“One important key to success is self-confidence. An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”
~ Arthur Ashe ~
Client Garrett Asks: I’m considering a career change, but it’s been a while since I’ve had to look for a job. Is there anything I need to be aware of before I start my job search? Coach Joel Answers: Whether you are unemployed or employed and looking for a job, you need to be prepared before the job search even begins. When you start your job search with a plan, your strategy, daily game plan and overall focus help you find the right job more quickly. Don’t be like most people who start a job search by immediately applying for jobs, sending out updated resumes and telling people the 4-5 jobs they want without any thought process before they jump in.
1. Prepare for a long job search.
On average candidates take about six to nine months to find a job. Even though you might have excellent experience, a solid track record and well-known companies you’ve worked for, the job search period will be longer than you expect. It’s vital that you are prepared for this extended amount of time. Even the most qualified can take up to a year.
2. Be financially prepared.
Make sure you have enough finances to cover the length of your job search. Save as much money as you can, cut expenses and create and stick to a budget.
3. Confront fear and self-doubt.
Even before you start your job search, it’s common for many to feel fear and self-doubt. Fears around not being able to find a job, it taking too long, doubting your confidence, becoming needy to find a job and questioning your overall worthiness.
4. Dedicate plenty of time to the job search.
The more time you spend daily, the less time the job search will take. However, most people resist making the required commitment. The minimum amount of time to commit should be 20-25 hours a week and, if you aren’t working, the maximum amount should be 40 hours a week. If you are working, expect to spend 4-6 hours a week and the maximum will be 20-25 hours a week.
5. Create a daily schedule.
Schedule and make time for the most important things related to your job search. Block out chucks of time to avoid distractions. For example, you might designate 9-11:30am on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for you to work on the most important things that need to get done related to executing your job search plan.
6. Get organized.
Create a document (e.g. Excel spreadsheet)to track the names, numbers, emails and vital information about your contacts as you move forward in your job search. This organized document will be vital as you follow-up with people you contacted in the past and need to recall their key information.
7. Evaluate job locations.
Ask yourself questions about the location of your next job. Are you willing to live in other locations? If so, where do you want to live? Once you have accomplished all of the above, you are now ready to target the exact role, industry and job you most want. This involves creating your resume, networking, interviewing and salary negotiation.
Follow the advice in Joel’s Job Searching book and get your next job quickly. Click here to buy the book
Talkback: Have you conducted a job search lately? What tips do you have for others who are planning to change careers?
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“I was always looking outside myself for strength and confidence, but it comes from within. It is there all the time.”
~ Anna Freud ~
When Your Inner Voice Keeps Telling You “No”
Client Suzanna Asks: Sometimes I think I am my own worst critic. I constantly catch myself thinking, “That wasn’t good enough” or “You really screwed up this time.” How can I turn this around?
Coach Joel Answers: Self-evaluation can be a positive experience. It helps us learn, correct our mistakes and improve our performance, as well as the perceptions others have of us.
According to psychologist Terry Paulson, it’s estimated that a typical person makes 300 to 400 self-evaluations every day.
That’s a lot of opportunities for self-improvement.
But here’s the rub.
Dr. Paulson says that, for most people, 80% of these self-evaluations are negative!
It’s almost impossible to maintain a positive attitude at work when your inner voice is constantly hammering you for “messing up.” After awhile, self-doubt erodes your confidence and you’ll be tempted to avoid speaking up or taking risks. Instead, you decide to keep a low profile.
Employees with low profiles are less likely to get promoted or assigned key, career enhancing projects. And, when the economy heads south, they are more likely to be laid off.
That’s why it’s important to challenge your critical inner voice.
Here are a few ways to do it:
1. Keep Your Antenna Up.
Be aware when your inner voice is saying “no.” Ask yourself, “Why?” Try to discover the “real” reason you’re being self-critical.
2. Conduct an Impromptu Risk Assessment.
If there is risk involved, ask, “What’s the worst that can happen?” Clearly, your instincts might be right and your inner voice is trying to keep you from making a horrendous mistake. But, if the nay saying becomes habitual, the real risks may not be as great as you think.
3. Rely on a Mentor or Trusted Colleague.
If you’re not sure that your inner criticism is justified, get a second opinion from a mentor or someone you trust. For example, let’s say you wanted to speak up at a meeting, but your “gut instinct” told you “no.” So you remained silent. Ask your mentor, “I wanted to tell the department head that I thought his idea would hurt customer service, but I was afraid to. Was I right? What would you have done?”
4. Celebrate Your Successes.
Some self-criticism is justified, but can you possibly be wrong (as the statistics suggest) 80 percent of the time? Celebrate those instances when you challenge your inner voice and something positive results.
5. Learn From Your Mistakes.
Obviously, you’re bound to make mistakes when you take risks. Instead of bashing yourself about what went wrong, concentrate on what you learned from the experience and how you’ll handle similar situations in the future.
6. End Each Day on a Winning Note.
Dr. Paulson suggests concluding each day by “catching yourself being effective.” He also says to “use your calendar to record one success. You may be winning and not know it if you’re not keeping score!”
When you can minimize the self-criticism, you can be more confident in who you are and what you are capable of doing. With this confidence you’ll trust yourself more and have the conviction to believe in your ideas. You’ll speak up no matter someone’s title, superiority or influence.
If your inner voice is holding you back from doing the things you know you need to do to get ahead, Joel’s career advancement coaching program may be the answer for you. Click here for more information.
Talkback: Is your inner voice overly critical? How do you overcome the negativity and remain confident in your abilities?
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“There is no good idea that cannot be improved on.”
~ Michael Eisner ~
Client Miles Asks: Innovation is vital to our company’s success, but creativity is extremely difficult to regulate or control. How do we encourage innovation and avoid stifling creativity?
Coach Joel Answers: Today’s corporations face a harsh reality: innovate or die. Executives’ responses to this imperative have varied widely—ranging from instituting mandatory innovation training workshops to flat out requiring employees to innovate in designated areas. Unfortunately, some companies try to reduce innovation to prescriptive formulas.
Take Kodak. After decades of success, non-engineering executives took control of R&D priorities and shoveled almost 95% of the company’s resources into existing core products. The result? Kodak went bankrupt.
To avoid Kodak’s fate, executives should consider following these five pillars of innovation leadership:
1. Innovation takes time. Leaders who expect immediate results from their chief innovators will be disappointed. Engineers, researchers, and others need time away from routine duties—and a lot of it. Google is a great example. They provide their employees with “20% time” to pursue their interests. Gmail was one employee’s 20% project.
2. Employees need space to socialize and think. Innovation often happens when we least expect it. Recent research has shown that “psychological distance” fuels the creative process. Employees need time to think on their own, bounce ideas off others in informal settings, and relax away from a cubical or office.
3. Companies must look beyond core products.Many corporations are like Kodak: They devote 95% of R&D funds to core products. HP used to be one such company, but they learned their lesson. Now, HP dedicates 70% of funds to existing products, 20% to adjacencies, and 10% to completely new products, which has led to innovations in the cloud computing sector.
4. People learn from failure. Some companies are too quick to punish employees who don’t deliver blockbuster results. In reality, failure can be a rich learning opportunity. Silicon Valley recognizes this lesson: Venture capitalists there aren’t afraid to invest in startups led by previously failed entrepreneurs.
5. Innovation thrives on a culture of achievement. Leaders at companies like IBM, Apple and Google have developed a culture of achievement by recognizing excellence, encouraging employees to own their accomplishments, recruiting ambitious young talent, and allowing employees to function in a relatively flat hierarchy.
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Talkback: Is innovation important in your industry? How does your company encourage new ideas and advances in product development?
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“Salary negotiation is simply one interaction among many. After it’s done you have to live and work with the people on the other side of the equation for the foreseeable future. If one person walks away feeling like they’ve lost or been forced to compromise it sets up a disempowering context for the rest of the relationship. When it comes to employment, the paradigm of someone winning and the other person losing doesn’t serve either party in the long run.”
~ Michael B. Junge ~
Client Mark Asks: I’ve been asked to take on more responsibility, but no mention has been made of any pay increase. I think this is a good time to ask for a raise, but I feel mentally unprepared to do so. What can I do to gain the courage I need to bring this up while the time is right?
Coach Joel Answers: Benjamin Franklin once said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” This quote is true for many aspects of our lives, but especially true when it comes to salary negotiation. Whether you’re negotiating your salary for a new position or asking for a raise at your current employer, if you want to succeed, you must prepare. To mentally prepare yourself, focus on these three facets:
Having confidence in yourself is critical to a successful salary negotiation. Although the outcome of your salary negotiation may significantly impact your livelihood, it’s important to not take the process too seriously. Instead of stressing over the process, relax and enjoy the negotiation and believe in yourself. Believe that with the right strategy you will win the negotiation.
Don’t be so invested in the outcome that you’re unwilling to take risks. If you’re unwilling to take risks, you’ll likely not be willing to ask for what you really want. Be fearless and courageous when negotiating. Of course, courage must come from having confidence in yourself and your value to the company.
Believing in yourself will help you manage your stress during the salary negotiation process. It’s natural to feel awkward, uncomfortable and stressed going into a negotiation. However, instead of trying to avoid the uncomfortable confrontation, that comes with the process, know in your heart that you are worth every penny you are asking for and the more confident in your worth, the more money you can make.
To help build your confidence, understand the fact that your salary is negotiable. The reality is 90% of all human resource professionals expect you to negotiate your offer. With this in mind, they often purposely present a lower offer than they are willing to pay, expecting you to negotiate. Use this knowledge to give yourself an even greater boost of confidence in the negotiation process.
The most common reason why new hires don’t negotiate a salary or employees don’t ask for a raise is they don’t think they deserve more money. As a result, when you undervalue yourself, you underearn – shortchanging yourself and your family! Be confident and believe in yourself! Combine this confidence in your worth with patience, and you’re two-thirds of the way to success.
Patience is a virtue, especially during the salary negotiation process. Most salary concessions happen at (and sometimes after) the deadline. Although you may be tempted to give in early and accept an offer, be patient. Don’t try to rush the process, if you want to increase the chances of getting what you want.
When you consider an offer for less than you want, it’s critical that you fully understand how much you’re losing, by settling for less. When accepting a new position, remember future raises are often a percentage of your salary. By starting with a lower initial salary, you’ll continue to earn less than you would with each of these raises. For years, you’ll feel the repercussions of initially accepting a lower salary. A little patience now can pay off exponentially in the future!
The third component of mentally preparing yourself for negotiating your salary is the acquisition of key pieces of knowledge. This begins with knowledge about the employer with which you’re negotiating. Be sensitive to their economic state. The challenging economy, over recent years, has been difficult for many businesses. For this reason, a hiring manager or your boss may be under pressure to work with increasingly tight budgets. Do your research and be mentally prepared to make concessions to the salary figure in exchange for other benefits or perks that may be easier for the hiring manager or boss to say yes to.
You must also do your research about the salary range for the position you’re interested in, factoring in your specific experience and education as well as your geographic area and cost of living. If you’re asking for a raise, track the results of your hard work, to quantify the value you’ve brought to the company. This knowledge not only ensures you’re requested salary is appropriate and realistic, but also helps solidify your confidence in your value.
Lastly, learn about the company’s needs and how you can fulfill those needs. Reiterate to the hiring manager why you are the best fit for the position and, therefore, worth the salary you’re asking for. When you’re asking for a raise, again demonstrate to your boss why you’re a valuable member of the team. Use quantifiable examples, when possible, to show how you’re activities are best fulfilling the mission of the company, taking advantage of opportunities, and best overcoming the challenges they face. Again, this knowledge not only helps you convince the hiring manager or your boss of your value, but it should also give you an increased level of confidence, which will help ensure your salary negotiation is a success.
Still not ready to approach your boss and ask for a raise? Joel offers coaching to help you overcome the fear that stands in the way and learn effective strategies that will increase your chances of a positive outcome. Click here to learn more about Joel’s salary negotiation coaching.
Talkback: When was the last time you asked for a raise? How did you prepare yourself mentally before starting salary negotiations?
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“A round of golf is the ideal antidote to stress.”
~ Bruce Forsyth ~
Client Jordan Asks: My job has become overwhelming. My work load keeps increasing, and I find myself working long hours to get everything done. How can I take control of the situation and get my life back?
Coach Joel Answers: It’s not uncommon for job responsibilities to grow over time, especially when economic conditions prevent the hiring of additional help. Instead of adding employees, organizations expect individual employees to take on more and more responsibilities. However, there is a limit to how much one person can do. You must learn to create boundaries, or you will become overwhelmed by the additional work.
Here are a few ways you can reduce both your work load and your stress levels.
Focus on what’s most important and make sure high priority work gets done first. Also, make sure your priorities are consistent with those of your supervisor.
2. Schedule your day around those priorities.
Write down your to-do list and don’t get distracted. If that means not answering your phone or checking emails just once or twice each day, so be it.
3. Learn to say no.
There’s a fine line between being a cooperative “team player” and someone who is abused by taking on work that should be done by others or, perhaps, not even at all. Don’t be afraid to say no to projects that are unnecessary or unimportant. Sticking to your priorities and having a well-defined job description can help.
4. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.
If someone asks you to do an extra assignment, say, “I’d be glad to it if you can get someone else to take the so-and-so project” or “Yes, I’ll take that on, but only if we push back the deadline several weeks.”
5. Dare to delegate.
Is there a task that could be done more quickly or efficiently by a coworker?Learning to delegate effectively will help you reduce your workload.
6. Set boundaries (and stick to them).
For example, make it a point to never work through lunch or to eat at your desk or take work home over the weekend. Setting boundaries will help you maintain a work/life balance that provides you enjoyment, peace and fulfillment in all aspects of your life.
7. Take advantage of time management training.
If your company doesn’t offer it, look online or check out your local library. Learning to manage time more effectively and get more organized will help you get more work done in less time.
8. Get the tools you need to be more efficient.
Are there tools or software programs available that can make you more efficient and thereby reduce your workload and stress?
9. Brainstorm with team members.
If you’re overworked, chances are your coworkers are feeling in over their heads, too. Take some time to share ideas about how to cope, share the workload or be more efficient. But, stay positive! Don’t let your brainstorming session turn into a woe-is-me pity party.
10. Ask for help.
If you’re feeling stressed or depressed about your workload then you owe it to yourself and your supervisor to voice your concerns. Don’t suffer in silence and let the pressure affect your work performance and relationships with those you care about at home. If your boss isn’t receptive, look for a mentor, colleague or trusted friend who can serve as a sounding board and help you find solutions.
One of the most important things you can do to reduce your stress is to learn how to get more done in less time. Joel’s book, Time Management Mastery, will help you prioritize and schedule your work more effectively. Get your copy today!
Talkback: Have you been forced to take on more work? What are you doing to manage the extra demands on your schedule? What other actions could you take to reclaim control of your workload?
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