Tag Archives: Career Management

No job is permanent: 20 career-development pundits weigh in

This article is the result of a post I wrote recently, answering the question, “What was the best career advice you received from someone?” Currently, there are close to 84,800 views, more than 850 reactions, and more than 130 comments. I’ve compiled the best comments received from this post.

laid-off

Four years ago I was leading a LinkedIn workshop at a local community college. One of the members arrived early and was quietly working on his laptop. To start a conversation, I asked him why he was taking the workshop.

He responded by saying he was told he had to take it. You see, he really didn’t need it to find a job. Smugly he told me he worked for the City Mayor; he would never have to look for a job. I wasn’t going to debate with him about job security. My workshop was about to begin.

People were entering the room. The young man continued to work on his laptop and ignore what I was teaching.

Months after our conversation, when the City Mayor changed hands, I saw him working at a local coffee shop. I asked him how things were going. He responded by saying that he had lost his job.

What the career-development pundits have to say

“We have insurance for our homes and our cars, but not for our careers. Career development is like career-insurance. It’s having a plan in place, should, heaven forbid, you lose your steady income.Maureen McCann

“There is never job security. The first problem is that people see LinkedIn as just a job search tool. I start off my workshops stressing that LinkedIn is NOT a job search tool, but a career management tool.” Greg Johnson グレッグ ジョンソン

“…A great reason to etworking and helping others on their Journey. Do all of it for the right reasons but also know that strong social currency may be the down payment on your next big opportunity.

“The tough truth is that no job is truly safe, and no one’s employment future is set in stone. With so many variables beyond our purview—I advise clients to control what they can. We should always have a plan B. Period.” Virginia Franco

“And we career professionals aren’t immune either. I too was laid off, but I followed my own advice & got a new job long before my severance ended. It’s a hard lesson to learn though.” Edythe Richards

“One of the best things you can do for yourself—and your career—is to stay prepared, even if you feel comfortable in your job. Research, foster your network, keep your resume updated, and invest in professional development.” Adrienne Tom

“A recent lay-off caused me to face my pretense about “permanent” placement, and I now consider the full range of employment possibilities having let go of the self-importance that formerly kept my options self-limiting.” Justin Birnstihl

The parachute applies in cases especially like this. We should always be developing ourselves for inspiration, professionalism, but also in case we have to make a switch unexpectedly.” Sarah-Joy Kallos

“I’ve said many times that the jobs of the future are entrepreneurial in nature, yet our schools prepare us to be the same kind of employees they always have. With a little sense of business, we can see a layoff coming a mile away and be ready for it, including when it might impact us.” Phil Kasiecki

“I am always prepared to put my best foot forward in the workplace and continue to build my skills but also remember in the back of my mind that the job market is always changing and nothing is entitled to me.” Caitlin Outen

“A career search shouldn’t just be when you want/need a role. It should be part of your ongoing career strategy. Things like: ✅ Keeping a record of your career achievements. ✅ Keeping your CV up to date. ✅ Consistently building your networks. ✅ Establishing & maintaining a personal brand ✅ Using LinkedIn regularly for posting, establishing expertise and building connections.” Elaine Weir

“I read recently that 80% of people will lose their job at some point over their careers—and it is rarely ‘a good time.’ As Diana YK Chan, MBA coined, ‘You have to ABC—always be connecting’ and looking for the next opportunity.Sarah Johnston

“The good news is you are in charge of your own career: continually improving your skills and developing yourself, becoming an expert at something, delivering quality work, maintaining a strong reputation, building a solid internal and external network, etc.” Karine S. Touloumjian

“I suggest to any young person that they ought to continually work on developing their skills and adding to their toolkit…Also, work on a side hustle. I see a side hustle as an insurance policy in case the day job disappears. Lastly, networking is your best friend…Those seeds you plant bear good fruit for your soul and career.” Maisel Mazier

“Ideally, yes, where the business and the employee’s goals, aspirations, etc. align, it can be a great thing – but it doesn’t mean it’s forever….making connections, becoming more visible, and promoting your career when you don’t need to is far easier than having to do so when you’ve lost your job.” Barry Braunstein

“A recent lay-off caused me to face my pretense about ‘permanent’ placement, and I now consider the full range of employment possibilities having let go of the self-importance that formerly kept my options self-limiting.” Justin Birnstihl

“Had I not been proactive, this could have caused me great financial hardship. This is why you ALWAYS need to network, no matter how long you have been in a job. You just never know what will happen.” Shelly Piedmont, SPHR SHRM-SCP

“Think not just employment but go even further and envision the possibility of being an employer yourself! All the above can only be achieved with flexibility and open-mindedness.” Everline Griess

“It’s easier to stay ready than to get ready. Always prepare for your next opportunity as if you’ve already thrown your name in the hat for consideration.” Ashley Watkins

“I was laid off back in August and am proud that I had ‘packed a reserve parachute’ by way of savings and several side hustles as a website builder, marketing ghostwriter, and an EMT. It truly is up to the individual these days to write and stamp their own ticket.” James Finn


As a career coach and workshop facilitator, I see many people who tell me that they never saw their layoff coming. At 50-years-old and 30 years at the same company, they thought they would retire from their company. They never saw their layoff coming.

The majority of our career-development pundits say that staying ready while working is key to rebounding after losing one’s job. I like Maureen McCann’s term “Career Insurance” as describing the process of being prepared for the inevitable.

#LinkedInTopVoices

Photo: Flickr, Martin Sharman

10 reasons why you should use LinkedIn after you’ve landed a job

I’ve come across thousands of job seekers who believe in the power LinkedIn provides to help them land a job. I haven’t, however, come across as many people who believe in using LinkedIn after they’ve landed. They feel that once LinkedIn has done its job, it’s time to part ways.

LinkedIn for Business

Why is that? Do people not see the value of LinkedIn in their work?

In a LinkedIn post* I wrote on the fifth of September, I asked the question, “I have a job. Do I still need to use LinkedIn?” Following are 10 versions of the reasons I provided for continuing to use LinkedIn after being hired. Some folks from career development and sales have weighed in with great answers.

1. Continue to build your network as insurance, if you need/want to move on

Unless you were born yesterday, you don’t believe that any job is secure, except for Supreme Court Justices. What if you want to move on to another position? Whether you have to move on or want to move on, having an established network of trustworthy people, will be extremely beneficial.

Susan Joyce writes, “So sad when people stop using LinkedIn after landing a new job. Unfortunately, NOT unusual. What will happen the next time they need a job—start over with LinkedIn? That means a much longer job search. Instead, stay active, support the new employer, and remain professionally visible. Much smarter!”

2. Continue to build your brand

Make sure you update your profile with your latest accomplishments. Only connect with the people who provide value, as well as those to whom you can provide value. And, yes, share posts that are relevant to your network. This is all part of branding. Read The ultimate LinkedIn Guide series to learn more.

Perhaps your interest is gaining more visibility in your new role. Wendy Schoen suggests, “If you are engaging on LinkedIn, it is much easier for others in your field to reach out to you with speaking engagements or panel appearances. These are the ways in which you establish your ‘chops’ in your field!”

3. Be found by recruiters who are cruising for passive candidates

You might have landed your dream job and think you’ll retire from the organization, or you might have landed at an organization that didn’t turn out to be what you thought it would. In either case, there are always recruiters who are looking for good talent. You want to be found.

Cynthia Wright is a recruiter. She uses LinkedIn Recruiter and warns that passive job seekers never know when they’ll be approached: “It’s a great tool, and as a recruiter, 60% of my hires are made from LinkedIn Recruiter. Most are passive candidates (those who aren’t necessarily looking for a job). As a job seeker, you just never know.”

4. Give back: let people know of openings in your organization

The best of the best networkers will continue their efforts of helping others after they’ve landed. Some of my former clients have shared openings at their company, almost the minute they’ve started their job. They were paying it forward, which is the true definition of netowrking.

Employers are hiring. The questions is who are they looking to hire. The answer is clear; they’re filling positions with people who’ve been referred by those they trust and know. Be that person they trust and know; mention people with whom you’ve networked. Bonus: you might receive a finders fee.

5. Use LinkedIn for professional development

Let’s say you’ve landed at a company where there’s no money in the budget for professional development. You can reach out to other employees in your industry, or you can use information you gather on LinkedIn. One great source for professional development is LinkedIn’s Learning (Lynda.com).

Brian Ahearn, has produced four courses for LinkedIn. He speaks about persuasion in sales, personal relationships, and coaching. I have learned a great deal about the art of persuasion from him. Check out his courses: Persuasive Selling; Advanced Selling: DEALing with Different Personality Styles; Persuasive Coaching; and Building a Culture of Coaching Though Timely Feedback.

6. Research companies and people before meetings for business transactions

Let’s say you applied for a marketing director’s position. You were smart and researched the positions to which you applied and companies who were going to interview you. Did you also research the people who would be interviewing you? You were smart if you did. Now it’s time to research people in your industry or the company for which you work.

Sarah Johnston writes: “LinkedIn can be a great place to learn about your new colleagues. Individual profiles often reveal their, past jobs and non-profit involvement. This information can be helpful during water cooler conversation. One of my favorite things to do to look at the written recommendations that they’ve given to other people. This can provide you with insight into their work relationships and qualities that they value in others.”

7. Share posts and articles of your own, as well as those of others

If you didn’t share articles or comment on other’s posts while job searching, now is the time to do it. Share and comment on articles, write posts expressing your thoughts, attach a whitepaper in Rich Media sections. You want to stay on the radar of your network (related to reason number one).

Hannah Morgan writes, “Your goal in regularly sharing articles on LinkedIn is to stay top of mind among your network. Don’t just re-share the articles, though. Explain why you are sharing them and tag several people, including the author, to make sure they see it. Commenting on posts related to your field—either from people in your network, or those you do not know yet—is a way to expand your network and solidify your relationships with existing connections.”

8. Increase business and/or visibility of your organization

If you’re a salesperson or business developer in a B2B role, using LinkedIn is a no brainer. Even if you’re not directly involved in selling products or services, LinkedIn is instrumental in building relationships. Any employee in a company can be the face of the organization.

In support of this reason, Bruce Bixler makes an excellent point: “ONLY 20% of LinkedIn is used for job search the OTHER 80% is for business enterprise, sales, networking, lead generation, entrepreneurs, business development, and even small business.” By the way, he might not be far off with this figure.

9. Use LinkedIn to find talent

You’re on the other side of the table now as a hiring manager, recruiter, or HR: you are now searching for candidates. The company for which you work doesn’t have the budget for a Recruiter account or even Recruiter Lite. Your only tool for finding talent is using LinkedIn’s Search.

No problem; you used Search to find people who were hiring. You became proficient at LinkedIn’s All Filters, which allowed you to search for people by title; current and previous company; industry, location; school; and language, if you’re looking for someone who’s bilingual.

10. LinkedIn is fun to use and teach

This is my personal reason for using LinkedIn. I enjoy the platform, more so than Facebook or Twitter. Some of my colleagues tease me for my devotion to LinkedIn (one said I need an intervention), but I shuck it off. I enjoy it for disseminating information and gathering information. This isn’t to say it frustrates me at times.

I also teach job seekers to use it in their job search; having led thousands of workshops on LinkedIn strategy and building your profile. As well, I also help clients one-on-one. Using LinkedIn is my most enjoyable part of the job search to teach. Where some might not see its value, I do.


In my LinkedIn workshops I encourage my attendees to continue to use LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job. Many nod their head in agreement, but I’ve yet to see most of them to do it. Hopefully if they read this article, they’ll see the value of using LinkedIn after they’ve landed their next job.

Here’s to hoping.

*Here is the post I reference in this article.

Do you play well with others? 5 approaches to take

sandbox

You may remember your impressionable years when you played in a sandbox in the park with other children. Think about whether you joined the other kids who were playing together, or if you sat alone with your new, shiny shovel and bucket. If it was the latter, your parents probably worried if you would be aloof and have a hard time making friends.

How about at work? Do you join your colleagues or stay to yourself? While staying to yourself and burying your head in the work that needs to be done may seem like the correct way to work, you may be labeled by your coworkers as a loner, antisocial, or even a snob. This is not how you want to be seen.

Be social, join your colleagues for lunch

Where I work we have a staff room where most of the employees gather to eat together. There we talk about current events. Anything from sports; local or worldwide news; family; and, yes, politics. We touch base. Laugh. We try not to talk about work, but that is sometimes unavoidable.

Sometimes I would prefer to eat lunch at my desk, rather than trudge to the staff room, but I know it’s important to interact with my colleagues. I don’t need to stay the whole hour we’re allotted for lunch, so I may eat and leave in half an hour. In this way, I get in a few laughs and engage in enough banter to remind my colleagues that I’m part of the team.

Be willing to help others

You’re buried with an assignment or two. You’d like to close your office door, if you have one, or retreat to another part of the building. How am I going to get all this work done, you wonder? One of your colleagues needs you to help her with a customer. You, after all, are the only expert in this area.

You have the option to tell your colleague that “there’s no way I can help you. I’ve got my own work to do.” But here’s the thing: when you’re working as a team, you don’t only have your own work. You are contributing to the overall goal of the company, and your work is merely a piece.

Am I suggesting you drop what you’re doing immediately all the time? No. There will be times when helping others can wait an hour, day, or even a week. This is when your ability to prioritize is important. One of my colleagues asked me if I could help his customer with a résumé. I told him I could in a few days. He and his customer were very grateful.

Deal effectively with conflict

For some reason a colleague has it in for you. You’re not sure why, but it’s obvious that there’s a conflict. You can ignore your colleague, react with anger, or take the high road and make an attempt to resolve it.

I recall a time when I didn’t make an effort to resolve a conflict between a colleague and myself. At first I was angry and willing to ignore her. Then I had a sense of uneasiness. Finally I was resigned to not speak with her at all. This went on for close to six months. To say I didn’t handle this well is untrue.

Another time I had a dispute with a colleague, but instead of letting it fester, I addressed it that day. “We should talk,” I told him. “I’d like that,” he said. I told him why I reacted with anger for what he had done. He explained how he misunderstood a procedure set in place. Wanting to be the bigger person, I apologized for my actions. Was I right or wrong? It didn’t matter. The very next day we were talking as if the incident never occurred.

I call one of my colleagues the peacekeeper, because when I tell him I’m disappointed with the behavior of another colleague, he’ll remind me that I need to let some things go. And  he’s right; there are some issues that aren’t worth addressing. Some battles not worth fighting.

Accept others’ failures

Are you always right? Do you perform your duties without failure? Are you perfect? The answer to these questions is probably, “NO.” And if this is true, you’re not alone; no one is flawless. So why should you expect those you work with to be without flaws?

You will come across a boss who expects you to hand in perfect work. He may demand that you take on more work than humanly possible. In other words, he may be unrealistic in his expectations. Good bosses understand that their charges will commit errors, and occasionally will let them pass.

Don’t be too proud

There’s a reason why Pride is considered one of the most severe of the seven deadly sins. Of course a little pride is important, but when you feel you own every project or assignment and won’t let others contribute, you jeopardize the success of the team.

Have you ever felt that you were the only person who should be the leader of a project? I know the feeling. There was a project that I fought my boss to control to no avail. I realized I had to give up the project and let others contribute. I was proud and wanted the project for myself. I was that kid in the sandbox who wouldn’t share my shinny bucket and shovel.

Letting go of your pride may be difficult at first, but when you understand how important it is to let others contribute, so they can gain experience; you’ll see the bigger picture. This truly shows emotional intelligence (EQ). In addition, ask yourself if what you’re doing is necessarily right or the only way to do it.


What I’ve talked about in this post is the ability to get along with your colleagues and boss. Over and over I’ve spoken with job seekers who have lost their job due to personal conflict with the people with whom they work. Employers value more than ever the “soft” skill referred to interpersonal. Your ability to interact with your colleagues will take you places. Unable to work with others may lead you to talking with me…and I don’t want that.

Photo: Flickr, Maggie

3 areas of your career when effective communications is essential

communicationOne story I tell in my workshops is about how a former customer of mine improved communications between two warring departments. He told me that these groups were literally at war with each other and just couldn’t play well together.

He further explained that he would call members of the groups together and make them “talk” to each other. “I also made note of their body language and facial expressions. If I noticed hostility, I’d mention it and tell them I could see their hostility. Did I make them kiss and make up? No. But it almost got to that point.

If you haven’t given thought to your communications, you should. You should think about how it affects the aspects of your education, job search, and job. You should also think about the ways you communicate.

In College

Networking2College is the beginning of the rest of your life, as the cliché goes. Therefore, it’s important that you strengthen your verbal and written communication skills. And you don’t have to major in Communications in order to strengthen your communications skills.

Your verbal communications. Take advantage of any opportunities you have to present in front of a group. As scary as it may seem, you will be better prepared for the workforce. Try to ignore your fear and think that this is part of your education.

You’re not only communicating with your mouth; you’re also communicating with your body language, facial expressions, and voice intonation. The more animated you are (within reason) the better your message will come across. Some believe that effective verbal communications is 80% presentation.

Your written communications. When you write expository papers for your classes, put your best effort forth. Be concise, yet informative. The working world prefers ideas presented in writing that are as short as possible.

This includes emails, proposals, marketing literature, whitepapers, etc. I remember a marketing manager saying to me, “Brevity is the key to success.” She was right.

You’ll learn that when you leave college and enter your job search that your success will depend on your marketing campaign. This will include your written and verbal communications. Don’t focus on only one form of communications, though.

In your job search

Commission having a Job interview.Networking will be a valuable activity in your job search and require excellent communication skills. It’s by networking that you will penetrate the Hidden Job Market, which is a topic in itself. Your goal is to be known by people who matter.

Important forms of communications include your ability to articulate your talents and goals. It’s also important to listen to the people with whom you’re networking. Listening is a key component of communications. I’ve been to networking events where I felt like a sounding board. Don’t do that to others.

Once your networking has led you to the decision makers of organizations, it’s time to put your written communication skills to use. Write resumes (plural) that speak to the needs of employers. Create a strong online presence with your LinkedIn profile.

The interview will arrive after you’ve put your efforts into networking and writing strong marketing documents. It’s at the interview that you’ll have to shine with answers to the tough questions. Where you’ll have to come across as confident and affable. Where ultimately you’ll have to demonstrate your communication skills.

At work

BrainstormingFortuneLiveMediaCongratulations, you landed a job. Now is the time when your communication skills will help you in performing well and progress among the ranks. Your colleagues and supervisors will expect you to be articulate and clear when presenting ideas.

Company meetings are a great example of how important it is to present clear ideas. Let’s say you have to report on the social marketing campaign you’re working on. The group of twenty people, including the director of the organization, want to know the specifics of the project.

To your credit you’ve come prepared. You walk to the center of the room (don’t sit) to deliver your PowerPoint presentation. You flick through each slide, talking about how you’ll employ Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to promote the organization.

Your body language demonstrates confidence, the tone of your voice is upbeat, you smile and communicate effectively with your hands. You notice that the director is smiling and nodding while you’re talking.

Bringing it together

Communications constantly ranks high on employers’ lists of essential skills. There’s no secret why. How you’re graded in school relies on how well you present your projects, how well you write your papers.

How you’re perceived during your job search has a great deal to do with your ability to express your value. And don’t forget the importance of listening. You must employ written communication skills to land the interview. And finally, it will be your ability to verbalize your value to employers that will land the job.

But it doesn’t end at the interview. You will demonstrate your communication skills at work in a variety of ways. Throughout your professional life communication skills will play a role in your success.

Talk more; 5 reasons why your job search and performance at work require it

This article contrasts one I wrote on talking too much. What’s the balance many, including I, wonder?

We’ve all been in the presence of people who don’t talk much, if at all. It can be frustrating or downright agonizing, particularly if you’re sharing a car ride with them or at a party or working beside them. As uncomfortable it is for you, the consequences for the dead-silence types can be devastating to their job search and occupation.

I’ll be the first to admit that making small talk is not my forté, but I do all right when the moment calls for it. I’m better at asking questions to draw out information from anyone without sounding like a CIA interrogator.

I often wonder about the times I talk too little, why a failure to communicate comes over me. The reason for this, I believe, is lack of confidence and a touch of insecurity. I’m an articulate person. I might commit a misnomer here and there or forget what I was going to say, but for the most part I can communicate my thoughts and ideas.

I wrote about the opposite end of the spectrum, people who talk too much—a documented disability in some cases—and the effect it has on their job search and ability to function at work. I also believe that people who fail to talk at crucial moments hurt their chances in their job search and at work. Below are five areas where people must talk.

Networking—In your job search, networking in social settings, at networking events, and professional meetings; demonstrating your verbal communication skills is essential to success. People need to know what you want to do, what skills you possess, and the accomplishments you have under your belt.

Networking is a daily activity that permeates every aspect of our life. We network for the best mechanics, baby-sitters, great restaurants, and more. Networking to find a job obviously serves a different purpose than finding a trustworthy mechanic, but in all cases you have a goal which can only be accomplished through effective communications.

Telephone Interviews—First rule: don’t assume the telephone interview is only a screening, where you’ll only have to answer questions about your technical skills and salary expectations. They’ve become increasingly similar to face-to-face interviews. My jobseekers have been through multiple phone interviews—behavioral-based included—before a final face-to-face.

When you leave your contact information on voice mail, also include your personal commercial as something that will set you apart. You’re interested in the position and feel you’re the right person for the job because 1) you have the necessary experience, 2) meet all the requirements, 3) have job-related skills, and 4) the big one…you have quantified accomplishments that prove what you can do for the employer. Don’t be surprised if the hiring manager answers the phone; it happens, so be ready to talk.

Interviews—If you don’t talk, they won’t hear you. This is where your confidence must be abundantly clear. If you want to pretend you’re on stage, fine. This is your greatest performance. Preparation is the key. You know that you have to understand the job and company inside and out; but there is one other thing you have to know by heart…your résumé. Knowing your résumé will help you talk about yourself, particularly if you wrote it yourself.

Some of my jobseekers admit that they like an interview where they don’t have to talk. Letting the interviewer do all the talking is fine with them. It’s a good sign, they tell me. Wrong. Letting the interviewer talk non-stop prevents you from getting your key points into the conversation. How will they know you, if you don’t talk?

Meetings—You’ve secured a job. Your willingness to talk is just as important as when you were looking for a job. Employers like those who appear confident and who can engage. Have you ever been to a meeting where a group of people—not necessarily introverts, but more likely—never talk. Afterward they’ll approach a colleague and express their feelings about the topics covered, but not during the meeting. Why, I ask you?

Don’t rely on meeting leaders to ask for your opinion if you’re remaining silent. I’m sure you have great ideas, so why not express them. One person in my MBTI workshop said that all the extraverts talk over everyone. First of all, I don’t see that as a common practice. Second, fight back. That’s it, raise your voice to show you’re not timid; you can talk and have great ideas. The meeting leader will appreciate this.

Promotions, Special Requests—Nancy Ancowitz, Self-Promotion for Introverts, writes, “All too often, introverts get passed over for job offers and promotions while more extroverted colleagues get all the recognition….” I’m not saying that introverts are deficient and require help. But as an introvert, I tend to like writing more than speaking, because I express my ideas clearer on paper.

However, when it is required to use your verbal voice, such as following up on an e-mail about scheduling a special meeting for that company-paid training, you have to be on. You have to be psyched up for the moment; and even if you’re sweating, your stomach aches, you want to jump out of your skin, you still have to use the verbal communication skills that have been latent since you earned the job.

Where’s the balance? Talking too much can be detrimental to your success. We know people who make our minds go numb from their incessant babbling. They make us want to run in the opposite direction. But there are also those who don’t talk, which as you’ve seen can sabotage a job search and performance at work. There is a balance between the overly loquacious and the utterly dead silent. There are extravert types who can listen as well as they talk and introvert types who can talk as well as they listen. You know people like this, so emulate them…for the sake of your career.

9 traits that great colleagues display

Jeff Hayden wrote a sincere and insightful article on 9 Traits that Make Great Employees Outstanding for BNet.com. In his article he praises employees who are: a little bit “off, “eager to prove others wrong, ask questions for others; among other outstanding traits. I agree with a lot of what Jeff says about great employees.

In response to Jeff’s article, I thought of what I consider nine traits that make colleagues outstanding. What follows is a bit of tongue-in-cheek thoughts on the idea great colleagues.

  1. Understand the value of time. They don’t bug me too often. Come on, if someone’s trying to get some work done, take a hint. I enjoy a good conversation as much as the next guy, but when my eyes keep drifting to the computer screen, it’s time to leave.
  2. Are direct, to the point. They answers close-ended question like, “Do you have a stapler I can borrow?” with a yes or no response. That’s all I ask for. On the other hand, if I ask them how their weekend was, I don’t expect a dissertation on a visit to the Boston Aquarium and the mating habits of penguins.
  3. Don’t watch the clock. They don’t ask me why I’m staying late if I’ve only been at my desk five minutes after quitting time. I don’t work 14 hours days, but I don’t watch the clock either. So if I’m doing a little extra work, I don’t want to hear it from people who are rushing out the door.
  4. Have fun. They know how to play a practical prank better than Hawkeye Pierce from M*A*S*H or Jim Halpert from The Office. One of the best tricks played on me was when a fellow teacher put a paper clip through the prongs of the plug of my radio, so when I plugged it into an outlet, sparks flew and scared the hell out of me. Priceless.
  5. Are generous. They give me a slice of their pizza without having to be asked. Some people just don’t get it when I tell them I’m hungry. A great colleague can see the hunger on my face and slide a slice across the Formica-top table.
  6. Contribute to a safe work environment. They don’t hit me with the company Nerf football as I’m walking down the hallway. When I was in marketing, Sales thought they were all Joe Montana and I was Jerry Rice. No, I was a MarCom writer and didn’t appreciate getting a football in my ear.
  7. Are reliable. They don’t show up at noon for the first day of a trade show when it begins at 9:00 a.m. I understand they like to hit every bar in Manhattan, but there are consequences for every action, even if their heads hit the pillow at 6:00 a.m.
  8. Are considerate. They don’t hold a Biggest Loser contest when everyone, except me, has 5% body fat. “Come on, Bob, you can lose 40 pounds,” they say. Yeah, all I’d have to do is eat celery every day for 10 years.
  9. Pay attention. They hear me the first 15 times when I tell them how to double-side one-sided documents. I’m generally patient, but when someone asks me to explain a procedure but expects me to actually do it, that ticks me off.

Do you feel the same way about great employees as I do? Do you look for a little fun in the workplace, coupled with productive co-workers who realize when you have an important project due and require concentration? At the end of Jeff’s article, he asks for other traits of outstanding workers. These are some of mine.

BRAVE: 5 letters to remember for the interview

Today in my Interview workshop I went off on a rant about the importance of being a fit in the workplace. It’s not enough to have the job-related skills that allow you to hit the ground running, I told them.

Most of my participants nodded with agreement, while others had to process this point–maybe it never occurred to them, or maybe they were convinced that being able to create code is all they need to do.

Further I told them there’s been a lot of talk from recruiters and hiring managers who reinforce this point. “Really,” the naysayers eyes said. Really.

In an article entitled BRAVE Cultural Framework by George Bradt, the author talks about how employers are looking for job candidates who understand and can demonstrate they’ll fit in with the company.

Employers are looking at: the way people Behave, Relate to others, display their Attitude, express their Values, and the work Environment they create.

As jobseekers, you should keep this framework in mind by remembering the five letters and what they stand for. This is imperative to successfully landing a job where employers are astute enough to realize that overall fit is essential  to a productive workplace.

Remember these five components when you prepare for interviews, as you’ll most likely have to field questions based on the B.R.A.V.E framework.

Behave: This is how you make decisions and/or behave under leadership. Are your decisions the right ones that contribute to a better run business? As individual contributors, do you toe the line, contribute ideas that are implemented, deal well with autonomy or deal equally well with reward and discipline? These are all considerations, and more, that might arise at an interview.

Relate: This is the way you interact with others and create a team environment. You relate to difficult support staff and take appropriate measures to keep everyone on the same page. You understand differences of opinions and methods and work toward a team environment, even with those with whom you disagree.

Attitude: “A big part of this comes through in individual and organizations’ sense of commitment to what they are doing,” the article says. Does the manager promote the proper attitude, make her support staff see the mission of the company or organization? Do the support staff embrace the mission and goals of the organization? This is where someone might be said to have a “bad attitude,” and this could be the mark of death.

Values: As a manager, you must instill values that foster learning, advancement, creativity, autonomy, etc. Staff must hold the same values as the company, or there could be conflict. To understand the values of the company, you must ask the appropriate questions at the interview to uncover them. For example, “How important is creativity to ABC Company?” If you get a blank look, chances are you’re at the wrong interview.

Environment: The article talks about the way people approach the workplace in terms of “formality/informality, preferred office layout, etc,” but it’s really an accumulation of all the aforementioned components, in my opinion. Environment is created by upper and mid management and sustained by the support staff. How one behaves, relates to others, her attitude, and values, are what creates a healthy and efficient work environment, not dress and working hours.

It’s a well-known fact that employers look for three qualities in potential employees. Can they do the job? Will they do the job? And will they fit in? B.R.A.V.E answers the third component, the fit. You must prove that you can work with your support staff, inspire and motivate them to work toward the company’s goals. Likewise, you must show that you are adaptable and can work with any management style. Will you follow the B.R.A.V.E framework? Employers are banking on it.