7 things #successful #people do #over the #weekend

Perhaps you picture financially successful people jetting off to Ibiza for the weekend. Or maybe the truly accomplished spend their free time writing novels over Sunday brunch? Whatever your vision of success, the time the weekend offers is valuable to everyone—and some of us are definitely squandering it. Let’s explore a few simple ways you can spend the weekend time to become the best version of yourself.


Successful people finish their tasks, then leave work behind. Stress from work can eat into your weekend if you let it, rendering the time useless. There’s nothing worse than an unfinished task gnawing at you or work emails reminding you what you need to do once Monday rolls around. If you set clear work-life boundaries, especially with your tasks and tech, it will result in fewer nuisances over the weekend and a better focus during actual work hours. Really, ask yourself—can’t this email wait until Monday?


Believe it or not, successful people do have downtime. No one can run with all cylinders firing all the time; if you tried, you would burn out quickly. Successful people are good at scheduling themselves during the work day, which includes scheduling break time. Maximizing a successful weekend means taking that time to recover from the work week. Whether it’s in the form of meditation exercises, getting lost in a good book, or simply getting a couple good nights of sleep, prioritizing rest helps you recharge for the week to come.

Challenge yourself

Why not run the extra mile? Exercise is just as important for the mind as it is for the body. As with rest, you maximize your potential when your body and brain get a boost from physical fitness. But a successful person might take it up a notch beyond the stationary bike at the gym. They challenge themselves to go further: hike a mountain, train for a triathlon, take up kickboxing, or simply try something new they’ve never done before. When exercise is about striving towards a goal or making new discoveries, it fosters the kind of dynamism that make successful people excel.

Develop other talents

Successful people can possess a laser-like focus on their goals, but highly successful people don’t just excel in their field; they likely have talents in other areas. Diversifying is not just for the financial portfolio. Art, music, or learning a foreign language helps you to challenge yourself mentally and to develop a healthier, balanced brain. The drive that helps you succeed can be used to help you find fulfillment and harness talent in other aspects of life.


On the weekend, successful people make the most of their time—not by filling every second with action, but by enjoying what you can while you can. It’s the difference between savoring the flavor of coffee vs. guzzling it down like diesel fuel. Making the most of the seasons, getting outdoors, and enjoying family time are important ways to recharge over the weekend.

Let the back burner work

Sometimes your best ideas come to you when you’re not actively working. Innovation can be brewing in the back of your mind while you’re busy cultivating a life outside of work. Successful people are on the lookout for those ideas, ready to capture them—which means taking time away from the grind.

Plan out the weekend

So how do you rest, challenge yourself, develop a new talent, unplug, and spend family time all in one weekend? It’s no secret that successful people plan out the hours of their work day to meet goals efficiently. Why wouldn’t they plan the weekend too? If you’re torn between weekend goals, planning recreational activities ahead of time helps you get the most out of the day. Just remember: the planning shouldn’t be stressful. The most successful weekend is the one you enjoy.

Your #Stealthy #Guide to #Stalking a #Company and #Figuring Out if You’ll Be a #Fit

Let’s do a quick test: In the past week, have you browsed a friend’s Instagram way past a respectable post date? Have you clicked so far into the depths of a website you’re reading that you don’t even know how you found the article you’re on? Do you sometimes look up from Facebook and not know how you got to the photo you’re looking at?

Thought so.

Don’t worry, these skills can actually come in handy in your professional life. (So, pat yourself on the back you professional development all-star!) Knowing how to accurately research a company can mean the difference between finding an organization that’s perfect for you and falling into one that’s completely wrong. And that means the difference between liking your new role and having to restart the whole job search process in six months.

But before you can begin stalking, you need to put your own thoughts in order. And to help you do that, we’ve created this free worksheet to organize your thoughts and the steps you should take:

– Open it up. (See, this will be easy!)

– Put the following words in order of importance to you and feel free to add (or remove) anything that’s missing: Transparency, competition, fairness, data-based, work-life balance, flexible hours, maternity leave, understanding for working parents, hard-working, inclusivity, diversity, self-improvement, self-starter, hard-working, innovative, first to market, access to leadership, integrity, discipline, fun, respect, collaboration, team player, accountability, stable, change, competitive salary, autonomy.

– Pop your top five to 10 into the grid and keep it handy as you follow the next steps for each company you’re considering.

OK, onto the stalking!

So, how does one do it effectively (and not creepily)? Here’s your ultimate guide to getting the inside scoop on a company before you make a mistake:

1. Check Their Career Page to Learn About Their Mission

A company’s website is probably the best place to get all the details that really matter (with a more-buttoned-up spin, of course). The best page to check out is the one that outlines their mission. While this might be a little buzzword-y, it will give you an idea of what they believe in and how they communicate that to the outside world.

If they’re a smaller company, they might also have a team page where you can “meet” all the employees (at a bigger company, you’re better off searching for your teammates on LinkedIn).

From here, you can ask yourself: Is there diversity? Do they seem fun? Silly? (I know, it’s just a photo, but sometimes a smile or goofy pose—or lack thereof—is worth a thousand words.) Do they have standard titles or more creative ones? While you don’t want to read too much into anything you see on these more polished pages, you should keep an eye out for trends that you’ve spotted during your other research.

2. Check Out Their Other Profiles Around the Internet to See if It’s Consistent

There are places like The MuseFairygodboss, or Jopwell that feature interviews, videos, and facts you might not have found on their official sites.

You’ll find things such as what certain employees do in their roles, what it’s like to work in certain departments, what the office (or offices) looks like, and any additional fun facts or bits of information that might tip you toward or away from applying.

3. Check Social Media to Get a Feel for a Company’s Personality

A company isn’t a human. But that doesn’t mean that it’s soul-less (or, I should say, that it should be).

Do a quick search on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn for their company profile. Some even have multiple you can browse—one for customers, one for customer service, one for clients, and one for careers or jobs.

Keep an eye out for the following:

Their Tone

Also known as how they express themselves and talk to or about their customers, clients, or employees

Their Content

What kinds of things do they tend to post? Company events or product launches? Outside work activities? Social initiatives?

Their Activity Level

Finally, how active are they? For example, if a social media marketing agency doesn’t update their Twitter ever, it’s fair to wonder if they stand behind everything they’re saying. Note: It’s OK if the organization doesn’t update! There are lots of companies in that boat who can’t prioritize it. But it’s good to note with the right context.

Check Company Reviews for the Truth

Now that you’ve gotten the PR-friendly, company-approved spin, you want to get a more honest and well-rounded perspective.

Employee reviews (like on Glassdoor or Indeed) are great for getting candid feedback from real employees. They’re also probably one of the few places online that highlight the negatives of the organization or role. Don’t ignore them, but try not to read too much into them.

It’s like any review on a hotel or restaurant. A few people may say the service at one establishment was a little slow, but if all you care about is the food quality that probably won’t stop you from going. Similarly, if a company review says some employees stay late a few times a week, that may not bother you if the work itself seems interesting.

In the end, it’s all about knowing what matters to you.

(And, if you’re worried about the reviews you’re seeing, you can read even more on this topic here.)

Check Out Google for Assorted News

Last but not least, plug the company’s name into Google to find any articles, news stories, or videos about them. This will help you learn their reputation from a less biased perspective. You might discover things that’ll impact your experience there. For example, if they’ve recently raised funding, reorganized teams, or merged with a competitor.

You’ll notice that I didn’t lay out too many red flags here. That’s because stalking a company online has a lot to do with listening to your instincts. If something seems off to you, that’s not something to ignore.

However, it shouldn’t deter you from applying or taking the job—especially because you can (and should) bring culture up in your interview. Your hiring manager may surprise you or reveal something you wouldn’t ever learn from the internet—the beauty of context!—and make you feel more confident about your decision.

Credit: themuse

#Ten #Words #Never, Ever To #Use To #Describe #Yourself

It is tough to describe yourself in words, and that’s why so many people don’t even try.

They brand themselves exactly the same everybody else does: “Results-oriented professional with a bottom-line orientation!” That idiotic descriptor has nothing to do with you.

You are a vibrant, unique person. You are much more than a “result-oriented professional” or a “motivated self-starter!”

Any drone could call themselves a “self-starter.” Why would you want to use done-to-death cliches to describe yourself when the English language is so full of rich, evocative words?

The best way to get across a bit of your heft and personality is to tell your story.  You can do it in the Summary at the top of your resume or in the Summary of your LinkedIn profile, or both — like this:

” I’ve been designing small-business websites for 15 years. These days I specialise in WordPress sites for speakers, authors and other creative types. My goal is to bring your unique voice and message across to everyone who wants to hear it.

Notice that our website designer doesn’t praise him- or herself. What person with normal self-esteem would ever praise themselves?

It doesn’t help you to sing your own praises, even though we’ve heard for years that we have to brag and boast in our branding.

It’s not true!

When you stoop to compliment yourself in your resume or your LinkedIn profile, you convey fear rather than confidence. The more confident you are, the less you need to rely on “praising adjectives” like savvystrategic or ground-breaking in your branding.

Here are ten words never, ever to use when describing yourself:

1. Innovative

2. Disruptive

3. Visionary

4. Senior-level

5. Game-changing

6. Smart

7. Strategic

8. Savvy

9. Talented

10. Well-rounded

What do these ten “praising adjectives” have in common? They are all descriptors that are not yours to use — not when describing yourself, anyway! They are all things that we get to say about other people, but not about ourselves.

Innovation, intelligence and the other qualities we’ve been taught to brag about are all in the eye of the beholder.

The minute you say in your LinkedIn profile “I am smart” the rest of the world collectively says “I doubt it” because the smarter you are, the less you need to talk about it.

Your accomplishments speak for themselves!

Use your LinkedIn profile and your resume to tell your story —simply, humbly and in your own words. The smarter, savvier and more strategic your reader is, the more easily they will spot your brilliance and all your other amazing qualities.

If they can’t see your talents on their own, there is no way for you to help them — no matter how many “praising adjectives” you heap on the pile!

Take a stab at re-writing your LinkedIn profile and/or your resume, replacing jargon-y phrases (like “Skilled at leading cross-functional teams”) with human speech. Get rid of any “praising adjectives” currently stealing power from your profile.

You’ll feel lighter and stronger when you do!

How #Smart #People Handle #Difficult People

Some are blissfully unaware of the negative impact that they have on those around them, and others seem to derive satisfaction from creating chaos and pushing other people’s buttons. Either way, they create unnecessary complexity, strife, and worst of all stress.

Studies have long shown that stress can have a lasting, negative impact on the brain. Exposure to even a few days of stress compromises the effectiveness of neurons in the hippocampus—an important brain area responsible for reasoning and memory. Weeks of stress cause reversible damage to neuronal dendrites (the small “arms” that brain cells use to communicate with each other), and months of stress can permanently destroy neurons. Stress is a formidable threat to your success—when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer.

Most sources of stress at work are easy to identify. If your non-profit is working to land a grant that your organisation needs to function, you’re bound to feel stress and likely know how to manage it. It’s the unexpected sources of stress that take you by surprise and harm you the most.

Recent research from the Department of Biological and Clinical Psychology at Friedrich Schiller University in Germany found that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions—the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with difficult people—caused subjects’ brains to have a massive stress response. Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, difficult people drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs.

The ability to manage your emotions and remain calm under pressure has a direct link to your performance. TalentSmart has conducted research with more than a million people, and we’ve found that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. One of their greatest gifts is the ability to neutralise difficult people. Top performers have well-honed coping strategies that they employ to keep difficult people at bay.

While I’ve run across numerous effective strategies that smart people employ when dealing with difficult people, what follows are some of the best.

To deal with difficult people effectively, you need an approach that enables you, across the board, to control what you can and eliminate what you can’t.

‘The important thing to remember is that you are in control of far more than you realise.’

They Set Limits

Complainers and negative people are bad news because they wallow in their problems and fail to focus on solutions. They want people to join their pity party so that they can feel better about themselves. People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude, but there’s a fine line between lending a sympathetic ear and getting sucked into their negative emotional spiral.

You can avoid this only by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Think of it this way: if the complainer were smoking, would you sit there all afternoon inhaling the second-hand smoke? You’d distance yourself, and you should do the same with complainers.

‘A great way to set limits is to ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.’

They Rise Above

Difficult people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. Make no mistake about it; their behavior truly goes against reason. So why do you allow yourself to respond to them emotionally and get sucked into the mix? The more irrational and off-base someone is, the easier it should be for you to remove yourself from their traps.

‘Quit trying to beat them at their own game. Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink, if you prefer the analogy). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos—only the facts.’

They Stay Aware Of Their Emotions

Maintaining an emotional distance requires awareness. You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons if you don’t recognise when it’s happening. Sometimes you’ll find yourself in situations where you’ll need to regroup and choose the best way forward. This is fine and you shouldn’t be afraid to buy yourself some time to do so.

‘Think of it this way—if a mentally unstable person approaches you on the street and tells you he’s John F. Kennedy, you’re unlikely to set him straight. When you find yourself with a coworker who is engaged in similarly derailed thinking, sometimes it’s best to just smile and nod.’

If you’re going to have to straighten them out, it’s better to give yourself some time to plan the best way to go about it.

They Establish Boundaries

This is the area where most people tend to sell themselves short. They feel like because they work or live with someone, they have no way to control the chaos. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Once you’ve found your way to rise above a person, you’ll begin to find their behavior more predictable and easier to understand. This will equip you to think rationally about when and where you have to put up with them and when you don’t. For example, even if you work with someone closely on a project team, that doesn’t mean that you need to have the same level of one-on-one interaction with them that you have with other team members.

You can establish a boundary, but you’ll have to do so consciously and proactively. If you let things happen naturally, you are bound to find yourself constantly embroiled in difficult conversations. If you set boundaries and decide when and where you’ll engage a difficult person, you can control much of the chaos. The only trick is to stick to your guns and keep boundaries in place when the person tries to encroach upon them, which they will.

They Don’t Die In The Fight

Smart people know how important it is to live to fight another day, especially when your foe is a toxic individual. In conflict, unchecked emotion makes you dig your heels in and fight the kind of battle that can leave you severely damaged. When you read and respond to your emotions, you’re able to choose your battles wisely and only stand your ground when the time is right.

They Don’t Focus On Problems—Only Solutions

Where you focus your attention determines your emotional state. When you fixate on the problems you’re facing, you create and prolong negative emotions and stress. When you focus on actions to better yourself and your circumstances, you create a sense of personal efficacy that produces positive emotions and reduces stress.

When it comes to toxic people, fixating on how crazy and difficult they are gives them power over you. Quit thinking about how troubling your difficult person is, and focus instead on how you’re going to go about handling them. This makes you more effective by putting you in control, and it will reduce the amount of stress you experience when interacting with them.

They Don’t Forget

Emotionally intelligent people are quick to forgive, but that doesn’t mean that they forget. Forgiveness requires letting go of what’s happened so that you can move on. It doesn’t mean you’ll give a wrongdoer another chance. Smart people are unwilling to be bogged down unnecessarily by others’ mistakes, so they let them go quickly and are assertive in protecting themselves from future harm.

They Squash Negative Self-talk

Sometimes you absorb the negativity of other people. There’s nothing wrong with feeling bad about how someone is treating you, but your self-talk (the thoughts you have about your feelings) can either intensify the negativity or help you move past it. Negative self-talk is unrealistic, unnecessary, and self-defeating. It sends you into a downward emotional spiral that is difficult to pull out of.

‘You should avoid negative self-talk at all costs.’

They Get Some Sleep

I’ve beaten this one to death over the years and can’t say enough about the importance of sleep to increasing your emotional intelligence and managing your stress levels. When you sleep, your brain literally recharges, so that you wake up alert and clear-headed. Your self-control, attention, and memory are all reduced when you don’t get enough—or the right kind—of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises stress hormone levels on its own, even without a stressor present. A good night’s sleep makes you more positive, creative, and proactive in your approach to toxic people, giving you the perspective you need to deal effectively with them.

They Use Their Support System

‘It’s tempting, yet entirely ineffective, to attempt tackling everything by yourself.’

To deal with toxic people, you need to recognise the weaknesses in your approach to them. This means tapping into your support system to gain perspective on a challenging person. Everyone has someone at work and/or outside work who is on their team, rooting for them, and ready to help them get the best from a difficult situation. Identify these individuals in your life and make an effort to seek their insight and assistance when you need it. Something as simple as explaining the situation can lead to a new perspective. Most of the time, other people can see a solution that you can’t because they are not as emotionally invested in the situation.

Bringing It All Together

Before you get this system to work brilliantly, you’re going to have to pass some tests. Most of the time, you will find yourself tested by touchy interactions with problem people. Thankfully, the plasticity of the brain allows it to mold and change as you practice new behaviors, even when you fail. Implementing these healthy, stress-relieving techniques for dealing with difficult people will train your brain to handle stress more effectively and decrease the likelihood of ill effects.

I Don’t Like My Job. Does Quitting Mean I’m Not Mentally Strong Enough to Hack It?

Staying in a toxic environment won’t automatically make you strong.

Every week, at least one person asks me what quitting their job says about their mental strength. Many people worry that quitting a job they don’t like serves as tangible evidence they lack mental muscle.

While one person will say, “I feel like I should be mentally strong enough to deal with my job instead of quitting,” others insist, “I just don’t have the mental strength to last another day.”

But every once in a while, I hear from someone who perceives quitting as a sign of strength.

Just the other day, I received an email that read, “I finally found the mental strength to quit my job. I’d been miserable for years but I didn’t have the courage to leave.”

So which is it? Does quitting a job you don’t like mean you’re mentally strong? Or, is real strength found in the ability to thrive in a tough work environment? Well, it depends on your attitude.

The Environment Plays a Role in Your Mental Strength

If you wanted to be physically strong, working in a gym would likely inspire you to build muscle. Being surrounded by people lifting weights all day, may motivate you to get fitter. And if the gym offered access to personal trainers and opportunities to use the equipment whenever you wanted, you’d probably find it easy to build muscle.

If, however, you worked 14 hour days in an office setting, it would be tougher to get buff. It’d be especially tough if the workplace cafeteria only served junk food and the boss expected you to do hours of work from home each night. The workaholic mentality would lead to fewer opportunities to lift weights and you’d probably find it much harder to get physically strong in that environment, compared to a job working in a gym.

Well, mental strength is much like physical strength. The environment plays a huge role in your ability to build mental muscle.

Working in an unhealthy environment will drain your mental strength. Studies show working for a toxic boss increases the likelihood that you’ll grow clinically depressed. And if you’re surrounded by rude co-workers, research shows their behavior will wreak havoc on your productivity.

So it’s important to consider, does the job you have now support your efforts to build mental strength? Or, does the workplace–and the people in it–make it much more difficult to be your best?

Remind Yourself Quitting Is a Choice

If you quit your job with the mentality that you couldn’t hack it, you’ll struggle to reach your greatest potential. You might take a new job that’s beneath your skills either because you think it’s all you deserve or because you hope to find some success to boost your confidence.

If you really feel you can’t stand your job, prove to yourself that you could stand if you wanted to. Work one day longer than you think can, and you’ll see that you’re able to tolerate feeling uncomfortable more than you give yourself credit for.

Just make sure you aren’t working to prove something to someone else. Thinking, “I’ll show my boss I was cut out for this,” is about acting tough, not being strong. When you walk away knowing, “I could do hack this job if I wanted, but I don’t want to,” you’ll reassure yourself you’re still strong.

There’s a lot of power in saying, “I’m quitting my job because it doesn’t suit my needs,” as opposed to thinking, “I can’t stand to be here for one more second.” Acknowledge your choices and step away in a manner that will empower you to become better.

Quit to Better Your Life

If you are committed to building the best life you can, quitting may open the door to a better opportunity. Whether you seek more flexibility in your schedule or you want a more positive work environment, stepping into a healthier situation could promote your growth.

A new position may also be more in line with your values. A job that pays less money but allows for more time with your family, for example, may give you a better sense of meaning and purpose. And a sense of purpose is key to being mentally strong.

Turn Quitting Into an Opportunity to Build Mental Strength

Staying in a job you hate may say more about your mental strength than quitting does. Is your self-worth dependent on how much money you make? Are you afraid of change? Have you convinced yourself you can’t possibly be successful doing something else?

Of course, some people have practical reasons for sticking it out. Feeding a family or paying off a huge burden of debt may be the payoff. And sometimes, working a job you don’t like for a short duration makes sense.

Quitting every job because you think the grass is greener on the other side also won’t make you mentally strong. There’s no such thing as a perfect job and working hard to overcome workplace challenges could help you build muscle.

But, don’t be fool yourself into thinking that quitting a job you hate means you’re weak. Although many internet memes will tell you that you should never quit, mentally strong people know when to walk away. They recognize when a situation isn’t productive and they’re willing to move on.

10 #golden #rules to #follow for #success in your #career

There are hundreds of skills available and many alternate paths to success depending on the career you choose and the approach that works best for you. However, there is a common trait that defines successful professionals. Irrespective of backgrounds, domains or circumstances they cultivated a few good habits that they followed daily. This defined their personality and created their success. Simple routines repeated daily have a compounding effect over time and get you results you desire.

Limited willpower

You do not have infinite will power or unlimited mental energy. Too many decisions in a short time can reduce your decision-making ability. Consider Steve Jobs who would wear a black turtleneck and blue jeans daily, thus freeing up cognitive energy for important stuff. Make small positive choices and continue for a month to have them show up in your behaviour and become habits. Multiple successful habits contribute more to success than accomplishing any single big task.

Be coachable

Knowledge and skills are tools that earn you an income and help you achieve career goals. Hence make it a priority to constantly expand your knowledge. To do so, first become coachable. Train yourself to not react in the face of criticism and to learn from every person you meet. Develop the habit of daily reading. Get yourself a mentor. Seize every opportunity to train on new skills. Benchmark every day against your previous self and aim to be slightly better each time.

Increase your energy

Any student of physics will tell you that energy gets work done. Hence the more energy you have, the more you get done. Increase energy levels by eating right and exercising regularly. Maximise your emotional energy by investing in family, friends and a hobby or two. Meanwhile your coachability takes care of learning and mental energy levels.

Acquire this insurance policy

Attitude is the insurance policy that gets you promoted and retained. Know that if you are a star sales person you can afford to throw a few tantrums, treat others poorly and get away with it for some time till the company has a critical need for you. You will be cast aside when the tide turns and someone else with a fantastic attitude will continue to rise.

Find purpose in a marshmallow

Seeking happiness or joy is overrated. The Stanford Marshmallow experiment proved that people who delay gratification—let go of an immediate joy or small rewards in favour of a larger reward in the future—achieve better life outcomes. It is possible to choose delayed gratification without much effort only when you have a larger purpose or meaning in your career. Create a purpose bigger than your income and it will give you the sense of urgency to progress faster.


Work on your communication with others. It doesn’t matter if you are an introvert or an extrovert. Ask questions when you do not understand something. Thank your manager for his guidance. Sell your output and yourself to your employer. Listen without judgment when someone is trying to communicate. Stay silent when you need to absorb.

Keep your buckets separate

Your life is multi-dimensional but to succeed you need to live in the moment. Keep family and work buckets separate. Don’t carry your frustrations from one to another. Similarly, distinguish between friends and colleagues and treat them differently. Do not do personal work during office time. Take ownership of your role without confusing it with individual tasks. Buckets that leak into each other lead to poor choices and outcomes.

Work right

So you have decided to work hard. Have you thought about when and where you will work hard? Look for the right openings for constant learning and growth and put your efforts to work in the right place and time when the opportunity arises.

Reach 15 min early

Practice reaching work or a meeting 15 minutes early. Not only does the extra time come handy in contingencies but also the magical 15 minutes before a commitment gets you in the right frame of mind, conveys a fabulous impression and multiplies the possibilities of chance encounters and openings that are not available to others.

Fulfil your first responsibility

You are your first responsibility. Hence prioritise your needs of visualising your future, choosing values and principles that align to that future and figuring out who you need to be to get there. Now define the actions you are going to take and convert them into habits. Once you take responsibility for helping yourself first, you are available for your own success and for others.

5 Things to #Keep in #Mind When #Working on Your #LinkedIn #Profile

Many professionals view LinkedIn as the best way to meet other professionals and an important part of any job search. Given that networking is so critical to professional success, it’s vital you ensure your LinkedIn presence is accurate and engaging.

However, when I review my clients’ profiles, I am often surprised by what I find.

Here are five things to keep in mind the next time you’re tweaking your LinkedIn profile:

1. LinkedIn Is Not Like Other Social Media Platforms

You need to distinguish LinkedIn from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. LinkedIn is a professional networking site, whereas most other platforms are more recreational. Treat LinkedIn as a way to enhance your career, rather than a way to enhance your social encounters with friends. Keep it professional. This isn’t a place to put pictures of your kids or family.

2. Your Profile Picture Should Not Be Your Most Recent Selfie

Did you know LinkedIn profiles with photos get 21 times more profile views and 36 times more messages than those without?

Choose your photo wisely. An unprofessional photo can damage your credibility. Again, keep photos your family (no matter how cute!) on Facebook. Use a professional headshot, if available. At the very least, find the most professional-looking photo of yourself that you have. Have a friend take a picture of you, if need be. Make sure it’s from the shoulders up so the viewer has a clear view of your face. No panoramic pics, please!

3. Don’t Leave Your Profile Unfinished

If it’s important enough to use LinkedIn, it’s important enough to do it right. You don’t want to give people the impression that you don’t finish what you start. Nothing tells a person you’re not totally committed like having an incomplete LinkedIn profile.

If someone sees your profile is incomplete, they will be hesitant to reach out to you. They’ll wonder if you’re even active on the platform! Make sure ever section is filled in. Is your headline complete? Do you have a strong career summary at the top? Do you have more than just your employers’ names and job titles in the experience section?

Talk about your accomplishments. Add numbers where possible. Sprinkle keywords throughout your profile. Fill out the accomplishments section. Add your organizations and certifications. Attach presentations, publications, webinars, videos, or anything else you’re proud of. There is so much you can do with your profile. Use it!

4. Don’t Exaggerate or Oversell Yourself

It is never a good idea to exaggerate your skills or expertise — or worse yet, lie about your experience. You will be found out eventually, and it will tarnish your reputation heavily. Always be honest. It will benefit you in the long term.

5. Be a Well-Rounded Person on Paper

Hiring managers can learn a lot about someone by looking at their outside interests and activities. So, be sure to include in your profile some information about your hobbies and passions.

LinkedIn is a professional social networking site, but no one is a professional every minute of every day. Include information about your volunteer projects, what you do for fun, and anything else you deem appropriate. Demonstrating you have a life outside of work is just as important as demonstrating your professional expertise.

Erin Kennedy, MCD, CMRW, CPRW, CERW, CEMC, is a certified professional resume writer, career consultant, and the president of Professional Resume Services.

CREDIT: recruiter

Why Now is the #Time to #Innovate Your #Career


We read a lot about innovation in the current workplace. From AI to machine learning to aging workforces; right through to the disruption caused by having up to 5 generations in the current work environment. So disruption is rife, it is all around us, it isn’t going anywhere.

For this reason, it is now time to disrupt your career.

What is career innovation?

Career innovation occurs when you stop looking at your career in the traditional way and start to consider moving to a career more suited to your future self. This may include small steps, such as looking at the way you are developing the knowledge needed for your future. Or it may be a larger change (normally considered a disruption), such as looking at completely redefining your career, the way you work and the way you want to work.


When we look at what is driving disruption in the workforce, it is innovation. We cannot deny that there is a great deal of change to the way we work, are expected to work and access work. Innovation is occurring around us constantly, and the future world of work is going to require us to be constantly innovating the way we actually perform our roles. It is for this reason we also need to be looking at innovating the way we manage our careers.

Whatever the level of innovation that is right for you, without considering how you should be innovating your career, you may be at risk of being less relevant.

What are the steps to innovation?

The first step to doing this is most likely going to be the longest step. This is the stage where you need to take stock of where you are at in your career, the skills that you have developed, where these skills will take you and if this is where you want to go. There are a number of things to do here:

  1. Challenge yourself daily – Developing yourself each day is really important if you want to innovate. Set yourself a new challenge each day that can help you to develop new networks, new skills and a greater level of awareness around your abilities and capabilities.
  2. Think differently – Innovators don’t always recreate, they spend a lot of time simply reinventing. Don’t believe that your career has to go the same way as it has been, start to think differently about your career. What can you do to make your career more fulfilling? What can you try to change that might allow you to learn different skills, experience different working environments or understand different perspectives?
  3. Forget the career ladder – The changing world of work is doing a really good job eliminating the career ladder. This might mean that your expected next role becomes redundant before you even get to apply for it! For this reason, thinking differently about whether your career change is about climbing the career ladder or moving sideways could actually be a positive career move.
  4. Think broadly – Think about how you can bring in to your career all aspects of your life. We are not talking necessarily about finding your passion and turning this into a job. More specifically, it is about what are the enjoyable aspects of your life that you feel, if duplicated in your work environment, could make your career more fulfilling for you.
  5. Think experiences not just skills and job titles – Success comes differently to all of us, but just focusing on skills and job titles you will not be able to achieve a fulfilling career necessarily. Thinking broadly about the experiences that you have as you grow your career and what type of experience you can have to achieve success will greatly enhance your attitude to work, as well as your employability and levels of work satisfaction.

Innovation is not about disruption or recreation. It is about taking little steps to help you ensure that you are still managing your career, undertaking a career you enjoy, and developing the skills that will make you relevant for the future. Careers of the future will be less focused on the title that you held, and more on the broad capabilities that you bring and the interest that you have in what you are doing.

By consistently innovating your career you will not only be supporting your future but also enjoying what you do for your career.

3 #Interview #Mistakes That #Cost You #Job #Offers

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From submitting your resume to scheduling interviews and accepting a job offer, the hiring process can take weeks or months.

But it only takes employers a few seconds to rule you out during a job interview.

After working with hundreds of job seekers as a recruiter, I’ve been able to identify three common interview mistakes that are probably costing you job offers. Check them out below, along with advice on how to fix them.

Mistake No. 1: You Don’t Ask Good Questions

Employers want to hire candidates who are selective in their job searches — people who know what they want. The more desperate you seem, the less they’ll want you. Seeming like you don’t care what job you get is one of the fastest ways to lose an employer’s interest.

To present yourself as an engaged and discerning candidate, ask lots of great questions to determine if the job is truly a good fit for you. You don’t even have to wait until the end of the interview. In fact, it’s better to mix questions into the conversation whenever possible. For example, you can end a few of your interview answers with a question pointed back at the interviewer.

Let’s say the interviewer asks, “Why should we hire you for this position?”

You might reply, “I read the job description and saw it mentions a lot of data analysis and reporting. That’s my biggest strength, and I’ve helped my current employer set up our current data reporting system. Am I right in assuming this is a big need of yours? And if so, can you tell me more about the problems you’re facing?”

With an answer like this, you position yourself as an expert, show the interviewer you did your research before coming in, and turn the interview into a back-and-forth conversation. This is one of the best ways to stand out in the interview. You always want to be memorable, and you can do that by signaling to employers that you’re more confident, more skilled, and a better candidate than the people competing against you.

Mistake No. 2: You Research the Company/Job Just Enough to Get By

You can’t change your skill set overnight, and you’re not going to be the perfect fit for every job you interview for. That’s okay.

However, you do have complete control over how much you prepare for an interview. This is 100 percent effort — no talent required.

Ask yourself: “Am I going in with the goal of knowing just enough about the company to get by without making  any big mistakes in the interview, or am I researching with the goal of knowing more about the company than anyone else in the running?”

Your answer to this question is going to determine the quality of job you get — and how soon you get it.

Interviewers can tell when you’ve done your research, and it makes them want to hire you — even if you’re not a perfect fit on paper. I’ve seen hiring managers create new positions for candidates because of how much they liked their personalities and soft skills! You never know what will happen if you put as much effort into preparing as possible.

I’d recommend going in ready to ask a question related to a recent news story about the company. Search the company’s name on Google News to surface some solid sources. You should also know who the company’s top 2-3 competitors are, what the company sells/how it makes money, when and why the company was founded, and anything else you can find on its website.

Mistake No. 3: You Try to Decide Whether You Want the Job Midway Through the Interview

If you want to get hired, you should have one goal in any interview: Sell yourself and get invited to continue in the process. The problem is most job seekers start trying to decide if they’re interested in the position while still in the interview.

Now, the interview is a two-way conversation. It is an opportunity to ask questions and gather information for yourself so you can decide whether the role is right for you. However, you should wait until you’re back in the comfort of your home to start trying to make that decision.

Often, when a job seeker hears something they don’t like in an interview — such as a longer-than-expected workday — they’ll stop trying to impress the employer right then and there. However, the job seeker might hear something else that excites them later in the interview — but by then it is too late. The hiring manager has already detected the lack of enthusiasm, and they’re made the choice to pass on you.

Use the interview to gather facts and ask questions, but take it all home and decide whether you’re interested later. The bottom line is it’s much better to get invited to continue interviewing for a job you’re not interested in than to lose out on a job you want because you were distracted in the interview.

If you follow these three tips, you’ll set yourself apart from the competition and start receiving more job offers from top employers.

What you #need to know about #background #checks for your next #job

Let’s get right to the facts about this one.

You should expect an employment background check on the path to your next job. Conservative estimates show nearly three quarters of all employers perform some sort of background check on every new hire. While mandated by law in some cases, clearing a background check is a necessary condition for the great majority of new hires. The number one concern for employers is workplace safety.

For precisely that reason, employment background checks include multiple dimensions and draw from several sources of information. Employers use background checks to determine the risk a candidate represents regarding occupational safety, criminal behavior (e.g., theft, violence, bribery), and creating hostile working conditions.

The specifics of what an employment background check includes differ according to the role, organization, or industry. Almost one half of candidates say they are unsure of what employers are investigating during an employment background check. Between 30 and 50 percent include reviewing a candidate’s credit history.

Though estimates vary, at least nine percent (.pdf) of all employment background checks reveal derogatory information about a candidate. Our research shows that one-third of all jobseekers are concerned that information in their background will interfere with getting hired.

Yet for many good candidates, an instance of background blight on its own is not enough to disqualify. But it does involve an additional set of conversations between the candidate and employer to determine whether past mistakes are relevant to the current job and future performance.

Some basics of employment background checks

Employment background checks are often conducted by third-party vendors. Therefore, jobseekers should become aware of their rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which governs such transactions.

As mentioned earlier, background checks investigate several areas of a candidate’s history. Because workplace safety is paramount, nearly every candidate is investigated for criminal history. For most candidates, a background check will also include confirming identity, employment history, education, and professional credentials.

For some roles, ongoing illegal drug use is a focus, and may require a pre-employment drug test. Other roles will look at DMV records and driving history. Less common are medical history and Workers’ Compensation claims.

Some candidates can expect more rigorous background checks. Positions of high trust will necessitate additional scrutiny, especially handling valuable assets or offsite work on another’s property. The same applies to positions that involve driving, operating tools or machinery, or handling hazardous materials.

Senior managers, especially those with fiduciary responsibilities, can expect scrutiny of their financial history, as can anyone in a position to bribe or be bribed. And candidates being hired for roles that expose them to confidential or secure information, including trade secrets and intellectual property assets, will also be investigated thoroughly.

The three things to sweat

  1. What you say about yourself not matching what the employer finds in your background check report

One rule of thumb for clearing a background check is whether “candidates are who they say they are.” Employers can make a case for hiring a candidate who has been upfront about a prior lapse of judgment. But employers cannot do so with candidates found having a current lapse of judgment in representing themselves truthfully. The most common areas that candidates falsify are education, professional credentials, and employment history. When discovered, it is an immediate deal breaker, even if you’re the CEO.

If in doubt, contact the applicable keeper of records. It is very easy for employers to do, and likewise for job candidates wanting to verify their past accomplishments.

  1. False, inaccurate, or misleading information appearing in your background check

As much as you’ve been truthful about yourself, you can’t necessarily expect the system to vouch for you. Background checks can and do contain wrong information, which can cost jobseekers dearly.

Data brokering is a sketchy and unregulated business, operating in a legal grey area and increasingly outside of U.S. jurisdiction. Even post-GDPR, custodians of your background data have neither the resources nor the incentives to maintain its integrity. That includes reporting bureaus with whom employers contract for background checks, and especially the sources from which they scrape your background data.

It is a good idea for all jobseekers to do as much detective work on themselves as possible. Start by ordering a free credit report. Always request a copy of an employer background check report if your state allows it. Do what you can to obtain DMV and court records, along with any prior background check reports. Consider using a paid service if any doubts linger.

  1. Derogatory background information bringing about the end of the conversation

If your background contains a criminal conviction, it does not necessarily mean an automatic disqualification.

Most employers treat discovery of derogatory background information on a case-by-case basis. As a rule, it is handled very conscientiously and discreetly, and only among need-to-know persons, typically the recruiter or an HR representative and the legal department. Together they review the facts and determine how best to proceed to ensure fairness and regulatory compliance, yet maintain workplace safety.

When should a candidate with derogatory background information discuss it with an employer? 

Experts advise one of two courses. If it relates to something fundamental about performing the job (e.g., a candidate for a driving job having a DUI conviction), then it needs to be discussed early in the process. That allows both the candidate and the recruiter to determine whether there is a workaround. If on the other hand, it is not directly relevant to performing the job, then it should be brought up later, at the point when it is clear to the candidate that a job offer is probable.

In either case, the candidate needs to demonstrate that as an exit of the criminal justice system, the past has been resolved, present obligations are being satisfied, and the future represents no greater risk to the employer than any other candidate. It also provides the candidate with a unique opportunity to apply the tried and true CAR technique to demonstrate his or her value, in an extraordinarily vivid and impressive way.

The bottom line

Background checks are often complicated. Employers must follow numerous regulations and procedures, which are subject to frequent change. Therefore, employers are typically advised against having a blanket background check policy.

For jobseekers, it is worthwhile to find out what employers see. Anything you can do to make things easier for the employer is mutually beneficial. Show that you are low risk, and use your experiences to demonstrate your value just like any other top candidate. And always be truthful, no matter what’s in your background.