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10 Business Clichés to Remove From Your Vocabulary in 2015

January 29, 2015

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Whether you’re deep in a job search or years into a successful position, there’s one bad habit we’d like you to break in 2015: relying on overused business jargon. Why? Because when a phrase becomes a cliché it loses its meaning.

That means when you speak these phrases, your conversation isn’t as strong as it could be. Maybe people lose interest, or roll their eyes, or your argument loses. Read this Forbes piece on why we’re over business jargon to learn more reasons why it can negatively affect your career.

Let’s make 2015 a year when we “think outside the box” — another overused phrase — and come up with a more thoughtful and creative way to get through the business day.

Here are 10 words and phrases we could live without in 2015:

  • Let’s keep that in the pipeline. 
  • I need you to give 110 percent.
  • We want to be thought leaders.
  • Let’s push the envelope.
  • That’s right in our wheelhouse.
  • I’ll circle back with that information.
  • We can hack that.
  • That’s a no brainer. 
  • We need to wrap our heads around this.
  • Any out-of-context use of the words: startup, hack, or disrupt.
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What Do You Do When Your Coworker Quits?

January 27, 2015

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Change is good, but change can be scary — especially when you’re not the one who instigated it. When a coworker decides to quit it can interrupt your team more than you’d like to admit. The Brazen Careerist had a great post recently on How to Cope When You Coworker Leaves the Company.

It made us think about how to best react when someone drops the two-week’s notice bomb. Here is our list of mantras to repeat when you’re going through the transition from empty cubicle next door to new hire neighbor:

  • Remember that everyone will be under added stress. When one member of your team leaves, everyone has to pick up the slack until the replacement steps in. And it’s not just one person’s responsibility
  • Remember that the stress is temporary. It’s no fun to have to take on extra work, but it’s no one’s fault. Be a team player and work through this trying time.
  • Remember to send off your coworker the right way. Be excited for his or her new role and be sure to keep in touch. You never know when your connections will come in handy.
  • Remember to greet the replacement with open arms. Stepping into someone else’s shoes is no fun but we’ve all been there. A new person will be just that — new. It will take them awhile to transition and they’ll bring they’ll own flair. And that might be just what you needed.
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Get Smarter and Work Better with this App

January 22, 2015

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elevateApple named Elevate the best app of 2014. It’s addicting. It will make you smarter. It will help you in work and life. So what are you waiting for?

Elevate is one of those “personal brain trainer” apps but there’s something about this one that sticks. You’ll feel like you’re getting smarter and it’s pretty fun to play. You’ll find yourself playing math games and actually enjoying yourself.

Elevate lets you choose specific areas of improvement and they’re all commendable. Choose from articulating your thoughts more clearly, retaining more of what you read and hear, and processing information faster. From there, a quick test evaluates your proficiency in each area. Every day you’ll get a reminder to tackle your training session, which is composted of three challenges in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and math.

Read more of the best apps of the year at TIME.

Image via Facebook.com/ElevateLabs.

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Job Seekers: Forget These 3 Excuses in 2015

January 20, 2015

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198900518_fdd4191bbd_zExcuses, excuses, excuses. We’re calling you out. If you’re actively job seeking right now, we’ve got your back — but we’re also going to give you the kick you need. Here are the top excuses you need to stop making for yourself in 2015.

1. “I don’t have enough experience, so I’m not even going to apply.”
You’ve got nothing to lose when it comes to this job application. Leave it to someone else to decide your fate. As Wayne Gretzky says, “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”

2. “I’ve sent a million applications, but I hear nothing.”
It’s great that you’ve sent out so many applications, but how much effort did you put into each one? Not enough. We’ve touted the importance of tailoring each resume and we’ve covered how to tell if your resume sucks. Apply to fewer jobs in a more thoughtful way and you might see your results change.

3. “I’ll apply but I’m never going to get this job.” 
Confidence, people! You need confidence. Your doubt will come through in your application and your interview. No one will take you seriously if you don’t take yourself seriously.

Image via vandys/Flickr.

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5 Things That Must be Removed From Your Resume in 2015

January 15, 2015

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13903354509_d6a32bed18_zNew year, new you, right? If you’re a job seeker, you might be focusing your efforts on a smaller mantra first: new year, new resume. It’s hard to write a resume. How can one outline their entire career path in one page? Here’s the good news — we’re going to tell you what you can take off your resume.

Go through our check list of the five things you must remove from your resume immediately. Strike these things out and you’ll have more room to write about those amazing career achievements you need to share with employers.

1. Third person voice
Don’t say “Mr. Thompson has a decade of experience…” Make it stronger — and shorter — by saying “I have a decade of experience…”

2. Too much business jargon
Sure keywords are important these days but your writing has to make sense. Limit the over-used business jargon to a few relevant phrases — and don’t use big words that require a dictionary definition.

3. Irrelevant jobs
Your resume isn’t the place to list EVERY job. Remove those unimportant positions that have nothing to do with your the position you’re hoping to land. Save that real estate for showing relevant experiences.

4. Irrelevant interests
It’s great that you volunteer or an expert knitter, but when we’re talking about limited space the interests will have to go. Unless the experience matches perfectly with the position, hit the delete key.

5. Exaggerations
It goes without saying that no one should lie on their resume — and that goes with exaggerations as well. Be truthful and find the best way to market yourself. Remember: your experiences and thoughts are unique and any company would be lucky to have you.

Image via Flazingo Photos.  

 

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4 Quick and Easy Resume Hacks for 2015

January 13, 2015

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13903383190_46eccf2592_kIt’s a new year and it’s time to brush up that resume. Whether you last sent it out in 2014 or years ago, there’s always room for improvement. Here are four quick tips that will make your resume shine in 2015.

1. Don’t list your daily duties.
For each position, don’t list what you did — list what you did great. That means talking about the particular skills you exceeded at and the achievements that followed.

2. Sprinkle numbers throughout.
From the size of your team, the dollar amount of your budget, to the number of stories you wrote, throw around concrete numbers whenever you can.

3. Don’t assume.
If needed, save a bullet point for putting your job into context — what does the company do, what was the department like, and what was your goal or mission?

4. Be picky.
Only list relevant positions with applicable experience. Short and sweet can be strong — get rid of that experience that doesn’t build upon why you’re the best person to hire for this position.

Image via Flazingo Photos.  

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Career Advice for Graduates from LinkedIn’s Founder

January 9, 2015

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2512994173_a987e82bf3_zIf 2015 is the year you’ll walk across the stage diploma in hand, you have to read this. And if you became a graduate years ago, you still have to read this.  Hey, even if you’re about to retire, you should read this and share it with others. That’s how good it is.

Business Insider recently published a slideshow of career advice from Reid Hoffman, LinkedIn’s billionaire founder. It’s called The 3 Secrets of Highly Successful Graduates and it’s all about feeling ready for the working world — because most soon-to-be graduates don’t feel like they can take on the real world. His advice is inspiring and dead on from, “That uncertainty you feel right now about your future — it won’t ever go away,” to “In an ever-changing world, managing your career is a LIFELONG PROCESS.”

Here are are just some of our favorite pieces of advice from the slideshow:

  • “Your best career has you pursuing worthy aspirations, using your assets, while navigating the market realities.”
  • “You’ll be surprised how valuable your existing skills and connections are to those who don’t have them.”
  • “If you’re looking for an opportunity, you’re really looking for a person.”

Read the rest of the Life-Changing Career Advice from LinkedIn’s Billionaire Founder Reid Hoffman at Business Insider.

Image via Danielle King/Flickr

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3 Habits That Will Instantly Boost Your Productivity in 2015

January 4, 2015

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1. Learn to say ‘No.’
Being a “yes” person is good — up to a point. But saying ‘no’ is a skill we must all cultivate. While we might have good intentions, agreeing to everyone’s demands only wears us thin. That means more stress on our end and a lesser quality of work. Not good. Learn your limits, don’t be afraid to ask for help, and say no when you need to — and don’t feel sorry for it.

2. Take a break.
It’s okay to take multiple breaks. Find what works for you. Perhaps a one-hour lunch break is all you need to re-energize your mind and body. The Pomodoro technique might be better — working in sprints and rewarding yourself with frequent short breaks. Perhaps you need to take a 15-minute morning and afternoon walk to recharge. Or just 30 minutes of reading over your lunch break to clear your mind.

3. Stop multitasking.
See number one — because you’re likely multitasking because you didn’t say no. If you can’t find time to give your all to everything on your to-do list, something has got to give. You need to say no to something, ask for help from someone, or re-examine your process and find a more effective one. It might take time to get on the right track, but it’s time well spent.

Image via GDS Infographics/Flickr

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“Good” Habits That are Actually Bad Ones in Disguise

December 26, 2014

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We fill our resume with buzzwords that make us sound like the perfect employee: master multitasker! People pleaser! Extremely dedicated! But it turns out these “good” habits might actually give off a warning signal to a hiring manager. Why? We’ll break it down for you and reveal the double meaning behind some popular resume keywords.

The Juggler
“Multitasking” is one of those traits we used to think was great. But it turns out that it’s actually really bad for you. Just think about: how can you possibly give your full attention to more than one thing at a time? You can’t!

The ‘Yes’ Man
If you’re a people pleaser, you might never say no. And if you never say no, you might get in over your head — and drown. Successful employees know when to say no. They delegate when they need to. And they’re better workers for doing so.

The Dedicated Employee
Extreme dedication is great, but becoming a workaholics could lead to extreme burnout. Everyone needs to take a break to refuel their mind and their body. Sometimes all it takes is a lunch break and other times it requires a week-long vacation.

What other resume buzzwords have double meanings? Share your thoughts below!

 

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Your Resume is a Story… and You’re the Hero

December 23, 2014

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4309638815_7a297f3fa8_zYou’re starring in the story of your life. But did you know that you’re also starring in another story? It’s the story of your career. You’re the hero, your resume is the story, and it’s up to you to make it a good one. We loved this recent article called, “Your Resume Should Tell a ‘Hero’s Epic’ Story.” There’s a reason why your resume is an epic hero’s journey and not a drama or a comedy. Everyone loves a good hero’s tale — they want to see you accept responsibility, overcome obstacles, tackle the competition, and rise to the top.

Thinking of your resume as a story might help you to craft the most compelling pitch possible. For example, does the “story” flow smoothly from one position to another? Does the “story” illustrate how you’ve grown throughout your career? Does your “story” have an underlying theme that illustrates your career ambitions and successes? When you think about it this way, the resume and the story have a lot in common.

One of the biggest takeaways from storytelling that apply to resume writing is this: details. Every story — and every resume — needs details that engage the reader. If the reader is bored, they’ll stop reading — and move on to the next candidate. But if you can keep their attention and captivate a reader with explicit details about how interesting and wonderful you are, hiring managers will be clamoring to meet you.

Read the full piece on why your resume should tell a hero’s epic story then apply the tips to your resume. How will the story end? Hopefully with a happily ever after — and a new job!

Image via dixieroadrash on Flickr.

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