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Dread Going To Work? How To Deal With The Feeling

You dread going to work. Every morning is the same: You have to drag yourself out of bed. It's not that the body is weak. It's that the mind is not willing. Most of us know that. Many people have felt this way at least once in their careers. Is there a way to overcome the dread of going to work every day?

I am not sure if I have the absolute solution, but these are some of the strategies I have personally tried in my years of experience.

What Should You Do When You Dread Going To Work?

If you dread going to work, do these four things:

  1. Don't dwell.
  2. Locate the source of your dread.
  3. Seek not perfection.
  4. Think of work as a pedagogue.
Is It Normal To Dread Working?

Yes, it's completely normal to dread going to work. If you wake up and can't bear the thought of working, take a mental health day. If the feeling lasts for days, weeks, or even months, that may be a sign that it's time to look for a new job.

Before you decide to quit your job and find a new one, try doing these four things...

Don't Dwell

Do not let the Monday blues or the "dread going to work" syndrome become your dominant thought. Yes, I know it is easier said than done. But you have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is your thought process.

The more you think about how much you dread work, the deeper you will dwell on that feeling. Stop thinking about it. Take that thought out and focus your thoughts on something else.

Locate The Source Of Your Dread

Find out the source of your dread. Otherwise, you will not be able to tackle it. Do not complain if you do not know what you are complaining about.

Why do you dread going to work? Is it because of your co-workers, your boss, your routine work, your pay, or the commute?

Write all the reasons down and see if you can tackle them. I am sure resignation has crossed your mind. But before you do that, let's see if there is a way to alleviate your feelings of dread. We cannot expect life to be perfect, or work to be perfect, for that matter.

Seek Not Perfection

As I stated above, life is not perfect. Why should work be? Accept that things being imperfect is how things work. If you expect perfect colleagues, perfect bosses, perfect resources, or perfect processes, then you are in for a shock.

There can never be a perfect system, perfect factory, and perfect office wherever you work. Because, trust me, no matter how high your pay is, it can always be higher; no matter how good your colleagues are, they can always be better; and no matter how understanding your boss is, he or she can always be better.

Seek not perfection if you do not want to dread going to work. Seek adaptation—adaptation from yourself. What can you do to make the work environment better?

Think Of Work As A Pedagogue

Ever think that the process of work can also teach us something about life? Think of work as a pedagogue.

It teaches us that we do not always have things our way and that life can sometimes mean having to do things we do not like or even enjoy. But it's only temporary, and we have a choice of doing something about it.

Use this experience of dreading work as your teacher. What does it teach you? Ask and answer, and you will immediately see this experience in a different light.

There is something you can do about the feeling of dread you get when thinking about work. Do not fear it. Sit down calmly and have an action plan to tackle it. When you start working on a plan to diffuse it, you will feel better—even if the plan does not work in the long term.

Remember: Every job is temporary! You'll get through this rough patch in your career soon.

We know most people don't enjoy going to work, especially if they're feeling lost, trapped, or burned out in their career. If you're struggling to find a job that you like, we can help.

Become a member to learn how to land a job and UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

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 17 hours 18 minutes ago

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7 Ways To Prepare For A Phone Interview

If you're like most people, you either (a) hate phone interviews or (b) don't take them as seriously as face-to-face interviews. The truth is that phone interviews are incredibly important because if you don't do well, you'll never get the chance to interview in person.

With the right preparation, you can learn to hate them a little less and practically guarantee yourself an invitation to an in-person interview. These seven phone interview tips will help you prepare for (and ace!) any phone interview.

1. Set Up The Phone Interview At A Time That Works For You

You often have choices about when to schedule your call. It only makes sense to schedule it when you're most alert. If you're a morning person, schedule it early. If it takes you a good few hours to become your best, schedule it for the afternoon. If they call you and it isn't a good time for you, let them know that it isn't the best time (no need to tell them why) and ask to reschedule. Just don't wait too long to make that happen.

Hint: Make sure that when you do set your phone interview up, you leave yourself a cushion of time after the call, in case it goes especially well and runs long. Some phone interviews stick with a time limit of 10-15 minutes, but others last 30-45 minutes or longer.

2. Pick A Quiet Spot To Talk

There's nothing like being on the phone in a noisy public place to signal that you aren't taking this call seriously. Instead, do the phone interview at home, in a room by yourself. You want no distractions.

3. If You Can, Use A Landline For Your Interview

Bad reception can ruin your call. Play it safe and use a landline, if possible.

4. Research The Company

Some job seekers think phone interviews are basic information sessions, but you'll make a much stronger impression if you already know everything you can about the company before your call. You'll ask better questions and give more impressive answers to their questions.

5. Dress For The Interview

It's easy to be tempted to stay in your pajamas for this call, but it's better to wear work clothes. Clothes do affect how we behave and you need to be all business.

6. Make Sure You're Physically Comfortable & Relaxed

Eat, drink, take a bathroom break, and take a few moments to breathe and relax before your call.

7. Prepare 'Cheat Sheets'

Since the hiring manager can't see you, this is the perfect opportunity to have a printed-out resume, notes on the company, questions you want to ask, and words and phrases you want to use in your phone interview answers out in front of you. This is one of the few advantages of a phone interview, so make the most of it. Just spread them out in front of you so they can't hear you shuffling papers. Make sure you also have blank paper with a pen to take notes.

It's important to do as much interview prep as you can. You will never get another chance to make a first impression with this company. How you do now will affect whether or not you get the face-to-face interview, and it can bias them to like you even more before you set foot on site.

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 1 day 19 hours ago

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How To Follow Up On Your Resume

You sent out the resume. You think you're a perfect fit. And yet no one calls. Sound familiar?

In fact, the majority of candidates today do not receive a response on a submitted resume. So, the big question is, “When is it appropriate to follow up with an employer on my submission and how do I do it?"

There is no answer that will fit every scenario, but there are some good rules you should follow when following up on your resume submission.

1. Use The 1-2 Week Rule

Hiring managers and recruiters are busy and they can't acknowledge every resume and cover letter, even if they wanted to, because there's just so much that they need to process.

It's best to follow up one to two weeks after you have submitted your resume. That is generally the amount of time most employers take to review all applicants and contact candidates of interest for an interview.

2. Follow Up In The Morning

This may not always be universal, but in many cases, if you make contact during the early morning you'll have a better chance of reaching someone before they are bogged down with other tasks to do for the day.

Also, never follow up on a Monday. It's common for people to have a case of the "Monday Blues," which could make them more likely to ignore your email or say "no" to an interview more quickly.

So, you should absolutely follow up on your resume in the morning—just not on a Monday morning.

3. Be Proactive And Polite 

Whether you're reaching out to the hiring manager by email or LinkedIn connection, it's important to be professional and not overzealous. Keep the message simple:

"Hi, XYZ. We haven't met, but I applied for the XYZ position and I just wanted to be proactive and see if there's anything that I could do to further my candidacy or check on the status of my application. Thank you for your time."

This simple note at least gets you on the hiring manager's radar.

It could be that they've been meaning to get back to you and this note will get them to respond. It's also possible that they looked past your application and your note got them to take a second look. Either way, it's worthwhile to always follow up.

Follow these tips the next time you want to follow up on a resume submission. Following up the right way can get you the interview you deserve.

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 2 days 19 hours ago

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Interview Questions When Transitioning From Academia To Industry

Is your career experience in academia, but you’re ready to move to business? If you’re a teacher, a professor, a scientist, or a lab tech, employers can see a move to business or industry as a pretty big leap.

They may have some perceptions about academic types that will bias them against you, and they will want to know why you want such a dramatic career change. What will you say?

This answer is a wonderful opportunity to present yourself as a great fit for business by talking about your drive, ambition, and enthusiasm, and turn any bias from a negative to a positive. Here are a few examples of potential answers and corresponding questions:

Interview Question: "Why do you want to move from academia (or the lab) to industry?"

“I’m ready to move now because I want to be more directly rewarded for the things I do. In academics, I can put in a lot of hours of quality work and still never be recognized or paid any more than someone else who doesn’t put in the effort that I do. In a business role, I feel that the harder I work and the more that I do, the more I will be rewarded by the company I work for, both financially and professionally. I expect that I would be given the opportunity to grow and take on more responsibility, which will eventually reward me even more.”

Interview Question: "When you say 'reward,' what will you be talking about?"

You will want to talk about what’s important to you: money (salary or bonuses), recognition, appreciation, or increasing authority and responsibility. Your answer will depend on your situation and your motivation. This answer gives a reasonable explanation that makes sense to employers. It’s natural to want to see a benefit from all your hard work.

An alternative answer could speak to your desire to work in a practical way as opposed to a theoretical one, so you can feel that you make more of a difference, or experience the end result of your work.

Whatever answer you give, keep this big picture in mind: You need to show them why you are running TO this job, rather than AWAY from your old one. Talking about all the reasons why you want out of academia or the lab is a negative way to approach this explanation, and it won’t do you any favors in the interview because it will make you seem negative, whether you actually are or not.

Focus your explanation on why you want to move forward into business and how excited you are about that. It’s positive, and it keeps the conversation and the interviewer focused on your great qualities and your fit for the job.

Need more help with your career change?

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 2 days 21 hours ago

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7 Unexpected Sources For Job Leads

If you’ve been job hunting for a long time, you’ve probably hit the online listings and maybe asked around your network. However, there are a few places you may not be thinking of that could be the source of the perfect job for you.

Previous Bosses When you’re in a job search, the smart move is to call every boss you’ve ever had. They probably won’t have a job for you, but they may have some great job leads. They know you, they know your work, and their network probably has a few names in it at a higher level than what you have access to. Their recommendation to some of those names might carry some helpful weight for you. If you haven’t kept a good relationship with your past bosses, now is a good time to mend those fences. If you’re not sure, chances are they would be fine hearing from you and happy to help. Previous Co-Workers

Hopefully, the people you’ve worked with in the past are on your current networking list. If not, add them now. Don’t just include people you directly worked with. Also think about who may have been in adjacent departments, support departments, other divisions, and so on. People in your career space will naturally hear about relevant job leads and can pass them on to you. If you’ve lost touch, try looking for them on LinkedIn.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash

Companies You’ve Interviewed With Before

If you interviewed with a company in the past, there was something about you they liked—even if they didn’t choose to hire you for that one position. If you contact them now, they may have a job that’s a better fit, or they may be ready to hire you. If they don’t have a spot, they might know someone who does. If you interviewed with them, you’ll still have the contact information for the hiring manager there and maybe others. Use it to reach out now.


You probably won’t find a job lead on YouTube, but you could generate one. Create and post a video resume, or create a video showcasing your skills or knowledge as a subject matter expert. Make sure your video is good quality because it will reflect on you. Everything you put online contributes to your personal brand and makes it easier for recruiters and hiring managers to find you.


Fewer companies these days post jobs in the classifieds, and fewer people read them. But some do post jobs, and you may have less competition for those jobs because readership has declined. What’s more important for you is the actual news. Keep your eyes peeled for headlines relating to companies in your space. Look for who’s expanding with new projects or acquisitions—that’s a clue that they’re probably also hiring.

Business newspaper article Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash

Alumni Organizations

If you haven’t been active in your college alumni organization, now is the time to start. Many colleges have alumni groups in cities all over the country, and the people in them are loyal and ready to promote fellow alumni. Go to functions and talk to people. You never know who will be there, and where that relationship may lead.

Career Coaching

A career coach (not a life coach) can be a great path to a new job. Someone with knowledge of your field who can look at your resume, evaluate your interview performance, and show you how to best sell yourself in the job search can be a huge help to you.

Find out more about career coaching and what it can do for you.

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 2 days 22 hours ago

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How To Answer The "Tell Me About A Time When" Interview Questions

There are hundreds of questions interviewers can ask potential employees, but there's one interview question you could be answering in a way that is costing you the job—and you don't even know it!

So, what's this one question? It's different for every person—and every position. But one thing about this question is the same. It starts out like this: "Do you have experience doing... (insert whatever responsibility, duty, etc. the employer is looking to find in someone)?"

Employers want to know you have the experience and the ability to perform the essential functions of the job. And you can usually tell where their biggest “hurts" are by the questions they ask during the interview. If they need someone with special expertise or experience in a given area, they're going to make sure they ask you about that experience.

So, how do you answer this all-important interview question in the best way possible?

"Tell Me About A Time When..."

The first way you can respond to the "experience question" is to use an example from your past experience about a time when you did XYZ—and, of course, the successful turnout that resulted.

"Tell me about a time when..." is a behavioral interview question. These types of questions require more than a "yes" or "no" answer. That's why you need to go into detail and tell a "story" in your explanation. At Work It DAILY, we coach everyone to use the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model when answering behavioral interview questions since it's the most effective way to come up with answers that give the employer exactly what they want to hear.

Having the experience and using the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model to talk about it is the best-case scenario when answering the "experience question." (Makes sense, right?)

But what do you do if you don't have the experience they're asking about? Then how do you answer?

Tell Them You're Confident

Just because you've never done something doesn't mean you can't do it. And it surely doesn't mean you can't excel at it.

If you're asked a question about prior experience regarding something you've never done, the best way to answer isn't to say “No, I've never done that," or “No, I don't have experience in that area." The best way to handle the question is to say something along these lines:

"While I have not had any direct experience in XYZ, I am a fast learner, and I am confident that I could (do, manage, direct, handle, etc.) XYZ successfully and exceed your expectations."

An effective way to enhance your previous confident response would be to share with the hiring manager about a time when you did do something very similar—or something that could in some way relate to the experience they are asking you about—using the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model to structure your answer.

However, no matter how you approach the question, be sure to emphasize that you're confident you can do whatever it is they're asking you about, and provide examples as to why you feel that way. It makes a potential employer feel better to know that you're confident in your abilities and talents—and it's also a far better alternative than just telling them, “No, I don't know how to do that," and possibly excluding yourself from consideration.

As we mentioned earlier, just because you haven't done something previously doesn't mean you can't do it, or never will be able to. And who knows? With time, you may even do it very well!

Need more help with your job search?

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 3 days 18 hours ago

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Interview Cheat Sheet: 8 Tips For A Flawless Interview

Got an interview coming up soon? We know you have a busy life, and sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day to scan through articles to get the information you need. That’s why we created the Interview Cheat Sheet! We pulled the best tips, tricks, and advice from our archives and put them all in one place just for you.

Here are eight solid interview tips from our experts.

Interview Preparation

When you're preparing for your interview, you need to make sure you cover all of your bases. Here are some tips on what to say to a potential employer:

1. Stay away from superlatives.

Keep it singular. Superlatives such as “weakest," “worst,” or “biggest” indicate the greatest degree of whatever is it describing. “Biggest weakness” is the weakness of the highest degree implying there are other weaknesses of varying degrees but weaknesses nonetheless. That begs the question: “What are some others?” Likewise, “need most to improve” implies there are other areas for improvement. In any case, try this as an alternative, “If I had to come up with one…” (No negatives, no multiples.)

(Original article: 4 Tips To Answer Tough Interview Questions Correctly)

2. Be prepared with questions for the employer.

Each interview takes on a different format, but somewhere along the way, an employer will likely ask if you have any questions. Even if the interview was packed with information, always have questions prepared to ask the employer that have not been touched on or that you can benefit from by having more information.

Asking questions expresses to an employer that you are serious and sincerely interested in the company and position. Asking the “right” questions can also help solidify a positive impression. For instance, if you have done the proper research on the company before the interview, you may have knowledge of developments happening at the company or within the industry that may have an impact on the job you applied for. Asking questions that express you are thinking ahead about the job and how certain developments may impact the business demonstrates to an employer that you are a “smart” candidate. You are already thinking like you belong in the position and looking ahead at how to address possible challenges. These types of questions can also help the employer see how you fit right in.

(Original article: Information You Must Have Before Your Interview)

3. Show them you did your homework.

One great way to build your interviewing confidence is by conducting plenty of research on the company you’re applying to and the position it’s offering. A common question interviewers ask is, “Do you know anything about our company?” Most times, candidates are forced to answer, “No.” If you’re able to share the company’s background information and showcase knowledge of its future goals for the position in question, you’ll undoubtedly catch the interviewer off guard—in a great way!

(Original article: 3 Ways To Build Confidence For A Job Interview)

Interview Questions

Being prepared to answer any question that comes out of the interviewer's mouth is a big advantage in interviews. Here are some questions to go over before your next interview:

1. "How do you handle stress?"

Interviewers are generally looking for an answer that indicates you can handle multiple priorities and projects at the same time. An answer stating that stress is a natural part of life and that you feel equipped to handle the challenges of the job and balance them with the rest of your life may just be the answer that earns you the job.

(Original article: How To Handle Tough Interview Questions)

2. “Tell me about yourself.”

What the hiring manager is really asking: “How do your education, work history, and professional aspirations relate to the open job?”

How to respond: Select key work and education information that shows the hiring manager why you are a perfect fit for the job and the company. For example, a recent grad might say something like, “I went to X University where I majored in Y and completed an internship at Z Company. During my internship, I did this and that (name achievements that match the job description), which really solidified my passion for this line of work.”

(Original article: How To Answer 7 Of The Most Common Interview Questions)

3. "Tell me about a time when you did ______."

Just because you've never done something doesn't mean you can't do it. And it surely doesn't mean you can't excel at it. If you're asked a question about prior experience regarding something you've never done, the best way to answer isn't to say “No, I've never done that," or “No, I don't have experience in that area." The best way to handle the question is to say something along these lines: "While I have not had any direct experience in XYZ, I am a fast learner, and I am confident that I could (do, manage, direct, handle, etc.) XYZ successfully and exceed your expectations."

An effective way to enhance your previous confident response would be to share with the hiring manager about a time when you did do something very similar—or something that could in some way relate to the experience they are asking you about—using the "Experience + Learn = Grow" model to structure your answer. However, no matter how you approach the question, be sure to emphasize that you're confident you can do whatever it is they're asking you about, and provide examples as to why you feel that way.

(Original article: How To Answer The "Tell Me About A Time When" Interview Questions)

Post-Interview Protocol

Even after the interview is over, you need to go the extra mile to impress the employer. Here are some post-interview tips:

1. Follow up with a thank-you note.

Send thank-you notes to all the individuals with whom you had a conversation. Do not send one note to just the hiring manager. You will miss out on all the other contacts that you made. Even a note to the receptionist/office manager is appropriate and helpful but only if you had more of a conversation, not just a “hello.” Make the notes unique to each individual based on the conversation you had with them. Remind them of the conversation you had. Also, in each thank-you note, remind the contact why you bring value to the company/team/position and show your enthusiasm.

As the hiring process progresses or slows, stay in touch with your contacts as appropriate. If the process has slowed, begin to follow up about every two business weeks. Too soon and it will be considered overkill. Much later than two weeks and you’ll be forgotten.

(Original article: How To Correctly Follow Up After An Interview)

2. Use the three-paragraph rule.

Your follow-up email should be short, sweet, and personalized. Generally, a good rule of thumb for the length is three paragraphs, with no more than two or three sentences in each paragraph.

First paragraph: Briefly thank them for their time and reiterate your interest in the position.

Second paragraph: Discuss a couple of your strengths and how the company would benefit if you were hired. Consider using bullet points to break up your text.

Third paragraph: Include any points of clarification you might have. Include answers to questions that you weren’t able to answer during the interview, or add new info about yourself that was left out of the interview.

But remember, keep it brief. Vicky Oliver, author of 301 Smart Answers to Tough Interview Questions, suggests indicating your next point of contact by saying something along the lines of, “Look forward to hearing from you within the next two weeks.” If no date was set at the interview, either ask for one or specify you will loop back to them for a decision in two weeks.

(Original article: 5 Tips For Following Up After A Job Interview)

We know how difficult it can be to ace a job interview. We hope our Interview Cheat Sheet helps you prepare for your next one so you can stand out to the hiring manager and land the job.

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 3 days 19 hours ago

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My Secret Hack To Impress Recruiters & Hiring Managers In Job Interviews

Over the last two months, I've been teaching this hack to my job-seeking clients as a way for them to blow away recruiters and hiring managers right before the job interview, and it's so easy for you to do.

There's a lot of competition out there to land jobs, and if you're lucky enough to get a job interview, you want to do things to set yourself apart without acting desperate or overdoing it. This technique has been working every single time for my clients, so here's what you're going to do...

Create A Table

Once your interview is set up, grab the job description and create a table. In the first column of the table, list every single requirement mentioned in the job description. If it says five years of experience, that's one. If it says demonstrate the ability to do communicate effectively, that's another one. If it says you need a bachelor's degree, that's another one. Whatever they list in the job description, whatever the requirements are for the job, list those in the first column.

Then, in the second column, summarize in one sentence and quantify (using numbers if you can) that you have that experience. So if the job description is asking for five years of experience, but you have seven years, put seven years of experience in that second column. It's just a simple sentence that quantifies and summarizes if you have that skill set and meet or exceed that requirement.

When you're done, you're going to have a table that demonstrates you're a match for every requirement they have for the job. You're able to quantify that you're qualified.

Next, go through the document, and any place where you exceed the requirement that they asked for, highlight it in green. So now they're going to see that not only are you a match for the job because you've got something for every requirement, but with the green, it means you're exceeding expectations.

Save that document as a PDF and send it to the recruiter or hiring manager when you're confirming the interview. Here's an example of what your message should look like:

"Hey, I'm really looking forward to the interview on Tuesday. I took the liberty of breaking down the job description and matching my experience to it. I know you have my resume but I thought this might be easier."

This is what a recruiter or hiring manager has to do when they're interviewing you. They're trying to inventory you against the job description, and if you're reading a wordy job description and then a wordy resume, it's very hard to do that. When you take the extra step to match it all up in this nice little document and even highlight where you exceed the expectations—mindblown every single time.

Now, here's the bonus part. When you do this exercise and receive a job offer at the end of the interview process and decide you want to negotiate your salary, you already have the tools to do the salary negotiation. You're going to be able to update this document after going through the interview process and say to them:

"While I was interviewing with you, in addition to all the things you asked for in the job description, you also wanted these things. So I added those to this document and here's how I match that. So based on that, I was really hoping to make X. Would you be able to offer me a higher rate?"

Give them a number. You have your evidence. You have this document that shows what a great fit you are that you've been keeping track of throughout the interview process. It's amazing because you're just having a calm conversation around the facts. It helps my clients feel more relaxed, especially when I coach them on how to present this.

Most people won't bother to create a table before their interviews, which is your competitive advantage, my friend. That's where you can stand out. Try this technique and see how much it impresses recruiters and hiring managers.

Good luck, and go get 'em!

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 4 days 16 hours ago

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7 Reasons Why You’re MISERABLE At Work (And How You Can Fix It)

Do you wake up on Sunday morning already dreading going into work the next day? Does the thought of walking into the office make you sick to your stomach? Does your unhappiness at work seep into your personal life?

It's time for a change.

The first thing you need to do is identify the problem. Here are some reasons why you're miserable at work (and some tips for finding happiness again!).

1. You're Not Challenged Enough 

When you're not challenged at work, you become bored, disengaged, and even complacent. This can result in resenting your role over time.

If you feel like you're not living up to your full potential, manage up and find new projects to tackle. Take on new assignments, present new ideas, and volunteer for more opportunities. Be proactive in finding new challenges.

2. You Feel Overwhelmed With Your Workload

On the flip side, if you're miserable at work, you might simply be overwhelmed. This can result in excessive stress, anxiety, and irritability.

If you feel like there's not enough time in the day to complete all of your work, think about how you can manage your time and tasks better. Take an online course, watch a free webinar, or read expert articles on good time management practices. Sometimes all you need is to organize yourself better.

Also, learn how to say "no." Packing on unnecessary work will burn you out and make things worse.

If you still find yourself overwhelmed, it might be a good idea to have a tactful conversation with your manager. Explain that you've taken steps to increase your efficiency in your role, but still find yourself extremely overwhelmed with the amount of work you're required to do and you're worried you'll eventually become burned out. You might be able to work together to find a solution that works for both of you.

3. You Haven't Upskilled Yet

Feeling like you're not as on top of things as you used to be? Does it seem like all of your co-workers are getting promotions and raises except for you?

If you feel like you're falling behind, it might be time to upskill.

It's important to constantly stay relevant in your career and keep up with your industry. Think of it this way: A company is a wheel that's always moving forward. The employees of that company are the spokes on the wheel. When the wheel moves forward, the spokes change position, moving around from top to bottom repeatedly.

If you're not moving forward with the company by upskilling and staying on top of industry trends, you'll find yourself at the bottom of the wheel, miserable and vulnerable. It's your job to keep moving forward with that company and keep pushing to be the top spoke on the wheel.

4. You're Not Working On Projects That Energize You

We all have to do things we don't necessarily like or enjoy once in a while. You might hate talking on the phone, but your job might require you to hop on a call with a client every so often. That's just life. Plus, it's important to push your boundaries, get out of your comfort zone, and see what you can accomplish.

However, if you're not spending the majority of your time working on projects that energize you, it can be draining. So, if you love building websites and you're spending 90% of your time on the phone with clients, you probably won't feel very satisfied at work.

If this sounds like you, think about ways you can manage up and make your role more focused on the projects you love doing. Think about new projects, present them to your manager, and volunteer to do them. If you can prove the value of doing these projects, you might just find yourself in a customized role.

However, if there's no room for improvement here, you might want to consider finding a new job. Life's too short to spend your time doing things you hate!

WARNING: Before you hand in your two weeks' notice, make sure you consider these things first.

5. Your Work Environment Doesn't Work With Your Personality

You might not realize it, but your work environment might be affecting your happiness. If you have an introverted personality, working in a loud, open area might be distracting and mentally exhausting for you, which can negatively impact your performance.

On the flip side, if you thrive off of collaborating and connecting with others, working in a quieter atmosphere might set back your creativity and energy.

When you're working in an environment that consistently makes you uncomfortable, you're unproductive. And when you're unproductive, you're unsatisfied. This is why it's so important to understand your workplace personas and interaction styles and do your research on the company so you know what kind of work environment to expect. Even if you work remotely, make sure your work environment is having a positive effect on your mental health and productivity.

6. You Don't Have Friends At Work

If you have a full-time role, you're likely averaging 40 hours a week on the clock. That's a lot of time. If you spend all of that time in isolation without any real social interaction or work friendships, it can lead to loneliness and even depression, which can hinder your work performance.

Make an effort to build personal relationships at work. Be warm and welcoming, and make an effort to strike up conversations in the break room. Invite people to join you for lunch or to grab drinks after work. Ask about their weekend, find common interests, or simply start by talking about what's happening at work.

7. Your Work Environment Is Toxic

If you're in a toxic work environment, it can impact both your personal happiness and work performance. Evaluate what's happening at work. Is there excessive office gossip? Do you have a bad relationship with your manager? Are people stabbing co-workers in the back in order to keep their jobs? Are others treating you, or someone else, inappropriately?

These are only a few signs of a toxic work environment, and all of them can be reasons why you're miserable at work. If any of this sounds like your current workplace, first try to address it with the main offender(s) in private. If it's affecting your work performance, you need to make that clear. They might not be aware of how their behavior is affecting others.

If the issue persists, mention it to management. And if it still continues, you might want to consider looking for a new job elsewhere.

Life is too short to be miserable at work. Don't wait another year to be happy! Evaluate your situation and take steps to improve it today.

If you decide that you've had enough of your job and need help looking for a new one, Work It DAILY can help!

Become a member to learn how to land a job and UNLEASH your true potential to get what you want from work!

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6 Ways To Show Your Network Some Love

In order to build a strong, strategic network, you need to nurture your connections. You need to show them some love. The best way to do that is to regularly offer value to your network.

Instead of going in with the attitude of "How can you help me?" you need to approach networking with the mindset of "How can we help each other?" You need to constantly think about how you can support your contacts.

But, how can you do that? How are you going to prove that you're an awesome addition to their network?

While it's tempting to fall back on the old line, "Let me know how I can help you," it's not always an effective way to offer your support to someone. Why? Because if someone doesn't know how you can help them, they're not going to ask. Or they're going to ask you for something you might not be able to offer.

Instead, give them something to work with by being specific about what you can realistically offer them. Understand what they need in order to achieve their goals and then ask yourself, "How can I help this person reach his or her goals? What support, resources, or opportunities can I offer them?"

Don't worry—nurturing your network doesn't have to be a huge hassle on your end. Here are some easy ways you can offer value to your connections.

1. Job It Forward

As you're job searching, chances are you'll see a lot of great jobs out there that simply aren't a good fit for you. However, they could be perfect for someone else in your network.

If you see a job opening, share it with someone in your network you think might be a good fit. You can send a private message with a link to the opening, or you can just post the opening in your LinkedIn feed for people to see.

Not actively looking for a job? You can still share job openings or cool companies you see with your network. So, be on the lookout!

2. Share An Article

Sharing an article or video is a great way to start a conversation and/or keep in touch with a contact. Consider this person's industry, interests, and special projects, then share something that's relevant to them. What can you find on their LinkedIn profile? What have you learned about them in your conversations?

Send your contact a message with the link to the resource and a little bit of context. You could say something like, "I saw this article and thought you might find it interesting, particularly the part about ____ because you're involved in ____. Enjoy!"

3. Share THEIR Content With YOUR Network

Another easy way to offer value to your connections is to share their content with your network. If you found a blog post from one of your connections interesting, share it with your network by posting it to your LinkedIn feed with a brief blurb.

Don't forget to tag the author with the @ feature so they know you're sharing it!

4. Make An Introduction

Be a super connector! Look at your network and see which connections could benefit from knowing each other. Then, make an introduction. Make sure you give a little background on each person and briefly explain how they can benefit from knowing each other.

Here's an example:

"I noticed you're looking to break into the entertainment industry. I'd love to introduce you to Jody Smith. She works as a talent agent out in L.A. and I'm sure she'd be a valuable addition to your network. Would you be interested in getting an introduction?"

5. Endorse Their Skills

If you know someone in your network is an exceptional digital marketer, endorse them for that skill on LinkedIn!

Your endorsement will reinforce the skills listed on their profile, which is a huge value-add to them. It gives that third-party credibility factor that employers and recruiters are looking for on LinkedIn profiles. Best part? It takes two seconds!

6. Write Them Recommendations

Recommendations are like testimonials on your LinkedIn profile. A good one is worth its weight in gold.

If you've worked with a contact in the past and/or know they have certain skill sets or character traits, write them a recommendation. Your connections will appreciate this gesture greatly, and may even write you one in return! This takes a little more time and thought, but it's worth much more to connections than endorsements.

So there you have it. Effective networking doesn't have to be a hassle! Spend a little time each day nurturing your network. If you make this a habit, you'll find yourself with a strong network in no time!

Need help growing your professional network?

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4 Problems Inside The TV and Film Industry

Why is the entertainment industry so broken? Many people are asking that question as more of Hollywood’s unseen creative and business talent are leaving L.A., unable to support themselves in an industry that was once rewarding and profitable for decades.

There’s no leadership for the people who support this exceptional industry—except in one golden category: profits. Consumers are able to enjoy great shows from a multitude of places outside conventional television and yet those who create this great content are hurting and hurting badly. Tech has successfully entered the delivery space, adding another layer of revenue. All that new profit should result in revived production and vis-à-vis a financial boost for the creative community. Instead, they languish.

How could we begin the process of encouraging parts of this industry to do better?

There are many places to start; here are just four. Create vibrant funding events with financing forums, revive self-distribution utilizing AI, reclaim film festivals for the non-Cannes crowd, and, finally, tackle the biggest problem of all: bad deals. It's time to remake our industry for the people working in it. Tech isn’t the problem. Greed is.

Problem One

Warner Brothers Discovery (WBD) just paid $15 million for Super/Man: The Christopher Reeve Story. The Pigeon Tunnel was bought by Apple TV for $10 million. These are amazing sums for documentaries. By comparison, the craft services expense on studio-financed feature films rivals this amount. While the thin-crust sales agents help to facilitate these incredible sales, the remaining table scraps (licensing fees) for new non-fiction content paid by WBD and Disney will be fought over by everyone else. Like other Hollywood creators, many non-fiction filmmakers will be blinded by these huge numbers and never see anything beyond five-figure deals for their finished work. It's not that their films aren’t good; in fact, they are. There just isn't room for everyone at the top.

There’s a fix to this, so stay with me.

A few years ago I attended several co-financing forums outside the U.S. They basically all had the same setup: The event took place inside an ornate historic building with an amazingly long table of dark polished wood. Pulled up around this table were forty-plus high-backed leather chairs. In those seats were some of the world’s largest and most influential broadcasters. Seating for a couple hundred observers was booked months in advance. The forums I attended were in Toronto and Amsterdam. There are others. Over two days, content creators pitched in a live format of 30 minutes each. They showcased a few minutes of tape, presented a solid pitch, and then the assembled group of commissioning editors discussed or argued each pitch. If it lined up with the editorial theme of their channel, they committed to licensing the program for their territory, right then, in the room, in front of an audience. It was beautiful watching a compelling pitch and having the world’s decision-makers debate the merits of a concept, then together fund an entire production. There was joy in the room. To be fair, not all that pitched were funded, but many were.

We duplicated this event inside WESTDOC (a conference I co-founded), calling it Pitchfest. Creators and producers from all around the U.S. understood there was value in this format. Many that were pitched got funded and today some have had good lives in the broadcast, theatrical, and streaming markets.

It took the decision-making to the decision-makers. The producers didn’t have to slog through the double-speak of self-interested agents or navigate the labyrinth of junior-level executives who have the ability to say “no” but lack the authority to say “yes.” An annual U.S. event like this would actually support our talented creative community who truly possess great ideas and skills.

The combined $25 million spent on Super/Man and The Pigeon Tunnel could have funded 50 documentaries, 50 films that could have a larger effect than these two ever will. We’re overlooking a part of this industry, a community that rarely meets the executives at these companies. They can still buy high-end films at Sundance and Cannes, but at the same time, set aside $25 million for films that need attention, that need money, that need...hope. Assemble this new annual festival, subtract out the agents, those “dealmakers,” and gather the creators to pitch at this big event. If it’s a good pitch and a capable producer, fund it. We can stock some knowledgeable entertainment attorneys nearby to service the indie producers to make responsible deals.

Make the excitement from investing in a dedicated community that can supply excellent programming that isn’t washed in the Kardashian model of junk television. Let’s see stories that inspire us, educate us, and rise into a future where facts and stories underline everything. Let’s make people care for well-researched and well-executed content that was funded not because their Sundance PR strategy worked well, but because the current funding model is broken, really broken and we need a remedy. Enough of choking off great films by killing the incentive by underfunding them. They have the money; put it to good use and let’s have films that matter. We now have streaming behemoths with more money than they know what to do with. When the automotive and oil companies made huge historic profits, it was PBS who peeled away money to give back to the public by providing stand-out programs for all the country to enjoy. It’s time to invest in future talent. Now, let’s get serious about it.

Problem Two

There needs to be a better model of success for the self-distribution of independent documentaries. I know a place. YouTube.

Hear me out.

YouTube (YT) is crushing its retained audience, and we should be learning how to harness it. It makes sense, a desktop library of everything for everyone. History, finance, astronomy, social issues, mechanical wonders, travel, how-to, science, movies—everything. Mix this global platform for content discovery with an AI-driven marketing plan and you’ve got a self-reliant income stream. Is it here now? Not yet, but it's coming.

A little background. After being brutalized by pathetic licensing fees from the standard broadcast, cable, and even streaming channels, content makers (aka producers) need to find other forms of revenue generation. It's time to revisit self-distribution with a proven framework. It once existed in DVD and VHS for titles of all shapes and sizes. Somewhere along the digital superhighway, self-distribution got lost. The once popular “do-it-yourself” style framework needs to be dusted off, reformed, and handed back to the creative community. Yes, finished programming can be uploaded and listed on YouTube and Amazon, but it's promptly lost in an ocean of content. We need something better, something smarter. AI holds valuable strategies, if the right questions are asked of it.

YouTube is consistent in its draw—a diverse and delightful ocean of programming in all shapes and sizes, designed for...everyone. Here’s the problem: It’s not the first platform filmmakers use for sincere monetization because there’s no roadmap to success. YouTube also isn’t the first place an audience looks to rent content. It exists, but it isn’t popular compared to other digital storefronts. Yes, potential viewers can be pushed over to a paywall platform, but that’s not smooth either. Where YouTube flexes is the ad-revenue framework. Its fractional earnings are good for influencers and those YT personalities who post short-form content weekly, but bad for filmmakers with a limited inventory of marque long-form titles. Think of the last time you looked at a feature film clip of The Godfather or a James Bond installment. Likely it was in HD or 4K. By the end of the clip, they were pointing you to rent or buy the full program from another platform. While indie documentaries and non-dramatic films don’t have the cache of a mainstream big-budget theatrical release, they do have an opportunity to capture a specific audience in simple pre-roll, commercial-like marketing, just like other media products.

There are more than 5 billion views on YT every day. In the way cars, energy foods, cruises, and food delivery services are pre-rolled before core content is enjoyed, it’s time to sell indie films the same way. Sell films…like a commercial…to hook your tribe of viewers. It's in your wheelhouse to create a compelling trailer for social media and YT, and identify your target group, just like the car companies, energy food manufacturers, cruises, and food delivery services. Your audience awaits.

The fragmentation of YouTube is the perfect complement for indie documentaries for three core reasons:

1. Like it or not, we’ve moved towards the second and third screens (desktop/laptops and smartphones) as the most capable destination for consuming content, all content. The filmmaker in me says, “People will care about the viewing experience!”—they don’t. Anywhere, any device. It's settled.

2. Social media is the perfect derivative promotional platform. Smart, short form, and targeted. No more full-page print ads, thin eblasts, or overpriced PR firms. Go to your audience on the cheap. Lead them towards consumption. Filmmakers can go directly to their potential audience for a lot less money.

3. Rather than wait for a broadcast license to validate your ego (because it won’t enrich you), make money like a start-up. Find your audience and sell them. There used to be a model where a specialty title, a DVD (or gasp! VHS) could be sold directly to your audience without affecting a future broadcast sale. Today a digital rental and a license of the same program to a streaming channel appear as two fruits from the same tree, but keep this in mind: it wasn’t always like that. Broadcasters for the longest time believed that 10,000 DVD sales for a year preceding a license term would muddy the waters for viewer interest. Never for a moment did they consider those 10,000 DVDs a demonstration of an audience. Many times they would walk away from a deal that was incorrectly perceived as audience saturation. There are 332 million people in the U.S. Isn't it possible that the 10,000-50,000 buyers are just a sample? Times have changed. Tech has beat broadcast, and with it, all the crappy conditions have fallen away from their anemic deals.

Thankfully, the old model got thrown out with the efficiency of digital delivery. Today coexistence inside the multi-delivery universe is standard. The audience is fully fragmented. If a big broadcast or streaming channel offer is forthcoming, great, pull it off YT. Until then, find your audience and earn revenue, as you should. The streamers will appreciate the audience you’ve captured and you will find that confirming data an asset in determining if your title is worth licensing.

To harness YT’s broad framework of marketing, we need a blueprint to succeed, a viable model to profit. The fragmentation of media has created an all-you-can-eat buffet that’s two miles long, and yet some people exclaim, “I snack and snack but I’m never full!” Familiar? Meet your audience where they are. Pull up a chair. They live at the YT buffet. They want a better meal. Let’s look at how AI can help fill their plate with your content as the main course…right now. Here are four of the basic tools AI can assist with in sharpening that outreach:

1. Audience Targeting: Use AI to understand what viewers like and how they behave. This helps content owners customize their marketing to reach specific groups more effectively, even niche audiences.

2. Predictive Analytics for Content Performance: With AI, analyze different aspects like genre, length, and keywords, as well as who your audience is. This helps filmmakers decide which content to promote first, based on what's likely to perform well.

3. Analyze and Optimize: Use AI tools to automatically make your videos better. AI can look at trends and suggest improvements to things like titles, descriptions, and thumbnails, making your content more appealing to viewers.

4. Personalized Recommendation Engines: Let AI recommend your content to individual viewers based on what they like. This can boost engagement and increase views, likes, and shares by suggesting content that matches each viewer's interests and habits.

This is new territory. Right now AI is a little difficult for many to grasp; it's new, but change is here…again. Here is a quick example of tech and media tripping over each other in a rush to service an emerging marketplace. Prior to the iPhone’s release in 2007, we had a world of Blackberries, Trios, and other pre-iPhone mobile devices that started to process video content. These were early days. The telephone companies ruled how revenue would be distributed with all that new mobile content surging through their new cell towers. They decreed 50% of every transaction, gross dollars, would be theirs before sending the remaining revenues downstream. Their greed was short-lived. The introduction of the iPhone and the “apps” universe took hold, introducing a far superior technology in delivery and consumption. A new ecosphere was born. Entrepreneurs were encouraged to create apps of all kinds and incentives were built in. Today, Apple charges 30% at the gate. That’s where we are today. AI is about to change how we approach finding our audience with better information and more of it.

Why YouTube? There are other platforms for transacting and delivering content. YouTube is an emporium and it’s mostly free. It maintains itself as the library of moving images on our laptop or desktop, an entire 100-story New York library. Its genius is its in-house tools for segmenting the audience. It algorithmically serves up more content for whatever searches are commenced.

Keyword your search and find your audience. For many independent productions, the days of enjoying a lucrative broadcast premiere are over. A new form of marketing within the YouTube superstructure needs to be developed for the myriad of documentaries. It's not enough to share in a few dollars of fractional ad revenue; there needs to be a form of real compensation in self-distribution. As a seasoned executive in international program sales, I know this. Polished programs are not fresh bread. Programs that are 5,10,15, even 25 years old have further life. Even when these programs were first released not everyone saw them. Get out there and cast your line. Longevity is a quiet asset. Your audience is waiting.

Problem Three

Film festivals have become a cinematic country club of privilege and exclusivity—they shouldn’t be. It wasn’t always that way. Film festivals were a way to enjoy a curated selection of films dedicated to a genre or a specific actor or director. Festivals were for everyone. No high-dollar velvet rope pass required. Just buy tickets for the films you want to see. Every local theater gathered a group of films that thematically would appeal to an audience. Afterward, head next door for drinks and food to connect with others about the meaning of it all.

Today’s movie experience is a world of singular films (many of negligible quality) preceded by 30 minutes of commercials ($16.00 for a ticket and $18.00 for a soda and popcorn). The value is gone. It's an obvious gouging, which perhaps encourages people to just wait for the “at-home” premiere. Do people want to go out to watch a film to have a shared experience? Yes, but when the cost outweighs the joy, people look for other distractions. Bring back value by opening theaters to a formula that worked well for decades. A selection of films for a reasonable price. Get them through the doors and into seats to watch, enjoy, eat, and drink.

A "film festival" might highlight some obscure Danish director or a specific genre, but one pass got you entrance for a day or a week. They weren’t the newest films, usually quite the opposite. There was value in learning about something else, something unfamiliar.

With the theatrical marketplace in turmoil, a revival of well-curated festivals needs to be introduced to every city in every state. Not the arthouse theaters, but the main theaters; the ones close by or anywhere that hosts public events—museums, colleges, city centers, anywhere with a screen and decent sound. Give people a reason to leave their house, talk, socialize, find their commonalities. Tom Cruise stars in some very entertaining films, but this industry will be defined by the storytellers we don't know. Let’s see films from the future Wes Andersons, Edgar Wrights, Christopher Nolans, and Paul Thomas Andersons. We need to have an alternative to those tent pole extravaganza releases and get audiences back into festivals for two obvious reasons. First, to have fun again. For everyone who's been to see a revival of Rocky Horror Picture Show or Moulin Rouge or Scott Pilgrim versus the World, it’s all about the big screen as a shared experience. When was the last time anyone saw Trainspotting or The Big Lebowski or Fight Club on a big screen like it was intended? When they did, they certainly remembered it. We still do. To a new generation, these films may have no resonance. The big screen is still a wonderful experience.

Second, Americans want to be entertained. The theatrical model is slowly dying for good reason. Spending money for a poorly conceived, overhyped, star-driven, comic book, stale popcorn movie ruins another Saturday night. Many have already sworn off the theatrical experience. It seems quaint that there was a time when parents could leave the kids for a night with the babysitter and go to dinner and a movie. (Today, that’s a $250 proposition.) It was once part of the fabric of American life but sadly sabotaged by the very industry trying to revive it. Crappy films preceded by endless inane commercials and trailers of loud, scary stupidity. When the feature presentation does finally appear, it is at best a two-star noisefest.

Curate themes to match cities and states. Get people away from the news; let them enjoy an unfolding story on film. Mix in new films and old. Exhibitors have the facilities—most are still empty, only slightly recovering after COVID-19. Yes, bring in younger people and have them see films the way they were supposed to be seen. Have Q&As with the audience afterward with academics or musicians or writers or comedians, perhaps even an actor or director—just like the big film festivals that most people never get to attend. It works in Cannes; it will work in St.Louis. Have people walk out…engaged, satisfied, and ever more curious about our big world. They will come back again. The current model isn’t working. It's time to draw on the past and get people connecting again in a place that everyone once held with great affection. Will theaters make less on ticket sales? Likely. But a near-empty house isn’t making them much either. Most theaters are multiplexes. Peel off one or two of the seven screens and watch people return. So will the joy.

Problem Four

Want better shows? The deals have to get better, seriously better. Our industry can point to a couple dozen filmmakers and producers who are well compensated, but the rest? It’s a form of creative sharecropping. Why does Netflix succeed in terms of quality programming? Besides a few outliers, they commission or acquire programs without editorial interference at good rates. I know, to the broadcast industry it's heresy, but in the Netflix this model it works. There are great filmmakers and films that get caught in an unending trap of crappy representation and lecherous negotiations to end up with very little compensation for their work, all to get on a branded network. They know it, and the networks exploit it.

There used to be a reason to get into this industry—to tell great stories and make money. It really happened. I witnessed it. I was a part of it. An entire generation of filmmakers has grown up with amazing tools to capture imagery and compose new films, but the deal-making, negotiation, and pricing for the finished work haven’t kept up with this amazing technology.

Let’s look at the not-so-distant past. A few years after emerging as a sincere alternative to broadcast television, cable channels became successful via the very shows they helped finance. Then, they decided to let the beancounters run the place. All the Emmys, film festival awards, and even a few Academy Awards they started to collect were because of the creative part of an unspoken partnership that functioned because of one simple premise: Everyone succeeds when we all work together. It was corrupted when the beancounters and agents stole that joy and kept it for themselves. For a moment, pretend you’re in the music business. We know the creators enjoy revenues, especially if they wrote a song or were lucky enough to perform it. They have guilds and unions to protect their rights. Not so in television. That idea that a producer brought into a development meeting? By the time it’s finally contracted the producer has given up their rights in exchange for financing. The network owns it. I’m not kidding. There are exemptions here and there, but after government legislation zeroed out producers' rights, the owners of the content are not the creators.

I’ve seen plenty of creators/producers who came up with a great show, then produced it for well under the going rate, scratch out little in the way of profit for a first and second season. That successful new concept series is then renewed for a whopping 3-4% budget increase in the third season. All the while the cable channel crying about how it’s “not really" rating. Then, a fourth-season negotiation gets heated and the big brains at the network take the series from the producers, cut it away from those creators, and give it to another production company. That’s not the end of it. Most producers used to maximize their sweat equity with a promise of revenues from international licensing. I occupied a seat in that big wheel of reliable revenue streams. They eventually took these assignable rights away from the producer and included them in the All Rights Worldwide production agreement. Though they did promise the producer he/she could receive 20% of the future international sales…except in the small print, the network had a branded version of its network outside the U.S., throughout the world in multiple forms of transmission and delivery. If it showed on their network, even dubbed into another language, it wasn’t considered a foreign sale. In the end, the producer saw nothing beyond the original production fee. It may have played for the next 20 years—unlikely the producer would ever see a dime.

An entire generation of filmmakers got stomped on. They had to give up on the idea of ownership of the intellectual property and any control of their creative/editorial process. Many producers told me they spent more time battling the network accountants than actually producing the films. It was as if the network was angry if the producer actually made any money. And that’s where we are. The big names can wait for the right deal. Everyone else has to expect to take a loss so the network can wildly succeed. They hope for a better deal the next go-around (which never happens) or they can move over to a supporting gig as a real estate agent (I’m not kidding, many do). I have friends who are or who have been buyers at various networks. We have real friendships beyond the world of television. We hang out, go camping, go to dinners, and attend each other's family events, but we do not agree on one thing. They believe all producers need hand-holding and constant creative input...interference I say, (they say "input") into every episode they green light. I disagree. Early on, the Discovery Channel, History Channel, and even PBS let producers do what they do best (hmm, isn’t it funny how Netflix employs the same strategy). We've become an industry of executive know-nothings who are paid to interfere in every production. Attack of the middle managers. I had one producer who sold a one-hour show on Spring Break, you know, the out-of-control, week-long celebration by college kids on the beaches of Florida. He turned in his second cut to find out that his executive producer had been promoted elsewhere in the company. The new EP watched the show and hated it. Why are there so many drunken, slurring, college kids? Why does it glorify partying? The producer, an older man, said simply his approved treatment was for an hour program about Spring Break, an American collegiate ritual, not an academic decathlon. Her reply? “This is why the Muslims hate us.” She was serious. What’s the point of telling great stories if someone is going to interfere with the process? (By the way, he finished the film and it rated very well.) The broadcast industry is collapsing in on itself from willful ineptness.

It's time for our industry to stand up and demand reasonable compensation for great ideas and valuable content. The American non-fiction production community couldn’t organize a lemonade stand on a hot day. It's a band of independents who want to disagree with everything and everyone to remain broke but independent. Do you think Ken Burns, Earl Morris, and other top-tier directors are worried about the independent filmmaking community? Long ago, they started making good money and good deals. They are the rightful independents who bow down to the funders because they know they can walk away if they don’t like a proposed deal. Everyone else who really needs protection has no guild or union to protect them. Too scared to not work again. Too scared to be blackballed. It's time we rethink supporting our creative community. The British, French, Spanish, etc. all protect producers' rights in terms of deal-making. They own their work and benefit from a structured creator/owner system that was put in place to protect them, not the broadcasters.

There was an experienced writer whose recent scripts never seemed to find success. Rejection after rejection became the norm, leaving him disheartened. Convinced his agents didn't take his work seriously, he took a bold step. He reprinted the script for Casablanca, changed the title, and inserted his name as writer. He sent it off to his agent for review and representation, only to be met with yet another rejection. Astonishingly, there were notes criticizing the basic premise of the story: "Why would Rick open a bar in Morocco? Too unbelievable," and “Weak dialogue.”

Someone wasn’t paying attention.

And that’s where we are. No one is paying attention to an American industry whose best resource is about to pack up and leave. There are plenty of industries where the government stepped in to assist during periods of change. In Europe, they partially fund new productions to keep their creative communities alive. In Hollywood, it's always been a game of sink or swim. Eventually, everyone was able to find a place to swim. Not this time. If we don’t start caring about who creates and produces our television shows and series, our feature films, this vibrant industry will lose its best asset—people.

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#1 Communication Sin That Hurts Your Career

A good friend reached out to me regarding a problem he was having at work. Let's call him Bill. Bill was part of a project team that was working on a hot new service his company wanted to create for their existing customers. He was chosen to be on the team because he manages the billing for the company. So, the project leader thought it might be good to have someone from accounting on the team as a way to make sure that whatever they came up with, the department knew what and why they charged for the service the way they did. Sounded like a great reason and a smart project leader to me, but then Bill explained the problem...

“At the first team meeting, I was nervous and didn't want to say anything stupid. It's the first time I've been invited to work on one of these teams for the company and I've been working there for three years. So, I just listened carefully and took notes. The rest of the team was talking widely and brainstorming ideas. It was almost too hard to keep up. At the end of the session, the project leader looked at me and said, 'Bill, do you have any thoughts you want to share?' I did have some things going through my mind—mostly, a lot of clarification questions about the project, but I decided to hold off for the time being and I just said, 'No.' Well, since then I've found out there have been several impromptu team meetings that I wasn't invited to. Instead, I just get an email afterward recapping what was discussed at the meeting and the next steps they are taking. It's like I'm invisible."

As soon as he was finished, I told Bill that he had made the "#1 Communication Sin"—and he needed to fix it fast.

#1 Communication Sin - Failure To Communicate Your Value

When Bill passed on the opportunity to speak in that first team meeting, he basically said to his teammates, “I have no reason for being here." It was as if he admitted to the rest of the team that he was out of his league and had nothing of value to contribute.

Now, we know that's not true. In fact, Bill's mind was swirling with questions he wanted answers—a clear sign that his experience was telling him there were things that needed to be defined. Yet, out of fear of appearing stupid, he didn't ask them. And that, my friends, actually made him look worse!

The Right Approach: Articulate Your Concerns & Buy Time

I can appreciate why Bill didn't want to pellet the group with his questions. I actually think he was wise not to. But he should have let the group know that his silence in the meeting was by no means an indicator of him not having anything to contribute. Instead, he should have used that to his advantage by saying, “I actually have a lot of thoughts and questions swirling in my head right now as it relates to how you can price this product and invoice them effectively. What I'd like to do is take some time to write them out and send them to the team by email. That way, we can wrap this meeting up and keep things moving forward."

This simple statement would have given Bill the chance to explain his thoughtful nature and buy him some time so he could process his thoughts and then share them with the team in a way he felt comfortable doing.

My suggestion for fixing the current problem was simple: Go to the project manager with a list of thoughts and suggestions and ask for permission to discuss them with the team at the next meeting. This would give Bill a chance to prepare and would force the project manager to include him in the next meeting. From there, Bill could re-establish his role on the team and start to engage them as a way to prove his value.

FACT: Your Interaction Style Impacts Your Career Success

One of the reasons Bill struggled in this situation is that he has a Contemplator interaction style. This style tends to be more reserved in their workplace communications. The style is known for being calming and patient, but it also can be misperceived as aloof or unaware.

Interaction styles are at the root of all communication sins made today. (You can take this quiz to see what style you are.) In Bill's case, his style hurt his credibility with his peers.

Don't Be A Communication Sinner - Learn To Interact Like A Pro!

When it comes to communication, you can't afford not to improve your skills in today's competitive workplace. Take our ISAT Quiz and learn how to leverage your interaction style—so you can get the respect you want and deserve!

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How To Deal With Bullies At Work

Last week during my Office Hours on Youtube, a client asked about how to deal with a workplace bully. After spending many years in corporate HR, I flipped to the other side and became a career therapist. So, I've seen both sides of this situation in the workplace. In this video, I discuss why people struggle to deal with bullies and what you can do to change the situation instantly.

Here are the most important points I make in the video above:

  • It's important to control your emotions, reactions, and responses to workplace bullying. Don't let the negativity affect you.
  • Identify signs of a toxic work environment during interviews, focusing on strategic job search planning and networking over excessive online job hunting.
  • Ask specific questions in interviews to gauge the company's workplace culture.
  • Create a personalized 'best places to work' list (interview bucket list) based on your connection to the organization's mission (not just benefits), intrinsic motivation, and career satisfaction.
  • Don't decline a panel interview invitation without considering potential long-term career benefits. Use them to network, and maintain those connections with organizations for future opportunities.
  • In interviews, show how the job aligns with your long-term career goals for sincerity.
  • Attend job fairs selectively, targeting companies aligned with your career goals. Articulating genuine connections with potential employers will help you stand out.
  • Job seekers over 40 should adopt an 'Ask Don't Tell' approach during interviews, focusing on asking insightful questions and demonstrating emotional intelligence to better connect with interviewers. This will also alleviate concerns about you being set in your ways.
  • To find connections at a company, utilize tools like to bypass LinkedIn search limits, then engage with recruiters using customized connection requests.

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The Most Confusing Words On A Resume

I'm going to delve into a little bit of grammar here, but don't be afraid; I won't go too far. We're not going to diagram sentences or discuss split infinitives or any such nonsense. All we're going to do is talk about the most confusing words on a resume.

So, what are the most confusing words on a resume? You've probably come across these tricky words in your resume writing...

Compound Modifiers

A compound modifier is simply a combination of words that you place hyphens between and use as a modifier to describe something. The reason we're discussing compound modifiers is that they happen to be some of the biggest problems on resumes, and I believe they are used more on resumes than anywhere else in writing. I say it's a problem because of the tremendous number of usage mistakes.

If you review a lot of resumes, it quickly becomes apparent that many people don't understand how to use compound modifiers correctly. Some people throw a hyphen in between certain words no matter where they fall in the sentence, and others universally ignore hyphens.

The name gives a clue as to when and how to use them properly. A compound modifier is a string of two or more words that modify a noun. They usually consist of adjectives, but can also contain adverbs and nouns. Examples of compound modifiers are "hands-on manager" or "high-volume manufacturing."

It's Not All Bad News

If you're confused by all of this grammar talk, don't worry—there is an upside. Most HR departments don't seem to mind mistakes made with compound modifiers. Perhaps it's because they don't know the rules of when to use them and when not to. That's understandable. The rules seem to change depending on who you ask and where you work.

There are a few general rules though, and they're easy to learn. If you follow even the primary one, you should be okay.

Basic Rules

Hyphenate a compound modifier when it comes before a noun, and don't hyphenate it when it comes after a noun. Here are common examples found on resumes:

  • Hands-on
  • High-volume
  • High-precision
  • World-class
  • Close-tolerance
  • Long-term
  • Leading-edge
  • Self-motivated (but not highly motivated—see exceptions)

Here are some examples of compound modifiers in a sentence:

  • The couple was in a long-term relationship. (Long-term is hyphenated because it comes before the noun. Long-term functions as a compound adjective describing the word relationship.)
  • He was a hands-on manager.
  • The product was produced in high volume. (No hyphen because high volume comes after the noun.)
  • We need experience with high-volume, close-tolerance manufacturing, and we prefer someone who is self motivated. (Note that high-volume and close-tolerance are hyphenated, and self motivated is not.)

Sometimes the missing hyphen changes the meaning of what you're trying to say. Consider the following sentence, with and without the hyphen:

  • My cousin is a high school teacher.
  • My cousin is a high-school teacher.
In the first case, he's a school teacher who's "high." In the second case, he teaches classes to students in high school.Exceptions

As always, especially with the English language, there are exceptions to the rules. I'm only going to list the ones that come up on resumes. If you're interested in digging deeper into the others, consult a good style guide or one of the many wonderful grammar sites on the internet.

  • Don't hyphenate if you use the word very, or if you use an adverb ending in -ly.
  • Don't hyphenate if one of the words is a single letter.
  • So you would write highly motivated manager or very intense negotiations with no hyphens.
  • And you would write Class A license with no hyphens.
Bottom Line

Resumes are critical tools for securing an interview. Making a mistake with a compound modifier isn't the worst you can do by far, but doing it right gives you another chance to shine and stand out from the crowd.

It doesn't take long for you to learn how to do them right, or to find someone who does. The decision is up to you. You can go with the crowd and make mistakes and hope it doesn't matter. Or you can get it done right, and show them you're serious about this opportunity.

If you need more help with your job search, we're here for you.

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3 Tips On What NOT To Do In Your Cover Letter

The cover letter may be a second thought to many job seekers because there's the feeling that employers aren't going to read it. But the truth is you never know if it'll get read or not.

There are certainly employers who just go straight to the resume, but there are also those who will take the time to read it to determine if they'd even move on to the resume. And it is just more professional to have one.

As a job seeker, it's better to be safe than sorry. Don't let a poorly written cover letter be the reason an employer dismisses you as a qualified applicant for the job.

The cover letter is in fact another opportunity to help you sell and impress if you know how to write it effectively. There's a lot of information out there on how to write cover letters effectively, so here we focus on some things you SHOULD NOT do:

What Should You NOT Do In Your Cover?

If you want to write an effective cover letter, one that stands out to hiring managers, don't do these three things:

  1. Waste the opening paragraph.
  2. Tell your life story (talk about what you can do for them instead).
  3. Write long paragraphs.
For best results, download our free cover letter templates here. Then, follow the tips below.1. Don't Waste The Opening Paragraph

The opening paragraph is the most important part of the cover letter. It has to get the hiring manager's attention.

Most people start their cover letter by stating something like, "I saw your posting and I am very excited to apply." Not only is this generic, but it also does not entice the employer to continue to read your cover letter.

If you want to tell them what job opening you are applying for, just put Regarding: above your salutation.

2. Don't Tell Your Story (Talk About What You Can Do For Them)

Many people want to tell their story: I started here and then went there and so on. But the employer does not really care about your story. They want to hear the story of why you're passionate about the opportunity to work there, and why you feel connected to the company in the first place.

A hiring manager looks at a cover letter for an average of 3-5 seconds, so you shouldn't summarize all of your skills and career experiences if you want to stand out. You need to start right off by saying, "This is why I feel connected to your company, and this is what I can do for you as a business-of-one."

3. Don't Have Long Paragraphs

Again, the cover letter is quickly scanned, so after the opening paragraph, use bullets and short statements so they are easy to read.

Do not just repeat information you already have on your resume. Since you stated why you're passionate about the company and what you can do for them in the opening paragraph, now it's time to provide some proof statements.

For example:

Driving record levels of sales and market share is what I do best. I have over 10 years of success in technology sales and have consistently been recognized as a top performer. Highlights of my background include: Ranked #1 out of 30 peers for delivering 157% of my sales quota in 2023.

As a job seeker, don't worry about whether or not your cover letter will be read by the employer. Just know that if it is read, you will leave an impressive mark with your cover letter as you will with your resume.

The cover letter is just another sales tool for you to stand out and win over an employer, hopefully prompting them to contact you to learn more about what you bring to the table. If you follow the cover letter tips above, you'll be sure to impress!

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How To Answer "Why Shouldn't We Hire You?" In A Job Interview

A client in my masterclass this week told me that when she was in an interview, she got asked these two questions: "What do you think would be the reason why we wouldn't hire you?" and "If you eventually got fired from this job, what do you think you would be fired for?"

First of all, those interview questions just stink. But it doesn't surprise me that this level of questioning is coming out right now because hiring managers are feeling the pressure to make sure they hire the perfect person. So they're creating all these questions to try to figure out who's the wrong person to hire.

As crazy as those questions sound, I understand why they're asking job candidates, "Why shouldn't we hire?" They've likely been burned and hired some people who haven't worked out or have been told, "Don't blow it. You better hire the right person." They don't know that asking these questions isn't going to give them that answer.

But if you get asked a question in an interview, you better answer it. Failing to answer questions in an interview will cost you the job. So when you get asked the "Why shouldn't we hire you?" question in a job interview, you must find an answer that isn't too controversial.

How To Answer: "Why Shouldn’t We Hire You?"

"Why shouldn't we hire you?" is kind of a new take on the "What's your greatest weakness?" question. You don't want to do the whole, "Well, my strengths create my weaknesses so if you were to not choose me it's probably because I have too much attention to detail," or "If you were to fire me it's because I said yes to everything and I got overworked." Those answers are not going to fly.

Here's what you need to do instead...

Think about the job and the top five things that are needed to do the job well. Hopefully, you've done your homework prior to the interview. You know what the job description says. You know what the five most important tasks are that you're going to need to do on this job.

Then, take a moment to rank yourself in terms of your ability to do these tasks. They can't all be equal. Say, "I'm strongest at this. Second strongest at this. Third strongest at this. Fourth strongest at this. Fifth strongest at this."

While you're capable of doing the job and doing it well, if you were to rank yourself, the fifth task is your least strongest. By phrasing your response this way, you'll have a fact-based answer to the "Why shouldn't we hire you?" question.

Here's an example of how to answer this question:

"Well, if you weren't to hire me, here's the way I look at it. Based on the job description, these are the five most important things you need me to do in this job—and do well. I'm never going to tell you that I am perfect at all of them and will exceed your expectations. I'm always looking to improve myself. So if I had to rank myself, I would say I'm best at this, second best at this, third best at this, fourth best at this, and fifth best at this. If you're not going to choose me, it might be because you want me to be the strongest at this fifth thing. I can do this, but maybe that's the reason you might not choose me for the job. And if I were to get fired, maybe it's because when I start the job you quickly realize that there's another skill set that's way more important than the five that I just described and therefore you feel I'm not a fit anymore."

That's a very logical answer to the "Why shouldn't we hire you?" question, and it's a way to avoid going down the path of TMI. I see many job seekers being too brutally honest, which is probably what the hiring manager wants, but you don't need to do that. You can give a more objective answer based on the facts if you do a little homework.

Be prepared for this question in a job interview. These behavioral interview questions, these open-ended questions where they want you to tell a story or give more than a one-word answer, are designed to evaluate your personality, your aptitude, and your experience because they're trying to understand if you will actually be a good fit for this job.

You need to brand yourself in these job interviews, but you have to brand correctly. No TMI. You need to get it right. I hope the framework above helps when you get asked "Why shouldn't we hire?" in a job interview.

Good luck, and go get 'em!

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5 Ways To Have A Great Day At Work

Who doesn’t want to have a great day at work? I suppose everyone wants to have a great day except for a grouch—those who feel happiest when they are grouchy. So, what are some of the things I have done to have a great day at work?

Before I start, perhaps it's best to explain that you need to have a long-term view. That view is: Achieving more great days at work is possible if we learn some key habits.

1. Finish Today's Work Today

A great day at work today started yesterday. And a great day at work tomorrow started today. So, regardless of what you do, finish today’s work today. And if your work is like mine, always unending, start by having timelines and daily goals you want to achieve every day. These become your productivity benchmarks.

2. Be Mindful

Learn to be conscious of your own feelings. Be aware of why you feel a certain way about certain work issues and colleagues. When you feel certain feelings, tell yourself why you feel that way. For example, “I feel jealous because John received compliments.” Then, ask yourself: "What is a better way to feel?" For example, “I should be happy for John. He worked really hard for it. I should congratulate him.”

Of course, it's not easy. But if you do it consistently, soon you will catch yourself with negative thoughts. You will arrest these negative thoughts before they become words out of your mouth and actions. You will be more self-aware. A more self-aware person can instantly change the way they think, speak, and act. A mindful person will slowly begin to have a great day at work.

3. Appreciate Challenges

Challenges are all around us. Even the moment you get into your car and onto the road, the challenge begins. Why is the car in front moving so slowly? Why is that red light not changing to green yet? Challenges surround you daily. If you continue fighting them, there is no way you can have a great day at work.

The trick is to appreciate these challenges as a way to train yourself. Train yourself to accept challenges—that there is no way you can change this and it’s a matter of how you respond that will determine how you feel toward your day. When you start to appreciate challenges at work, you will start to have more great days at work.

4. Embrace Change

Just like challenges, change is all around you. Life is about change. Every second, your thoughts and feelings flicker. You change from feeling good to feeling bad to feeling angry—and a gamut of other thoughts and feelings. Change produces uncertainties and because we like constants and routines, uncertainties bring dissatisfaction.

One way to overcome this is to embrace change. Accept that change is a natural phenomenon and whether it's a good change or a bad change, these are merely labels we give to a situation. Because things change constantly, something good may change into something bad very quickly, and vice versa. A great day at work starts when you can better embrace change.

5. Reflect, Don't Regret

Reflect constantly on your actions. Some people like to reflect at the end of the day. Some like to reflect at the end of the week. Whatever suits you best, do it. But reflect. It allows you to be more self-aware and mindful of your actions. Reflect so you are able to make adjustments and be better the next time.

You need not do all of these tips concurrently. Start with one or two, but be consistent with them. Then, see how your great days at work start to increase.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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30 Promotion Killers: Why You're Not Getting Promoted At Work

Have you ever felt like you're stuck on the same rung of the corporate ladder while everyone else is zooming past you? You're not alone. It's not easy to get promoted at work. In fact, there are 30 common pitfalls that might be holding you back from that promotion.

If you're wondering why you're not getting promoted at work, here are some possible reasons why you haven't moved up the corporate ladder yet.

 1. Lack Of Conflict Resolution Skills

No matter how nice or easy-going you are, you will inevitably find yourself in conflict. People will not always agree with you, and you will not always agree with others.

I know a little bit about conflict resolution. It was the topic of my dissertation at Harvard. I have found that collaboration is key to positively resolving conflict. When you collaborate with the person with whom you’re in conflict, you focus on meeting both your needs and their needs. This helps you bring together both of your viewpoints to get the best solution.

When you collaborate, neither person is likely to feel as if they won or lost. Successful people, the people who get promoted, are adept at resolving conflict in a positive manner. They're collaborative; and when you collaborate with others—especially those with whom you are in conflict—you're not only likely to resolve your conflict in a positive manner but you're also likely to strengthen your relationship with the other person. It’s a win-win.

Successfully dealing with conflict is somewhat counterintuitive. By definition, conflict is a state of disagreement. When you’re in conflict with someone, instead of focusing on where you disagree, focus on where you both agree. That’s collaboration in action. This is a great way to not only resolve the conflict but also strengthen relationships. And, as we all know, conflict often leads to a deterioration of relationships.

This approach is a no-brainer. First, you get to resolve conflict positively. Second, you strengthen your relationships. Third, you improve your chances of getting the promotion you want and deserve.

2. Not Paying It Forward

This is a quid pro quo world: you do for me and I’ll do for you. While there's nothing wrong in reciprocating a good deed or a favor, there's a fundamental problem with quid pro quo. It's reactive, not proactive. Too many people wait for others to go first. They adopt the attitude, “When and if you do for me, I’ll do for you.” This scarcity mentality is not conducive to building the strong relationships you need to get the promotion you want.

When you come from a scarcity mentality, you focus on holding on to what you already have. This can prevent you from receiving what you might possibly get. On the other hand, giving with no expectation of return comes from a proactive abundance mentality. When you give with no expectation of return, you are demonstrating faith that the good you do will benefit others close to you and the world at large—and that good things will come back to you.

Giving with no expectation of return is ironic. I have found that the more I give, the more I receive, often from unlikely sources. But that’s not my reason for giving—and I hope it is not yours. The best reason for giving is the basic joy of making a difference in other people’s lives and in your company. It helps that people who pay it forward are more likely to get promoted.

3. No Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is the foundation of good communication. It’s the first step in building positive relationships and resolving conflict in a positive manner. Self-aware people understand how they are similar to and different from other people. They use this insight to help them do things like initiate relationships with a variety of people; determine how much they should disclose about themselves at various points in a relationship; and determine the appropriate amount of emotional support they should offer others.

Self-aware people also use their knowledge of themselves and others to determine when and how to assert their displeasure with another person’s actions and to manage and resolve interpersonal conflicts. If you understand yourself, you can better understand others.

I’ll use myself as an example. I make intuitive leaps. My mind goes from A to B to F. Most people aren’t like me. They process information sequentially. Their minds go from A to B to C to D to E to F. When I am with these people, I don’t blurt out my intuitive leaps. When I have one, I go back and fill in the B to C to D to E before I come out with F. In this way, I am better able to get my point across to my sequentially thinking colleagues and clients.

Get to know yourself. Use this self-knowledge to better understand and communicate with others. This will help you become a more influential person and get that elusive promotion.

4. Can’t Manage Your Boss

Your boss is the one person who can most influence your chances of getting promoted. Before any promotion offer is made, your boss will be asked for their input. Trust me on this one. If you have a good relationship with your boss, your chances of getting promoted increase greatly.

The best way to manage your boss is to make them look good. You do this by being a good performer—delivering work that reflects well on you, your department, and your boss.

Think of it this way. If you do a good job, your boss is more likely to get promoted. When your boss is asked who would be a good replacement—and believe me, they will be asked this question—they are more likely to choose you if you’ve done a good job and built a strong relationship with them.

Managing your boss is pretty simple. Keep them informed of what you’re working on and how it’s going. Ask them how you can help the department move forward. Volunteer for tough jobs. Ask for quarterly performance reviews to make sure you’re on track. Build a cordial relationship with them. Your boss has a lot to say about whether or not you get the promotion you want. Increase your chances of a positive recommendation by building a strong, trusting relationship with them.

5. Online Stupidity

Everybody knows employers Google you before they invite you in for an interview. Fewer people realize that people in your own company Google you when you’re up for a promotion.

When people Google you, what do they see? Pictures of you pounding a beer at a baseball game? Pictures of you hanging out with Hooters girls? Or do they see photos in good taste—a nice shot of you and your spouse, or a picture of you and your kids? You may not like to hear this, but this stuff counts. You want to come across as a serious professional online—not some drunk fraternity or sorority kid.

I stay away from religion and politics on my blogs and Facebook posts. You never know who might take offense to your religious or political beliefs. If these beliefs are really important to you, go ahead and make them known online. But remember, you may suffer some consequences. I think it’s best to play it safe online. Brand yourself as a serious professional. That’s what the folks who are making promotion decisions are looking for.

6. Poor Attire

I once saw a tweet online that said, “The impression you make when first meeting someone is 7% verbal, 28% body language, and 65% visual.” I retweeted that one. I’m not sure if the numbers are 100% accurate, but they are pretty much aligned with my personal experience.

How you dress does count. When you’re going to work, look like you’re going to work—especially if you want that promotion. If you work for a large company, you’ll notice that your senior executives dress well. Most days, they’ll be wearing a suit. You don’t have to wear suits all the time, but you should follow their example. In general, you’ll find that executives wear clothing that fits well and is clean and in good repair. You should too.

Remember that “business” is the first word in “business casual.” Dress like you’re going to work and are serious about your job. Here’s a piece of advice I give to my coaching clients. Every morning, before you leave for work, stop and look in the mirror. Ask yourself this question: “Does what I’m wearing today indicate that I respect myself and the people I’ll meet today?” If the answer is yes, go ahead and knock ‘em dead. If the answer is no, head back to your closet and change.

7. Not Branding Yourself

If you want a promotion, job, or career success, you have to consciously build the image you want to project. Nature abhors a vacuum. If you don’t brand yourself, others will. Abraham Lincoln once said something that applies here: “Don’t worry when you are not recognized, but strive to be worthy of recognition.” The idea of constantly striving “to be worthy of recognition” captures the essence of creating a positive personal image. People who create a positive personal image have three things in common:

  • They develop and nurture their unique personal brands.
  • They are impeccable in their presentation of self.
  • They know and follow the basic rules of etiquette.
If you develop and nurture your unique personal brand, present yourself well, and use the basic rules of etiquette consistently, you will become recognized as a person with positive personal impact.There are two keys here. First, work constantly and continually at creating your positive personal image and on building your personal brand. Second, realize that this won’t come overnight. You have to work at it. That’s the idea behind the first part of Mr. Lincoln’s quote—“don’t worry when you are not recognized.”Your attire counts. When I pack for business trips, I pull out two or three pairs of dark charcoal gray slacks, a black or blue blazer, several white shirts, and striped ties. I always wear white shirts and striped ties when I visit my clients. Often, they tell me that I don’t need to dress up as they are a business casual office. I always reply by saying, “I put on my tie today because I knew I would be seeing an important person—you.” This comment always gets a smile—and from what I can tell, people are flattered by it. It helps my personal image.When it comes to etiquette, I have one simple piece of advice: Do whatever it takes to make the people around you feel comfortable.8. Having A Bad Image

Be very conscious of the image you present. I have a very successful friend. He sold a company he founded for about $100 million. Yet, when I first met him, he was struggling to get a promotion at his company. Why? He is a smart guy and a good businessman. But he had a poor image inside his company.

He’s a fun guy. Enjoys sports, a good laugh, and a beer or two now and then. Somehow this got him branded as immature. Whenever his name came up for a promotion, he was dismissed immediately. The dreaded “immature” tag saw to that.

He eventually had to leave that company and move to another where he set about consciously building his image. He was able to create an image as a serious businessman who could consistently deliver solid bottom-line results. He flourished in the new company, in large part because he managed his image. This gave him the confidence to start his own business. His success speaks for itself.

9. Poor Writing Skills

Good writing will set you apart from the crowd and put you on the road to career success. Most unsuccessful people are poor writers. They are unclear. They ramble. Their emails, letters, and reports are a series of long sentences filled with big words that don’t really say anything.

You can’t catch people’s attention by writing this way. You need to write in a clear, crisp, concise manner in order to get that promotion. Your objective in writing at work is to communicate—not to impress others with your vocabulary. Make sure you write with your reader in mind.

Sometimes it’s a good idea to read aloud what you’ve written to get a feel for how it will sound to your reader. Write in short, simple sentences. Use the simplest words you can to get across your point, while still being accurate. Write fast. Get your thoughts on paper or the computer screen as quickly as you can. Then edit and rewrite until you’ve said exactly what you want to say.

One of my first bosses always told me that rewriting is the secret to good writing. Spelling counts, too. Correct spelling does two things for you. First, it shows that you have a good command of the language. Second, and more importantly, correct spelling demonstrates that you respect both yourself and the reader. Misspelled words stand out like sore thumbs to readers. Don’t just spell-check your documents. Proof them. Spellcheck often won’t pick up improper usage in words like “your” and “you’re,” “hear” and “here,” and “their,” "they're," and “there.”

The same holds true for punctuation. Make sure that you know how to properly use periods, question marks, commas, colons, semicolons, exclamation marks, quotation marks, and apostrophes. If you’re not sure about punctuation rules, spend a little time on the internet learning proper usage.

10. Poor Presentation Skills

Want that promotion? Presentations are opportunities to shine. Just like with conversations, careers have been made—or broken—by one presentation. You need to treat every presentation as a career-enhancing or detracting event. Refining your presentation skills will make your promotion pitch that much more effective to your boss.

A lot of people suffer from presentation anxiety. Public speaking can be frightening, although it doesn’t have to be. Presenting is like any other process: there is a series of logical steps to follow.

Years ago, I learned a simple five-step process for effective presentations. Below, I’ll share the material I covered in a three-day workshop on presentation skills. Breaking the presentation process down into these five easily manageable steps is the best way I know to get over presentation anxiety.

  1. Determine your message.
  2. Analyze your audience.
  3. Organize your information for impact.
  4. Design supporting visuals.
  5. Practice, practice, practice.

Ask yourself these questions to help you determine your message:

  • What do you want or need to communicate?
  • What information does the audience need?
  • Why do they need it?
  • At the end of the presentation, what should the audience understand? Remember? Do?

Determine the best way to communicate your message by analyzing your audience. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who is the audience for this presentation?
  • Why are they attending?
  • What is their general attitude toward you and the topic?
  • What is their knowledge level on this topic?

Use the golden rule of journalism to organize your information: “Tell them what you’re going to tell them. Tell them. Tell them what you told them.”

  • Begin at the end. Prepare your presentation ending first. This is helpful because it keeps you focused on where you’re going.
  • Prepare your presentation beginning. A good beginning has two things: a hook and an outline of your talk.
  • Fill in the blanks with your content.

Design visuals to support and enhance what you are saying. Good visuals support the points you are making, create audience interest, improve audience understanding, and save you time—a picture is worth a thousand words, and they are memory aids.

Practice, practice, practice. There is an old saying, “Practice makes up for a lack of talent." Prior to getting in front of an audience, say your presentation out loud—several times. Listen to yourself. Consider recording yourself. If you don’t have the equipment, practice in front of a mirror, or your spouse, or your dog or cat—just practice.

11. Poor Conversation Skills

If you want to get a promotion, you have to learn to handle yourself in conversation. A brief conversation with the right person can greatly help—or hinder—your chances of getting promoted.

In a conversation, two types of activities occur simultaneously: speaking and listening. In good conversations, both of these are continuous and productive. In plain English, when you’re in a conversation, if you’re not speaking and providing information, you need to be listening and receiving it.

Asking good questions is an important way to become known as a great conversationalist. But in order to take full advantage of the questions you ask, you need to really listen to the answers and respond appropriately.

Here are my top seven tips for becoming a good listener—and conversationalist.

  1. Look the other person in the eye when they are speaking. This demonstrates that you are engaged with them.
  2. Listen to understand what the other person is saying—not to plan your rebuttal.
  3. Listen really hard when the other person begins by saying something with which you don’t agree.
  4. Know the words that trigger your emotions. Don’t get distracted by them.
  5. Be patient. Some people take longer than others to make their point. Don’t interrupt.
  6. Ask clarification questions when you don’t understand.
  7. Repeat what you have heard the other person say—to make sure you got it right, and to show them that you were listening.
If you use these seven tips in conversation, you will become known as a great conversationalist and be on your way to the career success you deserve.12. Not Being Healthy

You can’t perform at a high level if you’re not healthy. If you don’t perform at a high level, you can’t get promoted. The better you feel, the better you’ll perform.

Live a healthy lifestyle. Eat well. Exercise. Get regular checkups. You have to be in reasonable shape if you want to get that promotion. A reasonable level of fitness will help you deal with the inevitable stress that accompanies creating a successful life and career. Diet and exercise are the keys to living a healthy lifestyle. You don’t have to be a fitness fanatic, but you do need to get some exercise and pay attention to what you eat.

You don’t have to become a fitness fanatic to be a high performer. However, eating well and exercising will keep you sharp and on top of your game. It will keep your stress in check. And while a little stress is a good thing, too much stress can knock you out of the game and the promotion you want.

13. Not Being A Team Player

If you want to get a promotion, you need to realize that business is a team sport, and team players get promotions.

Here are my seven tips for being a team player:

  1. Suggest solutions to the problems you identify and raise. Identifying problems is easy. Coming up with solutions is hard. Do it.
  2. Never play the blame game. You alienate everyone around you. Publicly identifying and blaming others for failures creates enemies. These enemies will help you fail. You need allies—not enemies—at work.
  3. Treat people with courtesy and respect. It’s never appropriate to raise your voice to a colleague or co-worker.
  4. Never blindside people. Keep your colleagues in the loop. Discuss problems with the people directly involved before discussing them with others.
  5. Keep your commitments. When you fail to meet deadlines and commitments, you affect the work of other people. When you can’t keep a commitment, make sure you let other people know right away. Give them a new due date and then honor it.
  6. Share credit for accomplishments, ideas, and contributions. It’s very rare to accomplish a goal or complete a project with no help from others. Take the time, and expend the energy, to thank, reward, recognize, and specify the contributions of the people who help you succeed.
  7. Help other people find their greatness. Every person has talents, skills, and experience. If you help people harness their best abilities, that benefits them and your organization immeasurably. Compliment, recognize, praise, and notice others’ contributions. You don’t have to be a manager to help create a positive, motivating environment.
14. Sloppy Work

Your work says a lot about you. Clean, complete work defines you as a professional, someone worthy of a promotion. Messy, incomplete work defines you as someone who doesn’t care—and is not worthy of a promotion.

I always advise my coaching clients to sweat the small stuff. It’s the small stuff, the details, that helps you create a professional image.

Make sure your emails are well-written and grammatically correct. Read them, don’t just spell-check them. Practice your presentations before you give them—out loud. Anticipate questions you’ll get in a presentation and bring back up information with you so you can answer those questions.

Your work is a reflection of you. It can show that you care, or that you’re just getting by. If you want to get promoted, demonstrate that you care about the quality of your work. Good enough is never good enough. Make all of your work the best it can be.

15. Procrastinating

Procrastination leads to missed deadlines. It also leads to stress and a poor image. Procrastination is a promotion killer with a capital “K."

Procrastination is the physical manifestation of fear. Most people fear failure, criticism, and rejection. It’s only normal. We all want to feel good about ourselves. Failure, criticism, and rejection are not pleasant experiences. They lower our self-esteem and make us feel bad about ourselves, so we often avoid doing things that we think might lead to failure, criticism, or rejection.

You have the courage to do things that might result in failure, criticism, or rejection. Here are some great questions to ask yourself the next time you find yourself procrastinating because of your fear of failure, criticism, or rejection.

  • Why did I fail?
  • Why did I get criticized or rejected?
  • What did I do to cause the failure, criticism, or rejection?
  • What could I have done to prevent the failure, criticism, or rejection?
  • What have I learned from this situation?
  • What will I do differently the next time?
If you do this, you’ll be better able to face your fears and act, you’ll stop procrastinating, you’ll be using failure, criticism, and rejection to your advantage, and you’ll be positioning yourself for a promotion.16. Not Following Through

A lot of people tell me that they have difficulty finishing projects. This is a promotion killer. You have to be seen as someone who follows through and gets things done if you want to get promoted. But remember, you have to start before you can finish.

Jill Koenig, one of my online friends, posted this bit of wisdom on her Facebook page a while back… “To accomplish big things, you must do the small things. This overcomes inertia. To accomplish the small things, visualize the big-picture outcome. This overcomes overwhelm.”

That’s exactly the kind of career advice I’m talking about when I advise my coaching clients to break large projects into small chunks. Small steps and mini-milestones will help you overcome the inertia that can stop you from beginning—or finishing—a big project. On the other hand, you also have to keep focused on the big picture to avoid being overwhelmed by the sheer number of small tasks involved in completing a big project. I’ve written over 15 books. Believe me, writing a book will teach you the importance of following through.

One more piece of advice here: I always start large projects late in the afternoon. I do this to create momentum. Even though I barely scratch the surface of the project, I get up the next day ready to go because I have accomplished something on the project and have momentum on my side. Try this the next time you are faced with a big project. It works.

17. Missing Deadlines

Deadlines are usually there for a good business reason. Miss them at your own risk. Your work is almost always part of a chain that leads to corporate profitability. When you’re late, or miss a deadline completely you’re gumming up the works. That’s why it’s important to meet your deadlines and commitments—especially if you want a promotion.

If you find that you’re not going to meet a deadline, tell the person who is counting on you and your work right away. Don’t let the deadline pass without saying anything. This is not only good manners but it also helps the other person manage their workload. Finally, don’t complain about being micromanaged if you miss a lot of deadlines and your boss starts following up with you. That’s their job and the price you pay for not being reliable.

18. Acting Stressed 24/7

I once read an article that had some really terrible career advice. The author suggested that it’s good to give the appearance that you’re harried, so busy that you don’t even have time to finish lunch. He said you can accomplish this by leaving a half-empty cup of oatmeal on your desk in the morning and a half-eaten sandwich on your desk in the afternoon. Not only does this have a high "yuck" factor, but it also brands you as someone whose professional life is out of control.

Even if you’re feeling a little out of control, don’t let it show (especially if you're trying to get a promotion). I bet you know at least one person who always responds negatively when you ask how they are doing. You know what I’m talking about—answers like “just peachy,” in a sarcastic tone, or “same stuff, different day.” Don’t be one of these people. Present yourself as a well-organized professional, someone who is in control.

19. Being Disorganized

I’ve seen plenty of people lose a promotion because they were branded as “disorganized.” Start with managing your time. Only engage in unimportant activities like scrolling on social media in your leisure time. Complete unimportant but urgent activities quickly and move on. Focus on important and urgent tasks. Get them done well and in a timely manner. Create time to work on important but not urgent tasks. This will give you a leg-up on your competition and lead to that promotion you really want.

You have to do a good job with time management, but time management is not the only key to personal organization. Get organized if you want that promotion. Organize your time, life, and workspace. Sweat the small stuff. Success is in the execution. Execution is in the details. Create a personal organization system that works for you. More importantly, give the appearance of being organized. Be seen as someone who has all the details at their fingertips.

20. Not Understanding Your Company's Business

Business acumen allows you to understand your company’s overall strategy and how the company competes in the marketplace. It helps you speak the language of business. This lets you communicate with senior leaders in your company and show them that you’re aware of the issues they deal with daily. Developing business acumen shows others that you’re a business generalist, not a specialist—an important key to getting a promotion.

One way to see how well you understand your company’s business is to see if you can answer 11 questions. For the most recent fiscal year-end:

  1. How much cash was on hand?
  2. How much cash was generated from operating activities?
  3. What was the total net income?
  4. What was the net profit margin?
  5. What were the total sales?
  6. What was the inventory turnover rate?
  7. What was the return on assets?
  8. How much did sales grow over the previous year?
  9. How much did net income grow over the previous year?
  10. How much did earnings per share grow over the previous year?
  11. How do all of the above compare to your competition?
The answers to these questions are in your company’s annual report. Study it and learn the answers, then you’ll be on your way to getting the promotion you want. If you still don’t get it, take a finance colleague to lunch and ask them to explain the answers to you.21. Not Understanding Business

I hear it a couple of times a week. One of my clients says, “I didn’t get the promotion I wanted. When I asked why, I was told that I’m not strategic enough.” That can be a catch-all phrase to explain why another candidate was chosen over you. Oftentimes, it has no real meaning. On the other hand, not being strategic, not demonstrating that you see and understand the big picture, can be an impediment to your corporate climb.

As you move up the corporate ladder, you have to become more strategic. You need to learn about some promotion killers. You need to develop your business acumen. Think of business acumen in two ways. First, you have to have a basic understanding of how your company makes money. This means that you have to have a working knowledge of finance, marketing, sales, and operations. Second, you have to use this to make sound decisions that contribute to your company’s profitability.

22. Not Staying Current

Stay up on things, in your field, in your company, in your industry, and in business in general. Not being current is a surefire way to sabotage your promotion opportunities.

When you interview for a promotion you can be sure that you’ll be asked questions about what’s new in your field. You need to be ready to answer these questions. You need to demonstrate that you’re up on the latest technology and ideas in your field. This means you need to become a lifelong learner.

My best common sense suggestion for becoming a lifelong learner is simple. Read. Read technical journals. Read trade magazines. Read business publications like The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune, and Forbes. If you think they’re too stodgy, read Fast Company. Read your company’s annual report. Read your competitors’ annual reports. Read your local newspaper and The New York Times. Read news magazines like Newsweek and Time. Read business and industry blogs. Read ezines and eBooks. Read books. Reading is the best way to stay up with what’s happening in your field, your company, your industry, and your business.

There are also other things you can do to keep learning. Attend seminars. Join the major groups or trade associations for your industry. Attend their meetings and participate. Take a class at your local university. Use your company’s tuition reimbursement program to get a free degree.

23. No Internal Mentor

No one can do it alone. You have to have someone in your corner. If you want to get that promotion, find a mentor. Mentors are positive people who will help you find the lessons in your experience and use them to move forward. Mentors are people whose hindsight can become your foresight. Do you want to find a mentor? Just look around you. Who are the people you admire and want to emulate? Watch what they do, and do the same.

I’ve had several mentors who never even realized they were mentoring me. The reverse is also true. I’ve learned plenty about what not to do to build self-esteem, give performance feedback, and treat people with respect and dignity from observing a few of my managers over the years. I’ve created an acronym to define what it takes to become a good mentor.

A good mentor…

M Motivates you to accomplish more than you think you can.

E Expects the best of you.

N Never gives up on you or lets you give up on yourself.

T Tells you the truth, even when it hurts.

O Occasionally kicks your butt.

R Really cares about you and your success.

Look for people with these qualities when you are searching for a mentor. Embody them yourself when you are mentoring others.

24. Having A Negative Outlook

Your attitude drives a lot of your results. You get to choose your attitude. A pessimistic, negative attitude won’t help you get the promotion you want. An optimistic, positive attitude will.

Choose optimism. Believe that things will turn out well. Often they will, sometimes they won’t. When they don’t, don’t sulk. Learn what you can and use it next time. Follow the Optimist Creed…

Promise yourself:

  • To be so strong that nothing can disturb your peace of mind.
  • To talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
  • To make all your friends feel that there is something in them.
  • To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.
  • To think only of the best, to work only for the best, and to expect only the best.
  • To be just as enthusiastic about the success of others as you are about your own.
  • To forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future.
  • To wear a cheerful countenance at all times and give every living creature you meet a smile.
  • To give so much time to the improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
  • To be too large for worry, too noble for anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to permit the presence of trouble.
I love the Optimist Creed. I have it framed and hanging in my office, just above my desk. I have made a PDF of the Optimist Creed that is suitable for framing. If you want a copy, just click here.25. Being Too Shy

Wallflowers don’t get promoted. You may be the kind of person who thinks that your work will speak for itself—that all you have to do is keep your head down and do a good job, and the promotions will follow. Unfortunately, they won’t. You have to put yourself out there.

Let your boss know your long-term and short-term goals. Ask for his or her help. Find a mentor who can guide you in your career journey. Never be afraid to ask for help. Volunteer for the jobs no one wants.

I once got a promotion because I volunteered to lead the United Way campaign at the company where I worked. No one wanted that job—who wants to ask their co-workers for money? On the other hand, my company was a big supporter of the United Way. By volunteering for the job, I got to meet several senior executives—one of whom offered me a great promotion.

Don’t be shy, put yourself out there.

26. Getting Discouraged

Didn't get the promotion? You’re going to experience some rejection and setbacks as you pursue those elusive promotions. That’s a fact. But remember this: The career success game is a marathon, not a sprint. If you want to win, you have to keep at it. Don’t let a setback or two get you down. You have to pick yourself up and go back to work the next day.

You demonstrate your commitment to your career success by doing three things. First, take personal responsibility for getting the jobs and promotions you want. Only you can make you a success. Be willing to do the things necessary to succeed. Second, set high goals—and then do whatever it takes to achieve them. Third, stuff happens; as you go through life you will encounter many problems and setbacks. Don’t get discouraged and give up too soon. React positively to the setbacks and keep moving forward toward your goals, dreams, and career success.

27. Weak Goals

If you’re going to get the promotion you want, you need to set SMART goals. These goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound. SMART goals will keep you focused and moving on a path that will help you get ahead.

Sometimes, that path might not be as straight as you would like. It might involve some twists and turns along the way. That’s why you need to keep the big picture in mind. If you know exactly where you want to end up, it’s easier to see how all the pieces fit together.

Goals are important. You can’t get what you want if you don’t know where you’re going. Written goals are the first step when it comes to life and career success. Sharpening your goals until they are clear and concise is the second step.

If you don’t have written goals for your life and career, write some tonight. Then, check them against the SMART criteria. Make sure they are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time Bound. Do this and you’ll be well ahead in the career success game.

28. Blaming Others

Things don’t always work out in your career. There will be times when you're an excellent candidate for a promotion but you still don't get it. This is frustrating. But it's also an opportunity.

Successful people are resilient. They approach rejection and failure as an opportunity to learn and grow.

You need to take positive action if you don’t get the promotion you think you deserve. Politely inquire about your interview performance. Ask what you could have done to come across better. Take this feedback to heart. Take a look at your skills. What's lacking in your portfolio that could have led to the promotion? Do whatever you can to develop these skills. Volunteer for projects in your company. Get some additional education and training. Get active in professional societies where you can take a leadership role.

Don’t blame others when you don’t get a promotion. Take a hard look at yourself. Identify your growth areas. Develop the skills that will put you at the top of the promotion list the next time around. See if you committed any of the promotion killers in this article.

29. Unclear Values

As the John Mellencamp song goes, “You’ve got to stand for something, or you’ll fall for anything.” That’s why it’s important to know what’s important to you when you are considering a promotion.

If your kids are young, you might not want a job that keeps you on the road 80% of the time. If your spouse has a good job and their prospects for advancement look good, you might not want to relocate. On the other hand, if your career success goals involve climbing the ladder in your current company, you might want to consider a lateral move to demonstrate your commitment to your company and your willingness to broaden your base of experience.

Make sure that you turn any unclear values you may have into easy-to-understand rules, so it's easier for you to react consistently, no matter whom or what you're dealing with. Knowing what you value, what you want out of your life and career, can really help you make the right decisions that will lead to the promotions you want and deserve.

30. Chronic Job Applicant

Some people think that applying for every job that comes along brands them as someone who is career-oriented and committed to their company. Not true. When you apply for every job that opens, you come across as desperate for a promotion.

You don’t want to get the” desperate” label attached to you. Decision-makers see chronic job applicants as unfocused and unclear about their life and career goals. They assume you're more interested in the title and money that comes with a promotion than making a positive impact in the job you’ve applied for.

Don’t be a chronic job applicant. Be selective. Get focused. Apply for those jobs in which you have a legitimate interest and, more importantly, the skills to perform the job. Being selective will increase your chances of getting that elusive promotion. You’ll brand yourself as a real pro in your field.

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Implementing The Right Internal Controls Like Precisely Filling In A Crossword Puzzle

Internal controls are important to safeguard the organization’s assets. When you have strong internal controls, you have more confidence that the organization is promoting operational effectiveness including managing risk effectively, compliance with regulations, and maintaining effective corporate governance.

The organization is working towards achieving its goals and strategic objectives but figures out that it has some internal control deficiencies. Maybe a lack of documented policies or procedures; frequent errors or inconsistencies in reports; or terminated employees whose access hasn’t been deleted timely. If you’re experiencing these types of issues, it’s important to validate and remediate them in a timely manner to prevent them from becoming bigger issues.

Implementing the right internal controls is similar to working on a crossword puzzle coming up with the right word in the right spot. Use the clues below to uncover some elements for effective internal controls:

  • 1 across - process of verifying the accuracy and completeness of data or information
  • 2 down - procedure for verifying the identity of users
  • 3 across - procedures and safeguards implemented to protect assets and ensure compliance
  • 4 down - process of optimizing workflows to improve efficiency and reduce unnecessary steps
  • 5 down - technological barriers that monitor and control incoming and outgoing network traffic
  • 6 across - ongoing observation and assessment of systems and activities to ensure compliance and security
  • 7 across - security breach or event that compromises the confidentiality, integrity, or availability of data
  • 8 down - technique for encrypting data to prevent unauthorized access
  • 9 down - evaluating potential threats and vulnerabilities to determine their likelihood and impact
  • 10 across - established guidelines and rules governing behavior and decision-making
  • 11 across - ensures only authorized personnel have access
  • 12 across - physical mechanisms used to restrict access to doors, cabinets, or other secure areas
Reviewing Internal Controls

Unsure about some of the clues above? If the organization’s internal controls are not as strong as they should be, some places to start are to check documentation, physical/logical security access controls, and the existence of training programs.

1. Start by reviewing the existing documentation including policies and procedures. And if you don’t have much documentation, that in itself is a sign.

2. Do a walkthrough of the key processes to understand and validate how the activities flow, the individuals involved and authorized, and the key controls in place.

3. Monitor anomalies and incidents that occur in day-to-day operations (e.g., data analytics, user activity monitoring, or firewall data). If you have a lot of data, use that data to analyze performance metrics, and identify inefficient areas to streamline—potentially using artificial intelligence to take your data analytics to the next level.

4. Conduct a risk assessment to identify potential vulnerable areas. When the business continuity plan was created, the organization probably did a risk assessment identifying key risks. Or many organizations have a dedicated CISO because one of the top risks is cybersecurity.

Now you better understand how internal controls (preventative, detective, and corrective) can mitigate risks or prevent incidents. Below are the answers to the crossword puzzle:

Shared Responsibility Among All Employees

Promote a culture of control awareness by embedding internal controls into the organization’s operations with a shared responsibility among all employees. Working with groups that focus on internal controls such as Internal Audit or GRC (Governance, Risk, and Compliance) can be valuable trusted business partners.

For more information about the elements of a strong internal control system, follow me on LinkedIn!

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3 Simple Mistakes That Will Ruin Your Cover Letter

Finding a job isn't a simple task in normal circumstances. Add in an ultra-competitive job market and there's no margin for error. For job seekers, an underwhelming cover letter is one of the major factors preventing them from moving forward in the job search process, and it's the smallest error that can get your cover letter thrown out.

Cover letters are extremely important to securing a job interview. If you continue to make the same mistakes over and over again, you may never hear back about the job opportunities that you desire.

Recruiters go through hundreds of cover letters and know exactly what they're looking for. If your cover letter has these simple mistakes, it will get tossed.

A Lazy Greeting

Don't start your cover letter with "To Whom It May Concern." This phrase is impersonal, old-fashioned, and incredibly lazy.

For one, job seekers should be able to track down the company's hiring manager or lead recruiter via the company's website or LinkedIn page. (Many LinkedIn postings contain the profile of the recruiter posting the opening.)

In cases where you can't find a name, use "Dear Hiring Team." It's a lot more personal.

Too Much Bragging

If the majority of your cover letter is focused on how great you are, then you have a problem. Many job seekers will take up space in their cover letter with empty statements like, "I'm a self-starter and a great team player." Not only should such statements be quantified, but there's really no room for such self-promotion in the cover letter.

Instead, the cover letter should focus on how you understand the company you're applying to and its mission, and how you personally connect to that mission. You need to make a personal connection and show how you'll be able to fit into the company and its culture.

You can sell your skills in your resume, and if you land an interview, you'll have an additional opportunity to sell yourself as a strong employee.

Treating Your Cover Letter Like A Resume

A cover letter is an entirely different document than a resume! This point can't be stressed enough. A recruiter will not waste their time looking at two documents that are virtually identical.

A resume captures your work history, skill sets, and accomplishments, while a cover letter is your opportunity to express interest in the job and make a connection with the company.

The best way to do this is with a disruptive cover letter, in which you grab the recruiter's attention from the start by sharing a personal story about how you connect with the company or position you're applying to.

Explain what you admire about the company you're applying to. Do they sell a product or provide a service that's had a big impact on your life? Do they support causes you are passionate about? Why do you feel connected to their mission?

Once you draw the recruiter in, you can slowly begin to explain why you'd fit into the company's culture.

Making these three simple cover letter mistakes can hurt your chances of landing a job interview. The next time you're applying for a job, remember not to use a lazy greeting, brag too much, or treat your cover letter like a resume. A well-written, disruptive cover letter will help you stand out to employers in this ultra-competitive job market and land more job interviews. Give it a try today and let us know how it works for you.

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This article was originally published at an earlier date.

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Southeast Outdoor Products

1825 N Roberts Ave, Lumberton, NC 28358

Heavenly Products

895 Taylor St, Craig, CO 81625