Posts Tagged ‘manager positions’

How to Future-Proof Your Career

There is a huge opportunity for those willing to redevelop themselves.

By Julie Norwell

In her 2018 memoir, Becoming, former U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama opens with a reflection on how, when she was a little girl, adults would ask her what she wanted to be when she grew up: “Now I think it’s one of the most useless questions an adult can ask a child – as if growing up is finite. As if, at some point, you become something and that’s the end.”

It’s an observation that people in the modern work world might also appreciate because career changes have become a part of life. Long gone are the days when a worker might retire with a gold watch from the same company at which he launched his career. Nowadays, American workers stay with an employer 4.1 years on average. Chances are good that whatever you set out to do at the beginning of your career is far from what you now do for a living. And whatever you do today may not be what you will be doing tomorrow.

We can all thank (blame?) technology for that. For better or for worse, rapid technological innovations are changing the landscape for workers of all calibers, and the pace is only accelerating, especially since Covid.

A few years ago, management consulting literature was heralding the “future of work” as nothing short of a transformation of business as we know it. Until recently, analysts predicted this phenomenon would play out in five to ten years – a timeframe that seemed scary and head-spinning. Then Covid came and compressed the transformation into several months.

Almost overnight, people went digital, moving their lives and livelihoods online, and businesses, in a mad scramble to maintain business continuity, moved mountains to support the shift. People who had never heard of Zoom calls, met with a doctor virtually, or ordered household goods online, got a crash course.

The Covid experience has demonstrated that automation, artificial intelligence and digitization are quickly expanding into every aspect of our lives – and they’re here to stay. This is unnerving because the skills workers currently have fall short of those needed for future jobs. And the gap is increasing. At the same time, technology will create job opportunities that don’t yet exist.

It’s clear that the situation is complicated, and uncertainties abound. Navigating them will be challenging, and individuals must shoulder the responsibility of preparing for the jobs of the future if they want to remain relevant.

The good news is that many smart people are already thinking about how best to do that. Here are some of the ways they recommend to future-proof your career.

One of the most important things you can do to prepare yourself for your professional future is to start learning new skills today – and don’t stop. Ever.

If you aren’t familiar with the terms “upskill” and “reskill” yet, you soon will be. Earlier this year, the World Economic Forum raised the alarm about the widening skills gap in the world, launching a major initiative to future-proof 1 billion jobs that are estimated to be transformed by technology by 2030 – almost one-third of all jobs worldwide.

“Upskilling” means learning new skills in an existing job in order to do it better or, perhaps, in a different way. Why is this important? Because skills used on the job are estimated to have a half-life of five years or less. That means that half of what you learned five years ago is irrelevant, and much of what you learned ten years ago is obsolete.

“Reskilling” means training or learning to do a job in a completely different occupation. This will prove crucial for people whose jobs are at risk of being automated.

What skills should you learn? That depends on what you do for work, the demands of those fields and the specific competencies that you, personally, might need to grow. They might range from hard skills, such as data analytics or coding, to soft skills like leadership or emotional intelligence.

How should you learn? Again, it depends on what you do and where you work, but skills-building could incorporate a combination of formal education, online classes, coaching, and any number of other learning forums that can be layered into the daily work environment. Many of these are – you guessed it – digital technologies, like digital nudges delivered through mobile apps, augmented reality-based trainings, game-based learning, and micro-learning.

It Takes a Village

Rest assured that individuals aren’t alone in facing the evolving nature of work. Businesses are facing them, too, and business leaders are worried. It’s become abundantly clear that it’s in their interests to help workers bridge the gap between the skills they have and those they need for the jobs of the future.

According to PwC’s 2020 annual survey of 1,500 CEOs of major companies, 74% of CEOs are concerned about the availability of the talent they need to ensure their company’s growth – up from 53% in 2012. (Notably, the survey was conducted before the Covid crisis gripped the world.) They recognize the need to offer training opportunities to employees to both fill skills gaps and reduce turnover. Targeting companies with skills-building programs will give job seekers an advantage in the employment market.

AT&T, for example, spends roughly $200 million annually on employee training, and Walmart created Walmart Academy in 2016 to train its associates for promotion. Amazon offers multiple programs to train its employees in critical tech skills.

Unfortunately, most companies are more talk than action. Only 18% of global organizations have made “significant progress” in developing upskilling programs – in the United States that figure is only 8%.

Companies should do more, and they likely will, but until they do the onus will continue to be on individuals to do what they can to remain competitive.

Intentional Learning

For some people, learning new skills is easier said than done. They can’t just take a course on a new topic and immediately master the material. It often takes time, context, and countless iterations before they can truly learn a new skill. It also takes a unique frame of mind.

The latest thinking on upskilling and reskilling is that the first lesson that some people need to learn is how to learn. “Learning itself is a skill,” according to a report by McKinsey, “and developing it is a critical driver of long-term career success.”

People who are effective learners can be called intentional learners. This means they approach every experience as a learning opportunity and, thus, squeeze more value out of it than the average person.

According to McKinsey, intentional learning can be developed by adopting two critical mindsets and five core skills. The first is a growth mindset – that is, a belief that your competencies are unlimited – that you are capable of evolving and changing as a person. This is in contrast to a fixed mindset – a belief that you are who you are, that you cannot change, and your talents are finite. Cultivating a growth mindset requires you to recognize that “failures and mistakes are not indicative of the limits of your intellect but rather tools that inform how you develop.”

How to Future-Proof Your Career

The second critical mindset is one of active curiosity, which McKinsey labels the “engine of intentional learning.” Curiosity is an openness to new ideas and a channel for inspiration, and it motivates people to learn more and more. Many people are naturally curious, but those who aren’t can cultivate it, which is great because curiosity is useful at any stage in your career.

Once these two critical mindsets are in place, McKinsey identifies five best practices to support and develop them. They include setting goals, protecting time for learning, actively seeking feedback, conducting deliberate practice, and reflecting to evaluate yourself and determine your progress.

Practicing intentional learning is a personal investment, to be sure, but the pay-off is improvement in your skills and performance, using a method that keeps you inspired and engaged, which will help you prepare for the changing demands of the jobs of the future.

There is a huge opportunity awaiting those who are willing to redevelop themselves. It’s just a question of seizing it.

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8 Key Career Lessons to Be an Executive

Everyone knows the proverb, “Give a man a fish and you’ll feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you’ll feed him for a lifetime.” This maxim offers a great lesson to people who are trying to navigate the demands of the modern executive job market because it’s no longer prudent to leave the task only to recruiters.

By Julie Norwell

There is an endless supply of people who don’t know how to find an executive job. If you’re smart and capable, you can easily manage the succession plan of your career up to a point. But at a certain level you won’t go any higher if you haven’t learned 8 key lessons on what it takes to get tapped as an executive.

1. Understand that executive positions are filled predominantly by word of mouth – as many as 75% of them. Really!

When hiring managers need to fill an executive role, the first thing they do is blast out a note to everyone they know to ask if they know someone who might be a good candidate for the job. Professional contacts and networking are THE most used tools to source executive candidates.

Most people wrongly think that third-party recruiters account for the bulk of all placements. They used to have a much bigger share than they do today, but when LinkedIn came onto the scene in 2003, it democratized the recruiting process. Today, third-party recruiters are responsible for filling only 10% of executive job openings.

A tool used even less frequently than recruiters is job postings. If they’re used at all, job postings will simply fulfill a regulatory obligation after a candidate has been determined. Why? Because hiring managers want to hire someone they know and respect or someone who is recommended by someone they know and respect.

2. Always be looking for a job before you need one

Good career change skills aren’t limited to when you are actively looking for a job. It begins way before you are thinking about a transition and it extends well past it, too. In fact, a good career transition in the short-term hinges on good career management in the long-term.

You should never miss an opportunity to increase or enrich your network. The essence of this lesson is: Who do you know? and Will those people advocate on your behalf? If it seems like a chore or too time consuming, remember that networking is a core function of any executive job. It’s very important to build time to network into your work week. If you lack the time management skills to do this, put it on your calendar until it becomes a habit.

In addition to building relationships, networking helps you stay abreast of industry trends and know what the competition is doing. It is a way to keep your ear to the ground and keep yourself in people’s minds. You never know where your next opportunity will come from and networking keeps your options open. Executives who learn this early are most successful.

3. Pay it forward

Many job seekers get the importance of networking, but might miss the equally critical step of building up social capital first. The only time they think to reach out to people is when they need something. That is a huge political mistake. It’s a lot harder to take from the pot if you haven’t contributed to it.

People are far more inclined to help you if you’ve already put something into the relationship. People who pay it forward have learned this crucial lesson. Paying it forward has a way of paying us back.

If your career seems to have plateaued, it may be that you’re not doing enough to nurture relationships with people. You should be responsive to requests for favors from others – even better, you should proactively help people who aren’t asking for it. The more you do, the more likely it is that people will think of you when they learn about opportunities.

4. Learn how to verbalize your value proposition

Lots of people can be extroverts in their work and in everything they do that relates to their competencies, but when it comes to talking about themselves and marketing the value they bring to the table, they hide in the corner. They aren’t comfortable verbalizing their value proposition.

The best way to understand what value you offer is to talk to people – that is, to network. Solicit feedback from people about the work that you’ve done so you can understand how your efforts contributed to the success of your projects. Log your achievements regularly in a book so that you can refer to them when you need to.

5. Ask not what a company can do with your experience, tell them what you can do for the company

A lot of people lean on the traditional measuring stick of academic credentials, experience, and time served in a job to demonstrate their value during a job search. But thinking about recruiting in terms of function and credentials is old-fashioned. Much more important to hiring managers is: What specifically can you do for me?

Hiring managers want to hire an executive who can change the company for the better.

They look for someone who can minimize risk, drive revenue, improve efficiencies, innovate new practices, and so on. In the age of Covid, this is especially true. Some industries are in big trouble and need leaders who can lead in times of crisis. They may need to reinvent how they do business. In their mind, it’s far better to hire someone with a stellar reputation for demonstrable achievements than someone with an impressive pedigree or with the right number of years of experience.

To boost your appeal as a candidate, it is incumbent upon you to tout your abilities to meet a company’s known needs. Don’t know what they are? Ask! Ask hiring managers what keeps them awake at night or what opportunities they wish they had time to pursue. Explain clearly the value you will bring to the company if they hire you.

6. Recognize the opportunity to create an opportunity for yourself

In today’s world, it is common for savvy people to convince hiring managers to create a position for them that didn’t otherwise exist. If you’ve saved business partners millions over years and you are actively interacting in the job market, people will learn of your amazing qualifications and realize that they can’t afford NOT to hire you.

How does this work? It starts with a conversation with a hiring manager about the challenges her company faces and the opportunities in the business that need to be addressed within the year. If you articulate your value proposition well enough, they will find a place for you in the business.

7. Always be upping your game

Your value proposition rests on the results that you’ve produced. Therefore, it is important to do a really good job in your current position so that people are enthusiastic about supporting you. But that’s not enough.

Upping your game has become a must just to stay competitive. According to a Pew Research Center survey 87% of workers believe it will be essential for them to get training and develop new job skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace, and 54% see continuous training as essential to career success.

A great, non-traditional way of honing your executive chops is by doing board service for a nonprofit organization. Doing so gives you valuable experience, demonstrates your social responsibility, and builds your network – often with some pretty impressive people.

8. Hire a professional

Job search tactics change over time, and during the Covid crisis they have accelerated. How can you stay on top of market changes? When in doubt, consider hiring a pro. There are many benefits to professional assistance:

  • Because pros are constantly working with job seekers, they have the most up-to-date information on current hiring practices and hot button issues
  • Pros are best positioned to help you identify any blind spots or unknown needs that are holding you back
  • Pros can help you consider career options you encounter from an objective perspective
  • Pros can offer new tactics to try when you just can’t seem to reach the golden ring
  • Pros keep you motivated, on task, and are your best cheerleader

Growing professionally is an ongoing process, and your route will likely change over your career. To maximize your potential as an executive and optimize your options, use these lessons to manage your career, and you will see the payoff.

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12 Ways to Maximize LinkedIn During a Career Change

Most people considering a career change know that LinkedIn is THE place to start a job search. But few fully understand the richness of the tool. Sure, they are “on” LinkedIn, they re-create their resume on their profile page, they create a job search, they add suggested contacts to their network, and they “like” posts in their feed. But there is so much more you can do.

By Julie Norwell

LinkedIn is one stop shopping for leveraging your network for so many aspects of your career. That is true whether you’re actively job hunting or simply want to maximize your potential for opportunities not yet on the horizon. But it’s especially powerful during a career change. If you are preparing for one, there are a several ways to harness the power of LinkedIn to make the most of your career change.

1. Reverse engineer your job search

Pros know that the least useful way to get a job is to apply to a job posting. The most successful job searches begin with reverse engineering the process. What does that mean?

Reverse engineering means to take something apart to study how the individual components work together to enable you to duplicate it. In the context of a job search, this means identifying the job that you want, figuring out the prerequisites of that job, remaking yourself as the perfect candidate – and ensuring your resume reflects it – and positioning yourself in such a way that hiring managers recruiting for that job will easily find you.

Easier said than done, you say? It’s not as hard as you think – and it’ll be worth every minute you spend.

Consider how a typical job search plays out. You go to a job search platform, plug the desired company, job title, and location into a search engine, see what pops up, and apply to the most attractive opportunities. There are significant problems with that approach, however.

First, resumes submitted to online job postings invariably get screened by Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) before they are ever seen by human eyes. ATS offers hiring managers numerous filters to quickly scan thousands of resumes for keywords that match the job description. If your resume doesn’t reflect the keywords sought by the hiring manager, you may as well throw your resume into the trash.

Second, a ridiculously high number of job openings are never even posted online. Rather, they are available only in what is called the “unpublished market.” Anne Lipsitz, senior career consultant at The Barrett Group, estimates that the unpublished market represents over 50% of the job market. In other words, half of all available positions are never publicly advertised. (Click on image below to listen to Anne’s podcast.)

You can solve for the first problem by studying the keywords of appealing job postings. Make sure your resume mentions all the required experience and skills. Note whatever gaps there might be and upskill if it makes sense to do. (You may even find a course on LinkedIn Learning that meets your needs.)

The trick to solving the second problem is to access connections in your network and, in turn, their connections. The more you plumb the reaches of your connections, the better your chances of locating hidden opportunities in the unpublished market. Doing so calls for strategically managing your network.

Manage Your Network

2. Actively build your network

The first rule of thumb in a successful job search is: the bigger the network, the more the opportunities. According to a survey published on LinkedIn, networking is the biggest factor in finding a job for all types of people – whether they are actively job hunting, employed, or any combination of the two. By some estimates, 85% of all jobs are landed through networking.

So, if you are looking for a job and your LinkedIn profile doesn’t show 500+ connections, get busy! Get in the habit of sending a connection request to everyone you meet.

3. Leverage your social capital

Most people understand the concept of using first-degree connections in LinkedIn. But the real magic happens when you open up your second-degree connections and reverse engineer companies and roles.

“It can be a real game changer,” said Lipsitz. “We are finding that a LinkedIn member with just 150 people in their first-degree circle can access up to 250,000 social capital contacts through their second-degree contacts. It’s fascinating to see the explosion of opportunity when we move from one circle to another.”

LinkedIn allows you to creatively and strategically navigate your networks – whether it’s alumni networks or former colleagues that now work at company where you want to work. Ideally, you will connect with people at an organization that are close to the gatekeepers of your target position to create the groundswell of support that you need BEFORE you apply.

4. Join LinkedIn Groups

A great way to connect and participate in discussions with new people in your target industry, job function, company, and so on, is by joining groups. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups. This is a fantastic way to build ties, especially if you’re trying to trailblaze a career in a new industry. Once you’re in a group, make your presence known by actively engaging in discussion threads. Inviting key players from these groups into your network can have a powerful impact on your career opportunities according to Anne Lipsitz.

“I have some clients who have seen triple digit increases in the number of people that have viewed their profile after having joined groups,” said Lipsitz. “There is a lot of benefit to contributing content, liking, sharing, commenting, and using hashtags to engage a new audience. Plus, you gain specific subject matter expertise. It’s a brilliant strategy.”

5. Keep in touch after leaving a job

One of the great things about LinkedIn is that it is an aggregator of all your business contacts. Once upon a time, a job change also meant a change of email and phone number – and a risk of losing contact with former colleagues. LinkedIn resolved that problem. Still, don’t neglect your old relationships. Maintaining them is as important as currying new ones. Be proactive about dropping a line to say “hello” to people, especially those “high asset” contacts. You never know when you’ll need to leverage that social capital.

Create Your Personal Brand

Let’s face it, the employment market is like any market. If you want something to sell well, you need to manage the public perception of it. That includes yourself. To ensure you aren’t missing out on opportunities, you need to create a clear personal brand and stand out from the crowd. There are several ways to do it. Let’s start with the low-hanging fruit…

6. Use the “About” section to tell your story

The “About” section is underutilized by many LinkedIn users. But this is the ideal spot to showcase your personal brand. Pack the text with keywords of the positions and industries in which you’d like to work, the better to funnel recruiters to your profile page.

7. Manage your personal profile

Be sure to always keep your resume and professional responsibilities updated. List your relevant skills, and keep them current. And remember, “relevant skills” doesn’t mean ALL of your skills. List skills that are relevant to the industries and job functions that you’re focusing on, and omit the rest.

Take the time to edit your personal profile to highlight the attributes about yourself that you want people to notice. Many of these edits can be made in a matter of minutes.

(Hint: Click on “Me” in the top bar, then on “View Profile.”)

8. Customize your headline

Your LinkedIn headline is automatically the same as your most recent job title. But it doesn’t have to be. If you’re striking a new career path or just want to jazz up a boring title, you can rewrite it. Don’t feel restricted to using a conventional title, either. Make it specific to what you do, but feel free to make it interesting enough that people will want to learn more about you.

9. Make a statement with your photos

A picture is worth a thousand words. Make them count in your favor. Choose a photo that shows you in good light, not too far away, and with a smile in your eyes. It never hurts to splurge on a professional photo. And while you’re considering your headshot, don’t forget to leverage the background photo to help drive home a message about your personal brand.

10. Customize your LinkedIn URL

LinkedIn automatically generates a URL for you when you create an account – and it looks it! But you can change the extension to anything you want. It makes you easier to find, it shows your attention to detail, and, well, it just looks more professional on your resume and business card. Why have “” when it takes only 30 seconds to have

11. Be a thought leader

Post content that shows readers that you are a thought leader in your field. This is especially important if you’re in a professional services industry. This includes posting original content, sharing media that might interest others in your field, and commenting on the posts of other members. You can even write and publish long-form articles, create videos and advertise events right from LinkedIn.

12. Show off your creds

Having someone else vouch for your skills is a great way to build up your credibility. Ask people in your network to write you a recommendation or endorse you for something. If making an outright request for an endorsement makes you feel uneasy, consider proactively endorsing someone whose endorsement you’d value. Doing so often spurs people to reciprocate. If you find that the endorsements you are receiving are skewing your image too much in one direction, you can manage which endorsements to show and which to hide.

While the advantages of maximizing your LinkedIn account are greatest during a career change, it makes sense to stay actively engaged during all stages of a professional career. Even after you’ve landed an amazing job, never underestimate the present – and future – value of maintaining connections, building social capital, and just paying it forward on your career.

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4 Crucial Tips for Remote Interviewing

When the pandemic hit in March, most people got a crash course in using online conferencing technology whether they wanted it or not.

By Julie Norwell

With no end to the health crisis in sight, it’s clear that using Zoom, Microsoft Teams, BlueJeans, Google Meet, and many other video conferencing platforms will be part of the “new normal” work experience for the foreseeable future. For those new to the job market, this trend will include remote job interviews.

Interviewing for a new job is stressful enough in the best of circumstances. It’s especially fraught when you face the double whammy of a health-economic crisis. For one thing, the stakes are higher. With the unemployment rate topping 10%, there are many more job seekers per job opening than there were prior to the pandemic. Adding in a remote interviewing component is bound to challenge job seekers of all stripes because it introduces so many more opportunities for things to go wrong.

But things don’t have to go wrong. If you know how to prepare, there is a lot you can control. And what you can’t control you can manage. If you’re fresh to the job market it is worth reviewing some best practices about remote interviewing to make sure you avoid the most common gaffes and put your best foot (face?) forward.

Prep Your Tech!

Before you do anything else, make sure you are comfortable with the technology you will be using. Make sure to download the required app well in advance of the interview so that you aren’t caught needing to update your software minutes before you are supposed to go live. Showing up late to an interview is a cardinal sin – even when the reason for your lateness is that you were struggling to get the video technology to work.

Test your mic, your camera, and your connectivity. Are your voice and image clear? Are you framed well? (The top of your head should be half an inch from the top of the screen.) Ideally, you will be looking neither up nor down at the camera, but straight into it. And make sure your lighting is good. If you’ve got a light source behind or to the side of you, you risk looking like a ninja, like you have a halo, or are the subject of an artistic exercise in chiaroscuro. All of them are distracting. The best practice is to be lit from the front, near a window, if possible. Everyone looks better in natural light.

Ask a friend to help you test things out to be absolutely certain that you are ready before your interview. Attention to these details are the low-hanging fruit of remote interview prep. Failing to do them could signal a fatal lack of preparedness to your interviewer…and first impressions are lasting.

Consider Your Setting

One big difference between in-person and remote interviewing is that you bear all the responsibility of managing the visual perspective that a hiring manager has of you. That’s not limited to your attire, which is still as important as ever, by the way (at least from the waist up). It also includes the backdrop of your living environment.

Many people new to video conferencing have unwittingly displayed their unmade bed, streaking toddlers, family squabbles, or worse during a call.

“I was once in a corporate meeting with several people, including one guy whose roommate began using the toilet behind him without closing the door,” said Anne Lipsitz, executive career consultant at The Barrett Group. “He had no idea what was happening behind him, and it was pretty awkward when we suggested he close the bathroom door during our meeting.

Auditory distractions – like barking dogs, crying babies, and door bells chiming – should also be managed as much as possible. When in doubt, keep yourself muted at all times except when you are speaking.

Many online conferencing platforms have a designated button on the keyboard for quick mute/unmute function, like the space bar for Zoom, or the “M” key for Bluejeans. Make sure you know which button to use during your call and employ it as necessary.

If you like to use headphones during video calls, best to ask permission before your interview, to ensure they won’t divert your interviewer’s attention. In short, the rule of thumb is to minimize any possible distractions lest they become things by which your interviewer judges you.

Prepare for the Unexpected

Controlling for potential problems is crucial, nevertheless, the best laid plans often go awry. How you handle those situations matter. When things go south unexpectedly, make sure you have a contingency plan. If a sudden hurricane comes through and wipes out your power, make sure you have a phone number to let your interviewer know that there is a problem.

In the world of remote working, an embarrassing family interruption is much more likely than a hurricane, as demonstrated by the now famous BBC interview of a man whose segment was disrupted by the hilarious appearance of his two young children bursting into his office, and the even funnier commotion of his wife skidding into the scene to hustle them out.

It’s a very bad interview when no one remembers – or even cares – about your comments because something more interesting has happened over your shoulder. So how to handle it?

“Acknowledge it and absolutely own it,” said Annie Meisels, an actress and public speaking coach whose business, A Powerful Voice, now caters to workers trying to connect with others in a virtual setting. “If you seem embarrassed, it becomes a negative. But if you own it, you don’t look bad – you look human. Introduce your child or your dog to your onscreen audience, crack a joke, then try to move forward smoothly.”

Done right, the situation could end up demonstrating some pretty great characteristics about you, like adaptability, humor, and grace under pressure – all highly valuable assets during the current crisis. It may even help build a human connection with your interviewer – which is much more difficult to do remotely than in an in-person setting.

Try to Make a Human Connection

You absolutely have to work harder to make a human connection through a screen. A number of studies suggest that a huge percentage of interpersonal communication is non-verbal, and during a remote interview you don’t have the luxury of a handshake, a walk down a hallway, or a leisurely lunch. You have 30-60 minutes to be authentic, and small details count more than you think.

“Project your voice! Make sure you are articulating well,” said Lipsitz. “And be mindful of where your eyes are – try to look at the camera and not at the image of your interviewer or of yourself more than necessary. It’s as important to get people at “Hello” in a video interview as in real life, so you need to seem attentive, responsive, and have a smile in your eyes.”

People who aren’t naturally high energy personalities might need to fake it lest they come across as disinterested and lose an edge to their competition. Tricks include leaning in to show interest, deliberately varying your vocal range, and asking conversational questions that can connect you to your interviewer. Try to prepare some appropriate anecdotes that might help your interviewer relate more to you. People who reveal personal information about themselves are more likely to feel a human connection.

By the way, if you want to take notes, ask permission so that your interview doesn’t think you’re distracted, unengaged or – worse – checking your phone. Set expectations up front to avoid judgement.

With luck, the next time you’re planning to change jobs, you will have the option to interview in person. Likelier than not, however, remote interviews are here to stay in some form. Not to worry – with an eye to these basic tips, and a little practice, you can be as successful in your job interviews whether they’re conducted live at an office or remotely from your home.

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Letting Go and Taking Control

Letting Go and Taking Control
Letting Go and Taking Control

Does your job search seem to be a series of complex activities and programs? A list of ever-changing To-do’s and To-don’ts? Can it appear to have a life of its own? Does it feel like it is out of your sphere of influence? You might perceive that you live in a world of reaction, where each day blindsides you with a new and unexpected frustration. Or you may feel that your job search is more like living in a “Murphy’s Law” situation where anything that can go wrong will go wrong.

But, there is a cure.

In Eastern philosophies such as Buddhism and Taoism, we are told that the seen and unseen world can be divided into two groups: those things we can influence and those that we cannot.

Even if you do not follow the philosophy of mystical enlightenment, let’s see how we can use the reasoning behind it and apply it to your job search.

Close your eyes and breathe.

Take a moment and think about your day, breathing in and out.

As you see yourself getting organized for your day, take a few minutes to visualize the events and people that may impact you, through planned meetings, emails, televisions broadcasts, alert notifications or serendipity/the pipeline/LinkedIn connections, etc… and breathe.

Now deliberately plan the positive… and breathe. Plan the active steps you are going to take to improve your positioning through each of your interactions.

If you feel your human nature beginning to erode your newfound purposefulness and you allow fear of rejection and faith in all things Murphy to bring in the clouds…. stop a minute. Take a deep, cleansing breath and…

Let it wash over you like the cleansing waters of the…okay, right, so just let it wash over you, we’ll hope for the best on that one…. and breathe.

Let go of all the things you cannot control. Let go of any fear and frustration that appeared… and breathe. Let go of other’s reactions. Let go of outside influences that cause chaos in your day. Let it go, all of it.

Let it go… And breathe.

Do you feel better after that exercise? Did you find a better realization of your influences and the things you are able to control? Maybe. Maybe not.

But whether or not that exercise helped center you, we hope that you realize that there are things in life (and the job search) that you cannot possibly predict, control or directly influence. The Barrett Group’s recommendation is to observe, witness, and watch it go by (really, all of it).

Then after it goes by, take a sober, critical look at what is left. Realistically decide what you can do now or in the future. Come to a practical resolution of actionable tasks that will make a difference for you, the ones you love, and the world.

Then do it!

We would be interested in hearing from you if you are having problems with your job search technique, or if you believe it will never work, or if you could use guidance.

The Barrett Group can refine your job search, allowing you to take control of what matters most to you while releasing those circumstances that are beyond your control. Contact us today to get started.

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Our View from the Front Lines of the Job Market

How to Future-Proof Your Career

How to Future-Proof Your Career

There’s opportunity awaiting those who are willing to redevelop themselves. It’s a question of seizing it. Here’s what you can do to “future-proof” your career.

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8 Key Career Lessons to Be an Executive

8 Key Career Lessons to Be an Executive

Eight great lessons for people who are navigating the demands of the modern executive job market – because it’s no longer prudent to leave the task only to recruiters.

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12 Ways to Maximize LinkedIn During a Career Change

12 Ways to Maximize LinkedIn During a Career Change

Most people considering a career change know that LinkedIn is THE place to start a job search. But few fully understand the richness of the tool.

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Are you in a midlife career change? Are you changing careers at 30, 40 or 50 years of age? Do you need a new career? If you are currently experiencing difficulty in your job search, we’re here to help. Please send a message with your information or call.


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