The story I’m about to share is very common. A job seeker recently came to me with a problem. They’d been looking everywhere for the right job. Finally, they found it. It was just what they were looking for, and their skills were a perfect match. Even better, a close friend should be able to be their advocate. It seemed to be a slam dunk opportunity, but then, something went wrong. The close friend didn’t follow through. They really let the job seeker down. It was terribly confusing and disheartening.
Have you ever had this happen? It can feel surprising how unhelpful people can be when they’re the ones you really count on.
In reality, the people who will help you to land a job are rarely the ones you’d expect. People who help out are very often random people you don’t think about very much. They’re what’s called a “weak tie” or a loose connection. These are people who are different than you. They’re tapped into different social networks than you are, and they know about different opportunities.
Tanya Menon describes the concept of weak ties in her TEDx Talk. In it, she states that, “weak ties are your ticket to a whole new social world.” And, it’s true. If you think of who your close friends are, they’re often people who are very similar to you. They may be the same nationality, the same gender, and they very likely have the same political and religious views that you do.
By opening yourself up to people who are different than you, you’re unlocking a world of possibilities. You’re creating a new network that may help you to tune into new opportunities, or may happen to have a connection to the job you’re most interested in. The impact of weak ties is truly exponential.
You may wonder how you can expand your network. In all honesty, it can be tricky at first. In her talk, Menon suggests taking a different route to do common things at work, such as getting coffee. Something like this can be very simple, but it can create a big impact.
I strongly believe in this idea. So much so that I have taken it to an extreme from time to time. I once took a salsa dancing class in Stockholm, Sweden. I also attended a hackathon in Sydney, Australia. It’s a weekend when technology professionals come together to create new products.
You would be amazed at how many new connections you can make when you do something so unusual. I’m certain I met no tourists in Stockholm or Sydney. The participants were all locals and I learned so much that I would have never been exposed to.
In this time of opposing views, take a moment to get to know someone who’s a bit different than you. You may find that you have more in common than you would have imagined.
Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.
I recently had the opportunity to attend Indeed Interactive, in Austin, Texas. Indeed.com is the world’s largest job website. It’s like the Google of job searches. Indeed Interactive is the annual conference where thousands of human resources professionals come together to learn about the latest updates to the website and to job seeking this year.
Indeed’s biggest announcement for 2018 was Indeed Assessments. In short, it will allow employers to add testing to their hiring process. So, in addition your application, resume, and job interviews, you may also be asked to take a quiz at some point along the way.
This testing technology was born out of a 2017 acquisition of a company called Interviewed. The technology can be used to screen candidates for a number of different jobs and departments, from technology to sales and customer service.
The purpose of the assessments is to try to make the hiring process more fair. Raj Mukherjee, SVP of Product at Indeed said, “Assessments helps to democratize hiring by giving job seekers an equal opportunity to showcase their qualifications when applying for jobs, so they are able to find the right opportunities faster and easier.”
This logic makes sense. When it comes to jobs, that’s one of the top goals of the internet: to level the playing field of hiring a bit. Never before have we had so much information at our finger tips. Job seekers can find out just how much companies are paying. They can look at employer reviews before they ever step in the door. And, they can connect with company employees through various networking websites.
In fact, Indeed also expanded their company pages this year. Job seekers will now be able to learn more about their prospective employers before applying. Paul Wolfe, SVP of Human Resources at Indeed shared that, “online company reviews are second only to salary information when considering a job offer.” It’s also important to note that Indeed does not allow companies to edit their reviews – even the negative ones. This helps you to ensure that you’re getting the honest scoop on the company before you decide whether or not you want to work there.
Hiring is a complex process. The decision to hire you is typically based on a number of factors, including the content of your resume, how well you interview, and now, how well you’re able to showcase your skills on an exam.
But, as you’re searching, you should remember this. Job searching is a two way street. It’s great for a company to want to hire you for a particular role. But, the job should be right for you too. While the company is evaluating you through job interviews and assessments, evaluate them right back through online company reviews and pay data. The very best fit is one that works well for both sides. Lining up the interests of both sides is part of searching for greatness.
Angela Copeland, a career coach and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.
Getting a tattoo is very personal. Tattoos are permanent. They have a personal meaning that often ties back to your beliefs or your experiences. If you decide to get a tattoo, you’ll consider where the tattoo will be located. You’ll decide if you want people to see it all the time, or just some of the time, depending on which clothing will cover it.
You probably wonder where I’m going with this line of thought. I was recently asked about social media during a radio interview. How should we use it? What should we post online, and what should we keep to ourselves?
Given everything going on in the world today, what we share on social media is such a difficult and personal question. There’s no one size fits all answer. On one hand, with all of important political issues that are in the news, you may feel compelled to speak out and be heard. On the other, you may be hesitant to make waves.
Whatever you decide to share, one thing is for sure. What you post on the internet is permanent. It’s like you’re writing in permanent marketer each and every time you share.
Sometimes the things we write don’t seem permanent. Our online presence appears to be in our control. We can delete anything we add to the internet, after all.
But, don’t be fooled. There are a number of ways that everything you write online is permanent. There’s a website called the “Wayback Machine” that archives web content. It doesn’t have a copy of every site and every piece of content, but you would be surprised how much is there. Visit www.archieve.org and look up your favorite website. You’ll find that you can look at copies of the site from years ago. It’s pretty incredible.
Then, there are printouts and screen shots, and all the other ways that your posts and tweets can be memorialized without your consent.
Does this mean that you should stop tweeting? No, it doesn’t. But, it means that you want to consciously think about what you want to be known for. You want to be aware of your “online brand.”
This is especially true if you’re looking for a new job. Employers will no longer accept your resume at face value. They’ll go to Google and search for your name. They will look at all of the content that pops up, whether it’s text or photos. And, sadly, they will judge you. That’s a part of the modern day life we’re living.
Again, there’s no right answer to this question. What you choose to share is up to you. But, remember, the content you share online is an internet tattoo that will follow you long after you outgrow it.
We all have bad days. Whether you woke up on the wrong side of the bed, or someone cut you off on the way to work, it can make getting through the day difficult. What can make it even more difficult is when we look at each moment as a competition to the top.
Why do we assume that in order to do well at our job (or to win), someone else must lose? It’s a sad state of affairs when we look at those around us as competition. It’s sad to think of life as a zero-sum game.
Think of it this way. When you’re having that bad day, the one thing you need is a helping hand. But, if you haven’t given a hand to anyone else in the past, you’re unlikely to get the help you need. Alternatively, if you’ve spent time helping others over the years, you may be surprised to see help pouring in from those around you.
I heard a similar idea last year at a podcast conference I often attend, Podcast Movement. A speaker talked about how we, as podcasters, look at one another as competition. We each want to be number one in iTunes. We don’t want to help each other for fear that we’ll lose listeners. But, what would happen if we assumed there was room for everyone? What would happen if we assumed that we could all succeed in some way?
In this scenario, it’s likely that we would help each other more. We would talk to each other more. We’d share ideas, and suggestions. And, we would all be more successful — together.
I know. There’s a strong temptation to be “the best.” Going to school prepares us for this idea. In elementary school, our teachers may rank us by reading level. In high school, we fight to become the valedictorian or the best athlete. In college, we each want to earn the distinction of cum laude. There’s always a ranking. There’s a first place, and then the very first loser. Nobody wants to lose.
But, in real life, and in the professional world, things rarely work this way. We get ahead because of the people on our team. We get ahead when we lean on those whose strengths are different than ours – and when we share our talents with others.
In life, we rarely get ahead on our own with zero support. We get ahead when others help us. And, others want to help us when we’ve helped them. Even if we could get ahead on our own – what would the prize be at the end of the journey? Who would we share our winnings with? All alone seems like a pretty lonely place to be.
So, take the time to remember – there’s room for everyone. We each have a place at the table. And, the best way to get there is together.
If you’re like most people, you think you’re the only one. Everything was fine for the first twenty years of your career.
You were focused. You were happy. You were going up the ladder. Then, you hit an age. Maybe it was thirty or forty or fifty. But, suddenly, everything changed.
You are no longer happy at your current job. Something just isn’t right. But, nothing has really changed all that much. And, still, somehow you just aren’t satisfied.
It’s so confusing. Chances are good that you worked your entire career to get to where you are. You’re at the top of the mountain. And, yet, it seems like maybe you were climbing up the wrong mountain. It can make you question everything you’ve worked for.
If this has happened to you, don’t worry. You’re not alone. I talk to multiple people every single day who are having this very same experience.
We’re all just so secretive that we don’t talk about these feelings and thoughts out loud to each other. I wish we would. But, it seems that this kind of sharing might seem to indicate that we have failed in some way.
I prefer to look at it a little different. It’s more like this. You’ve conquered your original goal (the first mountain), and now you’re ready for a new one.
The priorities in your life have shifted. So maybe, you are no longer as motivated by money. Perhaps your retirement account is at a good place. Or, alternatively, maybe money motivates you more. Perhaps you want to catch up on your retirement savings.
Maybe you’ve learned more about yourself. You really don’t like managing people after all. Or, you really don’t want to work in a creative atmosphere where the expectation of producing new content never seems to go away.
Whatever it is, you’ve simply grown. You’ve changed. Growth and change are both good things. And, they’re an inevitable part of life.
Making a change midcareer doesn’t mean you’ve failed. It doesn’t mean you’ll fail in the future. Your priorities have just evolved. It’s time to find something new that better aligns with your new goals and your new direction.
Start small. You won’t find the answer tomorrow. And, you probably won’t find it in your head, thinking for hours, devising the perfect solution. The answer most likely doesn’t exist in any certain personality test either.
Almost always, this career change happens by doing. It happens by getting out there and having conversations with other people in different lines of work. It happens by researching various companies. It happens by volunteering for projects outside of your comfort zone. It happens by trying new things, to find what works and what doesn’t.
Career change is not an easy process, but the journey will take you to where you’re mean to be: a new life that is in alignment with your current and future priorities.