This is a guest post by Sam Peters.
When you decide to start a career in public relations, your ability to adapt in stressful situations is a must. Solving communication challenges, meeting tight deadlines, resolving campaign issues, and dealing with varying client personalities is enough to drive anyone crazy from time to time. It’s going to take time, but it is important for you to learn how to cope and roll with the punches. Failure to do so could cost you more than just a few clients; it could cost you your life.
Chronic Stress Leads to Health Issues
Stress is a normal part of life. It is the thing that often motivates you to do your PR job to the best of your abilities. However, when stress gets out of control it can wreak havoc on your life. Chronic levels of stress can lead to lack of focus, ambition, and drive, which we all know is important to kicking butt in the public relations industry. If not treated properly stress can also lead to burnout or the urge to depend upon substances like drugs and alcohol.
If you believe you have reached a point where the stress is causing you serious health problems or you’re currently dependent upon drugs and alcohol to make it through each day, getting help from a medical facility that specializes in work related burnout is beneficial for learning new ways to cope with stressful situations.
For times when you’re stressed, here are some healthy ways to cope:
- Take a Deep Breath
No matter what you’re faced with on the daily basis you must remember to breathe. Slow, deep breathing allows you to clear the mind so that you can refocus on the problem at hand.
- Find the Good in Every Situation
Seeing the good in everything sort of comes with the territory. While you might be able to spin things around for your clients, it can be easy to forget how to do this in your own life. Try the best you can to maintain a positive attitude about everything. When you don’t allow yourself to get all worked up over happenstances you can execute your job more efficiently. If a client doesn’t like something you pitched to them, instead of thinking about how long it’s going to take you to come up with a new concept, think about how pleased your client will be that you went the extra mile.
- Know When to Say No
You have the same 24 hours in a day as the rest of the world. This means that you only have but so much time in a day to get things done. When you take on too many responsibilities in an effort to please your clients, you end up feeling the brunt of the burden. You over-extend yourself and deplete your energy, which in turn causes the quality of your work to suffer along with your reputation. Put boundaries in place by having set office hours, creating realistic deadlines, tracking daily tasks, and delegating to coworkers.
- Focus on Quality Over Quantity
When you’re in a competitive field like public relations it can be really easy to bite off more than you can chew. Rather than trying to generate tons of clients that you can’t service efficiently, focus on developing lasting relationships with a few clients. While you may have fewer people to answer to, it minimizes the level of stress you have to deal with on the regular basis.
- Take Care of Yourself
Failing to exercise, skipping meals, and not getting enough sleep are all common when you’re working around the clock as public relations professional. However, this is the quickest way to get stressed out. When you feel your best, your body is better equipped to handle stress and get through each day. Eating a well balanced meal at least three times per day, exercising three times per week, and getting some rest at night is important to your overall health and ability to perform.
Public relations are a rewarding yet very fast paced job. If you’re going to put your best foot forward at making others look their best then you need to make sure that you keep the stress down to a minimum. Each of the tips described above should help you keep the stress under control. In instances where you just don’t feel yourself or you feel burned out seeking professional help is necessary to prevent further complications.
This is a post by Sam Peters, a career and education blogger.
In one respect, the web has made the job search process easier. Candidates can quickly find information on dozens of potential employers. On the other hand, the sheer volume of job candidates on the web may make the job search more difficult. There’s more information for both job candidates and employers. Use these critical steps to beat your competition and secure that next job.
Using LinkedIn Profiles effectively
LinkedIn has become a useful tool for both job candidates and recruiters. You can think of LinkedIn has a permanent place to display your digital resume. Maintaining an attractive LinkedIn profile can differentiate you from other job candidates.
Fill out your LinkedIn profile completely. The site will explain how and where to add information to present a better profile. Add promotions when you attain them. If you change jobs, remember to update you profile.
This article explains the importance of using keywords. What are the key phrases, job titles, credentials for your profession? If you’re an accountant who has earned a CPA, including the CPA credential on you profile may be important for higher level accounting jobs.
Make use of the site’s Publications section. If you are interviewed or write an article, post that information as a publication. You can include web links, so interested people can take a look. Whether you self-publish a book or work through a publishing company, include your book on LinkedIn. Many job candidates have LinkedIn profiles- far fewer use the Publications function.
You may find it challenging to constantly update LinkedIn. Try setting up a reminder notification on your computer or phone to check your LinkedIn profile every month. That reminder will help you update your profile periodically.
Searching LinkedIn for job opportunities
As this article discusses, LinkedIn is a great tool to search for interesting companies with job possibilities. First, perform a search for the company you find interesting. Say that you’re interested in athletic shoes and equipment. You think Nike would be a great place to work. So, you search using the word Nike.
You can think of searching in two ways. First, you can search your LinkedIn contacts to see if anyone works for (or has worked for) Nike. If you find someone, you can send a message through LinkedIn. Explain why you’re interested in the firm, and ask them how you should proceed. Your contact can introduce you to someone at the firm who works in your area of interest.
A second way to search is by company management. Check the company’s website for names and job titles. Search for those people on LinkedIn. Once you’re there, check out each executive’s profile.
You may find that you have something in common with that manager. Maybe you went to the same school, or both played the same sport in college. You might find that both of you served in the military. These types of connections can help you get your foot in the door. You might email the executive and explain the connection, then ask about any job opportunities.
Your personal history
Keep in mind that the web allows a potential employer to quickly find out information about you. It’s standard practice for firms to look into US citizenship and any possible criminal record. If you are interviewing for a position that involves finances, a company may request a personal credit history.
A business may review your credit history and make a judgment about your financial reliability, based on your credit score. Unfortunately, you may find that inaccurate data has been reported to credit bureaus. If this incorrect data lowers your credit score, it may negatively impact your job search.
Some credit repair firms like Lexington Law provide an app you can use to correct inaccurate data on your credit report. Making corrections can improve your credit score and a better score makes it easier for you to secure personal loans at reasonable interest rates. The higher credit score also looks better to potential employers.
Be ready for your next job search
Follow these steps during your job search. Even if you’re not currently looking for a job, making updates to LinkedIn and checking your credit score will make you a more attractive job candidate. Don’t wait until you’re under pressure to find a job to make these updates. If you schedule time to stay on top of your resume and LinkedIn profile, you’ll be ready to quickly start an effective job search.
Happy New Year! With 2015 in full swing many people are thinking about life changes and new opportunities. I’m always surprised at how many new placements happen in the first weeks of the year and the constant flow of new new candidates inquiring about opportunities.
Not sure where to start?
1. Start with Your Network
When I say “network,” I mean everyone you know. People you’ve worked with (or interned for). Former professors. Friends. Parents of friends. Family. Neighbors. There’s the chance that someone you know may have a connection at a company you’re interested in working for, so explore every possibility.
2. Explore Niche Job Boards
One of the reasons we founded Hoojobs was to help professionals looking for PR, marketing, and communications jobs to easily find them. You’ll compete against a smaller pool of candidates if you go through the industry- or job-specific boards, and you’ll find more of the types of jobs you want.
3. Leverage LinkedIn
LinkedIn has a few tools you can use to look for your next role. Obviously the job postings are one area. You should also keep an eye on some of the industry groups on LinkedIn for users who post open positions.
4. Get to Know Networking Groups
If this hasn’t been drilled into your head yet, networking is one of the best ways to land a job. There are likely professional or industry-based groups that meet in your city. Check Meetup.com to find them, and attend a few meetings.
5. Shine on Social Media
Not only is social media a great place to get to know people at the companies you’re interested in, but recruiters often look there for qualified candidates. So link to the right people, and stay professionally active in your field by providing valuable content and insight on your industry.
6. Speaking of Recruiters…
They can be your fast lane to that job you want. They’re tapped in to the companies that are hiring positions like the ones you’re seeking, and can serve as matchmakers, helping you find the best company fit.
7. Go Back to College…
And talk to your alumni career services department, that is! They may have programs to help graduates, as well as relationships with local businesses looking to hire.
8. Visit Company Websites
Some companies don’t list their jobs on job boards, so your best way of finding out if that stellar company in town is hiring is to visit their site and look for a “Careers” or “Jobs” section.
The landscape for finding a job in PR — or in any field, really — has changed dramatically over the past several years. It used to be a straightforward path: you sent your resume or application through a job board or connected with a recruiter in person. Now social media has uprooted that process, and today, a shocking 93% of organizations use social media to hire.
What that means for you is: you need to step up your presence on social sites. Here are a few more tips to help you position yourself as the ideal PR employee.
1. Boost Your Contacts (But Make Sure They’re the Right Contacts)
The larger your social network, the greater the chance you’ll find a job through it. Also, increasing the number of people you’re connected to provides social proof that you’re an active and engaged member of a given social community.
But that doesn’t mean you should start following everyone. Pay close attention to the bios or profiles of the people who follow you (an easy place to start) and see if a) they’re in your industry, b) they’re recruiters or c) they work at a company you’re interested in. Anyone who falls outside of these three probably aren’t going to provide the value you’re looking for.
As you begin following targeted people, sites like LinkedIn and Twitter will make recommendations about other people you may want to follow, based on algorithms.
2. Start Talking Shop
Social media is ideal for showing off your industry expertise, but you’ve got to know how to do it. The people I love to follow share relevant and useful content with their followers, engage in industry conversations, and answer questions. You may not feel like an expert in PR yet, but sometimes it just takes digging in and sharing what you know.
Subscribe to public relations blogs so you’re armed with plenty of PR news and trends to talk about and share. Also search for hashtags like #PR or #PublicRelations to keep up with what people are chatting about on social media.
3. Participate in Twitter Chats
Twitter chats are essentially virtual events at a set time on a given topic. Topics might include career advice, personal branding, or even just a meetup of PR folks. They’re a great way to network as well as learn.
4. Sharpen Up Your Profiles
If you’re new to using your social accounts for professional use, you might want to clean up your bio, focusing on your PR experience, not your love of sushi. Use a professional headshot to portray yourself as someone hiring managers or recruiters would be comfortable interviewing. Keep your username as your actual name, and not some cutesy nickname.
Remember, whether you like it or not, hiring managers are scrutinizing your profile to assess whether you’d be a good fit for the company.
5. Get Laser Focused with Your Efforts
If you’ve applied for a PR job at a company, now’s the time to get aggressive with your social connection to the brand. If you know the hiring manager’s name, connect with him on as many platforms as possible. Without being a suckup, share his content and reply to his updates. Stick to interacting a few times a week: just enough to get on his radar.
Follow other people at the company, and keep your ears open. You might discover information that you can mention in an interview to show how on top of this company you are.
Your chance of getting hired through social media is greater now than it’s ever been, so maximize your chances.
This is a guest post by Jonathan Rick.
You can tell a lot about a person from the way he emails.
Who would you want to have a beer with?
That question kept racing through my mind as I read the replies to a solicitation I recently sent out. The emails, which within an hour numbered more than a dozen, ranged from the pedestrian to the eloquent.
I’m publishing a representative handful to correct a widespread misperception among consultants in every industry: from publicists to painters to pet-sitters, what ultimately separates the winning vendor from the runners up isn’t the quality of your work. It’s whether people want to work with you. In other words, your likability.
Indeed, according to outplacement experts, in evaluating potential employees, employers value personality, passion, and proficiency in that order. The classic example is Charles Schwab, who in 1901 became the first recipient of a million-dollar salary. He earned this distinction not because of his expertise in steel, but “largely because,” Schwab recalled, of his “ability to deal with people.”
Keep this maxim in mind as you eyeball the below emails. After all the interviews and case studies and estimates and reference checks, most decisions in life come down to a single sensor: one’s gut. So before firing off your next pitch, think like the client and ask yourself that quintessentially American question: who would I want to have a beer with?
The Cut to the Chaser
1. “Do you have budget?”
It’s a legitimate question, but as the leadoff one, it’s a turnoff. Just as you wouldn’t ask a woman about her bank account on your first date, so your icebreaker to a prospective client shouldn’t be about money. No one wants to work with someone whose immediate—and seemingly only—concern is what you can do for him.
2. “My firm probably could do this. If you’d like to chat I’m at [redacted]. Website is [redacted].”
Love the confidence: we “probably could do this.” Equally inspiring: the description of your firm and a reason for its relevance to this project. No, wait…
3. “[Redacted] based out of Austin, TX is a great choice! Fast, quality work. Not sure of their schedule, but it can’t hurt to check.”
While the tip is intriguing, it’s incomplete. Care to make an introduction? How about identifying your contact here? At the least, give me an email address.
(If you’d prefer not to introduce me in your initial email, maybe offer to do so once I reply affirmatively? See reply #8.)
The Lou Avery
4. “[Redacted] emailed me that you may need a short video project. I am [redacted] from [redacted]. Let me know if we can help. Our demo reel is at [redacted].”
These straightforward sentences call to mind Lou Avery, Don Draper’s replacement in Mad Men. The new creative director is immortalized with this faint praise: “Lou is adequate.” So is this pitch, which is perfectly fine if you’re comfortable with average work.
5. “[Redacted] forwarded this to me. [Links to his videos.] What’s the project? Short turnarounds are rarely a problem (although I do have a current video for another client and a shoot with [redacted] to work on this weekend). Would love to know more, though.”
I appreciate your honesty. It’s admirable. At the same time, letting me know I won’t be your top priority isn’t the best way to commence a relationship. Reserve any potential problems until you’re asked or have established a rapport.
6. “You might try [redacted]. He was at [redacted] and has his own business now. I know [redacted] has also used him. Everyone that I know who he’s worked with has been super pleased with the results. His email is [redacted].”
Solid. A strong recommendation coupled with a couple of name drops. And an email address is provided, so I can simply forward the message.
7. “Hey [redacted], Wanted to introduce you to Jonathan Rick. He is currently looking for a production team to help him with a video that needs to wrapped in the next two weeks. The budget is also fixed at $12K. Mentioned some of the details to [redacted], but Jonathan can fill you in on the rest. Know the budget is tight but hopefully you and Jonathan can figure something out.”
Excellent. Introductions like this reduce my workload—a surefire way to win my wallet. As a result, the burden now falls on the other party to follow-up.
One suggestion: tell me something about the other party.
8. “I can suggest an utterly brilliant award-winning filmmaker and producer, with a very quick turnaround and ridiculously affordable rates, who has won numerous awards for his professional filmmaking prior to his turning his attention to work for the [redacted] movement. Problem is, he’s in Australia. If it’s something that can be arranged off location though, let me know, and I’ll put you in touch…”
“Utterly brilliant”? “Ridiculously affordable”? Sold! Even though the location is a deal-breaker, I still want to meet this superstar. You never know when another opportunity will arise.
Fielding the above “cover letters” made me feel like a recruiter receiving rounds of resumes. Amid this deluge, six principles of salesmanship quickly took hold:
1. The early bird gets the worm. With a tight turnaround, the first few replies will attract maximum interest. With each subsequent email, my attention wanes.
Similarly, the further away you get from the initial request, the less the client remains in buying mode. If you can’t reply within 48 hours, what does this say about your responsiveness?
2. Follow instructions. The quickest way to eliminate yourself is by ignoring instructions. If a Word doc is requested, don’t send a PDF. If I ask for a one-paragraph description of your firm, don’t refer me to your personal LinkedIn profile.
My friend, recruiter Claire Kittle Dixon, shares this story: “If you think I’m a stickler, you should talk to my clients. The most common reaction I get from clients is, ‘If the candidate can’t follow simple application instructions, how will he perform on the job?’ They also say, ‘If the candidate doesn’t care enough to read the instructions, he must not be very interested in the job.’ It’s hard to argue with either point.”
3. Tell me about yourself. I don’t need your bio, just your elevator pitch or a memorable detail. Do you specialize in a certain facet of the field? Did you recently win any awards, get some nice press, or finish a particularly exciting project? Do we have any mutual friends or interests? (I may not recall your name, but I’ll remember that we both worked in the Bush White House.)
4. Offer advice. One reply I didn’t reprint contained this pearl: “I especially like the fact that [the video] is scripted and not documentary-style, and that they want to turn it around quickly. There are too many projects that drag on forever.” When every pitch is basically the same, demonstrating your expertise (showing rather than telling) goes a long way. Also, flattery never hurts.
(What happened to this pro? He failed principle #2—instructions.)
5. Make it easy for me. This is my biggest pet peeve. If you’re recommending someone, it’s best to gauge that person’s interest and availability beforehand. Once you’ve prequalified him, then introduce us via email. (See reply #7.) This saves me the trouble of repeating the project parameters.
6. Get excited. There’s no better way to stand out than with enthusiasm. If you’re confident you could knock this assignment out of the park, find an appropriate way to say so. Just as we remember a receptionist who greets us with a smile, so we remember the emailer who expresses eagerness and exudes enthusiasm.
A Master of All Trades
Some will accuse me of being persnickety, of foregoing a talented producer because of a lackluster initial email. If the guy can deliver a killer video, does he also need to be Shakespeare?
To this charge, I plead guilty. I want to work with people who are not only great at their job—be it videos or vehicles—but who can also communicate their thinking in a clear and logical way. I want to work with people who not only think creatively, but can also elucidate the principles behind that creativity to a nonexpert. I want to work with people who make me smarter.
Perhaps no one grasped this philosophy better than Steve Jobs. Whether the thing before him was a glass of juice or a potential employee, he refused to degrade his standards. As he told a pair of interviewers in 1997,
“The dynamic range between what an average person could accomplish and what the best person could accomplish was 50 or 100 to 1. Given that, you’re well advised to go after the cream of the cream … A small team of A+ players can run circles around a giant team of B and C players.”
Years later, regarding his cofounder at Apple, Jobs added: “What I saw with Woz was somebody who was 50 times better than the average engineer. He could have meetings in his head.”
Is this a lot to ask for in a mere introductory paragraph? Sure is. But when the competition is stiff and the pay is good, don’t give anyone an excuse to pass you over. Give them a reason to look you over.
Jonathan Rick is a digital communications consultant in Washington, DC. The above lessons result from seven years of running the Jonathan Rick Group,, where he’s written and responded to more RFPs than he cares to remember. Tweet him your pet peeves of pitching a prospect at @jrick.
If you’ve been looking for a new job for a while and are still coming up empty-handed, it might be due to your approach. If any of the following ring true, it’s time to change your strategy.
1. You’re Not Committed
You’re dedicated to scouring job boards and updating your resume, unless a friend invites you out for coffee. Or Game of Thrones is on. If job seeking isn’t your top priority, how can you expect to find your next position?
Solution: First, ask yourself how serious you are about switching jobs. If you only look for one when your boss upsets you, it might be wiser (and easier) to just stick it out and toughen up. If you are serious, start dedicating real time to the process: a minimum of 3 to 5 hours a week will be fine to start with, and you might need to spend even more time than that.
2. You Haven’t Really Read Through Your Resume in a While
If you’re sending out your resume without reviewing or tweaking it, you can’t expect a hiring manager to fall in love with it. And it might not paint an accurate portrait of who you are as a professional right now if you haven’t updated your skills in a while.
Solution: Spend time reading your resume. Really, do it! Apart from detecting a possible grammatical error, you want to ensure you’ve listed your newly acquired skills and accomplishments. Have a friend review it and make suggestions for improvement. It doesn’t hurt to tweak it just slightly for each individual position to highlight your relevant experience.
3. You Sometimes Don’t Have Answers When Asked Interview Questions
If questions like “what’s your biggest weakness” (a terrible, but typical interview question) throw you off during the interview, you need to dedicate some serious time toward thinking about your responses to those types of questions. Hiring managers expect you to have an answer to anything they ask; it doesn’t have to be a perfect answer, but they do need to see you are quick on your feet.
Solution: Ask a friend to stage a mock interview and ask both commonly asked questions as well as those head-scratchers. If you are working with a recruiter, make sure you take an interview preparation call as she can give you insight about what you should be prepared for with each person you will meet.
4. You’re Only Looking on Job Boards
Sure, it’s easier to get online while you’re in your PJs and cruise job boards, but since 80% of jobs are gained through networking, that means you’re wasting a lot of time if job boards are your ONLY strategy.
Solution: Add a few other tools to the mix. Attend local networking groups to get to know people in your industry and at the companies you’re interested in. Spend time networking as well on social media sites to enhance those relationships. Connect with a recruiter who works in your field as well.
5. You Never Follow Up
You presume that the person who interviewed you will reach out if they decide to hire you. While yes, that’s technically true, it can only help for you to follow up and reiterate your interest in a position. It’s become pretty much expected that serious job candidates will follow up after an interview.
Solution: Immediately after an interview, send a note (a handwritten note is always a nice gesture) to the hiring manager, thanking her for the opportunity to interview for the role.
There’s a circular argument when it comes to getting your first job: you need experience to get a job, but you need a job to get experience. It can be frustrating for freshly graduated 20-somethings to realize employers want more experience than they’ve got.
Fortunately, there is one thing you can do to gain experience before you’re ready for your first job:
Internships provide you with real-world job experience, teach you valuable skills that will make you more hireable, and get your foot in the door at a company that might end up offering you a job.
Here are some tips to help you find the perfect internship.
1. Treat it Like a “Real” Job
You’d be surprised how many college students are too laid back when it comes to getting an internship.
From the start, you should pretend this is a job. Send your resume and write a cover letter, just like you would for a job. Dress professionally for your interview (and show up on time). Show the employee representative that you take this seriously, and they’ll take you seriously.
2. Start With a Company You’d Like to Work For
If you’re majoring in public relations or communications, you should, naturally, look for an internship in that field. But go one better and start with your wishlist of employers. There’s a chance — but not a guarantee — that if you do a great job with your internship, you’ll be offered a position, so apply at companies where you’d like to work at after graduation.
3. Go Through College Organizations
If you’re a member of an association like the Public Relations Student Association, there may be opportunities with college alumni that go through here. You always stand a better chance of scoring an internship if there’s a connection, such as the hiring manager also went to your college.
4. Knock Their Socks Off in an Interview
Employers sometimes have lower expectations for interns than they do their own employees. That presents you with the opportunity to blow them away in your interview. Show that you’ve researched the company thoroughly, and that you have a clear understanding of the industry you’d be working in.
5. Tell Them What You Can Do
Even if you don’t have any job experience yet, you can still show your portfolio of press releases (either from class or simply ones you create to build your experience), talk intelligently about public relations or communications, and express interest in learning new skills.
6. Follow Up with a Thank You
Just like with a “real” job interview, sending a follow up thank you card (handwritten and mailed) can impress the hiring manager and make you stand out from the sea of intern applicants. It’s little touches like this that make the difference.
Once you are hired as an intern, it’s up to you to get the most out of the experience. Show your enthusiasm about learning new skills, and offer your help wherever needed. Not only will you develop plenty to add to your resume, but you’ll also prove yourself as an indispensable member of the team.
This is a post by Sam Peters, a blogger who writes about careers and online education.
There are all sorts of ways to advance our careers, and for many people, receiving additional education, whether in the form of a certificate program, or full-on degree, is the best way to go about it. If you want to switch careers completely, going back to school may be absolutely necessary to get your foot in the door.
While online programs once carried a stigma, they are now considered a legitimate option for getting a degree. Attending a traditional campus may not be a feasible option for many would-be students, and getting an online education offers flexibility and convenience.
Balancing work, and any other responsibilities you may have, can be quite the challenge. This is particularly true for people who are hoping to advance their careers as quickly as possible, and plan on pursuing an accelerated program.
Without careful planning, your foray into the online education world can quickly go up in smoke. Here are some helpful tips for succeeding with your degree program, and advancing your career at the quicker pace you desire.
If you choose a degree program without the proper accreditation, you will put quite the crimp in your career advancement plans, because the degree will be essentially worthless. While advances in technology, and its ever-increasing role in our lives, have naturally made online education a more accepted option, it has not quite reached the equal status of traditional campus degrees, and employers want to know it is a quality program.
Let’s take the accelerated programs at Gwynedd Mercy for example. This school’s online programs are accredited by the US regional accrediting institutions such as the Middle States Association. This means they have met the stringent standards set forth by these authoritative bodies. Some accreditations mean more than others, so always do a little background on the organizations behind them.
Nail Down Your ‘’Why’’
If going back to school is part of your career plan—an accelerated degree program means a lot of work in a short amount of time; we are not talking about one class a week over a period of three years. You are doing this because you want to quickly advance your career, but it will be all too easy to get lazy once the real work starts. But, there is an antidote to this common problem of online students, and it is getting 110 percent crystal clear about your ‘’why.’’ Why are getting this degree? What benefits do you expect it to bring you? Keep questioning your motivations until you reach the absolute core. If you want to work in a certain field or have a certain position, why? If you want more money, why? If you want to give your kids a better life, why? The more clarity you have about why you want the things you want, the easier it is to do the difficult work sometimes necessary to get these things.
Time Management 101
A whole book can be written on managing your time well, and many already have. But, here we will get just get into some basics. The convenience and flexibility of online programs are one of their most appealing aspects, but they can also be the very thing that take you down if you lack strong self-motivation and discipline. And if you are pursuing an accelerated course, you are going to have a lot on your plate every day.
First and foremost, do not underestimate the power of writing things down. It brings order to the chaos floating around in your head, and you will be much more likely to do all the things you need to do. Write out a daily schedule in blocks of time—say 30 minutes or an hour. It may be necessary to reprioritize your life a bit while you are getting your degree. You may need to ease up on your insistence on cleaning your house top to bottom twice a week , or volunteering for every committee at your daughter’s school. Sacrifices will be necessary, but the perspective you take on these sacrifices will make all the difference in how easy it is to make them—remember your ‘’why.’’
There are many statistics out there proving that, despite the fact that we live in “modern times,” women still earn less than men in comparable positions. While it’s easy to put the blame on men, women must take some of the responsibility.
Part of the reason we’re earning less is because we’re often reluctant to talk about our accomplishments to our bosses. In a recent conversation on the LinkedIn group, Connect: Professional Women’s Network, Powered by Citi, women discussed the topic.
Why We Don’t Talk About Ourselves
While it’s difficult to lump all women into one stereotype, many women do feel like they’re perceived differently than men when they talk about their accomplishments.
Tameeka Robinson, Store Manager at CB2, said: “ If we go overboard with ‘tooting our own horn’ we can be viewed as cocky, not a team player, self absorbed, etc.”
Men, on the other hand, are quick to take credit for what they’ve done. Whether women don’t feel entitled to the pat on the back or simply lack the confidence to bring it up, it’s affecting not only our morale but also our bank accounts.
How to Put Yourself in the Limelight
While it may not be comfortable to do so, tooting your horn is a necessity if you want to get ahead in the workforce.
Leticia Guzzetta, Technical Publications Manager at Imagination Technologies, said on the LinkedIn conversation: “It is appropriate to speak honestly and openly about your accomplishments because no one is going to do it for you.”
1. Look at Your Accomplishments from the Outside. While you may not think it’s that big a deal that you generated half a million in sales for the company, others do. Consider what others will be impressed with. Ammie Neal, a Consultant in Sales Operations suggests keeping a summary of what you’ve done:
“Time flies and by end of year it is easy forget your earlier accomplishments. So, be sure to print a copy of the summary and put it in your mid-year/yearly appraisal file.”
2. Don’t Brag, but Be Honest. There’s no reason to constantly tell your office mates about your achievements. Save them for your performance review, when they’ll have the best impact on your boss.
3. Be Visible. It’s not always about pointing out what you’ve done. Sometimes it’s as important to simply be noticed. Speak up in meetings. Voice your opinion. Share your ideas.
4. Believe in Yourself. If you don’t show confidence, how can you expect anyone else to have the confidence enough to promote you or give you a raise? If it’s hard to come by, try faking it until you make it.
5. Ask for that Raise. Don’t wait until your boss decides you deserve a raise, or you’ll never get it. Come armed with that list of your accomplishments and convince your boss that you’re worth it.
6. Don’t Let Someone Else Take Your Credit.
Diana Wittenbrock works as Senior Sales Manager for Hilton San Francisco Union Square. She was so humble in her first job out of college that she didn’t put her name on many of her projects. She quickly learned her lesson:
“Little did I know a male supervisor I trusted was actually writing his name on them – until the day he got an award for all the wonderful work he had been doing. 100% all mine.”
Don’t be shy about taking ownership of your work. If you don’t, someone else might.
It’s time we change the fact that there only 40% of executives are women. Stand up for yourself, accept credit where it’s due, and don’t be afraid to polish that horn when necessary.
Gender and pay equality aside, the journey to professional success is quite different for women than it is men, based on the results of an annual survey from Citi and LinkedIn.
More Stops Along the Way
The survey results show that women expect to hold multiple jobs — as many as eight — over the course of her career, and that they are more likely than men to transition in their career several times. Add to that maternity leave and time off, and it can take longer for women to succeed careerwise.
And if you’re like many women (45%, in fact), you’re in a career that’s different from the one you thought you’d get once you graduated. That could be due to many factors, like:
What we can glean from this information is that women have a tendency to be more adaptable on their career paths. Being able to transition from one role to another takes time (and guts), as does reentering the workforce after taking time off.
Focus on Personal Goals
The key to success in the workforce is setting goals, no matter what your gender. Men and women almost equally feel they have achieved their goals (48% and 47% respectively).
But it’s not just setting goals that works for successful professionals; it’s actually working toward goals. It’s not enough to say “I want a promotion.” You’ve got to outline what steps you will take to make that a reality. Take on extra work. Make yourself more visible around the office. Present your boss with a list of accomplishments and assertively ask for the promotion and responsibilities.
But What Exactly Is Success?
Success looks different for every professional. And before you can set goals, you have to identify what success looks like to you. In the survey, “happiness” was the singlemost popular definition of what success was, regardless of gender or age.
But then, what is happiness? For women, that comes in many forms:
Doing what you love
Surprisingly, more men than women put more emphasis on marriage and children as part of the “having it all” equation. And 25% of women said it was important to have a solid relationship, but that marriage didn’t necessarily have to be a part of it.
And What Drives Satisfaction?
Another important component of the success formula is on-the-job satisfaction. The preferred perks varied between genders. For women, benefits like the following really drove contentment at work:
Professional development resources and training
Flex schedules/ability to work from home
Health/fitness related perks (i.e. gym membership)
Good maternity leave/paternity leave policy
It’s impossible to lump all women or men into a single group, but data like this is interesting as it does indicate overall trends. The key is knowing what drives you to succeed and to achieve your goals.