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Via Forbes : 3 Ways To Keep Advancing Your Career Despite Economic Concerns

It’s easy to become paralyzed by job loss fears during times of economic uncertainty. Worrying about your company’s future could cause you to second-guess or outright dismiss your desire for career growth.

These concerns are real. Many people are already losing critical sources of income from business closures, layoffs and furloughs.

Protecting your livelihood as the world deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic should indeed be your top priority. While it’s a blessing to keep getting paid, working from home and dealing with new family dynamics will drain your energy and attention further.

But despite these massive disruptions to your way of life, you don’t have to stop your attempts to advance your career altogether. You may even have a unique opportunity to accelerate your efforts.

For most people, now is not the best time to launch a job search or ask for a promotion. However, changing the direction of your career could simply mean that you need to be more proactive in your current role. Here are three tips to help you get started and channel your fears into something productive.

1. Lean into chaos

Many people began 2020 struggling with a lack of engagement and motivation at work. Jobs (even good ones) can become stale over time and it’s common to get bored with roles that aren’t helping you grow.

Fast forward a few months and almost all workers have found themselves dealing with an unprecedented level of issues to address, including keeping employees safe, managing newly remote teams and maintaining client support even with significant personal and family demands.

There are a lot of workplace problems you may be dealing with right now, but an inability to be challenged is probably not one of them. To truly use this as an opportunity to advance your career, you’ll have to lean into the chaos even more.

You are sure to grow your business capabilities if you continue to look for opportunities to put yourself on the front line of contingency planning and problem-solving. Depending on what you do, leaning into the chaos can take many different forms. You may need to volunteer to help with dynamic scheduling issues or to address unique customer needs. You could be called upon to assist in forecasting, resourcing, and finding ways to operate more efficiently or simply serve as a stable and calming force within your organization.

Whenever possible, show initiative and be proactive in adding value where you can. There is no question that your company currently needs and will continue to need your assistance and support in the days to come. The present business environment is difficult to say the least, but you will emerge as a stronger leader because of your response in these challenging times.

2. Fill social gaps with passion projects

Think about that dream you plan to pursue someday: to write a book, build a business, go back to school or launch a nonprofit. These are the plans that pass through your mind frequently but you never seem to have the time to pay enough attention to them.

Now that your calendar is freed by cancelled travel, event and activity plans, this may be a unique opportunity to get started and shift your career in a different direction.

Begin by building a list of small but tangible actions you can immediately take toward your goal. Remember: the smaller the better. Avoid chunking together several tasks into large goals like writing a business plan or finishing a first draft. These actions can be broken down much further to include the many micro-steps it takes to work toward those outcomes.

For example, before you can draft a business plan, you’ll need to conduct market research. Before you can write a first draft of a book, you’ll need an outline.

Create a task list that is as granular as possible so that you can start the work and keep making progress without becoming overwhelmed by the longer commitment needed to complete your project.

Remember that you don’t have to launch or finish anything in the next few weeks. Your only goal is to use this rare moment of social isolation to your benefit. Work hard at creating this silver lining of greater career growth despite all that you are otherwise having to endure.

3. Care for your network

No single thing impacts your career trajectory more than the size and strength of your network. Now is the time to invest in it.

Social distancing efforts dictate that face-to-face networking be put on hold. However, simply caring enough to check in on the people you value most is an easy way to remotely enhance your relationships.

For email and text check-ins, make sure each message is personal and thoughtful. Do not copy and paste or send blast emails. Individual messages take more time, but they also help you connect on a deeper level. Make sure any message you send contains a personal reference to the recipient that would be completely out of place if you sent it to another person.

Social media gets a bad reputation, but it’s a great way to stay connected during these hard times. If you haven’t been active on any one social platform, you should make it a goal to spend ten minutes a day writing meaningful comments on the posts of friends and colleagues.

While liking a friend’s post is certainly appreciated, it will not leave the kind of impression that writing just a few short sentences will. Always opt for the higher yield on your networking efforts and take the time to say just a little more. Now more than ever, people are craving genuine connection.

It’s also a good time to give your social profiles a makeover. Update your profile picture and start posting meaningful content at least once a week. People are looking for distractions right now and will welcome an influx of positive and interesting perspectives.

Any time you attempt to advance your career, you will be challenged to learn to ride a wave of uncertainty while remaining calm and focused. This is a skill you’ve surely been practicing lately so you have an advantage already. With a little extra focus over the next few months, you could find yourself headed into the second half of the year much better off than you are right now.

Via CNBC : How to spectacularly quit your job, according to Stanford experts

Picture the scene: You stand, resignation letter in hand, in front of your boss’ desk. You set down the envelope alongside a string of choice criticisms, carefully construed over the years. You turn and leave, tossing a Molotov cocktail over your shoulder without so much as a backward glance.

It may make for a dramatic movie scene, but it’s far from the recommended way to leave a job.

And the alternative isn’t much better. You meekly present your boss with your two weeks’ notice, then work quietly for the next fortnight before disappearing into oblivion.

They’re two versions of the same story, but neither is conducive to setting out the next stage of your career.

The first scenario — the “bridge burner” — can be downright dangerous, according to Stanford professors Dave Evans and Bill Burnett, and the second — the “2-week lame duck” — isn’t much more helpful.

In their new book “Designing Your Work Life: How to Thrive and Change and Find Happiness at Work,” the two career experts pioneer a third “radical” approach: The generative quitter.

Based on their combined 80 years’ experience navigating their own careers and those of thousands of others across professional services and academia, Evans and Burnett say the “win-win-win” strategy will ensure you leave your current job on the best possible terms and set yourself up for the next stage of career success.

“As any movie-maker will tell you … the two most important moments are the climax of the action and the last five minutes. And the last five minutes is your quit,” Evans tells CNBC Make It.

“An incredibly powerful memory and impression will be the way you left; the last couple of things you did. It’s really important to get that right.”

Four simple steps

Quitting your job is not a decision to be taken lightly, and sometimes there may be opportunities to work with your employer toward an alternative solution.

But if you decide it’s the right next move for you, Evans says politely handing in your notice should always be followed by four important steps.

1. Leave the campsite better than you found it

All good campers know the rule “leave the campsite better than you found it,” but it’s also a good rule for work, says Evans.

Take small steps to make your workplace better in your final few days on the job. Not only will this set your colleagues up for success, but it will also boost your confidence and improve your references for your next job. What’s more, since so few people do it, it’ll ensure you’re remembered long after you’ve left.

2. Rev up your network

Your professional network is one of your greatest assets for future referrals and job opportunities.

Be sure to preserve and expand your network before you leave by taking time to cement existing relationships with teammates and reaching out to people you never got the chance to know while doing your day-to-day job.

3. Set up your replacement to win

When making your next career move, it can be easy to overlook one important player: your successor. But setting them up for success, while seemingly counterintuitive, can pay dividends, says Evans.

You can do that by writing them a quick reference guide to your job, including key insights, procedures and contacts. Not only will this provide a feel-good factor, it’s also an “incredibly easy opportunity to absolutely outstandingly distinguish yourself, like ‘wow, I’ve never seen anything like that before,’” he notes.

4. Exit well

Finally, make sure that the final impression you leave is a positive one. You may have het up feedback you wish to impart, but make sure you do so constructively. Most importantly, highlight the positives you and the company have gained from one another.

“It’s not that hard to do this right. Just give yourself a good script, and most importantly, stick to it. You’ll be glad you did,” says Evans.

A skill for life

While Evans says his four-step approach to quitting is useful for people at all career stages, he argues that’s especially so for young to mid-career professionals.

With ever-extending retirement thresholds and fast-changing industries, young workers today are set to move jobs multiple times and “quit a bunch” over their careers, he notes, so it’s important to get it right.

“What you want to do as you move along is have an unbroken train of not only ‘I was successful,’ but ‘I was successful and long after I went, they think well of and speak well of me,’” says Evans, noting that it’s vital in today’s “hyperconnected world.”

“That’s going to go as a deposit in your bank account of value as a credible professional for the rest of your life. So the younger you are, the better this is,” he adds.

Via Forbes : Antisocial Social Tips On Career Networking In The Digital Age

In 2003, I was about to graduate from college and wanted to know everything there was to know about finding a great job. LinkedIn had launched that same year, but the thought of starting a job search on the online platform didn’t even occur to me. After all, LinkedIn only boasted 81,000 users that year — globally.

So, instead, I picked up a book at our school’s career center: Vault’s Guide to Schmoozing. To me, schmoozing meant that I needed to go to a bunch of career fairs scheduled at inconvenient times (which they were) and push myself to have a ton of awkward conversations (which I did) so I could end up with a ton of job interviews (which I didn’t).

In fact, four job fairs and countless handshakes later, I ended up with exactly zero job interviews. Fast forward nearly 20 years and more than 600 million LinkedIn users later, and I can only wonder who still sees the value of career fairs. At the same time, you can’t just upload your resume to LinkedIn and call it a day; you won’t get any more interviews than I did. As remarkable as social media has become, you won’t get the full benefit of using this tool to boost your job search unless you utilize it correctly. Here are some tips for the antisocial on how to use social media to land a job in the digital age.

Use Your Time Wisely

My first suggestion is to be strategic with your time. Many career advice books give you a laundry list of things you need to do more of in order to land a job. But the problem with these laundry lists is that they make everything seem important. Successful candidates don’t aimlessly spend their time on a dozen different activities. Instead, they are strategic and spend their time on the activities that are most likely to lead to attractive job offers.

Most candidates spend days, sometimes weeks, fine-tuning their resume, but only spend a fraction of that time improving their LinkedIn profile. This is backward: Most recruiters start looking for candidates either in their internal database or on LinkedIn. The resume becomes more relevant if you apply for a job. However, recruiters are flooded with unqualified job applicants from job boards, so, in my experience, recruiters tend to prioritize candidates they find on their own. If you want recruiters to find and engage with you, you should update your LinkedIn profile before you update your resume.

How you do it matters almost as much. Don’t catalog all your past roles and responsibilities. Instead, focus on the skills and achievements that are important for the job you are targeting. This will increase the likelihood that you will come up in LinkedIn searches from recruiters.

Once you’ve done that, start being more active on LinkedIn. Engage with content. Respond to messages you receive. Even if it’s advertising for a service you don’t need, respond with, “No, thank you.” LinkedIn’s algorithm for recruiters prioritizes candidates who are more likely to respond to messages.

Start Targeted

My agency talks to eager candidates all day. Most candidates tell us they are flexible for the right role. However, in our experience, it’s better to be somewhat targeted in your search. Start by defining your search criteria in terms of geography, industry, role and responsibility, compensation, travel, and other soft factors you care about, such as the company’s culture. Set some hard parameters around your search. Exhaust that pool of opportunities, and then expand your criteria if you need to. Most of those who are successful in their job search adopt a systematic and targeted approach.

If you are looking for an executive role, chances are that your compensation expectations are quite high. Think about what types of companies might be able to afford your compensation. Coupled with your geographical constraints and industry preferences, you probably have a set of high-priority companies you should be targeting. Look for a source that lists the largest companies in the industry to geographic area you are targeting. In LA, for example, the Los Angeles Business Journal lists the largest companies by segment. Go through the list of companies in the segments of interest to you, and select the ones you can imagine joining.

Do What LinkedIn Was Designed To Help You Do

Once you’ve built an initial list of companies, go on LinkedIn, and find the person you’d be most likely to report to at each of those companies. This might be the CEO, COO, CFO, etc. Invest in a paid LinkedIn account so you can send direct messages to these individuals. A brief message such as this one will do: “I’m starting to look for a new opportunity. Are you available for a brief conversation to see if there might be a role at your firm that could be a good fit?”

The key here is to be disciplined. Set a daily target for yourself, and keep reaching out to folks until you have a few viable conversations. Even if you start with as few as five messages a day, but do it consistently, you’ll contact 50 people within 10 days.

Some candidates I’ve talked to ask me, ”Is it OK for me to reach out to prospective employers unsolicited?” My answer is to them is a clear yes! LinkedIn was specifically designed to be a sort of antisocial social club for job seekers. That is, it’s meant to provide networking opportunities for job seekers and employers who don’t want to schmooze at cocktail parties, but still want to network about career options. So, go make good use of it.

Via Economic Times : How to execute a plan for a good performance review

Your manager dreads review meetings as much as you do, because it is an unpleasant task to pass judgment on another person’s contributions and compensation. Here’s how you can make it work well for everyone and ace your annual appraisal.

It’s that time of the year that you detest. As the financial year closes next month, you are due for your annual performance appraisal meeting. You dislike being evaluated for the ups and downs of an entire year. However, understand that the review meeting has three goals. Firstly, to give you managerial feedback on what worked well and what didn’t. Secondly, to help you modify your approach and execution and achieve better outcomes both for you and your employer. Finally, to take a call on your responsibilities for the future as well as to decide on your increment. Your manager dreads review meetings as much as you do, because it is an unpleasant task to pass judgment on another person’s contributions and compensation. Here’s how you can make it work well for everyone.

Plan ahead

Look up the HR policy. Ask senior members about what to expect, if this is your first review in the firm. Who will conduct your appraisal and when? Do you need to submit a self-appraisal in advance? What are the parameters that will be considered for your salary increment and promotion if any? Once you are up to speed, you can plan the actions you need to take.

Critical incident record

Since the review judges your performance over the entire year, both your manager and you need to review major milestones in your journey. Go through your notes and emails to make a list of your achievements, metrics for their measurement, and how they stack up against the goals and targets set for you at the beginning of or through the year. Don’t forget to log any praise, incentives or awards you may have received for your outstanding work during thi ..

Dummy evaluation

Carry out a mock evaluation of your performance from the perspective of your manager. What were his KRAs and how did you contribute to them? How do you measure up against your team mates whose performance is also being reviewed by him? Is it a company policy to force rank each person against the others? The higher the degree of realism and honesty you bring into the dummy evaluation, the lower will be the risk of you being surprised during the actual review. These insights will also help you plan your contributions for the next year.

Areas of development

Now focus on the second purpose of the appraisal. Think through your shortcomings, how would you like to grow in the coming year and prepare to discuss the areas of development that your manager is likely to bring up. Bring a workable plan to the table and your manager is likely to view your constructive approach in a positive light.

Next year’s goals

What kind of goals do you want to achieve in the next 12 months that are both important to your manager and will progress your career? How will you add value to your team or enhance the contributions of others? List out prospective goals, projects and the resources you will need. Ideally, this part should occupy a major portion of the review meeting and lessen the burden of criticism both for your manager and you.

Prepare your manager

An ideal review meeting has no surprises. This is possible when your manager and you have been reviewing your progress on a monthly or quarterly basis. If that has not happened, bring up the topic of review with your manager right away. That gives him a month to think through. Then, share your preparation with him in writing. This helps him remember your contributions, understand what you are thinking and reduces the burden of uncertainty for you.

Be open to dialogue

Confirm the place and time with your manager in advance. Expect to receive feedback and rehearse how you are going to respond to criticism, tough requests and challenging questions. This is a professional meeting so steer away from emotional responses . Treat the appraisal meeting like any other project review and strive to engage in constructive two-way communication.

Always be closing

The ABC for a salesman is – Always Be Closing. Your approach during the meeting is to seek closure on the past and an agreement on the future. Pick on the points that matter most to you and negotiate on reasonable targets and fair incentives for the coming year. If there is no official record of the meeting, then write an email to your manager thanking him for the meeting and enumerating the goals that you have agreed on. This will serve as a blue-print for your future. In case your manager needs to submit the review to the HR, then follow-up until that is done so that your increment is not delayed.

Dealing with disaster

1. Reality check?

Were you blindsided by a terrible appraisal while you expected a moderate to good review? Firstly, acknowledge your hurt and anger. Once you have calmed down, do a reality check. Speak with trusted colleagues to review your manager’s inputs and be open to acknowledging your errors, if any. Thereafter if you still disagree, you can discuss it again with your manager or the HR.

2. Job at stake?

Did the criticism imply that your job is at stake? If yes, recognise that it is not just a question of your performance alone and that business circumstances may dictate such decisions. Acknowledge that your employer has the right to terminate or replace you, just as you have the right to switch jobs. Plan accordingly.

3. Comfort zone?

Recognise that there is no free lunch. Inaction is not a strategy here. You can either choose to switch jobs or vastly improve your contribution in the present one. Step out of your comfort zone to figure out what the market will pay for your experience, skills and history at your current role. If not, then what’s your plan to up your game and rebuild your image?

4. Fort or linchpin?

There are two sure fire strategies to protect your income stream. The fi rst one is to become irreplaceable in your current role where you construct a fort around your turf and become indispensable. When the cost of replacing you is high, your job is safe, but you will not grow. The alternative is to become a linchpin, where your attitude and people skills make you invaluable for any task.

5. Direction check?

While you are grappling to protect your income, take a step back to evaluate the direction your career is taking? Who do you want to become in next 5 or 10 years? Are you picking up the right skills and experiences to progress in that direction? This is a great time to realign your priorities, make changes and seek a better role.

Via Market Watch: Mid-career? Your job is at risk — here’s what to do now

Seven clear ways to change your mid- and late-career mindset

Congratulations. You just got that promotion you’ve been working toward. You are a vice president or a director or an executive vice president or a senior vice president or the chief something or other. It is well-earned recognition of a great career. Enjoy it.

Oh, and get ready to be fired.

Mid- and late-career management is being hollowed out by consolidation, technology, the gig economy and globalization, leaving experienced workers unprepared to navigate the new world of work. According to a study published last year by ProPublica and the Urban Institute, “more than half of older U.S. workers are pushed out of longtime jobs before they choose to retire, suffering financial damage that is often irreversible.”

While you may not be in any short-term risk, you need to start acting like you are. Too often when experienced workers who have developed the skills to rise within an organization find themselves displaced or stuck among a shrinking cohort, their skills, expectations, and experience fail them. And the older they are, the greater the risk — and the tougher it can be to find something new.

Why? Because their skill set is narrow, their networks are limited, and their mindset is still based on an old idea — that with more responsibility comes more security.

This is no longer true. Organizational structure is changing fast, becoming leaner, less hierarchical and more fluid. Simultaneously, the commitment of companies to employees is becoming more transactional. Remember all those talks you’ve had about your “career path”? The very idea is dated, meant to give you the illusion of a long-term commitment and to build a sense of dependence on the organization.

The mid- and late-career mindset needs to change.

Old deal, new deal

The old deal was clear: Work hard, develop specialized skills and rise in the ranks. Status, security and stability followed. Today, there is a premium on agility, adaptability and collaboration, all skills that are very different from the ones that got most middle managers this far. Even the biggest organizations are becoming cross-functional and team based, working with resources both inside and outside the traditional organization.

Those who can adapt will both shore up their value within their organization and be better prepared should they find themselves on the outs.

Here’s how:

• Adopt an “untitled mindset.” You are not your title. You are not defined by your job. In fact, in today’s world, it’s useful to think of your job as a project. Hopefully, it will be a long-running project, but it is a project, nonetheless. And understand that projects begin and end. Rather than thinking in terms of a career growth path, try defining a series of projects within your organization. Form a team, accomplish a project, disband the team, and move on to the next project and the next team. In this world, job titles and even job descriptions are less relevant than your contribution and your ability to draw on the right resources.

• Develop a portfolio of projects. What is really important that you get from your work? Is it structure? Prestige? Access? Money? Impact? Companionship? Purpose? Something else? Get involved in outside projects that can provide some of these things. And, not incidentally, use those projects to develop new skills, to expand your external network and to test ideas. You will find yourself energized in new ways while you hedge the risk of being completely dependent on your employer.

• Save for the worst case. Be ready to provide your own financial security for longer than you might think should you find yourself unemployed. Start an emergency fund that can extend your severance. It will give you the flexibility to try new things, to wait for the right opportunities, and it can keep some of the stress of the situation at bay.

• Embrace ambiguity. Disruption, volatility, restructuring, new business models, new partners, agility – all these bring with them real ambiguity. And with ambiguity comes the opportunity to stretch, to innovate and to develop your own skills.

But first, you have to recognize ambiguous situations and treat them differently. For many mid- and late-career people, this can be uncomfortable; experience seems to count for little. Developing a comfort with ambiguity and pushing in the face of that ambiguity to do things that don’t come easily is an essential survival skill whether you work in a big company, a startup or independently.

• Always be learning. The world is moving fast. Keep up. The knowledge and skills that got you this far are just the ante. Read everything. Try emerging technologies and platforms. Admit what you do not know and acknowledge that what you do not know can be important. Rediscover your curiosity.

• Know your story. There was a time when your title and your company name were your story. Your job title was your calling card, your identity, a source of pride and a shorthand that everybody understood.

Today that answer traps you in a narrow box. Your resume is not your story. It is all those projects. It is all those networks. It is all those ambiguous situations that you navigated. It’s the missed opportunities as well as the success. It’s the hard-earned lessons learned.

Spend some real time thinking about the arc of your experience. What are the through lines? What are the critical moments? What’s your story?

• Tell it. Over and over. Make the time to network. Do not wait until you must. Rather, one of your projects should be meeting with people purely for the purpose of hearing more perspectives and sharing yours. Too often, the day-to-day work overtakes the things we think of as “nice to do.” Networking is not a “nice to do.” It’s a must do. It will make you more valuable to your organization and it will make you better prepared for change in every form it may take.

I am not suggesting a late-stage pivot or a second career, although either could be an outcome of adopting this mindset. I am suggesting that mid- and late-career managers need to make significant adjustments to how they approach their careers. They must expand their skills in order to manage a structural change for which nobody has trained them.

This much is irrefutable: Having a job no longer solves for stability. It can provide some sense of security for as long as it lasts, but don’t mistake short-term security for long-term stability. With the right mindset, however, stability can come from you, not from your employer.