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Headline Tricks That Will Get Coworkers to Open Your Email

August 21, 2014

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There’s not one magic trick to get your coworkers to open and respond to emails (though we’ve written a post on how to do it in the past). There’s one thing we can all agree on though — headlines matter. Think of your own inbox and the amount of content you receive each day. Some is junk, some is important, some is interesting, some is from important people, and some is from strangers.

So what makes you open the emails that you do open? Often an intriguing headline. “Hey” is going to get looked over if “Are you available for lunch?” is sitting right beneath it. “Monday morning meeting” won’t get opened as fast as “Monday meeting cancelled,” and “A friendly hello” is not going to be read before “Introduction from our mutual friend Katie Smith” is. FastCompany wrote an awesome piece on subject line tricks and we’d like to share our favorite bits of advice from this article:

  • Subject lines with 41 characters or less have the highest open rates.
  • Include a call to action or a verb whenever you can.
  • Avoid words like help, buy, sale, and free if you want to avoid the spam filter.
  • Turn your subject line into a question.
  • When emailing a stranger, name drop someone you have in common.

Read the full article at FastCompany.

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3 MORE Huge Career Mistakes We Hope You’re Not Making

August 19, 2014

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We’ve already covered three career mistakes we hope you’re not making, but there are three more we’d like to add. Like we said, the smallest missteps can have much larger consequences than you think. The good news is that each step baby step in the right direction can have a big payoff. Do the opposite of what’s listed below and you’ll be surprised at how quickly you’ll find career success. Here are three more career mistakes that you should avoid:

1. Acting too modest.
Your career needs a little self promotion. Don’t be shy. Make sure your boss knows when you had a great meeting with a client. Make sure your coworkers hear about the project you just blew out of the water. There’s a fine line between sharing and bragging so make sure you don’t cross it. But do’t feel guilty about sharing your career successes with your peers and those above you.

2. Being too scared to ask for feedback.
You do things — that you probably don’t realize you do — that are both good and bad. When you ask for feedback, you’ll only learn. And learning from your mistakes and your successes is what’s going to fuel your career forward. Don’t ever pass up an opportunity to get an outside perspective on your work from someone you trust. Don’t ever let it discourage you — only let it make you stronger.

3. Not networking within your company.
Some people think networking is limited to people in your industry at outside events. But networking each and every day at work can be supremely helpful to your career. The more people that know you are the better. The more you understand the business the better. Having people who know you and can vouch for you is a good thing. You never know when one of those people will end up running the company and could give you a big break.

 

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3 Huge Career Mistakes We Hope You’re Not Making

August 13, 2014

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Sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference. It’s amazing how one word or action could totally change your career path. And once you’ve landed that great job the fight is not over. Every day is a step towards a better future as long as you play your cards right. Here are three career mistakes that seem small but can actually have huge effects:

1. Saying “No.”
You can be known as a “Yes” kind of person or a “No” kind of person. Which one do you think is better? In work and in life, people will stop asking if your answer is always no. While saying “Yes” to one small, boring project might not seem that exciting, it could lead to something bigger. Giving the “Okay” to a networking lunch might seem insignificant until that person who sat next to you gets promoted and becomes your boss. Agreeing to join the social committee might seem like a waste of time until you get on a first-name basis with your company’s vice president. Get the picture?

2. Throwing a fit.
Your work life and your personal life are two different things. If you didn’t get invited to a lunch with your friends, you might get upset. But if you didn’t get invited to a meeting with your coworkers, don’t take offense. Perhaps they didn’t want to waste your time. Perhaps your expertise wasn’t needed yet. Perhaps your boss has another project for you in mind. Don’t read into things too much. Work is work. If you’d like to say something, do so in a positive way. For example, “I’m very interested in that project you guys are working on, so if you need any additional help please let me know.”

3. Acting self-centered.
You work on a team. It’s success depends on the success of each individual person — not just you. Praise your coworkers’ successes, support them along the way, and offer help. They’ll do the same to you in return. Along the same lines, don’t forget that you’re not the only person in the room. Be it in a meeting room or in the lunch room, engage all of your coworkers in conversation and treat everyone equally.

 

 

 

 

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The 3 C’s of Trust in the Workplace

August 12, 2014

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If you’ve ever lied about the work you’ve done on a project, showed up late to an important meeting, gossiped behind a coworker’s back, blew a budget, or missed a deadline you’ve probably experienced a loss of trust. When you lose someone’s trust — whether it was with your boss or your coworkers — you lose opportunities. And that’s not good when it comes to the future of your career. The good news is that you can earn that trust back.

Although we might think all trust is lost once we’ve committed one of these trust faux pas, the truth is that trust is often viewed in parts. For example, I might not trust you to get the project done in time but I trust that you’re not going to poison the cupcakes you brought for my birthday today. If you’ve dropped the ball at work, there are a few steps you can take to fix your misstep. But first we must understand how trust works.

U.S. News and World Report wrote a recent piece on trust in the workplace. It turns out that there are three C’s of Trust: competence, character, and consistency. Competence means you have the ability to undertake a task, character means that you have integrity and are dependable, and consistence means that you are repeatedly reliable. In other words it’s talent mixed with reliability and dependability.

In order to earn this trust back, try these steps:

1. Acknowledge the problem.
Say, “I know you don’t trust that I can meet this deadline based on what happened during the last project.”

2. Offer proof that you’ve changed.
If you’re discussing a deadline, show your scheduled plan of attack and the mini deadlines you’ll meet along the way. Now you can say, “I know you don’t trust that I can meet this deadline based on what happened during the last project, but I want to share with you the timeline I’ve mapped out and the deadlines I’ve set for myself.”

3. Get someone to vouch for you or oversee your work.
For example, “Barbara is going to check in on me weekly,” or “Barbara offered to jump in and help if I feel overwhelmed.” This shows that someone else is willing to work with you and has earned your trust back.

4. Follow through.
Now is not the time to fail. Be true to your words or it will be even harder to start from step 1 again.

 

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5 Work Behaviors That Say “I Don’t Care”

August 8, 2014

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Actions speak louder than words, right? That saying applies in the workplace immensely. Even during our most grueling and challenging days, it’s important to pay attention to what kind of vibes our actions are giving the people around us. It can impact your personal happiness and your career success. Here are a few behavioral red flags that scream “I’d rather be somewhere else:”

1. You walk in the door 30 minutes late every day.
Late arrivals are not only disrespectful — perpetual tardiness reflects poorly on your lifestyle. What is it that prevents you from managing your time better in the morning every day? It might be as simple as setting your alarm too late or hitting the snooze button too many times. Don’t give people a reason to wonder why you’re so unorganized.

2. You don’t respond to emails on time.
These days everyone is inundated with emails and we absolutely have to ignore our inboxes for periods of time or we’d never get work done. But delaying a response is different from radio silence for days. If you only have time to say “I got this and will get back to you by the end of the day tomorrow,” do it. That’s better than giving no response. Also, don’t forget that sometimes it’s quicker to just pick up the phone and have a chat or leave a voicemail.

3. You miss meetings or show up late. 
If you can’t attend a meeting, decline it. Don’t accept it and then show up 15 minutes late — or not at all. Especially if you’re meeting with only one or two people, you’ll only make work enemies when you blow off a commitment. It’s a waste of time for everyone.

4. You’re glued to your smartphone.
It may be socially acceptable to carry around your smartphone at work but no matter what anyone says, it’s rude to pay more attention to your smartphone than your coworkers — especially during a meeting. If you’re always glued to your phone, you better be responding to emails and not just checking Facebook.

5. You don’t ask questions.
This applies to two parts of the workplace: professional and personal. Ask the appropriate questions that will help you get your job done correctly and on time. But also don’t forget to strike up a friendly conversation every day and learn a bit more about your coworkers. It will make your day more enjoyable and having coworkers on your side is always a good thing when you’re in a pinch during the workday.

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4 Rookie Personal Branding Mistakes

August 5, 2014

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Whether you like it or not, the job search is about creating your own personal brand. You need a consistent and professional online footprint so even the nosiest of recruiters who Google you will find only good things. Here are a few rookie mistakes that hopefully you’re not making. And if you are, fix them immediately.

Mistake #1: Your online presences haven’t been updated in years.
If you haven’t used your Twitter feed in three years, just delete it. It’s better than someone finding it and diving into your history only to find conversations and opinions that you don’t even remember having.

Mistake #2: You have no personality.
Yes you must be professional, but lay off the business jargon a little bit. Somewhere in your correspondence, resume, interview, or cover letter you must break down the professional wall and crack a smile at the very least.

Mistake #3: You aren’t taking yourself seriously.
A beach vacation photo does not make a great LinkedIn photo. Neither does a selfie. Get your act together and ask a friend to take a professional-looking photo. Browse your Facebook photo security settings as well and make sure it’s either locked up tight or rated G.

Mistake #4: You’re not focused.
If you say marketing is your passion but you also apply to a finance position and a sales position at the same company, you’re going to come off as completely unfocused. Decide what you want your career path to be and stick to it.

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Got a New Job? Here’s How to Build Influence Quickly.

July 31, 2014

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Starting a new job is not easy. Not only are you adjusting to a new space and meeting new people, but you’re also starting from scratch as far as your credibility goes. No one knows that you were amazing at your last job. Not a single person is aware that all your old coworkers loved you. Nobody knows that you are eventually going to turn into a rockstar at your new company. So how do you express your potential as quickly as possible? With some good advice.

We love finding fantastic articles with excellent career advice, and when we found this latest piece on Mashable, 4 Ways to Quickly Build Influence at a New Job, we swooned. We absolutely love this first piece of advice about how to “become the go-to person.” Before you meet everyone on day one, come up with a 30-second pitch for yourself. As your shaking someone hand, speak your campaign.

Be sure to include your name, your new position, and the top three things that you’re going to be involved with. You can even say, “Come to me when you need X, Y, or Z.” Not only will you increase your credibility, but you can express your interests and abilities even beyond your job description.

While meeting everyone on day one, start scouting out the influencers within the company. A person who is well-respected and well-connected. Your goal? Become friends with them. Read more about how this can help your career, plus two other ways to build influence at your new job over at Mashable.

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One-Minute Productivity Tips You Can’t Pass Up

July 29, 2014

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Forbes recently shared 30 One-Minute Productivity Tips that we could not pass up. Let’s be honest — every productivity tip should only be one-minute long because, hey, we’re trying to be productive here! If you don’t have time to scan through the list of all 30 tips, no worries. We summarized ten of the tips that we deemed the best. Trust us, you don’t want you miss out on these. They’re simple, practical, and efficient.

  1. Don’t check your email first thing in the morning.
  2. Write down your to-do list. Don’t keep it in your head.
  3. Go for a walk and get some fresh air.
  4. Don’t reach for your cell phone next time you have 10 minutes to spare. Use that time to unwind.
  5. Draw a line between work and  home, especially on holidays and the weekends.
  6. Unsubscribe to five email lists you don’t need today.
  7. Redefine what is urgent. Your goals trump checking Facebook.
  8. Your attention is a precious commodity. Be in charge of how you spend it.
  9. Ignore your phone sometimes.
  10. Don’t expect to be productive if you don’t take time to recharge.

Read the rest of Forbes’ list of 30 One-Minute Productivity Tips.

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How to Get Coworkers to Open & Respond to Your Emails

July 24, 2014

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This Email Will Change Your Life. Okay, okay. It’s probably not a good idea to write dramatic email subject lines in hopes that your coworkers will open it. But there are a few tips that will are almost guaranteed to increase your open rate and response rate. Think of yourself as a personal marketer who needs to re-work your strategy. Before anything else, ask yourself: Does an email even need to be sent? If the answer is yes, then move on to these steps:

1. It all starts with a headline.
Write a clear and concise subject line. Think about including a project title, a deadline, or a “RESPONSE NEEDED” call out. These days many people are opening their emails on their mobile devices, which might not have room to display an entire subject line. Be sure to include any important information — like a date or deadline — in the body of the email as well.

2. Open with attention-getting information.
The first sentence of your email should be the most important information. Think looming deadline, the missing information you’re looking for, or the overall objective of your email. If you have a journalism background, you’ll know of the inverted period — the most important information goes at the top. Then follow with the details from most important to least.

3. Use bullet points.
You’ve seen the articles that go viral these days — they’re numbered lists or bullet points. Why? Because they can be read quickly and easily. Save the paragraphs-long emails for friends or family. Even if you have a lot to say, it most likely can be broken down into small chunks of digestible information.

4. Don’t be afraid of a little style.
Feel free to highlight a deadline, bold an especially important sentence, or underline the items you need. In a long email, these style choices can be especially helpful. But don’t overdo them. Some may see this as a bit of hand-holding and feel they’re perfectly capable of reading the information without your help.

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What Do You Do When You’re Shy at Work?

July 22, 2014

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For an introvert, the telecommuting trend is a welcome one. Digital communication and the comforts of one’s home is about as good as it gets. But not every introvert is granted those luxuries. Working in a big corporate office can feel like a flashback to the halls of a bustling high school. There’s nowhere to hide. Especially with the trend of open workspaces that allow for little privacy.

But even in the world of cubicles and offices, there’s still the obligation to attend large meetings and show your face at after-work events as well as make an impression to the big wigs in the company. And those with the loudest voices are often the ones who are heard. So what’s an introvert to do? Especially if you’re looking to get noticed, promoted, and respected despite your anxieties? Here’s our plan of attack.

1. Keep your boss informed.
At the end of the day, your boss is the one who will make important decisions on promotions, raises, and new projects. Set up one-on-one meetings with your boss to make sure that you’re staying top of mind. Speak about your current achievements and goals for the future.

2. Take on smaller group projects.
Start with baby steps. Perhaps you can volunteer for a committee, take on a project, or mentor an intern. Sign up for something that involves only a few other people in addition to yourself. Once these coworkers see your talents, they’ll be able to speak about you positively and become a megaphone for your talents.

3. Practice speaking up.
Go into a meeting well-researched with something ready to contribute. Chime in early with your thought. If even this sounds too forward for you, practice your public speaking skills in the mirror or by joining a group like Toastmasters. Yes, it sounds horrifying to those who hate public speaking but it can also be a life changer.

 

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