3 Ways to Wow Your Boss (And Get a Raise)

You’ve heard the usual ‘stand-out in the workplace tips’ — “Voice your opinion!” and “Never say no to an assignment!” but we’ll almost guarantee you aren’t doing these three shockingly simple actions to be the office superstar…

1. Don’t just forward a link. Admit it, you’re guilty of sending your boss an email that just says, “check this out!” followed by a long link. When forwarding a link, always include the actual usable idea. Summarize what the article or site is about in one or two lines and explain why you are sending it.

2. Save the drama for your mama. Seriously, if we have to see one more coworkers ‘woe is me’ — insert mini violin — Facebook post we’re just going to lose it. Don’t forget your coworkers (and perhaps boss) are Facebook friends with you – and can see everything you post (and at what during-the-workday-time). If you wouldn’t complain about “it” — whatever that may be — to their face, don’t complain about it on your social networking site.

3. Watch the clock. Here’s a tip — bosses notice when you get to work, how long of a lunch you took and when you leave. You don’t have to be chained to your desk all day but do keep in check with company culture, if the majority of employees leave at 6, don’t be the gal who packs up at 5. If you’re coming in earlier than the majority of your coworkers make sure your boss knows. Be upfront about your work schedule and she’ll appreciate it. Send her an email letting her know you work better early in the morning and ask if she would mind if you left at X time but came in at X time. You’d be surprised at how flexible bosses can be (we hope).

Which State Has the Best Career Advancement Potential?

Location, location, location — according to a new study by the nonprofit research group Pew Center, living in New Jersey offers the best chance for career advancement than any other state. Other states topping the list included Maryland and New York.

“The take-home for us is that where you live really matters,” Pew research manager Diana Elliott said. “New Jersey in our study is a good place to live in terms of economic mobility.”

Economists point to the diversification of the industry in New Jersey and say the key to career success often isn’t moving up the same corporate ladder but switching ladders.

Check out these average New Jersey career salaries:

New Jersey teacher: $63,154

New Jersey nurses make 6 percent more than the national average

New Jersey paralegal: $49,000

New Jersey architect: $114,000

The 3 Most Important Things You Aren’t Doing for Your Career

To climb the corporate ladder (or at least snag the corner office) you’ve got to have the best on-the-job-advice, which is why we’ve culled the three most important things you should be doing at work (but probably aren’t).

1. Transfer to an emerging market. You’ve conquered New York, San Francisco and LA — but what about Shanghai or Tokyo? If you’re willing to move a few thousand miles tackling an emerging market could be the ultimate chance to prove your leadership and create new business development opportunities — go where you are needed not where you’ve already shined. Plus, just volunteering for a big office move could provide the opportunity for big salary negotiations.

2. Move to an industry that is growing.

Jobs in the STEM field (science, technology, engineering and math) are growing faster than any other according to the Department for Professional Employees. You don’t have to be a scientist or engineer to snag a job in STEM — creatives like marketers, graphic designers and writers are also needed at engineering firms, research facilities and computer programming companies.

3. Be honest about your goals.

Think about the job your boss does…come on, we’re waiting, really think about it! Would you want that job? Or would you rather be your own boss? If you’re slowly moving up the corporate ladder take the time to step back and think about your trajectory — is this something you really want to do or could entrepreneurship be right for you?
Photo courtesy of Jono Haysom

Mistakes … the Path to Success!

Once again Dan Rockwell of the Leadership Freak has motivated us to share his insights. This time it’s on the art of mistakes in Five Ways to Get Good at Mistake Making! If you’ve been reading our posts long enough (or even yesterday)  you might have seen one or two typos that make it through our very loose editing system (thanks Melanie and Kieran for sending them to our attention asap!).  We loved this message because it reminds us to appreciate mistakes for what they are: valuable lessons. Enjoy this brief and  slightly edited version of Dan’s wise words.

“Too many mistakes and you lose credibility. Too few mistakes and you’re dead in the water, you can’t lead.”

1. Don’t make the mistake of letting your mistakes defeat you
. Churchill wisely said, “Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm.”

2. Don’t pretend you know when you don’t. Be honest and enthusiastic instead of pretending you know how to create a rocking Power Point presentation, when your boss asks you to take on the task of making the presentation for the upcoming pitch – perhaps you can say something like, “I’m pretty good at figuring these things out and am up for the challenge.”

3. Celebrate your successes and your mistakes. Stories of your mistakes can be humorous, endearing, and most importantly, educational. Most importantly, explaining a good screw-up before sharing a success prevents you from looking arrogant.

4. It’s a mistake to run from mistakes. After owning a mistake, begin the next sentence, “Next time …” Eli Siegel observed, “If a mistake is not a stepping stone, it is a mistake.”

5. Please don’t be a whining, cry baby. You look weak when you make excuses. It’s better to, “Admit your errors before someone else exaggerates them,” Andrew V. Mason.

One more point we’d like to add is Own it!  After working in the same office for five years and again on this blog for a few more -we’ve learned to NEVER try to blame someone for your screw up -the truth always comes out- and who wants to work with their little sister, right?

Have we left anything out?  We’d love to hear your success due to failure stories;)

Great News for Job Seekers!

Remember that Fall you spent on the Big Island working at a yoga and meditation retreat? Or the spring you lead eager families through the Montana landscape as a Dude Rancher? Oh, wait that hasn’t happened yet.

For our recent grads and anyone who is looking for a job consider a self imposed diversion from the doom and gloom reported on the current employment numbers. Haven’t been paying attention? Well it goes something like this … “Along with the long-term unemployed, experts say their prospects are the bleakest among all job-seekers.” (thanks Smartmoney.com)

With the creative life path approach in mind, we loved what Michael Landes, founder of Backdoorjobs.com writes about his experience of finding his way via a variety for posts.

As I reflect on a handful of experiences in my lifetime—landing my first internship with Gallo Winery while in college; learning to “think different” as an event marketing intern at Apple; traveling coast-to-coast with MTV; counseling and inspiring college students about the importance of internships and short-term work experiences at California State University, Chico (my alma mater) and Pace University in New York; venturing to Europe on a solo backpacking and cycling adventure (I absolutely loved Switzerland!); experiencing the beauty of Yellowstone National Park while working as a recreation manager; connecting more with the earth as an apprentice at a farm; teaching elementary school children; or working as a graphic designer/illustrator at the American Institute of Wine & Food, Harvard University, and other nonprofits—I realized that all of these experiences, no matter how unrelated they were, have made me the person I am today.

How to find these jobs?  Besides, backdoorjobs.com, a collection of short and long term job options – you can check out aboutjobs.com which is part of a large network including InternJobs.com, OverseasJobs.com, InternationalJobs.com, SummerJobs.com and ResortJobs.com.

Our favorite opportunity we saw on Backdoor.com was working at a retreat on the Big Island.

 Kalani is a well-loved, non-profit, yoga, wellness, and spiritual retreat center where people come to connect with nature, themselves and others. Kalani’s volunteer program presents an incredible opportunity to spend time in a beautiful environment with people from an array of backgrounds and nationalities. Experience life within a vibrant community on Hawaii’s Big Island, enjoy a variety of activities, classes and experiences, and learn and grow while serving guests and visitors in the spirit of Aloha!

Other options were a bit rougher -but if you like to camp – you might consider…

The Northwest Youth Corps is about accepting challenge, getting in shape and being outdoors. It is a life where boots, sleeping bags, mosquito repellent and dips in icy cold lakes replace the usual comforts of home—time where building a campfire, pitching a tent and cooking in a dutch oven becomes second nature. Non-residential Crew Leaders receive a living allowance of $1,210/month and a $2,775 AmeriCorps education award.

Benefits include a living allowance or stipend ranging from $275-$565/week, meals and camping while in the field, an AmeriCorps education award to qualifying individuals, uniform, travel, the ability to live and work in the beautiful Southwest region, and valuable training and field experience. {These types of jobs exist in every region of the country}

Are you currently working a super fabulous short term job? Perhaps teaching windsurfing in Maui or cleaning up plastic in the Bahamas? If so send us a postcard!

Hate Your Job? Tips to Boost a Day at the Office.

We love our jobs and apparently – that’s not such a popular sentiment. According to Money Magazine about 60 percent of workers are dissatisfied with their jobs! The reasons? Low salaries, lack of growth opportunities, heavy workloads, and long hours. Unfortunately, unless you’re one of those lucky trust fund types, a job is just about as important as the shelter, food and DVF wrap dress you’re able to afford from having one. The job market isn’t exactly booming so right now isn’t the time we’re going to tell you to just get up and quit. Instead, read on for Money’s tips on boosting your day in cubicle land.

1. Do What Needs to Be Done First.

If you manage your workload you’ll feel better prepared, less stressed and on top of things. Identify the tasks that are most important to your boss and move ahead on completing at least one each day.
2. Take Responsibility For Your Own Growth.
To take charge of your advancement, identify skills you’d like to pick up, and propose projects that will help you develop those abilities, Mary Lee Gannon, president of Pittsburgh executive coaching firm StartingOverNow.com suggests in the Money article. If you’re in marketing, say, you might offer to establish your company’s presence on a new social media platform, like Pinterest. Besides keeping you engaged as you learn, “you’ll be better suited for another position when it opens up,” says Gannon.
3. Fly Above the Drama.

Keep a positive mental attitude and don’t engage in office politics. If your work doesn’t already have one — create an upbeat, happy culture. “Praise others, discourage bad-mouthing, get to know optimistic co-workers better,” the article suggests. Other ideas? Start a company suggestion box, a company bowling team, weekly company lunchtime walk or a Monday morning bagel and coffee session.

Any other ideas to boost your office day? Leave them in our comment section below!
*Photo Credit: AmySept via Flickr

Poker Skills Help the Job Hunt!

Viri G (via flickr)

After spending time in Las Vegas last weekend, Nancy Longo‘s post on how poker skills come in handy during the job search came to mind. Nancy is in award-winning journalist and founder of Career Zone.

The following interview with POKERDIVAS CEO, Ellen Leikind, gives an interesting perspective on how the principles of poker can help a job hunt.

Ellen is the author of PokerWoman: How To Win At Love, Life, and Business Using the Principles of Poker. The book is available at Amazon.com as a hardcover or on Kindle.

Ellen has worked in escalating marketing positions at large consumer package goods companies including Pfizer and L’Oreal. She is a branding expert and President of EDL Marketing which specializes in building products into sustainable brands using the principle of Direct Response Marketing. She has an MBA in marketing from Fordham University and is a Native New Yorker.

Q. It’s a tough job market out there and people are either looking to find something new or upgrade what they have. How can Poker help you in this very tight Job market?

A. There are many valuable career boosting lessons based on principles learned at the poker table even if you have never played a game of cards. Poker rewards initiative, assertiveness, fearlessness and calculated risk taking all of which are needed for a successful job hunt. Real life stories in PokerWoman illustrate how poker has helped many women in business.

Q. What is the first thing you would tell women when looking for the right job?

A. The first thing I would say to them is stop betting like a girl. Women need to bold and take risk and play to win as opposed to avoid losing. They need to project more bravado and confidence and not be modest when it comes to selling their capabilities.

Q. What is the most important skill in getting ready for the job interview?

A. You can stack the deck in your favor by researching the company and people you want to work for. Poker Players are always sizing up the players at the table so they can play the right way against the right people. You need to know a companies objectives, products and financial situation before you walk in the door. And try to also find out something about the person interviewing you. With Google, face book and linked-in you can learn a lot. Be smart and be prepared.

Q. Once you are in the interview what is an important for the interviewee to be aware of?

A. Pay attention to non-verbal cues or “tells” during the interview both yours and the interviewer. Poker players are always looking for tells, to help get a read on another player. You have to pay attention to the cues you project. Do you make eye contact and sit up straight to project confidence or are your eyes down and hands fumbling projecting fear or lack of interest. On the other side of the coin, pay attention to the person interviewing you. If they look distracted or bored you need to look for ways to re-engage their interest. Women have good intuition in this area use it.

Q. What is the best way to bluff in an interview?

A. You need to be careful here. In a poker game you are expected to be deceptive but in a business situation your reputation is on the line. There is a big difference between a little embellishment and a total lie. If you have done something and are 70% proficient at it and know you can learn the rest it is fine to say you are good at it. But if you have never has any exposure to finance before don’t pretend you are an accountant. Remember if you are called on a bluff which is an out and out lie you have a lot to lose.

Q. What is the best way to put on a Poker face in an interview?

A. Save your poker face for after you have gotten the job offer. You need to be enthusiastic and animated during an interview to convey interest. Once you have an offer and are negotiating salary or benefits then use your poker face to try to up the ante and get a better deal. The first offer is rarely the best offer they will give.

Q. What happens if you don’t get the job or interview you expected?

A. Remember not every hand is a winner. You are not going to get every interview or job offer even if you are the most qualified. In fact sometimes in life as in poker you do everything right and still lose. Make sure you do not let what poker player’s call a “bad beat” ruin the rest of your hands or job interviews to come. Going on tilt, or being overly emotional about your loss will hurt your ability to go on to the next opportunity. There’s always another hand or interview. Compose yourself and go on to the next. Don’t let your emotions undermine your intelligence.

Q. But it seems like I just keep losing one after the other.

A. There is a great poker story in PokerWoman about a man name Jack Strauss. He was playing in the 1982 World series of poker and thought he had gone “all in “ and put all his chips in the pot during a hand. He lost the hand and thought he was out of the tournament but when he got up to leave it turned out he had 1 chip left. He went on to win that tournament. Out of that experience came the expression “all you need is a chip and a chair.’ Keep motivated, keep playing and stay in the game and you will land something good.

Q. What can I do if I have a job but I am very unhappy and need to find something better.

A. It’s a tough economy out there but sometimes you have to have to know when to fold’em. Getting out of a bad job is sometimes a necessary evil in helping you preserve your sanity. Yes, it is a risk but sometimes you need to take a risk to up your odds for a long term win. Best to look for the job while you are still working but don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and acknowledge that it is time to move on to the next game.

Q. Anything else we can learn from the principles at the poker table.

A. In poker and in life the prizes go to the bold. Be confident, have no fear, show some bravado and bet on your self to become a winner.

To learn more from POKERDIVAS CEO, Ellen Leikind check out her website: http://www.pokerdivas.com

Forbes 10 Best Jobs for Women in 2012

Ever think of changing careers … Or starting one? Check out Forbes Best Jobs for Women in 2012. Don’t have time to read the whole article, here are the basic breakdowns.

No. 1: Postsecondary Teachers

Annual earnings: $59,000-$94,260
Projected growth: 15%
Job openings: 55,000 post-secondary teacher

No. 2: Anthropologists

Annual earnings: $54,000
Projected growth: 28%
Job openings: 450

No. 3: Oceanographers

Annual earnings: $72,800
Projected growth: 26%
Job openings: 100

No. 4: Natural Sciences Managers

Annual earnings: $116,020
Projected growth: 15%
Job openings: 2,000

No. 5: Clergy

Annual earnings: $43,970
Projected growth: 13%
Job openings: 21,800

No. 6: Surveyors

Annual earnings: $54,880
Projected growth: 15%
Job openings: 2,330

No. 7: Chief Executives

Annual earnings: $165,000.
Projected growth: -1%
Job openings: 11,250

No. 8: Geoscientists

Annual earnings: $82,500
Projected growth: 18%
Job openings: 1,500

No. 9: Medical Professionals*

Annual earnings: $94,990-$166,400
Projected growth: 9%-22%
Job openings: 36,000
*Includes dentists, optometrists, physicians, etc.

No. 10: Aerospace Engineers

Annual earnings: $97,500
Projected growth: 10%
Job openings: 2,250

Career Tips from Net-a-Porter’s Natalie Massenet

Thinking of taking the plunge and starting your own business? Before you ditch your current career plan check out these tips for success from Natalie Massenet as told to Marie Claire. Natalie is a former journalist and the founder of one of our fave fashion sites Net-a-Porter (a luxury shopping site that garnered 42 million unique visitors last year).

Before Natalie morphed into a successful fashion exec there was a long road of convincing to do including getting designer brands to give her clothing on consignment (to sell on her site) and—oh yeah–then convincing investors to contribute $15,000 each to help raise the $1 million she needed to start the business. But the payoff has been huge — the site was recently sold for $532 million–reportedly netting Natalie $76 million.

“Work means independence,” she says. “It allowed me to shape my life on so many levels. I’ve taken an active role in creating the day-to-day life I wanted, by creating the type of place I’d like to work in. It’s given me financial independence. And it’s given me amazing self-confidence to know that there are no gender secrets to success. You have to work hard and be determined, but it’s got nothing to do with being a man or a woman.”

1. KNOW YOUR FIELD: “The important thing is knowing what you’re going to do and being an expert in what you want to do. It can be something very simple, like being an artist doing screen prints on T-shirts. But don’t pick an industry you have nothing to do with, and make sure you have a basic skill set or knowledge.”

2. DEVELOP A VIABLE BUSINESS MODEL: “Start small, do everything beautifully, have the right people around you, and make sure what you do generates money, because you can’t sustain a business that doesn’t make money. It sounds simple, but a lot of people don’t have any idea of how they’re going to make the money.”

3. GET IT RIGHT THE FIRST TIME: “Never forget that you only have one opportunity to make a first impression — with investors, with customers, with PR, and with marketing.”

4. PLAN FOR THE LONG TERM: “When I started, my entire salary went into paying the nanny. But I knew my salary would increase. You are building something, and your business gets bigger. I can invest today and get the return tomorrow.”