Category: Career Advice


How to Avoid Common Mistakes That Could Ruin Your Career

There are many wrong moves you can make in your career. We’ve all fallen on our faces a few times, especially during the learning curve of a new job. But some mistakes are worse than others.

Today I’m focusing on some of the common mistakes that can ruin your career and how you can avoid them. I won’t include the obvious ones like doing something illegal. Everyone should already know not to do anything illegal!

6 Common Mistakes That Can Cause Career Ruin

1. Agreeing to a superior’s order to do something unethical.

It’s obvious to most people not to do anything illegal in their career. But it may not be so obvious to others they shouldn’t do anything unethical. Even if it’s an order from your supervisor.

If your supervisor has no problem making such a request, he or she probably has no problem throwing you under the bus when the unethical act is discovered. And it will eventually be discovered. Everything comes to light sooner or later.

If ever faced with an order to do something unethical, explain your discomfort and document the conversation. If your boss tries to push the matter or threatens to fire you, start looking for a new job ASAP! You do not want to continue working for someone like this.

If you get fired for refusing the order, you should be able to collect unemployment until you find something new. And depending on the circumstances, you may have a legal case worth pursuing.

2. Relying on just one source of income.

Since anything can happen in your career where a scenario like the one described above could leave you suddenly without a job, you should never rely on just one source of income.

As I’ve written before, there’s no such thing as job security in any company. So start NOW pursuing a side hustle or passion project for a little extra money or start making smart investments. This will help tide you over if you find yourself between jobs or decide to start your own business.

3. Accepting a counter-offer from your current employer.

One of my co-workers at a university where I used to do career advising started looking for a new job at a different university. When he had a potential offer from another place, he casually mentioned to me he might tell our supervisor to see if she’d counter-offer with more money to get him to stay.

I looked him dead in the eyes and told him “Do NOT do it!” He looked a little confused when he asked me “Why not?”

I told him taking a counter-offer can be career suicide. My answer is the same to you if you’re considering accepting a counter-offer.

There’s a reason (or reasons, plural) why you went looking for work elsewhere in the first place. It’s likely those reasons won’t change if you stay for more money. And while the additional money may seem great at first, it won’t outweigh the distrust and resentment which will grow between you and your supervisor or co-workers after cutting this type of deal.

When you do finally leave your employer (and you will), word will get around to other potential employers how you manipulated the situation. This will make you the kind of candidate they won’t want to hire.

4. Overstaying at an unhealthy job.

If your job is affecting your mental or even your physical health, it’s time to go. No job is worth your sanity or your health.

If you overstay at a job like this, you could become so unhealthy you run the risk of not being able to work at all, and therefore losing your income anyway.

Do what it takes to find something new using the resources available on this blog and on paNASH’s on-demand video courses.

5. Agreeing to take on extra work without extra pay for an indefinite amount of time.

There may be times when your company is short-staffed and you have to pick up the slack. When it’s necessary to take on extra work for the best interest of the entire company, you should do so.

However, this should only be temporary. And before agreeing to this, ask what the set end date will be for the extra workload. If you’re told, “until things settle down,” don’t accept this as an answer.

Instead, indicate the length of time you’re willing to do the extra work and schedule a meeting as soon as possible to discuss how you’ll be compensated for any extra work done beyond the specified date.

For instance, you’d say, “I’m happy to cover Sallly’s projects until the end of May. You and I can meet next week to decide how to move forward in June.”

Whatever agreement you come to, get it in writing.

If you’re still doing Sally’s work in June, you need a title change and pay adjustment, or at least a bonus.

6. Promising your employer you won’t job hunt.

Unless there’s a formal agreement in place or you’re receiving tuition reimbursement, never promise not to job hunt or to stay with your company for any specific length of time.

If your boss begs you to stay in a time of high turn-over or a rough patch, ask her for an employment agreement giving you the same assurance she’s asking of you. If she won’t or can’t, don’t allow better opportunities to pass you by.

These are just a handful of mistakes that can ruin your career, but equipped with the knowledge above you’ll be able to maneuver these landmines so you can move successfully through your chosen career path unscathed. Consider it career self-defense!

Click here for more career advice.

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How to Make Your LinkedIn Profile Stand Out

A couple of weeks ago I did a group coaching call with my clients on the topic of LinkedIn. It was a Q&A call and one of the many questions I covered was, “How should my LinkedIn profile differ from my resume?”

How Your LinkedIn Profile Should Differ From Your Resume

The beauty of a LinkedIn profile is it can do things your resume cannot. Trust me, you want to take advantage of these features so your profile will stand out from your resume. And so it will stand out from other LinkedIn profiles.

The first difference is, a resume limits you to your employment history and professional items from the past. On your LinkedIn profile, you can share both your professional past AND your future professional goals.

You can incorporate your future professional goals in your headline and summary section. Feel free to share in these fields what it is you’re working toward using relevant keywords that will show up when recruiters’ search results when they search those same keywords. You can also incorporate your goals in the interests section. Do this by following companies and joining groups related to your career goals.

The headline and summary are also good places to show some of your personality and work philosophy. You can’t always do this on a resume.

Another great feature of LinkedIn is you can include a digital portfolio within your profile. You can add media, files, and links of samples of your work in both the summary section and in each job entry. This keeps your profile from looking “flat” and gives viewers an idea of the type of work you’re capable of.

In addition, you can showcase your writing ability by posting articles on LinkedIn on a regular basis. This is great if you like to write or are looking for a role that requires a lot of writing. These articles show up on your profile and you can share them via the newsfeed and within your groups.

While you can’t target your LinkedIn profile like you can a resume, you do have the option to add a personalized note to potential recruiters. You’ll find this feature under the “Career Interests” section when in the profile edit mode.

What You Need to Know About Your Profile Photo

The most obvious way your LinkedIn profile should differ from your resume is you should include a photo of yourself.

While there are several new resume templates in platforms like Canva that have a place for you to insert your photo, it’s still frowned upon in some industries to include your photo on your resume. But you are expected to have one on your LinkedIn profile. (In fact, it appears kind of “sketchy” if you don’t!)

You don’t necessarily have to hire a professional photographer for your picture. But it should be a photo of you looking professional. It should be one of you wearing the type of clothing typical of your chosen industry. And the background should be one of a work environment.

It amazes me how many people still will use a wedding photo of them and their spouse for their LinkedIn profile picture. Or a photo with their bestie. If you and your bestie are of the same gender, how am I supposed to know which one of you in the picture is the one I’m reading about??? Don’t ever do this!

How Your LinkedIn Profile Should NOT Differ From Your Resume

What should NOT differ from your resume is your descriptions of your past jobs. Just like on your resume, you want to include the things you accomplished in your job and the results of your work (with numbers to quantify it!).

If you choose to only list your job title, company name and dates of employment, you’re leaving a huge, gaping hole in your LinkedIn profile. Especially if a recruiter decides to save your profile to a PDF, which is an option available to them directly from your profile (see screenshot below).

 

Most job seekers aren’t aware of this option, but recruiters know about it! When anyone saves your profile as a PDF and downloads it, it pops up in a resume format. Not having all of your profile filled out, especially all your job descriptions/duties/accomplishments, will make the PDF look like a very sparse resume.

Don’t believe me? Go to your profile and click the “More” button under your headline. When you “save to PDF” and the downloaded PDF pops up, are you happy with how it looks? If not, you need to go back and fill out your profile more thoroughly.

Disclaimer:

Keep in mind the above suggestions are based on the features and functionality of the LinkedIn platform available at the date of this post. LinkedIn is notorious for changing its functionality and removing features on an extremely frequent basis (one of my biggest pet peeves). What may be accurate at the date of this post may not be accurate even a week from now.

Help With Your LinkedIn Profile:

If you’d like a critique of your own LinkedIn profile or would like to learn more about how to better use LinkedIn to your advantage, please click here to fill out the paNASH intake form.

If you become a paNASH client, you’ll also receive access to the recording from the LinkedIn group coaching call where I answered several other questions about LinkedIn including:

  • Should I purchase the Premium membership?
  • Do recruiters really use LinkedIn?
  • Do people really get jobs through LinkedIn?
  • and more!

In addition, you’ll receive access to other past group coaching recordings and invitations to future group coaching sessions.

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How to Improve Your Career With Physical Fitness

We’re well into 2019 with the beginning of February on our heels. If you made any new year’s resolutions, it’s likely you’ve already slacked off on them. Good for you if you haven’t!

If you have, it’s not too late to use February 1st as your fresh start.

For some this may mean getting back into a workout or exercise routine. Even if your new years resolutions didn’t include anything fitness-related, they should. Not only because it’s important to your health, but also because it’s just as important to your career!

Why Physical Fitness is Important for Your Career

The BBC recently published a story on the importance of exercising during the work day and how to fit it into your work schedule. Studies have also shown how important it is to continue a regular workout routine when you’re out of work and conducting a job search. Including exercise as part of your job search or work day helps you:

  • perform better and with more energy in job interviews or on work projects.
  • stay positive when job opportunities or projects don’t work out as you’d hoped.
  • increase your confidence in your skills and abilities.
  • sharpen your mind.
  • grow your network.
  • relieve stress.

I’ve found this to be true in my own career. If I don’t stay active on a regular basis, it’s not just my body that suffers. My work also suffers. But when I carve out the time for fitness, I see amazing results.

The Career Benefits of Physical Fitness

For example, when I go stand up paddle boarding, all my stress melts away. I come back to work with a clear mind resulting in clarity on how to approach a difficult situation or my next project.

The jiu-jitsu classes I’m currently taking not only are making me physically stronger but they’re improving my mind’s reaction time and ability to problem solve.

Spending a day in the trees doing various ropes courses builds my confidence and improves my focus.

And my workouts designed by my personal trainer help me sleep better at night so I’m refreshed for the day’s work ahead of me.

In almost every one of these activities I’ve also grown my network. I’ve met potential clients, some of whom have turned into regular clients. I’ve met others who’ve referred their friends to me. And I’ve also made strategic alliances and business partnerships through the various activities I’m involved in.

An Invitation to Improve Your Career With Exercise

I believe so much in using the benefits of fitness to better coach my clients on their careers and to help them make more connections. I do this by often including my clients in some fun activities.

In the summer I frequently take clients paddle boarding to help them gain clarity over their current career situation. I’ve taken clients to do ropes courses. I’ve invited clients to be my guest in my jiu-jitsu class. And a few weeks ago I even had a client mixer that included a self-defense class and time to network with each other.

All activities are conducted with the client’s ability and fitness level in mind. They’re designed to get clients far enough out of their comfort zone that they don’t end up too far out of it. The goal is for it to be fun, healthy, and helpful. When the weather gets warm again (which I hope is very soon!), I plan to have another client mixer at the Adventure Park Nashville ropes course.

If you have a passion for fitness, want to step outside your comfort zone, and need help getting unstuck in your career, click here to complete the paNASH intake form.

And if fitness isn’t your thing, that’s okay. Clients are never required to participate in any physical activities. Maybe your resolution for 2019 is to simply focus on finding your own passion or making a career change. If so, let’s talk!

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The One Surprising Tip That Guarantees a Good Interview

If you’re going through a job search, you know how competitive the interview process can be. And you’d probably like to know some ways to increase your chances of beating out the competition for an offer.

Below is a proven interview hack that’s been tremendously successful in my own career.


My Favorite Interview Hack

My favorite interview hack is winning the interview with the questions YOU ask!

I vividly remember my interview for my very first job out of grad school.

I went in with a list of questions based on my research of the job and the organization. My list was pretty long, so I assumed I wouldn’t have time to get all of my questions answered.

However, they didn’t have a lot of questions for me. Therefore, I had the time to ask all my questions on my list. And I got to ask additional ones that came up in conversation.

I left the interview thinking I probably wouldn’t get an offer since they didn’t ask me very many questions.

But a week later I got the offer! When I accepted it, I asked my interviewers what made them choose me from the other candidates.

Their response:

“It was the questions you asked. Your questions showed us not only how knowledgeable you are, but also how much you care about the people you’ll serve in this role.”


The Questions You Should Ask

So, what kind of questions should you ask in your job interviews?

There are six categories of questions you should ask (because interviewing is a two-way street!):

1. Questions you need to have answered to determine fit/questions related to the organization’s culture.

For example:

“How do you foster an employee’s connection to the organization?”

“How do you motivate your employees?”

Or even “Do employees typically eat lunch together or at their desks?” (this one will tell you a lot about the company culture!).

You need to ask any question (within reason) that will help you decide if the company’s culture is something you can devote 40+ hours of your life per week to.


2. Questions that come up in the research you do on the company.

Of course you probably already know how important it is to research a company before your interview. Doing so will result in questions that will be specific to the company. These questions will also make it obvious you did your research, and therefore will show you have a genuine interest in the company.

And don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions, especially if they exhibit your work ethic.

For instance, in my interview, I wanted to know how one of the practices I would be required to carry out in the job wasn’t in direct violation of a federal law common to that industry (which it initially seemed to be). This gave them the chance to explain their legal and legitimate loophole that kept them in compliance with the law.

I think this was the question that impressed them the most.


3. Questions to determine future opportunities for advancement.

For example, “What opportunities are available for advancement?”

This helps you know if you might have a future at the company and shows you’re interested enough to want to stay long-term.


4. Questions to determine their hiring timeline.

Okay, these questions are really just for you and your own sanity.

When candidates go on interviews and then don’t hear anything back either way, they freak out.

Yes, it’s stressful, and also rude of the company to keep you hanging.

So, before you leave the interview, you should ask:

  • What is your deadline for making an offer?
  • How firm is that deadline?
  • Are you going to notify each person being interviewed of the final decision as a courtesy, or just the candidate receiving the offer?

This way you won’t spend your time and energy fretting over what they decided.


Here’s where it gets good!

These last two types of questions you should ask are the real hacks!

5. Questions to show your initiative and to help them visualize you in the job.

For instance:

“What results would you like to see from me in the first 90 days of the job?”

“What will be the first projects I’ll work on once hired?”

Or “When we sit down to discuss my performance a year from now, what will success look like?”

Wording questions this way helps them picture YOU as the person in the job!


6. Questions to get them to verbalize what they like about you.

In #5, it was all about helping them visualize. Now you need to get them to verbalize!

You want them to convince YOU why they should hire you, which will in turn convince them to hire you. (Yeah, that undergraduate degree I got in psychology is really paying off here!)

For example, “What part of my resume stands out to you the most?” or “What made you choose to interview me out of all the other applicants?”

Some career coaches will recommend you ask questions such as, “Are there any concerns you have about my qualifications?”

While this question is good in possibly providing you an immediate opportunity to address any of their concerns, it can also backfire on you. 

Remember, you’re supposed to highlight your strengths in an interview. Not draw attention to your weaknesses. This question is dangerous in that it immediately draws the interviewer’s attention to your weaknesses.

Instead, you want to ask questions that force the interviewer to not only focus on your strengths, but to also get them to repeat your strengths back to you. Doing so further convinces them of your capabilities.


Always Have Questions!

You should always have questions of your own prepared for an interview because interviewing is a two-way street.

When you’re asked, “What questions do you have for us?” never say, “None.” If so, you’re for sure to lose the job to someone who shows more interest with their questions.

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The Most Popular paNASH Blog Posts of 2018

I’m so grateful to all you readers who loyally follow the paNASH blog from week to week. I love hearing your stories of how a particular blog post gave you the courage to pursue your passions. Your support and feedback means so much to me.

As a thank you, here’s a collection of the most popular paNASH blog posts of 2018.

Top Ten paNASH Blog Posts of 2018

  1. Should You Share Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?
  2. How to Make Your Sucky Job More Bearable (Until You Can Leave)
  3. What You Need to Know to Ensure a Successful Career
  4. Why “Can I Pick Your Brain?” Is the Wrong Approach
  5. How to Overcome Negative Self-Talk Like an Olympian
  6. “Follow Your Heart” is Bad Advice. REALLY Bad Advice! (Re-post)
  7. Quiz: Do You Really Need to Spend Money on a Career Coach?
  8. The Best Way to Write a Successful Elevator Speech
  9. Why “Keep It Simple, Stupid” is the Best Career Advice
  10. Never Say Never: How to Know When You Should Let a Bridge Burn

Please Share!

Please feel free to share any of the above posts or other paNASH blog posts on your social media platforms and with your friends so others can also benefit from them. Thank you!

Check out additional posts on Medium.com.

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