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Posts Tagged ‘Alison Green’

Three Ways to Break Bad Email Habits

no emailAh, work emails. We certainly can’t live without them and thanks to this post on U.S. News & World Report, there are several ways ditch old habits you may have somehow settled into.

1. Waiting. If you’ve ever received an email that requires research on your part, you’re not alone. If you don’t email the sender back to let him or her know that you won’t have the information until next week, that’s problematic. Read more

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Three Ways to Tactfully Disagree With Your Boss

handshakeYou know how important it is to pick your battles, right?

Speaking your mind to your boss may feel the same way but if you’re tactful and professional about it, it shouldn’t be too daunting. In fact, Alison Green writes in a U.S. News & World Report piece that speaking your mind can make you a more valuable employee.

The alternative is also true — if you don’t do the dance carefully, the conversation can make you seem like a less valuable employee. Green suggests three ways to be smart about agreeing to disagree. Read more

Four Secrets About Human Resources Departments

Ever wonder what really goes on inside the hallowed halls of human resources? According to a piece by Alison Green on U.S. News & World Report, there are a few things employees and job seekers alike should keep in mind.

1. HR isn’t there to be your advocate. Their goal? Serve the business needs. The former chief of staff at a nonprofit writes, “Now, in some cases, that means advocate for employees against bad managers, because it’s in the best interests of employers to retain great employees, identify and address bad management and stop legal problems before they explode. But plenty of other times, what’s best for the employer will not be what’s best for the employee, and the best interests of the employer will always win out. That’s not cynicism; that’s simply what HR’s mission is.”

2. HR isn’t obligated to keep what you tell them confidential, even if you request their discretion. If you think what you’re disclosing is confidential such as mentioning your boss is harassing your team, that confidential information needs to be shared in order to address an issue. Actually, if human resources representatives had relevant information and ignored it, they would be negligent. Can you still talk to HR in confidence? Yes but keep in mind they may need to report certain findings and escalate it depending on the nature of the conversation. Read more

Three Ways to Improve Unspoken Signals You’re Sending at the Office

We all send subliminal signals from time to time whether it’s our body language (yawn…wait, we swear we’re not snoozing in front of you), attitude or behavior. Per this piece on U.S. News & World Report, there are a few things you may want to slightly tweak to get your game on.

1. Watch your crowd. Simply stated, you are who you hang out with. If you hang out with people who constantly complain, you’ll be associated with complainers.

And even though your work may shine on its own, that’s not good enough. Your total package includes your work in addition to how you’re perceived.  One way to tweak it? Spend time with high achievers in the office. In the piece, Alison Green points out you’re “likely to be perceived as having a similar work ethic and values (and those things can rub off on you in reality too).” Read more

Four Signs It’s Time to Reboot Your Job Search

Got resumes? If you’re still sending out resumes by the bundle and not getting any phone calls, it may be time to reboot your search.

Check that, it’s definitely time to reboot. Sure, we know the economy is tough and all but when your peers are getting new jobs and moving on and you’re not having as much success, it’s time to do something different. Read more

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: Five Things to Overlook While Job Hunting

Ever feel like you’re putting too much pressure on yourself with the job search? Maybe you’re stressing certain things that aren’t even important in the eyes of the hiring manager and recruiter.

Well, as per a post on U.S. News & World Report, there are a few items you don’t need to fret about any more.

1. Your cover letter. Whether or not you address it to a hiring manager or specific person, it doesn’t really matter; content is what counts. Is it succinct yet informative? Spot on with grammar and spelling? Good, that’s all that counts.

2. Your resume design. In the piece, Alison Green writes, “What employers want from your resume design is a document that’s clean and uncluttered, easy to scan, not overly fancy, and puts the information we want in the places we expect to find it. Whatever design you choose that achieves those goals is fine with us.”

3. Your resume length. One or two pages? That is the question but definitely not a deal breaker. It’s fine for resumes to encompass two pages; anything longer than that will start feeling copious. This means you can fiddle with margins and fonts to fit it into two pages (or of course, magnify it if you’re right out of school and need to fill up space on a page.)

4. Your “personal brand.” Green reminds us employers don’t really care about personal brands. Rather, what’s truly important is doing good work. She points out in the piece, “The evangelists telling you that you must build a unique and recognizable personal brand are looking for a new concept to sell you in an overcrowded marketplace. Employers—the people actually thinking about hiring you—could care less. Do good work and build a good reputation, and forget the branding hype.”

5. Your thank-you note. If you’re torn between the e-mailed note or snail mailed one, fret not. The recruiter isn’t going to focus on form of communication but a.) the point that you sent one and b.) if it expresses enthusiasm and c.) references a point made during the interview. Similar to the cover letter, be sure it’s flawless with content.

Of course, the goal is to leave a lasting positive impression so whether or not you put a stamp on a note or quickly sent one via modern technology, the point is you’re expressing interest, you’re thanking them for their time, and following up.

Five Ways to Negotiate a Job Offer

Congrats! You’ve just gotten a job offer and endured countless interviews and now you’re ready to leap at the offer.

Not so fast! Before you accept it point blank, it’s important to negotiate and avoid some major blunders. As pointed out in a piece on US News & World Report, for starters, do some research. Although surfing various salary websites may seem like you’re grasping valuable information, sites may be unreliable. Some job titles they include may represent a large spectrum of responsibilities and not to mention, geographic regions across the country. The best way to know what the going rate is? Talk to people within media.

Next up, be sure to talk about salary within the confines of salary. In the piece, Alison Green writes, “Salary conversations should be solely about your value to the company, not about your own finances. Employers don’t pay people based on financial need, so don’t cite your mortgage or your kid’s college tuition as a reason you’re asking for more money.”

As you evaluate the whole package, don’t overlook other components such as health benefits, retirement contributions, and paid time off. Salary alone shouldn’t be the sole determining negotiation factor; although these items may be less negotiable, they factor into the big picture of your offer as a whole. In addition, flexible work arrangements may be key, too and cut down on commuting costs and time.

One often overlooked piece to the job offer is a blatant one: Negotiating. “Whatever you do, negotiate,” writes Green. As soon as you accept the initial offer you’re given, it’s game over. You’ll never know what might have been! Before you begin, the answer’s automatically no so you might as well try to aim a little higher.

Lastly, find out the deadline. Asking for too long of a timeframe is a major faux pas but it’s common to ask for a few days to ponder it or at least think about it over a weekend. Whatever you do, don’t rush it. Ask questions, get answers, and then make an informed decision.

Three Ways to Inadvertently Self-Sabotage Your Career

Want to get ahead in your career? This sounds like a no brainer, right? Sometimes we may end up self-sabotaging ourselves without even knowing it.

There may be a few misconceptions contributing to being in a job rut. Whether they’re conscious or not, a few contributing factors may keep your career completely stalled instead of moving onward and upward.

As pointed out by Alison Green in her blog post on U.S. News & World Report, one of the factors involves thinking doing your job adequately is enough. She wrote, “Doing a merely adequate job isn’t enough these days. With so many qualified job seekers available for hire, you need to go above and beyond to be seen as valuable.”

If you’re perceived as someone who does the minimum to simply get by instead of going the extra mile, a savvy boss will be able to quickly replace you with someone who goes above and beyond.

In another example, Green remarked on a myth that your work speaks for itself. Reality check: It doesn’t. It’s almost like a tree that falls in a forest; if no one witnesses it, does it really make a sound?

In the post Green wrote, “You could do great work, but if no one knows about it, you might not get the credit you deserve.” Sure, you may have done stellar research on a feature piece or fact checked like it’s nobody’s business but if you don’t toot your own horn, no one else will.

Plus, when other people such as a new editor, let’s say, sends an email thanking you for your hard work on turning around a polished piece ahead of deadline, it’s up to you to send it up the food chain to your managing editor.

Lastly, another misconception revolves around doing great work and letting it stand on its own merit. Well, the work doesn’t speak for itself and neither does its independence. It’s attached to something — check that, someone: You! And of course, your go get ‘em attitude!

Green explained in the piece, “If you complain frequently, regularly shoot down ideas, or act like the office prima donna, your boss probably considers you a pain.” Enough said.

Underpaid and Over-Envious?

MoneyAnnoyed that you’re doing the same work as a colleague but that you’re getting paid less? U.S. News columnist Alison Green offers five possible explanations. Some are beyond your control — maybe you were hired when the job market was worse. Another might sting a bit: “Your work isn’t as good as you think it is.” (Also known as: Your boss just isn’t that into you.)

It’s obviously not an ideal economy in which to even out such disparities, but you do have some options.

Do some research on industry norms for your particular work in your geographic area and see where your salary falls relative to those markers. If your research shows that your pay is roughly in line with what makes sense for your industry and the only issue is that your co-worker makes more than you, you can still ask for more, but be open to the idea that the pay raise might not happen. That’s not an insult, just a pretty typical result of the way different people negotiate different packages.

Have you been in a situation where you felt you weren’t being paid fairly compared to a co-worker? If so, what did you do about it?

Photo: amagill

Would Hunter Have Gotten Hired Today With That Letter?

Last week we published a letter a pre-famous Hunter S Thompson sent to the Vancouver Sun looking for work.

Thompson never worked for the Sun in his lifetime, so perhaps the cover letter didn’t work…on the other hand, the editor to whom Thomson had addressed his missive lasted less than a year in his position until he apparently offended everyone else he worked with and was demoted. So maybe there were more forces in play than it seems.

But would the letter work today? We polled a number of career and recruiting experts, including Ask A Manager‘s Alison Green, Ask the Headhunter‘s Nick Corcodilos, and Laurie Ruettimann of Punk Rock HR and now New Media Services. Here’s what they said… after the jump.

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