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Affinity International Consulting presents Futurepoint

Sunday, November 23, 2014

10 Signs You Should Quit Your Job


By Jeff Haden  November  2014

Quit your job to take a better paying position? Sure. Quit your job for a great opportunity? Definitely.

Quit your job to start your own business? Absolutely! (Keep in mind there are compelling reasons to hang on to your full-time job as long as you can while you get your business going. Also keep in mind you can start a company in just a few hours.)

But there are a lot more reasons to quit your job. And they all fall under one main category:

Life’s too short.

Life’s too short to go home every day feeling unfulfilled. Life’s too short to work for a terrible boss. Life’s too short to go home every day feeling taken for granted, feeling taken less than seriously, or feeling taken advantage of.

Life’s too short to not be as happy as you can be.

Say your grown daughter called and said, “I hate my job. I’m bored, frustrated, and feel like I’m going nowhere.” Wouldn’t you tell her to look for another job?

Shouldn’t you follow the same advice?

Here are reasons to stop being miserable and start looking for something better.


1. Your Input Is Disregarded or Even Not Wanted

Everyone has ideas. And everyone loves when his or her ideas are taken seriously—and implemented. The feeling that you’ve contributed in a special way
is incredibly gratifying.

But when your boss or company shoots down or even laughs at your ideas, it’s not only insulting, it’s demotivating. And pretty soon you stop caring.

Life’s too short not to care.


2. You Get Criticized Publicly

We all need constructive feedback. We all need a little nudge. We all need to be told when we can do something better—and how to do it better.

But we need to be told those things in private.

Life’s too short to walk around waiting for the next time you’ll be criticized—and even humiliated—in front of other people.


3. You Never Hear the Word “Thanks”

Everyone also needs praise. We all need to know when we do something well (and everyone, even poor performers, do some things well).

Life’s too short not to be recognized for the contributions you make.


4. Your Boss Manages Up, Not Down

You know the type: As a leader she should focus her time and attention on her direct reports, but she spends all her time “following” her boss. It seems like your only job is to contribute to the greater glory—and advancement—of your boss.

A great boss knows that if her team succeeds—and each individual on that team succeeds—then she will succeed too.

Life’s too short to spend your time developing your boss’ career at the expense of your own.


5. You Feel Like You Have No Purpose

Everyone likes to feel a part of something bigger. Everyone likes to feel he has an impact not just on results but also on the lives of other people.

Life’s too short to go home every day feeling like you’ve worked, but you haven’t accomplished anything meaningful.


6. You Feel Like a Number

Everyone is replaceable. Everyone, ultimately, works for a paycheck. But people also want to work for more than a paycheck. They want to work with people they respect and admire, and they want to be respected and admired in return.

If your boss doesn’t occasionally stop for a quick discussion about family, an informal conversation to see if you need any help, or simply to say a kind word, then you’re just a cog in a larger machine.

Life’s too short to only be a cog in a larger machine.


7. You Aren’t Even Mildly Excited to Go to Work

Every job has its downsides. (I’m willing to bet even Richard Branson has to do a few things he doesn’t enjoy.) But every job should also have some fun moments. Or exciting moments. Or challenging moments. Or some aspect that makes you think, “I’m looking forward to doing that.”

Life’s too short to spend only looking forward to quitting time.


8. You Can’t See a Future

Every job should lead to something: Hopefully a promotion, but if not, the opportunity to take on additional responsibilities, learn new things, tackle new challenges. Tomorrow should have the potential to be different—in a good way—from today.

A decent boss works to improve the company’s future. A good boss works to improve her employees’ futures too, even if—especially if—that might mean some of those employees will eventually move on to bigger and better things.

Life’s too short to live without hope.


9. No One Has the Same Dreams as You

Countless companies were started by two or more people who at one time worked together and realized they had complementary skills—and realized they wanted to carve out a new future together.

If you plan to be an entrepreneur, working for a big company first is one of the best things you can do. It’s a risk-free environment where you can meet future colleagues and co-founders. Pick a dozen companies at random and you’ll find at least a few that were founded by aspiring entrepreneurs who met as co-workers and went on to launch awesome startups together.

Life’s too short to spend working with people who don’t share your hopes, dreams, and passions.


10. You Don’t Think You Can Do Anything Else

That’s the second-best reason of all to quit your job. I know what you’re thinking: “I make too much in my current job; I’ll never find something comparable.” Or, “there just aren’t any jobs where I live.” Or, “I’ve put too much time into this company (or career or industry).”

Or, “I don’t have what it takes to start my own business.”

All those things are true—if you let them be true.

You can do something else. You can do lots of something “elses.”

You just have to believe—and trust that your creativity, perseverance, and effort will take you to new, happier, and more fulfilling places. Thousands of people start their own businesses ever year. The only difference between you and them? They decided to take the chance. They decided to bet on themselves.

They decided that life’s too short to just stay where they are instead of doing everything possible to live a better life

Thursday, November 13, 2014

7 LinkedIn Rules That Will Make You an Online Networking Master


By Jayson Demers,  November 2014

LinkedIn has evolved to become one the most important and most prevalent resources for professional networking available. Used by more than 313 million people on an international scale, it’s no wonder why the social network has, for many professional networkers, replaced traditional forms of meeting and socializing.

Whether you network for job opportunities, sales prospects, or just overall experience, it’s true that LinkedIn can enhance your efforts—but it’s important to acknowledge a few considerations about the platform before you get too deep in your strategy.


1. Not Everyone on LinkedIn Wants to Network

This is a basic rule you’ll need to follow if you want to stay in the good graces of your current and potential connections. New LinkedIn users sometimes get excited about the notion of making new connections and start reaching out to people they haven’t met before. While some users also love the idea of meeting new people and connecting with strangers, others are offended by it and may feel as if their privacy has been disrespected if they receive such a request.

Obviously, you want to avoid such a scenario, as it could irritate a potential connection. Instead, focus on connecting with people you’ve already met or connections of people you’ve already met. Make sure to let each potential connection know how you found them and why you want to connect with them.


2. People Will Judge You Based on Your Profile

Your profile is the first thing your new connection will look at, and if you haven’t met in person before, it’s going to form their first impression of you. I don’t need to tell you how important first impressions are. Building out your profile is the best way to leave your new (and potential) connections with positive thoughts of you.

What exactly makes a good profile? There are dozens of rules and hundreds of nitpicky options you can look at, but the fundamentals are mostly intuitive:

    Customize your profile URL so it’s not just a series of random letters and numbers.
    Make sure your profile photo is a professional-looking headshot where you look your best.
    Fill out your profile with as much detailed information as you can without becoming long-winded and boastful.
    Include personal recommendations from others, if possible.


3. Your Personal Brand Should Be Treated Like a Brand

A brand is a created identity, and while yours should be based on your real personality, it should also be refined and treated like a professional company brand. As you network more on LinkedIn and engage in different discussions with different people, your audience and your network should all receive a consistent experience. That means your image, your personality, and even your language need to be in sync with each other.

Developing your personal brand will give people the consistent, desirable experience they want, and eventually, they’ll want to come back to you to repeat that experience. Connect your LinkedIn profile with your other social media profiles, and widen your audience while keeping your personal brand uniform. It’s good to show some of your unique personality, but do remember that LinkedIn isn’t a place to make emotional or personal updates—it’s a professional network, first and foremost. For more information on building a personal brand, see my article, “5 Steps to Building a Personal Brand (and Why You Need One).”


4. People Will Notice Spam and Advertising

Most connections, and most people in general, hate the idea of being advertised to. The second they understand that a message was specifically constructed to sell them on something, the authority and credibility of the message are immediately destroyed. If any of your messages or connection attempts are seen as spammy or as attempts to advertise your company or personal brand, your audience will immediately turn away from you.

Write specialized messages for your audience—in your profile, in your connection attempts, and in your discussion comments. Make sure people know that you aren’t just trying to reach out to them for artificial connection building or a blind attempt to get more business. Be yourself, and write unique messages with unique content to avoid seeming robotic or impersonal. No matter how good you think you are at subtly advertising, people will be able to detect it, and you’ll lose credibility when they do.


5. A Personal Touch Goes a Long Way

Just like in real life, people on LinkedIn crave personal acknowledgement, and if you give it to them, you’ll wind up in their good graces. You’ll want to start each possible connection on a note of personal interaction; when you request to connect with a new person, write them a message about why that connection is important to you, and include personal details so the other person knows you’re being sincere. Sending the default “Hi, I’d like to connect” message will make you seem distant and unapproachable.

Then, follow up with your connections on a regular basis. If you see it’s someone’s birthday, someone’s work anniversary, or someone’s new job or promotion, send them a congratulatory letter. Take every opportunity you can to build your relationship with tiny personal touches. Over time, your connection will grow much stronger.


6. There Is Real Power in Groups

Don’t just stick to personal profile updates and private messages with your connections. Use the power of groups to boost your potential network and reach people you’ve never met in a familiar setting. Sign up to be a part of as many groups as you deem appropriate. Learn the intentions and etiquette of each group, and get involved by starting discussions and responding to comment threads that are already in progress.

The real opportunity in groups is getting the chance to introduce yourself to new people without the breach of etiquette that comes in blindly reaching out to new connections. In a group setting, people will become familiar with your personality and authority, and it’s highly likely that you’ll attract new connections without any outbound effort. For more on using LinkedIn groups for marketing, see my article, “The Definitive Guide to LinkedIn Groups for Marketing.”


7. Face-to-Face Meetings Are Still Important

Interpersonal connections can’t thrive exclusively on social media. While the digital environment gives us a great platform to start new connections, and easily follow up with ones we’ve already made, face-to-face meetings are still important to build camaraderie and deepen those relationships. It’s not always possible due to geographical limitations and schedule restrictions, but whenever you can, try to schedule a lunch meeting or a cup of coffee with your most important—or your newest—connections.

You’d be surprised how much a face-to-face meeting can mean to a person, even in the digital age. It’s not a mandatory requirement for LinkedIn participation, of course, but LinkedIn members who do connect outside the platform tend to be more successful than members who operate exclusively in the online world.


Don’t let these truths scare you away from LinkedIn; when used correctly, it’s a great tool with few, if any, major drawbacks.

But the availability of such a powerful social network also warrants a new set of rules of etiquette. Once you become more familiar with the way LinkedIn works and the best ways to reach out to more connections, you’ll be able to build your network of professional relationships and take advantage of everything the platform has to offer.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Most Influential Books of the Past Decade

Every once in a while, we read a book that doesn’t just transform the way we see the world. It also changes how we live our lives. For the past ten years, I’ve been asking business leaders and students which book has most influenced their actions. I give them one rule: it must include rigorous evidence. Pure self-help and autobiographies are out; so are books by leaders dispensing advice. (Experience isn’t a substitute for evidence. If it were, obeying the laws of gravity would make us all physicists.)

I’ve compiled a list of the most frequently mentioned book for each year, with one additional rule: no author can appear twice. Here are the top picks, and how they’ve made a difference:

2004: The Paradox of Choice by Barry Schwartz

Yes, there’s such a thing as too much freedom. Readers have learned to limit their choice sets to minimize indecision, regret, and misery. We’ve also figured out whether we tend to be maximizers (searching for the best option) or satisficers (looking for good enough). Since maximizers tend to do better but feel worse, we’ve learned to satisfice when decisions aren’t of colossal significance. But we haven’t abandoned our love of lists that rank things.

2005: A Whole New Mind by Daniel Pink

We think left-brainers reign supreme with their analytical and quantitative skills, but here’s a provocative case that right-brainers will rule the future. Arguing that the MFA is the new MBA, Dan anticipated (and fueled) the growing importance of factors like design, storytelling, empathy, and meaning. When Oprah spoke at Stanford’s commencement, she gave it to every graduating student.

2006: Mindset by Carol Dweck

It’s a rare read that has as much impact on parents as it does on managers. The memorable takeaway from this gem is that we need to stop praising ability and intelligence, and start applauding effort and persistence. That way, when our children and employees fail, they won’t give up because they think talent is fixed and they lack what it takes for the task at hand. Instead, they’ll pursue growth, doubling down to develop the requisite skills to succeed.

2007: The No Asshole Rule by Robert Sutton

After reading this guide to building a civilized workplace, leaders around the globe have introduced policies to prevent jerks from getting hired and selfish managers from being promoted. They’ve also created better poison control practices, aiming to bring out what Abraham Lincoln called the better angels of our nature. And what’s not to love about a quiz to find out if you’re a certified asshole? It’s the Asshole Rating Self-Exam (ARSE).

2008: Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell

It may be the ultimate feat of storytelling from our favorite storyteller, and it helped us appreciate the role of luck and opportunity in success. Leaders have worked to privilege the quality of ideas over the status of the person generating them. They’ve also become more attentive to people who haven’t benefited from cumulative advantage. Those poor hockey players who weren’t born in January…

2009: The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

So an average of 10,000 hours of deliberate practice might help you become an expert. But what should you do with that time? One CEO called this book the world’s most valuable guide to developing skills and leaders. We’ve been able to grow our own capabilities and bring out the best in others through deeper practice, stronger passion, and more masterful coaching.

2010: Switch by Chip and Dan Heath

Change is probably the toughest hurdle in our work and our lives. The Heath brothers gave us the tools to overcome it. I’ve watched many executives apply their framework to shift sticky beliefs and behaviors: motivate the elephant by shrinking the change, direct the rider to follow the bright spots, and shape the path by rallying the herd.

2011: Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

The only psychologist to win a Nobel Prize in economics showed us why our decisions go awry and common sense isn't common practice. His insights have been directly applicable to making better choices, avoiding unnecessary risks, and understanding ourselves. As Kahneman put it, “I am my remembering self, and the experiencing self, who does my living, is like a stranger to me.”

2012: Quiet by Susan Cain

It shattered the myth of the extraverted ideal, and has chipped away at the stigma of being an introvert. We’ve seen workplaces come to value quiet leaders, schools create more supportive environments for quiet students, and parents learn to accept and nurture their reserved children. My favorite reaction was from an extravert: “I just realized why my boyfriend is so boring. He’s an introvert!” And then “He’d probably be a lot more interesting if I actually let him talk.”

2013: Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

Women read it first, but it’s been life-changing for both sexes. Women have been moved to sit at the table and stand up for leadership opportunities at work, seek out an equal partnership at home, find a mentor by not asking for one, and negotiate for themselves as they would for their close friends. Men have become aware of their gender biases; they’ve become champions of diversity in the workplace and more supportive, actively engaged partners at home. (Warning, tough guys: this book may cause an irresistible urge to start doing laundry and a persistent awareness that the world would be a better place if we had more female leaders.)

2014: A Path Appears by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn

The year isn’t over yet, and this just came out in September, but in my world it’s already the runaway winner for impact on action. Starting from the premise that “talent is universal but opportunity is not,” this book offers an abundance of small actions that we can all take to make the largest difference for those in need. Readers are shifting where they give their money, volunteer their time, and dedicate their energy.

Adam Grant

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Stop ticking the boxes!

Psychologists are now seriously discussing extending the start of “adulthood” to 25. This is because, to them, young people are taking a while to “get started,” or to begin checking all of the boxes that used to define adulthood. To this I say: good.

When a young person doesn’t logically and immediately hop from one job to the next it is usually viewed as a bad thing, a sign that they’re just not ready to grow up. Oftentimes they’ll graduate and panic when they face the mountain of possibilities and uncertainty that is the modern career landscape.

That panic happens for good reason. From the ages of 5 to 22, most of us live what I call a “checkbox life,” one where our big-picture choices are made for us with the short-term focus of checking off the next box. We’re going to school, graduating college, and getting a job. Check, check, check.

But when we’re faced with no more boxes to check, many of us do one of two things. We either become paralyzed with options or we run back to find more checkboxes. We avoid the open-ended possibilities and instead go back to grad school, or get a job that “makes sense” with our degree.

But I’d like to offer a different mindset: those who are “aimless” have the right idea. The short-term thinking enabled by a checkbox life usually ends in what economist David Graeber calls “bullshit jobs.” Jobs you take “just because.” Jobs that seem to exist for the sole purpose of keeping us working. Jobs where we end up frustrated because we aren’t doing them for ourselves, we’re doing them to ease the expectations of those around us. We’re doing them to check boxes. As society gets more productive and technology advances, it is these jobs that will be the first to go. As young people, the rest of our lives will be spent outrunning automation and outsourcing. Going our own way isn’t just nice, it’s required.
Going our own way isn’t just nice, it’s required.

That means the way to succeed is through curiosity, by embracing the open-endedness of our careers to do something that makes a mark. To do this, we must decouple our innate talents from our goals. In the past, we used to look at our skills or talents and work forward to find a job that fits. Now, we’re better served by asking the big questions about our impact early and work backwards. It pays to reverse engineer our careers. And that takes time. It takes mistakes. To stodgy psychologists this looks like we’re in “extended adolescence.” In reality, it’s the only rational choice.

In fact, the more our career paths confuse people stuck in the old mindset, the better. Because the skills and tools required for most jobs changes too quickly, and we can move from novice to professional faster than ever. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos uses a similar “mission over skills” framework for his company:
Eventually the existing skills will become outmoded. Working backwards … demands that we acquire new competencies and exercise new muscles, never mind how uncomfortable and awkward-feeling those first steps might be.

The panic we feel when we are lost shouldn’t be avoided. It should be embraced, because it’s in that wandering that we find what we want to do. Succumbing to the pressure of what others expect of you just delays the inevitable. It takes time to answer the big questions like: “What kind of impact do I want to make?” Finding your place in the world takes time. It’s a long-term play that often has some short-term pains.
To stodgy psychologists this looks like we’re in “extended adolescence.” In reality, it’s the only rational choice.

In an interview with Inc. Magazine, Y-Combinator founder Paul Graham discussed this fear of taking charge as the biggest issue he saw in young people today as they entered his incubator program:
They don’t realize how independent they can be. When you’re a child, your parents tell you what you’re supposed to do. Then, you’re in school, and you’re part of this institution that tells you what to do. Then, you go work for some company, and the company tells you what to do. So people come in like baby birds in the nest and open their mouths, as if they’re expecting us to drop food in. We have to tell them, “We’re not your bosses. You’re in charge now.” Some of them are freaked out by that. Some people are meant to be employees. Other people discover they have wings and start flapping them. There’s nothing like being thrown off a cliff to make you discover that you have wings.

If you find yourself without many obligations and unsure of what’s next, celebrate. Revel in the chance to zig when everyone around you zags. It’s likely the only time when we’re not shackled by obligation. To feel pressured by others and run away is a massive waste of an opportunity. Worse, not taking a swing at what’s important to you defeats the purpose of this whole career thing.

The next checkbox will always be waiting. Though I suspect once you get the patience and courage to go your own way, you won’t ever want to go back.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

50 Job Search Secrets Straight From the Mouths of Hiring Managers


By The Muse Editor, November 2014

If you want to know what it takes to land your dream job, well, there's no better place to get advice than from those who hand out those jobs.

And we’re here to help: Whether you’re updating your resume, prepping for an interview, or getting started networking, check out these killer tips—all straight from the mouths of Muse hiring managers and career experts.


Your Resume


1. Focus on What You Want, Not Just What You’ve Done

“Spend some time considering what you really want out of your next job, your career, and your life. Be honest with yourself, and try to get clear and specific. Then rewrite those ‘goal’ and ‘objective’ sections (yes, they’re OK in some cases) with newfound clarity.”

—Dr. Suzanne Gelb


2. Tailor Your Resume for Each Job

“It’s so important to tailor your resume for the position, cherry-picking your experience to highlight the parts that are most relevant. I know it can be hard to give up the many bullet points expounding on your awesome experience… But if they aren’t relevant to the tasks that the job asks for, these parts should be very brief (or removed altogether).”

—Steph Stern


3. Show Why You’re the Perfect Fit

“You’ll want to tweak your resume based on the position and company, making deliberate connections of how your experience, skills, and personality are a perfect fit for the job. Use industry terms, spell out accomplishments that you know will make an impact, and don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through.”

—Angela Smith


4. Don’t Include Everything

“Focus on the person coming across in your resume. If you want to be ‘the social media guru,’ anything that doesn't at least tangentially relate to social media should be de-prioritized. If you want to come across as ‘the academic research all-star,’ by all means put your educational experience on top, throw in your GPA, and get in-depth about your awards and publications. Feel free to leave off your real estate experience.”

—Liz Elfman


5. Get Inspiration From Others

“Look at the LinkedIn profiles of people at your level in your field, and see how they tell their stories. Which ones are most compelling or stand out the most? See what you can learn from them and how you can apply those lessons to your own resume.”

—Adrian Granzella Larssen


6. Use Numbers

“You increased recruiting? Give us the percent increase. You raised money for charity? Tell us how much you raised! This can turn average-looking experiences into impressive head-turners and help distinguish you from other candidates.”

—Alexandra Cavoulacos


7. Kiss the Buzzwords Good-Bye

“The average resume is chock-full of sorely outdated, essentially meaningless phrases that take up valuable space on the page. Eliminate them, and you’ll come off as a better, more substantial candidate—and your resume won’t smack of that same generic, mind-numbing quality found on everyone else’s.”

—Elizabeth Lowman


8. Add Non-Work Work

“Volunteer work, particularly if it’s long-term or if it gives you the chance to lead a project from beginning to end, can be a great substitute for full-time work. Some organizations give titles or recognition to regular volunteers, so find out if there are any formal credentials that you can use (if not, just use “Volunteer”). Just like you would for a paid job, list bullets that show your major accomplishments and what you learned during your involvement.”

—Ashley Faus


9. Keep it Simple

“It’s understandable to want to make your resume stand out a bit from the typical resume, but getting creative in InDesign isn’t the way to do it…. You’re far better off spending your time trying to maximize the top half of your resume. This could mean writing a resume summary with your most relevant qualifications or maybe pulling all your most relevant experiences into a separate section at the top of your resume and relegating the rest into an ‘Additional Experiences’ section. As long as you’re trying to maximize traditional resume formatting rather than do something entirely different, you should be safe.”

—Lily Zhang


10. Don’t Rush

“It’s much better to spend a few days perfecting your resume and cover letter (and having someone look over it) than be the first application in the hiring manager’s inbox. And always—always—read over your materials before you send them in (especially if they were composed at, say, 2 AM).”

—Avery Augustine


Your Cover Letter


11. Think Outside the Resume

“Refrain from regurgitating all of the same information already detailed in your resume. Your cover letter should complement your resume, in that it delves into the high points and provides a fuller picture of who you are after the employer reads both.”

—Megan Broussard


12. Be All About Them

“In other words, avoid writing about how working at your target company will create a great boost for your resume and career. Hiring managers are fully aware of that. What they need to know is how you’re going to provide a boost for the company.”

—Mark Slack


13. Boost Your Confidence Before Writing

“There’s a very simple mind trick that changes your entire cover letter-writing approach in an instant. Pretend. Pretend that the person you're writing to already loves and respects you. Pretend that the person you're writing to already believes that you're worthy and valuable. Pretend that the person you're writing to doesn't need a big sales pitch. Return to your cover letter draft, start fresh, and see what pours out of your fingertips this time.”

—Alexandra Franzen


14. …But Not Too Much

“While you should be confident about your experience, do tread lightly. Too much confidence can make employers think you’ll be too much to handle. You should also avoid comparing yourself to other candidates with more or different experiences—focus on what you bring to the job rather than how you compare to others.”

—Hellen Barbara


15. Rock Your Intro

“Try a high-personality lead in like this: ‘Having grown up with the Cincinnati Zoo (literally) in my backyard, I understand firsthand how you’ve earned your reputation as one of the most family-friendly venues in the State of Ohio. For 20 years, I’ve been impressed as your customer; now I want to impress visitors in the same way your team has so graciously done for me.’”

—Jenny Foss


16. Let Your Passion Shine Through

“The best cover letters I’ve read are from people who have a passion for my company, and can make that passion come to life on a page. The letters that make me say, ‘Yes! This person really gets it.’ Because, at the end of the day, I want to hire people who already get it. Most hiring managers do.”

—Kathryn Minshew


17. And Your Personality

“When you’re writing your cover letter, remember that the hiring manager is likely going to be reading a lot of them (and she probably doesn’t really enjoy reading them much more than you like writing them). So, while you want to make the letter professional, you also want to put some of your own personality in it. Crafting an engaging letter with some color will catch people’s eyes and make them think, ‘Wow, this would be a fun person to work with.’”

—Erin Greenawald


18. Talk About Results

“Results stand out, and potential hires can really stand out by highlighting what they’ve done and the results. It’s so important to hire talent who can execute, and my focus as an employer is to determine if hires can theorize, strategize, and execute their plan. There are plenty of thinkers and not enough doers. Separate yourself from the masses, and demonstrate what you have done.”

—Andrew Thomas


19. Be Creative

“A job applicant once sent us a really witty cover letter that ended with a promise to play ‘Careless Whisper’ on the piano on command if given the job as our copywriter. Just reading his letter gave me the gut feeling he would get along well with our young, witty, and laid-back culture. He’s now been here for two years (though unfortunately doesn’t play the piano on command anymore).”

—Kenny Nguyen


20. Go Above and Beyond

“An even better way to let the hiring manager know you’d excel in the position is to show exactly what you can do. In addition to your cover letter, write a memo that outlines what you think the major challenges of the role would be and how you'd tackle them. Or, create a slide deck with ideas that you'd bring to the role to grow the business. This above-and-beyond effort won’t only show off your skills, it’ll show you’re serious about the role—and force the hiring managers to look at you as a serious candidate.”

—Kari Reston


Networking


21. Get on LinkedIn—All the Time

“If you're looking for a job, LinkedIn should be your social media priority. In your profile, include a meaty description of your experience and strengths. Flesh out each job opportunity with your responsibilities and biggest wins. Call people in your network who you've done great work for, and ask them to post a recommendation. Curate and create content around the industry or specialty you're most interested in securing a job in, and share that content with your LinkedIn community.”

—Alex Honeysett


22. Ease Into It

“If the word ‘networking’ gives you the willies, you can ease into it by getting active online—via LinkedIn groups and by following issue leaders on Twitter. Then, once you’ve developed a rapport with a few contacts, arrange in-person meetings to grab coffee and chat.”

—Rebecca Andruszka


23. Look for Built-in Networks

“Most schools have local alumni chapters in major cities nearby, which offer happy hours, fundraising events, conferences, you name it. Joining the chapter, signing up for events, or even volunteering to take on a leadership position can be a great way to naturally meet and connect with alumni. If there's not a chapter in your area, reach out to your alumni department to see about starting one up.”

—Anne Niederkorn


24. Have a Powerful Elevator Speech

“Spruce up the delivery of your elevator pitch by using language that focuses on strong leadership verbs to send a powerful, forward-focused message.
For instance, in order to shift perception of yourself from doer to leader, catch yourself before you say you ‘work on’ something or that you’re ‘responsible for’ it.
Be actionable instead. Say you lead it, oversee it, or orchestrate it. You’ll convey that you do more than simply fulfill your job description—but that you take pride in your career and aspire to continue along a path of success.”

—Jo Miller


25. Do Informational Interviews

“Whether you’re a recent grad exploring career paths or you’re looking to switch positions in your current field, informational interviews are one of the best tools you have in your job search arsenal. You’ll add useful contacts to your network, get valuable information about the companies you’re after, and learn more about the path you think you want to pursue.”

—Laura Katen


26. Get Personal

“Look for a common spark when you converse, and don't worry if it doesn't involve your business. In fact, it’s often more meaningful if it doesn’t. It goes without saying that people are more likely to want to help and get involved if they feel a personal affiliation with you.”

—Annabel Acton


27. Challenge Yourself

“I took on a networking challenge—I met with four people I knew and four people I didn’t know every month. Through these connections, I’ve already gotten an interview and many referrals—not to mention my newfound confidence and a clearer sense of direction in my career. Even if you don’t go this far, think about how you can challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone just a little bit. It might have unexpected—and great—results.”

—Anna Runyan


28. Follow Up With Everyone You Meet

“Plan to sit down the next day and send a brief email to everyone you met. Let them know you enjoyed meeting them, follow up on anything you discussed at the event, and then, make it personal. Include an inside joke from the night before, share an article you think they might like, or, if you chatted about your hobbies, mention a new band or movie you think they’d like. This little extra effort can be just what it takes to start a worthwhile relationship.”

—Susan Blond


Interviews


29. Do Your Research

“It’s key to have a strong understanding of the position and the performance that would be expected of you. This means not only reading through the job announcement with a fine-toothed comb, but also researching past and current employees on LinkedIn. Often, you will find that they describe their jobs in a way that is not disclosed in the official job description—and this unique understanding can really enrich your ability to converse about the role.”

—Ashley Stahl


30. Research Competitors, Too

“It’s really surprising how few applicants have properly researched our competitors. Candidates who really make an impact know all about our brand, as well as how our strengths and weaknesses could relate to the market in general. Researching our products is all well and good, but a grasp of the bigger picture is just as, if not more, important.”

—Marvin Amberg


31. Research Everyone You’ll Be Meeting With

“Do your research about the people who will be interviewing you. Know their professional background, interests, and experiences, and ask them relevant questions that show you did your homework. Ask the interviewer why he or she chose the company you’re interviewing at, what attracted him or her to the opportunity, and what the future looks like for the business.”

—Matt Mickiewicz


32. And Have Questions for Them

“I am often the last stop on the interview schedule. I always ask candidates if they have questions, and I often hear, ‘All my questions have already been answered.’ It’s tough to hire someone who doesn’t want to ask the founder even one question. Good candidates come prepared with a lot of tailored questions.”

—Beth Monaghan


33. Make Them Good!

“To stand out during an interview, ask the interviewer detailed questions not only about the company’s vision and successes, but also about where its weaknesses lie. This allows you to insert yourself into the future picture by relating that weakness to areas where you’ve succeeded in the past. If they think you can help make them look good, you’re halfway in the door.”

—Parker Powers


34. Have a Great Handshake

“A Fortune 500 CEO once said that when he had to choose between two candidates with similar qualifications, he gave the position to the candidate with the better handshake. Extreme? Perhaps, but he’s actually not alone in his judgment.”

—Olivia Fox Cabone


35. Pay Attention to Body Language

“When you’re asked to talk about yourself, give your body a moment to catch up to your brain before you speak. Take a deep breath, and adjust your posture. Relax your shoulders, un-cross your legs, and do whatever you need to do to switch into a more casual posture. Not too casual—you’re still in an interview—just enough to give your interviewer a few body language cues that tell him or her you’re comfortable and excited to talk about yourself.”

—Ryan Kahn


36. Make it a Conversation

“When you’re nervously trying to get on your interviewer’s good side, it’s easy to fall into a question-answer-question-answer routine. But to make a more genuine connection with your interviewer, I’ve found that it’s helpful to interject relevant questions throughout the conversation, instead of saving them all for the wrap-up.”

—Katie Douthwaite


37. Come Bearing Solutions

“The best thing a potential hire can do is come to the interview with an understanding of the company’s problems and potential solutions. Companies need employees who can help increase revenues, save time, or reduce costs. The best employees are great problem solvers. You rarely have an interviewee show up with a plan to solve one or many of the company's problems.”

—Mark Cenicola


38. Stay Positive

“There will come a point in the interview where I’ll ask, ‘So what’s missing or lacking in your current role that is making you entertain outside offers?’ And this is where it gets nasty at times. People with no filters will rant on and on about their job, boss, or company, how terrible it is, and why they can’t wait to get out of there—and it only ends up painting them in the worst light. Address the boss, job, and company in a way that is neutral, and never make it personal.”

—Nando Rodriguez and Charlene Narcelles


39. Bring a Portfolio

“Take your portfolio to a job interview, and refer to the items inside while discussing your work experience. Saying ‘I planned a fundraising event from beginning to end’ is one thing—showing the event invitation, program, budget, and volunteer guidelines you put together is completely another.”

—Chrissy Scivicque


40. Don’t Tell What You Can Do, Show

“A sales candidate we had been speaking to took it upon himself to come into the city, walk in with a dozen cupcakes, and hand them to me. He did exactly what he would potentially be hired for: walking into an office and demanding attention. It demonstrated that he knew exactly what he would be doing in the role. Needless to say, he got the interview, got the job, and is now one of our top salespeople.”

—Alex Lorton


41. Be Ready to Dive In

“Be ready with ideas for how you’d like to improve the company in your role. What new features would you be most excited to build? How would you engage users (or re-engage existing ones)? How could the company increase conversions? How could customer service be improved? You don’t need to have the company’s four-year strategy figured out, but you can share your thoughts, and more importantly, show how your interests and expertise would lend themselves to the job.”

—Alison Johnston Rue


42. Be Yourself

“I’ve sat through meetings where every answer was on target, but they were delivered with all the personality of a cardboard box. In other words, don’t be afraid to let a little personality shine through and highlight the most memorable parts of your experiences.”

—Meredith Pepin


43. Relax

“I’m not suggesting that you crack jokes or become buddies—but you should be confident and interact as if you’re already working together, through eye contact, active listening, smiling, and avoiding nervous laughter. I call it ‘relaxed formality.’ It’s an interview, so don’t get too comfortable, but try to be yourself and have a natural conversation.”

—Nicole Lindsay


44. Remember You’re Interviewing the Company

“We seek highly strategic thinkers, not people who just want a job. They should be interviewing us, too. The most memorable candidates have reached out to multiple team members ahead of and after an interview to ask questions, and some have asked to hang out for a day to experience the culture. These proactive inquiries show they are taking us seriously and strive to make well-informed decisions.”

—Emily Holdman


Follow Up


45. Email, Don’t Call

“Skip the phone and send an email. It leaves a paper trail, it allows the recruiter time to properly look up your status information, it eliminates those annoying games of phone tag, and it prevents what I call drunk dialing the recruiter. (Nerves replace alcohol, but the result is the same: leaving a lengthy, nonsensical voice mail that hurls any candidacy consideration down the proverbial drain.)”

—Yolanda Owens


46. Consider Extra Effort

“I once had an interview with a woman who sent me a handwritten thank you note. At first, when I didn’t receive the usual right-away thank you email, I thought she must not have been interested in the job. But when I found that note in my mailbox a few days later, I appreciated the extra effort she took to make it more special.”

—Ashley Mady


47. Send a Suggestion

“Sometimes you leave an interview, send a thank-you note, then realize days later that you have a great idea, something else you should’ve asked, or another example that demonstrates your abilities. When this happens, a follow-up note is the perfect time to show that the company is still on your mind and you’re really mulling on how you can help. Lead with asking for an update, as suggested above, and then go into your business question or suggestion.”

—Rich Jones


48. Don’t Look Desperate

“If you come on too strong post-interview (think ‘checking in’ to restate your interest less than a week after the interview or double communicating—emailing and then emailing again without a response from the other party), you look less like a candidate they’d be lucky to hire and more like someone who’s anxious to leave your current role. It’s not fair, but the rules of human nature apply, and someone who seems desperate suddenly seems less appealing.”

—Sara McCord


49. Be Pleasantly Persistent

“If you’ve followed up a few times and still haven’t heard back, it’s worth directly asking if you should stop following up. After all, you don’t want to waste your time, either. I’ll sometimes say, ‘I know how busy you are and completely understand if you just haven’t had the time to reach back out. But I don’t want to bombard you with emails if you’re not interested. Just let me know if you’d prefer I stop following up.’”

—Elliott Bell


50. Don’t Give Up

“Do what it takes to prove how much you want the job. Show that you are willing to go out of your way to chase your goals. Prove that you have a strong sense of initiative and are not afraid to veer off the usual path. Make your goals and requests clear with a sense of urgency. And make every person you meet with feel special.”

—Camilla Cho

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Strategic Management

Strategic Management

We are very proud to deliver the only short course on strategic management available in Ireland. This course has been designed to be delivered in house and is specifically tailored for the Irish multi national IDA high value manufacturing and services sector. The programme is delivered over 20 hours as an integrated format over modules decided by the client. Strategy only works when everyone is on the same page and for this reason we offer this programme for each management forum to take advantage of this unique opportunity. It is fundamental knowledge that companies that have a strong foundation and understanding of strategy and how it shapes future sustainable success are the business units that achieve prolonged success within the greater company structure. Simply put, the business unit that talks the language of the CEO attracts the greatest interest and capital input. Success is always built on strategy. See a sample of our strategic training work.
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