reason why your entry-level job can’t sound awesome.

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4 Challenges You’ll Face as the Least-Experienced Member of the Team

4 Challenges You’ll Face as the Least-Experienced Member of the Team

4 Challenges You’ll Face as the Least-Experienced Member of the Team

You just started a new job and you’re so excited. There’s just one catch: You’re clearly the least experienced person on the team.

Maybe you’re the youngest, or maybe you’ve changed careers, or maybe you just made an internal transfer.

Whatever the scenario, everyone around you knows their work like the back of their hand, leaving you feeling like you’re lagging behind. While that’s not the most comforting or enjoyable feeling, the fact is you’ll face challenges specific to having less experience. But since you know that, you can be prepared for—and address—the four most common issues.

1. Challenge: You Have Imposter Syndrome

When you learn co-workers have a lot more experience than you, your first thought might be, “OMG they made a huge mistake hiring me.”

But, unless you lied on your resume (in which case, yes, it was a huge mistake), your new employer knows you’re new to this kind of work. And they decided to hire you anyways.

That means they see great potential in you and believe you can do this. (It’s true: They’re not going to put their neck on the line for someone they think will fail.)


The first step is for you to believe in yourself, too. You’re here because you threw your hat in the ring—and probably put in a lot of legwork applying. So, reconnect with the ambitious self that thought you should go out and apply for this role. What did you argue made you qualified? Lean on those traits!

Second, if you notice anything you feel especially nervous about, see if you can’t bolster those skills. Take a class or reach out to a new colleague or a networking contact and ask how to develop the skill you feel you’re lacking.

2. Challenge: You Think You Know it All

Some people fall on the other side of the spectrum, and this challenge threatens to derail you even more because it’s harder to self-diagnose. Maybe you know you’re the least experienced, but you think “I got this!” and therefore have zero interest in listening to others, learning from their prior experiences, or asking for help.

As you can imagine, this can hurt you in many ways.

First, you don’t have the benefit of institutional knowledge. Maybe your idea is brilliant—and that’s why someone pitched it six months ago, only to see it fall flat for an unforeseen reason. But you won’t be able to learn from that if you steamroll their feedback.

Second, it’s not going to gain you many friends. Often, there’s a degree of paying your dues when you’re new. While it’s not always the most stimulating work, it can go a long way to garnering respect among your colleagues and making you look like a team player.


By all means, be confident and share your ideas—but don’t confuse that with acting like you’re the smartest person in the room.

One of the best things you can do is work on your listening skills. During a brainstorming session, don’t aim to be the first one to speak. Instead, listen to what your colleagues have to say and see if you can support, build on, or ask to learn more about their ideas.

Additionally, ask for help and feedback, instead of going it alone and guessing. Admitting you don’t have all the answers not only makes you more approachable, but it makes people more likely to trust you when you say you know what you’re talking about.

3. Challenge: You Catch All the Low-Level Tasks

Some grunt work is par for the course. It may even be useful—giving you a foundation so you’ll understand higher-level tasks that you’re going to be assigned in the near future.

However, you don’t want to be taken advantage of, and some people can tend to “dump” meaningless tasks on less-experienced colleagues. While you want to be seen as someone with a good attitude, you don’t want these tasks to distract from your actual job.


The best way to handle this challenge is to use open communication. Talk to your boss about the reality of balancing these annoying to-do with your other work. Ask her to help you prioritize your task list, and if she can share how these tasks add value to the team or your future work.

If you have colleagues who keep asking you to pitch in, see if you can use these assignments as an entry point to more engaging work. Say, “I’m happy to help with [x], and I’m also able to [y] and would love to make a larger contribution to the project…”

4. Challenge: You Need More Time

Phrases like “get up to speed” and “catch up” are time-related for a reason. As you know, you’ll be more efficient at a task the 10th time you do it—and even more so the 100th time.

But your co-workers may forget that the database isn’t intuitive, or that, before all of the shortcuts are committed to memory, you’ll have to keep clicking in and out and cross-referencing. If you aren’t allowed enough time, you’re in a perpetual state of scrambling.


This challenge has an easy fix, because there’s no shame in wanting to get things right—or being new. So, often all you need is to give a simple reminder: Say, “I’m new to [whatever’s taking you a while]. Do you have any suggestions for how I could do [process] faster?”

Then, ask if, in the meantime, you could have extra time for that task—stressing that you want to do it correctly. This’ll also give them a chance to tell you if time’s a factor and they’d rather have it done than perfect.

You’ve leaped to the next level and now are feeling a little out of your league. Take heart that’s how it feels at the beginning. But soon enough, time will pass, someone new will be hired, and they’ll be coming to you with questions.

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The 6 Sales Interview Questions You Will Get Asked (and How to Answer Them)

The 6 Sales Interview Questions You Will Get Asked (and How to Answer Them)

The 6 Sales Interview Questions You Will Get Asked (and How to Answer Them)

For many salespeople, selling a product or service is second nature. But, closing the deal on a job interview can sometimes feel like a tough sell.

Fortunately, some of the same skills it takes to be a successful salesperson can help you become the perfect job candidate. Among those skills is preparedness—like knowing what interview questions might be coming your way.

So, to help you close that interview deal, we’ve rounded up some of the most common sales interview questions. Read on, and prepare to ace them!

1. Tell Me About a Time You Lost a Sale

Every salesperson has lost sales. That’s unavoidable. But, what matters is that you can easily admit this—and that you recount a loss with optimism, rather than pointing a finger at others. Interviewers want to know why you think the loss happened, and what you learned from it. Salespeople who can turn lost sales into learning opportunities are ideal job candidates. Those who talk about who or what was to blame… not so much.

Bonus Tip

It demonstrates self-awareness to point out a personal flaw and how you’ve overcome it. A good answer might be, “I didn’t fully understand the customer’s pain points. Now, I always ask these additional discovery questions, and I’m better able to meet customers’ needs.”

2. Walk Me Through a Sale You Closed

This is not the time to talk about an easy sale. Interviewers want to see how methodically a candidate approaches the complex sales process, and how they overcome challenges.

Choose a sale that was a bit of a struggle and required clever problem-solving. And it shouldn’t be all about you, you, you. “I would also expect them to demonstrate how much of a team player they are,” says Laurie Spieler, VP of Sales for marketing data provider Lusha. “It is concerning if they only speak about how they were responsible for the win.”

Bonus Tip

“I offered a discount” is not how your sales story should end. Interviewers want to know how a candidate elevated the value of a product, not how the customer convinced them to undervalue it.

3. Tell Me About Your Targets

Sales is a numbers game. Sales candidates should be able to rattle off their quotas, goals, and what their final numbers were. “Our advice to candidates is to know your numbers and where you stood within the team,” says Sabrina N. Balmick, Marketing Manager for sales recruitment specialty firm ACA Talent. “Everyone is looking for salespeople these days, and everyone wants the cream of the crop—as a salesperson, your numbers can potentially help you shine.”

Bonus Tip

Interviewers are looking for competitive salespeople, and team sports are how many salespeople first learned to balance competitiveness and teamwork. Mentioning a background in sports never hurts, especially if it helps you connect with your interviewer.

4. How Should a Commission Plan Be Structured?

Some companies offer high commission, low pay. Others do the opposite. There’s also profit sharing, territory volume pay, and many other options. The right answer to this question isn’t about telling a prospective employer what to do; it’s about demonstrating that you get the company’s goals and priorities—and how they align with yours.

“This is an opportunity for candidates to show an understanding of a ‘win-win’ scenario, and an appreciation that any commission structure should not only reflect their performance but also be tied to broader company objectives,” says Laurie.

Bonus Tip

Most employers are looking for partners who can help grow the company, not sales mercenaries who hit targets at any expense. It’s frustrating for interviewers when candidates talk about commissions with only themselves in mind. Avoid that, and you’ll be ahead of the game.

5. How Do You Organize Your Day?

The correct answer is going to sound a little boring. Be boring. Sales jobs have plenty of excitement, but there’s a daily grind to the work, too. It takes organizational skills and endurance to get to the thrilling moments. Interviewers want to know a candidate is willing to put in the hard, unglamorous work. “I always ask about the average daily number of cold calls, how many results in appointments, and how many become customers,” says Bruce A. Hurwitz, executive recruiter and career counselor for Hurwitz Strategic Staffing.

Bonus Tip

It’s okay to admit that these are monotonous tasks. What matters is that you do them anyway, and that closing sale makes them worthwhile.

6. Tell Me About Myself and My Company

Okay, this is not a direct question an interviewer is likely to ask. It is, however, something they want candidates to do to demonstrate their research chops. Learn everything possible about the company and product, and weave your knowledge into the interview.

Bonus Tip

Read up on the interviewer, too. Noting that you share an alma mater or know someone from their hometown isn’t an exercise in flattery; it shows you know how to prepare for a sales call.

In the end, an interview is just a sales meeting—the candidate is the product, and the interviewer is the customer. Treat it as such, and prepare for these questions and you’ll close the deal.

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