Author: lori-bumgarner


How to Move Up in Your Career

Lately I’ve had several people contact me who’ve said, “I can’t seem to move up in my career. I keep getting stuck in the same low-level jobs and don’t know how to get out of this cycle and move up to something better. Help!”

Oftentimes there’s a simple explanation for this phenomenon. People take a lower-level job expecting to eventually be promoted to a higher level position, but never take action to ensure this will happen.

The Cycle

The cycle goes like this:

  • You take a lower-level job telling yourself it’s a good foot-in-the-door and will provide an opportunity to grow in the company.
  • You keep your nose to the grindstone and continue to work hard, hoping your boss will notice how good of a worker you are.
  • After the first year, you get passed over for promotion.
  • Then it’s two to three years later and nothing’s changed. You wonder why you’re still stuck in the same position and aren’t advancing.
  • You begin to feel unappreciated, so you decide to look for a job with a different company.
  • However you only apply for the same level job you’ve been in because you think it’s all you’re qualified to do since you haven’t been promoted.
  • You accept the same level job at another company with the same hopes of growing and moving up in the company.

And then the cycle starts all over.

Breaking the Cycle and Creating Real Career Growth

So how do you break this cycle? By going in to a job with an intentional and focused plan.

The people who have suffered through these cycles are in them because they didn’t take responsibility for their own career growth. They went in with no plan of their own and instead expected the higher ups to recognize their potential and promote them.

But, just like a job doesn’t fall into your lap, opportunities for advancement don’t either. You have to do your part to grow in your career. But how?

Below are several actions you can take to jump start a plan for moving up in your career. I’ve also linked each action to paNASH’s various on-demand video courses that show you in more detail how to carry out each action. (Get 15% off each on-demand program from Sept. 18-25 when you enter the discount code FALL2019 at checkout.)

In addition, paNASH provides a one-on-one personalized coaching track focusing solely on career growth. The Career Growth Track provides you an in depth plan you need to break the cycle. Also, it’s perfect for those who’ve just started a new job. It includes:

  • Successful on-boarding in your new job.
  • Preparation for promotion and advancement opportunities.
  • Methods for asking for a raise.
  • “Fire”-proofing yourself.
  • Maintaining joy and challenge in your career.
  • And more!

Don’t stay stuck! Move up!

Don’t stay stuck in your career! The power is in your hands to become unstuck and move up. You just have to learn how to wield your power by following the suggestions above. paNASH can help you do this in two ways:

  1. With paNASH’s on-demand programs available online (get 15% off each online program or the entire bundle from Sept. 18-25 when you enter the discount code FALL2019 at checkout).
  2. And, with the personalized, one-on-one Career Growth coaching track.

Contact paNASH today and break the cycle!

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Sunday Inspiration: Overcoming Failure

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“My flesh…may fail, but God is the strength of my heart.” Ps 73:26 NIV

As you drive toward your destiny, you’re sure to hit potholes along the way, or take some wrong turns, or forget to check your gas gauge and run out of fuel. The truth is, the only way to avoid failure is to not leave your driveway!

In the words of author William Saroyan:

“Good people are good because they’ve come to wisdom through failure.”

The real issue in life isn’t whether or not you’re going to fail, but whether you’re going to learn from your experience and turn it into the wisdom needed to succeed.

In a survey of successful people, not one of them viewed their mistakes as failures. They considered them “learning experiences,” or “tuition paid,” or “opportunities for growth.” That’s the winning attitude!

Henry Ward Beecher said:

“It’s defeat that turns bone to flint…gristle into muscle…and makes men invincible. Do not then be afraid of defeat. You are never so near victory as when you’re defeated in a good cause.”

So the next time you fail at something, stop and ask yourself:

  • What have I learned?
  • Am I grateful for this experience?
  • How can I turn it into success?
  • Where do I go from here?
  • Who else has failed like this, and how can they help me?
  • How can my experience help others?
  • Did I actually fail, or just fall short of an unrealistically high goal?
  • Where did I succeed as well as fail?

Then go one step further, and ask God for greater insight. If you do, you’ll grow stronger and wiser because of what you’ve been through (See James 1:5).

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/overcoming-failure

5 Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

I get a lot of questions from clients asking what they should say in a job interview when responding to common interview questions. But rarely does someone ask me what they should never say in a job interview. However, this knowledge is just as important (if not more!) than the knowledge of what to say.

I can remember when I was doing my first job search, I really just wanted to answer the question “What is your greatest weakness?” with, “Chocolate.” Of course I knew better! But some people still say things which seem obvious not to say. And then there are those not-so-obvious things.

I could spend quite a bit of time discussing all the things you should never say in a job interview. But for this post, I’m going to focus on the top five things most candidates mistakenly say but should never utter.

Top 5 Things You Should Never Say in a Job Interview

1. Don’t share anything too personal

When answering “Tell us about yourself,” never tell the interviewer your personal history starting from kindergarten! They don’t care where you went to middle school, what your favorite color is, or what your dog’s name is.

Instead, talk about your professional self, including your strengths and experience, your interest in the job, and how you can make a contribution to the company. Show them you can be a problem-solver for them!

This is not to say you can’t use a personal challenge you’ve faced in your life that shows your problem-solving skills or your ability to adapt or be resilient. Sometimes those kind of personal stories can tell the interviewer a lot about your character.

I once hired an intern based on a story she shared about what it’s been like for her to grow up with a sibling with Down Syndrome. She shared this personal story in a professional way and related it back to her ability to perform the job at hand.

Therefore, if you do decide to share a personal challenge, I advise you to follow the same approach. Don’t get too bogged down into the details of your personal situation. Instead, show how you’ve grown from it and how this growth has made you a better person for the job.

2. Avoid generalities

Always avoid speaking in generalities. You want to provide specific examples of how you’ve previously demonstrated your strengths.

I’ve said this time and time again on this blog, but I cannot stress enough the importance of doing this! Your specific examples are what differentiate you from the other candidates.

*To learn how to do this, check out my post The Secret to Answering Behavioral Interview Questions.

3. Never show you’ve not done your research

When asked “What do you know about us?” don’t just talk about what you found on the company’s web site.

Dig deeper by studying the company’s past press releases, annual reports (if they’re a public company), and social media posts to show the knowledge you’ve gained from your research.

4. Don’t be the first one to mention salary

NEVER bring up salary until they do, and even then, don’t try to negotiate until there’s an offer on the table.

If you are being pressured for an amount you’re seeking, always give a range, never a single dollar amount. The range you give should never start with your lowest amount you’re willing to take. Start slightly higher than the starting number in your range because you can always negotiate down, but you can’t negotiate up.

5. Never say yes right away

Finally, don’t say yes to the first offer.

Know that you can typically negotiate salary and most employers expect you to! If you don’t, you could end up leaving a significant amount of money (and benefits!) on the table.

More tips

I teach my clients how to prepare for job interviews and how to negotiate salary through one-on-one personalized coaching and through my latest e-book Foolproof Strategies for Acing the Interview, available for purchase on Amazon Kindle. Also, you can get a free copy with your purchase of my on demand program Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety.

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How to Answer “What Is Your Greatest Weakness?”

It’s the interview question every job candidate dreads: “What is your greatest weakness?”

And there’s been a lot of bad advice out there telling candidates they should say things like,

“I’m too much of a perfectionist.”

Or,

“I work too hard.”

I call bullsh*t. And so does the interviewer who’s heard the same canned answer from every other candidate!

In fact, if you respond with anything like the above answers, you’ll likely not be considered for the job. Instead, your interviewers will think you’re being dishonest with your answer. Then, they’ll question your honesty for all your other answers.

You can’t give a canned answer to this question.

And you also can’t evade the question.

Why you can’t evade the “What’s your greatest weakness?” question.

I remember in my first professional job my supervisor Nicolette and I had to conduct interviews to fill a position similar to mine. She and I interviewed one candidate I will never forget.

When Nicolette asked the candidate what her greatest strength was she immediately had an answer. But when asked what her greatest weakness was, she feigned the inability to think of anything at all. It was as if she never expected this question.

The candidate kept staring down with her eyebrows furrowed like she was trying hard to think but couldn’t come up with anything. She wouldn’t give an answer and asked if she could pass on the question and come back to it later, probably thinking Nicolette would forget. She didn’t.

When Nicolette later came back to the question, the candidate did the same thing. She sat silently with that “thinking hard” look on her face. Nicolette had no problem waiting through the awkward silence. It was like they were playing chicken to see who would speak first!

I don’t think the candidate ever did answer the question. We eventually ran out of time and had to begin the next part of her interview, a presentation she had to give to the rest of the search committee.

I remember how frustrated Nicolette was with the candidate afterward. She said to me, “Everyone has weaknesses! She should’ve been able to answer the question with something!” This left a bad taste in Nicolette’s mouth.

The candidate did some other things in her presentation which knocked her out of the running for the position, but her evasion of the question “What is your greatest weakness?” was the beginning of the end for her.

How to appropriately answer “What’s your greatest weakness?”

So if you can’t avoid the question or give a BS answer to “What are your greatest weaknesses?,” how do you answer it without putting yourself in a negative light?

There is a way! Here’s how:

1. Understand why it’s being asked.

First, it’s important to consider why the interviewer might ask this question. It’s not always to try to trick you or to try to make you look bad.

Sometimes the employer needs to know what kind of support or training you might require when first hired.

2. Listen to the question.

Second, listen to the question and answer it the way it’s being asked. If the interviewers only ask for one weakness, only give one. If they ask for weaknessES (plural), then show you can follow directions, but only give two!

(Believe me, this is not the time to start making a laundry list of your negatives!)

3. Avoid canned answers!

Third, do NOT give a canned answer like the ones above.

Just don’t.

Ever!

4. Never negate your strengths!

Fourth, do NOT give the same answer you gave for the greatest strengths question. I actually see people doing this all the time. They’ll begin their answer with,

“Well sometimes my strength is my weakness because…BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.”

The last thing you want to do is negate your strengths!

5. Never answer with a trait.

Fifth, do NOT give a personality trait as your answer.

Why? Because traits are ingrained and are difficult to change.

Instead, give a SKILL since skills can easily be learned.

No one person possesses every skill, so you probably have a few examples to choose from, allowing you to answer honestly.

Just make sure it’s not a skill heavily required for the job. Instead use one only slightly related to the job.

6. Follow up with a positive.

Sixth, once you briefly give your answer, then follow up with a positive on how you’re either trying to overcome your weakness or how you’re able to compensate for it.

An example would be if you aren’t good at Excel and you won’t be required to use it much in the job. Here’s how you might word this:

“While I have experience in using MS Excel, I’m not as well-versed in the more advanced features of the program. Therefore, I’m currently taking an online tutorial to familiarize myself with Excel’s advanced functions so I can use it more fully if necessary.”

Always make sure whatever example you use for your answer is an honest one that doesn’t have too negative of an impact on your candidacy for the job.

More interview help.

There are other common interview questions just as challenging as the question, “What are your greatest weaknesses?” For example:

  • Can you tell us about yourself? (This one is never as easy as you it sounds!)
  • What are your greatest strengths? (There is also a method to answering this question you should know!)
  • Can you tell me about a time when…?
  • Why should we hire you?
  • And tons more!

I teach you appropriate ways to answer each of these questions in my on-demand program Steps to Acing the Interview and Reducing Your Interview Anxiety.

The program also includes:

  • Strategies to give you the confidence to overcome the fear and stress of interviewing.
  • What you’ve been doing wrong in past interviews and how to correct it.
  • The best and most productive way to prepare for your next interview.
  • Questions YOU should ask in the interview.
  • How to win the interview in each stage: before, during, and after.

I encourage you to check it out well in advance of any upcoming interviews so you’ll have time to prepare the best possible answers and land the job offer!

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Sunday Inspiration: Understanding How God Works

Welcome to “Sunday Inspiration,” a bi-weekly devotional for those seeking spiritual encouragement in the pursuit of their passions. Each post comes from an outside resource (as referenced). I hope these posts will inspire and motivate you in your life and career in addition to our weekly original blog posts. Enjoy!

“Because you say so, I will.” 
Lk 5:5 NIV

The Bible says: “When he [Jesus] had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will’…When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break… When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees…For he and all his companions were astonished…Then Jesus said…‘Don’t be afraid; from now on you will catch men.’ So they …left everything and followed him” (vv. 4-11 NIV).

The real test of your faith comes when nothing you’ve tried has worked, and God tells you to do something that stretches your faith to its limit. At that point you have two choices: Give in to your doubts, or say with Peter, “Because You say so, I will.”

This story teaches us God works in three ways:

  1. He uses the common to do the uncommon. In their workplace where nothing special ever seemed to happen, Jesus showed up, called them, and changed their lives. So look for God in your daily routine, and don’t be surprised when He surprises you.
  2. He moves you out from the security of the shallow to the risks of the deep. The great catches and the great storms are both in the same sea. If you want one, you have to contend with the other. No risk, no reward.
  3. He involves you in one thing to teach you another. Christ’s plan for these men was to involve them in an even greater miracle: fishing for souls.

Today that’s His plan for you too. And it begins when you say, “Lord, because You say so, I will.”

Source: https://www.jentezenfranklin.org/daily-devotions/understanding-how-god-works