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Tips for Using Social Media to Help Your Career, Not Hurt It

Tips for Using Social Media to Help Your Career, Not Hurt It

Tips for Using Social Media to Help Your Career, Not Hurt It. Social media can also be a powerful tool for your professional life. You can use it to build your personal brand, grow your network, establish yourself as an expert in your field, or give prospective employers a glimpse into your personality.

It can also be full of pitfalls. More employers and recruiters now regularly check candidates’ social media profiles before hiring them, and screenshots of status updates and tweets mean your electronic words can live forever, even if you delete them later.

And it’s not just your own posts—your activity, including those stealth “likes,” can come back to haunt you, too. “One thing people are often surprised to learn is that an employer can not only see their LinkedIn profile but also see every post they’ve liked, commented on, or shared, in addition to any posts they’re sharing to their feed,” says Michelle Merritt, executive partner at Merrfeld Career Management. “We remind clients to be cautious in what they react to.”

These crucial dos and don’ts will help you navigate the social media maze.

1. Do Be Respectful

Avoid attacking others, and use your best judgment about your own posts. Could they be viewed in a negative manner? Would you shout what you’ve just typed into a crowd? Think before you post, and of course, steer clear of profanity. “Once you’re an adult, that’s not cool,” says Jason Patel, founder of Transizion, a college- and career prep company. “It means you can’t control yourself.”

2. Don’t Post About Politics or Religion

Unless you work in politics, it’s best not to take any sort of controversial stance on public social media, especially if you’re applying for a job in a sensitive position where you need to protect data, protect client information, or be someone that others go to for advice. “If someone’s trying to hire you for a job, don’t let them think all your advice is going to be biased from the get-go,” Patel says.

3. Do Have a Presence on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is an important tool for networking and professional brand building, so you should have a complete profile there—with a professional headshot. (Please, no selfies.) “It’s really your electronic resume now, and a lot of the same rules apply,” says Susan Hosage, senior consultant and executive coach with OneSource HR Solutions. “Make sure the content is grammatically correct and spelled correctly, and that all the jobs and titles and dates are accurate.”

4. Don’t Overshare Personal Information

You don’t need to post everything that happens to you. “I have a friend who posts every time she’s in the ER,” Hosage says. “You don’t want to say that discrimination exists out there, but discrimination exists. If somebody does a search and they see something that isn’t appealing to them, it could affect a hiring decision.” Before you share, consider: What would a potential employer think if they read this?

5. Do Learn to Love Your Privacy Settings

We know what you’re thinking: How are you supposed to have any fun online if you can’t be yourself? It’s fine to be a little looser on Facebook or Instagram—if you keep those profiles private. Either lock down your privacy settings (you can also change your profile name to a nickname or first-plus-middle for extra anonymity) or keep your posts aboveboard.

6. Don’t Trash Talk Your Employer

“We’ve seen this occur on multiple occasions where an offer letter is rescinded due to a candidate’s bad-mouthing of a current or former employer on social media,” says Robert Moses, founder of The Corporate Con/noisseur. Doing so makes you look unprofessional and negative—qualities most hiring managers aren’t eager to add to their teams.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you if you have any questions about using social media to boost your personal brand. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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How to Motivate Yourself When You’re Not in the Mood

Career Motivation

Career motivation can be elusive. Some days you feel it and other days you can’t grab a measly corner of it no matter how hard you try. You stare at the computer screen, willing yourself to type, create, develop, and instead you find yourself simply going through the motions, barely caring about the work you’re producing. Needless to say, you’re totally uninspired, and you don’t know how to make yourself feel otherwise.

Quora users have been there, and they have real and practical solutions for digging up that lost motivation and getting a job not just done—but completed with a sense of passion. Read on for tips and tricks that’ll get you motivated in no time.

Don’t Think About it as Hard Work

“There is only one way for me to motivate myself to work hard: I don’t think about it as hard work. I think about it as part of making myself into who I want to be. Once I’ve made the choice to do something, I try not to think so much about how difficult or frustrating or impossible that might be; I just think about how good it must feel to be that, or how proud I might be to have done that. Make hard look easy.” – Marie Stein

Think about it: If the project you’re faced with isn’t viewed as drudgery, but rather as a piece of the puzzle that’s helping you along your career path, then perhaps the energy required to do it will be easier to come by.

Create Small, Bite-Sized Goals

“There’s a reason donut holes are so lovable. They’re easy to eat. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a dozen of them. This is how goals should be too. Of course, you should have a really big, audacious goal. But make sure you break down that goal into bite-sized, consumable goals. This way you’ll feel like you’re making progress in your journey and you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete the smaller goals. A feeling of progress and achievement is a beautiful combination.” – Nelson Wang

You’ve no doubt heard this advice before, but have you applied it to motivation? Rather than focusing on a large, scary goal, take one thing at a time and break the big goal into ideas you can digest one at a time.

Stop Caring About the Things That Don’t Matter

“Doing things that don’t mean anything costs [us] a ton of mental energy. Look at your aggregated to-do list, find things you know that you don’t care about, and get rid of as many of these activities as possible. You will stay more consistently motivated if you’re working on activities that are inherently meaningful or are part of a larger mission.” – Nick Miller

It’s not always best to finish what you started if, down the line, you can’t even remember the reason you started something in the first place.

Just Do It

“To get motivated to start doing something, from my own experience, the most effective trick for me is to just do it (sounds trite, but it works.) As soon as you think something needs to be done, jump into it, doing it immediately (of course, provided the conditions are feasible.) You must not think about anything else, suppressing all other thoughts, keeping your mind blank, acting like a robot. Yes, it sounds weird, but it does work! Otherwise, you will debate whether you should do it now or there were too many issues with doing it, or there are other more pleasurable and exciting things to do over this boring task.” – Bob Win

Instead of waiting around, willing yourself to feel motivated, what if you just went ahead and started doing the work you know you need to do? Dive into the project and trust that the focus will be what you need.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you come up with other motivation tips that work for you. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Books That Help You Get What You Want in Your Career

Are you an assistant? An associate? A VP with unlimited vacation? It doesn’t matter. Because no matter where you are at in your career, you will always have goals that keep you learning. 

The Ignite Your Potential coaches have rounded up 8 books that will advance your career. Each one focuses on a different set of skills, beliefs, or values that are important to the growth-oriented person—at work and in your life. They will motivate you, inspire you, and help you shake up a stale work routine.

So, give the fiction a (short) break, and dive into these titles that will give your career a boost based on what you want right now!

If You Want to Take Your Career to the Next Level

In Maximize Your Potential: Grow Your Expertise, Take Bold Risks & Build an Incredible Career, from the 99U series and Jocelyn Glei, some of today’s leading minds offer their advice to take your career to the next level. A detailed how-to book, you’ll learn how to create new opportunities, build relationships in the workplace, and unleash your creative potential.

If You Want to Fall in Love with Your Job

Let’s face it: Work is more fun when you enjoy what you do, right? Love Your Job: The New Rules for Career Happiness is a guide written by Kerry Hannon to help you transform your boring job into something meaningful. For people struggling to get through the day, Hannon’s tips will help you change your habits and your attitude, so you’ll love your job again in no time at all.

If You Want Work-Life Balance

Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington reminds us that there is more to life than earning a ton of money. The constant pursuit of more (and more) has been a one-way ticket to burnout for too many. Huffington encourages people to incorporate self-care into their daily lives. Throughout the book, she also shares personal anecdotes about her struggles with time management and prioritizing her career and family life.

If You Want to Change Your Money Mindset

Have you ever wondered how Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ford, and many of the other successful businesspeople of the 1900s earned their fortunes? Well, my friend, the secret is within Think and Grow Rich, the 1937 classic from Napoleon Hill. Not only will you learn what they believed was the key to their riches, but you’ll also get Hill’s 13-step program that will put you on the track to achieve wealth and success.

If You Want to Recover From a Career Failure

The truth is, we all face failure in life, whether it’s in our careers or personal lives. What matters is how we handle it. But how can you become one of those people who turns his failures into learning experiences? Business blogger Megan McArdle explains just that in her book, The Up Side of Down: Why Failing Well Is the Key to Success. You’ll read stories from people in all different career paths (medicine, education, finance—to name a few,) and their examples will help you see your missteps in a different light.

If You’re Feeling Stuck in Your Career

In Moving the Needle: Get Clear, Get Free, and Get Going in Your Career, Business, and Life, Joe Sweeney provides a detailed system for people who feel stuck and want a plan to make a change. It’s a perfect read for those who crave actionable advice. Bonus: These lessons can be applied to personal aspirations as well.

If You’re Ready to Pivot into a Different Career

Laura Berman Fortgang shares exactly how she has helped her clients successfully make big changes in their lives. If you’re looking for a new job or questioning what you’re meant to do with your life, Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction will help you find the answers in just three months!

If You Want to Start Your Own Company

If you haven’t read #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso yet, what are you waiting for? The founder of fashion retailer Nasty Gal, Amoruso opens up about her troublesome past and how she turned her life around to become an insanely successful CEO. Even if you’re not passionate about the fashion industry, you can benefit from this inspirational story.
Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you get what you want in your career. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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4 Phrases Your Boss Wants to Hear

things your boss like to hear

Fact: At some point, every one of us has (or had) a boss. You may have even wondered, what are things your boss wants to hear.

We wish they had all the answers. It would be ideal if on every rung in the ladder, we could look to our bosses to actually lead us, guide us, and be our mentors.

But managers don’t know everything, and more often than not, they need our help, too. Unfortunately, only the best leaders actually ask for it.

But why wait to be asked? Here are four things that your boss wants to hear, and that’ll help you manage up and make both you and your manager shine.

1. “I’ve Got This”

Maybe your manager has a few bosses of her own who have just joined on. These new players are demanding, and she may not know how to manage them and their requests. Projects she used to oversee—like the ones you work on—may not be her top priority right now, nor might she be the best person to guide you. So, what do you do? Easy. You tell her “I’ve got this.”

Why it Matters

A great boss knows that to succeed, she has to set priorities—which means she has to hand them off to someone else. Letting her know you will own this might give her the confidence she needs to let you run with it. And then you have an opportunity to flash your best work.

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Guide to Answering Common Interview Questions

popular questions during an interview.

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what questions a hiring manager would be asking you in your next job interview? A pocketbook, made just for you, containing all the popular questions during an interview.

We can’t read minds, but we can give you the next best thing: a list of some of the most asked interview questions, along with advice for answering them all.

While we don’t recommend having a canned response for every interview question (in fact, please don’t) we do however recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked, what hiring managers are really looking for, and what it takes to reflect that you’re the right person for the job.

Interview Question and Answer Study Guide:

1. Tell Me About Yourself.

This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s crucial. Here’s the deal: Don’t give your complete employment (or personal) history. Instead, give a pitch—one that’s concise, compelling, and shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Talk a little bit about your current role (including the scope and perhaps one big accomplishment,) then give some background as to how you got there and experience you have that’s relevant. Finally, segue into why you want—and would be perfect for—this role.

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5 Brilliant Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Boss

In an ideal world, we would all have fantastic managers—bosses who helped us succeed, who made us feel valued, and who were just all-around great people.

Unfortunately, that’s not always the case. But whether the person you work for is a micromanager, has anger management problems, is a flat-out workplace bully, or just isn’t very competent, you still have to make the best of the situation and finish your work.

To help out, the Ignite Your Potential coaches have gathered the best advice for dealing with a bad boss. 

1. Make Sure You’re Dealing With a “Bad Boss”

Before trying to fix your bad boss, make sure you really are dealing with one. Is there a reason for the behavior you’re seeing? Are you being too hard on him or her?

“Observe your boss for a few days and try to notice how many things she does well versus poorly. When she is doing something “bad,” try to imagine the most forgiving reason why it could have occurred. Is it truly her fault or could it be something out of their control?” Fast Company

2. Identify Your Boss’s Motivation

Understanding why your boss does or cares about certain things can give insight into his or her management style. It’s also a way to “manage up” (understanding what the demands are on your boss and how you can best support them. There are plenty of additional articles online specifically about this topic. Think of this as an opportunity to learn this useful skill.)

“…if the rules are totally out of control, try to figure out your boss’s motivation. Maybe it’s not that he really cares about how long your lunch break takes; he actually cares about how it affects other employees’ morale and the perception of their superiors.” Brazen Careerist

3. Don’t Let it Affect Your Work

No matter how bad your boss’s behavior avoid letting it affect your work. You want to stay on good terms with other leaders in the company (and keep your job!) If you are unable to do this… it’s time to begin a job search and leave before you sabotage yourself.

“Don’t try to even the score by working slower or taking excessive ‘mental health’ days or longer lunches. It will only put you further behind in your workload and build a case for your boss to give you the old heave-ho before you’re ready to go.” Work Awesome

4. Act as the Leader

When dealing with an incompetent boss, sometimes it’s best to make some leadership decisions on your own.

“If you know your area well, there is no reason to not pursuing a direction you know will achieve good results for your company. People who do this are naturally followed by their peers as an informal leader. Management, although maybe not your direct boss, will notice your initiative. Of course, you don’t want to do something that undermines your boss, so keep him or her in the loop.” Careerealism

5. Avoid Future Bad Bosses

When interviewing with a new company, do your research ahead of time to make sure you’re not getting into another situation with a less-than-ideal manager.

“Have coffee or lunch with one or more staffers at the new company. Ostensibly, your purpose is to learn general information about the company, how it’s functioning, and its culture. However, use this opportunity to discover as much about your potential boss as possible, without appearing creepy of course.” Inc.

Need more tips on how to deal with a difficult boss? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Why You Need a Professional Headshot

Many professionals assume a headshot is something you upload to your LinkedIn profile and then never touch again. That assumption is wrong! 

Your headshot will come in handy throughout your career. It will grace the “About Us” page on your company’s website, be sent to new coworkers so people can easily recognize you, and be asked for by event organizers to advertise your speaking engagements.

Maybe you’re thinking: Speaking engagements? Please, I am never going to need a professional headshot in my career. 

If so, you need a reframe. Our Ignite Your Potential career coaches can point out countless blurry or inappropriate LinkedIn profile pictures (or no photo at all) that affect whether or not people reach out and collaborate. 

A headshot is useful for many professional situations:

  • Your Email Account
  • Your Email Signature
  • Your LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram 
  • Your Website or Portfolio
  • Your Posts or Bylines
  • Your Company Bio

Convinced? Great, now it’s time to take one. And the good news is, it’s really easy.

Step 1: Pick out a shirt that you feel confident in (Tip: Avoid busy patterns or anything you would not wear to Grandma’s Sunday dinner).

Step 2: Find a plain, but ideally interesting backdrop (Tip: Avoid posing in front of windows or busy backgrounds unless you’re a lighting and photography editing pro.)

Step 3: If you’re a woman, you might consider makeup. Even if you don’t usually wear it. Without it you may look a little faded out in a photo. Time to smile and take the photo.

Step 4: Save it and use it for everything.

Whether a friend takes the shot or you hire a professional photographer—it is up to you. But whatever you do, make sure you have one handy—and update it every couple of years. It can costs you very little to make and will save you from having to scrounge through old Facebook albums and crop an adult beverage out of your hand.

Need more tips when it comes to professional headshots? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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What to Do When You Hate Your Boss but Love Your Job

What do you do when you hate your boss but love your job? It’s not an easy situation to navigate—but what’s the alternative? Quitting and taking a gamble that everything else will line up?

Yes, having a boss you hate is a big reason that people start job searching, but it’s not the only way to handle the problem. If getting a new gig isn’t something you want to consider, then follow our Ignite Your Potential coaches’ tips on how to deal with the imperfect scenario: great job, nightmare boss.

1. Take a Good Look

Figure out exactly what it is about your boss that’s problematic and determine if there’s anything you can change or address. If there’s nothing (and that’s possible), maybe you could adjust the way you react to her behavior so you don’t escalate situations. For example, if she’s constantly emailing you at odd hours, expecting immediate responses, it’s up to you to gently set guidelines for your response rate—rather than responding snappily.

2. Remind Yourself

Why You Love Your JobMake a list of all of the things about your position that you dig. Write down everything from unlimited coffee to being able to work closely with the talented website developer. Nothing’s too small for this list! And if you are really, sincerely passionate about your position, this should be the easy part.Once you have your list, you can go on doing your work and rejoice in the fact that there is so much that you appreciate and value. Does it make sense to leave all that behind because of a bad boss?

3. Get Some Support

If you think your boss may be a narcissist or even if it’s not quite that bad but you could use some advice fordealing with someone very difficult, Nina Brown has the book for you, “Working With the Self-Absorbed: How to Handle Narcissistic Personalities on the Job.”

4. Wait it Out

If you’ve examined the situation thoroughly and concluded that there’s nothing wrong with anything you’re doing and your boss is, indeed, a really awful person, trust that you’re not the only one who sees it. No matter how much praise is bestowed on them now, it’s probable that, at some point in the future, someone else will take stock of what’s happening, and eventually they will be talked to.

But honestly, if the love-my-job-hate-my-boss situation doesn’t improve over time, you might have to move on. You deserve to work with people who bring out the best in you—so don’t let a great job keep you from working with an awesome boss. Somewhere out there is a position that will provide you with awesome responsibilities and a manager you’ll love.

Do you need more advice on how to deal with a nightmare boss? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you figure it out. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

 

 

7 Awesome Companies You’ll Love

How do you know a job is The One? Alongside the fact that your role fits your personality, strengths, and your well thought out requirements. You also can’t stop smiling and talking about it with friends and family. Your heart flutters on your 1,000th day the same way it did on your first. You know that all your hard work matters.

If you think that kind of connection is rare, look carefully at the 7 companies below. These businesses and organizations have an impact, mission, or culture that’s sure to make you swoon.

1. Clearlink

Clearlink combines digital marketing and sales conversion services to add value to a brand’s customers by offering a holistic service approach. Established in 2003, Clearlink employs over 1,500 marketers, technologists, and sales professionals. They partner with some of the world’s leading brands—including AT&T, CenturyLink, Travelers, Safeco, and DISH—to extend their reach and deepen customer insights.

2. AT&T

AT&T is excited to announce the expansion of its entertainment and content services. The company is the largest provider of pay-TV in the United States and is among the largest in the world. The company utilizes its broad media footprint and high-speed services to reach over 60 million locations to deliver primetime shows, sporting events, and movies to customers around the globe.

3. GLG

GLG is helping its clients change the world every day by connecting them with the smartest experts. With a global presence across 22 offices in 12 countries, and more than 2,000 talented, passionate professionals, GLG is powering smarter business for a world that works better.

4. VRBO

Vrbo, a world leader in the vacation rental industry, is the place to book beach houses, cabins, and condos with more than two million places to stay in 190 countries. The site makes it easy to find and book the perfect vacation rental for any getaway, often for less than the cost of traditional hotel accommodations. Vrbo is part of the Expedia Group family of brands.

5. Boxed

Boxed was founded in 2013 by an experienced group of tech pioneers with a simple idea—make shopping for bulk easy, convenient, and fun. Today, Boxed is a late-stage startup delivering a first-class e-commerce experience for everyday essentials across the country. Boxed values tech and innovation and is passionate about creating a delightful and personalized online shopping experience for each and every customer.

6. eMarketer

Established in 1996, eMarketer is the first place to look when you need data on digital. eMarketer offers data and insights essential to effective performance in the digital world, with a focus on understanding how consumers spend their time and money and how marketers can best communicate with them via digital channels.

7. Johnson & Johnson

In the next ten years, healthcare is predicted to radically transform more than any other industry, with old models being disrupted in favor of new methods to make the world a healthier place for everyone. Johnson & Johnson has long excelled in times of transformation. Its history of firsts—from Band-Aids to feminine care to treatments for HIV, cancer, Ebola, and, most recently, Alzheimer’s—demonstrates how J&J combines passion, science, and technology to create game-changing innovations.

Do you need help finding a job that is The One? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session that will help you find the perfect company for you. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Find a Hobby You Love (Becuase It’s Good for Your Life and Career)

Having a hobby that you enjoy—whether that’s crocheting mittens for your sister’s new baby, curling up with a book to get lost in an unknown world, or moving your hips in a Zumba class—has all sorts of benefits, from lower levels of stress to an increased sense of belonging.

Hobbies make a serious impact on your quality of life. But they also improve your work performance. How? When you’re engaged and fulfilled in your life outside of work (when you’re pursuing meaningful hobbies) that happiness spills over. That happiness has the ability to make you more focused and enthusiastic when you’re on the job.

Having a hobby that you love can do good things for your life and your job. But what if you don’t have a hobby you enjoy? That doesn’t mean you can’t find one. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 80 years old—it’s not too late to find something you love and let it spur you on. Our Ignite Your Potential career coaches have curated a few strategies to find a hobby you love.

1. Make What You Already Love into a Hobby

Take a look at how you enjoy spending your time and figure out how this can become a hobby. Have you watched Kevin Hart’s stand-up special on Netflix…four times? Try taking an improv class. Is your favorite part of the day playing with your dog? Try volunteering with a rescue organization. 

2. Reclaim Your Childhood Interests 

When you were a kid, what did you like to do? Did you spend hours finger-painting masterpieces to hang on the fridge? If so, you might want to try taking an art class. Or maybe you spent the entire year looking forward to Field Day at school—in which case, you could join an adult softball team or flag football league. When you were a kid, you had hobbies—revisiting them as an adult is an effortless way to rekindle that love.

3. Try New Things

The truth is finding a hobby can be hit or miss. And that is OK! If you want to find something you love, you need to put yourself out there—and be willing to accept not everything you try is going to be a win. Think of anything you might find interesting—whether that’s skateboarding, painting, or weight lifting—and take a class. If you like it, great! If not, cross it off the list, and move on to the next one.

It might take a few attempts to find a hobby that you love, but the key is to not give up. Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you find a hobby that will change your life and your career. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.