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Last Updated on April 10, 2018

Gain Confidence in Your Career (9 Tips to Land Your Dream Job)

Gain Confidence in Your Career (9 Tips to Land Your Dream Job)

A career setback–which can negatively impact our self-confidence–can happen at any moment of our life. Imagine the impact of the experience of being demoted, overlooked for a promotion or feeling as if you are the last person on the team to receive recognition.

Despite hard work, there are times when it seems impossible to get ahead; this can certainly have an impact on efforts to be more confident or motivated in your career.

Can you relate? You are not alone.

A Gallup Survey reveals, “85% of employees are not engaged or actively disengaged at work.”[1]

Yet, unhappiness in your career no longer needs to be your reality.

In this article, we hold the golden truth to help you learn how to gain confidence land the dream job that you deserve. Read on to find out how to change your life forever.

True Secrets to Career Happiness

1. Do Some Soul Searching

What is the point of soul searching? It is a process of self awareness.

Now is the best time to look deep within yourself to discover what will make you truly happy in your career. For example: there are many people that have pursued a career simply to make their parents happy. Society often tells us certain careers, like being a doctor, are most rewarding because they offer high earning potential.

True happiness can present itself in many ways. The key is to find the career that will make you happiest. Here are a few ideas to help you start soul searching:

  • A road trip with colleagues
  • A one-week vacation
  • Beginning a career journal
  • Meditation

Approaching a career without a plan can turn towards the opposite direction of what you originally intended.

Giving yourself an opportunity to clear your head of negative thoughts is a great way to get started.

Here are several helpful things to consider on your soul search:

Personality: Most of us do not realize that certain jobs are designed for people with certain personalities.

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For example, an introvert can succeed as a human resources manager, writer or in information technology (IT) professional. An extrovert may be happy in a sales role, working directly with customers or working in public relations in front of the camera.

Happiness: You might need to switch careers in the pursuit of happiness. Think about the environment and job responsibilities that will match how you interact with people.

Performance: Its time to be honest with yourself. How well are you performing? Do you keep making the same mistakes? The only way to grow is to review mistakes and commit to stop repeating them in the future.

Progress: Pursuing a goal and letting it go because of a disappointment is common. Think about the personal groups you joined last year you stopped attending.

It is better to be honest with yourself that the ambition to continue pursuing a goal has discontinued and it is time to resume where you left off.

Soul searching can be a liberating experience.

Instead of searching for answers outside of yourself, search within yourself to help guide you in taking your first step towards your dream job.

2. Ask Your Manager for the Truth

There is a difference between the job we want and the reality of the job we can get.

Your manager is the right person to ask for real advice on whether you are fit for a new position. The advice from a family member or friend is tempting, but it can potentially prolong the time it may take for you to succeed.

A direct manager spends most of the day working with you and can offer specific examples of strengths and weaknesses.

Here is a list of questions to ask a manager for the truth:

  • How can I improve as an employee?
  • What career advice can you offer?
  • What are my chances of promotion?
  • Do I meet or exceed expectations?
  • How do I rank on the team?
  • What was my best piece of work?

The truth hurts, but it can set you free from setting low standards in a career. Document the conversation with a list of actions steps on what to do next.

In today’s workforce, most managers do not have time to sit one-on-one with employees to develop their skills unless it is impacting work performance.

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Be proactive and request a quarterly meeting with the manager to track your progress.

Tracking progress can be a confidence booster. It will help keep you on track of your goals making you feel as if you have full control of your destiny.

3. Create Personal Branding Tools

Personal branding tools amplify your skills and talents. These could be:

  • An up-to-date LinkedIn profile with a mix of weekly social engagement with your connections.
  • An eye-catching resume template with a colorscheme that matches your personality.
  • Business cards customized to your industry that you are proud to share at networking events.
  • A reference letter about your skills from a professional with experience working directly with you. (Create an effective reference letter by giving the writer the job description you are targeting so they can highlight your most relevant skills).[2]
  • A 30-60-90 plan that will engage a recruiter (what you can offer an organization in the first 90 days of employment).

You can use these personal branding tools to increase your chances of being hired for a new job.

A few of these tools can be used when connecting with people online that are interested in learning about you for an upcoming opportunity.

4. Jot Down Your Achievements

A list of achievements tucked away in your wallet or purse can make you feel better about where you are in life.

When I experience a disappointment, I read my list to boost my self-worth. Other people will not always be available (or willing) to remind you of your greatness. So do it yourself!

A list of achievements can include the following:

  • Awards received
  • Buying a new house
  • Completing a salsa class
  • Moving for a new job

It is a confidence-building ritual that can be used whether you are at the pinnacle of a career or are just starting your journey.

5. Help Out New Employees

One of the best ways to become a confident person is to create positive change in the lives of other people.

If you participate in a mentorship program or help guide the career of a new employee, once that person succeeds it will make you feel better about yourself. They will think highly of you because of the influence you have had on their journey.

Here are a few ways to help newbies on the job:

• Introduce new hires to experienced employees

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• Invite new employees out for lunch to teach them about the company

• Offer to help a new hire when you notice they are struggling

• Sit near a new hire to be a direct contact for help

How does this improve confidence? If your advice can help new employees increase work productivity, your manager will recognize the hard work.

This could  turn into a positive conversation with your manager that leads to a promotion or a raise.

6. Stand Out From the Competition

The conventional way of applying for a job online will not set you apart from hundreds of people in your field that want the same job.

Have you heard of the hidden job market? According to Fortune, “job market in which the commonly quoted statistic tells us 70-80% jobs are not even published.”

The secret to getting ahead is tapping into your talent to find creative ways to stand out.

Listed below are a few tips to help you succeed:

  • Start blogging if you are a subject matter expert.
  • Start a group on LinkedIn to connect with people in your field.
  • Invite a few colleagues to start a committee outside of work and become the president of the group.
  • Write an e-book on an ongoing topic in your industry offering a compelling solution to a problem. Remember to share it with colleagues.

At times you need to do things other people are not willing to do.

Imagine implementing a new idea at work that helps the company achieve a high level of success. You will feel good about this success no matter where you are in your career.

7. Get Inspired

The most successful people in history experienced challenges in their career. Read the biography of a person that you admire who has had major career success. It just may change your thoughts about your own situation.

Not only can it teach you about their mindset and decisions they made, it will also give you the confidence to continue on the path to pursue your dream job.

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8. Seek Out a Career Coach

Let’s face it. We can’t achieve a high level of success without guidance.

Most of us expect our family and friends to have all the answers. Yet, they are not career coaches and can only provide the advice they would do if they were in your shoes which is limited.

A career coach will have an in-depth conversation about the full scope of your career aspirations. Most are well connected to key decision makers at organizations and can provide advice that a friend simply can’t offer.

Benefits to working with a career coach are:

  • They work with people like you every day
  • They offer unfiltered, honest feedback on your progress
  • Provides direction when you are confused
  • Holds you accountable for your goals
  • You’ll get an unbiased opinion from a qualified professional

You don’t have to go on your career journey alone. Interview several career coaches to ensure you find a great fit to guide you.

9. Trust the Journey

We live in a society that expects results overnight.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “life is a journey, not a destination.” It is about enjoying the process whether you succeed or fail.

Once we accept that our journey can be met with unexpected results, experiencing a setback becomes part of the process.

Here are a few ways to successfully trust the journey:

  • Don’t have high expectations
  • Remember there is room for improvement
  • Pursue one goal at a time to avoid disappointment
  • Re-write your list of goals when you experience failure

Think of life as a stock market chart: wins and losses are inevitable. By trusting your decisions, when you are faced with failure you’ll rest assured that it is a normal part of life to overcome.

Capture Your Career Confidence

The key to succeeding in life is stepping outside your comfort zone.

It can be terrifying to reach out to a manager for honest feedback or soul search to find answers. A daily success ritual of reading a list of your achievements and trusting that journey is a step closer to fulfilling your dreams.

Featured photo credit: Photo by Pete Bellis on Unsplash via images.unsplash.com

Reference

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Makeda Waterman

An experienced online media journalist blogs about work and career development.

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Last Updated on February 18, 2019

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

How to Motivate Employees and Boost Team Productivity

These days, in a world with cognitive, AI, and extraordinary advances, we have failed at the most basic stimulus: motivation. Why do I say so? Just take a look at these statistics:

58 percent of managers said they didn’t receive any management training as per a CareerBuilder.com survey. Only 12% of employees leave their jobs because of more money. Research indicates that around 80% of employees leave their jobs due to “lack of appreciation”. Due to fear of failing, more than half of American workers don’t take their paid vacations. 53% of Americans are unhappy at work (not engaged). And 1 in 3 are working in a field they don’t like.[1]

Archaic people management and HR structures are the root cause.

“If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work, and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.” – Antoine de Saint-Exupery

So how to motivate employees and boost team productivity?

Here are 3 key things that you can do to motivate your employees and boost team productivity:

1. Run Your Team/Group/Company like a Lean Startup

The Lean Startup phenomena by Eric Ries has been socialized across millions all over the globe. In a nutshell, it is a methodology for developing businesses and products, which aims to shorten product development cycles and rapidly discover if a proposed business model is viable; this is achieved by adopting a combination of business-hypothesis-driven experimentation, iterative product releases, and validated learning.[2]

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Encourage Your Employees

When you empower your employees (or family members) to do what they deem to be best for a particular roadblock, idea, or improvement, you create magic. You create genuine trust. You enable innovation. The result is happy, inspired employees who feel they have a say in the grand cosmic stage at work.

Note that increasing the competency level of employees and coaching and mentoring them along the way is key. You yourself, need to do the same. Nourish your brain – and get a mentor that will keep you at the edge of your game.

Offer Rewards

Motivation is also intrinsic. The startups I have worked at offered instant rewards — not just fat checks or equity increments, but Oscar-style nominations.

The non-monetary rewards were actually more coveted, and grandiose: lunch with the CEO, tickets to an Obama fund-raiser, horse-back riding with a world-class equestrian.

Compare this to a dodgy, corporate, white-cubicle dinosaur that had a “yearly performance review” where both parties dread the conversation. In a world of instant WhatsApp messages, having a conversation about performance, likes and dislikes cannot just happen annually in 60 minutes. Employees need to be rooted in the belief that their manager genuinely cares about them.

Give Autonomy

Another key attribute is autonomy. Most employees start brushing their resumes and cruising LinkedIn when their hands are tied in their current positions: approval forms, long meetings, escalations, and more meetings. In the world of agile and scrum masters, deliberating for the sake of deliberating is poison. You will choke the very employees that giddily accepted the job initially to “change the world”.

Within a reasonable realm of assessment and deep-dives, trust your employees to do the heavy lifting. Give them access to the knowledge, people and resources that help them directly make the choices that will shape the future of your team, and your company.

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Eliminate yourself as the bottleneck – and interject yourself as a benevolent, servant leader that is the symbol of high-performing organizations.

2. Apply the 90/90/1 Rule

I recently saw a video by Deepak Sharma (a leadership adviser) about productivity and this principle stuck with me. Here’s what it’s about:

Devote the First 90 Minutes of Your Day to Important Project

For the next 90 days, devote the first 90 minutes of your day to your most important project—nothing else. Do this for yourself and your employees.

We usually get sucked into the most wasteful, operational activities in the morning which robs our focus, and steers us into an unwanted rabbit hole. So mute your notifications, avoid the temptation to check your exploding inbox, and scroll your Instagram feed later. Instead, focus on that ONE thing that will provide real value to you, your team, or your business/company/home.

Apply this rule to yourself – and your team. Your team will thank you. Note: If you’re feeling really stretched for time, you can always hack the rule by testing out a “45/45/1” version.

A To Do Scheduling System

Another version of this is to use the Kanban concept, developed by Taiichi Ohno, an industrial engineer at Toyota. Kanban is a scheduling system employing boards and cards.

The most basic version is a canvas with “To-do”, “Doing”, and “Done” boards (or columns). Each activity or task is a “card” that moves from one column to the other. I use Trello (a Kanban-inspired app) that is a key system for my personal and professional life. It allows me to understand my workload, their priority, and due dates.

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I use importance and effort metrics (scores) for each task to understand what is truly necessary in my life to work on. It negates the FIFO (first-in, first out) paradox that has plagued millions of people. Instead, it allows me to take stock of what is on my plate, and then bite on what truly will move the needle for me, my team, my life, and my company.

With a limited appetite (at least for some), would you eat the veggies, fries, mashed potatoes and leave the sizzling steak? No, you wouldn’t (unless you are a vegan and ended up in the wrong restaurant).

Approach your work with a weighted vengeance – and encourage your team to do the same.

3. Align Passion and Skills to Purpose

The heart of human excellence often begins to beat when you discover a pursuit that absorbs you, frees you, challenges you, and gives you a sense of meaning, joy and passion.

“The most fortunate people on earth are those who have found a calling that’s bigger than they are—that moves them and fills their lives with constant passion, aliveness, and growth.” — Richard Leider

An ace team-member once told me that while she enjoys working for the company we both used to work at, she really hated anything to do with technology. She was more of a “people” person, and did not want to sit behind a desk sifting through lines of code.

What struck me was that she was in that role for more than a decade and had just spoken up. The good thing is she spoke up. She expressed her desire and interests. And it allowed her to get into a role of her liking within 30 days.

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Ask If They like What They’re Doing

If you, or a team member is frustrated, demotivated, or not performing at their best – one of the questions you should ask is whether they like what they are doing. Then genuinely try to help them get to the role they should be in (whether in the same team/company or not).

There’s a reason why 53% of Americans (and perhaps more or same across the globe) are unhappy at work. A butcher cannot be an ace salad maker. Pursue your passion – and help pave the way for your team. Unlock your potential and theirs. You will command and lead a supercharged team.

“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs

The Bottom Line

Sometimes, passion has to be ignited. It is dormant, clouded by busy-ness, buried by wrong career choices, and plagued by non-supportive eco-systems. Some will climb out of it, but we as society — and in the case of business teams — incumbent upon the manager/CEO/leader to foster, grow, and nurture the employee.

Teach her the ropes. Show her the path. Advise him as you would yourself. Let them lead, and make mistakes. Do not fear them, rather make them the leader you would want to become.

For your not-so-great team members, understand that it is not personal, it is just not a good fit. Help them move on to the pastures they would be fit to graze on. Hence, hire slow (and fire fast).

Your team is a reflection of you. Boosting their confidence and helping them achieve the impossible is motivation. Focus on that, and you will have a productive team that you and your company will be proud of.

More Resources About Team Management

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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