A career coach is there to help you figure out what you want to do, explore opportunities for professional growth, and support you through a job search. But… It takes time and money to hire a career coach, so you should do your homework to figure out if working with one will help you reach your career goals. And if a career coach is for you, what kind of coach will be the best? Here are five reasons you might consider hiring one.

 

Career Plan

It's hard to know what to do next.

When family or friends try to help narrow down your choices, their advice may not always reflect what resonates with you; it may be based on what you’ve done in the past or what’s the “easiest” career or job. Your coach can help you consider career and job options that are different from what you’ve done previously or that you hadn’t considered.

 

Career Coach

You had a bad experience at another job

If you have or have had a job that caused you anger, sadness, or anxiety, you may be trying to move on from that experience. A lot of people think the next job will fix their negative attitudes, but it doesn’t work like that. A career coach can help you move past those repeated unpleasant experiences and review your assumptions, which may not only impact your job search but also your daily motivation and family life. 

 

If you are unsure that you should leave your job, check out our article on 10 Signs It’s Time to Leave Your Job

Career Resume

Creating a simple, yet substantive resume is challenging.

To qualify for a job at the level advertised, resumes must demonstrate the correct skills and abilities. It’s important to position your skills in the context of a potential role – particularly transferable skills that don’t match perfectly with the job description. Despite how great an accomplishment may be, not every accomplishment belongs on a resume. By focusing your resume and LinkedIn into one message, a career coach can help you better position yourself. This will help you attract recruiters’ attention by determining which experiences are relevant to the job for which you are applying.

 

If you want a quick fix that isn’t as thorough, look for tools like Enhancv— which will automatically scan your resume and suggest updates. 

 

Interviewing Career Coach

Interviews have gone well, but you haven't landed the job.

Not making it past the recruiter screen? You may need assistance when it comes to connecting your experience to each job. Otherwise, you may continue to make it to the next round but you won’t get past the hiring manager. Practicing with a career coach will help you polish your executive presence, answer common questions, and prepare you for interviews.

 

Promotion Coach

You’re not moving up in your career.

A career coach isn’t just for finding a job. There are lots of coaches around who can help you figure out why you’re not advancing. You can work with a coach to conduct an objective evaluation or review your performance feedback to determine which behavior you should change to move ahead in your career.

Hardly gives you free tools to answer your big career questions.

Career coaches can be extremely helpful, but that one-on-one time comes at a cost. Before you take the leap and pay, test the waters with our interactive quizzes and forum-style career coaching. That way, if you do choose to meet with one of our career coaches, you’ll have your motivations, priorities, and career path ready to be discussed. 

Career Coach
career coach

When do you need a career coach?

You should do your homework to figure out if working with a career coach will help you reach your career goals. Here are five reasons you might consider hiring a career coach.

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We’ve all been there. When Sunday evening rolls around and you suddenly feel your eyes rolling back in your head. The dread of going to an unfulfilling job is something that makes us all feel isolated and unified, simultaneously. But in the world of the great resignation, you have choices! It’s never been better to be on the hunt for a new job, or even a new career. That’s why we have some handy questions that you can ask yourself to find out if it’s time to say “sayonara” and look to new horizons.

No promotion

Sign #10: You've been asking for a promotion... for years...

You may love your company, so it’s time that you hear some tough love. If you’ve been talking to your manager for years about a promotion or a change of role within the company, you are not getting it. In their mind, you are glued to a specific type of position and they will never see you differently. If you are certain it is time for a change, you’ll be more likely to get it somewhere else.

Coworkers gone

Sign #9: All your work BFFs have already left

Once upon a time, you were surrounded by an amazing group of friends at work, every day. Slowly, those have trickled away finding jobs somewhere else. The new coworkers? They are fine, but you know how work used to be.


You’ll always be comparing your current coworkers to your former work-BFFs. Always. And no one deserves to live in the past like that. It’s time to update your resume, and get going. Plus, doesn’t it mean something if everyone is leaving? If you need a way to track your happiness at work, check out our article on Career Journaling for Success.

Stagnation

Sign #8: You aren't learning anything

Nothing sucks your soul out like stagnation. If you don’t feel challenged on a regular basis, or you feel like you are a hamster on a wheel going nowhere, it’s time to ask for reassignment or a new challenge. If management doesn’t listen to you, then it’s time to leave.
Mission Driven

Sign #7: You don't believe in the mission of your company

Of course, everyone relates differently to their company’s mission, and this is more important to some people than others. But for most professionals, their values need to align with their company. A mission represents where company leadership steers to in the future, and you want to be moving forward on the same road, right?


Want to see if your values align with your organization? Try our free quiz here.

Tired and Overworked

Sign #6: You are overworked, tired, and relief isn't coming anytime soon

This one makes me tired just thinking about it… For years, I was stretched so thin that I couldn’t breathe. Some days I had to hold my pee for hours because there wasn’t time to run to the restroom between meetings. Don’t wait until you burn out like I did. It took me a solid year of depression to drag myself out of the rut I put myself in. If you are overworked, you’ve expressed how little time you have to your manager, and patiently waited for them to do something about it, NEWS ALERT: they aren’t. And it will probably take you leaving for them to realize how much was on your plate.  If you are a manager, check out our other blog post on improving employees’ wellbeing.
Unnecessary Rules

Sign #5: Company management has unnecessary rules

Some rules are put in place just to express power. If you’ve ever been chastised for breaking a rule that shouldn’t exist in the first place, consider what other unnecessary tasks they have you doing without your awareness. For example, no one should be controlling your free time. If your company has a rule that you can’t leave during your lunch break or you can’t watch funny youtube videos while eating lunch at your desk, time to leave your job. You’d rather roll-out than get controlled-out.
New Manager

Sign #4: Your new manager is your arch-nemesis

I think everyone has a story like this. You’ve spent a few wonderful years at a company and maybe even outlasted a few of your managers. Company leadership didn’t loop you in at all when they interviewed your new manager, and lo and behold, your new manager is a Karen. Not just a Karen, but a controlling, micro-managing Karen who makes your skin crawl when you see them. You’ve paid your dues there and if they didn’t feel like they should loop you in on the new hire, they obviously don’t respect you or your contribution to the company. Time to leave your job.
Passion for work

Sign #3: You are passionate about your job, but no one else is

You show up every day energetic and with fresh ideas, and you tackle every challenge with your full heart. You don’t understand why everyone else is dragging their feet or not as excited as you. This is a sign you are too good for your company. Passion is priceless! Your determination should not be wasted on others that don’t see the value you bring. Leave your job, and don’t look back
No Trust

Sign #2: You don't trust management to have your back

Speaking of not looking back… Your manager is RIGHT BEHIND YOU.

Just kidding. They aren’t (at least we don’t think so).


But seriously, you spend 33% or more of your time at work. If you don’t trust your manager or company leadership to take care of you behind closed doors, that’s a sign that you should leave your job for better opportunities. At the end of the day, you need to look out for yourself, but it’s best if you can trust that your boss isn’t going to screw you over.

Feedback
Sign #1: You’ve given feedback and no one is acting on it

We put this at Number 1, because this is sadly what we hear all the time. You filled out a survey, expressing your feedback to management. You also told them the same feedback at your yearly review. And maybe you’ve mentioned it to others at the holiday party. Every time you express your feedback, you are met with nodding heads and complete agreement, yet no one is doing anything about it.


Leaving in these circumstances can be the most freeing! You’ve tried your best, and that is all you can do. Take your great ideas to another company that aligns to your vision of the future, or better yet, create the company you want. Because if the past couple of years has shown us anything, it’s that you have no time to waste on someone else’s bulls*&#.

Allison Braund-Harris

As I work through my final semester of graduate school, I’ve been thinking more and more about my work skills. I try to avoid panicking, as cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and interview questions swirl around in my head. Yet, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed after a 3-year hiatus.

This weekend, I decided to play some Lizzo, grab my favorite tea, and knock the dust off of the most recent version of my resume. As I read it over, I pondered how the hiring process might have changed due to the pandemic. I mulled over whether the soft skills I had listed at the bottom of my resume were still impressive in this new landscape of hybrid work.

Do companies care if you are personable anymore? Does saying you are proficient in the Microsoft Suite seem amateur these days?

There are a few skills that signal to companies that you can be successful working from home. To help you position yourself as an hybrid work candidate, here are the top five skills HR managers are looking for in hybrid workers:

Work Skills, Hardly

Top-notch written communication

Before COVID, you were probably able to get away with convoluted emails because your coworkers could easily obtain clarification if needed. Now, your ability to communicate efficiently and effectively via email is crucial.

As Forbes put it, “Can you accurately and succinctly convey and interpret thoughts and ideas through digital messages?”  If you aren’t so confident in this area, spend additional time crafting messages until you get the hang of it. The ability to communicate your needs, ideas, and questions digitally is highly desirable.  

Work Skills, Hardly

Proficiency in digital platforms

Technical knowledge is more important than ever now-a-days. As I mentioned in last week’s article, being “behind the curve” on learning new software and digital platforms is a sure way to make yourself obsolete.

The success of communication, collaboration, workflow, and management is greatly dependent on employees’ mastery of digital tools. Companies want to ensure new employees know how to use tech to work faster and smarter (or are at least game to learn). Take time to practice using applications like Zoom, Slack, Hootsuite, Canva, Asana, and the Google Suite so that you know how to use each to their fullest potential.

Work Skills, Hardly

Self-sufficiency

The transition to hybrid work comes with a lot of “figure it out” and “learn on the job” moments. You need the ability to problem solve without the help of your superiors or colleagues.

While others want to help, working hybrid means others are frequently inaccessible to answer questions or provide guidance in real-time. As a result, one of the work skills you must have is the ability to work independently. Employers are eager to hire people who are self-reliant and proactive. Show them this describes you by mentioning times you took action without instruction from others in previous positions. 

Work Skills, Hardly

Excellent time management

Time management has always been important. However, staying focused has never been so difficult. When you work from home, it presents a whole new set of challenges. You are not locked in a room full of others working diligently from 9-5 each day. There is peer pressure to watch Netflix, do some online shopping, or talking on the phone during work hours.

Therefore, you have to block out the distractions, not procrastinate, and get the job done. In your CV, discuss your ability to multitask and follow through on short- and long-term projects. This will demonstrate your excellent time management skills.

Need some extra help blocking out distractions? Check out our Hardly app!

Work Skills, Hardly

Self-motivation

The Muse recommends job-seekers show they are “motivated about the job, the company, and the industry you are applying for.” In a hybrid environment, it can be difficult to stay driven or excited about the work you are doing.

Similar to football games without chanting, signs, and other forms of fandom, it’s hard to get hyped up about work. Therefore, hiring managers are looking for people who can insight passion in themselves and others. They want to know you’re committed to the cause and that you can be productive without constant oversight from team members. To demonstrate this, use the interview as an opportunity to share how you will be an asset to the company.

Hopefully, you already have most of these hybrid-work skills. If not, we hope you gained some new strategies to improve them before your next job search. Let us know in the comments if there are other must-have skills hybrid workers need in this new job market.  

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Most of us are our absolute best work selves when we start a new job. Our boss says “jump,” we say “how high.” We show up early, over-prepared, and volunteer for every opportunity for growth. Then a couple of weeks or months go by and naturally as we get more comfortable a few bad working habits tend to rear their ugly heads. Our transition to remote work probably followed a similar pattern. In fact, we might have developed some new unfortunate habits in the process.

I started forgetting all about my body language during Zoom meetings. Being in a room surrounded by people dressed in business attire commands a certain level of attention. Being alone in my apartment with sweatpants and headphones on is a different vibe. I was catching myself mid-doodle, looking down at my paper, and suddenly remembering I was on camera! I hadn’t made eye contact with the current speaker or given any signs that I was engaged in the conversation in ten minutes. While I had been listening, it looked like I was completely zoned out to my coworkers. Realizing my habit could come off as disrespectful and unprofessional, I knew I had to nip it in the bud.

To save you from having to learn some hard lessons on your own, here are our top 5 bad working habits you need to kick in 2021:

Perfectionism is the enemy of good habits

He was right! Let go of meticulously going through the small stuff at the expense of making headway on the project as a whole. Instead, create a comprehensive rough draft where all the content or “meat” of the deliverable is there and then go back and make necessary corrections if time allows. Don’t let your fear of criticism keep you from pulling the trigger. The sooner you send it out, the sooner you can receive feedback, the sooner you can make it better.

Tardiness doesn't pay

One of my New Year’s commitments was to be on time for everything. Showing up when you are supposed to says you value your time and the time of others which can be hugely important in business since time is money. 

To avoid being late to any Zoom calls, set the alert for 5-10 minutes before the actual meeting so that you have time to go to the bathroom, close out of your email, or get a glass of water before it begins. Shoot for sitting in front of your computer with a smile on your face one minute before the start time.

Overpromising is a habit that will catch up to you

I am definitely guilty of this one. With good intentions, my default is to say “yes, yes, yes” to everything forgetting that I only have time for so much work. While setting boundaries might be difficult at first, it is better than disappointing others when you have to admit you bit off more than you could chew. Instead, set realistic expectations from the beginning and if you finish early, reach out and offer to take on more.

Tunnel focus is bad

Laser focus is a valuable skill however, in virtual work environments being accessible via online platforms is key. Coworkers rely on email and Slack to let you know they require your attention. Tuning everything out and working in isolation is not an option— and is definitely a bad working habit. Deeply focusing on one task for an extended period of time can cause you to miss time-sensitive messages from others on your team. You don’t want to be the one that people can never get a hold of. 

Prevent this by placing a time limit on your tunnel vision and scheduling email, Slack, and phone checks a couple of times per day so that you are attuned to all your tasks in the background.

Resisting new processes or software

Even if a change is for the better, there is always a learning curve. Being a stick-in-the-mud and unwilling to adapt is a sure way to make yourself obsolete. Don’t be the team member that is looking backward rather than forwards. Instead, take on a positive attitude and welcome the opportunity to add a new skill to your repertoire and resume. Just think, it will make you more competitive in the long run!

If you and I can ditch these bad working habits, we will be sure to excel in our current positions. Not to mention, our coworkers and bosses will thank us for being productive, punctual, honest, aware, and adaptable. Let us know if there are other bad habits you intend to improve this year and share your plan of attack!

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I have now lived through two iconic New Years. The first was from 1999 to 2000. I brought in the new millennium with close family friends dancing around the basement to the YMCA and drinking sparkling cider. It was a seven-year-olds dream.  

The second was a couple of days ago, again in a basement (bar), but this time with a shot of sake, a bunch of ski bums, and friends in Hakuba, Japan. Even with the language barrier, it was clear everyone was ecstatic that the year from hell was finally over and hopeful that 2021 would bring new beginnings. But, when the clock struck midnight, the masks didn’t come off, COVID-19 did not disappear, and quarantining did not end.

Change doesn’t just come about; we have to set goals and then actively pursue them to evoke it. But sometimes achieving our goals is not so easy. Raise your hand if you’ve made a New Year’s resolution and then woken up three weeks later and realized that you’ve fallen back into old habits. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Which is why I’m letting you in on my top two secrets for successful goal setting.

Setting Goals, Hardly

Keep it small, in fact, make it micro

If you’re a high achiever you might be tempted to skip this tip, but sometimes the more ambitious we are, the more likely we are to fall into a self-defeating cycle. High expectations of ourselves lead us to set whale-sized goals when our plates only have room for shrimpy ones. But just because you don’t go big doesn’t mean you have to go home. I suggest breaking down a monstrous goal into a micro one. Tim Herrea in the NY Times describes it simply:

 “For any task you have to complete, break it down into the smallest possible units of progress and attack them one at a time.”

For example, one of my goals is to drink more water. My initial thought was to shoot for a gallon a day. While this might not be unreasonable for some, it is a significant amount for me (I know, I’m so bad). Just thinking about it, the goal started to feel troublesome rather than motivating. I already knew I was on the wrong track.

I remembered Sabina Nawaz wrote in HBR the key to micro-goals is making them “ridiculously small” and attaching them to a daily habit you do without thinking. By doing this, you take away barriers to getting started which is the hardest part of building habits, according to James Clear. James uses Newton’s Laws to hack productivity. Therefore, an appropriate micro-goal would be to drink one bottle of water while driving to pick my husband up from work each evening.  Not only does this require minimal effort, but it’s also connected to a mindless task.

Setting Goals, Hardly

Make it SMART-R

This one is a tried and true classic, but I have a spin on it. I was reminded of the SMART technique a couple of weeks ago when it was part of the curriculum I taught for my Healthy Thinking group. It goes like this: S is for specific, M for measurable, A for attainable, R for relevant, and T for time-bound.

While these are must-haves, I have found that the added R for “rewarded” has a huge effect on my success rate. It all comes back to behavioral theory. If you reward a behavior, your brain tells you to do it again. If you punish a behavior, your brain tells you to reevaluate your actions. While some may say there is enough satisfaction in achieving the goal itself, I say the more incentive the merrier. But, watch out for counterproductive rewards.  You don’t want to treat yourself to three slices of cheesecake if you have been working towards eating clean.  Instead, reward yourself with something in line with your goal such as a new outfit or a Vitamix.

With these tips, you’ll be able to achieve whatever you set your mind to this year. And remember, all gains are gains, no matter how small!

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