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9 Ways to Land Your Dream Job

9 Ways to Land Your Dream Job

Unemployment rates in the US are holding steady at below 5 percent, and new jobs are being created monthly in almost every field. Therefore, this is a good time to try and break into a new industry or to get your dream promotion. After all, employers are much more open to bringing on new staff than they were a few years ago. Fields like the technology field are also booming and need an influx of fresh workers. However, even though there is less competition now, it is still important to stand out if you want to land the job of your dreams.

1. Send a thank you note

It used to be a more common practice to send a thank you note after an interview, but many job hunters have stopped doing this. Unfortunately for them, this could be exactly what is standing in the way of their career aspirations. It may be shocking, but 15 percent of hiring managers will not make a job offer to a highly qualified candidate just because they failed to send a thank you note.

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Approximately one-third of employers have also indicated that they lose some confidence in their preferred candidate if a thank you note doesn’t arrive in a timely manner. As people continue to move away from this courteous approach, you can stand out by sending a short, but well-written, thank you email after the interview.

2. Create an online portfolio

Although you will most likely be required to go through the process of submitting a paper resume or filling out an online application, it is still wise to go the extra mile by creating a virtual portfolio. Even if you are in an industry that wouldn’t require you to have a traditional portfolio, you can still offer a more visually appealing resume by going this route. The best part for job hunters is that this doesn’t even cost anything. There are many ways to build, launch and host your online portfolio with no fees.

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3. Flesh out your LinkedIn profile

Many employers search for potential candidates on LinkedIn, and 94 percent of recruiters take the same approach. You can ensure that your profile stands out by listing your accomplishments and receiving endorsements from others. Keep in mind that employers are typically looking for someone who has the right skills and is also a high performer. This can shine through in how you describe yourself and your skills in your profile, so don’t hesitate to list recent relevant projects and any performance-related awards that you have won.

4. Solve a problem for your desired company

After you land an interview with your ideal company, it’s time to turn things up a few notches by looking for a way to truly stand out during the interview. One method that often impresses employers is showing up with a presentation that offers a potential solution for one of the company’s biggest challenges. If this isn’t an option for you, consider putting something together that showcases your skills and incorporates the business in question. For example, if you are a graphic designer, you could create a new logo that represents the company’s mission statement or helps to advertise one of their products.

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5. Allow your personality to shine through

Cultural fit is very important to most hiring managers. As a result, many people attempt to have the so-called “perfect personality” in the initial stages of an application process. However, this can be problematic because you may come off stiff, and you also run the risk of misrepresenting yourself. Instead, infuse some of your true personality into the cover letter. Also, don’t be afraid to showcase some of your humor and outside-the-box, puzzle-solving skills during the interview. As long as you remain professional at all times, this could actually be the thing that makes you stand out enough to get hired.

6. Provide statistical data

Anyone can state on their resume that they improved sales, but by what percentage did sales increase? Offering statistics within a job description is a great way to capture attention without making your resume too long. Be prepared to provide detailed examples during the interview of how you hit those metrics. You can also tie this information into ideas about how you’d accomplish the same thing for your new employer. As always, relating these details to actual products or services is the perfect way to show the interviewer that you have invested time into researching the company.

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7. Time your application correctly

A lot of people send out resumes during the weekend, but it turns out that this is not a good idea. Instead, research indicates that almost a third of applicants who are called for an interview had sent their resume on a Monday. This number drops to a paltry 14 percent when job hunters apply on a Saturday. In other words, even if you have to do your job searching on a Saturday or Sunday, it is best to wait until the beginning of the week to send your application.

8. Be kind and respectful to the receptionist

A big mistake that some candidates make is snubbing the receptionist while waiting for their interview. You don’t need to spend an exorbitant amount of time talking to the receptionist, especially if they’re busy. However, it is imperative to be polite, kind and respectful during your interaction with them. Some hiring managers ask their receptionists how they were treated by each interviewee, and this can make a huge difference in the decision-making process.

9. Take the P-I-E approach to interviewing

Do you spend the entire interview spouting pre-planned responses and trying to anticipate the interviewer’s next question? This may make you feel more in control of the situation, but it is probably hurting your chances of getting a job. Instead, it is better to remain in the moment, even if you have to take a second to gather your thoughts. In fact, hiring studies have found that utilizing the P-I-E approach (positive, interested, and engaged) will give you the best chance of getting hired.

Putting these tips into action will make it much easier to score your dream job. You should also remember that if, for some reason, you don’t get a callback, there are still many important lessons you can learn from a job interview rejection.

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Holly Chavez

Writer, Entrepreneur, Small Business Owner

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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