The challenge of underemployment

A career coaching colleague and I were discussing the ongoing challenge of underemployment. “Why can’t there be an easier way for people with talent to get connected to opportunities that match their strengths?” he asked. I’ve been in this line of work for 25 years, and I’ll confess I’ve become more of a realist than I was at the start of my starry-eyed career. Since then I’ve drawn these conclusions: The world of work is a teeming pool of evolving, inefficient activity. Businesses are continually growing, shrinking, and changing, as do their employee needs. The majority of us—about...

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The Best (and Worst) Ways to Ask For a Raise

Asking for a raise is one of the more nerve-wracking things you can do in a job. If you phrase your request poorly, or react poorly to a denial, that can have ramifications for your position as a whole. However, if you ask for a raise in the right way, and at the right time, it can have big benefits for you. You’ll either be granted the raise you request, or you’ll make it known that you’re tuned into the company, that you’re assertive in your professional desires, and that you have the initiative to pursue your career goals. Before we dive into how to ask for a raise, however, I’d like to...

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The Importance of Communicating Well

Communication. It’s a word that everyone agrees is important, yet many people have difficulty accomplishing it well. There are a lot of measures to define communication effectiveness. The one that I use is to ask myself 6 questions about my communication to ensure that I am communicating well individually and organizationally to build trust, and also ensure that I am accomplishing what I say I will accomplish. Why? When I think through the purpose of a message/conversation, I ask myself what I am trying to accomplish.  I think we’ve all seen the e-mail chains in which everyone makes a...

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The Importance of a Summary Section

You might be surprised to hear that many recruiters, business owners, and hiring managers do take the time to read an applicant’s summary section. Still others choose not to go on and read the rest of the document if a summary section is not included or poorly written. Yet despite this, many job seekers choose to eschew a summary section, or put it in as a sub-par afterthought. This is a bad decision. The summary section is often the first thing a hiring manager will read about you, and if it’s written poorly, it could be the last. Most people agree that the summary section should be a 4-7...

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Climbing in the Right Direction

Career progression as a process has changed significantly in the past few decades. It used to be that employees would stay with the same company for decades, and possibly for their entire career. When this was the case, companies had a vested interested in developing an employee, helping them to climb their career ladder with promotions and career development. Today, however, with turnover being much higher, companies won’t usually actively invest in an employee’s career progression. What this means is an employee often has to embark on career development by themselves. When you decide to...

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