Admins on the Rise: Creating Leverage

-by Jessica Vann

In our most recent installment of Maven’s event series, Admins on the Rise, we posed these questions to our fabulous panelists: “What is leverage, and what does it mean to give leverage?”

This goes beyond the Dictionary.com definition that reads, “to use (something) to maximum advantage” – in this case, that “something” being the Executive Assistant role. We really wanted to understand how EAs are able to leverage their role within companies to their absolute maximum potential.

 

So, why did we ask this question? It’s something that keeps coming up in our conversations with clients. We are consistently asked, “How do we best maximize our EAs?” “How do we fully embed this role into our workflow to be impactful?” (Spoiler alert, EAs, this is something you should be prepared to speak to in interviews!)

To get to the heart of the question of leverage within the EA and Executive relationship, we sat down with a panel of incredible, accomplished professionals on a balmy evening in downtown Palo Alto (thank you, @Coupa Café, for the awesome spread and venue).

Our panelists that evening included:

·         Solmaz VanDaie, Head of Operations/EA to CEO at OpenGov

·         Erin Boeckman, Operations Manager of Amplify Partners

·         Christie Idehara, Executive Assistant to the Dean of the Stanford School of Medicine

 

We started with the basics: “What does leverage mean to you?”

Erin defines leverage as when you can “find ways to activate your team by figuring out the ways different people work and what helps them be most effective and productive, while also doing the same for yourself. I have a toolbox I use…to help get the results I’m looking for and help the company, ultimately.”

Christie considers leverage to be when you take a “circumstance, whether it be an action, event, or challenge, and manipulate it to where you become the manager of that particular effort,” as opposed to being managed BY it!

 

Some key themes emerged from our panelists’ advice:

1.       Take chances and trust your gut:

Says Erin: “Trust yourself to make good decisions. Sometimes you have to go to bat and advocate, but ultimately, have the confidence to propel yourself and the company forward.” Erin followed up that comment with more sage words. “Do the research and make yourself the expert on that topic. Show your executives you’re the person who has the answer. When you become the person with the knowledge and the expertise, then they can learn to trust you and trust your decision making.”

2.       Personal touches

Says Christie: “So much can be done with a personal touch, and relationships are where you can really get a huge gain!”

3.       The importance of your network

Solmaz reminds us of the importance of maintaining relationships and staying connected to your network for the advice or insight you will need from them at times. Part of achieving leverage also means knowing who can get you an answer or solution the fastest!

Watch what creating leverage means to these exceptional EAs - & how they do it!

Above all, I think everyone (myself included) left the event feeling empowered by their role and the opportunity to propel change forward in their organization. Every time we hold an Admins on the Rise event, it’s a constant reminder of how vital and effective the Executive Assistant, Operations, and support roles are in a company.

Thank you again to all who participated and attended our event! Not only does Admins on the Rise build up the admin community, we also seek to build the community immediately around us, in this instance giving back through Maven-matched donations to East Palo Alto-based Girls to Women (thanks, everyone!).

 

Stay tuned for our next Admins on the Rise event, coming soon!

10 Ways your Admin is actually a Superhero!

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-by Jenna DeFabio, on behalf of all of us at Maven!

Whether you’re a DC or Marvel fan, all of us have thought about what it would be like to have superhuman powers. . . this Admin Day, we’re celebrating all the ways that Admins make us feel like we actually DO have super powers, even if we are mere mortals.

 

1)      Shapeshifting— So your Admin might not be Mystique, but they are stealthy when it comes to protecting your independent work time by disguising it as something no one would ever dare to touch on your calendar. Surprise! You immediately have more time to get your work done.

2)      Time travel— The sold-out Justin Beiber concert that your daughter wanted to go to is tonight?? Don’t worry, your Admin will manage to turn back the hands of time and get you AND your child(ren!) premium seats before you can say “Sorry.”

3)      Telepathy— A great administrative partner will understand your needs before you ever know them yourself! Not only does he or she have a running list of your favorite items, but your Admin will find out exactly what you need for that meeting you scheduled before you have a chance to utter a word.

4)      Mind control— Need buy-in from all 10 board members to move forward with the IPO? Your Admin superhero will get everyone to the table (and each of their favorite meals from across the country in front of them) to make sure that everyone is in the right state of mind to reach the consensus you need!

5)      Weather Manipulation— Your plane has been grounded due to weather conditions and you need to be at an investor’s meeting across the country by tomorrow. Your Admin will re-route you to sunny skies so you make it there with time to spare.

6)      Clairvoyance— If only you knew what the future held. . . Oh, but wait! Your Admin does! Your Admin will make you look good on even your worst day, keeping track of everything that should happen, knowing what won’t, and running interference accordingly.

 7)      Magic, Admin Magic— Have you ever tried to troubleshoot a tech issue on your own, gotten frustrated, and as soon as your Admin stands next to you it’s magically fixed? THAT’s Admin Magic.

8)      Invisibility— Even when your Admin is not around, he or she will be there like an invisible hand guiding the way. When you board the flight and have your favorite seat and the morning newspaper waiting for you to read, or when you get to the hotel to find the advance copy of the new book you’ve been waiting to read, you know your Admin is there.

9)      Teleportation (or something close to it)— With only a day’s notice, your Admin will transport twelve incredibly busy CEOs from all over the country to a private airport so exclusive it’s not even on Google, just in time for a surprise executive retreat.

10)   They make anywhere feel like home— This might not be a superpower featured in any comic book or blockbuster movie, but it’s one that can’t be overstated! Whether it’s keeping your favorite treats stocked in the kitchen, or setting up three identical offices in three different countries, your superhero Admin knows how to make you feel your best at your home-away-from-home.

 

Administrative professionals are the connective tissue of any office, the people who keep everyone sane, organized and on track. Without these superheroes, no office would function, no executive would be on time for a meeting, and our work lives would be downright villainous.

Here’s to all of the amazing Admins that make all of our lives SUPER!!

8 Ways your Recruiting Skills will Sneak into your Personal Life

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-by Jenna DeFabio

So you decided to pursue a role in Recruiting, or maybe you just fell into it like most of us did? Whatever the case, great choice! There’s nothing quite like the feeling of joy that you get after finding a person their next “work home” or connecting a brand-new CEO with their first and soon-to-be-indispensable Executive Assistant.

Although we try as we might to keep work and personal lives in their own lanes (or maybe that’s just me?), here are some of the unexpected ways that your skills as a Recruiter will inevitably impact your personal life:

1.      Everyone sounds familiar and you can't remember why you know anyone— it’s the curse of an enormous network that continues to grow each and every day (thanks, LinkedIn!)

2.      You never take off your interviewer hat—you do not mess around when it comes to questioning people you hardly know, including any date that a friend brings to a party

3.      Your sleuthing skills are on-point—if your fiancé gives you the first name and the company of a new friend he met on the train, you know what sports he played in college and what mutual friends you have in less than 5 minutes

4.      You play matchmaker for everyone and everything—your barista says he is looking for a new apartment? You immediately connect him to the Facebook group where you found your last roommate, and follow-up with him about his progress over your daily latte

5.      Words are confusing—every 2-syllable word mash-up, or alliterative animal reference sounds like a start-up you work with, want to work with, or want to source from. SiFive, Parking Panda, Rocksbox. . . what’s next?

6.      You expect prompt feedback and follow-up—when you’re working through a contract with a wedding vendor and their responses are less-than immediate, you automatically judge their abilities

7.      You’re emboldened to ask for what you want—your lease-terms aren’t what you’re looking for? Who cares that you’re in an incredibly competitive housing market. . .you ask for the dream scenario anyway so you have room to negotiate

8.      You can fake it till you make it— you walk fearlessly into a group of new people, and can confidently hold conversations on revolutionary blockchain technology and the complicated nature of copyright law in the digital age . . . and anything else you have 5-10 minutes to research

A Day in the Life

What’s it like to be a Recruiter, you ask?

Here is a day in the life of Maven Recruiter, Hayley Morrison – who loves to build long-lasting relationships with candidates and partner with them to find fulfilling jobs that make them happy!

This is a peek into how she does it. Spoiler alert: it involves Philz coffee!

-By Hayley Morrison

8 a.m. I step out of my front door to a welcomed surprise of sunshine and clear skies! I live in the Presidio (they should pay me for recruiting residents, but that’s another story), and hop on the Presidigo, the Presidio’s free-shuttle for residents to downtown.

I’ve started to get really into podcasts, so I plug in and start listening to “The Daily” by the New York Times. From there, my work day really gets going. I filter through my inbox, ensuring nothing has happened overnight that needs immediate attention, and start to plan out my day. I look through my calendar to see what’s on the docket. Today, it looks like I have quite the busy day: three interviews, team lunch, coffee with a candidate, and a team meeting.

Big Day = Big Coffee. I use the new Philz App to order a large Mint Mojito (sweet and creamy, of course) to pick up on my way in. No, Philz doesn’t pay me either, but they let me use their Palo Alto location for interviews on Fridays, so I guess we will call it even.

 

8:50 a.m. And just like that, I’m headed up Market Street to make a quick stop in at Philz and pick up my coffee. I just love the hustle and the bustle of this city, especially walking up Market St. It gets me excited for the day.

Coffee in hand, I head to 490 Post Street: where the Maven Magic happens!

 

9:05 a.m. I have to admit, I’m not the first one in the office in the mornings. My snooze button and I just have too close of a relationship.

As I walk in, I smell cake baking in the oven. What’s the occasion?! I peek into the kitchen – funfetti with rainbow chip frosting! Oh wow, that’s going to be delicious.

I sit down at my desk and start plugging away. As any recruiter knows, scheduling takes time so it’s most important to tackle first! The sooner we can get the interviews scheduled, the sooner my fabulous candidates can meet our clients, and the sooner we can get them that job!

One of my favorite candidates…. okay, yes, we have “favorites.” I’m not a teacher, people! But, it’s usually because they are extremely responsive, keep me in the loop on their search, and are on top of their Thank You note game after interviews.

Anyway, one of my favorite candidates is interviewing for a few positions. We catch up on how her interview went yesterday and get her scheduled for next rounds.

Next up: feedback calls from our company-in on Monday. Basically, that means a client interviewed candidates in our office, which is always fun because it means more facetime with my candidates.

With immediate scheduling done and pressing emails replied to, it’s on to getting my candidates submitted to roles. I refresh some resumes and write bios to send to our clients for consideration.

 

10:30 a.m. First Interview of the Day

My favorite part of my role: meeting new people! A shameless plug about why I love Maven: we take the time to sit down and get to know every candidate, in-person! In a world where everything seems to be going virtual – if you recall, I even order my morning coffee through an app - it’s so nice to be able to sit down and have a real conversation with our job seekers.

I absolutely love the candidate who I meet – a huge thanks to our great RC team for scheduling! During our time together, I find out that she recently returned from a trip to Nashville so I immediately ask for all of her recommendations. It’s on my list of places to go! She’s also open to contracting until she finds a full-time permanent role—this is great since we have a lot of contract roles open right now.

I rally the troops; a temporary team member and the Account Managers are introduced to my new candidate. After giving a little bit of a run-down on her background, the temp team has somewhere they can send her right away – amazing!

 

11 a.m. Sourcing Time!!

The job market for Executive Assistants is so hot! We have some incredible EA roles open right now, so I write an InMail capturing the roles that I am most excited about. I focus in on a role supporting the first female partner of a legendary VC firm, a role supporting the Co-Founder of a posh tech company, and a catch-all admin role at a tech start-up in the AI space.

I start my searching on LI Recruiter and identify quite a few profiles that would be great fits for our clients! I send them each personalized messages with the hopes of setting up calls (fingers crossed they get back to me).

 

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12 p.m. Lunch, Lunch, Lunch

Tuesdays are my favorite day at Maven, because it means team lunches! Today we got FreshRoll and are celebrating our March Milestones – two Maven-versaries and a birthday. The cake now makes complete sense. 

Did you forget about that cake? Because I absolutely didn’t!

12:45 p.m. I jet off a little early from lunch to meet a candidate for coffee who I’ve been trying to get face time with for a while! She’s not actively looking but is open to grabbing coffee, starting the relationship, and seeing what happens.

It kind of feels like a first date; I’m having a serious internal dialogue about my caffeine intake. Do I get more coffee? Do I not? – Okay, I got more coffee. I’m a Seattle girl so coffee pretty much runs in my blood (and hey, it’ll give me that little extra boost I’ll need for writing that blog post!).

 

2 p.m. Back to the office and I come bearing great news! The candidate actually was incredibly interested in the Artificial Intelligence start-up we are working with and wants to have her resume submitted. Definitely over-caffeinated at this point, I polish up her resume and submit her over to the client.

After completing my submission, it’s time to schedule a few things that moved during lunch.  I don’t think I’m working with one candidate right now who isn’t interviewing for multiple roles, so scheduling is a jigsaw puzzle that can involve a lot of back and forth.

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   actual pic of me + bird

 actual pic of me + bird

3:30 p.m. Our weekly team meeting turns into a sourcing strategy meeting which we take outside because it’s a sunny day in San Francisco. My only fear is that our parrot neighbors will fly in to join the party. So I sit close to the door for an easy escape (yes, I am deathly afraid of birds).

This meeting is always a good one! It’s a team huddle to go over highs and lows of the week so far, strategize around priorities, and check-in on what’s gotten done this week. Team work makes the dream work!

 

4:30 p.m. – Whelp, my two afternoon candidate interviews cancel. Bummer. That’s okay, my inbox is flooded and I have that caffeine boost I need to power through some more administrative tasks that I’ve been avoiding. 

 

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5:30 p.m. – It’s Boot Camp time! Yes, we are THAT office. A few of us do Boot Camp together down on the Embarcadero with a trainer who happens to be the brother-in-law of one of our teammates. It’s been raining the last three weeks, so it’s our first time back, and oh boy is this going to be hard.   

As we approach the park, I see our trainer across the way with way too many stations set up and so so SO many weights. I almost make a run for it, charcuterie and wine sounds WAY better than this, but he spots me before I can get away. While it wasn’t an easy work-out, I sweated out some of that caffeine, had some great laughs, and hopefully made some progress towards my “President’s Club Body.”

 

7:00 p.m. I grab some tacos before heading home. I mean, it’s not a Tuesday without Taco Tuesday, right? All in all, it’s been a great day. After a busy-busy day, I hop in a Lyft line to head back to the Presidio for a nice relaxing evening in. I’ve got to rest up; we’ve got an event tomorrow night in Palo Alto and it’s going to be a late one.

 

Over and out!

Hayley 

Back to Basics: Save Time With This Comprehensive Resume Hack

Use this Job Hunting Tool to Send Tailored Resumes & Save Time

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 - Dana P. Hundley

In an ideal world, you will send a thoughtful, tailored resume to each and every job you are applying to, speaking to every specific point of that job description.

Back in the real world, we know people might not actually have time for that.

What’s an easy way to combat the lack of time versus the need to be tailored? Well, we like to call it a ‘Master Resume.’ This may be self-explanatory, but here are some quick tips to create yours:

  • A ‘Master Resume’ is an insanely comprehensive overview of everything you’ve ever done at every job you have ever worked. Use discretion here; if you have five years of professional experience, there is no need to have that high-school babysitting gig listed.
  • Why? It’s easier and faster to delete content than create content when you are tailoring your resume for that perfect job that just popped up on your LinkedIn feed.
  • Take some time to include under each job EVERYTHING you did in that role. Don’t worry about the length of your resume right now – you aren’t going to send out this long version, you just want all the content ready to go!
  • Include even what you consider the obvious. Never assume anyone knows what you did in that role except for you!
  • Spell out not only what you did, but also how you did it. Did you streamline the way your company booked conference rooms? Awesome: how did you do it?
  • Edit your bullet points – and I specifically say bullet points, because your resume should have bullet points, as it’s the easiest way for the reader to digest the info. Each bullet should be ‘employer ready,’ or in other words, perfectly edited. Remember, the point here is to ultimately save time!

Cool. Your ‘Master Resume’ is complete – AND bonus, I hope this helped you realize ALL of the amazing things you have done throughout your work experience! Sometimes it’s hard to remember how much you actually do, and it’s good practice to run through it all before your interviews. (Plus, it’s great just to remind yourself how awesome you are!)

Now it is time to cut the fat according to the particular role you are applying for. Compare your ‘Master Resume’ to the job description. Does the JD specifically say you will own the conference room calendars? Thank goodness you built out those bullet points about how you streamlined the way your old company booked rooms! But you probably only need one of the five bullet points you prepared about the marketing materials you created since there is no mention of marketing in the JD – get the drift?

Happy Applying!

How to Get the Right Kind of Feedback in Your New Job (Because Your Success Depends on It)

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 - Jessica Vann, CEO & Founder (ORIGINALLY SEEN on THE MUSE)

The first 90 days of your new job are crucial to set yourself up for long-term career success. It’s where you make good on the promises you touted during your interview and set the stage for how people perceive you.

That’s why asking for feedback during this time is so, so important. It quickly demonstrates to your new boss that you’re invested, you’re committed to excellence, and that you’re in this for the long haul.

Plus, if done well, you can earn major brownie points that may help you get recognized later for opportunities to work on interesting projects or even advance more quickly.

Easy enough, right? Now that you know just how important your first 90 days are, here are some guidelines for how to ask for feedback to ensure you’re on the right path (or how to get on it).

When Should You Ask?

Eliciting feedback in these crucial first few days is a balance between giving your new manager and co-workers enough time to form concrete thoughts and opinions of you, while also being proactive in prompting feedback that will help you as you get onboarded.

Rule of thumb: Don’t expect a formal review by the end of week one. After that, it’s all a judgement call. How much real work have you actually had a chance to do? If you’ve just completed a big project or finished a tougher assignment, now may be the perfect time to ask for some input on how you did. Regardless of the above, don’t let three weeks go by without making the big ask.

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A good rhythm for how frequently you continue to check-in will hinge on the volume and involvement of your work. That said, a good best practice is no more than once a week, but no less than once a month.

How Should You Ask?

Don’t pounce at the water cooler or in the bathroom while your boss is washing her hands. Reach out to your manager via email or in person and request a meeting directly. Explain what the meeting is for—people will appreciate having a heads-up so they can prepare ideas ahead of time.

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Try something like, “I’d like 15 minutes of your time to talk about how you think things are going so far with me. Are you satisfied with what I’m doing, and the work I’m producing? Is there anything I can be doing differently?”

What Should You Ask?

Give your manager suggestions on what you want to hear, such as, “How am I integrating within the team?” “Am I operating at the speed you need me to?” or “How is the quality of my work? Any development areas you have already identified that I can work on?”

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This is also the time to coach your manager on what you need in terms of resources. Would you benefit from regular one-on-ones or additional training? Perhaps a tracking system that you and your manager have access to to share what you’re working on?

Who Should You Ask?

Besides your boss, co-workers are also a great resource for feedback. While it doesn’t need to be as formal as with a manager, try crafting an email along the lines of, Hey, I’m loving it here so far, and would love to get some feedback from you to make sure I’m setting myself up for long term success. It’s really important to me I’m doing a good job and making a good impression.

The reality of soliciting feedback is that it may not always be 100% positive. So, prepare yourself mentally. All your good intentions will immediately be nullified if you go into “defensive” mode. Keep your ego out of this conversation and stay open and non-judgmental.

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Then, send a follow-up email thanking your manager or colleague for their time and candor, and briefly outline your takeaways and any next steps you plan to take. Implement any areas of improvement right away and follow-up with your boss to make sure the adjustments you’re making are correct and noticed.

We know there’s a lot to learn in your first 90 days. You’ve got new systems, technologies, faces, and names to remember, and so much more. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

Incorporating this advice displays maturity and commitment on your part, and will also give you a good indication of whether you’re doing well, or need to make some adjustments before its too late. Regardless of what you learn, it will empower you to excel in your new role.

A Quick Guide to Key Motivators in Your Job

What do you really want out of your next role?

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-by Dana P. Hundley

Dear Candidates,

As recruiters, we want to help you find your next dream job.

How do we do this?

Well, we start by getting to know you. What did you do in your last job? What did you like about it, what didn’t you like about it? What we really want to know isn’t spelled out on your resume. What allows us to be successful in finding you a role and company that will bring you long-term fulfillment is knowing what motivates you!

Do you know what your key motivations are in finding your next role? If you take the time and care to really uncover and identify what your key job motivators are, it can help you weed out the roles that just aren’t going to cut it and thoughtfully navigate choosing the perfect job for you.

So let’s talk about some job motivators:

·         Compensation – What is your cost of living? Crunch the numbers, and understand that range between what your bottom line is AND where you would like to be. Pair this with a healthy dose of understanding the market for your position/industry/region.

·         Work-Life Integration – This a big one, and personal one, because only you can decide what work/life balance means to you. Think about what you have going on outside of work, and how your job can affect that. This is the bucket where you also decide what schedule and commute is going to make sense for you.

·         Company Culture – How do you want to feel at work, what is a good working environment for you, what type of people do you want to work with, what you want to wear to work? Try picturing yourself in different scenarios. Does a quiet, heads-down office help you produce your best work? Or do you feed off the buzz of a boisterous office teeming with energy?

·         Learning & Development – This one is simple: do you want to learn and develop in your job and career? It’s a yes or no question, with absolutely no judgment. If your main motivation is to make enough money to support your lifestyle and not take any work home, you may not care about things like training programs. If you are someone who needs to feel like they are growing and learning in order to be fulfilled, and your five-year-plan involves switching industries or climbing to a certain job title, you are likely going to seek out roles that ensure you are afforded those opportunities to develop.

·         Opportunities for Advancement – Tying in nicely to ‘Learning & Development,’ what was that five-year-plan again? Are there going to be opportunities to advance in the next company you land in?

·         Meaningful Work – What we tend to find when we are looking at key job motivators is that many candidates want, above all else, to do meaningful work. This makes perfect sense: people want to feel good about what they are doing 40, 50, 60 hours a week, sometimes at the expense of time with their family and friends. But what does meaningful work really mean to YOU? Only you can answer that! It can be helpful to take some time to free-write, or brainstorm with family, friends or mentors you trust.

Motivations provide invaluable insight when thinking about your next role. We encourage you to reflect and understand what is important to you in ALL of these buckets, and here’s the trick – do this before you start interviewing.

You know what else is fun? Rank the buckets – most important to least important. This will help you determine what we at Maven like to call your ‘non-negotiables.’ 

And give yourself permission to change your mind during the process. Knowing what’s most important to you will empower you to make strategic and thoughtful decisions about the roles you are considering and ultimately decide to take!

 

Sincerely,

Your Neighborhood Recruiters,

Maven Recruiting Group

Back to Basics: Job Hunting Email Blunders to Avoid

Your interview starts with the first email you send. Use care and edit accordingly!

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 - Dana P. Hundley

There are many ways to ‘submit your resume’ for a job. For the sake of this post, let’s focus on the good old fashioned sending an email with your resume. Here is a quick, and very basic, checklist to make sure ‘phase one’ of your interview goes smoothly:

  1. Is your email address professional? (I know, seems like outdated advice, right? It’s not….)
  2. Do you know who you are addressing the email to? Cool, check the spelling of their name three times!
  3. Now here is the BIG ONE: You have crafted a nice little intro email that explains what you are applying for,  briefly why you are applying, and has a nice little call to action for your potential new employer. Awesome. This checklist isn’t about content (that’s a whole other post which we will get to later), so the basic check here is: have you EDITED your email with a fine-tooth comb?! I am talking spelling, grammar, punctuation and style! This is not the time for shorthand, abbreviations, slang or the wrong ‘there.’ This stuff matters! Your future employer cares about attention to detail, and if you can’t take the time to edit this very important email, they can go ahead and assume you are going to take the same care with their biggest client.
  4. Have you attached your resume? The correct one? Named something appropriate like “First Name Last Name_Resume,” right?
  5. Answer yes to all four? YEA! Send away!

Bonus Check Point:

* I bet you are applying to more than just one role…keep track: an Excel grid, an email folder just for submissions, or handwritten in your favorite journal/planner - just somewhere so that when you get that call back because you nailed the intro email you can quickly recall the basic, who, what, when, where!

Happy Hunting!

Totally in Love with your Job? Why You Should Still Say Yes to That Interview

You know you’re at least a little bit curious.

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 - Jaclyn Westlake, Career & Lifestyle Blogger

You have virtually no commute, the best boss ever, and legitimately love the work you do, so why on earth would you ever interview anywhere else? We have six reasons that might make you reconsider.

Well, have you ever declared your undying love for something (your new iPhone, American grilled cheese sandwiches, the Backstreet Boys) only to discover that there was another version that was even better than you ever could have imagined (the iPhone 7, grilled cheese with brie, *n sync)? Well, the same concept applies to your job. Stick with me on this one – it’s possible that you might find a job that is even better than the one you love now. Why not look?

1)     You Just Never Know

As a bonafide recruiting guru, Muse columnist, and the Founder and CEO of one of the Top 100 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area for the third year in a row, Jessica is full of compelling stories about candidates who were hesitant to explore new opportunities, only to discover a new job that they loved even more than they ever thought possible.

Jessica shares, “We just placed an Executive Assistant to the CEO of a major Fortune 500 global tech company. When we initially spoke with her, she was perfectly happy in her role, loved her boss, had a great relationship with him, and was handsomely compensated. She told us she would only leave for something that was truly exceptional and compelling and that would take her career to the next level. Low and behold, that materialized, and the rest is history. Staying open-minded and open to the possibilities that life grants us is not a bad thing.”

2)     You’ll Expand Your Network

Having meaningful, one-on-one conversations with colleagues, recruiters, and leaders in your industry is an incredibly valuable opportunity – and it’s often hard to come by. Networking events, while completely worthwhile, tend to be a bit hectic. It’s tough to get more than a few minutes with anyone. Interviewing, on the other hand, guarantees that you’ll have someone’s undivided attention as you discuss your role, your goals, their company, and the job market. Pretty great, right?

Think of interviews as another opportunity to expand your network. Connect with the people you meet on LinkedIn, send them personalized thank you notes, and do your very best to make a great impression. Even if you end up respectfully declining an offer, you’ll walk away with a few new professional contacts. And you never know when they’ll come in handy.

3)     You’ll Strengthen Your Interview Skills (Practice Makes Perfect!)

This may be hard to hear, but someday you might actually be ready to leave your amazing job. When that time comes, you’ll be glad that it hasn’t been years since you last exercised your interview skills. This also a great opportunity for you to take inventory of what you do every day, what you’ve accomplished since starting your current job, and what you’d like to do next. Having the ability to summarize your dazzling array of skills and career accomplishments in a clear, compelling fashion won’t just serve you well in an interview – it’ll also be incredibly useful during your next performance review or the next time you ask for a raise or promotion.

4)     You’ll Get the Inside Scoop on the Competition

Interviewing with another company is a great opportunity to benchmark your current responsibilities, projects, benefits, compensation, and work environment against what is going on in the marketplace. This could either serve to affirm that you are in the right job with the right company, or reveal a potentially more interesting, lucrative, or flexible role.

Taking the time to investigate what your skills and experience are worth in the job market and understanding the opportunities that may be available to you is a super savvy career move. Even if you conclude that you aren’t ready to take on a new job right now, you may be in a year or two. Whenever that time comes, you’ll be ahead of the game.

5)     You Might End Up Loving Your Current Job Even More

You know that feeling you get toward the end of an awesome vacation? The trip was great, but there’s no place like home. You can’t wait to get back, sit on your own couch, cook in your own kitchen, and sleep in your own bed. Something similar may happen when you decide to explore other opportunities.

If the interview doesn’t go well or the company doesn’t meet your expectations, you’ll just end up loving your current job even more. You’ll be even more excited about going into work every day, and the tough days (everyone has them) may not seem quite so tough.

6)     You’ll Still be in Control

Saying yes to an interview doesn’t mean that you’re definitely going to leave your job. Only you can make that decision. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you’re the one in the driver’s seat – if at any point in the interview process you realize that this job isn’t “the one,” you can respectfully withdraw yourself from consideration. Just be sure that you aren’t backing out of scheduled meetings or calls at the eleventh hour – the more notice, the better.

“It’s through curiosity and looking at opportunities in new ways that we’ve always mapped our path.” - Michael Dell

Admittedly, if you know that you have absolutely no intention of even entertaining a new opportunity and are completely unwilling to make a change, it doesn’t make sense to move forward with an interview. Recruiters and hiring managers put tons of energy into the interview process, and there’s no point in wasting your time or anyone else’s.

But.

If there is a part of you that’s curious and could potentially be incentivized to make a change, don’t hold yourself back from exploring interesting opportunities. Sure, you may decide to stick with your current job in the end, but expanding your network, strengthening your interview skills, and gaining a better understanding of your industry are all pretty great reasons to at least have a conversation with a prospective employer. Even better? There’s always a chance that you’ll find a new job that you love even more.

“If a window of opportunity appears, don’t pull down the shade.”

– Tom Peters

 

Trending Now, But Which Way? New Salary Ordinance Hits California

Salary Negotiations Will Change, But The Real Question is 'Will The New Law Be Effective?' 

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- by Jessica Vann, CEO & Founder

From Oregon to New York, “Parity in Pay” laws prohibiting the consideration of salary history information in the hiring process are becoming more common. Effective January 2018, California is on board, followed by San Francisco’s rollout in July, 2018 (San Francisco Police Code 3300J.3, 3300J.4). These laws prohibit employers from asking candidates about current or previous salary, compensation, or benefits, and also from relying on that information in making hiring or salary determinations.

I like to think of these laws as “Do the Right Thing Laws,” essentially putting pressure on employers to pay people according to their experience and merits as opposed to a number that, depending on the circumstances, may or may not reflect that individual’s true value. But the real question is this: Just how effective will these laws will be? Read on for our thoughts.

The prevailing assumption behind these laws is that current and past earnings largely dictate one’s future earnings. Moreover, the intention behind these laws is to prevent salary inequities from being perpetuated as people move from role to role. Perhaps you were underpaid in your last role because the company you most recently worked for wasn’t well-capitalized. Should you forever be penalized as you move to your next position? Or, more nefarious, you were discriminated against for any of the commonly-recognized and oft-discussed reasons certain segments of the employee population frequently receive less pay. Should that continue to burden your future earning potential as it has your past?

For Employers, No Net Change

At the end of the day, regardless of the ask, it’s the employer’s prerogative to decide if they want to play the game or not. For those employers with a standardized and disciplined approach to hiring, such as the use of salary bands and market data through services like Radford and Equilar, I’d anticipate very little change to how they compensate incoming employees. If a candidate’s salary expectations exceed what the company’s compensation band allows for a particular role, it will be a very straightforward “take it or leave it” type of discussion. I could also anticipate this new law putting downward pressure on employees who have historically been overpaid for the very same reason, but in reverse. It’s all well and good to have a “pie in the sky” salary expectation, but if the data doesn’t support it, a candidate could face downward salary pressure as salaries normalize within the broader marketplace.

May the Best Negotiator Win

While the intention of these laws is to force equality of compensation among the sexes and races, or any other person who has been undervalued for whatever reason, it does nothing to address the reality that salary negotiating skills are still going to be paramount in any salary conversation. You are what you eat, and you get what you negotiate. This isn’t going to change.

Even without the inclusion of past compensation in a salary discussion, a person who lacks the confidence, skills, or knowledge to ask for what they deserve is not going to derive any benefit from these new laws. All the legislation in the world can’t help you if you don’t know how to ask for what you deserve.

This reality is a fundamental flaw that will ultimately erode the efficacy of these laws. Ironically, the people this law aims to support are, in all likelihood, the people least equipped to handle these negotiations successfully and in a manner that will yield the desired outcome of this legislation. While it may work in some instances, it’s a charming fallacy and an over-simplification of the societal issues and internalized self-doubt that affect many people, particularly those who have historically been subordinated or discriminated against, to assume that by eliminating salary history from a salary negotiation we can simply wave a magic-wand and all will be equalized.

In summary: to the employers, I say the marketplace and the forces of supply and demand are still going to exert the strongest hand in where salaries come to rest. And, ultimately, you’ll have to make offers that gel with your business model, your internal equity, and your budget. To the employees who have historically been under-valued, I say San Francisco and California are giving you a shot to catch up, but it will be incumbent upon you to know the market and your value in it and to practice the behaviors and techniques that will allow you to manifest a better outcome for yourself.