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 and 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


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.


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 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.


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


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.


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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Dealing with Distance: Four Tips for Long-Distance Job Searches

Long-distance job searches can be difficult and stressful. The long-distance job seeker has the potential of being squeezed out of the running by local qualified candidates, and—from an employer’s perspective—why should they look outside of their own city with relocation requests? Your job search is tough, but a company’s ability to gauge potential applicants from a distance can be tougher. Use the following tips to give you an edge around the challenge of qualified local candidates:

Understand Why Employers Opt for Close-Range Candidates

A lot of employers see non-local candidates as a risk. They might leave abruptly, or never arrive at all. The candidate’s family, friends, or even real estate property can interfere with future start dates and increase that risk of the employee never, in fact, starting at all.

Local applicants are attractive because of their flexibility in being able to come into an interview. If a company has a need for a short hiring cycle, they will be less likely to schedule an interview that requires a week delay due to travel time arrangements. In order to address this, be as flexible as possible and make yourself available to meet the interviewing company’s timeline requests. Don’t miss out on an opportunity to a local candidate because you aren’t able to start or interview when they need you to.

Explain Yourself

Employers look for sustainability, security, and dependability. Long-distance candidates may raise a flag of instability—not only are you leaving your previous employer, you’re also moving into a new home that may or may not have a support system such as family in place. In your cover letter, consider sharing your reasons for relocation. Make your motives clear, and your future hiring manager is less likely to question your dedication to the location and the company.

Get Ingrained

Use a local address or no address at all, on your résumé. Family members or friends can be useful “host locations” for addresses if you do decide to include one, especially if you’ll be able to stay with them while looking for your own home. When conversing with the hiring manager, have a commonality and be familiar with the area. If you have spent time in the region, say so, as this will further connect you to the location. Be ready to discuss the situation with your hiring manager, and use the location as a foot-in-the-door technique.

It’s all about the List

Locate your target area’s employers and make a list of opportunities and key contacts. Finding employer hubs aids your research. Creating target areas capable of fulfilling your search guidelines will prioritize big-hitting opportunities—a city with a population of 100,000 is less likely to have opportunities that fit your criteria than a city of 1 million. If you’re targeting a bigger company, find a local office of that company to inquire about opportunities within their larger corporation.

Be flexible, quick, creative, and pursue your job opportunities. Distance is limiting, but you can make up the perceived disadvantage and reduce the risk. A hiring manager will notice the dedication, too.

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How to Respond to “Difficult Situation” Questions in Your Interview

Adversity appears in some form in all jobs. A person’s ability to handle difficult or confrontational situations is important to success in any position. During your interviews, it is likely you will receive some type of question about how you deal with challenges. Preparing an effective response in advance could have a significant impact in landing the job you want.

Question Examples

An interviewer may simply ask, “How do you handle adversity?” Or they may be less direct and ask an alternative behavioral question, “Can you describe a time when you handled a difficult situation at work?” A few other possibilities:

  • “Describe a time when you had to deal with a difficult situation. How did you handle it and what was the outcome?”
  • “Can you describe a challenge you have faced? What did you do to overcome it?”
  • “Can you give an example of a time you successfully dealt with a difficult person?”

What is the Interviewer Actually Looking For?

First, hiring managers like to see that a candidate is genuine and humble. From a skills perspective, a manager wants to hear proof that you can face adversity and still achieve goals. Constructive problem solving is important in keeping a positive company culture, and employers want to make sure each candidate is a fit.

Quality Responses

The worst response to this type of question is, “I have never really faced adversity.” In this case a hiring manager is likely to perceive that you don’t set ambitious goals, avoid challenges, or lack self-awareness. The reality is we all face difficult situations that need to be resolved in some shape or form. Instead, offer a specific, concrete example of a difficult situation that you successfully navigated to achieve a target outcome.

You might say, “In my last job, we were all set to begin a project when everything that could go wrong, did. While some team members panicked and suggested a delay was inevitable, I suggested we all collect ourselves and lay out alternatives for each challenge. We spent the morning taking action on alternatives and were able to start on schedule. It turned into a very successful project.” This example reveals that you have poise under pressure, and a problem solving attitude in the face of challenges.

As a manager or seasoned professional, adversity is unavoidable. In responding to an interview question about handing difficult situations, a well-crafted answer helps you shine. Showcase your ability to achieve goals even when faced with obstacles.

What are some of the adversity questions you’ve had to face?

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How Many Thank You Notes Are Too Many?

When a client recently interviewed with more than 20 people, even I wondered – is it overkill to send a separate thank you note to EVERYONE?

I didn’t have a clear answer, so I went to my “brain trust” – The National Resume Writers’ Association’s e-list. I posted this question and several of my generous colleagues responded with their insights. While no one thought it wasn’t necessary to send a thank you to all, some suggested sending it just to the highest-level person and referencing the others in their department.

Still, the consensus was that there is no risk, but a potential for high reward when you send a thank you to everyone who took the time to interview you. Yes, it can be time consuming. Yet, more than just being a polite thing to do, there are additional reasons why it’s worth your time:

  • EVERYONE has a say in your candidacy. While not everyone is an official decision maker, it’s not unusual to consider the opinions of people across all levels when deciding who to hire. All things being equal between two candidates, the one universally liked will have the edge.
  • You quickly add to your network. If you don’t get the job, 20+ people will remember you positively, and all have contacts outside the organization. They’ll be more likely to connect with you on LinkedIn and refer you to others.
  • You create an instant bond with future colleagues – vital to a new manager, but also beneficial to peers. The thank yous during the hiring process can make your job easier when you’re in the new role.
  • Those who send thank you notes are more likely to get the offer than those who don’t. Enough said.

No one is saying it’s fun, quick, or easy to write multiple thank you notes. But considering all the benefits that can come from this relatively simple gesture, isn’t it worth it?

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