If you didn’t watch the VMAs (Video Music Awards) last weekend, then you missed an important career coaching session from Lady Gaga. It doesn’t matter what you think of the controversial artist who has risen to mega-stardom in the last few years. The fact is, she can teach you a thing or two (or three!) about career development – and she sure does make a splash doing it! Dress Like a Man = Delivering the Unexpected In her opening performance (and throughout the entire show), Lady Gaga was dressed as a man. Up until now, you could guarantee she would wear something outrageous. Thus, the pressure was on for her to keep up the trend. And she did it, by doing the unexpected – being the complete opposite of herself. Now, am I suggesting you all do the same? Of course not! But, the concept of recognizing the need to get people’s attention if you want them to listen to you should not be lost here. You can use this principal to step back and contemplate what you are currently doing to get eyeballs and ear canals on you. Ask yourself the following, "If you are working, what are you doing to make your boss and co-workers pay attention to you? If you are between jobs, what kind of impression are you making when you network?" While you don’t have to dress crazy or act outlandish, you do need to seriously evaluate how you can take each interaction up a notch and make yourself more memorable. Lady Gaga Career Takeaway #1: It’s your job to get people’s attention. Stand for Something & Don’t Be Shy About It It’s no secret Lady Gaga is all about self-expression and equality. She did an entire tour around the world about bringing together people who feel like misfits or social outcasts. She is an artist who loves to perform using this theme. Her personal brand is clear because she has made it easy to understand what she believes in. In the opening of the VMAs, Lady Gaga did a monologue. And of course, it was about this very subject. She sticks with her theme and continues to educate people on it. This is personal branding at its best – and probably the single biggest mistake the average professional is making. If you don’t stand for something in your work, you don’t have the ability to position yourself as an expert. You have no real reason to stand up and make statements and take actions that will define you as someone to pay attention to. So, as scary as it may seem to articulate your beliefs (especially, knowing some will agree and some won’t), it must be done if you want to move forward in your career. Staying "under the radar" by being adaptable, flexible and having no voice is the fastest way to a dead-end career. Lady Gaga Career Takeaway #2: Build your professional platform on a set of beliefs you can talk about constantly. Want to Be Likable? Gush Over Your Peers No matter how much you may dislike Lady Gaga’s music or persona, you really can’t hate a person who has such admiration and respect for her peers as she does. Given her current stardom, it would be easy to see her take on a better-than mentality, but she truly loves other artists and pays them public compliments incessantly. At the VMAs she got to give a fellow female icon, Brittney Spears a lifetime achievement award. It was clear she loved doing it as she showered Brittney with praise for what she had given the entertainment industry. I don’t care who you are, one of the fastest ways to get people to like you is to hear you pay someone else a compliment. When you have the confidence and presence of mind to recognize others for their hard work, you say a lot about your character and professionalism. Lady Gaga Career Takeaway #3: Complimenting others improves your professional credibility. Lady Gaga Proves the Following The one thing you can say about Lady Gaga is she proves we can all build a powerful personal brand on our own terms – and earn respect for it too. Using the tips above, Lady Gaga has turned her talents, tenacity and good timing into one of the most recognizable personal brands in the world. So, love her or hate her, the reality is, as a career coach she can teach us all a few things about career development. Now, Let’s Put Gaga’s Approach into Practice If you're one of our CareerHMO.com members, this is a simple reminder you already have your very own group of talent agents (a.k.a. career coaches) to help you define and promote your personal brand. We know it can be hard to figure this out on your own. Even the mega-stars have entourages of people helping them, right? That’s why you should continue to work with us to ensure you are sending the right message. J.T. O’Donnell is the founder of CAREEREALISM.com and CEO of CareerHMO.com, a web-based career development company. Image from s_bukley/Shutterstock
September 08, 2011
Getting through to the job interview stage in the hiring process means the employer believes you have the right experience and skills for the job on paper. But now comes the real deal-breaker: whether you can communicate those skills effectively in person and come off as the right fit for the company's workplace culture.
There are typical red flags employers watch for in job interviews. Any one red flag can reduce your chances of getting a job offer, so here's what you need to avoid in your next job interview...
1. Poor Communication
This includes everything from talking too little, talking too much, or simply having poor nonverbal behavior like a lack of eye contact or making the situation uncomfortable with poor body language. When it comes to questions and answers, a job candidate who can't provide effective responses to questions that are necessary to assess their experience and skills is always a problem.
Be prepared to address every point you have on your resume. And when an employer presents a follow-up question like "Tell me more about..." they are trying to dig deeper either because they're curious, or you provided an insufficient response.
An inability to communicate well in a job interview will leave the employer questioning whether you do have the experience and skills you say you have on paper.
2. Question Of Permanency
When an employer puts out a job offer, it's going to be to someone they believe is committed to the job—not to someone who's simply looking to fill in an employment gap until a more fitting job comes along. Any reasonable job seeker wouldn't present such a front, but sometimes casual conversation can lead you to say things that are better off unsaid.
Avoid talking about challenges in your job search or how you were looking for a job in fashion marketing, but somehow you're now applying for this job in healthcare marketing. It brings to question if you're really interested in the job the employer has to offer.
Also, avoid talking about any long-distance relationships and try not to mention that your spouse and kids remain in another state. The employer will question if your personal situation may impact your job loyalty down the road if a relocation package is not going to be a part of the offer. And if they ask where you want to be in three years, answer with a position that corresponds with their growth opportunities.
3. Bad Talk
The purpose of the interview is to demonstrate why you're a great candidate for the job and effectively convey what you have to offer. It's not about letting your frustrations out about a boss you don't like or people you don't like working with. Any bad-mouthing simply sends a negative message about your character. It'll also make the employer question if you can manage workplace relationships professionally.
Often, bad-mouthing occurs when employers ask questions like, "Why are you leaving your current job?" Stay focused on answering with a positive response that relates back to the goal of improving yourself and utilizing what you're capable of offering.
4. Not Dressing The Part
Yes, it's wrong to judge a book by its cover. But in a job interview, this is what happens. If you're not dressed the part to look like you suit the job, it's going to be hard for the employer to see that, too.
It might also make the employer think that if you can't even manage to present a well-groomed appearance for a job interview that you'll be a slacker when on the job—and that's not going to work, especially if this is a position where you may have interface with customers or business partners that require a professional appearance.
5. It's All About The Money
Salary is a factor in determining whether the job offer is ultimately right for you, but bringing it up too early in the interview process comes off as though you're only in it for the money. And when you're the one to bring it up, it puts you at a disadvantage. You create a situation where you need to reveal your desired salary before the employer offers insight to what they're considering, which may end up being much lower or much higher from what the employer has budgeted.
The point is to first make the most impressive mark you can. If you're the one they want, they'll bring up the topic of salary and you'll have an idea of what they're offering, which you can then further negotiate so it meets your expectations.
Employers take into account many factors during the job interview. It's not just about the experience and skills you put on paper. Now, you can avoid all the typical red flags to keep yourself in the running.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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For years now, I have seen hustle-culture being glorified, and it frustrates me. The idea of earning respect by overworking yourself isn't healthy. It just isn't. As a small business owner, I fully understand the word hustle. I grind daily. But as human beings, we have limits, so I suggest that we must be intentional with how we hustle.
I like to think about it in running terms. Hustle culture would have you believe that you can sprint forever. But that isn't possible. At some point, your legs are simply going to give out and hurl you face-first into the ground. Intentional hustle, on the other hand, is like doing a 100-yard dash a few times. You have a goal, you meet it, and then you have a bit of time to rest and reset. The important thing here: it's sustainable.
If you are working too much, not only are you not spending enough time with friends and family, but you are also robbing yourself of opportunities to take on projects that will benefit your career in the long run. Burnout is real and so is your body's need for sleep and self-care.
Sleep is a magical thing. A study done in 2018 by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine found those who reported getting 5 to 6 hours experienced 19 percent more productivity loss, and those who got less than 5 hours of sleep experienced 29 percent more productivity loss when compared with those who regularly got 7 to 8 hours of sleep.
To see the full results of the study click here.
Discover Your Flow
You'll notice that there are different levels of stress and flow in your work and life. It's not about finding a perfect balance between the two, but rather finding the sweet spot for you. You need to understand what makes you flourish and what drains you, so you can plan your days and projects and accordingly.
Planning well and taking notice of what you enjoy will allow you to steer your free time and career towards projects and learnings that light you up. Hustle on things that make you happy. It is harder to burn out doing things that you truly enjoy.
When you work too hard, you miss out on the nuances of the world that matter the most to you. You can see a beautiful sunset and not even notice it if you're racing to get done with a project at work. Conversely, when you stop working so hard, you have time to enjoy life's little pleasures, recharge, and be present for the people in your life.
There are so many awe-inspiring things and people out in the world, but you have to look up from your screen to see it all. As a creative, I know without a doubt that my work gets stronger when I take the time to meander and explore the world around me.
Being intentional with how you choose to hustle is the key. A strong work ethic is incredibly valuable, but the idea of ambition as a lifestyle, not so much.
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