CAREEREALISM Career Advice & Job Search Magazine Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:45:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This is weekly program whether career expert J.T. O'Donnell reviews skills and techniques needed to succeed in your career. She also answers question live from our views. Tune in Tuesdays at 1pm ET on to join our weekly Career Q&A! CAREEREALISM clean CAREEREALISM (CAREEREALISM) Career Q&A with J.T. O'Donnell CAREEREALISM 5 Tips For Acing Your First Few Weeks At A New Job Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:45:18 +0000 Everyone knows that first impressions are important. This is especially true at a new job. Here are some tips for acing your first few weeks at a new job.

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Everyone knows that first impressions are important. This is especially true at a new job where you’re meeting so many people for the first time, and most important of all, your new boss.

Related: How To Stand Out At A New Job (And Fit In Too)

Because this is such a pivotal moment, and so many recent college graduates are now meeting their new bosses for the first time this summer, the LifeGuides team wanted to share a few expert tips.

1. Don’t get in the way

New employees tend to be so overwhelmed that they ask too many questions of their boss and don’t understand when they’re starting to be a drain on team productivity. You need to be clear about what you need to accomplish. But, if a question can be answered by a google search, you shouldn’t bug your boss or other teammates about it. Here’s a good rule of thumb, if you can’t solve a problem in 5 minutes of searching for an answer, it’s a good idea to ask a colleague. Otherwise, they’ll start to think you value your own time way more than theirs.

2. Don’t let stress get to you

You’re going to screw up many times in the next few weeks and months. It may be something as small as jamming the printer, or as large as getting the numbers wrong in a client analysis. Whatever it is, don’t stress! The printer is jammed – don’t get frustrated, get help. Screw up the analysis – it happens. But, if stress starts to dominate your work persona, you’ll continue to make mistakes and hurt your relationship with co-workers (no one likes sources of stress in the office).

3. Show you can learn

Again, you’re going to screw up. Bad luck or a moment of aloofness will eventually catch up to you. The important thing is to learn what happened, admit responsibility, and learn from this mistake. Showing your boss that you learned will go a long way in establishing trust, and building your skills.

4. Stay mission-driven

Your team has clear goals that your boss and colleagues are focused on. Whether it’s a sales goal, a new product that needs to be launched, or improving another aspect of your company’s position, you need to be very cognizant of the goals and your role in helping achieve them. Make it clear that you’re putting these goals in front of your own desire to be promoted, or learn new skills. This selflessness will be recognized, and give you freedom down the line to pursue your own interests.

5. Be creative

Many of your colleagues, especially ones who have been in the organization for a while, will be doing their jobs, and probably doing them well. As a new employee you have a unique perspective as to what improvements could be made to the team’s work. And, you may even have a very different background than many of your colleagues from your education, or just by being a younger person.

Don’t get carried away with overhauling how the company runs in the first few weeks. But, be on the lookout for ways to improve processes. Bring up your ideas in a casual setting, and if your boss is interested, ask for a time when you can layout a thoughtful plan that would have meaningful impact on the business.

These tips are all straightforward. But, believe us, it’s hard to stay focused and keep these top of mind when the distractions of the workplace are floating around in your head. If you want to learn more, check out our guide on dealing with your first boss by award wining author Anita Bruzzese.

This is a guest post.

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5 Tips To Prepare For Peak Hiring Season Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:36:48 +0000 If your job search is as uneventful as your summer television lineup, here are some tips to prepare for the peak hiring season and still enjoy Labor Day.

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It’s no secret that the pulse of business activity slows during the summer season, making it the ideal time for workers to tackle back-burner projects and take advantage of much-needed vacation time. For active job seekers, however, the dog days of summer can be a difficult and frustrating time. Rejection is hard enough when you’re not sweating through a full suit in 100-degree weather.

Related: The 4 New Rules Of Recruiting

Because of staggered vacation schedules and the general slow pace of summer, the elapsed time between scheduling interviews and decision-making can seem like an eternity to the eager job seeker. In fact, the most recent report on job trends from the Bureau of Labor Statistics accounted for 741,000 discouraged American workers in July. The BLS defines ‘discouraged workers’ as people who are unemployed but not actively looking for work because they believe there are no jobs available for them.

If you are one of the discouraged workers out there, or if you’re just itching for a new job, here is some good news: in a few days Labor Day will mark the unofficial end of summer, which means a traditional boost in hiring is just around the corner. Hiring managers and gatekeepers alike are returning from vacation refreshed, rejuvenated and motivated for a productive fourth quarter.

5 Tips To Prepare For Peak Hiring Season

So, if your job search is as uneventful as your summer television lineup, here are some tips to prepare for the peak hiring season and still enjoy Labor Day:

1. Network

Because of the slower pace, those people you have been trying to network with are much more likely to accept your invitation for coffee or lunch. In your free time, explore local meetup groups and potentially make meaningful connections with others in your area. If you go to a Labor Day cookout, talk to as many people as you can, and keep in mind: 80 percent of jobs are obtained by a referral.

2. Consider working with a staffing agency

Recruiters have special insight into recruiting trends and job opportunities with companies in your town, many of which will be ramping up their hiring in the fourth quarter. Retail companies, for example, experience a significant surge in hiring as they prepare for the holiday season. At the very least, a recruiter can find temporary employment to help get you back on your feet until the right full-time opportunity comes along.

3. Prepare a marketing strategy

Personal branding is a requirement for remaining relevant throughout your career.  Once you’ve cultivated a personal brand that represents your value to a desired employer, be strategic and thoughtful about how you market your brand. Your assets include your resume, cover letter, portfolio, LinkedIn and other social media profiles. Think carefully about the message these materials convey to your target market.

4. Polish your appearance

The end of summer means the end of the relaxed dress code. Kids are buying back-to-school pencils and trapper keepers, so why not buy a few new pieces for your back-to-work wardrobe? As superficial as it may sound – it is a common that professional attire has a direct correlation to self-confidence.

5. And finally, relax

Job searching is a full-time job, so enjoy the Labor Day holiday and don’t feel guilty about being out of work. When the weekend is over, you’ll feel energized to make big moves.

Not quite ready to say goodbye to the slow pace of summer? Adecco Staffing, USA understands, which is why they are giving away ten unbelievable prizes from August 18-29 as part of their “Un-End the Summer” campaign. To enter, head over to Adecco Staffing, USA’s Facebook page.  Click on the “Un-End the Summer” tab to participate, and you could win a GoPro HERO3+, Weber Spirit gas grill, Beats by Dre Beatbox Portable, a $1,500 airline gift card and more. Adecco will give away one prize per day to a lucky, random winner.

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3 Ways To Include Testimonials On Your Resume Wed, 20 Aug 2014 06:24:10 +0000 The resume is written to market a job candidate’s capabilities. Want to make a greater impact? Here are three ways to include testimonials on your resume.

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We all know that the resume is written to market a job candidate’s capabilities – it’s a self-promotional piece. So how much credibility does the document actually lend? Who’s to say what’s factual and what’s hype?

Related: 5 Tips For Formatting Your Resume For Easy Reading

At the initial stages of resume review, employers simply have to take the job candidate’s word for it. They may base it on the candidate’s ability to demonstrate accomplishments and successes on the job as well as the inclusion of quantifiable and qualified results. But for resumes that are really looking to have impact and win employers over for a phone call back, they will also include testimonials.

By adding testimonials, a candidate has third party support backing up the information on the resume. It’s similar to the process employers will take later in the interview process to speak with referrals to confirm a candidate’s experiences and capabilities are what they say they are.

3 Ways To Include Testimonials On Your Resume

There are different ways to include testimonials on your resume for greater impact:

1. Add A Testimonials Section

Similar to how a resume may have a section for Profile Summary, Work Experience, and Education, add a Testimonials section for a bullet point list of 2-3 testimonials to support the case that you are the best candidate for the job.

2. Incorporate Into Your Work Experience

Under the section for Work Experience where detail is provided to indicate successes and accomplishments on the job with each employer, add a testimonial from a supervisor or client in italics and offset it from the general summary by centering the quote. Appropriate testimonials of this kind may be found in performance reviews, reference letters, thank you notices via email or informal notes, and recommendations from LinkedIn.

3. Include It As A Filler To Other Appropriate Sections

Testimonials can enhance a resume when it’s included in a suitable section to what subject matter is discussed. For instance, if the testimonial is about a candidate’s web design skills, it may make sense to include it to the section detailing technical capabilities.

It’s important to remember to treat testimonials like references. Don’t throw out 10 testimonials on the resume. Most employers may only ask for 2-3 references, so apply that same rule for testimonials on the resume. You should also stick to using only what is relevant. It serves little purpose to include a testimonial that speaks of event planning skills when the job applied for is for work in the area of nursing.

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Don Goodman

About the author

Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013 & 2014. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109  for more information.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

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4 Reasons To Love The Boss You Hate Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:45:01 +0000 Here are four reasons you should love that boss you hate. It can be a great learning experience if you approach it with the right attitude.

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I’m not a big fan of the word “hate” but let me be honest: I’ve definitely felt some very, VERY strong negativity toward a few of my superiors in the past. Hey, I’m only human. This is probably one of the most common challenges I hear from professionals.

Related: 5 Conversations You Must Have With A New Boss

Working for someone you don’t like is the absolute worst. And yet, it can be a great learning experience if you approach it with the right attitude. Here are four reasons you should love the boss you hate:

1. Personal Insight

You can actually learn a lot about yourself in a situation like this. Consider the following questions:

  • Why does this person get under your skin?
  • What values are being stepped on here?
  • How are you possibly contributing to the situation? (Ouch! Don’t skip this question; it will give you amazing insight.)
  • What do you really want from a boss? Are you, perhaps, expecting too much?
  • What kind of leader would YOU be?

2. Practice

Look, the business world is full of jerks. Consider this great practice for the future. You’re exercising patience and your ability to not take things personally. With practice, it gets easier.

3. Future Wisdom

After working for someone with whom you don’t click, you’ll be on the lookout for a better match in the future. Next time you’re interviewing for a new position, you’ll be more aware of the impact a supervisor has, and you’ll have more understanding of what you want in a boss. Perhaps you’ll see red flags you might have missed before.

4. Opportunity

I know this sounds a little nutty, but that jerk of a boss is giving you a great opportunity. You have the chance to adapt, to implement new strategies and, ultimately, build a bridge in some fashion. It might never be the perfect relationship, but there’s always a chance you can improve things. So, don’t give up! Look for openings to strengthen your partnership. Use your relationship building skills and develop new ones.

There is room for growth here.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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3 Rules To Managing Up Wed, 20 Aug 2014 05:30:38 +0000 If you are an employee looking to get ahead at your current job, it's time to start managing up. Here are three tips for getting ahead.

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If you are an employee looking to get ahead at your current job, you need to start managing up.

Related: Unhappy With Your Career? Manage Up!

Here are three rules to successfully working with those who can help your career. Managing up is not difficult and the benefits are worth the time and energy it takes to master it.

3 Rules For Managing Up

Managing up is not manipulation either. It’s simply understanding how to create an exchange that is mutually beneficial – and this kind of exchange cannot occur without trust between both parties. Which leads to the first rule of managing up…

Rule #1: Get to know your manager’s personal and professional agenda.

To manage up, you must embrace the idea you are selling your professional services. It’s time to act like a salesperson, and great salespeople take the time to learn about their clients’ histories, experiences, perceptions, and subsequently, what it might take to shift those perceptions. I emphasize the word “time” because many of the professionals I work with come to me after making the initial mistake of not getting the detailed information they need to manage up.

A great salesperson is actually a really gifted teacher, someone who patiently and creatively navigates pupils, enabling them to arrive to the right conclusions on their own. Yet, everyone knows teachers can’t make this happen for their students without first determining what it’s the students need to be made to understand.

Thus, understanding our managers to the point it enables us to know how to get what we want means doing our homework. Here are just a few questions we should be seeking the answers to:

  • What is my manager ultimately trying to accomplish and why?
  • What does she value most, both personally and professionally?
  • How have past work experiences impacted her professional goals?
  • How is she planning to make her mark on the company?
  • What role does she envision me playing in her master plan?

That last question is most important because the answer tells us what our manager thinks we’re capable of. How can we begin to convince managers we can do more without first knowing what they perceive our limits to be?

Doing extensive research on our manager not only keeps us busy, it provides us with a gold mine of information we can use to help connect our own professional goals to that of our manager’s. And we all know presenting evidence-supported, win-win strategies produces some of the best and fastest results.

Yet, while the “everybody wins” approach is a solid start to being heard and respected by management, we must now explore another sign of a truly successful salesperson, and the next key element to managing up – knowing when NOT to press the sale.

Rule #2: Building a long-term relationship yields more than a self-serving sale.

The most impressive, unforgettable salesperson isn’t the one that closes the big deal. Rather, it’s the one that upon listening to the needs of its client, conveys their product or service actually isn’t a good fit, and then tries to help by suggesting viable alternatives. Now that’s someone we can trust and respect – someone who’s honest opinion we would seek again.

The value in thoroughly exploring the what, why and how of upper management is we may also get a “heads up” as to why some of our ideas might not work as this time. Is pushing a personal agenda worth jeopardizing our credibility? It’s easy to get caught up in the sale of our professional services, especially when we are dissatisfied on-the-job.

But even when we want something, we must recognize our managers may not be able to meet those demands right away.

The timing might be off, or the right pieces might not be in place. And, like that unforgettable salesperson, it’s the employee who recognizes and graciously accepts what can’t be at the moment, and who willingly goes back to the drawing board to come up with another plan that gains the respect of management.

Now, before you say, “but management is too self-absorbed and busy to even give me the time of day,” or, “why would I bother when my boss doesn’t listen to me or respect my opinions,” let’s take a look at the final key element of effectively managing up that has quantum leaped the careers of many professionals I know: a willingness to speak their language.

Rule #3: An appreciative, tactful, and understanding nature is valued by all.

The best salespeople are engaging communicators who care seriously about what they say and how they say it. The old cliche, “You get more flies with honey than vinegar,” is paramount to managing up. If you are a professional looking to get ahead, then learning to speak to management on their terms will be your ticket to success. Let me share a story.

I was recently speaking to a group of managers who had to hire a lot of younger professionals in the last year. Their first comment to me: how inconsiderate these new employees could be when expressing themselves on-the-job. One manager even shared a story of how when she made an effort to commend and recognize a new employee’s efforts with a creative token gift, instead of a “thank you,” the employee said, “that’s corny” and gave her a disdained look.

I don’t care how old you are or how long you’ve been a manager, getting that reaction from your efforts is like a kick in the stomach.

More importantly, it puts up a wall of defense up between the two parties. Why should a manager respect us if we don’t treat them with respect? We may not like their approaches, but lets at least give them credit for trying.

I know how impatient and frustrating it can be for employees on-the-job (the show, The Office comes to mind), but affecting change requires diplomacy – the choosing of words wisely. The desire for greater teamwork, leaderless organizations, and an emphasis on meaningful one-on-one interactions are just some of the concepts employees believe will improve a workplace. Yet, the very success of those initiatives rests on highly effective, positive communication. So, why not start by setting the example?

Before you speak, put yourself in the shoes of today’s seasoned manager and imagine what it must have been like to work over the last twenty years. If you can’t muster some sensitivity for their plight, then look at it this way: The disconnect between older management and younger employers is not going to go away.

Some day, the current crop of younger professionals will be responsible for the workplace, and the new generation entering behind them won’t be satisfied with what they’ve done with it either. That’s the nature of progress – never being satisfied. I must admit, after years of hard work, and working only with what was available to me at the time, I don’t think I’d appreciate folks brand new to the workplace bluntly telling me how I’ve messed it up for them, would you?

Progress only works when ALL parties learn to effectively communicate with one another. It’s not just management’s job to listen to the desires of it’s employees; it’s every employee’s job to find the right way to engage management in dynamic, productive conversations.

For example, we’ve all got questions, but it’s how we frame them to managers that can make a difference. Opening up conversations by saying:

“I am really interested in finding a way to make a greater impact, but I need more information. You have a lot of experience that can help me see the big picture. I need your perspective. Can we set up some time so I can ask questions and get the kind of feedback that will help me?”

This is one way successful young people are connecting with their managers. Give your manager the chance to share how they got their workplace battle scars. Some day, you may want that chance too. More importantly, articulating the reasons for our questions in this fashion is the smartest way to get management off the defensive. Instead of assuming we’re questioning their authority and secretly criticizing their decisions, they’ll understand that we’re just looking for answers that will help us do our job better. ‘

In summary, adjusting our approach to communicating with management is part of the give-and-take necessary for successful partnerships. Nobody, especially managers, want to work with someone who conveys an “all about me” attitude in their efforts to get ahead. We all know there’s no “I” in team, but smart professionals know thinking and subsequently phrasing their thoughts to reflect a “we” versus a ‘me’ mentality is the quickest way to get respect from higher-ups. Ensure your communication with managers showcases a comprehensive view of everyone’s needs, and you’ll be seen as both wise and worth more than your years.

Now tell us, what have we missed? Do you have any comments or additional rules for managing up? Please share them below.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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8 Bad Leadership Behaviors That Destroy Organizations Tue, 19 Aug 2014 06:41:12 +0000 People don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. Here is my list of eight bad leadership behaviors you must eliminate if you want to keep top talent.

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I’ve heard it said that people don’t leave organizations, they leave managers. If this is true, then what is it about these particular managers that cause people to bail? What poor behaviors are being displaying that drive talent away and risk the success of their organizations?

Related: 7 Tips For Becoming A Leader At Work

If you are in a leadership role, now is the time to pay attention. Here is my list of eight bad leadership behaviors you must eliminate if you want to keep top talent and set the stage for your organization to prosper and thrive.

1. Failing to listen to those you lead

Do you listen to your team members when they share information with you? Are you listening to what they tell you in meetings and appointments? And, do you care about what they are telling you? Because you are working with many people, personalities and work styles, it is imperative that you pay attention to the issues, concerns, successes, and challenges of each of your team members. Good leaders know what their team members are doing, take the time to listen when they need mentoring and go to bat for them whenever necessary. Failing to listen will result in frustrated team members who lose faith in their leader and their organization.

2. Failing to embrace and utilize the talents of those you lead

Each of your team members has a unique gift that brings value to your organization. Do you know what these unique gifts are for each of your team members? Have you taken the time to discuss with each team member how you want to embrace and utilize their gifts? Have you consulted with each team member on the knowledge they have regarding your industry and how they can help you improve your organization because of their gifts?

Good leaders actively embrace and engage their team members in work that compliments their unique gifts and brings value to their organizations. Failing to engage your team will result in  discouragement, lack of motivation, and low productivity for your organization.

3. Failing to acknowledge the work of those you lead

When is the last time you thanked your team members for the work they do? How often do you acknowledge their efforts, address their successes, and identify how each member has contributed to making your organization a success? Good leaders take the time to acknowledge efforts and success and they end with a charge that motivates future effort and success. Acknowledging good work will build loyalty and empowerment in your team members and they will be determined to do their best work for you. Failing to acknowledge your team will drive down performance and effort eventually harming the progress of your organization.

4. Withholding information from those you lead

What are you doing to keep your team informed of issues in their departments? Are you sharing positive feedback as well as negative? If a complaint is made regarding a team member, do you address it with that person immediately? Do you collect all the facts before you make a judgment or a decision on how you should proceed? Good leaders are loyal to their team members and make every effort to address and correct performance issues with them. Failing to communicate crucial performance information will destroy loyalty to both you and your organization.

5. Being a spin doctor

Do you avoid giving your team members straight answers to their questions? When your team members need answers, are you denying them direct, clear and specific information? If you are unwilling to provide a straight answer, you are withholding information and cutting off valuable communication to your team. Good leaders answer directly and are not afraid of communicating positive or negative information to their team members. Failing to provide answers when needed will result in mistrust from your team. And, mistrust will result in poor performance that harms your organization.

6. Being a bouncer

Do you demand that all information, content, ideas, suggestions, proposals, and so on, end with you? Do you refuse your team members access to higher level management, or deny them the privilege of assisting you in presenting their ideas and/or information to higher level management?

If so, you are a bouncer keeping your team behind that proverbial white line. Good leaders provide their team members the honor of sharing their unique gifts and value to the entire organization. This builds enthusiasm, trust, and loyalty and failing to remove the white line will result in discouragement, reduction in  performance and potential for harming your organization.

7. Holding grudges against those you lead

Perhaps a team member disagreed with a decision you made. Or, you were criticized by a team member and you took it personally. Do you turn these conflicts into grudges? If so, this is not leadership behavior and, if you are not able to grow a thick skin, you have no business leading. Good leaders welcome feedback from their team members knowing the importance of allowing everyone a voice. Organizations run at their best when everyone holds one another accountable. Failing to allow your team members to have a voice will destroy trust and critical feedback necessary for the organization to run at its best.

8. Bullying those you lead

Maybe you don’t physically push, punch or trip up your team members, but are you doing it emotionally? Do you talk down to your team members or use a condescending tone? Perhaps you disrespect your team members or shame them in public. If so, you are a bully and your team members will do everything possible to avoid you. And, avoidance will result in poor communication, lack of motivation, loss of productivity, and an organization heading for ruin. Good leaders make it a point to be approachable and respected by their team members. You must be the go to person for their issues and concerns in order to maintain a strong, successful organization.

So, how did you do? Are you guilty of any of these? Remember, it only takes one of these behaviors to begin blazing a trail of destruction through your organization. However, there is hope for you. Identifying what you are doing wrong is the first step. Remember. You have the power to change and it is never too late to become a leader who will bring your organization to the top.

Feel free to share your experiences of poor leadership behavior. Thanks for reading my post, and feel free to check out my coaching page.

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Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson

About the author

Elizabeth Dexter-Wilson is the Coordinator of Career & Professional Development at Spring Hill College where she helps students transition from student to professional. She is also in the process of starting her own consulting business where she works with businesses and individuals on professional etiquette, branding, and image consulting. Are you a new graduate who needs help with these strategies? Check out her CareerHMO Coaching page.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CareerHMO coach. You can learn more about expert posts here.


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3 Key Things To Look For In A Career Sponsor Tue, 19 Aug 2014 06:17:04 +0000 Many clients will ask me "How do I pick a career sponsor?" Here are three key things to look for as you evaluate potential sponsors for your career.

The post 3 Key Things To Look For In A Career Sponsor appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

You may have heard that you need a sponsor to help insure your career success. I fully agree with this advice and support my clients in creating sponsor relationships that work. 

Watch: 9 Things You Can Do Today To Create Career Success

Many clients will ask me “How do I pick a career sponsor?” Here are three key things to look for as you evaluate potential sponsors for your career:

1. They demonstrate belief in your skills, ability and potential and are willing to risk advocating for you.

Selecting a sponsor who is willing to put their reputation on the line for you is critical. You want to select someone who has demonstrated to you that they believe in you and in some way have invested in your development.

2. They have a seat at the table and their voice is respected.

It is not enough to select someone who is invited to the staffing meeting; their voice needs to carry some weight. In other words, they have the political capital in the organization to get you the career opportunities aligned with your objectives. I have seen first hand what happens when people who lack the capital in the organization to make things happen sponsor you. You end up stuck, never knowing why your sponsor has not been able to deliver.

3. They are willing to “block and tackle” when necessary. 

Ideally, you want someone who will protect you in the event things go bad or you fail to meet expectations. You also want to choose someone willing to remove barriers to your success especially the landmines you may be unaware of. Having a sponsor who can position you for the key stretch stretch assignments (and get you the support you need while on assignment) is critical for you to be successful in the role.

Sponsorship relationships don’t just happen, they take focused attention and often times they happen organically, so make sure you are doing those things necessary to gain exposure to leaders who can advocate for your career objectives.

Watch This Webinar!

Join us on Wednesday, September 3 at 1pm EDT as guest Cornelia Shipley, Executive Coach and Author of the #1 Best Seller Design Your Life: How to Create a Meaningful Life, Advance Your Career and Live Your Dreams as she shares the 9 things you can do today to reclaim the drivers seat of your career and begin to experience success on your terms.




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How To Be The Brand Manager Of YOU Tue, 19 Aug 2014 06:12:49 +0000 It isn’t enough to build your personal brand - you have to manage the brand. Here are a few tips to maintaining and managing your personal brand.

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You’ve reached a point in your career where you have a defined and consistent personal brand. And that’s awesome. But, like any brand marketer will tell you, it isn’t enough to build the brand – you have to manage the brand. You need to be a steward of the brand. A brand manager is someone who consistently works to generate awareness, influence, and affinity all in an effort to continually build brand equity. In a nutshell, that is what a brand manager does. So, how can we start applying some of those principles to our personal brand? How do we become our own personal brand manager?

Related: 5 Ways To Create A Consistent Brand

While this sounds like a full time endeavor, it isn’t, it simply takes thought and planning and before you know it, it is second nature. Here are a few tips to maintaining and managing your personal brand:

Create Awareness

Creating awareness means putting your personal brand out there and publishing your information for people to see and experience you and your expertise. Of course, your LinkedIn profile is all dialed and detailed. But be sure you look at other tools that you can use to build your personal brand.

Check out You should be actively participating in LinkedIn Groups, Twitter Chats, and reaching out to influencers in your industry. This outreach should be personal and on brand. Your interactions within groups and chats should add value to the conversation and be uniquely you. When you focus on adding value to the conversation you will see that there is an increased awareness of your personal brand and you will begin to build your own influence. You should try to spend time every week doing this. I probably spend about an hour total a week on these activities.

Develop Influence

As your influence builds, look for opportunities to partner to create content for people you admire. You can either blog for others, or create your own blog and promote it through your social channels. Having a voice in you industry conversation is an important component of building influence and managing your brand. If you do not enjoy writing, go to a networking event. Maybe you are more visual, so you use Tumblr. The point here, is to begin creating content that is uniquely you and relevant to your industry. Be sure that you review whatever you’ve created and answer comments and questions. For this activity, I spend about an hour a week.

Build Affinity

Building affinity means that you are creating a personal brand that people experience “a spontaneous and natural liking to you.” This might be the easiest to do, but also can take the most time. It is simple. Help people and add value to their days. When someone needs a favor from you, you do it and ask nothing in return. You mentor people. You share your experience and knowledge. You can do this by simply sharing really interesting content with people or by connecting two people with one another who might have mutual interest. You want people to like you and your personal brand; you add value to their days.

Earn Personal Brand Equity

Brand equity can be something that you build, but the best brand equity is earned. To be sure you are earning and maintaining your brand equity, spend time each quarter adding to your profiles. You should add new information to your LinkedIn profile. You should be updating your resume all the time. You should be storing your best work in a special folder on your computer in the cloud (via CredHive, Box or DropBox). You should be curating your best work somewhere so that you can continue to hone in on your brand. When you are curating your best work, you are maintaining your brand so that it isn’t stale. Doing this takes me about an hour per quarter.

I’d love to hear your ideas on building and maintaining your personal brand. Hit up the comments to tell me your ideas and if you want, how much time you spend maintaining your personal brand.

Related Posts

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Tracey Parsons

About the author

With passion and an innate curiosity, Tracey strives to push the envelope to create great experiences for talent. Tracey has been developing digital, mobile and social solutions for nearly 20 years in the talent acquisition space. Currently CredHive’s CEO, she is dedicated to changing the way hiring is done to create a more level playing field for talent. Visit CredHive to learn more.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

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How To Respectfully Stand Up To Your Boss When You’re Overworked Tue, 19 Aug 2014 05:30:47 +0000 Feeling overwhelmed and overworked? Perhaps it's time to regain control and stand up to your boss. Learn how to this effectively.

The post How To Respectfully Stand Up To Your Boss When You’re Overworked appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Lately, I’ve been hearing heard a common theme among many of the senior leaders I coach. They are tired, frustrated, overwhelmed, and overworked. Maybe it’s the time of year, but many of these leaders feel they have little control over how they spend and manage their time since they are regularly responding to “urgent requests” from their executive leadership team.

Related: Burned Out? How To Take A Vacation Without Taking A Vacation

And, more often than not, these requests are not something they can delegate to their direct reports. As you may be able to understand, they are in fire-fighting mode more often than they want (or need) to be.

So, what can you do to stop the feeling of overwhelm, which leads to the tiredness and frustration? Do you stand up to your boss?

How To Respectfully Stand Up To Your Boss

There are two things you can do to alleviate this situation. First, you must prioritize. Clearly, there are only 24 hours in a day, so you have to be the leader who knows what the priorities are and decide what truly is urgent and what can wait for another time.

Chances are you effectively prioritize for your team, so why not do this for yourself as well. Yes, I know… your boss called and has a new urgent priority that now sits with the four other urgent tasks you were already working on, right? Not everything can be top priority urgent and something must fall below the most urgent of all the urgent priorities.

As the leader you must decide what must shift to make time for the new priority so everything can be done in a quality manner. This often means you need to pushback, which is the second thing you can do to alleviate the sense of overwhelm.

Yes, I said you must pushback on your boss (or whomever is handing out the urgent requests). I know that pushing back on someone at a higher level is not always an easy thing to do. It’s not always easy to confront your boss (or anyone at a higher level than you) when they assign you additional work or a new project; however, continuous urgent requests not only impact your ability to get work completed but also complete it in a quality fashion. So pushing back is often a necessity.

There are three things that you can do to effectively push back on your boss (or whomever is continuing to add urgent tasks to your list).

Choose Your Approach Based On The Person

Are they data-driven? Getting excessive pressures from their leadership? Dealing with their individual set of unrealistic requests? Knowing these things will help you know the best way to approach them.

Next, Use This Knowledge When You Approach Them

For example, if your boss loves data, present him or her with data that supports your need to challenge what he or she is requesting. At the same time, if they are getting excessive pressures from their leadership, present an alternative solution.

For example, perhaps your boss has given you the urgent task of investigating a customer issue. The time it will take for you or your team to handle this will remove resources from another strategic priority your team is working. While you share data that reinforces your limited resources, you can also present an alternative shift in your teams priorities that supports the latest request from your boss, or, ask your boss if the latest request can wait, based on the other urgent priorities your team is working.

The idea is to continue to show support for what your boss needs while at the same time remaining true to what you and your team can realistically accomplish.

Finally, Get Their Perspective While Holding Your Ground

After you present the facts to your boss, allow him or her to share their viewpoint on what you’ve presented. Often times it will take you pushing back a few times before they are able to see your perspective. Remember, they are also dealing with their own feelings of overwhelm so their initial reaction to your confrontation may simply be an acknowledgement but not a shift in the request. That’s why it’s important for you to hold your ground.

If you don’t and continue to take on more and more, eventually something will give and slip through the cracks. Too many times, it’s you and your own physical or emotional health that suffers because you didn’t pull in the reigns. As great a leader as you are, you are not supernatural (and neither is your boss).

Keep things in perspective and remember that success does not happen if you are buried under a pile of folders feeling exhausted, frustrated, and overwhelmed. Prioritize and push back to prevent this situation. By consistently doing this, eventually you begin to see your way out from beneath that never-ending list of urgent priorities.

This month’s development tip: Review the current “urgent priorities” on your “to do” list. Is this a manageable/doable list? If not, take the suggestions above and begin prioritizing and pushing back so you can regain control over your time and tasks.

Related Posts

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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3 Ways To Quantify Your Experience With Numbers Tue, 19 Aug 2014 05:30:29 +0000 If you’ve been doing your homework about how to write an effective resume, you’ve seen a recurring theme: you have to quantify your experience.

The post 3 Ways To Quantify Your Experience With Numbers appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

If you’ve been doing your homework about how to write an effective resume, you’ve seen a recurring theme: you have to quantify your experience.

Related: 3 Ways To Emphasize Your ROI On Your Resume

Although most people understand the general idea of this, I find that job seekers often struggle with applying this idea to writing their resumes. Here are three easy ways to do it:

1. Show How Many

Sometimes our responsibilities don’t sound that impressive until we start detailing how much work we’ve been doing. For instance, if one of your job responsibilities is tracking your company’s compliance with filing a set of forms every year, you could write that two different ways:

Ensured compliance with filing of annual forms.


Ensured compliance with the filing of 75 annual forms by 7 different company departments.

Doesn’t the second example sound much more impressive?

2. Show How Much

If you have a job in sales, marketing, or any other business where profitability is the ultimate goal of your position, citing exactly how much money you’ve either made or saved your company is the way to go. For example, if you’re an internal auditor, your resume could say:

Saved company money by finding ways to cut costs.


Implemented new payroll and tax accounting systems that saved firm $1M in personnel costs over the next 10 years.

Estimates are fine when citing these types of numbers, as long as you can justify your claim if someone asks you in an interview.

3. Show How Often

I frequently talk with job seekers who have previously been successful in very high-volume environments. If you’ve worked in this type of setting, please give yourself credit! Even an administrative assistant’s job sounds completely different when given some context:

Answered phones at the front desk.


Managed switchboard with 10 incoming lines, effectively receiving and routing an average of 500 calls per day.

My goodness, who wouldn’t hire the second candidate?

As you write your resume, ask yourself these three important questions: How many? How much? How often? The key to landing an interview is to answer those questions as you describe your previous professional accomplishments.

Related Posts

5 Things That Make Your Resume Stand Out In Today’s Job Market
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How To Quantify Your Accomplishments On A Resume

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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