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Posts Tagged “Careers advice”

Via The Irish Times : Twitter Ireland boss warns against outdated career advice

Sinéad McSweeney defends millennials and says mental health and wellbeing are priority

Young people today are being given slightly outdated advice in an attempt to encourage them into careers in science, technology, engineering and maths, the head of Twitter Ireland has said.

“There’s a saying in terms of encouraging young women in particular and young women in general to look for careers in stem subjects, that you can’t be what you can’t see. To my mind that is slightly outdated,” Sinéad McSweeney said. “What we now need to encourage people to aspire to is to be something that right now they can’t even imagine.”

Ms McSweeney used the example of her own career path, which has moved from politics to the Police Service of Northern Ireland and An Garda Síochána, to Twitter.

“When I left school in 1988, most of the jobs that I have done since didn’t exist. The technology that underpins my current job certainly didn’t exist,” she said, noting that the social platform was just 12 years old.

Ms McSweeney was speaking at an Institute of Directors lunch in Dublin.

She recounted some of the missteps in her own career, but noted there is “no such thing as failure”, describing it simply as a mistake, if there was something to be learned from it.

“We should never accept that there is such a thing as a wasted journey because every experience we have is something from which we can grow, and which we take learning and which we develop,” she said.


Ms McSweeney addressed the crisis that hit the social media platform at the beginning of last year, when the company was faced with headlines wondering if Twitter was over, following a significant redundancy programme.

“I had to take a team of people in Dublin through that and through the sense of loss and uncertainty who were worried they were going to be next to a situation,” she said.

However, the company has since had a “global turnaround”, she said. “The atmosphere and sense of energy and productivity and the site itself is a long way from where it was.”

She also addressed the characterisation of millennials, noting that Generation X were described as “cynical, aimless slackers”.

“Yet we were the entrepreneurs who drove most of the innovation from which we benefit today,” she said.

She also warned mental health and wellbeing needed to be a priority for business leaders, saying she was increasingly worried for millennials and the pressure they were putting on themselves.

“As leaders and managers I think we have a responsibility to make sure that we’re not adding to that but also that we’re helping them realise that it’s okay to slow down, it’s okay to enjoy the achievement that they have,” she said.

Via NerdWallet : 3 Ways to Invest in Your Career This Week

Take time to become a more confident and qualified professional.

Investing time in your career is like investing money for retirement. If you forget about your career once you clock out, you’re essentially stashing savings under the mattress (there’s little opportunity for growth in either scenario). Commit extra time to it, and, well, you know about the miracle of compound interest.

“Seeing [your career] as something you invest in is the only way to make it fruitful, enjoyable and successful,” says Andrea Kay, author of “Work’s a Bitch and Then You Make It Work,” and several other career books.

So get started. Here are three ways to invest in your career this week.

1. Learn about yourself

What better time for self-reflection than the new year? Silence your phone, and commit time to considering what your preferences are in different aspects of work. What types of coworkers and managers do you enjoy working with most, for example? What kind of company values and culture matter to you? Also, assess your strengths, skills and areas of expertise.

This week’s to-do: Kay says you should be able to list about six functional skills that you’re good at and enjoy doing. If, like many of her clients, you can’t come up with six, she suggests looking to the past. Reflect on a successful, enjoyable project, and list the skills and talents it required. Do the same exercise for four or five achievements. Next, Kay says, look for patterns. What words show up in multiple lists, and which of those bring you joy? Voila: Those that make the cut are, as Kay puts it, your “most joyous skills.”

The payoff: You will face less guesswork the next time you consider a new project, job or career path. “You’re in a much better position of strength when you have all this information and can feel confident about what you have to offer and what you’re seeking,” Kay says.

2. Become an expert

This step involves “developing your knowledge [and] your reputation as the one who knows the most,” Kay says. Reflect on what you need to know more about, like the current state of your industry and its future. Or maybe you need to master a skill, like public speaking. Next, research what resources will help you gain that expertise.

Think: classes, trainings, conferences, retreats and professional associations. Using those resources, Kay says, “commit to doing something every quarter that makes yourself more valuable.”

This week’s to-do: “Part of your investment in yourself is having a daily routine that encompasses reading whatever it is that will help you be better that day,” Kay says. Read books, online articles and professional journals about your industry and the skills you’re working on. Need a place to start? Ask your manager what he or she reads. Keep up with daily news events, too. They can affect you, the marketplace and just about every industry, Kay says. “I cannot overemphasize the importance of having a broad understanding of the world and where the world is going,” she adds.

The payoff: Over time, you’ll likely become more hireable and promotable, Kay says, particularly if others notice your expertise. You’ll also feel more confident and fulfilled. “To feel you are developing into an expert that really knows your stuff … that is just an incredible feeling,” she says.

3. Build relationships

Kay suggests aiming to meet with at least one person a week to discuss each other’s industry and career. Get to know people now, and you may be able to lean on them later. “It is so, so joyous to know that other people are there for you,” Kay says.

This week’s to-do: Schedule a coffee meet-up or phone call with someone you already know, like a coworker. If this step seems awkward or intrusive, Kay suggests telling the invitee that you’ve made a goal of developing new relationships this year. Chances are, he or she will be eager to help. “We really are creatures that are kind of built to scratch each other’s back,” Kay says. As for the conversation itself, aim to learn more about what the person and his or her company does.

The payoff: For one, these conversations will boost your networking skills. You will also make connections that may lead to new jobs, projects and board positions, Kay says, “because people know people.” The relationships you nurture can also become your personal think tank — people who can help you navigate problems.

Via The Motley Fool : 5 Skills You Need for a Career in Sales

Looking to work in sales? Make sure you’re strong in these key areas.

Though a sales career isn’t for everyone, if you’re the type of person who can get behind a product or service and aren’t ashamed to peddle it to the world, you stand to make a pretty good living. That’s because if you manage to work your way from sales associate to director, you can join the ranks of those who earn a median salary of $158,256 — not too shabby.

There are other perks to working in sales, too. Not only might you get a chance to travel and see new places, but if you’re a commission-based independent contractor, you’ll get to write off certain costs you encounter while doing business, such as mileage on your vehicle or meals and entertainment.

If you’re interested in pursuing a sales career, you should know that there are certain skills you’ll need to be successful. Here are a few you should work on honing.

1. Communication

Being a good salesperson is all about connecting with customers and building relationships, which is why having strong communication skills is critical. Not only must you know how to interact with people, but you’ll need to master the art of when to reach out and what avenue to take. These days, a lot of business is done over email, as opposed to face to face or over the phone. As a sales professional, you’ll need to determine what’s most appropriate in each situation, and then convey your message in a manner that’s persuasive without being pushy. It’s a fine line to draw, but if you’re good at it, you’re likely to excel.

2. Time management

Sales professionals often work independently, as opposed to reporting to an office on a consistent basis. That’s because selling often involves traveling to visit clients, attending trade shows, or hosting meetings to promote products. It also involves logging orders, making sure those orders are filled, and addressing customer concerns that arise down the line. To be successful, therefore, you’ll need to be skilled at time management, which means not only learning to set priorities but also making the most of the hours you spend on the job.

3. The ability to listen

It’s easy to talk up a product or service you’re passionate about. What’s not as easy, however, is understanding what it is your customers are looking to get out of that product or service so that they ultimately buy more of it. As a salesperson, listening skills are just as important as knowing how to effectively communicate.

4. Patience

When you work in sales, it can take months, or even years, to build up a decent client base and start earning a respectable income. So if you’re the type who tends to quit easily, sales may not be for you. Rather, you’ll need to exercise a fair amount of patience as you establish your own sales pipeline and wait for the money to begin rolling in. You’ll also need to exercise patience when dealing with customers. If you show your frustration when deals take longer than expected to close or contracts get delayed, you’ll ruin the relationships you’ve worked hard to build and lose out on the revenue streams that go along with them.

5. Money management

Salespeople don’t typically set prices for the products they sell or dictate production budgets. Still, to succeed in sales, you’ll need to be good at managing money — your own personal money. That’s because sales professionals often work heavily on commission, and so if you enter that field, there’s a good chance your income will fluctuate from month to month or quarter to quarter. You might, for example, get used to bringing home a certain income, and then experience a sudden dip that cuts your earnings in half. To combat this, you’ll need some emergency savings to fall back on.

While most households are advised to have three to six months’ worth of living expenses on hand at all times, if you’re going to pursue a sales career, you’ll want more like nine to 12 months’ worth of expenses in the bank. Furthermore, you’ll need to do a good job of sticking to a budget and cutting down as necessary during periods when your commissions dry up.

Though working in sales does pose its share of challenges, it can be an extremely rewarding field to enter. Boost these five skills and you’ll be setting yourself up for years of success.

Via The Ladders : The worst career advice, according to 6 life coaches

Ask anyone about your haircut, and they might shrug and say it looks “fine.” But ask for career advice? You’re likely to get an earful of trite sayings, blanket, sweeping statements and outdated, traditional work tactics that won’t serve you well if you’re trying to advance.

While executive advisors can definitely cater to your specific industry and goals, life coaches offer a varied perspective. Because their purpose is to analyze your whole life — not just your 9-to-5 routine — they offer a more holistic viewpoint. They often motivate their clients to look past the stale beliefs they’ve maintained over decades, leftover from parents and early mentors, to accept what really speaks to their souls.

Here, they share the worst pieces of career advice they’ve heard and offer better suggestions.

Bad advice: “Stay at a job you hate”

While, sure, everyone needs a paycheck to maintain their lifestyle, when money is the only motivation behind your work, it might feel uninspiring.

Life coach John Moore explains that when employees look at their job as a means to an end, instead of a place where their creativity, talents, and happiness can flourish, the feeling of being “stuck” become inevitable. He said this mindset is “Puritan” and capitalizes on the idea that work isn’t supposed to be fun.

Good advice: “Seek a job that gives you more”

Would you settle for a partner who was there for you only 50% of the time? Or one that requires your attention constantly, without giving you anything in return? Probably not — so why accept the same treatment from your employer?

“Being in a job you hate, or that you’re disengaged with, is taxing on your mind and body,” Moore said. “There’s no way you can do your best work and you’re on a non-stop train to Burnout Town. Have a conversation with your employer and be honest, you’re unhappy and you feel like you’re not able to serve the company like you’d expect. You can end things on good terms, or maybe change them, and take away lessons learned.”

Bad advice: “You can only succeed if you’re perfect”

For life coach Elaine Cohen, the worst advice she’s ever received was directed toward her, from another coach. Instead of being encouraging of her budding career, this particular “mentor” was demeaning and preyed on an insecurity that nearly everyone shares: the quest to be perfect, but falling short.

“An experienced coach told that I wouldn’t be able to be one unless I resolved all of my small and large problems first,” she said. “This included marriage, parenting, time management, health, wealth, spirituality, parents, home organization and more. The point being, I could only do this job if I was perfect — or close to it.”

Good advice: “Accept your imperfections”

There’s a reason “strengths and weaknesses” are a point of discussion in nearly every single job interview you’ll ever have: knowing what you’re great at, and what you struggle with, represents a deep self-awareness.

“I know that accepting forms of imperfection is a huge part of life, and likewise the desire for perfection is not my goal or the goal,” Cohen said. “My job is to ignite curiosity and behavioral shifts that support a client’s personal discovery, new perspectives and learnings. The challenges we face and imperfections we have are our greatest lessons, offering us the opportunity to grow, gain wisdom and compassion.”

Bad advice: “Just pick a job that pays well”

Ever meet a new pal when you were in college who happily shared their passion for writing or music, only to reveal they were studying business because their parents wanted them to be set up for success? Unfortunately, many people never outgrow that way of thinking, according to women’s life and success coach, Alionka, Polanco.

She said many people still subscribe to the linear path of: “Just do something that pays a lot of money, you can have fun on the weekends and when you retire.” This is a self-limiting way of thinking because working and fulfillment aren’t mutually exclusive, she said.

Good advice: “Imagine yourself retiring”

This doesn’t mean you should race full-speed to the finish line, but rather, when developing your career path, challenge yourself to dream about your legacy, Polanco said.

“What are you known for? What was your career about? What does your income look like? What does your home life look like? What’s the impact you’ve had in the world?,” she said. “Once you’ve established your hopes, find an example of someone who has achieved what you want to do, and look at what they were doing when they were your age. Start there. Success leaves clues if we’re willing to look for them!”

Bad advice: “Just work hard, be patient, and it will all work itself out”

When you belt it out like Moana and think about how far you’ll go — to that corner office or the seaside co-working space that’s a dream come true — you might rely on the universe to guide you. Life coach Meiyoko Taylor said while it’s a nice idea, those who are truly successful put a tremendous amount of effort into every step to the top of the ladder and aren’t exactly patient about their ascent. That work isn’t just logging hours; it also involves networking, advancing education, and more.

“This approach never works because it creates the illusion that opportunity or good fortune is just going to fall right in your lap,” she said. “Working hard does not guarantee that you will advance in your career. In fact, I know many people that work incredibly hard and are unhappy because their careers have not progressed to the level of success they desire. They really get stuck with the idea that things are going to change on their own one day.”

Good advice: “You’re never too senior to network”

Even if you’ve reached the c-level, staying connected to your peers and potential employers should always fall high on your priorities.

“Your advancement in any profession is based on building a strong network of influencers in your industry, gaining the necessary skills needed to perform at the highest level, and then taking action which will then create opportunity,” Taylor said. “Become the expert in your field, build key relationships with centers of influence, and look for the opportunity that will take your career to the next level. This places you in a much better position to see consistent progress in your career and to ultimately become the leader in your industry.”

Bad advice: “Quit your job and follow your passion”

Globe-trotting in search of adventures and stories, all while earning an income, is a tempting fantasy. So is the thought of opening your own coffee shop by the ocean and writing the next best-seller.

But without the hard work to pull these dreams off, letting go of your stable 9-to-5 job is a poor choice, life coach Gabrielle Loehr said. Unfortunately, she said, “not everyone’s passion can turn into a paying job and your bills are not going to pay themselves.”

Good advice: “Get a side hustle”

Working long past your full-time gig might feel overwhelming, but to really test the waters of your passion, a side hustle will prepare you for the reality of letting go of your comfort zone.

“Side hustles genuinely give you an opportunity to follow your passion by figuring out what works in the market and what doesn’t, without risking your ability to pay your bills,” Loehr said. “Having a job while working on your passion on the side also gives you stability in other ways through job benefits, such as vacation time, 401K’s, and health insurance. Losing that safety net can be rough, and approaching your passion as a side hustle gives you the opportunity to work out the kinks and really focus your product or service without the desperation that comes with needing to make money ASAP.”

Bad advice: “Fake it until you make it”

Some anxiety-invoking moments in life require a little bit of fibbing before you get used to them. But when it comes to your career, faking anything is a no-no, life coach Tim Toterh said.

“It seems like an optimistic, forward-thinking personal branding strategy, but most people can see the see past the posturing,” he said. “It takes a lot of emotional energy to don a false persona day after day. Plus, you run the risk of being called out for your lack of skills.”

Good advice: “Learn it, earn it”

Instead of trying to raise through the roles you want to have as quickly as possible, Toterh encourages clients to strive for authenticity and congruency.

“Try to have little to no gap between who you are when ‘on stage’ at work and those moments when no one is watching,” he said. “People gravitate toward transparency and are inspired by truth so save the stress and let them see your actual skill set as it continuously develops and your style.”