Advice and words of wisdom to help guide your career.

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Why You Must View Your Own Career as a Startup banner image

Why You Must View Your Own Career as a Startup

There are few things more synonymous with fast growth and problem solving than startups. If their goal is to grow fast and solve problems in today’s career landscape, a young professional really has to view themselves as a startup. “Startup” has become an elusive term, but I think most of all it represents a way of thinking. Thinking about yourself more like a startup provides a mental model for viewing your career through a lens of the problems and solutions that will propel you to success. It offers a modern approach to engineering a career that allow you to do what you truly love in today's crazy career landscape. 

Here are a few startup principles to apply as you navigate your own career:

Embrace change. At a fast growth startup, it can feel like a completely different company month over month. Change is the only constant because growth is change. The nature of work has changed exponentially and continues to evolve still. Entirely new job titles appear seemingly every year. Career success cannot come with an aversion to change, so the modern young professional must learn how to lean into change and leverage the opportunity that comes from it.

Take risks. "Playing it safe" is a reliable strategy for stagnation. Proven solutions are easy to replicate, but that means they are easy for everyone to replicate. This is why startups tend to buck best practices and do things their own way. They think outside of the box. You can’t do it better than the competition if your plan is to copy what they’re doing. The same is true for an individual. All too often we look for "career paths" in terms of following the steps that are already laid out for us. Early career success comes to those who question best practices and stick their neck out when they believe they can find a better way.  The modern young professional surges ahead of their peers when they see their career as something to be discovered rather than tracing along the lines everyone else can see.

Make data driven decisions. Data has become humanity’s sixth sense. It is the best tool to understand problems and identify opportunities. The successful young professional is either moderately data literate, or taking steps to get there. No matter what their field, the ability to support their ideas at work and show their value with meaningful data insights is a super power. They also constantly research salary data for their field to inform their salary negotiations and audit their current salary against the market.

Learn from failure. Taking risks isn’t only valuable when they pan out. Sometimes the most valuable lessons leading to success for a startup come from past failures. The successful young professional asks for feedback after failed interviews, and reviews notes to improve for the next one. They see rejection and failure as an education.

Adapt. Every startup knows things don’t go as planned. A good plan is quite useful to get started, but it is not actually useful for its end point. It must remain an evolving blueprint. The successful young professional has an end goal, but is constantly adjusting their understanding of how to get there as they learn new information. They are even open to changing their end goal as they grow and gain a deeper understanding of the options in front of them. They dream big, and pivot often as opportunity presents itself.

Maintain a sense of purpose. Always draw a connection to the big picture with everything you do.  Not surprisingly, a common point of study around startup success is purpose. The engagement and passion for the mission at hand that inspires long hours and intense focus from employees, all who are focused on the end goal. The successful young professional falls in love with the pursuit of their end goal. They find motivation and passion in the vision they carry, but don’t expect to reach it overnight. They enjoy the challenge and struggle of each step toward it and they know how to celebrate small wins along the way.

Push through ambiguity. The right answer isn't always clear. Often progress is a matter of seeking the best answer, not the right answer. The more we understand about our environment, the more we are required to see things through multiple lenses at once. What is true through the microscope may not also be true through your reading glasses or through the telescope. Technology simplifies, but it also complicates our lives. The pace of change around us is exponential. The young professional has to learn to embrace ambiguity and look through the lens that best suits their question. They must be able to navigate scenarios that are both true and false, both positive and negative simultaneously.

Solve problems. People pay for solutions to their problems. They seek the company or the individual who adds value. As an individual, a problem is only as big as you are small. When a problem feels too big, it's just a trigger for you to grow bigger. Get creative. The one who avoids problems may be comfortable, but the one who pursues tough problems is growing. The one who solves problems is adding value, not just to their own lives but to the lives of those around them.

Be customer obsessed. As you're starting your career remember, solutions don't follow money - money follows solutions. A sales driven organization has its limits. The startups that rise above are more often than not the product-led teams who are obsessed with the problem they are solving and the customers they are serving. Once value is created for the customer, money follows. The same is true for you. Your boss, your peers, your cross-functional partners, they are all your customers. The company interviewing you for your next job and offering a 40% pay increase is another customer competing for the value you create. 

Build a brand. If financial growth is important to you it might feel absurd to accept a job that pays less now just because it's more interesting work. The truth is, taking the more interesting job now could lead to far greater rewards down the road. You are a startup, and your brand is far more likely to shine when you're excited to talk about your work with others. When your brand shines, opportunity will always present itself. Find the job in a field that you think about with excitement in your off-hours. Find the ladder you will enjoy climbing. Fall in love with the PURSUIT of your end goals and let that passion and joy be your brand. Use it to build meaningful relationships. Share with others as you learn and grow and let yourself be known and heard for the contributions you make to your field. 

Lastly and most importantly, dream big. Form a huge vision, and let that vision evolve as you grow and pivot. Netflix started with DVD rentals, and since then they’ve created an entire new category for consuming content (streaming) and they’ve become an Oscar winning production studio. Like Netflix, your career end point might bear little resemblance to your founding vision, but great things lie ahead if you dream big, and think like a startup.


This article was written by Taylor Roa, Director of Talent at Wistia.

The 3 Factors to Help You Navigate the Changing Career Landscape banner image

The 3 Factors to Help You Navigate the Changing Career Landscape

The talent market has changed dramatically in the last few decades, but career advice has not changed along with it. Today you can wake up in New York, brew some coffee, and login to work with a team in San Francisco without even leaving your kitchen. There are far more opportunities available to candidates than ever before and the career landscape has become much more liquid. Talent has become a vast, digitally connected, and highly competitive market. To better understand how to navigate your career in this landscape, we have to examine how work has changed and why common advice hasn’t changed with it. There are three words in particular that I think sum it up well.

The first word is SECURITY.

Finding a good job out of college used to mean securing your entire future. Job security was central to how people thought of their career and it shaped the language and culture of work for a century. “A fulfilling career with a great organization” is a sentence that somehow still sounds ordinary today, yet it should feel very foreign to a modern professional because today a fulfilling career spans multiple organizations, not just one.

Today, everything is moving. Very few people accept a job offer expecting to be with the same company ten years later, especially in the tech industry. Yet young professionals are still often told they don’t want to seem “jumpy” and they should prioritize consistency in their career. This is the language of an outdated mental model for career building. 

The old concept of career building was centered around longevity with one organization. The reality today is that movement early in your career can be incredibly beneficial. In a landscape that is constantly moving, it is far better to start a career with diverse experience in multiple environments. When you reach your growth ceiling at one place, take the experience you’ve earned somewhere else that can give you a higher ceiling to reach for and repeat. Eventually, when you are ready for management or specialization as an IC, your diverse experience will add far more value to your next employer. In the past, security meant tenure and pension. Today, security means having options and the modern young professional should be leveraging their options and diversifying their experience early on. 

The second word is GROWTH.

Not too long ago, growth, like security, was anchored to tenure. Pay increases were awarded in small doses and were spaced across large gaps of time. Promotions came after a set amount of time rather than achievement. The market was not as liquid back then and changing companies often meant stepping backward in your career, not forward, yet another reason people stayed in place. Slow internal growth is largely still the reality at most organizations. It is another lingering artifact of outdated workforce psychology. Employers still have a hard time justifying sizable raises to current employees despite the tremendous costs of recruiting outside talent but since the meaning of security has changed, it has pushed employees to embrace their options on the market. Individual growth has become catalyzed by career movement and the rewards of loyalty pale in comparison.

At-will employment today is a mutually insecure relationship to enter into. When an employee can be terminated at any moment for reasons as elusive as “we’re taking a new direction”, it would be foolish to put loyalty over their own growth and needs. From Forbes to Fast Company, the data show that those who change jobs every two years early on in their career end up earning over 50% more in the long run compared to those who stay put to grow internally. In a world where everything is moving, movement is the key to fast growth. Especially early on in a career.

The third word is STRUCTURE.

In an attempt to better innovate at scale, many tech and other rapid-growth organizations try to shed the hierarchical scaffolding of the premodern workplace and flat work structures are filling the void. A flat work structure is one in which titles are less meaningful and theoretically anyone is empowered to contribute ideas or solve problems. This is a gold mine for growth if you’re curious and driven. In the right environment, a flat work structure gives you closer proximity to leaders, more of a voice on any team, and more opportunity to reach out and solve problems - meaning more opportunity to add lucrative experience to your resume. When I worked at Flywire, Mike Massaro used to say “working in a rapid growth company is better than any master’s degree” and he was absolutely right. Seek the right environments that offer autonomy and a flat work culture and the growth you can achieve will be exponential. 

This fundamental change to the meaning of security, growth, and structure in a career has transformed the talent market into what it is today. It is liquid like any other market and as long as a young professional is adding value and solving problems in each role they take on, they should embrace movement early in their career. Bigger problems take more time to solve, so longer tenure in each role will naturally occur later on in a career at the manager or director level and beyond. You won’t be “jumpy” for long.


This article was written by Taylor Roa, Director of Talent at Wistia.

How to Read People & Connect Meaningfully in Virtual Meetings banner image

How to Read People & Connect Meaningfully in Virtual Meetings

“I cannot build relationships as well when we are working remotely.”

“It is hard to read people as well in a virtual meeting as I can do in-person.”


My clients and their team members have been repeating these mantras to me since the pandemic started, as they suddenly had to conduct all their business via technology rather than meeting with colleagues in person. 

What I say to these mantras is: HOGWASH. It is imminently possible to read people and build relationships virtually. And if you want to “win” in this new world of virtual management and leadership, you are going to have to buck up, figure it out, and excel at it. 

I meet with local clients in person when possible. Yet I have always worked with clients in other parts of the world (Switzerland, France, India, Hong Kong, Australia, the UK, Canada) as well as in all states across the US. Thus, I have seasoned “reading people” and “relationship-building” skills for both the phone and video. Senior leaders of global organizations also have these skills because they, too, work with colleagues all over the world, meeting in-person for only a tiny fraction of their total interactions. 

Human beings are constantly communicating through their bodies, providing observable cues to others that indicate what they are thinking and how they feel. One simply has to tune in to this level of communication. You are already doing this unconsciously, to some degree. So, none of this will be a surprise. But you will greatly enhance your virtual relationship capabilities by paying much closer attention to the subtle ways human beings reveal their thoughts and feelings – not through what they say, but how they say it. 

  • Tone of voice: Our mood is expressed in the sound of our voice. When one is stressed and tense, the body contracts, tightening muscles around the throat and jaw. One can hear this in the voice. What is the tone of your colleague’s voice? If you know him/her well, you already know the range of tones s/he has. If you do not know him/her well, listen. Over a short period of time, you will come to know. The voice is an instrument and has many notes and tones. Pay attention to them. They convey emotion.

  • Volume of voice: Our energy level is expressed in our voice through its volume. When I am relaxed, my voice is softer, quieter. When I am charged up or angry, I am louder. “Charged up” and “angry” even have different volumes. Happy and excited feelings also express as a louder voice. Disengagement or disappointment are shown in a lower volume. Much can be read about a person through the combination of their vocal tone and volume. A tight constricted tone and loud voice can indicate stress or upset, even slightly.

  • Speed of speech: Different people have different speech speeds. Some people are fast talkers, some are slow talkers. Everyone has their own range. Noticing your colleagues’ typical speech speed helps you gauge where they are in the moment within their range. Faster speech can indicate excitement, optimism, conviction, or anxiety. Noticing your colleague’s speed of speech in combination with her/his volume and tone will indicate which emotion it is.

  • Rhythm of breathing: One can notice a colleague’s breathing both over the phone and on a video. One can hear people taking breaths between sentences. They can take a quick breath, or a long slow breath. They can take frequent or infrequent breaths. They can sigh. On video you can notice the rise and fall of a colleague’s shoulders or torso when they breathe. These aspects of breathing indicate how relaxed or stressed someone is, how excited they are, or if they are constricting their breathing or holding their breath. The latter occurs at times when one disagrees or feels uncomfortable and stressed, as in a conflict. A sigh is a cue for the release of stress. It could be that the person is experiencing stress, or has just stopped experiencing stress, relieving it through a sigh. 

  • Pauses: When someone pauses in their speech, some thought or feeling is being dealt with inside. It is an opportunity to learn about that person’s thought process, the relationship between their thinking and their verbal expression. Alternatively, if someone is dealing with an emotion, they may pause in their speech to feel it or conceal it. One can ask about that pause, saying “what was going through your mind when you paused there?” This question, if delivered with genuine curiosity and openness, can also build rapport and trust.

  • Self-interrupted phrases and sentences: Sometimes I start a sentence before my thought is completely formed, and as I am speaking, I further develop my thought or the series of thoughts I want to express. So, I interrupt myself. I start a sentence, then I interrupt it by restarting another sentence, and then I can do it again until I get it right. This reveals to a close listener how I think, as well as how focused or scattered I may be in a given moment. And being focused or scattered – or even flustered – is an indication of my relationship with a topic or maybe a person. It says a lot about me, or anyone who interrupts their own sentences. It is also an indication of trust and intimacy, if I am willing to edit myself in another’s presence like that.

Specifically for video:

  • Body posture and movements: Is your colleague leaning towards the screen, or leaning back? Is she resting on elbows, sitting tall, or slumping? Leaning on an elbow, resting a head on the hand? Does he move his hands and arms, gesture, or change position when making a point? Is he perfectly still? All of these details indicate a mood, a level of engagement, conviction, comfort, discomfort, intimacy or distancing, and stress or relaxation. Arms folded or crossed over the rib cage can be a self-protective gesture, indicating someone is not feeling safe or not wanting to share or reveal something. We speak with our bodies. And as our bodies move, our breathing, tone and volume of voice, and rhythm of speech are all affected. It’s all connected. 

  • Facial expression: This is an obvious one. People’s faces change a lot as they are feeling emotions and having thoughts, even when they try to hide it. A very small number of people are expert at hiding their feelings and holding a completely neutral face. But even that tells us something. 

  • Visual focus: This is a tricky one on video because often people will look at the other person’s picture rather than directly into the camera, so “eye contact” can be a bit funky in this medium. People also become distracted by their own image in a video meeting. That said, sometimes people will shift their gaze completely away from the screen as they consider an abstract thought, or a new piece of information or perspective. This can tell you a lot about what they know or don’t know, how deeply they are taking what you say into account (or not), and whether they are open to having their mind changed. This can also highlight if they are trying to remember something or engage deeply with your comments. It can obviously also indicate that they are doing emails or checking their phone, which we all do from time to time. 

Deepening trust and relationships virtually is a natural extension of making these sensitive observations of another by:

  • Listening without interrupting (count to “2” after they have finished their last sentence, creating a tiny bit of silence before you start speaking)

  • Frequently nodding or saying “mmm” or “mmm-hmm” or “I hear you” or “that makes sense” 

  • Asking questions using the exact words the speaker used – repeating some portion of what they said verbatim

  • As noted above, asking questions about a sigh or a pause or an expression (in a way that does not make them feel embarrassed or self-conscious about their body language)

For the black-belt virtual communicator and relationship-builder, understanding cultural differences within the regions of the US and across different countries of the world is key. All of the above-noted body language indicators vary by region. The key is to pay close attention and to learn over time – even a short period of time – and make note of cultural differences. 

Your priority is to consciously focus on observing the other person – or people – and their physical cues. Businesspeople are often so completely focused on the topic at hand, on the content of their meetings and the points they want to make, that they forget to notice, observe, listen, and take note of other people’s cues. Give a significant amount of headspace to the form of the interaction as well as the content in your virtual meetings, and you will become the best relationship builder and person/politics-reader in the company. This will certainly give you an advantage!


Deb Hordon Ph.D. is an independent leadership coach, supporting great technologists to become great business leaders. She also coaches people at the C level - and those who aspire to it - across North America, Europe, and India. www.debhordonleadership.com
The Great Resignation? It Might be Time for Reinvention - Tips to Consider Before Changing Jobs banner image

The Great Resignation? It Might be Time for Reinvention - Tips to Consider Before Changing Jobs

At this point into the pandemic, most of us have heard reference to the “The Great Resignation” dynamic happening in the working world.  Essentially, a large number of workers across a variety of industries are beginning to prioritize themselves and their own well-being over their place of employment. As we powered through the darkest days of the pandemic, people began to contemplate their futures, and an estimated 25% of workers have left or considered leaving their roles. Primarily reasons for making this decision include a compensation increase, more flexible work schedule, and better working conditions. For others, it is a simple matter of prioritizing their own well-being and mental health first.  

This is leaving a variety of people scrambling to find a green pasture. I get it. After so many months of quarantining, and facing a whole series of challenges in both life and work (we’ve all experienced it differently, but everyone has faced something!!) It could feel incredibly revitalizing to reinvent your life by going somewhere new, especially if a company is coming after you with a big pay increase, a new title, and perhaps the ability to work however you see fit. However, before you pick up a recruiter’s call a couple of things to consider:

MONEY. 

Let’s own it; even if your compensation isn’t the primary factor to consider in taking a new job, it plays a pretty significant role. It’s safe to assume most people want to see a steady trajectory in their earning power over time. If your current company isn’t offering you a competitive income, or hasn’t provided you with an increase in the form of consistent raises, perhaps it is time to explore a new role.   

The Fine Print: The “war for talent” is real, and there are some companies willing to throw big numbers out to lure you in. Don’t just look at the base salary.  Consider healthcare contributions and other pre-tax benefits.  Ask about what percentage of the bonus was paid out of the last few years. Ask about the cadence of future increases.  And if you are receiving additional compensation, such as equity, and if you are unfamiliar with how it works, ask someone who knows. I can reference so many examples of people who have gone to “the hottest unicorn company out there! We will go public in the next three months and I’m going to be rich!!” That’s the dream for many, but not always the reality. It’s critical to understand the whole package and how it will realistically be paid out before you get mesmerized with big numbers. 

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY LEAVING BEHIND? 

While we all might get a bit of wanderlust at work sometimes, consider if you are contemplating changing jobs because you are running away from something, or running towards something. No role is perfect, but consider the reasons you are leaving (think toxic culture, going back to school, career advancement you can’t get otherwise) vs. why you might stay (healthy culture, you are fairly rewarded for the impact you make, fantastic collaboration with team and co-workers). If you can lay it all out, the right answer should become fairly clear. 

The Fine Print: Changing jobs, even one you are excited about, can cause tremendous stress. You have to reinvent your reputation with a new team of people who don’t know you. You have to prove yourself. You have to manage within a new culture and set of expectations. Sometimes, we just need a change in life. However, really understanding what you are walking into, and how it will differ from your current role just may cause you to pause and consider if the change is worth it.  

DOES THE CULTURE SUIT YOU?

In today’s world, every company will tout its fantastic culture. The question is, how do you truly get to understand what it’s really like to work there far beyond the hype. Maybe you are excited about their Future of Work strategy (e.g. remote first, work from anywhere!)  but make sure to probe on how that model will work to support your career desires. In this particular example, perhaps you are excited about the thought of no commute and massive flexibility. However, be sure to inquire about how you will be able to meet and engage with people outside of your team to build cross-functional relationships. Or perhaps what the career development path looks like in this model.  

The Fine Print:  Ask the tough questions. Probe on their core values, and ask for examples of how it is truly embodied. Ask about the attrition. There are some incredible companies out there, but do your diligence and make sure the environment and culture that are important to you is shared with the company you are considering. 

IS THERE ROOM FOR GROWTH?

While no one expects to stay in one company for decades in this day and age, I suspect no one wants to switch jobs every year or so either. Most employees leave when they no longer feel inspired or challenged by their work. Before you jump ship, explore taking on new responsibilities and challenges with your manager. If that is met with dissatisfaction, explore other roles within the company. If you are a great employee, your company would much rather find a new role or explore expanding your current one than risk losing you.  

The Fine Print: You have to take some accountability to make this happen; especially in today’s world. With many people still operating behind screens and becoming a little more transactional in their interactions with each other, don’t expect your manager to be a mind reader. Share your goals and aspirations. Ask for a new challenge.  Communicate and give them a chance to partner with you before you leave and assume the only option for growth is to go elsewhere. 

No company is perfect, but if you are one of the 25% who is actively thinking about moving on to your next gig, I’d advise you to really think through taking a new job hastily. When we are eager for a change in our lives (seriously, who hasn't after the last eighteen months) switching jobs can seem like an obvious choice - especially if we see big dollar signs or titles dangled in front of us. Before you jump, however, contemplate if you’ve truly maxed out your current job. If your company has treated you well (rewarded you fairly, provided opportunities to learn and grow, you work with people you like and trust, etc.) then be honest and have a conversation. No company wants to lose good people; but we all need to speak up to make sure our wants and needs are understood.  


Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer for Rapid7. Follow her on Twitter: @peopleinnovator.  

Career Advice: LinkedIn Profile Tips From 7 Experts banner image

Career Advice: LinkedIn Profile Tips From 7 Experts

It's important to make sure your LinkedIn profile stands out and is optimized for search. We asked some of the top experts in Talent and HR for tips on how to improve your LinkedIn profile and make it exceptional!


Steven Amrhein Panorama EducationSteven Amrhein

Talent Acquisition Branding Specialist at Panorama Education

Treat your LinkedIn profile just like your resume! We actually read through your work history and summary section to see if your work values and aspirations match with the position we're sourcing for. Specifically in tech, we recommend listing the technologies you want to be hands on with. Lastly, just like a resume, keep your profile up to date, accurate, and check that box if you're open to work.

 

Matthew Liptak

Director, Talent Acquisition at Scipher Medicine

Keep in mind, Linkedin is a summarized version of your background and you want to group your experience together as you do in the resume and put all of your held job titles under headings. If your resume is not in line with your profile, it will look awkward. Never integrate your resume into a Linkedin profile. I see you have too much information similar to a resume. This is a serious problem on this site. If I see your resume on your profile and review it, why would I bother to contact you? Linkedin is about dangling the carrot in front of a prospective employer. Give the employer a snapshot of your background and skills. That is what Linkedin is all about. Candidates with their entire resume uploaded to their profile most likely may never get contacted. Scale back the profile, add a few bullets from each section on your resume. Add a more professional picture of yourself. No matter what people think about privacy and confidentiality these days, that is out the window with social networking. Your profile is out there and in order to personalize this, add a professional picture of yourself. Not a picture of you mountain climbing or in a restaurant but a professional picture. Change your top line title. Right now your top lined only tells me half the story. Nothing kills a Linkedin profile more these days than a strange title at the top or no title at all. Employers use Linkedin to search these days so change the title to reflect the actual job you are in now or even put down you are an active job seeker and the types of role you are looking for. Your a director where? Look at my profile for guidance.

Add a Summary from your resume or something close to it. The summary similar to the resume should have an ice breaker/impact statement at the top to lead into the profile and give some bearing of what the employer is about to read. Without this, or with something much like you have, I get a sense, but not enough. What are you in search of? What motivates you?

Make more connections. Just a few connections is someone not taking the social networking scene seriously and without building up a core network, there is no way you are ever going to be able to utilize Linkedin to your advantage. I have over 21000 first level connections that I can tap into anytime for advice, job searching or just general networking. Add at least 300-400 to be taken seriously by employers.

Get more recommendations. You need at least 5-10 for employers to review and think of you as a credible resource to hire. This adds more of a professional touch to your profile and makes a statement that you are an active networker. Join more groups, 2 is not sufficient. You can join up to 50 groups on Linkedin at anytime and by joining one of the 100,000 groups on Linkedin, this will assist in your job search even more. You can ask questions, share info and tell group members you are searching for a new position and get additional advice. Remember, Linkedin is a professional business networking site, not a job searching board. It is not the same as Monster or Career Builder.

LinkedIn has recently purchased an e-learning platform called Lynda.com which if you upgrade your LinkedIn to Premium, will be included in this monthly fee. This platform includes hundreds of courses including some tailored to your career or skill set. I usually do not promote paying additional fees to LinkedIn, however they give you a 30 day trial to try this out and not only does this include the e-learning, it includes LinkedIn Premium features which give you some added features for your job search using LinkedIn. Some of these features include free supply of monthly Inmails, rankings when you apply to a role and how you stack up to other candidates that apply and other job searching bonuses. The one good feature about the e-learning piece is that it will automatically add the course completion and certification to your profile under the Accomplishments section. This will help to further build out and enhance your skills and profile even more and give you a more competitive edge over any other candidate.

 

Paige Friedlander MassChallengePaige Friedlander

Senior Manager, Talent and Employee Engagement at MassChallenge

To make your profile more inclusive, I recommend using some of LinkedIn's new features. You can now add your pronouns to your name and record yourself pronouncing your name so recruiters and others you connect with know the right way to address you. To improve your profile, I recommend you update your skills every time you add a new role. Job seekers often make sure their jobs and titles are updated but forget to add new skills they learned. Recruiters can search by skills, and those keywords are so helpful. If you have learned a new platform, improved your public speaking, or completed training, add the relevant skills to your profile. Lastly, a small tip that goes a long way in making it easier to find you and your resume look cleaner: make sure to customize your profile URL!

 

Bianca Kaczor Simon DataBianca Kaczor

GTM Sales Recruiter at Simon Data

I’ve been in Talent Acquisition for 10 years, and I’ve learned a lot of great tips over the years. Here are some that I would love to share:

  1. Keep your LinkedIn up to date! Your LinkedIn profile is your business card and your first impression; especially if you are in a customer-facing role. Always keep your LinkedIn up to date with your most recent job, company verbiage, and graphics ( i.e. LinkedIn banner, company collateral, etc.)
  2. Be specific with dates. If you worked at Google from July 2015 until July 2017, make sure you include the month AND year on your LinkedIn. If you simply put 2015-2017, it is unclear how long you were there (and it can unintentionally come across like you're trying to hide an employment gap).
  3. Engage and share OFTEN, but avoid interacting with or posting topics that are controversial (i.e. politics, opinions about current events, a rant of any sort, etc.).
  4. Always be professional! When engaging with recruiters, always communicate with professionalism. Avoid slang and sentence fragments. If you’re going to respond to a recruiter, always greet them with a “Hi” or “Hello”, and conclude with an appropriate salutation ( i.e. “Thank you”, “Best wishes”, etc.).

 

Taylor Roa WistiaTaylor Roa

Director of Talent at Wistia

I have plenty of tips on how to touch up your profile, but LinkedIn will walk you through most of them. My best advice is on how to USE LinkedIn. Don't be overly scrutinous about who you allow into your network - accept and request a connection with everyone you come across. Also, be active! Share the interesting articles you're reading, congratulate people on promotions, and comment on thought leaders' posts. LinkedIn's algorithm works best for you when your network is broad and you're contributing to the feed. I even recommend you go to LinkedIn every time you apply to any job, find three people who work at that company, connect and message them to introduce yourself.

 

Stefanie Bishop Hi MarleyStefanie Bishop

Head of People at Hi Marley

I recommend leveraging LinkedIn as a way to make your resume come to life and add the little extras that are more difficult to portray in a traditional resume. Some ways to do this are utilizing media pieces, such as linking any articles you’ve been featured in, videos, etc. Ask for recommendations – this is a great way to showcase the impact you’ve had on others in your career journey. Lastly, make sure to post, like and comment on things – this will increase your visibility and position you as a thought leader on the topics that interest you most.

 

Elizabeth Raymond NexthinkElizabeth Raymond

Head of Global Talent Acquisition at Nexthink

LinkedIn profiles are an extension of your personal brand. They should tell the story about who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you’re proud of. My biggest tip for LinkedIn profiles is to utilize all the features available to you within the site. If you’ve submitted a job application, the recruiting team already has access to your resume, so use LinkedIn to highlight different hard and soft skills. For example, rather than just listing out your experience using the same bullets from your resume, use the space to add more around your impact and accomplishments. Add a visual portfolio if applicable. Highlight your skills and interests. Ask for (and give!) recommendations from former or current colleagues. Showcase your volunteering efforts. Include your pronouns in your profile. You want all these things visible in your digital footprint - they help paint the picture of who you really are in a more dynamic way than you might be able to express in a resume.

 
 Event: Path to Chief People Officer Featuring Elyse Neumeier, EverQuote banner image

Event: Path to Chief People Officer Featuring Elyse Neumeier, EverQuote

If you have aspirations to lead a people operations organization, you are probably wondering... how do I go about building my career path towards that goal?

Join VentureFizz on September 15th at 12pm ET for our next Path event!

We will showcase the career path to a Chief People Officer position with a 1:1 conversation with Elyse Neumeier, CPO at EverQuote.

Elyse is one of the top people leaders in the tech industry. She has previously held additional roles at Wayfair, Bain, and Philips.

We’ll discuss:

* Elyse's career trajectory
* Why and how she made the transition into people and talent strategy
* Obstacles along the way and key “aha! moments”
* Lots of advice to help you achieve your own career goals
* Interactive Q&A with the audience
 
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I'll Be There For You

Last weekend, I watched the Friends reunion. I didn’t know what to expect, but was excited to see the familiar faces that had played such a memorable part of my tv watching and water cooler talk for a decade. Coincidentally, I also returned to the office last week, and was significantly more excited about seeing those familiar faces.

Here is what I took away from the combined experience.

THE ONE WHERE WE EMBRACED MOVING FORWARD

Nostalgia is great, and it can be heartwarming to reminisce about the past. However, we can never return to that time. The past can, however, inform how we move forward. Of course, it’s great to remember what was so wonderful about the old times, but it’s also important to realize when it is time to move on. The cast of Friends reminded us of good times and fun memories last week, but they also made it clear they had all moved on in their lives. As have we. During the past fifteen months of the pandemic, almost all of us have reflected, struggled and in some cases even thrived. And as we cautiously re-engage with the real world, no one expects things to be exactly as they were prior to March 2020. If we do it right, we take all the lessons gained during that time, and enter into this new phase stronger, more resilient and with some new approaches to how we work and live.

THE ONE WHERE WE KEPT IMPORTANT PEOPLE CLOSE TO US

In the pandemonium that Friends ignited during its heyday, those six characters were known the world over. As much as so many of us found them relatable and an extension of our own social circle, no one could relate to what they were experiencing in real life as a part of global phenomenon other than the other members of that cast. Listening to the cast talk about that incredible shared experience that really only the six of them could truly understand, it made me think about the “bubbles” we created for ourselves during the pandemic. When health risks were at their greatest, and families, friends and colleagues found themselves separated for long periods of time, we all took solace in finding ways to keep connected to those we loved. We found new ways to strengthen relationships and deepen connections, and rode out our pandemic experience with that crew.  Even the most introverted among us found the importance of establishing that shared experience with others. It made a profound difference.

THE ONE WHERE WE LEARNED TO ADAPT

During its long run, we saw the characters evolve and adapt numerous times over. In a memorable episode where Rachel and Monica compete against Chandler and Joey in trivia about each other, the girls famously couldn’t answer the never-resolved question about what Chandler did for a living - and had to switch apartments with each other. They were upset, fought it, but ultimately managed through it. That’s not dissimilar to how so many of us navigated through the pandemic. Very few people would ever willingly elect to be quarantined at home for months on end, but we adapted. We found ways to be productive, entertain ourselves, and power through because we were forced to. And yet, we all learned to thrive through it, and we have come through with a fresh outlook, perspective and approach towards how we want to re-engage with the world going forward.

THE ONE WHERE WE REINVENTED

Friends set the tone for what constituted “must see tv” during its run.  It was original, entertaining, and highly relatable. It dominated the ratings war for a decade because of that authenticity and approach. By contrast, much has been written and discussed about the future of work over the last year. A handful of forward thinking companies are out in front putting bold stakes in the ground trying to balance what is in the best interest of their customers, their cultures and their people. Others are following suit, and hoping to adopt the best practices that resonate with them. It’s my belief that the companies that continue to grow and prosper during this post-pandemic phase are those that stay true to who they are, and balance the needs of the business with the needs and desires of their people. Words like “hybrid” and “flexible” are becoming lightning rods for heated discussion, but at the end of the day, it’s really about finding the right alchemy to provide people with the right environment to create their best impact. Personally, I’m excited to go back to the office more often than not, as I believe I deliver better results when I can collaborate with others in organic, meaningful ways. And while I’ll always be grateful for the technology that enabled me while working at home over the past year+, I found myself becoming far too transactional with its usage. The office isn’t just a desk to me; it represents community.

It was fun to see those six familiar faces last week during the Friends reunion, but it was also a reminder we can never go back in time.  As we slowly emerge from this incredible period in history, I for one am thrilled to reconnect with my colleagues in new ways. Intelligent, collaborative and fun, they represent some of the best “friends” I could ever hope to be partnered with.


Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer for Rapid7. Follow her on Twitter: @peopleinnovator.  Image credit: HBO Max.

Event: Path to CMO featuring Jessica Iandiorio, Starburst banner image

Event: Path to CMO featuring Jessica Iandiorio, Starburst

If you have aspirations to lead a marketing organization, you are probably wondering... how could I get there?

Join VentureFizz on May 27th at 12pm ET for our next Path event!

We will showcase the career path to a CMO position with a 1:1 conversation with Jess Iandiorio, CMO at Starburst.

Jess is one of the top marketing leaders in the tech industry. She has previously held leadership roles at Mirakl, Drift, Acquia, and more.

We’ll discuss:

* Jess' career trajectory
* Obstacles along the way and key “aha! moments”
* Advice to help you identify the best path for you
* Interactive Q&A with the audience

Click here to register!

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Running Towards Conflict

I have a confession. Everytime I see a fire truck pass me by, I get a little choked up. I would imagine that emotion comes from the deep respect I gained for those first responders during 9/11. While that day will forever strike an emotional chord with me for a host of reasons, I’ve been incredibly moved by the heroism and courage of those fire fighters who fought so hard in the rescue efforts.

Though I am no hero, the concept of “running into the flames” has always resonated with me. In business, there is no true life or death at stake. However, sometimes situations arise that have potentially catastrophic damage if they are not addressed. Perhaps a customer complaint which could lead to revenue being pulled, or an employee complaint of inappropriate behavior of a colleague. The thing is, I have found that in work, as well as in life, many people try to avoid solving the problem head on.

I’ve never quite understood that approach.  Perhaps it was my upbringing in an Italian American family, where we argued for sport at the dinner table. Or maybe it comes from being one of the only women on a team of men throughout the majority of my career. Somewhere along the line, I realized that if I didn’t become comfortable with surfacing the issues, they might get swept under the rug to fester.

In both our work and personal lives, few people actually consider the notion of “conflict” to be fun. However, depending on how you choose to approach its true intent, strengthening your ability to do it can have massive benefits.

First, consider why you might be avoiding conflict. Nearly everyone seemingly wants to avoid conflict because they do not want to hurt another person, or cause potential problems. And yet, think back to all the conflicts you’ve avoided in your life. Did the problems ultimately resolve themselves?  Maybe in some cases, but largely speaking, I’d imagine they did not. Often, the problems can build and become damaged to the point of no return. No one wants that.

So how does one summon the courage to address conflict?  Like most challenging things in life, it’s all in the approach.

  1. Consider the positive outcome. Disagreeing, whether with a co-worker or a life partner, can strengthen and deepen relationships if handled constructively and respectfully. When you explore those areas of disagreement, you’ll learn more about what individuals, teams, etc. value, vs. what isn’t valued.  You’ll gain deeper insights into what others find important, and in doing so force yourself to consider how you raise your points, react to others, and how to compromise and negotiate.  When you enter into the conflict seeking to understand in addition to just being understood you open the door to a stronger relationship. This is critical, because if you marry the notions of seeking to understand with good communication and a dash of self-control, you are well on your way to morphing your conflict into a more open, productive dialogue.
  2. Creating “Impact Together.” When people come together to manage through conflict constructively, they allow themselves to dig deeper to the core of where the trouble really lies. For example, one team could have conflict with their manager about what their work lives will look like after returning to the office after the pandemic. Avoiding the conflict could mean team members never sharing what’s important to them as they are redesigning the future for the team. They could choose to leave if their manager doesn’t provide a safe place to share their concerns or aspirations. However, by creating an environment where the manager can share what’s important to her, she should also create the space for the team to share, respond, request, etc. In other words, by establishing an environment where a healthy dialogue can take place, it forces the team together to problem solve. That approach doesn’t promise an outcome that will make every single person happy, but the very act of brainstorming and solving problems together brings everyone closer to a positive outcome.
  3. Increased trust.  Any opportunity that allows people to be able to share their thoughts and feelings in a constructive manner can only serve to strengthen relationships. Working through challenges together and coming to a respected solution can lead to enhanced trust. And the more individuals or teams work through difficult times together, the less intimidating it becomes. The more that healthy dynamic becomes the norm, the feeling of conflict subsides. Doesn’t collaborative problem solving seem far less intimidating than “working through conflict?” That occurs when people trust each other.
  4. Choosing your battles. When I was married, it drove me insane that my husband would attempt to toss his socks into our hamper each night like he thought he was LeBron James. Of course, the majority of the time, the socks landed outside of the hamper, where they would stay until I bugged him enough to pick them up. In this silly example, a seemingly small issue like ignoring socks was highlighting a far bigger issue resulting in conflict. He thought I was a nag for constantly bugging him about such a small thing. However, to me, it was more about feeling like he was creating more work for me. One day, we actually sat down and talked about the issue with the socks. In listening to each other, we sought to understand the other’s perspective. Once I understood we just looked at this silly situation totally differently and applied very different significance to it, I stopped bugging him. And he made more of an effort to get them in. In other words, sometimes the “small things” are actually indicative of a much bigger problem. Being able to tackle them long before they spiral into much larger issues turns a potentially conflict rich situation into a far healthier approach.

I will never share the bravery that our firefighters must summon each time the head straight into a burning building. However, I have invested much time and energy in learning how to run into the fires of life and work with positive results. By remembering to listen to understand, sharing your own perspective, and then compromising and collaborating to determine a solution that everyone can feel comfortable with, you’re turning the scary notion of “conflict” into a trusting, valued problem solving strategy.


Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer for Rapid7. Follow her on Twitter: @peopleinnovator.

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Never Done in '21 - Reflections on the Past Year

March 12, 2020. It’s the day every person at Rapid7 was told to go home and start working remotely. At the time, I thought it would only be for a matter of weeks. How wrong I was. 

Over the course of the past year, I’ve written quite a bit about thriving through the pandemic, leaning into the challenge and the like. My outlook hasn’t changed; 2020 remains one of my favorite years of my career. Obviously, there have been plenty of challenges. I miss in-person interactions with my colleagues, friends, and extended family. I am saddened by how many lives have been lost. I empathize with the school children who have had to attempt to learn remotely, and for the teachers and parents who have had to find creative ways to keep those kids engaged. There are countless things that would cause any of us to categorize the past twelve months as a total dumpster fire. However, depending on how you choose to look at it, I could also claim that there are countless ways that suggest that the past year has been one of intense growth and opportunity for all of us. If you fancy yourself an entrepreneur or believe you have entrepreneurial tendencies, I’m guessing you might agree. 

I’ve captured my top reflections that came out of a year of massively shifting the way I work and live. 

  • Health is everything. Forget politics, science matters. So does basic human kindness. I hate wearing a mask. I do it anyway. I don’t want to get sick, nor do I ever want to be responsible for making someone else sick. Bra burnings might have been big in the late 1960’s, but if there is a mask burning at some point when we are safe again, I’ll be the first to toss mine in the pyre. Until then, I’ll do my part to protect myself and others. And as soon as it's safe to do so, I’ll head back to the office to reconnect with the humans I love to collaborate with. 
  • Put your own oxygen mask on first. If the past year taught us anything, it’s that we all have different needs, and ways of taking care of ourselves. For every person that comforted themselves with food during this time, there is another who joined the Peloton tribe. In other words, each of us had to discover what would work best to keep ourselves sane, productive, and powering through. I’m inspired by the empathy people granted each other, understanding being offline so you could walk your dog or just stepping away from the computer worked for some, while others had to negotiate parenting duties with their partners so they could manage it all. I love that dogs and babies have become a part of meetings now. It’s human, it’s life, and we all got a collective opportunity to learn that together...and no longer make apologies for it. 
  • Appreciate your privilege. Even more fundamental than the “white privilege” many of us became woke to in the spring and summer of 2020 is an appreciation of our basic human privileges. A safe place to sleep. A job to pay our bills and keep us fed. Family and friends to keep us connected and our hearts full. For the first time in my life, I started the practice of reflecting on three things I am grateful for every single day. The realization that my problems are someone else’s dreams has really kept things in perspective for me. 
  • Transactional work can be soul sucking. I can’t imagine trying to be productive with my work even five years ago without the benefit of technology such as Zoom and Slack to rely on over the past year. With everyone behind a camera, the playing field became a great equalizer. And yet, with multiple back to back video calls everyday, and never being more than a few steps away from your work, we all began to get a little more transactional. We no longer had the benefit of things like taking a walk to get a cup of coffee and bumping into a colleague you could quickly whiteboard a topic with. With the future of work looking like it will be far more flexible for the majority of companies as we approach re-entry, finding ways to drive engagement, collaboration and relationship building will become imperative, no matter where you are in the world.
  • We are all entrepreneurs. Not everyone has the desire to start a business. However, the entrepreneurial mindset is something nearly everyone who powered through the last year has had to embrace. Drive. Adaptability. Independence. Decisiveness. I have seen so many colleagues and friends grow and thrive during this time, because they tapped into those skills.
  • Human connection is critical. Even my most introverted colleagues started to share that they missed people a few months into the pandemic. While raging extroverts likely suffered a harder time than those who don’t take their energy from engaging with others, I think many of us realized no matter where we fall on that spectrum, connections to others are really important in both our work and our lives. 
  • Expect the unexpected. Exactly no one could have ever predicted what we’ve been going through as a global community over the last year. Weddings got postponed, graduations went virtual, and a host of other plans came screeching to a halt in the face of the pandemic. No one could “make it go away” so people were forced to create Plan B, C, and D. And in many cases, those new plans might have been different, but were just as meaningful.  The world isn’t black and white, and allowing ourselves to operate in the grey created a whole new set of opportunities we may never have imagined for ourselves, our teams, or our customers.  

Each of us has a list of our takeaways from this period of epic change. And whether my reflections resonate with you or not, I think we can all agree the world  - or the way each of us interacts within it - will never be exactly the same as it was prior to early March, 2020. And I for one am very ok with that. 


Christina Luconi is Chief People Officer for Rapid7. Follow her on Twitter: @peopleinnovator.

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