Resigning Gracefully

Once you find the job that brings you joy, it’s can be tempting to be done with your current employer immediately (especially if you really didn’t like the job, boss, and/or co-workers). After all, you got a new position, so who cares about where you were – right? Wrong.

We’ve all fantasized about leaving and never coming back, and it seems like now is your chance. While that day is obviously coming, it shouldn’t be the same day you receive an offer.

Standard protocol is to give a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice ­– whether you’re a teenager working at the mall or an executive leading a company. Even if you loathed the place and can’t imagine staying on one more day, in the end it will benefit you to do so. You’ll maintain goodwill with your current employer, and not give them ammunition to hurt your reputation. You won’t burn bridges with co-workers who will have to pick up your responsibilities until a replacement has been hired. Most importantly, it’ll signal to your new company that you’ll be respectful to them when and if you choose to move on.

Though protocol may vary slightly by company, relationship with boss, etc., here are guidelines for resigning gracefully:

1) Tell your supervisor before anyone else, either in person or on the phone.

2) Provide them with a resignation letter at the same time or follow up after with an email.

3) Offer a minimum of 2 weeks’ notice, but be mindful of agreements made when you were hired. Some companies request 3-4 weeks, or even more.

4) Continue working as hard as you would if you weren’t leaving. You’ll leave your former employer with a positive impression, and that can follow you throughout your career.

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Find Out If A Company Is Right For YOU

Most people understandably worry about how they come across to an employer. They want to get an interview, ace the questions, and get an offer. Most candidates don’t spend even a fraction of the time thinking about how THEY feel about the company.

The reasons vary, but when eager to get a new job, most people hand all of their power to the potential employer. The interview process is a two-way street, and it’s worth taking the time to determine if you want to work somewhere – before getting hired. With a high percentage of new hires leaving within their first six months on the job, proper research will help you beat the odds and find a long-term fit. This will save you time, money, and energy in the end – the last thing you probably want to do is re-start an active job search so soon!

So, how can you find out if a company is a good fit?

1)    Check out the company’s website. It sounds like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people overlook this resource!

2)    Google the company, but go back several pages. This is where you’re more likely to find information NOT put out by the company.

3)    Visit CareerBliss.com and GlassDoor.com. Both sites include company reviews given anonymously by employees.

Of course, nothing takes the place of talking to someone directly. Find an internal contact and see what you can learn “off the record.” Also, practice reading – and seeing – between the lines. When you go to the company to interview, do the employees seem happy? Are there numerous empty seats? These types of observations can help you get a read on the state of a company and its culture.

Though there are always unknowns, conducting a wide range of research activities will improve your odds of getting into a company where you’ll be happy to stay.

 

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Keeping Your Job Search A Secret From Your Employer

Many people are understandably concerned that their current company will find out they’re looking for a new position. Though nothing is 100% foolproof, here is the most effective thing you can do: make managing your career a part of your lifestyle.

This is good practice even if you’re happily employed. It keeps you top of mind for great opportunities you might not have considered. But keeping your current company in the dark is a side benefit. If you always keep your LinkedIn profile updated, they won’t suspect you’re looking for a new role. If you wear a suit to work once a week, you won’t be advertising “I have an interview!” when you finally do dress up.

Applying online is the one place where things can get tricky. If the name of a company is kept confidential, you could end up inadvertently sending your resume to your current employer (this HAS happened)! If there’s even a chance this could be the case, it’s best to avoid applying to the position.

People are also concerned that having an online brand – a blog, Twitter account, etc. – would lead their employers to suspect they’re in the market for a new job. While you can’t control what anyone else thinks, it’s unlikely this would raise a red flag if you position it correctly. Again, since you should always be managing your career, this won’t seem like a sudden move. But establishing yourself as a subject-matter expert could benefit your company as well. You’ll build a positive reputation and can make valuable connections that could be an asset to your company (for example, sales prospects or vendors).

All this being said, you still need to use common sense. Don’t divulge any proprietary company information; don’t bash your company, job, or employer; and make sure everything you put online is appropriate.

 

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Offline Networking

While the benefits of being able to connect with people online cannot be overstated, it shouldn’t be the ONLY way you spend your networking time. Of course, if you’re conducting a job search within an area where you’re not currently living, it may be the most realistic option. However, it can help to build some phone time into your schedule.

Connections are typically established much more quickly in person than among those that have only interacted online. That’s why so many “fast friendships” develop at conferences. The lead time for building these types of relationships is longer when you have never had that personal connection.

Ideally, online networking would serve as a complement to “real life” encounters. And, of course, sites like LinkedIn help when you have a wide network – there would be no way you could realistically spend the time connecting with so many people otherwise. Social media can serve as an easy way to stay in touch, keep up on each other’s lives, and remember exactly who they are and what they do.

Most of us use online networking as our sole source of meeting people, and with good reason – time. We’re simply too busy to go out to events each evening in to meet new people.

Fortunately, there’s a middle ground. Consider building in regular time to connect with people in person (whether formal networking events, lunch or coffee meetings, etc.) as well as phone time (example, two 15 minute calls per week). And, be selective-you shouldn’t spend this extra time on just anyone. Follow the 80/20 rule – 80% of your network will likely stay acquaintances, but 20% have the potential to become very valuable contacts.

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The Top Qualities and Skills of a Great Leader

“Leadership is an obligation and you need to step up every day.”

  • Vince Molinaro

Honesty

If you make honest and ethical behavior a key value, your team will follow suit. Coworkers will trust each other, making the work a lot easier for all involved. Customers will notice, and spread the word about the company’s integrity.

Delegation

Delegating tasks to the appropriate departments is one of the most important skills you can develop as a team leader. The key to delegation is identifying the strengths of your team, and capitalizing on them. Find out what each person enjoys most –  chances are  they will put more thought and effort into it.

Communication

Communication is way more than just exchanging information. It’s about understanding the intentions and emotion behind the information we get. Being able to clearly and briefly describe what you want done is very important. If you can’t relate your vision, the team won’t be working toward the same goal.

Confidence

To effectively lead a team, you have to have self-confidence. This will in turn inspire your staff, leading to better choices and decisions.

Commitment

There is no greater motivation than seeing the boss working alongside everyone else. By proving your commitment, you will earn the respect of your team, and also instill the same hardworking energy. Commitments are powerful because they influence how you think, how you sound, and how you act.

Approach

Understand that every person is different and two people may have a different reaction to the same situation. In order to optimize your effectiveness as a leader, customize your approach.

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New Year’s Resolution? Meet New Year’s Action Plan!

The New Year comes full of expectations, ambition to advance even further in your career, and perhaps even a brand new job. Here are five areas of focus to make 2016 your best year ever.

  1. Find Balance

Forming better habits now will mean less conscious effort for the rest of the year. Focus on what you’ve defined as important to you, and measure the amount of time you’re investing in that area. If you find your work is taking up much more energy than the other areas, know that it is going to negatively affect your health and relationships. Adjusting that balance should move to the top of your priorities. The other parts of your life are important, and ultimately your work will suffer for the lack of balance as well. Tired and stressed employees achieve less than their balanced counterparts.

  1. Be Assertive, Not Aggressive

Aggressive employees upset colleagues and create poor working environments no matter how productive they are. Make an effort to be assertive instead, by taking other’s valuable input and views into consideration. Open yourself up to coworkers and speak up for your projects and initiatives without crossing a line into a demanding demeanor.

  1. View Mistakes as Learning Opportunities

You have to be willing to fall and get right back up again. Every crisis, every mistake, and every obstacle can teach you a great deal about what you’re good at and what skills you need to improve. Even when horrible events happen, you can turn your situation around. You have to be persistent and willing to fail in order to move forward after identifying what the valuable lessons were.

  1. Keep a Broad View

We all get tunnel vision at times, it’s only natural. Your attention can only be devoted to so many tasks, but we have a tendency to miss out on the enriching opportunities in life. In a world that’s focused on “googling” everything, there’s still a lot of information out there that can’t be found online, and can only be experienced by broadening what we focus on. Keep your ears open everywhere — coffee shops, restaurants, the water cooler, meetings, and elsewhere. Developments will clearly emerge, so you can take advantage of your new perspective.

  1. Never Stop Learning

Much of life IS routine and habitual, but your mind also needs to be flexed. Anyone in any position can improve what they do, but it takes work. Read, ask questions, or attend the conference you’ve been putting off. Study and learn the cutting edge trends to stretch your network and your mind.

So much of succeeding in your career is about being an evolving person and leader, rather than a different kind of employee. Focus on one or all of these tips for a better year and a better you!

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The New Wave of Executive Engagement: How to Make the Most of Today’s LinkedIn

Though LinkedIn has gone through some distinct growing pains, it has emerged as a dynamic networking platform with clear influences from popular social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Read on for 4 tips to make the most of your LinkedIn-fueled job search.

  1. Friend or Follow?

One of LinkedIn’s most significant shifts gives users the options to not only connect with known contacts or acquaintances, but to also follow company brands or influential leaders in a given industry. For a job seeker considering a move to a different position, the follow feature can be a great way to keep tabs on important conversations without creating new entries in your digital Rolodex during a time of potential transition. Like Twitter, you can simply click to follow, then read and share content relevant to your interests and expertise.

  1. Coworker Connection

According to a recent blog post on one of LinkedIn’s newest apps, LinkedIn Lookup, 46% of users report using the site to look up coworkers. The new app helps streamline this process, allowing you better access than ever to your internal team. This is a great tool to use for getting a better sense of how different departments in your company operate, especially if you’ve got your eye on an internal promotion.

  1. Share Your Story

A resume tells one kind of story, but if you’re ready to stretch your narrative voice, LinkedIn’s publishing platform allows you to broadcast your perspective and experience to 300 million users. This feature can showcase your ideas, while also serving as a portfolio of your expertise to fellow industry professionals, and potential new teammates.

  1. Message Matters

One of the more recent changes to LinkedIn’s look happened in its message center, a place that now looks similar to Facebook’s popular messaging service. The feature will allow you instant access to your conversation history, which can lend to more informal, quick “chats” with colleagues and networking contacts, as well as easy reference when following up on prior communications. There are several new options available to users when messaging, but before taking advantage of every bell and whistle, be sure to know your audience and adjust accordingly.

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