Are you preparing a resume? It’s natural to want to tell prospective employers all about yourself — but some things are better left unsaid.
Remember, you have only a limited amount of space to convince someone you would be a good hire. So, avoid including anything that might offend, or cause an employer to question your abilities.
Following are some key things to avoid on your resume.
Criticism of past employers
A sure way to put off a potential employer is to waste space on your resume criticizing past employers or supervisors. You may feel perfectly justified in your criticism, but the purpose of a resume is to showcase talents and abilities, not to air grievances.
Don’t give prospective employers the impression that you are disloyal or generally disgruntled. Instead, write about your positive relationships and accomplishments. Tell people about the good things you can bring to their business if they give you the opportunity.
Excuses for past problems
If you have been laid off or dismissed from a job, you may feel the need to explain the situation in your resume. It’s natural to want to tell your side of the story, especially if you feel that you were not at fault.
However, it’s easy to spend too much time discussing disappointments and missed opportunities. You may give the impression you aren’t taking responsibility for your own mistakes.
A better approach is to write about past successes. If you are called upon to explain a layoff or dismissal in an interview, be honest, but brief. Let people know that your focus is on the future.
When a job applicant lists skills unrelated to job performance, it can appear that he or she has no valuable skills to showcase. Instead, describe things that you’ve learned that have improved your performance on the job. For example:
Do you have great internet skills?
Did you pursue special training to enhance your contribution in past jobs?
Are you attending school to earn an advanced degree or certificate?
Focus on recent achievements in your resume. If something happened 10 or 15 years ago, prospective employers may get the impression your successes are behind you.
So, leave out that Cub Scout merit badge.
Poor grammar and spelling
If you submit a resume with misspellings, typos or grammatical errors, you are unlikely to score a job interview. Even if you are in a field where the proper use of language seems unimportant, most employers want to know that their hires have good communication skills.
Grammatical mistakes on your resume can signal you’re careless and possibly unreliable. A resume free of errors lets recruiters know you’re serious about the job.
Too much information
Recruiters have a limited amount of time to sort through applications. So, keep it brief.
When screening applicants, recruiters look for experience, training and past employment. If you write in great detail about every job you’ve ever had, you may overwhelm. Worse, the information that makes you stand out as an applicant might get overlooked.
In most cases, submitting one or two pages worth of information is adequate. You can expand on your qualifications once you get to the interview stage.
Anything that isn’t true
You may be tempted to exaggerate skills, training or accomplishments. However, doing so always is a mistake. Once you put something in writing, you can’t take it back. Even if it helps you land a job, the lie may resurface years later and damage your reputation or career.
So don’t exaggerate qualifications. If you don’t have a college degree, describe the training you’ve received on the job. The best way to get a resume filled with accomplishments is to do work that you’re proud of.
Developing your professional skills is something that never stops, and continues to happen throughout the entirety of your career. There’s always more to learn and skills to start to master, and there’s no better time to get a start on it than in your 20s.
The sooner you start, the sooner you’re great at something. From getting our finances under control to forming foundations for professional success, getting solid career habits under your belt is the key to long-term success. Looking to make strides in your career this year? Getting in these 10 habits early on in your career will set you up for continued growth in your work world.
1. Step out of your comfort zone
Get comfortable now doing the things that make you uncomfortable. While it might seem counterintuitive, the early stages of your career are the best times to take a risk. Everything is about learning, and you have so much space to make mistakes and get right back up and start over.
A comfort zone busting habit can be something small but should be routine. Think about pushing yourself to do one “stretch thing” a week and jot a reminder in your calendar to keep yourself accountable. This can be any number of things whether you ask you the new girl out to lunch or raise your ideas in a meeting you’re normally silent at.
2. Make the most of your Sundays
Mondays get a lot of air time as the day we need to command, but how you habitually tackle your Sunday also sets you up for a week of success. If Sundays have always still felt like 100 percent “weekend” time, start committing to carving out just an hour or two in the late afternoon to do things that tee you up for productive work week. This can be scheduling workouts or meal prepping lunches to help ensure you’ve got your wellness goals mapped out to be your best productive employee.
When you’ve mastered that, tack on another hour to invest in some professional development goals. Read industry journals that you normally haven’t, take an online class to beef up your technical skills or tackle a new podcast series. Getting in the habit of seeing at least a little of Sunday as part of your work week sets you up to ease into a great Monday.
3. Give and take constructive feedback
Taking constructive feedback gracefully demonstrates maturity and the ability to grow professionally. You’ll also be practicing your own leadership skills if you work on how you deliver feedback to colleagues. The best employees are those that make a team’s success their responsibility and take it upon themselves to shape the output of a group with constructive feedback.
Did a colleague knock it out of the park on a presentation? Let her know if you hear the client say something impressive about her. Struggling to get along with a colleague over a deadline? Being able to articulate and resolve challenging relationships in a team environment is one of the best skills you can develop early in your career.
4. Negotiate like a boss
We hear a lot about negotiations attached to our salary, but in reality, it’s a skill that you’ll need to apply throughout myriad work situations. For example, when your team is given a big project, you’ll often be negotiating who is taking what work, or what reasonable timelines are. You can learn how to negotiate, and be sure you’re applying this skill to your entire compensation at a job, not just your salary!
5. Network with an executive mindset
Networking with an executive mindset means that you are connecting with people with the intent of a long-term relationship. Early in our careers, networking is touted as the essential way to learn the ropes and get exposed to great job opportunities. While true, you start developing a whole different level of networking sophistication when you can thoughtfully maintain a network as well as think about how you can pay it forward. Get in the habit of keeping in touch with connections by flagging articles you think they may find interesting or catching up over coffee, especially when you don’t have a particular career need in mind.
6. Manage your social media
There really is no better time to learn that the internet is forever. Whatever your social media footprint, be savvy about your privacy settings and know that even at their best, leaks happen. Think about the professional version of you 10 years from now. Will that girl be proud of what’s going up on Instagram today?
On the plus side, don’t underestimate the power of starting to build your professional brand now. Little bits of content, presence, and social media effort really add up over time. Consider starting a professional site with a landing page that gives prospective employers a look at your accomplishments and background. At the very least, be sure you have a LinkedIn page, as it remains relevant for professional connections in most industries.
7. Update your resume(s)
Especially in the early stages of our career, there are always a number of different paths where our job interests could take us. Consider spending some time creating several different versions of your resume tailored to the major categories of work you might find yourself pursuing. They certainly may overlap a little, but you’ll start to see that it can be extremely valuable to emphasize different skill sets, responsibilities, and talents depending on the next role you’re looking at.
Even if you only have one go-to resume, take the time to make it up to date just in case any opportunities arise.
8. Keep a rolling brag sheet
Brag sheets are a little different than your official performance review or public resume. Think of them as a running list of talking points that have a greater level of detail about all the awesome things you are doing at the office. Did a colleague or mentor give you some great feedback on how your contributions really sealed the deal on a project? Do you have stats about how your content creation pulled in new eyeballs or clients? While some of these are resume relevant, often this granular level of detail is best left for conversations. Keep one going, and look at it before you have an interview or a performance review to gain talking points.
9. Dressing for the next job
This isn’t news, but it is critical to your early career success and it is the cornerstone of beginning to build your executive presence. In your 20s, you’re constantly making career first impressions, meaning you have both prolific opportunities to impress (and to not get it quite right).
One of the best habits you can get into in this category is remembering to always treat work events just like that: as work events. Happy Hour with the crew? Good times! But you’re still a work event, so it means that on the dress code scale you want to land somewhere between what you’d be wearing at the 9-5 and what you’d be wearing in a friends-only crew on Saturday night.
10. Compete against yourself
One of the best habits you can sustain for career development is comparing yourself to your own potential and goals. Especially at the early parts of our career, it can be easy to look sideways at what everyone else is doing, how much money people are making, or even what cool new company they get to work for.
The earlier in our careers that we can reaffirm that we’re only competing against ourselves, the more joy we’ll be able to find along the way. Treating every opportunity as a way to grow from the person you were yesterday ends up making the journey so much more fulfilling.
Doing This With Your Hands Makes People Not Trust You, Experts Say
Especially with face masks covering our mouths these days, body language is a huge factor in how we come across. Whether you’re sitting straight up, slouched over, or fidgeting with your pen, people are quick to make judgements based on the little things you do. In fact, experts say that making one common gesture with your hands makes people less likely to trust you. Read on to find out what it is, and for more on why people may be doubting you.
Putting your hands in your pockets makes people not trust you.
If you want to come off as inviting and trustworthy, keep your hands where people can see them, says Susan Trombetti, a relationship expert and CEO of Exclusive Matchmaking. “When people keep their hands in their pockets, it appears they are hiding something. And someone is more likely to be lying because they are hiding their hands,” she explains. Concealing your hands comes across as more controlled, which can be interpreted as “deceitful and untrustworthy,” she notes. “People generally consider individuals with their hands in their pockets to be insecure,” explains Girish Shukla, a mental health and psychology expert.
Keeping open body language makes you seem more trustworthy.
According to Trombetti, someone who is telling the truth—or at least, seems to be—is more likely to keep their hands open and palms up. When your hands are visible, “the physical openness of your body language invites trust,” says Lauren Levy, a sales expert who teaches people in the industry how to appear trustworthy.
“Keeping open hands while talking can give others the idea that you can be trusted and that you know what you are talking about,” Shukla says. “Whenever you expose your palms it means that you are not hiding anything.”
For many, the LMS (Learning Management System) was a safe and obvious solution. Convert the onboarding sessions, tool or process training traditionally shared in a classroom-style format into LMS courses easily consumable from anywhere, at any time.
Yet, despite the popularity, compelling research suggests there are detriments to relying solely on an LMS for training and onboarding employees. Here are four of the most common pitfalls every entrepreneur should be aware of when evaluating an LMS solution and what you can do about it.
1. LMS course content is quickly forgotten
Studies have shown, (specifically, the Forgetting Curve by Ebbinghaus) employees will forget up to 50% of what they just learned within an hour without revisiting the material. This number jumps up to 70% by the following day.
What’s happening? Our working memory has a limited capacity, known as cognitive load. It’s estimated that the average adult can store between five to nine pieces of new information at once in their short-term memory. So, if an employee goes through a two-hour course on a new tool, it’s likely they’ll forget most of the training when they go and use the tool the next day.
2. It’s not easily accessible
A McKinsey report found employees spend, “1.8 hours every day – 9.3 hours per week, on average – searching and gathering information.”
If that number feels hard to swallow, I bet this scenario isn’t: on day one, an employee takes a course on your company’s competitors where they learn about your unique differentiators. On day 45, they run up against one of those competitors on a prospecting call. To recall that information from their training they need to find the course, the right module and fast-forward to the exact section just to recall the competitive differentiator.
Compound that by the fact that today, instead of being able to turn to a coworker for a quick answer, employees are waiting for responses on email, Slack, etc. The result is a staggering amount of time and energy wasted.
Retrieving knowledge from an LMS course requires an employee to leave what they’re doing, find the course and identify the exact spot within the course containing the answer they’re looking for.
Learning teams put so much energy and effort into developing these courses but ultimately if the information isn’t readily accessible, it won’t be used.
3. It’s not reinforced
This goes back to the original challenge of short-term memory capacity. When information isn’t reinforced and processed into our working memory, it’s discarded to make room for new concepts and ideas.
For knowledge to be retained, it needs to be reinforced as the employee is going about their day-to-day workflow. Imagine, you’re trying to learn basketball and the coach walks you through a two-hour course and sends you on your way. Do you feel like Steph Curry? Likely not.
In the same way that the fundamentals of a sport are repeated over and over to make it into long-term memory, employees need repetitive training on processes and tools before they’re proficient.
4. It doesn’t mirror how employees learn outside of work
Let’s say you’re at home and you want to know how to cook the world’s best scrambled eggs. Odds are, you’re not going to comb through hundreds of cookbooks to find that recipe. A simple Google, YouTube or Facebook search and within seconds, you’re whipping up an Anthony Bourdain caliber feast.
In our personal lives, information is instant. Yet, in our professional lives, we’re forced through lengthy courses that are rarely immediately applicable.
In essence, we’re accustomed to learning as we’re doing. Rather than treating training as a corporate destination, effective professional learning should align and flow with our working days as simply and friction-free as a YouTube search does in our personal lives.
5. It’s not designed for training on small changes
Businesses are evolving more rapidly than ever before. A recent study revealed 44 percent of companies change or update tool processes at least every two weeks! Between rapidly changing processes, frequent adoption of new tools and the tools themselves constantly changing – employees struggle to keep up.
Training on these changes using an LMS would require the creation of a new course for each of these frequent updates. Due to time constraints, businesses typically defer to low-retention, easily ignored methods to communicate small changes like email, Zoom meetings or Slack channels. This results in crucial information and updates getting lost in the day-to-day shuffle.
Methods for adapting your training to the modern age
Despite all of the shortcomings, there are still benefits to LMS platforms. Before you toss your LMS out the window, ask yourself, “what type of training is suited to course style learning and what type of training is not?”
For example, general company policies, security training or department overviews might make sense to deliver in a course-style format. But, training on tools, processes or methodologies could be better served in a different format.
For the latter, ensure you’re addressing the below key challenges:
Reinforcement: How can you reinforce crucial training throughout an employee’s day-to-day workflow?
Accessibility: How can you make training instantly accessible in the moment of need, right where questions arise?
Digestibility: How can your training more closely mirror how employees learn outside of work?
Flexibility: How can you train on those small, frequent changes in a way that solves the above challenges?
Luckily, there are new Digital Enablement solutions specifically designed for these challenges that pair well with an existing LMS. There are also strategies you can adopt, regardless of what tools you use, to adapt your training.
Each and every little thing you say (yes, even just one sentence) during a job interview shapes whether or not a hiring manager thinks you are a strong fit for the job.
And sometimes, it may be tempting to give an answer that felt right at the time, but in hindsight was extremely poor and made you seem weak or average. That’s why it’s important to remind yourself in advance of what to resist saying.
Here are six responses to avoid if you want to boost your chances of landing an offer, along with tips and examples of what to say instead:
1. ‘I’m a motivated self-starter.’
I’ve heard so many candidates say this in response to questions about their professional strengths or notable characteristics.
It’s a wildly overused answer, and if you find yourself saying it, the best case scenario is that your interviewer will ask you to elaborate. Worst case (and likely) scenario? They’ll be unimpressed because they’ve heard it so many times, and move on.
A more appropriate response might be: “I’m not afraid to take the lead on projects, and I can do so with little guidance,” followed by an example of a time when you successfully did this.
2. ‘In five years, I hope to be in your position.’
Don’t think that your potential boss will be flattered by this answer; they’ll just find it lazy and thoughtless.
And even if they are at an impressive level in their career, they might assume that you envision being where they are — just at a different company. This indicates a lack of commitment.
Instead, outline potential ways you see yourself growing at the organization. Start with the position you’re interviewing for and highlight some key skills required for the job, and how you can build upon those skills.
This shows that not only do you care about your career advancement, but that you’ll also be dedicated to helping the company grow in the long-term.
3. ‘I didn’t like my previous boss.’
Never speak badly about a former boss, no matter how bad of an experience you may have had.
When asked about why you left a job, it’s okay to admit that it wasn’t a right fit. Honestly is a valuable trait, but be careful with how you phrase things.
Instead, you could say that you realized your passion and want to switch career paths. Or maybe you’re looking for something more challenging. It’s also good to mention at least one thing you learned from your previous job that can help you succeed in the role you’re applying for.
If you were fired, explain the situation without taking or assigning blame. Talk about what you could have done differently to change the outcome. This displays self-awareness and an ability to grow from negative experiences.
4. ‘My biggest weakness is that I’m a perfectionist.’
Nobody is perfect, so this answer is essentially another way of saying, “I’m too weak to admit any weaknesses.”
This is a behavioral question that managers take seriously, so have an in-depth response prepared. I always recommend turning to former bosses and co-workers that you trust for feedback.
Send them a list of the top skills required for the position and ask them to rank it based on what they think is your strongest to least strongest.
Ultimately, it comes down to being honest about what you need to work on, giving some examples, and then discussing how you plan to work on those weaknesses.
5. ‘Can you tell me more about the company?’
Believe it or not, I’ve seen even the most qualified candidates ask this question in various ways (e.g., “What are your company’s main goals?” or “What does your company do?”).
The hiring manager took the time to read your resume and learn more about your background, so you’re expected to do the same and make time to research them.
It’s okay to ask them to elaborate on a very specific questions (e.g., “What are your team’s monthly goals?”), but going into the interview with little information about the company is insulting and will lead to a poor first impression.
6. ‘What do your perks and benefits look like?’
Yes, it’s unwise to take any job without knowing what your employee benefits will be. But you should never bring it up early in the interview process, because it will only make the employer question your true intentions.
Remember, the first few interviews are meant to determine whether you should continue to be in the running for the position. So topics involving perks and benefits are irrelevant if you don’t even make it past those early rounds.
It’s common knowledge women typically make less in the workforce — around 81 cents for every dollar earned by male counterparts, according to Labor Department statistics. But how accurate that number is and the reasons behind it are widely discussed and debated. Some suggest that women often make less because they are more likely to hold lower-paying jobs. Data from the National Women’s Law Center states that women make up 47% of the workforce, but account for 69% of employees in jobs that pay $10 an hour or less. Meanwhile, Glassdoor found that nine out of the 10 highest-paying college majors (such as engineering, physics, and computer science) are dominated by men, while women are more prominent in six of the 10 lowest-paying majors (including in liberal arts and social sciences). But even men and women with the same majors often split into different job titles within industries where men wind up in positions that pay more.
There’s good news: Women often make higher wages than men if they are in male-dominated fields, especially when joining unions within those fields. As the gender pay gap persists, these jobs are few and far between and subject to a wide variety of variables, but they are out there.
Wholesale and Retail Buyers
Gap in women’s favor: Less than 1 cent more per dollar Women in this profession, who work selecting and buying goods or services a company needs, are not going to make much more than their male coworkers, but with very few professions giving the edge to the ladies, this one makes the cut. Interestingly, the 2019 Glassdoor Progress on the Gender Pay Gap report notes that, as a whole, male professionals in the retail industry are paid quite a bit more than women.
Postal Service Clerk …
Gap in women’s favor: 2 cents more per dollar Those ladies behind the counter at your post office make, on average, 2 to 3 cents more than those dudes standing next to them, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Interestingly, however, the same is not true for mail carriers, where men are paid a whopping 18 cents more an hour than women. Not cool, USPS.
… And Lots of Other Clerks
Gap in women’s favor: 2 to 11 cents more per dollar This is admittedly rather vague, and that’s because, according to BLS, female clerks of all types — billing and posting clerks, reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks, office clerks, production, planning, and expediting clerks, and receptionists and information clerks make more than men. Reservation and transportation ticket agents and travel clerks saw the biggest payoff — the ladies there make an average of 11 cents more an hour. The problem here is that none of these jobs are very high paying to begin with.
Gap in women’s favor: 3 cents more per dollar Female wordsmiths are making a few cents more per dollar than their male counterparts, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics reporting that, in 2018, women editors made an average annual salary of $59,176 to the men in their same profession, who pull in $57,408.
Gap in women’s favor: 5 cents more per dollar The study of body movement, a college major similar to exercise movement and one you might pursue if interested in becoming a personal trainer or physical therapist, is one of Glassdoor’s lowest-paying majors, tied with criminal justice. Still, the wage gap here is in women’s favor according to the website’s 2017 economic study — women’s $43,000 annual average salary to men’s $41,000. Take that with a grain of salt, however, as BLS’s 2918 statistics note that male physical therapists are paid more by a margin of 2 cents per dollar.
Gap in women’s favor: 5 cents more per dollar It’s not surprising this STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) field is lucrative. It’s also one that typically attracts more men, although women who pursue it excel, making an average $63,770 a year in chemical engineering to men’s $60,480, according to Glassdoor.
Paralegal and Legal Assistant
Gap in women’s favor: 5 cents more per dollar The BLS notes that women’s average weekly pay in this career, where workers perform a variety of tasks to support lawyers, including maintaining and organizing files, conducting legal research, and drafting documents, is $953 versus men’s $917.
Advertising Sales Agent
Gap in women’s favor: 10 cents more per dollar The gap among advertising majors is in women’s favor by an average $54,756 to $49,400. Women also hold 60% of professional positions in advertising, says Avi Dan, a contributor to Forbes, but black employees are poorly represented and still make only 80 cents for every dollar earned by a white colleague.
Clinical Laboratory Technologist and Technician
Gap in women’s favor: 10 cents more per dollar Women who have a passion for the laboratory and can stomach bodily fluids can earn more than men in this profession, BLS reports. They make an average of $47,372, nearly $5,000 more per year than their male counterparts.
Food Prep and Food Service Worker
Gap in women’s favor: 14 cents more per dollar It might not be the loftiest of career goals, or pay the most, but women who work in food prep and service, which includes fast food workers, make a fair bit more than their male coworkers.
Gap in women’s favor: 93 cents more per dollar This is one job where the wage gap is completely reversed. Female models make quite a bit more than male models. Looking at a Forbes report released earlier this decade that compared the 10 highest-paid female and male models over two years, women made a total of about $105 million while the men clocked in at about $7.6 million. Women’s fashion is a bigger market, and the work is higher-paying and more abundant. However, as French model Baptiste Nicol noted in a Huffington Post story: “You have to take into account that a male model will have his best earning years between 30 and 50” — by which time, the outlet went on to write, “most female models’ maximum earning potential is behind them.” Sigh. But, it should be noted, that this is an industry in which even the non-super contingent of female models are paid about $13,000 more per year than the rank-and-file male models.
Critical thinking skills truly matter in learning. Why? Because they are life skills we use every day of our lives. Everything from our work to our recreational pursuits, and all that’s in between, employs these unique and valuable abilities. Consciously developing them takes thought-provoking discussion and equally thought-provoking questions to get it going.
Here is a simple infographic offering questions that work to develop critical thinking on any given topic. Whenever your students discover or talk about new information, encourage them to use these questions for sparking debate and the sharing of opinions and insights among each other. Together they can work at building critical thinking skills in a collaborative and supportive atmosphere.
How Does It Work?
Critical thinking is thinking about purpose. It’s clear, rational, logical, and independent thinking. It’s about practicing mindful communication and problem-solving with freedom from bias or egocentric tendencies. You can apply critical thinking to any kind of subject, problem, or situation you choose. We made the Critical Thinking Skills Graphic for you with this in mind.
The Critical Thinking Skills Graphic includes categories for Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How. Each section has eight questions that begin with their corresponding word. The questions are meant to be versatile and broad, and applicable to a range of topics.
In these questions, you’ll find great potential conversation starters and fillers. That said, this is obviously not a definitive list! Let them inspire your students to come up with their own questions for critical thinking skill-building.
One way confidence is judged is by an individual’s behavior, especially verbal behavior. That’s according to Deborah Tannen, professor of linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Professor Tannen has been researching the influence of linguistic style on conversations and human relationships since 1974. She has also studied how ways of speaking learned in childhood affect judgments of competence and confidence in the workplace for several years.
How we speak, she says, determines who gets heard, who gets credit, and what gets done. Tannen gives the following example: one publishing company executive said, “I’m hiring a new manager. I’m going to put him in charge of my marketing division,” as if he owned the corporation. In stark contrast, women were saying “we” when referring to work they alone had done. One woman explained that it would sound too self-promoting to claim credit in an obvious way by saying, “I did this.” Yet she expected—sometimes vainly—that others would know it was her work and would give her the credit.
You might think that your way of speaking is natural, but the words you use and how you use them can determine how your confidence is judged. While there is no such thing as right or wrong words—results vary depending on the context—some common words we use in conversation really just put us at a disadvantage because they are weak and make us seem less confident.
1. “Um” and “Ah”
Many people throw in an “um” whenever they are temporarily lost for words. But there is a reason you won’t hear these crutch words, as they are known in public speaking, in news bulletins and TV shows. “Um”s and “Ah”s make people seem not only less confident, but also dumb. If you are guilty of this habit, stop it. Instead, take a brief pause when you are temporarily lost for words.
2. “Like” and “You know”
Some other people can’t go three sentences without appending a “like” to the beginning of a sentence. This is not a good if you want people to take what you say seriously. “Like” and “You know” are close cousins to crutch words. They make you look silly and incompetent when overused.
Saying things like, “Just wanted to ask a question” or “Just checking in” weakens your statements and waters down your requests. You seem less sure of yourself and less confident than you probably are. Drop the extra word and speak like a boss. Talk like you know what you want.
4. “Kind Of”
The words “kind of” or “sort of” used in conversations make you come across as vague and ambiguous. You look like you have no idea what’s going on or are afraid of committing. Unless you want people to think you are timid or clueless of what’s going on, don’t misuse these words.
If you are always saying “hopefully” to everything in conversation or that you’ll hopefully get something done, you’re actually telling people that you don’t have control over situations. This can backfire on you because it can communicate that you are weak, powerless or even unreliable.
“Actually” has become the new “basically” or “literally.” People use it even where it doesn’t stylistically make sense. For example, the phrase “but actually” is terribly misused. This particular usage is often unnecessary (fluff) and can make you seem uninformed and pitiful.
99% of the times people use the word “sorry” in conversations where no apology is necessary. Saying things like, “Sorry, can you come visit me?” or “Sorry, can I take you out?” can be misinterpreted to mean you’re not confident. Drop the “sorry” and say what you mean confidently. If you want to apologize for something, say sorry like you really mean it.
Dropping the occasional f-bomb (curse words) can add emphasis to what you are saying. But, often curse words are unnecessary and plain offensive. They suggest you are insecure about what is being discussed or are simply a rude and brutish individual. Cut curse words from your conversations.
Possible solution for glitches in conversation
Admittedly, getting rid of these communication glitches is not easy. The mistakes creep into your conversations before you realize it. However, a technique you can use to curb these errors (suggested by improvement thinkers like Tim Ferriss and Tony Robbins, and also bloggers like Scott H. Young) is to keep a rubber band around your wrist. Every time you make a communication blunder (say, using um’s and ah’s), switch the rubber band onto your opposite wrist. If you can go seven days with the band staying on the same wrist, you’re making progress.
Today’s job prospects are a far cry from early 2020 projections that the year would put job seekers in the driver’s seat of finding new work. Across the country, tens of millions of Americans continue to receive unemployment benefits seven months into the pandemic-induced economic freefall. And according to the latest available data, there was roughly one job opening for every two people out of work in August.
Studies have shown that extended unemployment and underemployment can have a longstanding impact on a job seeker’s physical and mental health. And during a triple health, economic and racial justice crisis in America, the stress of being without a job and steady income can feel even more staggering.
CNBC Make It spoke with experts for guidance on how to manage feelings of burnout while job searching during the pandemic.
Limit your job-hunting hours
There are plenty of things out of your control that are probably contributing to everyday stress: the economy, the job market, news of the election, enduring examples of racism in the country — not to mention the presence of the coronavirus itself.
While these issues can’t be ignored, Austin-based therapist Melody Li and founder of the Inclusive Therapists community says it’s crucial to focus on what you can control in order to ease stress and burnout. When it comes to the job search, while you can’t control how long it will take you to find new work, you can control how much time you give to the process on a daily and weekly basis.
Dan Black, global recruiting leader for the consulting firm EY, recommends spending between 1 and 3 hours a day during a typical work week actively job hunting. Block out a time of day when you’re most productive, whether that’s first thing in the morning, or in the afternoon when you’re done caring for kids doing virtual learning or another time. And like other experts, he says sticking to a routine — making your bed, showering, getting dressed — can put you in a more focused mindset.
Give yourself a ‘win’ every day
For the remainder of your day, Black recommends you schedule in tasks to complete that can give you a sense of accomplishment. That could mean doing another hour or two of career-related tasks, such as completing an online training course or attending a virtual conference. Or it could even be things you need to get done around the house.
“If you spend an entire day doing something and it doesn’t yield results immediately or soon thereafter, it’s a blow to your ego no matter who you are,” Black says. “Carve out pieces of your day that you can count as successes.”
Pay attention to your surroundings
Another part of your job search you have control over is your environment. Sending off emails from your couch in front of the TV for hours on end isn’t sustainable and can be hard on both the body and the mind, Li says.
“Some people may think, ‘This is temporary, so I don’t want to invest the time to create a nice environment,'” Li adds. However, she explains that this kind of thinking can put undue stress on your expectations that you’ll find a job immediately. Being intentional about your surroundings “will help with your sustainability and general energy while job searching.”
Improvements can be simple: Try putting on some joyful music during your job search hours, lighting a scented candle, wearing something that makes you feel good and setting up your laptop so you have something nice, such as the view outside a window, to look at.
Plan something to look forward to every week
With much of daily life now relegated to online activity, Li says it’s crucial to break up the monotony mentally as well as physically.
“Our minds are not wired to thrive on monotony. Our minds are wired to thrive on variety,” she says of being constantly attached to devices. “So when we start to starve out parts of our mind, like creativity and activity, which is common now during Covid, we may feel sluggish.” This, in turn, can make an already depleting job-search experience even worse: “We may feel our brains aren’t as sharp or we’re having a hard time finding words during an interview.”
Instead, make a commitment to yourself to do something active and creative at least once a week, such as going on a long weekend hike or adding a new plant to your garden. Plan it in advance.
“Give yourself something to look forward to every week,” Li says. “Some folks are holding out on kindness to themselves until they find a job. They think they’re not deserving of joy, but that’s self-punishment. On top of feeling rejected, that accumulates and can become anxiety or depression.”
Instead of feeling guilty that you’re taking time away from applying to jobs, remember that prioritizing your well-being will help you feel recharged when you get back to it.
Build a job-search buddy system
For many people, a paradox of the pandemic is that they need support from friends and family more than ever, yet interacting in person brings its own set of risks. And with so much going on, you may feel that you don’t want to burden others when they have their own struggles to deal with.
Still, there are other ways to find support from people in a similar situation as you, says Claire Wasserman, founder of the Ladies Get Paid career-development community and author of a forthcoming book. She suggests forming a group of five or so people, whether in your own network or through an online platform, to talk through your experiences job searching during the pandemic.
Sharing your experience can keep you from shouldering the challenge, and burnout, on your own. Wasserman says being honest can help others feel less alone in their experience, too.
“Being transparent about what you’re going through is helping another person,” she says. “Shift your mindset and know, it’s not about demonstrating weakness or like you’re being a burden. Everybody at some point has to figure out how to find a new job or negotiate your salary.”
The positive reinforcement of others in a similar boat can also keep you motivated when constant non-response — or flat-out rejection — can feel like a reflection of your self-worth.
Additionally, such networks can help you power up your job-search process by providing networking opportunities; resume and cover letter help; interview feedback and so on. Regular group check-ins on progress can also keep you accountable to hitting your job-search goals.
Remember that none of this is personal
As bleak as things are across many parts of the job market, it’s hard to not take it personally when you don’t hear back from a hiring manager. But each expert reiterates that it’s crucial to try and get out of this mindset. The outcome of your application is dependent on the complex ecosystem of the job market, down to how each organization has changed its hiring process in light of the pandemic.
Also remember that, if an opportunity outside your normal field presents itself, how you earn income isn’t a reflection of yourself.
“If you need money and need it now, there’s absolutely no shame in that,” Wasserman says. “Maybe on your resume it doesn’t make sense, but no one will look at your job in this year and think, ‘Why did you work this random customer service job in 2020?'”
Li says it can be helpful to write out a list of the things you’re good at and display it as a reminder. Check in with friends and family about non-work-related things.
And finally, “Take into account this is a tough time for a lot of people,” Black says. “But just because you haven’t heard back yet doesn’t mean you’re not qualified, or that you’re never going to find a job, or that you’re no good. Give yourself some forgiveness.”