Four Ways to Impress a Recruiter in Your First Meeting

Capturing the attention of a quality recruiter is often easier said than done. However, provided you have earned that well-earned connection, there are certain actions which can help propel your name to the top of a recruiter’s list.

Your initial contact may either be an in-person or virtual meeting (via Skype or GoToMeeting, for example), or the recruiter (or HR representative) may choose to schedule a phone interview with you. Regardless of the platform, it is crucial that you win over this individual from the very beginning. One place to begin gaining a recruiter’s praise is to secure a clear perspective of what they are looking for in a job candidate and strategize fittingly.

Impressing a Recruiter - Woman on Laptop holding Smartphone in home office

Recruiter, career strategist, and author, Jenny Foss, helps summarize some of the best approaches to “wowing” a job recruiter on your very first consultation.’

1.  Quickly show that you can cover the essentials.

The first course of action for a typical recruiter is to ensure that a candidate is capable of a job’s essential requirements. However, Foss explains, “That said, you should study the job description closely or talk with people working in the department [if possible], and then (before the interview) list out the things you think are the most important deliverables for the role”. So, while you want to remain primarily focused on the basics during your initial conversation, touching upon some your strengths as applicable to the more detailed specifics of the position is also imperative.

2.  Make your enthusiasm known if you’re interested in the position.

A candidate who is both qualified and excited about the job is a valuable asset to any recruiter, especially if you’ve made it to the next phase of the interview process. “[Assuming] you are reasonably interesting in the opportunity, you’ve got to make that instantly clear to the recruiter during the screening call,” says Foss. This ensures recruiters that their time invested has not been wasted; making it more likely that they will contact you if and when another, more suitable, position becomes available.

3.  Radiate a “cultural” match.

While online research and speaking with connected members of your network are effective ways of obtaining strong cultural cues about a particular organization, you cannot always be completely sure of a company’s culture until you actually beginning working there. However, any information you do gather will certainly help you score points with your recruiter during your initial conversation. Find opportunities during the conversation to show that you can relate to the company’s ethos; as this offers your recruiter a solid platform from which to convince other decision-makers in the company that you are truly a top-candidate for the job.

4.  Recognize the recruiter’s role and commitment to the process.

Simply stated, a recruiter wants to believe in you. Their goal is to come away from the conversation with a viable contender for the position. After all, it is at the basis of their career to align hopeful job seekers with a position in which they will not only thrive, but also provide value to the respective organization. “So,” with this in mind, Foss adds “never be afraid to ask for the interviewer’s input on how you can put your best foot forward with the hiring manager or for clarification on any questions you don’t understand. [This] person wants to send you through to the hiring manager. Make it easy to do so”.

Impressing a Recruiter - Man_professional_holding smartphone

Remember that when the right strategy is in place, you are more likely to win the game, or in this case, land the job.

More from Stewart Cooper & Coon:  Navigating the End of Your Job Interview: What Questions to Ask

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

How to Let Your Interviewer Know You’re a Perfect Cultural Fit

Let’s say that you’re a top-flight programmer, but you’ve decided that you’re not going to work just anywhere.  After figuring out exactly what you wanted to do, you took the time to do additional research and figure out precisely where you wanted to do it.

The problem remains, however, that even after you know that a prospective employer has an employee gymnasium, quiet rooms where you can grab a quick nap during the day to refresh your mind, an espresso machine, an open-door policy for all executives, and a convivial atmosphere where everyone’s ideas are accepted openly, you still have to convince them that you fit their perceptions of a good employee.  How do you do that?

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Don’t Oversell Your Enthusiasm

The temptation may be to fawn over the company’s product line or services; to gush over the importance it has in your daily life. However, they already have customers who love their product; what they need is someone who is going to extend their product line, enhance the public’s perception, or improve their current offerings.

It doesn’t matter whether or not you use their products regularly; you must demonstrate that you not only desire to improve their offerings, but that you have the skill to do so, while fitting into their community structure.  According to a 2014 survey, HR people are now paying considerably more attention to that last category.

For example, while the CEO of AVON® is Sheri McCoy, 75% of the CxOs, 65% of the Board, and 60% of the Management Committee are male.  AVON’s male-focused product line is relatively small, so why are men overrepresented?  Simple—they persuaded someone at the hiring level that they could integrate with the company in a positive way, and make a difference.

An Emotional Connection

Being passionate about the company’s objectives, and then backing that up with a plan for how you are going to further them, is a key success factor.  If you can describe the challenges an employee is likely to face, and have a plan for dealing with them, you’re already one-step-up on the competition.  By showing them that you’re going to add value, and not require a great deal of handholding, you become a valuable asset.

Moreover, integration is not restricted to day-to-day business.  If part of the company culture involves donating laptops to under-financed schools or toward scholarships for kids to attend college, mention that you’re aware of it.  You can even outline some plans for your own ideas to enhance the effectiveness of their projects.  Make clear to the interviewer that you want to work for the company and further all of its goals.

Fit In

There aren’t many companies that value the lone-wolf approach (if that’s your style, and you found a company like that, congratulations).  Most companies prefer integration and teamwork, so when you’re talking about solving a problem, use the word “we” more frequently than you use the pronouns “I” or “me”.

Nevertheless, if a large part of your job is interacting with customers, make sure you emphasize that a happy customer is a valuable repeat customer.  Without them, “we” wouldn’t even be in business (yes, you slyly included yourself as part of the company team there, helping the interviewer to think of you that way, too).

Don’t be a Drone

You don’t have to toe the party line.  Interviewers, if they are sensible, are not looking for a new best friend.  If you’re in the right sort of cultural environment you are often appreciated if you have a different way of thinking about problems.  It can be a very attractive feature.

Different approaches to problem solving can be a huge benefit to a company.  Getting people to think about new approaches to problem-solving can banish longstanding hang-ups and bottlenecks; it can provide new “Eureka!” moments that could completely change the way a company does business.

Admittedly, it’s the job of the employee to conform to the corporate culture.  Expecting to stand it on its head and make it do your bidding is unrealistic.  But there’s little harm in being different, and often large benefits.

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The Takeaway

Cynics tell us “Sincerity is great; once you can fake that, you’ve got it made”, but the truth is, as Abraham Lincoln pointed out, “You can fool some of the people some of the time…”  Even if you succeed, you won’t be happy, won’t do a good job, and you’ll be looking for something new in very short order.

If you find the place where you belong—the place you truly want to be—treat it seriously and show them that you fit, and not just that you want the job.  Anything else is just self-sabotage.

More from Stewart Cooper & Coon:  Who’s Interviewing Whom: Valuable Tips for Job Interviews

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Take your job search and LinkedIn profile to new levels and achieve your career goals with LinkedInSecrets.us. Leveraging LinkedIn for Job Search Success 2015 will transform how you use LinkedIn on a daily basis and create a profile that will WOW recruiters and hiring managers.

Five Initial Signs That Your Job Interview Went Well

Of course, the ultimate sign of a successful job interview is being informed that you’ve secured the position. There are, however, some other — more immediate — signals that a prospective employer may be seriously interested in you as a candidate.

Here, we review some direct indications that you have “aced” your job interview.

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1. References were requested.

According to CareerBuilder.com, “If the hiring manager asks for a list of references, it means they are seriously considering you and want to make sure you are a qualified candidate”. Hiring a person who is the wrong fit for a position can cost a company thousands, so investing in this process is a good sign that an employer is considering hiring you.

2. You were called back for a second interview.

This is one of the most notable indications that a company is interested in you as a candidate. Interviewers who are unsure of an applicant, will tend to be more elusive as to “when and whether you could expect to hear back,” according to CareerBuilder.com.

3. They introduced you to other team members.

If you’ve been given the opportunity to meet with individuals not included on your original interview schedule — particularly those in high level positions — this can be taken as a positive sign. CareerBuilder.com reiterates, “Bonus points if they are a president or senior executive”. When high-level employees have been made aware of your presence, it’s safe to guess that news of your skills and expertise has created a “buzz” throughout the company.

4. You were asked about the specifics of leaving your current position.

Job candidates who have made it to the “short list” can expect hiring managers to request details regarding the length of time they will need for their job transition, or what agreements may be in place with their current employer. Employers looking to move toward a job offer are keen on identifying and solving “any potential roadblocks that would slow down your departure from your current organization”, according to CareerBuilder.com.

5. You were asked about your salary requirements.

While it is not recommended that interviewees volunteer their salary needs during a typical job interview, if a hiring manager directly asks you the specifics of your compensation requisites, this can often be taken as good sign. Although some interviewers may be looking to whittle down their candidate list through this process, many will not bother to bring up earnings unless they are already viewing you as a top match for the position. However, candidates should at least be sure they are prepared with this information, should the topic be broached by the employer.

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To Conclude

Although there may not be one definitive sign that you have landed a job immediately upon leaving an interviewer’s office, there are certainly ways of gauging the quality of your job interview. Each time you meet with a hiring manager, you are gaining valuable interviewing skills; so even if you did not acquire that particular position, you likely came remarkably close if you experienced many of the indicators listed above. Therefore, remain on track, learn from your feedback, and you should soon find yourself in receipt of a well-deserved (and well-fitting) job offer.

More from Stewart, Cooper & Coon:  Interview Advice: Answering The Question, “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Job Seekers: Four Ways to Stand Out to Your Recruiter

When working with a recruiter, it’s common for job seekers to assume they can finally relax and allow their consultant handle all the work. While recruiters carry quite a hefty load of responsibilities to assure a successful matching of candidates and companies, there are certain actions that job seekers can take to increase their leverage among competitors, resulting in an accurate and speedy placement.

Related:  Behind the Scenes of Corporate Recruiting

The goal is to create a reason for your recruiting consultant to truly advocate for you; to become their “go-to candidate” for the best positions. So, how does a job seeker increase their value in the recruiting world?

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Sjoerd Gehring, Global Head of Recruiting at Johnson & Johnson, shares four key pointers:

1.  Be Ready and Organized.

One of the most important factors in a successful recruiter/candidate relationship is communication. Ensure that your recruiter is aware of your goals, skills and experience, as well as reasons for any noticeable gaps in your employment history. If they are in the dark as far as your background, they cannot effectively “sell” you to an organization, let alone the right one. “So”, Gehring advises, “proactively send them an updated resume if there have been any changes since the last time you spoke. Then, have your work portfolio and references prepared and ready to go as soon as they ask for them. Respecting their time – and lack thereof – will help you stand out”.

Related:  The Right Way To List Job Titles On Your Resume

2.  Honesty is the Best Policy.

If you are tempted to misrepresent yourself in any way because you think it will fast-track to toward a better position, let go of that notion immediately. This includes exaggerations or withholding important information that may impact your future employment. Without honesty, there cannot be trust, and if your recruiting consultant feels they can’t trust you, they may be quite hesitant to place or refer you. Gehring reiterates, “Just think how badly it will reflect on you (and the recruiter!) if you hold something back or tell a ‘white lie’ that later comes to light; [and] be under no illusion, these things always do”. If you do feel somewhat underqualified for a position, Gehring suggests highlighting your transferrable skills in an honest way.

3.  Show Your Enthusiasm.

Gehring agrees, “Recruiters are looking for qualified candidates who are serious about switching to the company they represent”. If a particular role is meaningful to you, by all means, let your recruiter know. Perhaps an organization possesses a similar value system to your own or you have a high esteem for their dedication to philanthropy or readiness to take on new forms of technology.  “Whatever your reason, demonstrate that affinity, so the recruiter knows why you’re committed to securing a role at their company,” suggests Gehring. Moreover, this information can be used to your advantage as a recruiter promotes you to the company as a well-suited candidate.

4.  Maintain Graciousness.

Perhaps your consultant has placed you on track toward a position that doesn’t quite appeal to you. If this is the case, don’t feel obligated to accept an ill-fitting role. However, it’s important to graciously advise your recruiter of your concerns as soon as possible so that they can begin working toward a new opportunity for both you and another candidate who would perhaps be a better fit for the position. On the other hand, if you are set for an interview, and experience a rejection, do not blame your recruiter or consider this the end of the road. Again, remain gracious for the opportunity, and move forward. You recruiter is likely actively working toward filling another role, so it’s important to remain in their good standing.

How-to-Stand-Out-to-Your-Job-Recruiter-Career-Target-with-Arrow.

Conclusion

As Gehring reminds candidates, as with any relationship (whether personal or professional), you receive what you invest; and this certainly applies to the affiliation between job-seekers and recruiters. Remaining conscientious, honest, motivated, and gracious can only bring positive results.

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

The Unemployed’s Guide to Getting Hired

Those who are currently – or have ever been – unemployed can attest to the fact that it is certainly not a paradise. Despite the constant media banter about the ‘gainfully unemployed’ and those who adore consuming government benefits, we have yet to actually meet many people who would embrace a lifestyle of absolute minimums and purely subsistence level income (if even that, which it’s very often not).

In the vein of a realistic approach – and one that doesn’t commence by belittling those in an already uncomfortable position – let’s have a look into some of the particular (if not completely unique) challenges faced by those currently unemployed and seeking a good position.

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To begin, and this one is obvious, getting a job is considerably more difficult if you don’t already have one. Many people will tell you that this is all a matter of perspective and attitude, and to a degree they’re not entirely wrong, as impression matters a great deal. However, preconception can matter even more, and the conventional wisdom (antiquated as it is) does hold that if you’ve been let go from your previous job, there must be a good reason for it, and it most often tracks back into thoughts of the quality of your work and performance. What this perspective fails to account for is that we live in a day and age of major, sweeping layoffs; not the fine-edged, carefully tailored pruning of corporations of the past. Huge swaths of people will be sheared off the payroll for purely budgetary reasons on a common basis these days, and there is little to nothing they can do about it.

Moreover, the longer you’re unemployed, the more heavily the (possible) discrimination weighs. Consistent studies show that after eight months of unemployment, the hire rate drops by over 50%. That is a staggering number.

The Upswing of Impression

Despite having the uphill struggle already in play, impression can be a powerful ally to offset these poor misconceptions. By and large, the majority of your advantage comes in the face-to-face interview. Overall, these few tips will go a long way toward not only getting your foot in the door, but your feet under a desk:

  • Don’t appear too eager: As earnest as you may be in your ambition, visible over-eagerness is often, and unfortunately, read as desperation. While there are few situations more worthy of desperation than being unemployed (say, with a family depending on you), being perceived as such is almost always an instant shutdown. Therefore: Don’t be too quick to agree, don’t pander, don’t be overly obsequious. Although generally affability is important, seek the right balance and remember your value. Approach the interview with it firmly in mind that you will be a worthy asset to the company.
  • Stay active: Even when you’re off the job, you can still be active in ways that demonstrate the quality of your abilities and person. Volunteering is a huge bonus, especially in ways that give you managerial or organizing positions. Even if you spend a year traveling the globe, that allows you to bring some pretty relevant cross-cultural experience to the table. Get creative.
  • Be persistent: This is the big one and perhaps one of the most challenging. Powering through a wall of what can feel like pointless and endless repetition is, in a word, tedious, and possibly depressing, if you are not receiving the results you desire. However, if you can manage to stay positive and keep at it by sending out resumes and applications every day, following up with leads, and doing your research on companies you’re looking into, then it will pay off.

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The Takeaway

Although job-seeking while unemployed certainly holds its tests and trials, keep your ears open for advice and support that rings true, and maximize it to your advantage. Once you get past this hurdle — no matter how long it takes — you will be that much stronger for it; which is, after all, the very purpose of challenge, itself.

Further Reading:  The Best Ways To Save Time During Your Job Search

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

How Do Companies Know When It’s Time to Seek a Retained Executive Search Firm?

As a hiring manager, how do you know when the time has come to seek out a retained executive search (RES) firm?  The answer to that question is simple:  Every single time you are hiring a senior level executive.

Leaders may toss around figures like 50k and 100k, but the cost of an unfilled position is likely much larger than numbers written on a single check.  How much does it cost to divert the work of others to fill the gap until the role is filled?  How much business is lost?  How much goodwill could you potentially lose by openly poaching from partner companies?  How long is it going to take to personally find an individual with the precise mix of skills that you need?

Benefits of Retained Executive Search - Woman at Laptop writing notes

Residents of the C-suite should rather take a holistic approach to finances when it comes to hiring senior executives.  Using a RES firm is slightly more expensive than using contingency firms (no hire/no pay), but truthfully, when it comes to hiring executives for top positions, the latter are less suited to the task.

 

Compare and Contrast

Consider: Contingency firms get a list of requirements, sort through their files looking for reasonably close matches, and then forward some CVs in the hopes that you’ll hire one of them, and then the contingency firm will get paid.  While this is a legitimate working system, the time and detail dedicated to ensuring that a particular candidate is “the one” is significantly less. This is not to downplay the work or necessity of contingency search firms; simply to display how a different set of needs (i.e. filling an executive/c-level role) requires a more comprehensive approach.

The nature of contingency firms requires them to be less invested in one particular prospect; simply due to the mere volume with which they are dealing.  Contingency firms serve their purpose; they provide a broad range of candidates for many generic executive positions.  The candidates are vetted, but in all likelihood, not as thoroughly as you are going to need for a senior executive.

The last thing you want is to hire is someone with an obscured track record of failure.  If you don’t find out first, your competitors will, and they will likely have the ability to use it against you.  For instance, the last thing you want to discover is that your CFO was implicated in a pension scam in a foreign country, in a position that he or she held for only two months; one that was likely omitted from their resume.

RES firms provide thorough vetting of all candidates.  They approach them directly, interview them face-to-face, and then provide detailed assessments of the candidates to the hiring companies.  The reports often include intelligence assessments, aptitude assessments, and personality traits (a type of “psychometry”, if you will), as an aid to determining their compatibility.

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Time is Money

More importantly, RES firms provide credibility.  The “cream of the crop” that you are looking for may not necessarily be looking for you.  Top executives are well treated, well paid, and well compensated.  This amounts to them being passive candidates that are most likely not looking for a change.

Most top executives only work with RES firms.  It would be atypical for them to even consider working with standard headhunter who is looking to build a portfolio of candidates.  If the recruiter doesn’t come to the table with a solid, fascinating offer, there are plenty of other ways that an executive can use their valuable time to achieve their goals.

Skill and Experience

Even if the position isn’t the precise one which that executive needs, they are now aware that this recruiter has serious, legitimate offers.  Plus, studies have shown that executives are much more open to discussing their capabilities, desires, and accomplishments with a third party, rather than directly with the competitor looking to lure them away from their current position.

The fact of the matter is that these candidates are willing to discuss their goals, their plans for the future, and their ambitions. Simultaneously, RES recruiters have the advantage of getting to know the executives, not just for their capabilities and accomplishments, but for how they integrate with other team members.

Retained executive search recruiters decipher the environment in which executives will thrive; they can place them in corporate cultures that match their personalities and tendencies.  It is in the company’s best interest to obtain an employee for the long term, because the length of time that the average senior executive spends in a particular position is only three years.

If they are matched with the right company, the affiliation could technically develop into a years’ long employment relationship.  That, in turn, is going to save the cost of replacement, downtime, diverting other people to cover the necessities of the position until it’s refilled, and all sorts of other needless annoyances.

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The Takeaway

Ultimately, the RES firm will provide much greater value.  They have a vested interest in being successful because that will establish a business relationship, and then you will work with them again.  Better yet, you’ll recommend them to others.

Free up your HR department to do their real job of managing your people on a day-to-day basis.  In reality, they are likely not equipped for senior executive searches any more than contingency firms.  Hire a RES firm and let them get on with the job, solving your problem quickly and permanently.

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Examining the Humble Mindset in Terms of Professional Success

As complex and complicated as ethics are in the modern world – arguably more so than at any other age in human history – there are still defining virtues in life that seem truly timeless. Among these are the inarguable virtues of patience, good will, generosity, and courage; to name but a very few. Today, however, we consider a virtue that stands among them with no less stature but that comes with a degree of complexity under the modern lens: humility. Humility has been a laudable quality since time immemorial, noted as an aspect of both great people and great deeds. However, just as any other matter, there are extremes in play and overindulgences in anything can see it taken too far into a negative arena. And in no other case is this closer to the truth than in weaving the virtue of humility with the world of modern business.

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Make no mistake, being overly humble has the potential, if not assurance, of severely hindering your career. Culturally, a sense of confidence is the hallmark of our business leaders. While the word carries a certain negative connotation, arrogance is not far from the mark as well; and a certain degree of arrogance can do a great deal for moving professionals up the corporate ladder. That being said, let’s not make the mistake of a measured ‘arrogance’ being synonymous with egotism or excessive vanity. Just as before, the proper temperament is found in moderation and strategy.

As such, we’ll be taking a closer look into both the positive and negative effects of the humble approach in a professional environment.

The Bad

  • Promotion

Being a self-starter, taking the initiative, demonstrative leadership abilities; all of these attributes are congruent with those things executives keep an eye out for promotion and advancement. Preventing yourself from being able to step forward into the limelight when the opportunity arises can be a real issue. This is not about always working to be the center of attention, but rather recognizing when a challenge presents itself that you are confident in your abilities and expertise to handle. With an excessive sense of humbleness or shyness, you ensure that you’ll be overlooked.

  • Labels

Office culture forms in much the same manner as any other, with experience and interaction. Given that the intentional development of humility is not among the most common of pursuits in western culture, certain misunderstandings of your peers and colleagues may arise. For instance, reputations may develop along unfair lines: A humble person runs the risk of being considered unambitious, a follower, or one not to be trusted with managerial responsibilities.

The Good

All of that taken together allows an individual to walk a more careful path, avoiding the pitfalls of too much humility without compromising their integrity. Here are a few ways in which humility may set you apart and enable you to succeed:

  • Self-assurance – A humble person is less likely to accord blame or mistakes to themselves when they know it to not be the case.
  • A humble person generally has a greater sense of others, a compassion toward their peers and superiors that is independent of their status or recognition.
  • Building relationships and strong networks comes most easily to those who don’t have too much overt concern about getting themselves ahead before all else. A strong and viable network of people across the professional spectrum who know you for a genuinely good and caring person is, in a word, invaluable.

A powerful and mature sense of humility is ideal for maintaining an internal balance, not allowing the pressures and expectations of the professional world to wear you down.

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It all comes down to this: As with any virtue, humility is a personal matter of pursuit and growth. Take all things into accord and measure them against your personal morals and ethics. How you live your life and engage in your career is a decision you and no other will have to live with.

Further Reading:  What Business Leaders Can Learn From One Another

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

 

Four Proactive Ways to Reflect on Your Workday

We all experience those days at work when we feel we could have reached an additional goal, made more efficient use of our time, or just generally performed better. While we would prefer that every day be a victory, there are always tactics that can help ensure a better tomorrow.  What is most important is that we are realistic with ourselves without being harshly critical. Even after a great day at work, it’s still a good idea to assess the day’s events to boost future learning.

So, how do successful people reflect following a long day at the office? Kat Boogaard is an author specializing in careers and self-development, as well as contributor to The Muse and Inc.com.  She suggests employees and professionals of all kinds identify four basic factors at the end of each work day.

Reflecting on Your Workday - Businessman smiling by window

1.  Recognize what went well for you.

Boogaard reminds workers that in the midst of our daily chaos and responsibilities, it’s easy to lose sight of the positive. This is why it’s crucial to take stock of even the minor wins you experienced which may have gone unnoticed at the time. According to Boogaard, “Not only will this give you that much-needed time to recognize your progress and achievements, but it will also put you in a much more positive and confident state of mind for the next workday”.

2.  Look for areas where you can improve.

Even the most incredibly productive and successful day at the office can be improved upon. Without being overly analytical of personal flaws, it is still a good idea to pinpoint any areas where you might have been able to improve your performance; and what better time to start than tomorrow?  Boogaard suggests, “Zone in on one – or even a few – areas where you’d like to step up your game the next day, and you’re sure to see constant progress in your productivity levels, work relationships, and overall outlook”.

3.  Plan your first task for the next day.

To avoid becoming overwhelmed, it’s most helpful to view your responsibilities not as one large mission, but rather as a list of basic tasks. “To get some much-needed clarity, think through your current workload and pick the one key thing that you want to work on when you get to the office in the morning”, says Boogaard. She continues, “That way, you can sit down at your desk with a clear head and a targeting plan in place”.

4.  Identify the best part of your day.

While it may be in our nature to focus more on the negative, it’s important to keep your thoughts positive even after a tumultuous day on the job. What’s more, a pessimistic mood can easily spill over into the next day. Boogaard recommends employees conclude by indentifying their favorite part of that particular day. She reiterates, “Whether you received a great compliment from a superior or got to indulge in a delicious piece of ice cream cake during a birthday celebration for a co-worker, thinking about something that makes you crack a smile will cap off your workday on a high note”.

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Further reading:   Five Pieces of Advice Prosperous People Don’t Ignore

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Aiming for Success? Three Notions to Leave Behind

When it comes to achieving true success in any aspect of your life, one fact is consistently true: There is always a certain amount of sacrifice associated with the realization of great accomplishments. However, in certain cases, these sacrifices may simply be the act of letting go of preconceived notions or ideas to move forward with our aspirations.

The author of “Unmistakable: Why Only Is Better Than Best” and founder of “The Unmistakable Creative Podcast”, Srinivas Rao, has identified three concepts which are best disregarded when professional success is your ultimate goal.

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1. Let go of others’ definitions of success.

The real meaning of success can manifest itself in various ways for different people.  In regard to other people’s definitions of success, Rao states, “While this is one of the most difficult things to give up because it’s so deeply embedded in our cultural narrative, it’s also incredibly liberating and ultimately leads to the fullest expression of [who] you are, and what matters to you”. You are the only person who must live with the aftereffects of your decisions, therefore, living according to your own principals and value system should be of utmost importance. Rao reminds readers, “By understanding the essence of our goals – what it is that we believe our achievements will bring us – it’s easier to give up other people’s expectations”.

2. Release your fear of judgment.

Feeling as though you must always provide others with an explanation for your plans and actions may actually sap you of your confidence and motivation. It’s crucial to remember that one individual’s path toward success will never be completely identical to that of another.  Rao reiterates, “Once you give up your fear of judgment, your ability to work changes quite drastically. You become more present, productive, and start to gather creative momentum. You focus on the process, not the prize, and you start to see progress toward the life you want to live”.

3. Free yourself of past baggage.

While it’s true that our history helps shape who we are, it’s also easy to remain trapped in a cycle of negative thoughts regarding our past. There comes a time in our lives where we must be confident in the fact that we have learned from our mistakes; and any resentments or grudges we may hold toward people or past situations must also be left behind. Rao points out, “When you give all that up, you end up ditching a lot of baggage. You walk through the world with a sense of lightness, peace, and freedom that makes its way into everything else that you do”.

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The Takeaway

Without sacrificing or giving up antiquated ideas and pessimistic thought patterns, you are not allowing better and more promising opportunities to enter your life. It is up to you to identify your own idea of success and delineate the path and strategy that works best for you.

 

Fred Coon, CEO 

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200

Five Career Lessons That Are Commonly Overlooked

There’s no way around it; the truth is, we learn through our past experiences, including our mistakes. This is especially true in the workplace, where very few individuals gain higher ranking positions within their companies without having made a few missteps along the way.

However, from each mistake we make, we have the opportunity to learn something valuable. Unfortunately, we often forget to notice some of the lessons to be gained, not only from our failures, but also through some of the common external obstacles and complications we encounter along the paths of our careers.

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With this in mind, it’s wise to refresh our memories in reference to some of the more commonly disregarded, or overlooked, lessons that will actually aid us throughout the remainder of our professional lives.

1. Mistakes are inevitable.

Although we’d rather not admit it, we never stop making mistakes in life; and the same holds true for our careers. Regardless of whether you are just starting out or if you’re the CEO of a company, the time will come when you are involved in even the most minor inaccuracy or slip-up. However, take note that this certainly does not mean you are destined for an ongoing pattern of failure. It just means that you are human, and try as we might to avoid, mistakes are an inevitable fact of life. As the legendary Henry Ford famously stated, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently”.

2. Success is not an overnight journey.

No matter how successful you are or how hard you try, for the majority of us, achieving ultimate success is most definitely not an instantaneous achievement. It takes a great deal of time, effort, and dedication to reach your goals; and even when we do, there is always room for further growth. Unfortunately, so many of us overlook this fact, even becoming despondent and discouraged if we do not reach our objectives within a predetermined time-frame. Remember, anything worthwhile takes time, hard work, as well as a pure dedication toward your goal. According to Mylan CEO, Heather Bresch, “There is simply no substitute for hard work when it comes to achieving success”.

3. Managers are not mind readers.

The worst thing for aspiring professional leaders to do is to sit idly and wait for something great to happen. For instance, if you feel you deserve a raise or promotion, you may have to ask for it when the time is right. However, when you do, be prepared to explain why you feel you deserve it. Demanding extra compensation simply because you’ve been with the company for a year, for example, is never a good idea.  Rather, explain what you’ve done to make improvements to your department or the company as a whole (if you can provide samples of your work, even better), highlight your commitment, accomplishments, and anything else that will spotlight your professional growth and worth to the company.

4. Continued education is always an option.

Even if you’ve obtained the position you’ve always wanted, you should still continue to educate yourself. With technology growing at such a rapid pace, it seems there is always something new to learn. It is important, not only for the company, but also for your own professional growth, to keep current on new and improved technology, business practices, as well as remaining in the know on your own company’s newest operations and chief competitors. Educationally speaking, if returning to school and earning a brand new degree is not a realistic option for you, there are many online certifications, tutorials, and seminars that will enrich your existing knowledge, and simultaneously show your superiors how serious you are about becoming — and remaining — a valuable member of the organization.

5. Balance your professional and personal life.

Have you ever heard the phrase “keep your work at work and your personal life at home”? Yet, if you’ve been a member of the workforce long enough, then you know this isn’t always entirely possible. During our workweek, we spend the majority of our waking hours at our jobs, and keeping the two mutually exclusive is not always completely achievable. After a particularly stressful day or week, many find it difficult to decompress and truly enjoy their time with family and friends, outside of the workplace. The same holds true when the concerns and issues of our personal lives become entwined with our professional lives, making it difficult to fully concentrate at work. This SC&C Work/Life Balance Quiz can offer a first step for employees to assess their current equilibrium, and make any necessary changes, going forward.

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In Closing

As our lives and careers continue to progress, it is important to keep these important lessons in mind. Sometimes it’s the smallest, or even most obvious, lessons that are frequently neglected. Nevertheless, their value holds true — not just during a temporary professional crisis — but well throughout our lives.

Further Reading:  Valuable Career Advice From Influential Executives

 

Fred Coon, CEO

Stewart, Cooper & Coon, has helped thousands of decision makers and senior executives move up in their careers and achieve significantly improved financial packages within short time frames. Contact Fred Coon – 866-883-4200, Ext. 200