How to Write a Self-Review

self-reviewAuthor: Alyse Kalish
Source: The Muse

Ah, performance review season! Hopefully you’re hopping into this stretch with a confident step. But, if you’re not that’s normal, too—you’ll probably want to read this and this to get your nerves under control.

Odds are that you’re reading this because you’ve been asked to write a self-review before your formal one. Or, if not that, your boss is sending vague requests like, “Plan on discussing your progress this year. Bring a few examples on paper.”

This can be intimidating—maybe you’re not sure what to talk about, or maybe you’re a horrible writer and can’t imagine churning out complete sentences about yourself, or maybe you’re unsure of how honest you should really be.

Don’t stress—here’s everything you need to know.

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How to Translate Your Skills from One Industry to Another

resumeAuthor: Kat Boogaard
Source: The Muse

You’ve decided you want to make a career change, and you know that you’re going to need a polished resume to do so.

You sit down to make the updates, and it isn’t long before you feel stuck. The blinking cursor on that blank page has been taunting you for at least a half hour now. You have no idea how to translate your existing experience and skills in a way that will grab the attention of a hiring manager in this entirely new industry.

The job search is always a little intimidating, especially so when you’re aiming to make a switch. But rest assured, you absolutely can transfer your existing expertise and competencies to a brand new field—whether it feels that way or not.

Here’s what you need to know to prove you’re the perfect fit.

1. Identify Your Qualifications

The best place to start is reading the description for the position that you want and asking yourself: What boxes do I already check?

We’re assuming that you aren’t a former software developer applying for a role as a neurosurgeon or an airline pilot. So, even if this career change feels like a bit of a stretch, chances are good that you already possess at least a couple of straightforward qualifications that this role requires.

Pull out the requirements that you meet without a doubt—the ones where there’s no need for you to draw any parallels or offer any explanations for the hiring manager, because you satisfy those qualifications without any questions asked.

Maybe you have those 10 years of leadership experience under your belt. Or, maybe you’re a skilled public speaker as the job description requests. Put those things on your list.

This step is important, as it will arm you with the things that you want to draw the most attention to within your resume. Zoning in on those qualities that make you an obvious fit will help you present yourself as a seamless hire—even with your less traditional experience.

2. Emphasize Results

Employers everywhere—regardless of specific industry—appreciate an employee who’s able to get things done and produce results. That’s universal.

For that reason, it’s smart to highlight the results you achieved in your past positions—rather than simply listing the duties that you were responsible for. Particularly when you’re changing industries, prospective employers will care more about what you actually accomplished, and less about how you specifically did it.

Let’s look at an example for some added clarity. Kate previously worked in administration for a regional hospital, and is now aiming to make a change by applying for a sales position with a healthcare software company. She knows that her experience in the medical field will benefit her. But considering she’s never worked in sales before, she’s nervous about her perceived lack of qualifications.

Here’s a bullet point from Kate’s existing resume:

Responsible for planning, organizing, and executing the annual hospital black tie gala.

To emphasize results, Kate should quantify that point with some numbers while also tying it back to a larger, company-wide objective. In doing so, that bullet point could look like this:

Strengthened the hospital’s relationship with 500+ donors, board members, and other external stakeholders by coordinating and executing the annual black tie gala.

Not only is that second option far more impressive, it also touches on some qualities that would also be important in a sales career—including relationship-building and organization.

3. Connect the Dots

When applying for a role in a different industry, your duty as the job seeker is to make your previous experience appear as relevant as possible. Often, this means that you need to quite literally connect the dots for the hiring manager and bridge the gap between what you possess and what that position requires.

In some cases, this means cutting out things that won’t be applicable in your new industry—such as highly technical skills or specific pieces of software.

Then, challenge yourself to relate your existing experiences to this other field. Let’s look back again at Kate. Based on her research, she knows that meeting quotas are a key part of success in sales. While she didn’t need to meet specific sales goals in her previous role, she does have experience hitting fundraising goals. She could emphasize that in a bullet point like this one:

Consistently achieved the hospital’s yearly fundraising goal of $100,000 through successful relationship building, grant requests, and community events.

This statement proves a few important things about Kate that make her a fit for a sales role: She’s inspired by difficult-to-reach objectives, she recognizes the importance of relationships, and she’s comfortable making requests.

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The Best Career Advice from Top Professionals

ladderAuthor: Kate Antoniades
Source: Corporette

We recently contacted several top career coaches (many recommended by Corporette® readers!) to ask them to share their best career advice for professional women in BigLaw, BigFour, and other Big jobs. They shared their thoughts on growing your network and building your reputation, communicating with colleagues and making your expectations clear, keeping an open mind regarding your future career path, and deciding whether or not it’s time to leave a job. Readers, have you ever used a career coach? What’s your best career advice to share with young lawyers, accountants, or other professionals?

Psst: we’ve talked about how to find career coaches before, as well as offered other tips on how to succeed in your career.

Here’s what they shared with Corporette® readers as far as their best career advice:

 Elizabeth H. Munnell, J.D., EHMunnell: 

Some baseline advice for young women starting practice in large law firms: Do not listen to anyone who, in your first few years as a lawyer, warns against spending otherwise billable hours building your network and reputation in the community. Time spent developing a broad and coherent business network, and learning the basics of client development and business generation, is a direct investment in your future and a path to a self-sustaining practice. That it may be non-billable is irrelevant.

Your friends and classmates in the business community are already on message — and they are already ahead. MBAs receive sophisticated training in network building and business generation, and are not at all embarrassed, nor prohibitively intimidated, by the task. Keep in mind, also, that many of the men with whom you are competing start out with broader networks, and a better shot (yes — because they are men) of attracting the partner sponsors essential to advancement.

Rachael Bosch, Managing Director, Fringe Professional Development: 

My biggest piece of advice is to avoid the expectation void! Try your best not to make assumptions about other people and be as clear as possible with your own expectations. That may mean outlining your plans for a big vacation within your first year when you start or clearly outlining what behaviors you want to see from folks you manage. We live in a culture where the common reaction to tough conversations is “it’s just not worth it to say anything,” [and] my advice is that the price is too high to not clearly articulate your expectations. After all, if you set expectations that people don’t achieve, that’s on them. But, if you never set the expectation in the first place, that’s on you!

Kate Neville, President & Executive Coach, Neville Consulting Services: 

Before [leaving your employer], it can be worth the effort to think about how you might improve your daily experience within the organization. In conducting that cost-benefit analysis for any position, it’s important to:

1. Recognize that any job is going to have its pros and cons
2. Understand that the grass often looks greener from the other side
3. Prioritize what factors are most important to you
4. Make a distinction between what you can control and what you can’t
5. Identify which trade-offs you’re willing to accept, and
6. Develop strategies to effectively exert influence in areas that work to your advantage.

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22 of the Best Time-Saving Tips to Use Right Now

timesaveAuthor: Marius Ursache
Source: The Ladders

I’ve been testing and adjusting various productivity techniques for the past five years, read lots of books (most of them repeating) and here’s some of my findings:

It’s not about time. It’s about energy

We try to squeeze as many hours in one work day, to be “productive”, but in the end everything depends less on time, and more on your focus, motivation and overall well-being (all of them linked directly with energy levels).

I’ve recently talked about my productivity techniques obsessions in an internal presentation at Grapefruit, and the resulting presentation is on Slideshare: Productivity porn

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Awesome Resource: Great Conversation Starters!

conversationsA good conversation starter can transform an awkward, stilted conversation into an interesting, enjoyable discussion. That’s important in sales, as having several conversation starters up your sleeve will help you form connections with prospects, referrals, and potential partners.

In other words, the ability to start a conversation translates to real business.

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The Secret to Nailing an Interview is Not What Everyone Thinks It Is

job-interviewAuthors: Elena Botelho and Kim Powell
Source: The Ladders

Congratulations, you’ve made the short list of candidates for your dream job. Now all you have to do is pass the final test: How do I walk into the room and convince the decision makers that I’m their best choice?

This is the question on the mind of anyone, everywhere, who’s ever competed for a job. Unfortunately, it’s exactly the wrong question to ask. We know because we advise corporate boards, executives, and CEOs — from middle-market firms to the Fortune 500 — to help them make their most critical hiring decisions. We’re in those rooms all the time. More importantly, we’re in the heads of the people who make the decisions. Job seekers, here’s the surprising thing to understand before you walk into the room: They’re as anxious about the hiring process as you are. Maybe even more so.

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7 CEOs Talk About the Books That Changed Their Lives

7ceosAuthor: Aja Frost
Source: The Muse

Reading requires focus. It requires time. And, let’s be real, it requires a lot of discipline—because at the end of the day, you’re probably more likely to reach for your phone than your Kindle.

Of course, you know that you should be reading more (and binging less). After all, it’s what so many successful leaders say gets them ahead. So, what’s a busy person supposed to do when Googling “best career books” yields way too many options (and the titles all sound so much alike)?

Consult the list below! Rather than forcing you to sort through every business bestseller on your own, I reached out to seven CEOs to learn which books changed their lives. I don’t want to make any promises, but picking up one of these titles feels like a pretty obvious shortcut to getting on that leadership track.
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