4 tips for surviving a mid-career crisis

Most of us experience a wide array of challenges and triumphs across our career journeys—from the anxious rush and excitement of our first forays into the work world, when we’re figuring out who we are and what we’re passionate about, to the bittersweet reflection we’ll likely feel at the end of our professional path when […]

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Most of us experience a wide array of challenges and triumphs across our career journeys—from the anxious rush and excitement of our first forays into the work world, when we’re figuring out who we are and what we’re passionate about, to the bittersweet reflection we’ll likely feel at the end of our professional path when we look back at all that we’ve done.

You’ll undoubtedly have a variety of emotions and reactions along the way, and not just at the beginning and end of your climb up the career ladder—the middle leg of the journey can be tumultuous as well. In fact, recognition of the struggles that often occur during the middle part of a career is gaining attention. It’s even been given a name—a mid-career crisis. And although we often assume that this portion of our journey will be the most stable and secure, it comes with its own set of issues. According to a recent article by Harvard Business Review:

“The ‘midcareer crisis’ is a real phenomenon for many workers; research has shown that career satisfaction bottoms out when people are in the middle of their careers. For many managers, the problem is seeing those employees through to the other side. Many companies and leaders have failed to develop plans for the employee who has progressed in his career but may not see many opportunities left at his existing company. Feeling overlooked or forgotten can be the nail in the coffin for someone who feels he’s given his best efforts to a company and is now grappling with a deep desire to change roles, locations, or missions.”

It’s not difficult to see how the adverse effects of an unchecked mid-career crisis can impact our happiness and level of professional satisfaction, as well as short- and long-term opportunities and aspirations. That said, all is not lost. Consider the following tips and strategies for surviving a mid-career crisis if you find yourself in the midst of a slump.

Appreciate the positives

Sure, things can look pretty bleak when you’re in the throes of a mid-career slump. The rush we often feel when embarking on a new career path often dissipates when we hit the middle, and a level of monotony and fatigue after years of routine is not uncommon—and can be hard for some to grapple with. That said, there’s also likely plenty to feel good about. You’ve made it through the tumultuous early stages and have survived the onslaught of fierce young competition. You’ve paid your dues and have hopefully garnered some measure of respect from colleagues. You’ve likely had some professional accomplishments that you can take pride in and have acquired some valuable skills and experience along the way. You likely have at least a few (and hopefully many) good memories to reflect upon. These are all good things, and redirecting your attention to them can be helpful when you find yourself overly focused on the negative.

Things can always be worse, especially in a volatile and unpredictable economy and job market. Think of your career like a long airplane flight—after making it through the initial takeoff and leveling off in the middle, you get to loosen your seatbelt and relax a bit for the long flight forward.

Design and aim for goals

So many of us only flesh out goals for ourselves at the onset of our career paths, and when we reach the middle and achieve most or all of these initial goals we often stop being goal-oriented. Bad move. Setting new goals allows us to constantly challenge ourselves and prove that we’re capable of learning new tricks, accomplishing new things, and overcoming hurdles in order to do so—which is a powerful way to fight mid-career apathy and doldrums. Start small or go big—as long as you keep pushing yourself forward.

Have outlets outside of work

It’s common for many folks to let their professional identities eclipse their overall sense of self. When this happens, any adverse or negative emotions tied to work have an outsized effect. Conversely, if you have a rich and multifaceted life with friends, family, hobbies, and outside interests, your focus on work won’t be quite so acute and you’ll be in a much better position to avoid a slump or crisis.

Allow for reinvention

If you find yourself in a mid-career slump, and after making several earnest attempts to break free there’s no sign of relief in sight, consider an exit strategy. Yes, even though you’ve dedicated sweat, tears, and years of your life traveling down your current career path, that doesn’t mean you have to continue down it if you’re not content. There’s always room for reinventing yourself and trying something new—even in the middle stages of your career. People take bold risks all the time to find happiness and career satisfaction.

If you’re going down a path that seems bleak and hopeless, then consider forging a completely new path for yourself. What have you got to lose?

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How 2020 hiring trends will affect your job search

As baseball sage Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.” This feels especially fitting for the fast-spinning cycle that is hiring and job seeking, with technology and social media making it feel like things are shifting constantly. But there are already some trends showing for 2020, which you should […]

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As baseball sage Yogi Berra once said, “It’s tough to make
predictions, especially about the future.” This feels especially fitting for
the fast-spinning cycle that is hiring and job seeking, with technology and
social media making it feel like things are shifting constantly. But there are
already some trends showing for 2020, which you should keep in mind for your
own job hunt this year.

Economic uncertainty

Recession or no recession? Economists are conflicted about whether there’s trouble on the horizon. Companies are tending to be cautious, though, and may be trying to adopt leaner, meaner hiring and recruiting strategies for the year. An economic downturn may also mean more applicants in the pool for fewer jobs. Still, don’t let that discourage you. While companies may be flooded with applicants for open positions, they tend to receive more unqualified or stretch applicants during this time as well.  

Building a strong application package (tailored resume, detailed skills, and experience, strategic application submissions) can help you differentiate yourself in that pool, even if the economy is trending downward.

Going mobile

We do virtually everything on our phones these days: shop, research, communicate, order food, get news and information, etc. And in fact, 81% of U.S. adults own a smartphone, so employers are trying to go where the candidates are. That means mobile outreach is becoming a major recruiting priority for companies. For companies that have relied more on desktop websites and platforms to attract and process applicants, this also means that they’ll be optimizing their sites for mobile use.

For your own job search, you should be open to using these
new mobile technologies to find and take advantage of opportunities as they
come. Your resume should be clear and easy to read on a number of different
platforms (large screen or small), and easily accessible to you when you’re on
your phone or tablet and away from a computer.

Focus on culture

Skills and experience will always be among the most important determining factors in the hiring process, but companies are increasingly looking for people who will be good cultural fits as well. From a worker perspective, this tends to make companies more employee-friendly—instead of a cold cubicle farm that takes your work and spits you out at the end of the day.

Sussing out a company’s culture while you’re still in the initial research phase can help you a) figure out if you would enjoy working there, and b) develop talking points if you’re called in for an interview. Check the company’s website to read up on its history, mission, vision, values, and the like. You can also look at review sites like Glassdoor or Salary.com to see what others say about what it’s like to work there. Corporate boilerplate and subjective stories from ex-employees likely won’t give you the whole picture of a company’s culture, but it should give you some basic knowledge about what the company expects from its employees, what its priorities are, and other bits of knowledge you can use to show you’d be a great fit.

Emphasis on diversity

Most companies are prioritizing diversity, both in the traditional sense (gender, ethnic, religious) and in the kinds of perspectives they hire. If you can, call out the ways you could contribute to the diversity of the company and the unique skills or experiences you bring.

As always, a little prep goes a long way in your job search,
no matter what’s happening in your industry or in the hiring economy in
general. The more care and curation you bring to every job application, the
more successfully you’ll be able to capitalize on these trends and land the
right new job. Good luck!

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Confidently answer the dreaded question, “Where do you see yourself in five years?”

You’re in the interview. You have your talking points down cold, and you’ve rocked the small talk portion of the interview. You’re ready to talk about your job qualifications all day if you need to. Then the interviewer smiles, looks at you, and says, “This is all great. So where do you see yourself in […]

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You’re in the interview. You have your talking points down cold, and you’ve rocked the small talk portion of the interview. You’re ready to talk about your job qualifications all day if you need to. Then the interviewer smiles, looks at you, and says, “This is all great. So where do you see yourself in five years?”

This is one of the most common interview questions, but also
one that produces awkward “uhhhh” pauses more than it should. After all, the
future can be a loaded subject—especially when you’ve been focusing most of
your energy on getting to this point in the hiring process in the present.

Understand why they’re asking

The interviewer does not expect a detailed, minute-by-minute plan for the next five years of your life. Rather, they’re asking the question for (probably) one of a few reasons:

  • They want to get a sense of your personal goals and values.
  • They want to see how you think on your feet.
  • It’s a standard interview question, and they like textbook conversations.

Whatever the reason they’re asking the question, it’s in your best interest to have a concise, confident answer ready to go. A strong answer would satisfy all three motives for asking the question in the first place. It also helps build a narrative that can help the interviewer see you in this particular role and understand how you might grow at the company in your time there.

Think about your career goals

You’ve been working toward getting this new job, but have you done the legwork of thinking about how this next step works into your bigger career scheme? Instead of focusing on what company you’d like to be working for five years from now or what specific title or salary level you’ll have, think about what type of work you’d like to be doing and what kinds of skills you’d have.

Do you see yourself in more of a management role? If so,
talk about the kind of leadership skills you’d like your five-years-older self
to have. If your goal is to transition into a specialty area, talk about that
and mention how you see this particular job fitting into that evolution.

Your answer to this question should show what pushes you forward in your career and what kind of path you see for yourself—even if you don’t know every step of the way yet.

Be honest

Interviewers usually have pretty good suck-up detectors. So if you answer “Where do you see yourself in five years” with something like, “Oh, working here and with you, of course,” it’s more likely to get you a subtle eye roll. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median amount of time that people spend in a single job is about four years. That means that in all likelihood you won’t be in this same role in five years—nor do you have to pretend you will be.

Instead, talk in more general terms about where you see your skills and experience leading. You can use this company as a frame of reference, without committing to it for the next 30 years. For example:

One of the biggest priorities in my career so far has been innovation. I see myself building on that base and working in a role that prioritizes creativity and problem solving, like Company X does.”

Or, “With my management team-building skills, I’m ready to take more of a leadership role. Within five years, I would like to be leading a team of my own.”

By emphasizing your own skills and priorities honestly, you won’t risk coming off as phony, and you’ll have a thoughtful, self-reflective answer.

Keep it short and simple

This is just an interview question, one of many you’ll be answering. This is not the time to wax poetically or go into great detail about your plans, your hopes, and your dreams. Instead, when you prepare for the interview, come up with a few sentences that illustrate where you want your five-years-hence self to be. The interviewer may ask follow-up questions, but if you find yourself talking for several minutes without a break you’ve gone too far.

Unlike off-the-wall interview questions or ones that are highly specific (“How would you handle X situation?”), this is one that you can absolutely prepare ahead of time. Putting a bit of thought and planning into it before the interview day will give you a short script you can deliver with confidence: No “uhhh”s necessary.

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Making the case for hiring older workers

If you’re responsible for hiring at your company, your goal is crystal clear: seek out and retain the very best available talent in your field in order to meet the requirements of your open positions and the needs of your business—all in an effort to help your organization push past the competition and lead the […]

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If you’re responsible for hiring at your company, your goal is crystal clear: seek out and retain the very best available talent in your field in order to meet the requirements of your open positions and the needs of your business—all in an effort to help your organization push past the competition and lead the pack in your industry.

It’s an important goal—and an achievable one—provided your approach to recruitment is well developed and razor-sharp. That said, some recruiters tend to get “tunnel vision” when hiring and approach each recruitment effort with a pre-determined notion of the sort of candidate they’d like to hire. While this can reflect a carefully thought out strategy, it can also be a big mistake. Simply put, approaching any recruitment effort with a canned idea of what sort of person would be ideal for a given position can limit your ability to seriously consider candidates outside of this narrow frame—including folks who may ultimately turn out to meet and even exceed your expectations.

A key demographic that often gets placed out of focus and relegated to the sidelines during recruitment initiatives are older workers. It’s an unfortunate reality of today’s modern workplace—older workers run into a range of biases that work against them when out in the job market, and they often face a real uphill battle to be taken seriously when in between jobs and looking for their next opportunities.

According to a recent study by AARP, “Two out of three workers between ages 45 and 74 say they have seen or experienced age discrimination at work, and job seekers over age 35 cite it as a top obstacle to getting hired. And if you happen to work in the high-tech or entertainment industries, your chances of experiencing age discrimination are even higher.”

Clearly, this is an issue that deserves more attention—especially since most of us plan to be gainfully employed and reach this demographic at some point in our career journeys.

They come with a wealth of skills and knowledge

Beyond a desire for fairness, there are real benefits to taking older workers seriously. Experienced workers typically come “pre-loaded” with a wealth of hard-earned abilities that they’ve likely acquired across a wide range of professional opportunities—all which can be put to effective use for your business if they’re given the opportunity. Also, it’s time that some of the clichés about older workers finally got put to rest and placed in the dustbin of history, because they simply don’t stand up to the evidence. These include the notions that older workers are stuck in the past with rusty, outdated skill sets and lack the energy and drive needed to keep your business agile and running efficiently into the future.

They’re motivated to stay current and engaged

The truth is, many people well older than the millennial age make a real effort to keep their skills and abilities current and cutting edge in their industries. And in terms of energy and motivation, many older workers have their younger counterparts beat, as they’re driven by a desire to squash the old notion that older = out of the loop. They also often come backed by a temperament that includes a level of appreciation, maturity, patience, and flexibility that they’ve honed over years of experience.

They’re often less fickle and more dedicated than newbies to the industry

Older workers can also typically be counted on to use sound, careful logic, and rational thinking when making key decisions. And when it comes to longevity, older workers are more likely to stick it out and help your business grow over the long haul, as compared to younger employees who tend to jump between jobs more often. Given the considerable expense of replacing and onboarding new employees, hiring older workers may just be a sound financial investment for your business.

When you take all of the factors listed here into consideration, it’s clear that a case could—and should—be made for taking older workers seriously when making recruitment and hiring decisions. Keep your options open and your biases at bay the next time resumes of all ages cross your desk.

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Top 5 hard skills companies need most in 2020

You may be hearing about how it’s a big trend for employers to zero in on soft skills when hiring. People skills! Leadership skills! Emotional intelligence! Those are indeed important, but when you’re on the job hunt soft skills aren’t the only ones you’ll need to get to the interview (and beyond). No matter what job […]

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You may be hearing about how it’s a big trend for employers to zero in on soft skills when hiring. People skills! Leadership skills! Emotional intelligence! Those are indeed important, but when you’re on the job hunt soft skills aren’t the only ones you’ll need to get to the interview (and beyond). No matter what job you have, you’ll need some measure of hard skills as well. According to a recent LinkedIn study, these are some of the most crucial hard skills that employers are seeking this year.

What are hard skills?

If soft skills are all about how we work (like organization, management, or creativity), hard skills are about the work itself—what we work on and what tools we use. Hard skills are specific, quantifiable skills that allow someone to do highly specialized job functions. For example, for someone working in a bilingual community, being fluent in more than one language is a hard skill.

A hard skill is usually one that you can learn by taking classes or doing specific training. Using the bilingual example, you can build this hard skill by taking Spanish lessons or using an app-led learning program to develop your language skills. And once you’ve learned it, it’s something you can demonstrate in a concrete way.

What are the top hard skills right now?

As we look to 2020 and beyond, the hard skills that employers want right now are largely based on data analysis and technology. More than ever, companies are getting huge amounts of data and using tools to translate that data into business insights or decisions.

1. Blockchain expertise

Knowing how to wrangle cryptocurrency (mining it, validating it, storing it, or moving it) is not yet a super-common skill—but for those who have it, it’s immensely valuable. To build your blockchain skills, you’ll also need a solid base of coding and software development skills. There are courses online that can help you develop those base needs; then you can move on to blockchain-specific coding skills.

2. Cloud computing

These days, everything is backed up in “the cloud.” Many companies are running their entire business out of cloud-based data and applications, and all that data needs advanced engineering and management—so cloud computing is one of the hottest skills going. In fact, according to PC, cloud computing was the highest-paid IT certification of 2019. To hone this skill, you can take online courses to earn certification.

3. Analytical reasoning

If you’re not necessarily interested in the nitty-gritty
engineering aspects of tech, just about every single company out there is
looking for analysts who can take endless amounts of data and help turn it into
predictive analytics, or insight that can guide business decisions. Basic
courses in data analytics and strategic thinking can help you get started in
this skill area.

4. Artificial intelligence

As companies look for ways to support and refine their workforce with machine learning and data analysis, artificial intelligence (AI) is an incredibly powerful option. Whether it’s business analysis, predictive algorithms, and metrics, or interacting with customers, AI is really the future of business across all industries. Those who can help develop more intuitive AI systems and harness the power of machine learning (while hopefully avoiding a Terminator-like future state) will continue to be in high demand.

To develop expertise in artificial intelligence, online courses in AI basics are widely available. Data analysis skills are also a valuable starting block if you’re interested in building your AI skills.

5. UX design

You may not spend a lot of time noticing what your specific user experience (UX) is when you use an app, but you probably do notice when it’s bad, or slow, or clunky. With so much of commerce and business conducted via online platforms, those who can design and refine a good user experience are a hot commodity for most companies. Classes in software and web design are a good start here, including specific platforms like Adobe.

Hard skills are often dependent on a specific job or company’s needs, but if you’re looking to broaden your skill base these five areas are a good place to start. These hard skills are future-facing and will also help you develop plenty of soft skills (like creativity and innovation) along the way.

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How to avoid making mistakes with your student loans

Adulthood is littered with tricky minefields of responsibility—take the right steps from the beginning and you can avoid disaster, but make too many wrong moves and things could turn out badly. Chief among the responsibilities that we must take seriously when leaving the safe confines of the classroom and entering the adult world are handling […]

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Adulthood is littered with tricky minefields of responsibility—take the right steps from the beginning and you can avoid disaster, but make too many wrong moves and things could turn out badly.

Chief among the responsibilities that we must take seriously when leaving the safe confines of the classroom and entering the adult world are handling student loans. Most of us who graduate college with student loans have taken them on with the very best of intentions—we initially considered them a wise investment in our educations and our professional futures, one that would yield dividends for us and ultimately place us in a position to make good on our obligation to repay the debt.

That said, even those of us with the noblest of intentions can fall victim to mishandling these often-sizable financial burdens—whether due to unfortunate financial reality, sheer irresponsibility, or some other cause. Whatever the reason, the dangers of not fulfilling your obligation to repay your student loans on a timely basis can be significant: it can negatively impact your credit score and creditworthiness, making it difficult to secure loans for an automobile or home; it can cause uncomfortably contentious relationships with your loan companies; and it can cause non-stop stress and anxiety, which can take a serious toll on your mental, physical, and emotional health and well-being.

Hopefully, by now we’ve convinced you that it’s in your best interest to take your student loan debt seriously and responsibly. If you’re on board, then keep reading for advice on how to avoid making mistakes with your student loans.

Know your terms

Not all student loan debt is created equal. The terms of your loans, including repayment terms, are set by the lender (or company that purchased your loan obligation) and agreed upon by you when you signed the agreement. It’s in your best interest to know what those terms and your obligations are—even if you’re not a financial guru or are even interested in contract minutia. Making a commitment to take on student loans comes with the understanding that you agree to all of the terms of the agreement. Know what you’re signing upfront, and make sure you’re fully aware of any and all changes that occur during the life of your loans.

Avoid the minimum

Simply put, loan companies of all shapes and sizes dream about having borrowers who only pay the minimum each month and only pay the interest on their loans without every attacking the principal. Don’t be one of these folks—doing this will only keep you on a never-ending debt cycle. Paying more than the minimum each month, even if it’s a modest amount, can make a big difference in how much you ultimately hand over to your loan company over time and help ensure that your student loans won’t take a lifetime to pay off.

Make a schedule

Sure, these days you’re probably able to work with your student loan company to set a repayment schedule—this usually refers to which day of the month your payment is due on (make sure you choose a date that makes sense for your life and needs). That said, this shouldn’t be the end of your scheduling criteria. A key factor in handling student loans responsibly is developing a payment schedule that allows you to effectively pay down the loan principal in addition to the interest that’s likely accruing. Of course, this all depends on when you’d like to pay off your loans, how much you can realistically afford to pay each month, how much you owe in the first place and the terms of your loan. But once you have a good handle on these elements, developing a payment schedule that allows you to see a light at the end of the tunnel and eventually be free from student loan debt at some point in the future is a smart financial strategy.

Set reminders

For most of us, life is a constant hectic struggle to juggle a myriad of responsibilities and obligations—and it isn’t uncommon for a few things to get forgotten each month. That said, the last thing you want to forget is a student loan payment. The consequences of forgetting a monthly payment can include accruing additional interest and debt, as well as a negative hit to your credit score. The good news is that most large student loan companies allow you to set up an auto-payment option so you don’t have to struggle with remembering your loan payment each month. Even if you don’t want to take advantage of this option, always set your own reminders (your phone can be your best friend here).

Know your options

Although your student loans come with an obligation to repay based on an agreed upon set of terms, that doesn’t mean there aren’t additional repayment alternatives that you can take advantage of—you have to know about them before you can. Options such as forbearances, income-sensitive repayment terms, and debt reconsolidation and refinancing are potential courses of action you can take advantage of in an effort to stay on top of your loan obligations. Take the time to do your homework and research what options your loan company offers—even if you don’t ever use them, it’s in your best interest to be an informed and educated borrower.

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4 signs you might be laid off

In today’s volatile economy and tumultuous job market, it pays to be ready for anything. Unfortunately, the concept of job security is increasingly becoming an antiquated notion, and regardless of whether or not we like our jobs or how diligent we are at handling our work responsibilities, most of us are susceptible to the possibility […]

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In today’s volatile economy and tumultuous job market, it pays to be ready for anything. Unfortunately, the concept of job security is increasingly becoming an antiquated notion, and regardless of whether or not we like our jobs or how diligent we are at handling our work responsibilities, most of us are susceptible to the possibility of layoffs. Like it or not, it’s a reality in today’s work world, and it’s always better to be prepared than to be caught off guard.

Although the layoff monster often takes its unsuspecting victims by surprise, the truth is there are often warning signs that it may be on its way. Sometimes these come in the form of subtle hints. Other times they’re huge, blaring, undeniable red flags. But regardless of their size and noticeability—and despite the fact that they’re usually unwelcome and uncomfortable—they can serve a helpful and adaptive purpose: providing a heads up that your job may be at risk and allowing you to prepare accordingly.

So, after reading this are you wondering if there are warning signs at your job that layoffs may be coming? Keep your senses tuned for the 4 following signs that your position might be at risk.

1. There’s very little company stability

Are things at your job so volatile that it sometimes feels as if your head is spinning? This can come in many forms, including constantly changing company agendas and priorities, a seemingly never-ending revolving door of exiting and entering employees at all levels, shifting job roles and responsibilities, and more. Not only can this instability make it difficult to do your job and maintain a healthy level of engagement, motivation, and professional satisfaction, it can also be a real sign that your turn at the revolving door may be coming soon.

2. Your workload is dwindling

Sure, most of us often hope for the day when our jobs become easier and the amount of work we’re responsible for becomes smaller—but not because we’re about to be laid off. Having key projects and responsibilities that previously fell to you taken away and given to colleagues, being asked to train others to handle tasks that you used to do, and in general seeing the amount of work that you’re handling shrink can be a sign that a plan is in place to phase you out.

3. You’re cut out of the loop

Were you once in the know—a key influencer and decision-maker when it came to all things going on at work—but tides now seem to be changing? Are you finding yourself being cut out of the flow of crucial information and are no longer being asked for your opinions or input when important decisions need to be made? This drastic sea change at work can be a clear sign that the company is slowly adjusting to a version of the future in which you’re not an active member.

4. You notice constant mood shifts

Have people at work started acting weird around you for no clear reason? Odd work behavior can include everything from cold shoulders to dismissiveness, to outright hostility, and everything unexpected in between. Have close and trusted colleagues started avoiding you and no longer making eye contact when you see them in the hallway? Have warm greetings and friendly conversations with others given way to abrupt and muffled responses? Sure, sometimes people get stressed and the weight of all the things they’re juggling affects their mood, and we all have bad days, but if you’re noticing a sustained and consistent pattern of shifting moods around you then it could be a sign that something more serious is going on.

Getting laid off from work is rarely a welcome occurrence, but that doesn’t mean that it’s a good strategy to bury your head in the sand and avoid potential warning signs that it may be coming for you. Keep your eyes peeled and your senses sharp for the signs mentioned here—they may mean nothing, but they may be a sign that layoffs are on the horizon.

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200 action verbs that will make your resume more dynamic

Take a look at your resume. When you read it, do you notice a lot of vague or passive words and phrases like “responsible for,” “tasked with,” or “worked on” describing your accomplishments? When you read your job experience bullet points is it immediately apparent what you did, or do you need to follow the […]

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Take a look at your resume. When you read it, do you notice a lot of vague or passive words and phrases like “responsible for,” “tasked with,” or “worked on” describing your accomplishments? When you read your job experience bullet points is it immediately apparent what you did, or do you need to follow the bullet point until you get more context? Do you see the same verbs over and over throughout your resume?

The average resume-reader only takes a few seconds to do an initial scan of your resume. That means you need to grab them right away to wow them with your qualifications. One of the easiest ways to punch up a resume is to revamp your verbs: make them louder and more action-oriented to show exactly what you did add flair to your resume. Each bullet point you present should start with an action verb, which gives a more vibrant picture of what you did and achieved—the show, not the tell.

Your resume verbs should illustrate not only your experience but also your skills. Remember, just saying you have communication skills or management skills, is not going to be enough. Your experience bullets are the best place to actively demonstrate what you’ve done and what you know.

Leadership Verbs

If you want to show that you’ve been a team leader, instead of using words like “led” or “managed” try for more specific verbs like:

  • Administered
  • Analyzed
  • Appointed
  • Approved
  • Assigned
  • Authorized
  • Chaired
  • Coached
  • Contracted
  • Controlled
  • Coordinated
  • Cultivated
  • Decided
  • Delegated
  • Developed
  • Directed
  • Emphasized
  • Enforced
  • Enhanced
  • Established
  • Executed
  • Fostered
  • Guided
  • Handled
  • Headed
  • Hired
  • Hosted
  • Incorporated
  • Increased
  • Initiated
  • Inspired
  • Instituted
  • Mentored
  • Merged
  • Mobilized
  • Motivated
  • Organized
  • Originated
  • Oversaw
  • Planned
  • Presided
  • Produced
  • Reorganized
  • Replaced
  • Reviewed
  • Spearheaded
  • Strengthened
  • Supervised
  • Taught
  • Trained

Innovation Verbs

If you’re trying to show how you made something better or more efficient, or created something, try one of these:

  • Administered
  • Built
  • Charted
  • Created
  • Customized
  • Designed
  • Developed
  • Devised
  • Founded
  • Engineered
  • Established
  • Formalized
  • Formed
  • Formulated
  • Implemented
  • Improved
  • Incorporated
  • Influenced
  • Integrated
  • Initiated
  • Instituted
  • Introduced
  • Launched
  • Modified
  • Overhauled
  • Piloted
  • Pioneered
  • Redesigned
  • Refocused
  • Revamped
  • Revitalized
  • Simplified
  • Streamlined
  • Transformed
  • Upgraded

Financial/Efficiency Verbs

Being able to save time and money is an incredibly valuable skill set for virtually any job. If you’re trying to demonstrate how you’ve produced results, try:

  • Amplified
  • Boosted
  • Capitalized
  • Conserved
  • Consolidated
  • Decreased
  • Deducted
  • Exceeded
  • Eliminated
  • Evaluated
  • Gained
  • Lessened
  • Maximized
  • Minimized
  • Outpaced
  • Reconciled
  • Reduced
  • Streamlined
  • Yielded

Client Skills Verbs

If you’re trying to illustrate your partner management
achievements, try:

  • Acquired
  • Forged
  • Joined
  • Landed
  • Liaised
  • Managed
  • Navigated
  • Negotiated
  • Partnered
  • Secured

Communication Verbs

Your whole resume should be a testament to your communication skills, but using a few choice verbs to demonstrate how efficiently you communicated is extremely effective. Try:

  • Addressed
  • Advertised
  • Arbitrated
  • Arranged
  • Articulated
  • Authored
  • Authored
  • Briefed
  • Campaigned
  • Clarified
  • Co-authored
  • Collaborated
  • Communicated
  • Composed
  • Condensed
  • Conferred
  • Consulted
  • Contacted
  • Conveyed
  • Convinced
  • Corresponded
  • Corresponded
  • Counseled
  • Critiqued
  • Debated
  • Defined
  • Defined
  • Described
  • Developed
  • Directed
  • Discussed
  • Documented
  • Drafted
  • Edited
  • Edited
  • Elicited
  • Enlisted
  • Explained
  • Expressed
  • Formulated
  • Illustrated
  • Incorporated
  • Influenced
  • Interacted
  • Interpreted
  • Interviewed
  • Lectured
  • Listened
  • Lobbied
  • Marketed
  • Mediated
  • Moderated
  • Observed
  • Outlined
  • Persuaded
  • Persuaded
  • Presented
  • Promoted
  • Promoted
  • Proposed
  • Publicized
  • Publicized
  • Reconciled
  • Recruited
  • Referred
  • Reinforced
  • Reported
  • Resolved
  • Responded
  • Reviewed
  • Solicited
  • Specified
  • Spoke
  • Suggested
  • Summarized
  • Synthesized
  • Translated
  • Wrote

Achievement Verbs

One of the most important functions of your resume is to show what you’ve achieved. If you want to make your accomplishments pop, try humble-bragging with one of these:

  • Completed
  • Expanded
  • Exceeded
  • Resolved
  • Succeeded
  • Surpassed
  • Transformed
  • Won

Using active, dynamic verbs will help you grab the attention
of your reader, who has probably already seen 47 resumes today with the word
“responsible” in them. Not every word in your resume has to be an extreme or
lively verb, but upping your verb game overall will help you show how awesome
you are.

The post 200 action verbs that will make your resume more dynamic appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

How to reinvent your career in 2020

A new year and a new decade have arrived. This is a moment that many of us use as an inflection point to take stock of our lives and determine if we’re happy with our current course or if a change is needed. The main area we reflect upon at times of change is our […]

The post How to reinvent your career in 2020 appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

A new year and a new decade have arrived. This is a moment that many of us use as an inflection point to take stock of our lives and determine if we’re happy with our current course or if a change is needed.

The main area we reflect upon at times of change is our career—our professional fulfillment factors heavily into our self-identity and overall happiness, so it makes sense that we want to do whatever it takes to get things right and steer ourselves onto the right path. It’s also one of those key life areas that we exercise a lot of control over: with a solid plan, some focus, and the requisite hard work and determination, we have the power to make significant changes in our career journeys. Even making a complete career reinvention is a possibility if it feels like the right move.

Are you contemplating a career reinvention in 2020? If your levels of professional happiness and satisfaction aren’t where you’d like them to be, and your future prospects are currently bleaker than you’d hoped, then a course correction just might be a wise strategy. But before diving in headfirst, consider utilizing the following plan of attack to help you make a successful career change.

Commit

Unlike other resolutions for change that many of us make at the onset of a new year like going to the gym or eating healthier, a commitment to making a career change shouldn’t be taken lightly—at least not if you truly want it to work out. The truth is, a career reinvention is significantly more challenging than waking up one day and deciding to hit the treadmill or not to eat junk food, especially if you’re looking to jump into a completely different field. If you’re sincere and determined to reinvent your career path this year, it’s going to take a real commitment of time, energy, and available resources to make it happen—especially if you stumble out of the block early on and encounter more failures than successes.

Remember, you’re chasing more than just a change in company or a loftier position with more responsibilities, which are challenging enough, especially in today’s volatile job market. If you want your career reinvention to ultimately end up in your personal win column, then make sure you’re fully committed from the onset.

Plan

Enthusiasm, energy, and motivation are great to have when you’re undertaking a new life challenge, but when it comes to one as big as a career reinvention, they’ll rarely be enough to get you past the finish line. Like most undertakings in life, success depends on having a plan. Once you fully commit to the notion that you’re going to kick off this new decade with a career reinvention, begin building your strategy for bringing this goal closer and closer to reality.

A helpful first step is to make two lists: a list of your interests and a list of your skills and abilities (these don’t have to just be skills you utilized at your current or former jobs; it can include abilities from all facets of your life). Don’t rush through these. It’s in your best interest to dive deep and create comprehensive lists rather than just getting them done quickly. Once these are complete, review them carefully and think about new career fields and positions that may encompass some (or all, in a perfect world) of your interests and skills. Then, make a new list of these.

Research can be extremely helpful when thinking about potential new careers, and here is where the Internet can be your best friend. There’s a wealth of information available about every imaginable career online. Just make sure you allow yourself enough time to sift through it all carefully and choose your sources wisely. If possible, ask trusted friends and family for feedback and advice to help you make decisions that are best for you. Once you have a shortlist, or a single target, start focusing your energy on learning everything you can about what it takes to enter the field and crafting your resume and cover letters accordingly.

When making a career change, the notion of transferable skills is essential—these are the skills you’ve acquired in your previous work experience that can be effectively applied to your new target career. When you’re on the job hunt and making a case for hiring personnel to take your desire for a career change seriously, demonstrating how your existing skillset can be utilized to their benefit can be a game-changer.

Network

Another key step while embarking upon the first initial steps of your new career journey is to network effectively. Making a career change can be an uphill battle and the competition out there can be fierce, so you need to do everything you can to turn the tide to your favor—and getting to know people in your target industry can really help. Start by leveraging your existing network to see if it can expand to include new folks who are in your prospective field. Then think about additional resources that you may have access to, like alumni career services from your alma mater, to help in the effort. Go back online and look for any sites, forums, groups, or in-person events that you can use to expand your network. Be careful not to appear too desperate or overeager in your efforts here, which can turn people off, but do take things seriously and remember that persistence is key. With a little sincerity and effort, you may open new doors to wonderful new opportunities.

Adjust

It’s important to remember that when it comes to hunting for a new job, focus is different from tunnel vision. If things aren’t quite working as well as you’d hoped or according to plan, then perhaps your plan needs fixing. A career reinvention can be a long and arduous journey, and it really pays to be patient and humble during the process.

Stay open to the notion that a course correction may be required along the way. Everything from your resumes and cover letters, to how and where you’re looking for job openings, to your interviewing approach and style should remain fair game for refining. Remember, no one is perfect and this is all about helping you achieve your goal, so be open to constructive criticism and positive change. Ask trusted friends and family members for input, and don’t be afraid to ask people that have interviewed you for feedback to help you move forward. The bottom line here is that when embarking on your career reinvention, envision it more of a marathon than a sprint and a process of trial and error that—if approached thoughtfully—can help you really learn and grow.

Of course, there’s no such thing as a “one size fits all” approach to career reinvention, but these initial steps can really help get you moving in the right direction and make your job hunt more fruitful. With a solid plan and a clear goal in mind, you’ll definitely help tip the odds more in your favor.

The post How to reinvent your career in 2020 appeared first on TheJobNetwork.

3 questions you should always ask your new boss

Regardless of the industry you’re in, whenever you start a new job your mission is clear—make a great initial impression and reinforce the notion that you’re indeed the right person for the job. You want to demonstrate that you’re a great fit into the existing climate and culture, a seamless addition to the team, and […]

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Regardless of the industry you’re in, whenever you start a new job your mission is clear—make a great initial impression and reinforce the notion that you’re indeed the right person for the job. You want to demonstrate that you’re a great fit into the existing climate and culture, a seamless addition to the team, and an obvious asset to the company’s short- and long-term success.

Today’s job market is ultra-competitive and volatile—to say the least—and the level of available talent vying for the very same positions that you are has never been higher, which means that organizations from lean startups to giant international conglomerates have plenty of options when hiring and recruiting—and for making staffing changes if things aren’t working out as well as planned. Beyond this, we all know the power of first impressions, and the one you make when starting a new job can stick and become hard-wired in the brains of your colleagues—which means that your opportunities for growth and longevity at your new company can be expanded or restricted from day one.

Hopefully, by now, we’ve convinced you that these initial goals when starting a new job are absolutely mission-critical. If you agree, then chief among your new job to-dos should be to create a positive working relationship with your new boss. When your boss likes you, you’ll enjoy work and collaboration more, open up new doors to opportunities and challenges, and set yourself up for greater levels of professional success. Your level of workplace satisfaction will increase as your stress levels and anxiety lower. Conversely, having a contentious, adversarial, or downright awful relationship with your boss can be disastrous to your health, happiness, and well-being, and may make your new job more of a “quick visit” than an “extended stay” along your career journey.

Sometimes, getting your boss to like you is easier said than done. The truth is, not all bosses are created equal—some are a breeze to get along with while others can be more difficult nuts to crack, to say the least. Depending on the type you find yourself with, which largely comes down to luck and careful sleuthing during the interview and hiring process, your approach should be tailored accordingly. That said, there are a few tried and true strategies for getting your boss to like you—including asking them the following 3 questions.

What can I do to help you?

This one seems kind of obvious, right? Well, you’d be surprised by how few new hires take the initiative to ask this simple, straightforward, and incredibly powerful question—and you may be surprised by how far it can go toward getting your boss to really like working with you. Too often, new hires are so eager to not make a misstep that they just quietly wait for their bosses to feed them tasks, which at best sets you up as a willing subordinate. But those who want to take things to the next level go above and beyond and assert themselves as a proactive and self-driven colleague who’s constantly thinking about how they can support their bosses and make their lives easier. What boss isn’t going to like someone like that?

What are your goals for our team?

Asking your boss this question is a subtle yet effective way to show them that you’re determined to be a committed and supportive team player and that their priorities and vision are important to you. It also gets you both in sync and on the same page and provides a roadmap for on-the-job success if you plan effectively to help your boss achieve these goals.

How do you like to work with your team members?

This question lets your boss know that you are interested in their preferred management style, which will really help reinforce the notion that you’re aware that their needs and chosen work habits are important priorities. The main takeaway will be that you are determined to support them as a manager and a team member. It’ll also help you set a solid foundation for a good work relationship—once you know how they like to communicate, collaborate, and delegate, then all you’ll need to do is meet them on their own terms and keep up the good work.

If you’re serious about your new job and making a great lasting impression, getting on your boss’s good side should be a key goal. Consider asking your boss the 3 questions mentioned here during your first week and you’ll be setting yourself up to build a great working relationship.

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