USC has signed up for a national employment support program with the aim of improving job opportunities for university graduates with a disability.
The University Specialist Employment Partnerships (USEP) program is a collaboration between universities, disability employment services and the National Disability Coordination Officer program.
Nicola Wilson from AccessAbility Services at USC’s Student Services and Engagement helped facilitate the program at the University’s Sunshine Coast campus.
Ms Wilson said the need for USEP was highlighted by a recent national Graduate Destinations Report that showed graduates with a disability were twice as likely to be unemployed and seeking full-time work as those without a disability.
“Through USEP we partnered with Mylestones Employment at the start of Semester 2 and they offered free and confidential on-campus consults to assist current USC students and recent graduates who identify as having a disability find work related to their fields of study,” she said.
“USC is really proud to be part of USEP and confirm that the program will be available to eligible students across all campuses from the start of 2020, both in person and via phone or webinar contacts.”
National Disability Coordination Officer for Southern Queensland Debbie Rooskov said USC should be commended for working to boost the career outcomes for students with disabilities.
“This is a brilliant additional level of tailored support that will be a huge advantage to USC’s present and future students with a disability, in ensuring they enter the workforce with confidence,” Ms Rooskov said.
“Importantly, the disability specialist recruitment officer will have up-to-date relationships with organisations who are already leading the way with diverse workplaces and advocate for equal opportunities.”
Recent USC graduate and recipient of a Chancellor’s Medal at her September graduation, Belinda Harris has taken up the offer of one-on-one consultations.
“It’s a very confronting reality that if you have a disability, you’re less likely to get a job,” Ms Harris said.
“It’s a topic I’ve always felt really passionate about and had spoken to USC about the need for specific career assistance for students with a disability. So I’m so happy to see USEP introduced at USC,” she said.
For more information visit the USEP website at www.usep.com.au or contact USC AccessAbility Services via AccessAbility@usc.edu.au
Quick Tips That Will Help You Get Hired Fast
Applying for Every Job You Find Isn’t Always a Good Idea: Focus your search on jobs that you’re qualified for. You’ll have a better chance of getting selected for an interview. Sending out random resumes and cover letters is just going to be a waste of time. Before you start job hunting, take the time to decide what type of job you’re seeking.
Don’t Stop Applying for Jobs While You Are Waiting to Hear Back From an Employer: Most job seekers are rejected by over 15 employers before landing a job. Learn from your mistakes and keep applying until you get the right offer. Worst case scenario, you’ll be juggling multiple job offers. That’s a good thing.
You Need a Specific Cover Letter, or Your Resume May Not Get Noticed: You only have a few seconds to impress a hiring manager enough to select you for an interview. Hiring managers want to see what you can do for the company written in the first paragraph of your cover letter. Here’s how to match your qualifications to a job, and tips for how to write a cover letter.
You Should Also Target Your Resume to the Job: It’s not just your cover letter. Your resume should be edited and tweaked, so it’s as close a match to the job as possible. Otherwise, it may not get picked up by the applicant tracking systems companies use to screen resumes or the recruiter who reviews it.
You Don’t Need to Include All Your Experience on Your Resume: Some job seekers put decades of work experience on their resumes. Unfortunately, that’s not going to impress anyone. It dates you, it’s too much information, and it may be too much experience for most job openings.
You Can Include More Than Full-Time Employment on Your Resume: If you’ve been out of work, you don’t want your resume to look like you haven’t done anything since you were laid-off. There are other things besides your employment history you can use to bolster your resume.
Dress Like a Manager or a Successful Person in Your Profession: Maybe appearances shouldn’t matter so much, but they do. The first few minutes of an interview are when you get to make that critical first impression. Be sure that you’re dressed appropriately for the type of job and company you’re applying to. Here’s appropriate interview attire for a variety of different jobs and work environments.
Be Yourself at the Interview: Rehearsed answers, fake smiles, and saying what you think the interview wants to hear instead of what you actually believe, mislead the employer. Employers want to know who they’re hiring and that’s the person they expect to show up for the first day of work.
Storytelling During a Job Interview Is an Excellent Way to Share Your Experience and Skills: One way to show the employer what you’re actually like is to tell a story. When you’re asked questions during a job interview, relay the specific skills and experience you have, as well as how you handled the situations you’re asked about. The more concrete information you provide, the more the hiring manager will know how qualified you are.
Never Say Anything Bad About a Previous Employer: One of the most common interview mistakes is badmouthing your boss or co-workers. The first thing the interviewer is going to think about is what you will say about their company when you’re moving on.
You Should Send a Thank-You Note After a Job Interview: It’s important to follow-up after a job interview. It’s a way to show your appreciation for being considered for the job. It’s also a way to reiterate your interest and share anything you neglected during the interview.
Networking Is an Essential Component of Successful Job Hunting: Most jobs are found through networking, whether it’s online or in-person. You never know who can help you find your next job unless you tell your connections that you’re looking for a job.
References Can Make a Big Difference in Getting Hired: References are important, and employers check them. Get recommendations from bosses, co-workers, clients, subordinates, and suppliers. Store them on sites like LinkedIn and share them whenever possible. If you’re worried about getting a lousy reference from your supervisor, work on getting some personal references you can add to your credentials.
It’s Acceptable to Apply for the Same Job More Than Once: You applied for your dream job, and you didn’t hear anything back from the company. Then later you see the job posted again. A “do over” is fine but be sure that you’ve carefully matched your qualifications to the job requirements in your resumes and cover letters. Also, check LinkedIn to see who you know. You might be able to get a referral the second time around. Here’s how to find contacts at a company.
Polish Your Shoes Prior to Your Interview: This one’s an extra, but, yes, hiring managers do look at your shoes. If you don’t have shoe polish, a leather or multipurpose cleaning wipe will work. It’s important to look your best from head to toe!
Pay Attention to the Details: Job hunting can feel like you’re playing a multitasking game to try to keep up. There’s so much you need to pay attention to when you want to impress a prospective employer.
Seniors from both college and high school will be setting out to look for jobs soon. However, the education system doesn’t typically leave students ready to face the working world.
Landing a job in spring would be the ideal outcome, but graduates may not really be sure how to get employed. The critical aspect of landing a job, regardless of whether you’re leaving high school or college, is being prepared. You should have a firm grasp of what kind of a job you’re looking for and find out what the requirements for that position are.
To help, 13 experts from Forbes Human Resources Council share their insight into what high school and college grads should be doing to land a job in spring, and why those elements are of such importance.
1. Network And Practice Interviewing
Graduating can be an exciting and stressful time for seniors. It can be easy to forget the basics of job searching — networking and interviews. Remember to keep your contacts as you collaborate on projects or work with teachers for possible future letters of recommendation or job referrals. Also, practice interviewing with friends or teachers to help you be prepared for when the time comes. – Kelly Loudermilk, BuildHR, Inc.
2. Know What You’re Passionate About
Really putting thought into what they are passionate about is important in identifying the right job or career. College and high school counselors can assist with personality profiles, but talking with friends and family about what you are good at and drawn to will also help. My advice: try things! Don’t wait until you are sure. Take chances and try various options. – Diane Strohfus, Betterworks.com
3. Learn To Expand Your Personal Boundaries
The ability to set appropriate boundaries rises as a key marker of psychological well-being because we’re constantly being pulled in multiple directions. The challenge for young people is that moving into work life requires shifting personal boundaries to include the needs/demands of colleagues and team. This is a key factor for success. – Leeno Karumanchery, PhD, MESH/Diversity
4. Do Your Leg Work
Research a few companies you’re interested in and contact their HR to see if they have short-term intern programs or job shadow days. Get your foot in the door by showing eagerness to take a paid or unpaid opportunity to work in your field of interest. Potential employers are impressed by candidates that are proactive and enthusiastic. The experience will also help build your resume. – Regina Romeo, CPS HR Consulting
5. Identify Company Values You Can Get Behind
Job vacancies are at an all-time low and the fight for top talent is on! You will have a plethora of employment options. Start now to identify five to 10 companies that enact values that resonate with you. Do you value trust, hard work, efficiency? Find companies that value the same and their management philosophy will be well-aligned with your needs. Share this during the interview process to impress. – Christine Wzorek, White Label Advisors
6. Find A Mentor And Create A Plan
It can be difficult figuring out your next steps in this exciting time of your life. It’s important to set yourself up for success by preparing in advance. Network as early as possible and start planting the seed in your areas of interest with those you meet. Find a mentor already in the workforce, and create a plan for yourself with actionable steps to reach your goal by graduation. – Charles Ashworth, Copper
7. Identify What Makes You Unique
Help employers understand why you stand out from the crowd by focusing on accomplishments or attributes that make you unique and of which you are exceptionally proud. Be willing to take risks and put yourself out there. If employers aren’t connecting with who you are, those are not employers with whom you want to align yourself. You have a right to find an employer who values you! – Sherrie Suski, Tricon American Homes
8. Build Your Professional Brand
It is important that college seniors be aware of how to brand themselves in a professional manner and be aware of how they act and speak to their new environment. This may mean a social media audit, the way we dress to an interview, the way we conduct ourselves at a networking event. Branding is also about how I speak and what I speak. All the lingo of school should be left in school. – Tasniem Titus, Dentsply Sirona
9. Globalize Your Thoughts And Actions
Today’s workforce is global and multicultural. High school and college seniors can get a head start by participating in global projects and study-abroad opportunities or simply seeking a mentor globally. By demonstrating global thoughts and actions, the seniors can create a clear differentiation and announce their readiness to be successful leaders of the future. – Vineet Gambhir, Summit Partners
10. Clean Up Your Social Media Accounts
Recent graduates, go clean out your social media closet! You can bet that employers are looking at this, and if your social media looks like that of half the young people I know, it’s in dire need of an overhaul. Hide the accounts you don’t want people to see, delete embarrassing photos, get rid of any radical commentary and generally look like someone an adult wouldn’t mind employing. – Tracy Cote, Genesys
11. Make Your Resume Real-World Ready
It’s critical that employers can envision candidates as successful employees. Students with relevant internship experiences stand out for me. Employers can understand that you needed income, but if all you’ve got on your resume is bartending and babysitting, it’s harder for them to understand how you’ll contribute in their environment. – Joyce Maroney, Kronos Incorporated
12. Close Your Skills Gap
Whether it’s high school or college, students should prepare themselves for graduation by either volunteering or taking internships during holidays and vacation periods to bridge the gap between formal education and workplace needs. Students who demonstrate the skills and outcomes for which employers are looking will certainly stand out once they are ready to enter the workforce in any season. – Dr. Timothy J. Giardino, Cantata Health & Meta Healthcare IT Solutions
13. Improve Your Communication
Use every opportunity to practice your communication skills. About 70% of what we do in business relates to written and oral communication. Speak up in class every opportunity you have. Seek out chances to give oral presentations in front of peers. With experience, your skills will only improve so the key is seizing every opportunity you have to become a better communicator. – Heide Abelli, Skillsoft
Use this guide to build your job application skills and help you get your next job.
Employers will check your qualifications match the job they are hiring for. The types of things they look for include:
- education level
- demonstrated industry or job experience
There are ways for you to boost your qualifications. You can contact your employment services provider or check out myskills to learn more about the jobs and qualifications in demand and how to get them.
For some jobs, your level of experience is very important. An employer might not have the resources or time to train you and will need you to hit the ground running.
When you apply for a job take a good look at what the employer is asking for in the job ad. Do you meet the minimum experience level needed? Have you done that type of work before?
On your resume and in your interview you have to clearly outline how your experience matches the job so the employer knows you have what they need.
Get details about the skills different jobs need and how to get them at the find a job blog
Your job interview is normally the first time an employer meets you. First impressions matter. You have to be prepared, dressed properly and show enthusiasm.
To boost your interview skills, practice talking about your work history and your achievements with someone before your next interview. You can also search for practice interview questions on the internet.
You can get more tips to improve your interview skills from your employment services provider or check out Job Jumpstart.
The job market is competitive. Employers get a lot of applications from a lot of great candidates. Sometimes a different person is a better fit for the job you applied for.
Don’t be disheartened. It does not mean you are not right for another job. Pay attention to any feedback you get from employers, your provider and other people you trust. A small change to your resume, application or the way you present yourself at interviews could make the difference next time.
Job Jumpstart has heaps of tips to help you boost your chances at getting a job.
It can take time to build experience and qualifications. Getting the right attitude is something you can do right now.
Employers need to know you want the job. You communicate your enthusiasm by:
- showing interest in the job and the person interviewing you
- being friendly
- making good eye contact
- being prepared
- having good posture and personal presentation
Sometimes nerves can get in the way of showing your great attitude. Before your next interview, practice answering questions with a friend, your provider or someone you trust.
Face to face customer service is common in lots of jobs, so what you wear and how you present yourself at an interview is important.
If you look messy or you don’t smell great, an employer won’t feel comfortable letting you represent their business. Before you go to an interview make sure you:
- shave or tidy up your facial hair
- brush your teeth and hair
- put on deodorant
- wash and iron your clothes
Little details make a big difference. We’ve got some videos that can help you figure out what to wear to an interview.
Employers take about six seconds to decide if they want to keep reading your resume. If the first thing they see is a spelling error they will not keep reading.
Here are some things you can do to improve your resume:
- Ask someone to proof read for spelling and grammar mistakes.
- Make sure it is up to date with your latest work and education experience.
- Double check your contact details are correct.
- Check your format – is your resume set out in a way that makes it easy to read?
- Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for.
You can get more tips from your employment services provider, or check out our job search tips to see how to make your resume and cover letter great.
Ok team, Listen here. There is something really important we need to chat about. The Foundation for Young Australians (that’s us) released a new report that analysed 4.2 million job ads from the past 3 years and have sussed out what skills are most wanted by employers.
The great news is, you probably already have a lot of them, you just might not realise it.
The report, titled New Basics, is the latest in our New Work Order series that looks at the critical skills we all need to succeed in the changing world of work.
We can all agree that this kind of BIG DATA is a BIG DEAL so we’re going to break it down for you so you can make your next job application really stand out.
Here’s the skinny on which skills had the biggest increase in demand over the past 3 years:
Digital literacy is up by 212%
Creativity is up by 65%
Critical thinking is up by 158%
Presentation skills are up by 23%
Not only is the demand for these skills increasing, but jobs that want people with these skills are offering more cash as well. So if you want fat stacks, you’re going to need to know how to do these things.
When compared with similar jobs that don’t request these specific skills
Jobs that ask for presentation skills will score you an extra $8,853 / year
Jobs that ask for digital literacy will hand over an extra $8,648 / year
Jobs that request problem solving will cough up an extra $7,745 / year
Long story short, it’s pretty clear that learning these skills is well worth your time.
What this means in reality is that young people can no longer only rely on technical skills they might have studied for (think engineering, architecture, accounting, medicine) but they also need to be armed with a toolkit of what we call ‘enterprise skills’ to get the best jobs.
The great news for you is that you have most likely already developed and demonstrated these enterprise skills, you just need to be able to package them up in a way that makes it clear to future employers that you’ve got what it takes to get the job done.
When you’re working on your next job application or in an interview, here are some hot tips for selling your enterprise skill set:
Digital Literacy – demand up by 212%
The great news about this one is that a lot of young people already know a lot about this.
We know what’s #trending and have sussed out that virus is bad and viral is good. We have first hand experience of what might make one app great and another really clunky.
To talk about this skill in your resume you might want to mention if you run your own Instagram account, if you’ve ever promoted an event online, built a website or if you’ve used excel to input data about any given thing (best hot chips in your city, how much homework you need to do, budgeting etc).
Creativity – demand up by 65%
Lots of people are probably reading this one and thinking ‘But I’m not creative’. Dear friends, that is simply not true. We have all done creative things, trust me.
If you’ve ever had to present an assignment in a visual way? That’s creative. Ever built a Power Point presentation or video? That’s creative. Ever faceswapped on Snapchat with a couch cushion? That’s v creative (you weirdo).
You might present yourself creatively in the way you dress, the music you listen to or your Tumblr layout.
Critical thinking – up by 158%
This one sounds way fancier than it is. It is probably something you do all the time without realising.
If you’ve ever thought about how something could function better or more efficiently in your workplace or school, that’s critical thinking.
If you’ve ever been able to look at an issue in the media and see a different side of the story, that’s critical thinking.
If you’ve ever been able to reflect on a party you’ve thrown and realised that you definitely didn’t nail the good cheese to cracker ratio, then you’re a critical thinker.
Presentation skills – up by 23%
This one is kind of obvious. By nature of attending school at some stage you’ve probably had to present in front of groups.
If you can’t think of something formal you might think of a time you trained someone new at your casual job or when you inspired your sports team with a killer half-time rev up speech. It could even be when you addressed a group while planning a school assignment. Any time you’ve communicated clearly, you’ve presented!
Wouldn’t it be nice to learn about these employable skills in school?
Now, while we think it’s super important that you know how to sell yourself and your enterprise skills, we don’t think it’s only up you.
We think that the results of this report speak pretty loud and clear and that enterprise skills like digital literacy, critical thinking and project management need to be taught in schools. From primary school, and all the way through to uni.
We’re also keen to see young people properly exposed to the job skills they’ll need; so we’re talking great work experience placements and immersive on job learning.
If you’re thinking that it would have been nice to learn a little more about these skills in the classroom, maybe show your teacher this article? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
If your resume is missing just one keyword, it could be the difference between getting an interview or not. How do you know what the keyword is? Keep reading.
We know looking for a job is hard. Getting a job is even harder. There’s eight people out of work for every job that’s advertised. Depending on the job, there’s often 25-200 people applying for the same job as you.
When you apply for a job, your resume ends up in a stack of other resumes on the desk of the person looking to hire you.
How to spot keywords in a job ad
It’s hard to impress your future boss with a piece of paper. But, there is a way to get the edge over the other people in the stack. The secret is finding out what the boss is looking for – the keywords – and make sure you put those in the resume. Take a look at this job ad:
At first glance, you may think the business is looking for someone with experience with truck tyres. Keep reading and you’ll see they want someone who can work in a fast paced environment. They need you to be physically fit and to be able to confidently use hand tools. They also want you to have a reliable vehicle and to live locally.
How to use keywords in your resume
The words I have put in bold are your keywords. As simple as it sounds, put these exact words in your resume, exactly as they are in the job ad and your resume will stand out. It ticks all the boxes the business is looking for and you are more likely to get an interview – and more likely to get the job.
Why are keywords more important than ever?
More and more, a computer will read your resume first. Its name is Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS). A computer program will scan your resume for keywords. If you have the right keywords in your resume, you’re more likely to get to the top of the pile.
The only way to impress a robot is to do exactly what it wants you to do. You could have all the right experience. You could have all the right skills. Unless you write them in the same way the robot is looking for, it could shunt you to the bottom of the pack.
All the more reason to scan job ads for keywords and customise your resume with those exact keywords. The more you do it, the better you get. You need to do this for every job you apply for.
Practice right now! Go to jobactive.gov.au, search for a job that’s right for you and highlight the key words. It’s easy once you know how.
Long gone are the days where you’d stay in one job for life: it’s now the norm to jump between jobs and even careers every few years.
LinkedIn research shows 70 per cent of Australians would consider a career change, while two in five Aussies have worked in two different industries over the last five years.
And if you’re looking for that job change, a clean, up-to-date LinkedIn profile could be the difference between being shortlisted or being overlooked entirely.
Speaking to Yahoo Finance, LinkedIn Australia’s career expert Shiva Kumar revealed the top tips to take your profile to the next level and make the most of the professional networking website.
“First and foremost, you have to get the basics right,” he said. Make sure your profile has these two non-negotiable must-haves ticked:
A professional photo of yourself; and
Your current job title and industry.
“These are all simple but important aspects that help to tell a compelling story about who you are as a potential job candidate.”
And before you even begin your hunt, ensure that the ‘Open to opportunity’ setting of your LinkedIn profile is switched on to ensure recruiters get the message you’re open to opportunities, Kumar advised.
LinkedIn Australia career expert’s top tips for a killer profile
1. Say where you’re based
“Recruiters rely on location information to find candidates,” Kumar said. “You’ll stand out by as much as 23 times more if you include the city you’re based in in your profile.
“Often times recruiters will use advanced search based on location, so the more details you have the more likely you will be found and connected to your next opportunity.”
2. Have your elevator pitch ready
If you’re wanting to attract and capture the attention of recruiters or potential bosses, say a few words about yourself and what you do to make yourself memorable.
“Adding a summary of 40 words or more, makes your profile more likely to turn up in a future employer’s search,” Kumar said.
“A good tip is to ensure your summary includes keywords featured in desirable job descriptions for your field.”
3. Let your skills do the talking
Job titles will vary from organisation to organisation, so it’s a little tough to know what to search for when you’re job hunting.
“By listing all of your skills on your profile you are more likely to attract recruiters and show up in the right talent searches,” said Kumar.
4. Avoid buzzwords such as ‘motivated’
How much have you stumbled across the profile of someone who claimed to be an “influencer” or an “entrepreneur” or “enthusiastic” or a “team player”?
Avoid overused yet less valued words like the plague if they’re not actually adding anything to your profile – recruiters see the same descriptors in every profile day in day out.
“What they really want is to understand your capability for a certain role,” said Kumar.
“Let your experience do the talking; show who you are, don’t tell. Add visual examples of the work that you did.”
5. Showcase your interests
An active LinkedIn profile can speak volumes for you: share content that you enjoy like an interesting video or a thoughtful news story, or even a particularly impressive presentation through regular updates, said Kumar.
“With as little as a sentence, updates help get you noticed, and they are a great way to interact with and engage your professional network in conversations.”
Tick all these boxes – and don’t forget to set up job alerts – and you’ll be in good stead to catch the recruiter’s attention, Kumar said.
We’re all looking for ways to improve ourselves—at least that’s what the thriving $10 billion self-help industry seems to imply.
But as popular and alluring as the principles of personal development may be, many of us still have only a fuzzy understanding of it. Even fuzzier: How to turn personal growth into professional gains.
At the same time, there’s an undeniable overlap between the two—after all, our personal strengths and weaknesses affect us at work, too. And there are ways in which growing personally and working on ourselves can make us more effective at work.
If that still feels a little murky, we get it. Read on to learn exactly what personal growth is and get concrete ways to leverage it in your career.
What Is Personal Growth Anyway?
Personal growth or development is difficult to define, in part because it’s, well, personal. Broadly speaking, personal development is an effort to improve yourself, the outcomes in your life, or how you experience life, explains Sumayya Essack, a career-change coach and founder and owner of Curate the Future.
“Personal growth is the process of growing stronger, more confident, and more effective as a person and an agent of change for your own life,” says Kathy Caprino, a career and personal growth coach. More specifically, it relates to “how you see and perceive yourself, interact with others, engage with the world, and envision your future and your possibilities.”
It affects you in both concrete and more abstract ways, including emotional regulation, communication abilities, well-defined boundaries, decision-making, and personal satisfaction and positivity.
Where Personal and Professional Development Meet
At first glance, personal growth can seem a little vague compared to professional development goals. “Career growth tends to focus on tangible performance-related goals, such as raises [and] promotions,” Essack explains. It may also emphasize hard skills, which depending on your field could include things like data analysis or proficiency in a certain language or type of software.
However, if you think of personal and professional growth as two circles of a Venn diagram, there’s a healthy overlap between them. “Your career success and enjoyment of your career aren’t just the result of domain-related skills and knowledge. It’s also a result of what you bring to the table as a person,” Essack says.
Things we think of as soft skills—such as communication style, self-motivation, and how you relate to other people—fall into the area of overlap. And these skills greatly impact our ability to get things done at work. Developing them can help you become more effective in your career, and maybe even nab a promotion.
4 Personal Development Goals That Can Help You Get Ahead at Work
Even if you’re sold on the benefits of personal growth for your career—where do you start? In large part, it’s up to you.
“At the root of all personal development is becoming aware of what’s happening in your own mind and becoming aware of how the thoughts you’re thinking affect your emotions, behaviors, and results,” Essack says. If you can identify a result you’re unhappy with or, conversely, one you want to achieve, you can work backwards from there to determine the underlying thoughts, emotions, and behaviors you should address to make the change you desire.
For example, are you constantly struggling to get tasks done? Maybe you need to work on focusing better on the task at hand in order to become more efficient. Eager for a promotion? Perhaps you need to build better relationships to get there. Whatever area you choose, work on it in small doses.
While there are many ways you might implement personal growth into your career development, here are four examples of areas to improve, as well as advice for tackling them:
1. Build Emotional Intelligence
Solid emotional intelligence can help you forge strong working relationships with colleagues and clients, which in turn promote productivity and strengthen your professional reputation.
The ability to deal with people and conflict is important in most any job, but perhaps especially so when you take on a management or leadership role. “Emotional intelligence means being able to understand where someone else is coming from,” Essack says. “People want to work for someone who understands them.”
How to tackle it: Focus on becoming a better active listener, which helps others feel heard and understood. “We get caught up in saying what we want to say, but communicating effectively is also about being a great listener,” Essack says.
First, show the speaker that you’re paying attention. “Put away your devices, make eye contact, and fully concentrate on them rather than mentally preparing what you will say next,” Essack says. “Then, show that you’re listening with verbal cues such as ‘uh huh’ and body language, such as nodding, smiling, and leaning forward.” Finally, ask clarifying questions or reflect back with paraphrasing. Try starting with: “So what you’re saying is…,” or “What do you mean by…?”
2. Feel Confident in Your Talents
Building confidence is a common goal of personal development, and one that has a clear line to career gains. Developing your confidence can help you land a better job, negotiate for a raise or promotion, earn credit for your contributions, and be seen as a leader, Caprino says. But confidence isn’t something that’s easy to just switch on.
Instead, look for a path to confidence by working on recognizing your talents. If you don’t fully grasp what you’re amazing at and aren’t able to speak confidently about these talents, you won’t be able to fully leverage your unique abilities, Caprino adds.
How to tackle it: Many people struggle to look inward to discover where they shine—especially if they grew up hearing that they shouldn’t brag. So instead, look outward to colleagues and mentors for help identifying your unique talents. Ask them to name any contributions that have stood out to them as well as elements of your approach to work they consider particularly effective.
3. Grow Your Motivation
Wouldn’t it be great if we could bottle up motivation and consume it like we do our morning coffee? Imagine the benefits! At work, being more motivated can of course make you more productive, but it can also help you be seen as more driven and ambitious.
How to tackle it: Until motivation is sold by the bottle, you can work on building it little by little, Essack says. Think of motivation not as a mindset or mood that randomly descends on you outside of your control, but as a behavior. We tend to assume that when we’re motivated, we’ll take action—but the reverse can be true. “First you do the behavior and have a mini success, and that’s what makes you feel motivated again. Success builds on itself,” Essack explains.
For example, if you’re intimidated by holding performance conversations with employees, you might be tempted to avoid them until the last minute. But when you successfully commit to a small action, such as holding shorter, less formal performance check-ins, you may find more motivation to improve your skills and take on longer talks.
So instead of waiting for motivation to strike, try structuring your big goals into small achievable tasks to build momentum. This way you’ll help yourself experience each one you complete as an invigorating success and feel motivated to take the next step toward where you want to be.
4. Become More Mindful
Mindfulness is a term that’s thrown around a lot today, and its meaning can be as blurry as the concept of personal growth as a whole. Essentially, mindfulness is the act of training your brain to focus on the present moment, rather than racing ahead to the future, or drifting to the past.
Research has linked mindfulness to reduced stress, improved focus, and better working memory. At work it could help you zero in on the task at hand and filter out some of the surrounding noise, allowing you to become more efficient.
Mindfulness has emotional benefits too. Mindfulness can help you respond more thoughtfully to someone instead of having a knee-jerk reaction or snapping, Essack says. “You become more aware of what’s happening in the moment, so you choose a conscious response.” Building this skill can help keep you from burning bridges with clients or colleagues when tension rises or tempers flare.
Let’s say you receive some criticism that you don’t agree with or that injures your ego. “The tendency is often to react automatically because we feel defensive, but when we cultivate mindfulness, we’re able to take a step back in the moment and respond intentionally,” Essack explains. In this instance, a more mindful approach could help to de-escalate conflict and make feedback discussions more productive.
How to tackle it: Develop a daily mindfulness meditation practice, which over time, can help you become more mindful throughout the day. Set aside five or 10 minutes a day to do a guided meditation, with help from an app like Calm or Headspace that will talk you through the process.
As difficult as personal development may be to define, investing in it can help lay the groundwork for professional success. As Caprino says, “If we don’t do the work to strengthen ourselves as people first, our careers will be a dismal disappointment.”
So you just landed a leadership role at a new company. Congratulations! Going in, you know there’ll be a learning curve when it comes to handling your new responsibilities. But there’s also the people factor to consider.
Being the boss of a completely new team also means influencing a group of employees you don’t know very well to work together (and with you) toward a common goal. Nerve-racking, yes. But not impossible!
Even seasoned leaders make mistakes when managing a new team. Here are four common ones to avoid if you want to make your transition as smooth as possible for both you and your direct reports.
Mistake #1: Acting Before Understanding
If you think the first thing you need to do when joining a new team is to start making changes—slow down. Yes, part of your role is to help things run better, and you were most likely hired to bring in some new perspectives and fix some outdated or dysfunctional strategies. But ignoring input from experienced team members—particularly those who have been at the company for a while—won’t win you any fans.
Instead, you’ll signal to your team that you’re only interested in running a one-person show. And it will leave you vulnerable to making bad decisions that could’ve been avoided had you gotten some context.
This isn’t to say that you need to form a whole committee to make decisions on every little thing. You’re the boss, after all, and sometimes it’s your duty to make the final call. But strive to implement changes (especially big ones) in baby steps and over time. Be receptive to (and ask for!) feedback from your team before moving forward, and communicate your intentions clearly and proactively when you do.
Mistake #2: Constantly Talking About the “Old Job”
Do you find yourself saying all too frequently, “At my old job, we…”? Maybe you’re trying to prove yourself by bringing up your old wins. Or you may just feel comfortable referring back to a time when everything didn’t feel so foreign. (Being the new kid on the block isn’t easy.)
Here’s the thing: Your current team will quickly tune you out if you’re constantly talking about how things were done at your previous company. They want to see that you’re able (and willing!) to adapt to a new environment, and that you can competently lead and work with their unique skill sets.
Yes, you achieved great things in your last role. But don’t get caught living in the past—it’s time to focus on creating new wins with what your new team has to offer.
Mistake #3: Hiding in Your Office
Closing your office door or hiding behind your monitor can give off the appearance that you’re not interested in being there for your employees.
You may think, “I’ve told my team they can come to me any time with questions.” But as the saying goes, actions speak louder than words, and it can be intimidating for employees to knock on a new boss’ door. There’ll be times when you’ll need (or want) to close the door, and that’s OK—but make sure this doesn’t create a barrier between you and your team.
Make a conscious effort to show your employees that they’re welcome to come seek guidance or share concerns. Literally keeping your door open helps, so does providing “office hours” or popping your head out every few hours or so to see how everyone’s doing.
If you work in an open office, try to avoid wearing headphones all day, and when you can, sit near your team. You can also schedule weekly touch-base meetings with your direct reports so you have dedicated face time with them on a regular basis—and so that they know they will always have the opportunity to discuss something with you.
Mistake #4: Believing You Don’t Need to Know the Details of Your Employees’ Work
Some people think that the role of a leader is to just tell others what to do and set expectations. But there’s more to it than that. You can’t hold employees, especially new direct reports, accountable if you don’t fully grasp what their roles entail and how they approach their work.
While you don’t need to know all of the nitty gritty details of their responsibilities, you want to do more than just care that tasks are getting done. Understanding the “how” of operations and the “whys” behind how your employees tackle them will make both you and your team function better. You’ll be able to better manage them knowing their strengths, weaknesses, and preferred forms of communication, and they’ll feel more comfortable around you and motivated to do great work with the knowledge that you’re invested in their success.
Take the time when you’re just starting out to talk to each employee individually to learn about what they do, what their current challenges are, and how their tasks fit into team or company goals. You can even ask the following questions in your next one-on-one:
What challenges are you facing that are making you less productive?
What’s missing from the team that will help make everyone’s life easier?
How do you like to receive constructive feedback?
What are you hoping to learn from me that will support you in your role?
What do you enjoy the most about your work?
Or you can have them fill out this user manual so you have all the information you need about their working style.
Mistakes are going to happen when you’re starting a new job, whether you’re a manager or not, so don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t get things “right” the first time. Even just reading this article means you care deeply about being a good boss to your new team—and that’s a great place to be in!
Most importantly, make sure you enjoy this new beginning—because it’s one more phase in your career that will help you grow and become the kind of leader you want to be.