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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5 Painful But Important Things To Do When You Lose Your Job

lostjobAuthor: Elizabeth Alterman
Source: The Muse

When I lost my job in 2014, I naturally slipped into a self-pity funk for a bit.

What did I do first? I promptly made an enormous bowl of tiramisu and attempted to soothe my bruised ego with dessert. But—as good as it feels to take a well-deserved time-out—the quicker you curtail the wallowing and get back to the grind, the better for your career.

After realizing I wasn’t going to find a new job at the bottom of my trifle bowl, I put my spoon in the sink and got right down to business. I found a new job six months later, but was again laid off in 2017 amid a restructuring. This time, I was much better prepared to re-enter the job market.

The following is a painful but crucial to-do list anyone who’s been laid off should follow, based on my experience:

1. Acknowledge Your Emotions, Then Move On

Immediately after you’ve been let go, you may find yourself experiencing a range of emotions: panic upon saying goodbye to a regular paycheck, exhilaration as you embrace life without a set routine, rage when you reflect on all the long hours you devoted to your former position—the list goes on.

Rather than get caught up in each of these, recognize that they’re all normal.

But then—and this is the tough love talk everyone needs in this situation—move on and focus on the future.

In the case of both my layoffs, multiple colleagues were let go at the same time. Proving the old adage “misery loves company,” we served as our own little support group, commiserating together, motivating each other, and sharing leads.

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If you find yourself alone and struggling, joining a group or talking to a professional can provide comfort and encouragement and help you reign in those negative emotions.

Related: How to Bounce Back After You Lose Your Job (and Feel Like the World’s Ending)

2. Tell Everyone (Yes, Even Strangers)

Chances are, your self-esteem has taken a hit, and saying “I’m unemployed” aloud makes it that much more real and devastating.

Though you may be tempted to keep your status a secret, friends and family can’t begin to help if they’re not aware. Letting people know you’re available for new opportunities is the first step in getting your job search off the ground. (This email template will make it easier).

Right after losing my job in 2014, I attended a friend’s party and upon meeting her pals, I was asked the dreaded, “So, what do you do?” I reluctantly told people about my layoff and waited to be flooded with boatloads of pity.

But what I got instead was actually solid support. From headhunter contact information to offers to share my resume with their HR departments, people I’d just met were more than willing to help. I left the party glad I’d spilled the beans, no matter how awkward I’d initially felt.

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Pro tip: When talking about it, focus on what you want to do next—rather than what happened. For example, “I recently lost my job at [Company] and what I’ve missed most is working with customers. So, in my next job, I’m looking for a customer-facing role at a mid-sized company” sounds a lot better than, “I was laid-off because my CEO doesn’t know how to budget and goodness knows how I’ll pay rent this month. Honestly, at this point, I’d take anything that doesn’t suck.”

Related: 4 Questions to Ask Your Network Besides, “Can You Get Me a Job?”

3. Get Your Finances in Check and Create a Budget

Talking money is awkward, but knowledge is power. Figure out exactly what you’ve got to work with so you’re not accumulating debt at a time when you can least afford it.

The difference between the paycheck you lost and what you receive from severance or unemployment will determine if you need to make some adjustments to your spending—and just how sizable those should be. And this budget worksheet can help you get organized.

When I was forced to stop and really look at my finances, I realized I had to make some changes. I started with a bunch of small cuts: dinners in, books borrowed from the library, yoga at home instead of at a nearby studio. Doing this not only made me feel like I was preventing a bad situation from getting worse, it also motivated me to find a new job—fast.

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4 Things to Factor into an Office Move

officeAuthor: Emma Davidson
Source: Undercover Recruiter

Moving house is said to be one of the most stressful things a person will do in their life, so it’s no surprise moving your entire business can be just as problematic.

To be able to meet constantly changing business needs, companies now need to move offices on average every seven years. While this can be daunting, careful preparation and early planning can help avoid setbacks, extra cost and alleviate much of the pressure.

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Pretty Little Lies: Untruths That Prevent You From Snagging the Job

lies-truth-pixySource: Ms. Career Girl

On a resume there’s no such thing as a little white lie. Because either a small embellishment or a large exaggeration will eliminate you faster than you can say, “Hey wait a minute, let me take that back!” And, if by some small chance you and your lies on your resume make it past the hiring manager’s notice, it’s likely you’ll be found out once you’re on the job.

Taylor Weyeneth, the 24-year-old appointed to a top drug policy position who had to step down for lying on his resume, is a case in point of how lies will come back to haunt you. Even as liars go, he went overboard by claiming a false degree, inflating his position at a law firm and fudging on his role as president of his fraternity.

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How to Know if You’re Ready to Be a Manager

managerAuthor: Kat Boogaard
Source: The Muse

You’re interested in stepping up into a management role with your current company, but there’s just one question that keeps nagging at you: Are you ready?

Sure, you’ve produced consistently great results in your existing position and have forged some solid bonds with many of your colleagues. You’re proud of that—but, you’re also unsure of whether or not that truly means you’re cut out for a step up the proverbial ladder.

Fortunately, there are a few other telltale signs you can keep your eye out for that will help you figure out whether or not you’re actually management material.

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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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A Cover Letter Written from the Perspective of a Dog!

doggoAuthor: Alyse Kalish
Source: The Muse

We talk about including personality in your cover letter all the time—and the benefits of doing so. It makes you stand out against hundreds of qualified candidates. It shows you’re a good fit for the company. It proves you’re more than just a list of accomplishments on a piece of paper.

But, to be honest, it’s tough to know what that looks like in action.

So when I came across the following cover letter by Sarah Levy—written from the perspective of her dog, Cooper—that led her to become the Communications Manager at The Farmer’s Dog, I knew I had to share it.

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