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Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Oct 3, 2016 in Career Path
, Lessons Learned
When a company uses an unlimited leave plan to attract people, what’s really going on behind the scenes is a culture that drives the highest performers higher and enables lower performers to fall by the wayside into a professional quagmire.
Webster’s dictionary defines quagmire as: “an area of soft, wet ground: a situation that is hard to deal with or get out of: a situation that is full of problems.”
Companies who have this policy are generally known as high performing companies. Top spots are competitive and expectations are high. Work assignments are distributed to those employees who have proven themselves as reliable, dependable and willing to put in the extra time necessary to get a job done on time and within budget. High performing professionals do an excellent job of prioritizing work and combining that with balancing their personal lives, vacations and family commitments.
Lower performers choose personal life over work, and work to live, not live to work within a balanced framework. Employees who are seemingly unavailable are often passed over for both prime assignments and promotions which often leads to them being laid off or let go for circumstances that are actually easy to avoid.
Having a clear and complete understanding of what the employer’s expectations around deliverables is the number one contributing factor to an employee’s success and to prevent themselves falling into a performance quagmire they most likely cannot emerge from.
Use your performance review process to clearly identify and establish what both meeting and exceeding expectations looks like with your supervisor. Use common language and have both qualitative and quantitative goals that both parties agree to in writing. Avoid using generalizing terms like always or regularly and replace them with terms like daily weekly or monthly which are clearer for both parties.
Should your supervisor change, having these in writing to discuss with your next supervisor will ensure a smooth transition and allow as a starting point for discussions around their expectations as your new boss.
Remember, there is no free lunch, and unlimited leave does, in fact, have limits. Meeting expectations is good, but exceeding them is great.
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 10, 2016 in Self Improvement
Within the Job Jungle, plenty of animals work in packs. Wolves, monkeys, many kinds of birds – all of these rely upon group coherence to survive. And the most successful packs are the ones which can work together effectively. In order to work together, pack animals need to be able to communicate clearly and well, without conflict or confusion. If you want to join one of these successful packs, you, too, will need to demonstrate these exemplary communication skills. Here’s why communication is important, and how you can improve your working communication skills.
Without Effective Communication, There Is Chaos
Every company, and everyone working within a company must balance the needs of the collective with the needs of the individual. Humans are social animals, and a large part of our brains is given over to working with others. However, we’re also individuals, and our own individual needs and desires often clash with the needs and desires of others in the group. When this happens, conflict occurs. In most cases, conflicts within organizations work to the detriment of the organization as a whole. Conflict can sometimes be an essential precursor for necessary change – but in order for this to be the case, the conflict needs to be framed within civilized communicative boundaries. On a lesser level, failures to communicate effectively can result in tense working environments, frustrations, and even damage to the fabric of the company. A surprising amount of insurance claims result from people misusing equipment etc, simply because what they were supposed to be doing and how they were supposed to be doing it had not been communicated effectively. In order to create and preserve constructive working relationships, companies need people who are good at both talking and listening. If you can prove that you’re good at communicating, you’re more likely to get the job than someone who’s otherwise highly qualified but can’t communicate as effectively as you.
When people think of ‘communication’, they tend to think of chatter and words. However, a huge part of what makes someone an effective communicator is their ability to listen. This doesn’t just mean staying quiet while someone else talks – your mind really needs to be on what they’re saying, absorbing their words, and considering the implications of them. Listening is as much a character trait as a practical skill. If you’re the kind of person who decides on their line and sticks to it whatever the other person says, you’re not really listening, however much you ostensibly hear their words. Chances are that you’re using the time while they’re talking to think up counter-arguments, rather than critically and open-mindedly assessing what they’re telling you. Listening well does not necessarily mean agreeing with your co-converser. But it does mean giving their words a chance. It’s also worth noting that good listeners tend to be more respected and liked than those who are less skilled at listening A good listener will:
- Not talk over other people. Don’t interrupt, and don’t finish their sentences for them. If you really feel the need to engage while they’re talking, do so through non-verbal cues like nodding and smiling.
- Encourage the speaker. They won’t display disinterest or frustration. They will signal that they are interested and focused and wish the speaker to get their point across.
- The listener will not let their attention stray from the speaker, either visibly or invisibly. They will concentrate on what the speaker is saying, and let their meanings fully sink in.
- The listener will do their best to understand and empathise with the other person’s point of view. This does not necessarily mean agreeing with them – simply appreciating where they’re coming from, and the experiences or considerations which have led them to this viewpoint.
- Be patient. Sometimes it can take a while for speakers to get their point across. A good listener will have the patience to wait this process out and remain engaged throughout, even when they feel that they know where the speaker is going.
- Listen to volume, tone, and body language as much as words. Non-lexical cues can tell a good listener a lot about what the speaker is really saying, and add a valuable dimension to their comprehension of the speaker’s point of view.
- Work out the bigger picture. Rather than snatching isolated soundbites, a good listener will try to look at the bigger picture which the speaker is painting.
Speaking is, obviously, another aspect of effective communication. To properly engage with your colleagues, you will need to be able to talk to them in an equable and clear manner. People who can’t make themselves clear through speech, or whose speech isn’t received well will not be as able to get their ideas or points across as well as they might, which can cause conflict-creating frustrations. Nor will they be as able to make friend and form effective team bonds. If you wish to be a good speaker, try thinking about the following things:
- The pace of your words. Often, if we’ve grown up with our words marginalized, we may speak in a rush to try and get our points out before someone else speaks over us. There is no need to do this. If someone speaks over you, that is a problem with their listening skills – do not make it become a problem for your speaking skills. Pace your speech comfortably, so that people have time to absorb your words, and you don’t come across as desperate, harried, or panicked.
- The thought behind the speech. Don’t launch in without thinking first about what you’re saying, and the implications of that. One well thought-out piece of speech is worth a thousand vague and inconsequential words!
- Get to the point. While a good listener will stick with you while you go off on tangents and beat around the bush, it’s still best to avoid doing this as much as possible. If you’ve thought out what you’re going to say, you should know the point you’re trying to make. Get to the point while talking, and don’t waste unnecessary words. You can explore avenues arising from your point in ensuing conversation.
Also – be yourself. Ok, so we’ve just told you to control what you’re saying, and now we’re telling you to ‘be yourself’. What if the ‘real you’ speaks quickly, beats around the bush, and doesn’t think before they speak? Don’t worry – you can still be the genuine ‘you’ while taking care to make your speech clear and concise. Simply make sure that you’re staying true to your own ideas, and keep your mannerisms and tone natural. People appreciate and will listen to someone with integrity – and staying true to your own self is a great way to demonstrate integrity.
This Guest Post was contributed by Gemma Matthews.
If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Apr 22, 2016 in Building Confidence
, Job Search
, Thinking Positive
The job search jungle has often been characterized by the diversity of its inhabitants. Be it the kind of environments one has to cope with, or the competition you’re up against while making a run for the best of career options suiting your needs, it has never been an easy fight while surviving here. However, there’s one thing that you can learn from the animals around and especially the ones living underwater.
Be it the whistling, grunts, squeaks or the loving nature they display with those near, the dolphin has been adored by all owing to its social prowess. Known as the most ‘socially active’ animal after humans, Dolphins live together in pods (groups), with each group including species of variable sizes. This sure does press over the fact that your stature in the job market doesn’t matter. All that counts is the group, or simply put, the network you represent. Communicating actively to tackle problems together, Dolphins have immense social skills that you can learn from and implement in your job search strategy.
Consulting Your Network Every Now and Then
Obviously, the most significant step in this instance would be building a network full of professionals and connections you can learn from, one that keeps you together even during the most negative of situations.
Building on similar lines, being an active communicator to your network and expressing your concerns, such as resume formatting or difficulties, while following up with employers is also necessary. Observe Dolphins and you will surely find their entire pod coming up against the Shark every time they get attacked. All it takes is a message from a single Dolphin and the network stands as one from there on. This can happen with you as well, just stay active in expressing your concerns.
Beating the Stress through Efficient Means
Dolphins have quite a large brain and a great capacity to memorize complex tasks. Such is the case with you, except for the fact that you face the downs that come with stress and anxiety while chasing employers or waiting to hear from one. The moment Dolphins find themselves stuck in any such situation, you’ll observe them frolicking around with those around them (out of the water even). This calls for you to behave similarly and use your ‘social quotient’ to stay in touch with your network, friends, seniors, and mentors. Find ways to keep your mind off the stress and keep performing at your own pace. That is what the modern job search is all about.
Keep Finding More and Don’t Just Settle
Watch a Dolphin doing tricks and jumping out of the water, scoring a fish or squid snack every time and it still isn’t satisfied until a larger meal. Well, that certainly is a quality you can adopt for your job search campaign as well. Think about it every time you’re about to compromise on your choices and settle for an alternative just because the competition is fierce. Being socially active, there will be numerous chances for you to stay on an active lookout for opportunities while being updated regarding the competition around also.
Dolphins always keep an eye on their mates while staying on a fish hunt, but keep searching for better options, nevertheless. It is this knack that will get you in to the corporation of your dreams, soon enough!
This Guest Post was contributed by Anshuman. Anshunan Kukreti is a professional writer and a keen follower of the emirates job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics related to employment across the globe. Reach him @ LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Feb 19, 2016 in Self Improvement
Cassowaries are flightless birds native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and Australia. It is the second heaviest living bird and the species subsists mainly on fruit. Cassowaries are identified by a prominent boney casque protruding from their wedge-shaped heads. Several purposes for the casque have been suggested including use as a weapon for dominance, protection against fruit falling from trees, or even as a sort of knife; aiding their ability to cut a speedy path through the forest vegetation.
As professionals, we continuously work to hone our networking skills. Those in business development are always working to uncover a new business prospect. Job seekers are continuously building their networks to obtain job opportunity referrals that might not be advertised using the “friend of a friend” network.
But how did those people originally become friends? I can promise you, it wasn’t from reaching out only when they needed something. They checked in from time to time and had recurring mutually beneficial exchanges that exemplified that they could trust and rely on one another. They created a relationship.
Relationships are built over time and go far beyond networking. If you are working to expand your network for personal or professional reasons, try changing your paradigm to cut through the jungle of networking and focus on expanding your relationships. How can you help someone else in their pursuits and, at the same time, reach your own goals?
Networking can be a painful part of job searching if you haven’t been building relationships along the way that are mutually beneficial. Job seekers who work tirelessly to get referrals while they are looking for work often neglect to continue the efforts that got them there after they get the job. I have heard countless stories about people who never received even a thank you note when they referred someone for a job. The job seeker was so focused on getting the job that they didn’t consider (or possibly remember) the person that made the intro for them.
Referrals are often made out of kindness without expecting anything in return, but when they are overlooked, it really sticks out in the referring person’s mind. I can almost promise you if you lose sight of building the relationship with the person that referred you, it’s highly unlikely you’ll get a second referral down the road. And the cycle will have to start from scratch again.
When you receive a referral, thank the person. Send a gift card, or a note in the mail, invite them to lunch or happy hour, but don’t just send another email. Referrals are a gift, not a right, and your own personal reputation is on the line when you refer someone to another person. Ask others how you can help them meet their goals this year as they were kind enough to assist you in meeting yours. That’s how you build a relationship.
People do business with people they know, trust and like. Rarely does a vendor get selected when they rub someone the wrong way.
Like the cassowary, use the tools you have to cut through the forest to reach your goal. Take time to keep good notes, thank people who help you along the way, and help them as well. Building relationships is far more important in building your network than just showing up and attending an event. Get involved at a higher level with your networking groups. Remember, It’s a two way street.
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jan 22, 2016 in Building Confidence
, Executive Coaching
Successful leaders have a certain “Je ne sais quoi” – an air of authority, trust, confidence and knowledge that inspires others to follow them and move towards the goals they have set. Jungle guides are the most valuable members of the excursion party. Without them, the group may become hopelessly lost, run out of food, or become food themselves. If the guide effectively projects their knowledge and authority, the group will follow the guide safely through the jungle.
As someone moving up the ranks towards leadership, it’s imperative to create your leadership presence early on. In order to be the one that’s tapped to take on new leadership assignments you need to assume the presence of a leader before you can actually be one.
Consider what you say, how you say it and how you look saying it.
WHAT YOU SAY
Leaders phrase things positively. They move as quickly and efficiently as they can through a process to a successful conclusion. Listen to great leaders who choose their words wisely and adjust your delivery to mimic theirs. Researching great speeches of the past is a good place to start to learn to frame your comments positively. Rarely do great leaders talk about all the problems they have had and what they are trying to avoid, they only speak about where they are going and how they are going to get there. Avoid negativity and find the positive in every situation first and only talk about the positive which will eliminate any appearance of negativity.
HOW YOU SAY IT
Contrarians are never the leader – they are the outliers. There are many times you may not agree with something, or have a differing opinion, which is how creativity and growth are often generated. But how you deliver the message is the difference between someone who is considered a leader and someone who is branded as not supportive of the company’s goals. The best way to offer a new idea that may not be in alignment with others’ thinking is to present it as a “brainstorm” by starting off the introduction with something like, “I don’t know if we’ve ever looked at it this way, but what about the possibility of…”, or “These are really important and great ideas, can we brainstorm for a moment here?”. Avoid blurting your disagreement directly out for risk of alienating others in the room. Remember, it is possible that your ideas have been explored in the past and were overlooked or avoided for some reason you are not aware of.
Don’t take it personally if others don’t like your ideas every time. Remember, it takes a village, so do your best to contribute AND collaborate when it’s time for you to support someone else’s ideas that are being adopted.
HOW YOU LOOK SAYING IT
Even if its casual day, a put together look is key. No matter how crazy their morning was, leaders never come in and talk about chaos in their lives, they just manage it. If others view you as unable to manage yourself to be where you need to be and looking ready, you won’t be the one they choose to be a leader. Always putting your best self forward will ensure others view you as a leader at all times. Leaders don’t make excuses, either. They take responsibility for what they do, where they are and their outcomes. They embody this by making it to meetings and appointments on time, dressed appropriately and being organized and ready for the meeting or conversation. Traffic doesn’t keep them from being on time. Their kids don’t prevent them from getting somewhere they need to be when they need to be there. They get it done, consistently and build confidence in others by being reliable and dependable.
Wondering if you are on the right track? Look at people in the hallway – are they making eye contact with you? Are they saying hello? Do the big bosses know you by name? Take the lead and greet others as they pass you in the hall; introduce yourself in the elevator to someone you know that may not know your name. Leaders are natural connectors, too – introduce others you are with to the people you are meeting to take the lead and position yourself as a leader.
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Nov 9, 2015 in Building Confidence
It really is a jungle out there in the business world. Finding the right people for the job can seem near impossible sometimes and therefore retaining and improving the people you have has become so important. So with this in mind, here are some top tips to be the best possible leader, taking after the leader of the animal kingdom and making your roar count.
Round up the pride
As a leader it’s your job to bring your team together. Make sure each member of your pride is working well together and most importantly all working towards the same goal. It’s no good if half the team is chasing one gazelle and the other half are making plans to chase another halfway across the savanna.
Get everyone pumped
Just like the pre-game speech before a match, a good motivational roar can really get your employees on the same page and motivated to do their best for the company. Make sure people know what they’re fighting for and why.
Know your obstacles
Throughout the business kingdom there are many branches, pot holes and obstacles that could trip you up on your way. If you know what these obstacles are, how they might affect you and when, you’ll be able to make a plan of action so you and your team can leap over these with ease. Then if something does go wrong, you have the solutions in place to put it right and your staff will stay motivated.
Get your roar right
It isn’t the loudest roar that is listened to, it’s the roar that explains both positive and negative results in a clear way. As a leader you must ensure you’re communicating with your staff on every level so no one is left behind and everyone understands what they’re meant to be doing, what they’ve done right, what’s gone wrong and how to prevent this happening in the future.
Know your pride
A good leader knows what gets the team going. This means as a group and on an individual basis. Uncover what motivates them, what their goals are, what their values are and how they currently feel about the team. Employee assessments can help with this, as a way to ask employees the right questions and come out with the ways to help employees develop and succeed.
Being a leader in the world of business requires thorough communication throughout the whole journey from briefing to following up with useful feedback. Most importantly, a leader needs to understand the values of the business and ensure everyone understands and shares these.
So good luck all you leaders out there and keep retaining and developing your staff to be the best for your business.
This Guest Post was contributed by Terry of Collingwood Search.
If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 11, 2015 in Executive Coaching
You may have heard the phrase “managing [x group] is like herding cats.” While a group may exist with shared goals it, like the territorial cat, may not collaborate as a high performing team even if they are familiar with its members. The essence of high performing teams is collaborative independence and participative leadership but the wild cat, while independent, is not known for its teamwork.
All teams are groups, but not all groups are teams. Next time you find yourself herding cats in a group, use these characteristics of cohesive, high performing teams:
- Members of a high performing team have complementary, yet unique, skills.
- The team as a strong group identity which can be underlined with special names or methods of identifying the group (such as uniforms/shirts/pins/Internet groups).
- The members maintain a clear understanding of both the importance of the work, their individual role, and how it relates to overall goal achievement.
- Members have the authority to act autonomously and with discretion to complete their necessary tasks. This doesn’t mean they aren’t supervised, rather it means they are properly empowered to take risks.
- Members believe success is achievable as a group and are individually passionate about the results and accountable for their own performance.
- Members treat each other with respect and sidebar conversations that are dissenting or subversive to the goal.
- Underachievement, or social loafing, is not tolerated in the team. They establish minimum standards for performance or level of effort and members who are deemed ineffective or disruptive are eliminated.
- They set their own goals, rules, schedules and norms for behaviors and follow them.
- Use democratic decision making and leadership is participative.
- Evenly divide the work space and level of effort.
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Aug 6, 2015 in Self Improvement
While singing the praises about the dominant creatures in the jungle, we often forget the ones who are timid, but portray equally significant characteristics. The dynamics are such that each member, be it big or small have their own role to play. Don’t you sense an analogy here?
Likewise, the workplace too has its own dynamics. Every employee has a definite role to play with an indispensable need to work in a team. We often wonder that how can two completely different job roles be intertwined!
Well, a machine never works without each component functioning in the most synchronized way, right?
To proliferate further consider an army ant. It might seem small, but you would never see one moving alone. There’s always a group of them, either carrying granules of food or simply one of their own when injured. In simple words, it exemplifies the importance of team work, something which can be well applied at the workplace. For it helps you to stay motivated at workplace, the discussion to follow will build on the same line of thought and suggest some ways to be a team player at work.
Don’t Ignore Delegation
A team that works in cohesion, always knows the strengths and weaknesses of each member, much like the army ants. They always have roles assigned to lead the lot, carry food and look after the route to be taken. This way synchronization is never compromised on and every task is accomplished in the most efficient way possible. Likewise, at work you need to divide assignments and project responsibilities according to the proficiency level of each member. This way the work load on each member can be minimized and objectives can be achieved within a smaller time frame.
Take Ideas From Every Member into Account
You’ll never see a group of ants having members being treated unequally, may be that’s the reason for the impeccable team work they put on display.
Similarly, at workplace for a sense of equality to be inculcated, there is a need to respect every opinion that’s voiced, because you never know what idea might just click right and solve a problem. No employee would want to work in the same team as yours, if you don’t take everybody’s viewpoint into account. The need of the hour is for you to create an environment, where each of your co-workers is comfortable suggesting different solutions and ideas.
Be a Pro-active Participant
Seldom are the chances that you’ll see an army ant resting in a shade, being least considerate about its lot. Well, there’s immense you can learn from the same. To be a good team player, you need to be pro-actively involved in what’s going on with your co-workers and friends at work. Come prepared for all team meetings and instead of watching things passively, give valuable inputs.
Team members holding this feature always take an extra step to make things happen efficiently. Be it volunteering for assignments or extending a helping hand to your colleagues, there’s so much you can do.
Adapt To Your Surroundings
An essential quality that is direly required to be a team player is being adaptable in different work environments. Ants make their shelters in deep lying places, cool enough to sustain themselves. But, as soon as it gets uprooted, they quickly move out with speed and bore a new hole in the vicinity. That’s exactly how you can be a team player.
In the modern corporate environment, people join and people leave. Plus, with the increased amount of diversity at workplaces, being adaptable is something that can really set you on the right track!
It’s amusingly beautiful how you can learn so much from a creature as small as an Army Ant. However, the glance alone wouldn’t work. Putting the aforementioned into application is what that’s required at present.
This Guest Post was contributed by Anshuman Kukreti. Anshuman is a professional writer and a keen follower of the global job market. An engineer by qualification and an artist at heart, he writes on various topics related to employment across the globe. Reach him @ LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+.
If you have a great idea for a jungle-themed post, let us know! Guest writers or requests are always welcome!
Posted by Carolyn Thompson on Jun 26, 2015 in Building Confidence
, Self Improvement
Our office has recently seen many individuals make significant employment changes from one large company to another; leaving behind the teams they built over the last 5-10 years for the unfamiliar terrain of a new executive position filled with fresh faces to groom and lead. The conversations about how the new role is going seem to center around a common theme – the first priority of building a new team that they can trust. This begs the examination of what is really the definition of trust.
Webster’s Dictionary says, trust is the “belief that someone or something is reliable, good, honest, effective.” Wikipedia offers a social definition as when the “trustor” is willing to rely on the actions of another party (“trustee”).
It takes time for people to build credibility with each other. You must exemplify trustworthiness in order to receive it from your team and build your own trust in them. Consider these 5 tips for making a daily effort towards building your leadership trustworthiness offered by Jennifer Miller from SMARTBLOGS:
- Get to know people’s minds and hearts.
- Keep promises.
- Maintain confidences.
- Ask, “How are you doing?” Then shut up and listen.
- Back your people up.
Jennifer stresses as her first point that building and promoting your team’s skills is not enough, you also need to understand their motivations. Recognize the underlying influences that drive your team beyond the technical so that you can better position them for success in the group, and in their career path. This will solidify your team’s confidence in your abilities as a leader. Ask your team members what gets them to work in the morning beyond salary and social aspects.
Equally important is keeping your promises, both positive and negative. Creating a track record of consistency will allow you to ask the same of your team. Nothing erodes trust in a leader faster than broken promises and false hope. Be especially careful about assurances that could be undone because of a lack of information or support from senior leadership. It will be viewed by your team as a significant weak point in any future promises you make no matter how much they trust you.
Get to know your team and their individual personalities to maintain confidences. Your team’s observance on how you treat privileged information about them builds, or destroys, a foundation of trust in what they are willing to share about themselves to you. This can extend to simple praise and criticism where one employee may not mind being corrected or complimented in public and another may prefer to receive any feedback in private.
In this age of technological progress where communication is faster than ever, people seem to have less and less time to truly listen. This is especially true the further you are in your career. Asking how someone is doing and then being able to take the time to truly listen to the response is very rare. Schedule time on your calendar for members of your team to discuss ideas and concerns with you to avoid only half listening while writing an email or having to cut them off to rush to a meeting. Making yourself available to be able to respond with your whole attention will help you develop a deeper relationship with your team.
To err is human and to pass the blame is the mark of a team’s shaky confidence in its leader. If the team makes a mistake, correcting that mistake in the work product should take precedence over whose individual fault it is. If the fault is yours, own it. Even if your only mistake was not catching the error before the project was submitted. When your team is comfortable knowing they won’t have to waste time and energy constantly covering their own rears at the expense of the team’s cohesion, they will be able to get back to business more quickly after a minor slip-up. A single team member can be coached in private if they are the source of reoccurring issues.
Trust must be built over months and years but it can be shattered in an instant. Maintaining trust requires continual investment in the leader-employee relationship. Show your trustworthiness by getting to know your team personally to position them for success, keeping your promises, maintaining confidence, and really listening to and backing your group is the fastest way to develop a team that you will be able to trust. In the wild Job Search Jungle, your team may be your only hope for survival so make sure the trust you build can get you through any obstacle.
All frogs hop, but no frog hops like the red-eyed tree frog. The red-eyed tree frog stealthily roams the jungles of Central and South America in a way different from the rest of his rainforest pals. The red-eyed tree frog is not only able to leap great distances quickly, but his feet have distinct sticky pads that allow him to hop from place to place with poise, precision, and grace. It is a given in today’s economy that career transition is the norm. As you navigate the job search jungle, you will want to act with the red-eyed tree frog’s finesse and poise as you leave one employer and interview with the next.
There is never a time when landing with grace is as important as when you are interviewing. Twice in the past couple of weeks, people have been passed over for great job offers because they spent too much time in the interview focusing on why they left something that was broken rather than moving towards something that was better for them. As you leapfrog through the job search jungle, positivity is the key to successfully landing gracefully.
For instance, when the interviewer asks you why you are leaving your present job, this is not an open invitation to bad-mouth your current or past companies. This would not be transitioning with poise. Even if your experiences have been negative, or if the company has more problems than profits, delving into the miry pit of your poor employment situation will only hurt you. Any negativity you project in the interview will set the tone regarding your personal outlook and most likely reflect poorly on you. The more you detail the negative aspects of your job, the more the interviewer will wonder, “If we hire her, what would he/she be telling other people about us?”
Positivity, on the other hand, pays off. So, how do you frame your story when it’s not all sunshine and roses? It should not be about what you are leaving; the point is you don’t look for reasons why something wasn’t a good fit for you in the same way you may not have been a good fit with the job. There is always something wrong with every organization. You will want to answer why the position you left or are moving towards is or was a positive step. How is it an opportunity for personal learning or professional growth?
Unfortunately, no one is going to pay you more money because you bought a bigger house or because the job you accepted isn’t perfect. However, an employer will pay you more if your expertise is in demand. Try to make the connection between your skills and enthusiasm and why this new job is an even better and exciting opportunity. If you can articulate this, your interview will come across as positive, and you, will be seen as a positive person. You will be transitioning gracefully.
Why is positivity so important? Based on your resume, the interviewer is aware of many of your skills, many of your accomplishments, your employment history, and your education. When they contact you for the interview they are giving you the nod that you could be making the right leap. By the time you are sitting face to face, the interviewer is just trying to figure out how you might fit in with the team, what it would be like working with you day to day, and how you respond to stressful situations in the office. When you demonstrate positivity, you assure them that you will effectively make the daily challenges easier to bare, and you will not bring in an attitude that demoralizes the team.
As you consider your next job, think about that nimble little red-eyed tree frog. Hopping from place to place can be awkward when you are not expressing the positivity necessary for a sticky landing. Your job transition is not about leaving a negative situation, it is always about moving positively towards opportunity.
This post was contributed by Jenny of Merito Group. Visit www.Meritogroup.com for more information and current job openings.