It's April! Time to organize your closet, dig out your sandals, scrub the kitchen, and buy some bins for under your bed. Cleaning and organizing your personal space is at the top of everyone's mind, but what about the thing you spend at least one-third of your time doing? That's right, your job. Take some time before summer hits to acknowledge that your work life could use a little dusting off of its own. We've got 5 ways for you to clean up your act and clear the way for your productivity to prosper.
1. Organize your files
Chances are you probably already have some form of organization. It might involve numbers or dates or letters that stand for things, maybe you move files into folders once a month, or maybe, just maybe, you clean off your desktop once a year (don't tell anyone that). Figure out the system that makes the most sense for you – developing a system is the most important part to keeping up with it. Find yourself with filenames that end with “_FINALfinal2” or the like? Maybe give up trying to pretend your final version doesn’t go through five revisions, and save that “final” title for the very last one (you can change the final filename after you submit, remember). Nothing is more irritating than revisiting a project and spending too much time figuring out which version is *actually* the most recent.
2. Clean up that desk space.
.. if that’s conducive to your workflow, of course. Some people are inspired and productive when surrounded by messy spaces, but for the rest of us there are bins, drawers, cabinets, and jars. Try The Container Store
for some standard organizational containers or Poppin
for fun office supplies to add a punch of color to your desk.
3. Restructure your daily to-do list.
Procrastination – the struggle is real. Something about having the biggest, most important task at the top of your to-do list sure makes getting it done challenging, doesn't it? The work and effort needed to dive into that task is what drives you to put off the start of it, so do yourself a favor and throw some smaller tasks above that big one. Get your day started by responding to an email or two, checking in on a couple projects, even just planning out your time for the day. Little tasks are the appetizer for the big kahuna, and the feeling of being productive before you even begin that big task is momentum that won't be lost.
4. Check in with your network.
If you don't see your network of industry friends, mentors, or connections regularly, it's good to reach out for a friendly hello or a coffee catch up. Cultivating a network takes maintenance! It's easy to think of people when you need them for something, but what better time to extend a greeting than a time when you aren't looking for something in return?
5. Update your job description and resume.
Once a year, even when not for a professional review, it's good to take a look at your job description and see if a) you're doing all responsibilities listed, b) any duties or projects need to be added, and c) if you like the job you have. Evaluate where you stand as an employee, consider whether you're being paid proportionately, and clarify your own responsibilities. If you find you have been leeching out of your job description and taking on additional projects, mention it to a boss or at least keep track so come review time you're rewarded appropriately. Keep your resume up-to-date as well, as nothing delays finding a new job like not having the materials needed to apply. Have a resume at the ready and you'll never miss a new opportunity!
Posted: 4/25/2016 3:40:19 PM
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As you read in the last post, online dating and searching for a job can be pretty similar. With such a large pool of options, you have to go in with a certain amount of confidence - why should this person choose you instead of someone else? This question also applies to both sides of the job search, but often hiring managers think a company speaks for itself. False! More and more candidates are dealing with offers from multiple companies, and they're not afraid to go out and gather options before deciding. Speaking with many of the hiring managers we work with, we discovered a common theme - very often the reason a candidate is lost to another company is because, at the very core of the issue, there was a lack of communication. If in front of you is someone you really want to retain or acquire on your team, communication is key.
Once upon a time, you had to play a little bit of a game when dealing with hiring a new employee. As high school romances go, you had to play it cool, because neither side wanted to seem more invested than the other. That would create an environment where one side could ask for more – in the job market, "more" is "money." You couldn't seem too eager, so you had to stay a little guarded. Nowadays, that strategy can end in disaster.
We live in a world of instant gratification. Immediate feedback. Posts get likes, photos get comments, people need, need, need. As fast as possible. So you must be direct and transparent with your thoughts and intentions.
One manager we spoke to recalled a time when his company had traversed the interview process, came out with a candidate they felt really confident about, and were prepared to send him an offer. They followed up, said it was great meeting him, and somewhere used the phrase "the next step." Do many of us have a guess as to what that phrase means? Yes. Is it vague wording? Absolutely. What resulted was a candidate who was unclear on whether that meant they'd be sending him an offer, so he found another job in the meantime.
Another person we spoke with (we'll call him Joe) mentioned that the last time he embarked on a job search while currently holding a full-time position, he found a position, got an offer, and accepted. When Joe brought up his resignation to his superior, his boss was shocked and explained that they had big plans for him at the company in the future. Joe decided to stay at the company, but had a very uncomfortable phone call to make. Had he known management had plans for him, he may have been less inclined to search for a position elsewhere in the first place.
Be up front about timelines. Tell a candidate how long they should expect it to take to hear back from you. Let them know if you'll be sending them an offer, even if it takes a couple days. Avoid misunderstandings by being transparent about your processes and intentions, and your workplace will benefit greatly.
Posted: 4/14/2016 2:31:18 PM
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You chat, he seems nice, you appear to have the same things in common, so you decide to roll the dice and meet for coffee or drinks, aaaand woah. He is not what you expected. That was definitely a old photo, and he's way too self-centered. It's unfortunate, and those of you not on the dating scene are also experiencing this, just in the form of a job search. Online dating and the quest for a new job have some major overlaps – both involve communication, confidence, and a lot of chatting.
1) Update your photo.
Do you still look like the person in your profile photo? Do you know what you want out of this? Do you know what you bring to the table? A candidate should be able to confidently say "yes" to all of the above. Know what you're looking for at a new company - do you hope to come out of the job with newly developed skills? Better work? Know what you want, and also what you bring to the table. It's like Dating 101 - you can't love someone else until you love yourself.
2) Make sure you know their status.
You wouldn't expect a person looking to get married next year to be okay with something casual, and in the business world, it's no different. Companies hiring should ask themselves if the candidate is looking for long-term or a contract job? For a lot of job seekers with full-time jobs, contract positions are a bit risky, but for companies freelance workers are adaptable, ever-evolving chameleons. If you're not vibing in person it might be because you had different expectations of what the other is looking for.
3) Be boyfriend/girlfriend material.
Prove yourself! You're worthy of being there, so play all the cards. You're the most dateable person you know– you cook, you speak another language, you love hiking, whatever it is. In the job world, a hiring manager should tell the candidate why they need to join the team and what they will get out of the experience, and a job seeker should explain what makes them so great.
4) Throw away the Three Day Rule.
Especially if you're a company, nobody likes games. Don't wait to call and don't use vague language. Just like in dating, If you're out collecting marriage proposals before you mention it to the Other Guy, you need to rethink your strategy. Figure out what would make you say "yes" to one of them, and then ask that of the one job that makes your heart flutter.
The most important takeaway lesson here: Communication is key. Our next post will touch on just how important it can be.
Posted: 4/12/2016 12:21:07 PM
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